For those who have forgotten, this is number five in a series of five scripts I’ll be reviewing this week from represented writers who have not sold a script. The exercise is meant to explore the level of quality it takes to obtain agency representation. Enjoy!

Genre: Horror
Premise: The underachieving son of a coal miner struggles to expose a covered-up mining accident that sparked a raging subterranean fire, but is unaware that the fire has kept ominous creatures at bay for the past twenty years.
About: Zach is repped by Brad Kushner at Creative Convergence.
Writer: Zach Nelson


When I was eight years old, my parents took me to The Chicago Museum of Science And Industry to do what every parent back in those days did with their children – trick them into learning something. And of course I responded like most kids do. I stumbled around wondering why everything was much less cooler than I wanted it to be. There were no video games at the museum. There were no televisions. When I was shown a 1000 year old mummy the only thing I could think was, “That poor man’s been stuck in this boring shithole for 1000 years?” After begging to go home, my parents promised me we’d leave after one last exhibit. I rolled my eyes and said whatever the equivalent of “whatever” was back at the time. This particular exhibit, I was informed, was an exhibit about mines. And it just so happened the museum was located on top of a very old mine cave. I perked up a little. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. So we got packed into a rather large elevator with a good 40 other people. Our “guide” closed the doors and we started going down. The elevator was one of those old fashioned “freight elevators” with see through walls. I watched as the outer walls passed by. We were going down pretty deep, I thought.

And down.

And down.

Gradually the outer walls turned to rock. As I had expected to go down about five stories, this was a little concerning to me. I know time is warped when you’re a kid, but I don’t think we were in that elevator less than five minutes. The walls became even darker and dingier. When the hell was this thing going to stop? I started getting worried. But everybody around me seemed to be keeping their cool so I put on a brave face. After this elevator ride to hell finally ended, we were let out into an old underground mine cave. In my estimation we were at least 100 miles below the earth and whatever mine we were in sure didn’t look safe. There were these old wooden beams holding things up. They were cracked and warped. If that breaks, I thought, would the ceiling fall on us? I was growing more concerned by the second. I wanted to get back up to the museum. Our “guide” then went into a lengthy spiel about the history of the mine and how coal was excavated and how if I would’ve been here in 1892 when they first opened the mine, I might have been working here and I couldn’t care less because DIDN’T ANYONE ELSE NOTICE HOW FRAGILE THOSE FUCKING BEAMS LOOKED??? Why didn’t anyone else notice this?? The guide droned on. We were lucky to even be down here, he explained, as the safety requirements for people were just barely met.

No shit Sherlock!

Then all of a sudden, there was a loud BUZZING ALARM accompanied by a flashing RED LIGHT! Jesus Christ! What the hell!?? We were going to be buried down here. Never to be heard from again. The guide started freaking out (finally), saying that the mine was unstable. There was shaking. I wanted to run but where?? There was nowhere to go! I desperately searched for a way out . For some reason none of the stupid adults were alarmed. Didn’t these idiots understand!!?? We were all going to die! “This way!” the guide said. “This way!” I hightailed it in the direction he was pointing, down the mine, around a corner and into…

…….

…….

a cafeteria?

I looked around. Not only was this a wide open cafeteria, 100 miles underneath the crust of the earth. But it was the lower level of what I coulda swore was the place where we entered the elevator. In fact, this entire room looked exactly like the museum. But how had they done it? How had they built a replica of the museum 100 miles beneath the earth? And weren’t we still in imminent danger from the mine collapsing?? Why were people eating hot dogs seconds before their death??

And then slowly my developing mind started putting the pieces together. We had never gone down 100 miles, had we? The elevator was a fake. The rocky exterior walls that passed by were stage props, wound around to make it *look* like were going 100 miles into the earth. I had been duped. I had been tricked. But I didn’t give a shit. I was just ecstatic to be alive. To this day, nothing has even come close to tricking me the way that mine exhibit did. And it’s the reason why, to this day, I am terrified of mines.

Whether they still try to scare the shit out of you, I’m not sure. I can imagine after my experience that they had enough lawsuits to get rid of the “the mine is caving in” portion of the tour, but if you’d like to scare your children to death, here’s some information about the exhibit on the museum’s website.

Which is why I decided to review The Void – a horror script about a coal mine. This would allow me to face my fears and give you, the reader, something you’re always asking for: a horror script.

Now I just want to make something clear before we go on. People think I hate horror. That’s not true. I just hate bad horror. Which there seems to be a lot of. Mindless plot-less excuses to have monsters slice up or munch up humans is not my idea of a good time. I like depth to my horror. I’m not talking Masterpiece Theatre. Just something that makes the characters real enough so that I care about whether they live or die. Give me a good horror film and I’ll show up opening day.

Is there depth to The Void? Yes, I’d say for the most part there is. Now whether that depth transferred into a good script is another question. After a two-decades old coal mining accident killed his father, Jacob finds himself in the same fucked up going-nowhere situation that his family was in. Except Jacob’s got it even worse. The accident that killed his father (and a bunch of other miners) started a coal fire underneath the town that hasn’t gone out in 20 years. The town is a mess. Pieces of road cave in unexpectedly. The ground is always warm to the touch. And worst of all, work is nonexistent. Jacob gets by on minimum wage – and with a wife and child on the way, he’s desperately looking for a way to salvage his life.

There’s a real-life town like Jake’s called Centralia, Pennsylvania. It’s freaky. Google it.

If all that wasn’t bad enough, Jake starts to see strange things in the shadows of the town. The holes that lead down to the burning mines reveal figures, strange lurching 9 foot humanoid creatures. In the woods by his house. On the outskirts near the caves. But are they real? Others believe they’re just hungry wolves. But Jacob witnesses these creatures tear his neighbors to pieces. These are no wolves, he tells the cops. But they don’t want to listen.

In the meantime, the underground fires continue to burn. When Jacob makes the uninformed decision to put out the fire using the local water tower, he’s approached by Eli, an ex-mine worker whose face was disfigured in the accident. He’s informed about a long-held secret about the town. Eli is being paid by the mine’s wealthy owner to keep the underground mines burning. Keep the mine’s burning?? By what would anyone want to do that? Well, apparently, the fire has been keeping a host of these shadowy figures at bay. Now that the fire’s been put out, these hellish monsters will be roaming the streets, killing at will. The only way to stop them is to blow closed all the entrances to the mine. And that’s exactly what Eli and Jacob set out to do.

The Void was entertaining in places and no so entertaining in others. Particularly in the first half of the second act, where there were a lot of scenes with people sitting around talking about their problems. In fact, the plan to actually do something about the burning underground and its hellish occupants isn’t hatched until page 75, which is just way too slow in my opinion. Nelson chooses to use those first 75 pages to focus on the mystery behind the underground mines and the conspiracy to cover it up. But I don’t think there’s enough there to warrant an entire 75 pages of screenplay. These creatures should be out and attacking by at least page 45, probably even 25. And our protags need to figure out what to do about it soonafter. Throw this story into overdrive. See, The Void falls victim to one of the unsolvable problems in the movie industry, which is that the hook is included in the logline, which eliminates every notable surprise the script has for us. Unfortunately there’s no way around this. People aren’t going to read your screenplay unless they know your hook. Even though your hook is the one thing you don’t want revealed until they read your screenplay. In this case, the logline gives away all the secrets in the first 75 pages.

There’s some bigtime irony going on here. I start out telling you to give me a smart character-driven horror story, and Nelson attempts to do exactly that. I just think he went a little too far. He spent too much time getting into these characters’ lives and not enough time getting to the story. To me, the lure here is the underground mines and their creatures. That’s what I wanted to see. And that’s what there’s not nearly enough of.

The other thing I was looking for was more out of the monsters. I like my monsters to be based in some sort of logic, even if it’s logic based off the rules you set up in your screenplay. What I don’t like is monsters that seemingly have nothing to do with the problem. For instance, in one of my favorite horror films of the last few years, The Descent, those creatures were explained as an evolution of man being stuck down in the caverns for thousands of years. I bought that. That made sense to me. Here, you have 9 foot wolf-like men with no eyes. When I try to connect that to a coal fire that’s been burning underground for years, I have a hard time making that leap. I guess you could pass them off as descendants of Hell, but that’s a little too generic for me. The more based in logic your creatures are, the closer – in my mind – they are to reality. And the closer something is to reality, to being outside your door or in your closet, the scarier it is.

So unfortunately I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Void. As with all of this weeks’ writers, Zach knows what he’s doing. It’s simply a case of me not getting into this particular story. But I thank Zack for allowing me to read his script. It was [not] fun revisiting my museum experience from hell :)

Script link: The Void

[ ] What the hell did I just read?
[x] barely kept my interest

[ ] worth the read

[ ] impressive

[ ] genius

What I learned: The Void actually had *too much* character development. Or, I should say, it went about its character development in the wrong way. In that early 2nd act portion, it felt like every scene we were sitting down with our characters, listening to their problems. Sure this gave me some backstory on who these people were, but it didn’t do so in an interesting way – within the context of a developing story. Anything you’re trying to reveal in your script – whether it be character development, exposition, or plot – you have to bleed it into the story seamlessly. If it feels like we’re stopping to get to know people, you’ve destroyed all that momentum you built up. Every scene should be pushing (and I mean *pushing* – not nudging) the story forward. Instead of having your characters sitting in a room, put them out there investigating the problem and having their discussion as they investigate. That way, you’re killing two birds with one stone. Always keep things moving!

  • Anonymous

    The last half was hardly “non-stop action.” Sorry, but this was 112 pages of dialogue and no action. Personally, I found it to be a yawn fest. I was wondering where the “elevated horror” aspect was. Read more like a talky-drama.

    However – it’s a great concept. Just badly executed imho. Hopefully some solid rewrites will knock all the chinks out. There really needs to be some excitement put into this. Some big action set-pieces with the mine creatures. Those creatures never once felt threatening.

  • Anonymous

    I would agree, that given the dynamics of the story (creatures in a mine) bigger set pieces/action sequences would be needed in order to make the creatures seem like a real threat.

    But, you know… opinions, opinions. Everyone in this biz has an opinion on someone else’s work.

    Good luck with it!

  • Anonymous

    Here’s a potential problem: based off the original logline – when a script’s touted as being “elevated” a reader might well expect the writing to be “elevated.” This is a very nice, small idea, but the writing just isn’t there. I may be reading an older version of the script, but the dialogue is, at best, subpar as is the characteriztion and nothing has really happened through the first 23 pages so why read on? For a much better take on this kind of story imho, see “Endangered,” a script that went out a while back which was “The Descent” in the tops of trees.

  • Anonymous

    Original log:

    “Elevated Horror – Supernatural Thriller. The underachieving son of a coal miner struggles to expose a covered-up mining accident that sparked a raging subterranean fire, but is unaware that the fire has kept ominous creatures at bay for the past twenty years.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Are you guys from the future?? How did you read the script so fast?

  • Anonymous

    Carson, the script has made the rounds on other sites…

    The feedback was largely negative there as well.

  • Anonymous

    This script has been around and around and around, and has been critiqued elsewhere. I think your review was overly generous actually, and even tolerant of its many holes (voids?) and flaws.

  • Anonymous

    your childhood story sounds scarier than the wolf-monster story.

  • Anonymous

    Carson, you don’t have to actually “read” a script to read a script. We do it all day at the office. We flip through it real fast and if we see a lot of dialogue we say it’s too talky and throw it away. If we see no dialogue we say there’s no character development and throw it away. If the script is a perfect mixture of action and dialogue we say it needs a polish. It’s not rocket science.

  • Anonymous

    This was a borefest.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Man, the one horror script I review and everybody’s already read it. That sucks.

    anon 8:44 – lol!

  • Anonymous

    The script may stink, but you crack me up Carson!

  • Anonymous

    and yes, we are from the future…

  • Anonymous

    I’m in the middle of reading something really trashy and pretty formulaic, but fun — Untitled Wendy Diane Miler Project. The logline: “A summer internship leads to trouble for a college student when he becomes involved with his boss’s wife.”

  • Anonymous

    Make that “Miller.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Oh yeah, I have that one. E-mail me when you finish and let me know if I should read it.

  • Anonymous

    “We flip through it real fast and if we see a lot of dialogue we say it’s too talky and throw it away. If we see no dialogue we say there’s no character development and throw it away. If the script is a perfect mixture of action and dialogue we say it needs a polish.”

    Such a shame that you didn’t end it with “and throw it away.”

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that is much funnier.

  • Anonymous

    Screenplays are pretty much a subjective lot, one man’s masterpiece is another man’s train wreck. That’s why I give every struggling writer props for sticking to their dream. Very few make it in the end.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02957497301088190235 Tarson Meads

    I read it months ago. Terrible script.

  • DM

    I’m sorry, but why do these screenwriters have to be “represented” or on The Black List for you to read their scripts? There’s thousands of great unrepped, unproduced, unknown scripts and struggling screenwriters out there, just waiting for some sort of break, but they can’t even get some nobody on Blogger to read their shit because they have to be “represented,” or on some bullshit list, or well known. Why don’t you help your fellow writers out? I guarantee that at least half of the unknown scripts out there are at least 70% better than the crap I see on here. BUT — we’ll never know what they are because you’re too fucking busy helping out screenwriters who don’t need your help. Maybe you could give exposure to someone who needs it, who doesn’t have representation yet, or who may never get it no matter how good they’re script is. As of now, you’re being far too selective and acting like you’re a fucking agent or something. The shit you review on here all seem to be broad, familiar concepts, (however well written they maybe be), or extentions of something that’s already been done. Plus we’re in an era where everything is a remake, based on a comic book, a graphic novel, and so forth. I can take the adaptations as long as it’s completely original (Fight Club). But where’s the next Annie Hall? The next Pulp Fiction? The next Shawshank Redemption? I’ll tell you where: NOT HERE. And if “The Beaver” is the best Hollywood can find right now, then they’re not truly mining the talent pool.

  • Anonymous

    This script just made quarters of Nichol, Won a screenplay comp in London, and was a finalist at PAGE, and has got the writer dozens of meetings around town.

    Maybe they’re seeing something we’re just not.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    Dm, your coment is pretty unfair considering there are things carson has been doing to help un-repped writers, that you are obviously not aware of. He has gone well past the call of duty. The point of this exercise was not to help an unrepped writer but to examine the quality of repped scripts and see where the bar is placed. As has been stated. So relax.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02957497301088190235 Tarson Meads

    Which UK comp?

  • Ano

    After reading through these this week, I’d say that is a noticeable dropoff between these and scripts in production. It isn’t surprising because the hooks are probably good enough to attract an agent, but the work isn’t good enough to merit being produced.

    The next natural step is to look at a few unproduced, unrepresented writers. I would anticipate that these scripts would be better than this week. The hardest part of the industry that I have felt is getting the break. Comparing these scripts would be interested. To limit the entries you could perhaps cap it at the first 100 loglines.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/loopdesign loopdesign

    I call bullshit. I’ll eat my fucking hat if this script made the QF’s at Nicholl. Having said that, it did generate major buzz over at trackingb.com (Although, I suspect all the glowing comments are from the writer and his rep)

  • Anonymous

    Carson, could your review „Kane & Lynch“ in the future? It´s a really solid action script, especially compared to „G.I. Joe“ or „Transformers“. What makes it unique is the central relationship between the two men. Like Rossio says: „Not the main character, for me, the relationship between characters is what´s interesting, and the characters can be adjusted to make the main relationship or relationships the most interesting.“

    Lembit

  • http://www.yahoo.com SAM

    Actually Carson did run a general competition open to all comers on Done Deal Pro, and the prize was some sort of contact with people in Hollywood.

    It wasn’t an eclusively unrepped competition, but it was open to everyone, so I think you’re being too hard on him DM.

    In addition I think you’re taking out your bitterness towards the industry out on him, which isn’t fair.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe you could do a completely unknown, unrepped, obscure, struggling script of the week or the month. Of course, you would likely be deluged so you would need to ask for more than loglines, maybe a short paragraphy describing the movie, no more than 1000 words or something.

    I am still wondering if you could get an interview for the blog with any of the repped writers from this week. What they have to say about the struggle could be as interesting as
    the interviews with writers who have already
    “made it.” And more relevant to many who read this blog, probably.

  • Foof

    A touch dismayed… out of a 150 loglines, these were the 5 that sounded most promising/intriguing? Really!? Disheartening.

  • Anonymous

    Carson,

    We want to see you in addition to hearing about your scary childhood.

    Why don’t you do a weekly podcast, summarizing what you have done during the week (you could publish it on Saturday) and what you have learned.
    You don’t have to get dressed up and the background doesn’t matter. List what you’ve read, who wrote them, the good and the bad.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00186547055781675001 Archie

    This is the 4th script I’ve read about Centralia, Pennsylvania. Really. One at an agency and two when I did coverage for IFP. Sulfur monster, smoke monster and the agency one was a comedy about Satan living under Centralia and there were Amish involved.

    With scripts sometimes you hit a line or an action that tells you everything you need to know about the writing in the script. The first page tells all. Travelogue, travelogue, least exciting EXPLOSION ever. Up until that point no characters have been introduced and the EXPLOSION really is the central character. And there’s no jeopardy or excitement involved. Your central character is an EXPLOSION and it isn’t exciting.

  • Anonymous

    What does “we do it all day at the office” Anon
    mean to say? That Carson should operate differently. That Anon’s office does things the right way and Carson the wrong way? That superficial reviews are the best reviews? I find Anon’s comment superficial if not offensive.

  • Anonymous

    I’m curious why, per Anon 4:25, someone would think an unrepped script competition would produce better scripts than these. I believe Carson’s already said the quality level of this competition was significantly higher than the unrepped DD one he did.

    As a former studio script reader, let me also put in my .02–talented writers get representation. The whole notion of some vast untapped talent pool out there of undiscovered Tarantinos and Avarys is basically complete fiction. Talented writers get representation because Hollywood runs on writing, and good writing–shit, even decent writing, is a rare commodity. I can’t remember if it was Goldman or McKee who said something to the effect of “If you write a great script, it’ll sell. Bury it in your backyard at night and you’ll have agents knocking on your door in the morning.”

    The scripts this week may not have been to your liking, but the writers themselves are writing at a high enough level above the mean to get noticed by agencies. Whether or not they’ll sell something (Day 4 writers excluded) is a different story, of course.

    P.S. DM, you do realize that Shawshank is based on a Stephen King short story?

  • Anonymous

    “What does “we do it all day at the office” Anon
    mean to say? That Carson should operate differently. That Anon’s office does things the right way and Carson the wrong way? That superficial reviews are the best reviews? I find Anon’s comment superficial if not offensive.”

    I believe it’s known as a “joke.”

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me that one of the most probable hypotheses has been proven and now there is some evidence that supports my hunch that repped writers aren’t necessarily better than those who haven’t found management yet. I think the comments are a little harsh here though. There were two good scripts this week (yesterday was maybe not exactly according to the standards, but the first script was great and by unsold writers). Otherwise, there were lots of pretty interesting ideas, and more bad writing than good. I’d say that pretty much sums up writing in general.

  • Anonymous

    Carson,

    Your mine exhibit story was hilarious. It’d be a great opening scene for a comedy script.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Yes, I’ve read a ton of unrepped scripts (did a contest for unrepped writers) and as great as it would be if there was this huge untapped pool of talent, it’s simply not the case. I’m not going to knock the writers at Simply Scripts. There are a few good scripts over there. But if you want to get a feel for what kind of screenplays aren’t making the cut, head over there and download a few scripts. You might change your mind pretty quickly.

  • Anonymous

    also check out Triggerstreet.com to see what crap is out there

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Quick Question: Are there any MAC USERS who are able to comment in the comments section? The mac demographic constantly e-mails me begging me to fix the talkback section to they can comment. So if there’s someone who’s found a workaround, please let me know.

  • Anonymous

    This Mac user can comment. Using Firefox, though, not Safari.

  • Anonymous

    I mean to say I am using Firefox, and not Safari. I haven’t tried commenting with Safari.

  • Anonymous

    Sample dialog from Simplyscripts:

    Mailman: Hello Lenny. What an interesting excavation. It smells as if you’ve found
    Tutankhamen’s toilet bowl!

    Yikes. Also, no one there has heard of Final Draft.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    I think I read that one. Is that the script that’s 289 pages?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11352170996381761356 J.J.

    I’m a MAC, you’re a PC.

    Easy. You type. You hit post comment. And the miracle of modern technology happens. Easy. Anybody can do.

    Plus I signed in with my Google account, which helped.

  • http://openid.aol.com/oddboggle oddboggle

    This script had a lot of heat for a spell there. Zach, how did that go? Did you get a lot of meeting requests?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13868933997157762707 Carson

    Okay so so far we have: Try using Firefox as your browser. And get a google account (gmail should suffice) and sign in with it. Just so you know, Blogger is a Google company, so signing in as a Google user should be helpful.

  • http://openid.aol.com/oddboggle oddboggle

    If you have an AOL account, you can also use that. Just select AIM as your profile.

  • http://www.the-word-factory.com Thomas R. Hart

    “Hello Lenny. What an interesting excavation. It smells as if you’ve found Tutankhamen’s toilet bowl!”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    No, really? Can somebody post a link?

    As for the Void, hm, I don’t know… I don’t think we have the time for a “slow burn” in horror anymore. The slow burn can only work if you don’t already know what’s going to happen. And be it as it may, with trailers, blogs, what have you, we know already what’s going to happen. And if it then takes an hour to get us there, or even more… nope, not going to work outside the genre ghetto.

    James Gunn and Michael Tolkin did it quite brilliantly in the remake to Dawn of the Dead. We as the audience already knew what zombies were, so they went full throttle before the credits, almost like a teaser in its structure, gave the flimsy explanation (“We don’t know”) in the credits… took a breather, brought the characters to the mall for the merry-go-round.

    You can’t write horror the way it used to be, because the audience knows. The audience knows too much. And hence, with that in your head, you gotta be prepared to mindfuck them from the beginning.

  • Anonymous

    You can post anonymously using Safari. You can also post anonymously using Firefox 3.5 or higher. (Previous Firefox versions won’t let you post anon.)

  • http://www.the-word-factory.com Thomas R. Hart

    “The whole notion of some vast untapped talent pool out there of undiscovered Tarantinos and Avarys is basically complete fiction”

    Ah, yes… but is it PULP Fiction?

    :P

  • Anonymous

    I think that “The Void” effectively dispels that notion that repped writers are actually writing at a high level. I find “The Void” completely void of crisp writing or coherent storytelling. If “The Void” were sex, it’d be the kind that just lays there, staring off into the distance…

    Contests like Project Greenlight proved that there’s not a vast untapped talent pool out there, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t unrepped people who have talent but just haven’t gotten read by the right reader yet. The baffling converse of this is that there seem to be more than a few untalented people out there who have succeeded in finding representation.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Anon 1:57, there are some script here that are not perfect, but I don’t think people understand how bad a screenplay can actually be. With every page, a screenplay has the possibility of getting exponentially badder. By the end of 200 pages, the screenplay may indeed be so unstoppably bad that any human being forced to read will have his or her tear ducts catch on fire.

  • Anonymous

    I read this script and it is not good. Like Carson said. Things don’t start happening until page 75. And all the talky stuff is boring. On the one hand it made the Quarterfinals of Nicholl’s. On the other, didn’t 500 other scripts?

  • Anonymous

    “On the one hand it made the Quarterfinals of Nicholl’s. On the other, didn’t 500 other scripts?”

    EXACTLY! There are a lot of “writers” out there deluding themselves with exactly the same kind of “success.”

    “Yo, my script made the Quarterfinals of Aunt Bettie’s Browneye Story Bakeoff, and there were only 100,000 other entries…”

    “So you made the top 25,000?”

    “Well, when you put it that way, it’s not nearly as impressive so…Yay, I’m a Quarterfinalist!!”

  • Anonymous

    I think the fact that this script made the Quarterfinals in Nichols, and even won a London comp, only shows how many truly bad scripts there are out there.

  • Kingston Alomar

    Konami called and wanted to let everyone know that Silent Hill is their property so this is plagarism. There was even a Silent Hill movie made already. This is such a rip off he should be sued.

    Man these scripts were terrible this week. I hope these agents drop these bums. They’re a waste of time. Except for maybe Paradigm.

  • Anonymous

    There’s still heat around this project despite the comments here, which I might add, some of them are copy/paste’s from the trackingb post for this script. The writer has development meetings set up all over town and that says something. Either the industry executives are crazy, or the posters here are missing something. The awards look legit according DoneDealPro and the award web sites. I don’t think Zach ever claimed to be a Nicholls finalist, just that The Void is in the top 15% of submissions. http://www.imaginative.net is his web site.

    Personally, I enjoyed this read but it could’ve moved at a faster pace. That said, I do believe there’s an inherant issue with horror because like someone said before, the audience goes in knowing what to expect. But didn’t we all know what to expect with The Sixth Sense? Not trying to draw a literal comparison there. Even if the audience knows it’s a “scary movie” it still has to organically unfold and I think the writer has done that, albeit a little slowly for my taste.

    While we’re on the subject, back on the trackingb post, someone compared this to a bad version of The Descent. That was a scary movie where the monsters didn’t show up for over an hour. I had a big problem with that. To me, The Descent was a slow-moving snorefest where every twist and turn was predictable. The Void is something altogether different and in my humble opinion, better.

    No, I’m not the writer. People are allowed to like a script.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! Just read the first ten pages… I don’t know who the main character is yet… But I do know that I can’t stand that dumb ass mom character — I swear I just read the ten pages like 30 seconds ago and I don’t even remember her name… Anyway, I couldn’t fathom the thought of reading another page if she was going to continue to be a character. oh baby, oh honey, oh jacob, mind your pappa… blah blah blech. This is just horrid horrid dialogue.

  • Anonymous

    Comparing The Descent to The Void is like comparing The Godfather to He’s Just Not That Into You. The Descent has the characters in caves running from genuinely scary monsters. The Void has people talking about coal fires for 80 minutes. Anyone who finds that more interesting is seriously deluding themselves.

  • Kingston Alomar

    Whattttttt. Did some actually say this is better than The Descent??????????

    I don’t even have anything to say. That is the stupidest thing I have heard in a LONG time.

    The Descent was a great horror film. Even during the “down” time of the movie there were still scary parts. (I still jump during the scene when she’s looking through the window in that cabin and the pole crashes through).

    In the words of Geoff L. My gast is flabbered.

  • Anonymous

    “No, I’m not the writer. People are allowed to like a script.”

    I call bullshit. You’re either the writer or someone with a vested interest in the script, because Zach has made it clear elsewhere that he doesn’t like “The Descent” and that “The Void” is “elevated horror” whereas “The Descent” (holds his nose) is not.

    Despite the heat, what do you think has led to the rampant hostility toward this script? I think it’s because it’s truly a disastrous piece of writing, and when combined with the continued insistence that it’s “elevated” and “has heat” around town, it gives the impression that the writer and his reps think that we’re all just too dumb to “get” this script.

  • Anonymous

    Why is no one talking about the fact that none of the story adds up, and the characters rarely act remotely like real people?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Okay, we’re getting close to name-calling here. Keep it civil. While I think people are making some valid points, let’s make them in a constructive way.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right, Carson. Maybe you should have poked around the internet a bit to see what kind of “heat” The Void was getting prior to deciding to review it. I’ve never seen this kind of reaction to a “hot spec” before, but I’ve never had this kind of visceral reaction to a “hot spec” before either.

  • Anonymous

    “what do you think has led to the rampant hostility”

    Could be that his website offers screenwriting advice too…

    http://www.imaginative.net/Contact/Advice.aspx

  • Anonymous

    Ugh, ten pages in and the dialogue is killing me. Talk about a tin ear. The rest is so-so, but the dialogue is awful.

    Compare this to “Incident At Sans Asylum,” which seemed to have a lot of the same plot/structural problems, but at least the scene description was evocative and scary, and the dialogue realistic.

    See if it gets any better…

  • Anonymous

    From the writer’s website:

    “His clear vision of the characters, the environment, and the story mechanics allowed him to reach the coveted ‘sale script’ with the third draft.

    He quickly signed with management – placed and won at a few film festivals – and is excited to announce THE VOID will hit the spec market in June 2009 – only one year from conception to market!”

    I don’t get it — it’s a “sale script,” yet it’s still hitting the spec market?

  • DM

    Wait…Stephen King wrote The Shawshank Redemption? Thank you, Captain Obvious. I wasn’t using that as an example of a great discovery, but as a great film that was well written. Ignoring the fact that it was based on a short story, surely someone out there can write a script that’s just as good and original THAT’S NOT an adaptation. It is possible.

    And there is an undiscovered pool of great writers with great scripts out there…I didn’t mean just a great writer or just a writer with a great script. Trigger Street should be called Trigger Shit…I took one look at some of the loglines of the scripts you’re supposed to review on there and quickly exited the premises. That should not be used as a representation of undiscovered writers, and if so, then you’re just being a snob. And this notion that no great script will go undiscovered is just flat out wrong. Otherwise Bryan Bertino’s dull, run-of-the-mill script for “The Strangers” would have never made the runner-up position in the Nicholl Fellowship. So if that’s how you get attention, does that mean the rest of us have to dumb down our shit to compete? Sometimes I think so.

    Just imagine that all of the scripts of Stanley Kubrick’s films were completely original, (not adaptations like they were), submitted to the Nicholl contest and whatever else, just as they were filmed…they would be rejected almost immediately by the ONE READER who decides whether or not they get read a second time. The only way in Hollywood to get to make films like that the way you want to make them is to dumb yourself and your script down. That’s why all the hottest scripts on here suck because nobody’s trying to sell a script they truly believe in. Apparently you have to become a paid stooge to solidify your genius. Kubrick would have to agree.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02957497301088190235 Tarson Meads

    Look, at the end of the day, I think any heat from ANY spec, is a good thing. Especially in this climate. I wish the writer all the success he can muster. Milk it. Really. Because at the end of the day it’s a fucking hard industry to get noticed in.

    But -

    On the other hand, I really think this script was a bad example of a horror script. I think the core concept, revolving around the mine and creatures, etc, is very appealing. But based off the logline, it’s kind of misleading. When ytou read the logline, you immediately think of THE DESCENT – which I might add, is probably one of the most original and best horror films of the past decade. The Void however, plays out more like a slow-burn Drama/Horror.

    I just think if Zach ramped the action up a notch, this may have resonated a bit more. But you know, at the end of the day, this script has generated a ton of heat, gotten hip repped and scored him a bunch of meetings all over town.

    Good on him.

    But as for the script. Sorry, it was just too slow for me.

  • Anonymous

    I was almost as if the creatures were dropped in there at the last minute, to make this come off like a horror script. To somehow make this more commercially appealing.

    Because if you take away the few scenes were the creatures are – this would simply be a mining disaster/drama. It’s not a horror script.

  • Anonymous

    But have you seen the guy’s writing advice? He took his favorite movies apart to see what makes them tick! I guess his favorite movies are talky dramas with flashes of lame horror. ZING.

  • Anonymous

    Well it’s not even that. It’s that the first act takes 75 pages. People expect your protagonists to go after their goal by page 25-30. As Carson noted, it takes them til, basically, where traditionally the third act begins. It’s a strange screenplay. I’d like to hear from some people who liked it so I can understand what they liked. So I can see what I’m missing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02957497301088190235 Tarson Meads

    I totally agree with above Anon post. It breaks the rules, but not in a good way.

    Maybe that’s why it’s been noticed so much.

    Maybe the writer simply has a great manager and agent. The kind who could sell cow dung to a wealthy farmer. It’s obviously resonated with the right people.

    Funny how a lot of writers hated it, yet a lot of industry folks seemed to have liked it.

  • Anonymous

    This script is a lame attempt at horror.

    Hey, I thought Tarson was the horror guy around here? Where’s his review?

  • Anonymous

    WTF? On his website, the guy has even designed his own bad movie posters?

    This kid’s an amateur at the very best. I’m amazed that dreck like this has even managed to get him a meeting.

    I’m positive there’s a ton of potential buyers who tossed this in the bin after the first 10 pages.

    Ugh.

  • Anonymous

    From his advice page:

    “Your script is not good enough – it’s just not. No, really, your script isn’t ready. Do yourself a big favor and break-down your favorite movies – find two or three similar movies and break them down, too. Discover the hidden structure that makes those stories work. If your characters aren’t compelling and faced with very tough challenges, and confronted early enough in the page count, then all you have is a starting point – not a script.”

    No shit. Maybe he should take his own advice.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    I think I’m going to have to review more horror. It tends to inspire quite a discussion.

  • Anonymous

    I think if Zach concentrated on the mining disaster/cover up, then this could really have been something. It still could have been called The Void too.

    The creatures kind of have no relevance to the overall plot. They feel tacked on. There’s really no need for them, and we hardly see enough of them either.

  • Anonymous

    JJ says:

    “Is that the script that’s 289 pages long?”

    HA! HA! HAH!

    Laughing out LOUD, man. Good one.

  • Anonymous

    Just read it.

    Wow!

    What a heap of shit.

  • Anonymous

    What I love about the guy’s website.

    a) It’s not even an original company name.
    b) He always refers to everything as “we”, when we all know it’s just one guy. Him.
    c) He talks as if he’s a vet writer, offering advice about how to write a screenplay and what to expect.
    d) The guy has never made a sale.
    e) Really badly designed movie poster for The Void.

    Just an observation. I actually thought the script was ok. Pretty boring in some parts. I agree, it would have been much more compelling if we had more on the monsters. Not really a horror guy, so I don’t know what a good script would be.

    Any recommendations?

  • Anonymous

    According to his website he’s designed theme parks, built a recording studio, was a lighting guy for some obscure boy band, and now wants to be a screenwriter.

    wtf?

  • BobD

    Off-topic, but can anyone translate what the industry jargon term “four quadrant” means?

    I saw it ona couple of trackingb posts (eg: http://www.trackingb.com/?p=2827) and have no idea what it means.

  • Anonymous

    Use Google.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a movie that appeals to all four main demographic groups—young and old, male and female.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone else suspect this script is getting so much “industry heat,” because no one in the industry has read it? Seriously. The writer talks a good talk (despite the fact that he can’t write dialogue) with his “elevated horror” spin, and he uses the fact that he won an obscure London competition to get his foot in the door. But once anyone in the industry actually READS it, their heat turns cold. If there was truly any “industry heat” on this script (over the script, and not over the spin, I should say), why hasn’t Zach received an offer by now? Hell, why hasn’t there been a bidding war?

    You gotta say this for Zach: He may not be a great screenwriter, but he is an excellent salesman.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right. Most specs that generate any substantial heat, also generate a bidding war. Sometimes the writer just takes the first generous offer that comes in, and moves on.

    The point is, this usually happens very quickly. Like in a week. Maybe two. Sometimes within days. It has to be quick because studios don’t want to drag it out longer. That just means more money they have to shell out. You often hear that a script goes out – gets read – and is snapped up 3-5 days later.

    This script went out in June I believe. Has been read ALL OVER town. Everyone has read it. His manager/agent pushed hard enough to get the script into the right studios – and the writer plugged the hell out of it on his website (still does) – but so far, everyone has passed. Yes, there was talent and a director interested at one point, but once they read the script, I they all passed. This project is pretty much dead. And that largely comes to down to the script. It’s simply not good enough.

    If you read a horror script, you expect, at the very least, for it to be horrifying, thrilling, and exciting. This had boring characters. Boring dialogue. Boring monsters, and a slightly above average premise that failed to deliver on it’s logline.

    The buzz over this was not from industry people either. It got him into meetings, but the main buzz was generated online, by both the writer and the negative reviews.

    I can totally see why this did not sell.

    If I were the writer, I’d forget about it. Take what he can from the experience and move on to the next script.

  • Anonymous

    ROFL! You guys are harsh, man.

    I agree. Its not a good horror script.

  • http://imaginative.net Zach

    Thanks for the support and the constructive criticism. Best of luck with your own endeavors my anonymous friends!

  • Anonymous

    It was awful. Everything from the dialogue to the creatures. Awful.

    And this script has “heat”

    ?

  • Anonymous

    Zach, don’t take anything people are saying to heart. You just keep writing and one day you will break through.

    Best of luck.

  • http://imaginative.net Zach

    Sarcasm is like a second language to me – but I was being sincere. Thanks for the criticism.

    The anonymous are right – it’s not a horror script and it wasn’t meant to be viewed in that light.

    And really, I wish you other writers the best.

  • Anonymous

    I think a lot of people misunderstood what Zach was trying to convey. And I honestly think he missed the mark in doing that effectively.

    The Void was an odd script. It kind of came across like it did not know what it wanted to be. A horror or a drama?

    Remember, we are criticizing the screenplay, not the writer himself.

  • Trey Shumbuck

    “The anonymous are right – it’s not a horror script and it wasn’t meant to be viewed in that light.”

    Then it should not have been marketed as one. The logline refers to your script as being “elevated horror” Based off that, I can understand why people are not getting it.

  • http://imaginative.net Zach

    Trey, Tarson actually called it – it’s drama/horror. That’s what elevated-horror is; substitute “drama” for “elevated” because selling anything as “drama” is nearly impossible anymore. I suspect that’s why the CE’s got it and some others didn’t.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    I like the passion but be respectful guys. C’mon.

    Zach, since this is more of a drama about the mines and this town, why not axe the creatures? Since they weren’t that important in the script, why did you want to include them?

  • Trey Shumbuck

    Fair enough.

    Just not for me, that’s all. I tend to think elevated horror is something more high concept and hook orientated.

  • http://imaginative.net Zach

    I liked the idea of dancing on the line between an adult-themed drama and the supernatural. Another draft will be written to address everyone’s concerns. I just gotta get through these meetings and digest the CE notes first.

  • Trey Shumbuck

    I 100% agree with Carson.

    Take out the creatures. Seriously. This can still be a compelling drama, revolving around the mining accident and the town cover up. That alone is the basis for a great story. The creatures don’t do your script any justice. None at all.

    I’m not trying to tell you what do do, or how to write your own screenplay. Just a suggestion.

    Did you ever see North Country? The Void kind of reminded me of that.

  • Anonymous

    I just gave up. I was on page 78.

    Sorry but it was a snoozefest.

  • Anonymous

    Some people are stepping over the line here. Quit being dicks. If you didn’t dig it, fine. No need to hide behind anonymity & take shots at a writer who’s just trying to make something happen.

    Critique the script, not the writer.

    Zach has commented on his script on various SWing sites, and every time he’s come across as a nice guy.

    Have not read it… But I think it’s gotten some notice b/c the logline is intriguing. And from the log, people were expecting a traditional action/horror. It’s been pointed out– it’s more of a drama.

    Good luck on this & future projects, Zach.

    ~Laura Reyna

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Carson, 102 comments, including the script’s writer. You’ve made it.

    Kinda funny that your script review of Cabin In The Woods still sits in the archives, practically unnoticed. If you published that with your new level of popularity, I have a feeling it would get pulled down in like an hour.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Laura, you can comment. :)

    If there was a “what I learned” comments section, I think I learned that horror has the most passionate fans. Which is why I’ll be reviewing more of it.

  • Anonymous

    I want another tarson review!

  • Anonymous

    Laura

    No one is being dicks. Its okay if ppl don’t like the script. The writer clearly understands that.

  • Anonymous

    I bet half the people commenting have never written, let alone sold a screenplay.

    Any form of success always brings haters and trolls. Especially guys like Kingston.

    What a douche.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone here listens to the radio right?

    1 page of a script is 10 seconds of song on the radio. Don’t have to be a ‘pro’ music or script reader to ‘hear’ what is what.

    You turn the channel on the first few notes of song, as you “know” the song by the first few notes, if you know it doesn’t have “it”.

    Nothing personal.

    But the first lines of this script like other ones this week are like that college radio station you only listen to–especially their songs for more than 10 seconds–if the DJ has nice C cup tits you need to caress later that night. You know that really nice high C’s that are still firm but yet big so you can forgive their vague superficial intent.

    DON

  • Jengo Fett

    Don

    That’s the weirdest analogy ever.

    lol.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    Zach, maybe you shouldn’t speak down to other writers on your site like your some god shining down on everyone. I did like the 15 or so pages of your script that I read though. I might read the rest when I get the chance.

  • That Guy

    This script bad.

    I dont care if that offends the writer. He should know if he puts his “art” out there, people are gonna either hate it or love it.

    Art is subjective.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, and screenplays are not art.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    Gota keep in mind that its all very subjective. Just like any other art form. How do you judge the value of something. It’s very frustrating. I have people that don’t like my scripts and people that do like them. Carson didn’t like ‘The Low Dweller’ why should he like this? Did Ed Sanchez not attach himself to this? Someone likes it then.

  • Anonymous

    Huge difference between this and The Low Dweller. Brad can actually write.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    Actually, I’m going to go as far as to say, Carson’s tastes are very subjective, and unlikely to be a fair representation of a general audience, and I’m sure the same could be said for many of the posters, that’s not a bad thing at all.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    What is writing, putting one word in front of the other, right? And anything after than is subjective =) Can’t wait to see more from ‘Brad’ got anything you could send my way?

  • Studio Assistant Bitch

    Everything is subjective. Horror included.

    I think the main reason why everyone felt duped by this is because it was marketed as a horror script – but it’s more of a drama.

    It’s a shame too, because genre scripts still sell.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    I really like drama horror, I write it myself, maybe I should show Zach and see if he’ll give me some feedback ;) You know who’s big on drama/horror, Stephen King. So why there aren’t more of these made I don’t understand, because King is doing alright for himself.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah but King doesn’t write screenplays. He writes novels. The Void would most likely work very well as a novel because you can build characters and create more sub-plots, etc.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    I have an interview up with Zach over at my blog.

    Please not though: I am probably lying.

  • Anonymous

    http://twitter.com/imaginative_ent

    This guy’s on a roll. Meetings with Ghost House, Lionsgate, Plan B and Mandalay.

    I didn’t like the script, but I wish him luck. Getting into a room with any of these guys is a victory in itself.

    Rock on, dude.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Carson, Tarson and the Anon poster who said “drop the creatures”

    This could still work. You don’t need those creatures in there.

  • Anonymous

    I totally can see why people are spewing so much hatred towards The Void. It’s not a very good script. Sorry, it’s really not. But what’s so annoying is that this guy is getting meetings all over LA. For the rest of us, that’s really frustrating.

    I don’t think this guy is a good writer. Sorry that’s simply how I feel. I’m being 100% honest here. Nothing against the guy personally, but on a professional level, this script blows.

    My rating: 4/10

  • Greg Nikolettos

    I hardly ever agree with Carson’s reviews. I think he’s got a very conservative outlook and opinion on writing and films.

    But this I agree with. This script just did not do it for me. By page 80 I was still wondering what was going on.

    I think it’s great that Zach may break in with this script, but I won’t be surprised if whoever buys this rewrites the hell out of it.

  • http://www.yahoo.com SAM

    Actually Anonymous 10:20, people are being dicks. They’re being enormous dicks. It’s understandable you missed that because you clearly didn’t bother to read the 100 posts before yours, but yet still decided to be patronizing.

    There’s a way to criticize people and to do it politely – when you choose to just insult them, you show how insecure and jealous you really are.

    SAM

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00867969873765162949 Thomas

    One of the things that irks me personally is the phrase “elevated horror”, for that is somewhat condescending to a genre that has grown out of some of the most profoundly philosophical sources in literature. Marey Shelley’s Frankenstein dealt with the consequences of “playing god”, Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde brought psychology and social mores into play. Horror, when done well, does not need to be “elevated”.

    Horror isn’t just touching us in the naughty place (and that would be the brain stem) that screams out in primal fear, bringing us back to the time when we were all huddled next to a fire and hoped that the shadows just outside our vision were just that, shadows, and nothing more.

    Horror, when done well, drags down our dressed up society – made up with rules and conventions and looking like it is going to Grandma’s House through the deep and dark woods – it drags it down into the dirt, where it holds up a muddy mirror in its face to whisper “this is what you are, naked.”

    And it ain’t a pretty picture, most of the time.

  • Anonymous

    Says SAM who just posted in a patronizing tone.

    *sigh.

  • Anonymous

    Hey SAM

    How has anyone insulted the writer. The script sucks. End of story.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00867969873765162949 Thomas

    The other thing that irks me is that the personal insults always (everywhere) come from people too cowardly to sign their name. If you want to do that, go to a Town Hall meeting, kids. You’ll fit right in.

  • Anonymous

    What irks me is people who can’t take criticism.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/loopdesign loopdesign

    Sorry, but BAD scripts don’t make the Nicholls.
    6,380 submissions. 321 made the QF’s. (not 500)

    (And unless I hear from Greg Beal, directly — I do not believe that THE VOID made the cut.)

  • Anonymous

    So anyone who says they hate this script, is being a patronizing dick?

    No denying Zach poured his heart and soul into this, but the script is what it is.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/loopdesign loopdesign

    From the TWITTER Acct:

    “THE VOID – among the TOP 15% in the 2009 NICHOLL FELLOWSHIPS!!! Bested 5400+ other screenplays…”

    Top 15% is not a Quarterfinalist script. Only top 5% is Quarterfinals.

  • 4n4l Tre45ure5

    “I think it’s because it’s truly a disastrous piece of writing, and when combined with the continued insistence that it’s “elevated” and “has heat” around town, it gives the impression that the writer and his reps think that we’re all just too dumb to “get” this script.”

    You’re right. The only person doing the patronizing around here is the writer.

  • Anonymous

    Still waiting to hear from the people who liked it, and why.

    Anyone…?

  • http://profile.typekey.com/loopdesign loopdesign

    Wait, the finals of PAGE Awards haven’t been announced yet. THE VOID isn’t even listed as a Semi Finalist. So, how is it a “Finalist in PAGE?”

    Writers and reps can’t just make shit up about their scripts. People work really hard to earn those credentials, and win those contests. So, unless you know something I don’t, THE VOID is NOT a Nicholls QF OR a PAGE Finalist. And by claiming that it is, you’re wasting peoples valuable time and undermining potential reads for other, more deserving scripts and writers.

  • Johnny Anon

    Wow!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    I think I said it was a Nicholl QF. But I found out it’s top 15%. So that was my fault. I don’t know about the PAGE stuff.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know which poster said it’s so frustrating that Zach is getting meetings… etc. But that person needs to realize that other people’s success do not equal his/her failure. There’s room for everyone.

    It’s so easy for these screenwriters to criticize other people’s work and in such a nasty way. Put your work out there and see what people say all you “anonymous” writers. Jeez. It’s not nice. It’s not constructive. And it’s not necessary. The only purpose it serves is to illustrate how jealous and bitter they are that someone else is doing well.

    It deeply bothers me the way people are expressing their comments and how incredibly unsupportive they are of a fellow writer.

    I really wish Zach success. He has my support. Good for him in making his dreams come true. I hope he’s laughing all the way to the bank very soon.

  • Anonymous

    Remember that half the people who post anonymously are doing so because of the glitchy comments section. But it would be nice if people who were being very opinionated left a name or website or something.

  • Anonymous

    Meetings, for the most part, mean squat.

    Seriously.

    Unless your script is a trainwreck, you’ll be able to get some meetings if you have a competent rep and your spec goes out.

    Heck, the Void didn’t even go into most studios. A well-received spec, certainly one with the kind of heat the writer said “The Void” has, will go into every studio with a producer attached.

    The writer is just a good self-promoter. He pimped his script anonymously on trackingb when it went out, got the comments going, and made it seem like a “hot script” when in reality several other scripts went out around the same time that went into every studio with a producer attached.

    They just weren’t pimped out on tracking boards and screenwriting websites by the writer.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Disclosure: I’ve never finished writing a script although I’ve started plenty. But I have read and commented on 80% of the scripts Carson has linked to. And THE VOID is possibly the most confusing and difficult to read of them all. And I say that having read Carson’s review and 110 comments before starting on the script.

    I had to stop on page 31, thoroughly bewildered, go back to the beginning, and start over while making notes of what happened and drawing diagrams of who’s who. No professional reader would do that. They’ll just give it a pass.

    These are my notes up to page 31:

    Names: There are too many that have a dah-da rhythm, especially Patrick and Jacob. I got confused between the two. Vary the sound and the number of syllables. (Readers don’t have the visual cues that moviegoers get, so you need to make the names distinctive.) Also, please don’t use androgynous names. Ashley could be a boy or a girl. (Again, readers don’t have visual cues to tell the sex.) Don’t have two Ryan Owens. Have Ryan Owen and Ryan’s Father or something.

    Also, we only meet Ashley and Eddie Pastore when they are older. They were around when Jacob was a boy. Give them a couple of seconds’ screen time, then we know they were there as kids and wonder what happened to them. e.g. MAGGIE (to Ashley in stroller) Where is your brother? Playing in the woods again? or, JACOB (to Eddie) Uh-oh, Mom’s calling. Superman beats Batman! (runs off) That sort of thing.

    Establishing: We need a bit of a setup to orient ourselves. On page 9 when the mine blows up I though Patrick was studying charts in his house. I wondered what all the fuss was about. You need to show Patrick and Eli going on shift. It’s only a few seconds of screen time. Then we know they’re down in the mine when the explosion happens.

    Also, we need a bit of time to orient ourselves eighteen years later. Show Jacob coming out of his parents old house (I presume he lives there), maybe with a pregnant Hope off to the diner, and passing shuttered houses to the gas station and opening up, then old Eli coming to work, them greeting etc. Again, only a minute of screen time, but we know now that Jacob manages the gas station, he’s got a pregnant wife/girlfriend, and Eli works for him. The scene is set for wealthy developer Eddie Pastore to show up.

    Genre and story: There has been a lot of discussion about the genre of THE VOID. I’d say by page 31 it’s pretty firmly established as conspiracy/horror. Secrets are hinted at. Mine owner Ryan Owen says to his father, “The’d have no idea what they’re looking at.” Ryan and Patrick have some secretive business going on for which Patrick might have to invent an excuse. Then they discover a mystery hole in the tunnel wall after an extra-strong blast. That night Patrick studies surveyor charts intently. He’s onto something. Then he dies in an explosion. Was it a deliberate cover-up? His son Jacob nearly falls down an abandoned shaft. Why show us that? To emphasise some sort of menace underground? What’s going on?

    Eighteen years later the underground fires burn The heat is seeping through to the surface, the ground caving and the air is bad. Jacob’s car falls in a sinkhole and he sees a *nine-foot tall creature that moves like a man* underground. He obviously sees it because the script says he “falls on his ass, backs away.” Holy shit! Here be monsters!!! But what is his reaction? Zip. Nada. C’mon, there has to be *some* reaction. This is the biggest thing in the movie so far. But he does nothing and he says nothing. If the creature was a surprise to him he should be freaking out in a major way. If he knew about it, he would gesture it to run and hide, or pull a gun and threaten it, anything to not waste a big dramatic moment.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Page 20. Did Mrs Schultz have a diamond found by her miner husband embedded in a coal seam, and that is coveted by Ryan Owen? Doesn’t happen. They are both carbon, but the diamonds are formed by an igneous process and coal by a sedimentary process. They are never found together.

    Page 21: Newspaper headline “20 Years Later – Mine Fire Still Plagues Town.” Page 10 Slugline: “TIME PASSES QUICKLY – EIGHTEEN YEARS IN AS MANY SECONDS.” It’s a small detail, but why this discrepancy? It niggles at the back of one’s mind.

    Page 25; THE SOUND OF A WOODEN MINE DOOR BLOWN FROM ITS HINGES… THE SOUND OF A SCUFFLE IN THE WOODS… THE SOUND OF AN ANIMAL AS IT FEEDS ON ITS PREY. Definitely a horror movie.

    Page 26. Jacob looks through the dark, silent woods. Nothing. Returns home. We relax. Then… AN EAR-PIERCING ALARM RINGS OUT. Very definitely a horror movie.

    Page 27. Why is there an ear-piercing alarm at Jacob’s house while Mrs Schultz from across the street calmly entertains Ryan Owen without noticing a thing?

    Page 29. Okay, I didn’t realise I was reading a flashback. That caused some of my confusion. Suggestion: Refer to YOUNG JACOB when we meet him eighteen years ago. Again, noviegoers see he’s a kid. Readers don’t.

    Page 31. Young Jacob sees the monster, then… cut to present day This is annoying. We want to see what happened.

    End of page 31 notes.

    Okay, so I gave up my Saturday and finished it. To be honest, I think it needs a page 1 rewrite. It’s not ready for prime time. As well as being confusing, it’s just not written in a way that brings out the tension and surprises. The writing and the dialog are flat. The reader has to work too hard to get a sense of excitement. And the characters never came alive for me.

    The plot, once it’s fully revealed, is okay, I guess. But I question whether it might be too unrealistic. I’ve mentioned not finding diamonds with coal, and Jacob’s reactions on seeing the monster (especially when we know he’s seen them as a child). Would they blast in a coal mine with all that methane around? And blowing the shafts would require tons of explosives placed in pre-drilled holes. Wouldn’t the inspection shafts have spark suppressors to prevent wild fires igniting? Why didn’t they blow the shafts years ago? Lots of questions. (Maybe I’m too fussy. I grew up in a small mining town. My stepfather worked underground on a gold mine. I studied engineering. I’m not your typical moviegoer.)

    To sum up: I agree with the generally negative rating this script got. I’m surprised it generated the buzz that it did. It can only be the concept, which promises much more than the script delivers.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Sorry for the long comment. But I did put a lot of effort into reading this script because of all the discussion here. I hope my comments can help towards making the script better. I’m not being negative out of spite or anything.

  • Anonymous

    Man, there are some bitter people here. Haven’t read the script, I frankly trust the unanimously negative reaction. But still, yikes. Is it that the writer has so assiduously promoted his script that’s getting people so riled up?

    I agree with the previous commenter on the point that one person’s success does not equal your failure. Selling scripts is not a zero sum game. Considering most of the people being bitter assholes here are probably mediocre screenwriters themselves, I would think they’d be happy to see one of their peers getting meetings.

  • Anonymous

    Meant to add, good constructive criticism, martinb.

  • TimB

    I concur that it’s gotten perhaps a touch too personal in here, but the writer’s bragging (about, among other things, meetings!?), truth-bending and overall self-congratulatory approach nearly begs it.

  • dev

    “I don’t think this guy is a good writer. Sorry that’s simply how I feel. I’m being 100% honest here. Nothing against the guy personally, but on a professional level, this script blows.”

    How the hell can you say someone is not a good writer based on one script? Most successful screenwriters have many more bad, unproduced scripts than good ones written. And even the great ones write bad ones that still get made (Hell, Steve Gaghan followed up “Traffic” with “Abandon”, among a billion other examples). Good writers aren’t afraid to write bad.

    And as far as people saying stuff like “the writer’s bragging (about, among other things, meetings!?), truth-bending and overall self-congratulatory approach nearly begs it”, if you’re a writer, you have to show confidence in your work. If you go into a meeting and seem unsure of your work, they’ll sniff out your fear in two seconds.

    But I’m not surprised by this reaction. People bitched about “Emergency Contact” because it was really good but the writers didn’t fit the criteria. And now people are bitching because they don’t like the script or the way the writer markets himself, so the vast majority of people have proven that they will find something to complain about regardless. Good luck in the future, Zach.

    Dev

  • Anonymous

    Respectfully disagree, Dev. You are absolutely correct that a writer should show confidence in their work in a meeting. To me, that’s a separate issue than what this writer did. Stuff like making a poster for his script, or giving advice to other writers when he’s written one script and sold zero, or talking about how he’s in the top 15 percent of Nicholl qualifiers, all seems amateurish, and slightly narcissistic. Of course, there’s a thin line between narcissism and good self-promotion, but I feel he crossed it.

    When people say he is not a good writer, I think they just mean based on this script (which I believe is the only one he’s ever written). Of course the guy has potential to grow and write something great. I’ve certainly read far worse scripts. But he’d have to make large strides in dialogue and structure over this script.

    Anyway, nothing personal to Zach, I wish him luck in the future too. I just think Carson has reviewed much better scripts than this one.

  • http://imaginative.net Zach

    Let’s clear the air here. I don’t brag – I don’t rub the meetings in anyone’s face. If I mentioned it a couple times throughout the course of the blog comments it’s because of this reason – internet people are trashing the script meanwhile CE’s love it and want to set up development meetings. So you decide who I should listen to, the anonymous people here or the working industry professionals. My point is, if the industry consensus was that the script is shit, then why would so many CE’s put a first timer on their calendar? Don’t read into that like I’m bragging, I’m not. I just think they saw something in this project that the rest of you guys didn’t. I’m not full of myself, but I’ve got to trust the opinions of the industry people I’m talking to.

    I don’t have a web-based self-promotion scheme to generate fake heat around this project. If having a web site and twitter account is over the top, then I don’t know what to tell you. The poster and other project info on the site is there because we are putting production money together – there I go again, bragging. The new screenwriter tips page is there because I got dozens of emails from aspiring writers after I won at London Independent – there I go again, bragging. I tried to read the scripts people would send me but it’s nearly impossible. That page exists to help new writers understand what this process is like. If your career is beyond needing tips like that, then they’re not for you, ignore them.

    Creative execs aren’t trolling around the internet trying to gauge if a project has heat. They pick up the phone and call their friends across town or they check a real tracking board. A manager or agent isn’t going to represent a shitty project – not in this marketplace at least. Why would they jeopardize their reputation for a first-timer? Do you really think they could hype a project from a newbie to the point where the entire industry thinks it’s amazing? come on man…

    Let me also set the record straight. I never claimed to be a Nicholl’s Finalist – they’re not announced yet. I got an email from Greg Beal that said THE VOID is in the top 15% of submissions. That’s certainly something to be happy about and publicize. As for the Page Awards, I got an email from them months ago about being in the second round of finalists. I took that to mean the quarter-finals but I see now that QF’s are a different thing. I have no idea why they even emailed me since it didn’t make the QF’s. I had my web site updated and pulled that info. down since yeah, it’s misleading.

  • http://highmaintenanceimaginarygirlfriend.wordpress.com/ highmaintenanceimaginarygirlfriend

    Man, do these comments get mean. And the narrative that this is somehow an injustice to undiscovered writers is bizarre. If you want to make it, stop looking at the writers around you and just write 10 scripts. If you don’t give yourself that many shots in the game, then A: You’re craft-impaired and don’t even know what you don’t know. B: You don’t have the diversified portfolio to turn opportunities into paydirt. And C: You need the endurance should you ever make it over the first hurdle of a sale or option, because otherwise you’ll gas out on the marathon that is actual development.

    On another note: Nicholl Quarterfinalists are around 300 out of around 6000 scripts each year. The Void probably got a note from Beal that it didn’t make the cut, but as a consolation got close.

    On yet another note: Firefox and a WordPress account also works for comments!

  • Anonymous

    Carson: “Laura, you can comment. :)”

    Yeah, I could comment all along. I’ve left comments on few previous occasions. But I experience the same glitches that others do.

    If you should try this experiment again…This thread is good argument for why you should only feature script you really like. ;-)

    Maybe keep an open submission policy & post a “repped but unsold” script every month or so. That way you give exposure to a script you really feel deserves it, & maybe we’ll avoid another venomous backlash from the peanut gallery.

    Just some thoughts. :-)

    ~Laura Reyna

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    This is the thread that won’t die! Zach, my theory is that if a script isn’t considered great, the next best thing is it inspires controversy. You’ve officially made this the longest thread on Scriptshadow, even beating out the Memoirs 14 year old gang. The worst thing that can happen is that no one wants to talk about your script at all. You’ve definitely proved that this isn’t that kind of script.

  • wFavaro

    Poor Zach. He gets his foot in the door and then has to explain himself to people who’re jealous at his emerging success.

    That’s the part of success that none of you will like: having to deflect the criticisms spouted by those dreaming, inept bottom dwellers.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01381134742067910799 Jacob

    Disclaimer: I havent read the script; it just doesnt seem to be a movie that I would be interested in reading/seeing.

    Now it seems a little shady to put a script out to a script reviewing site with an active community and then belittle the opinions you are given.

    It is great that there is buzz around your script but art is subjective. If people on this thread say they dont like something, take it into consideration. rewrites are commonplace and if you can improve your script down the line from comments on this section then whether it gets flamed here or not you are a winner from the experience.

    Above and beyond any quality concerns it is also important to realize that the marketability of a script is very important. Where some people here see a script that needs work an executive might see a blockbuster in the making. John August says all the time that he tries to find the project that will be MADE and then he tries to make it well.

    Well, thats all for my opinions I guess.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Whoa, Jacob. Are you the Jacob from the script?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01381134742067910799 Jacob

    Yes, Yes I am.

    :P

  • http://openid.aol.com/oddboggle oddboggle

    The problem with the comments is that they’re anonymous. If somebody says something nice, they post their names; nasty, they’re anonymous.

    Granted, some people can’t say who they are, but if they create an alias and post with that registered account, at least we’d know who they are, so to speak, and learn about their tastes.

    Everybody probably has one of the profile accounts listed in the “Comment As” choices.

    I haven’t read this yet, but I’m glad to hear that Zach is making headway in the industry. Management and meetings are definitely a step forward toward a career.

  • http://openid.aol.com/oddboggle oddboggle

    I must add, there’s a glitch that may eat your message as you log in to your profile. I learned the hard way with that. So copy you text before you post… just in case!

  • Anonymous

    Zach Nelson gave me herpes.

  • Anonymous

    Need an interview with Zach on Scriptshadow. Not just posts, an organized interview.

  • Anonymous

    Tarson Meads said… “Funny how a lot of writers hated it, yet a lot of industry folks seemed to have liked it.”

    Because writers are snobs. That’s why I hate myself.

    dev said… “Good writers aren’t afraid to write bad.”

    TRUTH.

    wFavaro said… “Poor Zach. He gets his foot in the door and then has to explain himself to people who’re jealous at his emerging success.”

    While I partly agree (I do feel bad for him too), he should stop trying to explain. I don’t know why writers always feel like they have to justify their work to everyone and their mother and grandmother and second cousin twice removed. Just put it out there and let it go and hope for the best.

    And a giant LOL at all these comments. The comment monster hasn’t eaten them all!

    And now a question totally off this script – somewhere around here (it might have been in these comments but there’s too many for me to go read again) people have said that if you’re good, you’ll get representation. How long would you say the average wait time is for a screenwriter to get repped? I’m a (wannabe) novelist, and with books it can easily be years before you get an agent and publisher. Less or more for you wacko screenwriters? (and I say wacko with love)

    ~Newton

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    Righters hate other righters, it’s pure leftism. Seriously, the amount of negative energy I’ve felt from other writers for even having the nerve to write anything, has at times shaken me to the core. They all think their someone special and gods image of what a writer should be. It’s art, why not do something that everyone hates? But just do it with conviction.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t care for the script, but then I don’t care for much of what’s produced, either. I’ll cheer for a struggling writer who gets a break, and especially one who, like me, once suffered the indignity of having to live in Orlando. Like Buchenwald, that place does awful things to a man’s soul. Good luck, Zach – you’re a survivor.

  • Anonymous

    “You are absolutely correct that a writer should show confidence in their work in a meeting. To me, that’s a separate issue than what this writer did. Stuff like making a poster for his script, or giving advice to other writers when he’s written one script and sold zero, or talking about how he’s in the top 15 percent of Nicholl qualifiers, all seems amateurish, and slightly narcissistic. Of course, there’s a thin line between narcissism and good self-promotion, but I feel he crossed it.”

    Agree 110%

  • Anonymous

    Zach said: “So you decide who I should listen to, the anonymous people here or the working industry professionals.”

    How do you know? Half the Anonymous posters here could be industry people.

  • Anonymous


    How do you know? Half the Anonymous posters here could be industry people.

    I’m pretty sure they have better things to do with their weekend.

  • Anonymous

    no offense, Carson.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02957497301088190235 Tarson Meads

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02957497301088190235 Tarson Meads

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02957497301088190235 Tarson Meads

    Damn! 170 posts later…

    Okay, let me chime in here for a moment. I’ve just spent the last half hour, sipping my morning coffee and trawling through all these comments. I can’t tell you how many times I nearly spurted coffee through my nose. Some of you guys need to back the fuck up. If you want Tarson’s foot in your ass, you’ll know what’s good for you. C’mon guys. Seriously, that’s just downright rude. Taking cheap shots at the writer himself is not what this site is about.

    Here’s the deal.

    Okay, we’ve established, that based on what we’ve read, THE VOID is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. But as Zach pointed out – Creative Execs can see potential. There’s something there that may make a compelling movie. If there wasn’t Zach would not be gearing up for any meetings. Now as far as pimping is concerned. Why not? I mean, come on, if Zach can market himself and the Void to the right people (which he clearly has) then that’s a sign of someone who understands the power of marketing and reaching your target audience. I for one am rooting for him. Notice that the places he’s taking meetings at, are the places that produce edgy horror films. See, all Zach is doing is making something happen. If you can’t handle that, then you need to stop posting on message boards, and make it happen yourself.

    Will it pay-off for Zach?

    Remains to be seen.

    But he is definitely heading in the right direction. CE’s or anyone on Hollywood love passion. They love to see a writer go out of his way to make it happen. Zach is doing that. So he deserves all the rewards. He may not get a sale out of this – but he’s got their attention. And when the next round of names comes up for a new horror assignment, don’t be surprised if Zach’s name gets pulled out of the hat.

    On the flipside.

    I think there is absolutely no reason why Zach should feel the need to explain himself to a heap of internet trolls. Know this: if you have any form of success in life, there will ALWAYS be critics. Always. It’s human nature. The key is to learn how to take that criticism, no matter how harsh, no matter how personal or bitter, and turn it into the driving force behind you. Zach should use this – as a way to increase his determination.

    Ok, so that concludes Tarson’s Positive Thinking Seminar for the day.

    Now, STFU and be proud that one of us has risen through the quagmire and is gaining some headway.

    It’s a bitchin’ biz, man.

    (p.s~ sorry for the previous deleted posts. Damn comment code thingy is always broken)

  • Anonymous

    “Anonymous said… Zach Nelson gave me herpes.”

    Hahahahaha! And then I got it from you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07832371189895200959 Kristy @ MSP

    Ahh boys will be boys…

    /is glad she is a girl

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    I agree with Tarson. One thing I’ve been worried about is the comments section turning into AICN Talkback where you’re not cool unless you rip something to shreds.

    But I’m also a big believer in honesty. If we’re all holding hands and hugging bunnies that’s not constructive either. Give an opinion and support it. Try to take the personal element out of it if you can. “This is what I thought and this is why I thought it.” (Please refrain from going into the archives and looking at a certain “Wedding Banned” review) :)

    This may be wishful thinking, but I’d like

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    …for this to be a place where writers learn.

  • Anonymous

    Tarson and Carson aside. The script still sucks. Nobody is sugar coating that.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I agree some people (okay, maybe I’m amongst them) cross the line. But I also hate the idea that whenever people criticize a script, it’s because they’re jealous writers who haven’t made it. Like no one has the ability to read a script without bias.

    So for the record, I haven’t “made it,” but I have written seven scripts and do have a manager.

    I thought Source Code was one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read. I thought Going The Distance was like an Apatow film only funnier, more moving, tighter, and with a better female lead. I thought Salt was a fantastic over the top action script. I thought Paul and This Side Of The Truth (Invention Of Lying) were smart, funny scripts from major British talents. I thought Easy A was a Juno knockoff that was better than Juno. I thought Kristy was scary as hell (if derivative). I thought Nightfall was a lot of fun. I’ve also recently enjoyed: Twenty Times A Lady, One Night Stan, Sunflower, and Gay Dude.

    So I’m not just trying to shit on all writers or be jealous. The Void is certainly an interesting concept, and it’s certainly competently written. It just has a LOT of problems, outlined by myself and others above. I agree with the commenter who thinks it needs a page one rewrite.

    And I still think the writer’s website is rather shameless in its self promotion.

    Recently, a commenter went after Misha Green’s website for no reason whatsoever. It was mean-spirited and uncalled for. Zach’s website, to me, is worthy of criticism. That said, if it’s working for him and getting him meetings, maybe I’m wrong.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to believe Zach is getting as many meetings as he says. The problem is that due to his “shameless self-promotion” and propensity to spin the truth, I really just don’t believe it’s happening. For someone who keeps hyping all the “heat” and “CE attention” his script is getting, the fact remains that no one has yet bought this script, optioned it, or hired Zach to write another project.

    Furthermore, the longer this goes on, and the more and more contests like Nichol that Zach is shut out of, the more whatever “heat” his script might have had is beginning to look a lot like the Emperor’s new clothes.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    Maybe now Carson should upload one of his scripts and have his readers review it. Lol, fun idea, is it not? Hope I don’t open a can of worms on you, Carson =)

  • Anonymous

    after these comments I’m not sure anyone will want their script up here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    Scripts are inkblots.

  • Anonymous

    What’s Misha Green’s website link?

  • Anonymous

    “Shameless self-promotiom’ is great. It’s all a writer has.

    Use it.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing wrong with self promotion at all. In fact, Zach has proved it works.

  • Anonymous

    Since the purpose of this exercise was to analyze what makes for a repped script as opposed to a completely amateur script, is there going to be a dedicated blog entry going over your final thoughts on the matter and any conclusions you may have reached?

    You haven’t really said how you think these five compare to either the amateur scripts you read for the Scriptshadow contest or the sold-but-not-produced scripts you read on most days.

  • Anonymous

    Tarson I love you man. Lol.

  • http://highmaintenanceimaginarygirlfriend.wordpress.com/ highmaintenanceimaginarygirlfriend

    Misha Green’s website is:

    type_misha_green’s_website_into_google.com

  • Anonymous

    Why does everyone think top 15% at Nicholls is quarterfinals. Not even close…

    There were 321 quarterfinalists out of 6,380 entrants. That’s roughly the top 5%. Obviously the writer got one of the “but your script was in the top 15%” PS notes. So it was somewhere in the top 942.

    I got a PS note that said “You just missed! Your script was among the next 50 entries after the Quarterfinalists.” That’s like top 5.5%… where’s my representation?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00186547055781675001 Archie

    This thread is the gift that keeps on giving. There’s been some back and forth about the whole represented thing and what it means.

    I groaned last week when Carson announced he was including scripts that had a management company as “repped”. The management company attached to this script is pretty typical of the bulk of management companies in Los Angeles. They either operate out of one of the partner’s apartments or they have a mail drop and use cell phones. They aren’t real companies but they dream of being real companies when they grow up.

    Creative Convergence is in an apartment building at the edge of Tujunga Wash in Studio City and uses a phone number that points to Beverly Hills. I imagine they read the trades, see what companies are buying and then sit around and make cold calls. I went to their website and read their bios. They have no real working relationships with any companies (well, maybe Lifetime) and their work history is nothing but a series of assistant jobs.

    They seem to spend a lot of time trying to make money off of struggling writers. You can still register for the $274 teleseminar they’re offering (http://screenplaybyphone.com/) or their signature story mentorship for $1,482.00 (http://www.creativecvg.blogspot.com/) or attend Screenplay Expo (don’t ban me!) and listen to one of them lecture.

    And with managers, especially lower-rung ones, it is never about your script. At any given time they have several hundred “clients” in play with a notebook full of pitches. They use your pitch to get a foot in the door and try to establish a relationship with the company. Managers are all about their producing credit and not the script sale. They’ll “Story By” you in a heartbeat if the company says they like the idea. Agents are slightly cleaner in that regard because they want to move the script and get the check.

    You want to be represented by a manager? Your Uncle Bob got a gift for gab and is one of those people who you just can’t get off the phone? Make up a company name, do some research and have him start calling. As opposed to a licensed and bonded agent to be a manager all you need a telephone and good opening line. Happy representation.

  • http://www.yahoo.com SAM

    “JACOB SAID: Now it seems a little shady to put a script out to a script reviewing site with an active community and then belittle the opinions you are given.”

    Jacob, you’re a class A retard. Go look up the word “shady” before ever, ever daring to use it in a sentence again.

    You’ve also somehow glossed over the dozens of comments that attack the writer himself rather than the script.

    Get it right: He’s not belittling opinions, he’s defending himself from personal attacks.

    Moron.

    SAM

  • http://www.yahoo.com SAM

    Also +1 to another Tarson review.

  • Anonymous

    A fascinating portrait from “Archie,” and sounds like it could be accurate with respect to a lot of “reps,” not necessarily the ones for this script.

    Ah, Hollywood. Full of talent and also full of hustlers.

    In the meantime, I wonder if this thread will go over 200?

    Carson, how are you going to beat this next week? I hope you have something exciting in store…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01381134742067910799 Jacob

    Archie does raise an interesting point but just because someone is dealing with an “apartment building agency” does not mean that their work is sub par.

    Personal attacks aside it does seem that the script is divisive, more so than most. His agency affiliation (if those statements are true) seems like a side note to that issue.

    <3 SAM

  • Anonymous

    Carson?

    Where are you? What’s up for next week?

  • http://www.yahoo.com SAM

    maybe i went a bit overboard… sorry about that Jacob.

    SAM

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Haha, next week is back to normal reviews. Though I’m already planning my next Repped Week. Heh heh. Assuming anyone wants to submit their script.

  • The Truth

    I don’t normally comment on these things, but I had to weigh in on this one.

    I’ve seen so many discussions online about these matters where it devolves into a lot of anger and bitterness. Here’s the bottom line when it comes to screenwriting. The number of meetings you have, whether or not you are repped and by whom, or whether you have placed anywhere in a contest means… Nada. Zilch. The Magnifico Goose Egg. Although there are a billion people out there with ideas for movies and a computer or typewriter, the cold hard truth is that if you really have the determination, commercial savvy to know what makes a movie/script work for people who make and buy movies, and last not not least, real talent (this can honed by learning the craft if you have the raw ability to begin with), then the judge of this, whether or not it’s your first script or your twentieth ten years down the line, if WHETHER OR NOT SOMEONE HAS BEEN WILLING TO WRITE A CHECK WITH YOUR NAME ON IT FOR WRITING SERVICES IN ANY FORM. It can be a low dollar option, it can be a six figure sale. Doesn’t matter. The point is, MONEY TALKS. I know it’s easier to hang dreams on the lower levels of the ladder first, like getting a rep or placing in contests. But real talent and ability are check worthy. How many people are in the WGA? About 10,000. Ten thousand people out of a billion who KNOW they have what it takes. Strive for that. Is it hard? You bet. It’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE. And that’s why it’s easier to focus on everything that DOESN’T include getting paid. All this other stuff means
    I’ve seen so many discussions like this one, where it devolves into a lot of anger and bitterness. Here’s the bottom line when it comes to screenwriting. The number of meetings you have, whether or not you are repped and by whom, or whether you have placed anywhere in a contest means… Nada. Zilch. The Magnifico Goose Egg. Although there are a billion people out there with ideas for movies and a computer or typewriter, the cold hard truth is that if you really have the determination, commercial savvy to know what makes a movie/script work for people who make and buy movies, and last not not least, real talent (this can honed by learning the craft if you have the raw ability to begin with), then the judge of this, whether or not it’s your first script or your twentieth ten years down the line, if WHETHER OR NOT SOMEONE HAS BEEN WILLING TO WRITE A CHECK WITH YOUR NAME ON IT FOR WRITING SERVICES IN ANY FORM. It can be a low dollar option, it can be a six figure sale. Doesn’t matter. The point is, MONEY TALKS. I know it’s easier to hang dreams on the lower levels of the ladder first, like getting a rep or placing in contests. But real talent and ability are check worthy. How many people are in the WGA? About 10,000. Ten thousand people out of a billion who KNOW they have what it takes. Strive for that. Is it hard? You bet. It’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE. And that’s why it’s easier to focus on everything that DOESN’T include getting paid. Again, this might take ten years, but when it comes, it means you weren’t crazy. It means you did have what it takes. If the writer of The Void gets there, then he has it. It could be next month or ten years from now or never. The market FINDS what it needs. If you have what it can use, it will knock on your door.

    Just my two cents. And anyone here who has been PAID to be a writer, or has WORKED with people who have been PAID to be writers, will agree with me.

    You may now resume your bickering :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01381134742067910799 Jacob

    @SAM to be completely honest “shady” was a placeholder. I was planning on going back and rewording the whole sentence but I wrote more than I planned and forgot to go back :((

    Ugh.

    Life goes on.

  • Anonymous

    martinb’s comments were uniquely insightful and informative among the ones posted. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    I had to do it. This should be post #200.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Might be awhile before we see another 200 comment post. I’ll crack a beer and enjoy this one.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Truth…

    Great post, but you cut and pasted it twice.

    LOL.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Truth…

    Great post, but you cut and pasted it twice.

    LOL.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Truth…

    Great post, but you cut and pasted it twice.

    LOL.

  • Johnny Anon

    Hey Truth…

    Great post, but you cut and pasted it twice.

    LOL.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure why people say this script is divisive. It’s not divisive. There are no hordes of people on each side saying opposing things about this script. It is the script’s author who is divisive. Pure and simple.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure why people say this script is divisive. It’s not divisive. There are no hordes of people on each side saying opposing things about this script. It is the script’s author who is divisive. Pure and simple.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure why people say this script is divisive. It’s not divisive. There are no hordes of people on each side saying opposing things about this script. It is the script’s author who is divisive. Pure and simple.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Gee thanks, Anonymous 5:04 PM.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Gee thanks, Anonymous 5:04 PM.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Gee thanks, Anonymous 5:04 PM. (4th attempt)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Gee thanks, Anonymous 5:04 PM. (5th attempt to post)

  • Anonymous

    One final thought having to with all of the people saying, in essence, “back off of poor Zach, we need to be supportive!” Why? Does Hollywood need more bad movies? I don’t mean this facetiously. Why should we support a sub-par writer breaking into the system, where he might ultimately be able to make a sub-par movie? That’s the bottom line here, and to root for that doesn’t make sense. And before anyone says “the development system will take care of the script issues”…it won’t.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Gee thanks, Anonymous 5:04 PM

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Gee thanks, Anonymous 5:04 PM

  • Anonymous

    Gee thanks, Anonymous 5:04 PM
    –martinb

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06872780969179149381 martinb

    Gee thanks, Anonymous 5:04 PM

  • http://www.twentyonetwenty.eu.com/one.html Ron Taylor

    I wonder just how good the writers commenting on this script really are? All those posting as ‘Anonymous’ are they all A list writers? I suspect not.

    ‘Anonymous’ sees to appear far too many times on this blog.

    If you don’t have the confidence or the credentials to name yourselves then you should ‘shut the fuck up!”

    Ron Taylor.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07331515482413022555 ibrahim