It got a "wasn't for me", but he had some really positive and encouraging things to say about it. I have taken the better part of this afternoon/evening to reflect on it (and plot the death of some commenters... just kidding). But all in all I am very pleased with the review. I have also received some very encouraging private notes about it as well and I appreciate all who have participated.
Unfortunately Antony has yet to read it being he is 6 hours ahead and the Carson posted late today. I am sure he will be chiming in on Saturday.
Feel free to continue the conversation here as well. My skin is like leather now.
Congratulations Joe, and Antony on getting your script read.
I know its not a perfect review - but its pretty darn good. Its hopeful. And a lot of good things to say about the strength of the writing.
You just have to find that bit of magic that tips it over and you're there! :)
(I know, easier said then done)
But at least you guys are very close - within grasp. I'd take that as a good review.
The real gift in getting a review on Scriptshadow isn't Carson Reeves review, but the usually very detailed reader reviews and comments. There were some very well thought out reviews and comments about this project. Good stuff.
I'd say it's a very positive review. Carson called it "probably the best script of the week" putting it ahead of some scripts that have sold. Well done!
Carson complained that he wasn't sure what was wrong...
I think the answer is "Saving Private Ryan."
A movie about a sensible reaction to war. Not the gung ho "Let's stop the Nazis from getting time travel." The more sensible "I was a high school history teacher, and if I have to be here to protect my life back home, I'm the kind of guy who would give up his life to protect his family." Noble, sure, but the kind of nobility that comes from fighting in a real war.
Also, "Terminator" and "Philadelphia Project" used the instant time travel to better effect.
Stopping Hitler from getting time travel... well, "Raiders."
Mostly, we've seen how adults react to war. They get shot trying to save Private Ryan and they grab Ryan's arm and make him promise to "Earn this."
The best movies are against war. If there was Time Travel in the sense you use it, bringing Germans from the future might actually stop the Nazi war machine before it destroys the country for a generation.
If the time travel machine is in Switzerland... make the soldiers Germans from 2020, not Americans.
"(and plot the death of some commenters... just kidding)"
ha! i know you're not kidding. some of those were harsh! but we need that to grow. and you know what you need to fix.
i never read your script, but the logline is enough for me to say, "not for me".
but also, it's now reminding me of another time-travel story that went viral* on some site (can't remember the name) but current military helicopters landed in ancient Rome. the guy was writing it like a novel in pieces and people were anxious for the next installment. but it got optioned before he had time to get to the second act... and it wasn't even a script yet.
I'm sorry you had to read that last entry... many of us respect Carson's website, that he offers an unbiased look at scripts....
and a ranking like "wasn't for me" isn't the same as "he really liked our script."
Americans going into a situation to save the world... been done.
But a team of soldiers from modern Germany, going back into the Nazi era and showing real disgust at the way Jews were treated, might get your script noticed.
How many "Terminator" movies used the Time Travel gimmick to show survivors of a war in the future coming back to the present? Well, reverse it. Have a team of Germans who can walk into a government building in Berlin without arousing the suspicion that American soldiers in full battle gear would....
Sounds an interesting take Andrew - why not write it?
I guess it's a matter of ownership - I offer it to the authors of "Return Fire" first, and if they're not interested, I'll see if I can writer a story about it.
From reading the review on ScriptShadow, Carson said he wasn't sure what was wrong, but the authors hadn't put enough imagination into making individual scenes stand out.
What that usually means is... there are action scenes, but the heroes don't seem to grow or change as a result of them. No impact.
If the soldiers were German, there would be a divergence of views. Some want to help Hitler conquer Europe and know where he made his mistakes. For example, allowing Jewish scientists to help the US design an atomic bomb.
Other members of the team could try to assassinate Hitler... or, in their timeline, the Field Marshall who was in charge, and as a result of their actions, a little guy named Hitler is able to grab power.
Yeah, it seems more interesting if they're German... but, it's one idea. It's a suggestion. Give feedback. Find better ones. Suggest ideas that allow the Heroes to react to the events. It's a Time Travel movie. Audiences expect fantastic stuff that surprises and amazes them.
They expect Arnold to be caught in an explosion, and all his flesh is burned off, revealing a robot with glowing red eyes.
They expect the Ark to melt all the Nazis with a ray. Flying ghosts to appear with skeleton heads.
There's a quirk in "Saving Private Ryan." Spielberg couldn't bring himself to give the Germans much humanity. Go the other way. Show how modern Germsns view Hitler and the Third Reich. Individuals could think Hitler was right and was betrayed by his own generals. Diversity of opinion.
This is from TIME magazine:
Only in recent years has it become acceptable in Germany to portray Hitler not simply as a monster, but also as a human being, such as in the 2004 movie Downfall about Hitler's last days.
There have even been attempts to depict Hitler in a humorous way, such as the the 2007 German comedy film Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth about Adolf Hitler. Germany may now be able to confront the Nazi legacy in museums and on TV — but the country's attitude toward the dictator is still anything but relaxed. Shortly after a waxwork of the "Führer" was put on display at the Berlin branch of wax museum Madame Tussauds in 2008, it was beheaded by an angry protester.
For Wolfgang Wippermann, a historian at Berlin's Free University, "Hitler is dead, but fascism and and anti-Semitism are alive," Wippermann says.
To many Germans, Wipperman's views is confirmed by the growing popularity of far-right and proto-fascist views in Germany, even among the better-educated middle class. A poll recently conducted by the University of Leipzig found that around 13% of Germans believe Germany should have a strong "Führer." More than 10% questioned in the same poll think that "if it wasn't for the extermination of the Jews, Hitler would be viewed as a great statesman today." - TIME
If you could change one thing, like Hitler's attitude toward Jews, what else changes?
Maybe the time travelers go back and are helped by a young corporal named Adolf Hitler, and in their timeline, Hitler never played a role. Germany took a different path to recovery and the time travel team meet Adolf as a seriously twisted soldier who... But that's one suggestion, and the audience is more anxious to see robots like the Terminator in a time travel movie. Not robots, specifically, but something new and fascinating and "never seen before in a movie." Like dinosaurs were in Jurassic Park.
Does a malfunctioning time machine allow something else to come through?
The only people who would want to see a movie about modern day Germans traveling back to ww2 would be... Germans.
And I am taking a page out of the "what would Andrew say about this idea" handbook.
Then make it a more diverse group.
But I think Germans are an interesting culture, and they deserve more interest. Show them developing humanity.
Captain Jack Sparrow wasn't from a popular group. Hadn't been a successful pirate movie in a while. "Cutthroat Island" left a sour taste.
But, as I said, I expect the writer to say "Thanks, but I'll pass." I wouldn't have come up with the idea without reading the review on Script Shadow, so it's just courtesy.
"Then make it a more diverse group."
You mean like Americans? There isn't a more diverse group than that.
How about before commenting on things based on other people's opinions you take the time to read the script and comment on your own opinions. Why do I have to keep telling you to do this, Andy?
There wasn't a successful pirate movie in a while because there wasn't any pirate movies made since Cutthroat Island. And pirates in general are a popular group for others because anyone can be a pirate. Anyone can be an American too.
i agree -- americans are the most diverse group. i'm sure some don't see it that way b/c they're from nebraska, but...
i think the next pirate movie will be about modern day pirates: poor africans or caribbeans taking from rich white folk with yachts... and stupid enough to venture into their waters.
how long did it take Carson to pick your script from the pack of submissions? not sure if i want to venture into those waters. it's a shark tank! lol!
I actually thought of Return Fire when a friend asked if I had any screenplays that could be set in Vietnam. Change the setting to Vietnam, and the villains are the Chinese/ Russians. Apparently, there are a lot of opportunity for filmmakers there. I haven't read the entire screenplay, but something wacky happening in Vietnam is more plausible that the Swiss Alps.
I had been trying for over a month before ours was selected, but I was submitting on Monday. It wasn't until I tweeted him on whim with my poster on Sunday that he responded. So it seems Sunday is when he plans his week. So if you decide to jump into the shark tank submit on Sunday morning. But even that isn't a guarantee it has to peak his interest. Yours should, Lisa, if you plan to do for NBA.
I'm sure you can shoehorn any war in place of WW2 but it would seem out of place. You have to understand the history of Hitler and all his whacky experiments to try to win the war. He had so many irons in the fire who knows what he was working on. For all we know he really could have been trying to figure out how to time travel. There really could be a hidden bunker out there. They found one not to long ago filled with military vehicles and weapons. Hitler was huge and he spanned the world except the states. The Vietcong having the ability to time travel is more unbelievable than Hitler if you ask me.
It's actually Juras mountains. Not Swiss alps. And being located in Swiss territory is actually the best place to hide something if you don't want it ever to be found during ww2. Who would look for nazis in Swiss territory?
I don't think it is plausible, in any sense, that Germans or German citizens discovered the secret to time travel in the 1940's.
Every recent scientific theory has said it's not possible.
But I understand why you think Special Forces would make good heroes. The problem I see is, Special Ops are chosen from a large group of applicants and they have exceptional psychological profiles. They're not quirky in the sense that Jack Sparrow was dishonest and proud of it.
Carson's point, if I read it right, was not enough imagination to produce surprises and things that haven't been seen in older movies. What was the source of the time travel breakthrough? Does it surprise us?
Source Code wasn't credible, either. In fact, it was a good example of a movie that lacked any kind of credibility in the science. Same for Deja Vu, a movie that got made because it had a good role for Denzel.
The Terminator franchise takes place in a future after machines become intelligent. That doesn't make the time travel credible. Saving Private Ryan is still a good script to study. We felt a connection with the Tom Hanks character. When he was shot, we felt a loss. At the end of a movie, when you feel something like that, all to the good.
Andy, It's ironic that YOU are talking about things that aren't credible, don't you think?
I'm talking about a script that got a "Wasn't For Me."
You don't want to change your scipt. I get that. It's the kind of movie you think you want to see.
But there's no surprise, no imagination beyond the initial time travel event, no humanity.
Whatever it is Carson complained about... he wasn't specific, but I know what it is.
Adding humanity to a character makes the story unique. And when your story is about Berlin in World War II, American soldiers fighting Nazis, you need something that makes it stand out. There are so many movies about American soldiers fighting Nazis. Clever TV series, like "Combat" and "Rat Patrol."
These are just comments on a message board. Not studio notes. You don't have to take them seriously. But everything I say is credible.
Every time Carson gives a "Wasn't for me," it makes it that much harder for other amateur scripts to get his attention. What does it take to earn a "genius"? Originality. Following the rules he sets. Most of all, an emotional connection that pays off in Act Three.
Credible or not, Dean Koontz' best novel LIGHTNING is based on this trope. It works as a fictional device, and could work as cinematic one if "done right."
I keep referring back to Norman Spinrad's IRON DREAM as representing not only the path-that-wasn't-taken in literary/cinematic reflections on Nazism, but also the only remaining frontier, if you're going to write about such played-out subject matter with any originality. So I'll refer to it again: If you're going to write about Nazism, particularly in a sci-fi venue, you need to read THE IRON DREAM.
As far as I got with it, RETURN FIRE was a worthy effort, but represents another draught from the usual pond of World War Two sci-fi going all the way back to THEY SAVED HITLER'S BRAIN, and forward to HELLBOY and the alternate-universe twist in Act Three INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, not to mention THE PHILIDELPHIA EXPERIMENT, and others.
Plus, ScriptShadow is a tough audience: two thirds frustrated screenwriters and one third seen-it-all movie buffs. The fact that Joe was able to get read at all is a major feather in his cap.
I never said I wasn't open to making changes. We are. Of course we are, but we're not going to make changes for the sake of making changes. Not to mention we are certainly not open to taking suggestions from someone who:
1. Never read the script and thinks they KNOW what's wrong with it.
2. Has no credibility in the craft other than what he writes in these forums and that isn't saying much.
Stop posting Andy!
Sorry, Joe. I don't take orders from you.
Your script is a tired re-tread of much better stories about American soldiers fighting in World War II.
Your guys got to Berlin in a time machine from Switxerland? Wonderful. Tens of thousands of American soldiers got to Berlin in tanks, on foot, crawling through the mud.
And what they found there made them sick. Corpses piled in mass graves, still unburied. Men who had been starved to death for months.
What I don't understand is, why don't you understand what I'm saying?
You need some original thinking. You need to impress the reader. That's always the rule. You rip off "Terminator" by having soldiers go back in time, which ripped off an episode of "Outer Limits" written by Harlan Ellison.
Your script isn't going to get any better unless you change it. but, for the most part, you've chosen an idea that is too small, too familiar, too silly and has been done in different ways in other movies and TV shows.
Does Amazon sell DVDs of Combat? Try to figure out how they created a weakness for each character, something that made us feel for them. Special Ops guys don't have those weaknesses. They've been selected and trained as experts.