Thanks, ATB! I've gotten some great feedback on the opening from a number of people.
Actually, Gary's "con" comment about V.O. was the first negative comment.
And I just read the review of his first 30 pages... ouch!
Thanks again for the read and the comments about the opening. I know I have some trimming and editing to do but I worked up until the last couple of hours before the deadline and didn't get to do everything I wanted to do, but I am happy with it..
Good luck to you with your version (which I still think is a top contender).
I figured you didn't have much time to trim and polish. It felt a little baggy but that's very easy to overlook, IMO. It's better to get carried away and maybe put a little too much in than to be too scarce with details or dialogue.
Trimming is always easier than adding.
That was a pretty fair review you gave Gary. I kind of felt the same way, but I only read about 15 pages (not because I "hated" it or anything, just because I didn't have the time to continue). I was very surprised at how different it felt from Sky Pirates. SP blew me away, but his ZvG left something to be desired... which I'm sure a lot of ours do, as well.
I'd be happy to hear your opinion of mine, BTW. I definitely set-up the hero quickly, which should make for an easier read.
A Participant says:
Oh, snap! I think you may unseat Jay as my favorite script! I downloaded yours in anticipation of reading it tomorrow, and well, I shouldn't have looked at it. I can't put it aside. This is some good storytelling. Go head with your bad self. You definitely walked the talk. Two thumbs way up!!!
I'd like an honest review of my script, and will exchange a review in return if one is wanted. I don't really want to give an unwanted review, and don't have time to read many, so that's the best I can do.
Yay! Tracie! I like reading your posts and consider you an A.S. friend so I'm sooooo glad you like it. I hate that I'm so easily pleased when someone likes one of my stories (smile).
You're the best! Now where should I send your check (wink).
I read Dan's review and that is what I kind of felt from what I read. Also I know Dan and he has a good sense of story so that makes his review more relevant to me.
I also read 15 pages and wasn't crazy about the pissing scene. And felt like it was a rougher draft than the first. I didn't say anything because I had just completed my rewrite and I thought maybe I was burnt out. To be fair I think it could tightened and fixed and if the rest of the story picks up he could still have something great. So I do not think it is fair to say his script is not better than someone else's at this point.
Also Gary seems to to know what AS wants and they may like his unpolished direction better than someone else who is much more polish but isn't exactly what they want.
ATB, Russell Crowe was paid $5 million for Gladiator. Which takes it down to $98 million. If you look at all the sword and sandal epics, you start to see a pattern.
I don't know what Gerard Butler was paid for 300. 1 million? Total guess, I have no idea.
"felt like it was a rougher draft than the first"
Oops, I meant to imply it was rougher than what I would call a first draft. You know how you get to the end and then you go back and fix some things to make the story flow more smoothly. I do not consider that a rewrite just finishing the first draft. And that's what I felt was that Gary hadn't finished the first draft.
And you're right, it's utter guesswork. I have no idea, really. But I also got the vibe from the original A.S. note that they're worried about the money involved. So it's got me thinking about money. I got the feeling that they wanted the rewrite for commercial reasons as much as artistic ones. They want to broaden the appeal.
A Participant says:
I took a sneak peek at Gary's script, too. I know it's just make believe, but from a cultural standpoint, that was enough to shut me down. Not saying anyone else would have that reaction, but as an African American I found it offensive. I know that will result in a chorus of boos, but I'm being honest. And the truth is, I didn't want to read any more beyond that point. On the flip side, controversy sells. So, he may be on to something.
@ Brandon --- Sure! I'll start reading tonight.
Hey Tracie, can you be specific about what aspects of the story you found offensive?
I'm not gonna lie to you, I think your review is way off the mark. But regardless, I really appreciate you taking the time to read the first 30 pages. And who knows, maybe your instincts are right and mine are way off. Guess we'll find out soon enough.
All I know is, this is the EXACT script I set out to write. The tone, the plot, the pacing, the characters, the dialogue, the themes, everything turned out exactly as had I initially planned.
I had a very specific idea of what this script should look like in order to draw the widest possible audience. And I managed to produce exactly the script I set out to do. The big question is, is this the right script? Should I have been trying to write something different?
There's always that possibility. And I'm not going to pretend that I know for sure what the winning formula is. This is just my take. And from what I've seen, everyone has a very different take. Which is what's going to make this competition so interesting to follow.
AS has a wide array of choices. Every imaginable interpretation of the story has been covered. So I think it will be very, very eduational to see which direction they end up going. And I don't know about you guys, but I plan on reading all of the finalists and seeing if there's any similarities between them. That's going to be very telling.
This is actually the most fascinating writing exercise I've ever seen. And I really hope more reviews go up. I'm dying to see what the other versions are like. And for the next few weeks at least, I'm gonna be too busy to to any reading.
A Participant says:
Yeah. Let me download the script again and I'll shoot you an email w/an explanation.
Tracie that would be HUGELY appreciated. Thanks!
A Participant says:
Check your email. The advice is offered to give you a viewpoint from a different perspective. I hope it helps but if not, thanks for taking the time to listen.
Thanks for taking hte time to share your opinion in such detail. I really appreciate it. Please check your StudioMail. I tried to explain my perspective on this issue in greater detail as well.
What exactly is the point of giving every ZvG script a review, and what are the ground rules, if any?
Since the deadline has passed, making any suggested changes won't affect the contest results, so notes won't be "useful" in that sense. (However, they might tell the writer what works and doesn't for the NEXT script...)
Are the reviews for the benefit of the readers, to let them know which ones they should read or skip? Are people reading these scripts for fun or other reasons?
Are the reviews for the benefit of the writers, to give them a rough sense of how they're doing in comparison to others? Do the writers really want this, even if the answer might be "you suck"?
Is it "fair" for people who have entered to review others?
Is it "fair" for reviewers to opine on only the first 5 or 10 pages, or do they have to read at least 30 or the while script?
Are script swaps a good idea, or could they either lead to mutual admiration or revenge reviews?
Is it a good idea to debate the merits of reviews on the forums or is that likely to result in flame wars?
Will those reviewed (or who request reviews) agree not to attack the reviewers in the forums -- or do revenge reviews? Maybe there could be some sort of pledge involved -- similar to the gladiator pledge? :)
In short, I can see the "let's give everyone a review" effort turning into a free-for-all that makes the Arena look like a picnic ground.
@Lauri -- I tend to agree with you. I posted some similar concerns in a different thread.
Because I worked as a story analyst, I can't hold any punches so I'd have to pick a script I really like. Otherwise it would seem harsh and unfair. And I have no desire to point out errors or missteps.
I will say this, I read the first page of a few of the scripts here just randomly and a few stood out. I liked @Antony's -- very vivid, nice use of language and Gary's seemed like a good set-up.
Of course I liked mine because I open on action but I'll leave that out! See -- can't help it! ;)
I won't mention the ones I glossed over.
I'm thinking about perhaps doing one or two reviews with my serious story analyst cap on but it doesn't seem fair so maybe I'll have to just stay out of it.
good luck all!
btw, cross-posting from another thread but for those who haven't seen it, Amazon posted on their blog re: story department notes on the rewrite process and the, I guess you could say, "artform" of Notes and it's extremely accurate and super helpful:
Screenwriting is a lonely gig, and most folks appreciate any and all feedback. Of course you can always send it via the studio mail if you think a public posting might make waves.
@ Jim - but the original post suggested public posting, so that people would know something about the various scripts, and if people don't post publicly, then others won't know who's already gotten feedback.
I suppose people could just post reviews without details, and say "details sent privately."
"Are the reviews for the benefit of the readers, to let them know which ones they should read or skip? Are people reading these scripts for fun or other reasons?"
That was my thought. Just to let us know if it is good or not good and why. In spite of all the flack you got I thought all of your reviews were great. So if you want to review all of the remaining that would be awesome. ;)
Also if someone is considering making a test movie with one of these scripts this could help sort through them.
Personally if someone gives it a good review I will read it again. If someone gives it bad review I may still read a few pages of it anyway and see how accurate the review is. And it also might give me an idea if I am in the running. Just a thought.
I will say one thing I now appreciate what you did for this contest so much more. I am reviewing one script and I can't tell if I am just not getting it, if I have reread my own script or if the script is just not cutting it. ANd then I truly don't want to offend anyone because I do know as someone said it best, "A mother loves her baby no matter how ugly".
I do not wish to offend anyone. ANd posting a bad review is usually a good way to do that. So maybe we should just forget this. Or at least send an email to the person first before posting a bad review.