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Reviews Heidi Has Written

The Faders Video 1 - Can the Doctor Save Her?

5 stars
Loved Jeff's cast, his creativity and artistic vision for "The Faders". I'm thrilled he made it!
February 18, 2012

A Lot Like Christmas, Chazz's 3rd Draft

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Really Funny Roadtrip

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
January 02, 2012
So this script is funny. I found that as I finished a segment and James was moving on to his next leg of his journey, I wanted to know what whacky character was going to show up and make me laugh. In this way, this story reminds me of "Away We Go". I had no doubt where James would end up nor that he would learn what he needed to learn but I was entertained and wanted to find out how it would play out.

The writer has a good comedic sense and presents a lot of surprises. Some are nods to stories and movies about Christmas, others are just plain outlandish. It's the latter that I appreciated the most and think is the strength of this work.

It also leads me into some suggestions for a way to improve on the script. A couple of the characters could be punched up some more: the drug traffickers, the cops, and Betty. Although they were fun, I was expecting more of the unexpected that the writer had presented already. With these characters, a separate issue was raised for me with regards to the rating of the film: the raunchy talk felt a little out of place when it popped up. I could see this potentially going to an edgy Christian Production Co because there is a big spiritual element, or a mainstream co that doesn't mind a little bit of God in their films. However, the combination of God & overt sexual references felt like a mismatch to me.

Next, when Clarence mentioned that James had tried to commit suicide, I was totally confused and had to go back and reread. I would suggest that the writer make more of a meal out of this moment. It is a huge part of the main character's journey and it went by too easily. He has so many obstacles along the way, I wasn't sure what part exactly brought him internally to this dark place. I would say that this needs to be very clear. I wonder if Clarence could be other than a hobo? It is a little cliche. Fortunately for us writers, the 99ers have given us a new stock character. Clarence could be a guy like James, formerly well-off, but now penniless, traveling to his next Occupy site. It could be of interest to James to join him and then he makes the turn to go back home.

Small notes: a few characters say "Poo" and "freaking". Other choices that say the same thing but give insight to the character would be helpful. Next, there are several monologues. This may be a direct choice of the writer for this story and could be a cute gag where maybe James becomes weary of listening to other people's philosophy on life--and then finds himself doing the exact same thing at the end. Often in movies, the same monologue could be reduced to one or two lines that get to the heart of the matter and hence have more of an impact. There seems to be a refrain on the home front of "Not spending time"; the writer could find specifics to say instead--dad missed every single game, he hasn't been to one parent-teacher conference, mom took me to the father-daughter dance, etc. And then these specific complaints could be used at the end to give a heartfelt, tear-jerker moment (father finally dancing with daughter, or whatever).

The spiritual part is handled well because it's light in touch. Overall, I think this story does what a Christmas movie is supposed to do and it was a fun read.
 

Twice Upon A Time, Lyle's Original Draft

4 out of 4 people found the following review helpful:

A Fable that Reminds Us, You Reap What You Sow

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 
November 27, 2011
The skeleton and heart of this structure are solidly in place. I put down the story and reflected on my own life and how I can be the best wife, mom, & friend to the people closest to me. As this script well illustrates, our attitudes toward the people around us and how we behave with them, and react to them, affects them and ourselves in very deep and profound ways. We may not have a choice in what happens to us but we always have the choice to decide how we will respond. The message is one that resonates universally, as is the premise of this script.

I have ideas and opinions to throw out and hope that they are helpful.

First, The title suggests a fable or fairy tale. What if at the beginning, we saw a fairy tale book being opened, along with the voice over? The house can be an illustration that then morphs into a real house: this conceit could go on like this throughout the story as characters and places are introduced and the voice over could continue on, as well. As written, Sylvia discusses her journey with the other characters and we are let in on what she feels. But we know that she is recounting this story for our benefit...so what if she shares with us, the viewer/reader, what her character was feeling as we see her journey unfold (or it could be a 3rd person ala "Little Children" & "Vicky Christina Barcelona") instead of the people around her? What if she is afraid that if she tells Ivan or Carrie what is truly happening to her then she would be transported back to real life (or her fatal heart attack) and hence not be able to change her fate? In "Big" Tom Hanks told only his best friend and later his girlfriend only right before he returns. It could be worthwhile checking in on "Pleasantville", "13 Going on 30" and see how this issue was handled. It could be more interesting if people were confused with how she knows what she knows and then maybe toward the end, Carrie and Ivan can confront her about her uncanny ability to predict the future. The voice over can help discern for the viewers the rules of what Sylvia is able to change and what she has no control over...if written delicately, it could enhance the allegory and what the writer is trying to convey with the story. To make a literal book end with this fable with voice over idea, when Sylvia ends the story, she closes the beautiful book that she has been reading from all throughout: it has her and Jack's photos on the back cover. Pull back to reveal that she has read this in a new library to a group of children, her granddaughter sitting on Jack's lap, bragging to the other kids that Sylvia is her grandmother and then reveal Anne's name on the wall of the children's reading section.


The other thought I had was with the character Burt. What if in real life, Burt was the guy that Sylvia always wished she had gone for instead of Jack? And Burt has had lots of women in his life, but he claims that this is only due to the fact that Sylvia chose Jack instead of him. So every time Jack is irritating Sylvia thinks of how much better her life would be had she chosen Burt. I think it would be stronger for the story if Burt wasn't just an accidental cutie but someone who could solve a life-long angst that she's carried. To take that further, let's say that she and Burt fully enjoy a romance, he proposes, she gladly accepts, and then at the big fundraiser party, she sees him flirting with another young lady. So her belief that Burt would have been satisfied with her is laid bare by the truth that he just likes the chase.

Lastly, I have a question about the powers that stop Jack and Sylvia from their intentions. It seems like the story is, at its heart, about our own choices. I would have preferred to see them each be able to do what they want --without the interventions from above-- and then at the end see Sylvia make her choice and perhaps go through great physical obstacles to get Jack back (think "Bridget Jones Diary").

Another draft will hone the storyline. I think it has a lot of appeal and commercial value.
 

The Guardian, Justin's 4th Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Strong Female Hero

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
November 15, 2011
First, I want to note the strong female lead. Ally is a product of a new generation of young women who have been raised to compete in sports and not just to be cheerleaders on the sidelines. I appreciate the way this writer gave her such bravery and self-confidence.

The beginning scenes were heartbreaking where where we witness Daniel being bullied and Ally being reluctant to help him or to have any association with a nerd. Those scenes felt quite authentic to me and I could easily relate to the story. Questions about Ally's father were brought up and not answered and then the necklace was mentioned a couple of times and I found this set up to be compelling.

When we leave the school and go on to the more other-worldly dimensions of the story I lost my connection. Here's a completely different take on being the guardian: What if the story was based more in reality? So the bullies weren't some kind of cult figures but real, modern-day bullies? Bullying is a huge issue in schools today. Also, child abuse/neglect: Daniel's father is a terrible man (who gets off way too easy in my opinion). What if Daniel is suffering and it is Ally's calling to protect him? What if her necklace works as her conscience and she has to obey it even though she really really doesn't want to? What if the principal has her own magic object that makes her privy to the future of the kids at her school who need special guardianship: like Daniel will grow up to be the next Steve Jobs, or will develop the cure for cancer, etc, but he must be helped before he is too badly hurt and loses his self-confidence...or worse. And taking that further, what if the ultimate truth for Ally is to reveal to the school that we are all each others' guardians and it is our responsibility to go beyond ourselves and help each other? Like I said, that is a very different direction but I hope it serves to inspire more ideas.

In the beginning, the writing itself flows very nicely. I especially liked the scene with the mother driving and Ally's brother reminding her to keep her eyes on the road. The action lines are tight and the awkwardness of delicate social situations are well-depicted. The descriptions of the faculty are hilarious and show a talent for getting at a character's essence with short, memorable phrasing.
 

The Edge Of Heaven, Ribbon's Original Draft

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful:

A Film Noir

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
November 10, 2011
Overall, I feel that the writer has a classical gift with language that lends itself perfectly to a film noir style. It feels very much like it could be a story from the Depression era. There were a few times in the story where I felt the intensity of the suspense and was quite surprised by what was revealed and how it was revealed.

For the purposes of this review, I want to focus mostly on the descriptions in the script. These segments are at times an excellent insight into the characters' worlds. However, at other times, it feels bloated and impedes the flow of the story. By that I mean there are too many metaphors, they go on for too long, and they get mixed. I would suggest two ways to go to with this. One would be to trim them considerably and be sure that what's written is moving the story forward and that a clever turn of the phrase isn't calling attention to itself. The other is if, and this is a big IF, the writer uses some of the particularly enlightening phrasing in a voice over. What if this story is being told to us by one of the hard-boiled detectives/police officers we meet in the script? He could be the twice divorced one who has fallen for Alice and maybe loves her simply because he can never have her. Maybe he knows what he knows about her but has found a way to forgive her in his heart and he's sharing her tragic fall from heaven with us. It could add another twist in the tale and the viewers, not just the readers, can enjoy some of the writers' noir-ish voice.

Other suggestions: the writer would do well to go through and be sure that each character sounds distinct as characters tend to sound the same. We are in Alice & Dylan's apartment for a massive chunk of the script. It would be more cinematic if there were other locations. The scenes of the streets of dark & stormy Chicago are moody and dark. Maybe there are some other places (bars, restaurants, etc) that give us more of a gloomy sense of Alice & Dylan's world.

Alice's hand on the knife was very suspenseful and the subsequent use of the red wine at the last second was original. If a rewrite does include the suggestion of the hard boiled voice over, then the moment the policeman takes a taste of the wine it could be a turning point in the script where he could actually be wise to what Alice is disguising. I didn't read the synopsis so the amnesia came as a satisfying surprise as did the first reveal of the female character in the bathroom mirror.
 

Drop Dead Bride, Kara's Original Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

A Bride With Potential

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
October 10, 2011
The premise sounded entertaining and fun so I was attracted to the story. I thought that the opening scenes were captivating and at times the dialogue was as lively as that of a good sitcom. The use of the engagement photo as a device to introduce the main characters was a good cinematic choice. I was intrigued and wanted to know who Susan was and what she was hiding.

After the set up, the script reads like a drawing room comedy. To take it to a motion picture level there are a few suggestions I would make. First, and most rudimentary, the writer could simply come up with some creative places for the scenes to take place and that would then inspire more comedic situations. For instance, in "Maid of Honor" remember all of the ridiculous competitions Patrick Dempsey had to endure, and in "The Wedding Planner" there's the horse chase scene and the broken statue scene--each one of these examples moved a relationship forward but did so in memorable ways. On a more complicated level, the writer would do well to come up with some more twists in the plot. What if there wasn't just one dead fiance? What if there were more? What if Dylan also dropped to the floor right after his father did and we didn't find out about Uncle Thomas--who maybe also accidentally drank the wrong champagne--but we don't find out who actually poisoned it until the climax? The writer could make it look like Susan actually was guilty of murder with dual explanations for each death revealed in the third act. It could be interesting if she had some character traits that could be read as murderous--what if she had a black widow spider instead of a fish for a pet? We know too soon that she's innocent. I thought the storyline about James being gay was cute. I would suggest having him go along with that ruse further--for example, if that might be the only way he could get into the rehearsal dinner (quite possibly as an escort to Uncle Thomas).
I do have to mention that there were several misspellings and typos.

The writer has a good sense of humor and came up with some colorful characters. I would encourage her to embellish her characters and story even more.
 

Favorite Movies

Double Indemnity
pi
Fracture
Hope Floats
21 Grams
Last Exit To Brooklyn
Something's Gotta Give
 

Influences

Hubert Selby
Adam Belanoff
Steven Rogers
Nancy Meyers
 

Following

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