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About

I like all things creative. I wish I could learn all about writing scripts for film. I like to critique things - I'm very open and very honest because I think that's what it takes to move people forward. I'm not a fan of just giving praise - we need to hear the good and the bad about ourselves and our talents. This is the only way we'll grow and create without thinking the world owes us everything.

My two mottos:
"It is what it is."
"Time, chance, and circumstance happen to us all."
 

Reviews ppodd Has Written

Church Chick, Michelle 's Animation

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

You are doing your script more harm than good with this movie clip.

Overall Recommendation:
1 stars
 
Premise:
No rating
 
Story structure:
No rating
 
Character:
No rating
 
Dialogue:
No rating
 
Emotion:
No rating
 
July 25, 2011
I would recommend that you take this animated clip down. I looked at it and was like - okay, what the heck is this? The voices were choppy and hard to understand, the scene you chose to add tells nothing substantive about the story, characters, or script - in fact, it's even wrong according to your script. The curvaceous, black therapist Dr. Kent has morphed here into a scrawny white dude. And the afros are not working at all - and I love our natural hair. But not when it comes in an octagon. No - this clip is an injustice to your wonderful script. Your writing is serious bidness - if you don't take it seriously, no one else will. This would makes someone skip right to the next test film and maybe even skip over your script altogether. This is live action - find some live. action. if you wanna throw up a lil somethin somethin - but pick a good scene. Shoot the scene where dude dies from eatin all them beans on his wedding night. Hilarious. Or shoot the scene where she goes speed dating and gets all those sheets of interested guys back. Look at trailers on youtube and if you're gonna shoot something - shoot a teaser trailer for this script. I really, really, really think you should take this thing off here and not have it associated with your great script. I can't d-rate (detail rate) this.
 

Church Chick, Michelle 's Original Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

This Is Gold Right Here. A Bit Of Revision and I'm The First In Line To Watch. LOVED IT.

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
July 25, 2011
I downloaded this a while back and finally got a chance to actually read it - it was a very quick read. That's not a bad thing - and, for the most part, I really, really enjoyed reading this script. I could already imagine the stars who could fit the role. Keisha Knight Pulliam, Nia Long, or Zoe Saldana as sabrina, Jenifer Lewis and Harold Sylvester teaming up again to play the mom and dad, Lamman Rucker as the shady Deacon, Kellee Stewart as Trisha, Robin Givens as Blair, Wentworth Miller or Shamar Moore as Tobin, RonReaco Lee as the other church dude that likes her, Clifton Davis or Hal Williams and the Rev, and maybe Lela Rochon, Michael Michele, or Vanessa Williams for Dr. Kent. In other words - a bold, black, and beautiful cast. I could so see this being made. Whitney Houston has to be in here somewhere because there will be singing - there MUST be singing in this film. Gotta get some of those divas in the choir - Mariah Carey, Patti LaBelle, Aretha - that would be awesome. That said - I do have some minor comments on this script.

PREMISE - I'm not sure why the script is called Church Chick. Sabrina almost immediately deviates from the church as soon as the script starts so I didn't develop a sense at all that she was devoted to, interested in, or in any way really connected to this church that she happens to work at. I'm not sure what the title is supposed to imply about the film or the main character. If she's meant to be depicted as a wallflower that is doing things just because she's playing the good cop to her sister's bad cop so her parents won't go mad - we need to see that more. We see that she's unhappy, but we don't know why. She could even just be bored and not exactly unhappy. If she's unhappy (or bored) - why? Has she been relegated to a life of obedience and obligation and is resentful of her parents and her sister because her sister gets away with any and everything? Did her parents, her sister's wild behavior, of God compel her to be the angelic wallflower? He character will be different depending on the different motivations. Is she caught up being all things to all people? And that drives her crazy? Perhaps her sister acts out because she at least knows her parents have one good child they can always count on to do the right thing and that lets her off the hook. She sometimes hates Sabrina for always playing the part - but hey, it frees up HER life to live anyway she wants. Perhaps her parents are so frustrated with Trisha that they have always told Sabrina that she's the "good" girl and will be a better person and have a better life than that old, devil child of theirs. They are constantly telling her show she makes them so proud and how they know she'll never do anything wrong. They put all their eggs in the one basket - not realizing that they're smothering it to death. And Sabrina has been the dutiful child all the while hating them all for pigeonholing her into something or someone she isn't. She's so afraid of her own impulses, mind, thoughts, body, and so afraid of displeasing other people that she's even consented to marrying a man she's not even sure she loves, but she knows he doesn't love her. His actions prove it. But she's too weak to stand up for herself and demand to be loved. She knows her parents would be embarrassed, disappointed, and devastates after all the money and planning for the wedding - so she MUST go through with it. She's a good girl after all. Her life - gets worse, but she keeps smiling and pretending through it all. Even as her husband neglects her at night and spends his evenings sneaking off with the new sex therapist in town. She lets it all slide. - well, anyway I won't rewrite the script. I just think the set-up needs more work. Sabrina goes from wallflower to socialite fairly early on and we don't see why. She just snaps her fingers one day and decides to go to the sex lady. What is the catalyst? Maybe she sees her hubby having sex with this woman in an alley after Bible study and she's finally had enough and decides to pay this woman a visit. She works up the nerve to go the office, but by the time the door is open she's talked herself out of saying what's on her mind. She doesn't want to be - mean. So she thinks of some excuse to meet and the lady invites her to a speed dating thing to talk for a few minutes and she bumps into Tobin for the first time - or whatever. We need to see why she suddenly grew some balls. There's one other thing - I somehow got the impression that this movie was like a Christian version of Obsession or Single White Female or something - kind of a suspense thriller, but I don't think the villainess needs to be that harsh or dangerous. Blair's evilness threw me off a bit and took me out of what I thought was a romantic comedy and forced me into something else. The lightheartedness of most of the film and the violence of the villainess didn't gel to me. Spreading rumors that Tobin had a disease or that he beat her is one thing - wielding a knife and threatening the therapist is another. She would be immediately arrested for assault and attempted murder or something I should think. She should be disturbed, but not viciously evil.

STORY STRUCTURE: Pacing and was nice. Action moved along at a nice clip. I couldn't get why certain actions were happening at times - like what the catalyst was - but I still enjoyed the read. I think the mom and dad are nice foils even though I wonder why they put up with so much nasty talk and back talk from Trisha. It's seems weird - what has Trisha got on her parents that they accept this kind of behavior on a regular basis?? Are they afraid of her? Why don't they say anything to her or kick her out of the house? I can't imagine my own father saying to me, "I've had just about enough of you." and my response being, "That's the first time I've ever heard that from a man." I thought that was a little vulgar and out of place for a child to say to her parent. And her mother didn't say anything at that blantant, sexual tone with her own dad? If that was my daughter I would have smacked the crap out of her and told her "DOn't you ever let me hear you tell your daddy something like that ever again. You can be a slut out in the street all you want but you better rein your body and your tongue in when you step in THIS house." hallelujerrrrrr. I just can't imagine a black girl gettin away with that one. I liked the scenes - you had good connection and good buildup, just add more plot points and more story. Some stuff can be eliminated to make room for more meat. The shopping and partying scene could be a montage to let us know Sabrina has changed. We don't need to see lots of these scenes unless they drive the story forward. The church intervention scene and needs work. And Sabrina moved out without warning - why did she leave her parents home? Why did she decide to get drunk and smoke marijuana? Why did she even talk to Blair in the first place? What about Blair made her seem instantly trustworthy that she would agree to go anywhere with this woman that had only seen for the first time that night? This things need to add up in the watchers mind. Everybody thinks she's a good girl but she didn't have any trouble getting bad real quick. I was surprised to see her jump into bed so soon with Tobin - perhaps he could work a little harder to get her out of her shell - she practically threw it at him. So either she's been lying to everybody else about who she is or she's been lying to herself and she's more like her sister than anyone thought. She might even be worse - we don't know. Perhaps that's what forces her to move out finally - she fights with her parents and it's revealed that she was a wallflower because that's what THEY wanted her to be - it was never who she was. And she's decided that she ain't gone be NOBODY's wallflower NO MO. And slowly Tobin starts introducing her to different things and opening her up in more ways than one. She blooms under his touch and love and he's the same. You say Tobin has been wounded but we never find out how. Did he love another once and that woman died? Did she leave him broken hearted by falling for someone else? Is that why he lets himself get drunk enough to bed Blair? He needs the occasional sexcape (sexual escape)? We need more story lines, more background, more detail, more romance, more secrets and lies, more lines crossed and crossed again. We need to see these people in this tapestry called - their lives. And not just see them, but know them. And not just know them, but identify with them. And not just identify with them, but want, in some ways, to be them. When the characters resolve their final conflict and get that happily ever after - we need to get it, too.

CHARACTER: I really like all of these characters. The only ones I didn't get at times was the parents - what is their motivation? Why do they live the way they do? The preacher seemed awfully detached from his new daughter in law - even after losing his son. The young deacon dude - I never could figure out why Sabrina dissed him almost from jump street - he never did anything but like her and try to be nice to her. The sister - Trisha - I wanna know why this chick is like a hussy with a chip on her shoulder and an axe to grind with her parents. What did they do to her to make her the way she is? Need more backstory on Blair - what is the deal with this chick? Why does she obsess over dude and she's the one getting him drunk so he can sleep with her? Has Tobin been lying to her and giving her mixed signals? Why are they roommates? And I wonder if Blair had a hand in Tobin's ORIGINAL break up with the girl he was with before he moved in with Blair! She could be stalking Tobin right in front of his eyes - only not to harm him really, but to make him fall in love with her. See - if Blair's not so vicious she can be forgiven - who doesn't sympathize with the desperation of unrequited love?If she redeems herself in the end - you gets the other church dude that used to like Sabrina. Yea! At one point he hints that he might be into her, but she's still stuck on Tobin and can't open up to a new possibility of love yet. YET. SO develop these backstories more and you will automatically find places to put conflict and plot points, etc. I think Sabrina absolutely overreacts when Blair tells her that Tobin is her boyfriend. I hate when movies make some small incident be the thing that breaks the camel's back. She LOVES this dude and she knows he loves her - no way in hell she's not gonna try to fight Blair on that assertion or get to the bottom of that issue. No way. Would you just run out after you heard that about your man? No, to make her desert Tobin - she needs a way bigger shock than that. Perhaps Blair calls Tobin to her house to get something he left there that he really wants - a favorite leather jacket or his dad's old watch- whatever. And while there she serves him a drink with something harmless in it that makes him drowsy. She calls Sabrina and tells her to come over because she's got some exciting news about her boyfriend - E'S BACK. And she wants Sabrina to meet him. When she gets there - BLAIR tells her he's in the bedroom and she seems him there - naked and half asleep as if they've just made love. She screams and beats him and he's groggy. He's knows something is horribly wrong, but he's too out of it. It's almost as if Sabrina is there, but what would she be doing there?? He calls her - his head is about to explode - he reaches down and discovers he's naked. He can't figure out why, but he knows something horrible has happened. Sabrina slaps him and tells him he doesn't need to bother calling her ever again. She runs out the door. He gets up to follow but his legs are shaky and his head hurts - Blair attends to him and pushes him back to the bed "alarmed" that he seems ill. Anyway - that's what I mean by different plot points/beats that obstacles and stuff occur. This will drive the story because you immediately ask - Okay, what happens next?!!

DIALOGUE: Really good. I especially like the sister and the parents. They have a lot of character in their conversations. Sabrina, not so much - at first. And dialogue is another place we can hear her transition from wallflower to self-actualized person. I think some things are a little over done - the therapist's office and the knife scene, but overall everything is good. I'm much more concerned with the scenes and progression of action and climax and resolving story arcs.

EMOTION: The emotion is good - even if unexplained and out of the blue at times. Love the church fight scene, but the church intervention scene needs work. The emotion is harsh and uncharacteristic of Sabrina at that point. To swear like that when she's never sworn before - it seems out of place. And to say that to the Rev as well. Why did he unlock the door if he was just gonna stand up in front of it? That scene reminded me of Beyonce in Obsessed. Just didn't fit. She went something like "Ima kill that bitch" after they let her know Blair told them she might be HIV positive. I'm kinda leery about the whole HIV angle - I think it's been done to death. I don't think she would be so glib if she thought she might be HIV positive. She was very nonchalant about being tested and getting the results. And she totally just decided that she was gonna keep getting tested every six months even AFTER she found out that Tobin wasn't positive? That doesn't really happen so - maybe we should see her getting more involved or volunteering with HIV positive people as a result of her scare. And maybe she realizes that - yeah - she was stupid by having unprotected sex with Tobin and that the smart thing to do (now that she knows more) is to not have sex with him and keep getting tested anyway because, in reality, he COULD be HIV positive - she doesn't know either way. She can only know about herself. Tobin needs more emotion. He declares his love very easily without much happening that provoked it. Perhaps he's a romantic? What drew him to Sabrina in the first place? Does she remind him of his ex? What a plot twist that could be.

Anyway. I actually loved the premise and the script and think this one could so make it to hollywood. Please work on it and tap deeper into those characters to pull out the stories and conflicts they're bound to reveal. They all have secrets and hidden motivations/expectations - and I think it's a testament to your writing skills that I want to know what they are! GET. IT. IN. GURL!

I don't know about the white box office, but I KNOW this will be huge at the black box office. And hollywood could cast this right now based on the current black stars out there. It's good.
 

From Slut to Saint, Paula's Original Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

This Needs A LOT of Work - Rewriting, Tightening, and Formatting Needed ASAP

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
1 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
1 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
July 24, 2011
I downloaded this and a number of other scripts a while ago. I'd recently discovered that there were some spiritual scripts on here and was eager to have a read. The titles sound amazing and make them seem like the kinds of movies I would go to the theatre to see and also buy on DVD. This is one genre that I really like - family friendly movies with a positive message anyone can enjoy. And I don't think every Christian film has to sugarcoat things the way some do - we all know we had to be sinners before we became saints and I never understood why people try to hide their pasts when they "get religious"instead of using their past to set other people free. So I like when people get into the dark before they come into the light. I think your script has potential, but you will need to really exercise some creative detachment and slice and dice this baby like you wouldn't believe. I opened this document a few weeks ago and when I saw it was 159 pages - I closed it. I knew there was no reason this script should be that long and that the writer was probably reluctant to edit. We all get attached, but unless your film is The Usual Suspects with amazing twists and turns - you don't need 159 pages to tell the story - even if it IS a version of the greatest story ever told. I started reading this a couple days ago and gave up several times. But I've just finished it and now - this is how I spent my early Sunday morning AND afternoon. Yikes. Okay - let's jump into it:

Premise - It's not new, but it's always a great theme to explore - from sinner to saint. The popularity of Tyler Perry's Medea series speaks to the legitimacy of and powerfulness of this theme of Man vs Man, Man vs Self, and Man vs God. All of these themes fit into the category of Good vs Evil and that's always something worth exploring because there will always be a different angle or story to tell that will resonate with someone. My sinner to saint story may be different from yours, but people like seeing, hearing, and reading about each different one. It helps us realize that we aren't alone in our struggles to be better than what we are or to reach for someone or something outside ourselves. So the premise of someone going from slut to saint casts a wide net that includes most of the population - whether they are religious or not. Everybody is a sinner - and most of those sins involve the flesh (sex - adultery, fornication, lust, etc etc) so almost any and everybody will be able to relate. We follow this one woman's journey through an ordinary life - nothing spectacular happens, but hey - people watch documentaries all the time and a lot of them win major awards.

STORY STRUCTURE:
This is where the problem is. You need to go over this script about three or four more time cutting, trimming, editing, cleaning, refocusing, and writing in a more proper screenplay format than you've uploaded here. This is not acceptable and I think you would be hard pressed to have a professional read this if you submitted it to a studio as is. It screams amateur. And I'm not saying this as a slight - I'm right there with you. I haven't uploaded a script, but if I did (when I do) - mine will probably scream the same thing as I've never done it before. But this is why we're here - not just to win money and contests and get "popular,"but to learn this craft and practice it and get better at it. You have way too many scenes - I can't imagine filming this script. It seems like it would be a nightmare for a director - going from place to place with these tiny little scenes that don't add up to anything substantial in terms of shooting time. There are too many locations to boot. It's like your script is nagging the reader - dragging them along unwillingly through a sea of endless times, years, places, people, events, sorrows, disappointments, squabbles, flirtations that go nowhere and yet still manage to go on and on and on. Get to the point already. There are only a few pivotal scenes that drive action in the script - church, home, and inside her mind. There are too many churches - we don't need to stop with the protagonist at every little church on the way - just give us the churches that made the biggest impact. We also don't need to see every little place they moved or wanted to move - it's just not that important. Sum up all the emotions of the various moves in one or two key moves. This script reads like a bunch of flashbacks, montages, and voice overs. No one is going to pay $30 (which is what ticket prices will probably be in a couple of years) to sit through a 2 1/2 hour movie that is two hours worth of voice overs and montages. Would you?? I kept thinking - "why is this woman talking through the whole movie? I can't even concentrate on what I'm watching because she's giving me scene by scene commentary." It's like watching a movie that someone else has already seen and they keep telling you everything that's happening instead of letting you see what happens for yourself. This is not a good thing. This woman is like God in some scenes - predicting the action and like a regular woman in others - as surprised as we are when something does or doesn't happen. She is not Christ - so pick a side and stay on it. We don't need her to talk us through her life - we're watching her life on the screen. So either tell us (like in a book) or let us watch (like in a movie).

You also wrote this script with too much opinion and information. I'm assuming the producer and director are in charge of the shooting script and hiring a casting director to find the right character for the parts through auditions. You don't need to spell out which direction the light is coming from (i.e.: Three beams of golden white light shine slightly behind and to the left of April in a halo of golden glory as she washes the dishes on a crisp and bright Sunday morning), what kind of shot is taking place (i.e.: the camera pans left and zooms through the open window before slowing down to reveal two ants fighting over a piece of stale wedding cake as April and Manny make passionate love just to the lower left of the screen). You give the characters too many emotions to portray (i.e. Manny's left nostril flares like a flamenco dancers skirt at a dia de la muerte celebration as his left bicep curls into an angry hump - the major vein pulsing with anger at the thought of April barely touching Peter on the back in an innocent hug). The actors are supposed to decide what emotions that character has at any given time - and they decide that based on what the Director is looking for in a scene - not the script writer. You need to eliminate - ERASE. DELETE - ALL camera angles and any kind of directorial actions, ALL but the most necessary directions about how characters act and emote in the scenes, and ALL kinds of notes on lighting, what the exact places look like, etc. You had too many product placements in your script - these are not important and add nothing at all to it. REMOVE all product names - if this script is produced - the products you listed may not even exist anymore. Why pigeonhole your script to getting an exact kind of baby bottle or purse or car or water bottle???? It's up to the director and the prop person anyway - you can't dictate what they use as scenery or props for their film. Remove all of that. Your script as is would make a director and an actor feel trapped into your particular vision which may or may not work for the film. So get rid of that stuff - it's not important to your story anyway. It does nothing for it but add unnecessary pages and makes the reader weary. I rolled my eyes every time I read a product name or read those cutesy little phrases you wrote that didn't really make sense to me - you referenced a lot of pop culture songs and movies that just didn't work for me. I kept thinking - now, how is the audience supposed to relate to that? It read almost like an Everybody Hates Chris episode where he talks about groups or events that are in the future even though the show is in the past. I didn't like it. And I didn't like the present day tie-in to Amazon Studios either. Something about that just did not work for me. This script seems to be a real up-to-the-minute kind of documentary of someone's personal journey to Christ, but it isn't compelling enough in some places and too sloppy in others and too modern and too old fashioned. Okay - I could spend forever here. Just edit this script and delete all the stuff that shouldn't be there anyway. You will probably end up with a more manageable script somewhere around 90-100 pages. You don't need more than that to tell this story. And you certainly don't have to be literal in the storytelling - be more creative. I hated the titles - I wouldn't want to see a movie with all those crazy titles. Again - you are limiting the director's vision with that stuff. The cheesy red flame titles for the "devilish" times and the heavenly white titles for the "angelic" times - really not needed and makes it seem as though you don't trust the audience to understand what the film is about or how and when the character is progressing and regressing. But as I said, everyone is familiar with this in their own lives and will know when she's being naughty and nice.

CHARACTER:
The characters themselves are quite interesting to me - the few that were really developed like April and Manny. There were, at times, too many characters though. And April and Manny act weird at certain parts. The story is called From Slut to Saint and April is depicted as going through all these cathartic moments - in fact she constantly goes back and forth, back and forth - yet, she never seems to go quite the way of the title - from slut to saint. I think she acts pretty slutty throughout the whole thing. She can't even be in the presence of another man - for any reason - without being sexually attracted to him and fantasizing about having sex, being married to, or leaving the man she's with for him! Gosh - some dude asks her about her husband's soul and when he wants to speak with her privately - all she can think is how cute he is and if he likes her? And she imagines him touching or kissing her? And this is after multiple encounters with The Lord? The cameraman in the ministry - jeez! She's just been praying and crying to the Lord about saving her husband and as soon as the Spirit leads her to join a ministry she's instantly attracted to the first man she touches? She has instant attraction to every man she lays eyes on in this script. Her sainthood is never quite able to shake itself of her sluthood - the mixed message here is not good at all. In fact - I don't get a sense of a sainthood anywhere. As regarding their lifestyles - they seem to live quite high off the hog yet they're always worried about money. I can't figure out how they go from place to place and job to job and live paycheck to paycheck and yet still manage to live in lavish homes, drive luxury cars, and take grand vacations. The jobs you've given them don't explain it either. I mean - she barely graduated college with a C average. I still don't know what Manny does and yet these less than spectacular people manage to acquire a great deal of wealth, but always complain about having enough money or what they can't afford or pay. It doesn't gel. April appears to go through a lot of things, but I don't know that she's learned or grown from them. It's not shown. She is given lessons in life - hard ones yet she continues to makes the same mistakes even til the very end. She tells Peter goodbye, but Peter was never the problem. The problem is April - she's never satisfied with what she has. She prays and prays, some prayers get answered (most do) and some don't - yet she's miserable when her prayers aren't answered and she's miserable when they are. She constantly flirts with and fantasizes about all these men yet plays the coy, wounded woman when the men try to act on the signals SHE's giving out. She has plenty to say about them, but nothing to say about herself. She's her OWN victim. She even blames satan for her troubles. She sees red eyes glowing back at her when she looks into Peter's eyes, but what I think she really sees is a reflection of her own eyes in his. She is her own worst enemy. She puts 57 men on a card and burns their names up like they were the problem. She should have put her own name on the card and written down the things that were the old her and burned that up. What good is burning other people's names if she is still the same? She'll just have 57 more to burn in the next decade. In other words - she thinks all of her problems are outside of herself. We all do. She has yet to recognize that her problems are the sum total of all the decisions SHE made - not that other people made. She has to put HERSELF in the judgment seat - not other people. Only then will she be able to see who she was and who she needs to be in order to have the life she wants. She still has some growing and changing to do in this script - unless there's a sequel on the horizon. Manny is interesting. We see him going to church with her in the beginning, but we don't get a sense of why he stopped. She nags, nags, nags and Bible thumps breathing fire and brimstone and she doesn't even know the Word herself without relying on the interpretation of others. It all seems hypocritical. You feel sorry for poor Manny - dude's just trying to work, come home, relax, watch tv, unwind - and she's nagging the life out of him trying to make him do stuff she doesn't even do faithfully. April makes me angry - because April is a typical Christian. Half steppin it all the way and then using what little they know against everybody else trying to get them to "catch the fire" when all they have themselves is "this little light." She begged for kids and then acted like she didn't want them, she begged for a good man then nagged the good out of him, she begged to know the truth and had to be dragged kickin and screamin the whole way second guessing God at every turn, she has these weird (ugh) powers and saw all these weird visions, but she didn't do anything powerful with them - only used them to her own advantage and for her own good. April seems delusional or crazy at times. Going nuts writing scripture and signs on the wall and throwing oil crosses up all over the windows and speaking in tongues - only to then go a repaint the house and then move shortly thereafter. Manny should have taken the kids and run. There's no way you're crazy deep into the spirit one day and laying prostrate on the ground in exhausted prayer and the next day you're wondering what it would be like to make love to your husband's coworker.

The peripheral characters need to be developed or eliminated. I don't understand why all the stuff about her mother and father is there. If it's to show how she grew up - you can do that in a few strategic flashbacks, but who cares what happened to her mom and dad? The story is about her. And if that back story is meant to show how she became who she is in present day - well, it didn't work. There's nothing from her past that I saw that showed me why she became a slut. And while we're on the subject of that - she's like 40 years old or something, right, when we meet her in the script. 57 lovers in 40 years doesn't exactly make one a slut. She said she lost her virginity at twelve - I'd be much more interested to see how that happened. Was she willing because she'd been sneaking and watching her mom have sex with various men in the basement? Did she approach one of her mom's "clients" at twelve because she wanted to seem grown-up too? Did she start seducing at that early age trying to be like her mom and not let any man "out man"her? Or was she raped by one of those "clients" or a pastor??? Even with having sex at 12 - that's about 2 sex partners a YEAR in 30 years. Some people average 57 partners in a single calendar year. So she's not exactly a slut and she's not exactly a saint. She needs to be really slutty and really saintly - there you will find the conflict as her past comes back to haunt her as she tries to be straight and narrow. Maybe Manny is Godly and respectable when she moves away from her past as a result of a life-changing religious experience. She meets him and he's a good man and she can't bring herself to tell him about her past, but something - the truth - is following her, always chasing after her lies. The perfect life she had comes crashing in on her when her mother suddenly dies and she has to go back home - a place she's avoided for a long time - to plan the funeral. She can't escape the cauldron of truth and it threatens to burn her up and everything else in her life is she doesn't do the one thing God's been calling her to do - come clean, repent, and be set free. While she's back home - her past - all the dirty things she was and did come face to face with her present. And she has to trust God that everything will be okay as her husband and children get to see who she really was while her family, old foes, and old beaus get to see who she really is. You need a few major characters for this - mom, dad, hubby, kids, a few key old beaus, old foes, etc. All these extra characters - coworkers and church folk - that don't drive the story forward can be eliminated. As with the director and props notes you kept adding in - you have too many specific character descriptions. It's the casting director's job to cast the film - not the script writer's. DELETE all places where you are specifically describing someone beyond age. Besides - I think that stuff goes into a character bible (dunno what the technical term is) anyway. A character synopsis? Anyway get rid of all the places where you're deciding if someone is high yellow, light-skinned, has red hair, a footballer's build and looks like Dwayne 'The Rock" Johnson. If it's integral to the film that the person look like 'The Rock' - and I don't think it is - then leave it in. But if the actual look of the person isn't important - remove it. I think you actually described someone as being Cherry Wood Mahogany Stained or something. Really unbelievable. I imagined a dude with deep reddish brow skin with actual wood grains in it. Get rid of that extra stuff.


DIALOGUE: It's not the dialogue that bothers me so much as the writing style. The language you use is so - frustrating. Too flowery and over-the-top in more than a few places. I can't stand how she uses all these weird names for God. That's you coming through - trying to show you know all these different names, but no one talks like that. I think she must have used three or four different names for God within ONE conversation with Manny - just way over done and pretentious and, I think, confusing to an audience. No need to say Rabboni, El Shadai, Rock of Ages, Living Waters, Most High God, Elohim - whatever - in the space of one conversation. You are way too heavy handed with the preaching in this script. It's a turn off. It reminds me of those people you might meet on a bus - they seem innocent enough talking to you - all nice and polite, then they tell you they're a prophetess or something and start asking you personal questions about what you believe and where you go to church and how people are going to hell and all that. That message has never worked and it never will because it's conversion through fear. That's why the message didn't work on Manny and it won't work on an audience either. Be more subtle with the religious talk. Your script seems like it's telling an innocent story, but what it's really doing is preaching a sermon. Don't preach - let the story do the preaching for you - which it will if it's written the right way. Too many details and rituals will actually turn people off - no need to write the tongues you are speaking in. That's just weird. No need to use all the names of God just because you know them. No need to be heavy with the songs, the scriptures, and the messages you added throughout of your own idea of salvation. I would remove the bit about Wesley Snipes. It sounds slanderous and just weird. And I'm not sure why she made her book look like a Bible - also just a weird thing to write. The dialogue needs a lot of work. Like I said before - all this voice over business is tedious and unnecessary. If you would write the script in present day - we could see stuff and she wouldn't have to be explaining things for the length of the movie. Have you ever had someone read you an entire book for two hours? Yeah - that's kinda what this would be like. Try downloading a script and watching the film while someone reads the script to you. Some voice over is fine, but a whole movie's worth is unforgivable. Find a different way to tell this story so that you don't have to literally tell the story. If you get rid of all those tiny little scenes you would have more room to get some good dialogue instead of all those sound bites.

EMOTION: I get where this story is trying to go emotionally. It just doesn't get there with this script. It's a redemption story, but in the end - who gets redeemed? Why? And how? What has significantly changed about April to make us believe that the slut is now a saint? What happened to her career after she won the million? Did she give it all up or did she use it to do good? Her pastor calls her his Tyler Perry - what does that mean? She's behind the camera, but her friend is in the control room calling the shots?! So how has she grown? How has her life changed? And Manny - what happened to him to make his life change? He was never a bad guy- so he looked some chick's legs - once. She was showing them off to everybody anyway and he's a man after all. Nothing was said or done that compromised him at all at any time. His only guilt was that he worked hard and provided for his family, he came home at night and watched TV, he played golf on the weekends with his boys, and occasionally - he stayed out past 8:00p drinking with his whole office - without calling home. Whoop-de-doo. He was a real dog. I'm being sarcastic. He was the epitome of a good man throughout the script. He was so offended by his wife giving a coworker an innocent hug that he was ready to pack his bags and leave her AND his kids. I mean, come on - who wouldn't clone this guy 3 billion times and give one to every girl on the planet for Christmas???! Seriously. So he didn't wanna go to church? So what. As crooked as most churches are these days -who can blame him? Doesn't mean he wasn't saved - she never even asked him if he was or wasn't just made a stupid assumption based on the fact that he wouldn't go to some lame church that she wanted him to go to. The writer makes it seem like going to church is what saves people and that is not true. You go to church to surround yourself with likeminded people so that you can have some moral, emotional and other support as you navigate this life. You are the people you hang around the most and those people influence you the most - so you go to church so that you are hanging around the people who believe what you believe the most and so that those same people have more influence over you than those who believe different or opposite. So let's not confuse the message with the messengers.

Anyway - this script has potential, but you need massive - and I mean massive - editing and rewriting to make this one worth it. I'm certain you have downloaded other scripts from this site and you need to study them to follow formatting as much as you can. This is part of the learning process. You give to much direction, have too many camera shots, products, and voice overs. There are too many disjointed scenes that make the script read like 2 1/2 hours of flashbacks and montages. The dialogue is too shallow and sparse. Too many disposable characters from too many work and church worlds - pick a few central characters that made the most difference in her life and fold all the minor characters into them to make uber characters that move your story forward. Everybody is not important enough to include their own spot. Learn to generalize, combine, and scale up the big people and the big moments. Too many locations - I got a headache trying to keep up with all these long, weird names. You don't have to say INT. GREATER MOUNT ZION'S LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH A.M.E. PENTECOSTAL COGIC EVENGELISTIC APOSTOLIC BAPTIST CHURCH'S BATHROOM. DAY. The audience won't know that and the director won't care. Just put INT. CHURCH BATHROOM. DAY or maybe INT. BAPTIST CHURCH BATHROOM.DAY. And give these characters more depth (April and Manny) not enough significant stuff happens to them to pull this story off. They seem boring and ordinary - despite all the abortions and miscarriages. More conflict. More challenges. More growth. I read all 159 pages and you've not convinced me that she's made a transition from slut to saint. So she needs to be sluttier so that she actually can make the transition - or you need a major rewrite or name change to: From Somewhat Promiscuous to Church Girl-ish (When It's Convenient).

PS - the one part about April pulling crabs from her pubes, examining them, and squishing them was just vulgar and gross. That's one thing I can do without seeing on the big screen. I mean, I can't even remember what the point of that scene was other than maybe to shock people.
 

ZvG: Zombies Vs Gladiators, Michael's Original Draft

4 out of 6 people found the following review helpful:

She's Just Not That Into It??

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
1 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
July 01, 2011
So I came into this with low expectations and I was SOMEWHAT pleasantly disappointed. I've never read a zombie script although I've seen my fair share of zombie movies so the whole "contest" thing is what brought me here - and the chance to actually read a "horror" script and see how they are written.

As I commented in the forum - I'm not too keen on this zombie lust people seem to have - especially boys (men?). It seems so trite and cliche and, quite literally, DONE. TO. DEATH. It's like the genre itself is a zombie that no one knows how to kill. Funny, I don't feel that way about romantic comedies though. :D

Anyway - this script is sooooo been there done that. Honestly - that's how commercial it is. It's a no brainer and as soon as people step out of the theatre they're gonna feel like they were bamboozled. I just don't know what to say. Okay - yes, you did read that right at the beginning - I WAS somewhat pleasantly surprised because I think it's a solid script and it certainly is something that hollywood could shoot right now - no changes and make some kind of success out of it just because of the zombies and people (for whatever weird reasons) suddenly are into zombies. I won't be surprised if zombie ice cream comes out - spoiler alert: it'll be gray. with red streaks in it. and the carton will be ghoul green. And Ben & Jerry's will be the company. *sigh*

Let me just say it like I mean it:

PREMISE - Stale. Could have been better, more creative, but it is what it is. But we can't cry over spilled milk, right? Even if we manage to scrape it back into the carton, it still won't be fresh. So - zombies are what we're working with. And Romans. *sigh* Nothing about this is interesting. It IS commercial though - and a blockbuster is a blockbuster, but we have to stop feeding the mindless masses. Maybe that's what your message is - that the audience is made up mostly of zombies. The whole thing about the Romans being the birth of everything civilized and having that under threat - what "Rome" stands for - boring. Those "civilized" people are ground zero of some of the most heinous crimes against humanity and we're still trying to sell the message of their "greatness" and how if they are threatened so then the fate of the world must be. Please. I bet the Africans, Chinese, Natives, etc couldn't give a toss as they had their own idea of what civility was before the Romans came along. I'm not buying it. And this notion that all evils generate from the Dark Continent - come on, people. It's the 21st century and we're still trying to convince the world the devil is black? That damn African slave should have stabbed that army dude.Some good their "voodoo" did them. I mean, really? They could come from a continent that births demons with untold powers, but they couldn't stop the white man from putting them in chains and dragging them across the world to pick cotton for 23 hours a day?? They couldn't use their powerful voodoo to at least get the white man's money??? COME. ON. If you had dark powers like that at your disposal - you MIGHT let somebody take you across the world, but it for damn sure wouldn't be for them to conquer YOU. Unless you're retarded. You would let them take you so you could unleash your power on THEM and conquer THEM. Everything evil, mystical, and powerful always comes from Africa - yet the damn Africans can never win for losing. I've never understood this. It's faulty logic and seeks to perpetuate a false history and a false idea about who and how certain races are.

STRUCTURE: Not much I can say here - I thought the overall structure was good. There was some good pacing - but the zombie orgy was too quick. Slow that down a bit. Take your time - "make story not zombie." There needs to be some more sub plots. Why would we care about these people? Why would we want them to survive a vicious attack when they are vicious themselves? Seems they got what they deserved, doesn't it? Who should we identify with exactly? The blood thirsty spectators? The whores? The stupid/juvenile evil rulers? The callous gladiators? Or the stolen African slaves? And where are all the slaves when zombiepalooza is happening? What - wolves and zombies don't eat dark meat? Or do they have a secret hiding place or immunity? I guess if it's night time - they are hard to see anyway. Where are the Negress slaves? Don't tell me Rome went to Africa and came back with everything but those exotic, naked, curvy, super stacked from the front to the back chocolate queens. Not likely. And since the demon IS African - perhaps the other Africans know something about it that could help their captors right off the bat, but strangely enough, no one even thinks to ask. Incidentally, this would be the perfect time for those slaves to get right back on those boats and go home. They certainly would have no compassion on these people who disrespected them by kidnapping them and their ridiculing their ancient knowledge - despite being warned. Wouldn't that be an interesting twist - the black perspective. The movie would be called "ZvG.RT!: Zombies vs Gladiators - Real Talk!" and would last about five minutes. It would certainly be a comedy. Someone said before that there needs to be a love story and they are correct. Love will get you through anything - even a genre mashup. So somebody better fall in love to up the stakes in this thing. And one gruesome thing - zombie children and infants...yikes. There will most definitely be some decapitating of little ones. Don't know how you can skip that because children were at these arena games, too, and zombies aren't partial. I liked the zombie concubines - that scene seems like it would be filmed beautifully. The fangs are an iffy morph for a zombie movie and would make people think too much of vampires - like the concept is a confused one or something. Why do their eyes turn red? Like the Howling? Why can't they turn gray? Seriously, if you saw someone with glowing red eyes - would you care WHAT happened to them? No, you would want to kill them immediately because you would think whatEVER happened - nothing good could come of it. The doctor being all fascinated was weird. These are superstitious people - I can't see them being all "Wow, dude's skin is gray and he refuses to die and his eyes are an unholy color - let's cage him and run tests. He might have chlamydia." You know what I mean? And I thought zombosus humanus was too hilarious. I kept thinking "thrombosus." I found it interesting that the doctor dude came up with a name instantly - almost like he'd seen it before. No thought, no struggle with the meaning of life - no searching the vast Roman libraries - no nothing. Just instantly knew it's a zombie. Which goes back to my original idea - these guys are the evil ones. They've been experimenting with old Roman (not African) mysticism and science and unleashed something they couldn't control. If not - Africa would have been a continent of zombies when they got there - it's impossible to think the thing had never bit an African. Perhaps the Romans experimented in ancient times and lost the beast in Africa and have been hunting for it through the centuries (an elect group of scholars and leaders) and it was finely captured and brought home again so that Rome could conquer the world as it had planned millenia ago when the beast first got away. So far the action is okay. I wonder what's happened to the wild menagerie that was freed - the lions, tigers, gators, bears, camels, sea turtles? These creatures would be hunting the gladiators, too, whether they are zombies or not.

CHARACTERS: Every character in this needs more depth and more development. We have no real idea of what motivates any of these people. They seem like characters from The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston (I seriously thought Moses was gonna make an appearance), Elizabeth (Flava Flavius reminded me of that French dude that wanted to marry Elizabeth - the one that they caught wearing make-up and a dress. He seems lazy and effeminate. Not to mention a little touched in the head. The scene where he gets upset at Titus not boning the muscle chick - the level of anger is too much for that small confrontation. We need a set up that Titus is favored above this guy and that people trust Titus more and maybe want to see HIM as Caesar because this foppish dude has made so many bad decisions in the past which is why the crowds are so huge at the games. The Caesar has waived the arena tax to appease the stupid public and give them sport to take their minds off the horrible way the city is being run). The lady, Lusty Lavinia? She seems like a wonder woman slash cirque du soleil performer slash stripper. I can't tell if she's young and beautiful or just a flexible cougar. Why is she's Flavius' whore again? Does she have a plan? Is she plotting revenge perhaps for a sister that was taken away at a young age to be a plaything for the senate??? And why are she and the other dude (his adviser) thick as thieves? What are their motives? In fact - what is the motive of a zombie? Once a person is bitten - they are vicious, but essentially harmless - like a dog. A pitbull, if you will. They are only evil if trained that way. Why do the zombies crave flesh as opposed to - vegetables? Or no food at all? Why are they never full? They hunger but don't thirst - why? Were the Romans trying to create a kind of army (according to their ancient texts) that could sustain massive injuries and long battles abroad with little resources? And their experiment go horribly wrong? Do not forget that your film is ground zero for zombies so it MUST explain and illustrate zombie protocol. Why do they die when you shoot them in the brain or cut off their heads? What is the connection to the brain or the disconnection that makes the birth and the death of a zombie possible? This is your chance to create the history and the lore - not just mimick it. I really don't like how Flavius in an idiot in real life, but actually evolves as a zombie. If he can do it - why can't they all? I don't understand how the zombies can withstand fire - I would assume that fire would destroy their brains as much as an arrow or decapitation would. And how after they are charred beyond recognition - a simple bow and arrow shot can make them explode in a sea of ash. ??!! They have no eyes, but they can still charge after the gladiators. This is some Pirates of the Carribean Interviewing Vampires in the Twilight on Elm Street typa stuff. It will be hard to suspend one's disbelief. I can see the cast: Viggo Mortgenson (Titus), Angelina Jolie or Catherine Zeta or Rachel Weiss (Lavinia), Ralph Fiennes or Jude Law (Flavius)

DIALOGUE: Passable. Needs to be more snappy. And it needs to draw you in more. Right now it doesn't. Needs more tension, more suspense, more clarity, more life.

EMOTION:You don't really think of emotion when you think of zombies so for me the question is "why do I care?" - I don't. The emotion is not going to be in this story so you need to evoke emotion in the audience - give them someone or something to care about. I cared about the Africans that were fresh off the boat and thrown into the Gladiator pit. I think I could care about Titus - he is a type of Moses - delivering his people and all. I would like to care about him more and perhaps I will if I finish the script. I don't think the stakes are high enough for him. I want to know who he was before he was put in that pit. It seems like an act of vengeance on someone's part. And the relationship with him and Lavinia seems - weird, but promising. Were they past lovers? Are they cohorts? What are their ulterior motives? What lives do they have waiting for them outside the pit??? They will free Rome in the end (I'm guessing), but will they free the slaves? History says not, so I still don't see a reason to care for these people. They escape one savagery only to visit it upon another group of people who will not fair so well as them for another several millenia...

Again -why do we care about any of these people?? Surrounded by so much senseless death and destruction - there must be one overriding ideal that somebody, ANYbody can hold on to over the 90 minutes it will take to tell (sell) this story. But let me finish reading to see if the second half changes my opinion.

NOTE: Above review was reading only half the script. I finally finished it and the second half was much, much better! I actually felt some tension and couldn't wait to see what happened to everybody. I love that Lavinia turned into a zombie. I think she should have turned while she and Titus were making love. Can you imagine that on the big screen?? That would be awesome. I think you can trim some stuff - especially since the story and the emotion really kick in after page 60. I still don't buy the intelligent zombie thing - I just can't see why Flavius has more sense undead than alive. The antidote thing needs work - I think someone said it before - that was a little too picture perfect wrap up. The obstacles were more dramatic, but less dangerous - i.e. the zombie animals. The attack was relentless, but why would rabid animals be afraid of each other? Why would the wolf appear so conveniently and have such a strange effect on the other zombie creatures? Titus captured a demon - with his bare hands... and a leather muzzle. O.o WAY. TOO. EASY. The last action bits made it seem like you were just trying to get through the rest of the script because it was getting long. Trim the fat and you can do that second half justice. I wasn't buying the antidote thing either - if you think about it realistically/logically - they are throwing those arrows and darts with serum willy nilly into a writhing pit of zombies and humans fighting to the death. This would be a most comical scene the way it's written for, almost assuredly, as soon as the antidote hit one guy to make him human a zombie would catch his scent, pounce and bite and make him a zombie again. You would ALMOST have to come up from behind the action to make this work and hope that all the soldiers would fall back, away from the fighting, and not forward, into the fray. And the onslaught of antidote daggers and arrows would have to be relentless and someone would have to be there to drag the cured people away immediately lest they risk getting bitten by a zombie who is close by. Or someone would have to be constantly telling them to stay down til the antidote kicks in - they when they are cured they tell the next group to stay down and that way they are cured like dominoes falling and being cured from the back while the fight rages on towards the front until all are saved (those who haven't had their heads cut off). I still want to know what happened to the slaves at the beginning and what happened with the women and children. I'm sure they must have turned to zombies too? If this is too gruesome for you then you must use the device that all other writers use - at some point the men must send their women and children in some sort of mass exodus early on as they stay behind to defend the city against the approaching danger. There are women, children, men, zombies, and slaves yet we only see what happens to the men and the zombies. 3/5 of your population are unaccounted for and unspoken of.
 

WE DON'T TALK ANY MORE, Felix's Original Draft

4 out of 4 people found the following review helpful:

I enjoyed the read, but it all felt way too familiar...

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
June 15, 2011
I read this script from opening to close in one sitting even though it was late at night and I had to be up very early the next day for work. I don't like stopping in the middle of things and I was enjoying the read anyway - so didn't want to wait a whole day to see how and why things turned out.

I'll go over my scoring here - and I'll try not to nit pick over every little spelling error - hopefully this won't be the last time you take a look at this thing and you'll catch those minor things in the process. I don't know how you writers feel about those kinds of notes, but personally - I think they're a waste of constructive criticism - you're not looking for a proof reader, right? And now for the cream:

Premise - I like the idea of two people who communicate for a living finding themselves not being able to communicate with each other. Oh the irony. What I didn't get a sense of was why they stopped talking to each other in the first place - other than you, the writer, saying - "6 years later" and painting a picture the opposite of the opening lovey-dovey scene. Somewhere along the way we need to see or hear why this Oscar-worthy marriage took first prize in the Rotten Tomato Awards instead. And I think you have the answer, but you just said it sort of glibly in a one-off, Sherlock Holmes ratiocination style cut-to-the-chase type phrase. I think the guys tells his friend that she was n a near death car accident and was in a coma for a long time and he ended up quitting his job and rearranging his life to sit by her side through the recovery process. It's hard to imagine someone with that level of devotion being stopped by anything trivial - unless SHE stopped him. Could it be that he has a martyr syndrome? He devoted his life to her - and she doesn't seem very grateful. I mean - she really doesn't. It's hard to owe someone your life and still be a total Beyotch. So maybe she was one all the time and he just didn't know it - romantic that he is. When she awoke from her coma - how was she? Did she ask for him or even acknowledge that he was there? During recovery - was she appreciative of his devotion or selfishly wanting more? Did she acknowledge it when he told her about his sacrifice? What happened during that illness? This is where I think the trouble began. I think he's resentful because he wanted her to be some way that she didn't end up being. And she's selfish so she doesn't understand and maybe she thinks he's just jealous because her career is flashy and brings in a lot of money, while his is some kind of vain waste of time (in her eyes). She can't connect his lowly job with her illness in any way. And that drives him insane that she thinks he's just being a lazy ass when he really just never had the time to recover himself from the emotional wreck he was at the thought of losing her. And maybe he just really can't believe how she doesn't get it and that her mind can't connect the dots. And maybe she just can't believe that he wants her to worship him for a decision he made all those years ago. She's more practical - he saved her life so now she wants to live it without having to be grateful every five minutes because, really, knowing his sacrifice tears her up inside. She's not heartless. She knows his talent and how he was destined to be the next great writer - his almost published manuscripts and his letters of praise from various publishers prove it. She thought living her life to the fullest was the best way to thank her husband for his sacrifice, but for some reason - it's not. Anyway - that was long, but that's what I was thinking when I read this. Each was taking the other for granted and not saying what they feel because who wants to be a jerk yelling about who owes whom what as a result of some tragedy none of them had control over? So they both stake their ground, hold their grudges, and wave their own private wars "for better or for worse" each hoping the other will get the point. So there's room for more tension, more miscommunication, more obstacles, more anger and hurt feelings, more explosive language and behavior to drive this script to each and every climax. Pun intended. There is a scene where they make like instead of love and I simply cannot imagine these two people having sex - not even polite and awkward sex. There is just too much "something" between them. They don't even SPEAK to each other civilly in the morning. I could more imagine the two of them angrily masterbating side by side in bed before I could see her letting him mount her. Ha! That would be hilarious. I also don't think they would live together much longer. The only reason the crackpot therapy could work, I think, is if they are forced to live together for some reason. What if they both were so fed up with each other that they each got their own apartment and filed for divorce and went before a family court judge with a soft heart who is known to put people in experimental therapy - especially young couples that the judge believes might be making a rash decision. So he orders them to Miko - who may or may not be his wife. ha! And he tells them that they can get a divorce and sell the house after they take one last chance to make things work - and then Miko prescribes the crazy non communication therapy. And the rest, as they say... The only reason I'm writing these kinds of ideas is because I don't believe the reason that they decide to go to counseling. There's nothing at stake to drive them there. Moving on before I get lost in this part of things.

Story Structure - I think you nailed the structure down. The scenes, the character intros, the sound, yadda yadda - the technical stuff reads good. There's some other suggestions that other people have made so I'll leave those things to them and trust they know what they're talking about. Seemed pretty clear to me. The only thing is the acts need more action, drama, tension, and continuity - I tell ya what - when I was reading this script several movies came to mind: School of Rock, How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days, Four Christmases, Couples Retreat, Mr. Mom, and some more I can't remember. I definitely got the whole Jack Black/Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Anniston sarcastic/witty repartee dialogue marathon going through the whole script, what got lost in the shuffle was the emotion and heart and tenderness and connection to the characters. I don't think I would want to be friends with any of these people because I simply cannot be that witty or clever or have snappy comebacks 24/7. They would drain me. And they would also seem like badly drawn boys (and girls). The snappy, upbeat Asian chick is super annoying. Who goes "'sup Whitey" to the first random white dude they see - especially in the white dude's house? WTH? And his comeback should have been - "Nuttin much, California-style dragon sushi roll with wasabi nuts on the side." I mean really - when she sees random Spanish people does she call them "Pico de Gallo" or worse - "Brown boy?" haha. I'd hate to see her with my folx, "What's crackin, blackie?" haha. That's comedy gold right there though. That would be funny as heck. Anyway - that seemed out of place. The "faggin it up" thing was awkward, too. It's almost like you put those phrases in there because you're trying to show that these people are hip and cool and don't care about political correctness. I get that - and that's appropriate, but the way you wrote it is just plain glaringly awkward. I think there may be other opportunities to be refreshingly politically incorrect. I'll let you figure out where though. I think the band mates come out of nowhere. How did he meet these people? What's his relationship with Zack who is about as two dimensional as can be. Just like the random Asian chick. Diversity for diversity's sake just comes off as trying to make some kind of lame "see, at least WE all get along" statement. Which only illustrates that there ain't no blackies in this thing! I'm being funny here, as a black person. :) And, to her credit, the leading lady did listen to a little hip hop on the radio so - it's all good. Yeah... so you have to decide which characters are integral to this story. Which ones move it ahead and which ones stop it in its tracks and which ones do nothing at all, but draw attention for no reason at all. Some of the scenes did seem contrived. The whole thing with the editor needing that list and making an entire issue out of Noel's recommendations like his tech reviews are the second coming or something was a bit much. If he was indeed big enough to command an entire issue - he's a big deal. If his opinion can make or break a gadget - he is a big deal. And either his wife doesn't know that because he's hiding it from her and they don't have joint bank accounts or she's the most clueless ad mogul on the planet. It's improbable that she would be married to someone with that much power and not use it to her advantage. She would, of course, be reading and following all of his reviews just like any other ad exec. And her company would put more pressure on her than Mike Tyson on Robin Givens after he proposed - you can believe that. Maybe his refusal to cave in to the pressure from his wife's company and his wife cause problems between them too as she shows her loyalty to them and not him- otherwise she wouldn't try to make him go against his nature. This could also hearken back to his loyalty to her when she was sick - he'd rather give up everything to do what's right for her than to put his job or his ambitions above her. She, apparently, is not willing to do the same.

Dialogue/Character - Like I said - I can clearly see Jack Black or Vince Vaughn as the outspoken friend, the blond dude from Glee! as Zack or Zack Efron as Zack, the bubbly Asian girl from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody as - herself, of course, Jennifer Anniston or Eva Mendes would be the leading lady, and let's see - maybe Matt Damon as the douche ballerblocker dude, and maybe Owne Wilson, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, or even dude from King of Queens could play the lovable, childlike, martyr/husband man. I can see the characters clearly because they all seem familiar in this script with that same kind of in your face, witty at all costs dialogue that Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller have done to death. Every line you can almost insert a "ba dam bum," canned laugh or drum roll. That's not horribly bad, but it is sort of like eating a rice cake when what you actually want is a real piece of cake. These fat-free characters don't inspire people to care - only to laugh at how clever they are. And then two hours later you're hungry for more - but they can't deliver. They need depth. They need real problems and real things at stake. They need real lives. These characters are caricatures - of themselves.

Emotion - needs work. Why should we care about these two people who don't even seem to care about each other? What made them fall madly in love? And what drove them maddeningly apart? How come they can't TALK to each other? It's like they keep telling their feelings to everyone but the person who deserves to hear them. They confess their love and affection but don't show it - even when they make love (which is supposed to be on a more subconscious/metaphysical level) it doesn't show through. I say they don't even deserve to be married - unless you can prove otherwise. Whom do we root for? And why? Who has something to gain and something to lose here? I don't think anyone does. What's at stake? What is the common ground or common bond between these two? How do they come to realize they even love each other again? I can't remember how they made the transition. Her anger and dismissal of the rival dude didn't ring true. I think she could have drifted farther and this would play even more into his martyrdom that he doesn't stray at all. And it's this endless cycle of guilt (on her part) and sacrifice (on his part) that is driving a wedge between them. She's at the end of her rope and it seems like nothing she does will snap him out of this self-inflicted prison and if he doesn't "get a life" soon - she's gonna leave for good. He would just once like to hear her really say that she understands all he gave up for her. He's not trying to be a martyr, but it's hard reestablishing your life and identify after giving it up for so long - he actually needs her help. She needs to sacrifice a little on her own and help him find himself again because he's drowning in his own misery. I can make that up about these characters, but I don't read that and I don't feel that deep emotion in the script - and I want to. Cuz I am rooting for the guy in this. I think he's a helluva man to do what he did for his woman. I want him to find his way back to a meaningful life that is full of his dreams and desires because I sense he needs that. BUt he needs his woman to do for him what he did for her.

Anyway - great script with a lot of potential. I would love to see more character development and involvement. I think I could really like these people - if they weren't so shallow. The friends annoy me so much! The villain definitely needs to be fleshed out more. The little stuff that he did wasn't enough to impact anything. I love the thing with the cell phone, although I can't really see dude using an Alt after he bagged it so much in his tech review - enough to make sales flop, prices drop, and heads roll. Unless he was lying. And only gave a bad review to get back at his selfish wife - which would be awesome because then we'd see that his balls are starting to drop again. And when she learns he lied just to make her angry (he also got her fired, but that wasn't his intention - but too late to fix that problem) this could spark the fight that finally gets everything out in the open and sends him scrambling to the battle of the bands to retreat, feel miserable, and lick his wounds and her scrambling to the office to fix the mess and reclaim her high position which the rival douche was only too happy to step in and take - proving that he would never sacrifice himself for her. While in the board room - she sees her wounded hubby on tv in front of thousands of people, apologizing to her and loving her out loud for the world to see - and "light bulb clicks" she rushes out to do the rest of the stuff that you wrote. They lose the battle of the bands, but win each other - for the next hundred years we hope. [insert long, fulfilled sigh from the ladies and requisite eye roll (with silent, fulfilled sigh) from the men they dragged to see this flick].

Cue hollywood blockbuster.

the end.

I'm first in line for the DVD at Target and illegally uploading it to TV Shack for the masses to enjoy. j/k
 

I'm Alone, Cayzar's Original Draft

1 out of 2 people found the following review helpful:

I think this script has great potential

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 
June 11, 2011
I just finished reading this script and HAD to comment. I tend to be very long and detailed when I write things and I will try to spare you that, but there is just sooo much I want to say about this script -

I'd like to explain my ratings, which may seem low, but are actually quite honest and accurate in my opinion. The premise - while not new by any means - is still a good one. I like that this is a family film and there's no swearing and sex in it. That is a huge. mega fantastic plus for me as I am becoming disgusted with the crude, violent, sex driven drivel that Hollywood seems infatuated with these day and because of that I tend to enjoy watching movies that the entire family can watch. Now, just because it's a kid/family film doesn't mean that it can't deal with serious/mature themes which this one does - racism, family, how the actions of one family member effect the rest of them, love, freedom, wisdom, forgiveness, and change....so you have great marks for tackling an issue that resonates with every single family on the planet who is either struggling with the impact of interracial relationships, involved in an interracial relationship, or know someone who is dealing with it, or have very specific opinions about such relationships. I like that it's a drama and I think this premise could work well as a comedy, too.

Story structure - technically, this script needs a lot of work and I'm disappointed that you are not opening it up to a collaboration or some sort of peer review. It needs proper formatting of scenes, characters, onscreen and office screen action, etc. I don't think you have to write the word "continued" on every page. It's understood by the numbered pages that there is a progression from one page to the next. I also think you only need to write "cont'd" when part of one character's dialogue goes from one page to the next. You also need to make sure your pronouns are correct. Many times you referred to a woman as a man or a man as a woman. You also forgot Kathy's name in one scene and called her Ariana I think. And you went from calling Alvin "Alvin" to calling him "Mr. Alvin" or something like that because his granddad called him that. I think that if you reformat your script the right way with the proper way of noting actions, characters, and scenes/settings - you may actually have a longer script. I'm also not sure that there was as much tension and obstacle in your story as could've been. We do need to know more about Ariana and her late husband. We would ideally like to know why Mr. Walter is so racist and why racism came so easy to the boys and to Kathy. In other words - if this is modern day London - you would be hard-pressed make this story seem realistic when one can see so many interracial couples and children that it hardly makes sense to have it mean so much - unless there is a good reason. And we need to know that reason. We know it's modern because the kids are playing with high tech video games - so there needs to be some explanation and back story. Perhaps they could even be in a rural town where there aren't many blacks and what people hear of them is all negative per the news and papers, etc (which isn't that much of a stretch even in this modern day and age). Alvin seems very genteel for a young, hip, black kid - British or not. This is not a bad thing - it could be interesting. Did his mom raise him to be that way to combat black stereotypes? Was his father that way? And what kind of person is Ariana that she would defy her parents so? Did she really love Alvin's dad or marry him to spite her family or as a way to get away from her controlling father? All interesting questions.

The characters and dialogue wee good, but these characters are very shallowly written. They almost seem like caricatures - like you took a dozen typical characters from typical Hollywood films and threw them under one roof. The relationships have been established but not really explored. What is the relationship between these people? Why do they treat each other like strangers? Why are they so polite and stilted? I can tell by your choice of words that English is not your first language so I really, really commend you on creating a full script in English - and one that is actually compelling and worth developing further. The dialogue reads very Indian - it's very formal and structured and polite, but modern day English people living in London don't speak like this. This is where collaboration would help you in crafting realistic dialogue using modern vernacular, slang, cadence, and tempo. I want to know more about these white people - who are they when no one is watching? What do they all do for a living? How do other people in the neighborhood see them? We get a glimpse of how they see others - as unaccepting and judgmental. Why did Ariana's dad want her to leave her child in an orphanage? That's such a drastic ultimatum to give someone. Was he hurt by blacks? Rejected by a black woman in his past? Had his black love been brutally killed by whites or a white love been brutally hurt or killed by black? Is he a former skin head? Nazi? What? And why aren't his sons and daughters racist when his grandchildren are? The boy loves his mom, but what does he know of his dad? He carried a pic of his mom, but not his father. The kid is good at sports, but we never see him doing anything. Perhaps he plays football in the yard by himself becauseno one else will play with him. Perhaps he wins all the video games because no one will play with him. He seems to be very good at what he does.

The emotion is spot on in this script. I couldn't believe it, but I actually teared up in a few places. You got me emotionally right off the bat when they started treating the kid bad as soon as they saw him. I immediately connected to him and felt very sorry for his unfortunate plight as I could absolutely relate to it being black myself and having been exposed to that kind of blanket and baseless racism when I attended a school in a small town in the USA. I don't think that this would just be a good story for mixed-race kids. It's just a good story -period. Or it has the potential to be. I'm also working on a couple of pieces about interracial couples so this resonates with me because my focus is on the adults, not the children per se. Anyway - please work on this. It was such a quick and delightful read - you do need to work a lot though.

Tension, pacing, grammar, formatting/structure, character development, story - all this needs more. You have the beginning - you need the middle, and you have some parts of an end. Be careful of bubble gum endings though - this one wraps up too quickly and too neatly. Take some time. You have room to cut and tighten - especially the slow bits where it's just the same thing happening to the kid in the house over and over again. I think the two boys could be even worse. I'm not sure why Kathy is so antagonistic towards Alvin. And you really, really must explain or eliminate the whole "cousin brother" thing. I sounds strange and doesn't work at all. Nor when they call him "my son" or "my brother" or when he calls them "cousin aunties" "mother sisters" or something weird like that. It also kind of threw me when he called his evil, vicious granddad "cute."

I'm no expert or published writer, but I would love to work with you on this because it has potential, but please keep working on it. It really is something worth developing right!
 

Favorite Movies

The Mirror Has Two Faces, How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Corrina, Corrina, Sparkle,
Grease, Muriel's Wedding, I'm A Cyborg and That's Okay, Strictly Ballroom, Elizabeth,
Ten Things I Hate About You
 

Influences

Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Scorsese, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Harlequin Romance, Romantic Comedies, etc.