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Scripts

Title Average Rating Downloads Date
Created

The Conference Matthew's Original Draft (Script 1)

4.1 stars
(8)
25 08/21/11

About

Hi, folks. I've been receiving a number of requests to review scripts over the last few months. I am happy to do it, as it is something I truly enjoy! However, things have been very busy here at Adult Swim HQ and I simply have not had the time to devote to it. I hope to free myself up in the new year and I look forward to checking out your work. Happy holidays! Now on to my little tiny bio:

I have been working in the entertainment industry for over 15 years, with extensive experience on the development side of the business as well as on the production side. Today, I am a writer for a major cable broadcasting company. I like ketchup-flavored potato chips.
 

Reviews Matthew Has Written

THE EVIL, Anthony 's 2nd Draft

2 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Witches' Brew Needs More Ingredients

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
October 05, 2011
THE EVIL tells the story of two generations of witches in battle with a demon of darkness. We have three teenage girls -- the daughters of witches -- and an older coven of priestesses who sort of look out for the girls after their mothers' untimely deaths. And then there's the demon, who will come to claim main character WICCA on her 18th birthday. The stage is set with some very interesting elements, but I think the writer needs to develop them a bit more to get this script where it needs to go.

Ultimately the story does not have the heft of a feature film. I think the key relationship that the writer needs to explore is the one between WICCA and her demon/guardian, JAKE. Witch movies (THE CRAFT) and films about demonic possession (too many to count) are familiar territory, but I don't think I've seen a film that really explores the relationship between a human and a supernatural/demonic creature. Actually, I take that back. I would encourage this writer to track down an independent movie called LO, also called THE DEMON LO. It's a really interesting movie about a man who is trying to get his girlfriend back from a demon. What this movie does really well: it shows the differences between the way a human thinks/interacts and the way a demon does it.

My point is, when reading this script, I felt like I wanted to know more about Jake. He is extremely reactionary throughout the events of the story, and not very forthcoming with information. He almost has no personality at all. But he's lived with Wicca since she was a child, they obviously have a history together. What would a lifelong relationship with a demon do to a person, in particular a teenage girl? I don't feel like there was much insight here, but there is plenty of dramatic potential.

Regarding Jake, I did very much like the twist at the end. It is sort of implied that Jake is the evil demon in disguise, but as it turns out, he is actually another entity altogether. If the writer does some more character development for Jake, there is additional opportunity to play around further with the audience's expectations. I believe the "is he or isn't he?" question could be a real driving force in the narrative.

In addition to Jake, I'd like to see a little more time spent with the three young girls: WICCA, SALEM and ZORAIDA. What has it been like for them to grow up as the daughters of witches? (And dead ones, no less?) They seem very accepting of the lifestyle, but what has it brought them, for good or ill? Is there conflict in their relationships with each other? Other than Wicca's demon possession problem (a big one, admittedly) very little seems to be at stake here.

Another film I would encourage the writer to look at is one of my absolute favorites of the last few years: DRAG ME TO HELL. This movie does an excellent job of depicting both the horror and the humor of a demonic possession. It might inspire the writer to think harder about the effects of this experience on someone's life.

In the end, there's something missing from this script. It just doesn't have the weight or resonance that it could have. Part of the problem may be its length. The writer needs to look at the descriptive sections of the script; nearly every direction is given its own line. This isn't just a formatting issue. It is artificially adding to the script's page count. If all the descriptions were collapsed, I suspect this script would be a lot shorter.

(On another technical note, there are many spelling errors and typos. For example, one walks with a "cane" and not a "cain". Some copyediting is needed here.)

These critiques are meant to encourage, not discourage. There are some unique things happening in this script, and I encourage the writer to play up those elements as much as possible. One final recommendation is PRACTICAL DEMON-KEEPING, Christopher Moore's first novel. An otherwise ordinary story can become extraordinary via a creator's unique voice or point-of-view. I think that's what I felt lacking in THE EVIL, and that's what the writer really needs to delve into. "What is my story about, and what is its point-of-view?" It's not always easy, but it can be very rewarding. Good luck!
 

The Aberration, Bard's Original Draft

1 out of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Scary Monsters in a Cool Setting

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
September 26, 2011
According to the cover page on THE ABERRATION, it is based on one of the writer's short stories. This makes sense to me, as the script very much feels like an episode of a horror anthology series along the lines of TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE or Showtime's MASTERS OF HORROR. There are a lot of things to like in THE ABERRATION, but my primary quibble with the story is that is does not feel worthy of a feature. It maintains a pretty straightforward narrative throughout, with very few twists and turns. If the writer chooses to cut this down to a one-hour featurette, I think it could be great. But as it stands, I feel the story needs more substance to give it the weight of a feature film.

First of all, the good stuff: the flour mill setting is unique and compelling. I don't think I've seen that before. The writer can exploit this further, with specific details about the singular attributes of a mill, such as the machinery. As it currently stands, the reader does not learn much about what makes this setting unique, other than the mill is very large and very loud. More details here would be great and would probably add a lot to the overall story. In general, when reading, I did not get a very good feel for the "cinematic geography" -- in terms of the mill's layout, how big the rooms are, where things are in relationship to one another. The writer gives us many scary details, but would be advised to add more practical details to help the reader really "see" the space.

Also, the creatures in the story are really awesome. I especially loved the floating, faceless "Others" with their detached malevolence. Very, very creepy and well done. I think the writer builds them up a little bit too long after the first body is found; I would love to see their details hinted at sooner. I think this would give their first full appearance (outside the mill, in the mist) that much more impact. But everything about these creeps feels different and scary.

Regarding the mist, I felt this was a bit too similar to Stephen King's THE MIST (film based on the novella of the same name). Bizarre creatures that manifest from an impenetrable fog is something we've seen before and I think it would behoove the writer to come up with something that distinguishes the threat here.

With so much careful attention given to the creatures, I felt the humans to be somewhat lacking. We have two good protagonists in GUY and MICHAEL, but their coworkers did not have the same heft for me. First of all, would there only be 6 or 7 people working in a mill of this size? I couldn't help wondering why there were not more employees around, especially janitors and so forth. Frankly, I don't know much about how flour mills are run, offering another opportunity for the writer to provide some specific details here.

Ultimately, the supporting cast is strong but I did not feel like they were interacting like coworkers who have been suddenly thrust into a life-altering crisis situation. Even though these people have formal relationships with each other, they obviously have history, and very little is aired out here. Other than Guy's obvious contempt for these people, we don't really get to see what these folks are like underneath their professional personas. They are also very quick to take Guy's word at face value and don't appear to have any natural inquisitiveness about the supernatural goings-on.

Finally, the reveal (SPOILER ALERT) that all of this seems to be happening in Guy's mind is a bit difficult to swallow. For example, we learn that Guy kills Michael and Fran in the end, but prior to that, Michael and Fran left Guy on the stairs. Obviously, Guy went after them, but the internal logic of the script does not support this. Clearly, Guy is doing some horrible things when he is having his hallucinations, but I was left feeling confused about how he actually pulls this off.

Perhaps the writer could make Guy a more sympathetic character at the outset. He is fairly callous and a bit of a jerk throughout the entire script, so it is difficult to care much about him. Even Michael, the script's most sympathetic character, isn't very likable as he is so passive during much of the story. I was also left wondering how Guy triggers the explosion at the mill. Was this done on purpose or purely a by-product of the terrible things he did? I think it's okay if it is left ambiguous whether the explosion is purposeful or an accident, but it would be nice to know what actually caused the explosion (a gunshot? an unattended machine?) because it is the central event of the story's opening and conclusion.

In closing, I really liked the overall unsettling tone of this script, and the originality of its creatures and setting. The script is fairly short, so there is plenty of room here for the writer to add supporting details to truly deepen the narrative. Nice job and good luck!
 

Return of the B Girls, B.'s Original Draft

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Oozes Sex And Style!

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
September 22, 2011
RETURN OF THE B GIRLS is simply brimming with personality, whip-smart dialogue and dynamite ideas. The whole script, especially the first half, is an absolute pleasure to read and a sexy good time. It's not just an homage to the films it clearly strives to emulate (Tarantino, Russ Meyer, gonzo sexploitation movies) but also stands on its own as a testament to how wild and original a story can be when a writer puts the pedal to the floor and just goes for it. A lot of care and craftsmanship went into this script, and it shows. Really well done.

At the same time, there is certainly room for some improvement. As other reviewers have mentioned, the script is long, and I didn’t really feel like the story being told justifies its length. Sometimes, less really is more. I would love to see this writer sharpen the narrative until it is razor-sharp. Like many of our fellow Americans, the script feels a bit thick in the middle. I felt the story’s momentum wane once Madison and Bud flee to the Big City. I wonder if this section could be truncated to keep the majority of the action in and around Small Town.

There are also some narrative threads that don’t seem to have much payoff. For example, the gardener episode, which is truly entertaining but does not really contribute to the script’s overall plot. Another example is Kohler, a fun character whose menace remains so remote as to essentially be relegated to the background. I wonder if he is really necessary at all. Though it is hard to leave great scenes and characters on the “cutting room floor” I do believe that the script needs to reach the meat of its story much faster.

Regarding this point, I like that Dr. Honey Jones’ true motives remain fairly ambiguous until the end, but I think the audience needs to know a little bit more about her up front. She can be vague about her methods without masking her ambitions. “When the world sees what we have done here, all men will bow to my will,” etc. As it stands, the hidden fortress, the female army, the scientific experiments…it doesn’t really gel because we don’t have much of an idea what Dr. Jones is really up to.

In terms of villains, Honey Jones is fantastic as there is a lot to both love and hate in equal measure. I was left feeling torn about the titular “B Girls”. For one thing, they appear in the script’s title but do not contribute much to the story. (Is “B Girls” simply a pun for “Bee Girls”?) We are first introduced to them as eye candy for Bud’s music video, and we like them, but then they later assume the roles of villainous enforcers. I felt this was a little disingenuous on the writer’s part. If we’re not supposed to be on their side, I would not include the B Girls in the music video scene at all.

And if the B Girls are really going to appear in the title, I think they need to have a more central role throughout the story. (Not just at the beginning and at the end.) For instance, one of the best fight scenes in the script – Vivi’s throwdown with the Gentech receptionist – should probably feature one of the B Girls instead. This receptionist character comes out of nowhere and suddenly gets one of the best scenes? (Try again, bitch.) This felt like a missed opportunity.

My final note has to do with tone, which is always one of the hardest things to manage. There is no doubt that this is an over-the-top script that presents a version of reality that is clearly exaggerated. Yet at the same time, it often feels quite grounded. On the one hand, the script has a decidedly broad “comic book” vibe – on the other, a gritty, “Pulp Fiction” kind of feel. This is a tricky line to walk and it’s also very hard to articulate where it breaks down. I would give this as an example: why name the settings “Small Town” and “Big City” when real cities would do just fine? The generic names contribute to the story’s comic book feel. And it is often much better to use specifics when writing, as opposed to broad generalities.

Ultimately this script needs refinement and the suggestions that I have are largely reductive. There is so much good stuff here and I don’t want to downplay that. A few nitpicks: many people associate the name “Kohler” with sinks, toilets and bathtubs. You might want to come up with an alternate name for this company. Also, what happened to the giant bee swarm at the end of the story? Is this resolved? I had to re-read the ending to see if I missed it. Is there just a giant bee swarm out in the world, now? Lastly, there are a number of plural nouns that contain an apostrophe by mistake. A quick check for those should be easy to fix.

Look, I hope my admiration for this script is clear. Yes, it wears its inspirations on its sleeve, but it’s also wholly original and extremely cool. I wish you luck with it!
 

HIDE, matt's Original Draft

2 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Solid Crime Thriller

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
September 19, 2011
HIDE is an excellent example of the "serial killer" sub-genre of crime stories. The premise -- the hunt for a serial killer of serial killers -- is a good one. Unfortunately, I could not get Showtime's DEXTER out of my head while reading. Granted, DEXTER is told from the killer's perspective, and not from law enforcement's. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but feel like DEXTER beat HIDE to the punch in this regard.

However, if we admit that there are no more original stories, but rather, only original ways to tell them, then HIDE gets the job done. The writer takes a very workmanlike approach weaving the narrative, and it totally suits the material. A procedural style for a procedural tale of cops and killers.

I really don't have many quibbles with the story. The revelation at its conclusion makes (logical) sense, though it feels somewhat out of left field, not to mention a little hackneyed. (HE WAS THE KILLER ALL ALONG!) Some echoes of Tyler Durden here. I don't mind it, but I would suggest planting the seeds for this a little earlier to prevent eye-rolling from the audience. In any case, the ending probably needs to be handled a little more gently to avoid a total loss of story credibility.

You have a good character in LB. Likable, but flawed. Perhaps in over his head. And since he is also (SPOILER ALERT) a killer, a bit of an unreliable narrator. I would use this to your advantage. Plant things in his "normal" life that seemingly have no rhyme or reason. Perhaps make him question his own sanity. I cannot believe that, even if he has a profound personality disorder, that some of his experiences as a killer would not bleed over into his regular existence. (There I go with the puns again.)

Another missed opportunity is LB's promotion to sheriff at the beginning of the story. I would play this up more. You have one scene in which LB visits with the recently-retired sheriff for counsel, but other than that, he seems to be operating under "business as usual". Perhaps there is a scandal that the media is trying to uncover. Perhaps he is really questioning his ability to lead. These are just suggestions, but I think having LB question his new role would add further depth to his character.

I really liked the relationship between LB and Mendoza. This was handled nicely. And the supporting cast of characters was also good. I did not have a problem distinguishing between them, as is too often the case when juggling a B-cast. However, I did have a question: why is Powell a federal officer working with the Flagstaff Sheriff's office? I didn't get this. It may need further explanation.

On the whole I would say that this is a very well-crafted script, the one exception being the ending. Take a look again and make sure you have really earned this kind of out-of-the-blue bombshell. For this reader, it just didn't seem to jibe with the rest of the story.

On a technical note, you also need to make sure that your American characters are not using UK diction, such as "whilst". You may even want to purge the entirety of the script for UK spelling of words like "tyre". Just a suggestion. It doesn't matter in terms of stage direction but it certainly matters when it comes to dialogue.

That's about it. A very nice job. Felt very much like SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and its ilk. If that was what you were going for, you succeeded!
 

Impaler's Gold, Corinne's Original Draft

1 out of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Swashbuckling, Draculesti Style!

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
September 16, 2011
IMPALER'S GOLD is refreshingly original, while still landing squarely among classic period adventures like THE THREE MUSKETEERS or Disney's "Pirates" movies. The same light-hearted, swashbuckling tone courses through this script as it does in those films.

However, what sets this story apart is its much darker undertones, particularly as they relate to the script's antagonist, Vlad. This is a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon how you look at it. A tale of high adventure set against a backdrop of impaled corpses is a great start, but who is the audience for this story? On the one hand, there is too much dark imagery here for a family picture. On the other hand, the tone is not nearly dark enough or saucy enough for an audience expecting a horror-themed adventure or something along the lines of YOUR HIGHNESS. The script definitely falls in the middling space between, and from a writing standpoint, I'd like to see the tone lean more strongly one way or the other. Is this a family adventure with scares? Or is this a raunchy, graphic story for young adults and grown-ups? I am leaning towards suggesting the former, which would require the reining in of some of the violence in the story.

With that out of the way, I will applaud the writer on creating two really appealing protagonists, ANTONIO and FILIP. They are a great duo and pump a lot of life into this script. Their witty exchanges remind me of some of the best buddy action/comedies, like 48 HRS. or MIDNIGHT RUN. This is no small feat, so kudos. I was rooting for them the whole time. I'd like to know more about their history. Where they met, previous adventures, etc. This aspect was missing amid the otherwise clever dialogue.

The supporting cast, on the other hand, is okay but could use some more refinement. As I have seen in other scripts on AS, side characters tend to become problematic when dealing with more than two or three at a time. It becomes hard to differentiate them without lapsing into pure caricature. I would recommend leaving one or two of these guys behind, or relegating them to the sidelines.

As for the heist, the set-up is nice. I love the idea of a treasure that's hid in plain sight, just taunting Vlad's enemies to steal it. I have no idea if this is rooted in any kind of reality or folklore, but it's great. However, I think to sustain the narrative, that cup has to be REALLY special. As the story unfolded, I began to have a hard time believing that our heroes would find it worth the trouble after a while. (Even Filip tries to convince Antonio as much.) Perhaps the cup is infused with magic powers, a la a Holy Grail or Fountain of Youth. Or maybe it is just valuable beyond all measure. Something to make it a really worthy target. Even the secondary excuse, to wound Vlad's ego, doesn't really hold water. No pun intended.

I think the biggest challenge this writer has to face is figuring out how to sustain this story to its end. I really felt the narrative momentum begin to dissipate about halfway through the adventure, with the story's focus kind of lost. Though the secondary plot to rescue Felix could be beefed up into a nice "B" story, overall I felt that the latter half of this script was lacking in conflict. Perhaps this is also due to the fact that everyone's motives began to become quite hazy, especially once Oana reveals that she is Vlad's daughter? In general, I'd like to see higher stakes. (Again, NO PUN INTENDED.)

Finally, there are some fundamental formatting issues with this script, including font and margins. Obviously, margins, font and font size affect the length of your screenplay. I suspect this one might be a bit too long once properly formatted. (Not for eligibility; I mean long in terms of its content.) In addition, many of the descriptive passages are simply too detailed for your purposes. Some careful editing here will also help trim the script down.

Ultimately, this script wins major points for originality and charm despite its other issues. I would like to encourage this writer to keep working on this story and really nail down its target audience. There is something here that you don't see/read every day. Well done!
 

PEACE OF CAKE, Karon's 2nd Draft

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

A Coming Home Story with Heart.

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
September 12, 2011
PEACE OF CAKE follows the story of three generations of women from Woodstock, NY. IRIS, the elder, runs a hippie bakery in the artsy community. MARILANE, her daughter, is the aging prom queen dying from cancer. SARAH, our protagonist, is recently widowed and expecting her first child. This melange of life experience sets the stage for the light-hearted drama that unfolds.

Since I am unquestionably a dude, I can safely assume that I am not the target audience for this script. Nevertheless, I can easily recognize that based on premise alone, PEACE OF CAKE is hitting all the right notes. The three central characters here are well-realized, each very different, and play off one another in a nice way. There is an undeniable "character chemistry" here that works. And the theme -- that life rarely turns out like you expected it to -- is a good one that buoys the narrative along.

However, there is room for improvement here. The three main characters do a lot of talking, often saying what they are feeling in a way that, in the context of a movie, feels clumsy. "I just lost my husband, don't you know this is hard for me???" etc. I feel strongly that human emotion is often conveyed better through action than words, AKA "show don't tell". The writer should think seriously about trimming some of the TALKING and come up with some other ways that the audience can learn about these women and their relationships. Also, in real life, rarely do people state exactly what they mean, as many of the characters do here.

Another issue is tone. A handful of secondary characters -- specifically the New Age "twins" and the brothers that hang around the bake shop -- are a bit slapstick and feel somewhat out of place, lending a "sitcom" vibe to an otherwise very realistic drama. As a reader, they took me out of the experience. Perhaps they are meant to offer comic relief, and that's a good thing, but they seem to be written for a different movie.

Lastly, I had some questions that I think the writer may want to touch upon. We learn, through Sarah's explanation, that she has decided to return home because of her dead husband's wishes. This is a fine revelation but I could not help the feeling that a lot more was obviously going on in Sarah's head. What really drives her to leave her life in New York behind to return to Woodstock? At that point, she didn’t even know her mother was sick. I found it hard to believe that she would be willing to make this trip based on her behavior once she arrives.

Also, I was left wanting to know more about the relationship between Iris and Sarah. If Marilane really didn't want Sarah when she was born, did Iris step in at all? How is it that they seem so close yet there is such a divide between Sarah and Marilane? What happened there? It's very interesting to think that Iris is constantly trapped in this balancing act between her daughter and her granddaughter. Some more "hippie" wisdom here would also be great.

Oh, regarding dying characters: this is often a dramatic cheat. Audiences eat it up, so who am I to judge, but...I really don't like dying characters. It adds an air of cheap sentimentality, not to mention a built in ticking clock, that is often unnecessary. What does Marilane's imminent death really add to this story? I like the fact that she is sick, mind you. She's the former beauty queen dealing with her own mortality, and that's good. But why does she have to be dying? Perhaps it is just my desire to see Sarah and Marilane truly reconcile, something they don't ever really get to do.

So, I enjoyed this script. I loved the bittersweet ending. There's a strong foundation here and I'd like to see the story reach its full potential. Good luck with it!

(Final technical note: the word "suppose" is often used when it should be "supposed". As in, "What am I supposed to do?")
 

Favorite Movies

Clash of the Titans (1981), Drag Me to Hell, The Game
 

Influences

Chuck Jones, Robert Altman, Danny Boyle
 

Following

0 Projects

10 People

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