Overall Recommendation:
3.0 stars
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3 Stars:
100.0%
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2 Stars:
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1 Stars:
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Premise:
3.0 stars
(1)
 
Story structure:
1.0 stars
(1)
 
Character:
2.5 stars
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Dialogue:
2.0 stars
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Emotion:
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0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Amazing theme, but pathetic story.

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
No rating
 
Story structure:
No rating
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
No rating
 
Emotion:
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August 13, 2016
Alternate version.

Two astronauts wake up from their cryo sleep long after earth has been destroyed. They are now upon planet Tundra, a 20 Lightyear distant planet that could be habitable by humans. Everything is perfect but then they come across sirian, a god like entity....
 
0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Ambitious and thought provoking, but the story starts way too early...

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
1 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
January 28, 2012
Hi Jonathan,

I'm new to Amazon Studios, and my plan was review some of the projects that hadn't gained any traction. See if I could uncover some gems. I stumbled on yours, and it appealed, so I dove in only to realize that I was reading an old draft, and your project as a whole had seen a fair bit of action, and even been nominated for awards. Congratulations!

I now understand how AS works a little better, and your story had grabbed me enough for me to ditch the draft I was reading (6th I believe) and start again with your ninth.

You have a clean style, with very few, if any grammatical errors. Your story shows a lot of imagination, and more importantly, ambition, something that should be applauded and encouraged. I liked the Garden of Eden twist, and I think you crafted some funny banter, although as other reviewers have noted, it was largely inappropriate!

Let me now offer you some constructive criticism, though bear in mind I am a fellow amateur, so you can discard as much or little as you like.

> Structure and Story

Let me start with the biggie: you are starting your story way too early. The scenes on the mining planet and with the insurgents are irrelevant. They make no difference to your story. I don't think anyone would question why there is no co-pilot, but his absence is already covered by your dialogue on page 38:

VANCE
We had a co-pilot. He was detained on Teravaka.

SAM
Detained?

GARTH
It's a long story. You'll have to buy the book when it comes out.

That's all you need, if anything. We don't even need the scenes of the insurgency. If this were me, I would open with them waking up, finding Spaulding dead and discovering Sam as a stowaway. That's your inciting incident.

That then sets up a mystery you can use to drive the story forward to it's new act one turning point - crashing on the planet. I would also try to come up with a stronger reason for Sam wanting to stay with her father's body - something that directly affects the insurgency, so that the Arcadians are now in pursuit of them. Perhaps she smuggled some secret plans out inside his corpse?

That might also help solve another issue I had: I didn't like that the red 'God' entered their ship and forced them off track. I think Vance and Garth need to do something deliberate that leads to them crashing on the planet - it needs to be their decision, perhaps as a result of a character flaw.

Having the Arcadians in hot pursuit gives you options there, plus gives you more potential 'story' to cover the thirty pages you lost by starting with them waking up onboard :-)

I like the idea of these competing green and red 'gods', but they felt a little passive. Vance got a pretty raw deal just for staying on board the ship - 'he chose to stay' - but someone had to. It's hardly a sin. You're dealing with gods here, so you need to up the moral dilemmas, putting your three characters into impossible situations, where choosing evil seems appealing. You clearly like Vance and Garth, but you need to punish them - push them to breaking point. I've been in the same boat myself. It's hard, but they need to suffer!

> Dialogue and Exposition

I went back over some of the other reviews, and a common complaint is that your characters banter and flirt in the most inappropriate places, and that's still a big issue with this draft. The Captain's dead and the ship is about to crash, and they are flirting? Bad idea.

Sam is taken over by a god, and when she comes to and asks what happened, Garth replies "You don't want to know", and "I'll explain when we back to the ship." None of that rings true, and undermines the credibility of your story.

I realize you wanted to make them warm and likable, but it needs to be in context. Some of your dialogue felt like it came from a rom-com, not an ambitious sci-fi horror.

To your credit, you do write some funny dialogue, so you could probably throw some gallows humor in, but I think you definitely need to re-evaluate the tone in places.

Another thing I noticed is that Vance is Mr. Exposition. He asks a lot of questions, giving Garth a chance to reveal some backstory or exposition:

VANCE
So what's the deal?

GARTH
The planet is fairly small in diameter. The outer atmosphere is mostly a helium/hydrogen mix and cools rapidly within 30 klicks of the planet surface. Should be safe to pass through it.

VANCE gestures toward one of the monitors.

VANCE
What's this gibberish here?

GARTH
The probe assigns a coordinate system to unknown planets. For some reason, it's isolated this set of coordinates, maybe for landing. Could be just another glitch.

That feels very clumsy, and in reality, most, if not all of that exposition is unnecessary to your story.

> Writing Style

You have a habit of trying to do the director and editor's job for them. You need to lose all the references to cameras, close-ups, dissolves and "we see's" which take us out of the story you are trying to tell.

Similarly, you have various scenes of the ship flying through space. This again is someone else's job: the editor in this case. It's okay to do it once, but unless something is happening that directly affects the story, we don't need that scene again. In fact, any scene that doesn't move the story forward needs to go.

You also make reference to made up things like 'Omnipotent POV' and 'Time Compression Sequence'… I figured out what you meant, but it feels amateurish. You need to use your action lines to describe what you mean - not invent new technical terms.

Finally, you over-describe at times:

INT. THE GALLEY.

The crew is seated at a round table, drinking hot beverages. A tray lies in the center of the table with remnants of food on it. Various kitchen appliances are situated in the background.

All we need is that first sentence. The rest of it has no effect on your story.

> Recommendations

Your story reminded me of some other things I'd read and seen. In particular I would urge you to find a copy of 'Passengers' by Jon Spaihts, one of the best unproduced screenplays I've ever read:

"A spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant planet has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he wakes up a second passenger that he's fallen in love with."

If you haven't read them, I would also recommend the 'Rendezvous with Rama' series of books by Arthur C Clarke, about some humans exploring a vast, abandoned spaceship, plus his short story 'Breaking Strain': two men survive a crash, but their spaceship only has enough oxygen for one of them to last till they are picked up.

Finally, I'm assuming you've seen it, but 'Event Horizon' has some similarities to your story.

> Conclusion

I've given you a lot to chew on here, and I as mentioned at the beginning, I'm just a fellow amateur offering an opinion, but I think there is some good stuff in here worth pursuing. I think the key is to figure out your theme, and then make sure everything else hangs off that. Tonally, you're a little all over the place at the moment, so you need to focus in on what exactly you are trying to say with this story, and then discard anything that doesn't support that. There is some definite skill and imagination on display, so I look forward to seeing this project develop.

Best of luck,

Karl
 

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