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glancing review

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
No rating
 
Story structure:
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Character:
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Dialogue:
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Emotion:
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August 29, 2011
Okay. Here's some first reactions after reading the premise and synopsis. First, the premise needs work. At this time, I don't have a suggestion to improve it, but will come up with something as I get into the script.

Second, the synopsis made me think the story's opening would/might work better as a suspense with mystery. So, I started reading from page 13, when Abby "runs as fast as she can" through the woods. I'm pretty sure this will change the overall story, but I wanted to experience it from this angle. Obviously, you would add more fear and "damages" to the girl's exposition and lengthen the amount of time she runs through the woods before she falls, unconscious.

Now, the story questions throughout the E.R. scenes would be one of "solving the mystery", i.e. why is this girl speechless, terrified, running barefoot through the woods? And, I love the little reveal of "Why's Abby here?" to release that tension. And, there's new tensions as they can't contact the parents and drive out to the house and see all the mystery surrounding previous activities.

Okay. So. I'm on page 29. And, I'm still thinking about the opening - how long do you stay away from Abby's suspense? You definitely need to build tension between Niner and Carly. The character of T.J. must remain, not just for later exposition but because it reveals a piece of Niner's character. Namely, as I saw it, an abuse of his suspended authority.

So, shorten the interactions. Or, have Abby in-frame, waiting to be seen. Another thought is to have the Mabrys carry Abby in and draw Carly's attention to that interaction. Meanwhile, Niner's still trying to "get to her." Definitely, don't need to be in the Suture room (but, the exposition of that scene needs to remain somehow.)

I love the sequence where Carly tells Niner, "I'm headed to [Abby's house]." Niner stops her, "There's something you must know." Carly: "What's that?" Niner: "My car's that way." Great humor.

My suggestion for when Niner tells Carly the whole Raul incident is to show this. I'm seeing it as I'm reading. The way it's written to be shown on-screen, the viewer will just see "talking heads." Of course, the director may also get this and know the sequence needs to be shown with Niner/Carly doing voice-over (or intercuts) to make it work.

When Trent draws down on Niner, I'd like an action indicator about when/how Niner quits playing drunk. At first, I thought Niner "sobered up" when he lit a cigarette and offered Trent one. I'm also not sure when Trent realized Niner knew Abby's whereabouts.

Okay. Page 40. And, not knowing the first 12 pages of your script has some interesting consequences. First, some confusion about Niner and Trent's relationship. but, it's entertaining to think one way and receive bits that change my perception. Second, a new character (Bobby) is introduced. Not sure how he fits into all this. Again, very intriguing to receive bits of exposition in this manner. Finally, it appears Niner is an accomplice to Trent (and the incident at Abby's house) in some fashion. Very exciting and suspenseful to have the story revealed in this manner - not sure who, ultimately, are good and who are bad.

A few words about some exposition I expected in the script based on a paragraph of the synopsis:
"After Trent arrives at the scene, he [...] proclaims that he was forced to help murder Abby's family by two men. Two men who are seeking revenge for the deaths of six family members. Niner convinces Trent to turn himself in and divulge the names of the others involved. He and Niner drive to the hospital to meet with the lead detective on the case."

Totally, did not find any exposition about "Two men who are seeking revenge..." or "Niner convinces Trent to turn himself in..."

I was thinking you could use bits of the 12-page opening (the part I glanced over) as video over the TV report. Show the "white-picket fence dream of little girls riding horses." Possibly, in the form of home videos, yeah?

Yes. more nice reveals "Abby ingested ambitropin ... administered by Trent." Really amps up the tension, by not being shown (from your original 12 pages) what actually happened, yet.

(more to come)

by the way, I like to write reviews in real-time, while I'm reading the script.
 

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