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Submitted Work

Movie Projects

Scripts

Title Average Rating Downloads Date
Created

America's Ben Franklin in: The Electrocution String Chad's 1st Draft (Script 92)

No rating
29 01/31/12

About

EDUCATION:

*BA in Theatre
*USC School of Cinematic Arts summer program

"What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.”
-Eleanor Powell
 

Reviews Chad Has Written

The Tales of Carnigan and Yul: Disgrace Before the Pyre, Brandon's 2nd Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Brilliant characters steal the plot

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
February 05, 2012
You have great characters and an awesome fantasy world established here, but to me the story gets lost in the dialogue and structure.

Look more closely at your inciting incident, where is it and what is it? Could it happen a lot sooner? Get Diana together with Carnigan and Yul within the first 20 pages. A plot point that requires them to get her from point A to point B. Maybe at first they take her along on whim, but are soon wrapped up into the action, something they cannot simply walk away from. Janus discovers they are helping her, and maybe they do walk away at first and are hunted by his people anyway? They are left with no choice but to protect her and see her to safety. The higher the conflict and stakes, the better.

Name all your small parts. Some character flavor, even just in the name, helps enrich everything else. Even just ‘Fat Bandit’ ‘Skuzzy Bandit’ or something. It also will make the read a lot faster if the reader can distinguish between characters.

These characters will soar when the adventure starts like the strike of a match and keeps going until it burns our fingers. Our focus is on the flame (Carnigan, Yul, and Diana) so the climax can/should be both surprising and mind blowing. These two guys are probably the most unlikely pair to protect Diana and save the world from evil. I wanted to see them thrown into that right off the bat, the story being an unstoppable rollercoaster with Carnigan and Yul there for the ride, throwing around banter and pointless conversations in the middle of life/world threatening circumstances. They continually get by purely on luck, instinct, and fighting skills. The main characters can have a different pacing than the overall plot, but the plot cannot stop for their conversations/arguments.

What if Diana is part of the same lineage as Janus, maybe even his daughter? He has no choice but to hunt her down?

Also in terms of the screenwriting format, be careful of density. The goal is to have as much white as possible showing and still vividly portray the story at hand. There are instances where the descriptions get heavy. I still think that’s the hardest part of screenwriting, presenting the pictures you want to present in as few words as is possible. No small task. Think of action in terms of the shot, something we can see. Trust that with the story you're telling, there are enough clues for the actors to figure out the character's motivations and gestures.

I think there is a great story in here Brandon. Find the arc and take the characters you've created on a wild journey. There is room for something that looks like a mainstream film, but has a flair and perspective we rarely see. That's where your story is and I think that's how you can craft something that will be both marketable and distinctly unique.
 

OASIS, randall's 13th Draft

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Quench my thirst

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
January 25, 2012
First off, sorry about the delay in your review, things got busy over here!

The overall premise of the story is an interesting one and something that I think you can refine even further. In regards to the storytelling, with the shifts from character to character, I kept asking myself: who’s story is this? Is it Matu’s, Fity’s, Ahab’s? It seems to lack one central character we see the story through and that we can really care about. If your intention is not one character, but the team, ala Ocean’s 11, we still need a ‘Danny Ocean’ stand out in the group. I’m not sure who to root for, other than wanting the team to survive.

I would have liked to see the team ‘set up’ more. Images to associate with each character will be stronger than the voice over as they travel across the desert. There is a good chance for back story to happen there. The motivation for them accepting this project could be stronger as well. Maybe they all receive invitations or a personal pitch, something that leads them all to sign up. Is there a way to make each character’s expertise and part in the mission more concise and clear? One is a photographer, there to document the expedition (maybe this is our main character, as we are seeing it through his lens?). With so many crews failing, maybe Ahab has turned this into a game of cat and mouse, first one to retrieve the objective gets a boatload of money. Halfway through, maybe we learn that. Each member of the team thinks they are the only ones who have that information. Everyone has been playing this off, that they’re doing it for the sake of science and discovery. Suddenly, they realize they’ve been duped and it’s an all out battle to the finish. Maybe the whole thing is a psychological experiment orchestrated by Ahab. He played himself off as a wealthy benefactor who can’t make the scientific discoveries himself because of his condition. Then behind the scenes, he’s the mad scientist watching as human nature and primal instincts take over. Jurassic Park in the desert, if Hammond had planned the whole thing.

Give names to minor characters like the nomads in the beginning. It brings clarity and in my opinion always makes for a more interesting script when every character gets some development, even if that means just calling him Raul or something. When I see for instance, Cheerleader 3, I have an automatic assumption that this character isn’t important. I think other readers tend to do the same, even if just on a subconscious level. When you have a group of people/extras, such as Crowd or Soldiers, that’s different, but I’d name anyone that has lines or falls into the narrative arc in some fashion. In some cases, maybe it’s just a descriptive element, say for instance SCRAWNY NOMAD.

In terms of characters dying, I think something has to happen to set things in motion so that the deaths are not so abrupt. The characters have to discover something or know that now this mission is going to be a fight for survival. H.S. is killed off fairly suddenly, as are some of the other characters. As it stands now, I’m not too concerned when they die and the other character’s are not all that changed by it either. I think there is something to be said about the idea of madness in the desert, that as they struggle with the environment, they also struggle with their own sanity. And perhaps this madness is what has the snakes, scorpions, and monkeys attacking.

As the story goes on, the characters should start to get more clues, unravel the plot of what is really happening to them. That they are not just facing the perils of the desert, but are in a Bermuda Triangle environment, where the dangers are not just worldly, but something beyond. They see the old dying team member with the same outfit on and don’t question it too much. With the set up you have right now, there isn’t much drive for them to finish the mission. They have lost all communications, people are dying, the biggest obstacle should be getting out of the desert alive. As a result, the third act isn’t as satisfying as one would like. The creature is interesting, but it could be the difference between an audience gasping and an audience rolling their eyes, depending on how it’s filmed and plays out. Therefore, I think the creature can’t be the focus here. It has to be about the fact that Ahab has placed them in a desert labyrinth to coax out his monster and the characters are all on to that by the third act. There is a real struggle for the main character/s to get out alive, expose Ahab, get their documented materials into the right hands.

I think your biggest struggle here will be science vs. action. We need a reason why the Sahara has become a sort of Twilight Zone where creatures attack en masse and bizarre things happen. If it is because of the meteors, then how can that become a forefront idea? There is a lot of exposition to go through, however, I think your audience for this film is going to want an action/adventure movie. If I have any overall advice, it would be to continue crafting your set up, so that the plot can unravel mainly in action rather than dialogue. That characters go through a personal arc relating to the situations at hand. There are some great ideas and characters here. Refining them both will bring out your story and give us something to really root for. Great work, keep going!
 

Lamalif,The Toad Skin Hat, Abdelouahab's 3rd Draft

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Lost in Translation

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
1 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
January 16, 2012
There are a lot of cultural themes playing here, to me, this script reads like a story that should definitely be told in the original language and subtitled in English. It would add a mystique and level of interest and authenticity that I don’t feel you’ll get in English. The dialogue is very stiff and lacks imagery, how can the story be told in pictures rather than words? How can you show rather than tell? I had a hard time following the story due to the large number of characters. Which ones are important and essential for the story? Could those characters take on the information being given by minor characters? What exposition is essential to the story? How can you simplify?

There are some very interesting ideas contained in the script, but overall the story needs further development. You should strive to never have more than four or five sentences in a paragraph of description. Limit your scene descriptions to what is essential, how might we be able to assess what El Mesnouba is like in only a sentence or two? The same concept applies throughout the story. The hardest aspect of screenwriting is presenting a picture in as few words as possible. If this were a novel, that would be different, but a screenplay is a blueprint, a bare bones telling of the story to be fleshed out by the filmmakers. There are a lot of cool fantasy elements in the script, but without the proper format and story structure, they get lost in exposition and dialogue.

I would strongly recommend checking out some books on the screenplay format, telling a story with this wide of a scope is difficult in film because we have to be able to get to know the characters and truly care about them in order for a story of size to play well.

Here are some great books on the art of screenwriting:

Syd Field - All of his books are great, but especially 'Screenplay'
Blake Snyder - Save the Cat
The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script by Dave Trottier
How Not to Write a Screenplay: 101 Common Mistakes Most Screenwriters Make by Denny Martin Flinn

I haven't read this one, but along the lines of A Hero With A Thousand Faces, this might help with the type of story you are writing: The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler

I hope this helps and gives some direction for your story.
 

Highclimber, Rocky's 2nd Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Sending up Timber

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
January 15, 2012
I always feel that reviews should start out with a disclaimer, because the last thing I want to do is discourage a writer or a reader for that matter.

James Earl Jones once said to me, the only good advice is not to take anyone else's.


Highclimber is a well written script that creates a distinct atmosphere and holds a well conceived sense of time and place.

I feel that overall, this is great material, but the story is too densely written for the screenplay format. How can the descriptions be presented in more concise manner, offering clear pictures in few words? It’s the most difficult action of screenwriting, creating a solid story in blueprint format. Keep what is essential to the storytelling, cut everything else. I know that’s easier said than done and something I definitely struggle with, but I think it will greatly enhance this script. There are some great scenes with punch, but also those that remain flat due to exposition and story structure.

For instance, everything leading up to the departure of Pete and John, how can all that exposition be shortened or presented in a manner that pulls us deeper into the story? You have a lot of things happening here at the story’s opening, what if they all pulled together into a tighter hook? One that leads us to believe that the only real choice John has is to get on that train.

Maybe this is achieved by amplifying the differences between Pete and John. Pete’s kind of a wise ass, he seems to get by on gumption/balls and a quick intellect. Maybe he blows into town, wanted for some crime or another, something he swears was not his fault. He hides out in the old barn and tails John in town, watching him closely.

John’s circumstances are effective, but perhaps not severe enough to warrant him following his lying brother on what might seem to him a fool’s errand. Maybe Chicago isn’t an option for him? He could be at a place where with the loss of land, there is nothing going for him. Maybe the house and barn have been repossessed or the profits of the auction will barely go to cover their debt. John’s situation has to be do or die. Maybe he is having troubles in his marriage or his wife has died in childbirth. He is in the throws of grief and let the farm go to pot. If so, maybe this is what brings Pete back, his sister in law’s death. When John is alone, he confronts him, the brothers fight out their feelings. John blames Pete for his own downfall. With John so far in debt, Pete knows that his get rich timber scheme is John’s only shot.

Perhaps keeping the pregnancy story, John makes love to Nora the night before he leaves and while he is away she is desperately working herself to the bone to keep afloat. Maybe they don’t have kids and they have been praying for one, suddenly she is pregnant and alone, but can’t afford to stop working, so she keeps the pregnancy a secret as long as she can.

Play up the concept that they are in essence working for the competition and stealing the knowledge they need to run their own operation. That this has to be a secret, because if Boss figures out what they’re trying to do, who knows what he’ll do, run them out of town at the very least. This is a powerful man, making a lot of money by being the only supply for the demand and he’ll do everything in his power to keep it that way.

How can there be a greater balance between situation and character? John and Pete, as well as the supporting players are well developed, but I would have liked to connect with them more. Maybe by punching up how ‘fish out of water’ John is here. He makes every mistake in the book and we see all his frustrations in being the low man on the totem pole. He has to be good and learn fast if he wants to pay off his debts before they come due.

The scene where Pete says ‘h-o-r-n-y’ when he’s asked how yearning is spelled, is great stuff. Even as the stakes of the story increase, I think there’s a lot more humor to be found in the situations John and Pete are in.

There are a lot of opportunities in here for greater set ups and pay offs. A good recipe, but too much of the same ingredients. Cut it down and spice it up with a greater emotional life for John/Pete. Add action/adventure to taste. Greater clarity and simplicity will polish this script into a fantastic read.
 

The Mustache, Charter's Original Draft

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Stubble - The first 15 pgs

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
January 12, 2012
Note that this is a review of the first 15 pages only and therefore is focused on hook and set-up.

All good reviews should start with a few simple points:

James Earl Jones once said to me, the only good advice is not to take anyone else's.

In terms of writing or any other collaborative medium, we are often faced with constructive criticisms in excess. Taking on the advice of others can, in my experience, become a slippery slope. First of all, this is your script, not mine or anyone else's. Second, everyone approaches life differently, with a distinctive set of cultural and personal experiences. Therefore, I think as writers (or actors or directors for that matter) we have to discover a way to honestly and earnestly evaluate our evaluators. In essence, take the notes given and craft the material in our own way. It might mean taking bits and pieces of what was said, simply retaining an idea, or completely ignoring the whole thing. Criticism in all shapes and forms kindles the embers, it starts our wheels turning with a fresh perspective, which can become a spark of new ideas and a screenplay that burns with creativity or speaking with personal experience, one we just burn.

I first noticed this script through premise wars, the idea stood out in terms of potential laughs.

The elements to get your premise charged and running are here. I think if the execution of these elements is adjusted, the results will be much more powerful and get us deeper into the story and characters right off the bat.

There is something to be said for getting in late and getting out early and I think you can put that to good use here.

The medical solution pulls me out of the story before it can really begin, the dirty rotten scoundrels reference made me chuckle, but seemed out of place. The dramatic focus here is on the mother and her attempts to keep this problem from ruining her son's life. Shifting that focus to Joe may help us begin to identify and get to know him before we even see him as an adult. What if we just see the birth of the baby and that precious moment when the new mother holds him. This is no ordinary baby, the mother gasps at his stache. This might be followed by a scene of the proud parents giving him a bath in the sink, but then we realize, it's not a bath at all, they're giving him a shave. Then we might see Joe a little older, another classic moment where a father teaches his son how to shave. The difference here, is that Joe isn't using a plastic superhero razor, he’s got the real thing. Get the little pieces of toilet paper ready, Joe's going to need them. Then what if we see Joe in grade school feeling the stubble on his lip. He's suddenly skipping lunch/recess so he can go to the bathroom and secretly shave. It's clear this has become a real embarrassment for him and something that is already turning him into a shy introverted sort of guy. When he gets to the bathroom that morning as an adult, it has become pure ritual. We have seen him perform this exactly the same way since he was just a little boy. He fills the sink, puts the shaving cream on a certain way, get his razor ready...except this time he stops. He wipes the cream away and puts down the razor.

It’s interesting he has such a domineering wife, but I’m not sure she is domineering in the right way. She's too much like a guy. Perhaps there is a way for her to dominate him that’s more in tune to a woman? She could put him down all the time and insult his manhood to an extreme. As written, a lot of your audience, ‘the hangover’ guy crowd, may not identify with a male character that isn’t taking part and even enjoying a lot of what Portia is doing or offering to do for him here. The décor of the house, the wild morning sex, most guys might consider this the perfect situation!

The scene with the gardener has a great chance to be both comedic, as well as further display how once again Joe is being dominated. The more we see him being put down and stomped on, the higher the stakes will be. What if this were one moment of a montage of put downs that begin to wear on Joe. He goes to get the paper and the lawn looks like the Malcolm in the Middle house. He confronts the gardener, tries to politely tell him that he doesn't like the service he is receiving. The gardener throws it back in his face, rattling off the stresses in his life. Then we're back inside and he's trying to open a jar of jam for his toast. He can't do it. He sets it down and Portia opens it without much effort.

Greg is a Zach Galifianakis/Jonah Hill kind of guy. What if they referred to him as a dog for a while before we actually see him? Portia tells Joe to ‘make sure he feeds Greg‘, the gardener says that ‘Greg's been pissing on the lawn again‘. Tons of payoff once we find out that Greg is a full grown man. He can be the antithesis of Joe. He's a manly Neanderthal, full of hair where Joe has none, as we've seen in the earlier bed scene.

Joe doesn't respond or react to all these smack downs in a verbal way, but it all leads him not to take a razor to his lip that morning. He has been driven to the point where he's thinking, f-this, I don't have to hide my masculinity anymore. This is who I am.
 

It's a Long Way to Tipperary, Glenn J.'s Original Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

My Heart's Right There.

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
January 10, 2012
1st review on AmazonStudios for me!

All good reviews should start with a few simple points:

James Earl Jones once said to me, the only good advice is not to take anyone else's.

In terms of writing or any other collaborative medium, we are often faced with constructive criticisms in excess. Taking on the advice of others can, in my experience, become a slippery slope. First of all, this is your script, not mine or anyone else's. Second, everyone approaches life differently, with a distinctive set of cultural and personal experiences. Therefore, I think as writers (or actors or directors for that matter) we have to discover a way to honestly and earnestly evaluate our evaluators. In essence, take the notes given and craft the material in our own way. It might mean taking bits and pieces of what was said, retaining simply an idea, or completely ignoring the whole thing. Criticism in all shapes and forms kindles the embers, it starts our wheels turning with a fresh perspective, which can become a spark of new ideas and a screenplay that burns with creativity or one that we simply just burn.

So with that out of the way,

Could the beginning have a bigger build up to revealing Arthur? Maybe strange things start happening around Paddy, like a curse. Bad luck for having buried a Jewish man there. Paddy may not even be aware of any of it, only the audience.

Along those lines, it would be interesting if the surprises were bigger in the beginning. That the set-up isn’t revealed in the bar. That we’re not sure why this dead man is there or coming after him.

In the scene where Paddy is mowing the cemetery and discovers the body is gone, maybe he has an mp3 player on or gets distracted and the lawn mower falls into the open grave?

The whole scene where Arthur comes in the storm to Paddy, maybe that all plays out seriously, horror movie material, which is then broken by a laugh line where Arthur says something to Paddy that breaks that tension. And then we have a little of that exposition - the premise of him burying a Jewish man.
pg 14 - Maybe I read it wrong, but shouldn’t it read that Arthur slams Paddy into the wall?

Sometimes when I read a line I also ‘hear‘ it being played out and get the sense that it would play better in a different order, rhythm. This one struck me: page 16 - What if it read instead:

Father Patrick: Paddy, did you under any circumstances get involved with a Ouija board?
Paddy: I don’t think so
FP: Palm reading?
P: No
FP: Harry Potter?
P: Of course not!
FP: Yoga?
Paddy gives him a ‘do I look like I do yoga’ look
And then either leave it at that or pick a few more from that next listing FP has.

For Reader’s ease, once a character is identified stick with calling them only by name in the description, so Paddy rather than gravedigger.

How might the dynamic change if Paddy is younger? Maybe grave digging is his community service work for some bad behavior in his past? Maybe he learns how to become a man by helping a dead one?

Can Arthur be more crotchety, to the point of being ridiculous? Not mean necessarily, I’m thinking Bette White on Hot in Cleveland, as in he’s always getting his jabs in at Paddy and other characters.

I like the mystery of it, the discovery of who this man is and what‘s happened to him. Could that be bigger and build more? So that there is an unraveling that gets increasingly tense as the story goes on?

Going back to the idea about a younger Paddy, what if on the plane Paddy sits next to someone he find really attractive, or maybe the stewardess? Arthur ruins it somehow and makes a comment that ‘we’ can’t have any distractions.

That’s another interesting thought, what if Arthur constantly referred to anything he wants Paddy to do for him as “we”. We need to go to America, we need to bury me, we need to save my soul. So that there is not only a physical attachment, but a verbal one as well.

What’s great about your set-up is that you have a character that can give you the next clue in your mystery without it being campy or out of place. So once something makes sense and they figure it out, it triggers the next clue for Arthur, and piece by piece they put it back together. I also love the ’good deed’ you get a cookie (a memory) concept. I think if Arthur is more crotchety, then that would work even more so. Like the more he is with Paddy, the more he starts rubbing off on him, accidentally doing good deeds.

This might sound extreme, but what if it’s just Paddy and Arthur that go to America? Suddenly then it really is just this one guy by himself with a dead man, stuck in this awful mess, fish out of water, and also the only person that can help Arthur resolve his past so that he can be laid to rest. I think it would up the stakes significantly and I’m not sure that the other characters need to be there. Meanwhile maybe Sean and Father Patrick are unraveling the murder in Ireland and relaying what they learn to Paddy.

Another little line suggestion, how about: Why do I have new car smell?

At the gun show down with Seymour, what if Arthur remembers the clause in the will earlier in the story and suddenly they realize, ‘hey if they killed me, what’s to stop them from offing Maria to get the rest of the money?‘ So suddenly, Arthur MUST find this daughter he’s never met before his cheating ex-wife and business partner kill her.

What if there is a scene where Arthur kind of gives up? They save Maria and there’s just not enough time to get him to be buried. But Paddy is like ‘hell no, you didn’t drag me halfway around the world to give up.’
So it becomes a mad rush against the clock, the sun is starting to set and they’re speeding down the highway in a dinky rental car. They actually make it though, it’s a miracle. Then the Rabbi is like 102 and extremely slow in the ceremony, Arthur and Paddy have to speed him up.

And then there is a realization as the ceremony continues that they’ve been going going going. Paddy has been wanting rid of him the whole film and now he’s feeling a sense of what a loss this will be to him to have Arthur leave. Maybe Paddy never had a father and so by going on this journey, he’s discovered what that’s like and Arthur has had the chance to be like a father to Paddy where he wasn’t able to in life with Maria. If Paddy is younger and Maria is the same age, what if this becomes a passing of the torch. That Arthur makes Paddy promise to take care of Maria and in doing so gives his blessing for a romance that will begin between Paddy and Maria after the script’s fade out? That this is his last returning memory, that all this time it wasn’t even ABOUT getting him to Tipperary, it was about ensuring that Paddy and Maria would meet. And to add another layer to the script, what if her name is Molly, as in the song?

I really enjoyed your script, I think you have a killer premise ( no pun intended). I’d love to see another draft at some point to see where you end up going with this. I think it’s a solid start and that you have a wonderful foundation to build upon. It’s like Weekend at Bernie’s meets Ghost Dad meets Night of the Living Dead!

Good luck in the future and anxious to see how things progress.
 

Favorite Movies

Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, Roman Holiday, Public Enemy, All About Eve, The Princess Bride, Singin' in the Rain, Jack Ryan series, The Bourne series, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, Casino Royale, MI:III, Closer, Blade Runner, Funny Girl
 

Influences

Billy Wilder, Ben Hecht, William Goldman, Paul Schrader, Robert Benton, David Mamet, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Ernest Lehman, Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio
 

Following

46 People