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Writing: http://www.visualwriter.com
Movie Insider: http://www.moviestreamproduct...
Producer STL Comedy https://www.youtube.com/watch... http://www.dionsenigmas.com
Twitter: DS_Cole
Facebook: Dorian Cole (Look for same picture on left of this page)
 
 
 
 

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About

Author: How to Write a Screenplay
Author: Writers Workshop Script Doctor (no longer in print)
Author: http://www.visualwriter.com
Critiques, analysis, development: National Writers Workshop (defunct since 1995)
Script workshops (development and staged presentations)
Movie reviews on visualwriter.com
 

Reviews Dorian Has Written

Behind the Mirror, Pilot Script 2 - Plans Changed Revised

4 stars
Good start. I do focus groups. Over the top. I agree with LX and Daniel. This could be a series, but needs more. Reminds me of TV show Go ON. Need help, just ask.
October 31, 2012

Video Shoot, randy's 2nd Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Someone to hate. Someone to love (?)

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
August 23, 2011
I enjoyed Video Shoot. I like the concept of the band and haunted mansion - it's a captivating twist on haunted mansion movies. The reviews have also been informative.

I liked the characterization of the band members - the totally self-absorbed people that you just love to hate. The ending seemed very fitting for them.

I liked the Napoleon / Nina relationship. I think this should be further developed - they fell into it too easily, although they are a good fit. Need a little back story on Nina. Is her selection of victims predicated by her fascination with self-absorbed and uncaring people? We get readings from her diary and the servant book - what was Nina like?

I like the way the vampires materialized (somewhat like ghosts). The guitar head was novel.

There are a number of areas that I think could be improved.

This is clearly an NC-17 story, with the graphic descriptions of violence and sex. I would recommend pulling this back to R for a larger audience. You can suggest many things without being so graphic. I'm not very familiar with NC-17 stories, so I won't comment further on this aspect.

Standard formatting would help. It's a long read and I think needs reformatted to get a more accurate picture, and then cut. Horror movies more typically run around 90+ pages.

The American stage builders seemed like an odd thing to interject, as did the references to Napoleon's heritage. Consider just dropping these plot points from the story line. What if some of the photography crew left instead - there are a lot of people in this story.

The town folk seemed like an appendage to the story, not fully integrated..., not a plot point, although the size of the police force was relevant. But I think it should be more evident that the police were simply afraid, while not wanting the publicity.

In several places the action text was telling what a character was thinking, and I didn't see these as useful to production or reading. These are lines that could be cut.

Some reviewers have said that there was no protagonist to like (identify with) in this story. I would like to see either one of the towns people, or one of the groupies (Chloe), or crew, or the manager be that person that you don't want to see hurt and barely manages to escape. This would raise the stakes and the anticipation. I think the crew in the servant's quarters should not be hurt - we didn't love or hate them - maybe they get threatened if they insist on spending the night in the mansion and then they decide not to do it again.

Anticipation (suspense) is big part of horror. Horror develops anticipation in at least two important ways. One, we suspect there is a danger from the start, we're looking for it, and it is a danger to everyone. Two, each person comes into danger, comes under attack, and then tries to escape - they run. This causes conflict (anxiety) of much longer duration. These characters quickly came under danger and then were quickly attacked and died.

So, for your next rewrite I recommend eliminating the unnecessary people and text, giving us someone to love that will be in danger but escape, to raise the stakes and maybe even actively fight against the vampire, use the conflict between band members to isolate them and push them into harms way, and integrate the different story elements more.

Good story - would like to see it. A couple of classic horror movies good for reference are Hitchcock's Psycho, and Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte. Good luck with it. - Dorian
 

Cassie, Randy's 2nd Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Great concept - needs work.

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
August 17, 2011
Randy, I like your premise. It has relevance that would attract an audience.

I think the story has a decent flow to it so that things develop in order, and logically.

The characters develop and change throughout the story, which is very good.

In this story, a precipitating crisis (old lovers show up) causes the characters to reflect deeply on their lives and the path their lives have taken. This is good major turning point early in the story.

There are several areas where I think it can be improved.

Overall the plot is too easy. I don't see the characters torn by the reappearance of their lovers; they just easily glide right into it. Their current relationship is bad so they have an easy vehicle for change and move on. It would be much more relevant and interesting if there was more conflict in this aspect. What if Flynn and Annie really did love each other, or at least one did? What if everyone was telling them that their old fling was just infatutuation, not the basis of a mature relationship? Then they have a much steeper dramatic arc to climb.

There is no balance between dramatic action and physical action. This basically was talk therapy. In most of the scenes there is very little physical action. If you need a formula to shoot for, think of a demonstrative physical action taking place every 3 to 5 pieces of dialogue. (Of course you shouldn't write by formulas - it's just a device to get started.) Basically the physical action needs to reveal the character's inner state.

Especially what needs to be shown is pivotal events that cause the character to examine his life more deeply. For example, when Flynn is lying in bed and all of his old girl friends show up, I didn't see this coming. The drama didn't lead to it. What triggered this? Did he look in a box of old pictures or through his old high school album? Why did he look in that box - to look at pictures of Olivia to prove to others that he actually dated her?

I'm not sure what demographic you are shooting for, but this is currently a chick flick. The relevance scale is tilted heavily toward the drama genre and relationships. It could also be adjusted for a more general audience, and a romantic comedy (although comedy is hard to write and depends a lot on actors and delivery.) You would have much more of a winner with romantic comedy.

Note that my reviews are always a little harsher than others - I've rated hundreds and judge on what is needed to get to market.

I think you have a good start on a good story, and I think you can do a lot with it. Good luck!

- Dorian
 

Touching Blue, Scott's Original Draft

6 out of 9 people found the following review helpful:

Good story - needs cut

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
July 25, 2011
Cut, cut, cut.

I really enjoyed reading Touching Blue. Like me, you write too long.

Less backstory. We've already seen a lot of movies with kids being taken into captivity. Focus more on the thriller part.

More foreshadowing - build suspense - let us know from the beginning and all along the trail that something is going to happen and that we shouldn't trust anyone.

The guy who can tell who is telling the truth - use him more as a subplot, such as, in the end he indicates someone is lying before he dies - can't talk, raises a finger, building more mystery and suspense.

Only show us once - if you are repeating what has already been characterized or portrayed, take it back out.

My reviews are harsh - take them with a grain of salt - or scotch. :)

Makings of a good movie. :)

- Dorian
 

The Faders, Heidi's Original Draft

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Tense gritty thriller, excellent writing

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
May 22, 2011
This is a script with commercial potential.

Very good writing. Tense. Good pacing. Excellent gritty, realistic scenes. Full of action. Captivating thriller. Great characterization. compelling characters and situations. Good read.

Very good job of portraying an very abusive person who is also very bipolar, and the people and settings in the drug and prostitution community. Your scenes and characters sparkle with life.

Three criticisms:

1) The opening scenes lack passion. Part of the reason is, it's unclear exactly who Kristen is. Was she a neighbor, a friend, her doctor? So:
P1: Ansel needs to say, "Oh, God, Kristen," so we know they are related.
P 2: Instead of "Guilt. It's your middle name.", it could say, "Guilt. You would tell a client it wasn't their fault - they did all they could." Reply, "She was our daughter!" So we know exactly who she was.
At P 88, we see fully what Ansel did to Kristen. Very good writing and unraveling of the story.

Another reason it lacks passion in the first scenes is because we don't see motivation. We don't see Ansel suffering and making this decision to leave. It's not compelling. This is an early decision point for the character, and we need to feel it. Basically it needs to be a page or two longer here and dwell on his suffering and how it has destroyed him.

2) It's a bit predictable. In any thriller, we're along for the ride, and we already know the antagonist is going to come after the protagonist and other victims - it's a given. I challenge you to make it a bit less predictable. Having said that, the plot is actually very good, and passable. But I think if you add an element of total shocking surprise in the plot, it will have much more impact. I recommend one more rewrite.

3) I recommend working a bit more on character voice. Honey's character dialogue sometimes sounds like an average person, then often uneducated. It should be consistent. Excellent job though with the dialog showing her high on drugs.

It needs some cutting - good luck on hard choices. I would cut a little from the middle, and reformat so the actual length is more apparent.

Good characterization with Terence showing him in a manic phase. And nice job portraying psychological conditions and medications realistically and not distorting them. You will probably have to take the actual drug names out.

P 11: Good struggle scene between Ansel and Terence. Prior to P 11, this is set up well by the Dr.'s actions with other patients. There were a lot of good setups in the story, like getting the kitten. The kitten was used very effectively.

P 18: Excellent plot point - Ansel sees resemblence.

P 20: Good dramatic tension with Ansel helpless and Honey walking out.

P 31, 32 Good action conflict scenes.

Hotel scene - very realistic setting and action

P 42: Good plot point, them back together, and realistic
P: 51 Another great plot point - conflict between drugs and creativity.
P: 55 Another good plot point - very realistic struggles

The characters really drive the plot in this story. I think you have a winner with this screenplay. Good luck with it!
 

The Forgotten War, Anthony's 5th Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Really good story

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 
April 28, 2011
This story about the meaning of family is a nicely woven drama that takes the audience through the conflicts of maturing young adults and the problems of maturing adults.

Good opening - tense - captivating

Dialogue is very tight and focused. Would be difficult to improve much.

Characters stand out - vividly drawn, and very realistic in their attitudes. We know exactly who they are from the dramatic action, and there is growth and change in all of them.

Plot: It's a slice of life movie with a plot that explores the meaning and depth of family relationships. It unwinds at a steady pace as we learn about each character through the dramatic action. The questions hang in the air, "What will happen with Allison - will Jim relent?" and "What is Abe all about and how long will he last?" Abe, the lump of carbon made diamond, impacts them all. For a slice of life story, which often get very existential in meaning, the plot is reasonably well developed, but it loses interest for me by P 56, and lasts until P 71. I'm following people's lives during that time with no idea why. I'm very sensitive to plotting and what is pulling me, or not pulling me, through the story.

I recommend working on ~ P 50 - 71, and make that part more relevant to the plot.

There are a few short, unnecessary scenes, with no payoff:
"INT. COPELAND HOUSE - DAY
Mark stands at the front window. He watches his parent’s car
pull into the driveway and park. " So what?

(O.S.) usually goes beside the name.

P 32 Nice twist Allison being there, obviously facilitated by Mark; Abe is compliant.

P 52 Signed Allison - great plot point.

P 56 I'm wondering where this is going. Losing interest.

P 65 I'm wondering where this is going. Losing interest.

P 71 Gets to the point.

Good ending. Satisfying resolution without straining.
 

Favorite Movies

Fiddler On the Roof
TimeCop
Stargate
Dead Again
Total Recall
The Mummy
It's A Wonderful Life
Fried Green Tomatoes
Men In Black
They Call Me Trinity
Amadeus
Groundhog Day
Mask
Mr. Destiny
The Fifth Element
Scrooged
Mr. Holland's Opus
 

Influences

Character/plot driven stories that are unique, such as the writers of Christmas Vacation, Mask, and Scrooged.
Director Richard Donner (Scrooged, Lethal Weapon series) gets it right every time.
 

Following

10 People