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Writer, comedian, criminal investigator, and Army veteran of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, tirelessly working to bring back such words as Jabroni and Home-skillet. MFA in Creative Writing.
 

Reviews Michael Has Written

The accelerated species, Obito's Original Draft

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

not a script

Overall Recommendation:
1 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
1 stars
 
Character:
1 stars
 
Dialogue:
1 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
February 13, 2018
Obito,
I want to give you a better, more constructive critique of the story itself, but I've first got to let you know that this is a mess. Congrats on writing a story and everything, but you've nothing that anyone can work with here, I'm sorry to tell you.

This is in no way even close to an acceptable format for a film script. You've got a narrative story here. You need a script and I have to tell you it's almost always better to write a script as a script, don't try to adapt from a narrative.

You've got two senses to work with in a script sight and sound. Anything you're giving that can't be reproduced with those two senses is taking space. It does no good to tell us what a character's feelings and thoughts and motivations are. If the audience can't see it or hear it, then it's meaningless.

Your premise is okay.

You've got a lot of grammar problems in there and the dialog is 90 percent nonsense. It is really hard to follow this thing, man.

I want to give you some good advice on how to improve that dialog, but it involves so many subtleties I don't really know how to articulate it. I guess I'll first warn you that fatter is not stronger. You typically want as few words in your dialog as you need (but don't go overboard with that and make it boring in the opposite direction.) You'll hear a lot of stuff about "believable" and "realistic" dialog but the truth is realistic is boring. You might try to exaggerate certain characteristics of your characters through their dialog (but don't do something gimmicky like writing out a weird accent). The problem with your dialog, aside from it not really seeming to move anything here is two-fold; first, it's just, frankly, not that interesting; and second, it's unrealistic because of the way you use the dialog to try to move everything through it. I know that might sound confusing, but what you're doing here is having the characters explain what they're doing and why they're doing it by stating it. No one talks like that and if we did, we'd all go insane. If I were to behave the way your characters do, someone would walk in to my office and ask me what I was doing right now, and I would tell them "Hi, Christopher. I am typing on my keyboard, for I am much involved in the writing of other people and relish the teaching of creative writing to my fellows. Also, I have some insecurities that I have not dealt with properly and so I sometimes write mean-sounding critiques when I am trying to help." it's too much information. I'm certain that you've heard something like 80% of our communication is non-verbal and I may further be confusing you because I said that you have to rely only on those two senses...and you don't want to overdescribe. Like I said, it's very subtle stuff. If you've ever heard of Hemingway's Iceberg theory, that's the way you have to write a script. Everything is underneath the surface. You've got to trust actors. They will interpret your characters. You put in some powerful dialog and they will interpret that character and find ways (probably real cool ways you never thought of) to express that character...and people just reading it are going to do the same thing. Every time I see a character's name in a script, I have some picture in my mind of who that character is, what they look like, how they act. You, as the writer, have to give me, the reader some guidance on how to develop that picture of that character, but still leave room for me to do it myself. The main thing is that I have to be interested enough in what's happening and what's being said that my mind makes the effort of visualizing.
 

House Mate's , Will's Original Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Bland, incomplete, and unnecessarily vulgar

Overall Recommendation:
1 stars
 
Premise:
1 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
December 27, 2017
I realize I'm not making a lot of friends here with many of these reviews, but it's hard honesty to help out. I like that you went with bold and real with the dialog here (I love the guts of it), but it really didn't work out. Really, it ends up just being a short story...you've got enough here for maybe an episode of a television show, nowhere near enough for feature length motion picture, but unfortunately that's the least of the worries. There's no story here. A trio of ass-clowns go out and show us why they're destined to a shitty existence. Your logline said something about the guys balancing love lives and careers and stuff. None of that is in here. It's just three jerks treating everyone around them like shit and giggling like idiots about it. They don't learn anything. They don't teach anyone anything. There's simply no point to any of it. There's no depth to any of the characters. The dialog is crass...and I'm the kind of person who can appreciate crass but it doesn't do anything for your story here. Who exactly would be the intended audience for this? I just don't know who would watch something like this. It could maybe work as a first act. The way things were (even then it would need to be cleaned up a little), and then you'd need a catalyst, something that causes a change and makes these guys react. There's just no story here the way it is. You take a risk offering something this vulgar up. There are people who appreciate adult comedy, sure, but it's got to be funny...and, this is just a suggestion, it needs to be professional. You've got to make up for that vulgarity somewhere. I think when you add the spelling and punctuation errors to the vulgarity, it makes people think it's just garbage. You have a lot of apostrophes where they don't belong. You put question marks at the ends of sentences that are not questions.

My suggestion...polish this up a little bit and condense it down to a ten or fifteen minute opening. Get a catalyst in there. Something that happens that changes everything. Make these characters react and get them moving. Think about what you want this thing to say, what you want it to mean to viewers. Usually a simple lesson in there, something like "don't treat people like shit or it will bite you in the ass" or "no one likes a 30 year old x-box playing drunken dipshit." (for the record, I'm a 37 year old playstation playing drunken dipshit). I don't know. One of these characters, if not all three need to grow. They need to do something and this story needs a beginning, middle, and end. Right now it ends on pretty much the same note it started.
 

Self Confession, Wayne's Original Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Enthusiasm in the effort, but unprofessional, unpolished, and unformatted

Overall Recommendation:
1 stars
 
Premise:
2 stars
 
Story structure:
1 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
1 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
December 26, 2017
Wayne,
I see that you've got ideas but this thing just isn't going to work. To start, it's not a script. You've got it written in a first person narrative. It's one thing to want someone to take a chance on your work, it's an entirely something else to ask them to do not only that, but to have to take it and write it themselves as well. An idea is great but (as I've told a few people here before) you can't sell something you don't have. You have an idea. You do not have a script. But fret not, an idea can, indeed, be made into a script.

Your premise is lacking, I believe. I don't really know what the premise is. "High School kid smokes pot, snorts coke, and plans a bank robbery." There's nothing really compelling about it. I'd recommend you go to irony. Think conflict. Sit down and write a logline before you do anything else with this. Sell this story in three or four sentences. Once you've done that, I think you'll have a better idea of what the underlying story is, what you want this thing to say, to teach, to mean.

Characters are shallow. A lot of that is just the pace. In your case here, you're just hashing this story out from one character's perspective. This is supposed to be a movie script. How are you getting these ideas on to the screen? Is this whole thing supposed to be a long line of dialog from your narrating character? If so, it's a REALLY bad idea.

You state up front that you're not going to go into the character's upbringing and then go into a big long thing about the character's upbringing. Don't really understand the "change the names thing" there either. Even if we kept this as narrative prose and ignored that it was supposed to be a script, you have a serious problem with tense...so bad that we can't understand what you're trying to say a lot of the time. When the character is talking about his upbringing, he mentions his brother. So we assume we're talking about the past, and the past as in a general sense of childhood, but then the character states his brother is 7 years old. Do you mean was seven years old at the time the character is talking about (which doesn't make a lot of sense since we're talking about a general space of time that seems to encompass several years) or is seven years now in the present time in which this story takes place? More importantly, does it even matter?

There's a lot in here that doesn't matter. Some people will say that it's a mistake to include anything that isn't necessary but I tend to disagree. You have to be careful with things that aren't necessary, but if your film was nothing but absolutely necessary information, you'd have little room to build character. Sometimes the things we don't intend to matter end up being the most compelling (think Star Wars characters like Boba Fett who was a nobody, little more than an extra and ended up being one of the most beloved characters). With that said, I don't feel that you put your unnecessary information to the best use. I just want you to think about that when/if you go back to revision on this and turn it into an actual script. Every scene has to have a purpose. It doesn't necessarily have to be essential to the main plot, but it has to have a good reason to exist.

Film scripts, far more than perhaps any other medium of writing, require adherence to a few rules of basic structure (there's always some wiggle room and some terrific things that can be done by stretching or breaking those rules....but you have to know those rules before you defy them and only do it with very good cause). If I were to take this and try to translate it to the screen, I'd be missing most of those arcs and essential plot points. That's really the problem, I think, with a lot of "true stories" and even more with fictitious stories that are written as if they were "true." There's a reason that Hollywood always stretches the truth. It's compelling storytelling (sometimes). Truth may be stranger than fiction but it's rarely as fun or glamorous. Over the years, people have figured out what works in film and stories are made to fit that structure. You've got to know it. Even if you want to set it on its end, you've got to know it first. Study film. Read other scripts. Grab some screenwriting books.

I'm not trying to be pretentious or stand up here all high and mighty. I'm just like you. A lowly dude who thinks he has what it takes to write a movie better than what's coming out of Hollywood these days. But in order to get there, we've got to beat them at their own game. No one is going to take up an idea when they have to do all the work (unless it's a DAMN compelling idea) so you've got a ways to go here, I'm afraid. But I hope you work through it because despite my two stars up there, I think most people could enjoy something like this if it's made to work. We like the lower class, downtrodden taking up the flag and sticking it to the man. The average, every day Joe digging deep and doing something crazy, even if it's illegal. There's a place for the idea, for sure. Just don't expect it to sell until you've done the hard work with the writing up front. A producer and director already have enough stuff to do making a movie (trust me, it's a lot more involved and difficult than it may appear) without having to figure out how they're going to get a script started.
 

Apex Predator, Venkatesh's Original Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

not a script

Overall Recommendation:
1 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
1 stars
 
Character:
1 stars
 
Dialogue:
1 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
December 15, 2017
This might be a cool idea for a film (I really couldn't even say), but this does not present any serious attempt to cast even the idea. This is not a movie script. It's an outline and it's not a very well written outline. I'm sorry, but it's part of the problem here and half-hearted submissions like this are part of the problem with the writing industry. Agents, publishers, even open submission sites such as this are burdened with people who have great ideas for a story or a film and either the idea is really not that great or they do not make the effort to present it professionally or logically. As a result, they have a hard time even getting to the stuff that has a chance of making it. I'm just offering some advice in the review and I really apologize if it comes off harsh or high-and-mighty, but bring this in. If you want to make something of it, then make something of it. Write it all. Format it properly. Review it. Have other people look at it. When you've got it in the best condition you could reasonably present it in, then submit it. Don't be too eager to get it out (a lot of us have made this mistake. Trust me. We're writers. Creators. We want to share our stories, our ideas.. and you should! but you can't expect anyone to pick something up that you didn't take the time to put forward completely). You can't sell something you don't have and it's a terrible waste of people's time to give them part of an idea.
 

The Sonata Chronicles: Fallen Star, William's Original Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Well written and interesting

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
December 15, 2017
Apologize up front because this is (mostly) a very well written script. It has some potential, I think, but it's a tall order.

I just don't know if the medium really works here. This would be a pretty decent novel (I'm guessing there is a novel here?) It could work on screen, but I just don't know that there's any incentive for a film maker. I'm not going to judge a script against money making blockbuster franchise films, but the reality is that this is what this particular type of script is competing against. This is written as a fairly large budget film. There has to be some incentive to get behind it. If it had a following already, I could see it going to screen. I just don't think there's enough pizazz or compelling and uniquely interesting content to drive that.

"Backlit canopy with holes punched in it" Do I get bonus points for recognizing Incubus lyrics?

Too much expression wasting space in the script "carries a burn that will be a new entry to the story of scars" "her eyes glow like backlit beads of sand in a kaleidoscope"

Also, backstory and description in the script that have no way to translate to the screen "The architects call these creatures Prometheans and consider them abominations."

These things are wasting space.

Opening scene - It's not really a grabber. It's a little difficult to articulate. Technically well written but just not that interesting. That might be a preference issue, though. I think it might just be more that there's no real idea of what it means, what the underlying conflict is. There used to be Meelah. Now there's no Meelah. Boy makes a wish and Meelah lands. Random monsters attack. Mysterious dude has a (way too long) conversation encouraging kid to act. None of it really seems to mean anything.

Don't really understand the tax revenue discussion (maybe it's exposition?) or why it jumps from a question of how they're going to increase revenue to a question about "the traitor."

The rest of that scene I thought was pretty good, actually. The powers of the emperor, the imposition of castration. Gives this the air of a classic and brutal court. Start to see some of what the stakes are.

Constant's explanation of why he keeps eunuchs is unnecessary. You might mention it briefly if it's interesting to you, use it to briefly show a product of his character, but nearly an entire page to explain it is just unnecessary and not terribly interesting exposition.

What's with the order of the random "Wanderers" visiting Najrih's tent? Extras are normally numbered in the order of appearance. I only see three of them. I don't understand why a #5 is listed or why #5 is the first one we meet. There's a #5, #2, and #6. No 1, 3, or 4. It makes me look back through the script wondering if I missed something. I assume there were at least 6 in the family that is mentioned at the beginning of the scene and stating that would explain this. It's just distracting the way it is.

The wanderer and his daughter attacking the guards and then asking to be spared makes no sense.

Gippa is dull. I'm sorry. His dialog is just droning. The worst kind of boring exposition.

The story itself, I wouldn't exactly call gripping and I think some suspense would serve it well. I hate to criticize something like this, but it's kind of mundane. It's just paced a little slow and all of the characters are just too familiar. The story is too familiar. All stories really are, but this is lacking that one big thing that makes us think or wonder. The effects and cinematography would be the big seller in this and like I said before, there would have to be incentive for a good film maker to throw some serious cash into this to bring it to life and separate it from a thousand other similar ideas. To me it just demands too much of the director, if that makes any sense.

I know that's a discouraging review and I think I'm just the first to weigh in. With all of that said, this was a lot of hard work and still something to be very proud of. It was an entertaining read and you, sir, are one heck of a writer. I'd like to see you succeed. I just don't know if this is the piece (at least in this medium) that's going to do it for you.
 

Fat Burner , Mark's Original Draft

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Funny and very well written

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
5 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
December 12, 2017
Mark, this is terrific! I love it.

Opening scene...a little too familiar and perhaps a bit crass, but pretty funny. Not THAT funny, but funny. Better, is that it gives us some idea of who the characters are (I don't mean an introduction, but an actual idea of behavior and personality).

Second scene scene location description (Generic city skyline) doesn't make a lot of sense. I see it's part of a montage, I think that's better as an action description than a scene location.

The jump to Lori and Dan as an obese couple...I don't know, maybe needs a better set up? We've all seen the hot girl who packed some pounds on after high school, but this kind of obesity seems more than a pace change or aging thing. These are dramatic changes in both characters' behavior. They go from being probably quite active and not obsessive eaters to all of a sudden a couple who both are stuffing their faces with chocolate and candy. It does get explained later (bravo). Having said that, this is irreverent comedy and suspension of disbelief is necessary and it's a pretty good contrast, role reversal to drive this story. I start to grow a little concern that the contrast is a little too familiar, though. Think Central Intelligence (Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart), Something About Mary, Just Friends

"I use words like fag and bitch and fat fag bitch.." I probably laughed harder than I should have at that.

The first interaction with Fat Joe is pretty damn funny, too "Inconsequential."

"You can't inject dairy into your bloodstream, you fucking idiot!" I laughed for 3 minutes straight. Oh my God.

Fat Joe's public shaming was an artful scene, I thought. A lot of suspense. A great emotive response from Dan. Tremendous conflict. I think it's the conflict that is most successful. Very artful piece, if it takes a minute to get into it and past the little twinges of PC that somehow have crept into our psyches.

Now the problem scene. Little Chico. His dialog is way too much. We don't need him spouting the graphic descriptions like that. I'd go just a little more subtle with that. Funny set up. Him losing his pants is perfect. Don't overdo it. Sex and kids and sexual assault and kids...it's already uncomfortable, which is part of the humor here, but I wouldn't make it as foul as you did here. Dan's response, though. Oh my God. That's good.

"Dan has evil intentions" doesn't do anything in your script. You're just explaining the dialog there. Have him do something to show the evil intentions.

Terrific. I need to see this on the screen. I'd work on the title, though.
 

Influences

George Lucas, Seth Macfarlane, the Wachowskis, J.J. Abrams, Trey Parker and Matt Stone