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Movie Projects


Title Average Rating Downloads Date

Paradise J.'s 3rd Draft (Script 3)

2.7 stars
16 11/03/11

Paradise J.'s 2nd Draft (Script 2)

No rating
7 10/04/11

Paradise J.'s Original Draft (Script 1)

5.0 stars
12 09/19/11


My name's John O. Booker and I live in St. Louis, Mo. Paradise is my first screenplay. Thanks to Keith Baker who told me about Amazon Studios. And thanks to Gary Dragan Milin, Michael Ezell, and Lee Matthias who took time from their busy schedules to answer all of my emails and for their advice.


Reviews J. Has Written

A Champagne Wedding On A Beer Budget, Aled's 2nd Draft

2 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:


Overall Recommendation:
2 stars
2 stars
Story structure:
2 stars
1 stars
1 stars
1 stars
January 06, 2012


The story is about 2 families from opposite rungs of the social ladder and how a wedding, that’s anything but smooth, brings them together. I’d like to say that there’s a twist to this well-worn if not worn-out formula but I can’t. It is what it is, only the names are different. A lily-white, suburban, well-mannered script if ever there was one, friendly to everyone and offensive to no one. Not that a comedy has to be vulgar or sarcastic, but with so much going on in here and for it to be a comedy about 2 clashing cultures in a wedding you’d think there’d be more class conflicts--let alone bad language--but unfortunately this script is unrealistically wholesome.


The best word to describe the characters in this script is forced, as in, these characters seem too cartoonishly dumb to take seriously. I understand that this is a comedy but in order for it to be funny it has to seem honest. The comedy should rise out of the situations and not out of the characters, which is what is happening here.

Things I like about this script:

• Almost to a fault, there’s hardly any profanity or anything obscene or otherwise offensive
• It’s formatted very well
• Very few grammatical and spelling errors
• Very few interrupters such as cut tos, flashbacks, etc.

Things I dislike about this script:

Too many camera directions like these from page 77 and 78:
• (As if we are watching a time-lapse, we see SNIPPETS of the clutter and disarray of Grandma Jenny’s farm TRANSFORM into a halfway decent space)

• Almost in SLOW MOTION, we see the trajectories of the rounds. Andrew misses pathetically and hits a patch of leaves high above the deer.

Too many fancy similes
• P. 74: As melodramatic as a soap opera star in an emotional scene - Dianna is sitting in her living room SOBBING her eyes out. She is wearing all black, BUNDLED UP as if she were at a funeral (you could just say that she’s sobbing her eyes out and contrast this against the situation she’s doing this in to describe her instead of using an untranslatable description that’s better suited to literature).

• P.113: The pool has been RENOVATED and looks great! Also, there are FLOATING LILLIES on the water. It looks majestic and beautiful.


Do away with similes and excessive adjectives.


a SILENCE falls over the entire room, as if a record scratched in the jukebox (this does nothing to spice up what’s actually going on)
Ron sits SCOWLING like a wounded animal
P. 25: In the kitchen, Grandma Taylor PULLS a STEAMING TRAY OF delicious looking LASAGNA out of the oven (take “delicious looking” off and just say LASAGNA).

• You spend too much time explaining things that can’t be shown. For example, a woman says hi to a guy named Bill on p. 15 and you mention that the guy is uncomfortable around a beautiful woman. OK, how about expressing this fact in this encounter instead of narrating it. If this were a movie, how would I know that Bill is uncomfortable around beautiful women?
• Too many camera directions, too many “we sees,” too many distractions. Stick to the story and leave the directing to the director and his/ her cinematographer.
• Description of Sal’s diner on p. 12: The parking lot and tables inside are clearly hangouts for Good Ol’ Boys (really? Instead of trying to characterize the place, why not just give a simple description and get on with the story).
• Personally, for a comedy I think 115 pages, which would translate to a 2 hour film, is too long.
• Not once did I laugh while reading this script. Part of the reason is that it’s trying too hard to make everything and everybody funny.

Below is another camera direction I didn’t like. You’d do better to stick with telling the story rather than telling the director and musical composer how to do his/her job:

Mixed shots - no words, just music: (please take this out!)
Ron RUNS down the street to his work truck, which he had
stashed a few blocks away...
...Ron calls Wayne, who ANSWERS while LOOKING in the mirror,
CHECKING his waistline and putting the finishing touches on
his SLICKED BACK hair. Wayne is putting more effort into his
appearance than Miranda was!...
...Wayne RUNS out to his truck - still muddy from the farm.
He has a funny run..
...Ron PULLS into his driveway, parks and RUNS INSIDE, peeling off his work clothes...

More camera directions: “FREEZE FRAME ON THEM SMILING - TRANSITION THE IMAGE INTO A PHOTO FRAME.” (again, leave this stuff to the director or cinematographer. It’s annoying as hell)

Cut out some characters to make it easier to focus on the main characters who seem a little undercooked

To sum up my thoughts, I think this is a decent lighthearted script. I stop short of calling it a good script because it isn’t really funny. There are no surprises in this script, nothing that feels original and not borrowed from someplace else. I saw the ending from a mile away, unfortunately. This is what I’d call a spoiler-proof script because the ending is an anticlimax, very very disappointing considering the difficult journey. In fact, the main problem of this script is that it’s been done so many times that everything about it is very boring including all of the characters. I had to drag myself through this one to be honest. The characters are too over-the-top, too conscious of being “characters,” trying too hard to be funny. Paring 20-25 pages from this script would make this dull trip less dull, but dull nevertheless. One hundred fifteen pages is an acceptable range for something more elaborate like sci fi or whatever. Comedy is tricky but I’ll say that I prefer funny situations over “funny” characters. Funny characters are hard to pull off but when they do work I think it’s because they find themselves in situations that make them (the characters) funny. Here, the situations just aren’t funny. But making it shorter will improve it a lot. As far as making this script funny I can’t say other than to say that it’s simply too derivative, too politically correct, and too safe for me. Mechanically, this script moves and feels like a robot-- flawless formatting, grammar, spelling, etc., but empty and devoid of life, of magic. Revise and add more conflict to make it more realistic.

Merciless, Rohit's Original Draft

2 out of 2 people found the following review helpful:

Too much bread; not enough meat!

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
1 stars
Story structure:
1 stars
1 stars
1 stars
1 stars
December 13, 2011

There’s so much happening in this story that trying to pin down what it’s about is a challenge. Merciless, like Frankenstein's the monster, is a conglomeration of a thousand disparate elements. This isn't a good thing, either. More on this later.


The structure of this story is scalloped, chopped, diced, and pummeled to death by a barrage of gimmicks such as camera directions, slow mos, etc, that do nothing to enhance the story or its characters; in fact, all these gimmicks left me feeling cold and detached. Here’s a few numbers I tallied:

• Cut tos--57
• Back tos--44
• Flashbacks--23
• Present day sequences—17, etc, etc, etc….


The characters just didn’t feel or sound real to me, sorry. I couldn’t empathize with them nor could I dislike them, they were just there. The main problem was that you kept interrupting them with camera directions instead of letting them do their thing, letting them develop on their own. More on this later.


The dialogue in this script seems mechanical and not what I’d expect people to say if they found them in the situations you put these characters in. There’s a foot-chase involving an agent and a bad guy. Now, you’d think running full speed, hopping fences, shooting and getting shot at, etc, the last thing you’d expect is this agent, without breaking stride, whipping out his phone, dialing, and laying out very complicated instructions to a partner-- this is exactly what happens on p. 46.


There are many many moments in the script where I am directed to feel a certain way but the story itself elicits nothing out of me except mirth. Imo, this would make a great B movie sort of like CRITTERS or KILLER KLOWNZ FROM OUTER SPACE. A romantic moment from p. 18: “ A very pretty girl who is fully nude is riding on Frankie with her breasts bouncing while she is moaning loudly. Frankie lying on his back on the bed with his eyes closed is taking in the pleasure of an amazing fuck. (The camera pans behind the girl revealing her butt-crack).

More Problems:

• As I said, this script is funny as hell. This is an excerpt: “One of the men quickly sprints and gets on top of the couch and peeps behind it. He notices that Don Chiriko is lying on the ground hugging a boy. The man who is on top of the couch gestures to his other two partners that Don Chiriko is behind the couch. The two men then ask the man on the couch to take a shot at Don Chiriko and kill him. But the man on the couch insists that they all take a shot together so there is no room for Don Chiriko to run. The other two partners resent in taking a shot at Don Chiriko together. While the man on the couch was arguing with his other two partners regarding who would take the shot, his shotgun is suddenly snatched from him. He looks behind the couch to find Don Chiriko is missing. He looks back at his partners to gesture them that his gun and Don Chiriko is missing. Both his partners have a horrified look on their face. The man on the couch is puzzled to look at both his partners’ expression and he looks at the direction that their partners are looking at. He notices that Don Chiriko is standing with the shotgun pointing at him. Don Chiriko fires the shotgun which strikes the man on the couch and he flies and lands in the kitchen (This entire shot is captured in ultra slow motion effect). The other two men duck behind the couch. Then, one of the men tries to sneak from the side of the couch to have a look at Don Chiriko but as he does so, his head is blasted by the shotgun fire. Blood smears on the other man who is still ducking behind the couch. He is petrified to look at the horrible death of his partner. Suddenly, a shadows falls over him. He sees Don Chiriko standing on the couch pointing the shotgun straight at his face at point blank range.”

• You use this exact description a little too much to describe Frankie: “.in a sinister manner with wide devilish eyes.” (Let Frankie’s actions speak for his character, the type of person he is instead of saying “wide devilish eyes,” which says nothing)

• “The naked girl in the meanwhile puts her hand on her ears to avoid hearing the man's
• shouting and keeps on crying copiously.” (I’m lost. What’s going on?)


• First off, while I commend you on your grasp of the English language, which is, unfortunately, much better than a lot of us who were born and bred here in America, your grammar needs some work. Get a copy of THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE or a grade school level English textbook to tighten up on the basics. You can find both of these at a used bookstore for a buck or 2. For instance, you fluctuate a lot between tenses; scripts are strictly present tense.
• From p. 3 of your script: “Frankie looks like a head-banging rock star. He has long hair, his nails are polished in black-color. He is wearing a black wire which is twisted on his wrist like his twisted mind. He is wearing guy liner.” (What’s wrong with this passage? For one, it’s too elaborate. Why not just say that the guy is at a head banger’s party or something and get on with the story? I can picture in my own mind how the guy may look and besides I don‘t think anyone considering optioning this will be that impressed by the description, which is better suited to literature. Also, remember that scripts are VISUAL references, meaning that anything that can’t be shown or voiced over is simply fat and is therefore useless to a director. So revise the expression “He is wearing a black wire which is twisted on his wrist like his twisted mind” and just say “He is wearing a black wire around his wrist” and be done with it)

• P. 4: “The battered man in a horrified manner looks at Frankie with his eyes wide open. The dagger which was in mid-air lands on his throat and it detaches the man's head from the body.” (This must be a pretty big dagger. Sounds too clean. Revise to make it sound messier)

• I’ll pass on to you what somebody here hipped me on: don’t give camera directions; you do this a lot in your script. That’s the job of the director and his cinematographer. Just tell the story.

Too much bread, not enough meat; too much camera direction, and not enough story

• This is becoming redundant. Kill the camera directions and focus on the story: [THE BULLET RELEASED FROM THE GUN IS CAPTURED IN AN ULTRA SLOW-MOTION SHOT]

• Throw in a little wink at Don Corleone following Sonny’s death, seeing Sonny’s bullet-riddled corpse at the undertaker’s parlor: DON CHIRIKO (weeping): Marcus, look what they have done to my boys. I feel so helpless and vulnerable. (this script is all over the place. It doesn’t work as a serious gangster piece but I believe that it will work as a comedy if you want to go in that direction. Again, this is only my opinion)

• Use some tact. You don’t describe a woman being raped as being fucked. Restrict the use of this expletive to dialogue.

• A woman tells a detective, who also happens to be her lover, that she’s been raped and the bum shares this information with a 3rd party, some guy off the street? This doesn’t seem very professional let alone human. Take this out of the script

• Frankie’s--one of the bad guys in this story and ½ of the evil mafia tag-team called Franken-Stein—favorite weapon is his “signature dagger.” OK, but does it have to be his “signature” dagger in every scene?

• Another problem I have with your script is that it’s too “literate”: “Rivulets” rolled down his/her cheeks?” Why not just say “tears rolled down her cheeks?”

• p. 106: FRANKIE (CONT'D): You see I am like a devil. I don't kill you. Me devour you. (if someone said this to me I’d be cracking up. It’ll work better if you just leave it at the first statement)

To sum up my thoughts on what you can do to make this script work:

• Tighten up your grammar. Get a copy of The Elements of Style or a good grade school textbook that teaches the basics
• Scrap the camera directions and stick to telling your story
• Cut down the number of cut-tos, flashbacks, etc,
• Cut out some of the subplots
• Humanize the dialogue; in other words, restyle dialogue to match the situations you put your characters in

Taking these suggestions won’t guarantee you success here on AS, but taking them will make your script more coherent. Good luck and keep writing.

Myth of a Modern Man, Gary's 7th Draft

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Carnal Knowledge with a funny twist!

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
5 stars
Story structure:
5 stars
5 stars
5 stars
3 stars
November 21, 2011

Myth of a modern man follows 2 guys, Peter and Jack, who are at opposite ends of the evolutionary scale. Jack’s primitive, impulsive, reckless, and gets everything he wants out of life including women. Peter is the modern man: civilized, calculating, afraid, and inept with the opposite sex. Peter needs a therapist and Jack’s just the guy to help him find his inner cave man.


The characters are distinct and play off of each other very well. You have Peter, the nerdy secretary; Jack, the extrovert and Peter’s best friend and personal guru; and Jill, the girl torn between Peter and Jack.

Can’t remember the last time I had such a good time reading a script. I’m not much on romantic comedies so this says a lot about this script that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Before I praise this script, I’ll begin with the problems I had with it, which weren’t that bad.


• p. 76: A couple are speaking with a relationship counselor: “… I feel I’m at the stage in my life here the long-term benefits of having a single partner far outweigh the transitory delights of hopping from one bed to another.” (though nothing’s wrong, per se, with this statement, it sounds too formal. Revise to make it sound more casual, maybe have Jack say “…the long term benefits of a single partner outweigh the cheap thrill of hopping in and out of with a different woman every night.” Something like this. But overall, leaving this as it is won’t take anything away from the story as a whole)
• P.53: “A pick up bar. The air is thick with hormones, perfume and lies. Jill sits at a corner table, sipping a cocktail. She has her hair down, and glasses off.” (omit the literary description “The air is thick with hormones, perfume and lies.” Though good, this can’t be filmed and is therefore extraneous)

• P. 69: Peter has assumed his boss’s identity to turn on a chick. In order for him to maintain this relationship she can’t know his real identity, which she’ll know if she sees his boss who is taping a nationally televised show to promote his new book. Peter, who--up to this point in the script--couldn’t muster the courage to talk to--let alone approach-- a woman suddenly, out of desperation to keep his lady in the dark about who he really is (or isn’t), knocks out his boss and stages it to look like a robbery

• P. 69: “Dr. Kaplan exits his trendy townhouse and locks the door. He’s wearing his new suit and has is (his) cell phone to his ear.”

• “Peter walks in. Pops a frozen dinner into the microwave. Waters his plants. Grabs his food. Sits down on the couch. Picks up the remote. And turns on the TV.” (this could have been 1 statement separated by commas because it is 1 idea)

• P. 7: “Making out like crazy in the booth next to them is JACK (34 and magnetic) and CINDY HENLEY.” (you could have simply stated his age; “magnetic is an adjective that can’t be translated visually and is therefore excessive)

Final thoughts:

This sweet little romantic comedy doesn’t overstay its welcome. When it ended, I was glad I spent time with it, and it left me feeling good and a little bit wiser.

When a script is written so well that you find yourself in the story--and I use the word “in” literally--you know you’re reading something really really good, damn good. This script is entertaining and smart, smart as in I actually learned something reading it. Usually it’s one or the other, rarely both. Did I mention how funny this script is? Here’s an excerpt. Jack and Jill are talking to a relationship therapist in his office:

P. 77: “JILL: Yeah. There is one more thing. I’m a little concerned that our relationship is based mainly on sex. So, I think we should test the strength of our commitment by abstaining from any physical contact, for one whole month. Any thoughts?”
JACK: Yeah. Could we still lie in bed and just cuddle?”

There are many clever touches in this script, among which are the occupations. For instance, this script is equal parts therapy and magic, and I think it’s cool that the story began with Peter working for a relationship therapist, forcibly subjected to a primitive form of social therapy on behalf of his buddies, then gradually shifting to Jill whose grandfather is a magician and who also believes in real magic, the magic of love, which by the end of the script wins the day.

Out of the few scripts I’ve read and reviewed so far, some of which are very good, this is the first script that left me green, as in envious. This author is no fluke. The story’s not perfect by a long shot and not altogether original, which is why I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Cross-pollination occurs so often in storytelling that it’s difficult to say which parts are original and which are derivative but if I were to characterize this script, I’d call it a hybrid borrowing from Mike Nichols’ Carnal Knowledge and from Ron Howard’s Night Shift. But then again it’s not these films at all as is the case when we as individuals distill everything we feel, see, and hear through our perspectives, perspectives that are as unique as the DNA separating us. The author may not have consciously derived this great script from the films that I mentioned, but it is evident, on a subconscious level, that these films and/or others like them, influenced him. But this baby, this terrific script, is all his…and ours!

True Pirates, Drew's Original Draft

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

A contender!

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
4 stars
Story structure:
5 stars
4 stars
5 stars
3 stars
November 17, 2011
Two friends, Adam and Alex, escape hard labor on a British ship and become pirates on the high seas in search of wealth but most of all freedom.

Story Structure

The setup elements in the opening scenes gel nicely as the story progresses. I like the fact that the author made freedom the common goal of the White pirates who were kidnapped, whipped, and forced to work on a naval ship and Africans they rescue from a slave ship.


The main characters of this script, Adam and Alex, are natural and I could see myself speaking and acting the same way if I were in their situations.


The dialogue is crisp, natural, smooth, often funny, and realistic.


I found almost no problems with this script and I tried very hard to. Took me 2 hours to read it and I wanted more that’s how good it was, not just the story, but the author’s command of his craft. Almost perfect. Almost, but not quite. Before I go over the bad stuff I’ll start with the stuff I liked:

The Good:

• Not overly descriptive.
• Well-written, that is, with nouns and verbs. Very few adjectives and adverbs to distract me from the story. Very very clean
• Fast-paced
• Detailed enough to make me believe that it is authentic and well researched
• Although you have double spaces between character headings and dialogue, this script is so well written that I can’t penalize you for these errors. Just correct them on the rewrite
• What I enjoy about this script is that the author blends descriptions, such as those involving the ships, the settings, the characters, etc, with the action in such a way that there’s no interruption in the story’s rhythm. Very fast read, very good!
• I dig the chase scene involving the good guys, the pirates and ex-slaves, on the Seaver and the bad guys’ ship, the Nightingale. This is a very entertaining story because there are very few goof-ups with the action, dialogue, grammar, etc. As I said before, this author describes things just enough for me to get the idea in my head without having to stop and think about it. Haven’t had this much fun in a long time. Almost up there with Master and Commander, imo!
• The author doesn’t waste time on needless, extravagant “literary” descriptions and puts the story itself out there buck naked front-and-center to stand on its own feet, which it does very well to this reader

The not-so good:

• P. 7: Alex returns home to his family after a year at sea. His wife tells him that she didn’t think he’d return and to feed the boys she had to do what she had to do, implying that she had to sleep with other men for money. This doesn’t surprise, anger, or hurt Alex at all. He says to her, “Shh. Feeding your children is never wrong.” (now I know that every man is different, but I believe most of us would be upset about our women sleeping with another man. But Alex doesn’t even hesitate long enough to at least show me that he’s is stunned. Humanize him a bit to make this situation believable.
• P. 7:” ADAM is walking outside the tavern, heading towards the door. Next to the door is a man holding a woman against the wall, thrusting vigorously. Seeing ADAM, the woman raises her flagon.” (are they right outside the bar having sex? Very incredible but, hey, if it was like that back then so be it. Doesn’t work for me though)
• Grammatical errors, formatting errors, and typos (just a few):
• P. 10: ”Not the first you’ve laid a man in the ground.” (Not the first (time) you’ve laid a man in the ground)

Overall, I am very impressed with this script, very professional, very fun, crisp and tight from start to finish. Revise this according to the points listed above and you’ll earn 5 stars from me.

Hysteria, Erik R.'s 2nd Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

A huge upside but this version needs some more work

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
4 stars
Story structure:
1 stars
2 stars
1 stars
1 stars
November 15, 2011

We are the invaders—this is not an original concept but I like the way you tied it in with the environmental problems we are facing like global warming, pollution, etc. The only problem with this premise is that it’s introduced at the end of the story and not at the beginning to provide a coherent framework for the stuff in the beginning, which rambles on and on without any clear objective. If the characters, story, and sci fi elements of this story were better conceived saving the punch line for the end of the story may have worked but in this story’s case, as least this version if you aren’t planning on a massive, I mean MASSIVE rewrite, it didn’t work for me.

Story structure

By the end of this story, you explain that the aliens are us and the invasion where this story occurs is on an alien planet called Andor, which is a mirror image of Earth including its resources. We invade and steal this planet because Earth is uninhabitable due to blight. The kicker is that the President expects billions of people to evacuate Earth in a month? I have a few questions:

• When does this story take place because, evidently, there are vehicles capable of traveling at light speed?
• What social factors play a role in who gets to leave Earth to go to this new planet? In other words, is there a pecking order such as race, income, education, etc, that determines who gets preference in this mass evacuation?
• In light of British and European invasions throughout history on Earth, where are the hippies, the pacifists, the Black people, those who most likely would object to stealing another occupied planet?

These are just a few (and there are many) problems I have with the premise of this script. I think it is perfect as a half-hour show but not as a feature because the characters and plot are too weak to sustain my interest for an hour-and-a-half.


There was not one character I could connect with in this story because they possessed no clear-cut goals or conflicts other than running out of one situation to the next. Another problem for me was the sense that these characters were unimportant in the grand scheme of the entire story. In the midst of all this death and destruction, the main characters, especially David, came off as too mechanical and unnatural in situations where even the most hardcore of us would find ourselves behaving illogically, unpredictably, if only for a moment’s respite. But the characters in the script, in spite of mothers and fathers being killed, the city burning, buildings exploding, etc, “just keep it moving,” so to speak, and this impressed me as very unnatural and artificial. More specifics on the characters a little later in the review.


I felt nothing reading this script and I think the primary reason I didn’t is because the author gave his characters absolutely no freedom to simply react off of each other and the situations they find themselves in. None of their (the characters in this story) responses to anything happening around them feels natural or spontaneous. At no point in this story did I ever think to myself “I would have done that” in fact the biggest surprises in the script (besides the surprisingly good ending) were the things these characters said in the most incongruous situations. In this respect, they did feel like aliens when I think about it.


The dialogue is too grammatically correct given the circumstances, that is, the moon being blown out of the sky by aliens, skyscrapers crumbling, cars exploding, etc. Also, imo, there’s too much of it. And too much of it that’s totally unnecessary. Read on.

Where do people talk like this? DAVID: Hey.ELLEN: Hello.DAVID: Shall we take a walk? ELLEN: Sure. Where are we going? (Why not have David say “Wanna take a stroll?” or something like this other than “Shall we take a walk?” which sounds too formal for teenagers or adults for that matter)

More problems I found along with suggestions:
• David walks out of the bathroom onto the hallway (into the hallway)
• The sun is setting as David leaves the house. We get a good view of the village where he lives. It is a small village with just two streets that lay parallel to each other. On one side, the streets are connected with a U-turn. The other side is connected with a freeway. (you should concentrate on the story and descriptions and leave the camera directions to the director or cinematographer. Besides, after you gave the camera direction you go on to describe the setting anyway)
• Eliminate all “We can sees..” associated with camera direction throughout story. It’s very distracting and does nothing to make me see the setting. Describe the setting and leave perspectives to those who will, hopefully, option this script as a film
• We can see the skyline of the city. It is a average city with a few high buildings. (change “a average” to “an average.” Remember, a precedes vowels, an precedes consonants)
• David lives in a house that is surrounded by a small garden. There is a driveway in the front yard. A white station wagon is standing on the drive way. (change the last sentence to just say “a white station wagon is in the driveway.” Better still, integrate both sentences: “There is a white station wagon in the front driveway.” It’s understood (or should be) that “front” means the front of the house. This revision makes this description easier to visualize and less choppy)
• p. 37. If someone’s parents are missing or possibly dead I’d think the last thing that would be on their mind is washing some dirty dishes
• Needless words throughout script. Here’s one example from p. 40: Ellen nods. Together they leave the house.(if they left the house, I’d assume that they left together; omit “together”)
• I don’t get this. OK, David is supposed to be helping Ellen find her parents who’ve been missing since the moon blew up in pieces and fell on Earth, destroying buildings, etc. While Ellen’s parents are missing, probably dead, mom calls home to tell David to make dinner?
• p. 6. DAVID: It is almost midnight. Shall we go home? (This sounds too formal and unnatural:”It’s getting kinda late. Maybe we should be heading home” sounds better, natural)
• ELLEN: My stepdad wants me to go home.DAVID: Alright, I’ll bring you there. (I’ll take you there; you can’t “bring” someone somewhere other than to yourself)
• Maybe I’m nitpicking, and I admit that I know hardly anything about astronomy, but would a planet (OK, a satellite) as big as the moon blowing up disturb other planets close to it?
• Minimize the use of adjectives such as those used to characterize something, as you used the word “brutal” in this sentence to characterize an interruption: “The conversation is brutally interrupted by Ellen’s stepdad.”
• “Both friends are about the same age as David. Thom is a bit longer (Did you mean taller here?)and has black spiked hair with a bit of a skater look.”

• Unless there is some kind of action between first and second statements of a single character, combine statements under 1 character heading. Example from your script: “MARC: You’re always in this conspiracy: MARC (CON’D)shit. Couldn’t it have a natural cause?”

• Now, let me try to understand this: the moon blows up the night before. In school the next day, the teachers says this from your script: TEACHER (CON’D): Okay. Let’s begin our class for today. - I know you guys want to talk about what happened last night, but you can do that during recess. - We don’t have much time before your midterms, so we better move on with the class. (Huh? I’m surprised that school’s open, let alone the blasé attitude this teacher has just hours after the moon, THE MOON, has blown up. Now, if you’re aiming for laughs a la Killer Klowns from Outer Space or Critters, keep this in. Otherwise, overhaul or omit this unnatural, unrealistic scene)
• Big, big, huge boo boo from p. 30: “David is standing in front of Ellen’s house. He is peeking through the windows. It is dark inside. The curtains on the other side are closed which prevents the moonlight from lighting the room.” (If the moon blew up how is there moonlight?)

• p. 31-32. I have a huge problem with this scenario: a 16 year old boy living with his mother takes a girl to his house in the middle of the night. Not only is this cool with mom, she also has no problem with the girl going “upstairs” with her son to his room. “Shall we go upstairs?” She even sleeps over. Wow, man. I’m not saying this doesn’t work if you’re aiming for laughs because I’m laughing right now, this is very very funny. If this is supposed to be a serious action sci/fi story then you may want to revise this scenario and provide a plausible justification for it

• p. 34: “David is standing in front of the stove, baking eggs.” (What is a baked egg?)

• Too many short sentences beginning with the subject: “David turns back to the eggs. He takes the frying pan and turns of the stove. He walks towards the table and places the pan in the middle. He picks up a knife and cuts the egg in half. He picks up the half of the egg and puts it on Ellen’s plate. He picks up the other piece for himself.”(Why not this? “David takes the pan of eggs to the table.” We presume that they are going to eat the eggs and these irrelevant details distract from the story, which is not about eggs.

• p. 52: Guess I missed something. At what point did the story shift from the moon blowing up to an alien attack? So far, I can’t tell what’s going on or the premise other than that the moon has, for some reason, blown up

• p. 58: OK, so the aliens and the army are battling it out in populated areas and the aliens aren’t concerned with killing civilians. Why are the aliens invading Earth and why won’t they kill civilians?

• p. 60: “David’s mom unties her safety belt and wants to get out.” (how do you untie a safety belt? Just say “David’s mom attempts to get out of the car”)

• Does David’s mom have a name? The only time she should be called mom is in dialogue

• P. 64 (comments following excerpt): “The door opens and David slowly takes a step outside. He looks around. The sky is blue and the street looks deserted. There are burning cars and debris everywhere. There are a couple of bodies on the street. Ellen follows David onto the street. When she sees one of the bodies, she gets into shock and stays standing where she is. DAVID: Come on Ellen, we need to find a car. Ellen does not reply. DAVID: The sooner we find one, the sooner we can get away from here. ELLEN: All those people.David does not know how to react or what to say. ELLEN (CON’D): They are butchering us. DAVID: Hey, we can win. You saw what those fighter planes did. We can fight them, as long as we work together.” (first, you say that Ellen goes into shock; however, where’s the empathy on David’s part? He seems very casual in this horrific scene and callous towards Ellen who’s reacting as anyone would seeing dead bodies lying around. Second, you say that “David does not know how to react or what to say,” then he goes running his mouth about how “we” can win some kind of war with aliens who’ve just blown up the moon?)

• P. 67: David arrives at the hospital with his mom (carrying her) and the doctor has informed him that his mother’s dead. OK, shouldn’t David have known this by the fact that his mom wasn’t breathing? Let’s move on. Following this news, David’s distraught. His girlfriend, Ellen, purchases something out of the vending machine while all of this is taking place: “Ellen is standing in front of a vending machine in the hospital. There are only a few cans of soda and some candy left. She puts some money in the machine and chooses what she wants. A small bag of candy falls out of the machine. She picks it up.” Again, needless digression on insignificant details. Just say “She went and got something to eat out the vending machine,” and move on with the story

• Hold the phone! Aliens come to Earth in airplanes?

• p. 72: (David is letting a friend know that his mom has passed away)THOM: And your mom? DAVID: No. She’s.Thom notices David getting emotional.THOM:Oh, I am sorry man.David has trouble keeping his emotions under control. THOM (CON’D): Are you alright? (Me: No, you idiot, I am not alright!)

• p.78: only now do you state the alien’s purpose for attacking Earth, that being to claim it as their own. Question: why?

• David and Julie stumble into a desert camp of refugees who are fleeing the cities. Out of nowhere, a man comes up asking about his missing kids named David and Julie. What a coincidence! Their dad leaves them at a very young age then out of the blue they just happen to come together in a refugee camp running from the aliens

MELVILLE'S WINDMILL, Richard's Original Draft

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Very very promising but needs a little work

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
4 stars
Story structure:
4 stars
2 stars
1 stars
1 stars
November 12, 2011

Melville’s Windmill, is, as the title implies, a different take on Moby Dick, only the “whale” in this script are the Kobo, a tribe of funky chunky albino dwarfs who represent a lost link in human evolution. Captain Ahab is a whaler named Micah and a pagan named Asmasok is Micah’s version of Queequeg. The Pequod in this script is a massive Windmill-powered water-pump. Very good premise. The problem is that it is an allegory, which isn’t necessarily bad if it can go from being intellectual to establishing a connection between me and the situations the characters find themselves in—this is where your script, though well-written, fails to do for me. One reason for this is that you don’t allow your characters to react as I or anybody would under similar situations. Here are examples of what I mean:
• P. 15: While Micah’s away on the high seas, a woman appears out of nowhere with a love-child at the man’s home saying that the child is his and instantly without doubt , question, or proof, the man’s wife accepts the woman’s charge and the baby. This doesn’t sound realistic. Maybe there should have been some tension in Eliza and Micah’s relationship previously that would make Eliza vulnerable Sarah’s accusation
• The characters are too literate and dramatic under the extremely brutal and stressful circumstances of being held captive by raping savages. In other words, they simply talk too much. Under these circumstances, crying, begging, and/or praying would seem more realistic


Structure-wise, the script plays out logically. There are no gaps that leave me wondering what I missed.


Here’s where I ran into a lot of problems with this script, which is a very good script btw. But as I wrote earlier in this review, the exchanges in many scenes comes off as very mechanical and serves only to move the story along. I know that the point of organizing any story is arranging things so that there’s a logical connection between point A and B, but I think that this purpose should be concealed a little better so that it doesn’t come across like “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” to me, the reader and ultimately the audience if this script is turned into a film, which I believe it is good enough to. Think of dialogue like it’s a woman’s clothes: the less she shows of her body, the more you wonder and the longer she keeps your attention. In other words, Richard, sometimes less is better.


I found it hard to connect with the characters in this story. Part of this was due to the fact I failed to see the Kobo and its sadistic leader as true monsters. Throughout the story I was waiting for an explanation of why the Kobo preferred having babies with humans rather than with their own. Was there a genetic reason for this behavior? Was something wrong with their women? Were the Kobo the actual victims instead of the humans they preyed on? Was this behavior revenge for something humans did to them? None of these questions are adequately addressed.
At one time, I was hopeful that Kuni, the only Kobo female in the story, would develop into a character I could relate with but in the end she turned out to be the familiar stock character in the enemy side who, in many many films, winds up helping the “good guys” escape. The main character in the script, Micah, is too enigmatic too profound in action and speech for me to connect with, consequently I found it hard to feel him. An example of what I mean here is the scene where he finds out that his wife and daughter are kidnapped and how he, with Herman Melville’s help, designs the machine to destroy the evil Kobo and rescue his wife and daughter. Too rational. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t expect anyone to behave this patiently if his wife and daughter were abducted, let alone knowing where they were and God knows if they were dead or not. Mitar is another character I had a hard time with. Maybe if he were given some justification for his deeds, maybe something humans did to his people to make them so freakish-looking, I would have felt something. I just didn’t loathe this little guy enough to cheer for the protagonist, Micah. Henry just wasn’t developed enough for me to care what happened to him. Charity was too sweet. Eliza, too gullible, too familiar in her mother role, begging the ugly Mitar to mate with her instead of her sweet innocent daughter.


Here, I can say that the characters are distinctive and easy to tell apart. But again too familiar, I’ve seen these characters before, notably in the book this script is derivative of, Moby Dick. To their credit, though, they do develop naturally from the backstory, they don’t just pop out fully formed.
Like I said earlier, this is a very good script with a positive upside. I enjoyed it from a gear head standpoint. The giant Windmill is very cool.

In addition to the problems I pointed out above, here are some other things you can do to clean up this very creative and imaginative story:

• “Micah gets up, approaches Eliza. Takes her hand, kneels in front of her. For a moment, he stares into her face.” Too many short sentences sound clipped. Instead say “Micah gets up, approaches Eliza, takes her hand, and kneels in front of her staring into her face.”
• p. 21: You left like out of this statement: “We will be that way again. I love you. I love our daughter. She is so much the both of us.”
• “Micah's eyes drop quickly from Eliza's penetration” could say “Micah’s eyes drop from Eliza’s,” with the same effect but without the literary embellishment “penetration.” The difference between a script and a novel, aside from length, is that scripts are drier with more emphasis on action or what can visually come off in a film.
• “He kisses her again, lifts her into his arms, lays her down on the bed. Into a lingering dance of kissing and touching. Moving into the throes of passion.” While this flowery description would work in a novel, it’s superfluous in script form. It would be more economical to just say “They make love” and leave it to the director of this script to describe how they do it. Here’s another example from your script similar to this one I just mentioned: “Henry and Charity are saying good night. Charity glances towards the house. No one is in sight. She kisses him deeply. Henry responds. Two sexually frustrated lovers.” In this one, leave out the last sentence and the scene loses nothing while becoming more economical.
• MITAR(touches chest): “ Natomaki belong Mitar.” Mitar's words turns Eliza HYSTERICAL. (here, why not just say “Eliza screams?” Apparently, she’s upset so the fact that she screams is enough)
• P. 37: Micah and Asmasok are drinking water at the well. The dogs BARK. SOUNDS of a carriage approaching on the hill road. We sense it is HERMAN MELVILLE, (40's) clipped black beard, shrewd eyes, even by the stranger's sea-faring clothes. His dark, lively eyes take in the house and the two waiting men. (Question: how do we sense that the man in the carriage is Herman Melville in a film unless it is a voice-over?)
• Too many modifying words and phrases. In most cases, they are appropriate and even very good, but you could cut many of them out and not affect the quality of the script. For instance:
“Without hesitation, Charity pats the wolfhounds.” Instead, say “Charity pats the wolfhounds.” The context of the situation is enough to imply that the girl is excited to see the dogs.
• To many thought patterns and emotional descriptions in place of actions. Let the situations explain the character’s feelings or have them to verbally do so.
• Numerous grammatical errors:
“ANNIE'S chest heaves with terror. Her eyes dart like a helpless animal. She has home-spun features. Pretty and durable. She WHIMPERS when Mitar moves closer to Annie. (you should have just wrote “She whimpers as Mitar moves closer.” Noun and pronoun confusion)
• Overly dramatic dialogue:
MICAH: “My Sea Mistress calls me... This zenith of joy overwhelms me as I wait to destroy what has destroyed my family... my life.”
“The giant water pump. It has turned into the heart of the mill.” Micah's face is wild as he raises his hands. He PLEADS like a beseeching minister-
MICAH: “It is time, my avenging angel. It is time to spin Melville's fury.”

Straighten these issues out and I can move this up to 4, maybe 5, stars. Hope this review helps. Keep writing!

Favorite Movies

Apocalypse Now, The Endurance, Do The Right Thing, Ran, Rocky, Midnight Express, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Black Orpheus, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Naked, When We Were Kings, Metropolis, La Dolce Vita, The Seventh Seal, Psycho, Following


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