At Amazon Studios



Film is my first and foremost passion. My primary goal in life is to contribute to film and hopefully add lasting work to it's legacy.

I feel that my scripts and movies are difficult to categorize into a genre. I like letting a story develop. The fun and excitement of storytelling is seeing as it unfolds. Audiences have become wise to the tricks and turns we try to impose on them as filmmakers. For this reason and more importantly for the reason of telling better stories... many of my scripts will unfold in unconventional ways. If my script is a horror film... you aren't necessarily going to know when the horror will strike. I put a strong focus on characters and dialogue because when I watch a film that is what draws me in.

The most important thing about telling a story is the characters. I don't care what movie I'm working on the characters and integrity of the story come first. The rest will filter in and it'll be worth the wait. I also won't talk down to my audience, unless it's the purpose of the film, scene or what-have-you. I assume my audience can comprehend the story I'm telling, if they can't they should watch something simple. Simple stories are one's we've heard, scene, know by heart and don't have to invest anything into. Audiences have an investment in filmmaking to and whether they realize it or not, they like to be challenged... they like pushing their limits... they shouldn't go from Aladdin to Irreversible, obviously. However you see enough of the same thing you become more and more interested in more unique takes on the kind of movies we like.

There are natural progressions through films.

What I bring to the table:

An encyclopedia of movie knowledge. I watch everything from black and white silent foreign films to meaningless comedies of today. Independent and blockbuster films alike. I follow directors and actors work throughout their entire careers.

Unique storytelling.

Original dialogue that will not only flesh out a character but attract actors once the project goes underway.

An extensive understanding of acting, writing, directing, editing as well as visual and psychological storytelling.

A willingness to deal with any subject matter and take risks.

A dedication to the craft that comes before anything else in my life.

A respectful collaborative attitude towards my fellow peers and their projects.

A keen eye for spotting areas of opportunity in other bodies of work.

The willingness to discuss and debate my work and/or opinions, choices, reasoning until satisfaction or irreconcilable creative differences are found.

A fast, calculating mind which allows for fast production of quality work given the time and resources.

Can work with only a little.

I intend to submit a new screenplay and hopefully a dialogue track of the work every month.

My hopes with AS is to achieve a level of success enough to be financially secure so that I can focus solely on my dreams of being a screenplay writer, director and actor. I thoroughly appreciate the existence of a site like this and look forward to sharing my work with everyone. Thanks. Happy creating all!


Reviews Brandon Has Written

A Place To Stay, H.'s Original Draft

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

First 12 pg review

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
No rating
Story structure:
No rating
No rating
No rating
No rating
February 01, 2012
So here are my impressions on a page to page basis. I gave you three stars because while there are a lot of problems and areas of opportunity within this script, many things are not things I take marks off on. Focusing strictly on character and story however, it still leaves something to be desired, even with taking into consideration that its only the first 12 pages. I look forward to seeing a future draft. Notes:

Pg 1 - Danny and Tina need introduction lines of their own.

Don't need to capitalize important props, this isn't a shooting script.

Capitalization is a very specific thing in a screenplay and for professional readers who read very quickly CAPS in dialogue can be distracting. If you want emphasis on a word like SURE, I recommend underlining.

Parenthetical direction... don't use it... or if you are going to use it use it incredibly sparingly. For example: Sarcasm (and even then only if the line can only be read one way) or if someone had very threatening lines but said them very calmly... even then... it'll bother an actor to see how you want him to perform the role. Plus you are wasting a ton of space. First six lines use them. Don't.

Continued = (CONT'D) not (CON'T)

(Beat) drop it down and indent

There is an awkward pause... just Awkward pause. Reads faster and says the same thing.

Pg 2 - "Do I "want [you] to" what?" what does this mean? Why brackets? This isn't a interview in a magazine. You aren't quoting someone incorrectly... no bracket needed. You don't even really need the quote. Everything fancy you do forces a reader to stop reading giving them the opportunity to stop reading completely. Don't do this.

Because you didn't have intro lines for your characters... I don't know what I'm picturing here... A husband/wife... boyfriend/girlfriend, mother/son, father/daughter, two friends.

"They have clearly been through this before." - Not a visual description. You have to describe this scene visually and you've done that by saying "Tina is increasingly uncomfortable." Even that isn't exactly visual, it's telling... still get's the point across but if you described aspects of being "uncomfortable" it would be a stronger visual.

Pg 3 - Floating "He"

You are blocking your scene too much. You've told us every time they sit and turn... these things aren't important unless it tells us something about the character... it doesn't. For example... THUSANDSUCH enters. WHOSEHEWHATSSIS looks at the fire and doesn't turn before saying "hello THUSANDSUCH" this tells me WHOSEHEWHATSSIS knows THUSANDSUCH is there without seeing him. That tells me something... it isn't just blocking. Its not an important visual... leaving the unimportant blocking to the director and actors. You just focus on telling the story and giving us the blueprints. Granted you have a vision you want to share and I like describing my scenes too... but choose your battles. Danny sitting... Tina not turning from the window so she can turn when she says "yadda yadda yadda"... pointless exertion of your writing. Wastes space, wastes time, wastes quality and shows prospective producers and actors you are inexperienced. This isn't meant to be harsh, its an easy enough thing to correct if you know what you are looking for.

GRILL AND OVEN BREAK ROOM... assuming the full name of the place isn't Grill and Oven Break Room, it should read GRILL AND OVER (if that's the main place) and then - or / depending on personal style and then (where in that place) BREAK ROOM


I personally like the / because you've got the period after INT or EXT and the dash after where we are and between NIGHT or DAY. It gives every symbol a purpose.

Tenses (this is something I do as well): Many recommend to keep everything in screenplays in the present. Meaning no "SUCHANDSUCH is sitting" "is sleeping" "is eating"... "SUCHANDSUCH sits... sleeps... eats..." That's up to you. I used to fall into it too but try to keep from it now. This way everything feels like its happening in the moment.

Plus you have Sonia sits and then in the same sentence Danny is sitting... it looks sloppy no matter what medium you read it in.

Pg. 5 Another floating He

And now also a floating and

FADE TO BLACK - Cuts... this isn't a shooting script... you don't get to use them. I use them too sometimes and people jumped on me for it too. Look at it like this... if its an important visual, keep it... but once again, choose your battles. Have justification for all your choices. And a "FADE TO BLACK" after the characters cigarette break isn't an important battle. I'd lose it.

We will use this direction line to illustrate all the incorrect aspects:

"The bartender, CHRIS, is talking to Danny and Keith, trying to encourage them to leave."

Should read.

CHRIS (AGE HERE) A bartender. Tall, fat, balding, kind smile.

He leans over the bar. (or Chris leans over the bar or no descriptive line... just begin the dialouge. We'll get it. The characters are in a bar and the bartender Chris talks to them.)



Because one... Chris needs to be introduced. Two if he's speaking he's obviously talking to someone. If its imperative you tell us to who even though you previously introduced the other characters in the scene then include "(To DANNY)" Three we have no visual for who he is other then a bartender... give us visuals so we can picture ourselves or an actor as that part. I have to connection to your characters at all. Four don't tell us he's "trying to encourage them to leave." If your dialogue doesn't tell us that its bad dialogue... if its in subtext, let it be in subtext. Five you said "is talking" as I pointed out before.

Pg 6 - Chillin is short slang for chilling... it drops the G and is replaced with a "'" Chillin', talkin', fuckin'... beatin' etc etc etc.

"Chris stares at Keith, silently asking if he really wants the answer to the questions." - Chris stares at Keith. (If you want to do more than that... give stronger visuals.)

Pg 7 - Parenthetical direction is killing me... breaks the flow of your dialogue. I've got an imagination, let me use it. This is the worst thing about your script. I can go on and on about it if you need but this is the second time mentioning it and there is no point in beating a dead horse, since its not as if you can change it before I've posted my comments... nonetheless it bares repeating. Lose 'em.

Pg 9 - Just found out Danny is a teacher. Thought he was way younger... comes off as a college kid... like young college kid. Maybe that's the goal... showing he isn't growing up but my point is I'm almost ten minutes into the movie and don't really know the main character. I don't care about him at all. He's had an awkward conversation with a girl, hung out with some buddies, flirted with another girl and is perpetually bored, or annoyed or melancholy... can't really tell. Honestly however he isn't interesting enough that I care. Now I'm only 9 pages in... but he's been in every scene thus far... four different environments and I still don't know him. With ten minutes on one character we should be more engaged.

Your biggest area of opportunity as a writer seems to be to learn what to leave to our imagination. You are taking time to describe things and movements and emotions that aren't important... but not taking the time to paint your characters. You need to give us the tools so we can build the world for ourselves. You are the architect drawing up the blueprints but you are not the person building the house. Your reader, then producer, director, actor... etc. etc. are building the house. You are showing them what kind of wood you'd like them to use but not revealing the house...

I don't know the characters... can't picture them... they are just words and movements.

Give me the dimensions to the house so I can start putting it together in my head.

Pg 9/10 Lines are broken between pages at the end of a sentence... not in the middle. Once again, breaks flow.

Pg 10 Continued = (CONT'D) always capitalized. You make different mistakes on the same abbreviation. There is a consistency problem. If you are going to make a mistake make it consistently so the mistake looks like ignorance and not poor work ethic. Earlier you put (CON'T) now its (cont'd). Ignorance just means you haven't learned... different mistakes on the same thing means you didn't bother to figure out how to do it right.

You really like having characters quote the other character and then say "what?" Example: "Oh, no shit?" "'No shit,' what?" This has happened at least two other times in the past 10 pages. It didn't bother me until it became repetitive. It's not even one character doing it... as a character trait, it's different characters. It detracts from your dialogue and just takes up space.

You also enjoy having characters do things and interact with the setting after the end of the scene. I'm not bringing it up because its bad but sometimes a writer needs to be aware of what he does repetitively. It helps build your world but at the same time takes up time and space... and since Danny is the character we're following through your world why take the time to watch Chris drink beer or see Mark eat a carrot with hummus? Are these not things that could be incorporated into the scene?

This seems like a good place to stop. Page 12

I am not against reading more but I think you should consider some of these formatting issues and post another draft.

Other impressions.

Your dialogue isn't terrible but it isn't engaging either. We've discussed where the characters are lacking. The script is currently coming off as a cross between WAITING (except less funny... and Waiting wasn't particularly hysterical to begin with) and KICKING AND SCREAMING.

I worry because your script is a character driven dramedy that didn't make me laugh or give me a strong connection with the characters. Now the argument is I'm only 12 pages in... and that's a valid argument. What I'll say is perhaps when the formatting issues are taken care of and the character descriptions are in place it'll improve but perhaps I'll still say that the dialogue and characters need to be more engaging. This is currently a "day in the life" script... and its not the "day in the life" of anyone famous or more importantly --Interesting. Who wants to know about some guy working at a Grill while he seeks out a teaching job? There is no market for this. To change that, you have to attract a REALLY good actor... who will be the draw and to do that you have to have a REALLY good character for them to want to play. Danny isn't that, not yet anyhow.

Give us something we can really connect with immediately. Your scene between Danny and Tina could be a lot more awkward... or at least a lot more something. Put us somewhere we've all been or that no one has ever been before. Those are the choices for marketability... and if its something in between it better be written so damn well that it doesn't matter.

You've got the hardest kind of script to market. I'm all about character driven stories... and I've got numerous scripts that if I were in the business I could make work but I would never pitch them because they won't get me anywhere at this stage.

So regardless of formatting you've got a tough tough sell. Best of luck to you Henry and keep writing. Let me know if you post another draft.

Courier, Astan's 2nd Draft

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Less Family Drama/More Bad Boys

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
2 stars
Story structure:
3 stars
2 stars
2 stars
2 stars
January 13, 2012
This is a review based on the first fifteen pages. I hope it is helpful. Keep up your hard work and keep seeking out critiques and your script could bloom.

The notes:

SEAGULLS should be in caps if you are demanding the sound in the scene. This is the case with all sounds you use throughout your screenplay. Keep them sparse.

The 37 year old man needs to be introduced.

OLD MAN (37) Yadda yadda yadda description.

This is the case with all characters.

Parenthetical directions for actors “(annoyed)” these should also be used sparingly. If the dialogue is strong enough, the intention should be obvious without description. Exceptions are when someone is speaking in a way opposing the appearance of the dialogue… for example: Sarcasm, violent threats done calmly… Another example, when you use “(Shouting)” you already have an exclamation point suggesting he is yelling. Woah! Just hit page 4. At least you are being consistent in overusing the parenthetical directions. Not only is it unnecessary but actors hate it.

You also say things like “with the intent to break his neck.” Unless you literally mean all the characters are grabbing at his throat, this kind of phrasing is awkward. Remember that screenplay writing is all visual. It’s what we see. You can’t tell us what a character is thinking, you must show us.

Capitalizing “GO, GO, GO!” This is another formatting thing which you don’t have to follow but people that read a lot of screenplays focus on capitalization to mean certain things. You’ve already got the emphasis with the “!” you don’t also need the capitalization. If you need to emphasis something more that just an “!” like a specific word, I recommend underlining.

Even the voice on the loudspeaker needs to be introduced as a character. I know it seems silly but it’s true.

LOUD SPEAKER (or if it’s a character introduced later… there name) age, description of voice at the very least etc.

Cursing is allowed in grown up scripts “***” for motherfucker are unnecessary.

Only ever three ellipses “…” or a double dash (in screenplays at least) “--”

Okay so those were some of the formatting issues I found along the way. You also forget apostrophes “’” in words like can’t and don’t.

You open on a bunch of uninteresting characters which did not particularly make me want to continue reading, so perhaps spice up their dialogue. Most of the dialogue sounds very forced and unnatural… Making the character find out he has a baby on the way doesn’t make me like him. It doesn’t add any emotional punch when he’s killed. I don’t know his baby or his wife or him… but if he showed a picture of his girl and newborn baby… talks about how they met or their plans for the future… then I’m invested… he get’s capped and we can visualize the sadness the antagonists cause. We just saw the dreams of all those people die.

If you really want us to hate the antagonist you have him make mention of the picture before killing him. I don’t care about these people dying and I can see you wanted me to care or else why waste the beginning pages on us getting to know them? They could have just been faceless Coast Guards getting shot. If you take the time to introduce them, make them human beings.

The two villains… stock. You better hope to get two really great actors I already love because the characters are flat. The problem is you won’t get two really great actors with such flavorless villains. Why not make James likable? Instead of everyone getting annoyed at him… if he was really funny or interesting it’s a greater arch to the scene when it turns out he’s a coldblooded killer.

I wasn’t hooked and it wasn’t funny. There was no Bad Boys vibe as presented (and you might say it comes up after the first fifteen pages and I say… your script can’t wait that long). No comedy. What you did give us was a family drama. The characters improved here… possible because they are more rooted in real life. While I say improved, I still think their dialogue was a little forced. And you may say, “well, that’s what was said in real life” and I’d say… movies need to be more interesting than real life… ESPECIALLY in an action/comedy as you are suggesting this to be.

I’m not hooked on the action, the comedy, your antagonists or the script itself as of yet. You’re shooting for a very simple formulaic kind of movie. Your premise is rather cliché but it’s easily sellable and marketable. To make it stand above the rest it’ll need to be really worthwhile.

Your ideas are not completely lost. Your story is cohesive but it doesn’t yet hold any uniqueness that sets it apart. I read on project profile that this is your first screenpla. I’ll say that while your story is still workable you have yet to find your voice.

A few movie recommendations… some you may have seen but give them another watch and consider how they work:

Training Day, No Country for Old Men, Pineapple Express (oddly enough), Amores Perros (if you are feeling adventurous) as well as another by the same director Bitiuful.

I gave you three stars because of the potential once the kinks are worked out and because its your first attempt and because it is only based on the first fifteen pages. Keep at it Astan but while you are inexperienced, as you say, why not take more risks? Think about some of your favorite movies (the best of them) and try to shoot for writing something better. Find your voice, write your own favorite film.

Storm Dragons, Leonardo's 4th Draft

0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Laborious But Not Without Hope

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
4 stars
Story structure:
2 stars
2 stars
1 stars
3 stars
January 10, 2012
Okay Leo, I wanted to enjoy your screenplay because I love high fantasy and you seem like a really nice guy with high hopes for your work. I don’t want to diminish those hopes. I have been accused of being over critical and harsh in the past so I’m going to attempt to be concise in saying the following and not harp on several things that need a lot of work.

The facts: You need a better command of the English language, both grammatically and, as a writer, poetically. The grammar is all over the map: tenses, phraseology, etc. Now this in dialogue, especially fantasy/period dialogue, could come to your advantage… it didn’t. Your dialogue gave no indication of your characters distinct personalities; there was no believable interaction and no tone or style from you as a writer. Next to grammar, dialogue is your strongest area of opportunity.

Listen to how people talk in real life. Not your friends, family, etc. Go to a bar, a coffee shop, restaurant and listen. Listen to the most interesting person in the room. How do their speech patterns work… why are you listening to them? Think about this stuff. As for giving it some fantasy flare… that’s tougher but no impossible. Go see some Shakespeare plays, watch movies based on his plays, watch period films, read period books etc. Practice by writing some poetry.

The grammar is just something you’ll have to learn. I’m terrible at it too and don’t pretend otherwise. Do what I do then and get an editor, doesn’t have to be a professional but find someone! For your own sake find someone… find someone… find someone… pay someone if you have to. Your writing will go nowhere without it because it’s every page, every sentence half the time.

Because of these aforementioned missteps however, it was laborious getting through the manuscript. I genuinely was not giving you the run around when I said I was reading it. I promised a review swap and I wasn’t about to back out of it or only skim it.

So here are the things I picked up on as I read:

Little formatting stuff, "Black Screen" is just BLACK and then a separate line for "10 years later" with SUPERIMPOSE: proceeding it.

Also double space for loglines.

And any time you introduce a new character they get their own introduction line (you've put more than one in the same paragraph).

Formatted scripts shouldn't be justified. Dialogue or descriptions.

You don't have to put sounds characters make in all CAPS. PG 25 (Roar, not ROAR) Unless you want something artsy like the sound of a LION ROAR as they charge in... as an effect. However I'm assuming you meant they roar like a battle cry.

Formatting isn't what interests me most so let's move on to character and dialogue.

PG 9 - "Look at what have we got here, Scar..." Is two common cliché statements in one. "Look at what we have here." "What have we got here?" You've combined the two.

No one seems like a real person in this script. All anyone talks about is plot and exposition.

PG 21 How does Kailan know Zairos' name? They just met, no introduction has transpired beyond "We have a new dragon..."

PG 25 It's lines like "More heroes? First, a boy, now two priests. Come on, guys, let's teach these kind of people who really need to be saved." Each character speaks so unrealistically.

Not that I don't enjoy the violence but your script isn't rated 13 and up. It's R... the fight scene has two kids doing their best to kill six rapists and Feigon successfully killing them with his bare hands. Just consider the movie you are emulating as stated in your creative notes 300... Rated R.

In the world you've created, ritual seems to be a major backbone... it seems odd that there is no ritual for Feigon to become a formal priest. Would it not be a more important moment to no longer be an apprentice?

My other big issue is the fact that your "Celtic Lore" based story has your warriors acting more like something out of an anime. They are performing eastern martial arts fairly often and it's true that there are Western arts you could research and explore to give them a more believable base for their combat. It wouldn't be an issue if your Fantasy world was completely made up but since you've made a point to talk about the story's inspiration, I'd work on that aspect.

This is a fantasy world... and you've populated it with a TON OF CHARACTERS. You don't have the advantage of Game of Thrones which is a wonderful series I'd recommend... in that they have the time to develop these characters. You also don't have the advantage of Lord of the Rings, in that there is a book of source material and a built-in following. No one knows this world... or its people. So not only do you need to work on your descriptions but you need to give us a character to connect with.

At this point in reading Feigon appears to be our hero... or maybe Jygar but seeing as time passes throughout this story... perhaps its Zairos. But I'm a half hour into the film and I don't know the characters... I don't care about them and by this point I don't know that I want to. The impression I'm being given is that you hope people will like the characters because they are badass or tough... but that isn't enough.

They don't do human things. In a fantasy world it’s hugely important that the characters still feel like real people. Let's look at some of your favorite movies a moment: Gladiator, LOTR and Braveheart.

All good movies to draw on but let's focus a moment on just one, not my favorite of the three but the best for this example: Gladiator. In Gladiator you've got Maximus, right. Maximus is who we follow... we see his interaction with many different kinds of people. His lord, his troops, his enemies, his friends, fellow slaves... we see him as a leader, as a subordinate as a slave as a man stricken by grief. In each situation he's a different person, not a different character but a different person because we see him interact with different givens. Your characters are the same all the time. Partly because they are one dimensional but mostly because we don't get to see them really interact with people and equally important THE WORLD.

I want to see your script succeed Leo and I want to see you succeed but your dialogue is really poor. No one is conversing, they are just advancing plot... a plot full of characters that we don't know, in a world we don't know.

Rewatch your favorite films... rewatch gladiator listen to the characters speak watch them interact. The dialogue is very strong in Gladiator, stronger than in Braveheart and LOTR. Not to say it’s a better film but the dialogue and the focus on character is something you need to learn from. Don't learn how to write from 300. If you want it to be visually similar or stylistically similar that's your vision and that's fine but if you want to write the best script possible, if you want to become a better writer, it's not the film to emulate.

Other film recommendations as a fellow fantasy and period epic fan: Game of Thrones (TV show), Jason and the Argonauts, The Last Samurai, How To Train Your Dragon and straying away from action epic, watch Amadeus. These films do what you don't, well.

Okay! Perfect example! Perfect! PG 38... based on the interaction between Zairos and Minara I am to believe that they have been attracted to each other since they first met... 8 years prior... went through all of PUBERTY TOGETHER!!! And he didn't hit that? I don't mean to be vulgar but... no way. And IF! IF! He didn't... that needs to be explained. That's huge for characterization... were they not allowed? Why didn't they try anyway. Characters no matter the setting, period, whatever have basic desires and love or sex is one of them. If Zairos has been holding out for fear of her death or because she goes through guys quickly and he doesn't want to be just another notch on her belt, those are things that build character and dimension... make me curious and/or engaged. Whether or not I care about him or her, now at least I'm interested.

I just don't believe that THIS CONVERSATION is eight years in the making. Why this night? Why now? Why not sooner? These are important questions... adds urgency and believability. You've given me something I can relate to... love! Everyone has or should experience love. Most of us haven't killed people, become dragon warriors or saved girls from rapists. But we've all had a crush on a girl... and now that you've given us something we can connect with you've gotta make it REAL. I want to believe it... even if it doesn't make complete sense, or it’s not how I love or you love... I've got to believe that's how THEY LOVE! And you've introduced it and already lost me. Side by side for eight years! Training and into each other and nothing! Through puberty... Puberty!

Your film doesn't begin until page 40 with the birth of Nairon.

PG 49 And the exposition about the history of your world comes way too late. Since your film has such little focus on character, you should focus instead on your world. This speech should open your film... with visuals in Voice Over... do I hate voice overs? Usually but I hate feeling as if I don't know the world I'm going to experiencing for 2+ hours even more. This explanation coming here seems out of place and also redundant since we saw the fight in the beginning of your film.

Okay... so here is an example of how you can chop a significant amount of your descriptions.

"Trying to break the ice, Balgor opens his arms inviting him for a hug." - No need to tell us it’s because he wants to break the ice. We know why he is there. No need to tell us it's for a hug because it hasn't happened. "Balgor holds his arms out for a hug." "Balgor opens his arms." Shorter description... it isn't an important picture you are painting that needs a lot of exposition. You aren't describing an epically important moment that needs an exact image. It bogs down your writing and more importantly your reader. I'm all for long descriptions when necessary but balance it by shaving off as much as you can that is unnecessary elsewhere. Like when you went in depth to describe the ritual of becoming a Storm Dragon. That was important and needed blow by blow description BUT... that doesn't need to be every single bit.

The strongest points of your screenplay are the rituals. I have touched on this several times. I think you should condense your story around fewer characters, make them real and interesting and choose five key ritual moments and spread them through the script as almost acts.

These rituals are the only thing holding your story together at the moment. If that is your strongest area use it to structure your very chaotic tale. The history of the characters isn't interesting because it comes off as an overview. Focus on your core characters, let the others be backdrop. You've got a lot of names, in a world we don't know. Your rituals will serve to immerse us in your world but your characters are all lifeless. Perhaps it’s because you need to work on character development as a whole and perhaps it’s also because your spreading yourself (and your reads and hopefully one day audience) far too thin.

The death of major characters is not a time to rush your story. This is a HUGE turning point.

As I come closer to the end of your script I realize that the main character of the story is in fact the Storm Dragons themselves and that the piece is an ensemble. I see that choice and I realize why your earlier drafts were so long. The problem with this is I’m in a fantasy world and I don’t know anyone in it. There are so many characters, so many names and add the fact that none of them leap off the page with any originality and you’ve left your reader completely lost. Even if they had interesting and dynamic relationships you can’t keep them straight.

The only solutions as I see them are turn this into an episodic series or mini series, where you can focus on a specific character or relationship each episode or refocus your script on just Zairos. Make it his tale, begin with him… lead the plot and your world through his journey and actions. If he isn’t in a scene or it isn’t about something that’ll directly affect him cut it, rewrite it, rework it.

You can’t fit this many characters in an ensemble, in an unestablished fantasy setting spanning so long a period.

On the positive side. I see your passion and your imagination on every page. Your vision is there, it just isn’t coming through and often times the harder you try to explain every detail of someone’s movement or intention the further you get from letting our imaginations run wild. Your screenplay is meant to capture a director or actors imagination enough to get behind it or excite a producer or other financiers enough to back you in creating your vision. Your passion is coming through but it isn’t being back up by the ability or execution.

Your characters are delightfully flawed. I see where you are trying to take them. They make mistakes, lots of mistakes and hurt the ones they love left and right. This is an important thing that many more experienced writers can’t even manage. The problem is we don’t care about them, can’t care about them because their actions aren’t justified… and if they are justified they more importantly aren’t fleshed out enough to be believable. They have to be real to us before we can become engrossed in their choices. We need to love the characters. The story is yours and we’ll go for the ride if we care.

I suppose my review failed at being concise but I read the other reviews posted for your past drafts and I didn't see much in the way of notes, excluding from Justin. I hope this is something you can sink your teeth into a little bit. I think while there is a lot of work to be done but you've got a story you a passionate enough about to make that happen. Keep at it Leo, once you have a stronger command of the language and execution of the medium I think your work will go farther. The rest will come with time, dedication and hard work.

The Mustache, Charter's Original Draft

3 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Looking forward to the full beard. 15 Page Review

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
4 stars
Story structure:
4 stars
4 stars
4 stars
3 stars
January 05, 2012
Well Charter, I'm not going to lie. This is my favorite thing that I've read on AS thus far. Not because it's the best story in the world but because it sets out to be something and it fulfills what it's setting out to do.

A few formatting things and a few personal creative differences.

Character introductions. If you introduce a new character they get their own line of information. Introducing them within a paragraph of description, is (I believe based on what I have read and studied) incorrect. I don't say this as an authority because I only learned some of these "rules" within the last five or six months.

No numbers except for ages. This one I'm certain of. All the times you mention money, it needs to be typed out... one million dollars, ten thousand dollars, etc. Not 1 million dollars or 10,000$.

One difference in style that I'm not sure is... incorrect but it is a minor point of contention for me and possibly other readers. You have jokes in your descriptions and they are meant for descriptions not jokes... Canadian and Lady Gaga commentary. Both are not visual jokes, they are just you being funny. You as the writer are already showing your humor through your characters, I think the other jokes are wasting space. If you get rid of these two (and any others) you aren't loosing anything and it makes your screenplay shorter. The shorter the read the better for prospective producers, actors, agents, etc.

Now on to actually commentary. The car accident... description could lead this to be funny. You've got a humorous tone all throughout that is thrown by the mom getting hit by a car. If in description you made it funny, even darkly funny it could work to keep your flow... even "Cuts to the scene from Meet Joe Black where Brad Pitt is struck by a car." Just a thought.

Jesus... now his name is Jesus right and not Jesus (pronounced Hey-suse). Jesús, Jésus and Jèsus could differentiate it... not sure which you are going for (also not sure which one determines the difference). Anyway... least favorite character... a little too... not racist because that can be funny if pulled off... a little too stock character-ish. Most of your script is funny and to see such an overused comedy stereotype bummed me out. Perhaps another nationality who thinks he's Mexican, or wishes he was. It's also been done but less and could give you a nice duality in the characters humor. You could play on two stereotypes in one.

Ewok description and then Ewok joke. If the character says the joke, you don't need to describe the character looking that way... it's only wasting space. With a comedy, especially one that reads well like yours... keep us hooked, give us no excuse to stop reading the dialogue. When you describe something, if it isn't a sight gag or an important description, keep it moving.

Those are my notes for the areas of opportunity... now here are some ego boosting compliments which I so rarely get to give.

Your dialogue and characters are the first that I haven't written for myself or read from something professional that make me want to act. The timing of your jokes (while not always original or unique and sometimes predictable) are fairly spot on. My best friend and I read the first fifteen together because he and I both love comedies. The words offered many opportunities for us to try different things. I can see many actors already established responding to the material. Which leads me to the biggest of my compliments:

This is a very marketable and viable script. The biggest deterrent is the language and thus the rating... but there is a huge market for R comedies. And for me, I prefer more adult humor... when it's attempted in PG13 films it comes off as juvenile instead of humorous.

The thing I liked the least but works best in your favor (and this is only a guess as I haven't read all of it) is the formulaic quality of the script. I feel like I've seen this kind of story a thousand times. We are seeing all the people that mistreat Joe so that when he get's his mustache he can get back at them... show them up or what have you. This is not an insult, it is only going to work to your advantage in terms of marketability... however I just don't like a to b to c structure. Personal difference.

Not matter my differences in taste and execution, the script is great fun. The first fifteen made me want to read the rest. Keep it up and hopefully we'll talk more.

Cape Cod Lite, Caitlin's Original Draft

0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Proud to be a Washashore

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
2 stars
Story structure:
3 stars
3 stars
2 stars
2 stars
December 27, 2011
Caitlin when I took on reading your script, you mentioned that you appreciate an honest critique. I hope that is true. I tend to get very wordy and go off on tangents so if this format bothers you, I'd be happy to discuss any of my notes further via messaging or on the discussion board of your project. I like opening up a dialogue when discussing others work, so that would suit me just fine.

To start. You have a strong command of the basics of story telling. You paint an excellent picture and your writing reads smoothly. I cannot completely judge a writers style, ability and talents solely on one piece of work... however going strictly off of Cape Cod Lite, I recommend leaving your comfort zone.

Here were the notes that I took while reading, that I will now try and organize enough to have a cohesive flow.


Concept of time. Bar scene... several people arrive as the bar is closing? Not impossible but Myles kicking people out without calling last call threw the scene for me.

Also he filled a pitcher of beer instantaneously. Things like this take time and break an otherwise nice rhythm you maintain in your scenes. Floor-ian could be flirting while awaiting the beer... Myles could make mention of it being last call... or someone could...

Also is last call 1 am in Cape Cod Bars? Not a huge thing, more of an a question I'm interested in. I live in PA and 2am is pretty standard.

Product placement... I love it, others don't. I think it adds a realistic dimension to writing... specifics if used sparingly can really paint a scene. However from a strictly marketing standpoint crossing brands could make for issues... but if you kept it consistent by brand.

Language: I love vulgarity... I love cursing. I love the willingness to write how characters actually speak but you've got a very PG 13 film here and I'd recommend either spicing up your risks in other departments or cutting the f-bombs to keep a safe PG-13. Also drug use is questionable these days with the rating system.

Police sirens sounding right away after the accident... another time issue... unless it's suggesting the changing of the scene.

Olivia is drinking nearly every day... just pointing that out. She is 22 but it something that could be delved into or made mention of.

Condom coming off? Was there a climax? I don't understand the issue... did he go soft... if so that's a much different circumstance. You kinda glossed over the sex scene completely. Why does he put his pants back on?

Sometimes your commentary in narration is judgmental of your characters. "He changes the channel without asking" If he asked you'd have written dialogue in... this gives the sense of judgement. Show me. He snatches up the remote and changes the channel to Cartoon Network.

A consistent style choice of yours is characters holding back laughter, when used more than once it begins feeling like a laugh track. You populate your world with very stock yet colorful side characters but you tell us who to laugh at. Think about the Coen brothers a moment and how all of their films have very off the wall characters but we aren't told how to feel about them. They just color the scenes and add a dynamic.

"See you next Tuesday" has been used several times in "chick flicks". First a foremost it was used in Sex and the City... in fact I think that is what popularized it. You can use it and most people won't care but this is the issue I'm trying to address in your work.


All the guys in this screenplay are either sleaze balls or lame... not to say this is uncommon but it's perpetuating the same stereotypes that women complain (and rightly so) about in screenplays written by men.

Writing women and men are the same thing... they just have different givens but at the end of the day they want the same things. Without delving into the characters greater desires they all end up as cardboard cut outs spewing a lot of small talk... well written and believable small talk... but the reason small talk isn't seen in movies is because its rather boring. All these characters seem like real people but real people I have no interest in knowing.

I don't find Olivia interesting. I don't care about her. I don't feel for her... and its a character study of her. An honest look at a woman from a woman's point of view is truly fantastic. But you hold your main character in such high regard. She isn't flawed enough to be interesting... and everything the female characters do in the story only contribute to the same versions of women men write. She basically makes a couple of mistakes, doesn't pay for them that severely and the only lesson she learns is she doesn't need men like Dash and Floor-ian but a nice guy, who she's now willing to go on a date with because she's abandoned her dreams of Boston and settled for a place she's gotten comfortable in. Everything turns out okay... everyone pretty much remains the same from beginning to end. CHANGE... through CONFLICT. These are my biggest notes...

As said above you are a great writer in the basics... you paint me a scene, you populate it with characters that I remember well enough to know who is who... but none of them are saying or doing anything interesting enough for it to be memorable.

The tone and structure is very formulaic in nature.

It comes off as very Ally McBeal (without the fantasy elements or analytical commentary on the sexs- two of its innovative aspects) or Sex and the City for teenagers... once again without the analytical quality that made those shows interesting. It's like Dirty Dancing or Footloose without anything underground or truly at risk. Its like Something's Got To Give or Terms of Enderment without the drama.

This has the potential to be something interesting, albeit done to death... but there is a market for it. I appreciate it because there aren't enough films that focus on female characters. But you're tiptoeing.

Is this truly the story that would interest you most? What you consider a good film? If so expand your horizons because I think there is the potential of a better writer in there. Watch some better films.


I recommend the films Fish Tank, Little Children (really anything with Kate Winslet), Junebug. These are great dramas with female leads... all contain fantastic conflict (very subtly in Junebug)... these are recommendations for you as a writer not necessarily for this script. For this script... Something's Got to Give, As Good as it Get's, Dirty Dancing and the shows mentioned above Ally McBeal if you go for PG13 and Sex and the City if you decide to punch it up and earn an R.

You've likely seen some of these but rewatch them and see how they work. The dialogue, the tone and most importantly the CONFLICT.

We don't want a slice of real life... especially not these people's lives... and if these people's lives it better be the most traumatic times of their lives where they REALLY change... where they experience more than a car accident, a few one night stands and a pass from their dream job.


Once again I think you are a very fine writer and you paint a picture well and many people may like it because it's easily understood, very accessible and can be followed... but is that enough? Is that what you want? If you stand back from your script and watch it as a movie in your head, as written... does it fulfill you? Does it touch you? Make you grow... surprise you? Would you class it in the caliber of your favorite films? And you may say... "those are done by the greats" maybe true but why not shoot for that?

Can I ever write American Beauty? Pulp Fiction? Hannah and Her Sisters? Network? Good Will Hunting? Don't know but I'm going to try. I think you should as well.

If you want something light and fun... it's gotta be a lot funnier. If you want a drama... it's got to be a lot richer and more in depth. If you want to toe that fine line between the two... your character have to be a lot more interesting.

I was torn between giving you 2 or 3 stars. I gave you 3 partly because you don't write poorly... you have a voice and you've learned the "craft" but you've got no poetry, no magic, no resonance and no passion in your work yet... at least not in this piece. Keep at it and if you put something new up, perhaps we can do another review swap.

ZvG: Zombies Vs Gladiators, Glen's 3rd Draft

4 out of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Titus: No Blood and Sand

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
3 stars
Story structure:
3 stars
2 stars
3 stars
1 stars
September 01, 2011
Glenn I have a really hard time writing short reviews. I want to discuss things like this. I end up writing (As I just did) six pages or more of things I like or don't like with examples and explanations.

I have that available if you'd like. This is the very watered down version.

You made them mystical. Bravo... AS check

You made them bleed sand. Great for PG 13 marketing. Terrible for zombie fans. Trading markets... money wise you win out.

I like that you didn't rush to introduce them. You took some time developing the plot.

Like the original, these are not zombies. They are demon like creatures using human bodies. Zombies are a very specific kind of creature. It's fine the original did it too. It's another marketing thing... zombies has a broad meaning to many people.

Is this a word where supernatural things always happen? If so explain that better or have your characters react more noticeably to the walking dead. Even if it to keep the tone they react in a humorous way.

Like the original, cartoonish.

Elephants are used way too much. What might be fun and exciting about them will quickly pass if over used. I never liked them to begin with.

The story is very noticeably structured to bring us from one action scene to the next.

Because of the title you needed an excuse for zombies to fight gladiators and you found one. There was enough history stuff to show you did some research and name dropping for me to assume the characters know what they are talking about too.

Yup... stuff happened sometimes people got angry. I don't really know what to say beyond it didn't evoke anything out of me and the characters didn't seem to have enough believable things to care about for them to either.

No stand out stuff in either direction... lots of quips between the gladiators... lots and lots and lots and lots. Also:

"Were you not entertained?" -Shout out to Gladiator or an oops?

If it was in homage (might want to include that in the script... not normal practice... but this is a campy kind script so it might work)

If it was an oops... then it should be cut or reworded. Especially since Jorgan reemphasizes it later as a kind of “How about that” style quip.

It isn't exact as is... but that is all anyone is going to think of. And I don't think any of the scripts of ZvG want people honestly comparing it to Gladiator... let's face it... ZvG doesn't hold a candle. If you do it in jest... in light of... then it can be fun.

a) Protagonist: Titus... confusingly structured. Too many stock characters interwoven for any grounding. You kept the quote that AS used to describe the original draft's version of Titus. "If you want to save your own life you start by respecting your opponent's." This while said is not illustrated at any time by Titus... in fact he consistently exhibits the opposite behavior (Anytime he talks about Cassius while dead or undead is utterly disrespectful... plus he spends the entirety of the script desecrating the dead by killing them.) And my favorite part of the movie is when he convinces the common crowd to fight the super strong and super fast undead that even trained warriors can barely defeat. And no one mentions this. (I have a lot more written about Titus if you desire in my notes on your script... as well as your other characters. I feel like I'm not going in depth enough but... I'll leave it here unless you personally want more).

b) Antagonist: Valaric... best potential scene is when he is being paraded into the arena and subsequently beaten and killed by Belisarius. There history is more interesting then the story's active plot.
--These two characters cause and actually propel the events that spur your story. The main characters are involved but don't have a real stake in the story like these two do. Your script is like Stars Wars being from only Han Solo's which would be cool because we know the story of Star Wars really well... imagine if we didn't. How many times does Han Solo interact with Vader? The Emperor? The biggest difference though is that Han Solo still has a stake in what happens in SW... and it has to deal with his growth as a character... which isn't offered in Titus.

The rest of the relationships and characters are filler stock characters fleshing out a reworking of the Mummy tone, style and formula. Which means you accomplished what you likely set out to do... thus 3 stars (I refuse to give someone who accomplished what they wanted less then that... if it is at least as good as the formula dictates) But there is very little flavor, a whole lot of spectacle and not enough uniqueness in characters we've seen before for this to go beyond that for me.

It's getting long again... so I hope some of this helps and I've got more if you are actually interested. Happy writing and good luck in the contest.


Favorite Movies

Hannah and Her Sisters
There Will Be Blood
Indian Runner
Pulp Fiction
Jeremiah Johnson
Big Lebowski
Fisher King
Red Beard
American Beauty
Cries and Whispers
My Favorite Year
Little Children
Good Will Hunting


Kurosawa (Pre color)
Woody Allen (70/80s)
Sam Mendes
Coen Bros
David Fincher
Sean Penn
Daniel Day Lewis
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman, Brando, Deniro, Pacino (pre 90s)


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