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Title Average Rating Downloads Date

ZvG: Zombies Vs Gladiators Glen's 3rd Draft (Script 117)

3.0 stars
26 08/31/11

ZvG: Zombies Vs Gladiators Glen's 2nd Draft (Script 112)

No rating
13 08/31/11

ZvG: Zombies Vs Gladiators Glen's 1st Draft (Script 30)

2.5 stars
60 08/10/11

Selective Memory Glen's 2nd Draft (Script 2)

4.5 stars
66 01/24/11

Selective Memory Glen's Original Draft (Script 1)

4.0 stars
17 01/20/11


I am a civil engineer, an artist, and a writer. Sort of a jack-of-all-trades.

For some silly reason, I enjoy writing and reading screenplays, but I can't seem to muster enough attention span to finish a novel. I suppose that is why I like screenplay writing so much - I can write a 2-hour story in only 120 pages!

Reviews Glen Has Written

LAVA BOAT, B.'s Original Draft

3 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

While the title could use a makeover, the rest of the story has great potential. Just needs a few tweaks.

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
4 stars
Story structure:
4 stars
4 stars
4 stars
4 stars
June 26, 2012
/begin random notes while reading

Page 14: I’m trying to figure out why Camp hates Randy so much? Does Randy remind him of someone abusive? I get that step-fathers have a bad rap going in, but Camp seems a bit overboard. The simple statement of “I just don’t like you” is bold and brash for Camp, but it doesn’t really speak volumes. Maybe something more along the lines of “you could never be my dad” or “why can’t you just leave us alone so my real dad can come back”…that would still speak the volume you’re portraying but also give us more of a reason why Camp dislikes Randy so much other than “I just don’t like you.”

Page 14: should that be “Been there, done that” ??

Could it be perhaps that Camp shared these games with his dad and maybe that gives more of a reason why Camp resorts to his imagination and dislikes Randy so much?

Page 15: this is the second time I’ve seen Camp fall backwards into his imaginary lava pit. I good running scene that could be played on might be for this to be Camp’s Achilles heel. Perhaps making that last jump onto the bed has been a chore for him – for which he most always never makes. This last jump, like normal, sends him careening backwards and into his imaginary world. Near the end, this jump could be pivotal. Just a suggestion…it’s fine the way it is, but was a thought.

I like how this has a Hawaiian theme and I can see where what Camp has learned will help him and I perceive that Randy will have something to do with the story – being that he is from Hawaii.

I’m perceiving Morca will end up being the antagonist – along with the mud men.

Page 23: the dialogue between Camp and Ten-Tuck seems a bit bland. It just seems rushed here. Great everywhere else.

Page 26: what doesn’t feel right is that Camp is ‘new’ to this village, yet no one seems to question him, where he’s from, why he’s there, why he has a funny name to them,…or where his parents are? It seems as though Rayna would have at least taken him in. Also, he sort of crashes their village and then he’s sleeping. Like a stray dog that just wandered into the village that everyone just seemed to accept.

Page 28: Ten-Tuck hasn’t known Camp long…how does he know Camp is stubborn and selfish?

A little more backstory or exposition of Morca’s terror would justify more the decision to hunt him. The decision to go hunting so quickly seems out of place. Camp is in a new world where he knows no one, yet, he doesn’t ask a lot of questions or seem afraid. He only has one run-in with Morca. Perhaps Camp could have had a close call with Morca whereby Ten-Tuck had to step in and save Camp…again. That would at least give more of a reason to hunt Morca and Ten-Tuck to see Camp as stubborn and selfish.

Page 30: I like the feel of the story but this thing with Camp is really bugging me. He’s new and yet he seemed to skip over many years of earning his place in the village. Rayna takes him in because “it felt right” and now he’s going with the others to hunt their GREATEST adversary. Things seem way to rushed at this point.

It’s not until page 38 that we get a good exposition of Morca.

Another note…Camp had this great imagination where HE made things up. Now he seems to be stuck in a dream land that has none of his making – other than the volcano and shark. Shouldn’t some of this be his influence?

Camp’s character arc seems a little flat. He hasn’t really faced any personal challenges. He doesn’t even talk about HIS world or missing his sister or mom.

Maybe Camp competing with another child in the camp. Maybe Ten-Tuck lost a son and feels like Rayna is pushing Camp as a replacement. This would at least let Camp know what it feels like (him giving Randy the cold shoulder).

Page 51: Camp hearing his mom should have happened long ago. Only now he mentions missing his family?

Too much of a big gap between the last time we saw Morca. Now we are introduced to the mud men finally on page 57.

It gets a bit confusing…why is Camp so eager to be Ten-Tuck and Rayna’s child after hearing his mother’s voice and missing her?

The fascination with Rayna and Camp wanting to be with his mom Tracy makes Camp seem like he has an identity crisis. I get that it appears Camp is in some sort of coma and is dreaming, but either Camp wants to be Rayna and Ten-Tuck’s son, or he wants to go home. You’re giving too much choice.

Page 97: Camp hugging Randy seems a bit out of place. It’s too forced. I get that there are SMALL similarities between Ten-Tuck and Randy…but it’s not apparent. You need to make it more apparent. There needs to be some conflict between he and Ten-Tuck other than the initial conflict.

The ending image was a little ‘meh’ for me. Randy/Ten-Tuck and Camp’s relationship needed to evolve more in that Camp gave Randy the cold shoulder but Ten-Tuck initially gives Camp the cold shoulder. Therefore, this doesn’t translate very well. This portion doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the story. Camp, one, needs to be more in shock mode of where he’s at, and then two, he needs to form some sort of relationship with Ten-Tuck other than being forced into it. What if Randy and Camp found a pearl together as the ending image? The pearl holds significance…the pearl should be in your opening image too. A good script has an opening and ending image that mesh together. Sort of tying things together.

On a more positive note…this is an enjoyably fast read.

/end random notes while reading

This is what I perceive as your standard story structure outline.

Hook: the dreamscape like scene of lava that Camp and Beck play around. It’s picturesque and semi-sets up what we are in for. It helps draw us into the creativity of Camp. Later we learn that he's bitter towards a potentially new father. The only critique is that there should be a better opening image that would tie into the ending image.

Exposition: good explanation of the current situation…Camp has a vivid imagination, Tracy is a divorced mom who’s met someone – Randy, Beck is a receptive little sister, Randy is the step-dad to be with the obstacle of earning Camp’s approval, and the missing dad that Camp hasn’t let go of. Camp is clearly the protagonist. Antagonist finally mentioned on page .

Catalyst: Camp falling into his dream world. Although, it would have been nice for something magical to happen to set this into motion. Jumanji and the like required a game. Camp’s world just sort of ‘happens’.

Break into Act II: The decision to hunt Morca; sub-plot: Rayna tasking Ten-Tuck to teach Camp.

MidPoint: Ten-Tuck getting hurt; Mag Pot revealing that the volcano could erupt soon.

Break into Act III: Finding the pearl that will destroy Morca; mud men moving in.

End: Morca’s defeat, Mud men defeat, surviving the eruption.

Realization: Camp’s family circle discovery

PREMISE: The premise is good. It has a bit of a Jumanji feel to it. It has a good model for a family movie. I can see The Rock being Ten-Tuck. However, because Camp fabricates a lot of his imagination, his play scenes in the beginning and the dream world should translate each other. There needs to be a key to this dream world. It does tell a good moral though, and that’s a plus.

STORY STRUCTURE: As I mentioned above, I am able to point out a basic outline. The structure is there. The story telling itself needs just a little help. Camp needs a reason to dislike Randy so much other than him just being “the other guy replacing my dad”. Camp also needs a reason to form a relationship with Ten-Tuck and Ten-Tuck needs more similarities with Randy. We know very little about Randy, so in order to mesh Randy and Ten-Tuck together, they need similarities. More of them. Camp needs to be scared initially in dream world (much like being scared at having a new dad; maybe they’re moving and so he’s scared of a new town). Camp needs to learn how important family is. He never really does. He gets some teaching. But the lessons seem too convenient. There’s no discovery for him. Ten-Tuck gets taught a lesson…but why? If he’s really Randy, Randy doesn’t need a lesson taught. There seems to be too much focus on Ten-Tuck. Morca needs to present more of a challenge and danger. The pearl needs to have more significance.

But overall, the structure is good.

CHARACTER: Camp…he’s a typical kid. Not receptive to change (although he doesn’t really question his new surroundings). Misses his dad. Has a vivid imagination. But he needs MORE of an arc. He has self discovery at the end, but it seems to projected. He doesn’t really have an “all is lost” moment until maybe when he thinks he’s lost Ten-Tuck. Beck seemed to be a big part of him in the very beginning, but you don’t translate her into the dream world but a brief moment before the mud men attack the village. He does get to learn some things and become a hero. He also needs to DISCOVER this dream world more other than just being tossed into the ocean in the beginning. He imagined it…it should be a bigger discovery for him.

Ten-Tuck…I think he’s given too much of a role. He competes heavily as the protagonist in the story because of this. He’s important, but he needs to take a side seat to Camp. Also, he needs more similarity to Randy. You have the thing with him giving a knife to Camp (like Randy did) … which Camp should initially reject as he did in reality. There’s the swinging of an axe like a fireman. And there’s the losing of the brother. But you give Ten-Tuck and arc of self learning. Camp needs this more than Ten-Tuck. Ten-Tuck can be a solid support, but again, seems to compete too much with Camp for protagonist.

Beck…nice start but sort of fades away. Same with Raji/Rutemo and Tracy.

Rayna…I can see the sympathetic similarity to Tracy…but it seems “filler” like. Shouldn’t she have self-discovery as well?

Morca…clearly the antagonist…but a weak one. First, there should be some significance to a snake (other than Camp’s pet) in the beginning. Maybe the snake is Randy’s and Camp is deathly afraid of it. But other than the village threat, Morca presents no challenge…and there’s no consistency in that the snake doesn’t present any challenges in the real world either.

Mud Men…I can’t place them in the real world…other than maybe the bullies who pick on Raji. But again, they should have more significance in the real world. Maybe Camp attempts to help Raji and Camp himself gets beat up too in the process and they make fun of his lack of a dad. Somehow that could translate to the Mud Men in the dream world.

DIALOGUE: Very good. You translate emotion well and I can tell the mood of the characters. The dialogue drives the story well. There were only a few places where the dialogue seemed too rushed. But overall very good.

EMOTION: For what you’re accomplishing, the emotion is good. I can tell that Camp really dislikes Randy. That Tracy loves Randy, but wants to communicate that Camp in an easy way. Camp has a typical young man feel to him. Ten-Tuck seems strong, but as I mentioned before competes for the protag role. Camp is a bit confusing at times. Not in what he does portray, but what he should. By that, I mean, he should go through a transition of sorts. He should be angry (as he is), then scared, then worrisome, then perhaps accepting of his new worlds as he attempts to learn – much like Jake in Avatar. But this has to evolve. He just seems to welcome the new change without any question.

OVERALL: I think this has a lot of potential for a kid movie. It has a promising story that just needs some tweaks, but for a first draft, this is worth checking out again.

Please do not take offense to any of my comments. These are only my opinions and others may have different ones. I wish you the best of luck!

The Hit, Blake's Original Draft

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Your hit was a bit to the left. Hone some things for a bullseye.

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
2 stars
Story structure:
2 stars
2 stars
2 stars
2 stars
June 25, 2012
/begin random notes while reading

I would get rid of the scene heading numbers and director notes such as CUT TO. Not a biggie, but they’re usually not present in drafts.

You need proper introductions for your characters…LOU (40’s), clean shaven and well dressed, sits at…

Page 2: this is kind of ballsy and weird at the same time. There are only two people in the diner other than the waitress and cook and then Lou informs both of them that the other man is dead. Isn’t a hit man concerned with anonymity and being identified later? Just in that one line, my impression is that he’s way too cocky. If this is the “mistake” that the premise describes, it’s not much of a mistake…more of a bone-headed move. One that maybe should have been motivated by something far more troublesome for him. Maybe his estranged daughter was killed and he’s in an “I don’t care attitude”. In which case, you should give a few flashbacks of backstory before you have him shoot someone in the head in the first minute of the movie. It just seems a bit too quick.

Page 2: I agree with a previous commenter about music choice. ONLY if the song actually plays into a scene should you suggest a song. For example, maybe a character wakes up from a dream about masturbation and the song ‘STROKIN’ by Clarence Carter is playing. Otherwise, let the director choose proper music. They have to worry about licensing, etc…not you.

Page 5: Lou is a hit man and he’s worried about someone getting killed? While we’re on this subject, veteran hit man teaching inexperienced kid, it’s been done before. What’s the new twist? Where’s the dilemma other than Lou needs to keep the kid safe?

Page 6: this just really isn’t flowing. It’s too ‘on the nose’ as they say. You’re trying to give Lou some conflict (not wanting to do what he’s instructed) but it’s all for naught because Jimmy just quietly insists and Lou does it. There’s no passion. It’s forced action. In other words, we don’t get the feeling Lou isn’t going to obey. Jimmy telling Lou to take Nick so quickly is also forcing the plot along. You need to let it develop on its own. Why not have Nick follow Lou against Jimmy’s wishes? Maybe Jimmy wanted Nick to sit this one out but he follows Lou. Then something goes wrong and now Jimmy has more of a reason to get back at Lou.

Page 6: read this piece of dialogue on its own and then really think about how horrible it sounds: NICK – “Nice ride.” LOU – “Be quiet.” NICK – “Okay.” How does this drive your story? What does it say about these two characters? Yeah, Lou is pissed, but Nick doesn’t retort so we can get a better feel of Nick’s character.

Page 7: your dialogue needs a lot of work. While we can get the feel of Lou’s cockiness, it isn’t effective when you have Nick giving in too quickly. Nick should be brash and wannabe cocky himself. Instead he just agrees with everything. At this point, Nick’s character is way too flat and Lou is one-dimensional.

Page 8: Nick’s response to Lou shooting greasy guy…really? Think of something better. Shouldn’t Nick be enthusiastic? Or maybe Nick’s character is against violence in the first place but Jimmy insists he learns the business? You need to create some dilemma and you need better reactions that give an essence to your characters.

Page 9: You’re trying to make Tito witty and it’s just not working. He seems high, but has enough wits about him to say he’ll take him to the money? This just all happens way too quickly. And Tito is projecting too much, too quickly. Also, Nick is scared and sick but is able to talk smack to Tito? Pick one side. Either he’s cocky and eager to jump in, or he’s meek and hangs in the background and lets Lou do everything.

Page 10/11: a hit man with a mark in his trunk and a rookie he doesn’t really know – stops at his apartment AND lets the rookie in?? Hit men are supposed to be discreet and stealthy. What if Nick were to ever turn on Lou? If I’m killing people…I’m not trusting ANYONE! Least alone with my kid. Also, why does the daughter have to know what her dad does? Kids talk. Better to let DAUGHTER (who should be given a name) stay in the unknown about daddy’s line of work.

Page 13/14: why the banter between Nick and Tito? It doesn’t fit. I realize it’s a little exposition about Tito, but you had Nick scared and sick and now he’s acting like a veteran sidekick. Also, didn’t Lou tell Nick to keep his mouth shut?

Page 14: and now Nick is having a heart-to-heart with Lou. Lou is introverted and didn’t want this gig in the first place, but he’s giving up personal information?

Page 16: Um, you might want to ditch the N-word.

Page 18: Nick has more lines than the actual hit man…who’s the protagonist here? Also, why the heck does Nick care where Destiny got her name? What’s his fascination with names and accents?

Page 20: thugs in her house, might die, boyfriend begin man-handled…and Destiny is worried about her carpet? ??????

Page 42: Nick was supposed to be a novice and now he’s the one with all the quick thinking?

Page 43: a hit man who only kills bad people? That’s a vigilante. A hit man doesn’t care who they kill…as long as they get paid.

This needs a lot of work, starting with your explanation of the premise/logline and then with the story and dialogue…and characters.

/end random notes while reading

PREMISE: This needs some work. It’s close, the premise, but it’s too generic in your explanation…or logline. You suggest that killing the rival kingpin’s henchmen is the main dilemma, but it’s not. The bigger dilemma is staying out of trouble while babysitting Nick. And the rival kingpin really isn’t a factor in the story. Nick, who ends up being the real antagonist, seems like a sidekick, so Tony being the perceived antagonist doesn’t make much of an appearance. We learn of him early during a phonecall, then when he shoots Lou, then kidnapping the daughter, and at the end. He’s angry because Lou killed one of his men? It doesn’t make sense. Why couldn’t Lou have taken all the money that was owed to him and now Tony wants him dead? Killing a henchmen just doesn’t make sense. This seems more like Pineapple Express meets The Whole Nine Yards meets Spy VS Spy. Clearly define your premise better. Right now it’s a bit confusing after you read the story. What is Jimmy’s connection with Nick? If Nick was sent to kill Lou on orders from Lou’s wife, what is Jimmy’s connection with Lou’s wife? If Nick himself is a hit man, why did he get sick when Lou took out the henchman? Why does Nick have such a code of morals? Why poison? What’s the era? There’s no mention of cell phones or modern day things. Also, Nick isn’t opposed to killing someone outright, why be so subtle with poison? Did he have sympathy? Does he prefer primitive forms like poison and knives over guns and explosions? If so, that’s something that’s unique to him and needs to be brought out through exposition. All in all…MAKE IT UNIQUE! If it’s a dark comedy, why not give it a Spy vs Spy twist? Or give it the Ron Burgundy - Anchorman treatment and the story is about all hit men after hit men (like the anchorman battle where all newscasters meet up gang style).

I would also edit your synopsis. You have: “When being given one last task for the night, a hitman is forced to take his boss' nephew on the job with him. But, when he mistakenly kills a rival kingpin's henchmen, both are forced to work together to make things right and make it to morning alive” Nick really isn’t the nephew, so instead of “his boss’ nephew”, what about “an unlikely tag-along”. Also, “kills a rival kingpin’s henchmen” shouldn’t be the main mission. What if it was Tony’s son or nephew or brother? Make it more personal.

STORY STRUCTURE: You need to make the story more unique. Dilemmas. Certain periods in time (50’s, 70’s, etc) to make the story unique. Character arcs that drive the story along. Give it twists. Yeah, there’s hit men and some dark comedy…but how is a typical hit man story different from all the others? What makes this one stand out?

The hook happens way too quickly or isn’t really there at all. Yeah, someone gets shot on page one…but that’s entirely too quick. It’s got some shock factor, but you don’t follow it up. It doesn’t really contribute to the story overall. Now, if Lou was the bulldozing, guns blazing, explosive happy, don’t give a crap, hit man and Nick was swift, silent, and deadly…then you’d have something. Two entirely different hit men after each other. But the way it’s written, this page one doesn’t really contribute overall.

68 pages is not that great of a story. Act I ends too quick (when Lou is sent on his hit that sends him into the whirlwind of bad luck). There really isn’t a mid point and Lou never really has a “things are going just as planned” and then a “everything is going wrong” moment. There’s more bad luck than anything and Lou never really gets any sense of accomplishment so that the story can set him up for failure. He never really has a mission per se. He’s sent on a hit, supposed to collect some money, needs to get his daughter back, and survive. That’s a mish-mash. He needs a clear mission. Something for him to accomplish. Maybe Tony gets his daughter earlier and that’s his mission. Nick sent to kill Lou is doing it for Lou’s wife who is trying to get the daughter back. So shouldn’t the daughter be Nick’s responsibility also…in a way? So getting the daughter back should be the main mission. Then after the daughter is secured, Nick takes the daughter and finishes off (or attempts to) Lou. For this, Lou needs an arc and needs to CLEARLY be the protagonist. Because Nick is given so much attention, it’s hard to say who the protagonist is. Maybe instead of Nick posing as a rookie, maybe Lou teams up with Nick (who is also a known hit man) to get the daughter back…all to find out that Nick was to kill Lou all along after getting the daughter back.

You would benefit from an outline where you identify the hook, the first plot point, the midpoint, the second plot point, climax, and ending. There are specific guidelines on this if you want it to be successful. A story needs these points. Yours are a bit sketchy to find…if there. I can guess where these points are, but they should stick out like a knife in your chest (see what I did there?).

CHARACTER: These are a bit confusing. You never really clearly define the protagonist and its hard to point out the antagonist. Also, you need better exposition. Why they are related. Why they are doing what they’re doing. And more importantly, how it relates to the story itself. None of them really have an arc. Nick is supposed to be a rookie who has some discovery he’s good at being a hit man…but he’s already secretly one. And his discovery is too forced. Lou never really has a clear mission – so his dilemma is pretty generic (some bad luck, needing to get his daughter back, trying to stay alive). They need unique dilemmas. Jimmy seems to be just thrown in there. And if Tony is the antagonist – or perceived antagonist – he needs more exposition and story. A lot of your characterization needed to drive the story is missing. They just seem to be running around shooting people. The money Tony grabbed from Tito seems to be an irrelevant issue. Getting the daughter back seems to be more of the mission and so that needs more focus. This could be Lou’s weakness which will help with his character arc. Nick needs a weakness too. Things just always seem to go his way. And what is Jimmy’s real role?

DIALOGUE: A lot of it doesn’t “sound” right. Print it out and read it out loud – you’ll see what I’m talking about. Also, it needs to be more natural and flow. I noted a few spots in my random notes, but a key thing to remember, if it doesn’t drive the story along or provide some key exposition…get rid of it. You can make room for slapstick, but you need to make sure it keeps things moving. Too many times there were just random things that made no sense…like Destiny’s obsession with her carpet or Nick’s obsession with name origination/accents. If you gave more exposition to Destiny’s OCD on cleanliness or Nick’s overt fascination with cultures…then it would fit and probably be funnier. But you just seem to throw it in there in an attempt to add some comedy.

Ditch the n-word and the f-bombs. You don’t really need them. One, you’re going to limit your market, and two, it doesn’t add to character. All it really does it make it more appealing to adolescent movie goers. Think of Hudson in Aliens. He says a lot of f-words, but he’s also manic and on-edge and his character is consistent. John McClain in Die Hard. There’s non-stop intense situations. Most of his scenes would make the audience themselves drop some f-bombs. Every other movie with the f-word in it…they probably already have budgets. You don’t have that luxury.

Now, if it contributes to characterization in certain scenes – use it. Otherwise, it just sounds like random slang for the sake of using it and you should probably avoid it. It takes more skill to make the scene work NOT using an f-word than just throwing it in because it sounds right. Make sense?

EMOTION: there really isn’t any. This is because your characters really have no arc. If you’re going to make Lou a bad-ass hit man, you have to work especially hard to use his daughter as a catalyst to make us feel bad for him in the end. The daughter has to be his weakness, his driving force…his mission. Nick also needs an arc. Give him MORE of a reason to show some mercy to Lou. Since these two characters are the only ones you show real focus to with back stories…the others seem like filler characters and I can’t really judge any kind of emotion to them.

OVERALL: you need an outline. You need more developed characters. You need a lot.

I would start with rethinking your overall purpose. Ask yourself what makes your story interesting and unique. If it’s a hit man helping a rookie nephew – boring. A hit man getting his daughter back – boring. A hit man turning on another hit man – boring. An over-the-top hit man employing the services of a subtle hit man from a rival gang to get his daughter back after another rival gang kidnapped her – now you’ve got something. After you develop a logline/synopsis (which is basically what your story is about in short form), do an outline. A great example? Google “Save The Cat”. After you develop an outline, then give your characters arcs. What’s their mission? What drives them? What’s their connection? What’s their weaknesses? What challenge will they face? What’s their savior? THEN start writing.

Please do not take offense to any of this. These are merely my opinions. I’m no professional. However, I hope some of this helps you to write a better story.

Best of luck!

Polite and Well-Mannered, Pilot Script 1

4 stars
I could pick out the "weirdness" theme; but Hagar (who wasn't even the family the show is about) seemed more 'weird' with her clogging. Maybe the exposition could use a bit more?
June 15, 2012

The Rat Catcher, Cecil's Original Draft

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Great start, but use that flute to summon just a tad more creativity to capture us.

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
3 stars
Story structure:
3 stars
3 stars
3 stars
3 stars
June 08, 2012
/begin random notes while reading

Page 1: “An old wooden barn and stables is being used by a carriage company to deliver people and messages.” Show…don’t tell. How can you SHOW this to your audience? Remember, everything that is described on paper should be able to form a mental image to the viewer. Maybe a sign, or a short piece of dialogue. How does the viewer know the wooden barn and stables does this?

I wouldn’t try to fabricate dialect too much. Southern speak such as y’all and yer, and fer are easy to read. Qvickly – not so much. Perhaps when you introduce the characters and describe them, state that they speak with a broken German dialect.

Double check proper formatting of character introductions.

The hook was good. It was a big event, child dying, and we get the feel of the antagonist’s demeanor. We also meet the protag, Friar, and the problem is set – a rat problem.

I think the Bog Witch warning the Burgermeister before Rat Catcher starts would have been more effective. It would have sweetened the dilemma he had to make the choice in the first place. Then during the town meeting when they discuss payment, she could warn them again and let them know what evil they’re in store for. The Bog Witch’s warning seems a bit too late.

Page 39 seems to the break into ACT II (Rat Catcher hints at revenge). If so, this might be a little too far ahead to start ACT II. The inciting incident was the town’s folk hiring the Rat Catcher to take out the rats – which he did. The plot turn (beginning of ACT II) would be the Rat Catcher being betrayed and then deciding on revenge. Almost half way through your movie may be a bit too late for this turn.

Also, you haven’t really given your protagonist, the Friar, a role or much of an exposition. You’ve introduced him, but up until page 39, you haven’t really defined a clear protagonist. It’s apparent that the Friar is the protagonist, but we need to get to know him more. Give us a reason to cheer for him to defeat the Rat Catcher. You should incorporate this way before page 39. Involve the Friar more. How will he play into things? What is his tie with the Rat Catcher? I know more about the Rat Catcher and his rats than I do our hero.

Page 41, Chester just made a big pot of stew and Rat Cather says break camp?? Either ditch the fact Chester is making stew or this would be a good spot to have Chester dump the stew and make it a running gag. I remember in the beginning and one other spot where Rat Catcher didn’t want Chester’s stew. This would be a perfect spot to reiterate it subtly.

Page 44, I like that the Rat Catcher was leading the children out, but it was too quick. This should be a big event. It’s magical. Not only can he make rats follow…but humans as well!! You only used a few lines describing children sneaking out. They should have been in a trance. Describe more of the children dropping toys and dancing away. Half eaten fruit falling to the ground. Dolls falling. Make it more dramatic. And if it’s all the children, wouldn’t parents be following? I doubt ALL the children could sneak out. Parents keep a sharp eye out. What about toddlers? Babies? At what age are they not “children”? What about teenagers? Maybe the parents just all think their kids are playing and ignore it. But having them ALL sneak out is a bit bland. Also, I would make this more of a big deal with the parents. Maybe the children run through thickets that the parents can’t follow. That would really strike fear into them. Then maybe the Bog Witch reiterates her warning. I would really rework this.

Page 47, the parents should be way more passionate about this. Shoving. Fighting. Accusing. THEN Kristoff reveals what happened. This just all happens to nice like. It’s like reserved anger. If my kid went missing, I wouldn’t be pointing a stiff finger at the Burgermeister, I’d be grabbing my buds and some pitch forks. They’d have to calm me down and think with a clear head. The children dancing away and the parents’ reactions needs to be a way bigger event.

Something I can’t understand: Rat Catcher has this magic flute, can make rocks appear from the water, walks through a big rock, appears to the Bog Witch magically, and can make the raft move by itself…but he got his a$$ handed to him by a few thugs??? Personally, I would ditch the thugs and the scene of him recovering. Use that space to maybe have the town all closed up. They’re locked inside because they’re hiding. In the middle of the town is a small chest with the hundred gold pieces. The Rat Catcher is angered and kicks it over. He yells out. The Burgermeister peeks through his curtain and quickly shies away when the Rat Catcher catches him peeking. Behind one of the buildings maybe Gus and his gang are waiting to pounce if anything happens. The Burgermeister cowardly apologizes that’s all they can afford. Rat Catcher leaves angered. The townspeople then think everything is ok. To me, this is more dramatic than a magical Rat Catcher getting beat up.

Page 48, I really don’t like the dialogue at the bottom of page 48 between Rat Catcher and Burgermeister. It’s too on the nose. “This is no game.” “You should be trying very hard after that beating you gave me. Why you almost killed me.” “I don’t know what you are talking about and regardless we want our children back.” He passes the beating off to subtly and then throws a regardless as if to say, yeah, whatever. He should be more fearful. Pleading almost.

Puking blackjacks? How about if all the men start beating each other?

Page 50, the dialogue is starting to get bad. “I don’t what trickery by which you do this but stop it nonetheless.” That doesn’t seem very scared or passionate. It sounds like a dissertation. ‘I don’t know what’s going on here but never mind that…you just need to quit’. Children are gone for God’s sake!! They should be crying out and pleading.

Page 61, ok, the people have already seen how powerful Rat Catcher’s magic is and he warns them and yet they ignore it? If he had warned me, I’d probably have listened. Catching him on fire after hearing that warning just seems sloppy in execution. Perhaps Burgermeister thinks twice and someone else grabs the torch and tosses it on.

Page 66, so this was all a dream the Friar was having?? This doesn’t work. The reason why is that it took until page 66 to involve the Friar. Isn’t he the hero? The young Friar should be more involved or ancestor or something. And what really happened to the children? You never really explained. Did the townspeople eat them?

Page 68, the letter is a bit too…ugh. After 60 years, it seems Friar Kristoff would have told someone about what happened. 60 years later and 1000 gold pieces is still the going rate for catching rats? No inflation?

Page 69, how can you SHOW the purpose of the letter unless the Friar says aloud what he’s writing or writes it and then reveals what he’s written? Or we see what he’s writing?

So page 68 appears to the break into ACT III as this is a new mission, but where is the midpoint? Where is that time when the hero is at his lowest? This could be because you never really gave the hero an arc because he was absent most of the story up until this point.

Also, exactly why was Kristoff spared? What would have made this better would be if Kristoff would have been an orphan. Rat Catcher would have sarcastic pity on him because Rat Catcher wanted revenge on the parents by taking their children. If Kristoff had no parents, it’d have been a moment of compassion by Rat Catcher. Then, how fitting for it to be the only child he let go to come back and be his demise? Or maybe Kristoff is deaf and couldn’t hear the music? Speaking of which…there were no deaf children in this town?

Page 73, the rats seem to laugh??? Laughing rats? How could you show this?

Why does Rat Catcher like some rats and hate the others? Why couldn’t his magical rats, the ones he likes, actually be the children he stole? Maybe children from other villages as well? Just a thought.

Page 76, “In my defense all I wanted was some advice.” ?? He seems to play this off but the letter said urgent. Why? This doesn’t mesh well with the story.

Page 80, never mind what I suggested about Friar being orphaned. If this was mentioned…I didn’t catch it…which means your audience might not either. So you need dialogue between Rat Catcher and Friar (Kristoff) reinforcing as such.

Page 86, why make them go through all that trouble to make the gold look bigger than it is, only to have Rat Catcher notice, and then it be a passing thought?

Page 87, Rat Catcher has been the player and now he’s being played? Why? How did Friar get such a witty way about him to propose a simple game to Rat Catcher and Rat Catcher agree so willingly? This is too bland and quick.

First, how did Hansel find the children? What happened to Chester? And cotton balls? Really? You drifted from the original Pied Piper and yet you keep cotton balls? Why not something more clever? If you use cotton, why could it not have been discovered by Friar? Perhaps he was calling to Hansel before and Hansel couldn’t hear and then it was revealed that Hansel had cotton in his ears so he could sleep. Then Friar remembers? It’s just too quick and the tables get turned too easily.

Instead of cotton balls, and since Friar “blessed” things, why not have the entire town, children included, in the church singing a loud and glorious hymn? Friar could tell Rat Catcher that the only music they hear is God’s music. Their ears have been blessed.

Rat Catchers end…meh. More cotton balls? Rat Catcher is swindled by a few guys in their 70’s and a kid?

End…meh. I realize that the flute, like The Ring, is passed on along with its evil. But I saw it coming a mile away. Maybe a better backstory to Rat Catcher. Maybe Chester was the keeper of the flute? Only near the end did we see Rat Catcher acting weird and talking to himself (or something). What’s the backstory of the flute? And why is gold so important but yet Rat Catcher and Chester lived like gypsies who didn’t seem to have anything? Maybe Rat Catcher took on the flute to get powers to get gold to give to a higher more sinister being? Maybe someone in the church!! There’s just too many unanswered questions.

Maybe Chester got the calling to the master right as he was making stew and once again, must abandon it.

/end random notes while reading

PREMISE: Pied Piper with a dark twist. It’s new. Different. But I think you could have done WAY more with it. You give it a clever, darker theme, but without much backstory to Friar, Rat Catcher, and the flute, it leaves too many unanswered questions. Giving it a dark theme is one thing, but it needs twists. There needs to be more conflict. The only conflict is Rat Catcher being cheated of his gold. Where is HIS conflict? He’s a powerful man (even though he gets beat up) but shouldn’t even he have someone to answer to? Darth Vader was most feared, but even he had someone higher that controlled him. Give some explanation of the flute. Yeah, we know what it does, but it’s an important part of the story. Like The Lord Of The Rings, even the ring was given a back story and why it’s so powerful. A greater opening might have been how the flute came to Rat Catcher. You just need more twists.

STORY STRUCTURE: For the most part, it’s there…just not outlined well. You made a 50+ page dream sequence that drags ACT I on forever. The hook is decent, but could have been better. There was some intensity in it, but it sort of dies down. I wouldn’t say you really HOOKED me into your story. Rather, I knew what this was going to be about and that made me want to keep reading. ACT II starts way late. I would condense the large dream sequence and involve more exposition of the Friar and the flute.

The midpoint is sort of missing because the hero really is never given an arc and so we never get to see him at his lowest. Other than maybe when he cries he can’t follow the Rat Catcher. But he never had a mission to begin with. The hero needs to go on a mission. This was more about Rat Catcher than the hero. The hero never really makes an interest until late in ACT II.

ACT III would be where Friar goes to see Friar Schultz and help him. But it’s too late, structure wise. Other than witnessing what happened long ago, Friar Kristoff should have been DRIVEN to help. He has a dream, writes some stuff down, and then BAM – I need to go help someone!

The ending is very bland. There’s no drama. Rat Catcher is defeated too easily. Friar never gets challenged. Rat Catcher falls into a trap by a 70+ year old. Grows old, gets caught, confesses some sins after only a few short lines of banter, and then that’s it. Then – albeit predictably – Peter ends up with the flute. Which I must say is clever in the fact that maybe a sequel could be Peter, now a piper, picking some pickled peppers [sorry, I couldn’t resist].

CHARACTER: You gave the characters a tone and personality. But none of them have an arc. Rat Catcher maybe. He plays music for rats and forces small villages to give him gold. He never has a conflict to face. No one higher to answer to. No personal dilemma. He does show some small compassion for Kristoff and he confesses his sins (why?) at the end. But other than that, his character is pretty flat.

Friar Kristoff doesn’t have an arc. In fact, he’s never really taken on the hero role until late. And why does he have guilt? He didn’t do anything wrong. So for that, he doesn’t have a dilemma either. And he doesn’t have a low point because he easily defeats Rat Catcher. His arc is VERY flat.

Burgermeister and the others just seem to disappear. You spend 50+ pages incorporating them and then they just disappear.

Chester needs a better arc. Involve him more than just some creepy sidekick. He needs some darker backstory if he’s to survive the end. It just doesn’t fit.

All of the characters need arcs, no matter how insignificant…otherwise just seem like fillers.

DIALOGUE: I won’t lie, the typing out of dialect made for a slower read. Just state that they speak in that dialect and let the actors produce it. Also, some of the dialogue is bland and too on the nose [see my random notes above]. While it does keep the story going…sometimes it’s just too quick. But your banter and the way you get the effective points across is good. It could use some work though.

EMOTION: I could feel Rat Catchers emotion most of the time. At the end though, he’s really bland because he’s defeated so quickly and we never really understand why he gives in to confessing to Friar Kristoff. Friar Kristoff is a bit bland…but that’s because he doesn’t really get much of a role other than a duex ex machina hero role at the end.

Burgermeister had moments of good emotion but then follows it up with making it all a passing thought. The parents should have had more emotion after learning their children were gone. Even the children themselves. You seemed to give too much attention to Rat Catchers character than anyone else.

Also, the Bog Witch is given some role and then she’s quickly taken out because her eyes are burned out. Why have her in the first place?

Overall, this has a lot of potential…but it needs a rework. The “story” is already there because it’s basically the Pied Piper…now you need more twists to make it more interesting. Consider some of my suggestions and give it a better twist with more conflicts.

Please don’t take any of my comments personal. They are just that – opinions – and they are only meant to help. Best of luck!! I’ll bet your next draft will be much greater!

LYBARGER ST., Cristina's Original Draft

5 out of 6 people found the following review helpful:

LYBARGER St is not as scary (or happening) as I had hoped...

Overall Recommendation:
2 stars
1 stars
Story structure:
1 stars
2 stars
1 stars
1 stars
June 07, 2012
/begin random notes while reading

For a first draft SPEC screenplay, I would remove all of the “SCENE 1”, “DISSOLVE TO”, “camera shot” etc camera directions. Those all get added later for the shooting script.

Avoid long description paragraphs. You need to break these up. I would keep them to about 4 to 6 lines MAX. Break it up with some dialogue. Also, you don’t need to be too descriptive. Just give us a basic to get a mental image. If you don’t need it to drive the story, don’t include it. For example, in the opening scene, why do we need to know Mike was wearing a plaid shirt and blue jeans? Your description of Elizabeth is much better. Instead of telling us what she’s wearing, you give us a mental image of HER. Could have been an ex playboy playmate, yet homely at the same time is good. Let the wardrobe department worry about what she’s wearing.

Page 2: Elizabeth “So you[re] here…”

Page 3: “…he notices that it is dimly [l]it…”

Page 3: There is no way for you to SHOW that the other roommates left the door unlocked. Unless she states this to make it known, just describe that the door was unlocked. Maybe she just immediately turns the knob, Mike notices, and then inquires about it being unlocked. If the fact that there are roommates is significant, maybe she could say something about it.

Page 4: “For Elizabeth it is a bad memory.” Again, you need to SHOW this. Maybe a split-second flashback? Maybe she shutters in her demeanor? Maybe a slight change in her tone?

Without having read any further then page 4 so far, it seems as though Elizabeth had a bad experience here, if so, she needs not be so calm and smiley. Maybe a fake smile with fake enthusiasm. If she was rushing to get out of the garage, then she should be rushing to get out of that house in the first place.

Page 5: “Mike is silent as they turn the corner into the next room.” Is the next room the Television Room where Clint is? If so, try “Mike is silent as they turn the corner into the…” INT. TELEVISION ROOM – DAY

Page 6: “Clint…begins to [stare]…”

Page 8: you never gave Kristi a description.

There are too many pages of meaningless conversation. The conversation between Mike, Kristi, and Amanda need to be more meaningful. Use dialogue to teach us something other than where Mike is from. Some kind of look from one of them. Something shocking someone says. Something. Otherwise it’s just a 3 page boring conversation. Use your pages wisely.

I’m pausing to talk about the Hook. There isn’t one. In the first 10 to 15 pages you need a hook. Think of most movies you’ve seen. There’s always some kind of blockbuster scene that draws you in and makes you say, “I’m so glad I paid money to see this!” Think of the first 10 pages as not only something to interest your viewers, but to keep them (and hopefully a potential producer) interested. In the first 14 pages, the only interesting thing I read was Clint having some sort of hallucination and Elizabeth scared of the laundry room door in the garage. Other than that, it’s kind of boring. I know that Mike is from Minnesota, going to school, and needs a place to stay. He’s renting from Elizabeth a room in a house with about 4 others. Make these first 10 to 15 pages exciting and gripping.

End of page 13: that entire last paragraph needs to be properly formatted with scene headings. Or you need to make it a montage of sorts. The way you presented it is incorrect.

Page 14: split up the extremely LARGE paragraphs of description. Also, if you can’t SHOW it, don’t write it. For example, SHOW that Mike gets a weird feeling.

By page 26, there’s still NO ACTION. For ten pages you have a group of friends discussing about and then having dinner. Then finally on page 26 we see a glimpse of this mysterious being. In 26 pages, we’ve seen this being only 3 times. Think of it this way, would you be disappointed if you were already almost a half hour into a movie and all that’s happened is someone moving into a house and some friends having a dinner?

Page 41: Again you have these very LONG descriptive paragraphs that do nothing for your STORY. Why do you need to be so descriptive of getting glasses of water, boiling water, or brushing teeth?

FINALLY on page 42 there’s some action! Something grabbing Mike’s leg should have happened a lot earlier than 42 minutes into your movie.

From page 51 until page 65, it’s really much ado about nothing. There is just a lot of “Hi, how are you?” “I’m good. How about you?” “I’m good.” “Let’s eat” “Okay” “Yeah” “Thanks” “Bye” “Bye” None of your dialogue is telling a story. None of it is helping your plot. What IS the plot by the way? (more on that later)

Page 65: we first hear of someone referring to the house as haunted…and the best advice that’s given is “ignore it”. In the first few pages, Clint saw someone with a gun, and John says, “You’ll be fine”…..??? Really?

Finally on page 76 they actually DO something. Because this is their first mission, the would be considered your plot point. So basically, your first ACT is 76 pages long.

I was hoping it was going to get good…but up to page 86 and its died down again. More talking about this and that and nothing really about your plot or story.

Stops abruptly on page 91. ??? Is this the end?

/end random notes while reading

PREMISE: The premise is nothing new. People live in a house that might be haunted. You need to make it more interesting. Maybe Mike, the protagonist, discovers that the ghost of the girl is his sister and the killer lives there. But a haunted house is nothing new. You need to put a spin on it to make it worth watching. Without reading the story and based on the premise alone, “Mike and his roommates discover that they aren’t the only ones living in the house” doesn’t really grab me. Maybe the house could be a halfway house. Maybe a fraternity house. WHAT is haunting them? Why? You need to work on the premise.

STORY STRUCTURE: The whole screenplay needs work, but here is where you need the most work. You need three defined ACTS. You need a hook, plot points, a turning point, a climax, and an end. You didn’t really have a hook and it seemed like ACT II started on page 76 of a 91 page script. For 90+ pages, you need ACT II to start around page 20 and ACT III to start around page 65 or 70. There needs to be conflict. There is no conflict among your characters other than Kristi or Amanda (I can’t remember) breaking up with someone. No one is angry at anyone. They aren’t faced with any challenges. As such, the story suffers. What IS the story? We only learn a handful of times about a mysterious being holding a gun, some bones of a kid, and then a news article about a little girl. How does all this tie in? And where is the ending? Did you forget to include that? Is this a rough draft? If so, you need to tell us that. I was expecting a full screenplay.

Also, your descriptions are way too long. Page 14 had two paragraphs! If you leave it like this, no reviewer is going to promote this. You need to learn how screenplays are structured and how they are put together. Do an outline. Make an outline of each point and give it a reason. This is mostly just a bunch of random talking and wordy descriptions of getting drinks of water and brushing teeth and “Hi”, “hi”…”bye”, “bye”. Drive the story along…don’t let it just sit there and be stagnant.

CHARACTER: None of them have arcs. Elizabeth has the most emotion. She at least smiled and got scared. Mike just seemed to be walking around doing…stuff. We never really anything about Clint and why he is so tired. Kristi just seems to be hungry, tired, and following Mike around. Amanda went on a trip…what else? Chris is getting guitar lessons. What are all the characters for? What role do they play in the overall story? Are they all victims? Are they puppets to this mysterious person? Will they plot to kill or convert Mike to a puppet? What is the mysterious person’s role? What’s its motivation? Who is it? Why is there a dead little girl, a shadow, and a being holding a gun? Where is the conflict between the characters? Where is their motivation? What personal trials does Mike have to go through? What transition does he make? On that note, none of them really have a personality – other than they’re students.

DIALOGUE: boring. Sorry to be so blunt – but it was very boring just reading everyone give random speak. There’s too much of it. You can’t tell their personalities in the dialogue. The dialogue actually slows things down because they greet and thank each other so much. Precious space is wasted on too many Hi’s, Thank You’s, Bye’s, and What’s Up’s. Use the dialogue to tell us the story. Use it to form personalities. Use it to get emotion across. But it all has to drive the story.

EMOTION: there wasn’t really any. No conflict. No passion. The story lacks emotion too. I don’t really feel for anyone – not even the box of bones of the little girl. I can’t hate the mysterious being because the worst thing it does is point a gun at Clint and grab Mike’s leg. Other than that – it’s non-existent.

This needs a lot of work…like, back to the drawing board work. Come up with a gripping premise. Outline your story. And then work on a hook. THEN you’ll have the start of something. Get rid of the very lengthy, unneeded description paragraphs, and then work on your dialogue. Remember, it’s all about the story…not how well Mike can brush his teeth. Unless that’s your story.

Please don’t take offense to any of my comments. This is merely my opinion and someone else may have a different one. But if you read books like “Save The Cat”, you’ll understand that most of what I said is accurate. Best of luck!

Mystery Lies Within, Srinivas's Original Draft

3 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Promising, but unfortunately, the real mystery is where the story starts and ends.

Overall Recommendation:
2 stars
3 stars
Story structure:
2 stars
1 stars
1 stars
1 stars
January 23, 2012
General notes while I was reading....

- Avoid lines like “we hear” and “we see”. Stick with: “an ambulance siren is heard”. Things are on the screen so we are going to see it anyway. Rather, describe what your character is seeing because we will see what he/she sees.

- Capitalize your SUPER and make it more generic and shorter. 8 MONTHS AGO, 8 MONTHS BEFORE, etc.

- Remember, “show, don’t tell”. Page 1: “As the camera widens we realize…” Don’t TELL the audience what they will realize, show it. If you have Clark adjusting a mirror, the audience WILL realize he was messing with a mirror. There’s no reason to tell us what we will realize.

- While we’re on that line…do not include camera directions. This is a spec script. A team of writers one day will chop up your script and insert camera directions. That’s called a SHOOTING SCRIPT. Eliminate any and all camera directions and save that space for more writing to drive your story. Same goes for OPENING CREDITS, etc.

- Try to avoid parentheticals. Page 1: CLARK (TO MIKE) … If Clark is there and Mike is there, we already know they are talking to each other. Use parentheticals for an instance when say Clark would be looking down at what he’s doing and talking to Mike but he addresses someone behind him. Also, MIKE (Confidently)… SHOW us how confident Mike is in his dialog. Let the actor bring out the confidence. Show us in your dialog and your actor will KNOW to make Mike sound confident.

- Work on your grammar more. Page 1: CLARK – “Hope you know why I am doing this for.” A few things here…make the actors sound like real people. How many times have you heard a student NOT use abbreviations? Instead of “I am”, use “I’m”. Also, make sure you use the right adverbs (why, what, etc). So your line should look like this; “Hope you know what I’m doing this for.” Grammar is important. You don’t want the reader to get annoyed on the first page and toss your script.

- Go back through your script. You’re missing some words. Page 2: Clark – “But I must you are more stupid than…” This should be; “But I must [admit] you are more stupid than…” There are too many instances to note where you have missing words. A good read through will solve this. And I mean reading out loud. When you read silently, you read faster and therefore miss things. Reading out loud, you’ll HEAR your dialogue and it’ll help with editing and catching things.

- One big rule in screenplay writing is that you need an opening and a closing image. Your opening image is Clark on a stretcher with his mother crying. The closing image is him on a stretcher and his mother crying. This is good because they tie into each other. Plus points there.

- PLEASE work on your dialogue. It needs to be realistic. Not cheesy. Not cliché. Not on the nose. It needs to flow. Make sense. Drive the story. Make a point. Page 4: GIRLS (together) “Thanks so much Clark, you really made it simple for us. You are simply superb.” First, no one goes around saying “simply superb”. Having them all say it together makes this sound like a cheesy stage play. I get that you’re trying to make Clark seem clever and likeable. But don’t do that through cliché and cheesy dialogue. This is also what we call “on-the-nose”. Your action and dialogue of Clark giving the example already made it simple for the girls to understand. There’s no reason to have them say it. If we can get it through action, don’t say it in dialogue. Also, if Clark is the hero, we need to make it harder for him to be the hero. Nerds usually aren’t socially acceptable. Maybe the girls get the formula but don’t want Clark to have the satisfaction of teaching them. Maybe they could give a sarcastic response. “Well aren’t you smart? How much you know about all this is inversely proportional to how many times you get laid.” Then they all laugh. Maybe even the guy says something. The guy stops Clark dead in his tracks. “Oh, I get it. So the faster I punch your face, the less time you have to duck and keep my fist from crushing your face.” Clark quickly gets off the bike and backs up. “Well that’s more about energy and force. But we can talk about that another time.”

We need to have a reason to cheer for the hero. If things come so easily for him, there’s no reason to want to be on his side. Remember, audiences like underdogs. Make Clark an underdog.

- Kristin reveals too much and talks too much about her desire for Clark and wanting to marry him. This dialogue doesn’t flow very well. This needs a lot of work.

- Again your dialogue needs work. KRISTIN – “Anyway, I am participating in fashion show tonight in the mall. Would be glad if you join. Here is the pass.” … “Anyways, I’m in a fashion show tonight at the mall. It’d be great if you could be there. Here’s a pass.” READ YOUR DIALOGUE OUT LOUD!

- Page 6 to 17… this banter between the host and the crowd is too L – O – N – G. 11 pages of that is too much. That translates 11 minutes of talking about the same thing. If you take that much time and not get to the point, you’re going to lose your audience. Keep it simple with just one little example and then move into him challenging Clark. Get to the point quickly and move on. Remember, you need to keep your audience captivated. Now, about this story of the father, child, doctor, this is not a good example to show cleverness. This has been said so many times that the audience will quickly know the answer. Come up with something new. Something cleverer. Even if I had not heard this one before, I wouldn’t be wow-ed by it. Not to mention it took 3 pages just to get to Clark and give the answer.

- We need to address another issue: the Hook. The hook is what draws your audience in. It makes them want to stay in the theater and keep watching. It sets up the excitement for the story. You don’t have a hook. We saw Clark on a stretcher. Mom crying. Clark cheating. Clark talking with Kristin. Clark at the show. All that in 21 pages. Where is the hook? Where is your theme? Where is the set up? By now we should know what this story is about, who the hero is, who the villain is, and what the conflict is. So far, all we know is that Clark is clever and there is a girl Kristin who likes him and wants to marry him. Is that what this is about? If so, it’s going to be VERY boring. For a suspense thriller, you have NO suspenseful thrilling action up to this point. I don’t even know what the story is about to this point. More on this later.

- Pages 27 and 28, the Professor’s dialogue is WAY TOO LONG. Keep it around 4 to 5 lines of dialogue. You don’t want to be too wordy. Break the dialogue up with action. Maybe Clark is touching things. Describe what he’s looking at while the Professor is talking. Maybe the Professor demonstrates something. Describe that in action lines and break up the dialogue. Keep long dialogues to speeches. Even then you want to watch the number of lines.

- Page 29…since when do gangsters care what is fair? “Let’s go…it isn’t fair to beat him when he is alone…”

- you gave power to Clark with no explanation. How did he get it? Was he hooked up to something when he had this flashback? You jumped from the Professor’s long dialogue, to a flashback, to Clark on a train with new powers. ??? It doesn’t make any sense.

- now he gives a cliché speech about not abusing powers and using it for human good. This isn’t clever. It’s too projected. Where is his conflict? Where is the catalyst that drives him into the second act? What’s his back story? The story – what little there is – is falling apart here because we don’t understand what is going on and what Clark’s mission is.

- Page 34. Keep action lines shorter. 4 to 5 lines.

- FINALLY on page 37 we learn some origin to this power and about Clark’s dad. This is entirely too long to get information like this.

- Page 38, montage lines are too long.

- Pages 43, 44, you could have condensed that whole sequence to probably half a page.

- Page 46, Clark wanting to find his Dad’s killer is most likely the break into ACT II, but this is done way too late.

- Page 51, what motivation did the robot have for just breaking loose and driving along the city streets? Again, it doesn’t make sense.

- Page 58, “Tension is building as time runs out” whose tension? This is something that can’t be shown. You need to relay this in action or dialogue.

- page 64, what did Clark saving someone via CPR have to do with the story? Why couldn’t Clark have somehow used his powers?

- again on page 69, Clark doesn’t have any hurdles or complications. The dad just says, sure, go ahead and marry him, I trust your judgement. Things fall into place for Clark way too easy throughout the whole story. Where is his conflict? When does he have to *fight* for something?

- page 71 to 75…4 pages of babbling on about old photos and desserts and cooking. Get to the point. That scene was way too long to get the point across: the connection between John and Clark. All the other talk is just filler and drags the story.

- page 81, another good example of ‘on-the-nose’ dialogue. We already know that the doctors are upset and believe Alton, but why have them say things like: “We are unhappy that you have wasted several months on this. We are going to penalize you for wasting the funds…” This is too literal.

- ending…why was it imperative to keep this technology a secret? Why did Alton inject Clark with the neurons? Who programmed the technology to destroy anyone who knew about the secret? While you had corresponding beginning and ending images, they don’t answer any questions or correlate very well. A better beginning image might have been Clark flatlining or maybe he was in a room trying to kill himself. Anything that poses a question in the beginning image and then answers it with the closing image.

PREMISE: A person (Clark) has super natural abilities and uses them to discover his father’s killer.
Here’s the problem – we never learn his father was killed until MUCH later. Not even in the opening image or first few pages. We also never learn he has super powers until about 30 pages in. And he doesn’t go on this journey until much later. So seemingly, your first 30 pages or so could be scrapped. Get to the point right away. Draw us in with something compelling that tells us what journey we are going on with your lead character. Show us a villain. Make us want to cheer for your hero. Show us his conflicts. Give us the information we need to follow your story. You need to do all of that in the first 10 to 15 pages. If not, your premise never gets across and we lose the story in the first few minutes.

STORY STRUCTURE: You need to clearly define all three acts. In Act I, we need to know all the basics (hook, catalyst, villain, hero, premise, and purpose for the journey). If you’re doing only 90 pages, you need to end ACT I around page 20 to 25. By ending ACT I, you throw your hero into a new journey. ACT II should end around page 75 or so where the hero is on his final mission. ACT III should only be about 15 pages in your case. Tie up loose ends and leave us with our mouths dropped to the floor.

Your ACT II doesn’t start until about page 44. This is way too long. And really, ACT I never gets going. There isn’t even a villain. Even if Clark ends up being the killer, there still needs to be an opposing character. The audience needs to be able to focus on who the good guy is and who the bad guy is. Even if you fool them in the end as you have, they can’t be the same person throughout. We never really discover what his journey is until MUCH later. Things need to develop. They need to unfold. Feed us along with little bread crumbs.

You need a much better opening. Think of just about any movie you’ve watched and remember the first few minutes. There’s ALWAYS something that happens that draws you in. Some action. A shocking moment that poses a question. A main character running from something. Someone being killed. Anything that shocks you and makes you want to keep watching to find out what just happened. Think about The Hangover. The opening image is a beat up Phil telling a concerned Tracy, “we f*cked up” Immediately, we want to know what happened! Why is he all beat up? Why did they mess up? Why are they in the middle of a desert? Your opening image and first few pages should pose questions and make us want to stick around.

The present your theme. What’s it about? Revenge? Retribution? Self-discovery? Portray this through a scene.

Give us a debate. He has super powers, but what’s his dilemma. He says he’ll use it for good, but he’s never challenged to do so.

Your ACT II is when he decides to find his father’s killer. But that’s it. He states it. He’s never given a challenge. He sees some computer files and talks to a doctor. What does Kristin’s dad have to do with anything other than he knew Alton? Why couldn’t Kristin’s dad been the opposition? It’s perfect – the father of the woman he loves his is enemy. See? Conflict.

Then you need a midpoint. Perhaps Clark is close to finding some revealing information, but then something terrible happens. Another death. Him being arrested. Anything that gives him another obstacle to overcome. That’s when you break into the…

All Is Lost moment. Just when things can’t get any worse for Clark (losing Kristin, his family name is shattered, he’s accused of something, the school shuns him for discovering he cheated)…now he must find inner strength to keep going. Then the bad guys move in to make it worse and you break into…

ACT III. Clark’s journey now is to pick himself up and get the truth. He beats the bad guys and gets what he was after. This brings you to your finale where you reveal that he all along was his father’s killer and somewhere a computer sequence starts to erase his memory and force him to commit suicide. However, back in ACT I and II, you need to make it known why this technology is so secretive and protected that we understand WHY he must commit suicide. Maybe it was used for espionage. Maybe the government is involved and Alton set out to destroy the technology before it got into the wrong hands. Maybe Alton discovered it has opposing side effects. Give us a reason.

CHARACTER: make your characters compelling. The dialogue is a lot to blame here, but you never give your characters an arc. They have no self-discovery or change. They don’t make a transition from being meek to brave, bad to good, quiet to outspoken, etc.
CLARK – things come WAY too easy for him. As I mentioned before – no conflict. I never had a real reason to pull for him. We never learned why his father was killed other than maybe the closing, albeit on-the-nose, dialogue by Clark at the end. Who is Clark really? What’s his back story. He loved his dad. But what made him love his dad? And we never get to understand how the technology was so powerful that it made him kill the person he loves. Clark has no arc.

KRISTIN – she isn’t even a supporting character. She loves Clark and she’s in fashion. That’s it. She doesn’t pose a problem, doesn‘t provide any conflict, and never really drives the story. She too has no arc.

ALTON – Clark’s dad is only shown briefly in a few flashbacks. Again, doesn’t really drive the story.


MIKE – filler person. Doesn’t really drive the story.

MOM – she’s just there to pat little Clark on the head. That’s it.

You need characters that drive the story and provide conflict. A story is all about conflict and how the hero overcomes it.

DIALOGUE: this is where you need a LOT of work. Too long, unclear, missing words, too on-the-nose, and doesn’t help the story along. Most of the dialogue is stuff that no one would really say in real life. Speak your dialogue out loud, you’ll see what I’m talking about. I mean no disrespect by this, but if you aren’t familiar with typical American slang, partner with someone who is. Read other scripts and find the formula that works. Broken English doesn’t go very far when you’re trying to sell a script.

Let your dialogue help the story. Don’t use it to tell us what we’ve already seen or know. You have a lot of this. Show – don’t tell. This means, if you want your audience to see that Clark is mad, have him throw something and go in a short rage. Don’t have him say, “I am terribly angry! I feel like throwing something and breaking it!” and then he throws something and breaks it. Don’t have him say anything. Let him go on a fit of rage…it’ll be obvious to the audience he is angry. Don’t state the obvious. Have faith that your audience will know what’s going on.

EMOTION: because none of your characters have an arc, you don’t really portray emotion. And what little emotion you do portray, is done so by telling us through too much dialogue. “Oh Clark, you’re so smart.” “Clark, I’m proud that you graduated high in your class.” “I am truly excited about these new powers”. This is all stuff that could be shown through actions or mannerisms. Or even clever things like sarcasm or reference. This will give your characters a voice. It’ll set them apart from all the others. An accent. A habit. An illness. Something that gives them a crutch to show emotion.

OVERALL: this needs a TON of work. You need to do an outline. Come up with conflicts. Adjust your story to show back story, a villain, a theme, … everything. Your story never really develops. It’s just Clark running around talking and then discovering through a computer that he killed his father. That’s boring. Do an outline and discover all three ACTS. Then create a hook. Develop a theme. Think about EACH INDIVIDUAL character and give them a personality. Give Clark a REAL journey. Give him conflict and obstacles. Make him really have to work to make his discovery. He gets on a computer and gets all his answers. Too easy.

These are merely my opinions and not meant to offend or belittle. Good luck!

Favorite Movies

Shawshank Redemption
Office Space
40 Year Old Virgin
Old School
Wedding Crashers
The Social Network
Along Came Polly
Me, Myself, & Irene


Christopher Nolan, Aaron Sorkin, and Frank Darabont are among my favorite screenplay writers. I feel their writing is very smart. Oh, and the Farrelly brothers.

Other than them, my influences are anyone who started small and made it big.


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