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Title Average Rating Downloads Date

INSTANT KARMA Eric's Original Draft (Script 1)

4.3 stars
46 02/12/15

America's Ben Franklin in: The Electrocution String Eric's 1st Draft (Script 41)

No rating
20 01/26/12

Reviews Eric Has Written

Happy Town, Matthew's Original Draft

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Happy Town

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
3 stars
Story structure:
4 stars
2 stars
4 stars
2 stars
February 24, 2015
Hi Matthew: I haven't seen many horror-comedies (only Shaun of the Dead comes to mind and I missed half of that by channel surfing), and I don't think they're really my cuppa, so bear it in mind as I react to Happy Town...

There were plenty of funny (and usually raunchy) lines. But my favorite funny part was in the soap opera world (page 65) when the camera zooms in on Neil and he doesn't know how to act, but then Edgar does know what to do. (I wanted to stay in soap opera world longer. Edgar and Neil could've really done a send up there, I think, a funny satire, and it would've added some variation in the types of scenes.)

Another positive is that the story is well structured, the exception being the length of the entire script (it's my impression that 112 pages is about 20 pages too long for a comedy these days) and the opening act, which is too long (34 pages when about 27-28 pages is the norm).

Indeed I perceive most of your problems as being in Act I. The opening of this broad comedy is a jokeless dirge, mostly involving a man who is grieving for a dead lover. The very first moment of humor is on page 6 (“Your wood's giving me wood”) and that's not much humor and 4-5 pages late for the genre. Best to put at least a bit of humor on every page of the script, or die trying.

I think you could and should cut that 6-page Phineas opening down to three pages and inject some humor into it somehow to set the tone and conform to comedy conventions. I think the sequence that follows with Edgar and Neil as kids could be shortened/tightened too. (Although the first good laugh I had was Edgar's mom's last line to her hubby as he was driving off in a last ditch effort to get him to stay, so don't lose that!)

The only other significant problem I noted, besides overall length and Act I, was Edgar's characterization. As an adult, he is IMO too one-note, especially in the early going, with his porn obsession (and I like porn as much as the next guy). I really think he needs to show some sort of redeeming quality early on. Otherwise, why care what happens to him? I also wasn't convinced by his character arc as demonstrated in the last act with his kindness to Mad Hattie. There isn't anything in his external journey nor his internal journey (if he can even be said to have had one) to lead to that kind of change in him. Solution (I think): make him more than one dimensional. (Maybe with a broad comedy all you need are two dimensions and not three.) Then maybe an appropriate character arc for him will reveal itself. (Neil doesn't have a character arc, does he? But then I don't think more than one person need change as a result of the film story.)

Just brain storming here, but what if you had Edgar in Act I maintaining a strange, unhealthy attachment to Happy Town as an adult as some sort of psychic oasis for him, given how shitty real life has turned out for him (e.g., have him still sleeping with Philly the Fool). It would make him that much more out there as well as make sense, it seems to me, that his adventures inside the TV as they happen in acts two and three might lead in the end to his leaving Happy Town at long last and forever, psychically speaking. And there, you have a genuine character arc.

Some minor stuff:

Why, in Act I, if they are so poor, is Neil tossing Edgar two hundred bucks? Oh, so Edgar has the money to buy the statue. No, don't do this, too Ghost in the Machine. Better to have Edgar holding out on Neil than to have Neil act out of character, out of all sense, really.

Dialog lines that confused me: “What's the hurry krishna?” and “Bee's dick” and “Geez, yeast infection...”

Page 87 confuses me. First, Phineas says everything will be fine, just rewind the tape, and then a moment later he says they don't have a moment to lose in getting to Harry's corpse.

Your description can be needlessly verbose. For example, “No one speaks up. Neil looks concerned and raises his hand” could easily be reduced to: “No one speaks. Neil raises his hand.” I'll bet 25% of the wording in the narrative could be cut. A lot of your adjectives and adverbs could go. And this would help get your page count down to where it belongs.

A few formatting issues:

Page 11, “INT. TV – HAPPY TOWN” is awkward and misleading unless your scene is literally inside the TV. Assuming this is what the two kids are watching, I'd just use a “TELEVISION SCREEN” and “LIVING ROOM” flush against the left margin on their own lines as you go back and forth between the two locales.

Page 50-51, you've got two identical sluglines one after the other. The second should be cut or revised. Page 108, I don't think this is the way to do flashbacks. Don't you need sluglines for each?

Typos and such:

Page 1, “Peoples” oughta be people's or peoples', page 2, there should be a comma after “(78).” Page 6: “bosses” should be “boss's.” Page 14, “fathers” should be “father's.” I won't bother pointing out anymore of these mistakes in the script, but you really must learn how to punctuate with apostrophes. They have whole books on punctuation.

There's a typo in the narrative on page 20. There's a missing period near the bottom of page 90. There are enough mistakes to warrant another pass through the script just to catch them all.

Hope this helps,

Dolus, Valerie's 2nd Draft

1 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:


Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
4 stars
Story structure:
4 stars
3 stars
3 stars
3 stars
February 22, 2015
Hi, V, I enjoyed the read. As dark as this story gets, I personally wished that it had ended up a bit darker as it's awfully close to Noir territory. More on that below ...


I had to Google "Dolus," and now that I know its meaning, it certainly applies here, but the title may be too obscure to be of much use to potential viewers or script readers.


I thought the opening scene worked well, especially with the birds as a metaphor. I didn't like the opening scene on the Miguel case (pages 5-8). The dialog was bland and empty and there is the feeling I've seen that scene before (on TV in particular) about a thousand times. I'd consider cutting straight to the jury deadlock.

I did like Miguel's B&E at Rai's house (page 15). This really ups the suspense/tension/stakes for Rai early on, and I wasn't expecting the rape and fight that follows, nor the kidnapping. By this point I really want to know what happens.

I think the sequence with Darrell, pages 23-35, ought to be shortened or cut because he's learning what the audience already knows. It's not dramatically interesting IMO.

Page 28 and the severed hands: nicely done. Now I simply have to know whether they belong to Rai's son or not.

The reveal of the hands belonging to Darrell's wife (page 37) works well too. Now we have two main characters in jeopardy and so much at stake for them and a lot of curiosity as to who is really behind this and why.

The drowning of Matthew is making me feel this is a noir (which is good in my book). This is dark and getting darker until … a little girl dies accidentally!

But because our two protagonists caused the little girl's death, not to mention her mother's, there isn't going to be a whole lot of sympathy from the reader/viewer for Rai and Darrell beyond this point. You go this dark you might as well go black.

I'm glad Darrell died. He deserved it. But I wish Rai had died too to atone for her sins. Sure she won at all costs, but it would've been a better ending IMO if it'd cost her everything.


I'm not sure why you didn't give the detectives names. They appear often enough to earn them. And I also think you should describe them more precisely and make their dialog distinct from each other. Right now they are completely interchangeable.

About Darrell and Rai: They are prosecutors who turn to violence and lawlessness rather quickly, and I'm not sure it's convincing for the reader/viewer, despite the terrible things done to their children. Maybe if you had them contemplating other alternatives first?


I think there are places where less would be more. For example, the dialog at the end of page one could end on “beautiful prey.” The rest of that dialog seems superfluous to me, anti-climactic. I'd take another pass at the script and see where the dialog could be tightened, trimmed.


I don't know what “subdued rage and impassivity” looks like. (I know what subdued rage looks like, though.) Sometimes simple subtraction is best. On the other hand, “An expression upon her face,” page 10, is too vague, and on page 19, “His stature speaks of political success and power, the kind of man who makes things happen,” isn't really filmable or observable. You're telling the reader about the guy rather than showing him. “Show, don't tell.”


I'm not sure why there are the “continued” indications, e.g., bottom of page 11, top of page 12. I don't think they're needed.


Typos distract from the ability to lose oneself in the fictional dream world of your film script, and you've got a fair amount of typos throughout the script. For example, on the opening page there's an extra space between “bottomless” and “nightmare.” And one of your sluglines reads: “INT. SKY.” Surely that's an EXT instead!

Another example, page 5, “makes an show” should be “makes a show.” (But I don't know how one would show impartiality without dialog. Maybe revise the description here.) And there's a misspelling of “unanimous” on page 8 and on the same page a missing “a” in front of “mistrial.”

You've even got the wrong names of characters here and there. For example, on page 46, you've got Darrell saying, “I’ve my son’s cellphone with pictures and a whole lot of sexting,” when that's clearly Rai's line.

Hope this helps,

Favorite Movies

Cool Hand Luke
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The African Queen
The Maltese Falcon
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
City Lights
To Catch a Thief
Rear Window
North by Northwest
The 39 Steps
The Lady Vanishes
Strangers on a Train


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