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Reviews Caitlin Has Written

The Tales of Carnigan and Yul: Disgrace Before the Pyre, Brandon's 2nd Draft

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Good revision, but needs another edit

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
3 stars
Story structure:
3 stars
4 stars
4 stars
3 stars
January 01, 2012
First, I’ll share the notes that I jotted down while reading your screenplay. After these notes, I share my overall thoughts.


* The title of the screenplay doesn’t grab me. I suggest something catchier that alludes to the SciFi elements of your script.

* Page 4: I found myself double-checking the rating you gave this script (17 and older) after several f bombs. The language is going to land this film an R rating, which may limit your audience. If some of the f bombs were cut, the rating could be lowered to PG-13. Not sure if that is what you want, but my understanding is that it’s harder to find financing for R rated films. Just something to consider.

* Page 7: While the arguing between the characters is amusing, I think 2 pages could be shaved off. When Janus appears, that’s the inciting incident (the event that makes this day unlike any other day for the characters). It should occur by page 5.

* Page 7: Why is “Disgrace Before The Pyre” being superimposed on Page 7, during the inciting incident? I know it’s part of the script’s title, but I don’t see the connection between Janus and this subtitle. It struck me as out of place.

* The characters’ dialogue is flowing so far. It’s lively and witty at times.

* Page 16: My apologies – I’m confused. Why is Tanner dead? Who killed him – his father? Did Carnigan and Yul fail to protect them? Janus meeting up with Carnigan and Yul was the inciting incident of the script. How does the inciting incident connect to this major plot point?

* Page 18: I’m confused again. At first, I assumed Diana was Janus’ wife. But the wife is dead. Who is Diana? Why is she running? Had she been living in the house with Janus’ family? How is she connected or involved with his family or their deaths?

* At this point, I’m wondering who killed everyone in the village and why Janus isn’t more upset. He’s very calm. Is he possessed by an evil spirit? Or is a god talking to him? Not clear.

* Page 19: I thought the wife was dead. Now she and Janus are making love? Confused. Is there going to be an evil baby as a result of this union? That’s my immediate thought.

* Page 21: The reader is told that it’s been 7 years since Carnigan’s been seen. Confused. Has 7 years passed since the inciting incident? How will the viewer “see” this passage of time? Perhaps you need to superimpose “SEVEN YEARS LATER.” Otherwise that passage of time will not be clear to the viewer.

** Has it been 7 years since Janus’ wife and son were murdered?

* Page 21: Diana’s name doesn’t need to be in CAPS. She’s already been introduced as a character.

* Page 22: Remove CAPS for Carnigan’s name. He’s already been introduced.

* Page 33: Remove CAPS for Yul’s name. (I won’t make this note again, but just double-check to make sure you’re only using CAPS when introducing a character for the first time in a script or highlighting a sound.)

* Page 36: I’m confused. Janus is dragging his dead son’s body. Wasn’t he killed 7 years ago? I’m not following the timeline of this story at this point in the story.

* Page 42: Just learning that Janus is going to pursue Diana. Why? It feels as if this plot point should happen sooner. If every page represents a minute of screen time, it’s taken 42 minutes to learn this. I’m wondering if this should be revealed by the end of Act I (around page 25).

* Page 50: I’m confused. Wasn’t Diana just with Carnigan? When did she and Carnigan part? I feel as if I missed something. Confused.

* Page 54: Carnigan says he’s saved Diana’s life twice that day. The day has lasted almost 20 pages in the script. Need to trim.

* Page 55: Diana apologizes for vanishing on Carnigan earlier that day. I don’t recall reading that happening. Is this something she’s telling him now, so the reader knows why they separated earlier that day? Or did we see this disappearance on screen? This disappearance needs to be seen, not told to viewers. If it was shown earlier, I don’t remember that scene, so it needs to be made clearer what happened.

* Page 63: It’s been over 20 pages since we learned that Janus is now after Diana. There has been a lot of amusing dialogue, but I feel more action needs to be taking place. The end of Act II is approaching (around page 75).

* Page 65: Janus and Cargul are reunited. Should happen sooner.

* Page 70: Typo: “This pardon is,” not ‘This pardon if.”

* Page 70-71: Finally start to learn what happened to Janus’ family. Who slaughtered them? Up until now, I’ve been wondering is Janus was possessed and killed them.

* Page 72-79: Example of too much dialogue vs. not enough action. Diana says “I need your help” and then we have 7 pages of dialogue before she enters the carriage. This happens when Act II should be wrapping up, with an “all is lost” moment. That’s not happening right now in the script.

* Page 80: Typo: “The image of them gets closer,” not “get’s.”

* Page 89: “He gets closer….” Not “get’s.”

* Page 90: Carnigan learns Janus is after them. Should happen before an hour and a half of the movie has passed.

* Page 98: Typo: “His mother’s,” not ‘His mothers.”

* Page 104: We learn that Janus prayed to the gods and only Trynn answered. This revelation should come sooner.

* Page 105: Janus explains his actions, that he’s fulfilling his end of the accord. So I’m assuming that Trynn wants Diana dead, and this is why Janus is after her? This should happen sooner, near the end of Act II (around page 75) or at the beginning of Act III (around page 76-80).

* Nice set up for sequel. But I am wondering why Carnigan and Yul are being treated as the main protagonists in this film when Diana has emerged as the hero with a conflict – not them.


You have an ear for dialogue and a way with character. My comments are going to focus on story. This is the area that needs tightening in the script. The timeline confused me at times in this screenplay. At the beginning of the script, Janus asked Carnigan and Yul to protect his wife (and soon-to-be-born son) while Janus went off to battle. Does Janus blame them for his wife and son’s death, which occurred 7 years after this request?

I also didn’t understand Diana’s relationship to Janus and his family. Had she been living in their house or just in the same village? Was Janus after her because Trynn wanted her destroyed? Why was Trynn after her?

Diana felt like the protagonist in this script, with Carnigan and Yul serving as amusing supporting characters. This story was about Diana’s battle with Janus. The focus was not really on Carnigan and Yul’s journey. They supported Diana in HER struggle.

In the logline, you refer to a “mage.” I assume that’s a term you created for this world. You may want to use another term to describe Diana, like “mysterious fire creature,” in the logline. When I first saw “mage,” I thought it was a typo for “image.” Something to consider.

The battle sequences and special effects are going to be very expensive for whoever makes this film, which will run over 2 hours at 123 pages. You could cut witty but not relevant dialogue from the script and focus more on action/story. In a novel, you can take more time exploring character and witty dialogue. But films are visual – more about showing than telling.

About the script’s structure….

With the exception of moving up the inciting incident, I thought Act I was fairly solid in your script. Act I is usually 25–35 pages long in scripts.

The issues started in Act II for me. It can be helpful to think of Act II as two parts – Act 2a and Act 2b. Act 2a is usually about 30 pages long. This is the part of the film where your protagonist is “reacting” to the pressures of their changed world. Janus, our antagonist, reacted to pressures. That was clear. Diana emerged as our protagonist, with Janus as her “pressure” – not Carnigan and Yul, which is a problem because their names are in the title. They supported Diana as she faced pressure from Janus. That makes them supporting characters.

Act 2b is usually short, about 15 pages long. Act 2b begins when your protagonist’s worst fears nearly come true and ends with a false victory. That doesn’t happen in your script right now. Diana is just revealing to Carnigan and Yul that she needs help around page 79. This needs to happen much sooner.

At the beginning of Act III, your protagonist should undergo a huge setback, an “all is lost” moment. Diana, Carnigan, and Yul do not experience an “all is lost” moment around page 76-80. After this “all is lost” moment, your protagonist typically should receive some new information that will help him/her race toward the resolution of his/her journey. I don’t recall Diana, Carnigan, or Yul learning anything that helped them defeat Janus.

I think you’re on your way with this script, but (in my opinion) it needs another edit.

You could start off by simply opening your script to page 25 and seeing if that’s the end of Act I; and then turning to page 75 and seeing if that’s the end of Act II. That should help you pinpoint areas that need tightening. Act II, for me, is where the script gets confusing and off course in terms of storyline.

I hope this helps. Good luck with everything!

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