I don't know why this script hasn't either been optioned or gotten you some assignment work. It's very good; I suspect it just hasn't been read by the right people. I do understand why it did well -- but didn't win -- in the competitions you entered. I suspect when a contest gets down to the last couple of scripts, they're looking for reasons to exclude rather than reasons to award. Your script has a couple of those reasons.
First let's state the obvious: it's hilarious. It's a brilliant concept, maybe a bit of a tweener -- not enough originality for the "Shrek" folks, and too good for the "I Know What Princess Bride the Monsters Inc.'s Happy Feet Swept Away Last Summer Did" crowd. It's engaging, well-structured, and has enough to appeal to both adults and kids. (The princess counter was particularly inspired.)
There are some nits I can pick: I thought the dialogue on pages 5-6 with Tru and the serfs was a little clunky. I think you need to lose the "wash your hands" gag at page 88. It's funny, but when you're that close to the finish line, there's a loss of momentum there that I don't think you can afford. I think the last realistic opportunity to get away with a stop-start might be p. 71 with the old attendant, "do you want to hear my story?" You could start to show about three seconds of it, then have it freeze with the narrator giving the same line. At page 90, Albert's dialogue doesn't really work. I think he needs to be a little stupider, and she needs to more obviously realize that. Maybe the traditional approach with this is enough -- he recites all the things she went through, and she sees each of them, and how Cecil was there at every point, and that wakes her up to her real desires.
Here are the two serious problems I had with the script. The first was the Three's Company moment at p. 68, where Tru overhears Cecil in the bar, and that leads to the misunderstanding. Here's where I digress. Movies are about forgiveness. To tell any kind of story, the moviemaker has to take some kind of shortcut at some point. He only gets away with it if he's built up enough goodwill by then. That goodwill sometimes comes with an "A" list star, but here on the Street, it has to come from the script. When I got to this part, I groaned. I know you basically had to do what you did: you need your "boy loses girl" moment. But as much as I was enjoying the script, this part for me was a setback.
The second serious problem was the ending. Pulling the Pied Piper out of nowhere that late in the story, well, that was fine: you'd built your goodwill bank way up by that point. But the Giant was just too much. I think you need a cleaner way to save Oscar and Cecil while dispatching with Jack and his mother. (Maybe Oscar and Cecil have climbed down far enough that when the stalk crashes, they fall into the Prince's wedding cake?) I suspect that's the fatal flaw that cost you in the competitions.
I have one suggestion for you to consider: two narrators. The narrator you've written really sounds like John Cleese, but I think you need to think Rowan Atkinson -- Blackadder and his idiot sidekick Baldrick -- as the model for a double narrator setup. Or, maybe they can both be stupid -- like a couple of the Spinal Tap guys.
Anyway, it's a job very well done, and like I said, I think as it is it's close to being sale-worthy.
Review of: A Tru Fairytale
reviewed by clovenhoof on 11/13/2011
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