Some DETAILED thoughts follow as I had them while reading to give you an idea of what I was thinking and reacting to as I went along in your script:
p31 no need to put with difficulty in parentheses, just make it part of the action description.
p32 Lin Chi picks grabs...
let's also try to lose the "...begins to walk." In action, you either do it or you don't.
p36 Why why won't anyone tell me...
Dark clouds have gathered overhead...past perfect tense? Present tense, active verbs: Dark clouds gather or maybe even roil overhead.
Jhao Chao follows...Chou
p37 I like the reversal here when he gets cuffed in the face
p41 as you
know doubt have heard...no doubt
p48 He's and alien creature...
p51 Jhao Chou casts and angry look...
p56 (driving Jhao Chou out of the
house) Show this in action
p58 I'm must save for the hard times ahead.
technically this is a montage here at the bottom of p58 to 59
p61 Ever been frozen in crystal? Now you have.
This seems out of place with the tone you've set previous. Is it to denote some sort of opium-addled funky groove? I'm also sensing this a midpoint break of the story. I can dig it.
p70 Ching Ch'ing is focused the rock.
p71 Chink...word choice?
p72 Lung Po come to the door...comes
p75 Jhao Chou’s insides freeze. ...yeah, you can't really film this
p76 The the leaves of the young poppies...ya gotta proofread, man
You know, I'm thinking here it might be nice to get a little update on Myo Rei, if for anything else to break up Jhao Chou's routine in the narrative. You did it a bit with the eunuchs and Ching Ch'ing but I think I'd like to see more
p77 This one and his endless
boasts!...get out, go unpack the
This one and his endless boasts! Get out...go unpack the mules!
...that is, watch your punctuation and again, proofread.
p82 this is a nice moment with the scrolls from Myo Rei but it might have more impact if somehow we could have a scene with her writing, you wouldn't even have to see WHAT she's writing and then tie these two elements together
p83 you have alot of passive verbs here: is beating, are burning, is being
...by the way, are these British soldiers? If so, describe them...describe them anyway
p84 alright i don't buy that if Jhao Chou knocked out 5 soldiers, you say right after that he's not a skilled fighter...these two events don't connect
p86 After the Commander "...so that Good might flourish in China...", how about ending that statement there. Then he looks once more to the statue and walks out. I say this because I don't particularly buy what he says next. In other words, it might be best for him to say nothing else and let us, the audience, fill in the gaps as to his motivation.
burning poppy field description...nice
p91 Gratitude?...I've failed you.
...please lose the unnecessary ellipses
Overall, it might be nice for you to state how much time is left like, say, SUPERIMPOSE: 1 YEAR LEFT or something like that. This would give us a sense of time instead of just weeks later and such. How much time IS left at this point?
p94 perfects attention...perfect
re: the Lung Po dragon...very interesting...not sure if I get it exactly but an effective payoff to that thread.
Concept: I dig the concept. The thing about it is I'm not sure what the rules are. Is this fantasy? I suppose so. In that case there's a need for a suspension of disbelief like one would find in movies such as "Crouching Tiger...Hidden Dragon". That said, it might work to establish those rules earlier. Instead, i'm having a bit of cognitive dissonance with the first half, which was based in "reality" and the rest which was a kind of opium-infused funky groove.
Story: I think you have the requisite setup, conflict and resolution. I think you left the resolution for the reader which was a brave choice and a good one I believe. I'm not totally sure I buy the ending but that's just me. I also wonder about hinging the whole story on sculptures...i kept wondering while i was reading if the stakes were high enough. And it's just now occurring to me, and forgive me if i get this wrong, but what was the deal with the eunuch's man soul? Was that resolved? I didn't get that it was and it was made to be an integral part of the story.
Dialogue: I was able to discern who was who from their dialogue and their words were useful in forwarding the story and situation in each scene but given the period/fantasy/foreign nature of the characters, as long as you have dialogue that services your narrative you're going to be on good footing.
Character: The relationship between Jhao Chou and Lung Po was something I'd seen before but I can't say that's a detriment. Doing the wacky with the opium was effective. Lin Chi's "betrayal" was justified in the end and resolved in a sense by his death. Jhao and Myo's relationship was effective as well and you kept it short and sweet though I would like to have seen some more of her struggle in the interior of story to keep us grounded in a bit of her journey.
Structure: You had the requisite story points. It reads well. The payoff was effective. Some punctuation issues, misspells and other minor nits...some I mentioned, some I didn't. Either way, proofreading is needed. Actions lines were good and not too long or prosaic. There were good reversals so far as characters were concerned especially with Jhao and Lung Po. To give the narrative a bit more momentum you might think about giving us some sort of countdown while Jhao is out and about...that made me a bit lost as to the timeframes involved. The budget for this story would be pretty high, I think, then again, if the Chinese can do these epic period/fantasy pieces and do them well on a moderate budget, i don't see why this one couldn't follow suit.
Good luck with it,
Review of: dragon gate (rev.)
reviewed by ydnar600 on 07/01/2008
Review ID: 1713964
Other Reviews by ydnar600 134
A review of Castawaysby ydnar600 on 11/04/2014My running tally as I read: you’ve got quite a few minor misspells and punctuation issues here in the first few pages. I would also find a way, structurally, to introduce all of these characters a bit later if at all possible. Right now, I’m overwhelmed with trying to figure out who’s who. Page 9 lack of punctuation, for example "She holds up the handset". There's no period... My running tally as I read:
you’ve got quite a few minor misspells and punctuation issues here in the first few pages. I would also find a way, structurally, to introduce all of these characters a bit later if at all possible. Right now, I’m overwhelmed with trying to figure out who’s who.
Page 9 lack of punctuation, for example "She holds up the handset". There's no period. Here and elsewhere. And the very next dialogue “Nope we got something here.” There should be a comma between nope and we. U're doing this a lot.
Page 10 mat not matt
Erik slips but caught by the bow ropes.
You're missing is.
Steadies not steady's
At this point I'm not going to call out all the errors and so on, you need to get someone to proofread this and do it correctly.
Page 20 at the top this bit about relaxing is repetitive. You said essentially the same thing three times
Page 23, 24 and elsewhere you would do better at the beginning of the slugline to describe who “they" actually is for the first line of your action description
Bottom of page 28 they start to wave…how about they just wave? You have too many instances of individuals or objects starting to do something. Just do it
Page 30 rethink the format of your action description here. Put this in some sort of a series of shots or montage
Page 29 to 30 how many more times can your character say "come on”?
Bottom of page 32 you have dialogue without the person speaking it
p 40 …"should be we bail now"… Really?
A lot of your dialogue has starter words like well, hey, yeah, etc. Page 45 is a perfect example
Need to learn the difference between their and they're and there. Too and to, etc.
Very little that was happening as the ship was going down was having any impact on the story or on the characters afterwards so I kind of glanced over it.
Page 50 Abby says I can't believe they're all dead, that should be before the action line where she cries about remembering the faces.
Page 63 it's Robinson Crusoe not Caruso, i believe he was an opera singer
Hasn't been much conflict lately for this particular section of your script. Nothing so far is a reversal or much by way of obstacles other than their immediate situation
You have no conflict. You have no obstacles. Other than the tension inherent and possibly being rescued on a desert island. Everything else is mitigated by the fact that your two leads have music and iPads and rations for weeks. There needs to be something intrinsic in your two leads where opposites attract or opposites do not. You should Netflix an old quantum leap episode with Brooke Shields that dealt with this very situation and use that as a guide to real conflict
There's no such word as see's
Page 75 we'll find a way and our days we be good. Is that Ebonics?
Shouldn't "really" in dialogue be a question?
Page 80 it's not quite, it's quiet
Page 82 to 85 far too much day in the life for this point in the story. Just get on with it
Okay, I will try to be brief in breaking your story down:
Concept: We’ve seen this before. There was little new here.
Character: the characters introduced early on were essentially pointless since they were never seen again. And, their demise had little impact on Abby and Erik the rest of the story. Given this, there were far too many in the first section for us to waste time on. So far as Abby and Erik, there really need to be an essential point of conflict between them. What you had with her being engaged and him some sort of free spirit was not enough to keep a reader’s interest, let alone an audience in a movie. Conflict is the life blood of a story and these two have very little. Refer to my Quantum Leap suggestion above and you’ll see what i mean.
Dialogue: not good. Repetitive. On-the-nose. Far too many verbal tics of people saying “well, okay, yeah” as a preamble to speaking. While people may speak this way, there’s always a fine line between what happens in reality and what works in a script. Not to mention all the misspells. And, your two leads sounded pretty much the same.
Story: Even in Life of Pi, the first part of the story had impact on the rest of the story: thematically, emotionally. I don’t believe that happened here. You could have started the story with them on the life raft and just done a flashback to what came before and that would have had the same impact. A story like this relies on the interplay of the castaways. There was none in terms of tension or stakes, that is, immediate stakes. I realize they were trying to be rescued after floating on the sea for awhile but still. And the stakes were lowered by them having access to modern amenities…at least have it where they don’t have solar cells and have to ration out the charge. Rations for weeks? No tension or stakes there. On the island, the only stakes came when the waves hit and the island was about to blow up. You also missed a grand opportunity with the pirate stuff and the cats/rabbits. There wasn’t much of a payoff. I had all kinds of things going thru my head as to where that was going to go but you didn’t do anything with it. Ultimately, their being rescued was more of an anti-climax for this reader.
Structure: weird thing is, your story has structure but it’s more of the skeleton of structure. The story that hangs off of it is lacking for me. The biggest failing of this script, however, is your lack of proofreading. Your script was actually a quick read, except for the appalling number of typos, misspells, punctuation errors and misused words. It made for a very difficult read for someone who actually cares that the writer be apprised of the errors. It’s not my intent to be harsh but it was, frankly, unacceptable. Submit a script like this to any contest or studio and they will trash it after the first few pages. And you don’t want that. Even if this is a first draft, you gotta do better than this. You need to rethink your action/description as well. Those areas where you listed off things that were happening in one line instead of a paragraph or montage or series of shots — that’s got to go. Your script is really only 90 pages...at most, but is artificially inflated as a result. Far too many instances of a character or event “starting” to do something. The phrase “starts to” is found on 50 pages…lose it. Far too many instances of passive verbs being used instead of active verbs. Look up screenplay formatting by Truby…that’ll help. Get someone with a better command of spelling, grammar and punctuation to edit this script. read
A review of The Never Deadby ydnar600 on 10/26/2014Not entirely sure but I think there should be a fade in You have two successive sluglines as identical I believe the second one should be "" later "Where we are at…" is not particularly good English. It should just be where we are The man's fingers broken under the weight of the lid as he tries to fight it off…incomplete sentence. Bottom of page 9 you might want to take... Not entirely sure but I think there should be a fade in
You have two successive sluglines as identical I believe the second one should be "" later
"Where we are at…" is not particularly good English. It should just be where we are
The man's fingers broken under the weight of the lid as he tries to fight it off…incomplete sentence.
Bottom of page 9 you might want to take a look at the format for dream sequence, at the very least at the end you should have end dream sequence
Page 13 Rick and him step towards the door… Should be he and Rick step toward the door
Page 15 plad is spelled Plaid
Page 46 I don't believe that you can talk about the camera angle in this instance.
Page 47 the sky is pure vibrance. So does that mean that she is lying out where there are stars or what? Don't go overboard with your descriptions
Page 53 might be a bit over written in terms of where the action is. Why not just have kitchen/den intercut? The flow of whatever is being presented in dialogue is being disrupted by the use of sub slug lines
Threw not through
Page 59 this whole bit of dialogue is kind of repetitive. And I'm not sure what point it's making but it's making it a lot. Be more efficient with this.
Page 65 "this isn't lost on Mark… " you do a bit too much of this in your script. A bit too much editorializing in your action description. In fact the whole description of the basement on this page is overwritten. We get that it's dark, you've already said it and you end up saying it a few times. It's far too late in the script to be that descriptive...get on with it.
Mark’s anticipation slightly changes… Again, overwritten
Page 70 Callista cannot see the confusion on Rick's face. Why is that necessary? It's overwritten. Just use the second line. That's all that's important here...don't direct the actors to do stuff unless it's truly necessary
The Mona Lisa? so that means Calista has a slight smile on her face in this context?
Blood's not bloods
Page 72 the point of this sleeping scene is she's wired and afraid and waiting for Dr. Nelson to show up. Get to the point. Your dialogue here is repetitive again.
Page 73 that dialogue is fantastic and germane to the thematic elements of the story
Page 75 too much "as before" and nods to the audience like "we see, we hear". It's okay to do that from time to time but I think it's overused in your script
Page 77 staring into a void we cannot fathom… You can't shoot that, you can't depict this on the screen
You have almost a dozen instances of someone asking What are you doing? or Why are you doing this?
Try an additional option other than “howls”
p83 shouldn’t this bit at the bottom in the caribbean be a flashback? You have Back to Scene once it’s over…careful with your attention to detail.
p 84 worse not worst
Throughout the script Yea…should be Yeah.
I still don’t get this vertical versus horizontal junkyard bit.
Inconsistent use of sub slug lines that take up space and make your script hard to read
His chain seems to be laughing… Is that a sound or a visual? I can't figure out what that would be
Page 93 no need to have back to scene here. You're already in the scene. You're breaking up your action at a time in the story when it really needs to flow better
Page 102 larger stomach? If she's pregnant just say she's pregnant, don't get cute with it
Overall, an interesting story…or at least I think there was an interesting story. I’m not sure you told it as well as you could have which I will detail as follows:
Concept: the concept of individuals not staying dead is cool but for concepts such as these there needs to be rock-solid rules to the horror and, sometimes, twists, that keep us engaged. That didn’t happen for me.
Dialogue: far too on-the-nose. As mentioned in my running tally above, you have lots of repetitive dialogue, for example, with anyone who happened to be in the coffin at the junkyard. Maybe that was your intent but it comes off not very well. What I need as a reader is the dialogue that you handled very well on page 73 that was not only good but referred thematically to all kinds of things about life and your story. Other than that, pretty much everyone sounded the same especially when anyone was in peril.
Character: though you demarcated who everyone was that had real impact on the story, other than far too many characters, I never got the sense of what most of these characters were about. Their outlook on life, their outlooks in relation to each other other than Rick and Callista. What I really needed was an arc for these characters and what I got was characters who were mostly driven by plot but not driving the story themselves. Rick, and especially, Callista seemed to be pretty reactive…understandable given the circumstances but for there to be any real tension, it would be nice for either of them to get the upper hand on the situation and be smacked back down by circumstances - I don’t feel this happened. The doctor I got no real sense of and as I sit here writing this, there’s no other character that I can even remember that had much impact on the story. Even the Hunter’s motives, though somewhat explained, were kinda murky for this reader.
Story: I’ll be frank and say that I didn’t understand what was going on. Some of this relates to structure which I will detail next but at the end of the day, I didn’t quite ever understand the rules of the world you’ve created. The junkyard: horizontal versus vertical…maybe explain that better or lose it. I could never discern what that even meant. Your scenes with the hunter and the graves/coffins were very repetitive. Even at the end, it played out with a degree of sameness that was disappointing…i wanted to see something new and if there was something new, it wasn’t described well. And that was an issue: as i mentioned above, you overwrite certain bits that don’t need overwriting. You’ve got to describe clearly what’s happening in these actions scenes. That bit about the chain laughing…not important…when at this crucial juncture in the story, we’re facing down the Hunter and some shit’s about to hit the fan. Was the Hunter defeated? If he was, it wasn’t written clearly even though our two leads made it out alive. The relationship between Rick and Callista fell flat for me…their interactions lacked consequences and centered more on whether her eyes were glazed over. The bit with the dreaming and where she was…it wasn’t clear for me. If i’m to blame for being a dumbass then I’ll take that but, really, I didn’t get many elements of your story.
Structure: While there was tension throughout, it was tension just based on subject matter, not what was happening in your scenes. When your narrative falls into a repetitive pattern, that’s okay, if you show us something different each time. I was seeing the same thing over and over. I didn’t perceive the typical inciting incidents and first act breaks…if they were there, they were not strong enough. An overall structural problem is with your action/description: it’s overdone. You have far too many instances of breaking up the action with sub-slug lines. It’s okay to do that on occasion to provide some sort of emphasis on a moment, but not all the time. It breaks up the flow of the read and makes it hard to read. The first twenty pages was kinda disjointed for me. The next 40 were pretty solid and I ripped right through them. The last 40 took me a long time. Your script would likely be 90-95 pages if you tightened it up. The nature of your story requires flashbacks…still, you have likely too many and they’re not consistent. You’re constantly breaking up the flow with some sort of aside to explain some previous event…it bogs things down and destroys the read. You got a number of misspells and punctuation issues, some I mentioned and some I didn’t. Omitted punctuation and so on. You need to use more active verbs throughout. Too many instances of odd adverb/verb pairings like “slightly changes”. Your character either performs an action (active verb) or doesn’t. Remember, these are cold reads. You have only so much time to get your point across. Do it efficiently.
Good luck on your next draft!
A review of Monsters Insideby ydnar600 on 10/06/2014Some thoughts as I read: Page 3 desert instead of dessert Page 5 unkept or unkempt...I believe it's unkempt Page 6 whole versus hole…this happens more than once Page 8 misses. versus Missus Page 22 you have introduced Valerie Venton twice Page 23 vodka doesn't really stink…it’s odorless Page 26 this moment about putting the finishing touches on reminds me of biff tannen in... Some thoughts as I read:
Page 3 desert instead of dessert
Page 5 unkept or unkempt...I believe it's unkempt
Page 6 whole versus hole…this happens more than once
Page 8 misses. versus Missus
Page 22 you have introduced Valerie Venton twice
Page 23 vodka doesn't really stink…it’s odorless
Page 26 this moment about putting the finishing touches on reminds me of biff tannen in back to the future
Page 38 I don't know about this bit with the "psychologically he has no choice". I understand that might be the case but there's something about that being spoken in the action description that kind of bugs me. Also more misspells dam/damn and span instead of spawn
Page 40 who is Mrs. Hines?
Page 41 and 42 is no need for there to be two scene locations here between valery and loefel...one scene will do for their dialogue
Page 43 Marla's eyes light up but then she's angry. I'm not sure I understand that point
Page 45 Harold gets to the door opens it… That is a run-on sentence…one of many
Page 50 I don’t believe that Harold and Marla together has been earned as yet.
Page 51 she's killed with a silver tray? I don't buy it... You need to describe this scene better. What kind of tray? How heavy is it? Was it bent after hitting Mama Teller? Was blood left on it?
Okay what happened to the evidence? The silver tray would be somewhere around with blood on it?
Page 56 Marla says I can't leave you alone right now. I'm going home and packing. Those two statements shouldn't be together. And I still don't buy this relationship, not for one second.
Page 63 Valerie wouldn't have all her doors locked? Way too easy for Harold to get in. Not buying it.
Page 64 A 35 mile wide radius is a fairly large area... far too large for a town of 7000 and you actually haven't shown this guy doing this and covering that much ground. Maybe your were thinking 35 square miles? Either way…that’s way too big.
Page 71 I don't think we need to be told that tension is mounting
Page 80 Slug line should have (moving). You say ride shotgun a lot. Know the difference between hole and whole.
There’s so much more I could harp on but I think you get the idea. I’ll detail the sections below.
Concept: I can’t give you high marks here as this is something I’ve seen before, which is not really a knock, but the execution has got to be solid and preferably you should be able to bring something fresh to the table. That didn’t happen here.
Dialogue: pretty much everyone sounded the same except for Mama Teller. There’s not much else to say here. I did find quite a bit of it to be on-the-nose, that is, there was very little subtext. Some instances of characters saying “Nooooo…!!!” while they were being killed - change that up a bit.
Characters: Mama Teller - a caricature. There’s no dimensionality to her whatsoever. Even in the remake of Carrie, the mother character at least had some religious hell she went thru that enabled her over-the-top religiosity towards her daughter. Your protagonist (anti-protagonist), though I understood why he was so unhinged, that’s the only thing I knew about Harold. You’ve got to deepen that character more than you’ve done here…there’s nothing unique about him. No real redeeming qualities to him other than being somewhat of an avenging angel…it’s not enough. As I said above, I don’t believe for one second that Marla would go for this guy and even if she would, you as a writer, didn’t earn that relationship. I don’t care if they shared somewhat of a misfit kinship…it still wasn’t on the page. Agent Mann was ultimately just a means to an end. There’s no way an agent could be duped that easily, nor should it be written that way.
Story: The central conceit of your story is that this guy kills people and gets away with it. Other than the murders, your story doesn’t really have high stakes. I was intrigued a bit at the beginning but then you killed the tension by showing your hand with the murders too early…and often. A good story like this has a mystery to it and the writer should extend that tension to the nth degree by being clever with what the audience knows and what the characters know. The entire last half of your story…really, most of your story…the audience is in superior position, that is, we know Harold is a killer, without doubt…there’s no tension or suspense if we know everything and we’re not surprised and nothing truly shocking is revealed. Something has to be hidden to get us to care. I didn’t care…and the last bit with the father being nicked for the crime, I could see a mile away. That’s not tension or suspense.
Structure: The problem structurally is that I don't see your story with an inciting incident - that moment where your main character’s status quo is disrupted. In this case, Harold’s status quo would be to go on killing people like usual until someone comes into his life or an opposing force prevents him from doing so. The same goes for your first act break. I don't see this character with a point where he commits to this life or to a new direction from which he may never be the same at the end of the first act. Instead it's just another in a series of gruesome revenge moments for this guy. What would be cool is if he had real reversals/obstacles, that is, something that prevents him from killing…someone who’s more gruesome than he is…maybe someone else comes along and kills indiscriminately and he’s blamed and he needs to clear his name…those might be interesting twists that get the audience rooting for a killer…that WOULD be twisted. Far too many misspells and wrong words to mention. Your action description is not sufficient to create the mood that is necessary for this story…take more time with it. You have the space with only 92 pages. I could go on about structure and other elements but I don’t want to bore you, dude. I think I’ve said enough. I tried to look at the notes on this to see if it was a first draft…you’ve got some work ahead of you to bring some twists, freshness, uniqueness, etc to your story.
Good luck with it, dude! read
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