First of all, i'm sorry I took so long to read and review this screenplay. It deserved a much more urgent response, but lately, with my girlfriends birthday and looking for work, i've been a bit lazy with my assignments.
So here it is. I kept quite detailed notes throughout, so I'll list those after my actual review.
One of the main issues with this screenplay was that it contained a ridiculous amount of prose. Screenplays are no place for it. So, how apt that the very first paragraph should be prose. It would become a regular occurence throughout the screenplay, but it's something that I feel should not be in there. A screenplay is concerned with what we see and hear. The visual and audible. Information or backstory is irrelevant to a screenplay, as they are not on the screen. Therefore, they're a complete waste of pages and letters. If the reader wanted to read prose, they would have looked for a short story or novel to read. Just keep this in mind when writing future scripts.
Saying that, I'm sure I'm not the first person to point that out about this SP, so just ignore me if you've heard it before.
I don't feel that this was an especially original or imaginative concept, but the story was well thought and well constructed.
Some would slam yours or anybody's screenplays for such frequent and lengthy use of flashback, it's a supposed sign of a lazy story-teller, but in your case it seems absolutely fundamental to the story. The only way around it for you, is to completely restructure the timeline and start at the beginning when they meet, see all of their difficulties in becoming a couple, and then progress into the storm and the rescue. But I think the flashback method is used well here, and adds poignance to each scene, as information is revealed and linked.
The dialogue was mostly good stuff, apart from a few mistakes here and there, probably from cutting and pasting. Forgivable.
Now, here is my absolute favourite thing about this script. It was so CLEAR and EASY TO FOLLOW that it was simply a joy to read. I breezed through it the first time around. I think I read around 70 pages in about an hour, and it was all immediately coherent and understandable. It was really a pleasure, compared to other SP's on here. What this means is, your characters were memorable individuals and your scenes were easy to visualise and follow. Well done.
All of the characters were likeable. I'm not usually a fan of romance films, but I genuinely liked the chemistry between the Jo and Emma. I also enjoyed the backstory/subplot between Jo and his father. It was well developed and interesting.
Notes I made:
There were a couple of instances of being too vague, where you could have been visually descriptive. Notably:
"The men are not happy with that news" - Fair enough, they're not happy. But you could have been far more creative here. Missed opportunity to sparkle. Be descriptive!
"Mostly he is enjoying the way Emma is looking at him" - Erm, what does this mean, exactly? Describe their reactions to one another. For example, instead write: "Emma and Joseph share a continuous, affectinate look at one another...". Yes, it's corny, but it's visual.
I love the rowing scene, where he's rowing for days to try and catch her party. It was powerful, snappy and effective.
"He pauses in front of a quaint, but dilapidated, Beach Home." - Incorrect structure. Either remove remove the commas or the 'but' and second comma.
"Five men sit at a table drinking and playing cards, behind them" - new sentence after cards.
"v-shaped back" - should read: vee-shaped.
"They have been unsuccessful in lowering the sails" - this sentence is moot. Either show it, or keep it to yourself. It is also unnecessary, as they tell us in the following dialogue.
pg 32 "You don't work in the office." should this be a question?
After this, I noted the far too frequent use of prose. Some examples: "The men have been plowing through and are already exhausted." Just say, "the men are all struggling, exhausted and weary." Another example I noted: "They have talked all night, just talked, and are now watching the sun come up." This stuff cannot be included in action. It's not a novel. It's also revealed that they've been talking all night in the following dialogue.
"into a deep wet, slushy puddle." - Of course it's wet, it's a puddle. Careful of things like this.
pg 38 - He's going to destroy you. - this sentence doesn't seem right. Maybe "He'll kill you?"
pg 71 "You would hurt her like that." - should be a ?.
"Chauncey pushes Joseph out of the way to begin an early version of CPR" - this seems clunkey. Instead, it would be better to actually describe the action/method. Like: "chaucey begins pumping johns chest vigourously, then listens to his wrist for a pulse."
"In the water ahead Joseph sees something." - describe his reaction or what he sees, rather than just saying he sees something. EG - Josephs eyes widen as a black figure appears in the water ahead of them. In fact the whole hallucination is written poorly. Needs to be re-visualised.
Joseph looks and doesn't see Emma with Simon so he obliges. - Better to say, he looks anxiously for emma, but no sign, so he carries on. When I first read your version, I actually got the impression that Emma was with Simon but Joseph didn't see that.
"He's done. Done fighting. Done with life." - More prose.
"She is lost. Forever. Another victim of the unrelenting ocean" - More prose.
pg 98 - "Joseph looks around the room longingly." That's not the wright word. Maybe desperately? Maybe urgently? Longingly isn't associated with looking around, more with looking through or staring or gazing.
End of notes.
I was so relieved and happy when I realised it was not Emma on the boat, such was my connection and sympathy for these characters.
Although it seems from my noted i'm being harsh to the screenplay, it's only because I enjoyed it so much. Of course, many of the notes I took were of little significance to the story and experience. It would be considered a disservice if I weren't to share my notes with you. Do with them as you will.
I hope the review has been helpful. Good luck with your future screenplays. Maybe you should write a novel or a few short stories to get the prose out of your system? That's a joke, but it's also serious. I write short stories alongside my SP's, as they give you alot more creative freedom in many ways.
Review of: Through Wind and Water
reviewed by danjama on 06/04/2010
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