Review of: The True Evil 

reviewed by J. O'Hanley on 03/11/2012
Credited Review
J. O'Hanley
Keep at it. Credited Review
I will say that I like the idea behind "The True Evil." The writing is free of typos and scenes move along at a nice pace. But there is a great deal of work to be done here.

That can only happen if you keep on writing, keep on reading well formatted screenplays, keep on studying the craft, and keep on reviewing here. All that is, of course, up to you. But here are a few notes I've made.

-I don't think it would hurt to download Celtx (for free!) and work with your screenplay in that program from now on. You've often got character headings at the end of one page and their dialogue spilling onto the next.

-You're misusing parentheticals.

JAMES
(walking towards the bed)
What’s the story with the pile of crap?

"Walking towards the bed" is an action line and should be written as such. This is closer to the correct use...

JENNIFER
(under her breath)
Oh shit.

And even then, they should be used sparingly.

-You character introductions read like casting notices. When we meet James, we can't tell that he's a father with a dead wife and a difficult relationship with his teenage daughter. That's the sort of thing that has to come out some other way...

-But not necessarily the way it's handled on Page 11, during James' first speech. Has anyone, anywhere ever said "I became incredibly cynical. Eventually, I just shut down emotionally." You can illustrate that he's cynical through his actions, you can (and elsewhere, have) illustrate his difficult relationship with his daughter. It's good to always keep in mind that you're bettering inferring and showing rather than just having your characters flat out tell you what's going on.

-I think you can give the audience a bit more credit. Most of them will know about things like the danger of air in the bloodstream or the Milgram experiment. You can get away with greatly condensing that sort of thing.

-Finally, I had a number of believability problems. The way James handled the entire situation is the best one to pick out. First, his daughter witnesses a kidnapping, and he leaves her at home unguarded? Then it comes out that he knew all along what was making Oliver tick. He knew his daughter would be his target just snapped all believability to me, even though she had the tracking device. And upon finding her dead, his first action is to read a letter that's been placed on her body?

As I said, I think there's a good story here, and hopefully you'll be able to maximize its potential. Everyone has a first screenplay, and everyone willing to put in the hard work will one day write a better second, third, fourth... Best of luck!

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