I must have started to read this a half dozen times and stopped. Only when I settled in for a good read, was I not able to put it down and it quickly became one of my favorites. It wasn't because the beginning was badly written, it isn't. I just had to be in the mood for this subject matter and that might be what hurts it the most but I think the entire SP is brilliant.
Here are a couple of minor issues I had;
P7 Adams’ dialogue pretty sure every sailor has heard of the Bounty, consider revising.
P8 Adams’ dialogue doesn’t sound natural, consider revising.
P11 second time you’ve underlined something, it’s distracting and unnecessary.
P14 McCoy’s dialogue “BUT THANKS?” doesn’t make sense.
P15 Minarii’s dialogue is really bad. I half expected they would all be sitting around singing kumbaya in the next scene. Please consider revising.
P35 Thursday October is getting on my nerves, consider revising to just October or something.
P60 should be formatted as a SERIES OF SHOTS
P108 formatting this scene as a flashback is confusing, consider revising.
If I were reading this as a professional, I would definately suggest someone take a closer look at it. Nicely done.
Review of: Mr. Christian
reviewed by rjsilva on 03/23/2011
Review ID: 3697138
Other Reviews by rjsilva 52
A review of The Zombie Huntersby rjsilva on 02/07/2013John, I’ve got to tell you, I was a little giddy at first, getting an actual request for a read but now I’m thinking, holy crap, I actually have to a really good job with this one. So, let’s start right away with your posted synopsis. The very first thing people see other than a title page is usually a Logline and Synopsis. If these items have errors, then a reader might think... John, I’ve got to tell you, I was a little giddy at first, getting an actual request for a read but now I’m thinking, holy crap, I actually have to a really good job with this one. So, let’s start right away with your posted synopsis. The very first thing people see other than a title page is usually a Logline and Synopsis. If these items have errors, then a reader might think the entire script must be filled with them.
The worst moment of NICK’s life was the day SARAH walked out of it. Desperate to win her back, Nick reaches out to Sarah only to (discover) she’s now engaged to MARTIN. As Nick, Sarah and Martin draw emotional battle lines (,) two teens are infected with an experimental drug that slowly kills them (but) not for long. The teens re-animate (,) then infect nearly everyone in town. Sarah discovers Martin has been infected when he becomes a zombie, and nearly kills Sarah. Martin and flees into the woods with other zombies. (GENRE TWIST) These zombies are able to talk to (communicate with)each other in a “zombie-talk” that sounds natural to them, however normal people only hear zombie-talk as a mess of moans and growls. A few zombies return to town to negotiate a peace. They and are met by a hail of gunfire. Zombie Martin assumes control and leads the surviving zombies on a trail that heads out of the mountains, towards (a major city) civilization and possibly their freedom. Nick must find a way to win Sarah’s love. Sarah must decide whether her heart lies with the ring on her finger or the man by her side. And the Zombie Hunters must hunt down the escaping zombie horde before they infect the world.
Overall, this does exactly what it should, makes me want to read your SP. There are a few places though where you have small sentences and when I read through, it feels jerky not smooth, like I’m learning to drive a stick. I made some suggestions above. The one thing that bothered me is when a group of zombies go to town, then Martin lead the rest to civilization. Town is a civilization so it’s a little confusing. I suggest actually naming a city. Your “genre twist” isn’t really a twist any more so you should either adjust it or leave it out and let the reader be surprised (see 2005’s Land of the Dead and this year’s Warm Bodies).
PAGES 1-10 Are you messing with me? What’s with all the slug lines after every line of action? At first I thought, if these are multiple locations, why didn’t you just write this as a montage or a series of shots? I reread and realized that your opening scenes are really just one and now I’m thinking that this is your way around writing camera direction. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t look good, it’s confusing and you should stick with just one slug. SNORT should be in caps as it is an off-screen sound effect. The crossbow is locked and loaded. Why doesn’t Nick just shoot the boar? The huge boar knocks Nick over but doesn’t do him any damage and Nick shoots it in the head but it runs off? What happened to the boar? Is it in the truck? Why do Carl and Bill say each other’s names when speaking? Nick parks behind Martin. You didn’t say it but you did say he drives off behind them. If Nick’s sitting on his tailgate, how can he see Martin and Sarah? Nick doesn’t honk or wave back to the kids? How can I see that Max can bench 300 pounds and has the mental agility of soap? One photo = empathy, a shrine of photos = creepy, going bat-crap crazy = psychotic. The red goo is being sprayed from a broken tank at Max and Jessie decides to just climb right into it face first? You used to write a slug line every second and now, when you should have an EXT. Sarah’s house, nothing. You set Nick up to be the main character but Nick’s a dick. Some of the things I might change; In the opening scene, the boar startles Nick, he shoots and misses the moose, now he’s got a reason to run from the boar. Nick should get hurt, the boar should get away and everyone in town should be asking him about his injury. I would either dump Carl & Bill or have one of them notice the injury and say “oh my God, you’re bleeding.” This would cause Sarah to look up and see Nick. Delete the little fit Nick has over the photo. What if Jessie saves Max from his dumbass foolery by pushing him out of the way and when the tank bursts, they both get sprayed at the same time?
PAGES 11-20 There is way too much detail about what is on TV and when the director should show it. And none of it is funny or necessary to the SP. Just a simple INSERT would work. Also, what if that puzzle was never done before and now you have to create it? There are also issues with production costs and licensing to consider. Sarah, Ruth, Martin were all outside but no one saw two kids, covered in red goo, one with a busted leg, walk into the house next door and no one heard an “oh my Lord, what happened?” or something similar. Zelda’s scream should be written as action not dialogue. Ex: From the other room, Zelda SCREAMS and a GLASS BREAKS (sound effects in caps)Max got sprayed first, why didn’t he change first? No doctor available, not even a vet? Why are Nolan and Jerry taking a 16yo girl with them? It took me a couple of reads to catch that Nick, Sarah and Martin were no longer walking to keep pace with Nolan's truck but they were in Nick’s truck. I know what the slugs say but consider revising the transition anyway. You’ve got a few places where you can trim some fat. Why does Nolan have to stop the truck before smashing through the gate? Why doesn’t he just drive to the gate and blast through with Nick right behind him? What is a “main building?” I’ve been on many military bases and have never seen one, maybe an admin building? How do we know how long ago the door was opened? It’s funny that you read my review of Mountain, yet here you are, doing the same thing with yes/no dialogue that sounds forced or rehearsed and not natural at all. Say the lines out loud, two line dialogues can be cropped to one line and one liners can be just a few words in this whole scene. Why isn’t there a slug for INT. STORAGE ROOM or INT. CULVERT? Don’t forget the commas before the names, John. Martin was right behind Jerry what happened to him? Did he get sprayed? Did he help Jerry get out of the culvert? Let’s get a move on? How about, “why did we stop?” or “what are we waiting for” put yourself in Jerry’s shoes. Wouldn’t you try to find some water or cover your eyes with a cloth? You can cut page 20 in half just by removing redundant action.
PAGES 21-30 I’m guessing you deleted something in between the two slug lines INT. NICK'S TRUCK (PARKED) – DAY? “Jessie vomits up a piece of Robin. She picks it up and pops it back in her mouth.” Best scene ever, friggin awesome. Try to stay away from using adjectives with ing endings. The siren BLARES (sound FX)okay? Nick and Nolan were racing to town, how did Sarah get to Ruth, who is everyone and why are they walking to town? Doesn’t Jerry still have red goop on his face? Why can he, all of a sudden, see and acts as if nothing happened while Max and Jessie were at death’s door after being sprayed? P24-27 is a hard read for me. Try condensing each death into a three sentence scene and see how that works. Why would Henry go after infected Jerry? Why doesn’t Sheriff Nolan ever pull out his side arm and start shooting? You should make Nolan a little more Andy Griffith and a little less Barney Fife. Nolan doesn’t shoot zombies but has no problem shooting at his truck? You’ve got granny Ruth and unarmed Martin waiting outside as Mr. Nelson and a group (you should actually say 5 since it comes up on the next page) of vicious zombies close in on them? I’d like to see Sarah get a little pissed at the photo wall. Maybe a “what the hell is this?” followed by an argument where Nick admits his feelings for her, then a hug, maybe a kiss that gets interrupted when smiling Granny and pissed Martin walk in slams the door and says “what the hell is this?” but before anyone can explain, the zombies come-a-knockin.
PAGES 31-40 Sarah shoot(s) I thought Zombie #1 ran away (which would have been an interesting twist) Some of your stuff reads clunky to me (“Sarah shoots #3. #3 drops dead.”)and could be tweaked to flow a little smoother (Sarah shoots Zombie #3 and it drops dead). You’ve got too many “jumps on” making the dog pile hard to imagine, especially if Sarah is supposed to be on the bottom but is now on #4 & #5 when Martin also jumps on 4&5. What if #4 attacks Sarah, Nick tackles #4, #5 jumps on Nick, Sarah pulls on #5 who leaves Nick and gets on Sarah, then Martin jumps on #5, Sarah rolls to safety and Granny kicks some ass. I like that Zombie Nelson hides. Maybe change the picture scene a little to increase tension between Martin and Nick. When Ruth likes a photo, Sarah can mention her memory of that day and Martin would reiterate the strangeness of the collage, then later as Nick leads them through town, Martin’s glare at his back has a more intense threat. Martin has got to show us why he’s better for Sarah than Nick and what better way than being smarter, instead of freaking out and calling everyone nuts.
PAGES 41-50 I knew Granny was a bad ass. It might sound more ominous if you shorten her line to “It was the summer of '43”. “I was just a records clerk back then but I heard the stories.” Again with the slug for each line of action? How come no one asks Ruth why she stayed behind? What if you did the “zombie-speak” as grunts with subtitles? Martin and Oh is all Sarah has to say when he turns?
PAGES 51-60 Does everyone in this world have a shortwave radio? Maybe Ruth was paid by the government to stay behind and now that the poop has hit the fan, she has the boys pull what looks like an old suitcase from her closet and opens it to reveal a military radio? What happened to Bill & Carl and why aren’t they the ones who come up with the flare bombs? The exchange between Zombie Jerry and Nolan are exactly what this SP should be focused on. It’s all just a big communications misunderstanding. I would mention the similarities between crows and zombies before just throwing out a murder.
PAGES 61-70 “Brother, I am making progress here.” And there’s the dick I remember. The whole scene with Ruth and Zelda is a detriment to your story in that not only is it unnecessary but it now paints Ruth as an idiot. Why wouldn’t Ruth tell Marcus about Nick giving her his call sign? Calling this one Zombie #6 flashes me back to think it may have been part of the original group from before and it wasn’t so now it’s confusing. You might consider renaming it to something like ROAD ZOMBIE. The code thing is pretty cool because we don’t know what it is but they do. This would also work if Ruth were ex military like I said before and a group of young soldiers thinks she’s a crazy old lady that found a radio in a garage sale or something until she gives them the code.
PAGES 71-80 Why do you name these Nick’s Trail and Nolan’s Trail? What’s wrong with Deer Trail and continuing to use DERELICT MOUNTAIN ROAD? Oh, I see. You wanted to make this more difficult to read. Why is Frank, Sheriff Frank but Sheriff Nolan is just Nolan? A lot of this SP has inconsistencies like this. You need to pick one way and stick to it.
PAGES 81-90 Just read right through the last ten pages but not to find out what happens to whom but rather just to get it over with.
John, this was a hard read for me. I’d really like to see the 2010 version to compare the two.
Concept: Nothing really new and your twist isn’t really a twist anymore but it would be cheap to make and that may be good enough.
Characters: First and foremost, your heroes are unlikeable. Nick’s a dick and Sarah is a self-centered wanna-be princess. Carl and Bill are irrelevant. Sheriff Nolan is a moron. The best characters are Ruth and Henry. They’ve got time and character and secrets and that might be your story. Retired military seniors save the day when a couple of teens accidently open a lost top secret canister that’s contents turns everyone into zombies.
Dialogue: Unnatural sounding needs to be trimmed and adjusted.
Story: Bits and pieces are really good but they’re few and far between. In the end, I was rooting for Zombie Martin and Zombie Jessie to make it out and live happily ever after. Screw Nick & Sarah.
Structure: Basic story structure seems to be there and you hit the beats but formatting issues and inconsistencies just kill this thing. You need to pick one style and stick with it.
Overall: I like the story and I like that you could take three stories, the love triangle, the basic military/zombie and the grumpy old folks, then weave them together in a really cool tale for people of all ages but you didn’t and it misses, for me. I watch Zombie movies, I write Zombie movies, I like Zombie movies and with a little tweaking this would be an amazing, old school type of low budget B-movie that everyone could enjoy. I hope all of this helps. Good Luck, John. read
A review of Starry Nightby rjsilva on 12/11/2012Sablezena, congratulations on completing “Starry Night”. Finishing a SP is not an easy thing to do and putting it on a site like Triggerstreet for everyone to rip it to shreds takes a massive amount of courage but you did it. First off, I’d like to say how much I like the concept but the flow of the story is constantly interrupted and all of the errors just kill the thing... Sablezena, congratulations on completing “Starry Night”. Finishing a SP is not an easy thing to do and putting it on a site like Triggerstreet for everyone to rip it to shreds takes a massive amount of courage but you did it.
First off, I’d like to say how much I like the concept but the flow of the story is constantly interrupted and all of the errors just kill the thing before I even get started.
I think your logline could be minimized to something like; Logline: After a near-death accident, a young man has premonitions of his girlfriend's murder.
Title page: incorrectly formatted.
Top page margin should be .5" (or three single lines) before the page number. A single blank line separates the page number from the body of the script, which begins with a new shot heading/slug line like FADE IN:
Anytime you write for a period other than the present, you should note it as a (SUPER: 1986) to denote superimposed information and then again when you go to the present (SUPER: PRESENT DAY).
Inserted item should be in caps (DRAWING) the description of the drawing should be in regular type, not bold.
In rapidly continuous scenes, it is acceptable to leave out the TOD or the word CONTINUOUS unless you are going from INT to EXT at which time an actual time of day should be used.
Close your eyes and imagine Jeff’s bedroom. How do you know it’s in Austin, TX.? Maybe SUPER: Austin, TX. PRESENT DAY
You should keep characters and actions separate. EX:
JEFF (25) abruptly pops up in bed, as white as a sheet.
JILL MACKENZIE (24) lies next to him, stirs.
Jeff labors for each breath.
Jill sits, turns on the light and touches his arm.
Honey? You okay?
In the kitchen, location description and character action should be on separate lines.
The handwritten note is a nice, caring gesture but then, not only does he lie about dreaming of Ashley but it’s also revealed that he’s previously lied to Jill about how she died. At this point, I don’t like Jeff and along with the formatting issues and forced, unnatural sounding dialogue, I would likely set your SP aside on page 6 and go onto the next one.
For me, it would be a better start, if Jill knows about Ashley’s accident and Jeff’s guilty nightmares but she’s frustrated and tired of dealing with it. Having to reassure Jeff that it was only an accident and not his fault over and over again is a strain on their relationship.
Jeff, Jill & MARCIA MACKENZIE, MACK MACKENZIE are too similar so when they have dialogue together, it’s very confusing. Consider revising.
P7 Princess(you’re)this is a huge pet peeve of many readers along with the correct use of they’re, there and their. It will get your writing set aside very quick.
Wait, Jeff has been dating multi millionaire Mack Mackenzie’s daughter for almost three years and he hasn’t had him checked out yet?
Your first ten pages are the key to the gate. If you want anyone to read more, the first few pages need to be your very best and these need some work.
Unfortunately, by the end of page 13 I want to remove Starry Night and go on to a different SP but that’s not why we’re here. Your writing is inconsistent. The first pages you wanted to CONTINUE everything and now there’s a TOD for each heading. Some Headings have one dash- some have two--. You need to find your style and be consistent. Leave the camera angles to the Director (at Matt’s chair, at Jeff’s chair, at Matt’s chair, at Jeff’s chair, at Matt’s chair, at Jeff’s chair, at Matt’s chair, Back to Jill, at Matt’s chair, back to Jeff and Jill) can you see how painfully annoying this is?
You can greatly improve your dialogue by saying it aloud “Honey we’re going to fall!” Go ahead say this out loud as if you were the one dangling from the chair. I know you might feel shy about it but let go of the inhibition and do it. Yell it out, “Honey we’re going to fall!” Do it again. One more time. Are you laughing yet? This exercise has helped me so much in my dialogue writing.
You can trim these 10 pages in half just by removing excessive details. EX:
Jill stands near a window, in front of a crooked print of Van Gogh's Starry Night, adjusts it and smiles.
A LIGHTNING FLASH illuminates the room.
A SHADOWY FIGURE, wearing a ball cap, sneaks up behind her. Its black-gloved hands ready a wire garrote.
Another LIGHTNING FLASH illuminates the initials ETC stitched on the cap.
The gloved hands wrap the wire around Jill's neck and pull it tight.
Jill struggles and tries to scream, but can't.
Outside the window, Ashley watches, her face paralyzed.
20 lines, including spaces, down to 14 but you still have the same images.
Why are they at Jill’s and not Jeff’s?
Jill’s entire attitude towards Jeff changes on P36 and it doesn’t make any sense. She’s a caring and sympathetic person and should not act this way unless, you laid the groundwork for it earlier in the SP as I suggested.
I also think it’s a mistake letting the audience in on Lisa’s actual social status. I think it would be best if you leave out as much as possible, the thrift store visit and now the apartment situation and leave the audience feeling that something is not right with her but not knowing what it is.
We’ve only seen one vision of Jill’s murder and a few other odd ones. He’s should have had two, maybe three by the time he flips the canoe. There’s no way Shirley is going to make it up to the tree house. I suggest changing the scene to her quarters, an in-law cottage near the side of the property. I would limit the phonetic language as it may offend and simply write Shirley’s dialogue direct with the notation of her thick Jamaican accent.
P59 has a really great twist with the Niece and the postcard. It’s exciting, unexpected and completely out of left field. I love it.
No comments other than those already made. Check your spacing, several places are double spaced between words.
The scene in Lisa’s office is good but a little forced. Try to iron it out and streamline it a bit.
You have a lot of “suggestive” wording where you should write what the audience sees EX: Lisa “sensually rewards him” what does that mean? Does her head disappear under the sheets, near his crotch?
Why would Jill confront Lisa? Why wouldn’t she take the information to Jeff and Matt right away? You should change this so Lisa finds out Jill knows about her in a different way. This will set up an interesting confrontation in the final pages.
Here’s the confrontation I was talking about earlier but because of your phone conversation, Jill should be running for her life instead of admiring Lisa’s hair.
I don’t know why you decided to have so many endings. Pick one and stick with it. You should have known how it would end at the beginning.
AMBULANCE SCENE ambulances come to Jill’s house, closing statements, everyone has closure, the end. No wait!
WEDDING SCENE Jill and Jeff get married, his mom is miraculously well now, everybody’s happy, the end. No wait!
AIRPLANE SCENE just happen to sit next to a rich girl and her mother on the plane and set Matt up with a girl just like him, the end. No wait!
THEATER SCENE it’s opening night for Jill’s now accepting parent’s movie everyone’s happy, the end. No wait!
CEMETARY SCENE Jeff stands with Jill at his sister’s grave and gets closure with a picture but not the drawing from the refrigerator that it should have been and a butterfly landing, then taking flight, the end. As it should be.
CONCEPT – I love the basic concept. It’s a great idea.
CHARACTERS – Are average at the very best. Some could be, good impact characters, like Shirley are tossed aside and except for Lisa are really under developed.
DIALOGUE - is really bad in some parts and that brings it all down as a whole. I know it sounds funny but read it out loud. Maybe get together with a group of writers in your area and once a week or once a month, have a read through.
STORY – Your basics are there but the story has holes and believability flaws. The major one, is you build up in the Logline and Synopsis that the story is about Jeff’s premonitions but he only has one and a half.
STRUCTURE – There are too many inserts and camera directions. All types of errors throughout. Look to other SPs and formatting sites for help.
OVERALL – It’s an excellent start with massive potential. A bunch of cuts, a strong rewrite and deeper character development, you have a massive hit. It’s okay to leave Jeff’s mother blaming him, unable to cope with or even suicidal over Ashley’s death, then the CEMETARY SCENE would be your last with both Jeff & Jill visiting both graves. Good Luck, I’d love to read the rewrite. read
A review of Mountain (V2)by rjsilva on 05/06/2012Lizz-Ayn thanks for posting MOUNTAIN. As a ver2, I don’t think there’ll be anything I can add but I’ll make some suggestions anyway. PAGES 1-10 Consider changing the line “so is this” to “more important than this?” Same thing just sounds less petty. The words making a big show of read as condescending and I don’t think Tessa means it to be. Try to avoid yes/no dialogue when... Lizz-Ayn thanks for posting MOUNTAIN. As a ver2, I don’t think there’ll be anything I can add but I’ll make some suggestions anyway.
PAGES 1-10 Consider changing the line “so is this” to “more important than this?” Same thing just sounds less petty. The words making a big show of read as condescending and I don’t think Tessa means it to be. Try to avoid yes/no dialogue when possible and your interactions will flow easier (delete Nah). Avoid using the same words so close together and look for synonyms (glances). I think what caused a fire would be less of a concern than knowing if my wife and I were in any danger. There’s a little confusion if the fire is out or not. Tessa sat on the dirty bed with the used condom? Your opening is really good but I think you went just a bit too far. There’s too much snippy, action between Adam and Tessa and I don’t care what happens to either them. These two obviously don’t belong together and I don’t think that’s what you’re going for. Maybe just ease up a little. One of them should be trying harder than the other. If I had some time to keep reading I would but if I had a few more SPs to get to I’d set MOUNTAIN aside.
PAGES 11-20 The car’s hood rises by itself? P14 something wrong with the car is an understatement and since no one showed up, I’m guessing Piper is involved. P16 are these the same two hunters from the road? I really dislike Tessa and I hope that’s what you were going for.
PAGES 21-30 Go lie down on top of the used condom? Tessa should have changed the sheets right away. Tessa’s attitude is getting on my last nerve and I would walk right out the front door and say I’m going for help, see you later.
PAGES 31-40 No comments
PAGES 41-50 P48 again, the double use of release so close together. When was the Epi-pen jammed into Piper’s thigh? Okay but I had to read it a few times, consider revising.
PAGES 51-60 How Adam reacts to Tessa’s and Donnie’s affair, that he knew this whole time and stayed with her despite how she treats him has me thinking, I hope they both die. P60 the little girl Piper talks about and the young killer she becomes? That’s the movie I want to see.
PAGES 61-70 Neither Adam or Tessa yell out to the officer? Tessa is dead and I don’t shed not one tear.
PAGES 71-80 If Adam and Tessa would have just investigated the smell like any other normal couple, all of this would have been avoided and I hate watching movies where that happens so consider revising the story where Piper interrupts them just as they are going to deal with the stench. P73 Why does Adam wait ‘til now to put the stick in his pocket? P74 Piper is not capitalized. Adam trips and falls in the woods while running from a killer, really? Consider changing this to Piper takes a shortcut and tackles him.
PAGES 81-END A nineteen year old girl with a gun and a knife is beating a man with a CB mic? P84 voices echo. Hunters should be capped. I’m assuming one of these killers is who Piper saw in the woods but not sure why there has to be two of them. I think it would be simpler if there were one, he asks once where the stick is, then shoots Adam in the leg and says I won’t ask again. Maybe he shoots the killer then RUNS to the Hunters bodies instead of casually wandering over to them.
CONCEPT – I really like the concept. It’s original but feels recognizable. My favorite thing is not every question is answered so the reader is left thinking, well done.
CHARACTERS – They are really good but like I said before, unlikeable and leave me unsympathetic to their cause. (staying alive) I would make Adam a little less wimpy and Tessa a little more guilty.
DIALOGUE - was also really good except where I noted above.
STORY – there are some holes in your story and some changes I would like to see but it’s just my opinion and you can’t please everyone. I’d like to see Adam dead in the end and have the mysterious stranger take the stick out of his hands.
STRUCTURE – Was also very good with a lot of surprises, good work.
OVERALL – I think this is the first SP I’ve read on here that I would actually RECOMMEND as is, along with my notes and the producer can decide what changes to make. The only thing I would strongly change is the title. read
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