Review of: Scab 

reviewed by CJ Knight on 03/23/2010
Credited Review
CJ Knight
Review of SCAB Credited Review
Good to see a script from a fellow Brit on TS. This is a gritty drama based set against the backdrop of the miner’s strike. Perhaps too gritty? It’s so sad that it makes EASTENDERS look like Mary Poppins!

There are brief moments of comedy, yet the overall theme and setting is utterly depressing. I think this might be a hard sell. People do not want to go and see films that reinforce their belief that life is shit. Give people a hard time by all means… give them mountains to climb… but don’t take away their hope (and blame God for all their troubles).

What the writer has done here is to make the equivalent of ROCKY, but in this version Rocky loses in the first round, returns to breaking thumbs and ends up committing suicide from a drugs overdose. Doesn’t have the same feel-good factor does it?

This story reminds me of BILLY ELLIOT and THE FULL MONTY, although in these stories there is a more satisfying resolution and more of a journey to go on. It is the lack of goal/journey in this story that prevents it from being a successful feature. It perhaps may make a TV drama (and because of this I would re-write it and send it off to the BBC Writer’s Room ASAP).

I liked some of the scenes and the dialogue was realistic. However, I was not a fan of the style or formatting. We are supposed to be in the 1980’s but his is never explained to the reader. We are not even told what county we are in, because we start with EXT. STREET – NIGHT. The remaining scene headings are equally inaccurate and there is a tendency to write a scene heading and then stick a sub heading immediately underneath (!?) I would also remove all the CUT TOs and extra spaces used.

The style is more akin to a novel. It is over-written and is too descriptive (e.g. Sarah begins to cry with anger and anguish). There are also frequent and unnecessary adverbs, parentheticals and author’s intrusions. Remember, the words on the page should only reflect what we see on screen. Everything else is irrelevant.

Any dialogue should be set in the dialogue and not in the action lines. I would also get people talking much quicker. It is 5 pages before any real dialogue… much too long!

That’s my penny’s worth. Best of luck.

CJ Knight

Other Reviews by CJ Knight 201

  • A review of IRON MAIDENS
    by CJ Knight on 04/04/2010
    Great title! The first thing you notice is the lack of white space. This is an immediate flag of an amateur writer. Screenplays are not novels. They are meant to have short, punchy sentences that describe the characters/action with minimum effort. Just show us what we can see on the screen. Do not go into long descriptions or write your comments or anything that is an opinion,... read
  • by CJ Knight on 04/03/2010
    The premise reads like LEAVING LAS VEGAS meets THE HANGOVER... and it looks as though we will be watching a man’s deterioration through drink and drugs, etc. However, the script contains little more than an endless batch of scenes that include three men going into bars, getting drunk and trying to get laid. The pattern repeats over and over and is only interrupted by Peter’s... read
  • A review of The Boys are Back
    by CJ Knight on 03/21/2010
    As far as concept goes, this is a winner. You can definitely imagine a bunch of old pop has-beens staging a comeback... and you could probably find some star actors to play the roles if the script was right. Having said that, I didn’t think the story/characters quite hit the mark. The reason why THE FULL MONTY was so successful was because each of the characters had a back-story... read
+ more reviews