Congratulations on completing your script. I thought I would do something different in this review. I decided to write my initial thoughts prior to reading it based on the synopsis.
Here are my initial thoughts upon receiving your screenplay as a submission.
I have not read anything except your synopsis. Immediately I am thinking of Just Like Heaven with Mark Ruffalo and Reese Witherspoon which was fun for a chick flick. The idea sounds like it has been done before. No dramas I like a good comedy, now lets see what you can do different to separate between your story and others.
Ok so that is what I wrote upon receiving it. As I started to read the first thing that comes to mind is your use of direction. Everything I read about screen writing is to never include any direction or camera angles etc. They come later. No doubt others will mention this. I must admit they do distract from the flow of the story but I believe if they are needed then use them. In this case you could have made the same scene without them.
After the first 10 pages I was thinking for a comedy the death on Angela is pretty full on. Is this a comedy? I figured it was romance all the way, with Angela and Sam lovey dovey from the start. But it was very intense death scene. Comedies rarely show gruesome death scenes usually just a smash and we get the picture or back at the hospital we get the news. So if youíre really going for a comedy I would tone it down a bit. Maybe even make the death more comical, more accidental.
So after her death Sam is upset naturally. By the time he meets Angela we have only met those two and his mum. In fact we only first see his brother at the funeral if I am mistaken. Nevertheless only the two main people are introduced before she reappears throwing a spanner into the life of your lead guy. I really think you need to introduce everyone first, Jen and Jade especially since they are his best friends.
When he does meet his dead girlfriend he takes it pretty cool, I mean he is a little surprised and shocked but gets over it really quickly. I think you need to go with the classic surprised scenarios where he is scared and she is confused more. Again is you are going for the comedy. If it is strictly romantic then you really need to focus on how bad his life is without her so he really has something to lose when he gets her back.
Your scenes are way too long and there is a lot of dialogue within them that is unnecessary. When you really break it down, there is the initial car scene, sams bedroom, Jen and Jade place, the montage and the school. A lot happens within them over several pages in one scene. The scene where Jen and Jade are first meeting Angela and Sam is explaining things is way too long and also again everyone is too accepting. Even Angela does not question why everyone is ignoring her.
Being able to see Angela when people touch Sam is a new idea that I thought you were going to run with. I was thinking (again for a comedy) that part of the dilemma will be Sam having to touch people in order for them to see and speak to Angela. Now that could have some comic moments. Him running back and forth. The scene in the movie theater works and that could tie in with the touch and see aspect. It did work in the scary ride with the other girl.
One of the biggest problems is Sams motivation. I had no feeling for him as I could not relate. I know I donít have a lost one beside me as a ghost but he was kinda flawless and just full of love. There was nothing pressing nothing to push him forward. As far as he knew she could have stayed beside him forever. Referring back to Just Like Heaven the lead male has to wake her up before they pull the plug. So after the comedy moments he is now under pressure to convince people she is not dead. The character has some drive some reason to go forward. Sam needs that other than love. Basically it is his only emotion. My suggestion is somehow they figure out they have a week before she is buried once she is buried she will disappear. Something that makes the three Sam Jen and Jade push forward. But that is just a suggestion and would change your ending.
In regards to your ending I think Angela accepted she was dead very easily. Suddenly she is ready to jump in order to save him. Why did he not jump with her anyway? If he was that intend on doing it that would have been more of a reason. Him dying really reinforced to me that this is not a comedy. The only way for that to work in a comedy is if they ended up as ghosts together or something similar where you donít feel bad they died.
I think as a comedy you have a concept that could work and there are a few moments where it does. If you were aiming at a comedy you probably need to tone the romance side down heaps and focus on the situations they will end up in. Make them go to school where he has to take her in her classes etc. The romance can still exist but only needed in small doses.
For a romance totally story you will need to really develop the characters. Sam needs his flaws and he needs to grow. He needs to give up something more than his life for Angela because that is easy. He gets to be with her. Angela will need to come to terms with her death and no future etc. It can be a real chick flick but characters will be everything if you go down that path.
Good luck with it. Remember this is just my opinions, if other reviewers see it differently then I am just one potential audience member.
Review of: The Last Week of Summer
reviewed by red_shadow on 01/18/2011
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