13-Romeo was a fantastically enjoyable screenplay written with talent and skill. This may well be the least constructive review I’ve ever written. There’s really nothing much negative I can say.
I think therefore, I’ll talk a bit about a couple of things you may be criticised for by other people on this site, namely your use of unfilmmables in your action lines and your extensive use of flashbacks. I’m sure you will probably get feedback from others, probably new to screenwriting, who have read in some theory book that flashbacks are bad and that you should only write what you see and will therefore criticise you for these things without really knowing why. I’m not totally against screenwriting theory. Flashbacks and unfilmmables are used badly far more often then they are used well. However, in your case they are both used to great effect and so I would urge you not to be put off by the inevitable comments you’ll get telling you that you’re wrong to use them.
In the case of your use of unfilmmables in your action lines I felt they were used sparingly enough and to good effect and I very much liked them. They draw the reader into the story and serve to give some personality to your writing. These are some of the best action lines I’ve read.
As for your use of flashbacks I think they work well for two reasons. First, these are parallel plots with their own motivations, interest and story arcs. It’s use and structure reminded me of Blue Valentine and, though a very different film, I think this aspect works for the same reasons. Flashbacks are bad when they solely exist as an easy way to provide exposition. This is not the case here.
Second, these flashbacks help to break up the action and give the script a beating heart that is missing from most action screenplays. I find action on its own can get tiresome if it drags on for too long. These short sharp bursts of action work better at keeping our attention then if we saw the hostage situation uninterrupted for its duration. I was reminded of the huge battle sequence in LotR – TT where the action was intercut with quieter more personal moments that served an effective juxtaposition and created an investment in the characters that made their peril all the more engaging.
The only slight reservation I have is with the first flashback. As a set piece it’s well structured and gripping and it helps explain why Shep loves his job so much. However, this is an example of how showing a scene in flashback can have its drawbacks. It suffers from the fact that we know what the outcome is going to be, from the medal of life saving and the fact that Shep and Dane are still around in the present. We know that nobody dies right from the outset, which lessons any potential suspense. It also doesn’t have any relation to the relationship story of Shep and Amy and so is independent from the parallel plot of the other flashbacks.
Perhaps think about having this scene at the start of the Screenplay instead of the fake peril with the Bot water canon. This way the scene could be played out in the present and this would increase the urgency and tension of the scene. The opening scene with the Bot was well executed but this sort of trickery has been a bit over done in the past. The gimmick's somewhat tired and audiences may just end up feeling a little cheated.
A few notes;
Pg 18 – the short bit of dialogue at the end here felt a little forced. Is this really what Shep would say in this situation or is it what you’d like him to say because it ties into your theme?
Pg 20 – too much exposition from Ma.
Pg 38 – love the sex scene and the hilariously embarrassing situation it places Shep in.
Pg 62 – be good to have a brief description of these hostages along with their names and ages, something simple the reader can visualise.
Pg 73 – THE BEAR? – not sure what this is.
I needed more motivation to explain why Trent sides with Resnick.
I like how Edwards provides a link between the two timelines.
Very much liked the ending with Shep sacrificing himself. Like all the best endings it’s at once both sad and uplifting; sad because he was such a likeable character but at the same time you get the sense that, just like a Samurai warrior, this is exactly the way Shep would have wanted to go out, sacrificing his life in the heat of the battle for the greater good and dying an honourable death. Clearly old age and retirement wouldn’t have suited Shep and as much as I’m sure he loved Amy, and Amy loved him, she’s clearly better off with Edwards.
Hope this has been of some help and thanks for a gripping read. If this doesn’t get an SOM nomination it’ll be a travesty.
All the best,
Review of: 13-Romeo
reviewed by jackjohns on 06/20/2011
Review ID: 3831023
Other Reviews by jackjohns 40
A review of Critics' Choiceby jackjohns on 09/21/2013This was a very entertaining screenplay which held my interest throughout and had an excellent twist at the end. It's almost great but at the moment there are a few flaws which hold it back. Nothing particularly serious though and with another draft I think this script will be ready. Here are notes I made as I was reading. Among other things, I thought it would be useful to... This was a very entertaining screenplay which held my interest throughout and had an excellent twist at the end. It's almost great but at the moment there are a few flaws which hold it back. Nothing particularly serious though and with another draft I think this script will be ready.
Here are notes I made as I was reading. Among other things, I thought it would be useful to note down my guesses as to your characters intentions and twists later on in the plot so that you get an idea of which parts I saw coming and which were a surprise. I will add that I enjoyed playing detective and it's a credit to your script that I was engaged enough to be so active as a reader.
pg 1 - I like bold scene headings. I started doing that, for a while, ages ago. I should take up the habit again.
pg 1 - I would advise against giving actors names in your screenplay. If an actor other than the one you've listed reads the script then it's going to put them off. You don't want them thinking their second choice (at best). I like Victor's description otherwise though.
pg 5 - I like the bit with the scrabble letters. Not sure what it means but it intrigues me.
pg 6 - We already know how Jarrod feels about the film here so I can't help feeling that rather than having him being so needlessly blunt there's an opportunity for some subtler, subtext infused dialogue. Maybe he tries to avoid the subject completely and it just sits there, a big elephant in the room, while they engage in awkward small talk. Or perhaps he uses subtext to rib Victor in subtler ways.
pg 7 - this conversation is packed with exposition. Your dialogue sounds natural and is enjoyable to read but in this scene you're laying everything out so plainly for the audience. There's nothing for us to work out for ourselves and there's no ebb and flow. There's no arc to the scene. They start off with the blunt accusations and continue on the same level throughout. Perhaps it would be better to begin with attempts at faux politeness and small talk and then gradually build the tension up until it reaches boiling point. Individual scenes need an arc to them. You start at one place and end at another.
pg 7 - is that a second titanic metaphor from Jarrod? That's at least one too many if it is, though I wasn't entirely sure with the first on pg 6 'you're sinking faster than one ship her maiden voyage' as you seemed to have missed out a word or two.
As I say, the dialogue sounds good just cut the fat. There's so much of these two just repeating the same things. E.g. The fact that Scott gives Victor bad review(s) is mentioned;
pg 1 - 'One shit review…only Scott's.'
pg 2 - 'Mr Gottstein…Scott's review in today's Times?'
pg 2 - 'Scott's never given my films the credit they deserve.'
pg 3 - 'Scott seems intent on destroying anything we make.'
pg 6 - 'Your premiere--unfortunate…'
pg 6 - 'Yet still can't make a good film.'
pg 7 - 'That's why you sink my films.'
pg 7 - 'Your films are like…Iceberg.'
pg 7 - 'You're saying your reviews…'
pg 8 - '(condescending) ah what cinematic masterpieces.'
pg 8 - 'You've panned every film I've ever made --not one good review.'
Okay, I'm going to stop there because I've just realised how many more quotes I'm going to have to type out just in the next two pages i.e. even more than the last couple.
You could do the same exercise with dialogue that informs us that Victor's movies haven't been making money (and you'd probably get about the same). Cut it down.
pg 8 - I'm pretty certain with the way Victor talks that he's going to murder Jarrod. This suddenly all feels very similar to 'The Player.' And you're quotes at the start don't help with this similarity.
pg 11 - having said that you have set up an interesting plot here with the bet, and Victor's (possibly) murderous intent. I'm hooked.
pg 14 - I was wondering how you pronounced Tesse. Glad she explained it for me.
pg 24 - I like that Jarrod's suspicious. I hope something comes out of these.
pg 25 - I'm not sure a newspaper would make themselves impossible to contact, especially for a high profile critic. Surely they'd want to leave themselves open for people to be able to phone in with stories.
pg 25 - Ah, I've a feeling Jarrod's plot is going to echo your plot. Very meta. And now I'm thinking perhaps Victor is going to be framed for murder by Jarrod. Maybe poor Tesse gets it? Intriguing…
pg 29 - I'm not clear on who Dan is? He's not an investor as they've already got the budget and he's not lead actor. Maybe director?
pg 32 - I'm detecting a bit of House of Cards in this script. With Victor as the Frank character and Tesse as the Zoe...
pg 33 - Cut 'Well, when you're determined enough.' We know Tesse's determined (probably ruthless). You don't need her effectively turning to the audience and saying, 'in case those of you in the back row don't get it, this is what I'm about.' This goes for rest of the script too. Plenty of similar lines by Victor commenting on his own ruthless nature. You need to trust that the audience/reader is going to be smart enough to pick up on subtler hints and work things out for themselves.
pg 46 - another scene of Jarrod and Victor which goes on too long. Why not end the scene with Jarrod's line 'Answer me this: Who's more important, the man who builds the piano or the man who plays it.' Jarrod wins the argument here and it's a great line but you then feel the need to carry on the scene to spell out the exact meaning of the phrase (trust me we can work it out for ourselves) and to drag out the argument way past it's sell by date.
pg 48 - I can't work out what Victor's plan is here. Why is he trying to get the lead actors embroiled in controversy? I can only think of two consequences;
i. They have to get new actors for the film (can't see how that helps his aim).
ii. The film gets a lot of free press (this visibility would surely help with an academy award).
Another thing is that these are actors, not politicians. Hamilton's affair is obviously going to affect his private life but not sure, in this day an age, it would harm his career and it would probably help the film. And while it might be embarrassing to be caught sniffing coke it's hardly that damaging when you're an actor.
pg 49 - I'm from England so you probably know better than me but is the US really this homophobic still!? I find it quite hard to believe that blokes would feel insecure about watching a film with a gay actor but I know that it is still very religious over there so maybe this is the case.
I think that Travolta/Cruise gay joke is getting a bit tired by now.
pg 52 - 'Actually, it's a story I'm writing.' Wow this is getting meta. A story within a film within a film.' I like it!
pg 72 - I very much like the fact that we don't know Tesse's intentions. She's clearly planning something and I'm guessing she will come out victorious but as to what she's planning I'm not sure. if I had to guess at this point I'd say she murders one of them and frames the other…though to what end I'm not sure.
pg 84 - Okay, so Victor kills Jarrod. I'm not entirely sure whether this was always his intention or not. Victor has implied on a number of occasions previously that he was intending to kill Jarrod but then what was the plan with the lead actors and hateful director about? Maybe Victor only decided to kill Jarrod once Jarrod threatened him. The problem with this is that it makes all of Victor's plans earlier (which I still don't completely understand) seemingly irrelevant. I'm going to hold off judgement for now as it may all come together in the final 15 pages but at the moment I'm thinking I would rather have seen the result of Victor's original plan rather than simply have him kill Jarrod off.
I also think that this is an incredibly risky move from Victor. I would expect Victor to be cleverer than this. He has been talking to Tesse, a girl he's known for a very short time and knows very little about, in a way that suggests he hates Jarrod so much he would be willing to kill him. In fact pretty much everyone knows that Victor hates Jarrod and presumably they're mostly aware of how ruthless and uncompromising Victor is. The whole ruse about Jarrod committing suicide over being accused of plagiarism (especially considering the accuser has absolutely no evidence whatsoever) I really can't see fooling anyone. Even without the added spanner of Tesse, there's no way Victor could possibly hope to get away with this.
pg 87 - Aha, so that's the deal with the scrabble letters. Very good. I like something ambiguous which is paid off later on. Tesse not even working there was one twist I definitely did not see coming.
pg 93 - So did Tesse infiltrate the studio with the intention of setting Victor up? This doesn't quite add up considering Victor seemingly picked her at random to be his spy. Maybe it should have been Tesse who offers to help Victor in the first place.
pg 92 - My guess is that Tesse is Victor's love child.
pg 95 - Yup, I was right. Great twist. Guessed it a few pages early but didn't even occur to me as a possibility before that. It's particularly good as it explains a question I posed earlier i.e. what are Tesse's motivations. This explains them in a way that's completely satisfying.
pg 95-97 - I think technically these should be (V.O.) as (O.S.) is used for when someone is speaking in the scene but they just happen to away from where the camera is looking or on the other side of the telephone. I also think you should cut down on these lines. A few of them are good but you've got 28 lines here echoing lines that have been said before and that is overdoing it somewhat.
I like the ending where we get to see events from Tesse's point of view.
The concept's a good one and, as I say, had me hooked from page 10.
I've read so many scripts where the protagonist is a bland, 'whiter than white' character. It's so refreshing to read a script with a protagonist who's a complete, ruthless bastard (I'm talking about Victor here, though I guess there's an argument to be made that Tesse's your real protag). I liked that every character had their own agenda and that Tesse's motivations were kept hidden until the end. I think the characters of Pete and Darby need better introductions and perhaps could do with being fleshed out a bit more. I forgot who both were and had to go back and read their opening scenes again. I never really got a handle on their characters in the same way that I did with Victor, Jarrod and Tesse. Maybe make them a bit more quirky and draw them with broader brushstrokes then you would with your three main players just so they stick in the mind a bit clearer.
You've got a great story here but there are a few problems which you need to iron out. As I say in my notes once we know the twist it seems like too much of a random coincidence that Victor chooses Tesse in the beginning and also too much of a coincidence that Victor just happened to have placed this bet with Jarrod and have such murderous intent. What were Tesse's intentions when she infiltrates the studio? As far as I could tell once inside the studio the only thing that Tesse orchestrated was buying and placing the cameras. Everything else was Victor's doing. I wonder if it wouldn't make more sense for Tessa to murder Jarrod and frame Victor for it. Of course if you did go this route you'd have to disguise the fact that it was Tesse who killed Jarrod and make us think that it was Victor.
Wait a second….I've just realised that it was Tesse who put the note on Victor's door and therefore she did actively play a large part in convincing Victor that he needed to kill Jarrod. Okay, that does makes more sense. The problems in the previous paragraph aren't nearly so big now that I think about it. I still think though that Tesse should be the one who offers up her service to Victor initially.
I still don't understand though what Victor's intention was with smearing the lead actors and director before the films even been made? These actions were confusing and also had no impact on the story whatsoever because Jarrod gets killed before the result of Victor's plan is realised.
Mostly very good. Your story rattled along, gathering pace as it went. It set up questions early on which had satisfying answers later. The structure of the script as a whole was excellent but I think your individual scene structure could do with some work. You do have the habit of letting scenes drag on far longer than is necessary. The maxim of 'get in at the last possible moment and get out at the first' would be a good one to keep in mind when you do another draft. I mentioned one instance in my notes but there were loads of examples where if you could improve a scene hugely by simply chopping off the last few lines and finishing the scene earlier.
Your dialogue is both one of the best things about this script and one of it's biggest flaws. You've clear got a good ear for dialogue, it flowed off the page and was enjoyable to read …but there was too much repetition. I do think a script like this can get away with being more dialogue heavy than most as part of the fun of a story like this is the clever banter and power games that back and forth between the characters. You just need to make sure that we're not being bludgeoned by variations on the same statements being said over and over again in different ways.
Anyway, all in all a very good Screenplay which, with one more draft to tighten things up, could end up being an excellent one.
Good luck with it,
A review of Abraca-Bastardby jackjohns on 09/18/2013'Abraca-Bastard' was a fantastically enjoyable and very funny Screenplay. It's easily the best comedy script I've read on this site. It's very rare that I read a spec comedy that makes me laugh even once but this had me laughing consistently throughout, not least with your title which is hilarious. I still think it could do with another draft just to tighten things up a bit... 'Abraca-Bastard' was a fantastically enjoyable and very funny Screenplay. It's easily the best comedy script I've read on this site. It's very rare that I read a spec comedy that makes me laugh even once but this had me laughing consistently throughout, not least with your title which is hilarious. I still think it could do with another draft just to tighten things up a bit but the issues I'll mention are relatively minor compared to the all stuff that this script got right.
Dane was by far your best character. His introduction was perfect. The guerrilla magic at the wedding was very funny and we understand exactly what this character is about without any need for forced exposition. Every time he's on screen the laughs just flow. I sort of wondered whether he should have been your protagonist. Maybe that's partly because I'm British and we love to root for a bastard but he is also the most interesting, and for most of the script the most active, character given that Annie likes Chuck from the start and it's Dane that has to be active and creative in getting her back.
Which brings me to Chuck. In your logline you describe Chuck as simply 'an average Joe.' This was a big red flag to me and were it not for your fantastic title and more promising synopsis I may very well have ditched this assignment based on that description alone. I'd definitely recommend changing it. Describe him as an introvert perhaps. Anything but 'average joe.' It's the most common flaw I see in spec scripts, having a bland, 'average' protagonist. Actually Chuck wasn't quite a vanilla as I was expecting but I still think you could work on giving him some more interesting characteristics and some flaws as well. One of the other reasons I thought it might be good to at least experiment with switching protag and antag was that it might free you up from worrying about making Chuck unlikeable in any way and give you free rein to create in Chuck a character as fully developed and hilarious as Dane.
I think perhaps you could flesh out the character of Annie a bit as well, although in this case the character does need to be a beacon of desire so it's not necessary to create any obvious flaws and wasn't such a big issue.
Your dialogue is flawless and was not only the main reason why this script is as funny as it is but also helped paper over the slight blandness of Chuck and Annie's personalities. The dialogue made them both more quirky and engaging than you would think possible, were you to simply write out their personality traits on a sheet of paper. I'm awarding you my first ever excellent rating in the dialogue category. Well done, sir.
The supporting characters of Dr Timothy and Chuck's grandfather were both very funny and colourful and added a lot of humorous moments. Perhaps, though, you could try to work Chuck's grandfather into the plot a bit more. There was one scene at the funeral where Frank and Dane appear together but otherwise Chuck's visits to Frank felt a bit detached from the rest of the story.
The other slight criticism I have is to do with the hypnosis tapes. I was surprised, given your synopsis, how small a role they actually played in the story. I also felt that the reveal that the tapes were bogus and Chuck's conclusion that it was Annie who gave him the confidence was unsatisfying. It didn't ring true. What's the difference between Chuck's first attempt to ask her out and his second? Not Annie - she's present both times. The only difference is that he listened to the tapes the night before so at the very least they must have had a placebo effect. But then how much was due to the placebo affect and how much was down to Annie. It all starts to get a bit murky and, as I say, unsatisfying.
Just a thought but what if Chuck's arc is that, after initial success with the tapes he starts acting more and more confident which gradually turns into arrogance to the point where he's just as bad as Dane. You then have two complete douchebags out douchebagging each other in competition for Annie's affections only for their douchebaggery to eventually turn Annie against the both of them. Chuck could then go full circle realising that the reason Annie liked him in the first place was his self-deprecation, kindness and humility, throw his tapes in the bin and win her back (perhaps keeping just a little bit of the self confidence he's acquired).
I'm aware that readers are generally good a identifying problems in a script but bad at suggesting solutions so obviously feel free to discard that above idea if it doesn't fit with your vision. It's your script and I'm just spitballing an idea rather than trying to write your screenplay for you. I just think that the above example (or a variation on it) would help address the problems of; i) Chuck being too bland, passive and whiter than white and ii) the whole confidence/hypnosis tape plot-line petering out into insignificance.
I also think the scene near the end in which Chuck finally gets the best of Dane could do with being a little more inventive. The whole masked magician ruse seemed to come out of nowhere and felt a bit like it was you the screenwriter adding this extra detail into Dane's career in order to help Chuck out rather than Chuck solving the problem with his own ingenuity based on a flaw in Dane that's been integral throughout. Compare that to Dane's victory over Chuck in Annie's cookery showcase which I thought worked much better. Here Dane uses something that is integral to Chuck's character, his suggestibility, to make him look foolish in a way that's far more amusing.
Some extra notes;
pg 26 - I'm not sure adding 'would that be okay with you' fits with Chuck's new confident persona (unless of course you're trying to show that he does still hold some insecurities). Another thought I had was what if, once again, there's an cold mug of coffee beside him so…
…what matters is…
Chuck hesitates, notices a cold cup of coffee on the table, reaches for it…
…but resists the urge, shakes off his fears and turns back to Annie.
I'd like to take you out sometime.
I think it would be better if we see that the hypnosis (or Annie) gives him the strength to overcome his insecurities rather than simply changing him into a different person, with no insecurities whatsoever.
pg 32 - Larry King's a bit dated. You don't want a Producer reading this and assuming it's been lying around for a few years. Producer's like hot, new scripts.
'…but I think…I am.' Cut this. It milks the (otherwise very good) joke too far.
pg 56 - can't help feeling it would be better if Annie did kiss Dane here. She needs to be attracted to Dane, even if she also thinks he's a bit of a dick, for us to feel that Dane is really a threat to Chuck. She's only been on one date with Chuck at this point and so has no commitment or moral obligation to be faithful to him.
pg 57 - Or perhaps she only kisses him when H.C. jr appears - that was a pretty smooth move from Dane.
pg 61 - very funny with Dane opening the door again just to add 'because you're a loser.'
The needle scratch silence is a bit hackneyed though.
pg 82 - This is very funny. I love that Dr Timothy is convicted of 'pet-regicide' but don't spoil the joke by explaining what that is. Also, not sure about 'second degree jaywalking.' Pet-regicide works because it's both ridiculous and yet sort of believable. Second degree jaywalking is just nonsense. How about 'fishing without a licence' instead - though actually I'd keep just plain 'jaywalking' as well
Before I finish I must just comment on your action lines. They're top notch - concise and yet packed with personality and humour. Along with the cracking dialogue your action lines made reading this script a complete pleasure. Despite a few minor issues you've managed that rarest of things; a very funny comedy script.
Good luck with it,
A review of Tower of the Mageby jackjohns on 09/14/2013The Tower of Mage was an interesting story and one that has the potential to be a very good screenplay. The framework is there as it has a good concept, a good story and structure with lots of good ideas and plenty of turning points which kept the story moving along nicely. However, it does need a lot of work particularly in the character and dialogue departments. The concept... The Tower of Mage was an interesting story and one that has the potential to be a very good screenplay. The framework is there as it has a good concept, a good story and structure with lots of good ideas and plenty of turning points which kept the story moving along nicely. However, it does need a lot of work particularly in the character and dialogue departments.
The concept reminded a bit of Jumanji, a film I like very much. I actually think this concept is stronger than Jumanji's as it allows for a more personal aspect to the terrors on screen due to the fantasy creatures emerging from a person rather than an inanimate object. I wonder though if you should maybe consider setting this story in the near future as it is quite hard to buy into such an outlandish medical procedure when set in the present day.
In terms of character, this screenplay is unusual in that it begins with Quint as the protagonist and Marty as the antagonist and ends with Marty as the protagonist and Quint as the antagonist. You may get criticised for this by others although personally I thought this was a very unique and interesting twist on classical screenplay structure and worked well, with the transition being pretty seamless and logical.
However, I do think that you need to flesh out the character of Quint more. I realise that he only exists in Marty's mind but still; he is the protagonist for at least half of your story and there's not much to him at all. I very much liked the twist with Quint being part of Marty's fantasy world. There are a few things you need to address here though for this to work;
i) The possibility that Quint might be a figment of Marty's imagination is brought up on pg 34 which, as it stands, is far too soon in my opinion. As soon as this possibility is mentioned we are pretty certain, as an audience that this is going to be the case. The only thing that made me think perhaps he's not imaginary was I think a flaw (see point ii). Having said that, I only really think it's brought up to soon because nothing is done with this very interesting idea up until the 'final boss' bit in act 3 and therefore the dialogue on pg 34 serves only to spoil the final twist. If it was up to me I would have Quint discover that he is part of Marty's imagination early on and then explore that. This would create a very interesting, existential angst in the character of Quinn and you would be able to explore themes of identity, through Quinn, which would compliment the identity crisis that Marty is going through. Apologies if it sounds like 'm trying to write your script for you. I just thought it was such an interesting idea, a person discovering that he only exists inside another persons mind, that I was disappointed that it wasn't explored further.
ii) After reading the dialogue on pg 34 I immediately checked back to see if Quint interacts with anyone other than Marty prior to the treatment. In most cases he doesn't but there are a couple of occasions where he does. The second time we see Marty and Quint play the video game Quint's character of the Archer, unlike the first time, does seem to play an active role, 'Quint fires arrows…pinpoint accuracy.' The second occasion is when he meets Victor on pg 10 which occurs before Dr Knapp spills Marty's brain cells, which as far as I could figure out was the catalyst for Marty's fantasy's to come to life.
iii) Quint being the final boss was great but I think some minor improvements here would make it more effective. Quint says that he hopes Marty will succeed but that he is going to do his utmost to beat Marty anyway. I understand the complex emotions you're going for here with Quint but as written it comes of as more contradictory than complex. I think it would be better if Quint reveals that he would be deeply sad to have to dispatch Marty but that his own self preservation trumps even his loyalty to his friend. I also think that, and this may have been your intention, that it should be presented that Quint was a great help to Marty as a child as he gave him a portal to escape the trouble of his childhood into realms of fantasy but Marty realises that Quint is now holding him back. The general consensus of psychologists is that imaginary friends are a great benefit to children but that at some point people need to grow up and face the challenges of the real world directly. Again, this may have been your intention but it doesn't quite come through as written.
Marty was the most developed character but there was a lot of him explaining his life and feelings of disillusionment and hopelessness through lengthy reams of dialogue. Given that we have access to his fantasies and subconscious I think you could be more inventive with cooking up some more visually metaphorical and maybe surreal scenes which gives clues to his character and upbringing in more filmic ways than simply spelling things out through dialogue as much as you do.
pg 8 - I think we need more of a reason as to why Marty decides to commit suicide now, today. Okay, so he thinks his life is shit but what is it about this day that pushes him over the edge? Because he didn't get a big enough raise? That doesn't seem quite enough.
The characters of Victor and Amelia could both do with being fleshed out. Victor in particular just felt like a stock wise man/mentor type character. I wasn't a great fan of his rather pompous self help style speeches which littered the script and one in particular on pg 21 'There's little…what we have,' felt far too derivative of Gandalf's speech to Frodo in the Mines of Moria.
The dialogue needs work though I tend to regard dialogue as an aspect of character and that bad dialogue is a symptom of underdeveloped characters. Flesh out the characters and good dialogue should flow naturally out of their mouths without a huge amount of extra effort. However, even good dialogue needs to be edited carefully. At the moment this is a very dialogue heavy script and I think there are many occasions where you could be more visual in your storytelling. Not all types of story benefit from being more visual but a story like this one certainly would.
The tone on occasions feels a little scatter shot. Mostly it's played completely straight but there is the occasional comedic moment. Sometimes the comedy fits well but at other it jars a bit with the tone of the rest of the story. In particular there is a scene on pg 28 involving Dr Knapps suspenders and a stake which felt completely out of place. I'm certainly not saying that scripts that aren't out and out comedies can't have comedic moments but this scene (whilst it could be good in a different type of script) felt goofy and very different to anything that comes before or after. I definitely think with this concept you could go the full on comedy route but you need to keep the tone consistent throughout.
A few extra notes;
pg 3 - How would an audience know that this is the same girl from the video game? I think this would need to be revealed in the dialogue.
pg 9 - it wouldn't be inherited if it was the result of a drug.
pg 27 - the desk clerk should ask 'What your name?' and Quint reply 'Quint.' She wouldn't ask 'are one of you guys named Quint?' because if they weren't they would obviously lie and say yes.
pg 71-2 - I'm slightly confused as to what happens here. Mallokius' deal seems to involve Marty staying in his coma. Marty accepts only to immediately appear in the real world??
pg 80 - 'Victor, this is your fight.' This line is unintentionally comical. As written it sounds like Marty has taken one look at this terrifying beastie, wussed out and decided to pass the buck to poor Victor. I'd change it so that Victor is the one who initially suggests this, Marty protests at first but then reluctantly admits that Victor is the only one with a chance of victory. Also, on first reading I thought that this was the final boss. Perhaps a line of dialogue would help to make it clear that this isn't the case.
Apologies if that all sounds overly critical. I tend to focus more on the negative aspects in my reviews. I will reiterate, though that the concept is a good one and it has a strong theme also. Structurally it was also very sound with things moving along at fast pace and the turning points coming at just the right places. You've got a solid framework and if you can work on developing the characters, polishing up the dialogue and employing more visual storytelling I think you could end up with a very good script indeed.
Good luck with it,
Copyright © 2001-2014 Trigger Street Labs. All Rights Reserved.