I'm a boat chick so was happy to get this assigned. It turned out to be a fun read. Your knowledge of seamanship, and the Greek Islands, is very authentic with great details.
This is the strength, and weakness, of your screenplay, IMHO.
There is a very 'travelogue-ish" aspect to your story. Too many pages are devoted to the everyday details of a cruise in the Greek islands, which are fun to read but, ultimately, do not advance your story.
Now, I might be wrong, but with the notes at the end regarding a sequel, a traditional screenplay story may not be what you are going for but I have to review as though it is, since I'm just guessing.
I think I understand why you wrote so many details of cruising. You wanted to take your audience on a 'trip' so they could vicariously enjoy a life style which appeals to so many people in an abstract way. I also try and share those details in my own writing but for a screenplay to work the details have to be wrapped around conflict and IMO there is not much conflict in your story and no clear immediate goal for your protagonist. I think Lefteris's struggle with his attraction to Jez has to have a more far-reaching repercussions. It needs to put him at greater risk.
An example could be: Maybe he hasn't paid for the boat yet and one of his guests is from a prestigious travel agency he has been trying to woo for clients and maybe the individual is homophobic? That way, Lefteris has to hide his attraction to Jez or risk losing future clients? Something like that would raise the stakes more than just Lefteris's own inner struggle. As it is, no one on his charter cares about his propensities one way or the other.
I had a hard time getting invested in Lefteris. He seems like a blank page for most of the story. You set us up with the subtle pressure from his friend to settle down and marry but this struck me as odd since Lefteris has chosen an unconventional lifestyle, why would his real friends pressure him to be conventional? He's only 29. It would make more sense to me if he was older, maybe on the verge of 40.
I also didn't understand why you didn't just have Jez be gay. It would make more sense to me if Lefteris was uneasy around a professed gay man. If Jez was gay and you had a homophobic travel agent that needed to be wooed, Lefteris's would be squeezed between the two. These are just suggestions so please take with a grain of salt.(pun intended:)
I thought there needed to be some unpredictability in your guests. I found myself skimming your 'series of shots' and most of their dialogue as it was just too predictable and rarely did it move your story forward other than as a travelogue. There was alot of 'talking heads" IMO, especially when the guests did something and recounted it to the others.
Your structure is hard to get a handle on. You have Lefteris kissing Jez on page 27, which could be a break into act II but the tension from that dissolves as lefteris's struggle with what he's done seems of minor consequence to the rest of what's happening in the story. Just more details about sailing in the Greek Islands and no rising tension.
There was no organic lead up to that kiss either and Lefteris's response to Jez, " Why do you think I am?" seemed odd. He should have apologized and or seemed appalled at what he had done to a 'charter guest' he barely knew.
Lefteris firing up a joint seemed odd. He's been so standoffish and disconnected from the group until that point. It was also ironic to me that his name meant "free' as he he seemed repressed and anxious almost the entire trip.
I'm guessing you intend your midpoint to be page 53 when Jez mentions the kiss? not much comes of it, unfortunately.
The bad weather and the Germans is another traveloguey aspect of the story. interesting but does not advance the story and it's just stuff that happens to them, without real consequence.
I enjoyed Lefteris's dance. I thought that was a great way to expose his conflict and pain. it took away the traveloguey aspect and exposed the inner man. Good stuff with an organic lead into the conversation between Lefteris and Jez and their getting together at last.
Afterwards is where we need to break into III after the 'dark night of the soul" which is probably where Lefteris calls Evie and his Mother?
the final pages with Lefteris racing after the ferry on the motorcycle is good and worth keeping in your next draft.
So that is some random feedback. More specifically:
Concept: Good. I think this story has appeal on a lot of levels. I also use "travel by boat" as a means to replicate a life journey in a relatively short time frame. A man struggling with his sexuality in a disapproving society has real relevance so IMO you are definitely onto something here.
Characters: Average, Need work. You write extremely well but your characters are too stereotypical for my taste. Each individual needs to have some sort of impact on the story but as it is, right now, they just do fun stuff, then more fun stuff. No one, other than Jez, is particularly challenged. Lefteris, in particular, has a ton of potential but we need to have more in order to care about him.
Dialogue: Average, Too much of a Talking heads aspect to the dialogue.
Story. Average, Lots of potential but needs to be driven by conflict.
Structure. Hard to say as not enough conflict to mark significant act breaks.
Overall. Has alot on offer, just not there yet.
You are a gifted writer, that is obvious, and you are on the right track, wrapping your story around a sail in the Greek Islands.I'd be happy to give you feedback on future drafts if you'd like.
best of luck to you and hope this helped.
Review of: Against the Wind
reviewed by stephjones on 03/24/2012
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