One thing I’ve learned on TSL is to go out of your comfort zone when reviewing as it lends to some interesting reads.
This is not unlike Teen Wolf to a certain aspect, but that said you have a great twist on things – making it a girl as opposed to a boy. The only other film that did this was Ginger Snaps, but from a horror view-point.
Areas of concern…
One major point I have qualms about is the fact that, although you have Rhonda’s friends from the beginning snub her for being a ‘freak’, but years later this is not actually news of the day – every day!?!
This would be out there so much in today’s society that she’d be constantly on the run from town to town…
Even so you have the now group of Cheerleaders still calling her a freak at school and usually these girls would be the centre of attention and all would believe them – so Rhonda would not have a leg to stand on.
Why did Grandma shot her daughter? This is not really clear (we assume she was a wolf-girl too but did not control it). This needs a back story. Perhaps tie it into the family having to leave town after Rhonda’s first changing when she was 7?
Another thing is the climax. Rhonda has been on a journey through this only to be robbed of the final glory. These types of film always give us some powerless person who wins out in the end against all odds… but this does not really come to much here.
Another point I’d make is also that 6 to 7 year-olds would not really talk as you have them. The fact that Rhonda turns into a werewolf would either freak them out, not make them call her a freak, or they’d be totally interested in wanting to know more about her!
Now CAROLINE being 5 perhaps lends a sort of ‘curiosity’ that she might not be frightened…
Also as this is listed under children/family I’m not too sure some of the descriptions of blood, etc. would be okay for children…
This could be re-written one of two ways.
1st you could keep the family orientated version and work on it in that way, or 2nd you could lose it and make it more action and horror.
Bear in mind the Teen Wolf aspect – no blood was spilt and no violence to speak of.
This could be so more with a little bit of tweaking here and there… and very much could be potential for a new Buffy type of series.
How about having the Grandma be more comforting and allowing Rhonda to be free to do what she wants? She’s definitely had to become grown-up quicker than others her age so don’t supress it.
Also you could have Rhonda already a member of Chuck’s gang of crime fighters, but the knowledge of her wolf-ness could be hidden until required (on the Grandma’s kidnap). Have Rhonda learn to suppress her powers and use her agilities to be a whizz with Karate, Kung Fu, etc. – but the wolf in her gives her the edge when required. Use this hidden talent of hers to cause myth and legends in the town, etc.
Another idea for an ending would be to have Rhonda fight with Vinny without transforming into Wolf-girl. That way it is clear she is trying to adjust to being her plain old self and not having to rely on werewolf abilities…
For a starting point I feel that you could have the young Rhonda become an outcast – to move away from the area, and then come back as a new girl in high school with an assumed name. This would lend something of mystery to things… Have Grant be a friend also, but when she goes and then returns he is the only one who knows it is her.
This is where you reap the rewards for your style. I feel you have excellent visions and it shows. Some areas are great. A fave of mine is the part where Rhonda produces a claw, opens the tin, sticks her tongue out at the can opener.
Areas of concern…
Although you do have a good writing style, some pieces could be removed as you tend to repeat stuff… example is on
You have ‘She is Wolf-Girl’ – and this is repeated throughout whenever she transforms. I think we got the jist of who she is…
Not sure how quick tranquilizers work, but pretty much sure it would not be that quick. I’d wager VINNY would be shreds way before GRANDMA succumbs to the narcotic effects. How about using shock-sticks instead to subdue her initially… or even tazers?
Also I’d lose the pink and black costume as it does not really fit Rhonda’s character in my honest opinion – too much like X-Men…
You have young Rhonda lose a tear as she walks off, then SUPER up to the next Scene in the school cafeteria.
For a good transition here you could instead try the following:
…as her wolf-like features subsides as a tear escapes her left eye… as the eye ages…
INT. HIGH SCHOOL CAFETERIA – DAY
Establishing Rhonda (now 16)
SUPER: “8 Years Later…”
The Cafeteria bustles with…
I feel this moulds Rhonda’s ageing to indicate the time-passage.
The ‘peed myself’ gag really needs to end after the first one…
Develope s/b ‘develop’
Lose the Pirates of the Caribbean simile as it doesn’t work
RHONDA is a quirky one. But that said she is a little wooden and 2 dimensional. She does not really have any arc to speak of. Sure she is a werewolf, her Grandma is kidnapped and she has to rescue her.
You have so much potential to work with here yet I feel you hold back trying to keep within the realms of children/family genre.
But that is it. Even her fighting lesson from Chuck does nothing to bring her more real as she only has one lesson! Come on! This needs work here.
See The Karate Kid for assistance with learning fighting, etc.(you have a salute to Mr Miyagi during her one lesson…).
GRANT is obviously Rhonda’s friend of the moment – the side-kick she needs. But he is not really that interesting and it is no wonder that even in your story all others (sans Rhonda) think he’s a dweeb. As an idea you could have him really adept in many things and it is just merely a persona of a dweeb he dons when in school… then on the climax bit have him the hero that Gloria et al could swoon over and dump the jocks…?
CHUCK is the ‘James Bond Q’ or ‘Blade Whistler’ type of character, but again there is so much potential here that you just fill us with him as is!
A better approach would be to intro him earlier. Have Grant enter his store without Rhonda before all kicks off. Show the friendship between the two and use this as an arc for Grant.
VINNY is an okay type of protag to the restrictions you have for him trapped in a family-type world but even on that restriction he doesn’t do much except cause a few problems for his Boss by kidnapping Grandma and extracting her blood to juice up his goons.
Areas of concern…
I’m having a real problem with THE BOSS. His ‘Godfather’ type speak was off-putting and not real in the now. I know what you’re trying to convey; that he’s the kingpin of crime in the area… but as you have it it is too much effort for little effect.
His “power” cause just doesn’t make the mustard as it is so clichéd that I could laugh at it instead of think “Wow!”.
But that said you just throw him away half way through the story…
Also the whole idea of Chuck’s gang. Not sure it is clear as you have it – no onset and no pay-off to mention with greatness. That said it lays the foundations for something better here.
This did feel at times a little strange and wooden driven from 2 dimensional characters. Again with the restriction you did well though.
Areas of concern…
Sometimes you tend to use extra dialogue where it’s not really necessary… example is on
Wasn’t the movie
This is not needed and is too clichéd in my opinion.
Affect sb ‘effect’
You’re – s/b ‘Your’.
Also to inform you that any conversation heard over a telephone or TV, etc. is (V.O.) and not (O.S.)
MISCELLANEOUS FORMATS, ETC:
These all appeared okay and uniform across the entirety of your script.
Formats (shots, etc.)…
Not much of a problem but try tidying up your page thus:
Put your Title in all capitals and Quotes, then a blank line, then your “by” line, then another blank line then your name.
Your contact info should be a little lower, the last line about an inch from the bottom of the page…
FADE IN should be left aligned
This was a good read but as mentioned earlier there is potential here for a great script to come into fruition.
Review of: Wolf-Girl
reviewed by D J Sheridan on 06/24/2012
Review ID: 4256289
Other Reviews by D J Sheridan 213
A review of Aimlessby D J Sheridan on 05/11/2013Tagline: Demons seek out people with no faith and give them a deceptive dream about "truth" during #SleepParalysis. Synopsis: “Aimless” is a full-length, Psychological Drama set in present day Columbus, Ohio. It is about Clinical Psychologist, Elaine Hutchings and her new patient with a mental disorder. She gets so deeply involved with the 15 year old patient Melvin, she...
Demons seek out people with no faith and give them a deceptive dream about "truth" during #SleepParalysis.
“Aimless” is a full-length, Psychological Drama set in present day Columbus, Ohio. It is about Clinical Psychologist, Elaine Hutchings and her new patient with a mental disorder. She gets so deeply involved with the 15 year old patient Melvin, she becomes obsessed with trying to understand and help him. Melvin admits that he can perceive all of reality that normal people can’t. The more she starts to understand her patient, the more she is taking on her patient’s characteristics unconsciously. She doesn’t notice herself aimlessly walking around her home talking to herself, drowned in her thoughts about the disorder. She has a nightmare of the reality that Melvin warned her about and is convinced that he has a gift of truth and not an illness. She is a victim of Melvin’s perspective and ends up just like him. In the closing scene the audience is presented with a question of faith versus logic
Well after getting this into my assignments I read your profile. Now you advertise yourself as what appears to be your part-synopsis of your script. Your bio should tell us a little about yourself, etc.
Also I’m a little concerned on your web addresses of this script. Does this mean you have it already in production?
This is distracting for a reader and nearly leaves us of any credibility for you as a writer if you are advertising a web site on this.
Even you have it as a Facebook account too.
The fact that you have uploaded this to Trigger Street tells me that you seek critique on it, so perhaps your websites are only for trying to get noticed.
But once I looked into your websites it seems that you are seeking donations to get this made and that you have Actors/Actresses already waiting to play the parts.
This was also on TS a while ago as you have one review kinked to your site on it – and that it was a Top Ten blue star script.
But is this a newer version of said script? Hard to tell although there are no other reviews for it yet, so must be a revised version.
STRUCTURE / PLOT:
Firstly this appears to be all surrounding the fear of sleep. Melvin states he can’t sleep and suddenly Elaine (who up until the start of your story – more profound on page 49 where she’s fallen asleep) has Demons coming after here too.
There really is no clear and defined plot thus far and it makes for a hard read to get to grasping what your story is actually about.
Now I know that the initial goal is to help Melvin, but really this is Elaine’s story and it really must be about her and her own demons, internal and external.
As it is it seems to be all about Melvin – and really your protagonist here is Elaine. Yes she has a task to do (help Melvin) but her uphill struggle should be clearly defined as such.
There does not seem to be any clear defined plot and when the main issue raises its head we are already 100 minutes into a 114-minute film. This leaves little or no leeway into giving the audience the suspense it needed way back in the end of Act 1!
We are all about trying to keep the bigger things back until the moment of dark discovery, but leaving this with 15 minutes to go is too much holding back.
Plot journeys should be made up of long ascents and short-sharp descents (three steps forward and one step back). The aim is to get your protagonist from point A to point I by going through B, C, D, E, F, G, H in the process.
We are only really introduced to a Demon on Page 47. Yes we’ve seen shadows, etc. but nothing clear as to who or what the antagonist is or are…
Your page count should ideally place the Acts as follows:-
Act 1 – 1 to 26
Act 2 – 26 to 89
Act 3 – 89 to 114
At best I can only figure out that as such it is more like:
Act 1 – 1 to 47
Act 2 – 47 to 87
Act 3 – 87 to 114
The fact that your first act appears to take up nearly over the entire first half of your script tells that it needs work. In these 47 pages we’ve not really been introduced to the actual stakes at risk. Elaine is the psychologist who is under investigation for something and she ends up trying to help Melvin who has a catatonic episode that is unclear and ambiguous.
Areas to consider…
This Margaret character does not do anything to propel the story on. Cut out this little scene and get straight to the Woodview Apartments scene instead.
The STRANGER part where they help out Elaine and her tire seems added for no reason…
You need to sit down and clarify what is required for this idea to come into fruition, as it does not lend easy to the current style of formatting of the 3-Act structure. Even if you looked into the Beat Sheet this does not fit in neatly and so does not really come together like it should do.
The first Act (Opening Image, Establishing Theme, Set-up, Catalyst and Debate) should deliver us:-
1. What it is all about;
2. Establish main characters with their strengths and weaknesses;
3. Give us the ying/yang of what they are up against and what they are going to do;
4. The all-important first barrier for our protagonist to overcome;
5. The unsure commitment of the protagonist to carry on
You have all the above but we do not get to point 5 until page 47.
The second Act (Sub-plots, Turning Point 2, Fun and Games, Midpoint (Turning Point 3), Bad Guys Close In, All is Lost (Turning Point 4) and Dark Night of the Soul) should deliver us:-
6. The secondary characters to join the plot and create sub-plots;
7. The next barrier for our protagonist;
8. Puzzles and Conundrums for the protagonist to work out and solve, which in turn becomes – where we should be promised what the premise is all about;
9. Half-way in the script – Turning Point 3 where all that was real becomes unbelievable – in other words the world that our protagonist started in is somehow vastly different and is either never as good as it seems or worse than it all appears;
10. The antagonists should now have the upper hand and lead the protagonist into despair;
11. The 4th Turning Point should be the exact opposite of the Midpoint;
12. Dark Night is where your protagonist feels all emotions from the previous part (11) revealing strengths and weaknesses be they more profound or not;
The Third Act (Turning Point 5, Final Conflict, Aftermath conclusion and the Final Image) should give us:-
13. The final barrier our protagonist needs to overcome even though it appears futile;
14. The final battle of hero against villain;
15. The calm or carnage left after the previous point (14);
16. The positive/negative image of the opening negative/positive image – things have all change for the better/worse…
Much of Act 2 is played out in Act 1 as an intro to what is happening. There is a lot of wasted imagery of explaining things in the first half of the script that it does nothing to whet our appetites to caring about the characters as we have been overloaded with nothing but introductions with little to no arcs whatsoever.
And this is a shame as what you have here is something worthwhile if revised heavily to create a more profound and solid script to give us those all-important beginning, middle and end of a basic story format.
I feel that as your anchor plot is surrounding the “sleep paralysis” thing you could have intro’d this into Act 1 by having young Elaine a problem child who undergoes sleep therapy investigation…
Also the father thing (Elaine and Melvin) could be shown earlier on to establish things first-hand – not from revealing Melvin is Elaine’s brother but from their Father having an affair…
The Brotherhood thing also needs clarity in Act 1 as it does nothing to lead us there and when it finally reveals in the late half of Act 2 it feels like it’s been added in for want of something better.
Even the fact behind the Brotherhood’s satanic rites and calling of Demons is not made clear and also feels like it’s an after-thought that makes me think you started this script with a beginning but no middle or end.
A script needs to be written backwards. In other words you need to know what the end will be, then work backward on an outline through the middle to end with the beginning.
You can’t start something that will never finish.
Even Act 3 that you have – the ending scene is not really surprising and vivid enough to hold any weight with what we’ve just read 100 pages of. You led me to think there was going to be an almighty good against evil thing brewing, but it did nothing but fall flat.
There is a good device here which I feel you’ve let go. There is potential to make this an unforgettable ending if you just let those creative juices flow.
What really needs looking at is the opening. It is all about Melvin. As Elaine is your protagonist this needs to be about her
1. The clandestine Brotherhood – chants, demonic shadows;
2. Elaine wakes up from a nightmare;
3. Elaine goes to her “pre-investigation” of a client;
4. Intro Melvin with his catatonic displays;
5. Enter Elaine at Carolyn’s behest – not liked by Phil and the board;
6. Intro Chad post-Melvin – to which he shows signs of lot liking Elaine’s workaholic tendencies;
7. Return to the Brotherhood with a certain brother (Phil but not given away) being requested of…
This would give a better Act 1 introduction.
Elaine – well who is she?
At best we know she’s a psychologist who tries to help people with mental problems, is under investigation on another client, is in a current-unstable relationship with Chad, and has a new client in the form of Melvin.
What we don’t know until the very end is that her father is the same as Melvin’s (which is highly irregular to the plot) which needs addressing earlier on.
Melvin – is a deeply troubled soul who appears to be suffering a lack of sleep )or under normal sleep being deprived of it) due to disturbing dreams of destruction of the world. Some of his traits do not make real and remain unclear during his very low arc throughout the course of the story.
Phil – although earlier on I felt was hiding things (which came to light midway through covertly) is a reasonable character that seems to care for Elaine, but their friendship does not really hold water as a solid foundation for good friends and/or work colleagues.
The Brotherhood – do not wager well in this story as you should have them. They appear to be the ones (along with Phil) calling upon the Demons to prey on the minds of the weak in causing disasters. They are the weak point of this story as they are not given as much coverage and even when they do they do not appear until way into Act 2.
Areas of Concern…
You have MELVIN and MELINDA, which could be confusing…
You have a (CONT’D) Cue Extension for Melvin here but he didn’t talk previously. It was Elaine.
I would suggest writing out biographies of all your main and supporting characters. This will help with giving them life and personalities and will give them believable 3-dimensional traits. You do not need to write everything into the script but it will help you solve what your characters are about in order to make the audience care for them.
You must know your characters inside and out as though they are real and close friends of yours.
Sorry to place a dampener on things but you do not seem to grasp how people really speak. There does appear to be a myriad of missing starting words and others have just been left out as appearing to be not relevant.
Everyone talks with a robotic and artificial voice that they do not ooze with personality. Perhaps Elaine is the only one who has character, which leads me to think you have overly concentrated too hard on her and left the others blowing in the wind.
Areas of Concern…
Your over use of Parentheses (tiredly) (hypnotizing) and even the frustrating (beat) is too much and really should not be in a spec script. Let the actors/actresses do their job and if you really need to then use slight direction in Action.
Parentheses only required if more than two characters in the scene and you wish one to directly address the other…
Mike, Bob and Liam. Mike explains it as Bob yawns.
So that’s what we’ll do.
And you need to wake up!
I’m also a little confused on how one would write dialogue of a one-sided conversation on a telephone (IE we do not hear the other person) but what I do is what I’ve read in actual shooting scripts. What occurs there is that the Action shows the character is on the phone – this would lend the Actor/Actress to establish what to do, especially if in the script there is no dialogue for the other-end character they are speaking to. So you can get rid of the (listens) parentheses and just period each spoken bit – the actor/actress will do the rest!
Sometimes your Dialogue appears too wooden and two-dimensional. Try reading aloud what you’ve read and you’ll see what I mean. Better still get a friend to read out.
Case in point on…
Under investigation for a client I
had over a year ago?
Something came up with her, if you
didn’t do anything wrong there’s
nothing to worry about.
I didn’t do anything wrong, that’s
why there shouldn’t be any
I’m not the only one on the board,
we have to consider all facets in
case it goes to court. Don’t take
it too personal, happens to the
best of us.
You’re investigating me for a case
I had a year ago?
Well if you say you didn’t do
I didn’t. That’s why this shouldn’t
Elaine stuffs the envelope into her purse.
I’m not the only one on the board,
You know. We have to consider all
facets in case it goes to court.
Unconvinced, she shoots him a look—
Don’t take it personally. It happens
to the best of us.
Not to me.
You still have that nomination for
the APA Award. That should count
Why did we meet here?
See how it flows easier and more personal for the characters?
What you have is good, but it can be improved upon.
After all these years, the job never got
to me. Until now.
What do you mean?
All the names, faces… places. They slowly
close in around you until finally you realise
there’s no escape.
Maybe it’s a sign I should retire. I’m
You’re not that old.
Maybe not. But there comes a time when
the job teaches you a valuable lesson: You can’t
help them all.
He locks eyes with Elaine—
You’d best learn and understand that
while you still can.
I’m confused at the grammar of Elaine here…
This is what Melvin wants, Melvin
wants to stay like this forever?
Misunderstood by everyone.
I saw your test scores from school.
Way past average... makes me
Is this what Melvin wants? Does Melvin want
to stay like this forever? Be misunderstood
You also have tendencies to leave words out like ‘I’ as a starting point for Dialogue.
(I) Believe so…
And you have an extra space between ‘of’ and ‘physical’.
And you have “also an herb called…” – s/b a
Melvin’s (V.O.) would be better started in his scene of him writing in his journal, then transfer it into Elaine’s scene so it might appear that she seems to know or understand what Melvin is going through and experiencing.
Elaine’s speech is not formatted correctly… lots of spaces, etc.
They speak at the same time.
Why haven’t-- Go ahead...
Not formatted correctly. If you really wish to have two characters talking at the same time then learn about dual-dialogue columns… If used sparingly it can work in your favour.
Got here before they did…
Not sure what you mean here… did you mean “they got here before me”?
You tend to use exacting words like artificial intelligence would speak…
What the hell is going on?
What the hell’s going on?
That means [you] don’t give a damn…
A last note here is that you really need to read aloud what you have and ensure it reads well and is how people will speak. Clearly I think this needs work.
Also do a spell-check and grammar-check.
This is possibly the better formatting part of your script. You have a great sense of imagery but the overuse of visuals tends to pull one out of the mind-read and causes a loss of pace. Less is more so I’d definitely cut back on the wordy exposition to leave short, sharp clarity points to give the audience the chance to work out the rest.
Areas of concern…
One thing to try and do is to end a scene on at least one line of action. Something that will focus the reader on what is going to happen next or what is that character thinking of. Never just end on dialogue then cut to the next scene (except when using Mini-Slugs).
At the base of the page you have A Beat. Get rid of this and any others you have as they are both redundant and appear lazy. There are other ways of showing us that something doesn’t happen, or there is a moment of nothing… but even when nothing happens something actually does happen – the silent bits tend to speak volumes.
You have first established Elaine and Carolyn are in Carolyn’s Home… then you Mini-Slug to Melvin’s Room and have Elaine and Carolyn in there with him. Were they there to start with or did they move into the room? If the latter then you need to clarify the sub-location in the main scene to keeps things clear.
Caller I.D. is hooked up to the phone – not sure what you mean by this. Is it meant to give us something?
Its eyes demand fear – not really clear to depict what you wish.
…a flashing police car pulls into the… - A police car’s blues and reds will flash but not the car itself!
…holds his head back from continuing – huh? Your use of grammar and wording seems child-like. Yes he’s shaking his head about in a fit of some sort but you place words in that don’t belong and use other words that seem nonsensical…
Chad steps out irritated – s/b Chad, irritated, steps out… or …Chad steps out. Irritated…
…for the tow to speak – s/b two
You have Gerri talking, then you write:
She takes a deep breath through her nose, you can tell her heart sinks.
The above is not clear (she could be Gerri as she’s talking) and is un-visual (we can’t see “you can tell her heart sinks”)…
Deflated, Elaine takes a deep breath. She gazes to Phil, who avoids her eye contact.
From a she/he point of view, when someone I speaking you must always show who is actually doing something by name only. If the same person speaks through the Action then it is feasible to say she/he if they continue speaking through the slight Action bit.
Page 81 to 82:
This whole Dream Sequence seems too confusing. I know what you are trying to do or portray but as you have it written it just seems like a complete mash-up and does nothing to convey what you are trying to make us visualize.
Enters her mind…
Elaine’s eye flicker under her lids – REM-style…
MONTAGE OF DREAM-IMAGES:
A) The formation of the universe…
B) The solar system evolves…surrounds an immense violet sun…
C) The Earth a blue marble…
D) Icebergs split and sink into the sea…
E) Jellyfish glow with luminescence in the darkness of the ocean…
Alter – s/b altar
MISCELLANEOUS FORMATS, ETC.:
You have a quotation on yours. The only thing really to appear on your Title Page should be the Title, by line, then your name. Lower left should be your contact info and WGA or copyright number if required.
I notice you have the minimum for locations, etc. This in itself is not a problem (white space and all, etc. is good) but try clarifying the locations in a more specific way. The use of screenwriting software (not sure if you are using at all) helps out with this to keep things tidy.
INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT
INT. THE TURNER HOME – KITCHEN – NIGHT
It really does help to paint the visual mind picture of the location we are in much better.
This is much clearer if you see what you’ve written on Page 8. You have ELAINE’S HOME OFFICE then you have ELAINE’S CONDO the next…
As a good guide, locate the Main Scene within the overall place, then place Sub-Locations next, then the Time Of Day.
INT. ELAINE’S HOME – OFFICE - - NIGHT
INT. TURNER HOUSE – KITCHEN - - DAY
Also – speaking of times of day, there really is only two types: DAY or NIGHT. Yes you can also have MORNING, AFTERNOON or EVENING… but never CONTINUOUS as this is not a time of day.
Once in an established main location you can just use MINI-SLUGS to explain the sub-location. Similar to a SHOT just place KITCHEN or LIVING ROOM, etc. on its own line then continue the Action (IE when a character walks from one room to another for example). This in itself shows the time period is CONTINUOUS without using it in the Scene Heading.
INT. TURNER HOUSE – KITCHEN - - DAY
The power goes out; pitch black.
Grapes scatter on the floor.
Moon light casts through a skeleton of trees and eases through the window curtains. It allows Carolyn to maneuver. She scrambles through a drawer for a flashlight. Not there.
Mel, you okay?
She eases into the
And walks slow through the darkness, hands out cautiously. She gets to Melvin’s door; turns the knob. Locked.
You already have this on Page 9 MELVIN’S ROOM… so be consistent throughout.
This goes for establishing where we are from one main location to another. We are in ELAINE’S HOME OFFICE then shoot to MELVIN’S ROOM which is in an entirely different main scene.
On another note whilst reading:
I notice that you tend to add in superfluous scenes that don’t appear to do anything except fill white space – of which you have 115 pages to play with. Now with most horror scripts they tend not to go beyond 100 pages.
Take Page 28 for example:
You have Elaine going out for a jog, then cut back to her being tired out in her condo. This seems clumsy to me (others might disagree) but this would be better having Melvin’s (V.O.) bit transferred over from his scene to this one. This will create a parallel of his world and hers in which their lives collide later on?
You have so much going on in differing locations within the house, then end up having Melvin’s door slam shut with “Commotion and ruckus is heard through the door” after it.
If we are in Melvin’s room and the door slams shut, we would still be in the room! Best have it as HALLWAY with Melvin walking into his room THEN the door slams shut…
Your use of this MONTAGE seems a waste. It doesn’t really tell us anything of Elaine so cut it.
Remove the FADE TO: transition and take out the DREAM SEQUENCE BIT as this looks untidy.
All’s needed is as follows:-
Elaine tosses and turns in deep sleep…
INT. ELAINE’S OLD BEDROOM - - NIGHT (DREAM)
Also you have the same locations with different scene headings. Keep things uniform and if you have an OUTER SPACE JUNGLE then do not call it OUTER SPACE FOREST next time
You have INTERCUT: as a Transition – this is wrong. It is generally used as in a Mini-Slug, but you need to establish both scenes in the Intercut first before you do it.
INT. CAROLYN’S BEDROOM - - NIGHT
Carolyn has the phone to her ear, paces to the window, looks out through the blinds.
Come on, Elaine. Please pick up…
INT. ELAINE’S BEDROOM - - NIGHT
The phone RINGS…
Elaine reaches over, picks up the receiver—
INTERCUT – ELAINE AND CAROLYN:
Also you use other Transitions during your script. You don’t need these so remove unless you most definitely need them for clarity for the reader.
On-screen written text…
You say Elaine is reading a book and you give us the Title.
If you wish us to see this then place Titles in quotes, not underscored – so it should be: “Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”.
Anything textual that the audience reads on-screen must be in quotes (including newspaper titles, signs, digital readouts, clocks, etc.).
You have TIME CUT TO:
Now although these are fine in their place and used for emphasis, you’d be better placing some well deserved visual stimulus for the reader instead of taking this easy way out.
Have some Action show a clock that reads “21:30” and time-lapse to “23:05”, then break to the scene of Elaine. This shows passage of time with a little more atmosphere to it.
Cut out the FADE TO: as not needed…
So… get rid of all the Transitions as they are redundant.
Character Cue Extensions…
Take out all the (CONT’D) bits as they’re not required in spec. We can read the character speaks during the action so don’t clutter the page so.
This was an extremely hard read that I am surprised that it actually made an old Top Ten on Trigger Street. But that said I didn’t read the other version so can’t comment.
This really need a lot of work with getting the main plot fixed (re: 3-Act structure) and the beats (Beat Sheet points) in the correct place.
There are many typos, extra spacing, grammar issues and other formatting problems that you really need to print this out and go through it with a red marker to point out all the faults in which you can correct them.
So on a last note:-
1. Give us more on this sleep paralysis;
2. Give us more personalities to care for
3. Give us more of the Brotherhood (antagonists)
4. Work out the 3-act structure to give us a better flowing read.
Good luck with this.
A review of Pachelbelby D J Sheridan on 05/03/2013Tagline: Three children enter an enchanted kingdom ruled by a rich young lord with a wicked secret. Synopsis: Traveling Witch’s Highway, Brookline, Tommie, and Elsie are on their way to an orphan asylum. Failing to heed to a scarecrow’s warning, they enter an enchanted kingdom ruled by a boy, Lord Pachelbel. Lord Pachelbel signed a contract with a demon granting him long...
Three children enter an enchanted kingdom ruled by a rich young lord with a wicked secret.
Traveling Witch’s Highway, Brookline, Tommie, and Elsie are on their way to an orphan asylum. Failing to heed to a scarecrow’s warning, they enter an enchanted kingdom ruled by a boy, Lord Pachelbel. Lord Pachelbel signed a contract with a demon granting him long life and making him a great wizard— for a price. He invites the children to his castle where he charms them, showering them with sweets, toys, and amusement. To fulfill his demonic contract he must keep them from leaving, but after learning his true intentions they try to escape.
"Failing to heed the scarecrow's warning" - huh? It didn't do anything except just stand there!
Well after getting this into my assignments I read your profile. Now you advertise yourself as:-
I enjoy volunteering my time to read the scripts, books, short storys, plays, etc. that writers send to this site. I am glad to offer my knowledge to help writers make improvements to their material.
I am a script writer. I am also working on a book. I live in Washington state.......
I run an editing and critique service for writers. My fees are flat and affordable. EDITS: $35.00(This includes spelling grammar, sentence structure, industry formatting. I charge separate for Edit service because I get a lot of requests from writers who just want an edit job)...
CRITIQUES: $45.00(Evaluating, the introduction, development, climax, conclusion, and character development)...
EDIT & CRITIQUE COMBO: $55.00....
Triggerstreet members get a discount EDIT: $25; CRITIQUE: $35; EDIT & CRITIQUE COMBO: $45....
Feel free to visit my blog at http://pcsqlserviceblog.blogspot.com....
Press the CONTACT ME button to email me or email me directly at email@example.com or ahicks4298msn.com
Now I see you offering such services as reading, editing, critique and the like (and for a price) then you must be able to back this up in your own writing – so let’s just carry on and see if your self-praise cuts the mustard…
…but your credibility has just taken a huge dent as you write ‘storys’ instead of ‘stories’…
STRUCTURE / PLOT:
One thing I’m confused about is who is this for? Is it aimed at children or adults. The reason I say is the fact that it changes from a supposed family orientated story and turns more to a restricted format. Yes it is horror/mystery/suspense/sci-fi fantasy, but it seems not fitting for the story...
You have so much going on in the first 30 pages that most of it could be cut away and still make sense – for what sense it actually does make.
There is no clear protagonist (I think it is Brookline?) to root for and this makes for a non-starter. We need to care for someone to come up against something that they will overcome – but here things just don’t gel together at all.
For a couple of hours this felt like I was reading a travel book. There is no 3-act structure or any form of sequencing to speak of. There is always a beginning, middle and end to any story – always has been and always will be. This was just dumped together from your novel to create a script. Sadly you have missed the plot (pun intended) on what a script should deliver.
There is way too much going on that nothing is happening at all.
Sorry to put a dampener on things but this just did not cut it.
To be honest I did not relate to any of these characters at all. I did not feel anything for them and for what it’s worth I did not car e if they made it out alive or not.
Areas of Concern…
You intro your characters okay but place redundant words like ‘age’ for every explanation of their ages. You only need BROOKLINE (10), etc.
Also you do not intro the Witch in capitals but the second time you write it you do have it capitalized.
Usually I never have a bad thing to say on spoken language, but this was so wooden that it needs a chisel to work out if these characters are real or statues.
Read this out aloud to yourself and you’ll see what I mean – nothing feels real. It is just not how people speak.
Areas of Concern…
Your overuse of Parentheses is off-putting to say the least. Things like (looking around) and the like are not required in spec and use up too much of the page. Only use them where absolutely necessary and where split-second action would look out of place written as action.
The way you write these indicates you are ordering the [hopeful] actors/actresses to do things – this shouts of directing off the page.
The only real use of parentheses is where there are more than 2 characters present and you want clarity on one character speaking to another. Otherwise get rid.
Page 4 to 5:
ELSIE’s dialogue breaks over the pages but there is no character cue. If you can, always finish dialogue to prevent break over page. But if you must break over then you need to re-add the character cue again.
Extra space before Miss. Sparks’ dialogue…
Extra space in Sara Jean’s dialogue…
He’s hands were so cold – s/b His hands…
Wonder about – s/b wander about.
…and I’ll stop there as things are getting out of hand with the mistakes and typos…
Just one more thing… you should never ever have the same character speaking on differing cues (Page 83) as you have Mami. Also they speak huge volumes of dialogue that it is most untidy.
This was really hard to grasp as to what was going on. Yes you have so much business that it almost runs itself too much and disappears into the ether.
Areas of concern…
For the most part your writing is extremely heavy weight with too much written words that don’t need to be there. This is a 116 page document (taking out the Title and Prelude pages) and with such novelistic approach you could quite easily shave off 20 pages.
You state this is based on your novel and the way I see it and read it you have taken blocks of it and just placed it into a script in a hope not to format it correctly. The problem is a novel is way different to a script!
On Page 3 alone you have many formats, grammatical and un-filmable elements that if I were a reader I would throw this to the wolves straight away.
The children are restless from the long drive. – how do we see this? Don’t write it out to tell us, show it with snappy dialogue from the children that gives us this knowledge.
Miss. Sparks SIGHS tiredly – get rid of any and all ‘ly’ words and makes them present tense.
Miss. Sparks yawns, SIGHS, eyes the children in the rear-view mirror. Fatigued.
Also you have already established the car belongs to a Welfare Worker so why explain it again in action for Miss. Sparks? It is a clear case of being too clear and being wasteful with words. Less is more as they say.
**Suddenly and oddly shaped roofless automobile comes speed toward…** – huh? Firstly your grammar is off here and secondly it sounds awful. Also it does not really give us which direction the car is travelling. Is it coming up from behind or from ahead? I’d say coming from the front towards the car…
But if speeding up toward them from the rear, continuing on from the previous paragraph I wrote, Try:-
Miss. Sparks yawns, SIGHS, eyes the children in the rear-view mirror. Fatigued…
REAR-VIEW MIRROR: an odd-shaped convertible speeds closer, snaps left…
…And pulls alongside. It is driven by a WITCH in pointed hat and goggles. In the rear seats, two frightened WITCH GIRLS, also in pointed hats, huddle close.
…speeds pass[ed] Miss. Sparks
By this point I’m extremely confused as you have action going on inside and out, two different WITCHES, two different automobiles…
This needs cleaning up to make sense.
Again, all your grammar issues are clouding my reading ability.
Page 6 to 7:
The point where Miss. Sparks greets the Grubby Man to the next where he actually speaks felt like an eternity – too long-winded.
Tommy hurries out. Holding his crouch – s/b crotch
…I’ll give up documenting the mistakes here too.
MISCELLANEOUS FORMATS, ETC.:
This loses you credibility from the start. You have your Title Page as un-numbered Page 1, then you have your spiel about what we are about to read on Page 2, then your first page is actually Page 3.
Have you actually had this made? Has this been filmed?
I guess not, so it should be in spec script format otherwise this will be trashed before it is written.
The Title Page is a stand-alone page, then the next page should be un-numbered Page 1 where your FADE IN: appears to get into the script.
So in essence lose the intro paragraph as it serves no purpose whatsoever in a script. In a Treatment yes, but not in the actual script.
BARREN WASTELAND is an exterior scene so it should be written accordingly. Also where are we? This should be clear if your intention is to inform where this is set… not just placed in Action as Texas.
Two examples as follows:-
EXT. BARREN WASTELAND (TEXAS) - - DAY
A dusty, dingy-colored sky looks upon the arid terrain. A lone car, “DEPARTMENT OF WELFARE” visible on its door, travels the highway layered atop the barren landscape.
EXT. BARREN LANDSCAPE - - DAY
A dusty, dingy-colored sky looks upon the arid terrain.
SUPER: “Texas. 2020”
A lone car, “DEPARTMENT OF WELFARE” visible on its door, travels the highway layered atop the barren landscape.
Cut out all the CUT TO: transitions as they are not needed in spec. We know one scene cuts to the next so why write it in?
EXT. CAR RIDING DOWN PACHELBEL LANE-DAY
The above scene heading is too wrong and not formatted correct.
EXT. PACHELBEL LANE - DAY
The car glides through changed environment; idyllic vegetation, trees, flowers, green rolling hills. The once dusty sky now clear blue. In the distance, tall mountains sport snow-dusted peaks.
This occurs many times throughout your script – to the extent that you repeat yourself all the time. If you’ve told us in the scene where we are, why write it again in action?
For all scene headings just show us where we are, then in action show us what’s happening.
Now I’m at Page 16 I’m not going to tell you where all your grammar and formatting issues are as they seem to be increasing as I read. All the extra spaces you have in your writing are becoming tiring.
Any on-screen text (signs, etc.) must always be written in quotes. So WELCOME should be “WELCOME”
Again, I can’t keep up with the errors in this…
To be direct with you this is full of errors, typos and grammatical errors that would make a teacher red-pen the entire lot and ask you to re-write it. This needs so much work that its foundations are crumbling away beneath it.
This is not to say you don’t have something to work with. But if I’d submitted this in the state it’s in – AND if I’d be claiming to be a reader, editor and critique person offering my services for a fee then I’d be so embarrassed to say the minimum!
But the end advice is that you need to work on this if you harbor writing scripts for a future.
You may have a gift for creating worlds within the realms of a novel but in the screenwriting business you need to first get to grips with the rules of formatting.
A review of Wolfby D J Sheridan on 04/19/2013INTRO: Firstly, I must whole-heartily apologize if my words on this review appear to be too hard on what has potential to become a good story. I never try to shy away from telling people up front on what mistakes there are, etc. and this is no exception. That said I also do write up on what is good in among what looks like I’m putting a dampener onto your script. FIRST IMPRESSIONS:... INTRO:
Firstly, I must whole-heartily apologize if my words on this review appear to be too hard on what has potential to become a good story.
I never try to shy away from telling people up front on what mistakes there are, etc. and this is no exception.
That said I also do write up on what is good in among what looks like I’m putting a dampener onto your script.
Initially what slams me across the face is the © after your title. I was a little curious as to why you’d want to copyright your title. Yes if it was a brand name or something wholly specific then yeah, go right ahead and register it.
…other than that the © mark goes on bottom left just before your name, address, etc. alongside the WGA number if so desired.
Also your title is bold and big…
What? You think we can’t read it?
Not a mega concern really, but if you wish to pitch to a prodco then just keep it simple and keep with non-emboldened courier 12pt.
Don’t be overpowering with written formatting as it speaks too amateurish.
Next thing I see is your novellistic approach to your action business. This should never ever go above 4 lines MAX!
Some peeps say only go 3 lines max, but it is okay to run onto the 4th line if necessary – BUT NEVER MORE!
This leads me to think that you have not been inclined to read up on the rules and formatting of a script.
I do notice you became a member of TS in 2008, but only submitted this a couple of days ago (11th April 2013).
In all this time it appears you’ve not seen what the bottom-line basics of script writing is all about.
I would recommend you take a look at some Screenplay of the Month winners and see the formatting on those to get the jist.
So before I go any further I’ll break things down so as easier to digest…
PLOT / STRUCTURE:
So what’s this all about?
We are told in the synopsis that Wolf escapes from prison, teams up with a hooker and they are being chased by a ‘by-the-book’ Federal agent.
Sorry to say although the idea has been done to death many times previous this is not really giving me anything to be pleased about.
Wolf and Dixie are apparently thrown together and within moments hit it off like long-lost friends. This is not real at all and merely a device to create the story.
The fact that you’ve used the clichéd “Prison bus has an accident and gives the inmates a get-out-of-jail-free card” is too precocious and not worth me giving up my hard-earned cash to want to see on the big screen.
Your people in this script, for the less part, are mediocre at best. This is because you have not given us any descriptions whatsoever. We’ve nothing to work with to establishing who they are and what they are doing… and why?
The first thing to remember about characterization is to:-
1. Make the reader decipher who they are clearly by giving us age, a quick-fire descriptor(s) and persona.
2. Make the reader care for the characters, most importantly the mains and supporting
Other areas of concern are their reason for being. There appeared to be no emotion and no vivid interaction between all characters. Even the Wolf versus Dixie thing was not profound enough to hold this along.
Also I constantly asked myself:-
1. Who is Wolf? – there was no immediate back-story for his first appearance. Funnily enough there are too many moments that make me think why is he the main character in an obviously non-comedic role. He appears to be extremely thick. Pee Wee Herman he ain’t so don’t give him these traits.
As it end, Dixie forms a friendship with him and even vows to visit him in jail – after only 3 days together? Come on, make Wolf a hard-nut but with sensitive tendencies when it comes to women. Then this will work and be believable.
2. Why does X hate or interact with Y? – case in point is Max versus John.
3. What’s Dixie’s deal? – she appears to be nothing but a striper/hooker and you did nothing to make us give a damn about her (watch Pretty Woman and read the script too – you’ll see Julia Roberts’ character brings vivid emotion to the plot… AND she’s no hooker!).
Also she is gang-raped, left for dead (near enough) and teams up with Wolf whom she has no idea who he is or where he’s from.
What is her deal for assisting him in escape? Give her a link of some sort to Wolf then this might be better…
4. The Warden turns into this psychotic person with no reason for him becoming so (watch The Shawshank Redemption – you’ll see the Warden here has bags of reasons for doing what he does. In essence we ‘care’ for him although we know he’s in the wrong).
Write up a complete biography for all your characters including part-ones. You don’t need to know every single detail about their lives but what should come to the front is who they are.
Also, get rid of all the Character extensions (CONT’D) as they are neither required or liked in a spec script.
All in all this feels like Dixie’s story and not Wolf’s. The fact that he doesn’t say much whereas Dixie can’t stop talking is not the reason I think this (plenty films have main characters with little to say, but their actions portray lots) it’s just it would be better to turn this around and edit it accordingly.
This is perhaps your crowning glory, although still not yet top-notch. There are many moments within your story that deliver some snappy speeches – but alas this is wasted upon the dead-beat (sorry) characters you have.
A sense of believability is required with both your characters and what they say.
There are some great moments like:-
Page 49 to 50:
So what's your story?
Wolf ignores her.
Don't talk much do ya?
Wolf shrugs. The two walk on silently.
As I’ve said before you have a tendency to overwrite so much that it feels like I’m reading a novel – and when reading scripts this is way too off-putting and lends to a tiresome read. I’m losing interest by line 5 of your paragraphs – and that’s not good.
Even on your first page you over-describe things with way too many words.
Yes we are in a prison courtyard so there’s going to be some less-than desirables visible.
EXT. COURTYARD – PRISON – DAY
PRISONERS of all races and ages: Skinheads most, tattooed others, pierced all. The incarcerated masses busy about their thing on their own turf…
Overlooked by ARMED GUARDS sporting serious hardware.
What does the above depict? It states where we are more aptly (re: PRISON added to Scene Heading), we know they are prisoners but now given some visionary substance… and we know they are huddled into their own groups – overseen by armed guards.
A professional reader for a prodco will look at your first page and think “no way” and toss it into the trash if you present it like this.
On a good note there are some great visionary moments that you have managed to keep one’s interest in.
Although clichéd, the transport accident escape was the most prominent piece to read, but this should be the opening image if you’re going about it this way.
BUT MAKE IT YOUR OWN!
If written better and the escape plot device changed you could make this a great opener that would have a profound effect on the reader/audience.
Other areas of concern…
Upon each opening Scene you do not describe what we are seeing. Sure you write it in but you need clarity on where we are. It’s not sufficient enough to just put PRISON or COURTYARD, etc. Lend realism and description.
Wolf nods slowly. With his limited movement, he tries to zip his mouth closed. ???
Use active voice and not passive: IE – a window SLAMS shut.
The guard is humming to himself, occasionally checking his rear view mirror at his passenger to make sure he doesn't have an audience.
The Guard HUMS to himself, checks the rear-view mirror for an audience from his passenger.
FADE IN: should be the first thing to read on Page 1. The only time this is not done is if you require a BLACK SCREEN with someone talking in voice over (V.O.).
There are many typos to mention but if you take a good read-through and even use the word-check and spell-check these should slam you in the face.
Also you are not consistent with your Scene Headings with regards to times of day; sometimes you have them and other times (especially when it is a clear change of scene) you don’t…
This needs work on all fronts – especially the formatting.
Good luck with it.
Copyright © 2001-2013 Trigger Street Labs. All Rights Reserved.