Well, thanks for such a fun and quick read. Your script is a real page turner. I loved the long action scenes. I'm so sick of all the dialogue heavy scripts I usually find here on TS. A welcome change. And boy have you got skill with the descriptions. I found myself visualizing what was going on and forgetting all about the words I was reading. Forgetting I was reading at all. Exactly the idea.
I'm not sure what your plans are with this script. I think it makes a wonderful writing example, but I'm not sure how sellable it would be. There's simply so many slasher horror movies made and this one doesn't really have a particular hook to make it stand out. Having said that, horror movies are cheap to make and there are plenty made from worse scripts than this. It was a gruesome horror, mixed with a scooby-doo mystery, and just a hint of One flew over the Cuckoo's nest.
To make it to the next level I think the biggest let down is the middle. The setup is nice, it works, it's interesting. The final showdown, which goes on for around 30-35 pages just flies by, and it brilliant. But in the middle it's a little muddled. We lose focus from the protagonist. My mind wandered a little. I was a little bored, waiting for something to happen. If you could add something intriguing to the mix, and simply add it to what's there. Maybe make it obvious earlier that there isn't a real Billy Ray so we can start wondering who it really is? Maybe just come up with another specific goal for Joel. Something that he fails at, and leads into the wonderful action. The gruesome slayings. All that fun stuff.
I liked your dialogue in that there was very little of it. Basically, all you needed to get by. However, what was there was fairly plain and simple. None of the characters really had their own voices, unlike their visuals, which were wonderfully described. It's only a minor point, and probably not very important in a horror script, but could be worked nonetheless.
I'm thinking you could do a little more with the supporting cast. Make better use of them. All they're really there for is to distract, and as possible candidates for the killer. I found Craig annoying. Probably the goal, just not sure why. It would be really good if you made him, or another character, into a likable empathetic character, or have their interactions with Joel arc them into a likable character, so when they die we care more. We don't want them to die. This would happen if Joel doesn't want them to die. I don't think he really cared about any of them. Except maybe Brooke (lovely irony). If the Craig character tool Joel under his wing and helped him deal with the place, then maybe Joel could help him with his own problem (whatever that may be) and this could be the goal during the second act, along with trying to conquer his demons. But in the end it's all in vain as he's killed. Pushing Joel further, somehow helping him to better remember.
Anyway, here are some notes I made while reading:
- Interesting title. Simple, to the point. I thought ĎRehabí could be a bit more catchy, but itís probably been used a million times.
- Great opening page. Awesome visual descriptions. I can see it in my head without trying. I can go entire scripts without getting that on TS sometimes.
- Opening 8 pages just fly by. So easy to read. So compelling. If anything, could be a fraction shorter maybe. If it really took up the first 8 minutes of the movie it could be a little overwhelming. Just being picky though. What youíve written is top notch.
- P11: Brilliant descriptions of the doctors. Love it. This script is turning out to be a pleasure to read after the last one I reviewed.
- P20: The first sign of the villain. The attack by the pickup, seen it a million times but you still manage to make it interesting. Wonderfully described. I still feel Mountains fear.
- P21: Bursts like a grape - Brilliant.
- P22: Iíd love to get a better description of the masked manís voice. Is it deep and menacing, or surprisingly normal?
- P35-36: Maybe just mention Joel, wasnít sure he was there. Just maintains the story POV.
- P37: Billy Ray pulls the trigger - I donít follow this reference.
- P39: Half way down the page: dan need capitalization.
- P44: I donít think you need the Memento reference. Itís well enough explained without it. No need to break the fourth wall.
- P47: Okay, so now I find out his name is Buddy Ray. Did I miss that from earlier? or did it slip through a revision?
- Has a real ďOne Flew Over the Cuckooís NestĒ Vibe about the scenes at the facility. Crossed with a Friday the 13th horror. Sounds like an interesting combo, Letís see how it pans out.
- P58: Doc says head trauma can cause temporary memory loss, then he says if it was from the injury theyíd be gone. Kind of contradicts himself. And heís right the first time. Amnesia from an injury to the brain can sometimes be healed.
- P63: You describe Dr Danís thoughts in an unfilmable fashion.
- P67: Why is Dr Dan not doing what he promised?
- Itís funny, but mildly off-putting that Jacksonís wife was called Janet.
- Seems like the middle of the script is wandering. Thereís a lot of things going on around Joel, but heís not really involved in it. Heís just a passenger. Very passive. No goals, little actions. Also, he doesnít seem to be struggling with the withdrawal of alcohol, or whatever other things he was on.
- The deaths of Jackson and Skye are again brilliantly described action scenes. Great stuff. But again itís a few pages without Joel being involved. Maybe give him something else to to. Have it cut back and forth between him and the killings. Maybe make it obvious he wants to go apologize to Skye. Maybe have him talk to Craig whoís unconscious, so heís really just talking to himself, and we here him sway back and forward between wanting to go and not. Adds more tension, that he might walk in on the act.
- P81: Is it his brother? I love the mystery, but half of the suspects just died.
- P83: Is it Brooke? That would be a nice twist. Female killer and sheís strong and skilled enough.
- P97: at the bottom: from of a man - should be form of a man.
- P99: Nailed it.
- He learned his lesson. Nice. Maybe another scene foreshadowing further threat from Brooke? Her plotting a plan in jail or something. I guess thatís kind of clichťd.
So from around the point where Randy is talking to Dr Dan, I wandered off a little. Don't think a scene like that need to be so long. Just mention he's going looking for Billy Ray and leave it at that. Get back to Joel, stay focused on Joel.
You have no gimmick, no hook, and I think leave it that way. Focus on a truly moving script and it will be better anyway. They always talk about characters arcing (not so much in horror scripts) and while Joel has an arc of realization, it would be really nice if there was more. It doesn't have to be Joel that arcs. Have him help his sidekick/mentor character to be a better person, to overcome a hurdle. It makes us like Joel more and makes it more moving when it's all for nothing and the person dies. Just a suggestion anyway.
Good luck with any future rewrites, I'd love to read them.
Review of: Rehabilitation
reviewed by Paul Clarke on 01/06/2012
Review ID: 4073226
Other Reviews by Paul Clarke 72
A review of And They Say Life Sucks (v.6)by Paul Clarke on 05/14/2013Overall, I chose to read this script because I wanted to read a light-hearted comedy. I wanted to laugh. And you didnít let me down. So I thank you for that. Comedy is a subjective thing, and Iím sure many people wouldnít necessarily agree with this humor, but I loved it. So thanks for that. However, I will say the logline/synopsis didnít win me over. Iím not sure how you could... Overall, I chose to read this script because I wanted to read a light-hearted comedy. I wanted to laugh. And you didnít let me down. So I thank you for that. Comedy is a subjective thing, and Iím sure many people wouldnít necessarily agree with this humor, but I loved it. So thanks for that. However, I will say the logline/synopsis didnít win me over. Iím not sure how you could make it more interesting. Maybe focus more on the funny aspects, take out the bit about the cathedral. I just think it could be a hard sell to get the right person to read it.
Thereís two important things required in a comedy. Make us laugh. Donít bore us. You achieve both. The script has humor spread throughout, and it just flies by being mostly dialogue. I would consider fleshing out the ending though. As I point out in the notes below, I think you could make better use of the ending. The story builds up to it well. In the end it is a bit of a let down.
The second strength of this script is the structure. You have constant story development. First he dies. Then he gets the offer in heaven. He finds out George wants Barbara. The old men attack. Offer from Satan. Too often the amateur scripts go on without any actual story development. They mistake events for story. Yours is not only full of development, but it is well paced and in all the right places.
As for the characters. I did like Harvey. I felt I knew him early. I cared about him. But he didnít really have any single characteristic that made him stand out. Made him truly memorable. I would consider introducing the back story about the issues with his father in the first act, while heís still alive. As that is the big pay off at the end. The story begins with his issues with Barbara, they are sorted (kind of), but the ending is around his father. Which works, I just think it would work better if it was introduced as a big part of his life early on. The supporting cast do their role. They are funny. They grow as the film progresses. They seem like individuals, I feel I know them. Which is all good. Ultimately they probably fall into the same category of not being truly memorable. But thatís a tough ask.
The concept is possibly the weak link of the story. Like I said, I wasnít sold by the logline. You have a good story, but what makes it stand out from the others? What makes it different, memorable? Not sure what you could do to improve it. Some sort of comedic irony in the initial setup maybe? Make Harvey is from a heavy metal band that became famous for being Satan worshipers? Something.
Anyway, hereís some detailed notes I took while reading. I usually end up with three times this many notes. Thatís a good sign. I just flew through this one. There were very few if any errors:
- Title page: Not sure how well the different font title will go down with the pros. Also needs another line break between Ďbyí and your name.
- I like the sense of humour used on the first page. Sets the tone, makes it clear this is a comedy. However, I think you could dramatize the first paragraph. Why not say she lays on the floor (donít mention sheís dead), say sheís attractive, even with no make-up and her hair not doneÖ and a gaping hole in her chest! Thatís the payoff for the shot. Save it for last.
-Page 10 update: While I thought the first two sequences (at K-Mart and at work) were well enough written, and they flowed well, they could probably both be cut back a touch. If possible find a nice beat to sum up the scene and end it there. Yours tend to just wander off. Also, the supporting cast seem very over-the-top. I donít like them, donít understand them. However, I totally feel like Iím getting to know and care about Harvey. So thatís the main thing you need to do in those pages. Well done.
- P48: Pages are just flying by. Very funny. Mostly dialogue. Not sure if thereís enough story development so far. Time will tell. I like the complication that George has fallen for Barbara. Great conflict set up there.
- P53: It seems really odd that Alicia would interrupt George while he was working on the plans to tell him heíll help with Barbara. Why interrupt? Thatís the behavior heís trying to encourage. Rather, have her clearly work out that he only works when in his love mode. Have him work on the plans, but it fades, his hand stops drawing. No normal encouragement can get him to continue, thatís when she agrees to help him with Barbara. It should be a big decision. Show it so.
- I canít tell if Shane is an asshole or a genius. Brilliant dialogue.
- P71: You use the word Ďrushesí 4 times in 5 sentences. Mix it up. Also, the old men were off screen for so much of the story, Iím not sure how well their reintroduction will work.
- P83: ďÖa Frogger game with unlimited lives.Ē Ė Love it!
- I really liked the payoff with Rooster being his father. That was well done. But Iím just not sure about how things were tied up with Barbara and George. Not to mention we never find out anything about the cathedral. Leaves a few loose ends. And while him shooting himself and not regenerating is funny, I donít know if itís the right time for humor. I really feel you could use that to milk the emotional climax of the story. The structure is all there, itís just that big last beat that doesnít pay-off all the brilliant work up until then. At 99 pages thereís room to do a little more. Also, the big decision, burn the plans or not - kind of happens off screen. I think you could dramatize that better. That's what the entire movie is building to. Make it a difficult decision. Show he likes the way hell is, but would rather see Barbara happy.
So to sum up. I liked the read. It made me laugh. It didnít bore me. It was professional. My advice to take it to the next step is to try to maximize the concept. Make it stand out. Make it memorable. And work on the fine details of the characters. Also making them memorable. If possible, try to work some set piece scenes. Most of you locations (heaven aside) were boring. Coffee shops, restaurants, peopleís homes. Thatís good if you want to make it cheap. But at this stage you want to make it stand out. Set piece sequences donít just happen in action movies. Most of your favorite comedies probably have them. Use them to spice up the already good story.
Best of luck, Paul. read
A review of Harbor Roadby Paul Clarke on 12/12/2012I must admit I love a good zombie flick. While you never call them that here, that's essentially what we have. The fact that the disease is unleashed on the population in the form of a bio-weapon is something new. I don't recall another zombie movie that plays out like that. But once that happens, it's same old same old. You never make any use of the setup. It doesn't make... I must admit I love a good zombie flick. While you never call them that here, that's essentially what we have. The fact that the disease is unleashed on the population in the form of a bio-weapon is something new. I don't recall another zombie movie that plays out like that. But once that happens, it's same old same old. You never make any use of the setup. It doesn't make any difference how the disease got out. And therefore, it has nothing original to offer from all the other zombie movies out there. And there are a few. You need look no further than Zombieland to see that there's so many they're making semi satirical versions. The popularity of The Walking Dead TV shows that there's still plenty of life left in the zombie genre, but you need to come up with your own spin on things. Make it stand out from the pack.
Zombies aside, I'm afraid the script is just really lacking in story. The events of the script could easily happen in a 42 minute TV show like the walking dead. They're stretched out over the period of 100 pages. But nothing really happens. The three beats to the story are: 1) disease breaks out, people turn to zombies 2) they flee, meet people on the road 3) they have a showdown and lose someone in the junk yard. A movie needs at least seven or eight beats like this. Not 3. You can't have an entire second act where they meet a couple of people and kill the dog. There's just no enough story development. We don't learn anything new about the virus, or about the characters, or about what's going to happen to them.
Your characters are okay, but a little muddled. I liked Wood, but he acts out of character later in the piece. They all sort of start acting the same, aside from Cross, who just such an asshole that he doesn't even seem like a real person. The female characters are very underdone. His wife is shown from the start to be quick to grab the gun, but this payoff is never utilized as she doesn't really do anything for the rest of the trip. The daughter is never in direct danger, the movie would be no different if she was removed (keep her in, just use her for something). And the wife never goes back to counseling Wood after the initial opening.
Here are some more specific notes I took while reading:
- I would like to see a better description of Ryan and Danni. Especially because this is the opening image. Character description is the one place where you can get away with some unfilmable description. Give us a brief insight into who these people are. How are they lying together? Is one facing away from the other? One trying to wrap an arm round and being denied? That first paragraph really needs to grab the audience. I would spend some serious time on it.
- P6: You canít really say they continue talking. Either they have dialogue or not. Just say thereís a noise.
- Once Wood is free, why wouldnít he be the one to shoot the cop? He has the arms experience, plus itís his idea. It seems like implausible behavior for Ryan who didnít even want to hit him. Plus itís an extreme action to take. Why donít they just leave the cop there and leave the station?
- P10: cant Ė should be canít
- P21: ďWell, we donít need rakes.Ē Nice line. Love it.
- Lots of dialogue and action descriptions are poorly worded. They confuse rather than relaying the story. I find myself having to reread them a couple of times to makes sure I understand. That slows the read and pulls me out of the story. For example page 54: ďA look of terror covers Tanyaís face when she sees the infected policewoman at the door on the other side. Reggie turns and sees her just as she notices them.Ē Needs work. Make it clear, simple, and concise.
- P60: There hasnít been any story development in a long time. Just people running from Zombie like creatures. Nothing we havenít all seen a million times before. We either need to be learning something new about these characters or about the disease. Other than Wood and his issues, we only know these people on a superficial level.
- Cross is just too much of an asshole to seem like a real human being.
- P81: WOOD "Heís being a hero again." Ė I think that should be Ryanís line.
- Love the junkyard location. Would look great on screen. And a good symbol as itís essentially a modern day graveyard. Full of dead cars.
- You need to incorporate Wood and his panic attacks throughout the script. Having one at the beginning and one at the end just doesnít work. Itís too convenient. Also, it gives him the same basic flaw as Ryan. An inability to act in such a situation. Only one of them should be like that. For most of the story Wood is strong and heroic. Taking action. Ryan is the opposite. This is a good dynamic. It contrasts their differences. Try to keep them to their roles. As itís written now theyíre switching back and forth and inconsistent as people.
- Not sure if Iím on board with the ending. Doesnít leave me with any great emotional pay-off. Just shows that if everyone had stayed inside and listened to instructions they probably would have been alright.
- Also, I think it would have made for a much better dynamic to show Wood and Danni fighting from the beginning, rather than getting along so well. Bringing more irony to the fact that he now has to take care of them. And it would make sense that her husband is a nice considerate man who is constantly getting into trouble because of his brother. She would resent him for that.
- I didnít think you made the most of the post traumatic stress thing. Was it caused by him seeing a child die? It comes back so far after itís brought up that I canít remember the details. I could barely remember that he had panic attacks at all because he never had any throughout the rest of the movie. It would make sense that seeing a child die would cause them to come back. But, as with many other parts of this story, itís ultimately underutilized.
My advice would be to work on two specific things:
First: Come up with an original twist/idea for the story. Nobody would read this script based on the logline/premise as it's exactly the same as every other zombie story.
Second: Really work on the inter-character dynamic between the brothers and the wife. This is where the meat of your story is. At the moment it's basically just one big happy family. That's story suicide. Drama comes from conflict. The best conflict would be what's going on between them, rather than them versus the zombies. Just make it that the extreme nature of the situation brings out all the emotional stuff. Wood and Ryan are supposed to be opposites, but they act so similarly and get on so well it's never used. Also, there was a moment at the start where Ryan walks in on D consoling Wood. I thought there was going to be a misunderstanding and all sorts of conflict arising. It should all begin in the back story. Other than Wood being a veteran we know nothing. These are two brothers and a wife, therefore they've all been together for years, they know each other inside out, they have tonnes of history. Use it. It never came out in the story. Their back story should be all about their relationships with each other. Characters are nothing alone, they are all part of a interconnected web.
All the best with future rewrites. read
A review of BORDERLANDSby Paul Clarke on 10/10/2012Well, where to start. I do like post-apocalyptic stories. However, there's so many out there these days. The market's flooded with books, movies, and TV shows. I'd like to know what you plan for this script. To sell it you'll need some sort of hook. Something to differentiate it from all the others. I don't think the Occupy riots is a good enough one. Also, you're playing with... Well, where to start. I do like post-apocalyptic stories. However, there's so many out there these days. The market's flooded with books, movies, and TV shows. I'd like to know what you plan for this script. To sell it you'll need some sort of hook. Something to differentiate it from all the others. I don't think the Occupy riots is a good enough one. Also, you're playing with fire using a real life event like that as it changes. It takes a year or two to make a movie, it will be long over and forgotten by then (if it's not already). Also, I didn't really find it a plausible idea. I think just a general down turning of society would do the same thing. People start fighting. Show it on the news. Spiraling out of control. Don't mention what started it until you're really sure it's a great, unique idea.
I think the strongest part of your script is the characters. For the most part, I liked them. I found them to be real likable people, stuck in a horrible situation. And I wanted them to succeed. But they certainly had a few issues. Some of them felt inconsistent. Mainly Elizabeth. Not good when she's your hero. She just seemed to flop around from useless crazy person, to amazing hero, and back. With little or no reason. I couldn't always understand her behaviour. Some of her decisions seemed like they were made by the writer and not the character. On top of that, I think you had too many characters. Keep it simple. You had many background characters that weren't named. That's fine. So why have two little girls? They never did anything different. I couldn't tell them apart. Same with Tariaf and Mathias. They both played the pacifist role. It was an important role to counter Chuck. But they basically took turns doing things. You could have one character do both roles. Then there's the minor characters like Zack and the nurse. They never even meet the hero party. Therefore they have no influence. It would be more exciting if Pretty Boy seemed like some super-human villain. A terminator that just keeps coming back for more. Rather than a badly wounded man who could barely stand.
Next is dialogue. I'm afraid it need lots of work. There's simply way too much of it. And it constantly just states the obvious. Or what's already happened. Cut out the extraneous dialogue and you'd probably shave 20 or more pages of it. That shows that the story is lacking too (I'll get to that soon). I gave a few examples in my notes. But basically you need to make them talk like a real person would. Not just constantly recapping the events and decisions. Give the audience some credit. They'll get it.
So we get to structure. You have a clear setup and final showdown (first and third acts). And your second act starts well with Chuck and Elizabeth on the run. But then we get about 50 pages (half the script) with little or no real events. They basically make the decision to go to the depot (why there?) and then travel there. They're never attacked or under any direct threat. It's definitely the weak point of the script. I think a story like this is really designed to use a sequence like structural approach. It should be a series of mini-goals, and when one goal is reached another appears. No gaps. No sitting around having conversations. Think of Toy Story, it's one obstacle after another. The solution to each problem causes them to directly go into the next. For example. In your story it would make more sense for Pretty Boy to escape the shootout at the farm-house, but for them to know it. Therefore everything after that is a rush because he might come back with more men. Everything is full of tension and excitement. Then, I'll let you gift them a bus, but don't give them the fuel. Make them work for it. A mini goal/story. Get the barrels of fuel. And do it quickly before he comes back. Then once the get the fuel, put something else in the way. There needs to be constant resistance to their efforts, otherwise it becomes boring. Movies usually have eight sequences, yours has four.
Lastly, there are lots of minor inconsistencies and logical issues. Many of which I've pointed out in the notes. For example, why would they camp on the cold ground, shivering together. And then when threatened they head to a farm house they could see from that very same spot. It's not a big problem to fix. Simply have them flee into some forest and find the house hidden amongst the trees. But the point is it ruins the read. It looks lazy on the readers behalf, that they didn't take the time to think the story through. Make sure you go through. They're almost all really easy to fix. It just takes some time and thought.
Anyway, here are some notes I took while reading:
- Int should be Int.
- news reader should be capitalized.
- If itís picture in picture then you should indicate weíre watching the news report on a television, not from inside the studio.
- Itís dangerous to write about a specific current event because it is likely to be all over by the time the shoot the film and may no longer be as relevant.
- Iíd prefer if the action blocks were shorter, simpler sentences. Just a personal preference I guess.
- P5: Iíd say her pack looked emptier, no lighter. We canít really see its weight.
- Iím no grammar expert, but it seems some of those longer sentences could do with some punctuation. If nothing else, just to make it an easier read. I had to reread several of them to wrap my head around what they were saying. Not a good thing. You want the reader to whisk through, quick and easy, so they can focus on the good stuff. For example P6: ďA man with a pretty face marred by a long scar down one cheek sits in a cage and takes money from the patrons as other men deliver girls and sometimes boys to darkened booths.Ē
- P7: Muslim would be his religion of choice, it in no ways describes how they physically appear. Anyone could be a Muslim so you canít really include it in your description. Rather you could indicate by clothing or some religious artifact theyíre carrying.
- P8: Although weíve only just met him, it seems odd to have Tarif spitting.
- P9: Iíd rather see the protagonist active. So rather than have her watching the rough-necks, and getting a stroke of luck when they pass out and leave, have her distract them or do something. That would make us like her more. Keep her active.
- I must say itís very dark material when you have children being pimped out. And itís not implied at, itís right in your face. Not sure if many production companies would be put off by that.
- P14: UGLY MAN I donít want any of this shit. Iím gone. Keep the stuff. Ė an example of unnecessary and on the nose dialogue. If heís rushing out the door. Why would he stop and say so much. Heís only repeating whatís happening. He rushes out and leaves the stuff behind, so the dialogue is redundant.
- P17: Pretty Boy releases Elizabeth and gestures to the first roughneck and one of the ones with a gun. The first roughneck drops Elizabethís bat on the floor. Ė an example of confusing action description. Give the roughnecks a distinguishing characteristic so we can better differentiate between them. Rather than just 1 and 2. On top of that ďone of the ones with a gun.Ē: Really needs to be rewritten to make it clearer and easier to read. Not to mention, why would he drop the bat? Why not take it with him? Itís a little too convenient.
- P17: How does she surprise him after giving him a five line speech? I think she would have his attention entirely. Maybe someone else should say it?
- P18: She canít be completely unresponsive. She just lit a match. She clearly knows what sheís doing.
- P21: CHUCK Then get over her and Iíll what food we have. Ė Missing a word?
- The children donít really talk like children. Ideally we should be able to tell whoís talking without reading the character name, but yours sound mostly the same. Except the doctor who explains everything.
- So they chose to make camp at a place where they could see a farm house in the distance from? And they could see it at night? Maybe they should move first. Stumble across the house.
-P24: ďand Kat raises the hand that doesnít have a thumb in her mouth.Ē Brilliant visual. Love it.
- P27: PRETTY BOY Yeah, they probably went in there when they heard us coming. Well, lets get up to the house and get back our own. Ė Another terribly on the nose dialogue that states the obvious. We already know all that, no need to recap something that happened two pages ago.
- P30: Maybe say the boy is dead rather than dying. Otherwise he should be rushing to get the doctor or some sort of help rather than calmly closing his eyes. Also, wouldnít Mathias be mad at the intruders for bringing pain and death down on them. I mean until they showed up they were safe. The attackers were after them, and it cost a young boy his life. Yet he barely seems upset.
- P34: It only took 37 days for society to collapse and create things like pedophile brothels (that looked to be in business for a while). Iíd make it at least six months. Elizabeth could have been with her father for that long.
- Bunny has started to act more like Kat. Not sure if you really need both (it might play out later). But if you keep both, make sure theyíre different. I would only make one of them surprisingly upbeat and positive. Have the other be the opposite. At the moment, theyíre my favourite character(s).
- P42: Mathias says Ďaní instead of Ďamí. Also, he re-preaches his values. I realize Elizabeth didnít know this but the audience did, they will get bored if you feed them the same info over and over again. Besides, that piece of dialogue could be cut back.
- Iím beginning to worry. With Pretty Boy and his thugs on their tail they had a clear goal and stakes, but now that theyíre gone the story is beginning to stagnate. You need to give them a new goal soon. Keep the story moving. They can have the same discussions while trying to achieve the next goal. Chuck is talking about getting weapons, I hope we get something more interesting. Some complication. Because the story started off with a bang. In fact it will be difficult to make the story intensify with such a big, life threatening chase to begin with.
- P45: More recapping of info we already know.
- I like the conflict between the group. Deciding which way to go was just dialogue and them not really doing anything, yet I was riveted. Having said that. Chuck was such a hero to begin with, itís hard to swallow that the traumatized useless woman has just awoken and become the leader, while heís become enemy number one. I think the scene works, but it could be setup better earlier. Maybe make Chuck not want to help them in the first place, but he has a selfish reason to do so? Also, why would he go with them? Heís better off by himself and he doesnít like them. Give him a reason. Or have him disappear and reappear when they need him.
- Pretty Boysí alive? No, I canít see how that could happen. An ex military man like Chuck know the difference. And he specifically checked. Why not have Pretty Boy escape from the original shoot out. They know heís injured, but anything could happen. It would make the past ten pages way more exciting. Everyone would be in a panic to move somewhere in case he came back with friends. They would have the motivation theyíre lacking. It makes the exact same scenes far more exciting and intense.
- Make getting the school buses some sort of mission. Or at least the fuel. Donít just have them sitting there. Theyíre literally a gift from the writer.
- P54: Romeo Uniform Six needs to be (O.S.) or (filtered).
- P56: Iím not buying their reason to not call the military for help. If you stick with that, you should at least show us the military committing atrocities. Show donít tell. However, I have another idea (again it all depends where youíre going). I got the feeling Chuck is lying when he said he left the military. Maybe the radio doesnít work. He fixes it, and when heís all alone the military call. He disconnects the radio and doesnít tell anyone. Later on, we see how bad the military are and understand why he did it.
- At this point Iíd like to mention that Tariff has sunk right into the background since getting to the farm house. He seemed like an interesting character and weíve learned little about him. It seem that heís treading a lot of similar territory to Mathias. Do you really need to pacifists? So far, Elizabeth, Chuck, one little girl, one pacifist, would do the same job.
- P57: You left one of your notes there. Funny, I do the exact same thing leaving **** whenever I know I need to put something else in but canít think how to do it at the time.
- P58-9: Two pages of nothing happening and people just saying what theyíve already said. It doesnít move the story forward. Just have the montage, cut the rest.
- Iíd rather they started to feel safe on the buses, but we see Pretty Boy and his crew closing in on them. Build the tension. Rather than the other way round.
- I like the leaning to drive scene. But considering they just heard that Pretty Boyís on their tail, it doesnít seem like the right time to try. If I was Chuck Iíd rather drive all day and all night just till I knew I was safe.
- I liked the learning to drive scene but 5 pages is simply too long. Nothing is happening. Theyíre not getting anywhere. All the urgency you built up to that point is ebbing away. You could cut it back to 2 or 3 pages and still convey the same thing.
- I realize you probably have two buses so that Elizabeth had to drive one, but it occurs to me that there was only 15 people plus the main crew yet school buses can carry around fifty. I understand they would be taking supplies, but they donít exactly need to be stretched out in the lap of luxury. If you think they need to take two buses give them a plausible reason. Otherwise, theyíre just wasting fuel.
- Similar thing with Pretty Boy and the nurse. Whatís the purpose of this scene? Iím guessing itís a setup for something later. But it doesnít move the story forward. In fact worse, it shows us the villains arenít in pursuit, therefore lowering the tension and conflict. Again it could be cut down to a page or two.
- Your montage scene isnít formatted correctly. Not sure where it ends. Most of it seems to play out like a regular scene.
- P78: I was just thinking itís been a while since you mentioned the girls. Good stuff. Maybe make sure you give a nod to their location every few pages. Maybe just mention they were asleep on the bus during the learning to drive scene.
- Mathias and Elizabeth? Didnít see that one coming. Thought he was the creepy religious guy that ends up double crossing them or something. Thought Elizabeth and Chuck would be far more interesting.
- P79: CHUCK Comes from all the psych tests you have to take in the military. Ė Horribly on the nose line. Not needed, you could save pages cutting all the little lines of dialogue like this one out.
- P82-83: We are in exactly the same position we were fifteen or twenty pages ago. Making the decision on where to go. The threat of the military on one side, and Pretty Boy on the other. Nothing has changed. That means we donít need all those pages. She already made this decision. Something more needs to be happening.
- ďWhat say we get on with it?Ē Ė Yes, please.
- Moments that should be full of tension are ruined by the constant yabbering. Like the bombs being dropped. We donít need Chuck to explain it so boringly, stating the obvious. And none of them showing any haste even though they can hear Pretty Boy coming. Sound doesnít travel that far.
- Again: CHUCK Everyone be careful going down the stairs. At the bottom is a another set of doors. Itís open right now but we can barricade it when we get down there. Follow the hallway right to the end. Ė Just make it Ė ďEveryone, down the stairs.Ē Same thing. We donít need all the other details.
- P96: The big showdown Ė Nope, more talking. Very preachy. Plus the kidís right. Let the soldier with the gun go, not the crazy woman with the bat.
- Zackís dead. What was the purpose of him being there? Or the nurse? They had nothing to do with the story.
- The final showdown was a bit of a letdown. The odds were strongly in the good guys favor. They had a badly wounded man outnumbered. In the end Chuck or Elizabeth could both have taken him out. So the hero wasnít even needed. Youíll find in most movies the final showdown is the hero alone versus the villain. Like Jaws, the others are dead or underwater. It comes down to Sheriff Brody vs the Shark. To make it exciting you need to make the hero an underdog that rises up and beats the odds to become victorious. I never had any doubt they could defeat him. I just thought he was stupid to still be trying.
I must say the pedophile brothel isn't something I've seen in a movie before, so congrats on the original idea. However, I would consider changing it. It and instant R rating, and the rest of the movie isn't. If it were just a normal house, with a man and two kids. That turns out to be sinister as the guy is selling the kids to people who arrive. Elizabeth arrives and saves them (or just one, all that's needed).
The real strength of the script, and what you should really stick to and emphasize, is that we have this regular woman in an extraordinary situation. She has three forces pulling on her decisions (therefore only needing three other characters). Chuck, who has the gung-ho kill everyone selfish personality. Tariaf/Mathias who has the passive, avoid conflict approach. And the girls, who are a constant reminder of raw human innocence. She must take all these points of view and make the correct decisions. Focus on that, give them a series of goals, maybe a better hook, and you'll have a masterpiece.
Good luck with rewrites. Feel free to contact me if you have any queries, I probably missed a few things in my explanations. read
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