Born with a tail, a teenage boy has trouble fitting in at his new high school.
HOW IT RATES
I was going for "Princess Bride" meets "Mony Python," but I've heard comparisons to "Shrek," "Enchanted," and "The Sorrow and the Pity." Although "The Sorrow And The Pity" seems like an outlier - so I think that comparison is full of crap. But no - seriously - this is a classic fairytale told with a modern and slightly cynical tone. A Princess named Tru goes on a journey to find her lost love and finds her own identity and destiny in the progress. The script has done well in a few contests (it won a Silver Prize in the Page in 2008, and was in the semi-finals of the Nicholl both years I entered: 2008 and 2010). I would love some feedback to see what it needs to go to the next level.
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Reviews of A Tru Fairytale 13
by Aitch on 12/18/2011Imaginative rendering and a lively plot are what it takes to re-visit old stomping grounds without feeling that we've been there so many times before. "A Tru Fairytale" does a good job keeping it fresh. . . most of the time. There weren't many mistakes, typos and such, but the ones I did come across I've listed at the bottom of this review. No doubt your biggest challenge... Imaginative rendering and a lively plot are what it takes to re-visit old stomping grounds without feeling that we've been there so many times before. "A Tru Fairytale" does a good job keeping it fresh. . . most of the time.
There weren't many mistakes, typos and such, but the ones I did come across I've listed at the bottom of this review.
No doubt your biggest challenge here is to toe the line between "It's Been Done" and "Classic Material with a Fresh Feel." At its best your script was the latter, at its worst the former. Which is certainly understandable. And I'd say the majority of it did feel fresh. But. . .
In a couple places, at least to me, the script clearly headed into "It's Been Done" territory. . . Whenever Jack spoke I found it impossible not to hear Mike Meyers' voice, either as Fat Bastard or Shrek. Which brings up the toughest criticism I can muster for this script: When a reader is thinking of either Shrek or Monty Python, then he's not thinking of A Tru Fairytale.
A Tru Fairytale is a fairy tale that references fairytales, so by design it is derivative, but be very carerful to stay on the Fresh side of the line. Another place it, to me at least, definitely came down on the wrong side of the line. . .
Xavier's dialogue struck me immediately as derivative of Bubba in "Forrest Gump" going on about the shrimp kabob, pineapple shrimp, etc. It works, for sure. We'r sure because we saw it before performed by Forrest Gumps army buddy. We're back to that question of the difference between It's Been Done and It's Classic. It may well be that the old "it's been done" issue can be tossed aside. But knowingly tossed. Kind of like the old advice that you need to know the rules of writing before breaking them. And I know you do. So I trust your judgement. Maybe you want to reference Bubba. If so, be careful that the reader is clearly in on it. Somehow wink at the reader and say, We're going to nod to good old Bubba here.
What is it that makes a person say "It's classic" and not say "It's been done before"? That seems to me the biggest question to ask yourself. Figure that out and the sky's the limit, because there was a lot to recommend in this script.
Great imagery, like the His and Hers Bridges goes a long way to make the scale come down in your favor. I've noted below in the reading notes some of my other favorites moments in the script and I've included a suggestion or two. The liveliness, moving the plot along at a good pace is another way to make the scale come down in your favor. Tru certainly does not drag.
What struck me as the script at its most effective was the sequence when Tru was trapped by the Troll and Jack was in the pub telling Oscar his tale. . . and you knew Cecil and Bob were there in that pub as well. . . good stuff. The jumping back and forth was quite effective. It was lively, fun, and built suspense.
Here are some other things jotted down as I read.
p1 The Montage here is described in just a line or two, but provides an opportunity to show them and their specific faults. -- Chiseled chin prince. she smiles at him and he at her... then he breathes and curls her hair. She runs off choking from his bad breath. Stuff like that.
Bottom p8. I think understatement could be effective here. You show the troll eating the peasant, and then have the narrator describe exactly that. What if you kept the visual as you have it, but have the narrator say something understated, like, ". . .then the Bridge Troll would spoil their day" or ". . . could become quite rude." Or something like that?
I like the "pay the toll" euphemism. A lot. And then the "men" and "women" bridges out in the field. Great image. Fun for the whole family.
I like the "princess counter". A lot. That worked every time you called it back.
I like the narration, but, boy it's hard to say whether it is too much. It seems at times it is. But, obviously, you're trying to do that, trying to make it unconventional and sort of in-your-face. One place though I feel pretty strongly it should be cut is on p76. "No she didn't. She had only heard the lies in the tavern." We already know that . It has its charm, with the Narrator countering her like that, so maybe you want to keep it. It's back to the break the rules but know you're breaking them. . . and I trust you do. (A lot of help I am.) To me, though, that particular piece is an example of when you cross the line to too much.
I like that Oscar's quest is a mystery, especially since the witches said it was a bad quest for a good man. (!) Story might have profitted by having this worked a bit more, that is, not revealed until later in the story. It's resolved a bit too soon IMO, could have been worked for more juice.
All right, Cecil "rescued" her from Oscar. Oscar awoke to Tru being gone. Now (p30) they're separated. If this is the turn into act II it's not a super strong turn.
I like Tru consulting with the wretched attendant about her so-called problems. I like it so much I think more could be done than having the old woman say simply you need to figure it out for yourself and exit crying. It is good. But I think more could be done with it. "You need to go take a flying leap at the moon." Of course not that cliche. A fresh and funny way of being more aggressive verbally might work. Or even a fresh and funny aggressive action. A lot of the audience are going to sympathize with the Attendant. She has a big chance at resonating with a lot of people so how she treats the Princess here is potentially huge. You might even consider augmenting this character, give the old woman a bigger part. She's got built in sympathy.
Okay now Cecil wants Tru but wusses out, just as she chooses Cecil over Albert. Cecil doesn't want to risk failure in front of his brother. Tru arrives just in time to hear Cecil lying to his brother, "She's just so annoying." Nice. But his brother sees through him, tells him he's a bad liar. They both agree she's perfect for him. But by this time she's dashed away with the bad information. Nicely done.
Why did the old woman turn Tru and Albert into frogs? She says, "No competition." Unclear yet not unclear in a way that makes the reader curious. Hmm. . . Can you improve this? (Or maybe I missed something?)
It might make a more entertaining visual if Oscar and Cecil hung by their feet instead of their hands. No reason. Just seems more entertaining to my eyes. Dangling by their ankles instead of their wrists.
Not so sure it's advisable to use "Shot:" as you have on bottom of page 96 and elsewhere.
'"Meant" has nothing to do with it.' The thesis of this sp? I like it.
A couple more pieces of especially effective imagery: The guys lassoed to the bean stalk, and being pulled up, a map drawn by a blind woman. . .
I'm sure with your ability to employ plenty of great imagery and a lively plot, you can make sure this stays in the small stack of "Classic with a Freshness to It" and keep it out of the heaping "It's Been Done" pile.
You've obviously put a lot of work into this screenplay. And it shows. I certainly enjoyed the read and wish you the. . .
Best of luck.
p62 the place is dark and scary.
p75 The Troll opens [it's --> its] mouth
p78 Jack falls on his feet ??
p92 I "chose the other" because I heard what [Cecil] said in the bar. ("He" unclear.)
p.99 "It wasn't me. . [.]" read
by lucyriches on 11/22/2011Enjoyed the snappy quick start. Didn't get the buffalo wings joke? Too much? Extremely imaginative and creative. Great use of "old world" fairytale language! Not sure the target audience? Humour for the adults but might confuse the children too much? Not subtle enough? Simplify phrases like p.54 "The witch, suffering from egomaniacal paranoid delusions" for a more younger... Enjoyed the snappy quick start.
Didn't get the buffalo wings joke? Too much?
Extremely imaginative and creative.
Great use of "old world" fairytale language!
Not sure the target audience? Humour for the adults but might confuse the children too much? Not subtle enough?
Simplify phrases like p.54 "The witch, suffering from egomaniacal paranoid delusions" for a more younger audience?
Jack in the beanstalk part was very entertaining.
You have thoroughly done your fairytale homework!
Could be more subtle at times. P.39.
(turning to another patron)
You ever see a guy with a goose and a
What is that? A euphemism?
And P.76 NARRATOR
No, She didn’t. She had only heard the
lies in the Tavern.
Good pace. Constant Goal to keep us hooked.
Definitely reminded me of Shrek which isn't a bad thing at all.
I felt you kind of lost me on page 59. Where the handsome prince turned out to be Bob.
I kept thinking, where is the moral? What am i learning from this story What is it teaching me? Nothing was obvious.
Had a few good set ups and payoffs.
Loved when they went to the witches cave and were performing a street car named desire!
Structurally sound. Conflict continually arose towards to end.
Clear characters. Although I wish Tru was a little more feisty!
Clearly a tremendous amount of hard work and effort has gone intot this script and it has paid off.
Overall I was extremely entertained. However I would try and strengthen up the moral of the story, the idea of following your heart and being true to yourself was a little weak. It got lost in the fairytale nods and comedy.
All in all you should be very proud! read
by Jackie Case on 11/16/2011I really enjoyed reading your screenplay. It was an easy, entertaining and simply a joy to read. You have a concise and efficient writing style which is a credit to your writing craft and I commend you. Well done! Each character has their own voice and each was distinct and memorable, which is a huge feat. Your story was both entertaining, and more importantly (and some times... I really enjoyed reading your screenplay. It was an easy, entertaining and simply a joy to read. You have a concise and efficient writing style which is a credit to your writing craft and I commend you. Well done!
Each character has their own voice and each was distinct and memorable, which is a huge feat. Your story was both entertaining, and more importantly (and some times lacking in lesser screenplay) a wonderful moral question pertaining to one’s choice of fate.
I only have one problem with what you have written, and perhaps fixing this, you will have a truly great screenplay. Even though it’s a small point, it really hit your story hard.
I was reading in great anticipation as Oscar and Cecil were desperately climbing back to earth from high in the bean stalk. All hope appeared to be lost when…a cloud giant just happened to be there and rescued them… hmmm. This to me was a ‘Deus ex machina’ moment and really put a mark across your amazing work to date. If the cloud giant was mentioned before, I missed it. I didn’t see any build up to him, and didn’t know he was even a character. This could be my misinterpretation, but that’s how I read it.
So how do I suggest you fix this? I’d start by looking at possible ways Oscar and Cecil could be saved: parachutes, aircraft, flying witches… and plant a seed along the way. A great example of this is the goat in Hoodwinked – one of my favorite kid’s movies. He sings a song about ‘being prepared’, it really has no relevance (or so we think) until he’s catapulted of a mountain top and low and behold he has a hat with propellers. It works!
I think you need to look at this, and develop a more accountable rescue to Oscar and Cecil. I read some where that Michael Arndt (writer of Little Miss Sunshine) says the answer is already in the script. I think this applies here. Perhaps have a look at the golden goose – she can fly. The strands of hair from Rapunzel, as some kind of pully. Look at the spongy nature of the shortbread, perhaps this could break their fall. I once read how in the 70’s a young German girl survived a plane crash in Peru strapped to her chair because it spun – like a seed in a circular motion. Even the leaves of the plant… I don’t know. But I think this needs to be addressed. Do this, and it’s a winner.
I didn’t take many notes (I didn’t need too) but here are just a couple. See below.
you are repeating yourself a little with the three witches. Oscar says …
who “Know All” and “See All”.
With the narrator Though they were blind - they could see
many things that you and I cannot - they
could see the past
And it’s a little too easy to get to the witches… make it harder.
Overall a wonderful read. I hope you are shopping this around. Try and get an interested female lead who would love to be Tru.
Cheers and good luck!
by J. O'Hanley on 11/14/2011Right now, "Once Upon a Time" is catching on, "Grimm" seems to be doing reasonably well. It seems like its a good time for stories that feature and deconstruct a hodge podge of well known fairy tales, so first off, I wish you luck getting "A Tru Fairytale" out there. It's certainly good enough to compete with any entry in the bittersweet fairytale genre. First off, the clear... Right now, "Once Upon a Time" is catching on, "Grimm" seems to be doing reasonably well. It seems like its a good time for stories that feature and deconstruct a hodge podge of well known fairy tales, so first off, I wish you luck getting "A Tru Fairytale" out there. It's certainly good enough to compete with any entry in the bittersweet fairytale genre.
First off, the clear goal of the screenplay was to take something whimsical, give it a bittersweet flavour, and then mix in a dash of the macabre. Mission accomplished, the reimagined fairy tales are entertaining, the environment is very colourful in my minds eye, and there's potential for very widespread appeal (the various deaths, I'm assuming, are bloodless and cartoonish so as to keep it relatively family friendly). Tru, Oscar, and Cecil nicely sidestep the trap of being walking talking subversions of the kinds of characters found in these stories, and the various creatures and characters they encounter are invariably a lot of fun. And the story winds up being about something; finding your own happily ever after in life without waiting for it to find you, which I applaud.
I feel pretty sure that you've been getting reviews talking about camera directions in the action lines and what have you. I would have to hope any potential studio reader would be able to look past that. The writing style is unique enough, and more importantly entertaining enough, to hopefully ensure a beginning to end read. Personally, I enjoyed how the snark of the narrator actually bled into the scene descriptions.
I'd really love to be able to offer as much insight as you were able to give me with my script a while back. But I really liked it and have few complaints, what can I say? It's the kind of story where you don't really worry if, from a structure perspective, it ultimately amounts to a framework for a series of vignettes. All that matters: Does it flow? Does every set piece add something to the character's journey? It is fun? Check, check, check. I had only one major problem with the script:
The sequence in which Tru overhears Cecil seemingly making disparaging remarks about her, in a script that delights in subverting every possible cliche, has been done an awful lot. Even Shrek played it straight. It leads to Tru going to find Albert, so it's necessary from a storytelling perspective, but it still felt really artificial to me. Luckily though, given the nature of the story, I think this might easily be skated over by having the Narrator snark about it a little. "'Three's Company' was many centuries away, but still…" etc. Some line like that, only good. :p
Last, I have a general rule where if a reviewer takes the time to single out a line as especially funny, I'm more likely to find it a keeper. To hopefully increase the odds of a few particular moments surviving future drafts, I'll list them right here.
XAVIER - UGLY SERF (O.S.)
I think I no longer like the Frog Leg.
Did you ever steal a goose, a bag of
gold, and a harp?
Let me think.... No. I stole a goose
once, but I gave it back.
OSCAR It’s not you.
Prince Fey stares lustfully at a MUSCULAR “MALE” SERVANT.
Really, there isn’t.
The old woman wanted only to be rid of
this beautiful, young, wretchedly hopeful girl
who’s very existence caused her pain. So she said...
You need to figure it out yourself.
Needless to say, if you want thoughts on anything specific, I owe you there. Best of luck!
P.S. A couple of pages in, I raced to YouTube and found a playlist of incidental music from the woefully cancelled show "Pushing Daisies," had it playing throughout the read, and it synched up pretty nicely. Any potential readers/reviewers who like having background music as you read, I recommend that soundtrack. read
by clovenhoof on 11/13/2011I don't know why this script hasn't either been optioned or gotten you some assignment work. It's very good; I suspect it just hasn't been read by the right people. I do understand why it did well -- but didn't win -- in the competitions you entered. I suspect when a contest gets down to the last couple of scripts, they're looking for reasons to exclude rather than reasons... I don't know why this script hasn't either been optioned or gotten you some assignment work. It's very good; I suspect it just hasn't been read by the right people. I do understand why it did well -- but didn't win -- in the competitions you entered. I suspect when a contest gets down to the last couple of scripts, they're looking for reasons to exclude rather than reasons to award. Your script has a couple of those reasons.
First let's state the obvious: it's hilarious. It's a brilliant concept, maybe a bit of a tweener -- not enough originality for the "Shrek" folks, and too good for the "I Know What Princess Bride the Monsters Inc.'s Happy Feet Swept Away Last Summer Did" crowd. It's engaging, well-structured, and has enough to appeal to both adults and kids. (The princess counter was particularly inspired.)
There are some nits I can pick: I thought the dialogue on pages 5-6 with Tru and the serfs was a little clunky. I think you need to lose the "wash your hands" gag at page 88. It's funny, but when you're that close to the finish line, there's a loss of momentum there that I don't think you can afford. I think the last realistic opportunity to get away with a stop-start might be p. 71 with the old attendant, "do you want to hear my story?" You could start to show about three seconds of it, then have it freeze with the narrator giving the same line. At page 90, Albert's dialogue doesn't really work. I think he needs to be a little stupider, and she needs to more obviously realize that. Maybe the traditional approach with this is enough -- he recites all the things she went through, and she sees each of them, and how Cecil was there at every point, and that wakes her up to her real desires.
Here are the two serious problems I had with the script. The first was the Three's Company moment at p. 68, where Tru overhears Cecil in the bar, and that leads to the misunderstanding. Here's where I digress. Movies are about forgiveness. To tell any kind of story, the moviemaker has to take some kind of shortcut at some point. He only gets away with it if he's built up enough goodwill by then. That goodwill sometimes comes with an "A" list star, but here on the Street, it has to come from the script. When I got to this part, I groaned. I know you basically had to do what you did: you need your "boy loses girl" moment. But as much as I was enjoying the script, this part for me was a setback.
The second serious problem was the ending. Pulling the Pied Piper out of nowhere that late in the story, well, that was fine: you'd built your goodwill bank way up by that point. But the Giant was just too much. I think you need a cleaner way to save Oscar and Cecil while dispatching with Jack and his mother. (Maybe Oscar and Cecil have climbed down far enough that when the stalk crashes, they fall into the Prince's wedding cake?) I suspect that's the fatal flaw that cost you in the competitions.
I have one suggestion for you to consider: two narrators. The narrator you've written really sounds like John Cleese, but I think you need to think Rowan Atkinson -- Blackadder and his idiot sidekick Baldrick -- as the model for a double narrator setup. Or, maybe they can both be stupid -- like a couple of the Spinal Tap guys.
Anyway, it's a job very well done, and like I said, I think as it is it's close to being sale-worthy. read
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 11/12/2011An enchanting classic tale with a modern tone. Incredibly well-written with imaginative description. While not exactly concise - it's clever and original. Normally I suggest that writers on TS should eliminate camera angles and SMASH TOs and CUT TOs. If it's a spec script: just tell the story and leave the camera direction for the future director. I firmly believe that CUT... An enchanting classic tale with a modern tone. Incredibly well-written with imaginative description. While not exactly concise - it's clever and original. Normally I suggest that writers on TS should eliminate camera angles and SMASH TOs and CUT TOs. If it's a spec script: just tell the story and leave the camera direction for the future director.
I firmly believe that CUT TO and CONTINUOUS are dead devices, and also redundant because it's abundantly clear when we see a new scene heading that we're "cutting to" a new scene. Some members tend to go nuts with these terms that are not necessary in their spec (they do it for the sake of adding them in).
All said, I understand your intent, and I know the difference between FADE TO: and FLASH TO. What you've got here is basically a shooting script without the numbered scenes. I like this direction that you have: "Little Tru SHRIEKS: we push hard into her screaming mouth." I can see that.
Anyway, I need to be consistent because I have criticized others who use too many directions in their spec. They slide in every screenwriting device conceived.
I'm hearing the voice of Judi Dench as the narrator. This is a very good story, but it's not a quick read - it's cluttered with CONTINUED at the bottom and top of each page. I can't stand parentheticals. The narration is slowing it down. It has taken me an hour to read the first 37 pages.
I believe this would be more entertaining to watch rather than read. I know scripts are only a blue print for a film and they're not meant to be read like a novel.
We all have different voices, I prefer economy writing like the Coen brothers "Fargo." Streamlined slugs. Minimal description. Fragments.
You structure is solid. Your turning points and plot points hit where they should. I got pissed when Cecil was introduced when he carried Tru away from Oscar (maybe I was being unrealistic rooting for Oscar and Tru).
Your characters are well-drawn I felt a sense of (empathy and sympathy), everyone wants (or doesn't want) something: little Prince Fey... I love how you handled that one. You only go so far with it (parents wouldn't be uncomfortable watching this with their kids) nicely done. Oscar's back story etc.
The dialogue is actable, I found it a bit wordy with too much exposition in some cases, but I do not have a handle on this genre so we'll leave it at good.
The story is compelling - sorry to squander two of your earned credits and leave you with no constructive feedback on story (I liked it - what else can I say). It's marketable from start to finish with a strong appeal to the children / family (four quadrant) audience. It's a marketable concept.
Considering that I find your pages very busy to look at and read; my major suggestion for you would be to eliminate CONTINUED from the top and bottom of each page. It's abundantly clear that we are going to the next page without it. Also, cut the (CON'T) beside dialogue when a character's dialogue is broken up by a line or two of action. They are dead devices.
And also cut the parentheticals where it's obvious what is going on. I don’t see their purpose. To me they are either indicating action (he holds out a tissue) which should go in the rightly named action description of the script, or they’re telling the actor how to read a line. If the script is written well, it should be obvious.
There are two situations where parentheticals are warranted. One is when a character is speaking to one other character within a group. The other is when it's a sarcastic, ironic or “wry” manner and the dialogue is opposite from the way they should read it. That's why these (things) of direction were called wrylies. A wry manner.
I see all that stuff as clutter, and it slows down the pace of your compelling story. I'd also cut CONTINUOUS which you have trailing off the ends of many slug lines. Anything that's telling the reader to continue makes no sense to me.
Go for a little more white space; give your modern fairytale a fresh look; I think you'll find that your amazing action lines will leap off the page.
Honesty, I'm able to offer more constructive critique and suggestions for newer screenwriters who write in the past tense, OTN dialogue etc. Your screenwriting ability is over my head: it would be like a junior tennis pro telling Roger Federer how to hit a cross court winner.
In your synopsis: fairytale is missing the r... faiytale.
I hope you'll find some of my feedback helpful.
Best of luck with your project. read
by justahappykid on 10/21/2011I like to write my running thoughts when I read a script so you can understand my personal experience of your work. In the very first line of dialogue, I chuckled so good job. Off the bat, I’d delete all of the “CUT TO’s” and (Continueds) from your script. They just take up space and shouldn’t be in a spec script. Good first page though. On 2, I normally wouldn’t suggest you... I like to write my running thoughts when I read a script so you can understand my personal experience of your work. In the very first line of dialogue, I chuckled so good job. Off the bat, I’d delete all of the “CUT TO’s” and (Continueds) from your script. They just take up space and shouldn’t be in a spec script. Good first page though. On 2, I normally wouldn’t suggest you have the line (yes, you can tell the gender), but I feel like it works in this case because it keeps to mood light. Do you know what a “Prince Albert” is (haha)? It’s fine to use that name, but I suggest you look it up on Urban Dictionary if you don’t know what it’s slang for. I appreciate your directing effort (pan out to, etc), but I really suggest you write in a very vivid way that “directs” the readers mind without being technical (for those who don’t know much about the technical side of filmmaking). On 3, should “French” be capitalized? Haha on 4 (Fricasseed Frog Leg). There’s been at least one chuckle per page, so good job. Once again on 8, unless the POV is crucial to the story, keep technical descriptions out and write what you see in your head (without technical jargon). By the way, I’m just telling you what I know (which is all I can do), but I hope you benefit or agree with some of what I have to say along the way. I usually add this to my reviews (it might not apply to you, but I found it helpful): -- I would avoid using words that end in “ly.” For example, "answers quietly" could be (whispers) and "runs quickly" (races). Also, avoid using these words to make it flow better: BEGIN, START, BACK, ANOTHER, ALSO, STILL, CONTINUES, AGAIN, FINALLY. – On 10, “Hungry” doesn’t need to be capitalized. Nice touch on 10 with the inspection of the hangnail. I’m not sure what program you’re using to format this script, but it looks like the words go too high and too low on the page (I suggest Final Draft). On 13 (and I saw it earlier, so keep an eye for this throughout), you have “538” in dialogue (it should Five Hundred and Thirty Eight) I’d suggest your dialogue with symbols or numbers turn into what it would sound like for an actor to say it (for example Ms. -- becomes Misses) the way it would sound if an actor spoke it. Like $1,000 would be One-thousand-dollars and so on. Mr. would be Mister. And so on. Other reviewers might say that there’s too much narration, but I actually think it’s the best part (kind of like The Wonder Years or A Christmas Story type narration). I’m just curious, how many screenplays have your written? On 25, I would drop the (cutting him off) because te “- -“ implies that. Also on 25, the (shouting) or ALL CAPS feels redundant (I would choose one or the other). Also, I’d remove any parenthetical about “cutting off” when there’s a “--“ present. By the way, I haven’t found a type-o and sadly, that’s a major feat when compared to majority of the scripts I’ve read. Bob Charming, haha! Your strength is definitely comedy. Insult her wart, haha. Although the content is clever at the bottom of 32, the way the “blank stare” is formatted doesn’t work in my opinion. It’s hard to read and draws attention to itself. Also, I hope you excuse my lack of structure/story suggestions. I’m new to storytelling and if I had anything to share, I’d share it (but I’m still learning myself). I do like how your mixing in a lot of common fairy tales into your story (kind of like Shrek, which is something I’m sure you’ve heard a bunch). I’m on 40 and I keep noticing the use of “ETC” and I really think you should describe exactly what the audience would see. For example, instead of having the line” The story plays out just as the narrator describes it”, you should spread those images out in between what the narrator says. Also in your description/action lines throughout, I would personally leave the ALL CAPS for when you introduce a character for the first time. There’s a section on 43 that has more four lines (six lines) of description. Try to condense or spread out your descriptions so they remain under four lines. Whoa, the same thing for sure applies to page 45. It just makes the reader feel like it’s going to take forever to get through the page (it might sound stupid, but that’s the feeling…. Rather than a screenplay that just flows quickly causing the reader to never think about that sort of stuff). I’m all for visual storytelling (especially with screenwriting), but try to use as little words possible or keep in your mind that you should spread it out for the sake of the reader’s eye.
On 45, you have “Suddenly She stops” when she shouldn’t be capitalized. Also, you have “800” when it should be “eight-hundred.” Also, I found another one on 50, but I haven’t been writing every single one down (just keep these tips in your mind when you read through it next, if of course you agree and choose to change them). On 53, is there a difference between “Blonde” and Blond”? Clever use of “Adam West” on 55. Is that a “Friends” reference at the bottom of 56? /on 57 after KABAM, I would capitalize the “the” that comes after it. On 61, you have two spaces between “Go drink” when there should be one. On 0, should “Once” be capitalized? Haha on 81, “STELLLLLA!” On 91, “Actually” shouldn’t be capitalized. “Sign” shouldn’t be capitalized near the top of 103. Also on 103, the formatting of the “Montage Continues” feels awkward and should be spread out a bit. Well, I finished. Again, forgive my very technical review. I hope some of it helps you. I really liked the read though. Fun. Light. I needed that. Thanks! Keep writing! read
by Paul Clarke on 10/19/2011Well, this certainly is one of the more uniquely written scripts I've read here at Triggerstreet. It was a lot of fun to read. Thanks for that. You have a very distinctive style. With all the extra "Shane Blackisms" and camera directions, it's quite a fun read. However, I'm sure there are some which would tell you that's not the correct technique. But hey, if you've done well... Well, this certainly is one of the more uniquely written scripts I've read here at Triggerstreet. It was a lot of fun to read. Thanks for that.
You have a very distinctive style. With all the extra "Shane Blackisms" and camera directions, it's quite a fun read. However, I'm sure there are some which would tell you that's not the correct technique. But hey, if you've done well in contests with it like that, then why not. I would rather see all the cut to and dissolves removed. I find myself not really taking much notice of them. They don't really affect the story. More of a distraction. Anyway, that would save you some space, it looks like your margins top and bottom are a little smaller than normal, so maybe it would even that out.
Otherwise, the main change I would like to see, in terms of the writing itself (not the content) would be to spread the action through the dialogue. The way you write it, we get a very squashed big chunk of action description, then long passages of dialogue. The dialogue itself is great, don't get me wrong. It just looks better and is more pleasant to read if the action lines are sprinkled throughout. Describe how the characters react to the dialogue.
I loved your characters (especially Bob), very well done. You could possibly try to reduce the number of them? Might be a little complex given it's a family movie. I think you could rearrange the start and remove the two bumpkins who find the frogs, maybe change that to Oscar's scene. Or consider giving Oscar less screen time. His story, mostly takes place away from Tru, and so drags us away from our main story and POV. If you wish to leave his extra scenes in, maybe try to link them in to the main story. Tru doesn't have to be so involved, maybe just watching.
The one character that seems to be missing is an antagonist. Even fairytales have wicked witches and wolves and others. You have these, but they're not against Tru. Not stopping her, not in her way. I think it would add to the drama if there was a character, actually trying to stop Tru reaching her goals. Someone for the audience to focus their attention on.
I really like your theme(s). Firstly, that the princess should have her own adventure and not just sit around and wait for prince charming. Great stuff. Would make selling easier I think. It's important kids these days get modern versions of fairy tales. And also, that you make your own destiny. Good stuff.
In terms of structure, I think it worked well. You did very well getting all those fairy tales into the one story, and almost always with a wonderful twist. I really didn't see most of them coming. However, I think after about page 85, the story sort of wander aimlessly. It just doesn't pack the punch that we deserve after the rest of the story. Maybe it's because Cecil is in trouble and not Tru? I'm not sure. I can't think how it could be done better, but there will be a way. Scriptwriting is mostly problem solving. If you focus your attention on that section, I think it would have the best results. Maybe it's because Jack isn't much of an antagonist, his motives are a little weak.
Anyway, thanks again for the entertaining story. Here are some notes I made while reading:
- Opening shots, maybe need separate scene headings? Are Polly and her parents outside?
- P1: According to your parentheticals, the narrator throws a coin in the well? Okay, I’m being picky.
- P3: Nice twist. Great style.
- P4: Nice dialogue, very Forest Gump like.
- Not sure if you need all the fade to, cut to, and continued’s. They are a little distracting. Looks more like a shooting script.
- Ahh, Oscar has a secret. Most interesting part so far. Breaks away from the otherwise very ‘seen before’ story. Keeps the audience guessing.
- Okay, so the mystery is answered fairly quickly. But it’s nice. Reverse a fairy-tale. Different point of view.
- P34: Seems like lots of characters. Mostly in the interest of gags and not the story. Did we need to two at the beginning, who save the princess? Could it not have been Oscar? Lots of dialogue, very amusing, but just a little hollow at this stage. Characters seem to be there for the purpose of the jokes, not the other way around. Still early days, we’ll see where it all goes.
- P38: Brilliant link-in of yet another fairy tale with a twist. Love it.
- P41: “Wheel barrel” should be Wheelbarrow?
- P41: Last action line is missing the full-stop.
- P43: How do we know she’s the identical twin sister of the other witch? Maybe the narrator could mention it?
- P65: Bridges for bathrooms, brilliant.
- Didn’t like the Bob Charming character at first, but a great twist of events and now he’s brilliant.
- P75: Lovely intertwining of the two stories. Climaxing at the same time.
- P85: It would look cleaner and easier to read if the montage was separated with each new shot on a new line. More white space.
- P86: The story was really fizzing along, last couple of pages have been off. It kind of loses momentum.
I would love to read a revised edition some day, and hopefully there's something here to help with future rewrites. And good luck trying to break in to the business from long distance. I know how that feels.
by howlow on 10/18/2011In terms of clever ideas, this is probably the best screenplay I have read on this site. The writer clearly had fun writing this (probably not all fun - it is writing) and that joy shows through. With some revisions this could be a Tru-ly special work. The narration is used brilliantly in parts but is a bit excessive and detracts from the story at times. There is no need... In terms of clever ideas, this is probably the best screenplay I have read on this site. The writer clearly had fun writing this (probably not all fun - it is writing) and that joy shows through. With some revisions this could be a Tru-ly special work. The narration is used brilliantly in parts but is a bit excessive and detracts from the story at times. There is no need to retell the classic fairytales beyond a quick blurb. Part of the joy of reading this work is discovering which fairytale is next on the character's journey. Oscar's backstory is fantastic and provides the best character development in the script. This quick reworking of the Jack and the Bean Stalk tale alows us to feel compassion for this ugly giant. It is also easy to root for him to make Jack pay one day. I think the story would be better if this character remained part of the main action (weaving in and out of his side story as well). As is, his main action with Tru takes slightly more than ten pages or so in the beginning of the script and then he is unfortunately pushed to the side. -With such a sad backstory, the reader wants Oscar to find love too (really). Maybe even with Tru? -Keeping that as at least a possibility and bringing him along (at some point) on Tru's quest with Cecil could further the development of the 3 characters. It could also give you options to create tension between Oscar and Cecil if you so chose. One thing the story really lacks is a central villain. There are obstacles of course along the way but the reader never feels that Tru is ever in any real danger. Part of the fun in the Princess Bride (the writer mentioned as a comparison) is the confrontation between Wesley and Count Rugen. Consider givng more play to the witch that turned Tru into a frog in the first place. Lastly, this is a story about longing and love when it boils down to it. If the writer writes with that in mind first, some of the more superluous interjections will be easy to cut (Keep the brilliant ones!). With a little polishing and new construction, "A Tru Faiytale" will get to that "next level" you seek. Best of luck - overall a very enjoyable read. -The best yet for me on Trigger Street. REALLY! REALLY! read
by Don Maess aka Wmson on 10/11/2011Seriously – I’m having a terrible day, month and year, and this LOL effort in the vein of “The Princess Bride” and “Shrek” provided me with a much-needed pick-me-up. I won’t even start mentioning laughs, I tend to go long with my critiques anyway, suffice to say that I had more fun reading this than anything I’ve read in a good while. I’ll address a few lesser elements first,... Seriously – I’m having a terrible day, month and year, and this LOL effort in the vein of “The Princess Bride” and “Shrek” provided me with a much-needed pick-me-up. I won’t even start mentioning laughs, I tend to go long with my critiques anyway, suffice to say that I had more fun reading this than anything I’ve read in a good while. I’ll address a few lesser elements first, and then dwell on the more major aspects after.
SPELLING: whicker, alter, lightening, coup, each misspelled or wrong homophone; non-chalant: no hyphen; candle lit, over joyed, both should be one word
WORDS and FORMATTING: numbers and abbreviated words should be spelled out, with “Mr.” becoming “Mister” and “160” becoming “one-hundred-sixty”; “1950s” – no apostrophe, “in her 50s” – no apostrophe, “in the ‘50s” – apostrophe to indicate omitted keystrokes; lots of unnecessarily capped words in the middle of sentences; so many CUT TO: - generally considered a no-no; use of hyphens within a word like “g-o-l-l-l-d” would indicated reading the letters individually, as “gee-oh-el-el-el-dee”, I think what you were shooting for might have been “goooooooollllld”, which is kind of what Spanish-language futbol announcers sound like when their team scores; what’s with all the parenthetical numbers at the tops of pages after “CONTINUED:”? I mostly enjoyed the use of anachronistic language, but BE CAREFUL – I’m suggesting you take a pass at the script looking ONLY at that element to make sure that you’re not throwing your tone off of what you want
CONSISTENCY: Frog Legs – the “l” is alternately CAPped and not-CAPped, an OLD VILLAGER becomes a VILLAGER, the MUSCULAR ‘MALE’ SERVANT becomes a Muscular Man Servant, and then a Muscle Servant; sometimes you have two spaces following a period, which I believe is acceptable; however, three spaces following a period is not.
SUGGESTIONS and MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: early on, you kind of have the Narrator throwing the coins into the well – pull that out to an action to clarify that it’s Polly; you could have quite a bit of fun describing several of the various chiseled-chins in some detail; okay, you can tell the gender – I want to know how, EXACTLY, I can tell, or I would encourage you to be a little less flip – in this instance – in your phrasing; you’ve given them names, why continue with the “Ugly Serf” designations; I thought “Men’s” and “Women’s” bridges outside Jack’s Tavern fell a little flat given the imagination shown elsewhere throughout the manuscript, although I admit that while “Damsel’s” is easy, I didn’t come up with a suitable alternative for “Men’s”, although you could tie the design of the bridges into the way you can identify gender in wild animals; okay, so the witch sisters go from Shakespeare to “Street Car”, oh GOD, I laughed (so why am I suggesting “The Crucible” might take it to the next level, especially since I wouldn’t know what the signature scene would be? But there it is); Tru finally tracks down PRINCE ALBERT and he’s IN THE CAN? If that’s intended as an esoteric joke, I think you’ve left the dial down too far on that one, Tru could look into the camera, take a breath to say something and then shake her head I’m-not-touching-that-one style; not sure how I felt about following Tru out-of-sequence there toward the end with the pumpkin coach chase; pumpkin coach itself could stand some fleshing out – I hate assuming that it’s horse-drawn; lots of ‘ing’ words could stand replacement, as the KING and QUEEN sitting on the throne should simply ‘sit’, Polly poking her head out of the carriage might become ‘pokes’ or ‘hangs’
Which brings me to PUNCTUATION: this is where I think you maybe ought to spend the most time with your next look at the script. A screenplay is a blueprint, subject to interpretation by dozens of individuals in a variety of ways, and I would suggest that you have used far Far FAR (as opposed to far far “FAR”, follow?) too many dashes, all-capped words and quoted words and phrases throughout, Tru SITS shouldn’t be emphasized the same way as a bean stalk CRASHES to the ground - it starts to feel like a twenty minute monster truck rally commercial. Try not to use quotation marks unless you’re quoting something someone else has written (and are intending to supply credit, as you have); “To be or not to be”: good; Now “I” have to pay the toll: while funny, not properly punctuated. And, let your actors decipher which words to emphasize, at least 99% of the time. A couple of well-placed instances can help inform character, much more than that and you’re becoming part of a problem, not part of the solution.
Here’s hoping my next assignment is as enjoyable as this one was! Best of luck with what comes next.
“Pundits should be sent to separate desert islands to re-read their babble.” – Jim Harrison read
- Writer: Rick Carr
- Uploaded by: RickCarr
- Length: 104 pages
- Genre: children/family, comedy
- *Edit - I entered a slightly cleaned up draft in the 2012 Nicholl (mostly format corrections based on advice I received on Trigger)... I once again made it to the semi-finals (top 129 out of ~7200).
- Bio: Currently in Columbus, Ohio - trying to break into the business long-distance.
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