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HOW IT RATES
A young cat, along with her two traveling companions, encounters friend and foe as she searches for the family that will love her forever.
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Reviews of Amazing Gracie 42
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 03/13/2009Hey Pat, I really enjoyed this story. The writing was strong and polished. And there was a wealth of small details that really made this story come alive for me. Clearly, you've spent a lot of time observing cats. And people too, I might add. This is, however, an exceedingly tough genre to work in. And scoring a bullseye for a story like this is much harder then for an "adult"... Hey Pat, I really enjoyed this story. The writing was strong and polished. And there was a wealth of small details that really made this story come alive for me. Clearly, you've spent a lot of time observing cats. And people too, I might add.
This is, however, an exceedingly tough genre to work in. And scoring a bullseye for a story like this is much harder then for an "adult" story. So, with that in mind, here's where I think your story strayed a little from that bullseye.
The set-up: I really think it needs to be more simple and direct.
Gracie is in the shelter. She wants to be adopted. But after all she's been through, she doesn't believe the family who takes an interest in her will ever return to take her. Then she gets scared about being labeled unadoptable and makes a run for it to escape. And once on the outside decides to find her way to the family who she believes would have rejected her.
My main problem with this is that Gracie starts off believing the family will never come back for her. And this is why she takes the drastic move of escaping. But then she decides to find 'her family'. This isn't as direct and straightforward as it should be for a children's movie.
I had the exact same problem with Ralph and Charlie's conspiracy to get rid of Gracie. This also felt like it was a little tenuous. I didn't quite believe that Ralph would do what he did for a dog. And it wasn't really clear why he was even doing it. And it's kind of a letdown at the end to learn it was just for a some desserts. Why would Ralph trust the dog who tormented him to actually keep his word? This felt kind of weak to me.
Here's my suggestion on how to make this more simple and direct:
Gracie is adopted by the family. And Charlie takes an immediate disliking to her. So he comes up with a plan to get rid of her. He convinces Gracie that his family decided they made a big mistake in adopting Gracie and will be taking her to the shelter for unwanted animals the very next day. Where, due to her past record or being returned, it will be curtains for her. Gracie buys this hook line and sinker because this is what's happened to her before. So, Charlie, pretending to be her friend, offers to help her find a new home. One far, far away. And so begins their adventure. First to the dump. And then to the county fair. Where Charlie is attacked by the coyote and Gracie comes up with a plan to save his life.
Of course, this same story line can work with Ralph instead of Charlie. Ralph can be concerned about a new cat invading his turf.
Either way, the motivation for the 'antagonist' will be clear right from the start. Also, I think it should be made clear right fromt he start that Ralph (or Charlie) is manipulating and lying to Gracie, and doesn't have her best interests at heart. Because if you hide this fact, then you rob the story of dramatic tension. Even the Billy Don the dog catcher is obviously a good guy just trying to help out. The only overt 'bad guy' for most of the story is the coyote, who isn't really a character at all.
If the audience knows that Gracie's most trusted companion is tricking her right from the start, then that will create a more dramatic situation. And it will also be more poignant when they eventually become friends.
I don't think this would be as big of a change as it may seen, but the effect on the story would be huge. Introducing this central conflict right from the start will amp up the drama in everything else that happens.
Anyway, that's just my opinion. I see a lot of potential in this story. And regardless of what direction you choose to take, I wish you all the best.
by MrPancake on 01/22/2009If my comments are too late, than I was right- I do not read, watch animal films... except- for ones that filter to my ears and eyes. As SOM, I must go out of assignment and read it... which I did- and thoroughly amazed... simply pleased. The characters have their own consistency- no doubt. Story - solid Structure - I will have to say an excellent because, even though not... If my comments are too late, than I was right-
I do not read, watch animal films... except- for ones that filter to my ears and eyes.
As SOM, I must go out of assignment and read it... which I did- and thoroughly amazed... simply pleased.
The characters have their own consistency- no doubt.
Story - solid
Structure - I will have to say an excellent because, even though not in H-Wood, format, it still gives a director what they can focus on.
I do have a question of 1970's- is there a specific reason behind that: the language of overtly demonstrative actions preluded by their words? Is the era more believing to the present?
I am not a fan of this genre, period. However, I cannot ignore the plausability of this becoming a block-buster. I hope the readers-that-matter will ignore the minute mistakes and look at it from a scope of marketing kudos.
Congratulations... your story was a Read. read
by Mr.Farris on 01/09/2009Your a lean mean writing machine. Okay I admit that was kind of lame. But your good, I really could not find anything to critique in the script. Descriptions were good, dialogue was believable and the story was solid. It put me in the mind frame of a disney animation movie. At least thats the way I visualize it when reading. It easy to detect someone writing ability from... Your a lean mean writing machine. Okay I admit that was kind of lame. But your good, I really could not find anything to critique in the script. Descriptions were good, dialogue was believable and the story was solid.
It put me in the mind frame of a disney animation movie. At least thats the way I visualize it when reading. It easy to detect someone writing ability from the first act. Sometimes on the first page. I really don't see why this cannot be in movie theaters one day. There is one thing and this in not a critique merely a suggestion. I would have like to here some dialogue from the coyote. Maybe a scary tale to proceed his reputation for being a scoundrel. Not to make comparisons but similar to the character of the hyena in Lion King.
I commend you on being a pro. Hopefully in the future you could review my script(currently revising) I would be greatly appreciative if you did. I can tell just from reading one of your scripts your opinions would be priceless. read
by hrickclarki on 01/05/2009In my opinion your script must be treated as any comedy/drama. It has to have features that I feel that you have left out. You should have presented a clear problem that needed to be solved within the 20 pages. I don't think you did that. You need to have clear protaganists and antaganists early in the story. I did not find that. While you finally make the coyote the... In my opinion your script must be treated as any comedy/drama. It has to have features that I feel that you have left out. You should have presented a clear problem that needed to be solved within the 20 pages. I don't think you did that. You need to have clear protaganists and antaganists early in the story. I did not find that. While you finally make the coyote the antaganists, you make the reader feel sorry for him by describing him as skin and bones. If Grace had been accidentally lost and was trying to get home, that would have presented a problem the reader could understand. Had the coyote been fat and sassy and introduced within the first 20 pages you would have a framework on which you could build a story.
These are the notes that I took while reading; pg 16; yes it is...don't write anything like that, it insults the reader. pg 27; Fish looks traumatized...don't say...show how; pg 82 Coyote's lame paw...did I miss that in your description of the fight or did you add it later?
Giving you a bad review never gives me pleasure. However, I hope that my remarks will help you if you redo the script.
Good luck & good writing
Rick Clark read
by hepleronline on 12/11/2008Talking cats. A talking dog. Hi-jinx and mischief. Classic material for an animated feature. Clearly, there’s lots of potential for upbeat and family-friendly fun. Of course, at the same time, we’re not exactly on new ground. The strength of the premise is also its weakness. It’s a familiar story, so it’s easy to see how the script might be something that could attract an audience... Talking cats. A talking dog. Hi-jinx and mischief. Classic material for an animated feature. Clearly, there’s lots of potential for upbeat and family-friendly fun. Of course, at the same time, we’re not exactly on new ground. The strength of the premise is also its weakness. It’s a familiar story, so it’s easy to see how the script might be something that could attract an audience. Of course, by the same token, it’s easy to see how it might follow the lines of other films closely enough that an audience would assume ‘they’ve already seen it’. Trying to keep the story distinct is likely to be an ongoing challenge.
The story itself has a nice simplicity to it. It’s straight-forward, and it’s easy to keep track of exactly what’s going on. On the critical side, it might help the story to give Gracie more of a starting point. The burlap sack does the job, but I feel like there’s room for an interesting origin that could get us attached to our feline protagonist even faster. Christopher’s death, even though it’s implied, may be a little dark for the intended audience. I felt that the resolution of the script, even for a family-friendly story, was fairly sudden and convenient. I found myself wanting a little more resolution on the Gracie/Charlie conflict, and more of a reason for Ralph and Arlene to reappear. I really appreciated that, in the end, Billy Don wasn’t really a ‘bad guy’, even though the characters were understandably scared of him.
The dialogue definitely worked in the context of the story, but I would keep looking for ways to use it to distinguish the characters and add entertainment. I think with this kind of script, a few more jokes and humorous moments, especially in the dialogue, could really go a long way. “My forever family” seems a bit cheesy to me. I might just not be familiar with it, but “Woobie” is also a little weird, because we haven’t heard it before Gracie exclaims it, and Charlie seems to automatically know what it is.
The structure of the story is good. The script is easy to follow, and the turning points of the story are clear. That said, there are points in the story that seem a bit slow. To me, I think this was more of an issue in the first act, where we find Gracie without a family and in the animal shelter. I don’t think you should force the plot to move faster, I just think there are elements that could be consolidated to make room for more character development, or a few more funny or touching moments.
From what I’ve gathered, this script has been getting a lot of positive feedback, and rightly so – it’s got a lot of elements that make it easy to enjoy. Like I said earlier, it’s probably going to be an ongoing challenge to keep the story distinct, but there’s plenty of good material there to work with. Best of luck. read
by Indigo on 12/06/2008I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this script for a while now. Damn, that sounded ominous didn’t it? I’m not normally all that impressed by “blue-star” status and rarely look at who the writer of a script I’m assigned is. However the longevity of this script in the daily favorites had my interest peaked, especially since it’s an uplifting kid’s movie and we writers/reviewers... I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this script for a while now. Damn, that sounded ominous didn’t it? I’m not normally all that impressed by “blue-star” status and rarely look at who the writer of a script I’m assigned is. However the longevity of this script in the daily favorites had my interest peaked, especially since it’s an uplifting kid’s movie and we writers/reviewers are a jaded bunch.
Amazing Gracie is an amazing script… see what I did there. I don’t know that I have much to say about this script so I’ll just give you the play-by-play. Color commentary will cost extra… Just kidding, I don’t even know what color commentary is.
Page 2 – Potato Sack kinda threw me. I’ve never heard of a burlap sack or a gunny sack referred to as a potato sack. It could just be a regional thing.
Page 31 – 32 - Why did Arlene and Ralph what to leave the rescue center? My grown up mind gets why they would want to leave but since this script is aimed more a young people you might need a quick scene between Arlene and Ralph explaining their discontentment. Arlene has some nice comments earlier on and Ralph seems like an outside cat but I think for kids you need to paint the motivation with a much broader brush. “This is why we want to leave, and this is how we’re going to do it.”
Page 34 – As we start to see Charlie’s menacing side I was sort of thinking it could be foreshadowed a bit more. Why couldn’t it have been Charlie that treed Ralph in the first scene. And when the family goes to look at Gracie the first time could you maybe add something about Charlie looking out the car window at the cats in the rescue center window with distain or just some sort of gesture at looking at the cats to make his line on page 34 “You’re gonna wish you never left that cat place” hold more weight. Ostensibly he had his head down so he didn’t really look at the “cat place.”
Page 47 – It’s a broad leap that Frank makes wondering out loud if Charlie had anything to do with the mouse in the fish tank. It works for a kids movie but could work better is there was something to lead Frank to suspect Charlie. Maybe Frank finds big dog sized bite marks on the mouse or maybe a scene where Gracie was shown being afraid of the tank or just water in general which Frank could then remember at the point where he starts to suspect Charlie.
Page 67 – For the age group this script has been catering to up until now, a coyote grabbing a cat by the throat might be a bit too harsh. With Gracie being at the rescue center for a year without being euthanized it seemed like you were trying very hard to keep the idea of death out of the script or at least the bluntness of saying this animal is dead or about to die. I think there has to be another way to infer that the coyote got Christopher without it being so blunt. Something like Christopher getting on the rope and then the coyote makes his approach. Gracie could look back and the rope is broken and Christopher is gone.
Page 67 – Aren’t cats more active at night. It would seem that once the fair closed down that would be their paradise. That would be when they would snag food and have the whole place to themselves. There could be an opportunity to expand your story here. Instead of having them go to sleep you could have them explore more of the empty fair grounds. The things we see as humans would have a very different look and purpose for cats. One of the cats could talk about animals that have poles in their backs and are forced to go round and round all day (carousel). Someone could make Gracie a wig for her back side out of cotton candy. Gracie could have a moment of flashback with the fish tank if she sees one of those booths where you throw a ping-pong ball at a bunch of little fish bowls to win a fish. These are just examples of course but what I’m saying is, I think there is a missed opportunity here.
Page 73-77 – After I finished these pages I went back to page 73 and thought about the plan that Gracie and Ralph made. It seems odd for them to split up then for Ralph once he reaches the dump to suggest that they enlist the dog catchers when Gracie was going directly to the rescue center for whom the dog catchers works or so it’s been established. The “pound” and the rescue center become interchangeable although in the real word they are very different places. Having Billy Don bringing animals to the rescue center makes the pound and the rescue center one and the same in this script. Basically they both have the same plan and Ralph knows what Gracie’s plan is so it seems odd that his plan would be to do what she’s doing. (That made sense in my head, I hope it makes sense on your computer screen.) If Gracie stayed behind with Henry, then Ralph could go to the only place he knows to go for help, the dump. Gracie as our hero could see Henry getting worse and time is running out (ticking-time-bomb) so she could decide she knows what can help and takes off on her own (hero’s journey) to save her friend in the only place she knows to find help. (Maybe a scene with Nettie and Gladys dressing Gracie’s wounds as a flashback… oops I used dreaded the “F” word). Once at the dump Ralph could then brilliantly come up with the plan to get help from the dog catcher (as you have it written) without knowing that Gracie is doing the same thing.
Page 88 – Again the shotgun might be a bit harsh for the age group this script caters to.
Page 93 – “The NEW doggy door” That’s problematic. How do we know it’s new? I understand why you claim it’s new, if it wasn’t Gracie wouldn’t have had to shred the screen to get out. If she hadn’t shredded the screen Frank wouldn’t have known right away that she was gone. I like the idea the door always having been there and that’s how she got out. Having Gracie force her way out of the house sort of violently makes it seems like it’s a really horrible place to be, plus bad kitty for wreaking the screen. If she goes out the doggy door Frank could have guilt for leaving her in a place where her natural curiosity would lead her to explore. If maybe on the way out the doggy door her collar gets caught and she wriggles out of it leaves it hanging on what it got caught on, Frank could see it and know she was gone… and naked, hehehe.
Don’t you just hate it when people try and rewrite your script in their reviews… no seriously, please know that everything I wrote was in a “for example” mindset. With such a great script it’s hard to find anything else to say.
A few other thoughts:
For some reason when I first started reading Charlie’s lines I gave him a French accent, I don’t know why. I guess I always imagine poodles with French accents. You’re probably wondering how often I think about what accents animals have… the sad truth is, more often than I’d like to admit. Anyway after a while I started to hear more of a John Goodman voice (harsh, blue collar), then it was a French John Goodman, that was weird. My point in this ramble is that Charlie is a good villain-type character but a bit ill-defined in the beginning (not just voice type stuff). Show us what a prick he is from the outset. Also he disappears for a good chunk of the script. If you show a bit more of him enjoying the absence of Gracie it would make his “come-to-Jesus” at the end more poignant. I know he can’t really have dialogue while she’s gone as you set up very nicely that the "animal talk" only happens between animals. Just something more when Gracie’s people are trying to find her. Maybe he finds a poster on a light pole outside his house and jumps up, rips it down… then pees on it. Again just an example.
I think this is a fabulous kid’s film but if I had one grip it would be that there needs to be a little bit more entertainment value for the grown-up type people that have to squire the kids to the theater. Some films push the limit with grown-up stuff (I went with a friend and her 8 year old daughter to see the first Shrek movie. My friend and I loved it, her daughter hated it, was bored by it and even a little scared of it.) If you had just a few “over-their-head” type jokes it would make this a bit of an easier sale. You have a few i.e.: “What? You got a jealous boyfriend on your tail?” I’d just like to see a couple more.
This script is truly beautiful and most of my review is nit-picky stuff so take what you want and trash the rests. I can’t wait to see this on the big screen. read
by Joshua Hoskins on 12/04/2008What a welcomed surprise to find this script in my assignments. I thoroughly enjoyed the first version of Amazing Gracie, and was instantly excited to see what changes you might have made. And this latest version certainly lived up to expectations. Since I reviewed the last version, and already thought so highly of it, this is going to be a bit shorter than my other reviews... What a welcomed surprise to find this script in my assignments. I thoroughly enjoyed the first version of Amazing Gracie, and was instantly excited to see what changes you might have made. And this latest version certainly lived up to expectations.
Since I reviewed the last version, and already thought so highly of it, this is going to be a bit shorter than my other reviews. Hope you don't feel slighted. There just wasn't much to nitpick here.
This is a near perfect children's script. I have young nieces and nephews that are your target audience, and I can easily see this being something they would absolutely love. The characters, the dialogue, the story, are all pitch perfect. You manage to differentiate so clearly between a very large cast of stray animals. You infuse them with personalities that are unique and distinct, and I found it very easy to follow as this herd of characters meandered in and out of the plot. Creating really strong characters is every bit as important in a children's script as it is for grown up scripts, and you have a definite talent for character development.
My major issue with the last version was the back story of Gracie as a mother who had watched her young kittens die in a fire. I thought that was a bit heavy for this kind of script, and added a lot of unnecessary challenges in dealing with Gracie's feelings of loss. I love the change here. You've managed to keep the "being different is OK" theme that comes along with Gracie's scars, while removing a difficult to deal with set of circumstances for a children's film. There's still that element of sadness and loss that tints the script throughout, but it fits perfectly now.
The only real suggestion that I can make is that you might want to lose the description of the coyote actually attacking Christopher and dragging him away. Not sure that you'd really be able to get away with this in a children's movie. I think when we see the coyote ready to pounce, and Gracie later finds Christopher's shredded collar, that gives us enough information to know that Christopher is dead, without including something that might upset some of the kids in your audience. Just a suggestion. It's up to you.
That's about all I have. I'm giving this script really high marks. You've created a really solid children's script here. I wish you all the best with this. Hopefully the kids in my family are annoying the hell out of us playing this over and over again on DVD sometime soon. Thanks for letting me read.
by rmahler on 12/02/2008I always appreciate when a writer is economical with their words…good job. Overall, I liked the script, but felt that the dialog could have been more clever. I appreciate what you’ve done, but at the same time I felt that you could have invested the reader more emotionally in the story. To me, this is an excellent jumping off point. I’ve read at least one of your other... I always appreciate when a writer is economical with their words…good job. Overall, I liked the script, but felt that the dialog could have been more clever. I appreciate what you’ve done, but at the same time I felt that you could have invested the reader more emotionally in the story. To me, this is an excellent jumping off point. I’ve read at least one of your other scripts so I know you have it in you to take it up a notch, but great job on the whole.
Pg. 2 – backyard should be one word, I believe
- I think cocklebur is one word also
Pg. 15 - At the bottom of the page, you might consider taking out the line where Frank talks to himself. It’s kind of a toss-up in a script like this which is aimed at kids and you have to spoon-feed them a little.
Pg. 16 – a very minor formatting thing… I think the latest trend when you’re dealing with sub-locations is to put a slash between them as in “PET RESCUE CENTER / SMALL ROOM” - a minor point, but since your formatting is otherwise excellent, I thought I’d mention it.
Pg. 17 – scritches?
Pg. 18 – ferry might be too big a word for your audience, maybe just “carry” ?
pg. 20 – I’m not sure I understand why Ralph says “Ah, c’mon” when he wasn’t really asking a question; Arlene was.
Pg.21 – “fur child” didn’t quite work for me
Pg. 22 – “don’t take crap” might be a little harsh for your audience; it’s right on the line
Pg. 38 – “I’m not afraid and I’m not a freak” seems totally unnecessary.
Pg. 41 – “jerking your chain” worked very well
Pg. 51 – love the “Hello Kitty” backpack
Pg. 52 “To the Left Rear” is a secondary heading and should be capitalized
- “Is he trying to convince them or himself?” doesn’t belong in here. Perhaps something more like “Ralph looks a little unsure of his own words.”
Pg. 53 – “Maybe he’ll get the old cat alone?” - is also unnecessary.
Pg. 54 – all right is usually two words (not like already) – a common mistake
Pg. 58 – Did you mean “you’ll GET there all by yourself” ?
- you can delete “so to speak” at the bottom of the page”
pg. 61 – I could be wrong, but I thought this was a little late to introduce a whole slew of new characters
Pg. 66 – Did you mean “You YOU want to be a carny?”, or is that a typo?
Pg. 79 – I believe the doors that are divided horizontally are called Dutch doors or stable doors (not French doors).
- The “This doggy looks familiar” can be deleted since it will be obvious from the dialog that follows
- Pg. 87 – should be “takes a long LOOK” read
by filmnerd74 on 12/02/2008I enjoyed this read. It was cute and well-written and reminiscent of my old favorites like "Oliver" and "Pound Puppies." I just have some minor notes, as follows: --The writing was more-or-less tight but there were quite a few typos. I would go through and clean all that up even more. --Sometimes the action parts of the writing seemed overwritten, as if the same thing could... I enjoyed this read. It was cute and well-written and reminiscent of my old favorites like "Oliver" and "Pound Puppies." I just have some minor notes, as follows:
--The writing was more-or-less tight but there were quite a few typos. I would go through and clean all that up even more.
--Sometimes the action parts of the writing seemed overwritten, as if the same thing could be said in much fewer words. Some examples: pg 50 - the line that starts with "Hmm, something..." is repetitive. Also "Jack's trip..." is overwritten and can be simplified to something like "he looks pained." Pg 70 - "Ralph's open appreciation..."
--There are unfilmmables here and there. Example: pg 41 - "Ralph tries..."
--Pg 26: It is unclear what happens with the fish tank. It crashed but is still in tact?
--I would consider changing the names of the pets to more pet-like names. It would be okay to give them these "human" names if there were no people in the story, but since there are, you should keep the pple names for the pple and change the pet names to pet names - get creative and think of names that capture their different essenses so that they are even more distinguishable from each other as well as the humans.
--Pg 78: Change formatting to read shorter/smoother
--The ending (last page) should have more MMPH! to it!
Hope this helps. Keep writing! read
by strider on 11/24/2008This script reminds me of a meal i recently ate at a restaurant. It looked good. All the ingredients were present and it was clear that the chef knew how to cook the dish. However when i ate it, it was just food. It wasn't great or bad it was just kind of average. This writer obviously knows how to write a good script. Its just that something was missing. I dont think the... This script reminds me of a meal i recently ate at a restaurant. It looked good. All the ingredients were present and it was clear that the chef knew how to cook the dish. However when i ate it, it was just food. It wasn't great or bad it was just kind of average.
This writer obviously knows how to write a good script. Its just that something was missing. I dont think the story was strong enough to keep the reader involved. The cat decides to leave home because she is feeling unappreciated and then hangs out at a dump and then a fair and then her friend gets attacked by a coyote and she finds help.
This story is sorta like a homeward bound im assuming but only there was no real story. Homeward bound is about the pets trying desperately to brave the elements and make it home but this script was just about some cats walking around and seeing some sights for the most part.
As i said it was well written for the most part and the ending was touching i just think a stronger story is needed.
Also having drunk pets partying is kinda strange for a kids film.
Also besides luring the dog catcher to her sick friend at the end, gracie didnt really do anything all that amazing.
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