WAS Screenplay of the Month finalist February 2011. "A British Army photographer creates an escape from life."
HOW IT RATES
Logline: "When her father's history returns and armed with guns - a teen must lay to rest the past, in order to secure a future." (Drama with a bit of action, a bit of humour :)
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Reviews of Black Lark 10
by bishop76 on 11/15/2009Well, Well, Mr. Jwest. Frist off, I'd like to congratualte you on your script. It was well thought out, well paced, and well formatted. Now I'm not a pro like you so if your expecting a huge 3 1/2 page review, I'm sorry. I'm still a novice at screenwriting and reviewing. Sorry for the inconvienence. Ok let's talk about your formatting, it was simple enough to understand. I... Well, Well, Mr. Jwest. Frist off, I'd like to congratualte you on your script. It was well thought out, well paced, and well formatted. Now I'm not a pro like you so if your expecting a huge 3 1/2 page review, I'm sorry. I'm still a novice at screenwriting and reviewing. Sorry for the inconvienence. Ok let's talk about your formatting, it was simple enough to understand. I usually like that in a screenplay, the only problem I had was there were scenes I had to reread to get. Eg: the scene where Phil and James are talking about his past. I finally got that there was a light above the wall displaying what had happened. I think that was the only scene I had confusion on. Your style of writing I really like, I only wish I could write like that one day. It's straight and right to the point.
Now the structure of your screenplay was what really got me. The beggining scene where the mother died caught me off guard. Then the scene where the father James is actually dead and only phil could see him surprised the hell out of me. I love stories that do that, and yours definitly accomplished it. Although there were a couple of things I'd like to clarify for a sec, so suzy is what 16 and she's allowed to drink? I wouldn't allow my daughter to drink at all, not even when she's 16. Another thing, I didn't feel as if Matt and Phil really connected, give me at least one more scene where the react with each other. I'd be more belivable that way. Now there were some things that did annoy me, Okay so they have a grandmother who's very neat. Why are they always so worked up about her cleanliness? If it really was a life or death situation I wouldn't really care about that, to tell you the truth I'd rather her be mad at me than for her to have a very clean floor.
Now the positive things I loved were the scenes between Phil and her father James. Very believable, that's what I'd call drama at it's finest. Especially the scene where James carried his daughter Suzy away from Grey, I thought it was very heroic. Now your dialogue wasn't bad, it was kinda snappy at times like with Phil saying she wants to kick box and Meg saying she doesn't want her too. Otherwise it was very elequent. Your story overall was great and I really mean that. The dead parents as ghosts was an excellent idea also having them interact with the daughters like trying to save their lives was the best thing I loved about your script. And I like how you had it happen all in one night. Very creative.
I had no big problems with this script, the only thing you could change is more character reaction between Phil and Matt. I hope this helps you in some way cause in the end that's what reviews are suppose to do right? Good luck with your writing and I hope to read more of your stories in the future. read
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 11/07/2009This is a well-written, fast-paced screenplay with good formatting. The action scenes move along quickly, and the angle about the dead father James and mother Alice coming to the aid of their family gives this script a uniqueness that separates it from others in this genre. The action writing moved quickly in the script, which for me was a great strength, but also a weakness... This is a well-written, fast-paced screenplay with good formatting. The action scenes move along quickly, and the angle about the dead father James and mother Alice coming to the aid of their family gives this script a uniqueness that separates it from others in this genre.
The action writing moved quickly in the script, which for me was a great strength, but also a weakness. At times I struggled to make sense with what was going on action-wise. A rewrite that focuses on making sure everything that is happening in the script is clearly explained for the reader could help.
Also, with the amount of characters in the script, I also struggled keeping track of who was who. Maybe a reminder when reintroducing the characters. This won't be a problem when the Coen Brothers are directing this and actors are in the roles (this is meant to be filmed, after all, not read), but since it is in the script stage, making sure the readers are able to connect the dots more would help.
That being said, you show talent with this script, a professional presentation of it, and a unique, fast-paced premise, so I would rate this one above average.
by Matt_Bro on 11/06/2009This script had a certain confidence in it's writing I couldn't help but admire and the writer certainly knew the story but for my money, there wasn't much of a story here. The entire second half of the script is pretty much just one enlongated scene. I think the main issue I had here was tone. What I was reading was coming off at times as a crime thriller one minute, a teen... This script had a certain confidence in it's writing I couldn't help but admire and the writer certainly knew the story but for my money, there wasn't much of a story here. The entire second half of the script is pretty much just one enlongated scene.
I think the main issue I had here was tone. What I was reading was coming off at times as a crime thriller one minute, a teen coming of age fantasy comedy featuring a qise cracking dead father the next and something resembling A History of Violence after that. I'm all for genre mixing but for me, they didn't really work in this case.
So the plot is basically, a father steals money from the mob, gets gunned down, appears to his daughter who is always on the run with the rest of her family who finally decide to face the mobsters which culminates in a house invasion. And that's it. There's nothing else there. Had the characters been stronger, it could have been a compelling one hour drame perhaps but in this form, it's trying to juggle too many balls when really, it's a one ball show.
The shocking opening is great and throws a lot of names around. It then slows down and some things aren't made clear - for example, I wasn't even aware they were in a different house from the opening scene until it was mentioned that they have been moving around.
The appeareance of the ghost dad was rather odd and it took a while to work out the fantasy rules at play, some of which still didn't make sense - did he even know he was dead? how come he could touch some things but not others? why was it only phil that could see him? and then, what had changed that was making others (everyone from suzy to grey) begin to be able to see him. It needs thinking through.
He's defintely a ghost as he tells Phil information she wouldn't be able to find out otherwise. While these flashback scenes were well written and done in an interesting way - a sort of interactive flashback with self aware characters and v/o, it is still just exposition at the end of the day. But you do have an eye for the cinematic, describing scenes such as those and utilising voiceover from previous scenes leaking over into the next etc. These work and are not stepping on the toes of the directors job or describing shot lists etc.
II found all the London gangster types to be too similar and there wasn;t much personality between them. Grey too felt like a stock villain.
Why was James getting scared? He's a ghost? But could still be killed again? Until the audience knows how things work, they can't invest emotion in anyone.
Again with the tone, the playful banter between Phil and James didn't match up to the ultra violence at play - shin slashings and eye stabbings - People were being killed by young girls and no one seemed to be affected, least of all the girls themselves, who seemed natural waving a gun around in the third act.
The dialogue was consistent and worked it's purpose. While the characters may not have had their full potential realised, what you did utilise was done very well and you can certainly write for a large cast.
Basically, I think the supernatural elements at play took too much importence from the core story and watered down the threat and what was at stake. You could probably do a perfectly tight thriller about a ruthless mob hunting down an innocent family AND a heartwarming tale of a father who returns to help his daughter where he can but I'm undecided if they belong together in the same script, at least as it stands in this version.
You write scene descriptions well and can be very visual, just work on your core ideas, themes and characters some more and I'm confident something great can be brought out. All the best. read
by jason0222 on 10/14/2009Well, there were definitely some surprises laying in wait. I like to be tricked a little. More about that later. Oh, let's just jump on in... 1. In an upstairs window, young Philomena "PHIL" PEDRA (6) --thuds her hands on the glass. Tears run down her face. --This was an intriguing first couple lines. The rest of page one was mostly a struggle to memorize names and... Well, there were definitely some surprises laying in wait. I like to be tricked a little. More about that later.
Oh, let's just jump on in...
1. In an upstairs window, young Philomena "PHIL" PEDRA (6) --thuds her hands on the glass. Tears run down her face.
--This was an intriguing first couple lines. The rest of page one was mostly a struggle to memorize names and nicknames, ages and attributes. I'd love if you could make it flow better.
And then things get surprisingly violent. Nice.
2. A sparrow flies smack -- straight into an open, upstairs window...
-- Shouldn't the window be closed? It confuses what happened. At first I thought it flew inside the house.
-- Then there is time for Phil to climb the tree as the bird is sliding down? That's a slowww slide. It would actually bounce off. I've seen it too many times. 8(
4. Phil takes off her jacket to reveal her Mum's gold locket around her neck. How would we know Alice was her Mum? Or even James' wife? I first assumed James was Phil's brother, but that is only because the script gave his last name.
"She flicks her stereo on and twiddles..." "twiddles?" UK-ers are kooky. 8)
-- I think Suzy needs an exact age, since each teen year has its own craziness.
--James is alive! Great!! You tricked us. Most will assume both are dead. (ya got me on the ol' double reverse! but i'll leave this here to show how you did me.)
10. I like the V.O. bit as she finds the trench coat.
All [Pedra’s] Are Bastards.
--I don't think their name has been spoken yet. May help to say it before this. Also, only 3 letters can fit BETWEEN the knuckles. Unless you put one by the thumb.
Okay, I am being too nitpicky. I need to relax and get a better feel for the story. I'm going in. See ya later...
Pg 35. Oh fuck! You're evil. You got me good. The funny thing is, I even read in someone else's review that Phil talks to her dead father! I totally forgot. LOL!
-- Just reread all James' scenes. Cool. I dig it.
-- What I don't get is: why is this the first time they have this talk? In 12 years she never told him he's dead, or asked if he sees Mum? This can't be the 1st time she sees him, cuz she's too calm about it all. Maybe better to have them both know everything, but they rehash their old talks.
-- Then he tells her that "things don't work that way." So now he does know he's dead, and how it all works? Confusing.
Girls, I expect you to be packed by the time we [get return].
Is it just you? Can anyone else [can] see me?
-- Okay, so Suzy is 14. Not "mid teens," since the teens start at 13.
Sir. Call me crazy.
-- Tough choice of wording here. Basically: "everyone calls me 'Sir.' Call me crazy." Or did you mean this as a joke?
-- Should be "Nobody's leaving..."
-- Did Swayze spook a cat in "Ghost" to help get the killer? Can't remember, but think I saw it somewhere.
69. Each girl sees different parent! Very interesting!! Though, I'd imagine a very emotional moment. Especially for Phil who was old enough to remember Mum. She'd ask suzy lots of questions and have here translate. But they gloss right over it too easily.
Okay, all done. It was decent. One thing that kept me from connecting and following everything was all the non-distinct names. Matt, Matthews and Mark were tough. Phil has a boy's name. Suzy is the only name I never struggled with. Every other name made me stop and think for a sec.
I felt some of the dialog was on the nose. Though, there was plenty of plot that needed explaining. So, it didn't bug me too much, cuz I wanted the answers. But you might still dramatize the lines more.
There seemed to be too many bad guys too. I never had any of them straight. Could you merge a few and make them more distinct and stronger?
It seemed odd that this whole movie revolved around one hand of poker that James won fair and square, then gives back most of the winnings (for what reason we don't know), and then his entire family needs to die even years later. This should have a stronger premise. Why didn't Grey just kill him at the poker table and be done with it? And you have Grey say later: "Ah well, fair’s fair." This seems inconsistent with his character.
Maybe have an even bigger boss at said game and James embarrasses Grey as he beats him consistently. When Grey takes over he wants revenge. Just a thought.
I do like the ghost idea, though you may need to explain WHY each kid can only see one. And how long has Suzy seen Mum? And why has neither kid told the other?
You may even want to have more fun with this SP, since the ghost part adds a fun touch. Like, I'd love to see James hanging outside with the bad guys and yelling all their plans to Phil inside. The bad guys would have no idea he was there and that could be fun when she anticipates and counters their every move.
The concept is pretty cool. Kinda like "Ghost" meets "The 6th Sense." Both, great movies.
And I liked your quasi-flashbacks where the lights dim and Phil can even participate in them. Pretty clever.
Okay, good times. You have a very interesting mind. I shoulda known. If you have any comments/questions, don't hesitate to write.
by Ed Rodgers on 10/11/2009Hm. I think this is the second time I’ve reviewed one of your scripts in as many weeks. Not that it’s a chore or anything, you’re a good writer. The concept is a little bland, but the idea of bringing the supernatural into a crime or action movie is something I’ve been toying with for a while and it’s a poo that someone else has done it before me. Story is solid. It seemed... Hm. I think this is the second time I’ve reviewed one of your scripts in as many weeks. Not that it’s a chore or anything, you’re a good writer.
The concept is a little bland, but the idea of bringing the supernatural into a crime or action movie is something I’ve been toying with for a while and it’s a poo that someone else has done it before me.
Story is solid. It seemed to run at a fair pace and had a few likeable turns thrown in. If this sounds a little brief, its simply because there really was nothing notably bad or excellent about it. It’s a solid story. The Phil character was definitely the strongest and she makes for a likeable protagonist you can really get behind. James was another I found really good. Dialogue like the rest of the script is solid, but not outstanding.
Overall this just needs a little more “umph” to get it to live up to the overall premise. Having read Retro Speck, I’m sure you can do it. Best of luck. read
by ICEINK* on 10/08/2009I am reminded of Truly, Madly, Deeply where humor springs from the juxtaposition of a real world cohabitating with the spirit world. But, in this case, the humor often felt forced and badly timed. For example, scenes around page 60, in the middle of a life and death struggle, James, a ghost, keeps chatting up his daughter giving away her position. He then dives, cowers,... I am reminded of Truly, Madly, Deeply where humor springs from the juxtaposition of a real world cohabitating with the spirit world. But, in this case, the humor often felt forced and badly timed.
For example, scenes around page 60, in the middle of a life and death struggle, James, a ghost, keeps chatting up his daughter giving away her position. He then dives, cowers, says “What? I got scared.” Later, he “flaps his arms about and runs like a girl” just after Grey has shot his daughter, Suzy, and is closing in on killing them all. The misogyny of this latter description aside, it raises a lot of questions about who James was in life.
It is the character of James that I was really a little lost on. At the SP’s opening we meet a living James only as the object of violence. During a long section of exposition at the center of the SP we find out that he had been unemployed prior to his death, was desperate to provide for his family, and had taken a job with a wrong guy. But it was his skill as a card player that led to his death. He legitimately won enough money to improve his family’s lot in life, but wrong-guy Grey was a bad loser.
What I take away from this is a James that does everything in his power to support his family during very hard times. James reputation in the family goes contrary to this. Grandma and Pa don’t seem to remember him that fondly and his daughter, Phil, demonstrates little respect for him or understanding of his sacrifice. She seems to hold James as responsible for his own and his wife’s death as much as the killers.
I understand Phil is a teenager and that some of the anger toward James can be emotional and illogical, but James seems to accept his “guilt,” making no case for himself with his daughter, and then, when she really needs him, he gets scared like a little girl. Has he become such a joker after his death, was he always like this?
The dialogue had some intelligence to it, but the brakes were applied to the story with a long section of exposition right at the SP’s heart including a couple of flashbacks just in case we were too dim to follow.
Just as Grey’s storm clouds are gathering, James takes Phil through the card game, Phil: You could have let him win! Wouldn’t that have been a wiser decision?
Nothing about this family makes you think they cow tow or take shit from anyone. While this is going on, the Gramps are saving the police from the bad guys! Nothing about Phil makes us think she would hand over hard-won gambling profits out of fear she might upset someone. Grey’s reaction, the attempt to wipe out an entire family because he lost at poker, is crazy, not James who simply had the courage to play his cards to the best of his ability. All this makes James’ acceptance of his “guilt,” feel uncharacteristic of the family if not himself.
Coming back to Truly, Madly, Deeply and Ghost, the genre in general, when you introduce ghosts, they come with certain accepted traits. No one has ever met a vampire, but we all expect they can’t tolerate the sun. If you’re going to introduce a vampire that walks about in the daylight, you’ll need to supply some logic.
When Jamie appears to Nina in her grief in Truly, Madly, Deeply we immediately understand why he is there and why she can see him: she needs to see him, truly, madly and deeply needs to see him. We’re surprised when later he brings home a gaggle of ghosts which she can also see, but we come to understand this has been arranged by Jamie as a therapy of sorts, she remembers only the good about their marriage. He’s trying to bring her back to reality.
The ghost-logic in this SP feels haphazard, free wheeling and convenient. Do you see ghosts, too? Sure, I just didn’t want to say anything. Now everyone sees the ghosts and the ghosts see everyone and ghost-mom’s been hanging out with the sister and her friend? I’m still not sure who’s zooming who and why. A ghost who couldn't hold a book can suddenly move a body when not 5 minutes before he could do next to nothing to assist his daughter in a life and death struggle (except crack wise).
It’s clear that Phil truly, madly and deeply needs to resolve her issues with James but I end up not being that certain what these issues are. Phil incorrectly or correctly blames her father for the deaths and hardships of living in witness protection? It’s the unreasonable and irrational anger of a teenager who has lost her parents?
All in all, there are some likable characters and good material to work with going forward. These are my two cents. Take them for what they are worth.
On the purely technical:
*at the opening, it would be good to know where we are, what country, what city. I'm pulled a little out of the story wondering, piecing together, well this guy's a Londoner and this one's mock cockney, so we might be in England.
*the use of "SAME" and "CONTINUOUS" throughout is, as I understand it, non standard and unnecessary
*there is a habit of using pronouns when the name would be less confusing. Take the sentence "James steps backs out of the van -- she tries to cling on to him." could read "James steps from the van. Alice clings to him." A moment later: "Alice screams. Her husband crumples..." Up to this point, the audience just knows this is a couple in a van. How do they know James is her husband? Maybe note the presence of a wedding ring. A little further down: ... young Phil stands her hands against the glass." stands, her hands.
What is an "old fashioned camper van?" Give us something to see or we're left with a generic impression.
*...smooth her disheveled appearance down." down is unnecessary.
* BEN (O.S.) Eh? What is it not, girl? Moan, mumble, moan." Is he saying moan, mumble... or is he moaning and mumbling?
*the introduction of CAT JAMES I had to read a couple of times thinking it was a person, Catherine James, or it was the character James being a cat. I guess the reason James and the cat are named the same has something to do with Phil's relationship with the cat?
*page 34 "A gun smokes in his." his what?
*page 38 Meg " ...be packed by the time we get return." get the get out
*page 44 "think someone just walked over my grave. hey, that's my line." found it too cute and obvious
*page 46 "Both James and Phil jump both startled" both both's?
*page 47 "So tell me more about this Grey character then?" Why is it a question rather than a command? This is the beginning of some very overt exposition that felt loaded into the middle of the SP. Would have been better more integrated throughout.
Did, however, like the strange, flashbacky storytelling of the card game. Felt like a stage play where the lights go down on this section, come up on a recollection.
For me, though, this was a low point and an exemplar of the problematic relationship between father and daughter, Phil: "Steady! No need to dry hump his leg and lick everything, whilst you're down there!" Here she is making fun of a father eating shit to take a job, any job, to support his family. Later, she criticizes him for not swallowing a mountain of shit to let the same man steal a poker pot the size of a good inheritance. Only to ask "Are you waiting for some kind of forgiveness? Redemption of sorts?" If this is core to the story, I didn't buy in. Maybe he's waiting for his daughter to show an ounce of impathy for his sacrifice.
page 62 Bailey "Nobodies leaving..." Nobody's
page 66: Drives me crazy when a victim incapacitates her attacker and doesn't have the smarts to pick up the gun. Here she passes the gun over to pick up a roasting fork instead.
page 70: Another thing drives me crazy. A group of victims under attack from unseen forces in the dark. They disable the first couple of attackers then stand around shooting the breeze as if they know there isn't someone else out in the dark lining up a shot. Maybe have James earn his keep here and do reconnaissance before everyone relaxes.
page 72: An example of your use of pronouns possibly adding unnecessary confusion. You seem to avoid repeating character's names, probably in an attempt to add variety, but fast-readying industry types can get confused by constructions like: "Gregor approaches. A gun in one hand. Her friend couches into a patch of long grassy reeds." Emma crouches in a patch of grassy reeds" is clearer.
page 74: Gregor flies into the hallway, shoots at the front door. Gregor suddenly has a gun though we just saw him disarmed. A half-page later you explain that he had secreted a second gun but this is after the unnecessary confusion. Gregor flies into the hallway, takes his backup piece from an ankle holster, shoots at the front door." Does he shoot at or out the front door?
*75 "Suzy prises herself..." pries?
"the dead Matt." awkward
* 76 When did Emma start seeing Alice? Why does Suzy assume Alice can "take Emma out the front." Why does a friend get to see Alice but not her own daughter, Phil? Followed immediately by Phil: You can see Dad? Suzy: Since about a minute ago? What are the rules here? Then James moves Matt's body? What?
* 79 Suzy: "Go away. Don't need you. Don't want you here." What's up with these girls relationship to their dad. Surely ghost-Alice hasn't been filling their heads with stories to alienate them. Suzy was a toddler when dad died. Don't get this rejection of dad. Feels like some author logic that is not on the page.
*82 Now Grey can see James. An no one seems especially surprised by all these ghost sightings?
*85ish The focus on the "loot" cheapens what this family has gone through, for me. That James takes the recovery of what is probably blood money as his crowning contribution to the family is the first real inclination of bad character on his part for me. I would think that what's important to these girls is that everything James did was for them, his family, however misguided.
87. Dead Matt just seems to get forgotten about in this denouement. Yes, we have his funeral later, but when they're counting their victories, there has to be a moment for the fallen, especially from his girlfriend.
88 - 89 The exposition of how they converted bonds to a bank account seemed unnecessary and really out of place at the funeral. It should be the last thing they're concerned with. I assume, if they found the loot, they're enriched. This isn't a loose thread that needs tied up, for me, especially right before the parents "pass over." It reads kinda like, "You got your money so you're good, right? We can go now, right."
Is it about money or family? read
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 10/04/2009Black Lark is a script filled with humor, action and just a hint of the supernatural. It was a pleasure to read, though I have a couple of questions in hopes to stretch the material to an even greater outcome. CONCEPT: The concept is not entirely novel and rings very much like a lot of British gangster flicks…however the addition of the James as a ghost playing in is a new... Black Lark is a script filled with humor, action and just a hint of the supernatural. It was a pleasure to read, though I have a couple of questions in hopes to stretch the material to an even greater outcome.
CONCEPT: The concept is not entirely novel and rings very much like a lot of British gangster flicks…however the addition of the James as a ghost playing in is a new twist that I don’t think I’ve seen in this genre. Like many of these types of movies the story and characters become fertile ground for both action and quite a lot of humor, which is very true in this script.
STORY: I thought the story was pretty good. There were a couple of things I would’ve liked to see play out. First of all, the score that James had not returned. I wanted this to be sort of a final quest in the story. Perhaps James and Alice move on and Phil tries to call out to ask them about the score. She doesn’t get them, instead she clues back to something he would say earlier that would clue her in. In my mind this would naturally point to the locket. James could say early on that he hid it in a place only Alice could reveal (even if he can’t personally remember the story. Then Phil could go in, take Alice’s picture out of the locket and find an engraved address or some such. Anyhow, that’s just an idea.
Additionally I was rather let down that Matt had to die. He’s sort of collateral damage and I think it’s unnecessary for him to bite the dust, in fact it’s much more hopeful if he sticks around (I do recognize that pictures like this one aren’t known for the humanity that they show their lesser characters). It seems to me that for this film, in its tone and in its makeup should allow for Matt to live…again, just my two cents.
CHARACTER: Phil was wonderful, very alive and very likable. I thought her character really jumped off the page, however I wanted her to fight the guys with kickboxing. That’s what she wanted to learn/what she was sort of quasi-teaching herself…is there a way that she can put those skills to much greater use? It seemed as sort of a set-up without the appropriate pay-off as she goes through the bad guys relying on a lot of luck. I don’t think it’s necessary for her to kick box all of them, but it would be much more satisfying if that’s how she does in Grey…seeing as how he’s sort of the reason she wants to learn it in the first place…a way of him indirectly causing his own demise.
Meg was exceptionally well written…stern and a great contrast to much of the rest of the family (which is where we draw a lot of our comedy). Suzy was good, but I felt like she could’ve been a touch more alive. Ben was very good…as were most of the other minor characters. James served quite a bit for comic relief, which was appropriate, kind of wanted a little more of a push and pull from him and Phil when she first realizes he’s a ghost…etc.,
I’d like to know more about Grey. I want him to be a more formidable foe in the end and someone that the reader/audience at least doubts Phil’s chances against. As it stands I find that he’s someone that we’re largely left in the dark about. We’re told why he’s after the family and obviously that search is occurring because of some pride issues that he has…an inability to lose. Tap into that and let’s see some more.
STRUCTURE: Nothing much out of the ordinary…much different than the other script I recently read by the same writer. This script was largely conventional in its act structure and because of that was a much smoother read for me. I loved how the flashbacks between James and Grey were constructed…and loved that Phil was actually a character that could be heard in them. Scenes didn’t seem to wander or go on too long, also there seemed to purposes for all the scenes contained. As stated above I think there could be some added without losing the punch of what you have.
DIALOGUE: Delicious. I love reading scripts from the U.K. for some reason the character’s voices always sound more realistic…probably because I don’t take it for granted the way I do American English…and also probably because I cannot directly determine if something is too on the nose or not. Either way I loved the interchanges in this – Well done.
OVERALL: A smooth read. Granted I do think there could be a bit added to this script to really make it rock but as it stands it is a rather fun read. Thanks for a good time and please let me know if you post any rewrites!
Notes while reading Black Lark
Pg. 10 – Mark falls out of the tree. – Funny
Pg. 14 – James steps in behind(,) curious.
Pg. 14 – Matthews (Matthew?) will be round later? - I think it’s indicated as both…
Pg. 15 – The girl’s (girls’) faces…
P. 19/20 – Sat/Nav set is funny…had this happen before.
I see a few times where an apostrophe is inserted in Matthews name…like on page 22: Matthew’s picks up a clear, plastic bag. Perhaps do a search and replace for Matthew’s.
Pg. 24 – I wonder if for the sake of the audience Matthews can explain why Grey can’t be apprehended…or something. It just seems that if he’s bad and the cops know he’s bad and threatening someone’s life that they might be able to detain him…unless he can’t be found, etc.,
When Matt enters…that name may be too close to Matthews…though there may be a reason. Just a thought…
Pg. 34 – A gun smokes in his (hand).
Pg. 39 – Can anyone else (canßlose) see me?
Pg. 49 – Really like the James/Grey “flashback” very nice change of convention.
Pg. 59 – wonders – wanders?
Pg. 59 – That’s Meg’s favorite pan. Haha!
Pg. 75 – prises (pries?) – you killed Matt! L
Pg. 82 - … his (a) gun in the holster. read
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 10/04/2009This screenplay was written well, however, the overall story felt really flat. There was a great setup for conflict, but instead, all this reader got in return was conviniant instances of escape. The screenplay started out extremly slow with many scenes not serving the overall story. Here are this reader's page by page notes... pg.2 The charecter descriptions feel very "choppy",... This screenplay was written well, however, the overall story felt really flat. There was a great setup for conflict, but instead, all this reader got in return was conviniant instances of escape.
The screenplay started out extremly slow with many scenes not serving the overall story.
Here are this reader's page by page notes...
pg.2 The charecter descriptions feel very "choppy", slowing up the read.
pg.2 Not too sure how soemone being "Welsh" or "a Lundoner" can be shown on screen.
pg.2 "Stands her hands against the glass"?
pg.2 Very risky to start a screenplay with "12 years later"
pg.4 No need to have Ben say "Twelve years ago, today" We already know this from the "Super: Twelve years later"
pg.4 It's somewhat difficult for this reader to picture an 18 year old girl with the name of Phil.
pg.6 Why use periods like this..."Must.Fight.It"?
pg.17 "why can't you lie like normal"?
pg.17 This reader has no clue, as to what's going on here. With all the dialogue, there should of been more information given to propell the story forward. For instance...pages 16-17 are wasted on dialogue about a party, that in the end has nothing to do with the story. In a 90 page screenplay efficiancy is important.
pg.17 Stilted dialogue here "Yes, of course, completely. Thank you"
pg.18 "Kick arse" should be "ass"
pg.18 What's the big deal about Phil wanting to take kick-boxing? I mean after all, she is 18.
pg.19 "Wndscreen wipers" should be "windshield wipers"
pg.19 The constant use of (v.o) and (o.s) is getting to be tiresome.
pg.20 Too many charecters so far.
pg. 22 James, Ban, and Meg all talk to the girls as if though they were 5 years old.
pg.24 Could we please, get on with the story, already?
pg.25 Look at all the charecters you have so far...Ben, James, Phil, Suzy, Meg, Alice, Bailey, Ric, Mark, etc... TOO MANY
pg.26 what is the "heated discussion under way"? Show don't tell.
pg.26 What is "argument erupts"? Again, show don't tell.
pg.31 Come on already with this story.
pg.32-33 The dialogue between James and Phil is too stilted and very expositional. It sounds nothing like a father and daughter.
pg.35 What the heck just happened, here? You mean James is a ghost?
pg.36 This reader has no clue what is going on in this screenplay.
pg.39 Typo... "Can anyone else can see me"?
pg.43 Still nothing happening.
pg.50 Still nothing of interest happening.
pg.56 It's page 56 and all this reader has been given is that James is a ghost and that he beat Grey at a game of cards. This could have been shown in two scenes.
pg.61 Why would James hate to tell his daughter he's proud of her?
pg.64 The banter between James and Phil doesn't really work here. It's too out of charecter. Like why would James care about a pan getting meesed up?
pg.66 Everything is happening too easily for Phil. It's as if though she's a special forces expert.
pg.70 How many times is Emma going to bang her head against the table?
pg.75 Typo...should read "Suzy "pries" herself away"
pg.75 "Sod it"?
pg.85 "Lick-box lessons?
The ending felt cliche.
This screenplay was written well, but just didn't manage to pull this reader into the world of these charecters. A protagonist is only as strong as the Antagonist and in this screenplay the antagonits wasn't clearly defined.
I mean, all of this was over a card game? That's it? This screenplay and story needs a larger motivation than a simple card game and diamond.
This reader was figuring the kick-boxing would come into play during the climax, but it doesn't so it really wasn't needed. So, than why even use it?
This reader wasn't given any reason to care about any of the charecters, because they were all built up with stilted banter of dialgue.
All in all good writing, but there needs to be a more refined story. A more detailed antagonist and reason to really care for these charecters.
Good luck and great writing.
by Piper07 on 10/04/2009"Black Lark" is a truly touching screenplay. This screenplay provides a little something for everyone. For anyone who likes things of a supernatural nature you've provided James and Alice, which I thought was fantasitc twist. Phil has a minor romance with Matt, which definitely appeals to people who need romance. Then there is the humor that is totally well placed. The concept... "Black Lark" is a truly touching screenplay. This screenplay provides a little something for everyone. For anyone who likes things of a supernatural nature you've provided James and Alice, which I thought was fantasitc twist. Phil has a minor romance with Matt, which definitely appeals to people who need romance. Then there is the humor that is totally well placed. The concept and story are amazing. The dialogue was spot on and the characters were totally believeable. I couldn't find much wrong with this screenplay at all. I did take a very few notes while reading and have provided them below for you.
Pg. 29 – In the third to last action line it reads, “…tries to separate the two up.” It may need to be edited so it reads, “…tries to separate the two.”
Pg. 39 – James says “Can anyone else can see me?” You may want to change that to “Can anyone else see me?”
Pg. 65 – Phil’s line is funny “And how exactly do you suggest I stand up, if my arms are in the air?”
Overall, I think that this is a fantastic screenplay. I'm anticipating greatness for it. I hope it does well. Good luck. read
by gapoz on 09/25/2009I have had the pleasure of being assigned 3 or 4 winners in a row now. This script kept it going, and as a bonus, wasn't filled with problems that slowed me down. Good job. Good story. It took me a while to understand that she could see her dead father. This isn't a problem, unless it's just my brain and I should have known all along. I thought this was a neat story, original,... I have had the pleasure of being assigned 3 or 4 winners in a row now. This script kept it going, and as a bonus, wasn't filled with problems that slowed me down. Good job. Good story.
It took me a while to understand that she could see her dead father. This isn't a problem, unless it's just my brain and I should have known all along. I thought this was a neat story, original, and well told. There are some typos and a few missing words here and there, but minor. I apologize for not noting them to help you out, but it's your own fault. I didn't want to stop reading long enough to take notes.
In terms of format and structure, you obviously have this stuff down. Because of that, the story reads clean, fast, and smooth. I thought the characters were well developed and covered a range. Often times with my own writing this is a problem and they tend to meld into some common character. You obviously don't suffer from that problem and each individual remains individual.
One minor problem was with Phil. No matter how deep I got into the story, Phil always struck my mind as a guy, and because of my slow turning wheels (they are old) it always made me do a mental correction to know who it was.
I liked the way the antags were woven into the story. I'll admit that killing the lady at the B&B seemed odd and unneeded, but for the most part these guys were fairly believable. I enjoyed not knowing exactly why they were after the family until so late in the game.
I got a little confused in the end where Suzy and her friend were in the field. Again, not taking notes, I apologize for not being able to put my finger on it, but I somehow got confused on whether someone was a good guy or a bad guy. Something about a rat in the pack and I didn't quite know which side the rat was on. Probably my own fault, but thought I'd offer it up in case you want to take a look.
It might just be me, but I found a lot of comedy in this drama, and I liked that. Wish I could be of more help in how you might improve it, but what can I say. I'm not the worlds best in reagrds technical aspects, but this looked pretty good to me, seemed to have a good pace, always moved forward, and most importantly, at least to me, was a good story.
best of luck. read
- Writer: J. West
- Uploaded by: jwest
- Length: 90 pages
- Genre: drama
- This has changed a bit since it's last appearance. Thanks to previous reviewers, hope you enjoy the read. In UK English. ;) Kaos Films - first rounder.
Quirkness with a hint of arty-fart. Working on the rest.
"Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality." -- Alfred Painter.
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