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HOW IT RATES
Meet Frank Sharpe, college professor, and drug smuggler. He's got a bullet in his brain and three days to find out who put it there.
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Reviews of Burnout 17
by RmReel on 02/22/2007I read the screenplay like a fast-paced fictional novel. It kept me going and i was bored only until Frank returns to Philadelphia after the attack with the Ukranians. Having summarized above my overall thoughts i must add the following: 1) The first few pages of the screenplay until Frank returns to Philadelphia has been very poorly written. The dialogs seem like they have... I read the screenplay like a fast-paced fictional novel. It kept me going and i was bored only until Frank returns to Philadelphia after the attack with the Ukranians.
Having summarized above my overall thoughts i must add the following:
1) The first few pages of the screenplay until Frank returns to Philadelphia has been very poorly written. The dialogs seem like they have been added to make the conversation cool between the duo (something along the line of pulp fiction?). But it does not hold the interest. It is very flat and doesn't sound like a moment/conversation. Even the action with the Ukranians has been sequenced poorly. In any screenplay/movie, the first 15 to 25 minutes/pages should be highly engrossing.
2) The Protagonist does not appear like a protagonist. Even though the writer tries to inform us that he has only 3 days, i did not feel like i was hoping for the Protagonist to succeed. At times i forgot what the protagonist really wanted (spine of the film). There were times when the actions and behavior of the Character did not demonstrate he had any bullet in his head at all.
3) The repeated discussion on the protagonist's tenure made it feel like it was important to the screenplay but somehow it just disappeared.
4) Ending need not have been a 'wild things' sort of because it does not need to. That is a low priority from a feedback perspective because that can be cut even after filming
5) The writer must give instances or examples to show that Frank getting a bullet in his head is a much serious fact than how it is depicted. When he elopes from the hospital, will no one come looking for him?
6) Also Marcus gets arrested and all the blame is somehow pinned on him without substantial support
7) The 2 cop characters have been written very well. 2 thumbs up to the writer for that. Very creative... and even the lines between the 2 are very good.
8) Overall the dialogs were pretty strong after the first few pages. That is certainly a strength to the screenplay. read
by Dannie on 01/20/2007Cool story, great protagonist with huge obstacles to overcome. A combo of Tarantino and Elmore Leonard with a whacked out premise and some pretty good dialogue. Could sorta picture Frank played by Cruise, but he'll never admit he needs a comeback film. This script is going to need a little more development- unless you're going to produce and direct this yourself. Then the... Cool story, great protagonist with huge obstacles to overcome. A combo of Tarantino and Elmore Leonard with a whacked out premise and some pretty good dialogue. Could sorta picture Frank played by Cruise, but he'll never admit he needs a comeback film.
This script is going to need a little more development- unless you're going to produce and direct this yourself. Then the long description blocks, direction, camera moves, and abundant wrylies won't matter. Otherwise this should be polished to become more of a lean, mean, comedy/action machine.
Part of what's happening with your comedy is that you're explaining things twice instead of letting it flow naturally. Your description and then the dialogue, or even the wrylies- all have the same info. Plus, to set up a joke like the bowling ball, let your audience know he's still dragging it around. These are just small issues , the humor was still working for me- good laughs.
The large blocks of description stall the story out, The general rule is not to have more than 4 lines in a description block. I think by economizing some of your description during the shootout/action scenes, at the fun house and paintball place, will allow everything to come into tighter focus for your readers.
Maybe just have the Doc explain the brain condition outright, references to Northern Exposure will probably miss with your target audience- was a good show though. Besides, it give no additional validity to the diagnosis.
Frank going to class after the shootout doesn't make sense. He should be trying to find out who tried to kill him. The scene doesn't establish too much other than the start of the hallucinations and maybe a little stab at Frank's moralistic viewpoint. I like the idea of him hallucinating, you could use this to greater comedic effect though, the potential is limitless.
Why would Baines and Hansen easily dismiss Frank's appearance at the school? I like the Marcus subplot, funny with a great resolution at the end. You might want to strengthen Carrie's character, why is she in love with Frank(money?)? Develop Tommy's relationship with the couple and maybe give us a little flirtation between him and Carrie to cement the ending a bit.
Even the parents seem a bit extraneous, make them a little more important, Milton works to expound the prohibition argument, but other than that the parents seem more like background props.
I like the ending with Ronnie. Think you could infuse this with more humor though. With the seat belt (beginning) we could even imagine that it might have been Ronnie's idea to have an accident to rip Frank off. "I killed you once, can't bring myself to pull the trigger again." No one seemed too disturbed that the deal at the beginning went wrong, seems like maybe they both sort of knew the double cross was going to happen. Maybe they're both just that chilled(the pot I guess).
Quite a few typos.
Fun script with loads of potential! Good luck with it. read
by Phantom Menace on 01/19/2007First of all let me say. I'm not here to put anybody down but to give my honest two cent. There will be some hits and some misses. Burnout is a definet miss. There was just way too many things wrong with the script -- too much talk explaining characters backround, too much talk when action would have been better. In the description lines everything is cluttered together... First of all let me say. I'm not here to put anybody down but to give my honest two cent. There will be some hits and some misses. Burnout is a definet miss.
There was just way too many things wrong with the script -- too much talk explaining characters backround, too much talk when action would have been better.
In the description lines everything is cluttered together.
The hopital scene goes on for nearly 9 1/2 pages of dialogue about how much Frank surgery is going to cost. Talk. It added nothing to the story and everybody already knows how expensive surgery is.
and with most drug script Burnout shares the same flaw of believablity. Whereas, something happens that just ask you to dispell comon sense. Like Frank getting shot in the head then escaping from the hopital the sameday under his own power.
Okay, Frank leaves the hospital to go back to his teaching job? Remember, his reason for leaving the hospital was to find LLoyd to findout who shot him. This is a poorly structure story plot. One of the main reason being, is -- think about this. Someone tried to kill you by shooting you point blank in the head, you amazingly survive this and despite needing surgery that's gonna cost a ton of money you are still phisically able to leave the hospital to hunt for your assasin - but wait -- the cops are breathing down your neck about a drug ring you maybe involved in. So what are you worried about? Somebody ratted you out -- somebody set you up -- do you need to go on the run? Noooooo! You and your girlfriend have a wedding to plan. Think about it?
Films are better told with action then words, so when the car chase scene came, like the rest of the script it fell flat. If Im reading a car chase scene I want it to grab me even if it's not a action script.
This script left me burnt-out. read
by howesy on 01/17/2007There is a great deal of potential here. More than I have scene in a lot of scripts on this site. You have a great start, but unfortunately an unsatisfying end. Because it was such a great start and the set up for the rest of the film was so good, I expected a lot more; a richer plot. As the script progresses there are a number of structural problems as well as narrative problems... There is a great deal of potential here. More than I have scene in a lot of scripts on this site. You have a great start, but unfortunately an unsatisfying end. Because it was such a great start and the set up for the rest of the film was so good, I expected a lot more; a richer plot.
As the script progresses there are a number of structural problems as well as narrative problems. You create lots of different strands which for this kind of film is great. Unfortunately, they don’t tie up neatly at the end.
The big showdown ends up being with random people instead of the perpetrators of the crime (Ronnie/the Ukranians). Again this is unsatisfying for the viewer. Then he finally meets up with Voeski again and we finally get the long expected twist. But so little of the plot has been about Voeski that the twist doesn’t have the impact we would hope for. The twist isnt strong enough. We would expect someone has tried to rip the Ukranians off, and the fact it is Frank isn’t a big enough revelation to carry the rest of the film. It would be best to refocus either your twist or a good proportion of the main body of your film. And then Voeski is another hallucination. The fact it was Ronnie that shot him all along is a nice touch, but again I think much of the main body of plot (namely the Marcus subplot) should be revisited so that a)you increase tension and b) interweave the subplots within the main plot so that when a final revelation comes, it doesn’t just tie up one small strand, but all strands.
The whole Marcus thing becomes weakened by the way he is caught and by us finding out that he is nothing but a peripheral character in the scheme of things. He should be linked into the fabric of the plot so that all aspects run not parallel, but through each other. This makes for a much richer plot.
Frank not being able to sleep is not utilised in the way it could be and the fact he was shot at all ends up having no real consequence, as he ends up having to do a drug deal for Lloyd exactly like he would if he hadn’t been shot. Although actually, he doesn’t have to do the drug deal – he has money anyway. Why doesn’t he just get this money earlier and use it to pay for the operation. Moments like this just don’t add up. The only real need is for his hallucinations are at the paintball arena and after, but any one of many things could give him hallucinations. You could almost lose this whole strand of story line and see what other options it presents you to meld the action and plot together more satisfactorily. Kill your darlings – you have some great characters, great action scenes and great dialogue, but the story meanders too much from a coherent, tight narrative.
Many of your lines of action are way too long – more like passages from a novel than a screenplay. Cut them up to four to five lines max. Descriptions of characters like yours should be in a character breakdown, not the script. And many of the points raised should come out through the character’s actions. Lines like ‘it hasn’t been used since last year’ will tell a viewer nothing. The whole paragraph could read – …in the disused changing room. Chopping these descriptions right down will make your screenplay a much easier read – a must when searching for finance etc.
Moral stance is a little askew for Hollywood – in part glorifying the drug trade, even though you say it is different now, it is still making drug dealers the good guys. Drugs do ruin lives as well. Would be good to see the flip side of the coin, if you want to see your film reaching a commercial audience. If your stance is drugs should be legal, that is one thing, but passing them off as harmless is another. Later, you get a little too much on your high horse about legalising cannabis. Since there has been very little to do with cannabis throughout, the discussion with his father kind of comes out of the blue and just seems like a political statement instead of a real part of the film. Just when the pace of the film should be at its most intense, you drop it for this section which doesn’t advance the plot. Keep the action up towards the end.
Overall, I’m not sure whether this should be described as a stoner action comedy – there’s very little of getting stoned and occasionally the tone is a little uncertain. For me, it would be better if this was an action film that also happened to be funny in places, in a similar vein to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Possibly one of the reasons the structure and narrative get confused is due to a genre confusion at its core.
Opening dialogue – very good. Despite the use of way too much description, the opening is very good. You set up the film very well.
What is ‘IMSJKSN’? Could just be me, but didn’t understand its relevance.
Probably been mentioned but pages 28, 67, 74 and 99 of your PDF are blank
The bachelor party friends – again, telling the reader what the character is like is not enough, you need to show it. A couple of them don’t seem set up well enough without this exposition. Try taking out the description and see if you still feel their characters come across.
Page 34 ‘Thank’ instead of Frank.
Frank was shot in the head? And survived? No brain damage? No deformity? Seems a little hard to believe. Even if we can accept he survives, it’s hard to accept him walking about within hours. Also, as this is to set up a major plot line then it should come earlier – maybe by page 20. A lot of the events in between credits and his shooting could be trimmed right down to accommodate this. It’s an interesting idea, but is it just a novel way of meaning they need to get a lot of money (which he already has)? Do you need something that may be a struggle for an audience to believe to achieve this? Maybe he would be wide-awake, but it is a long stretch to ask an audience to believe he would be physically able to do all the things he is doing within hours, with a large hole in his head.
Parenthesis during speech should be on a separate line.
“No one can know about this, Carrie.” They say they’ll figure out something to tell them, but by the looks of things they tell them the truth. This is confusing. What have they told the family? Why doesn’t he just go and get the money?
Frank returns to normality too easily – shouldn’t he be out there thinking of someway round his many problems? He has to wait to meet with Lloyd, yes, but there are other things he could be doing.
Suddenly gets all ‘Saw’ on us as we head towards the final act with Marcus…asking riddles is one part funny but seems out of place in your film. Also Marcus’s story, does not get established until a third of the way in. Bring him in earlier, maybe even the start somehow, if only talked about. And have him in someway linked into the main body of plot.
Great scene after the seizure – encapsulates good exposition and surrealism very concisely.
Frank’s dialogue starts suffering as he script goes on. Lines like ‘Jesus in a jeep’ seem a little out of character but come more often towards the end. If he is becoming agitated, it is more likely he would get straight to the point and simply curse.
Why were the Ukrainians staking the club out?
Would the paint on the floor of the arena still be wet when Frank rolls in it?
When he crashes is he unconscious or sleeping? How will you make this clear?
How would Carrie and Tommy plan for it to happen? Were they in it from the start, or were they just hoping he would die before Carrie and Frank got married? If they were planning for it to happen, we need to know they played a part, feeding him ideas etc. Or maybe it was them all along: the big twist is that they switched the coke? Or shot him? Something to make us know they planned for this to happen. Otherwise we don’t need this extraneous point. With the narrative in its current state, her running off with Tommy isn’t believable.
There is plenty of potential here as I said, but really break the script down to its core points and build it back up in a way that the plot interconnects. And don’t be afraid to take out him getting shot in the head to see what other options this presents.
Best of luck. read
by dirtyluck on 01/16/2007This script seemed to based loosely on a gimmick. By that I mean that is along the lines of Crank or a number of different action movies when the main character has so much time before his brain explodes. If you were aiming for that, however, I think it's a problem that Frank isn't shot in the head until well into your second act. You need to develop the tension early on,... This script seemed to based loosely on a gimmick. By that I mean that is along the lines of Crank or a number of different action movies when the main character has so much time before his brain explodes. If you were aiming for that, however, I think it's a problem that Frank isn't shot in the head until well into your second act. You need to develop the tension early on, so the audience knows there is a virtual ticking time bomb. Also, your twist of having Ronnie alive was relatively transparent. When Frank began to have hallucinations of Ronnie it was pretty obvious that one of moments was going to find Ronnie there but, somewhat mistaken for a hallucination. Also, along the story development, the fiancee and the best man element jumped out of nowhere. This was never even hinted at in the script until the last few pages. It seemed out of place, and a bit cliche. Think about a revision there. As for formatting, there are alot of typos that you need to correct. You have the word Thank, replace the name Frank a few times for example. Also, you do the all caps for anyone who appears in the script. I believe you're only expected to put all caps when the character speaks or has a direct affect on the scene. If not, they are considered extras. Also, there some parts in the script with a blank page inbetween the action. I don't know if this was an adobe thing, but you might want to fix that. I hope some of this helps with a rewrite. Good luck. read
by kellissimo on 01/13/2007The screenplay moves along quickly. There are just a few things I would note. Carrie is an important character. She doesn't do much to move the plot forward until the end. She's just kind of there in the first 3/4 of the screenplay. Her main reason is the wedding, but I think she could add more to the plot. I also think the halucinating should be more consistently presented... The screenplay moves along quickly. There are just a few things I would note. Carrie is an important character. She doesn't do much to move the plot forward until the end. She's just kind of there in the first 3/4 of the screenplay. Her main reason is the wedding, but I think she could add more to the plot. I also think the halucinating should be more consistently presented. I'm not a doctor, but seems to me that Frank is perfectly normal when he needs to be and other times his bullet condition gets in the way. I would think the problems caused by the bullet would be constant. That's just my opinion, and I could be wrong on that one. The whole thing with Marcus wraps up too neatly. It's like "bam" you're tired of dealing with Marcus and the police, let's just put the thing to bed and make it go away. Frank's whole life is so scrambled at this point, that the way the Marcus and police plotline wraps doesn't seem flush with the whole feel of the screenplay. It needs to be messier. Finally, what's the deal with the scene with Frank's father lecturing him on drugs and Frank tries to prove to his dad that he's a drunk and everyone does drugs. It's more like someone interjected a political point of view rather than a scene that takes the movie from point a to b. Three or four lines of dialogue with Frank's dad telling him he looks stoned, would be funny given that Frank likes to get stoned, but this time he's not. He's just got a bullet in his head. All in all the script is entertaining and I think a lot of guys would like it. read
by GimmeABreak on 01/13/2007My reading notes (these are typically questions that arise as I read or items that pull me out of the story): * your SP doesn't have page numbers * slugs shouldn't specify the time of day * "Wildwood, New Jersey only has a handful of tourists this time of year." - how is the audience going to know this? * action blocks are easier to read if you limit them to 3 or 4 lines *... My reading notes (these are typically questions that arise as I read or items that pull me out of the story):
* your SP doesn't have page numbers
* slugs shouldn't specify the time of day
* "Wildwood, New Jersey only has a handful of tourists this time of year." - how is the audience going to know this?
* action blocks are easier to read if you limit them to 3 or 4 lines
* more show, less tell - ex: he’s actually an educated snob with a life outside of his criminal doings.
* if the shot is EXT car, how are we supposed to hear what they're saying inside?
* If Frank's a college professor, he'd know that it should be "if I were," not "if I was"
* an occasional bit of action as a dialog parenthetical is ok but you do it too often
* formatting problems in the dialog - weird spacing
* p 6? - s/b "I'm touched," not "I'm touch"
* s/b power cord, not chord
* it's spelled papier mache
* why would Frank just happen to have two sets of mini-scuba gear in a backpack that he brings with him to a drug meeting?
* the tenure process doesn't work remotely like you've described it here.
* no more reading notes. Going to try to focus on the story.
CONCEPT: a cross between a video game and a crime/action pic. Not particularly original except the attempt to make the drug dealer a college professor
STORY: meandering and unfocued. The first 40+ pages is all setup that contains a lot of profanity and vulgarity seemingly for the sake of shock only. Frank knows that Lloyd wasn't the one trying to kill him and he also knows that someone who does want to kill him is on the loose. Why doesn't he suspect Marcus until someone else mentions it? A big chunk of the 2nd act consists of non-goal pursuits (plays an alien video game for a whole night) and a lot a preachy expository dialog. The 3rd act starts in an S&M club with lines like this - "Sitting in the room with them is the owner of the club, an Asian man named MR. TUGAMI. Lloyd shot and killed the man about 15 minutes ago." Frank doesn't do anything to discover the person who shot him except ask Lloyd to find out. We discover the shooter by way of his confession not because of anything Frank did.
STRUCTURE: weak. The end of the first act, where Frank gets shot, doesn't occur until pg 30-something which is too late. The point where Frank's goal is stated, to find out who shot him, doesn't occur until pg 40-something. The main character does a lot of stuff but very little in pursuit of the stated goal. The theme/premise is unclear.
CHARACTERS: not a sympathetic/likeable one in the bunch. They're all liars, thieves or perverts. The cops are caricaturish as are the bad guys. No one has an arc and none are realistic.
DIALOG: expository, profane and on-the-nose. No subtext.
GENERAL: I have to say I'm disappointed in the presentation of the SP based on the qualifications and experience you detail in your bio. This doesn't follow the spec conventions at all with all its camera directions, shot specifications, huge action blocks, action in parentheticals, unfilmables, etc. and those, on top of all the spelling errors and misused words, made this a very difficult read. It took me three days to get through it.
by morphasia on 01/12/2007I thought the story was pretty basic, lacking originality and haphazard in places. I like the opening, but would remove “Wildwood, New Jersey only has a handful of tourists this time of year”…seems extraneous to me. When introducing characters, mention only what we can see, not anything about their character, as that’s revealed through dialogue and action (preferably the... I thought the story was pretty basic, lacking originality and haphazard in places.
I like the opening, but would remove “Wildwood, New Jersey only has a handful of tourists this time of year”…seems extraneous to me.
When introducing characters, mention only what we can see, not anything about their character, as that’s revealed through dialogue and action (preferably the latter), you don’t “appear” to be a drug smuggler or educated. Just say what Frank looks like. Same with Ronnie…it’s all good but omit “He’s one of those white guys that acts like a black guy. Ronnie
tries to talk like Samuel Jackson, but he doesn’t quite have
the stones to mimic his baritone” because you’re going to show us that in dialogue and action.
Direction in character’s dialogue is frowned upon by readers, actors and directors. Actors intelligence is insulted when told how to interpret the lines and directors want to tell actors what the deal is…(relaxed) (smiling) (nodding) (scoffing) (amazed) (thinking, and then) these are all unnecessary and interfere with flow for the reader. (droll) when Frank says “I feel safer already” you just don’t need it … the reader gets that’s how he’s saying it.
Opening with two guys talking about one of them getting married is pretty dull, for an action/comedy script. You want something that will grab the reader. Frank says “poppycock”? Ronnie says “make love”?…watch your voices…Ronnie’s already showed he’s got a mouth, think he’d use a slang term instead.
Frank “makes a face” Ronnie “looks embarrassed” don’t need that because you show their emotion in their dialogue following right afterward.
Page 9, in your narrative at the top “It hasn’t been used since the place closed down last year”, why not just say abandoned? Long narrative slows down the pace of reading and narrative should match the pace of what‘s happening.
“He looks as if he’s dressed as a tourist…” Just start sentence with “dressed as a tourist …” The whole paragraph describing Voeski, Jacob and Palavel is too long. Don’t put what’s written on a t-shirt in a script…and you don’t have to say what EVERYone’s wearing, wardrobe will figure all that out, descriptions should be concise.
Top of page 11, in your narrative, “we’re back on the wall outside”. Refrain from using pronouns in your narrative unless they refer to the characters. As soon as you use the word “we’re”, the reader is pulled out of the story. Just write “The wall outside.” And definitely don’t write “the camera is on Frank and Ronnie…” No mention of camera, unless you’re going to be directing this and putting up your own money for it. No one reading it will need you to tell them where the camera should be. And it pulls the reader right out of the story. Take out all Angle On directions too.
Page 12 “FOLLOW FRANK AND RONNIE as they run through” change that to Frank and Ronnie run through… we don’t need the word “follow”. You are telling the reader what they are doing, not how to watch what they are doing.
Bullets go right through the castle, whizzing past them as if they were in an open field. Try “Bullets go right through the castle AND whiz past them …” As much as you can take out words that end in “ing” the better.
Take out Sound Effect and just put O/S for off screen re: police sirens.
Okay, I made it to page 15 and I have to tell you, I don’t find either Ronnie or Frank engaging characters. In the first 15 pages I should have the tone of the entire story … I should have laughed or found something comical, since this is supposed to be an action comedy.
Omit the sentence “A series of shots showing how Frank gets back to Phiadelphia. You show the series, you don’t need to warn the reader you’re going to do it.
Sugarpops and Babylumps? No. Carrie goes into the stairwell angrier than a shrew on crack, only to allow Frank to passionately kiss her? No. Either she’s got MPD and can switch moods on a dime, or she’s a Barbie doll and he’s pressed the button on her back.
Page 21 and it’s completely unbelievable an ethics professor who’s getting tenure is selling coke to finance his wedding. I am laughing out LOUD my friend. But for all the wrong reasons. Talk about complete incongruity of character. You need to establish motive for this character. Fundraising to pay for a wedding is not motive. That’s pathetic and you want your viewers to like and root for your main character.
Lloyd’s “office” is actually one of several empty apartments he rents under a phony corporation so he can conduct his drug transactions“. Don’t put that in narrative. It’s inconsequential and the only thing you should put in narrative is what you want us to see, not what you want us to know.
A half a mil for a coke drop? Sounds rather unrealistic.
Dr. Mortonberg saying “Isn’t that a great show” is not comical, it comes off as weird and incongruent with the character you’ve established him.
Page 52 and I feel my intelligence is insulted by this script. Frank is in a shoot out with a street gang, and shooting people dead? “ever teach an ethics class after you’ve killed 5 people” just so lame, my friend. And all the action after this point is just silly to me. I’m sorry but I can’t take this script seriously. It was incredibly difficult to read and get through. It’s like you took pieces of other films and plugged them in together in this script. The story is not original, it’s far too long, and it’s haphazard. Ronnie is the shooter, Frank slips into a coma, Carrie runs off with Tommy and Frank wakes up when the doc says so.
I highly recommend you use www.zoetrope.com or www.thewritersbuilding.org to have others review your script, not just triggerstreet.com because there are probably more experienced writers on those boards. read
by Rasbenek on 01/12/2007Burnout by Tony DiGerolamo Overall - I found this to be an excruciatingly difficult and slow read primarily because the writer seemed predisposed to a style more suited to novels than screenwriting. Now, I am a subscriber to the school of vivid description rather than anorexic economy, but even by my own standards this script was way over-written. Given the writer's self-proclaimed... Burnout by Tony DiGerolamo
Overall - I found this to be an excruciatingly difficult and slow read primarily because the writer seemed predisposed to a style more suited to novels than screenwriting. Now, I am a subscriber to the school of vivid description rather than anorexic economy, but even by my own standards this script was way over-written. Given the writer's self-proclaimed success as a screenwriter I was surprised and disappointed to find the story heavily over-embellished, and lacking in dynamism, with characters that neither spoke of individuality, freshness, nor originality. The story felt like part "Crime Story", part "Fugitive", part "Indiana Jones", yet had none of the zest nor power of any, and struggled to get out of first gear.
Characters - a hero figure, even as an anti-hero, whilst flawed must have some redeemable quality that will inspire empathy from the audience. Frank's desire to 'get the money' for Carrie and their new life together didn't really cut it for me. Frank's occupation makes him a figure of responsibility and admiration but (as unlikely as it is) his drug running and murderous activities actually make him reprehensible. Unlike Indiana Jones whose main activity outside of lecturing is travelling the world on adventures securing artifacts - a glamorous, and inspiring character whose activities provoke a 'getout there and experience the world' subtext - there is no such role for Frank - drug abuse, murder, and sex bars - a thoroughly engaging and identifiable hero? For the rest of the story there were way too many named characters who filtered into the story and just as quickly exited. If such small roles are to be had then characters do not need to be named. It serves to create no more than confusion in the reader trying to figure out who is who. Most of the additional charcters were underplayed, including Carrie. The writer needs to focus on a core group of individuals and more effectively work and weave a story between them. There was simply too much going on with too many people. The writer lost touch with the spine of the story by spinning out on too many tangents that all incidentally related to a single subplot.
Structure - if the identifiable beats of story construction are to be adhered to, even in the most unprecise of ways, then an Act 1 conclusion at page 36 is about on the money. The writer shows an understanding of construction but craft is not defined by that alone. The writer uses camera directions, production design instructions, and even notes to special effects coordinators in a spec script. These are fundamental errors of inclusion. Similarly the authors of screenwriting seminars and books suggest an absolute maximum of four lines of action or description to one shot. Blocks of text should be broken up into lots of small pieces. If this script had come across my desk I wouldn't have got past page two and in the circular file it would have gone. Pummelling my way through great swathes of text was like going to the dentist - painful and not an experience to oft be repeated. The writer needs to be aware how precious readers are with their time and that anything this densely written and presented is not likely to progress far. Sad I know but the nature of the beast.
Stakes - the ticking clock of the wedding should really have been the bedside clock to the ticking wall clock of Frank's demise. With death creeping there would have been much more power and motivation behind his actions. not wishing to belittle what marriage actually means but a service can be blown off and rescheduled - death can't. There just seemed to be insufficient charge behind what Frank was doing - almost as if it seemed the marriage was an inconvenience. If that is the case it makes his character even more unlikeable.
Believability - now to the crunch! I didn't buy it, the whole Frank, Professor of Ethics yet a drug-dealer/murderer, thing. It felt contrived, and a million miles away from Indiana Jones in that respect. IJ did a lot of foreshadowing, created a character background, and a social circle that identified him as an adventurer. Franks house/flat littered with paintings, and statues, and masks. what was that about? Some kind of reference to IJ? The writer needs to really think about Frank's origins, backstory, and present dilemna and how to build up a picture that is as complete and unequivocal as IJ's character. Also there were obvious research issues with the Mexican/Hispanic druggies in the firefight because they didn't even come across as Mexicans/Hispanic. Gangs have their own cultures, their own language (even different Barrios have their own identities) and what I term 'Hoodie-speak'. The Dean, Wolford, even sounded like an upper-class Englishman. Who really says these days "what the blazes...". It's a very English term, and to be fair something I would expect from a socially-elevated private school snob.
Dialogue - on the whole this was fairly natural and believable. Gave me the distinct impression of East coast (that was before I really identified Philly). Early on I noticed a clear reference to Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" burger-king converation between Jackson and Travolta, as Frank and ronnie sat in the car with a joint - blatant but amusing. However, and this is more story content than anything, the writer should remember that every word in every dialogue and every word in every description should move the story forwards - either plot, subplot, character revelation, backstory - I felt much of the dialogue between 'non-opposing' characters tried too hard and said nothing specific. Every charcter had long lengths of dialogue. There were very few clipped sentences, one word responses, or other deflected interactions.
Advice - rethink the characters - quantity, purpose, and their impact within the story. Make Frank more of a hero figure, even if he is to be an anti-hero. At least make him redeemable in the eyes of the audience. TRIM, TRIM, and TRIM some more - dialogues, and scene descriptions. Remove anything extraneous that doesn't belong in a spec script. Make your structural beats dynamic and obvious. Focus on the spine of your story - Frank getting to the church on time - if that is it (not very gangster) or use it as a subplot. In fact identify what your main plot is - to catch the shooter, to get to the church, to finish as a drug dealer with someone who won't let you finish etc etc, and then subplot everything else into their own mini stories (beginning, middle, end). There's a lot of work to do on this if it is to comfortably secure you a sale. It just seemed that the story didn't quite know what it wanted most and then tried to be everything.
Budget - N/A
Grade - Pass read
by canon619 on 01/11/2007Frank Sharp. Pot head with a bullet in the head. The writer seem to be trying to have a "Pulp Fiction" type feel to it. Which of course I love. I liked the main character Frank. Unfortunatley, Frank's the only character I liked in the screenplay. The rest could use a little more development. The dialogue could use substantial development as well. It seems as if the characters... Frank Sharp. Pot head with a bullet in the head. The writer seem to be trying to have a "Pulp Fiction" type feel to it. Which of course I love. I liked the main character Frank. Unfortunatley, Frank's the only character I liked in the screenplay. The rest could use a little more development. The dialogue could use substantial development as well. It seems as if the characters are preaching. Which is annoying. But other than those issues, I found the script quite entertaining. The hallucinations, the Dracula-like castle, the fight in the paintball arena, all would translate well in the screen. And another note. They're seems to be quite a few grammatical errors. For instance, they're 4 blank pages- what's up with that? Just fix those little things before sending it to an agent or producer. read
- Writer: Tony DiGerolamo
- Uploaded by: Tony DiGerolamo
- Length: 117 pages
- Genre: action, comedy, crime
- This is the third draft after some minor format corrections.
- Bio: I write comic books, games, novels and screenplays. Currently I write for the Simpsons and Bart Simpson comic books. I direct the improv in Philadelphia. My previous credits include: Mafioso: The Father, The Son (2004) (co-screenwriter credit with star Leo Rossi) The Evil Within (1999) from Eagle Films (screenwriter) I've also been a jokewriter for Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, a writer for Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and a writer for Comedy Central's Indecision website. I also write the Super Frat webcomic at www.superfrat.com and the webcomics on The Webcomic Factory at www.thewebcomicfactory.com. For my other credits, visit my website at www.thefixsite.com.
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