Two strangers fight for survival in a twisted post-apocalyptic world.
HOW IT RATES
In the year 2047, an all powerful corporation forces one desperate man into submission in their bid to claim the secret treasures hidden in Jupiter's moon, Europa.
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Reviews of EUROPA 4
by Russ2007 on 10/13/2014OPENING TWENTY FIVE PAGES: Questions you need to ask yourself: Do they establish the tone of the story? Do they set up the world this story is set in? Do these opening scenes hook and draw the reader into the world the characters live in? Are the opening pages written cleanly, efficiently and easy to follow? Are the character introductions long winded? STORY / PLOT: Is... OPENING TWENTY FIVE PAGES:
Questions you need to ask yourself:
Do they establish the tone of the story?
Do they set up the world this story is set in?
Do these opening scenes hook and draw the reader into the world the characters live in?
Are the opening pages written cleanly, efficiently and easy to follow?
Are the character introductions long winded?
STORY / PLOT:
Is it easy to follow?
Lots of issues with the story, structure, characters, the amount of dialogue etc.
Firstly, there's far too many characters to keep track of. Having a large number of characters means it's difficult to keep track of who we should be following. Even if we were seeing this on screen, trying to keep a handle on what this story is about would be difficult. Eight to ten characters spread through the course of the story, possibly a few more is more than enough.
Ideally, the opening pages and scenes should be focusing on the main character and their problems. And these problems should be introducing the main goals that the main character needs to achieve. Both internal, and external. What do they need and want as the story unfolds?
At this stage, we still have not seen an active character. Bowen isn't pushing himself through this story.
Without an active main character, means the overall structure is suffering.
Also having so many characters, means there's far too much dialogue. There's a scene involving almost ten pages of dialogue that's extremely heavy with explaining and exposition. This is far too long.
HOW DOES THE REST OF THE STORY PLAY OUT?
Pg 26 – 50
This reader has the same concerns.
Far too many characters, which means Bowen isn't getting enough screen-time. This isn't helped by the story cutting back and forth between Europa and Earth. This takes away from the main story. The story is titled Europa, but a lot of the time, we have scenes taking place on Earth. Why?
It might serve the story better if it started with the crew, a small crew of around maybe three to four, possibly five, waking up, and preparing to land on Europa. This would give the writer an opportunity to introduce us to the main character, and the rest of the crew.
The story might also be better served better if Bowen was there for a reason.
What if he's an undercover agent tasked with trying to stop the mission from being sabotaged?
What if one of the other crew members is from a rival company?
What if Bowen agreed to go on this trip because he does have a gambling debt, and this is a way for him to pay it off? What if he's out to prove himself to his commanding officer? What if he messed up a previous mission?
And all of the above could then be conveyed to the reader as the story unfolds.
It would also mean Bowen has some concrete goals that he's trying to achieve.
As it's written, there's no clear focus or clarity.
Pg 51 – 75
This section suffers from the same problems as the previous sections.
Not only that, Bowen has the opportunity to save someone, and he doesn't. This doesn't shine a good light on his character. If he'd saved him, and gone against his orders. This would make the story far more interesting.
There's also a very long sequence that happens in the ocean. This goes on for pages and pages, and is far too long. A good movie to watch, that might help when it comes to figuring out how to structure this story is The Abyss (1989). Watch it, and try and read the screenplay. Look at when it happens, and how the main character is taking charge of the story as it unfolds.
This whole story should be revolving around Bowen's character and it isn't. He should be the driving force of this story. Even if that involves him making the wrong choice, he should be the focus of the story. Again, near the end of this section, the story cuts to Earth for some reason, and we're introduced to a bunch of new characters that have nothing to do with the overall story.
Pg 76 – to the end
The story ends up revolving around characters who have hardly been in it.
And the story ends with far too much dialogue.
SUGGESTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS:
The following suggestions may help you to strengthen your story in future drafts:
1. Figure out what the story is about.
2. Work on developing Bowen's character. What does he want and need as the main character? Why is he going on this trip? What are the reasons, and the motivation for doing this? What if he's an agent that's been placed on this team, because there's a saboteur on board from a rival company and he must figure out who it is?
3. Cut down on the number of named characters. Eight to ten tops. Twelve maximum.
4. Make sure the main character is taking the story forward with their choices and actions.
5. At no time did this reader feel that Bowen was leading his journey through this story.
6. If the title of the story is Europa, then the majority of the story should take place on that planet and in space. It shouldn't keep cutting to Earth. Imagine if during Alien (1979) we kept cutting to scenes on Earth? It would take all the tension away from the story.
7. Watch The Abyss (1989). Look at how the story is structured.
It's an interesting idea with quite a lot of potential.
But a lot of work is needed in figuring out the best way to execute the story.
Get plenty of notes and feedback for it.
Best of luck with it and future projects.
PAGE by PAGE NOTES:
That's around nine named characters. That's a lot to keep track of.
Lots of dialogue and exposition. Why not show us Bowen's addictions?
There's far too much dialogue.
Pages and pages of dialogue make for a slow, and boring read.
And it's all very-handed with lots of exposition.
That's around ten pages of dialogue.
Due to there being far too many characters, there's been no focus on the main character. This reader assumes that Bowen is the main protagonist, but he isn't pushing this story forward with his choices and actions. At this stage, Bowen should be making choices that drive his actions forward.
Too many characters.
Too much dialogue.
No momentum to the story.
Whose story is this?
These are areas the writer needs to explore in further rewrites.
Why's Amy getting all this screen-time?
This reader has the same concerns.
Far too many characters to keep track of.
This reader also believes the story is being hampered by the cutting back and forth to Earth.
The story is about Bowen, so it should be kept on Europa.
There should be no cuts back to Earth.
The writer should think about making this a three-man crew as well, all with differing personalities. Throw in a robot or android as well. The less characters there are, means more focus can be spent on Bowen's dilemma.
Another concern, there's a lot of scenes taking place in the water. Lot of scenes.
This whole sequence in the ocean has been going on for a very long time. Close to ten pages or so. That's a long time to have this taking place in the ocean.
That whole sequence takes a long time. Ten pages spent on that sequence in the ocean.
The problem with having a scene like that makes Bowen's character very dislikable. He let him die.
Very late to be introducing named characters.
The story is revolving around characters who have hardly been in it.
A very long piece of dialogue.
There's far too much dialogue here. read
by mattyrm on 04/15/2012General Format You have character names starting with the same letter. Plus to add to the potential confusion, two of these are main characters and are introduced from the beginning. Baker and Bowen. If you can find a published work of fiction that has character names starting with the same letter, (let alone main characters introduced in the first Act) I will eat my hat... General Format
You have character names starting with the same letter.
Plus to add to the potential confusion, two of these are main characters and are introduced from the beginning. Baker and Bowen.
If you can find a published work of fiction that has character names starting with the same letter, (let alone main characters introduced in the first Act) I will eat my hat.
There are many reasons for this. I will let you hunt those reasons down.
When you introduce characters do not be afraid to give a little description.
Especially with main characters.
I had trouble visualising Hallem, Bowen and Baker.
There are great tips on this web site about how much and how little description to give characters in a screenplay.
Flashbacks. Search this site and you will find a number of message board topics that deal with the subject of formatting Flashbacks. I'm sure you will get great benefit from reading these threads. You do an okay job on this one. But doesn't hurt to get multiple viewpoints.
Slug lines. Only need DAY or NIGHT. There are mixed messages regarding what should and shouldn't be used with slug lines. But what I've picked up, just keep it simple. Day or Night. No need for Continuous etc. It's either a new scene or it isn't.
Introducing multiple characters in one scene. Learn from the experts. Aliens is probably the best example in Sci-Fi of how to introduce multiple characters. When they awake from the hibernation we are given a brief insight into each. It takes time. When we are introduced to the rest of the crew on p4 it all happens so quick. Either leave out the intro to the crew at this point and move it to later in Act 1 or expand this scene.
Commas. Check out p52. "I don’t buy that, Llewellyn." Read that line out loud. Not sure it sounds right. And you've got other examples like this.
If you're using Final Draft, give the voice tools a go.
I don't tend to take running notes for the entire read. So here are some;
p2: looks at a picture of his wife? How do we know it's his wife? You can simply say he looks at a picture of a woman and a child. Save yourself some lines.
p37: they sit is
p33: the avoid contact
p35: grins maniacally - avoid adverbs.
p43: not a one home? Huh?
p45: all are nervous. Okay, this is where the ol "show don't tell" feedback comes in. More about this in story.
p51: grocery what?
p52: he in contact
Greedy corporates exploiting another planet's natural resources for financial gain.
Look, it does have a familiar ring to it.
The reporter gets taken out in spectacular style. But what happens next? We are given no description of Man 1 and Man 2.
Amy is a minor character but her bike chase scene gets 3.5 pages. I know it is used later in nailing Osmer but it did seem a bit long. However, as far as action goes I thought you did an excellent job on this scene. Which goes to show your potential in writing action.
No need to reveal too much too soon. The inciting incident which is a Flashback reveals way more information than we need to know.
Bowen has a loving family, cancer, gambling debts, we find out his base wage, plus we find out everything about Hallem, Baker etc.
Again, look at the classics. Aliens has a mountain of backstory to get through. But the audience only gets pieces at a time.
That said, your final 4-5 pages will probably attract some unwanted feedback. In summary, too much exposition dialogue with little action in between.
When you are describing the beauty of Europa, you tend to tell the reader what the crew are going through. You really have to show it. Ain't easy and I would love to see your rewrite as to how you tackle it.
All Sci-Fi should have a go at predicting a future lifestyle trait. With the wafer thin TV screens, cars on autopilot (where can I get me one of those), high-tech trip wire, you do that. Congratulations. More importantly, you don't go overboard with it.
Overall, you seem to have a solid grasp on some screenwriting concepts but others can do with some improvement via reading screenwriting bibles and other published screenplays. The reliance on exposition in dialogue did impact the story for mine. Good luck with the rewrite. read
by WAH3 on 04/14/2012Overall, I thought it was a good story. Some of the dialog is a bit clunky. Suggest you get a couple of friends together and read the key parts aloud. It’s just not the way people talk and I think if you can hear it, you’ll know how to fix it. Think you could have the same story with lots less characters. You don’t need so many crew members or detectives to make things work... Overall, I thought it was a good story. Some of the dialog is a bit clunky. Suggest you get a couple of friends together and read the key parts aloud. It’s just not the way people talk and I think if you can hear it, you’ll know how to fix it.
Think you could have the same story with lots less characters. You don’t need so many crew members or detectives to make things work. Especially named characters as I started to drown trying to remember who was who. It would help, at least some, to be consistent in how they’re used in the screenplay. Sometimes by last name. Sometimes by first. It makes it even harder to keep track.
For those characters you end up with, a little more description would help. For instance, with a name like Llewelyn, I wasn’t even sure if it was a guy or a girl until later I saw the “he” reached for something. On P2 you put more effort into describing Jupiter’s moon than you did with any of the characters.
As a general comment, try to read the screenplay and ask yourself “What do we see?” On P4 for instance, we have no idea that Ed White is a reporter except for that’s how he’s introduced in the script. I’d skimmed by that initially and thought Helan was a wife or girlfriend. Only when he was killed did I shift back to try to understand why.
Also, not sure all the dangerous animals in the Europa sea are needed. We get the picture: They’re attacking the crew. Lots of time spent there but that’s not really what the story’s about. Since it’s kind of a “Ten little Indians” thing, it might be better to have someone fall off the cliff, the wire they use to get into the trench fail, etc. to avoid the here we go again feeling.
And finally, you need to rework the ending. I got to the last few pages and almost croaked with full pages of dialog as he says good-by to his family and you’re so screwed to his boss. It may not be needed at all since the viewers see the detectives after the boss and he’s put in the call to his wife about moving. Then he just lies down and looks at their pictures as he fades away.
Lots of words to say I liked it and with a little dialog surgery and some scene streamlining you’ve got a great picture here. Good luck!! read
by grey on 04/14/2012Twenty-five named characters in a 94 page screenplay is a lot. The heart of the story is Bowen and he is the only character of interest. It is true that people have to die in sci-fi/horror movies and, I must admit, you handled the actual attacks well – quick and to the point. I like that. What’s missing for me is that I really didn’t have any sort of connection to the... Twenty-five named characters in a 94 page screenplay is a lot.
The heart of the story is Bowen and he is the only character of interest. It is true that people have to die in sci-fi/horror movies and, I must admit, you handled the actual attacks well – quick and to the point. I like that. What’s missing for me is that I really didn’t have any sort of connection to the characters that died – I didn’t feel anything. Consider trimming back the character count (you don’t need the whole “Amy” side story, Hellam’s henchmen, Baker’s family, Ed White or Helan. With these folks gone, you can focus on developing Baker and the other crew members into people with personalities that a reader can identify with.
I’d like to know more about Frank and Mark Baker, and them at odds with Hellam. Get Mark and Bowen together more. Let’s get to know the crew better – who are they? Get into your antagonist deeper, aside from the desire to be evil, who is he?
There is good dialogue here, eg: Hellam described as a “tin god”, and the characters have actual conversations such as Ed and Helan on pg. 5 talking in their own baby speak, “Me see!” etc., but learn to pare it down, Bowen’s dying words are way too much.
Also, the story lacks authenticity. This crew is woefully unprepared to be traveling to an environment like Europa. And on pg. 62, would people in their right mind separate in this extremely hazardous environment? Sci-fi at least has to be plausible. What I did like was the underwater world of Europa, exotic, dangerous – I wanted to know more – maybe this is the real “diamond”. Perhaps it’s in these creatures the cancer cure could be found. Just a thought.
Also, a few technical things kept taking me out of the story, for example, all the helping verbs in the action blocks: “is gliding” rather than “glides, “is watching” rather than “watches”; use the active voice in a screenplay. Many parentheticals were unnecessary. If your action blocks are clear and your characters strong, you don’t need to coach the actor on how to say the line. Be consistent with names. If you use “Felipe” above dialogue, use “Felipe in the action block, not “Mercado”. Don’t make your reader work to remember who is who – it takes them out of your story. I think the story idea has potential, not every story has the hero killing everybody by the end, but it needs more focus on character. Good Luck to you.
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