The tale of Dashia, Dwarven Ascendant of Vreyja, Goddess of Earth and War.
HOW IT RATES
When mankind’s materialistic push into space tries to turn First Contact into a dark research opportunity, a determined pair of scientists immediately rebel...and steal the aliens from their corporate captors in hopes of finding them a new and safer haven beyond man’s reach.
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Reviews of Frontier (revision) 10
by benito2 on 09/27/2011I like to be in conversation with someone who knows what’s he or she is talking about. And Reading this screenplay is the case!The universe is well define…The names given to the planets, the personages and spaces ships is new and very captivating. I liked! The fiction twist about Human encountering Alien being… And also human trying and succeed to free Aliens is very good... I like to be in conversation with someone who knows what’s he or she is talking about. And Reading this screenplay is the case!The universe is well define…The names given to the planets, the personages and spaces ships is new and very captivating. I liked! The fiction twist about Human encountering Alien being… And also human trying and succeed to free Aliens is very good. The Dialogue is very good also.
When Nitza asked Lenny about what they did for the administration: a little flashback scene would be great. ..And later at the end of the reading I found that it was a deliberate choice of yours to keep it that way!
Thank you for a very good sci-fiction screen play read
by f-ceska on 09/20/2011Overall: First let me start with the good points: you write like a pro. You have a fluid, well-expressed style, perfect formatting, and almost no typos or grammar issues. You know what you want to say and you say it. You know your sci-fi, you use all the right terminology and clearly understand the genre. Your characters appear to be fully formed, and the dialogue is potent,... Overall: First let me start with the good points: you write like a pro. You have a fluid, well-expressed style, perfect formatting, and almost no typos or grammar issues. You know what you want to say and you say it. You know your sci-fi, you use all the right terminology and clearly understand the genre. Your characters appear to be fully formed, and the dialogue is potent, appropriate and stylish. You have great imagery and you know what looks good on a big screen. You can create a story that’s full of action and excitement and involves the viewer early on. I, for one, was hooked, and enjoyed reading. Your plot structure seems to be straight out of the book – no, I mean that, look… I compared it with Blake Snyder’s formulaic structure, which he outlines in his book ‘Save the Cat’:
p.1-5 Theme stated / set up: (you introduce the space ship and the planet and some of the main characters…)
p.9 Hook – (what happened to Danny and the others?)
p.10-12 Catalyst? (This could be the moment when Wilkes tells Nitza to leave off her moral indignation).
p.13 – 25 Debate (Lenny and the others find the ship, decide what to do, etc.)
p.26 Act two begins
p.30 B Story? (There isn’t really a B Story)
p.30 – 55 Fun and Games (Lenny and Nitza and co jump the wormhole, try to escape, etc.)
p.55 Bad guys close in (The Shiratsuyu finds them and so do the Scavengers)
p.60 Midpoint – (Danny is back)
p.75 All is lost – (When Lenny and Nitza are captured, and the three stooges apparently get gunned down…)
p.85 Dark night of the soul – (couldn’t find this, though there was a lot of action.)
p.85 Act three – (the three stooges turn up and rescue Lenny.)
p.104 Finale (lots of fighting till the resolution)
Now, here’s the not so good stuff, and the reason I probably wouldn’t buy it if I were a Hollywood producer looking for a script. It’s been done before. And I mean more than once. From the word go the story reminded me of many other films in the genre, but mostly: Star Trek films, Alien films and Avatar. If you’d presented us with this maybe 30 years ago, it would have sold for sure. Let me break down what I mean into the main points:
Story: The story is slightly different, but not much. As we saw above, it goes through the same old rigid formula as so many other films.
Character: The characters have all been seen before, and personally, I thought Alien had a much more powerful and dynamic lead character in Ripley than you’ve given us in either Lenny or Nitza (who frankly, was a bit weak for a female lead role). Another problem with character was that it’s never really clear who the hero of the story is and what their goal is. Is it Nitza, whose goal is to save her brother and help the Vaundi? Or is it Lenny, who doesn’t appear until page 15 and doesn’t seem to have any goal until he decides to help Nitza, and even that’s not very clear. Also, neither of them demonstrate much of a character arc – they are the same at the end as they were at the beginning, and the little love interest thing going on there towards the end is, sorry, cringe-worthy. Also, they are all kind of clichéd stereotypes of this kind of genre. Everyone is so… American! At least Kirk had a Vulcan, a Scotsman, a Jap and – dare I say it? – an African American Woman on his team!, Ok, ok – you’ve got Nitza, but she’s just basically Jennifer Lopez or Eva Mendez, and we’ve seen her before too! And there’s all those hard-core marine types (reminiscent of the mess scene breakfast in the first Alien film). You need to do something completely different with character, and try to create people that are unique.
Dialogue: The same as with the characters. The reason your dialogue works so well is that it’s been tried and tested before. There’s no new spin on it. It would be nice to imagine that a future space age would not necessarily be a bunch of American Marine types with the same old weapons and space craft playing out the same old games since the settlers arrived in the new land. There are other concepts, other people, other languages and ways of speaking, other images and any of them could help to create a future sci-fi world that is more apt today than Ridley Scott’s vision was back in 1979.
Summary: the only thing you need to do is work on originality of concept. Try to shake away the creations of others and come up with something totally unique and your own. That’s what sells, and if you can combine your great writing style with a unique concept, you’d be well on your way. Otherwise, I’m sure you could find yourself a writing job, working on collaborations or other concepts. Finally, not sure about the title. Seems so unmemorable for this type of film and not totally apt either.
Opening pages: I like the beginning, nice descriptions, good imagery, though a bit ‘boldly go’ Star Trekky.
On to page 4 and there is good dialogue, but the characters are already falling into stereotypes and we can see that it’s going to be white settlers against the red Indians (aka ‘Pochahontas’ or ‘Avatar’ all over again). The droll, macho banter between the military types versus scientists is already reminiscent of ‘Alien’ and loads of Vietnam films.
p.5 Danny – and here’s our Avatar.
p.10 – 12 A bit of a clichéd scene with the authoritarian dressing down. The ‘company’ versus the ‘moral individual’. Again, this is strongly descended from both ‘Avatar’ and ‘Aliens’. Is this the catalyst?
p.12 “all of them anxiously waiting for Nitza to make her entrance. / Her look says it all. The room get quiet.” (gets)
(so presumably she makes her entrance. I think you should tell us this).
p.15 Too many characters: In the first fifteen pages the following characters are introduced to us by name (not all of them have speaking parts) but there is still no clear hero or heroine here, or anyone with a goal.
Lieutenant Dobbs, Lieutenant Vasilyg, Lieutenant Commander Gilshim, Earl Zeransky, Marine Officer, Lieutenant Gibbs, Sergeants Falcone, Clemmings, Voss, Telly, Gunny Sergeant Overtone, Nitza Esperza, Emmett Savory, Human Male / Danny, Asunamyr, Joy Winkleman, Marie Ako, Mark Marcelino, Edmund Ramos, Greg Gabera, Janice Wilks, Elizabeth Salenga, Thomas Fenerty, Gerald Hartman, Kiwi, Mikey, Tchenko Karamis, Lenny…
p.18 “Mikey knows his shit. And Lenny knows that he does.” = we can’t see this. You need to describe only what we can see. (This is a recurring technique in your SP. I know that you are imparting information to the actors/director in this way, and it may be a debatable technique, but in general, I believe it’s best to describe only what can be seen on the screen, that can give us the same info. For example: ‘Mikey gives a confident smirk. Lenny can only shake his head.’ This carries the same info but actually describes what we see.)
p.19 A beat. = tells us nothing / outmoded device. What happens during the silence?
p.21 ‘Aliens’… Aha! You admit there’s a connection!
p.26 “Nitza glares him an untrusting look. = glares at him” / gives him a look?
p.33 Act two? And we’re back on the ‘Enterprise’.
p.33 “wholly owned by the United Earth Administration”
(there’s a scary, underlying concept here that the UEA is basically just the USA in space. It’s Captain James T’s ‘Federation’ all over again. How about having a totally new concept of what future space colonization would consist of? There are other cultures that could be drawn upon for inspiration.)
p.35 “I am Captain Jack Pearl of the Black Sparrow and you can eat my shorts.” This is a corny line, but it made me laugh, and I have to say I liked it. Very American. I suppose you deliberately switched Pearl and Sparrow?
p.55 gage = gauge
p.61 “Him and his science team” = ‘He’ and his science team (subject pronouns. I think Nitza, being an educated scientist, would probably not make this common spoken mistake.)
p.90 que = cue
p.108-09 “The Spacer Captain is suddenly yanked by Nitza -- who plants a kiss on his lips, then pushes him off. / NITZA: Now get us the hell out of here. / Lenny grins. Emmett glances at Asunamyr, whose (who’s) smiling herself.” (Oh please! And we were doing so well! This is just toooo much!)
p.115 “Were back on Arrandis.” = We’re
Good luck. I would love to read something of yours that’s never been seen before! read
by Blake421 on 08/29/2011Nice, classically structured hero’s journey. There seems to be a fair amount of trimming and pruning to be done, but you’ve got a great frame work. The intro sequence with the scientists, marines, and aliens seems really, really messy. Tons, of names thrown into the mix as well as a whole new race and a type of inciting incident. I think all of this could be cut in favor... Nice, classically structured hero’s journey. There seems to be a fair amount of trimming and pruning to be done, but you’ve got a great frame work.
The intro sequence with the scientists, marines, and aliens seems really, really messy. Tons, of names thrown into the mix as well as a whole new race and a type of inciting incident. I think all of this could be cut in favor of starting with your spacer crew. Lenny is our true lead and we eventually see and hear everything that was already shown to us in the first scene. It can go.
Stylistically, this script seems to jump all over the place. There are some very well written parts, where some others just sagged. Descriptions of the setting and technology can come off as top notch or as lazy as “like in a fantasy novel”. You’ve shown that you can describe it for us concisely and well. Don’t let short cuts get in the way of your voice.
The aliens as a species are very strange. They feel like the humanoids in Avatar, but not much is given in their description other than young with blue or green eyes. By the end of the script, they have acted as peaceful creatures. But, at the very last scene, they have these war ships, and battle suits, and armor. Why would they wear rags in their space ships? Are they advanced or not? Their clothing can be very simple with elaborate patterns to show they have an advanced understanding of design without being tech heavy. Just doesn’t seem to mesh – which is what these people seem to be all about. They create a perfect mesh of nature and machine. I don’t get that through out the rest of the script. The rest of the film shows them as simpletons who run around in loin cloths.
There is some work that could be done on the dialogue. At some point, Lenny says “darling” almost every other line. Try doing a read through of the script out loud. You will be able to physically hear what sounds great and what sounds off. Plenty of the dialogue could be trimmed.
This script as a whole could lose about 12 pages. A couple of events happen a little late as far as structure goes; and, as I said before, plenty of dialogue can be cut without taking away from the characters.
Character introductions were pretty weak up until we met the spacers. Even then, they could use some work. Introducing Quaid the way you did was fantastic. We understand just about everything about this guy within the first page we meet him. That sets up a character who can surprise us or exceed our expectations. Great job with him.
The banter between your characters feels natural, but sounds a little strange. Again, an out loud read through of your script may help.
As far as the feeling of the movie, I am sort of lost. At points, it feels like it wants to be a PG/PG-13 popcorn film. Other times it seems like it wants to go a rated R route. Adding or subtracting goofy lines and sequences will really help shape the realm of your movie.
Another strange and tough question to ask yourself is “If I were an actor, what would draw me to this film? Are there any monologues that are Oscar worthy? Are there any risky characters? Something outside of what we see on screen every day?” Lenny does not have the legacy that Cpt. Kirk has. You won’t find actors clamoring to play his part unless there is a particularly strong scene for his character.
That final action sequence went on for a really, really long time. Consider trimming some of it to keep the action at a tight pace. Keep it thrilling by keeping it short.
As a whole, it was a well paced script that I enjoyed reading. I hope that it does well out there in the world. If you have any questions about my review or want to ask me something in particular, feel free.
Good luck, and good job.
The word “lumbering” was used twice within two paragraphs. You’ve got more of a descriptive vocabulary than that, use it.
Way too many names within the first three pages. There is nothing other than a half a line of description for each of them. How am I supposed to tell any of them apart?
Page 9 – “like a fantasy novel description of elves”…describe it yourself!
Page 10 – “sharply attractive, sharply dressed” could be improved.
Your pacing and scene structure has become much tighter, faster, and over all better with the salvage team. This seems like a much less clichéd, more interesting situation.
By page 20, this seems like it has been written by an entirely different person – this feels like a gritty sci fi. The dialogue is very tech heavy without losing the point of what they are talking about. Perfect for the scene.
21 – I would lose the aliens reference. Perhaps make it a little more nerdy and not just “Hey, watch this really famous sci fi film”. Repeat a line from the Aliens or something.
36 – Eat my shorts seems very out of place in this movie. Throws the feeling off. Is this a serious film or a PG children’s cartoonsih type of movie?
37 – Still seems like a mess of names on the fleet ship. Also, I don’t think we need to hear the back story of Gilsham’s dad working on that type of ship. Just give us the info. The captain doesn’t want to hear that, he just wants answers, and he wants them now. Like your audience.
42 – After Nitza shoots, have Lenny just hand over the money. “Okay, I was wrong” reads sort of lame. Lenny’s not lame – he’s a badass.
53 – Lenny has been saying “darling” a lot.
65 – pacing is good. Everything feels like it is picking up again.
68 – the scavenger bruiser. THAT is how a character is properly introduced! Great job.
70 – Emmet with the sudden grasp and then drops limp? I think you can come up with something a little more interesting for a xeno-biologist.
71 – reddish green blood? That makes black. Does she have black blood?
81 – Quaid is gruff, but he doesn’t sound stupid. His “gonna fuck us some alien bitches” makes him appear much less cold and calculated than when he was introduced. Could be what you were going for, but that line left a bad taste in my mouth.
95 – The battle scene between Lenny and the guards was short and sweet. The line “we do the right thing this time” simply does not work for me.
96 – I could do without Kiwi and Mikey’s banter at the bottom of the page.
113- Janice Wilks needs to be capitalized
by wanderingmbhorn on 08/13/2011Let me just start by saying I'm a sucker for extraterrestrial, sci-fi flicks, so I'm probably your target audience for this. And, frankly, I enjoyed this greatly. There is a familiar storyline here, somewhere between Star Wars and Avatar (with the themes encompassing both), but you have an effective style of writing as this was the quickest 122 page read read I've had in... Let me just start by saying I'm a sucker for extraterrestrial, sci-fi flicks, so I'm probably your target audience for this. And, frankly, I enjoyed this greatly. There is a familiar storyline here, somewhere between Star Wars and Avatar (with the themes encompassing both), but you have an effective style of writing as this was the quickest 122 page read read I've had in a while. I may have had an idea of where this was headed, but I enjoyed the journey and took to heart the positive message you put forth here.
In terms of problems, I think your biggest involves the protagonist here. You don’t really have a clear protagonist at 20 pages in. The story has shifted pretty dramatically from Ntiza to Lenny and his crew by this point, which is a problem, because we need to know our lead by this time in the story. In Avatar and Star Wars, it was pretty clear from the get-go who the lead was, you need to establish the same. Even by the end, you still don’t really have a protagonist, although it seems to me you're leaning on Lenny being the guy. However, at different times throughout, Lenny and Nitza really sort of share the spotlight. If you want to go in the direction of Lenny as protagonist, than the scenes in the beginning with Nitza need to be quick and under 5 pages in total length, before we meet Lenny. We can’t wait almost 15-20 pages to meet our protagonist, that needs to happen very quicky. If you want Nitza to be the protagonist, she needs more focus in the story in acts 2 and 3. This would likely involve a more alien-centric story with Lenny’s story being a backdrop to her learning about this alien species and her brother.
I think you also need to employ a little more 'show don't tell' in certain areas. For example, a few spots that really stick out:
Pg. 29 – How did Nitza get on the abandoned ship from her AEF fleet? We need to see at least a hint of where things went wrong for her to end up here. We eventually learn exactly what happened later on, but if there was a ship battle as she describes to Lenny, we need to see it. Remember, film is a visual medium. Showing at least the beginnings of this battle (which would be pretty exciting to show) would also keep Nitza in the action, if you want to move forward with her as your protagonist.
Emmett is ‘killed’ and Asunamyr is tortured and 'killed,' but we don’t see these things. Show us the scavenger takeover in detail revealing these events as they happen.
The rest of my critiques are just odds and ends that I think need addressing. The decision to kidnap the Vanudi seems pretty rash, there needs to be more discussion and thought put into this.
You describe a relatively unfamiliar universe, so at times, it can be difficult to understand exactly what was going on. Now and then, I found myself having to re-read blocks of action, so just be sure to be as clear as possible with your description writing.
This isn't really a critique, more of a suggestion. You open up this amazing world of the Vanudi to us, but you really don't explore it all that much. I think you're missing out on a pretty amazing opportunity to explore exactly what the Vanudi can do. That said, I'm not going to 'mark you off on this' because it's not fair to punish someone for the story they didn't write, it's just a suggestion.
You introduce 12 characters in the first two pages. If it isn’t totally necessary to introduce a character or give them a name, don’t. Otherwise, you muddle the field. You give everyone names and you really don’t need to. If they don’t speak more than one of two lines, don’t include them, otherwise, you inundate us with people. Giving someone a name lets us know the character is important.
Lastly, characters and dialogue. Lenny's got something of a Han Solo feel to him, but everyone else is mostly one-note or flat. I'm pretty sure you're going to get lambasted by other reviewers for this, but somehow, it worked for me. This script isn't about the characters or dialogue (which is decent), but about the theme, and the statement it makes about mankind. If others are telling you to go back and re-work characters, don't count me with that group, I think this works as is.
Now, in terms of things I liked, there's a lot here.
You have a nice twist early with Danny's arrival as a young man. This grabs my interest immediately and convinces me to read further.
Pg. 85 – Fantastic writing on this page, this is clinic-worthy. A subtle reference and reveal that tells the audience why Lenny and his crew have been helpful of Nitza and the Vanudi throughout. Great job, I feel that subtlety and the slow reveal of details throughout is one of the most important areas of screenwriting, but it’s also one of the most often neglected, so I’m glad to see you nailed it.
From a business perspective. You keep the blood, gore, and scares down here, which would likely make this a PG-13 film, opening it up to a much broader audience. The fact you're able to do that, while keeping the story both interesting and entertaining is impressive.
You employ a great juxtaposition of Asuymar and Lenny during Lenny's rescue mission. This sets us up nicely for the theme of the piece while also providing a great visual.
And of course, your ending is absolutely fantastic, it really works for me here.
Below please find my page-by-page thoughts on the script:
Pg. 17 – You say dumb-ass lucky sun of a bitch twice in half a page, that’s a bit much
Pg. 19 – You say ‘right in our lap’ twice in a page
Pg. 22 – Enough references to Aliens, it’s not even as good as the original ☺
Pg. 71 - Emmett’s ‘death’ comes right as Lenny wakes? Too convenient.
Pg. 86 – an, not and
Pg. 92 – let’s, with an apostrophe
Pg. 109 – who’s, not whose
So on the overall, I really enjoyed this, it was a quick read and you wrote it in a fashion that made me want to continue reading. I just think there are a few areas you can tweak and some potential you can further exploit to make this great.
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 08/12/2011I am a big Sci-Fi fan, and was intrigued by how the story started in the first ten pages but then it just seemed to fizzle out. There are way too many characters throughout the story. A lot of the characters are stereotypical and similar to many characters we have all seen in sci-fi movies. Try to be original and work on having different characters, because at present we... I am a big Sci-Fi fan, and was intrigued by how the story started in the first ten pages but then it just seemed to fizzle out.
There are way too many characters throughout the story. A lot of the characters are stereotypical and similar to many characters we have all seen in sci-fi movies. Try to be original and work on having different characters, because at present we don’t really get to know anything about them and they just appear as mouthpieces.
The main protagonist, Nitza, also needs more work. She also seems to take a backseat to Lenny later on in the story.
The whole script lacks action. Not much of this happens which you would expect in a sci-fi action film. It’s only towards the end there is some action.
Overall, I would concentrate on Nitza's journey and try to come up with original scenes that your audience has not seen before, because at present this piece lacks originality. read
by Bennett Rea on 08/10/2011The Frontier is a sci-fi movie strongly in the vein of Avatar and the TV show Firefly. While there are certainly parts I liked, as a whole, the script needs some more developing, especially in the areas of dialogue and structure. THE GOOD: Your passion for sci-fi shows through strongly. You take influences from the greats, but you don't do any shameless thieving. Much of... The Frontier is a sci-fi movie strongly in the vein of Avatar and the TV show Firefly. While there are certainly parts I liked, as a whole, the script needs some more developing, especially in the areas of dialogue and structure.
Your passion for sci-fi shows through strongly. You take influences from the greats, but you don't do any shameless thieving.
Much of your action, especially when it comes to human action, was concise and well-written.
Visualization of the worlds you described, especially the planet, was fairly easy and vivid.
A sense of mystery and tension can be found at certain points, and it wasn't a particularly slow read.
Several of your characters were likable and distinct.
WHAT NEEDS WORK:
Good lord you have a lot of named characters. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if you have easily over 35. It is very hard to keep track of them all. When you literally began introducing them in list form is where I became frustrated (Falcone, Overton, etc.). If you're listing off characters and not giving them any description, maybe they should just stay unnamed. Now, I don't like things like "SOLDIER #8" very much, myself, so how about a descriptive name? SCARRED MARINE. BUXOM SOLDIER. Something like that. Because right now, the plethora of names muddles the reading of your script, and makes you unnecessarily add dialogue in just so the audience will hear their name once.
There wasn't a lot of emotional heft to this for me. Moments that should have carried some weight were later counteracted by alien powers (the death of Asunamyr, for example). Danny getting shot but then being fine. Emmett being "dead" but I knew he'd be fine - if these aliens can warp reality, they can mend bodies; it only made sense to me, and took away the emotional distress I should have felt. I didn't feel for Nitza all that much either, which leads me to my next issue:
Character. Who is your main character? It seems like Nitza is certainly your protag... for a while. Then, Lenny takes over, and he is a much more developed and interesting character. I like him, and I cared about his story (though never revealing his backstory was frustrating). Nitza? Didn't care about her. If you want her to be your protagonist, don't follow Lenny around in her place so much in the late second act. If you like Lenny more, make this his story (I personally would).
Too much jargon in your description and dialogue. So much of your description is really well-written, and it's evident you're excited about the world you're creating, but there is no reason to name and describe in detail many of the things that you do. I don't need a name for the torpedo; it doesn't make it more authentic, it just takes up space. An audience won't know the name, so neither should we as readers. Your first 10 pages didn't hook me like I wanted them to because of all the sci-fi jargon polluting your dialogue and description. Putting some in the dialogue adds authenticity. Putting as much as you have in the dialogue simply clouds character. I can't tell who someone is if they all talk the same - in technical terms. Fix that, and your dialogue will be on its way to improvement, because as it is right now, it was perhaps my least favorite part of the script.
Logical problems. If the Vaundi are so incredibly badass, why didn't THEY go rescue their brethren? Why leave it in the hands of some wimpy scientist? They clearly cannot die, can warp reality in any way they want, and have powerful technology - you just created victims that can't be victimized. Take some of that power away, or else it just doesn't make sense. I know it's a tough line to tread, because you don't want to just make Dances With Wolves all over again (I'm looking at you, Mr. Cameron), but the whole story falls apart if they are that powerful. I also do not understand how they got back to their home planet in the end, but I'm willing to overlook that.
5 SPECIFIC THINGS THAT WORKED:
Asunamyr's "death" at the time I read it, was shocking and the one spot I felt emotionally connected.
Pg. 83 - Great way to write action. This is how I would advise others to write it.
Pg. 20-30 - Thumbs up. Suspenseful, mysterious, and taut. If the whole script were more like this, it would fly by.
Mikey is a very nice bit part. You need pleasant little roles in movies, and I liked his the most.
Lenny's troubled past made him more than just the usual rough cowboy type who does the right thing. He did something REALLY wrong in his past, and I like it. Also, please please please tell me what that is, because wanting to know kept me interested.
5 THINGS THAT DID NOT:
"I am captain Jack Pearl...eat my shorts." Not a fan of this line at all. Juxtaposed with the rest of your technical-speak, it sounds very silly, but not in a good way.
Pg. 4 - You write the description as if the reader already has an idea of everything that's going on; we do not. You haven't told us enough at this point to make your writing read that way. You do this a good deal, actually. Your jargon almost makes assumptions that we'll innately understand what you mean, but much of the time, you lost me. Go through and look at this through the eyes of someone who is completely unfamiliar with the world you've created; which is to say, everyone but you.
"Another pair of Scavengers suddenly show up, their weapons
aimed and FIRING. But luck is with Nitza -- her pistol SHOTS
are sharp and true, nailing the remaining two Scavengers
with deadly accuracy -- and saving Lenny in the process."
--This passage read, well... like a passage. From a novel. You need to cut way down on your unfilmables and your description of situations and feelings. Luck is with Nitza? That's a no-no. You can get away with it a couple times in a 120-page script (I have no problem with the length by the way, though it'll be shorter on your second draft I can almost guarantee), but you do it a bit much. Don't write like a novelist; your job as a screenwriter is to describe what we're seeing without editorializing.
Your first ten pages interested me somewhat, but they're very messy. It seemed rushed, and it also felt like I had missed a few pages or something. The whole thing with Danny being her brother could have been a really nice moment if you had opened the screenplay with Nitza instead of spaceships. Open with her and somehow involve her brother's disappearance. It'll bring more humanity to the script, and simultaneously clean up those first ten pages.
Pg. 85 - There is a lack of subtlety in Lenny's reference to his past. We get it. He did something bad. Your writing of it at other times is very delicate and pointed - don't let these lines ruin your otherwise subtle characterization.
The script has a lot of good ideas, and you, as a writer, clearly love the genre. I do, too, and while this script may not offer anything particularly new or exciting, it's got solid pieces in place to make a good story.
If you focus on the dialogue and characters first, the story will flow much better. The structure of the whole thing seemed off, because of how you followed Nitza and Lenny at different intervals. Choose one. Make them your hero/heroine. Delve deep into their character and build your perfect story out of them. Out of that, dialogue will improve. I would also cut down on the technical-speak. While it's fun to write, it stilts the characters who speak the lines, and it probably added a good 8 pages to your script. You've got good description; you just need to scale it back a little.
Good luck on future revisions! read
by DontStealMyScript on 08/06/20111 - OVERVIEW The Vaundi are a species from an alien planet. When the Administration discovers them, they capture them with the intention of conducting scientific experiments on them. An unlikely band of scientists and space junkers are the aliens' only hope for escape. ********************** 2 - CHARACTERS Gibbs: leader of the Marines sent to look for the prefab base on... 1 - OVERVIEW
The Vaundi are a species from an alien planet. When the Administration discovers them, they capture them with the intention of conducting scientific experiments on them. An unlikely band of scientists and space junkers are the aliens' only hope for escape.
2 - CHARACTERS
Gibbs: leader of the Marines sent to look for the prefab base on the alien planet.
Danny: Nitza's brother who's been running around on the alien planet.
Zeransky: The head guy of the marines.
Wilks: Seems to be an administrator in the Administration. Zeransky answers to her. Considers the Vaundi scientific specimens, including Nitza's brother. Clearly unlikeable and possibly the villain in our story.
Overton: 2nd in command in marine unit.
Mikey: works on the salvage ship.
Lenny: works on the salvage ship.
Tchenko: works on the salvage ship.
Kiwi: works on the salvage ship.
Asunamyr: matriarch of the Vaundi.
3 - STRUCTURE
Suspenseful so far. All the marines are hard to keep track of, but that will probably be easier in the movie since faces are easier to remember than names. Don't have a feel for any of the characters yet, but that is ok since this is a plot driven story.
Page 10 when the Vaundi are rounded up by the marines.
*Turn Point 1
Page 30 when The Shiratsuyu emerges from jump space.
Maybe page 59 when Zeransky is put in charge of the recovery effort to get the Vaundi back.
*Turn Point 2
Maybe page 84, when the Administration catches up to them and instead of leaving, Lenny and his crew stay on board to rescue the Vaundi.
The Vaundi are surrounded by the Administration on their home planet that the story started out on.
The Administration leaves.
4 - PLOT
On page 13 you show us the scientists conspiring to rescue the Vaundi but you don't show how they have reached that decision. Surely there was debate among the group about whether or not this was a smart thing to do. Show us that conflict - keep us in the loop for something this important. Conflict creates tension and tension creates excitement for your audience.
On page 22 you mention that the video feeds that Tchenko is looking at are dark and grainy just like to movie "Aliens". I would recommend taking this out because any comparisons to other movies will probably make your audience feel that you are borrowing from someone else's story and are unable to create original material on your own.
I'm not buying that Lenny would risk his ship and his crew to run away from the Administration. He doesn't know what Nitza has done so he doesn't know what he's getting involved in. They haven't even agreed on a price for the ride to Groombridge. Maybe somewhere before this happens you could work into your story that Lenny has no love or trust of the Administration because they screwed him over in a big way. That would make his actions more believable.
The second act seems like a blur to me because it was a let down. I thought this story was gonna be about the aliens but they are hardly mentioned. Instead Act II contains a lot of techno jargon with long descriptions about sci-fi equipment such as Weapons systems, tactical holograms, jump junctions, etc. I'm not saying those things are necessarily bad in a script, just that I was expecting you to tell more of the aliens story. Honestly this story reminds me of a lot of the movies that play on the SyFy Channel where the characters' stories takes a back seat to the science and technology. Not sure if that's what you intended, but that's how your work comes across.
Nitza, Emmet, Danny, and the Vaundi are practically missing in action from the 2nd act.
More Vaundi show up with greater firepower and make the Administration piss in their pants.
5 - WHAT WORKED
The scene with the Shiratsuyu emerging from jump space and creating a gravity well sounds like it might be quite cinematic.
6 - WHAT DIDN'T WORK
Lenny's constant use of the phrase "darlin'" when talking to Nitza. Throw in the fact that he's captain of a ship that's falling apart and it all sounds too Han Soloish. I would drop it completely because you don't want your audience comparing your story to Star Wars. He uses the word "darlin'" 21 times in his dialogue.
The 2nd time they start having trouble with Lenny's ship, it seems a little overused. Like we've been there and done that before. Let's get on with the story. I would condense showing up the ship's mechanical problems to as short a sequence as possible. It's boring and is not important to your plot.
Most of the dialogue between Lenny and Nitza is flat. They talk about a lot of stuff that keeps the story stuck instead of pushing it forward.
Page 108. Nitza grabs Lenny and kisses him? That seems too cliche'.
7 - DETAILED COMMENTS
- The soldiers in Gibb's unit are all at rank Sergeant or higher. Is that realistic for the Corp?
- p. 21 You reference the movie "Aliens" but I would take any copyrighted material out of your script because the licensing issues might give a producer a reason to pass on your script.
8 - EASE OF READ
Was a tough read from the start with all the military and sci-fy jargon. Obviously, this will be a story that's much easier to watch than to read.
9 - LOGLINE
Actual: Two scientists steal a simple alien race from mankind’s corporate grasp in order to find them a new home.
Recommended: I wouldn't change it.
10 - TELEGRAPHS
Nothing in your story seemed too predictable.
11 - OVERALL
Well it easy to tell that you've put a lot of effort into your script. But because it's so heavy on descriptions of the technology, the military weapons, and the battle action, I soon lost interest in this story. But just because it wasn't for me doesn't mean that there isn't an audience out there that will really dig your vision. I'm just not a big science fiction fan. I hope that at least some of these comments will be helpful to you as you try to improve your script.
Keep writing! read
by fencik on 08/01/2011Borrowing from films like “The Abyss,“ “Aliens,” and “Avatar,” the futuristic sci-fi fantasy adventure, “Frontier,” is an imaginatively detailed, action-filled space yarn that moves at warp speed. Unfortunately the plot is so propulsive, and the narrative so over-stuffed with unnecessary techno-babble, that the human element -- and the point of it all -- is lost in space... Borrowing from films like “The Abyss,“ “Aliens,” and “Avatar,” the futuristic sci-fi fantasy adventure, “Frontier,” is an imaginatively detailed, action-filled space yarn that moves at warp speed. Unfortunately the plot is so propulsive, and the narrative so over-stuffed with unnecessary techno-babble, that the human element -- and the point of it all -- is lost in space.
What is this story about? According to the synopsis, “Frontier” is supposed to be about two scientists helping aliens escape from the clutches of an evil corporation. But what about Spacer Captain Lenny? He’s as important to the story as Nitza, but he’s not even mentioned in the synopsis. And what about Nitza’s long lost brother, Danny? It’s his strange reappearance in the first few pages that gets the ball rolling, but he’s not mentioned either.
As written, the script’s synopsis should read more like this: When a young scientist locates her long lost brother on a remote planet, living amongst a benign alien race, she joins forces with the grizzled captain of a renegade space freighter in order to save them from the clutches of an evil intergalactic corporation. This example is far from perfect, but it does highlight the most important elements of the story: Nitza’s relationship with her brother and Lenny.
Remember, movies are ultimately about people, even when they‘re about aliens.
Focus less on the technical details and more on the characters. In the beginning the emphasis should be on Nitza and her dogged determination to find her lost brother. And when she finally does find him, allow them (and the reader) a moment to reconnect before pulling them apart again. Nitza’s relationship with Danny, like Ripley’s relationship with Newt in “Aliens,“ is the emotional anchor of the story. Everything else is secondary.
Streamline the prose as much as possible. Edit out most of the tech stuff. Lines like, “Many launching the Type 340 Anti-Capital class Heavy Torpedoes at the closing Administration warship” (pg. 95), bog the reader down with unnecessary detail. Also, don’t bother naming minor characters, like Dobbs, Vasylig and Gilsham as well as most of the Marines.
What the story’s about determines its structure. First figure out exactly the story you want to tell, then figure out the best way to tell it.
Good luck. read
by Gary Mark Lee on 07/29/2011Right off I could tell that this was fun to write, I’m a big fan of Sci-Fi movies so I know when somebody is having fun and just doing it for themselves. First off I have to congratulate you on having the most speaking roles in any movie I’ve ever read, almost 40! That got to be a record not only for this type of movie but for movies in general, you introduced about 25 in... Right off I could tell that this was fun to write, I’m a big fan of Sci-Fi movies so I know when somebody is having fun and just doing it for themselves.
First off I have to congratulate you on having the most speaking roles in any movie I’ve ever read, almost 40! That got to be a record not only for this type of movie but for movies in general, you introduced about 25 in the first 15 pages, that’s a lot to take in. and you continued to introduce them right up to the end, the bill for craft service on this pictures is going to cost more then Charlie Sheens re-habe bill.
But when your writing a movie like this you can’t think about the cost or you’ll never get it written, but unfortunately other will and that’s going to put a big road block in front of you.
The story itself was a combination of several other movies and a TV series, “Avatar”, “Aliens”, “Star Wars” and “Firefly” all good shows and there is nothing really wrong for using them as inspiration, stealing form the best is what most people do.
But the main problem I had was figuring out what the movie was about? Yes you had great action and BIG special effects but at the heart of every movie should be a simple idea, love, hate, revenge, something to wrap ourselves in so we can sit back and see what happens. But I didn’t see it here.
Your main leads seemed to be Nitza and Lenny, both had good points, Nitza was strong and capable, she wanted to find her brother and then save the Aliens from being exploited. Lenny was your basic hero type who was the leader of a band of space pirate types. Very much in the “Firefly” vein, at the end of the movie they seemed be getting together but were not sure how it will end.
A good connection between your main characters will help a lot, maybe they already knew each other, perhaps they had a brief love affair, or maybe even married? Your female audience love this sort of thing and it would add warmth to the story.
I kind of lost count on who was doing what with the others in the script, keeping track of so many characters was hard for me, that can be fixed with clever casting but were all the people needed? We didn’t get a chance to really care for them because things moved along so fast, but that seems to be the way these types of movie are now, fast, video game style stories that have a lot of action and very little human emotion.
In a movie like this where it’s set in the far distant future we always run into the problem of dialog, would they really talk like that? But it’s a way of connecting us with them. You did put in some fun comments and your description of things was very good.
He ending seemed to be a bit of a cop out, we went on this long journey only to be brought back to the place where it all started? Why didn’t the Aliens stop what was going to happen at the beginning? It would have saved a lot of trouble but then we wouldn’t have a movie. And you never explained WHO the aliens were, where they came from or how did they have such advanced weaponry? How did Danny become an Alien? It’ a Geek question I know but one that need answers for this story.
If I were you I’d cut down the story about 20 pages, mostly from the beginning and lose about have the characters, I know it hard to do but it would clarified the story and save about 50 million dollars. If you decide not to that’s fine also, you wrote this for yourself and I cant stand in the way of your dream.
In the end I’d say that this was strictly for science fiction fans out there and not one that’s going to reach a big following. But it really doesn’t matter I think, you did what you wanted to do and that’s what writers should do.
All the best to you and thanks for the read. read
by Tiddles on 07/29/2011I’m new to the screenplay business and this is my first review, so you’ll have to excuse me if I miss things that a more experienced reviewer would pick up or hone in on. Also, Sci Fi isn’t a genre that would normally appeal to me. That said, I enjoyed your screenplaY - Frontier. I thought that the concept was original and interesting. I liked the idea of the ‘Vaundi’: clever... I’m new to the screenplay business and this is my first review, so you’ll have to excuse me if I miss things that a more experienced reviewer would pick up or hone in on. Also, Sci Fi isn’t a genre that would normally appeal to me. That said, I enjoyed your screenplaY - Frontier.
I thought that the concept was original and interesting. I liked the idea of the ‘Vaundi’: clever to make them peaceful and serene, which contrasted with the other characters. By having Nitza and Danny related gave the necessary motivation for Nitza to try and help the Vaundi.
You handled the opening deftly and created a clear picture of your story world, which was easy to imagine. The introduction of the Spacers was handled well, although I did feel that you spent too much time getting from them to Nitza holding the gun (13/14 pages).
After Lenny and Nitza meet, the pacing was perfect. The story moved nicely and had plenty happening to keep it engaging. I enjoyed the sub text in the dialogue between Nitza and Lenny and the moment when their lips were nearly touching hinted at the kiss which came later.
I found no problems with the action and was able to follow all the battle scenes and the movements between the different ‘ships’. The technical jargon wasn’t over the top – just enough to help picture the various scenes without getting too bogged down.
I liked how you slowly revealed the Spacers’ skills, which showed that they had the necessary ability to rise to challenges they faced. Also, Lenny’s stoicism when the Scavengers appeared on the scene added tension and more conflict. I was wondering how they would overcome the Scavengers. Nice touch to crank it up by having the UEA lads arrive when things looked desperate – this ratcheted the conflict and showed the real character of Lenny and his team; they had to make serious choices; Lenny’s easy option would have been to join the Scavengers.
Some of the humour was excellent and the references to films worked well.
Some nits, which might be down to me missing things - if so, I apologise:
Although the opening worked (excellent description) I felt there were too many characters and had to check who was who.
I would have liked to have seen Nitza's escape with the Vaundi.
At the end, everybody returns to the excavation site - nice touch - but the Vaundi have the huge ship and clearly are more powerful. Why didn't the Vaundi stop the abduction in the first place? (I think I may have missed something here).
How did Danny 'change' into an 'alien'? (Maybe I missed this too).
There are some typos - those that I spotted were mainly in action bits where you've missed the 's' at the end of verbs; if you want I'll dig them out for you.
Some dialogue struck me as being a bit 'on the nose'.
I enjoyed your SP and could see it as a movie. Hope I've helped a bit and not wasted your credits... read
- Writer: Desi Escabi
- Uploaded by: solardae
- Length: 122 pages
- Genre: action, sci-fi/fantasy
- For those of you who've read the original - act one and three has been considerably tweaked and altered to flow with the completely rewritten act two, which now encompasses many suggestions made by several Trigger Street members. There has also been a slight - and very recent - change to the ending, which has not been incorporated in the uploaded document. For those of you who are interested, let me know and I will provide said change. For all -- this is a work of heavy science fiction, thus, heavy imagination. so please, if you can, give me commentary on what doesn't work Visually -- and I stress Visually -- with fix suggestions that makes sense...Visually. Other commentary concerning how it reads, If Visually Applicable, will certainly be entertained.
- Bio: Am currently revising I am Alien, as well as working on several more screenplay projects atm. All suggestions will be welcome, as all previous suggestions will be heavily considered in these significantly revised drafts.
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