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HOW IT RATES
Family man Adam Hopkins has avoided conflict his entire life. His long-lost father Jack unexpectedly arrives to kick-start Adam's mid-life crisis.
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Reviews of White Rabbit 6
by josephcarlin on 12/30/2007"Write" to the bigtimes. I liked your screenplay, few if any misspellings, direction was good and Adam, Jack, Sally, Juntine, Billy, Helen, they all had their own unique voices. If one was talking without the header line, I would know who it was for the most part. Surprised me at the end though. I honestly didn't think there was enough originality here to make a great motion... "Write" to the bigtimes. I liked your screenplay, few if any misspellings, direction was good and Adam, Jack, Sally, Juntine, Billy, Helen, they all had their own unique voices. If one was talking without the header line, I would know who it was for the most part. Surprised me at the end though. I honestly didn't think there was enough originality here to make a great motion picture but I imagine if I read American Beauty for the first time I might feel the same way. I'm sure the actors would know what to do. I'm sorry but it didn't "wow" me at the end, I was waiting for something big to happen but it just never materialized. It sort of was predictable about what Jack was doing or going to do and that Adam was going to learn from the aged lion. You're good at writing and all the dialouge seemed o.k. but I have to pass on this just because it didn't zap me between the eyes. Maybe if Jack was running from something life threatening that would bring out Adam's "manly" side when his family was threatened, that may have worked for me, kept me on the edge of my seat a little, something to think about though. Those re-writes are brutal but I have every confidence you can handle it. read
by bha26 on 12/30/2007There is a lot to like in this script. There is plenty of work to be done, but if this is a first draft, then it's a strong one and I think has plenty of potential to be a good heartwarming dramedy. Jack was certainly a memorable character. He kind of reminded me of Gene Hackman in the Royal Tennenbaums and since that's my favorite movie, that is certainly a compliment. He... There is a lot to like in this script. There is plenty of work to be done, but if this is a first draft, then it's a strong one and I think has plenty of potential to be a good heartwarming dramedy.
Jack was certainly a memorable character. He kind of reminded me of Gene Hackman in the Royal Tennenbaums and since that's my favorite movie, that is certainly a compliment. He had all the best lines and some of them were real dandys. The scene in the elevator for instance. Great stuff there. I also liked his Nixon rant at the beginning. It instantly said all that was needed to say about this guy. Well done.
I also liked the children dynamic that you set out here. The Christian daughter, the goth daughter, and the nerd son, all could be played as cliche's but I think you did a fairly decent job of fleshing them out. Especially Justine. I enjoyed her witty dialogue and she came off a very realistic teenage character.
Where I think this needs work is the Adam/Sally relationship. It played like every other failing marriage that you always see on film. Nothing new here at all. For this to work it needs to step out of the usual cliche's and say something new. I think the best way to achieve that is to flesh out Sally's character. She was easily the most underdeveloped character in the script and if you develop her more there relationship at it's problems will pack more of a punch. As it stands now I don't see what either one of them see in each other, thus it's hard to care what happens with them.
That being said I think you did a good job with the Adam character and certainly gave him a pretty clear arc. His character seemed a little bit murky in the first act, but I certainly warmed up to him as the story progressed. Great scene on the boat with them taking acid by the way. Didn't see it coming and really thought it was a unique and fun twist. I also liked the music discussion and the Velvet Underground stuff.
I liked that you didn't get all mushy in the end. Jack was who he was. That wasn't going to change. That worked for me. The story was really about Adam and his change so i think your story telling instincts are solid. His other family made sense and provided the story with a compelling final twist without laying it on too thick. Well done there.
So overall this a story that gets better as it goes and has the makings of a strong film. Just do something to make their marriage really stand out and you'll really have something. Thanks for the read.
Oh and one more thing, there were a ton of missed periods in lines of dialogue. I'm not one to usually point out typos but I noticed a bunch of them. read
by ColorMeBlonde on 12/30/2007This script was an easy read. I enjoyed the dialogue. It was brief and witty. The characters were great. The story, in general, was good, except it felt like it was, like Adam, missing the meat. Its a great skeleton for a story, I'd go so far as to say you have 80% of the script raring and ready to go. There just seemed to be no real driving force. Nothing to push us to the... This script was an easy read. I enjoyed the dialogue. It was brief and witty. The characters were great. The story, in general, was good, except it felt like it was, like Adam, missing the meat.
Its a great skeleton for a story, I'd go so far as to say you have 80% of the script raring and ready to go. There just seemed to be no real driving force. Nothing to push us to the end of the story. We find out why jack is there midway through the story... its such a matter of fact reason, one would think the real reason was coming at the end, like maybe he's dying or something. Something more than he was fired so he ran away.
If that even remains the case, maybe it should be more of a touching moment where we finally see Jack's weakness upon finding out, instead of finding out from someone else. Jack never redeams himself after lying about the trust fund. He should do something to redeam himself. Especially if Adam accepts him so readily.
For that matter, Sally is about to kiss another man, and is only stopped by a phone call. Then at the end everything is fine. She doesnt redeam herself. She remains the mean, controlling shrew of a wife, so why should we feel like anything has been fixed?
Adam says, at the end, that his life started at forty, but nothing has changed. He's the same person. During his last head butting with his wife he losses. He told her to leave then folded by saying he would change. So he's not exactly a new man now. In fact, he starts being wishywashy between hard and soft so early in the script that it just seems like his personality. There should be a defining moment when he changes.
This script seems to look away from consequences. He hits his wife's boss, obviously accusing her of cheating, next scene the family is bowling. Like nothing happened. He gets fired early in the script, but everything goes on as normal. We don't even see Adam's feelings of inadequacy for losing his job. Then he's fired again. From the same job. Maybe the first time should just be a warning. Still, no monetary worries ensue.
It also seems a bit uncinematic that he finally faces his demons and shows his strength to the company and is fired, even though thats what the boss wanted. If you want to show that being hard doesnt help anything, then everything adam does to be strong should backfire at once. But then, how has he changed? On that note, Sally tells Adam he's changed way too many times. It's repetitive. I do like that Jack turns out to be controlled by a woman himself. Thats a nice twist.
On to technicals: In the slug line it should only say day, night, dawn or dusk. No evening, afternoon, later or moments later. Either show us the time of day or that time has passed through the script, or continue the scene without making a new one (in the case of moments later). On the boat, Adam says "where are the rescue team?" should be where is. Also, it's fish, not fishes. It can be ignored as an error in description, but when Jack, a man who likes to fish, says it...
All that said, I realy did enjoy your script. Keep working at it, give us something to fear or look forward to. Basicaly something to move the script forward. Good luck! read
by skiingpanda on 12/29/2007I really enjoyed reading this. It kept my interest the whole way through and I was attached to the characters. Justine's pregnancy surprised me, which I like, don't want everything to be predictable. I didn't buy Helen coming to the abortion with her though, I thinked you missed a good chance for a dramatic scene where Jack breaks through to Helen, telling her any g-d worth... I really enjoyed reading this. It kept my interest the whole way through and I was attached to the characters. Justine's pregnancy surprised me, which I like, don't want everything to be predictable. I didn't buy Helen coming to the abortion with her though, I thinked you missed a good chance for a dramatic scene where Jack breaks through to Helen, telling her any g-d worth believing in would tell her to stand by her sister. And the montage at the end confused me a little. Did Jack and Adam never speak again? Would like to know.
Here are the notes I made w/typos and stuff:
p. 4 - viet. man in His thirties
p. 7 - they have names. (need period)
P. 9 - Justine, fifteen, (not capatilized)
p. 18 Adam refers to Brian as Richard?
p. 32 Marlboro. fatass. George (all need periods)
p. 33 you'll excuse me, not I'll
p. 35 despite herself, Justine finds
p. 40 traveling
p. 44 yes sir. what else can I do sir. think of something. (need periods)
p. 45 suitcase. thank you. (need periods)
camp looking? Camp voice? I have no idea what that means, but I am new to this so that may be my ignorance, sorry.
p. 46 you're welcome. 26th floor please. (missing periods) silence as they (not we?)
p. 49 hey you do it. missing period
p. 51 fuck off. (missing period two times)
p. 54 this is the life (missing period)
p. 60 flies should be fly
p. 66 woman. tired. tired. (missing periods)
p. 68 says should be say
p. 69 - what is adam talking about when he says 25 asses? I thought he meant the shorter business cycle, but it confused me.
p. 70 Martin (two times) Should be Adam?
p. 88 thinking to do. (missing period)
p. 91 I didn't get how Jack's wife and kid showed up at the hospital from Vegas that quickly. Seemed like they got there almost as quick as Adam and his family who were much closer.
p. 100 Vegas strip. Casino. (Missing periods)
In conclusion, I'd say I think this is an interesting family story and I could see how it would play out on the screen. Good luck with it. :) SP
by gunaseln on 12/29/2007I understand this is your first draft, so I will be careful with my comments. Your screenplay structure and the way you go about telling the story is okay for the most part. You use Montages and there are character dialogues in them. I am not sure if thats how you do montages. Your opening sequence in Adam's VO works, but can be improved. Calling this script a comedy is... I understand this is your first draft, so I will be careful with my comments.
Your screenplay structure and the way you go about telling the story is okay for the most part.
You use Montages and there are character dialogues in them. I am not sure if thats how you do montages.
Your opening sequence in Adam's VO works, but can be improved.
Calling this script a comedy is a bit of a stretch. The script was not funny, it has all the good elements to be funny, the way it was written it was boring.
Problem really is in the way you set up Adam's character. Adam is middle-aged man, husband and father of 3 kids. He is not a loser, he probably has low self-esteem. Jack joins him after 34 years and Adam welcomes him, just like that? Doesn't sound natural.
You have some interesting elements but not exploited fully. I would have expected Adam and Sally's fight sequence to be more natural. You have some indication to say that Sally is an over-bearing wife, and Adam is slightly not interested. Would a toilet seat not lifted fuel up the argument and Sally leaving home with Billy? Why wouldn't Sally take the other 2?
The whole fishing trip was a good break - but nothing unusual - no ground-breaking revelation about anybody - no hard hitting lessons for both Adam and Jack. This should be a way for both of them to get to know each other - appreciate the strengths/weaknesses - it need to work both the ways - you say it in the dialogues - I dont think it is very effective.
Justine is pregnant and Adam/Sally don't even know about it till the end?
Jack had an other family, and they came from Vegas to see him. Wow! Stop it.
What is the motivation for Jack to visit Adam?
Why would Jack hand him a bank statment in the middle of the script?
Looks like Adam got all the confidence to quit because of Jack's fund amount for Adam?
Doesn't add up.
I am not able to root for anyone here. Jack is a jerk, Adam is a nice guy but with self-esteem issues and Sally is just an overbearing wife who wants to raise a good family.
For this story to work, here are my suggestions:
Differences between Adam and Sally must be highlighted clearly - may be professional, may be in the way they raise the kids. This has to be a constant undercurrent thing and in the midst of their ongoing battle, Jack enters in the family and he sets things right. Sally hates Jack for his guts and his interference in her family affairs. None of this is in the screenplay. I will not bring in Jack's second family into picture at all.
Jack need to be portrayed as a straight-forward, hard ass, but good natured guy who offends people with his sarcastic and sometimes obnoxious comments. Sally perceives this as he is a jerk and they both accept each other in the end. And Adam/Sally live happily with their life.
Watch Uncle Buck! You will get some ideas
Hope this helps. read
by nycdi on 12/28/2007Well, White Rabbit has quite a lot going for it. The characters are, for the most part, very likeable and the story did draw me in. There is some funny and believable dialogue, and I wanted to know what was going to happen. I basically like the premise. However, there are some areas that need addressing. Basically, I'm going to address my comments directly to the writer..... Well, White Rabbit has quite a lot going for it. The characters are, for the most part, very likeable and the story did draw me in. There is some funny and believable dialogue, and I wanted to know what was going to happen. I basically like the premise. However, there are some areas that need addressing.
Basically, I'm going to address my comments directly to the writer...
As a woman, I must say that the women and girls are not as fully fleshed out as the men and boys. You teeter on the edge of stereotype now and then. I didn't find much to like about the character of Sally. I don't think you meant to write an unlikeable character, but you fell into the trap of writing an assertive, ambitious business woman as a cold-hearted bitch, and that comes off as a little bit of a cop-out. In addition, that side of her and the way she liked dressing her son in nerdy suits, didn't quite jive with the idea that she's a former hippie into yoga and tofu. She was really the only character I took exception with - I really liked how you wrote all the rest.
The storyline does veer off into different directions at times. I understand that there are about six or so characters, each with their own little plots -- but sometimes we are carried a little too far off in one direction and it takes too long to get back. The pace slows down quite a bit after Jack buys the truck - the fishing trip needs to happen much sooner than it does! And some scenes don't serve the story very well - for example, I don't think you need the family bowling excursion at all. I also didn't really see any need for the rabbit getting killed and the subsequent funeral, either (therefore, the title wouldn't be relevant, I guess, but I am not crazy about it anyway). I'm also not sure about Jack giving Adam acid or having a family in Vegas. The main story line gets blurred a little too often.
I think it would benefit you to really hone in on the essence of what your main characters (Adam and Jack) WANT, how they intend to get what they want, and then make sure that all the other characters and circumstances serve the story as either obstacles or allies - every action and every line uttered by each character should be necessary and fulfill a purpose. Review your loglines and treatment as a guide; rewrite them if they are unclear.
There are also specific writing problems. First, I would say to keep in mind the old adage, "Show, don't tell." I jotted down some examples from your screenplay with which you basically tell the reader what a character is feeling, rather than showing. And you can't tell the audience what a character is feeling or thinking unless you have voiceover, and you don't want to do that, so you need to address this in such a way that the characters' ACTIONS let us know how they feel. Here are the examples:
On page 40, there is a kitchen scene with Jack and Sally. First of all, I think it should end when Jack leaves the room - you don't need Sally calling after him after he leaves. It's stronger without it. But secondly, after Jack tells Sally she's not Adam's mother, you wrote:
Jack walks out of the kitchen casually, leaving Sally steaming.
Okay, keeping in mind that the screenplay is a blueprint for what we see on the screen, how does the audience know Sally is steaming? Is there actually steam rising from her head? I hope I don't come off as flippant by asking that, but I only mean to illustrate my point. Your sentence would absolutely work in a novel, but not in a screenplay. If I wrote that action line, it would probably be something like:
Jack leaves the room. Sally blinks and swallows hard. Her jaw clenches.
End that scene right there. But be careful with your action lines - you have far too many of them and they are not as necessary as you think. Look at pages 36-38 - you have "Billy shrugs... Billy nods... Billy giggles... Billy nods... Billy nods... Billy shrugs... Billy looks confused..." in between almost every one of Jack's lines! It's not your job to direct the actor on every page. If the director wants Billy to nod, she or he will tell him - you don't need to interject that kind of action throughout so many pages. Too many action lines (and too much dialogue) can muddy a story.
I think you get the idea - here are some more examples where you told us what your character was feeling rather than letting their actions reveal it:
Pg. 2: Adam is no longer listening. He watches Sally's lips move but can hear nothing.
(ask yourself - how does the audience know he is not listening?)
Pg. 35: The end of the game approaches.
(how does the audience see the game is almost over? Is Adam looking at the scorecard? Is the winning team high-fiving each other?)
Pg. 39: Adam says to Sally, "I just want to do some fishing."
(why not show him running around, excitedly packing up his gear and getting his clothes ready without having him SAY he wants to go? Show us, don't tell)
Pg. 73: Silence as Adam's anger builds up inside.
(again, what do we SEE that lets us know he is getting angrier by the moment?)
All these on Pg. 90:
Adam looks fed up with Jack.
Sally looks deep in thought.
To Adam, the armchair seems incredibly daunting.
(you know what I'm going to say - how will the audience SEE or KNOW what the characters are feeling?)
You have this sort of thing running throughout the whole screenplay. As an exercise, you might save a new version and try taking out ALL the action lines. Read it through without them and only insert what you ABSOLUTELY need. And then be careful to SHOW the audience the characters' inner lives by what they DO (mostly) and what they say. Minimize the dialogue, too, to just the essential. Screenplays ideally should have lots of white space in them. Always ask yourself what the audience will see on the screen.
Other than that, go through it with a fine tooth comb and look for typos and punctuation errors (there are a few), but most especially watch the verbs - the action lines should all have verbs in the active tense, not the passive tense. For example, on pg. 94, you have:
Adam calls out to Jack who is seated in his truck behind the wheel, trying to start the engine.
. . . . .ADAM
. . . . .Jack!
The truck shoots off with a very drunk Jack behind the wheel.
So, how do we know Jack is drunk? You told us in a previous scene, but that again was not *showing* us. How do we show what Jack is doing in the truck without using an overly complex sentence? Be on the lookout for verbs that end in "ing" and cut them out! I would have this scene go something like this (note the active verbs):
Jack climbs into the truck. He tosses an empty whiskey bottle out the window and turns the key. The engine revs. Adam races to the driveway. The truck lurches, then pulls away.
. . . . .ADAM
. . . . .Jack!
Hopefully you can see how that accomplished what you wanted in a more succinct, direct, and active way.
I know I went on and on with my review/critique, but I truly hope I've been helpful to you. It just needs some tightening it up and corrections of style and formatting problems. I do like the basics of the story and I really feel there is a good premise here, and relationship between Jack and Adam is quite compelling. I would want to see this one, so go for it! read
- Writer: Hank Swift
- Uploaded by: hanky
- Length: 101 pages
- Genre: comedy, drama
- First draft of the script so probably a little rough round the edges. Any and all feedback greatly appreciated as always. Alternative title suggestions welcome! Thanks in advance.
- Bio: Living in the UK but a little obsessed by the American Dream and what it really means. I'll figure it one day when it's too late. Been writing for a couple of years in my spare time. Love writing first drafts but hate those damn re-writes! Everyone has limited time these days so I am genuinely grateful to anyone who takes takes time out to read my script(s). I hope it's not too painful!
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