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HOW IT RATES
A musical prodigy turned punk rocker is haunted by the Ghost of Mozart. He's anxious to finish his masterwork so he can escape limbo and he picked her to help him meet his goal.
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Reviews of Mozart's Ghost 9
by Gary Wright on 08/13/2011Hi Bob, I think you gotta decide which brow this comedy is aimed at, low, middle, or high, because right now it's all over the map. The concept is middle to highbrow, but many of the jokes aim pretty low. I'd like to see you elevate the tone, which means digging a lot deeper into the characters. Most of them feel like broad stroke sketches, or plot functionaries, or joke... Hi Bob,
I think you gotta decide which brow this comedy is aimed at, low, middle, or high, because right now it's all over the map. The concept is middle to highbrow, but many of the jokes aim pretty low. I'd like to see you elevate the tone, which means digging a lot deeper into the characters. Most of them feel like broad stroke sketches, or plot functionaries, or joke delivery devices, rather than real people. You need real people for this one.
8 - Off pitch.
Always with the
This line sounds longsuffering and Jewish to me, not Austrian or German or whatever Mozart was. Kinda Woody Allenesque. A classic Jewish-American comedy construction, but not really in character for Mozart.
8, 9 - Wolfie's gentle nagging of her somehow doesn't seem Wolfie-like to me (seems more like Wolfie's dad, Leopold). Mozart should be more of an impish troublemaker. I'll be interested to see how their relationship unfolds as I read on, because I wonder if Mozart is the best possible choice for this character - or if you're using him in the best possible way.
10 - You don't need this on p.10:
Wolfie’s a ghost that only Allie can see or hear.
Your writing (not to mention the title) make this crystal clear by the end of page 11.
16 - I don't buy this sarcastic response, coming from a practicing psychiatrist.
I’m not crazy.
No, you’re a fully grown adult and
you have imaginary friends.
17 - Same with this line.
You carry on conversations with the
ghost of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
and you don’t find that the least
Actually, his whole reaction to her - giving her a Bellevue card, threatening to call the police if she returns, just doesn't strike me as something a real person would do - unless her behavior were a lot more bizarre, dangerous, and frightening - like Crispin Glover taking a kick at David Letterman's head - that kind of behavior. So you need to either make his reaction more believable, or make her behavior truly wacky, frightening, and worthy of the reaction.
17 - This line doesn't sound like Wolfie talking.
If you’d just accept the fact that
I’m here, you wouldn’t act so
Ironically, considering the above notes, it sounds like something a psychiatrist would say.
19 - Love this.
Wolfie stares at Echo for a minute. He tries to kick Echo in the shins but Echo doesn’t even feel it.
22 - You've done a good job of hinting at this, and you could continue to clue us in gently - you don't have to spell it out in OTN dialogue like this.
I’m sorry you got hurt in the war.
I’m sorry it screwed up your
career. But none of that was my
25 - This dialogue is trying to be funny, but, to me, it just seems forced into the characters' mouths, like an enormous… uh… never mind.
Ja, Ja, Ja!
Shtup me, Jakob. Stup--
Wolfie shakes his head like a coked up bobblehead doll.
Nice vivid image, but to me, "shakes his head" indicates the side-to-side "no" motion. I would use "nods" to indicate an affirmative response.
26 - Nice!
Back in my time it meant playing at
the concert hall in Vienna. But
now, I think being recorded on a
C.D. will work.
26 - Okay, end of Act One. Obviously, my earlier thought of "Is Mozart the best possible character for this?" is answered. YES, he definitely is. The unfinished requiem is a very recognizable thing, and it gives the ghost an excellent Need, to justify the haunting. Love it. Concept: Excellent!
But I still have some grave character concerns - Wolfie still seems to behave like Leopold (I wonder if it would be good to add a layer - have Wolfie haunted by Leopold, who is urging him to finish his requiem, and maybe somehow preventing him from being with Constanza until he finishes it?) Part of the problem is Mozart and Jakob seem to be performing the same story function most of the time - pushing Allie to use her gift as a serious musician, rather than squander it on a small-time punk band. I would like to see more of a difference in style and function between these two guys. Feels like Mozart should be more rebellious, more of a hellion. He seems a bit staid and avuncular - like a nicer version of her dad, with better hair. That's not a very interesting difference. Mozart was the proto-rock-star. I think you gotta give him some fucking EDGE.
52 - Consider cutting the rest of the scene after this:
He gives her a nice hug and brushes back her hair.
52 - This scene in Jazz Theory feels more like an excerpt from a Glee episode than an actual music class. God I hate that show.
53 - This is disappointingly OTN.
As you know, my father, Randy
Loomis, is head of Loomis Records.
After you took such pains to make us wonder who Melanie's dad is, it would be nice to do a more elegant reveal.
57 - I don't like this, because it's another example of dialogue that feels foisted upon a character without the character's consent.
Yes, sir. I’m calling it
“Variations on a Trip to the Mall”.
I just don't buy it. She's a student at Juilliard, I don't think you can make her a valley girl. More interesting if she has some real chops.
64 - I like the reveal that the members of the punk band are all Juilliard guys. To be painfully honest, this is one of the few things in the script that I thought was funny.
65,66 - Jakob and Gilda's scenes tend to be expository, shallow, on the nose, and excuses for lowbrow jokes that don't really fit in. It's as if the writers of Ghost Town had allowed Mel Brooks to do a pass through their script. Bad idea. You, the writer, don't seem to know or care who Mom and Dad are. They need your attention. One suggestion: Jakob being a musician and pushing Allie to be a musician doesn't feel right to me. I think the dynamics might improve if he were not musical at all, and didn't want her wasting her time in the arts. Will revisit this thought later, after I see how you resolve his throughline. Maybe it's important that he be a musician? We'll see.
76 - This scene where Wolfie cooperates with Allie by demonstrating his ghostly music-transcribing trick is interesting, but this is what I mean about Wolfie needing an edge - he's not mischievous enough. It's a missed opportunity to ramp up the conflict in the story. I found it a little hard to believe that Wolfie would cooperate so easily, after only a moment's hesitation. What happens if Zeke doesn't believe Allie, and Wolfie refuses to help her out? Doesn't that raise the stakes for her? And isn't that a good thing?
WARNING: Sweeping generalization ahead…
I haven't marked specific instances of this because I've only gradually become aware of it, but generally speaking, I get the feeling that you're so fond of Allie and Wolfie that you don't want to make things too hard on them, so you tend to shield them from conflict, rather than push them into it. You mustn't do that.
The Carnegie Hall thing is pretty hard to believe - how easily she gets access, and how easy it is to convince this guy that he should let her perform at CARNEGIE-FREAKIN'-HALL! Shit, if it's THAT easy, I'll pop in and do a recital there myself, next time I'm in town! I would buy the Carnegie Hall thing as the MAIN conflict of a movie, but not shoehorned into the third act like this, as a "Plan B" in case the Loomis Records contest doesn't work out. I'd find it more believable, maybe, if you skipped the big stack of hate section, and had some Carnegie Hall rep, or classical musician with Carnegie connections, discover her at the contest, and marvel at how perfectly she's managed to "copy" the "uncopyable" Mozart.
So, getting back to Jakob - NO, I don't think it's important that he be a musician at all - only that he question the value of Allie's punk bands and her taste in boys. In fact, I really think it would be better if he were NOT a musician. Then why, you ask, would Mom and Dad have been in the Mozart museum all those years ago? Easy. Because Mom wanted to be there. Dad couldn't have cared less - he just seized the opportunity for a little disrespectful nookie. In fact, maybe as an Israeli Jew, he hates all things German and Austrian, including their culture, and loves to diss them whenever possible.
The ending feels very first-drafty, but I think getting deeper into your characters, and making choices that rev up the conflict instead of letting them off the hook, will yield a more satisfying ending for you. read
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 07/18/2011The gimmick was cheated and the cheat leaps right off the page. Start with your flashback and cut everything before then. Introduce Allie as a child and the story of how she can see Mozart’s ghost, which is a great hook but you take far too long to make it interesting. Set up the bar stuff with the guy she likes afterwards, it just doesn’t work where it’s placed. The voice... The gimmick was cheated and the cheat leaps right off the page. Start with your flashback and cut everything before then. Introduce Allie as a child and the story of how she can see Mozart’s ghost, which is a great hook but you take far too long to make it interesting. Set up the bar stuff with the guy she likes afterwards, it just doesn’t work where it’s placed. The voice over works great to give us the needed information, but make it a narration, not a voice over. A quirky setup like say “Lemony Snicket” is just what this story needs. Open with the back story of her as a child and start with present time with her in the shrink’s office. As it’s structured right now, nothing remotely exciting happens until the flashback and the comedy isn’t there. Again, setup that great hook you have with Mozart’s ghost and the comedy will fall into place faster - or at least come off as funny. You’ve set up a great conflict with others thinking she may be nuts and getting kicked out of the band, but something really needs to rock this first act a lot harder. Sorry, I will try to keep puns to a minimum. All that stuff, quitting her job, trying to find a place on her own, than Mozart explaining why he needs her and what he needs her to do, should come in your first act. Julliard should be your act break.
That’s a really nice scene with Allie at the piano and after Julliard said no and Dick Fenster hearing it. It’s a great entrance scene to push this story forward and get the ball rolling.
An issue you let go with conflict (more the merrier), is that you dropped her struggling to live on her own. Keep her battling to pay rent while she attends Julliard. Now she only has to focus on school when it would be much more exciting and compelling to watch her fight to make ends meet while attending school. Moving her right back in with her parents makes her a weaker character and things are suddenly too easy. As a character starting to grow on her own, she should WANT to have her own place and learn to do things for herself. Comedies are rooted in conflict. The simple mistake of making things too easy for your character can ruin the reader/viewer wanting them to succeed and we lose interest - fast. Moving back in is a false success, not in terms of story, but in terms of us rooting for the character. If she has to move back in, it should be towards the end of this 2nd act when her worlds fall apart around her and moving back in is actually a sign of not being able to make it and giving up.
During Allie’s reveal to Zeke about having to help the ghost of Mozart should come in as subtext, then close with the notes appearing on the paper. He should not necessarily NOT believe her, but assume she means metaphorically, as if she can feel Mozart’s music flow through her veins. Like she is really into his music like nobody else. As written, he’s pretty much like “Yeah, cool dude, I believe you.” It shouldn’t be that easy. She should catch on that he doesn’t figuratively mean Mozart’s ghost is actually there and then prove it with the notes thing.
That “Stack of Hate” montage comes ten pages too late and really breaks up where you should be coming into your third and final act. Okay. She gets rejected by a few record companies. Have EVERYTHING go wrong. Rejection becomes numb to a reader because everybody gets rejected in real life. Make us really feel for her. I’ve mentioned several times where you make things too easy for the character. This is why. Because know that everything should be falling apart, it’s really not as bad as it should be. If stakes at been raised around the mid-point, which they were not, or even closer to the end of act 2, this montage would mean something and we’d think a piano had been dropped on this girl’s head. That’s how we’d really feel for her. Right now, things were just too easy up to this point. It never felt like a struggle to get here. If the road had been more riddled with hardship and struggle, her big moment on stage at the end would have a much more emotional impact. Think of Simba at the end of the Lion King. When he takes that final walk up Pride Rock, what if everything involving the death of his father, his trek across the lands, his ferocious battle to reclaim his kingdom, his inner struggles to find himself, had never happened? It would be a very lackluster moment. That’s what we have here in this particular draft of Mozart’s Ghost. A missed finale because the road to get there was paved.
In the end, stakes and conflicts should be relatively high in comedies more than people realize. Character development is essential, but it won’t be whole without a true hardship to affect how they grow. There’s a great gimmick here that would make a wonderful, low budget PG family film with a good message that studios like Disney drool over, but it just wasn’t fully developed as of yet to be something really special. Besides certain elements that were missing, the comedy itself should have another look. This isn’t the kind of script that needs to be but-gusting, laugh out loud funny, but I can’t remember a single line in the script that made me laugh. Certainly not one I could tell my friends about if I was to be describing the funniest movie I’d ever seen. Old School, Tropic Thunder, The Princess Diaries, Wedding Crashers, etc., all have at least one line you could laugh about later. read
by screamteam on 07/18/2011I once took piano lessons back in high school. Brutal work, but it was fun. Unfortunately, I never followed up on it. Reading your screenplay however just shows me the depth and breadth of the instrument and what such a thing could conjure in an audience. If only I had stuck with it . . . Of course the character in your story has some help in the form of Mozart’s ghost,...
I once took piano lessons back in high school. Brutal work, but it was fun. Unfortunately, I never followed up on it. Reading your screenplay however just shows me the depth and breadth of the instrument and what such a thing could conjure in an audience. If only I had stuck with it . . .
Of course the character in your story has some help in the form of Mozart’s ghost, and I have to admit, he is quite a character. I like how you’ve integrated him to reflect the present time period. As a reader though, I was a bit confused when I first met “Wolfie” wearing a band shirt and watching Allie at the bar. Therein lies a problem.
When you write a script, you’re not just writing a story for the audience to see and enjoy, but also a blue print for the actors, cameramen, sound technician, and producer to follow. Therefore, if you want to catch the eye of a director, agent, what-have-you, it’s important to be up front with information regarding the story right away. What I mean is, you should let the reader of the screenplay know first hand that Wolfie isn’t just some German guy who lives with Allie in the first few pages, but is actually a ghost.
My second issue, if it can even be called an “issue”, is the theme of your story. You’ve stated in the category under genre, that this is a comedy. I must admit, a punk rocker chick dealing with the spirit of one of humanity’s greatest musicians had a few humorous moments, but the action of the story seemed more drama than comedy.
The dynamic between Allie and her father is strong and fills up much of the narrative, as does her relationship with Zeke, which, surprisingly, doesn’t have the comedic element that I thought it would have. Much of the action in the story regards Allie’s relationship with her undead partner, which is more of a love-hate relationship rather than a partnership that would elicit a lot of humor.
The scenes where Allie is talking to Mozart as others watch from the sidelines also doesn’t seem to get much laughs, but rather pity due to the fact that the world’s greatest composure is basically forcing someone to write a musical masterpiece; pratically against her will.
Overall, the story itself is rock solid and well written. The only problem is that it would appear to me more drama than comedy. Know the audience you’re writing for, or better yet, the audience you WANT to write for.
Good Luck! read
by tarboy on 07/16/2011I believe you are a good writer. You enjoy the art of creating a story as oppose to copying old ideas. I am sure this will be an interesting concept. 1p Why is Echo capped? He has already been introduced. She spins away from ECHO and breaks into a vicious solo that ends in a a flurry of lights and the drummer’s own pyrotechnics Not sure if you should use the word ANOTHER... I believe you are a good writer. You enjoy the art of creating a story as oppose to copying old ideas. I am sure this will be an interesting concept.
Why is Echo capped? He has already been introduced.
She spins away from ECHO and breaks into a vicious solo that ends in a a flurry of lights and the drummer’s own pyrotechnics
Not sure if you should use the word ANOTHER.
Tip your waitress? Echo shrugs his shoulders and takes another bow.
Tip your waitress? Echo shrugs his shoulders and takes a bow.
which gives Echo a nice view of her assets.
Do you need both?
Echo definitely notices.
I always try to not use words such as BEGIN, START, BACK, ANOTHER, ALSO, STILL, CONTINUES, ING. AGAIN I just think it helps the story flow better.
Allie smiles and turns back around.
She starts to walk again.
Allie, still in bed, still in her clothes from last night
Allie, in bed, in her clothes from last night
Relationships are learned in dialogue. There is no way visually to tell he is her father.
Allie’s dad, JAKOB, an well-muscled businessman with a touch of gray in his hair and eyes that can see right through you.
How come you did not say Gilda Allie’s mom?
We know they don’t have syrup.
A syrup-less pancake in hand,
Why Wolfie at her house in the morning. He does not speak to the parents. I know he is real, because,,,. He’s not real. Only Allie can see him.
Hey it’s “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.” Gene Tieney, Rex Harrison and George Sanders.
Now I have to start over
She can zip her lips, since she’s the only one being heard.
Conversation over, I don’t want to wake my parents. He pretends to zip his mouth shut.
How can he see right through you?
that can see right through you,
What is she talking about?
You’ve screwed up every other one, why should this one be any different?
LOLOL I can clearly see he’s a Ghost on the re-read. Let’s see how good it is.
You just stated “Wolfie’s a ghost that only Allie can see or hear.” So why would you need to write this?
Wolfie starts to laugh, but Dr. Feldman doesn’t hear it.
Being introduced for the first time name should be capped.
Dr. Feldman poke his head out.
Nice scene with Young Jakob.
Why did Wolfie pick her to teach?
See, like that stuff, right there. Talking to invisible people. It freaks everyone out.
If Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was my ghost we would be writing music.
The only way she can get into Julliard, she has to play. She’s too weird.
The tour group moves on but two tourists stay behind. It’s Jakob and Gilda. They scamper behind the bed and hide.
The tour group moves on but Jakob and Gilda.stay behind. They scamper behind the bed and hide.
In a group it’s about performance as long as Allie was playing well they would have never kicked her out the group. It’s always about being with the best.
P31 No need for “S’ on Grin
Brad cracks a slimy grins and lowers his shades to fully reveal his eyes.
If she is so good , how come no one knows about her. As a child her father would have traveled the world.
Yes, my father is a heartless egomaniac who’d sell me into white slavery if the price was right.
The world would know. She would have the best education. She would be his way back to all that should have been his.
Allie do not need to bring up Wolfie in the interview. She needs to let the playing carry her.
Anyone else. If you’ve only been exposed to your Father’s influence.
Tell me what you think after you hear me play. You character lack confident for no good reason. She is a virtuoso. She has been taught by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Hello. He was arrogant, self- absorbed…
She’s in. told you.
Louder, more pronounced, more amazing. Dick Fenster sees
other professors migrate towards the empty classroom.
On to the making of a CD!
The pieces of music that could be arranged for such a film.
MELANIE is predicable. So is Zeke.
You do realize who my father is, don’t you?
Does she have to be in the corner?
In one corner Melanie plays some smoking jazz piano at the baby grand.
Melanie plays some smoking jazz piano at a baby grand.
Allie fidgets, she tries not to lose his temper.
I might be wrong, but I am sure if Melaine father thought she had talent she would not need to be in a contest to prove it
How many times did Wolfie write with the pen?
I think conformation of Wolfie would get a bit of conversation? You go
C’mon, I’ll walk you home.
INT. JULLIARD - DAY
The school auditorium is packed,
Something in between there would be nice.
Any contest Julliard supported they would have teachers as judge. The teachers would know which student deserved a recording contract.
How come we don’t see the students play and see the judging.
Thank you for a good story.. read
by crossroads79 on 07/16/2011I have to say this was an interesting concept and I looked forward to seeing where you took it. I think you did a fine job of setting up this story for plenty of conflict, but overall I'm left kind of underwhelmed. I really enjoyed the script, but I didn't love it. I think you could really amp up some of the aspects of this story in terms of conflict and theme to make this... I have to say this was an interesting concept and I looked forward to seeing where you took it. I think you did a fine job of setting up this story for plenty of conflict, but overall I'm left kind of underwhelmed. I really enjoyed the script, but I didn't love it. I think you could really amp up some of the aspects of this story in terms of conflict and theme to make this something that's both funny and touching.
First I'll say that it's tightly written. I didn't see any major issues here. In the subsequent rewrites I'm sure you'll find ways to make the text pop and be even tighter.
You had some good scenes - 'Niagra', for one. I also enjoyed the moments where Wolfie and Allie got down to business and started working on his Requiem piece. It's also cool to see people who know their business making something happen.
As mentioned before there are some aspects that are lackluster. In the end I felt this story was really about Allie and her father. While I wouldn't spend any more scenes between them, perhaps there's a way to make their relationship's divisiveness less cliched. I'm sorry to say that because it's an important aspect, but the truth is these types of stories commonly employ the misunderstood child and the refuse-to-understand parent. Jakob's insistence that Allie attend Julliard also seemed more a device to get her to the school, meet Zeke, and enter this competition.
The competition itself was set up poorly. Again, I'm sorry to be blunt about that, but I didn't care at all. From the outset, it's apparent that Melanie's going to win and there's no real stakes for Allie personally other than Wolfie's 'quest'. Not that that's not important, but as she was agonizing over this contest I kept thinking why don't they just pool some money together, borrow from the parents or something for some studio time, and BAM! He's off to his long lost love. Or am I being dense and missed something?
The dialogue didn't make me groan at all, but none of it really made me jealous that I didn't think of it. As far as outcast young women go, you're up against 'Juno', among others, so the words have to snap and pop. That comes with rewrites, of course.
There is one logic thing that's bothering me and perhaps I'm not catching it, but Wolfie seems involved with the physical world for the story's convenience. For example when the family's having dinner and he wants mashed potatoes. It's an excuse to use Elijah's plate (and who is he?) and start an argument. Yet, when Zeke first meets Wolfie its explained he can't do anything except write music from his own pen. Let me know if I'm wrong or missed something.
As for the end, as impractical as Carnegie Hall is, even for a ghost story -- I thought it was great. That's where I think you should focus more of the script. Let the scenes devoted to the Julliard contest be used for tension builders in conflict with Zeke.
A great job on an original concept and I hope some of this helps. read
by Jordan Ray Allen on 07/15/2011Bob, When I first saw the title 'Mozart's Ghost' I immediately thought of the movie 'The Net'. I'm curious, did the Mozart's Ghost website from that movie inspire your title and/or idea for this particular screenplay? But yes, with this script. I can easily see it being made. Imaginary friend flicks are always great. However, you took it a step further. Allie doesn't keep... Bob,
When I first saw the title 'Mozart's Ghost' I immediately thought of the movie 'The Net'. I'm curious, did the Mozart's Ghost website from that movie inspire your title and/or idea for this particular screenplay?
But yes, with this script. I can easily see it being made. Imaginary friend flicks are always great. However, you took it a step further. Allie doesn't keep Wolfie hidden is some closet whenever around people. She carries on as if she doesn't care who sees her talk to this imaginary person. And that my friend, is pretty cool and heightens the comedic flow.
I'm not sure what the other reviewers have said, but I think it's cool where it is. Shoot it for cheap, head to Sundance. You know?
I caught a couple of things in the early stages of my read that may help.
Page 1. She spins away from ECHO and breaks into a vicious solo that ends in a (a) flurry of lights and the drummer’s own pyrotechnics. (Remove the extra "a")
Page 11. "Leave now, or I break my hand. I
swear I’ll do it." (After "or" it should read "I'll" instead of "I")
Good luck in getting this made!
-Jordan Ray Allen read
by philbligh on 07/15/2011First of all you just really need to think about how many people will want to go and see a film about a punk rocker/classical pianist who is haunted by the ghost of Mozart. It is not a very engaging concept and it is not an original one, not by a long shot. That being said, if done well anything can work. This however was not done well. This script is one of the most cliched... First of all you just really need to think about how many people will want to go and see a film about a punk rocker/classical pianist who is haunted by the ghost of Mozart. It is not a very engaging concept and it is not an original one, not by a long shot. That being said, if done well anything can work. This however was not done well.
This script is one of the most cliched things I have ever read; Allie jumping in as a lead guitarist in Zeke's band, the rental appartmant montage, the composition contest, 'Welcome to Julliard' etc. etc. etc. The characters were also very cliched - the classical musician that wants to rock, the stern father, the overly understanding and gentle Zeke.
The concept is massively flawed. Why can only Allie see him? You never explain this. Mozart seems to know exactly how to go back to heaven. But how? Who told him? And by what mad rules is this all set up. Imagine a deleted scene where God meets Mozart a couple of centuries ago:
-Hi Mozart, sorry you're dead. What I'm going to do is I'm not going to let you in to heaven yet as before you do I really want to hear that last piece of music you were writing.
-But I did write lots of quite good other pieces.
-Not good enough. I want that last piece.
-OK, well I'll just finish it now then.
-No. I'm going to send you back to Earth where you have to find someone who first is able to see you and secondly is a musical genius. They have to finish the piece.
-Surely I could just tell them what notes to write?
-You could, but you won't for no real reason other than to facilitate the writing of a script somewhere down the line.
-OK, and when they finish it, that's it, is it?
-No. It has to be 'debuted'.
-No, played at a big venue.
-Ok, and why are you making me do this again?
-No reason. Oh, one other thing. Your bed has supernatural powers.
Of course I'm being facetious but the point stands. The task you've set up for Allie is way too contrived and based on nothing.
How she deals with him is beyond believable. She has no concern at all for anyone else seeing her acting strangely, even when she's in a shrink's office or on a first date. Zeke accepts her explanation way too easily. "A ghost, OK, yeah." Doesn't for one second think that (far more likely) she's mentally ill. And Hamilton's invitation for her to play at Carneghie Hall is laughable.
Once we find out what Mozart wants her to do, we know exactly how the film will end and it's no surprise. It's far too formulaic.
I read a lot of scripts on this website and most have a fix, but I really don't think this one does. The idea is flawed right from the start. My friend just asked me what I'm doing and I told him about your script. He said "It sounds like something they'd make fun of on Family Guy" and it really is.
I'm sorry I couldn't be nicer. I'm not one of the people you need to please with this, I'm just a nothing writer-wannabe, so if you want to ignore my comments please do, but as you read through the notes and filter out a lot of my sarcasm and personal opinion, I think you'll find I make a lot of valid points.
I stopped making notes about half way through as i was just writing too much. Here's what I wrote:
P.1 'roadie' is fine as a description, who he could be a roadie for is irrelevant.
P.2 I'm left thinking who was serving drinks while the band was on. I know there would have been other waitresses, but how many employers would allow a worker to play in a band during the busiest part of the night? She gets back to work just as everyone's leaving. It doesn't make sense.
This testosterone thing is a bit weak and if it doesn't lead anywhere I would cut it. It's a little confusing and is not explained well.
P.3 I'm probably right in assuming that Wolfie is Mozart. If he says everything with a German accent (which I'm also assuming he will) you need to say that. The way it reads he only says his first line with a German accent. Also, you do know he's Austrian, right? I've been to his childhood house, as a not so interesting sidenote.
P.9 I know they ask you to pigeon-hole the script in to a genre on this website, so this may be an unfair observation, but you've called this a comedy after 9 pages you've only had one line of dialogue or action that could even be considered funny, and that was only very mildly amusing.
P.11 It seems completely implausible to me that on her first visit to a psychiatrist she would openly argue with a ghost. She would want to at least appear sane, even if she was comfortable with Wolfie's presence. I wouldn't begrudge her talking to the doctor openly about it, but this is something she would surely be emsarrassed about and to have a full blown argument is a bit much and makes the scene a little stupid.
P.12 A psychiatrist wouldn't be insensitive enough to use finger quotes, even if she can't see him. It's incredibly disrespectful and not becoming of a psychiatrist.
P.15 Do you play the piano? The fortissimo thing seems like something that has been written by a pianist and will be important to other pianists, but lost on the audience. I'd be more impressed that she was playing a complex piece she's never seen it before at the age of six, rather than the style she was playing it in.
P.16 Now the shrink is essentially calling her crazy and mocking her. Great doctor. Really. You may come back at this comment by saying it's funny, but it's not, it's just incorrect.
And he has a kitchen timer? Really? REALLY?! A watch just isn't good enough? Even if you listen to nothing else I say, take out the kitchen timer.
P.17 Why is the door slammed in her face?
Does he really say he's going to call the police? If that's a joke on her part then it's not clear. If it's what actually happened then that's completely inconceivable without showing us a believable build-up and the incident as a whole.
Why was the psychiatrist a dwarf? Was that relevant, or did you just expect people to laugh just because he was a dwarf? If the producers want to cast a dwarf because he's best for the role then fine, but there's no reason for it to be in the script that I can see.
P.18 When he touches her shoulder I now feel you need to set up some rules about how he interacts with the world. Can he touch things? We've seen him walk through walls yet he's able to stand on the floor and squeeze her shoulder. What are the rules?
Has Allie turned up uninvited to Echo's loft? Does he just leave the door open? Both things are plausible but you don't explain it. Echo doesn't seem too surprised to see her. What has happened here?
P.19 So we're saying Wolfie can only touch Allie and no one else, is that right?
P.21 These parents are not very sensitive to their daughter's problem. He's just threatened to throw his possible mentally ill daughter out on the streets if she doesn't go for an interview.
I'm finding I want to know what Wolfie's aim is. He seems to either enjoy ruining her life. If he wanted to help her to be a successful pianist surely he would not also try to make everyone think she was insane.
Also, we don't know he's a ghost. You've told the scriptreader he is, but it will appear to viewers that he's imaginary and that Allie is therefore mentally unwell, except of course for the title but you should never make assumptions based on the title.
P.23 Why is it time now after almost 20 years to tell her what he's there for? Why has he not told her before? What has changed that makes him divulge this piece of information now and not the day before, or 10 years before? And what is so special about this girl? Given the amount of unbelievebly gifted pianists and composers in the world she would have to be beyond brilliant to stand out. So what is it about her?
P.25 I spoke too soon, here we are finding out about it. And it's nonsense, based on an assumption on the part of a tour guide, and supernatural powers which I hope will be explained, but I doubt will be. Mozart had a sister. Was she conceived in the same bed and did she have the same gift?
P.26 Oh wow, this is just beyond believable. 'I get to be with my Connie again.' How does he know this? Who told him this? Is there someone in charge of this whole thing monitoring his piece? Also, the piece has been completed, but Mozart just didn't like it. What will be the difference when Allie completes it? He also mentions that he can be with Connie when it debuts. What counts as a debut? It being played? In front of one person? Lots of people? Does it have to be a concert hall? This makes no sense and raises way too many questions that you don't answer.
And hold on, have I just discovered a massive plot hole here?: Mozart could just tell anyone what notes to put in to finish the piece. They wouldn't have to be able to play the piano at all. Then any other person who can play the piano would just have to play it. You don't need a supernatural bed or a Mozart musical genius at all.
P.26 Allie accepts very readily being thrown out of the house by her parents. She doesn't even want to talk to them or find out if they reconsider. In fact all she sees is her stuff in boxes outside the house. This might have just been to scare her a bit. She doesn't actually know if she's been thrown out. And hold on, why do they throw her out? He says he'll throw her out if she doesn't attend the interview. He then just throws her out anyway. Again, remember, as far as he knows his child is mentally ill and he's thrown her out on the street for no reason at all.
P.27 This montage has been done a million times over the years and you bring nothing new to it. Rats, broken floor, thugs... It's been done. If you can find some new reasons for each proprty to be bad then fine, but as it is it's cheesy and cliched. Also, it's not at all realistic that she would have to pay $3000 a month for a place with an infestation of rats. Why is she even looking at places that cost $3000 per month? She couildn't possibly afford that.
P.32 He's changed the locks? He's changed the fucking locks?! That's ridiculous and way beyond believable, if it wasn't already.
P.35 "So this is going to be a formality, then?" This makes her look incredibly stupid which is contrary to the streetwise, intelligent woman you have shown her to be so far. His response is bemusing also.
He will not interview 500 people. He just wouldn't. By the time it got to the interview stage there would be faw fewer people remaining.
Why isn't her application filled in completely?
P.36 Wow, this interview scene is really poor. He would reject her based on who she studied under? He doesn't even want to hear her play anything? I think you should find someone who's been to a music college and ask them about the interview process. I know some people and a performance is always involved.
P.37 Her explaining how heartless her father is doesn't make it any more beliveable. He said he would throw her out if she didn't attend the interview. She just attended the interview, so would have no reason to think she would be thrown out?
As they enter the classroom, I fear I know exactly where you're going with this scene and I'm begging that you don't go there.
P.38 You went there.
A massive cliche. And why did they go in to the room in the first place, and why did she go in to a full blown performance? And why is Dick so amazed? He works at the supposed greatest music school in the world. He would hear amazing playing all the time. She would not be so significantly better than anyone else to make him come running after her.
P.43 I have just massively rolled my eyes as Zeke says 'this isn't working without a lead guitar' and then again as Ed gets out a spare guitar. This is so contrived and cliched. What is Zeke playing in the band by the way?
P.44 Hold on, I was assuming the song they were playing wasn't working without a lead guitar. Allie joins and plays a Hendrix riff then Pearl Jam. What about the song that wasn't working? Or was he saying the band wasn't working? How long has he been in the band only to make this realisation now coincidentally in front of Allie?
It's a good job the band who don't even have a lead guitar all know the same Pearl Jam song.
P.46 What opportunities has she thrown away?
P.48 Allie once more makes very little effort to hide her affliction which will come across as insanity.
P.49 The shoe hitting him in the head again makes me want to understan the rules of what Wolfie can interact with in the world.
Melanie comes in to it too late.
The start feeels like a separate film to the bits in Julliard
Zeke accepts Allie's situation way too easily. "She's able to convince Hamilton way too easily to let her play. She's just a random person off the street to him.
by jwest on 07/02/2011Been a while since I've done a review, so pleeease bear with me. Overall: Some lovely writing as to be expected from you. I do wonder if this is a very early draft though. Things still need to be developed, individual traits and voices yet to emerge fully so each are distinct. Story seems a little flat and the normal Bob wit is not quite zinging for me yet. I reckon if you... Been a while since I've done a review, so pleeease bear with me.
Overall: Some lovely writing as to be expected from you. I do wonder if this is a very early draft though. Things still need to be developed, individual traits and voices yet to emerge fully so each are distinct. Story seems a little flat and the normal Bob wit is not quite zinging for me yet. I reckon if you really push it all round, this will be a shiny little gem of a family movie.
I like the fact that Wolfie is with Allie from the outset of the story. It's not clear how long for, but it feels a while since they seem familiar with each other, she blows him kisses (not sure why she does that, but guess irony/sarcasm comes into it) and already he's driving her nuts, etc. Seems odd then that this is her first Docs appointment. I would have the Doc and Allie more au fait with this, half knowing she'd be talking to herself.
The comedy set up of her talking to Wolfie and the Doc answering doesn't quite hit it for me, therefore I would go with the more familiar doc/patient scenario. Maybe this particular visit is more drama than usual – and the Doc sits in the patients seat and Allie asks the Doc if he's okay? Maybe.
Moving on to “tis time” moment once Allie has been half thrown out of home after the argument, I'm not sure why now is the time Wolfie divulges his plan for her. You could use the argument as an instigator for his reveal sure, but perhaps a more of a turnaround from Allie herself marks WHY he reveals his bigger plan. Perhaps for her to outright admit to her parents that she DOES see Wolfie at dinner in the height of the row, gives Wolfie the trust that she's willing to come clean about his presence. Hence, now's the time to tell her... Just thinking aloud. Otherwise I don't pick up a reason why he does reveal his big plan right now.
Hey I thought the other guy finished Mozart's Req? One of my most fav pieces of classical infact. His rival – yes, I've watched Amadeus. But it is a fav piece of mine – that and Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet.
I wonder if her acceptance into college could happen a few pages earlier. :-? Sequence of events seems rather strung out by lots of whining on Allie's part. You kinda overdo the demonstrate her argumentative technique with both parents AND Wolfie. Only need to illustrate these strained relationships once or twice – we get it. Things are, life is not running smooth. The main hits seem to be the downturns – getting kicked out of the band, getting kicked out of home and an upturn being forced upon her - getting into college when Zeke, new band and the contest presents itself. This comp then nicely coincides with Wolfie's need to finish what he started.
I think the getting into college should happen around pg 30 if poss to settle us into college life the nice little on/off romance between her and Zeke. The backstabbing could be midpoint which urges both Allie and Wolfie on, but perhaps a bit more drama that Wolfie HASN'T written it down. But by working “together” his knack of remembering scores in his head – they rewrite and make it even better. And for them to really have to work for it too – otherwise the resolution of the big problem is too easily found.
Imho. 2p. Thinking aloud. :)
When Allie tells Zeke about Wolfie and proves it to him, I really wonder why she hasn't done this before with her parents? Seems odd.
I wonder if these actual dates/romance is getting in the way of the rising drama. There seems inadequate build up to the contest. Perhaps she comes clean to Zeke earlier and he doesn't believe her – runs off as expected. Then when she and Wolfie are busy rewriting the piece, he witnesses the notes on paper. Then doesn't have a chance to say anything to her (that he believe her, wuvs her, etc) until AFTER the comp. Kiss, blah, blah.
I also find it kinda weird that we don't hear the students perform their entries. And it would be more visually interesting to see snippets of the contest (to see the great and the awful, almost like the X-factor auditions). Just saying.
Melanie still wins but someone in the auditions gives Allie a chance to play the Wolfie music at Carnegie Hall. Then Jakob, Wolfie and Zeke get their chances to make peace. I don't understand Wolfie not staying to hear the music though, and reckon he should leave after the concert. Jakob could still regain his place as dad, just seems weird after all their work he doesn't stay to hear her play/conduct it. Also seems weird – sorry – that Allie conducts it and doesn't get a chance to play the piano within the orchestra at the Hall. And weird that Zeke isn't in the audience too.
But I do like the end note (note, get it, hehee) with the relinking between father and daughter.
Characters and dialogue:
I did like Allie from the start, talented and smart, doesn't take any flack from the lads. Cool. But then all the angst and moaning and fighting with the dad and fighting with Wolfie – halfway through I kinda had enough of her. It's clear she has talent, and tis typically the person who has the talent to see how great it is, for whatever reasons. She needs “more” likeable traits in with the fighting and the angst and the fighting and the moaning and the – you know what I mean. When someone (characters or real life, I tend to see both as the same), is CONSTANTLY on a whine pitch level, I just turn off. And have to admit I lost interest in her plight and as a result Wolfie becomes less tangible and likeable too. Need to develop her more and offset the above with a better balance in her personality. It's obv boys aren't repelled by her, obv sign of Zeke's interest – but need to make that more obvious to us I think.
And in turn, to turn her dialogue up to 12. She's not darft although she sometimes comes across that way in certain circumstances – but to have a real sharp wit, defence mechanism almost. But quick and funny.
Echo is suitably ditzy, but unsure about him. Being a lead (can't seem to get Spinal Tap out of my head) I imagine he'd have a more flourish in his dialogue, a little more personality extreme or quirk. But he sounds very normal, bordering on formal. I'd mix him up a little. I know it's a fine line between taking it too far into cliché country, but just the odd word would nudge him into “lead” singer territory. Actually he kinda does a bit later... hmm. Okay, make it a bit more consistent then maybe. :D
Slight inconsistencies with Woflie too. He can walk through walls, but can pick up a magazine, but not kick Echo, one minute the shoe goes through him and then next it hits him in the head. Either he can or can't or turn it off (like Sam in Ghost) etc. Tricky but need to make some ghost rules of what Wolfie can/can't do to make the implausible, slightly more plausible, imho.
Zeke seems solid enough. But again he could be pushed more on his dialogue a little.
Again, a fair few consistencies, some lines seem a little flat, read it aloud to get the oddities:
“Just because you have an excuse, doesn’t mean everyone has to have one.” Suggestion: “Just because you have an excuse, doesn’t mean everyone has one.” Only minor tweak, runs a little smoother/natural methinks. :-s
And on the odd occasions peeps sounded similar to each other – although saying that the accents will mix that up a little. But still, for the reader, perhaps tweak individuals to carve their own personality and sound apart. Example on page 21 with the father daughter argument – you could easily switch their names around and you wouldn't really know by ear/read. Need to push each in their separate tones more.
Hmm, too many little things are not quite right for me as yet I'm afraid. A gem in the rough. Think the story, characters and dialogue all need a look at. The flow, the drama, I think there's a little too much explanational (made up word) chitchat and things seem to play out more in the dialogue than visually. Give them all a push and bit of Bob Wtc (writing tender care) and it will sit much better methinks.
A good read in the rough, ready to be given the all Bob star magic treatment. Best of luck with it and best wishes.
Please excuse my own reviewing typos – I'll ignore any basic formatting niggles.
Pg 1. Some ages would help visualise these characters a little more – weird how Wolfie does get an age.
Pg 6. an well-muscled = a well-muscled
Pg 7. You’ve screwed up every other one, = not sure what this means, every other what one?
Pg 8: Why the mocking? Always with the mocking. = lol.
Pg 10. Unsure why you need the bold note line – Mozart is a ghost. The title gives it away. If anywhere the note should go at the front end when Wolfie first appears. Since the audience are not privy to the bolded note, it seems intrusive and unnecessary here. If you want the audience to catch on to this NOW, then you need a visual clue – which you have with Allie talking to thin air and no-one else seeing Wolfie.
Pg 14. You've already said this. :-? Plus: (german-jewish accent) = (German-Jewish accent) altho not sure you need it again. I would actually put this in the character intro, rather than in (parenthesis) and clutter the dialogue.
Pg 23/24. I'd nudge on the flashback slug so it sits with the immediate following slug “of” the Flashback. And as it's over many locations I'd put flashback sequence. And then END FLASHBACK and re-slug the original scene. Check Trottier...
Pg 26. Shakes his head = that means a no to me. Does he or doesn't he? Ummm. Sorry not sure. // CD? Missed a trick – digi tack on iTunes or download.
Pg 28. Mrs = Missus // Mr = Mister (in dialo abbrevs are spelled out unless sound as is = Doc).
ALLIE (V.O.) = ALLIE (O.S.) since she is physically active in the scene but not in shot.
Pg 38. That’s amazing = on zee nose.
Pg 42/43. No mention of where Wolfie is during her class. Seems odd he's with her practically every minute, but not in class – or he is but it's not made clear. :-? Then he pops up when she's playing with the band after class. ??? I think this is explained (in dialo) afterwards, a bit later. Think it needs to be made clearer at the time.
Pg 46. playing out your dreams and
… = playing out your dreams and... (need to be on the same line)
Pg 55. Good night,Dad = Good night, Dad (missing space)
Pg 58. eliason,dominus = eliason, dominus (missing space)
Pg 60. Screwed? I never like this word. I makes it sound like you are being made into furniture. = nice line.
Pg 62. Allie fidgets, she tries not to lose his temper. = Allie fidgets, she tries not to lose her temper.
Pg 63. Shr hits = Who, what – eh? hits??? // Pg 68. Niagra = lol. I wouldn't have Allie question it, it's obvious, but perhaps have the light bulb moment followed by a gag reflex. Think any daughter/kid would with that knowledge. Ha.
Pg 71. Mozart’s Requiem Redux = Mozart’s Requiem Redux. (missing full stop)
Pg 73. When Allie tells him – his reaction seems a little flat. Jaw open sure – laugh? Look crazy?
What the? No shit, no way! Needs a bit more oomph.
Pg 75. pulling is leg = pulling his leg // I know you have your pen = I know you have your pen (double space between you and have)
Pg 78. with out = without
Pg 86. straggles = struggles
Not the best proofer – there might be more of those pesky typos in there. Just run it through a Word spellcheck quick, picks up the obvious ones.
by jakenp on 06/30/2011Mozart's Ghost follows the story of Allie, a 22-year-old ultra-talented musician as she discovers why the ghost of Mozart (Wolfie) has been following her for her whole life. Her parents pressure her to pursue classical music/stop having an "imaginary friend" while she would rather play guitar in a band. We see the moment where Mozart comes clean and tells Allie the truth--what... Mozart's Ghost follows the story of Allie, a 22-year-old ultra-talented musician as she discovers why the ghost of Mozart (Wolfie) has been following her for her whole life. Her parents pressure her to pursue classical music/stop having an "imaginary friend" while she would rather play guitar in a band. We see the moment where Mozart comes clean and tells Allie the truth--what he needs is for her to complete his final work that he died before completing. If she can do this, he can join his love in heaven.
First off, thanks for a tight, professionally written script. Always a pleasure.
I definitely sympathized with Allie. Thought she was complex and she never bored me as a character. Supporting cast was good too.
I could go on with elements that I liked: poignant moments throughout, nice sacrifice from Allie for Wolfie, some cute moments with Zeke, nice comic relief from Melanie the meanie, etc.
Your main story is Allie needing to get Wolfie to his love. These are the stakes, and we first learn about them pretty late. Page 24 has Wolfie say, essentially, "oh, by the way, the reason I've been following you your whole life is because...etc." I feel like this should be closer to page 10...and prior to that some unrest/confusion from Allie as to why she's got the ghost following her.
On this same note, I was kind of unclear as to the rules of getting Wolfie to the afterlife. So, she's got to write the requiem, right? But she also has to perform it at Carnegie? There seems to be a vague definition of success. I get that he makes it in the end, but when she finished writing the music in the first place I was kind of like, "hey, why didn't that do the trick?" Maybe it's in there and I missed it, but that was my reaction.
Allie loses the contest to Melanie around page 80. This felt a lot more like a midpoint to me, especially because the end game of losing is just "okay, I'll work harder." A working hard montage follows. She gets some nos, but then gets a yes. And that's it. We don't get much story in regards to her hustling and growing and making it happen for Wolfie.
I think you can shorten act I and bring the contest bad news to the midpoint and do a lot more with the second half of act II, and even maybe hint at some guitar prospects for Allie after the Carnegie thing.
A few smaller notes:
So Wolfie can write music. Okay. But how does he put a box of it under her bed? He can't touch things, right? Just confused by that.
Finally, you call the genre straight comedy. But this story, while good and dramatic, was not very funny. The funniest you got for me was Melanie. A good example of something that was nice, but more amusing than funny is the "pre-kiss" back and forth. Totally good, but not that funny. The allusion to "Amadeus" had a similar effect for me.
Several times you go for more obviously funny jokes that missed for me. Getting screwed, "I feel like furniture." "They didn't even have screws back then." I see what you're going for but the jokes miss. Another example, the Viagra stuff. Just didn't make me laugh.
But that said, the story engaged me dramatically. Maybe pitch it as a dramedy or something. That's all. I liked the story. Hope to read more from you in the future.
- Writer: Bob Thielke
- Uploaded by: bthielke
- Length: 92 pages
- Genre: comedy
- This was my very first screenwriting idea many many years ago, but I didn't know enough about the craft to effectively write this. If you choose to read this, I look forward to your comments and I hope you enjoy this story. Thank you!!
- Bio: I AM SOMEONE!! Writer of THE VIRGINIAN a 2013 adaptation of the 1905 Owen Wister novel of the same name. This version stars Ron Perlman, Trace Adkins, and Victoria Pratt. 2012, 2009 Nicholl's Quarterfinalist with Principles of Buoyancy and 2009-2010 Bluecat Quarterfinalist with Czechmate (co-written with the awesome David Muhlfelder).
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