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HOW IT RATES
A father and son struggle to come to terms with the loss of a loving wife and mother. Out of the blue comes a battered old piano with a mysterious past, and suddenly school lessons in music, history and physics take on another dimension as the son unlocks the piano's secrets and steers a dangerous path through time and space to make their world whole again.
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Reviews of Notes in Time (REV 3) 10
by bloodmeridian2004 on 06/25/2007TITLE/PREMISE: Solid workable title. Decent premise: notes played on a piano takes one to a particular year. CHARACTER: Needs work. I couldn't see them clearly. DIALOGUE: Lack variety in this version, but can be fixed with sharper focus on character. STORY: Rhythm is off a bit. Although the ending has promise. READING NOTES: PG 1: Formatting on page one is a bit of a... TITLE/PREMISE: Solid workable title. Decent premise: notes played on a piano takes one to a particular year.
CHARACTER: Needs work. I couldn't see them clearly.
DIALOGUE: Lack variety in this version, but can be fixed with sharper focus on character.
STORY: Rhythm is off a bit. Although the ending has promise.
PG 1: Formatting on page one is a bit of a problem, because if something is out-of-date it tell the reader that this is a new writer, but that's understandable and can be cured with proper reading. For correct use of SUPER: (which is needed instead of "Royal Palace, Russia 1917") look at THE SCREENWRITER'S BIBLE.
Also, page one "Malachek, dressed in quite modern clothing" is both overwritten (omit needless words, in this instance "quite") and confusing, because one does not know if the clothes are modern for 1917 or contemporary. Specificity is required for character introductions: "Malachek looks at his digital watch" etc.
p2. "bangs on some piano keys" is too vague. Instead, challenge the reader with something specific here which smacks of authority like "plays the first few notes of Madizerski's unpublished sonata."
and "we move around the pianos internals" suffers from the same lack of specificity and authority, give us cat guts, hammers and keys.
p5/6. dialogue carries over two pages and cries out for the need for dedicated software. Please get MOVIE MAGIC or FINAL DRAFT if writing screenplays is a serious hobby for you. Think of this as an investment which is much cheaper than a sport, such as golf.
p8. GROAN should be a parenthetical (get THE SCREENWRITER'S BIBLE.)
P9. Omit all CUT TOs: and other transitional elements unless absolutly vital (see also McKee's STORY or listen to the audiobook, it's on iTunes)
p10. "He disappeared mysteriously" on-the-nose dialogue
p18. no "whammos" since page two, something jarring needs to happen
p20. a fight, good. It seems a bit unmotivated but at least things are moving
p22. action needed after slugline INT. HALLWAY - DAY
p24. Michael time travels (22 pages after first time-travelling bit ended) unfortunately, this is far too long. This is a time travel movie. I'd read the BACK TO THE FUTURE screenplays and watch the movies to get the feel of proper rhythm for this sort of story.
p25. "1805" seems a bit obvious. Wouldn't it be fun to have the different notes coded in some way to make it a puzzle for Michael to solve?
p38. On this page, screenwriting form is lost, and as a reader I am tempted to stop and remove the assignment. However, I think that the earliest efforts need the most feedback (ironic, isn't it? since the better material is the more feedback one gets) so I'll trudge on.
The problem is that this ceases to be a screenplay here and reads like an outline. "Michael says goodbye to the girl" is all in the action and that might work if it were established that Michael were off in the distance, but that is not how it reads.
p54-56. Blank pages. Feels as if the writer gave up a bit and got careless.
I read on to the end of the script after this, but I ceased taking notes.
OVERALL: The premise could be interesting for a family movie if more mystery were added to the process of discovering what to play in order to time travel to an exact time and location.
As it stands now, this material needs another time through the word processor only this time it needs to be filtered through proper screenwriting software.
best of luck,
by ekrand on 06/13/2007I'll start with the negative, what little there is. I thought besides the first scene the script was very slow at the beginning and may cause the reader to not go any farther. During the Wake/funeral scene, you described the weather as a heavy rain and then proceeded to have people walking around outside having a normal conversations. As for the positive. Overall I thought... I'll start with the negative, what little there is. I thought besides the first scene the script was very slow at the beginning and may cause the reader to not go any farther. During the Wake/funeral scene, you described the weather as a heavy rain and then proceeded to have people walking around outside having a normal conversations.
As for the positive. Overall I thought the story was very good. I could visualize the script as I read it, the plot was definitely original and I enjoyed each trip through the portal. The Characters were strong and realistic. I loved the feel good ending. I'll buy the DVD for my children when it comes out. read
by srhite on 05/24/2007The concept of going back in time to save a mother/wife is definitely good. The somewhat magical piano being utilized for the time travel is also pretty good. The theme of saving the lost mother was something which should dominate the story from the beginning until the end. It should not be a coincidental occurrence which Michael and his father simply happen to find at their... The concept of going back in time to save a mother/wife is definitely good. The somewhat magical piano being utilized for the time travel is also pretty good. The theme of saving the lost mother was something which should dominate the story from the beginning until the end. It should not be a coincidental occurrence which Michael and his father simply happen to find at their disposal.
I'd like to have seen a grief stricken father and son longing for Sophie. It also might help to actually show a deathly ill Sophie early on in the story.
There's a whole lot more suspense, action and drama that you can mine from this story. Could you have Michael as a character with a (supposed) misguided belief that he can travel back in time to save his mother? Michael's quest shouldn't be the product of circumstance but his genuine desire to travel back in time & save his mother.
Having the Michael's character traveling back in time as a pale-faced English kid to 16th century Mexico and ancient Egypt isn't too believable. I understand that he's supposed to be in makeshift costume each time, but Michael's gonna stand out like a sore thumb in each historical setting.
The cast of characters was pretty good with a few which don't do much for the story. BASHER seems just thrown in for the fun of having him marooned in the age of the dinosaurs.
The dialogue is just fair. At times it is a bit too formal, especially in emotional scenes. People don't tend to speak well during times of great emotional stress, like the death of a loved one. Many times, I wasn't getting any emotion from a character in a very emotional scene.
For everything that was good about the concept, it unfortunately got a bit muddled in the story. Traveling back to different eras in history might be visually entertaining, but these scenes did nothing for the need of your characters. The story has to be about finding a way back to a create a new future.
The structure was in need of a bit of help. Many times, there were short bits of action in paragraph form. Sometimes these included references to dialogue and you needed to include the dialogue.
Overall, I'd take a pass on this one as it's written right now. With more work, the concept definitely could be very good and marketable. Here are my notes from the read:
Page 1: Your scene header should be on one line. You can cut out the “DURING RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 1917” part.
Page 1: “gun shot” is one word: gunshot
Page 1: “You’ve got to hide me” might be better as “Please, you must hide me”
Page 1: “The uniformed man” should be “The Bearded Uniformed Man”
Page 2: You need DAY or NIGHT on your Scene Headers.
Page 2: How can Malacek be looking back at “attackers burst through the door”? I thought that the Bearded Uniformed Man (not uniformed man) was on a roof and not in a room, right?
Page 2: “The clothes and medals he was wearing” would be better as “His clothing and military medals”
Page 2: You absolutely do not need the parentheticals (angry) and (resigned).
Page 4: Claire and Michael’s dialogue doesn’t indicate that they are weeping (even a little bit). You don’t have any action which indicates any crying or how it would make the scene awkward for the two youths.
Page 5: The dialogue is a bit too on the nose. Here’s a good example, “In the last few weeks, Sophie just kept telling me over and over I had to keep a close eye on you two. So you’re going to have to put up with me I’m afraid.” That’s all a bit too formal. Speak those words out loud to see how it sounds.
Page 5: All of the dialogue gives no feel at all the emotions of the situation and especially grieving.
Page 6: Would “glad of the company” be better as “glad for the company” or “happy to have the company”?
Page 7: “at funeral’s” should be “at funerals”
Page 8: Peter’s response to “Come back to work when you’re ready” should be something more responsive and better than “Thanks for coming”.
Page 8: There just happens to be a pamphlet sitting right by the door? That’s a bit too convenient and a bit contrived.
Page 8: Shouldn’t “you learnt to read” be “you learned to read”?
Page 9: “artefacts” should be “artifacts”. Again on pgs 10 and 95.
Page 10: “travelled” should be “traveled”.
Page 13: “gains second wind” should be “gains a second wind”, right?
Page 15: “meat head” should probably be “meathead”
Page 17: “Ok” should be “Okay”
Page 20: If there’s a fight, you have to describe the action in more than a couple lines in one paragraph.
Page 21: It looks like you need a question mark after “And now you do(?)”
Page 21: You are jumping back two years? How would the audience know that the scene is two years earlier? It should be a FLASHBACK. What does the “flashback” do for the story anyways? We already know the mother/wife is dead.
Page 22: “searching for an echo of Sophie” is a great example of telling emotions and not showing.
Page 23: You have are describing bunches of action in one paragraph. It would be better to break it up and maybe add dialogue/action.
Page 25: “Yeh” should be “Yeah”. Same on pgs 32, 34 & 50.
Page 25: “its true” should be “it’s true”
Page 26: The dialogue for Hardy and Nelson doesn’t sound like the 1800’s. It is much too modern.
Page 26: I absolutely do not believe that there is a curtain that separates the captain’s quarters from any other part of the ship.
Page 28: “joking the other night” should be “joking last night”
Page 31: The history teacher’s rambling on about the value of history is gonna be a bit boring on screen. You’re using too much dialogue where a few lines would do.
Page 33: You’ve got too much dialogue about Michael’s mother being nice. I’ve heard that a couple times already.
Page 33: You never introduce DAVID as a character.
Page 33: “Were not cheering” should be “We’re not cheering”
Page 33: I’m not understanding how all the characters from the school will work themselves into the time travel story.
Page 36: All the stuff about arriving at home, going to the piano and searching through the pages isn’t necessary. Just show him sitting at the piano and turning to the specific page. You are giving too much detail which tends to be unnecessary.
Page 36: “clothes” should probably be “clothing”. Same on pgs 60, 85 & 89.
Page 37: You have a short description of action which includes; crawling out of the time hole, watching Egyptian kids playing ball, having an errant ball come to Michael, Michael returns the ball, Michael plays ball and having a guard gather the children. The problem is that this is all a block of scene description. Ideally this should be broken up and include dialogue with the action. Since you do this often in the script, your page count would be much higher than 105 pages you have now.
Page 37: I cannot believe that a pasty white English kid in a karate robe is transported to ancient Egypt and fits right in with the natives. Michael would stand out like an albino to the native Egyptians. It crosses the line of believability for me.
Page 37: “its hot work” should be “it’s hot work”
Page 38: You go from the bottom of page 36 through page 38 without any dialogue. You do have several instances where dialogue is indicated and/or needed: “high priest shouts some words” and “Michael says goodbye”. This all reads more like a novel than a screenplay. The whole Egypt scene is something like two pages or less. How long do you think it would be on film? The whole idea of the screenplay format is one page equals one minute. Michael was in Egypt long enough to get a sunburn, but you’ve got it all on a couple pages!
Page 39: Shouldn’t “practising” be “practicing”?
Page 41: Did the ancient Egyptians have “12 hour” workdays or even any means of telling time by hours and minutes?
Page 42: The description of Peter shopping at the store has to be specific action. You have him shopping, leaving the store and loading his car as casual description that isn’t appropriate for a screenplay.
Page 47: “Oh were doing fine” should be “Oh we’re doing fine”
Page 47: Melissa is crying just from that conversation? It might be better if she was part of the story earlier on. Peter doesn’t seem to know her at all, and there she is blubbering all over him. Her character disappears after this scene. Why even bring her into the story if she’s not playing much of a role in the story?
Page 49: “I think were going” should be “I think we’re going”
Page 51: “town house” is one word: townhouse, right?
Page 54: I’m sure you’ve noticed that you’ve got a few pages of blank space starting on page 54 and going through page 56.
Page 57: I like having Peter almost play the piano while the boys are gone. It doesn’t seem like they’ve been gone all night though.
Page 62: Peter evidently doesn’t think that wearing the dress is a bit unusual? How about some kind of worry about cross dressing or something like that?
Page 65: Why would Kevin believe that he was dreaming? He was awake all night long and had a very real experience. It doesn’t seem that he’d have any inclination to believe that it was all a dream.
Page 66: I really like the idea of sending Basher back in time. He’d make good dinosaur food.
Page 67: “You still got Dinosaur Zoo Tycoon(?)” needs a question mark, right?
Page 68: “its got to be” should be “it’s got to be”
Page 69: “were too late” should be “we’re too late”
Page 71: “to the floor” should be “to the ground”
Page 71: I’m not liking that a meteorite fragment just happens to slam in to the T-rex just in time to save the day. Somehow the meteorite didn’t even kill it?
Page 72: Should “Your keen” be “You’re keen”?
Page 74: “hand written” is one word: handwritten
Page 75: “MICHAELS HOUSE” should be “MICHAEL’S HOUSE”
Page 76: “were fine” should be “we’re fine”
Page 85: “pyjamas” should be “pajamas”
Page 86: Again Michael is a lilly white English kid in 16th century Mexico. I assume that the natives have little or no experience with lilly white Europeans, right? The kid notices that Michael is non-native and quite light-skinned, but Montezuma and the others didn’t?
Page 90: Peter is much too calm and collected after saving his son from sacrifice by the Aztecs. Peter acts as if wasn’t anything special at all.
Page 90: How did Sophie send a letter to them at that moment? It doesn’t make sense.
Page 92: “were back home” should be “we’re back home”
Page 95: “artefacts” should be “artifacts”
Page 96: Wouldn’t Peter and Michael travel back to the same moment that Malacek returned to by playing the music?
Page 101: “what were doing” should be “what we’re doing”
Page 102: I do not like that traveling back in time to a person’s past puts that person into his/her younger body. It feels too contrived and unrealistic. read
by ethan2 on 05/24/2007Time travel is one of my favourite ideas for a film but the idea of a piano as a portal to another time is not explained or believable as there is no scientific reason given. Portals usually just appear in a specific place-holes in time right? but I suppose its no more unbelievable than a wardrobe. It is well written with good character development and some humour, you do get... Time travel is one of my favourite ideas for a film but the idea of a piano as a portal to another time is not explained or believable as there is no scientific reason given. Portals usually just appear in a specific place-holes in time right? but I suppose its no more unbelievable than a wardrobe. It is well written with good character development and some humour, you do get involved. However, there is a lot of sentimentality which can be a bit hard to swallow. I also think only someone with a musical background would appreciate the writers references to music and its importance. read
by dsternfeld on 05/23/2007"Notes in Time" (rev 3) has potential, but some significant challenges, too. It's a straight forward story of Michael, an English teenager (and his slightly daft father) who has suffered the early death of his mum. The story unfolds with his extraordinarily quick learning how to play the piano, the purchasing of an enchanted piano that has the power to open a portal in time... "Notes in Time" (rev 3) has potential, but some significant challenges, too. It's a straight forward story of Michael, an English teenager (and his slightly daft father) who has suffered the early death of his mum. The story unfolds with his extraordinarily quick learning how to play the piano, the purchasing of an enchanted piano that has the power to open a portal in time to anyone who plays enchanted pieces from an enchanted music book that was lodged inside its mechanism. Hey, it's a fantasy, and as in any fantasy, as long as the rules governing the altered reality are consistently followed, what occurs is, well, logical.
The challenge the sp raised for me, was one of believability, pacing and interest. As Michael goes through the portal into the past, each episode has slightly greater challenges, but not sufficiently increased danger to cause me to wonder if he'll return, or if he'll be more cautious about going through the portal into the past once again. This is on top of the less than compelling reasons he has for his several journeys into the past -- principally to do additional history class school work.
The writer has some variation in each return to the past: with his close school chum, with his nemesis to teach him a lesson, with his father to learn more about the secret of the piano from its prior owner who "mysteriously disappeared" and finally to return with his father to live with and warn his mum prior to her cancer diagnosis.
If there were a way to disguise the last intention, the script would have provided some surprise. I knew this was coming from the midddle of the first act. And therein lies the challenge in the telling of this pleasant little story.
The other challenge to getting this film made is cost. It is loaded with CGI requirements. Given that I didn't get many surprises, no twists and few turns, it is hard for me to imagine a producer willing to risk the budget needed to get this made... at least not in its present state of completion.
As far as format and presentation, I found several disquiting editing needs. The lower case letter 's' is oddly italicized in dozens and dozens of instances. The use of italics instead of underlining for stressed words was also non-standard. The questionable use of question marks in several instances of dialog stopped my reading.
As far as believability (in the fantasy context previously mentioned) the ease with which Michael learns piano -- even considering that he had played guitar previously -- is a bit hard to buy into. And the father's obliviousness at times is unbelievably naive -- his accepting his son's explanation for the dust spewed on their floor after his narrow escape from the eruption of Vesuvius in Pompeii as the result of a shelf repair gone wrong (with no shelf repair in evidence) seems more than a stretch. The willingness of the bully to go through the portal under the piano inside Michael's house, a house it is doubtful the bully would have ever wanted to go in given his great distain for Michael and his friend is also hard to believe. read
by pagebox on 05/23/2007The story reads easily. I love the time travel piano. I think that the main characters, the father and the son are fine. I like the clumsy father: MICHAEL Dad, you’re useless at DIY. PETER Ah yes circumstantial evidence may support your hypotheses, but that’s only because I haven’t had the time to do it properly. But I think that the story tells too much and don't show enough... The story reads easily.
I love the time travel piano. I think that the main characters, the father and the son are fine. I like the clumsy father:
Dad, you’re useless at DIY.
Ah yes circumstantial evidence may support your hypotheses, but that’s only because I haven’t had the time to do it properly.
But I think that the story tells too much and don't show enough. The first problem I have is with the funerals.
I don't think that characters can say things like:
Sophie was very sweet to me. Never treated me like a little girl, like Dad does. He’s in Belgium. His new job means he’ll be away a lot.
That’s not good.
We’ve lost our best friend. Life just got a whole lot emptier. And somehow, we’ve got to help get Michael through this.
Put such things in your notes, not in the dialog. I think you should write Sophie's death - not to include it in the screenplay but to feel like characters. For instance:
Sophie was tired and was less helpful than before.
Maybe her character changed too.
An exam was scheduled very late. Peter could have made something different – for instance try to find another doctor in another country. A disease is something that comes in a life in which you had plans and commitments, refund the house loan, work…Peter felt impotent and also felt he didn’t do the right thing.
Sophie had chemotherapy. She lost her hair. She looked ten years older. She was dying and struggling to keep being a woman.
Michael turned nuts. He caused trouble at school. Every evening he was seeing his mother in her bed. Sometimes his father was closing the door of the bedroom.
In the end Peter hoped she would die soon.
They feel guilty. They have remorse. They would like to change the past. Then the opportunity comes. It could be better if we could believe that the whole story is a dream.
Peter's firing goes nowhere and is rather unrealistic.
If a company fires someone who just lost his wife and if he commits suicide they're in big trouble. This is the same for Basher. I think that Basher would stop even if he was routinely bullying Michael before. Beyond sympathy there are two things.
1. the orphan experienced something the other children didn't experience/he became older/he became an alien
2. every adult will understand that a boy whose mother died has problems and calls others for help. For Basher there is a risk of looking insensitive/lacking empathy if he doesn't comply.
Three talkative teachers are too many. One is enough. I would choose the musician as it helps for the piano.
Artemis is a Greek Goddess (Diana). It’s a strange name for a centurion.
There are too many travels in time. I have the impression that it makes the film very expensive as the public expects the accuracy of Gladiator for Pompeii, Jurassic Park for dinosaurs and so forth. I would keep the last travel for sure, the travel to meet Malacek and two others, throughly documented. I don't believe that there was lava in Pompeii.
Beyond the stone wall stand many primitive wooden houses.
"These great towns . . . and buildings rising from the water, all made of stone, seemed like an enchanted vision..."
Bernal Diaz del Castillo (a soldier of Cortes)
To my knowledge Aztecs had no dome and no telescope.
I would rewrite it as a love story. I can be influenced by Je t'aime, je t'aime http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063152/. I don't know if you can find it even with subtitles. I would like to watch a family version of Je t'aime, je t'aime in which Michael would try to find the song. read
by kepow on 05/23/2007The following notes I made as I read you're story. Most mistakes I'll mention a few times and leave it at that. Read carefully through you're story and see where else you can apply the points I've made. pg.1 Remove the screenplay title and just start with "FADE IN". -I believe it should be somehing like, SUPER: ROYAL PALACE, RUSSIA, 1917. -Scene headings need DAY or NIGHT... The following notes I made as I read you're story. Most mistakes I'll mention a few times and leave it at that. Read carefully through you're story and see where else you can apply the points I've made.
pg.1 Remove the screenplay title and just start with "FADE IN".
-I believe it should be somehing like,
SUPER: ROYAL PALACE, RUSSIA, 1917.
-Scene headings need DAY or NIGHT added to the end of them.
pg.2 Watch out for repetition. You have "wall" three times in the same action paragraph.
"Malacek then crawls through the..."
Avoid using words like "then" if possible. In this case you could easily omit it and (then) the sentence would be just fine. See?
Also, "He looks back..." followed shortly by "Looking back..."
Instead of, "...bangs some piano keys..." make it more specific. Like, "...the piano keys."
pg.3 "..puts her hand affectionately on Peter's (hand)". Leave out that second "hand". The sentence still makes sense and again, there's no repetition.
ANNE says, "You have a sit down." ??
pg.5/6 When a character's dialogue spills over onto the next page, their name should be re-typed with (Cont'd) beside it.
pg.7 "Mum" is typed 5 times on this page.
pg.8 When a character emits a sound that is not actually dialogue, it should be put in parenthesis in the dialogue lines like this:
Yes, I suppose...
Also, you have, "ANDREW, Peter's boss at work..." which is something the audience will not know unless they actually see the two of them at work and Peter probably taking orders from Andrew, or something else to indicate who is in charge.
Actually, your next bit of dialogue is the perfect place to explain this without saying it. How about Andrew saying, "You need some time off work Peter, whether you want it or not. Don't come in tomorrow. Spend it with your family." What you have now almost works, but not quite.
Use "learned" in place of "learnt."
PETER "In another life she said." I almost don't get that line. Needs to be modified somehow, me thinks.
pg.9 Things like,"...it's that big house at the end of the road." and "I'll give them a call first." are unnecessary pieces of information. Do we need to know that the house is at the end of the road? And what would be the reason to call first if it's an estate sale?
Also, you don't need the "CUT TO:" Go straight to the next scene.
"...the gate of a large old run down house."
That is the right way to do it. Giving this description as they approach the house, instead of the previous comment in the dialogue, is all you need.
PETER, "I wonder what the inside's like." Although people do occasionally say things like this in real life, it doesn't sound very realistic because they are just about to find out what the inside really is like. See if you can find another observational comment that relates to the story to replace it with. Or, you could leave it out.
Also, there needs to be a new scene heading when they enter the house.
"artefacts" is spelled "artifacts".
Again when they enter the dining room, it needs another scene heading. You can do it like this:
As they walk (through) into the
Peter and Michael...
Doing it this way doesn't slow down the reader as much. However, if you change to an exterior shot, or a different building etc., then you need a new, proper scene heading with INT./EXT. and DAY or NIGHT.
btm. of pg.10/ top of 11 You have "keys" and "play" repeated several times. I won't point these out any further, you get the point, I'm sure.
pg.12 I believe the "INSERT" should be aligned on the left margin in the action lines, not the dialogue lines.
There's a block of 12 action lines that should be broken into smaller chunks. The breaks should separate changes in motion, mood or tempo etc. As one example, when Michael stops playing to look at the loose panel on the piano, that's where you should put a break.
Also, you initially have Peter walk away and yet, when Matthew finds the book and speaks to Peter, he is somehow still in the room. If you intended Peter to be in another room, put (O.S.) beside his name. It stands for "Off Screen."
pg.13 Avoid phrases like, "He sees..." Instead, simply describe what is there unless it is crucial, as in, a situation where one character is seeing something that another character is not.
"CUT TO:" should be aligned right margin. But again, I don't think you need it.
"Michael has been listening intently throughout." Never write ANYTHING in the past tense. Put this line near the beginning of the scene as, "Michael listens intently." etc.
Also, "Mr. Armstrong recogni(z)es this." is something the audience can't "SEE" even though it is spelled out with the next few words, "...it registers on his face..."
Try something like, "Their lack of interest steals his enthusiasm." etc.
pg.16 Again, be specific instead of vague. Write, "...their sheet music. in lieu of "...some sheet music."
"...then explodes." The way this is written, it means that Mr Burtles literally exploded. Specify that it was his temper.
"The bell goes." Use "RINGS"
You seem to struggle with realistic sounding dialogue and here is a good example. Michael says, "I've just got a piano at home and I'd really like to learn." Mr. Burtles replies, "That's great. I can teach you, if you'd like?"
You see, since Mr. Burtles is the music teacher and Michael just stated that he would like to learn the piano, Mr Burtles should automatically assume that Michael wants him to be his piano teacher. Therefore, and based on his softening demeanor shortly thereafter, Mr. Burtles' reply should be something like, "Really?". Or perhaps some skepticism, "Why?"
pg.19 Again, you need a new scene heading when Michael leaves the music room and walks outside.
Michael makes a statement that ends with a question mark. "Everyone calls you a moron?" That should be a period. Or did you intend for Michael to pretend that he was hard of hearing? If so, you need to indicate that.
pg.20 You could cut the scene, where peter arrives to pick Michael up and Kevin fills him in on the situation, completely. Just have Peter show up in the Assembly hall. How he found out is irrelevant.
When you are centered on a character (Peter) who speaks to another (Headmaster), you need to give us the dialogue. In this case, Peter could say something to indicate that they had already spoken about the situation. We will then assume that they talked on the phone and will not feel the need for any further explanation. Thus, eliminating the dialogue you didn't really want to write in the first place. Cool huh?
btm. pg.20 Peter's last bit of dialogue on this page, (to Michael) is unwarranted. Perhaps Michael could ask Peter if his boss minds that he's missing work, etc.
Right about now I'm beginning to wonder when I get to see the piano again. Not just in passing, I want to know more about it.
I think you've already established that Sophie was a wonderful wife and mother. I gathered that from the many times Peter or Michael have spoken of her. Pick out each of those times and condense them into 1 or 2 scenes.
pg.23 Ah-ha! The piano, good. But really, it should happen sooner.
Here is also another example of dialogue that doesn't work. peter says "My old boss Andrew..." First of all, he just got laid off that very same day, so it's hardly his "old" boss. And second, Michael knows who Andrew is, negating the need for Peter to explain it. In real life, people don't speak that descriptively.
I don't know what a "CV" is. Maybe it's just me.
pg.24 A large block of action lines that need to be broken up.
I can't figure out why Michael would use a table cloth as a blanket for Peter. Are they poor?
pg.30 Sophie is mentioned again.
pg.33 Sophie is mentioned again.
pg.34 And again.
pg.36 Claire says, "Course." But on pg. 32 David had that line. So what happens is, the characters sort of blend together because they speak they same way. Choose their words carefully. Each character should have their own unique voice, the way real people do.
pg.38 "...a high priest shouts some words..." Don't forget to give us the dialogue. YOU are the storyteller.
pg.42 Give the name of the DIY store instead of this abbreviation. You also use it a fair bit in the pages to follow. Be specific about what the DIY jobs are and refer to them by that.
pg.48 Sophie mentioned again.
Also, I feel Melissa doesn't know Peter or Michael enough to cry for their loss. They barely met.
You have, "...HEARD running..." The specific sound should be in caps instead, i.e. "..there's a sudden PITTER PATTER OF FEET..."
pg.50 Another example of characters needing their own voices is, nearly all of them say, "Right." That should be limited to one character only.
pg.55/56 are blank.
pg.57 Although Peter doesn't see the portal when he has a seat at the piano, he should be able to hear some commotion, I think.
pg.59 Put "screaming" and "crashing" in CAPS.
pg.60 No dialogue or parantheticals should precede the character as is written with the (pause) before Michael speaks.
What shelves? When you mention things like this, they need introduction sooner. This could be one of Peter's projects that you could mention earlier.
Also, I don't think that Peter would belive Michael's excuse if there was smoldering debris in the room. It would also smell like smoke from the burning house they just came out of.
pg.67 I feel that Basher hasn't done anything bad enough for Kevin and Michael to hate him so much that they would try to teach him a lesson in that way. But I like the idea. See if you can make Basher a bit more of a jerk/bully.
pg.71 Chances are, the meteor fragment would tear a hole right through the t-rex and put it out of comission in a hurry. It wouldn't be able to chase Michael any further.
pg.76 After your previous set up having Peter and Michael invited to lunch at Melissa and Kevin's place, I was confused as to why Claire and Anne were there instead. Maybe I should have been reading more carefully, but the point is, I was set up for one dinner date, and given another. It's important to not lose the reader/audience member in such a way.
pg.77 Sophie again. There has to be a purpose to her being mentioned so often. Exactly what that point is, should be clarified much, much sooner.
Also, one moment Peter says that he's thinking about a trip to Mexico, and the next he contradicts himself by saying that he probably doesn't have enough money to go that far.
pg.78/79 There are a few spacing issues here. A blank line is missing between Anne and Peter's dialogue. And no space between Peter's dialogue and "CUT TO:" (Which I still think you should omit altogether.)There have been others along the way but they were few and far between. Same goes for spelling errors. Very few so far. That's a relief. Every tiny error you can fix will help keep the reader more involved in the story.
pg.81/82 A couple of sentences with double periods.
pg.83/84 Good joke about the plumber. I like it.
pg.85 At this point I'm wondering just how can Peter be Michael's (next to) best friend if he never listens to him when it matters most. I think I get why you're dong it, but somehow it doesn't work. Sorry, I have no suggestions for that one.
Where did Michael find pyjamas that are similar to Aztec clothing? It's a little bit too convenient. What if one of his friends' parent's owned / worked at a costume shop? Easy access to whatever he needs without much explanation necessary. Just a thought.
pg.86 Put "voices" in CAPS instead of "hear".
pg.89 I'm not sure Peter would have the where-with-all to leap into action like that. He'd probably be too surprised to do anything, same with the Aztecs. They'd likely think he was a God. Also, I get the impression that this is a different pyramid than the one Michael appeared on. But you established earlier that the portal can't move.
pg.89 and another previously, "...jabs..." Jobs?
pg.94 Don't forget the modern day clothing Peter and Michael are wearing in the 1938 czech republic.
No need to mention that the kitchen looks very old because, well, anything from 1938 is old nowadays.
pg.98 Kevin is too accepting of Michael's statement of leaving for good. Especially without any explanation as to why?
pg.100 Michael says to Claire, "...something to remember me by, maybe." And she doesn't ask what he's talking about. That kind of insinuation would surely ellicit some questions.
pg.103 Michael says, "It's my first song. It's for you." That's perfect.
And there you have it. No easy task ahead of you, but never give up.
by Sakhwood13 on 05/22/2007Hearty concept - the piano replaces Marty McFly's Delorean as a way to travel through time. Like it, though had some difficulty envisioning the process of how this actually would occur. Up front, several formatting issues: Unnecessary info in slug lines (e.g., Russian Revolution) - consider using legends to orient reader to time; there are numerous slug lines with no time... Hearty concept - the piano replaces Marty McFly's Delorean as a way to travel through time. Like it, though had some difficulty envisioning the process of how this actually would occur.
Up front, several formatting issues: Unnecessary info in slug lines (e.g., Russian Revolution) - consider using legends to orient reader to time; there are numerous slug lines with no time of day listed; your characters have no AGES listed - makes it difficult to visualize particular characters; dialogue lines frequently are missing commas where needed.
Concept: Good - will be even better when other elements of SP are improved
Character: Need to develop Peter better - he's too often aloof, not attentive enough to his son who just lost his mother - not sure how important it is that he lost his job as it relates to story.
Dialogue: Probably area which needs most work - too many thank you's, introductions, in other words, too much chit chat. Michael's teachers tend to e quite long-winded in their dialogue. You need to pare down dialogue and this SP will read better, smoother.
Story: Like dialogue, narrative lines are long-winded and often exceed 4 lines. Break them up for a smoother read. Take time to maximize the drama in each scene where Michael and others travel to exotic locations; these scenes allow you to be as creative as all get out.
A work in progress, one that should be tuned so that this "Piano" hits all the right chords. read
by comedylover on 05/22/2007Ok, this one's a tough one. After a great opening, it just ran out of fuel unfortunately. The reason was simple, we never knew where this was going until the very end. What was the obstacle that had to be overcome? At least by half way through we should know this. Most people say page 30. As I read to page 80, I kept thinking that this would work as an after school special,... Ok, this one's a tough one. After a great opening, it just ran out of fuel unfortunately. The reason was simple, we never knew where this was going until the very end. What was the obstacle that had to be overcome? At least by half way through we should know this. Most people say page 30. As I read to page 80, I kept thinking that this would work as an after school special, not as a feature film.
Their going after their Sophie is cool, but see how easily they did it, it just doesn't work. From right after his first trip he has to think how do I bring my mom back? He has to do some reserach and detective work on Malacek, then he finds him. As it is the whole thing is cheesy and corny. What I would do is perhaps set it on Malecik's story as it is far more interesting but the problem is you'd lose both adult and children audiences as escaping from nazi's is a heavy subject.
On minor fronts.
I don't get what DIY stands for, I know what it is but never heard of it.
The piano teacher takes him on too eagerly and he learns the basics way too fast after saying he is a slow learner.
"I miss you Mom" is just cheesy, nightmares and the flashback in the driveway would work much better than words. At least is he said "I miss mom" to his dad instead of himself.
Typo on page 48 "were" should be we're.
Ripping his mom's dress would only be ok if the end is to bring her back, otherwise a bit too unsentimental.
Page 55-57 are blank.
The story only becomes interesting again after opening scene when he sends Basher back in time, that was funny.
Like I said the beginning is fabulous, the rest is not. After his first trip he needs to start thinking of his mother. But how? He goes back in Malecik's house and finds photos of him in Nazi Germany and one dated 1938. Then he puts two and two together and plays 1938 and the pieces fall together. Now he has to write his own piece.
Still I think this movie cannot work for the big screen. As a series for kids, maybe. Maybe Basher hates him so much that he agrees everyday to meet him in the portal and they duke it out in various times in history with the rest of the kids present.
all in all, a good idea, interesting concept but it runs out of gas fast which is why I think the writer puts so many trips back in time in this story. Instead he needs to beef up the first act and the third as right now there is only one act until page 95 or so.
It needs a lot of work and even then I don't know if it would work as a feature film, maybe a TV movie.
by jreiter9 on 05/21/2007I see this is a third revision, but I've no clue what's changed from the previous two. I really like this concept, but it feels very uneven. The only source of conflict comes from Basher, and it's resolved in a manner that I felt should have had something more than simply dropping him in the Jurassic era, then coming to a realization of how terrible an idea it was and going... I see this is a third revision, but I've no clue what's changed from the previous two.
I really like this concept, but it feels very uneven. The only source of conflict comes from Basher, and it's resolved in a manner that I felt should have had something more than simply dropping him in the Jurassic era, then coming to a realization of how terrible an idea it was and going back for him.
As a film geared towards kids I think it hits a lot of the right notes, but the adults seem more lopsided. Peter suddenly decides he doesn't want the new job, but there's no setup to that point. Anne and Kevin's mother both suddenly show an interest in Peter, which he awkwardly rejects...sort of. Sophie's death happens before the film starts, and everyone else's reactions in the aftermath didn't feel quite natural.
The time travel sequences are solid, though. The idea of a kid using a time portal to help his history class has been done before (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure), but not quite like this.
I think you should re-establish the wants of Peter and Michael, starting from "how exactly is the loss of their wife/mother affecting them?" and up through to "how are they changed by it?". The appearance of Malacak at the end seems very Deus ex Machina, as if his appearance is the only thing that forces Peter & Michael to go ahead and save Sophie. read
- Writer: Simon Preston
- Uploaded by: simonpreston
- Length: 105 pages
- Genre: adventure, children/family, sci-fi/fantasy
- This is intended as an uplifting family film that can make everyone in the family stop and appreciate each other some more. It has some gentle encouragement into the power of knowledge and creativity, focusing on the base of history, physics and music as taught at school and coming together in the piano's secret.
- Bio: Busy job in software engineering, two wonderful and time consuming young children, leading to writing in very small windows of time. Would love to write in large windows of time.
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