A dad drags his family to LA to try to win a gameshow
HOW IT RATES
A once happy couple on the verge of divorce find they can't split until it's decided who gets to keep the dog they both love; and they'll do anything to keep him.
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Reviews of Oh Mister Geppetto! (OMG) 10
by Shawn Essler on 03/26/2011Christopher & Nic, OH MISTER GEPPETTO! is a reminder the rom-coms of the 80s for me. This shouldn't surprise you, as that is how you've written it. It has the boy and girl meet cute, have their difficulties where it looks like they won't make it, their friends telling them what to do, nothing goes right for them, and in the end, the couple ends up together, strengthening their... Christopher & Nic,
OH MISTER GEPPETTO! is a reminder the rom-coms of the 80s for me. This shouldn't surprise you, as that is how you've written it. It has the boy and girl meet cute, have their difficulties where it looks like they won't make it, their friends telling them what to do, nothing goes right for them, and in the end, the couple ends up together, strengthening their bond with what they've been through. On this matter, you have succeeded with this script; it is what you meant it to be.
However, there are a lot of areas where the script fails to be what you mean it to be. I am talking about the several issues in it that will scream "novice" at any professional reader in the industry. These are things that you will want to work out before submitting your script to any contests, agents or producers.
For starters, the script is inconsistent in its tone. When I got this assignment, and when I read the first 15 pages, it seemed like it was going to be cutesy, family-friendly fare -- something for young girls. That was compounded by the fact that your title alone (OMG) gives an aura of tween lingo. However, your main characters are pushing 40. Then, you got into Will and Brianna's sex life, their failure to conceive, going through litigation for a divorce, which drives the tone in a different direction, more towards an adult comedy. After that, you have five different failed slapstick-y attempts to steal the dog, giving the feel of a broad comedy designed for young boys. Then, you have a heartbreaking third act in which the dog dies, which kills the light and comedic mood you've set up, and also brings the story back into more adult terms.
Basically, what I'm asking, is this story supposed to be for adults or for kids? You never make it clear from your tone who your target audience is, and instead of making a movie for everybody, you are alienating anyone who might be interested in it. Pick a tone, be it light and funny or adult and introspective, and stick with it.
I won't rag on you too much for this, mostly because I'm assuming everyone else already has, but the only time you need to use CONTINUED at the end of a page is when the page break cuts off a line of dialog. Never use it for when a page break simple intersects a scene. The way you have it now, out of a 102 page script, I think around 95 pages end with a (CONTINUED).
My suggestion would be to never do this, but at the very least, trim out most of your outside references. Don't mention songs that are supposed to be playing, what movie someone is watching, referring to celebrities, tv shows, pop culture, etc. First off, it dates your script. No one is going to be talking about HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL five years from now. But the bigger reason is that, best case is that your story becomes self-aware, and that just reminds the audience that they are, in fact, watching a movie. Worst case is people don't catch the references, and think that the characters or scenes don't make any sense.
That is why I never use outside references. But if you do, do so sparingly. You seem to have one every few pages in this script.
Stop talking to your reader in the business. Yes, if this were a novel or short story, that could be fine. Why? Because your audience is made up of readers. Not so in screenwriting. Millions of people saw AVATAR, but how may people have read the screenplay? No one but the script reader will ever know how cute and funny you were when you described Figaro getting attacked by Geppetto.
Page 3 - "He’s a stammering loser, but she’s his."
Page 6 - "Duh. The pound is damp, dark and depressing."
Page 13 - "I mean really, we’re trying to keep this PG-13, but shit, this is baby making at it’s best."
Page 20 - "Brianna picks up a Pregnancy magazine. She’s so lucky."
In fact, going beyond that, when writing business, never put in anything that isn't going to be on the screen. You can't film what a person is thinking or feeling. Then why are you writing it. Should this script get produced, an actor will be hired (for a God awful amount of money) to read the scene and interpret what the character is feeling during a scene and display those emotions accurately. When you write in things like "Will stares angrily at the TV.", it seems as if you're trying to direct the actor. How about "Will glares at the TV?" Or, better yet, "Will watches TV?" Do you think that the actor playing him is not going to know his character is upset in this scene?
Your dialog is too direct. You'll get reviewers telling you that it's "on the nose" here. Your characters tend to say exactly what they're feeling. Example, Will's proposal: "Brianna. You and I have been together for a year, two months, one week and eight days. And some minutes and seconds I couldn’t calculate when I wrote this last night. Anyway, I know this, because I have been counting."
I understood from the first sentence that Will loved Brianna enough to count how long they've been together. Did he have to tell her that's what he meant? You don't do that in real life, do you? If the movie of your life were playing the scene where you're reading this review, it would just show you glaring at your monitor right now. It wouldn't contain a line of dialog of you saying, "I'm so angry at this guy for writing negative things about my screenplay!" People don't blurt out exactly what they're thinking or feeling. How many times have you been angry and actually said, "I'm angry"? Nobody does that. So why would your characters do that?
Tone down the excessive friends that Will and Brianna have. Between Figaro and Cindy and Meredith and Cleo and Johnny Sue, all of those people dilute your characters instead of reinforcing them. Keep it simple, just use Cindy and Figaro.
Also, if you do use all of these friends, rename Cleo and Johnny Sue. They both have girl names, and, without any reason for it. I understand with Johnny Sue, you were going for the Johnny Cash/"A Boy Named Sue" reference, but it was never apparent.
You used Figaro too much. During your second act -- all of the dognapping ploys -- every one of them, even the ones by Brianna, were all Figaro-centric. This is a story about Will and Brianna, yet during the middle 50 pages, Figaro is the main character. You sacrificed the development of Will and Brianna in order to use Figaro to make some gags. Don't do that. Figaro is simply a story device, he is used to give Will the direction needed to advance the story along. And, yes, he can be funny in the process. But the story should never focus on him, which you had it do. Figaro is not someone who develops during this tale. Will and Brianna are.
However, I WOULD focus your scenes to show more of Geppetto. He is supposed to be an influence on the lives of both Will and Brianna. He is the foundation of the love that they shared. Yet, you very rarely show it. Instead, you opt to show their reactions at the thought of having Geppetto taken out of one another's lives. In simpler terms, instead of Geppetto being their link to the world, their desire to be parents, you have your titular character stand in to be a MacGuffin: something that is desired by both parties, yet is never really utilized. The dog is simply there to be desired. Why? The dog is the heart of this script. Show me the love that Will and Brianna have for Geppetto, instead of having them talk about how much they love the dog.
That said, you might want to rethink the crux of the story being centric upon Will and Brianna trying to steal their dog from one another. Think of it this way, if they were successful in conceiving, and they had a seven year old child instead of a seven year old dog, would they ever consider staging a kidnapping of their kid? No! Of course not! But, since they consider Geppetto to be their child, as if he were human, why are these kidnapping attempts even being considered?
Also, kidnapping a dog, while not as bad as kidnapping a child, is still very, very illegal. And considering both of their lawyers are there, not only advising on how to do it, but also participating, I couldn't suspend disbelief. And neither will your audience.
How about this: instead of a series of failed kidnappings, your second act stays focused on what's going on in the opening scene? Will and Brianna trying to urge the dog to love them more. Keep the action domestic. They give themselves until the divorce papers are signed to decide who the dog loves more. And they both pull sneaky, underhanded things to try and sway the dog in their favor. You can go with childish, slapstick humor, or make it darker, more of a WAR OF THE ROSES-type piece. That way, you keep the action centric on Will and Brianna, you include the dog in the action, and can show how both of your leads love this dog.
But, that is simply what I would try doing with this piece. That is subjective, and you can do with this script what you will. With this review, I wasn't trying to belittle your story or be negative on your writing choices. I wrote this because I think you can tell a decent story, but at the same time, the way your doing it is going to get you a lot of rejections. You used a lot of novice tricks that readers see all the time, stuff that gets scripts tossed into the slush pile.
It's hard enough for unestablished screenwriters to advance to the next level. My intent here was to point out the things that will give your script the dreaded PASS notice. You do have some good things to say in your writing. But you need to first take this script back to the beginning and strengthen its foundation. read
by rdpears on 03/21/2011Oh Mister Geppetto! is an interesting take on the romantic comedy genre. Rather than see the couple in awkward situations and fall in love, we see the relationship fall apart but the couple is still held together by a very real emotional attachment - their dog. This is a good first draft to what can become a very funny story with some real emotion. Right now I think the biggest... Oh Mister Geppetto! is an interesting take on the romantic comedy genre. Rather than see the couple in awkward situations and fall in love, we see the relationship fall apart but the couple is still held together by a very real emotional attachment - their dog.
This is a good first draft to what can become a very funny story with some real emotion.
Right now I think the biggest improvement needed is in the Act 1 setup. There are a lot of elements to balance and they're not quite connecting like I want them to. My biggest gripe is that the dog is bought on a whim, however this dog becomes the center of their world and is the crux of the story so we need to see much more of an emotional attachment. Getting the dog needs to be a much bigger moment.
I'd also really like to give them no options for a child. Not having this child is basically what tears them apart, but it's suggested that if Brianna quit her job, they might be able to adopt. I think she'd probably quit her job here so I'd like to see stronger reasons that they can't have a child.
The set pieces could be pushed further and funnier in Act 2. I really enjoyed the animation plotting of their schemes but it might be fun to make the schemes more complicated. Right now they're so simple it doesn't really need to be mapped out so you could really twist that around to make things overly complicated, and a character flaw could be over-complicating things so it all fits.
I think the real strength is the dialogue. At times the tone seems to shift from slightly juvenile to more mature. And at times it's quite serious and realistic while other times it's silly and comedic. The dialogue falls into this same trap however their are funny lines abound and if you really go for the tone you want, I think this will all fall into place.
I look forward to the next draft! read
by craigpau on 03/16/2011Reads like a professional script in terms of formatting, etc. Good job. The dialogue is decent and the script flows. My critique isn’t very positive. I try and give valid critiques to make the script better. Please disregard any notes which you feel don’t help the script. The structure is all out of whack. The deterioration of their relationship happens so fast that... Reads like a professional script in terms of formatting, etc. Good job. The dialogue is decent and the script flows.
My critique isn’t very positive. I try and give valid critiques to make the script better. Please disregard any notes which you feel don’t help the script.
The structure is all out of whack. The deterioration of their relationship happens so fast that by the time you get to the divorce settlement and who gets Geppetto, you still have 70 pages to go in the story. By page 30. I’m wondering where this will end up. The other reason I bring this up is that the audience never has a chance to see not only Will and Brianna’s love blossom, we never see, and thusly feel, their mutual love for their dog Geppetto. As a result, I don’t feel anything when Geppetto dies and they get back together because I never saw them ever really in love at the beginning.
Films like ‘Marley and Me’ and ‘Hachi’ work because we can see, over time, how a dog has been integrated into the family like a member and we can see how much love it gets from the family. I didn’t feel that at all in your story.
P.1 - Will says ‘I was the one who paid for him, Brianna.’ But he didn’t pay for him so his argument seems invalid. They got Geppetto at the pound. Sure, there are costs when you get a dog at the pound, but it’s not like they paid a thousand dollars for the dog.
P.2 - I would just say ‘Wrigley Field’.
P.9 - The Dog Handler is funny.
P.12 - The dog is at the wedding? Probably don’t need that.
P.20 - The reason they can’t adopt a kid because they have a dog seems contrived. Why not make it something real? Like Will says ‘What does Geppetto have to do with any of this?’
I would make all the ‘SUPERIMPOSE : 2 YEARS LATER’ all the same format. They are all different.
P.24 - Judge Gracey says ‘ Court shall reconvene in about two weeks for the final settlement.’ Did this ever happen?
P.25 - Will says ‘He doesn’t need..’, not Brianna. I’m not entirely having this scene be the scene you show in the opening. Not sure what that gets you.
P.26 - Cindy says ‘We’ll schedule...who gets the dog.’ Wasn’t this all part of the Judge Gracey’s decision? (see note above) Now they get Judge Dorsey? To decide what? It’s confusing as to what happens where and when.
As it relates to my note above, they are fighting over a dog that I don’t feel either one has a real attachment to. And the logic that sets the whole middle of the script into motion is that Judge Dorsey favors women? That’s just not a strong enough reason to warrant the actions that were are about see from here on out.
The cutting back and forth from the MEN group to the WOMEN group gets really repetitious after a while and bogs the script down. They just talk about the same things over and over again. It gets boring.
The plans that Figaro hatches are pretty simple and not all that imaginative. The same thought applies to the girl’s plan. Although I like that we see them playing out in animation, see if you can spruce these up more, make them clever.
I know it’s meant more as a comedic moment, but still...
P.34 - Wouldn’t Brianna recognize Figaro here? And I just don’t buy that they would walk the dog together anymore. They are too at odds with one another.
P.37 - I don’t think that these four people would all be at a picnic together. Nothing in the script up to this point indicates that this would happen. It feels like this is one of those moments where you need the scene to progress the storyline of the script, but it’s not grounded in the reality of the character’s world and motivations. They hate each other.
P.42 - No one notices that Geppetto gets away? Too easy.
P.43 - ‘will’ should be ‘Will’
P.48 - The reason Brianna goes to dinner with him is because Will says ‘Ya know. He might hear and understand.’ And Brianna doesn’t bust out laughing at the absurdity of that statement?
P.55 - ‘...and wrecking my apartment’ should be ‘wreck’
P.58 - I’m confused on the timeline. They are back to waiting three days to decide who gets Geppetto? I would just double check to make sure this all tracks.
P.67 - ‘hose’ should be ‘Whose’
P.68 - Sometimes it’s better not to have the characters ask questions like ‘But if she’s a shoe-in with the judge, why would she risk it?’ What it does for me as the audience is just what you don’t want. Because I’m thinking ‘Yeah, why would she do that’ because it makes more sense.
P.75 - Honestly, by page 75, I just want the ‘back and forth’ about who gets Geppetto to be over. It’s gone on way too long with little or movement to the story. Sorry.
P.87 - ‘facebook’ should be ‘Facebook’
P.95 - What they see and remember by looking at pictures of Geppetto are what I wanted to see play out in the story early on. This would show us how special Geppetto was to them and how special they were to each other. Once your story kicks in on page 30, they are already in divorce mode so I never really see the sparks or their love for each other. That’s why the ending seems forced and flat. We have nothing to compare it to.
P.97 - ‘been a better’ need something
P.99 - ‘bernese’ should be ‘Bernese’
Sorry I couldn’t be more positive. I hope the notes help.
by FinleyMulligan on 03/16/2011OK, here's my review! Reading notes: 1. Gepetto sounds cute! 1. I'd put a slug line saying that it's in an apartment. 2. Solid intro. I know the characters, understand what's going on, and THANK YOU fro making things quick and CLEAR. the last script I read was a disaster, this is concise, and it looks like you know your format etc. THANK YOU. 2. "(Cubs aren’t gonna win,... OK, here's my review!
1. Gepetto sounds cute!
1. I'd put a slug line saying that it's in an apartment.
2. Solid intro. I know the characters, understand what's going on, and THANK YOU fro making things quick and CLEAR. the last script I read was a disaster, this is concise, and it looks like you know your format etc. THANK YOU.
2. "(Cubs aren’t gonna win, it ain’t that kind of movie)." There's been a lot of "Yeah, I'm talking to you" kind of banter, I'm hoping there isn't much more of this as it's taking me out of the story a bit.
3. "Any other romance movie would end here." Totally knocked me out of a good scene.
3. "A RAIN of victory peanuts hit the happy couple like rice on church steps." Nice.
4. "And yeah, the Cubs lost again." Stop it! You already told us the cubs weren't gonna win!
6. nice, already getting the dog. No bullshit, I like it.
7. "Who’s gonna win in the battle of wills?" Shouldn't you know? Leave me hanging with the scene, not with inner monologue, it should be in the script .
7. That dog handler is gruff!
9. "wuv you" I hate puppy talk…
11. OK, dog holding the pillow w/ ring, baseball stadium engagement, dog pound; while it is sweet, all of these images have been in movie after movie, might want to mix it up a little.
12. "Where every dances to High School Musical’s “We’re all in this together.” I'd probably leave the theatre. We get that they're all happy but it's getting pretty sappy at this point.
13. "Huh. Well, that was Figaro. He doesn’t end very well does he?" You really don't need this. I won't mention it again but it's starting to get really unprofessional and distracting.
15. "I mean, I was on birth control,
but once the wedding came, I stopped. It was just for zits." really?
16. "Just dump him now. I know this
cute guy I met the other week working on the case." It's his hr husband! Damn!
18. All the mario kart talk is a bit distracting, a couple lines is fine, but it's not adding much. Make sure even those lines mean something.
20. "With your husband constantly
flying and you working a full-time job as well, I can’t agree to giving you a child without having at least one parent accustomed to life at home. If you at least got rid of your dog, I might be able to pull some strings to move in the right direction, but--" This seems really extreme. THey seem pretty picture perfect to be turned down for such silly reasons.
20. Oops, I usually stop at pg. 10 for an update, but the script has been reading so smoothly I forgot to. OK, we know the motivation, we know the conflict, inciting incident was clear, and I know where the story is headed. All clear except for my comments which of course, you have read by now.
21. "She pays for the magazine, then drops it in the recycling can nearby." That's weird.
23. "NO. I’m drawing the line at the
Island of Dr. Monroe." Why? Seems like they want it pretty bad, It's pretty damn safe and reliable. Im already thinking, OK, do that, problem solved, movie over. Also, there has been a HUGE change in their relationship in a relatively short amount of time, I'm not sure if I got to know them enough to care that this bad stuff in happening to them. P.S. It's "Island of Dr. Moreau", not "Monroe."
OK. Plot point one, the divorce. my only issue is… where does it go from here? Someone gets the dog and that's it? I think all the cliched moments in the beginning really didn't allow me to connect with your characters enough to be distraught here, wanting them to get back together. This is a problem as that's where I assume this is heading.
27. The story is slowing down A LOT. And she's staying at his place? If she hates him so much, why wouldn't she stay with Cindy? Out of spite? Ridiculous.
29. Ok, dog's gonna get kidnapped, I guess this is the plot point, my mistake. Also, the whole reason they broke up feels petty. I understand that this can be a HUGE strain on a relationship, but, we don't see that strain, it;s glazed over. Also I;m not sure if the stakes are high enough in the script. If he/she doesn't get the dog, what happens? The other one is sad for a bit then goose back to normal life. I think this may be the reason that I'm having trouble getting really pulled in by the story.
32. Why have an animated sequence?
36. I'd be creeped out if two people stuck their head near my car to listen to my radio.
40. Don't need flashback, maybe he fiddles with his ring? (if he's still wearing it) This scene might be nicer if will and brianna just regard each other warmly, then look away, something more subtle maybe?
42. Typo, subtky should be subtly.
43. "Geppetto gets off after finishing. Lays in the grass to take a nap. Typical guy." Im a guy, i usually get up and write… careful, guy producers might be reading…
44. "We haven’t a “moment” in like
eight years." Haven't had a moment?
47. Ok, the planning time and animation formula is getting old. I suggest more variation for each one, otherwise, I want to skip ahead.
47. "Every listens closely." Everyone? Getting sloppy. Seems like you revised your first act more than the second.
49. I'm starting to REALLY not like Brianna. "She really is my dog" How? He bought him, they both looked after him, it's obvious they both love him, I'd add some more sensitivity. Otherwise she comes off like a bitch. (no pun intended)
49. "FIGARO Oops. Did I do that?" Is he talking to himself? Urcle quote? No need.
50. "Figaro flips on the TV to see what’s on. Just as he does, he hears a GROWL." He's watching TV?
52. Call the divorce off? Left field?
53. Restaurant scene doesn't work. He flips too soon, he needs it too soon, he seems like a push over and she seems silly. A longer scene, maybe another scene similar before hand? Something.
55. Geppetto doesn't recognis his master's buddy?
56. "The boys know they’re in trouble." Sounds condescending. I think Brianna has her own explaining to do.
59. "BRIANNA I’m gonna make sure Will never
sees that dog again." Vindictive and petty. I really don't like her. If this isn't your intention, you;ve done something wrong.
60. Now your doing tha animation sequence with the girls? This is no kind of turning point. And what a HYPOCRITE for doing the same thing. This makes all of her anger absolutely invalid.
63. The ridiculousness of the situation has got me totally bored, all this "you'll never see that dog again" conversation is being recycled over and over, as are scenes, the repitition worked for a couple of scenes but it's not working now, not at all.
64. "A nice guy busy finishing last.' Great line.
65. "BRIANNA You don’t understand, men never
understand complex plans. It’s a flaw in your design." Uhm… what? I hope he does get the dog, and I hope Brianna can take her high horse right off a cliff. I hope the pizza boy gives her the finger and shoves off… nice guy busy finishing last, now that sounds mean.
66. "(O.C.)" you mean O.S. ?
67. "TODD (to Brianna)
What are you doing later? BRIANNA
Shut up Todd." Poor guy.
67. "hose gonna do it, though?" typo.
72. He won't betray his best friend, after all this talk he just gives in? Must really thicken guys are dumb.
76. Give the dog to a foster family? That doesn't happen…
78. "BRIANNA Please, I went at it harder than
he did." First off… no she didn't, break ins, destroyed apartment, dog humping etc. Sh just got a pizza boy and a temptress. Second, if this is "war" and she's so determined, why would she say this? Rationality, after her being so blinded by anger for the majority of the script, doesn't fit in her character. Though I would prefer if there was more of this in her early on.
79. "BRIANNA That’s irrelevant. I heard your
whole confession when you blurted it out to jackass over here. Besides, the judge will see that a mother has a special touch that a father simply doesn’t have.
WILL A father thinks with his head and
does what’s best using logic. And you’re no better than me for trying to steal him." This are some pretty strict and ignorant gender roles.
80. "You’ve ruined my life and taking Geppetto is just another thing." WHat?!! I can't believe how stubborn she is. He's not the reason she didn't have a baby, in fact, there never was a definite reason, you might want to point one out. (I hope they don't have a baby in the end.)
82. BRIANNA I refuse to let him be given away.
But I’d rather see him dead than go to Will." Stupid. This line right here will KILL any affection the audience may have for her. She's a horrible person.
82. "WILL Right back at cha, biotch." Is he twelve?
83. "Brianna “accidentally” tips her water glass, spilling it all over Will’s lap." The childishness of these adults is gutting out of hand.
84. "Brianna’s eyes follow Will. Regret?" I don't think she's capable.
90. "FIGARO Think about how much it sucks you
can’t have a kid. Doesn’t that still piss you off?" WHY WOULD THAT PISS HIM OFF!? was she just a kid vessel? Did they not love each other?
93. The dog's dying now? That's a downer and it feels cheap. I feel like they're gonna get together now because of that, and realize how they've waisted so much quality time etc. The change doesn't really feel like it comes from the main characters.
94. "She pulls off a huge chunk of hair." Did he go through chemo?
95. "eeeEEEEEEEEE!" Change to, THE KETTLE WHISTLES.
99. The latino woman hired a private detective? NO! NONONO! I feel that now they;re gonna get a puppy and instead of learning how to just love each other they're gonna get a dog again to make them happy instead of being able to be happy alone. OOOHH. It was Figaro. Still, what a stretch. A huge one. How would she know Geppetto was purebred?
100. "Her dog wasn’t ready. She’d been
trying to breed her for months, but her body wouldn’t take to it. She says when your dog came, her dog was finally ready." WAAAYY too much, the coincidence is piling on, I don;t believe this for a heartbeat.
NNOOO, she's pregnant.
100. "WILL (CONT’D) Thank you God! Thank you!" Exactly, none of the change came from the characters themselves, the stakes of this conflict became ridiculous and overall completely unbelievable. Brianna was totally unlivable throughout and this scooby doo ending in a package is just too much to handle. None of their problems were worked out. What was the real reason they broke up? Not being able to have a child isn't usually what it is, it;s usually a symptom of another problem with not connecting. This is nerve talked about. We don;t get to the meat of why their relationship wasn't working and then boom, they make up, have a kid and get a new puppy. I guess they can put all their problems in a cellar and forget it along with Poor gepetto that they killed with their incompetence. I'm sorry, I liked how this script started out but it went very downhill very quickly. It started when by the middle of the second act I realized that there wasn't much for me to identify with in the main characters. Then their issue came, the relationship isn't working, but seeing as this (not conception or dog ownership) is the real conflict in the story, you should have spent the entire middle of the script focusing on that. Instead we get little vignettes about dog burglary as if this was the meat of the story. That should be the B story, not the focus. I think you need to re-think the script, think about how your audience will perceive the characters and do more work on the characters themselves. Brianna seems selfish and one dimensional. Will seems like an alright guy, the one that really wants to make the relationship work again. All I can see in the future is a divorce, except next time it'll be a kid instead of a dog. Also, there are some rather condescending comments towards men. Now, I can take some off color humor here but the thing is, it's not really in good taste. On the bright side, there were few typos and the format had few mistakes. Think about the real issues in the story, and focus on those. Also, maybe give visual queues throughout that Geppetto is sick? Maybe we SEE him getting sicker as these two people go further into their sick little games? Use the B story of the dog as a visual metaphor for the mental state of this relationship. You could have something very nice and funny and dramatic. For now, it's not working. read
by rugbytv on 03/08/2011I dove into reading ‘Oh Mister Geppetto’ with some apprehension, as I haven’t seen too many original movies centered around dogs. I have to say this script was par for the course for the genre. My first question regards the target audience. I’m assuming the script is aimed at young families. If that’s the case, the movie will fit right in next to the one it reminds me most... I dove into reading ‘Oh Mister Geppetto’ with some apprehension, as I haven’t seen too many original movies centered around dogs. I have to say this script was par for the course for the genre.
My first question regards the target audience. I’m assuming the script is aimed at young families. If that’s the case, the movie will fit right in next to the one it reminds me most of: ‘Marley & Me.’ It’s a pretty standard ‘couple gets dog, couple has relationship issues, dog brings couple back together’ storyline.
The plot is woven around the couple’s pending breakup after several years of marriage. Will and Brianna decide to split up, and divide their things, but can’t come to an agreement over who gets Geppetto, their dog. Fearing the female-friendly judge will give Geppetto to Brianna, Will and his friends concoct funny but ultimately unsuccessful schemes to steal the dog outright. Later, the script flips, and it’s the girls’ turn to try to dognap Geppetto. The formula is there for laughs, but it all is very predictable.
The movie ended up almost exactly where I thought it would , with Geppetto dying (disease), but with a sweet ending that was a very nice touch.
The characters in OMG aren’t very deep. Most of them are standard caricature personalities. Will and Brianna are the couple, with Will being a typical clueless guy and Brianna being the typical partner of a clueless guy. Figaro and Cindy double as the couple’s best friends and their lawyers, as Will and Brianna go through a breakup. Cleo and Johnny Sue (what’s with the female names for his guy friends?) are Will’s other buddies, with Johnny Sue being the ridiculously clueless comic sidekick.
The thing I liked the most about this script was the pacing. Even though I knew where the story was going, it got there without wasted time, and dialogue wasn’t bad. There is potential here. I thought the writer used a nice approach to the planning scenes (handled with voice over hand-drawn diagrams). Also, I really liked the ending, which wrapped up the script with the kind of feeling that was missing for much of the story.
But one thing drove me NUTS. The author consistently used the direction lines to make commentary that wouldn’t really show up in the movie. Direction lines like: “Cubs aren’t gonna win, it ain’t that kind of movie” “Who’s gonna win in the battle of wills?” and “Duh” really don’t serve any purpose, and wouldn’t really help a director. They could also irritate someone out of reading the script (especially a Cubs fan). I gave up marking the commentary-type lines early on in my notes, just to let me get through the script. Oddly enough, most of the comments wouldn’t be bad spoken lines, though, if you decided to go with a narrator. Just a thought!
Finally, the script was also rife with typos. I’ll PM a copy of those to you for your reference.
Bottom line: As it currently stands, this is a script aimed at tweens and teens. It was very predictable, and the laughs (at least those that weren’t involved with the dognapping efforts) were something you’d typically see in Disney tween sitcoms. If you can add a little depth to Will and Brianna, and a little more genuine feeling to the script, this could be something good. read
by molloy on 03/03/2011I enjoyed the one-liners in this screenplay--lines such as: p.7 "I put 'em straight on the green mile." Hilarious. p. 40 When Figaro says "If we're going to have shared custody then they need to at least get along. p.43 When the Latino Woman says "You made whore." p. 65 When Todd says "If you want me to just sit on the porch until Will decides to look for a pizza man he's... I enjoyed the one-liners in this screenplay--lines such as:
p.7 "I put 'em straight on the green mile." Hilarious.
p. 40 When Figaro says "If we're going to have shared custody then they need to at least get along.
p.43 When the Latino Woman says "You made whore."
p. 65 When Todd says "If you want me to just sit on the porch until Will decides to look for a pizza man he's not expecting..."
p. 100 When the Little Girl says "...keep this on a leash..."
Great one-liners. The narrrative was done in an untraditional but funny way. I wonder if a voice-over narrarator actually speaking in the screenplay could capture more of your humorous lines.
I also liked the repeat of the opening scene a little later in the sreenplay.
I thought the dialogue was long-winded in places and the same effect could have been created with more nuanced dialogue.
Some of the dognapping schemes were not that creative and why Figaro had to rappel down the side of the house to go through the back door was beyond me. Also, as on p.40, I don't know what some of the flashbacks bought you.
This was a fun read that almost seemed biographical. We adopted a son for the reasons mentioned and when I was growing up our poodle had his way with a poodle down the block. The woman thanked my mother and said, "Don't apologize, I love them." She never offered one of the puppies though.
Best of luck with this. read
by Eric Maloney on 02/23/2011There's a germ of a very good story here: A couple in the throes of divorce, both of them rarin' to get it over with, both prepared to move on, the i's dotted and the t's crossed, the papers ready for signing, and then, wham! There's the dog going, "Uhhh, what about me?" The fact that the dog is a surrogate for the child they couldn't have gives both protagonists a potent need... There's a germ of a very good story here: A couple in the throes of divorce, both of them rarin' to get it over with, both prepared to move on, the i's dotted and the t's crossed, the papers ready for signing, and then, wham! There's the dog going, "Uhhh, what about me?" The fact that the dog is a surrogate for the child they couldn't have gives both protagonists a potent need to possess the dog. They both claim dibs on the dog, so now they've got a mutual problem. But instead of figuring it out together, they allow their anger and frustration to cloud their judgments, and instead of thinking of the dog, they think of their own selfish needs, to the detriment of the dog. The dog's death at the end was an interesting, unexpected, and effective twist, and it really drives home the point of their folly.
That said, I think you have some work do to before this works as a screenplay.
First, I think you've got a major structural problem. Your synopsis reads, "A once happy couple on the verge of divorce find they can't split until it's decided who gets to keep the dog they both love; and they'll do anything to keep him." I think that's an accurate and pretty decent logline--EXCEPT that we don't get to this story until page 25. Most of the first 25 pages are spent on back story. I think this is a mistake. Much of the back story-- the proposal, the wedding, their inability to conceive, the decay of the marriage etc. etc.--is pretty pedestrian stuff and could be handled easily in one or two scenes, perhaps even as flashbacks or as reveals. Obviously, their inability to have a baby is critical to the story, but that doesn't mean you have to devote nearly a quarter of the screenplay to the subject and to the decline of the marriage. The screenplay is supposed to be about the divorce, not about everything leading up to it.
Also, the screenplay is supposed to be about the dog, and the dog is practically an afterthought through much of the first 25 pages.
And this is supposed to be a comedy, and there is precious little to laugh at as we watch your protagonists' marriage fall apart while they desperately try to conceive. Ha, ha, ha.
I'd strongly suggest that you consider trashing all of the back story and focusing on the present. Start with a brief scene (3 pages at most) of the happy newlyweds and their happy new puppy (maybe even make the puppy a wedding present) and all of their plans for a happy family and a happy life. Then jump to the present and the divorce, the acrimony, the recriminations, the guilt, etc. etc. Show them arguing over the dog, establish the importance of the dog to them (the one constant in a rocky marriage and the surrogate for the baby they couldn't have). Then make the inciting incident the realization that they haven't decided who gets the dog.
Also, you need to spend more time in the opening pages fleshing out your protagonists. They're not terribly interesting at the moment; I didn't really connect with them either separately or as a couple, and, frankly, didn't much care whether they divorced or got back together.
My second major issue is with the second act. What you've got here are a bunch of two-dimensional characters (with then notable exception of Figaro) who go through an endless series of boring schemes to steal the dog that are all essentially the same: Somebody distracts the person who has the dog while somebody else snatches the dog. This basic scenario gets played out over and over without much variation, and none of the schemes is particularly interesting or clever.
You need to come up with better, more interesting, more original schemes to gain possession of the dog.
Theses schemes have to become increasingly elaborate, building one upon the other, until your two protagonists are completely obsessed with out-maneuvering and outsmarting the other person.
The schemes should be conceived by the protagonists, not by their friends and lawyers. The protagonists are the ones who should be proactive and push the story forward.
The schemes MUST put the protagonists in continual, direct, head-to-head conflict and NOT be executed by proxy through friends and lawyers.
Dump all the scenes in which somebody describes in detail what the next plan is. They 1) are dull and 2) kill any sense of anticipation the audience might have about what's going to happen. (Also, the animation feels like a gimmick; it doesn't connect organically to the story or the characters.)
The rest of my comments are more or less in page order (I wrote them as I read, so there might be contradictions and redundancies.
"Will staggers..." Don't get this. Why is he staggering?
master's--masters, plural not possessive
Lots of errors like these throughout that should be cleaned up.
Which ball park?
"World Series baby"--I don't get this reference.
How do we know it's game 6?
I find it hard to believe that MLB or the clubs would allow this sort of stunt during a World Series game (this proposal-at-the-ballpark scenario isn't exactly original, anyway).
The dialog here is pretty pedestrian.
The dog handler isn't plausible for a real dog pound.
This is really a montage, not a series of shots.
A long barrage of jokes about killing dogs is not funny.
This pound scene is pretty long for the little we get out of it. There's nothing particularly interesting or revelatory that happens; they look at a bunch of dogs and pick one. Also, what does this have to do with the wedding proposal? The two should be connected in some way. This combined with the PETA scene isn't a very strong way to kick this off; it seems to me that you could find a more interesting and clever way for them to end up with a dog.
"The eternal bachelor who finally finished law school." This can't be filmed and doesn't belong in an action line. If it's important that he finally finished law school, then it needs to be shown or spoken.
Some of Figaro's lines are pretty funny--and, honestly, the first funny stuff in the script. You've got this script categorized as a comedy, but a comedy should have a strong laugh on every page, and this doesn't come close. At this stage, it's a drama with comedic elements.
I don't understand the mechanics of a dog carrying a pillow in such a way that two rings balance on top. Is the pillow taped to his head?
"Cindy knows what she wants and how to get it, not to mention she finished law school on time." Again, this stuff can't be filmed. It looks unprofessional.
"little but thinks he’s big" Again, unfilmable.
"on dog duty for what seems to be most of the night." How do you intend to show this?
I guess Figaro gets all the funny lines in this script. I wouldn't mind seeing a few laughs doled out elsewhere.
I still don't know what the story is about or what the protagonists' goals are. All I know is that they just got married, they have a dog, and eventually they'll break up. So what's here to keep me interested? Why should
I care about what happens between here and the scene were they fight over the dog?
I also don't get how the dog ties into this, other than to just run around being a cute prop. You might want to check out some movies in which the dog plays an important role and see how they're integrated into the story line. Your dog is little more than an accessory to this point.
OK, so I guess the conflict will be over the sex of the baby? Not sure how this will play out, as the sex will be whatever it is. Not like they have a choice.
"OBGYN looks and sounds like she’s fresh out of a Bond film." Meaning what? Don't make your reader have to work to figure out what someone's supposed to look or be like.
If Meredith is going to be a significant character, she probably should be introduced earlier.
"I never thought his gun was loaded. " Odd line. Why would she think this? Is she an ex-lover of his?
There's also an awful lot of redundancy here; we keep going over the same territory without anything new being added.
I have to say, too, that Brianna and Will are both pretty bland. They don't have much in the way of distinctive personalities. You gave all the character to Figaro.
"Considering she’s been on the pill all her life, she has to be off of
it for a while before we can tell if that’s the problem." Again, you keep repeating material that the audience already knows.
This idea of adoption should come from Will or Brianna, and it should be a source of conflict.
First, it's good that you're trying to integrate the dog into the story line, because, to this point, the dog hasn't been much more than decoration. However, the notion that getting rid of the dog will improve their chances of adopting is a real head-scratcher. Since when does owning a dog disqualify someone from adopting? And since when would an adoption agency say it was OK for two absent parents to adopt if they got rid of their pet? And what does "one parent
accustomed to life at home" mean? This whole speech by the adoption officer comes across as implausible.
Isn't the issue of work something they would have talked about years before this?
What cockpit? Is Will a pilot? Shouldn't we know this earlier?
Conflict is good, but only when it's focused. This is mishmash of issues this couple has that just arise out of nowhere a quarter of the way through the script without anything leading up to them.
Did we find out why she can't get pregnant?
Everything between the opening scene with the dog and this scene has been boring back story. They synopsis says, "A once happy couple on the verge of divorce find they can't split until it's decided who gets to keep the dog they both love; and they'll do anything to keep him." And yet most of the first 25 pages have been about the back story.
We already saw this scene at the beginning of the script; I don't understand why we're sitting through it a second time.
The lawyer doesn't get to decide when the final court hearing is.
To this point, you really haven't shown the dog to be important to either of them. You need to show the audience just how important the dog is, not simply have a character say on page 30, "I need Geppetto." Nothing Brianna has done to this point shows us that she "needs" Geppetto.
I don't get why this is animated. It might be cute in and of itself, but it doesn't connect to anything in the story.
Will doesn't do a whole lot of flying for someone who's supposedly a pilot.
Your secondary characters shouldn't be the ones coming up with all the ideas? This is supposed to be about your protagonists and the dog, not about the lawyers and friends.
This second attempt to take the dog is almost the same as the first. These should be unique, fresh, and they should built one upon another, and they should involve conflict between the protagonists.
But the larger problem here is that I really don't care enough about the protagonists to want to see them back together again. Together, not together, which one gets the dog...it's really all the same to me. And it shouldn't
be. The audience should be rooting for the dog to show these two that they belong together.
Again, Figaro is playing a more active role in this story than the protagonist.
And the plan is just too much like the previous plans, and it's not clever enough or fun enough.
The reasons behind their divorce are pretty muddy.
We shouldn't be hearing this through dialog halfway through the story. These moments should be shown.
Much better to show these than the cartoons showing Figaro's silly plans to kidnap the dog.
Geppetto protecting the apartment is a good visual moment. The script needs more of these.
I don't quite get why she hasn't reacted to the mess and Figaro's presence. Wouldn't she have put 2 and 2 together by now and gone ballistic?
Too much dialog for Brianna. Show us how she feels, don't have her tell us in a long, boring monolog.
We're past the halfway mark, and the only person trying to steal the dog is Will. But the synopsis says "They" will do anything to keep him. Brianna has been very passive.
I really expected a lot of fun and games between Will and Brianna as they try to pry the dog loose from the other person's clutches. "The Breakup" meets "War of the Roses." Instead, I get Figaro coming up with a lot of silly plans that Will goes along with like a sheep while Brianna just sits around doing nothing.
Why video chat? It's passive and boring. They should be together in person, doing something, even if it's just helping her clean up the apartment or consoling her over beers.
What's the italic for?
Cindy is not convincing. Brianna going along with Cindy here does nothing except make her look stupid. If Brianna is going to take the dog, then it should be something incited by some kind of interaction between Brianna and Will. Again, you've got secondary characters inciting action when that's the role of the protagonists.
These the-way-we-were flashbacks are clichéd sentimentality. They're a weak substitute for the dog forcing these two to face each other, work their problems out in the present, and see each other for who they are, not for who they were.
"hose gonna do it, though?" ??
This scene would work better if it actually was plausible that Figaro might let this woman into his apartment. She should have a good reason, like she's a present from a client.
This is pretty boring and inconsequential conversation. We've pretty much heard all this multiple times.
This restaurant conversation goes on and on and on. At 6+ pages, it's at least twice as long as is should be, especially considering that it's at a point in the screenplay where you're supposed to be ramping up the tension, not bringing it to a halt with static scenes of people sitting around a table talking. It should be cut by at least half and placed in a more dynamic setting (or settings).
I have to say that, at this point, I haven't seen a whole lot in the story that leads me to believe that there's a chemistry between these two. You try to establish this chemistry almost exclusively through flashbacks that show how happy they were in the past, but I want to see chemistry in the present that leads me to believe in a future, and I just don't.
She's right: It's separation anxiety. The story really hasn't given any reason why they should be together or why they're right for each other. Most of what we've seen are them with their friends and lawyers and their friends and lawyers in silly schemes to get the dog. And these schemes haven't led to anything that would make me believe that this is a couple that was meant to be together.
This is an interesting twist but having the dog die it's not really in keeping with a comedy.
"I should’ve been a better!" ??
And this also is a good twist, and necessary to take the string out of the death. However, it's a mistake to suggest that a puppy somehow will erase all of the hurt that came from their inability to have their own child. This hasn't gone away.
by blopar on 02/22/2011I really liked a number of things about this script. The first thing I look at in a script is readability and this script scores very high in that area. A reader could sit down read this script in 45 minutes, never have to read a sentence twice and fully understand it. It was nice because of the limited number of named characters which were easy to remember with having to... I really liked a number of things about this script. The first thing I look at in a script is readability and this script scores very high in that area. A reader could sit down read this script in 45 minutes, never have to read a sentence twice and fully understand it. It was nice because of the limited number of named characters which were easy to remember with having to keep a scorecard. Well done.
Very nice concept. I think it appeals to kids as well as adults. It's hard to resist dogs, particularly one that gets sick. I thought it was a very nice love story also. Loved the pregnancy at the end though I saw it coming. But don't know how that could be avoided. I really liked your cast of characters although I thought the wife might work better if she was just a little less bitchy, but was being egged on by her lawyer. Figaro was a nice character to egg the husband on. I would have liked to see that same thing on both sides - blame it on the lawyers But that's just my opinion - it's fine as it is.
The dialogue was good. Didn't notice much on the nose and I liked the parallels with child custody issues. Well done.
The structure is excellent. No problems there.
I have two possible suggestions - not really criticisms - just thoughts that came to me. The first is the high number of flashbacks and dream sequences. It is my opinion, and perhaps mine alone, that those techniques should only be used when absolutely necessary. They slow the read and can confuse the reader, especially if they are long. I noticed that one of your flashbacks were fairly long, although most weren't.
The second thing I noticed, and again there may be no good way to avoid this, was as soon as the dog sex in the park occured I knew the ending would involve puppy Gepetto. Not bad, but a surprise might be better. Thought maybe Gepetto could have spent a night at a kennel and unbeknownst to the reader got together with a female of the same breed. Might work if Gepetto had avoided attempts to breed him earlier. Just a thought. A one bitch dog.
Best of luck with this well-done script. read
by CrabbyLady on 02/22/2011Hate them. I don't believe in love at first site, love until death-do-us-part, or undying love; I believe men are all pigs, and I truely believe if I ever married I'd be on death row because he left the seat up once too often. Having said all that, why am I reviewing this work? To be brutally honest: because it came up on my assignment list. I was all prepared to be bored... Hate them. I don't believe in love at first site, love until death-do-us-part, or undying love; I believe men are all pigs, and I truely believe if I ever married I'd be on death row because he left the seat up once too often.
Having said all that, why am I reviewing this work? To be brutally honest: because it came up on my assignment list. I was all prepared to be bored and to be able to guess exactly what was going to happen.
And I was partially right. You did enough in this work that I was interested, and some of it caught me off guard.
You started off as most rom-coms start with the couple who was once happy now sadly sad and heading for divorce. I did like how the failure to become pregnant was one of the main reasons; unfortunately that does happen in real life and it's quite sad; it made it more 'real' in your SP. The only screw up in the works is the dog they both love.
I was all prepared to read through and figure everything out. But I got a surprise. You throw in enough different moments that I was kept off guard and not quite prepared for what happened.
BIG SPOILER - ONCE AGAIN - BIG SPOILER: When Geppetto is found out to be quite sick, and could have been saved, I have to admit that surprised me and I wasn't expecting it. I was sure that the dog would survive and bring them back together and that the judge would give them 'the speech' blah blah blah. This was quite an interesting twist. I did like how you threw in that they could have noticed his illness and possibly have fixed it, but since they were only concerned with themselves....
ANOTHER BIG SPOILER: I have to admit that I guessed they would become pregnant, but it didn't happen as I thought it would, and that's another plus for you.
ONE LAST SPOILER: The fact that Brianna finally gets pushed into doing some 'bait and switch' tactics was good as well; I was sure it was going to be all Will and she could use that against him.....
As for the characters, they were pretty much what a rom-com consists of, but I did like Johnny Sue (oh gotta love the name) coming up with the words of wisdom. The others were what we would expect from such a SP, but that doesn't mean they weren't cute or funny at times; I just wasn't surprised with them.
Your dialogue was also pretty standard, but that wasn't a bad thing. No one character was trying too hard to be too cute or anything. Figaro was just a ding dong, and he came across as such. I did like the animation segments. That was a new touch (to me anyway) and it works.
As for your formatting, it was fine for the most part, but you really should cut down on the descriptions. It was too much at times, and from what I've learned on this site (from my own work too) is that 'less is more'. It would work if you have a character doing a voice-over, but the way you have it now, it's too much (i.e., Page 1: "He cocks his head. I’m confused"; Page 34: "Nice disguise...Not"; Page 49: "Um, okay? He repels off the roof and onto the patio").
I also noticed several grammatical and spelling errors which I will send via email (if you already know about these, please ignore).
I never go to the movies to see rom-coms, and even though they have been done to death, this definitely would and will work better than most because of the little twists you throw in. I have no doubt that this will find an audience, not only here on Triggerstreet, but on the big screen as well. Best of luck to you! read
by petalmoon on 02/21/2011Oh Mister Gepetto is a fresh and fun romantic comedy about loving and losing and loving again. The fact that it has a cute dog in it is only a bonus. The characters are sharp and witty, while still being down to earth and approachably flawed. They really could be the couple next door. While a sure passion and several small and secret 'couple-only' things keep our protagonists... Oh Mister Gepetto is a fresh and fun romantic comedy about loving and losing and loving again. The fact that it has a cute dog in it is only a bonus. The characters are sharp and witty, while still being down to earth and approachably flawed. They really could be the couple next door.
While a sure passion and several small and secret 'couple-only' things keep our protagonists together, it is ultimately the inability to have children that tears them apart. Both hurt and confused, they lash out at each other in blind anger, and soon divorce seems the only option. Through it all, their dog reacts with unconditional love and a patience that seems almost beyond his canine brain.
The hare-brained plots hatched by both parties and their cohorts are charmingly done and absolutely side splitting. Their planning stages are creatively and cunningly done.
The use of the dog was judicious, with neither too much nor too little screen time. The animal is very believable, and no less an important character as those who have actual lines.
I disliked how some of the dialog made reference to certain personalities and current reality curiosities, only because I fear it dates the script, and thus the movie, limiting what should be a timeless story of humans being human. And a cute dog. read
- Writer: Chris Bissonnette, Nic Lishko
- Uploaded by: koosalagoopagoop
- Length: 102 pages
- Genre: comedy, romance
- PG-13 rating. Some sexual references and language. Dream cast: Will: Jason Bateman Brianna: Amy Adams Figaro: Will Arnett
- Bio: I have returned from my latest writing binge! I'm BACK BABY. With a new profile pic too :D (11/30/11) I've been writing stories since second grade on my parents super old Mac. It turned into a passion in high school and I wrote straight through college. I was in the top 100 of scriptshadows logline contest and I have several scripts in many different stages of production. My dream is to write and direct. Any questions? NEW BLOG RECENTLY STARTED: http://scripteatingtree.blogspot.com/
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