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HOW IT RATES
The reality show boom forces a popular T.V. Dad's sitcom to be canceled leaving him to choose between kidnap, murder, or even starring in his own reality show.
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The reality show boom forces a popular T.V. Dad's sitcom to be canceled leaving him to choose between kidnap, murder,... more
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Reviews of PETE HARRISON: REALITY STAR? VER 2 21
by 1337pete on 07/09/2011I contend that in writing reviews one should always start with what works so prepare to have your ego (temporarily) enlarged. The structure has pretty much been nailed with this one. Major turning points occur about when the so-called experts say they should, and the story moves along quite nicely with few distractions. Characters never become annoying (a problem these types... I contend that in writing reviews one should always start with what works so prepare to have your ego (temporarily) enlarged.
The structure has pretty much been nailed with this one. Major turning points occur about when the so-called experts say they should, and the story moves along quite nicely with few distractions. Characters never become annoying (a problem these types of comedies often have) and I actually care about what happens to Pete. Ricky is also a good side character and foil to Pete and reminds me a bit of a Micheal J Fox movie (I think it was him) called Life With Mikey. One complaint and then I'll get right back to praising you: I'd like to see more Ricky, if possible. This almost a buddy comedy. I don't think that's what you're going for but his tomfoolery had a bit of slapstick attached to it that is unfortunately absent from today's comedies (seriously, when did we stop doing pie-in-the-face gags?). I also found Mitch to be a good antagonist.
Another aspect I like about this script: it satirizes Hollywood and the television industry. I've been writing for years, taking various classes. I remember when the last strike occurred and one of the things writes were asking for was some kind of compensation for reality TV (because, as it turns out, unscripted shows actually are heavily scripted, only the writers receive no credit and hence, a fraction of the pay). Satirizing this aspect of reality TV is, as they say, on the nose. Personally, I'd like to see more of it. Consider develping it further, if possible.
Now onto criticisms:
I may just be a cold, heartless bastard (okay, I am, but that's beside the point), but this script designated "comedy" didn't make me laugh as often as I hoped. It could just be that I don't prefer this type of comedy. It feels like it wants to be a raunchy sort of romp (and it is in some moments), and although I love Monty Python, Kevin Smith, Mel Brooks, Mike Myers, Family Guy, etc., I tend to lean more towards the sharp dialogue and quick of wit of Juno, Gimore Girls, and Daria (why all female?). Some scenes simply made my jaw drop when I thought I was supposed to be laughing. Example: Sara. She reminds me of Mel from the Flight of the Conchords TV series: never really funny, just extraordinarily creepy. Also, the "gay love" scene. First, how could Ricky not know it's what I assume to be his best friend? That's like Leia not knowing she kissed her brother. (In Jedi she did say she had always known. Somehow.) And again, that scene didn't really make me laugh, but it did make me think how Kevin Smith had to apologize to gays who complained about the word "gay" being used in the pejorative sense in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. I hate to get all PC on you (because I think political correctness is destroying our freedom of speech faster than the government who seems to use the Constitution only when it's convenient for them), but you might offend more than a few people. I suggest this: it isn't really clear why Pete's reality show is such a huge hit. However, I was intrigued at it inspiring Todd Franks to come out. Maybe the reason why the show is a huge hit is because it inspires gays to be who they are? Imagine how awkward that would be for Pete and Ricky to explain that they aren't really gay. It's problematic that the moment Pete made his remark about huge wieners I knew it would come back to bite him (um, giggity?). Humor is all about timing. If it's predictable then it's not well timed. I wish I could offer a solution, but it might just have to remain unaltered. After all, there is always some degree of predictability in every script, so it may not matter, especially if other people don't catch it.
Aside from that, the script is well structured, as I mentioned. This is far from the worst script I've ever read on this site. Quite in fact, it's better than most. But I've heard that the opposite of a writer is a sculptor. A sculptor has about one shot at carving a masterpiece, but a writer will edit and edit and edit and still never really be done because, at least in my experience, it always seems like there's something you can fix or change.
Anyway, here are some notes.
Pg. 1: Mitch Jeffcoat. Reminds me of Guybrush Threepwood. If you know what I'm referring to, I owe you a Coke.
Pg. 2: Ashley Leigh Wilson? Like May Kate and Ashely Olsen?
Pg. 4: Bob Saget? Alan Thicke? Michael Gross? Wow, you two have high hopes.
Pg. 12: Ugh. PC police, on the beat. I'm Italian and I'll laugh at most Italian jokes, but we do NOT go-a like-a dis. We are not-a like-a the Super Mario Brothers. (I've spoken to relatives who live in Italy and their Italian accents aren't like that at all. I'm reminded of the bad Indian accent in Short Circuit 2. Did I just reference that?)
Also, I've heard Hollywood hates flashbacks, for some reason. Something to consider.
Pg. 14: "shoots daggers." What does this mean? Is it a dirty look? My generation says "mad-dogs," like the phrasing "mad-dog" is somehow a verb.
pg. 26: Mitch has 2 ball sacks? Seriously, he refers to 2 SACKS here, not 2 balls.
Pg. 28: "It's five o'clock somewhere." Thank you for making me laugh.
Pg. 42: Maybe say "arse" instead of "ass?" Or is he still talking like an American?
Pg. 49: Gene has a hobby of recognizing accents?
I'm assuming the midpoint is this "go brokeback" idea." That's good. It happens about when it should.
Pg. 66: Grammar police, on the beat. Check preferred usage of apostrophes: http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/apostro.asp
Pg. 71: "look up while going down." In my experience, most girls make eye contact. Don't ask me how I know that.
Pg. 85: Man, I'd really hate to have automatic seatbelts. They wrap around me and tie me to the chair even when I'm tumbling down a hill. What if I was plummeting off a pier? Would I be able to undo the automatic seatbelts so I could free myself and swim to safety? I know I'm nitpicking, but do these things really exist in luxury cars, or something? I've never encountered one!
Pg. 89: Laughing at Colts tickets. Just like a real sitcom. The audience laughs when nothing is funny. Man, I'm a heartless bastard.
Pg. 95: More grammar police. It should be "hastily."
One last note. Bob Saget has made quite a career out of "blue" humor. In fact, I think he holds the world record for telling the dirtiest joke, although I have to wonder how one measures the cleanliness of humor and who, exactly, has the authority to make such a determination. If you've really written this part for him, do you think he'll be receptive since he's being portrayed as a washed-up sitcom star? But then, maybe he'll be cool with it. After all, he holds the world record for telling the dirtiest joke. Why not poke fun at himself a little? read
by jnordness on 07/09/2011I generally do my reviews chronologically, then I finish with other thoughts and comments, so there isn't much of an order. Here goes. p.1 - The ages in parentheses, "late (60's)". I'm not sure if this is the proper convention or not, but it didn't flow very well to me. p.6 - "What is this "Fight Club" needs a comma. p.10 - Would Mitch be famous enough for Dee Snyder to know... I generally do my reviews chronologically, then I finish with other thoughts and comments, so there isn't much of an order. Here goes.
p.1 - The ages in parentheses, "late (60's)". I'm not sure if this is the proper convention or not, but it didn't flow very well to me.
p.6 - "What is this "Fight Club" needs a comma.
p.10 - Would Mitch be famous enough for Dee Snyder to know who he is? I generally don't know of many household-famous producers.
During the kidnapping, wouldn't Mitch have heard the dog going after Ricky?
p.23 - "ohhh, my head!" doesn't seem necessary. We know he got hit in the head!
p.27 - Mitch's "I ruined TV?" comment seems out of place.
p.63 - The "Long enough." comment and routine has been done enough.
p.64 - The montage is very similar to the Peyton Manning SNL skit.
p.74 - Ricky & Christine's breakup seems very nonchalant and sudden. Infidelity is serious!
p.80 - Peaks should be peeks.
p.86 - Going from car crash to finale seems sudden. No transition at all.
p.93&94 - Mitch wigging out and crowd ganging up on him seems contrived. Most people are sheeple and would be too scared to try to take out a guy with a gun, especially if there were cops there already.
Most of the main characters never address the reasons for doing what they do, and don't even consider the consequences. Pete and Ricky never think that they could go to jail in the beginning, and never address the risks vs rewards. Ricky would be much better off working at a hot dog joint than in prison.
Mitch, too, has this problem. Is getting revenge on a couple of guys worth ruining his career? Even if Pete & Ricky became successful again, Mitch's success would still be intact.
What was the point of Mitch's fake accent, anyways? I didn't see a reason for it.
Overall, I didn't find this to be a very spirited effort. The dialog was fairly tight but contrived and hard to read in places. I already addressed the lack of thought in the lead up to the kidnapping.
Mitch wasn't that great of a villain because there seemed to be no reasoning behind his actions. His shows were more successful than the sitcoms; it wasn't necessarily a personal vendetta against Pete that got his show cancelled.
Most of the other characters weren't well developed. Sara, for instance, seemed to be thrown in there for comic relief, but doesn't serve much of a purpose at all. The other actors were cardboard without anything distinct about them.
I think the premise, a washed out sitcom actor turned reality star, has some promise, but not in the way it was presented here. I understand that comedy is a hard genre to write for, but I didn't find much funny in this. I'd have to give this one a pass. read
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 07/07/2011PETE HARRISON: REALITY STAR? The Good: The good news with this one is that it’s really funny and it’s very clear that you’ve studied summer comedies A bunch of the cameo stuff is straight of out specs that go out on the open market and I think you’ve done a good job with this one. You have some nice “set pieces” and you’ve done a good job planting and paying this stuff off... PETE HARRISON: REALITY STAR?
The Good: The good news with this one is that it’s really funny and it’s very clear that you’ve studied summer comedies A bunch of the cameo stuff is straight of out specs that go out on the open market and I think you’ve done a good job with this one. You have some nice “set pieces” and you’ve done a good job planting and paying this stuff off. I think this one has a bright future, for sure.
Big Note: My big not is actually pretty small because I think most of this stuff works in here. The big thing I would pitch is to give an overarching tension to the second act. I think the most obvious one would be “will Pete get his show back.” The kidnapping and the attempt to work the reality show don’t really feel like the have much unity of tension and I feel like the best version of this script would have that. I would be curious to see what it looks like if it had more of a “master narrative.”
Medium Note: My medium note would be to think about upping the surreal elements of the story. For the most part, I would say that you are about 80% grounded in reality and I would be curious what this script would be like if it were a little bit coo-coo. Make Mitch, in particular, a little bit more “larger than Life.” I think there’s a some opportunities too with the group of TV dads to go a little more crazy.
Title: I don’t LOVE the title and I think there’s an opportunity for a bigger swipe. On the good end, it shows that it’s character based because it’s the name of the character but I feel like there’s an opportunity for something better. My pitch is something like, “When Failed Actors Attack” or “Sitcom Dad Island” something snappier. It’s not terrible but I don’t think it will turn heads.
Logline: The logline is fine. In a way, it’s not as good as the script but I don’t have a better pitch. Here’s my swipe. You can take whatever elements you like.
“A corny sitcom Dad’s show is cancelled to make more room for more reality TV. He falls into a group of unemployed sitcom actors who have formed a quasi-terrorist organization and plan to bring the system to its knees...and maybe learn a thing or two about getting along.”
1. I like the opening tone of the piece but I would maybe think about giving the reality shows crazier names. SOmething like, “Jews Camping”
2. I would like to see a bigger entrance for Jeff. Some showmanship. He’s a big, crazy person. Make him bigger and crazier.
4. Minor note but around here the “She is _______” sentence construction started to annoy me.
5. I like the “don’t say Stamos” bit but I feel it could be larger. Have Saget REALLY lose his shit like Bela Legosi in Ed Wood when people mention Karloff.
9. I think some character work with Jeffcoat before page nine would go a long way. When it’s mentioned that he only has fake security, it makes me want to know more about him.
10. Joke Pitch: What if Dee Snyder acts all tough and metal in front of his fans but he’s secretly in there to get an autograph because he’s a huge “Family Ties” fan. When metal fans are in the room, he’s hard. When they aren’t, he’s a fan.
13. There’s an opportunity for Ricky to bring up the Stamos code here. Maybe Pete is the only person who hasn’t heard of it.
14. Mother (comma) for God’s sake.
16. Lame joke. What if the guy says “28%” and someone has to correct him to “82%” because he’s dyslexic.
18. Pitch: What if Pay Sayjack kicks their ass, terminator style and then runs off into the night, tied up like the Russian in the Sopranos.
20. Joke Pitch: What if he got the mask from Belarus where the show is STILL a number one hit.
22. Joke Pitch: (Beat) No, don’t actually tell him you have a horny client. That would be moronic.
26. Joke Pitch: PETE: And apparently he has two ballsacks.
30. Nice sequence with the drunkeness.
35. I think having Pete call somone “queer” is a weird choice for his character. I would consider something different.
37. Nice reveal with Mitch not really being British. I think I would make him even more British up until this point. Union Jacks. Have him always walking a bulldog. Stuff like that. Maybe he only eats pub cheese.
42. My pitch here is that, instead of just saying that the show is boring what if you showed SUPER boring dailies? Something excruciating.
47. TYPO: Their not They’re.
48. The blonde/redhead thing doesn’t read to well for me. Maybe just get it up faster. Get to the point.
51. Joke Pitch: “climbing out the bathroom window...because I have your car bugged.” She laughs. “Not really!” She shakes her head, yes and gives him crazy eye.
54. I don’t understand why Ricky is fighting. I suppose it’s OK but I just don’t see why he would be doing it. I don’t think it’s unsellable. I just don’t think it’s sold very well.
60. I like the “caper” element of the whole thing. It’s nice piecing it all together.
63. My instinct is that Dan Marino wouldn’t want to do a cameo where they point out that he never won. I don’t know the dude so maybe he has a good sense of humor.
66. You have a nice payoff of the footage that was collected earlier. I think it’s nice that they have that setup and then the payoff when we see the show.
66. You have a second “hot chick” here when you’ve already had one. My pitch is to combine them both into one character and give that character some personality.
70. At this point, I had forgotten who Todd Franks is and I think a quick reminder would go a long way.
73. I think the flashbacks are a good chance to go SUPER coo coo and surreal. Show some sort of augmented reality that only sticks with reality a little bit. You can get away with it because it’s a flashback.
81. I like the sequence of him using his fame for good. It’s a nice touch.
84. I’m not 100% sure why Mitch wants to kill the show. Maybe just hang a lantern on this and explain it for dummies like me.
87. The Cliff scene is OK but I think you can either cut it or use it as somewhere to show that Pete is a good dude. Have him encourage Cliff, maybe?
90. I think you can get more mileage out of the ending on the sitcom if you show the sitcom more through the piece. Right now, it feels good to show the sitcom kicking ass but I think it would be nice to show how good it was through the entire piece. read
by Evan Neill on 06/27/2011Thanks for the opportunity to read your script. I know it’s not easy to put it out there for everyone to read. I love comedy, and I was excited to get this one assigned to me. I am honestly torn about the outcome. Comedy needs to be surprising. The set up is good, but everything that followed I could see coming, and that was a bit disappointing for me. I like the premise... Thanks for the opportunity to read your script. I know it’s not easy to put it out there for everyone to read. I love comedy, and I was excited to get this one assigned to me. I am honestly torn about the outcome. Comedy needs to be surprising. The set up is good, but everything that followed I could see coming, and that was a bit disappointing for me.
I like the premise of this script, but it is moving at break neck speed. By page 4 the show is cancelled. I guess some one in the past told you to speed it up. If that’s the case you should just start the script with the show already cancelled. Show how Pete is dealing with the cancelation, maybe right to the convention. This feels rushed right now. That’s not how you want to start off.
The dialogue and the jokes at the convention seem a little forced and wooden. Either go the PG comedy route or go R. Something in the middle comes off as confused. This is a common reoccurrence through the rest of the script. I hate to point this out, but I can kind of tell where one writer is writing and when the other takes over. Either that or you have had some feedback, and are trying to cut or add to the script. Either way it is throwing off the tone.
Wow, you really pushed the acronym machine to get “SADTURDS” didn’t you?
Page 19, we get a deliberate “Fart Joke”. I don’t know if I am the audience for this, and that is always a risk we run by letting others read our scripts. The problem I am having is something that is not uncommon with comedy. Who are you writing this for? Kids, adults, teens? It’s a question I am not sure you as writers have answered for yourselves. It needs to be answered before you do another re-write.
Also, comedy has evolved. If you take a look at comedy over the past 40 years, it goes in stages. We are now in a time where dark situations are king. Movies like THE HANGOVER rule the box office. This feels like something from a few decades ago, mid 90’s material.
The premise is great, but the jokes within are flat and forced. I don’t know Peter and Rickey well enough to care about them. So when they get into these kinds of odd situations, I don’t care how it turns out.
Comedy is typically tragedy plus distance. Here we have too much of a distance. Work on making us know and care about the characters a bit more, clean up the dialogue to be a bit more natural, and cut out the flat humor. The premise is clever. It’s everything within that is making it fall apart.
by ageary24 on 06/26/2011I certainly appreciate your effort with the comedy. I tried going with a comedy as well. I think the greatest challenge with comedy is that a joke can often be dependent on the actor's delivery. So, the written portion may not necessarily equate with the humor on screen. Unfortunately, that's what I struggled with reading your script. It seemed like you relied heavily on... I certainly appreciate your effort with the comedy. I tried going with a comedy as well. I think the greatest challenge with comedy is that a joke can often be dependent on the actor's delivery. So, the written portion may not necessarily equate with the humor on screen. Unfortunately, that's what I struggled with reading your script. It seemed like you relied heavily on visual jokes (e.g., dog biting pants off), and they didn't always translate to laughs by reading it.
Also, you may want to review the script with an eye on who your target audience is - often times, I thought your target audience was young teens, but some aspects seemed aimed at an older audience (e.g., the use of Saget, Thicke, and Gross).
Below are my notes that I took while reading the script:
p. 2 – this may be proper formatting and I am simply not aware of it, but it seems strange to write “a male in his” and then have “early 40's” in parentheses.
p. 6 – you've incorporated Bob Saget, Alan Thicke, and Michael Gross into your script. Obviously, actors have played themselves in movies before. Depending on how central those roles are to your movie, it may impact the chances that the script receives serious consideration from a studio - i.e., if these actors aren't available for filming, does the script fall apart? Just something for you to consider.
p. 10 – I don't think a 9-year old would say “with more feeling”
p. 11 – perhaps it would come out differently as a visual scene, but as written, it seemed a little strange that the kid squirted mustard in Ricky's face
p. 21 – you have six dots in Ricky's first dialogue on the page (“I can see the headlines now... ...”)
p. 24 – so far, it seems like you have a good deal of visual/slapstick humor. That's fine, but it is likely to appeal to a younger audience. Your references to Saget, Thicke, and Keaton might be lost on them. Just something to consider.
p. 34 – if Mitch knew to escape, why didn't he say anything to the police?
p. 47 – I'm having trouble figuring out your target audience. The bee scene suggests 10-14 year old audience, but I don't know if that's what you're intending.
p. 53 – not sure scene with Sara is working; may want to revisit
p. 53 – I don't understand the reference to Todd Franks and why that starts a fight.
p. 55 - “cause I'll find you.” Not sure if it was intentional or not, but this is the same line the red-head said to Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers.
p. 56 – several “turd” references. It seems like this is aimed at a younger demographic.
pp. 73-75 – flashback doesn't seem to offer much
p. 93 – what was the tape supposed to show?
p. 94 – I realize this is a comedy, but it doesn't seem believable that the audience would approach Mitch with a gun in hand read
by Johnstone82 on 06/25/2011An attempt at portraying a potential clash between reality TV and old school sitcoms, “Peter Harrison: Reality Star?” manages to elicit nostalgia for the old school by following Pete Harrison, a recently ousted TV dad, on a campaign to redeem himself. What I really liked about your script are the many creative situations you thrust Pete into: the botched kidnapping, the... An attempt at portraying a potential clash between reality TV and old school sitcoms, “Peter Harrison: Reality Star?” manages to elicit nostalgia for the old school by following Pete Harrison, a recently ousted TV dad, on a campaign to redeem himself.
What I really liked about your script are the many creative situations you thrust Pete into: the botched kidnapping, the massage, Sara, the dogs, etc etc. These scenes burst with life and keep the script’s momentum moving. Additionally, I like many of your characters. The first, Pete, was drawn well and we managed as readers to effectively anchor onto him. I also enjoyed Ricky and Mitch’s characters. However my favorite by far was Sara, the psycho ex, and I believe you wrote her lines really well. I’m reminded of fun lines like, “Now where does he keep those knives” (91), and “Cause I’ll find you” (55). This last line makes me think of Isla Fisher’s character in “Wedding Crashers.”
These great aspects aside, I have some suggestions that may or may not prove useful to you:
“Go, Premise, Go Go!”: your premise and concept are great. I like the escalation of events and the eventual payoff going into the third act. I wonder, though, if it would work better to have Mitch and Pete’s reality TV deal your break into act two and get it done by about page 23 or so. As it stands right now, this occurs on 40, well into the second act. But what if Ricky and Pete tried to kidnap Mitch in the first act, and then we drive into the second act with the signing of this reality show deal. That way we hit the second act on time and the meat of the script and premise show up on time.
“Named Actors?”: I imagine someone else has written about this. Can you use generic dad actors instead of Bob and Alan? This is just something that popped into my head. In my opinion, I think the way you do it is just fine, but I’m not sure what others think.
“Fast Third”: I really liked how everything played out in the third act, but I felt we hit the FADE OUT really fast. The denouement is basically a page long and then we’re done. I’m not sure what I would add, personally, to the end; but I just had this strange “rushed” feeling when I finished the script. Just something to throw out there for you.
“So Many Characters!”: named, that is. We are introduced to a ton of characters in the first act. Can you introduce some of them in the second act in order to give us time to get to know the more important ones first? Also, another thought to keep in mind: if a person is unimportant and only has one line or so in the whole script, I would just slap a generic tag on them. Lessen confusion. I’m not accusing you of that, but the overall feeling I had in the first act was the mountainous amount of named characters that I struggled to keep up with.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this script. The one suggestion I would heartily endorse is the one about the premise and the act break. The other ones are less significant, but worth noting nonetheless. Thanks for sharing this entertaining script and good luck to you. read
by brrose on 06/24/2011It was a pleasure reading this script. Plenty of white space, few typos or formatting issues; pages kept turnin'. Not every joke resonated with me but I certainly found parts of it very funny. I see writing a comedy as an incredible challenge and this is a solid effort. I also appreciate that this script just goes for it when it comes to including so many public personas. Hey,... It was a pleasure reading this script. Plenty of white space, few typos or formatting issues; pages kept turnin'. Not every joke resonated with me but I certainly found parts of it very funny. I see writing a comedy as an incredible challenge and this is a solid effort. I also appreciate that this script just goes for it when it comes to including so many public personas. Hey, if you feel it- write it the way you want. The casting director won't be sending you flowers for this one, though.
pg 2 Continuous in the slug doesn't seem correct- there's a passage of time since the prior scene.
pg 4 I don't think kahoonas is the right word. I thought it was like cajones and that was confirmed by a cross ref. with online urban dictionary. Plenty of other funny names for boobs.
pg 5 Having the tv dads hanging out is just ridiculous...and funny. Of course, Bob "short fuse" Saget is the most colorful. funny line. "It will be if..."
By page 10 I understand his plight. He's a has been in an elite club of other has been tv dads. Does he move on with his life or cling to the past? Former isn't funny, cling to the past to regain former glory it is then.
pg 10 I first thought Ricky was in his show and when I saw he wasn't, I wondered why these guys hung out. A little background re: their relationship would help. I have to say the Ricky character was my least favorite in the script. He had little character development, no unique needs, his goals not clear. He seemed to be around for cheap gags but the gags would have been funnier if his actions were somehow ironic in relation to his character traits, wants, needs, etc. And his wants/ needs should be completely different than Pete's - as near as I could tell they were about identical.
pg 11 I did like the "I was worth million when I was your age. " line
p15 I don't think the parenths are needed with the flashback.
p20 farting after eating tacos didn't work for me. like the Alan Thicke- canadian bastard line.
p25-39 a couple important story beats are in here but def. not enough for 14 pages (About 15 % of your entire screenplay). Mitch is tied up in the basement, then after threats, finally agrees to help Pete. There are some decent jokes in there but they die on the vine if those moments aren't integral to pushing the story forward. I found this section too long and static. Since page 14 they've been at Mitch's house working on kidnapping Mitch (flashback with failed attempt obviously in there too) to make him help bring sitcoms back. I was starting to feel like the story was stuck in neutral. I DO like how Mitch didn't directly give Pete exactly what he wanted in the end however. He made him do a reality show which complicates Pete's quest to achieve his main goal to get his sitcom back.
p40 this feels like the midpoint when Pete has a show again (a false victory as this leads to more complications and obstacles). Seems like he is taking concrete steps to achieve his goal. A little early for this beat.
p49 Sara is out of the blue but she's funny. When a character isn't trying to be funny is exactly when they ARE funny.
p60 Not much subtlety with the Ricky cliche gay joke. Have to say that sounds like it would be annoying to watch. Think it would work better if it was dialed back a couple notches (no ONJ headband).
p62 football scene feels wedged in there. doesn't seem like it belongs. Didn't see any purpose except for the slapstick humor of balls bouncing off Pete's head. Montage formatting unusual- should describe what happens in the header, ie MONTAGE - PETE GETS DRILLED WITH FOOTBALLS.
p66 A great funny moment is set up when Pete discovers the editing and the gay stuff but I feel like this scene left a lot on the table. Just felt like this discovery moment should have been funnier.
p66-74 long stretch with Todd Franks, Steven, Pam, and Christine. I think this is a poor structural choice. This is too late to introduce all these characters and I didn't care about any of them (I know Todd was seen for a moment earlier, no lines, though before now) and I'm wondering why they are occupying such prime real estate in your script. If you want characters to have any impact at this point in the script we need to know more about them EARLY. This is where we should really see some heavy conflict/insurmountable obstacles with Pete, put him in a hole. Put what he wants most in jeopardy.
p77 Now he's taking control but it all feels too easy for him because the end of 2nd act beat was missed IMO.
p83 I like this when Mitch puts the squeeze on him - feel like this should have been 10 pages ago and should flesh this out more.
p86 I'm not a dog lover or animal lover in general but I didn't think killing the dog was funny. Much more downside there than upside.
p95 Pete and Mitch should fight- not the audience vs Mitch while Pete watches.
In summary, this is a quirky comedy with a solid concept. Many funny moments but I felt like gags took precedence over story and structure at times and ultimately lead to this script underachieving on it's potential. For what it's worth, I think there still would be a great story here if all the characters were fictional (no famous personas) and it would be something that would be much more marketable.
by mijorico on 06/24/2011I enjoyed the world and the characters you’ve created here. You’ve crafted a comedic screenplay with a very playful tone and several funny moments. I think with a few adjustments this could be even better. Throughout much of the second act, I felt Pete was being more reactive than proactive. He wasn’t driving the story so much as going along for the ride. I found that... I enjoyed the world and the characters you’ve created here. You’ve crafted a comedic screenplay with a very playful tone and several funny moments. I think with a few adjustments this could be even better.
Throughout much of the second act, I felt Pete was being more reactive than proactive. He wasn’t driving the story so much as going along for the ride. I found that disappointing, especially since he was such a driving force in act one. Yes, he has a tangible goal of wanting to reclaim his sitcom career. But, other than the reality show, he doesn’t have anything going on. This is why so many films feature a love interest. I thought that might be where you were going with the ex-wife, but obviously you chose to go in a different direction. I was initially confused by the Sara storyline, because we are led to believe that this is his ex-wife, though this Sara is apparently a stalker who just so happens to have the same name. I felt like we’ve seen that crazy stalker character too many times in other shows/movies (like last year’s stinker “Dinner for Schmucks”), so I would have liked to have seen you avoid that in this script. Aside from the one dinner scene, there really is very little purpose for her character.
The problem of Pete not being a very active character is compounded by Ricky also not being very active. Like Pete, we know that he is trying to reclaim his sitcom glory. But we don’t know much else about him. And he has very little to do, other than serve as Pete’s sidekick. Even when he’s suckered into Mitch’s scheme, it doesn’t result in much conflict between him and Pete. In act one, while they don’t have a plan, they are doing something. They kidnap Mitch because they think it’ll help them get their careers back on track. In act two, they’re just sort of riding out the reality show and hoping it’ll land them a sitcom. They’re not actively pursuing anything or anyone (which, again, is where I think a love interest could help).
There needs to be more conflict. Knock these characters down further before you allow them to pick themselves (and each other) back up. Maybe Pete and Ricky have a falling out. Maybe they blame each other for being where they’re at. Maybe cut back on Gene’s presence, so that there’s more direct interactions between Pete and Mitch. That could create more conflict, because each has their ideas about how to handle this show, as well as conflicting motives. And, finally, rather than having Jerry and Georgia come to Pete with their plan for how to turn things around, make it Pete’s idea. Force him to save himself.
I have one last story note, which I would like to preface by saying I’m about the furthest thing you can get from the PC police. But I felt the gay jokes were a bit too much. I’m not suggesting you cut that bit, but maybe pull it back a little. You don’t need Mitch saying “That sounds fucking gay.” He’s supposed to be an unsympathetic character, but the line’s not necessary. The audience gets the joke without it. There’s an episode of Seinfeld where a reporter thinks George and Jerry are gay. But I don’t recall them using the word gay all that much during the episode, which is partly what made it so funny. Everyone understands what’s going on without it having to be explained. The situation you set up and the subsequent reactions by characters in the later scenes would work better without calling attention to the joke.
I know it may seem like I didn’t enjoy the story, based on all of my notes. But I truly did enjoy it. It was an easy read, and you obviously have a good understanding of form and structure. Many of the jokes worked, which is always good for a comedy. And I liked that you sort of teased this as a standard kidnapping story, but chose to take it in another direction. You have a fun script here, which I think could be even better with a little more work. Good luck with it!
Some minor notes:
P.1 – “death nail” = death knell, “queue” = cue
The second scene feels longer than it needs to be. It would be funnier to cut from that meeting straight to a more definitive image that conveys the show’s been canceled. For example, cut directly from “You’re not canceled” to the set being demolished while Pete watches. It tells the audience everything they need to know visually, without the need for dialogue.
P. 15 – SADTURDS = funny!
P. 16 – Just to add another brief joke, what if Alex reads that dyslexia affects “28% of thespians” before correcting himself and saying 82%? It could be a small, but effective joke.
P. 20 – Ricky farting with every step while running = funny!
P. 28 – 30 – Should be formatted as a montage?
P. 72 – “ringing his hands” = wringing
P. 73 – “flies opens” = flies open
P. 85 – Audiences don’t like when you kill dogs. Maybe add a brief scene later where we see the dog pulling itself back up over the cliff.
P. 89 – “were done” = we’re done read
by larryecoleman on 06/23/2011It's wasn't hard for me to see that this script has tons of potential. I can tell that you've already rewritten some of it. It shows --even without my seeing it in its infant stage -- I can always tell when something has been polished up. Keep up the good work. The script has a good foundation and is pretty funny. For example.... EXT. BACK ENTRANCE OF THE BALLROOM - NIGHT... It's wasn't hard for me to see that this script has tons of potential. I can tell that you've already rewritten some of it. It shows --even without my seeing it in its infant stage -- I can always tell when something has been polished up. Keep up the good work.
The script has a good foundation and is pretty funny. For example....
EXT. BACK ENTRANCE OF THE BALLROOM - NIGHT
The car screeches to a halt. Pete and Ricky drag Pat Sajack out of the back. They set him down against the back door and run back to the car. Tires SQUEAL as the unconscious Pat Sajack falls over. (THAT'S FUNNY AS HELL.)
And this little piece of dialogue:
"Lord knows I don’t enjoy producing
a show where people terrorize
midgets, but we have to survive
until the trend turns."
Although it probably wasn't said for a punch line, it still comes across as some pretty funny stuff. Oh, yeah -- A Great Dane driving off a cliff -- funny shit!
Why not bring the same two officers who investigated the neighbor's complaint back in the end? That would render Mitch's complaint about being kidnapped laughable--especially in light of the fact that they've seen him partying with the kidnappers, not to mention seeing him in women's clothing.
You might want to tighten up the ending a bit. Instead of ending it dialogue about Ricky, what other hilarious scene could you come up with, with Mitch in jail? Just a thought.
I really enjoyed reading it and wish you both the best. read
by Bennett Rea on 06/22/2011Pete Harrison: Reality Star? is built on a great concept and has a lot of potential. With a good deal of structural work and some fresher material, it could be an unpretentious, funny script. THE GOOD: You open right into action that is important to the story. Perfect. There are definitely some moments that made me laugh aloud. There are very few grammatical/spelling errors... Pete Harrison: Reality Star? is built on a great concept and has a lot of potential. With a good deal of structural work and some fresher material, it could be an unpretentious, funny script.
You open right into action that is important to the story. Perfect.
There are definitely some moments that made me laugh aloud.
There are very few grammatical/spelling errors. Always a plus. (still a few though, so sweep it once more)
The characters of Mitch and Ricky are good secondaries.
WHAT NEEDS WORK:
Structure. Big-time. What would you say is the beginning of Act II? It feels like the deal struck between Mitch and Pete is that second plot point/end of Act I. That is on page 40, and in a 97-page script, you need to be starting Act II by page 30, at the latest. It felt as though it dragged in the first 40-some pages because of this. Act III seemed to come at page 76 as I was reading, but then I wasn't really sure as it went on because it felt like Act III didn't start until the finale began. I know it sounds minute and nitpicky, but it is actually extremely important to have flawless structure. Script readers love it. Actors love it. Agents love it. Etc.
There is a lack of urgency in Act II. Nothing is really driving the story forward - no conflict. In comedies, there have to be funny scenes, of course, and you can get away with scenes that don't necessarily push the plot forward if they're funny. However, an entire 40 pages in the middle of your script have to feel like they're going somewhere, and it only did at a few points.
There are a few jokes/references that seem dated. In general, much of this script needs to be updated. Alan Thicke and Bob Saget have both done reality shows, and why is it that Mitch Jeffcoat has ruined their lives, essentially? They shouldn't care that much - they've been done with their sitcom dad shows for over a decade. The kid saying "let me at him" sounds like the 50s. I can't tell if this is a total satire - if it was meant as such, I would make it more evident. I would update the script to make it more cutting edge - reality shows are certainly a big deal now, so commenting on their ubiquity, even from 2004, seems dated. A writer once said, "There is no reason to set a movie in the very recent past unless there is a damn good reason." Or something like that. The point is, setting a movie in 2004 will make it feel dated, because there is nothing vital to this story that necessitates it being back then. Freshen up the material by simply bringing the entire script into the present.
Make your action lines shorter. Choppier. To the point. Like this. Longer action sentences begin to lose the reader. And when you begin to lose the reader, they stop paying attention to potentially important actions in your script. The action actually SEEMS to be happening faster if it's in short fragments. Not all parts have to be like this, of course, but some should.
What story do you really want to tell? What is this about? These are questions to ask yourself as you're editing. The first 40 pages makes it feel like The Ref or some equally dark comedy. I liked it. Then, it got a bit more slapsticky and the murder/kidnapping thing was dropped. Then it became a series of unfortunate events for our buddy, Pete. Do you want to tell a story of kidnapping and potential murder, or do you want to tell the story of a sitcom star being forced into reality TV? You split your time in the script as is, and I think you'd be better off putting your efforts into just one. Personally, I like both ideas. I think you've come up with some fun stuff to play around with - you just have to find a focus on one of them.
5 SPECIFIC THINGS THAT WORKED:
Pg. 21 - "...raped and mangled by a Great Dane" made me laugh aloud. Funny line.
Pg. 28 - the visual of the beer hat on a kidnapped Englishman was quite nice. I could see it perfectly.
A nice ending that screwed over the bad guy and gave Pete his dream job back.
Some of the stuff with Sara was great. I wish she had been a more present character throughout - side-villain or something. A constant bother to him?
Mitch is a good antagonist - a liar, a sleezebag, but still slightly likable because of the whole drunken episode.
5 THINGS THAT DID NOT:
The videotape at the end. It's a deus ex machina. Make the reveal something that Mitch actually did earlier in the script. The whole time it was building up, I was wondering what on earth they had on him. You don't want to bring in something from completely out of nowhere that is never even hinted at in the previous 90 pages.
Pete doesn't fall hard enough. In comedies, the protagonist hits rock bottom (in most movies, too, I suppose). Loses almost everything. Pete doesn't even lose one good relationship. Make Rickey leave him. Make someone he loves leave him. Don't let him enter Act III unscathed.
Cut the Brokeback reference. I know it's set around that time period, but it's not long ago enough to be funny, but not recent enough to be timely.
The script has too many named characters. The kids from the beginning, Mitch's lover, Cliff - give them a descriptive name such as, "BUXOM BLONDE" or "SKINNY ASSISTANT." Readers and viewers can't keep track of that many names, so save them for the characters that really matter.
Pete is convinced far too quickly to kidnap. Only later do we find out he's tried it once, and even then, there's no building up of his desperation to lead to it. This relates back to choosing your story - is it a kidnapping story or the other kind?
Not a bad start. You have two fresh concepts to work with, and when you pick your favorite and put all your effort into it, you'll create a great story. I can't give too much more advice until you choose your story, except that it would help for you to read up on structure and story.
It also may be difficult to sell this because of the amount of cameos. At present, it feels sort of like an episode (or two) of Entourage, but with less bite. I like the Bog Saget bit, and while it's funny to have Pat Sajak get kidnapped, you're both good enough writers that you can rely on your own jokes and creations for laughs rather than pop culture pop-ups.
Write some fresh new material and jokes that weave into the rest of the story. If it's been done before, cut it. Get rid of comedic contrivances. Let your characters and semi-reasonable situations create the laughs. You've got some good stuff in here - you just have to cut some and expand on others. I always put a qualifier at the end of my reviews, as they sometimes seem harsh, but there's no point in mincing words - that's for characters to do, not writers. Bluntness is simply more expeditious, and that's the fastest way to get your script in tip-top shape.
Good luck! read
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