A former priest returns to the mysterious town he fled thirty years prior to help an old friend.
HOW IT RATES
After a boyhood accident with a rottweiler, Billy finds himself a eunuch. Now four years later he’s a depressed high school senior with confused ideas on his masculinity and it’s up to his buddy Ron to help him figure out what being a man is all about. WARNING: Please see production notes. A dark comedy with some crass humor.
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Reviews of What Happened To Billy's Balls? (V2) 12
by Chuckeline Norris on 01/03/2012Hi! I saw one of your wordy reviews an got curious. I was delighted with what I found. I love your characters, the interaction between Billy and his sister gives me a special pleasure, also Gramps twisted mind. The script is full of original ideas. It has some flat moments though, or some turns that are too easy. The scene with Ronald's Grandma for example. No, it's not shocking,... Hi!
I saw one of your wordy reviews an got curious. I was delighted with what I found. I love your characters, the interaction between Billy and his sister gives me a special pleasure, also Gramps twisted mind. The script is full of original ideas. It has some flat moments though, or some turns that are too easy.
The scene with Ronald's Grandma for example. No, it's not shocking, and that kind of humor I would see in a movie like Big Momma's House II, yours is to special for it.
The dispute between Billy and the three linemen lacks a real conflict. It could be sufficient they're mean plain and simple, or the conflict must be something of more importance. Then, it won't be that easy to get past them at the barn, which seems a little hurried towards the end.
Also the saving Veronica scene needs more impact, from my point of view. I think this time it's the way it's written that takes away some of the drama it has. If I know already that Veronica is in that Barn and not really comfy with Chris' actions, and Billy is outside dealing with the Linemen, I fear for her more although she's been an arse to Billy so far, and I really want him to get through to her in time to prevent another family member to get hurt. If she is already bridling, her supposed friends in the barn don't intervene cause she had it coming all the way and Chris is the cool dude you don't oppose, then Billy standing up to him is sensed even bigger in that moment.
Similar the fighting scene with Ronald. Too easy, too fast, not enough reason for a complete turnaround in attitude. Yes, he saved him the second time from an attempted suicide, and that little prick is not the slightest thankful, but that does not seem to be enough, I don't buy it. What about Ronald's dwarfism? (The little Oompa Loompa just had a major fail with the cheerleaders. Making him get over that so easy is too cliche and again, the story merits something bigger.) What about all the other things one friend can hurt another with?
Apart from that, I see your script in one line with Easy A (great dialogues, good setting) and Juno (awkward situation being dealt with blithely).
In any way, thanks for the good read, the next on my list is the suicide shift. read
by SoulTrain on 01/02/2012I only have two real problems with this script, and one of those is pretty insignificant. That one is the title. Since see in the first two pages what happens to Billy's balls, the title as a question seems to lack something. The other is the character motivation for Billy. His need, pushed by Ron, to get laid seems a bit soft. But while that might seem on the surface... I only have two real problems with this script, and one of those is pretty insignificant. That one is the title. Since see in the first two pages what happens to Billy's balls, the title as a question seems to lack something. The other is the character motivation for Billy. His need, pushed by Ron, to get laid seems a bit soft. But while that might seem on the surface to be a big problem, it really doesn't seem to be. This was a fun script to read, and actually made me laugh out loud on a few occasions, and it wasn't until I thought about it after that I felt the sift protagonist motivation come up.
The positives are plenty. The characters are pretty well drawn. The premise (especially the high school bullying) is basically believable. The humor is outstanding. And the dramatic twist develops out of the humor seamlessly. I love seeing a writer who pulls no punches, and this is a great example. There are no less than three scenes involving suicide (done tastefully in my opinion). There is the grandfather who is hell bent on eating his own useless leg (one of my favorite bits of the story). And of course there is the protagonist who is a teenager who lost his testicles. Lots to work with.
One more point: I am a big stickler for dialogue, and the dialogue in this script was natural, not overly expository. A big success where too many writers fail.
For me this was a great script, and very much worth the read. read
by Aitch on 12/21/2011Great opening, with story and characters that kept delivering. Love it. Beavis and Butthead, Napolean Dynamite, maybe even Garden State. I personally like WH2B'sBs better. I'm buying it all the way. And could be shot on incredibly low budget. If you've got the actors who can give it a ride, watch out, man! Do it!!! I laughed out loud several times and that's without... Great opening, with story and characters that kept delivering. Love it. Beavis and Butthead, Napolean Dynamite, maybe even Garden State. I personally like WH2B'sBs better. I'm buying it all the way. And could be shot on incredibly low budget. If you've got the actors who can give it a ride, watch out, man! Do it!!!
I laughed out loud several times and that's without actors contributing facial expressions, deliveries, etc. A comedy that actually made me laugh. Thank you! I really think you've got something here.
Please take any and all suggestions below with a grain of salt. I like comedy writing and have made a lot of specific suggestions for actual lines to use. Feel free to take them word for word and use them or take them word for word and delete them and flip off my Aitch icon at will. This is all IMHO. It's too clunky for me to repeat a hundred times. So please keep in mind, these are just some possibilities to consider.
p3 the Cowboys dude slapping the books out of Billy's hand. . . just too cliche to use. What if you had a teacher knock his books out of his hands, or a little freshman girl with braces. . . I think a teacher best.
The band nerds bullying him? Now that's more like it! Nice.
p4 Instead of having the high school only resemble a collection of trailers, what if you actually made it a collection of trailers. I think that's hilarious and in keeping with the tone you've already established. As an added bonus, if you or somebody actually shoots it, what an easy set that would be. Just find somebody willing to lend you a lot, and pull a bunch of trailers into it. As another bonus, it's recently come to light that Texas is sorely neglecting their education system, so it makes that point in one simple image.
Then later, the football field could be similarly low budget. People pull cars up, trucks, whatnot, sit on the roofs of the trailers, on the roofs of cars, truckbeds like at the drive-in. . . Maybe make it a night game with car headlights. Just a thought.
p4 As crazy as it sounds, the internet and eBay sound dated now. Could have Billy say something like, "eBay? Okay, Grandpa, good idea." Maybe that's what you meant by the action line saying simply, Silence. What about this? Have Billy pull up short. "Listen!" Ronald stops. Listens. "I don't hear anything." Billy walks on.
p6 'Ronald helps Billy out of the ditch, like this has happened many times before.' That could play fantasically on screen. Consider cutting the "You ok?" because it's no big deal, right? Maybe swap 'You okay' out with a continuation of the conversation of the chemistry test conver, as if nothing had even happened, interupted by "Was that my sister?" Even better might be, "Mom?" Runs out in the street. Ronald, "No, that was your sister."
p7 "What? I don't need to hear that?" How about, "Why am I the last to know?" or "Tell me about it-- HEY!" Just throwing some stuff out there, as I said above.
The walk home seems to take up too much screen time. Could you move the talk about prom $ to the basketball shooting?
p8 Augment the rebound. Could even go like this. Another miss, another rebound. CLUNK, rebound. CLUNK, rebound. CLUNK, rebound. And then Ronald kicks Billy in the shins on the one shot that goes in. "And one!" Funny image to me anyway. End of scene.
p9 Might make it a bit more clear that Dad is not fouled, stated outright, immediately before the dialogue, He's clearly not fouled. You've got it, but for readers who aren't familiar with basketball, this would remove all doubt.
p10 Consider deleting the "I'll put it away!" and just have a second "Thanks mom." Seems funnier.
p13 Dude, if you could find some way to have him get caught in the ceiling fan, to where he's swinging around with it, it could make a hilarious visual. Or maybe he tries to hang himself but throwing the cord up into the light fixture it gets caught in the fan, making him run around in circles to keep it from burning his wrist or something goofy like that. . . Ronald walks in and has no idea what Billy's doing running around in circles. If you do it this way, you might telegraph it. Have him look sad, tying a noose (no mistaking that). . . then the fouled up attempt leading to physical humor.
"get your berry-less twig off my face" keep that no matter what! Gold! If you take my suggestion above and have him running circles beneath the fixture, somehow this line has to still be used, if not here, somewhere else.
"We scared it off." Better without the "something fierce." (all just IMO)
I do think the announcement that Ronald is on a mission from God to get Billy his balls back obviously was made clear. Still, somehow. . . I can't nail it down, but it needs to have more oomph. Maybe it would have that in the delivery of the words by the actor. But I'm picturing something like Ronald climbing wildly to the top of a water tower and yelling it as louds as he can or something. . . to get the reader's fullest attention.
Hmmm. . . why not join the football team. Get laid as a fan? C'mon! [okay, I see the joining came later.]
Might be hard to find an actor willing to play the role of a ball-less dude. Make up for it by making him well hung. ??
p24 "One of these teeth chicklets [bit] me."
Title's fine as it is. . . but with some execs the title probably won't cut it, no pun intended. Some execs might immediately go Nope, and of course you don't want that. But maybe you don't want those execs anyway. At any rate, just in case. . . here are some suggestions that might sparks something. If you're open for suggestions, what about something like. "2B or Not 2B." Or "Asking the Question."
These aren't great titles but my point is that the title might work in conjunction with your use of title cards in the beginning. "Everybody knows but still they keep asking the question. . ." From there, just exactly like you've got it.
Other possible title suggestions-
What Happened to Billy [no question mark]
or a funny name for a town in Texas, like. . .
Cow Pie High [the real life nickname of my very own high school, as it actually had been a cow pasture before they built a high school there.]
typos and tiny stuff
p16 Ronald[']s face goes blank. . .
p18 They've got spirit[.] or did you mean the [?] Seems better as a [.]
p23 Rocky kicked the Russian[']s ass. or maybe even go without the "the." "Rocky kicked Russian ass. Could you kick Russian ass?"
p30 not so sure the kick to the deer's head is a good idea
p31 AT [A] FRONT DOOR
p33 [a] Rottweiler slams. . .
p35 a moment[']s debate
p35 Girls love that shit.
p38 Maybe you want to keep the rattlesnake story, but to me it works better more subtly. What if he just changes his story to, "Rattlesnake got tangled in the blades."
p40 AT THE LUNCH LINE probably should be a slugline.
p41 Once again it seems to me simpler is better. Suggestion: "But I've got gum, so I'm good." Makes the reader/viewer guess at what she means without the explanation.
Billy's swearing each time he kicks the ball is awesome.
p75 He listens to it. --> He holds his wristwatch up to his ear. Listens. [Somehow, with just "listens to it," I didn't picture him holding it up to his ear, just cocking his head and listening. At least until I thought about it for a second. And you don't want me thinking.
I love what's going on with Jeb, and I'm waiting to see if there's a final payoff.
p79 I still think a mean teacher would be funnier than the guy in the Dallas Cowboys jacket. A teacher with a crew cut and Dallas Cowboys. . . tie clip or something.
p80 "It's oxymoron, you inbred gorilla." I like it better without that line, myself.
p83 "Well isn't that special now." Don't need that line. Church Lady was great, but. . .
p83 "It wasn't even my fault. The offensive line was out to get me." Seems to me you should consider stopping right there. The further explanation detracts, imo.
p84 "But the line didn't block [for] me"
p86 Wow, what a mean sister. No mercy.
p88 Walks on down the hall! Hahahaha!
Holy shit, Jeb! Didn't see that coming at all. More on this below.
p92-3 What if instead of the conversation with the linemen, they physically block him from entering the barn. "Hey, look. We can block when we want to." Make a show of it. Have Billy turn ferocious maybe, crazed and he tears through their defenses. ??
p98 I didn't get what Gramps was talking about re: the list. I guess I missed something.
Okay, the payoff with Jeb's character. This to me is the biggest question mark of the script. It's absolutely crucial. From a tone standpoint it totally caught me off guard. Jeb lying in a bath of suicidal blood. Heavy. Very heavy. I thought for some time about whether it works or not. . . I think it does. It sends your screenplay into really big territory. It works. You might, however, go without all the blood which is so hard to take in this comic romp. Since Jeb was into cars, would you possibly consider having him gas himself in the garage? A white, lifeless face might be more easily stomached without losing the impact that is so important, so well timed and carried out.
WH2B'sBs is a great read. This may be the best script I've yet read on Triggerstreet, may just be straight 5s. The only thing that bothers me about this screenplay is the fact that it may wind up in a competition someday with one of my own. I hate losing!
by DontStealMyScript on 12/12/2011OVERVIEW First Impression - Length is good for this genre. Format looks good. Action blocks are not too long. Billy loses his balls to the neighborhood Rottweiler at age 13. Four years later, he and his friend Ronald set out to get them back, in the proverbial sense. While this script was well-written, the story falls short. The premise doesn't feel engaging enough for a... OVERVIEW
First Impression - Length is good for this genre. Format looks good. Action blocks are not too long.
Billy loses his balls to the neighborhood Rottweiler at age 13. Four years later, he and his friend Ronald set out to get them back, in the proverbial sense.
While this script was well-written, the story falls short. The premise doesn't feel engaging enough for a grown-up audience. This is the type of gag I'd expect to come out in some stand-up comics routine. But those jokes only last a few minutes and then the comic moves on to something else. Here, you ride the same joke for an hour and thirty minutes and it's clear by the end that it doesn't feel like a premise that can sustain an entire more. Because of this, your plot runs out of steam in a hurry.
I'd also recommend that you use more creative beats in your plot. For example, when Ronald tries to turn Billy into a man, he has him practice hitting on girls by trying to pick up his grandmother. The problem here is that it's too convenient for them so there's very little effort in terms of setup and not much of a payoff. What if instead you had Billy attend a speed dating event for seniors and he's have to fumble his way through several 5 minute dates with different types of elderly women. With this type approach, you get your characters out of their normal environment and have them make more of an effort to achieve their goal.
And the fact that the goal is shared by Ronald and Billy brings me to my next point. Your protagonist, Billy, is far too passive. He only goes along with the goal of trying to become more a man because Ronald insists on it. Problem is, audiences don't like passive heroes. So you could solve the problem by making Billy want to become a man more than anything else in the world. And have him fight like hell (overcome obstacles that you create organically) to obtain it. Make sure your main character is the most active person in your story to help keep us engaged and rooting for him to succeed.
You also fail to make Ronald and Billy's motivation clear. He's been ball-less for 4 years. Why do they pick this day to decide and turn him into a man? What makes them want what they want throughout your story? Showing us their motivation will help us connect with your characters more so that we understand why they pursue their goal.
G.U.S. (see article at: http://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/2011/08/article-gsu.html)
Goals - To become a man; to become popular.
Urgency - None.
Stakes - None.
My notes from the read are below:
1 - CHARACTERS
Protagonist - Billy: his goal is to get popular.
Motivation - never made clear. He doesn't even set out to get popular/manly until Ronald prods him into doing it. He's passive and we don't understand his motivations, so that's two strikes against this character.
Antagonist - none.
Billy - a high school senior who had his balls bitten off by a dog four years ago.
Ronald - short guy who is Billy's best friend.
Veronica - Billy's freshman sister who gets around a lot.
Jeb - Billy's 24 year old brother who's passive and doesn't talk much.
2 - STRUCTURE
a) Opening Sequence - Hook
Interesting opening scene. Reminds me of 'The Sand Lot'. We wince on that last action line and the cut to Billy four years later tells us tons about his character.
We learn a lot about your main characters in the first 10 pages. And we feel compelled to keep reading and find out what Billy's story is about.
c) Thematic Dialogue
d) Inciting Incident
Page 11 When Billy walks in on Claire in the bathroom and sees her naked.
e) Turn Point 1
Page 17 When Ronald decides to get Billy back his balls. The problem here is that you've set Billy up as your protagonist, but give Ronald the goal that drives your story. Also, the first turn should be something very significant that jolts your hero out of his world and into his story. Ronald pretending to hear a message from God that he should help Billy get his balls back is weak as a turning point.
f) Midpoint turn
g) Turn Point 2
Page 77 When Billy and Ronald get into a fight and go their separate ways.
When Billy goes to tell Veronica that Jeb is in the hospital and he finds her being raped by Chris. Billy stands up to him to protect his sister.
Claire is nice to Billy again. Ronald and Billy become friends again. Veronica and Billy drive home from school together.
3 - PLOT
Page 4 Why copy the Fresh Prince handshake? Be creative and come up with your own. It will help the reader trust you more as a storyteller.
Page 67 When Billy says computers are the way of the future, it makes me wonder what decade your story is set in? I thought it was the present but now I'm not so sure.
4 - WHAT WORKED
The scene where Ronald tricks Billy into moving in for a kiss and then slaps him for doing something unmanly. I got a real chuckle out of that one.
5 - WHAT DIDN'T WORK
Page 14 Not sure why, but the hanging scene feels rather forced - out of place. It doesn't generate any laughs and feels like something borrowed from the movie 'Better Off Dead'. Maybe it's because we haven't been shown that Billy hates his life. I mean sure we've seen him lose his balls and get mistreated by everyone, even the band nerds, but we haven't been shown that any of what he goes through has made him want to off himself. So it just feel like it comes out of no where. Maybe if you did a better job of setting this beat up, it would feel more organic to your story.
Page 26 So it has taken four years for Ronald to decide to help Billy find his balls. Why now? What has changed recently to make this story take place now? You need to do a better job of creating motivation for your characters.
Page 46 The scene where Gramps tells Billy that he wants to eat his own leg comes off as bizarre instead of funny. I'd rewrite that beat or consider leaving it out because it falls very flat.
Page 59 Billy asks Ronald 'Am I a man yet? Do I get balls?' This highlights a big problem with your premise. Billy would have to be living under a rock to not have an idea what it takes to 'be a man'. His relying on Ronald's advice completely feels too contrived because it requires Billy to come across as an idiot until your third act, where I suspect we'll see Billy finally coming into his own as a man so that you can end your story. Type type type go your fingers on the keyboard and it takes us out of the story because it feels unrealistic.
Page 62 Billy cuts the dog's testicles off and it makes him less likeable. Second, the scene where the testicles lie in the street and he stomps them to mush is gross. Why would you put something from the gutter in your project? You should strive to keep your humor more sophisticated and grown-up.
Page 72 The revelation that Claire thought Billy was a Unix freak feels forced. For instance, why didn't she ask Veronica a follow-up question when she was first given that info? If she had, which seems quite normal, she would have figured out that she meant eunuch.
Page 89 Billy sounds like he's directing his parents on how to do laundry when he tries to save Jeb. The scene needs to be WAY more frantic and disorderly.
6 - THEME
Stand up for yourself.
7 - DIALOGUE
Page 6 The discussion about priests and touchy touchy feels too on the nose. Can you find a more organic way to get that information across to your audience?
You've got some witty lines in this script.
Page 37 The conversation between Grandma and Billy is painful. And doesn't elicit the desired humor. I'd find a way to improve the exchange.
Page 56 Ronald's diatribe is too long and too on the nose.
Page 58 Would Billy actually use the words 'cum receiver' in front of his parents? Seems like a line that's too hard to believe.
8 - SETUPS / PAYOFFS
Jeb is good at fixing things. / He fixes Billy's station wagon.
Claire believes zombies are real. / No payoff and it seems too juvenile for a high schooler.
Jeb is a bizarre character who acts like a puppy who's been beat too much. / He tries to kill himself.
9 - TWISTS
10 - ORIGINALITY
a) Premise - It doesn't feel very creative. In fact, it feels like cheap toilet humor. I doesn't seem possible to write a good screenplay about a boy who's lost his testicles.
b) Set Pieces - none
c) Plot Devices - station wagon = coming of age.
11 - CINEMATIC SCENES
There wasn't a scene that stood out as visually stunning or memorable.
12 - DETAILED COMMENTS
- p. 47 I would not use double punctuation - feels like a comic book.
- p. 48 Avoid the use of copyrighted material (e.g. B.I.G. song). The licensing fees involved might give a producer a reason to pass on your script.
- p. 53 Some of the action blocks in your Montage feel too long. Keep them short and crisp.
13 - EASE OF READ
It was an easy read.
14 - LOG LINE
a) Actual: A eunuch in a small town Texas high school must figure out what it means to be a man.
What's his flaw that he has to overcome? What are the stakes?
b) Recommended: A self-doubting eunuch in a small town high school must figure out what it means to be a man, otherwise... (what are the stakes in your story?)
15 - TELEGRAPHS
Page 52 When Ronald is impressed at the way Billy kicks the beer bottle, it might indicate he's gonna end up as kicker on the football team.
Page 80 As the game is played, I get the feeling that later in the story Billy is going to kick a game-winning field goal and become an instant hero. All the people who've given him a hard time will cheer him and slap him on the back. He and Ronald will apologize to each other and become friends again. And Claire will want to get with him again. The End.
16 - PAGE COUNT
103, decent for a comedy.
17 - OVERALL
I believe that humor is one of the most difficult genres to write in. What viewers find funny can vary tremendously. And using low-brow gimmicks for laughs can easily back fire on the writer. You've got a decent enough start with this. I hope your rewrite brings you closer to your goal.
by Wisdom Davi on 12/05/2011Good opening scene, but drags a bit after that from pg 3 until the first suicide attempt pg 13. The tempo seems to get back on track after that. I am not sure I get your I/E slug lines, seems a bit lazy way of setting up scenes. Some of your description could use some clean up..example page 4 EXT. COUNTRY STREET -DAY ....This is obviously the country. The dialog is good,... Good opening scene, but drags a bit after that from pg 3 until the first suicide attempt pg 13.
The tempo seems to get back on track after that. I am not sure I get your I/E slug lines, seems a bit lazy way of setting up scenes.
Some of your description could use some clean up..example page 4 EXT. COUNTRY STREET -DAY ....This is obviously the country.
The dialog is good, funny and believable. What Isn't believable is the dog castration scene. Seems totally out of character for Billy.
Jeb suicide attempt -- nice unexpected turn. In summary, it's a easy, fast read, funny story and script.
by Jabe2 on 08/26/2011PREMISE This is a coming-of-age story about a misfit who loses his bollocks but gains the knowledge of what really makes a man. Ronald is Billy’s guide into manhood, and both men share this story. There’s also some great subplots which keep the story interesting. Gramps’ attempted cannibalism, Billy’s football career, and Billy’s feud with his sister Veronica all add up to... PREMISE
This is a coming-of-age story about a misfit who loses his bollocks but gains the knowledge of what really makes a man. Ronald is Billy’s guide into manhood, and both men share this story. There’s also some great subplots which keep the story interesting. Gramps’ attempted cannibalism, Billy’s football career, and Billy’s feud with his sister Veronica all add up to full and rich story.
The premise is fresh and engaging with a lot of heart, and is separated from other more crude coming-of-age American comedies by its pitch black humour and its realism. Billy and Ronald are a great pair of protagonists to take an audience on this journey. Billy is sweet, reclusive and downtrodden yet not quite defeated, whilst Ronald’s streetwise smarts make him the perfect character to usher Billy into his journey to manhood. The only problem here is that this dynamic is perhaps slightly overplayed, as Billy stays passive for too long and lets Ronald make most of his decisions for him until the Third Act.
Billy just wants to be a man, and there’s no shortage of hurdles separating him from that goal. His mean sister Veronica, his father, the bullying Jeremy and Chris, his lack of balls and of course, the dog who took them. Jeremy and Chris are introduced quite late on as antagonists which is part of the reason for the lull in pace of the First Act. However, every single story and subplot is explored well dramatically and closed down to our satisfaction. Veronica is won over by Billy saving her from Chris’s attempted rape, he wins his family’s respect for saving his brother Jeb from attempted suicide, and mends his broken bridges with Ronald and Claire (alluding to a possible love interest with her offscreen). The only subplot not satisfactorily closed down was Billy’s revenge against the dog that castrated him. After Ronald eggs him on to remove the dog’s testicles, Billy walks away from this incident consequence free. This leaves a morale question mark hanging over this unfinished subplot which risks draining our sympathy for both Billy and Ronald.
The characters, setting and goals are all introduced succinctly and organically in the first ten pages. After that, the first act slows in pace, due to the late introduction of any antagonists. Billy’s quest to find manhood seems quite implausibly established. Ronald has known Billy for most of his life – why pick now to enrol him in ‘manhood 101’? There are a lot of funny moments where Billy and Ronald are trying to get more manly, but there are too many of them, and the more cuttable scenes are not even referred to again (the deer shooting).
We see a different Billy emerge on page 61 when he cuts off the dog’s balls, and when he takes Claire to the ball. The real action is condensed into the third act when Ronald and Billy have their huge argument. After that the pace is lightening quick. Jeb’s suicide comes out of nowhere, Veronica’s attempted rape takes her from antagonist to victim, and Billy is taken from victim to hero in a few scenes. This all happens quite quickly, which does not leave the writer much time to shut down all the subplots and although the screenplay ends well, it does feel slightly rushed due to the imbalanced structure.
BILLY is a fantastic everykid/recluse character whose only flaw seems to be his passivity. He goes a very real transformation from boy to man in this screenplay.
RONALD - is a great sidekick character, and a very dramatic pairing for Billy, as he is confident, cool and everything his best friend is not.
VERONICA – She is a great antagonist feels slightly underused. More time spent trying to destroy her brother’s life would make her emotional 180 at the end hit with even more impact than it already does.
CLAIRE – Claire is sweet, slightly dumb and a little weird. Having her confused over what a ‘eunuch’ was adorable. She was a really original love interest, and I was genuinely disappointed that she and Billy never got together.
BILLY’S MOM AND DAD- Dad was the pushy macho parent who tried to live with his kids, Mom was the sweet and gentle maternal figure. These two were characterised so well it’s a shame they didn’t have names.
CHRIS AND JEREMY – These two antagonists felt underused, and also felt slightly stereotypical jock-jerks in places.
The dialogue was a huge strength of the piece. There was barely any exposition and every character had their own unique and colourful voice. You could always tell who was speaking and imagine them saying it. The dialogue is packed with jokes and laugh-out-loud lines which give this piece its heart.
STYLE/ ATMOSPHERE/ TONE
Sadly, the tone is where this screenplay falls down. The premise is so realistic and what makes the jokes so funny is the fact that they are credible and grounded in the everyday (Billy and Ronald practising kissing on one another before Ronald hits him and calls him a ‘gay bastard’. However, some of the subplots and material skirted too close to the absurd and clashed with the realistic tone of the rest of the screenplay. Gramps’ cannibalism never felt credible, and Billy’s attempts at suicide when something went wrong (as well as Ronald’s casual attitude when he caught him trying to take his own life) just never felt genuine. Suicide is a serious issue and trivialising it in this way just did not work.
The only areas for improvement are a better distribution of action throughout the three acts, a less passive Billy and a more consistent tone. A truly hilarious comedy with an engaging premise, fully explored subplots and great characters. Well written, and promisingly different from other comedies of its ilk. read
by CrabbyLady on 08/25/2011First and foremost: don't you dare lose or change Ronald! I will think ugly, mean thoughts about you if you do. Seriously, he is a wonderful character and very, very real. I enjoyed every moment of him in the SP, and as mentioned, I wouldn't change a thing about him. His relationship with Billy and how he wants to 'man him up' is wonderful, delightful and really fun to read... First and foremost: don't you dare lose or change Ronald! I will think ugly, mean thoughts about you if you do. Seriously, he is a wonderful character and very, very real. I enjoyed every moment of him in the SP, and as mentioned, I wouldn't change a thing about him. His relationship with Billy and how he wants to 'man him up' is wonderful, delightful and really fun to read. I also appreciated the fight they had, and how they "made up". It's what young boys do, and nothing needs to be edited in that sense.
You have a most unusual story and concept here, and frankly I wasn't sure if it was going to work or not. First of all because of the idea itself, and second I wasn't sure if you could pull it off without making the lead character a joke or ridiculous. Kudos to you that he's very real and natural himself, and I found myself rooting for him continually.
Having said all that, I think you still need to work a little with the family characters. Veronica is fine (and what happens to her is nicely done) but Jeb needs to be fleshed out a little. I loved that he helped his brother without realizing that he was (i.e. fixing the overhead light, 'pretending' to use the wrenches and fixing the car) but **SPOILER** his suicide attempt came out of the blue. That was your intent I'm sure and it did surprise me, but it was a little too out of the blue. I saw where you were going with Billy's Dad constantly comparing Jeb to Billy, and your SP pointing out how detached Jeb was from the family but let's see a little more where that bothers JEB more than it bothers Billy or anyone else. That whole family is caught up in their own little worlds, and Jeb's dilemma should bring them closer together.
Having a scene or scenes where Billy suddenly takes over in the hospital might have been a bit much and a bit contrived, but the way you have it now, his speech to the family didn't do it for me. Perhaps (and this is just a suggestion) have him really scream and yell at first, then quietly get through to his Dad and Mom that it can't work like this anymore. That is one mixed up family you have there, and it would take a bit more (in my opinion) than a simple speech to get everything working again. Also, you might want to play up a bit more just how much Billy looks up to Jeb, so that what happens really gets to him and he wants it all to end (the situation with his family, that is). I will say that I had a smile on my face when Jeb complains about "the note" and how long he took to write it, only to have no one notice it. I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help it.
Grandpa wanting to eat his leg came out of the blue as well, but I didn't find that too over the top; I mean, with the family you portray, why not? The ending about Grandpa's BBQ was quite cute by the way. Grandpa was in the SP just enough without over doing it, and provided more reason why Billy was just simply fed up.
As stated, I found that Billy was a good character and I believed his situation. The fact that the whole town/school knows what happened wasn't too hard to believe either; word travels fast and humiliation travels faster. I was waiting for him to be the world class kicker, and what you have instead is wonderful. It comes across (again) as very real and just another aspect of why Billy is fed up. Claire was a tiny stretch (and I do mean tiny) but her reaction to Billy and his 'condition' was quite good, and I loved how you had Billy be the one to approach her afterwards, to let her know it was okay. I liked how 'real' Claire was (albeit a bit dumb) and how the situation resolved itself; it wasn't too cut and dry but we leave feeling good about it. I have to admit that if Billy had his first time with a girl who didn't care it might have stretched credibility. A bit cliched, you know what I mean?
As far as formatting goes, I am by no means an expert, but I think you can do without the exclamation points you have at the beginning (i.e., Page 2: "his shorts get caught!" and "bites Billy's taint"!) On that note, will many readers know what a "taint" is? I did...but just a thought. As far as the formatting, we "get" what's going on, so I don't believe the exclamation points are necessary.
I was expecting to start reading your work, and perhaps finishing it in a day or two. I found I plowed right through this in about an hour. It flowed smoothly, went from scene to scene without difficulty, it was easy to follow, and I found myself wanting to find out what happened.
Aside from tightening up the family relationships a bit, I really have nothing much else to critique. Ronald is just absolutely wonderful and Billy is most convincing. I hope you continue on with this, and the best of luck! read
by jtho on 08/24/2011I want to say, first of all, that everything (you) need to make a good script is there. You have a great premise, you have a solid handle on writing natural dialog, and at the end, I did feel that (positive) transformation had taken place in you hero. I was even a little proud of him. I guess that the main problem I had with the script, was that it seemed a little uncertain... I want to say, first of all, that everything (you) need to make a good script is there. You have a great premise, you have a solid handle on writing natural dialog, and at the end, I did feel that (positive) transformation had taken place in you hero. I was even a little proud of him.
I guess that the main problem I had with the script, was that it seemed a little uncertain in its tone. The opening is a little graphic, but, when the opening credits rolled, I thought that there were two ways that the script could go. One: gross-out comedy about a guy with no balls. OR Two: A more thoughtful, indie comedy about a guy with no balls. And the rest of the script seemed to be pulling in both directions at the same time. The constant suicide attempts, for example, lend themselves to a more thoughtful piece, but Ronald's instructions on how to "get some" seem to run quickly in the direction (that of a teen-comedy). I don't have any strong preference one way or the other, but I don't feel like writer did either.
It seems to me that overt one dimensionality of the parents lent itself to a satirical look at how oblivious/useless parents can be. Sort of in a John Waters mode, with the father far more interested in his older son's past victories than the son himself. Making the parents that oblivious struck me as a very indie choice. However, if that was a conscious choice, then I disagree with the extension of that one dimensionality to the some of the secondary characters (the brother, specifically).
Around where the first act break should be, he (the brother) says something to the effect of: "I wish I could dance." This, of course leads to his problems at the end, but I didn't feel that his desire (existential anguish) was built up in any meaningful way. In fact, the line I mentioned above seemed almost like a non sequitur. Maybe you could show posters of Baryshnikov hanging in his room, something to demonstrate his latent (suppressed) desires. He seems vaguely dissatisfied with life throughout the script, but when that finally bears fruit, it's too shocking, there's no build-up).
There is a scene where the hero asks his brother for help, and that might be the ideal time for the brother to caution him against taking bad advice, investing too much in the idea of being "a real man", or maybe something more profound. There have to be dozens of relevant nuggets in Zarathustra (which the brother is seen reading, I think).
Finally, I feel that there is a problem with the hero's motivation. He seems to follow Ronald's bad advice at every turn in the pursuit of getting laid, a plot line that lends itself less to thoughtful examination and more to teen comedy (as does the grandfather wanting to eat his own leg, which I don't think was resolved satisfactorily. (I'm laughing as I write this.) How could he just let that go down? They arrange a barbecue. He does nothing.). But the hero, at least until the first scene in the barn, expresses no real interest in (or at least a reluctance to) getting laid. Maybe you could solve this by having getting laid be his (the hero's) idea, and Ronald just steers him in the right (or wrong) direction.
The upshot is that I think you have the talent to make a really good/funny movie out of the premise, if you pick one path or the other. You choose getting laid as the HERO's objective OR you make it more thoughtful and make the sibling relationships (and the sibling characters) a little deeper, expanding the brother's character, showing a more pronounced perspective shift on the sister's part, etc. This premise has the possibility of being a really funny gross-out type comedy, OR a more thoughtful indie comedy. But I feel that it suffers from the failure to pick one or the other.
The takeaway should be that you have talent, but I think you've failed to make a solid choice in tone, and the script is underdeveloped in the areas where that decision is absolutely necessary. Don't give up. You've got a lot to work with here. Good luck. read
by sedawson4 on 08/11/2011OK, the title combined with the dog pictures made me laugh out loud from the beginning. I enjoyed this screenplay-- like your other one, it's well-written with short dialogue/descriptions that make it easy to read. Everyone had distinct personalities: Ronald was hilarious and cool. Billy's Mom was a friendly airhead. The Grandpa would definitely be a scene stealer if this was... OK, the title combined with the dog pictures made me laugh out loud from the beginning. I enjoyed this screenplay-- like your other one, it's well-written with short dialogue/descriptions that make it easy to read. Everyone had distinct personalities: Ronald was hilarious and cool. Billy's Mom was a friendly airhead. The Grandpa would definitely be a scene stealer if this was made. It might be nice to develop Jeb more... kind of felt like he was the resident fix-it man the entire film. Maybe drop subtle hints that he wants to be a dancer throughout the story? Although I still felt for Jeb in the end and found the dancer revelation to be funny.
Thing I liked:
Pg. 2: "Billy sings an angelic high-pitch note and holds it perfectly." --Can totally imagine how funny this scene would be.
Pg. 13 "...berry-less twig" --haha
Pg. 18: "Your soldier fires blanks, but can he stand at attention?" --never gets old
Pg. 25: The comic book scene cracked me up.
Pg. 29: "Billy sneaks Elmer Fudd style" --great visual
Pg. 47: "No, a large flat surface." "So we can haul lumber?" --LOL
Pg. 53: Billy loading the trunk with wood slats...lmao
The 70's: Ronald's interactions at the party were funny.
Pg. 72: "Eunuch, that's the computer thing." "Oh my god, that's Unix you moron." --great
Pg. 88: Jeb suicide attempt SHOCKER!!!
Pg. 93. Touching how Billy saved Veronica, honestly didn't see this coming.
One of your other reviewers said she was unclear what Billy's goal was... I agree that maybe there should be a larger focus to propel the movie forward. Getting Claire/getting laid comes to mind (a-la Superbad). Also I thought Ronald's constant "Manhood 123..." spiel was funny, but maybe there could be more order to the numbers? Although I get that the point is there are a million "man" rules, so he was just spewing off numbers, but I feel that there could maybe be a little more rhyme and reason. Anyway, this is a funny screenplay and I enjoy reading your work. And I know I mentioned this about your other script I reviewed, but just a thought: there is more commercial potential with this idea if you switch up a few things, like making it less macabre. I don't know if you're into Judd Apatow, but just imagine what he'd do with a concept like this: two high school geeks in a movie called "WHAT HAPPENED TO BILLY'S BALLS?" I'm laughing already! read
by Watchie on 08/09/2011Okay, I like weird. A lot. And this one had it in spades. The characters, the dialogue, the sub-plots, it's there, everywhere. But the premise, well, it just - at least for me - took a fairly well written screenplay over the top. First my likes (at least the highlights). Grandpa and his story have to be number one. Great stuff. If I could suggest anything to improve... Okay, I like weird. A lot. And this one had it in spades. The characters, the dialogue, the sub-plots, it's there, everywhere. But the premise, well, it just - at least for me - took a fairly well written screenplay over the top.
First my likes (at least the highlights). Grandpa and his story have to be number one. Great stuff. If I could suggest anything to improve that story-line it would be to build a richer, more complimentary character in Grandma. Second, I enjoyed a lot of the by-play between Billy and most everyone he interacted with. Good stuff. Jeb, too, was well done.
Dislikes, well, there are a few. Veronica is his sister, and she of all people should know what he has suffered. For her to be at any time as mean to him as you have her, well, for me that crosses any line delineating a reasonable suspension of disbelief. Same for a lot of the other peers who bully Billy. More about this in a moment.
His dad is a bit over the top, too. There is little or no draw to his character (unflawed as opposed to Billy's mom), when he, too, pushes his disabled son around under the circumstances of his disability.
And finally, Billy's impairment. This hit a bit close to home, as there is a child being raised by friends who lost his genitals as a baby (violently, by the hand of his drug-crazed mother). I just couldn't get into Billy as a person to be bullied by anyone, nor would I hope that could or would ever be the case for any young man forced to go through life in such a way. The castration of the dog only made that worse for me.
All this said, I do like the story (bullied protagonist), and how you bring it to resolution. I just think you need to find another way to create the lack of his balls, rather than his actually not having any.
- Writer: Alexander Walsh
- Uploaded by: ProfRedSweater
- Length: 102 pages
- Genre: comedy
- Thanks greatly to all those who gave reviews on the earlier draft. This new version is directly off of those notes and although there are significant tweaks that address the points raised, the basic structure is the same. Therefore, if you read it before and feel like taking a pass on this one, no problem.
For new readers, WARNING: This is a dark comedy with crass humor. If that's not your thing you may want to pass on this script, although I welcome all feedback.
NEW NOTE: I believe people struggle with the tone of this script, so I thought I might attempt to clarify my goal. One theme of the story is perceived gender roles, and I use the teenage sex comedy genre as a setup for this. Those films are all about how a man is a man when he has sex, so I play off of that for the first half of the script and give some nods to that genre. However, everything goes wrong for Billy by following this way, and from there it changes to a more indie comedy that explores what it really means to be a man. That's my goal, I fear I'm failing a bit, and any notes you might have to help with that would be greatly appreciated!
- Bio: I'm a working director/cinematographer/writer operating in the low-budget scene of Seattle, WA. I've been writing scripts since 2003, and whereas I used to be focused on excluding camera movement, passive description, and the likes, I now realize that you should do whatever fits your story best. Give me a unique story, and I'm a happy reader. My chosen genre is horror these days. Additionally I'm trying my hand at writing novels and short stories. Should be fun.
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