A novelist and a burglar work together on a dangerously true and homicidal new novel.
HOW IT RATES
After being double crossed by his team in a bank robbery attempt.A man will seek revenge on his former partners after he gets out of prison
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Reviews of The Big Payback 12
by bradthebloke on 12/20/2012grammar errors everywhere. go through them with a fine tooth comb. character actions are unbelievable. why wouldnt jeff or Tiffany just call Carter to get rid of Mike? why would they help Mike? why do neither of them remember Mike when its been only five years? why would the fbi agent gather a whole task force on a whim just because Mike says so? why would Mike turn... grammar errors everywhere. go through them with a fine tooth comb. character actions are unbelievable. why wouldnt jeff or Tiffany just call Carter to get rid of Mike? why would they help Mike? why do neither of them remember Mike when its been only five years? why would the fbi agent gather a whole task force on a whim just because Mike says so? why would Mike turn his back to Tiffany at her house just so she could blind side him? how does a little girl named Stacy even know what getting laid means? why wouldnt Carter, Tiffany, Jeff all lay low rather than take careers for themselves risking being pit in the spotlight? the license plate and judge's name need to be changed. Too sophmoric. Why would Dave let a blind Mia drive? Furthermore, you used that gag up with Mike earlier in the film. Also, if Mike did his five years, wouldnt Dave be getting out at the same time? Furthermore, Mike keeps telling everyone that he did five years and makes it sound like it was some hard time, but when you look at the monatage of Mike earlier in the movie in prison, he seems to be having the time of his life. In fact, he doesnt even want to leave at first when they first tell him he's free. Work on these situations, make them more realistic and you jsut might have something here. good luck. read
by mattyrm on 01/04/2012I'll start with the obvious. Spelling and Grammar. I gather this isn't the first review so I will assume you've heard this already. But while I'm here, may as well give you my two cents. There are plenty of posts, articles, reviews that talk about Spelling and Grammar. Most of them say the same thing: Too many typos and bad grammar in the opening few pages and the reader... I'll start with the obvious. Spelling and Grammar.
I gather this isn't the first review so I will assume you've heard this already.
But while I'm here, may as well give you my two cents.
There are plenty of posts, articles, reviews that talk about Spelling and Grammar.
Most of them say the same thing:
Too many typos and bad grammar in the opening few pages and the reader will simply stop reading and hit reject.
TS is for newbies like us. Our scripts are not going to be perfect. That's a given. My first draft was littered or sprinkled with typos, spelling mistakes and bad grammar.
That is why there is a tolerance for typos and grammar when we review work on TS.
However, that tolerance level is purely subjective for each reviewer.
Some will hit reject if there are more than a few typos in the opening 10 pages. Others will forge ahead.
The point should be obvious though.
Even though we are newbies, we must still do our best to minimise the Spelling and Grammar mistakes in our scripts.
Otherwise, our work just will not get past first base.
First job on the rewrite - Apply Spell Checker and turn on Grammar Checker.
There was a tonne of enthusiasm in the script. And I can appreciate that you probably want other feedback other than Spelling and Grammar.
But here's the problem.
It's very hard to dig into Story Structure and Character Development when there are so many distractions.
That said, I will give it a go.
Dig up the Scripts on The Fugitive and Shawshank Redemption.
I get the gist of the court case from your writing. However, that doesn't mean it cannot be dramatically improved.
Both of the above films had brief court room scenes at the beginning of the film that exposed the protagonist's plight and laid out the story for the audience. Both did it before the Break into Two. Learn from the pros. You will get some ideas.
Mike is likeable because you give him a sense of humour. But too much of this and your hero can come off smelling like a smart ass. All in moderation.
Have you read the Count of Monte Cristo? Or seen any of the film versions. Again, recommend this to get some idea about how some of the classics have dealt with this type of story. Not saying copy it. I'm saying - get inspiration.
Mike lets Jeff off the hook too easy (p73). Not sure if the audience will buy that. Same page you make reference in dialogue, "Get Carter". That film already exists. You may want to rewrite that!
Mike cleans up at the Casino with no explaination. You have to put more meat, more background into your scenes.
The rest of the review are my running notes from the first 15 pages.
START RUNNING NOTES
- Space after full stops and in Scene Headings.
- Action is confusing. Focus on the simple things first. Black SUV. No need to mention the passengers as we cannot see them at this stage.
Scripts should only describe what the audience can see.
- "SUV is giving the cops trouble"; how is it giving them trouble?
- DISPATCHER; have you got the dialogue right? Is this the wording used by a LAPD Dispatcher?
- "He talks over his walkie talkie"; all sentences finish in a full stop. This is a common mistake in your opening 15 pages.
- "has a sign"; breathes a sigh?
- INT. SUV; this is the first point where we find out the identities of SUV passengers. Are they robbers? Are they avoiding police for other reasons?
No need to spell it all out. Let the audience figure it out.
- All passengers are introduced in the opening description on p2. Too much.
- Again, space between punctuation!
- "sleazy yet effect guy for the job"; grammar - effective guy. But what job?
- Do not use ALL CAPS in dialogue.
- CARTER. Head over to Arlington Heights there is an old abandon warehouse where this is a getaway car. There are typos in that dialogue. But more
importantly. There is too much dialogue. Replace all of that with a simple: CARTER. I know where to go.
- Abandon - Abandoned. But is there really a need to mention abandoned. Use description to show the audience/reader that the warehouse is abandoned.
- "red sedan"; throw in more description. A red Honda Civic 75?
- "both of them secure the bags full of money"; replace with something like: JEFF, 31, pulls open a bag with both hands. Digs inside. Pulls
out a fist full of cash.
- Tiffany facial expression says it all; Tiffany's facial expression. We can't see her facial expression so we can't see it all.
- p3 TIFFANY (Unenthusiastic); uses parenthesis sparingly. The dialogue implies her mood.
- "hoping she cheers up"; you got the action right. Well done. A simple pat on the shoulder is all that's needed. No need to add the extra words.
- p4 Carter and Jeff walks past; walk past.
- JEFF (Excited); again, we gather he is excited from the dialogue. Use () sparingly.
- "arms crossedd"; spelling. But this is the 3rd time you described Tiffany with arms crossed. Is Tiffany seven? Give your actors some variety in expression.
- p5 "it what's best for us"; it's what's best. But why? A little something interesting here about why they skulled poor Mike would've helped. Was
it purely about more money?
- BREAK IN NOTES. Some of the mistakes are starting to repeat themselves. In some cases a fair bit. I trust you will take the first instances and
reapply in your rewrite.
- p7 "DICK SWALLOWS" is a funny name but I'm caught off guard. Is this a comedy where you expect such names?
- "Mick snickers". That's it. That's all you need. The remaining part of the sentence should be cut: "under his breath as he finds the judge's name funny"
- "judge gets organised with the trial"; how does he get organised.
- p8 SERIES OF SHOTS; I get the gist of the court case from your writing. However, that doesn't mean it cannot be dramatically improved.
I would recommend reading a copy of The Fugitive or Shawshank Redemption. Both of these films had brief court room scenes at the beginning of the film
that exposed the protagonists plight and laid out the story for the audience. Both did it before the Break into Two. Learn from the pros.
- p9 You've got a whole page dedicated to Mike giving us a blurb about the system. Too general. What system? Something more precise to grab the
audience. A rant about the system makes Mike seem a bit simple.
- p10 What has the Judge done so wrong? If you are going to write the protagonist giving it to authority, you should try and show the authority
in a negative light. The judge in this case is simply doing his job. That can put audience members off your hero.
- p12 Dangerous Dave. You are obviously creative with your names. So get creative with this one. Dangerous Dave is a little obvious. Sure you can come up
with something better.
- p15 It's a long scene with Mike and Dave. Should be cut down to no more than 2 pages. Again, give your audience/reader some credit. Ain't too proud
to beg is a classic. Readers will pick this up. No need to explain.
- "does anyone have a violin"; you keep catching me off guard. This is out there. It's funny but, like the judge's name, the funny is too spread out.
END RUNNING NOTES. read
by nheis1002 on 12/20/2011It's often difficult to move between two separate genre (in this case, Crime and Comedy), while still doing justice to both. In this case, it seems as though Mr. Borne's screenplay tries to pay homage to action movies depicting wealth and revenge, while trying to remain subversive and funny. His character's exist as almost caricatures of themselves in a way that makes me question... It's often difficult to move between two separate genre (in this case, Crime and Comedy), while still doing justice to both. In this case, it seems as though Mr. Borne's screenplay tries to pay homage to action movies depicting wealth and revenge, while trying to remain subversive and funny. His character's exist as almost caricatures of themselves in a way that makes me question the intentions of the screenplay. Is it a parody, or an action-comedy? For instance, the characters can come off as unbelievable. For example, the interaction between Stacy and Mike makes little sense, as does that between Mike and the innkeeper. The character development needs to be much more subtle in further rewrites. For example, when Mike enters Tiffany's house, she immediately moves from shocked to willing to help him out.That being said, this screenplay needs to be edited for grammar and spelling. There were several errors, and at one point, Brian's character is referred to as Brain for a full page. In future rewrites, Mr. Borne should pay attention to the old saying "show me, don't tell me," and developing his characters/storylines in much more subtle, believable ways. read
by brookline on 09/22/2011My name is Frances Beckham. I volunteered to read and critique your script THE BIG PAYBACK. Following is the critique. Please read it carefully. When you finish please send me your feedback on the review. I like to here from writers telling me their thoughts on my work. The first 10 pages of the script serves three purposes. (1) hook the reader (2) introduce the protagonist... My name is Frances Beckham. I volunteered to read and critique your script THE BIG PAYBACK. Following is the critique. Please read it carefully. When you finish please send me your feedback on the review. I like to here from writers telling me their thoughts on my work.
The first 10 pages of the script serves three purposes.
(1) hook the reader
(2) introduce the protagonist
(3) introduce the plot
Following is a list of questions that should be answered by the first 10 questions.
1. Has the stage and environment been clearly set?
Yes. The reader gets the impression the story is in a modern urban setting, Los Angeles CA.
2. Does the script open with a gripping event?
Yes. A group of robbers who have just pulled off a heist are being chased by the police.
3. Does the script answer: Why is today different than any other day for the main character?
Yes. The robbers are getting away with a big multi million dollar heist, but they turn on Mike, leaving him behind to take the wrap.
4. Is the story in progress?
5. Is there an event about to occur or that just occurred provocative enough for the reader to ask: What’s going to happen next?
Yes. Mike is sentence to serve time in prison, but the others are off scott free.
6. Is it clear who the protagonist is and what his or her needs or desires are?
Yes. Mike is the protagonist. He needs to get revenge on his robber buddies (I guess they cannot be called buddies.)
7. Has what is at stake for the protagonist been set up?
Yes. What is at stake for Mike is having to be locked up in jail and carry the whole responsibility for the robbery.
8. Has the antagonist and major conflict been presented or foreshadowed?
Yes. The antagonist would be Carter. The reader would expect an eventual confrontation between Mike and him.
9. Is the genre clear and consistent?
Yes. The reader can clearly see the script is a Comedy. The comedy is seen through out the script. In every scene.
The story got off at a good start, and the opening action and dialog was well placed and well timed. The introduction did hook me, and I am interested in reading more. I want to find out how will Mike pay back the others.
1. Does the script have a unique plot twist.?
Yes. As the story goes Mike is left behind by his robber buddies to take the rap for a big bank heist. After 5 years of prison Mike goes to get his revenge. The movies of this type are usually very serious and grim, but the comedy in the script made the story unique. The story took twists and turns that were completely unexpected in these type of stories.
2. Is the story compelling and a page turner?
Yes. The pace was rapid and well timed. The script was easy to read and flowed clearly. There are a number of typos that need to be corrected, but the story was so interesting I was able to over look them.
3.Are the stakes clear?
Well, let’s see. What is at stake for Mike, Jeff, Tiffany, and Carter? They are all intertwined together because the robbery is the cause of their successes and failures. For Mike he did not benefit from the robbery. He wants revenge. So what can be said to be at stake for him is closure and a peace of mind. Also he could be sent back to prison. For Jeff and Tiffany, they both did well after the robbery. They have their own businesses and happy families. Their families do not know about the bank robbery. So their reputations and possible freedom and life can be at stake for them. For Carter. He became wealthy, and got involved in organized crime and control over the LAPD. So what is at stake for him is losing his empire.
4. Is the dramatic clock ticking?
Well, yes, but it is not intense because of the comedy. The comedy creates a relaxed sense about the story. The comedy enhances the story. It strengthens the hook and the development.
5. Is the subtext clear?
Yes. Subtext = dialog.
The dialog was very well done. It was so easy to read and understand. The way the comedy and seriousness was expressed in the dialog. The dialog in this script was very refreshing after reading so many scripts.
7. Are there unexpected occurrences and conflicts that the protagonist must overcome?
Yes. This was well done too.
8. Is there over-explaining in the script?
No. Everything happened and was revealed in a timely manner.
9. Does the story build to a climax?
The story is well developed. I can tell a lot of work was done on it. There are some areas where some extra work can be done. For instance, why does Jeff and Tiffany have to help Mike? They could just kill him. Now don’t mistake me for being insensitive for saying this. But Mike is black and has been in jail. Tiffany and Jeff are white and have built up their lives. They got their share of the money with no strings attached no involvement with Carter. In fact they and Carter are on good terms. When Mike comes around, all they have to do is contact Carter. Carter could get rid of him in an instant, and all would be well.
Another thing to consider is the racial aspect. Unfortunately, in American society Mike just does not matter. He’s not a real person and his life has no value. That is common knowledge around the world. That is just how black Americans are treated. So why should Jeff and Tiffany care about Mike. They went along with Carter in the first place. So you need to put something at stake for Jeff and Tiffany. They need some personal reason that is very strong and very compelling to help Mike. The reason could be that over the years Carter has been blackmailing them, forcing them to pay him money. He threats to do harm to their families if they refuse to pay him. So they pay, but their families do not know. Mike, Tiffany, and Jeff have all been wronged by Carter. So they join together to contact the FBI.
The way Mike first met Carter was a bit too coincidental. I suggest thinking of another way. Instead perhaps let Mike go to Carter’s house. Carter has the police to take him away. Then while he’s in the police car Jeff sees him when the car goes by. That’s when Jeff goes at the car and rescue Mike. Then Mike comes up with the idea to work with the FBI.
Instead of meeting the FBI in a car, let Mike, Tiffany, and Jeff go to the FBI office. Use the same dialog Mike has with the FBI agent when the agent is in the car.
1. Are all of the characters unique?
Yes. The dialog did very well in showing their uniqueness. They each had their own voice and their personalities were expressed in their dialog.
2. What is the main character’s goal in the story?
Mike’s goal is to get revenge on Carter. Jeff and Tiffany really do not have goals. They are just living off the fruits of their crime. They need a goal or reason to help Mike, not just out of the goodness of their hearts. That is way I suggest letting Carter blackmail the two and have them paying him money to pay the Russians for the help the Russians gave with money laundering. Money laundering would have been involved. I learned that when a substantial amount of money is stolen from the bank, the serial numbers of the stolen money is put on a radar to track where it is being spent. So to avoid being tracked down the robbers pay crooks who are usually in the banking or casino industry to help them ‘clean’ the money by (1) exchanging the stolen money (dirty money) the money whose serial numbers are on radar with clean money. An interest rate or fee is charged per dollar (2) The stolen money just sits in hidden storage for 5 to 6 years ( this is how long the stolen money serial numbers is kept on radar) this is money laundry. This info can help in creating stakes of Jeff and Tiffany.
3. Are the characters journeys clear and compelling?
13. Is there a strong antagonist?
Yes, but you need to make Carter stronger. There needs to be some sort of action, something current as part of the main characters’ current life. Like collecting blackmail money. Also to put more pressure on Jeff and Tiffany, let Carter increase the blackmail money they must pay. This puts stress on them, their business, and the relationship with their families. Carter even threatens their lives if they do not pay.
I really enjoyed reading the script. It was well written and interesting. It just needs some extra work in giving a reason for Jeff and Tiffany to help Mike. You need to raise the stakes on them. The formatting is correct. There was quite a lot of typos. I advise doing another rewrite. After you get the content just the way you want it, then correct your typos. Read carefully. They can slip by.
Please send me feedback on my critique. Feedback helps me give better reviews. Leave a comment on my member page.
by Watchie on 08/29/2011Well, where to begin? First, it is never, ever, a good idea to post a first draft, which clearly this one must be. If it is not, then my assessment is necessarily even lower. Aside from the numerous typos, format issues, and just bad grammar (too bad to have been intentional), the story simply falls apart (what little that there was holding it together) at its climax when... Well, where to begin? First, it is never, ever, a good idea to post a first draft, which clearly this one must be. If it is not, then my assessment is necessarily even lower. Aside from the numerous typos, format issues, and just bad grammar (too bad to have been intentional), the story simply falls apart (what little that there was holding it together) at its climax when our "hero" at first intending to seek his revenge instead engages in a fire fight to save the life of the person he ultimately wants to see die. And to have his cohorts in a superhuman fashion similarly engage in the same firefight begs even the wildest suspension of disbelief.
As I read this screenplay I tried to see it as a comedy. No luck. What was arguably presented as humor simply was not funny (kind of a critical element of good comedic writing). And as a crime story it wasn't much better. Why, for instance, was Mike left behind in the beginning? Why did Jeff come save the day when MIke was being held by the dirty cops? And why were both Tiffany and Jeff willing to help out Mike when his demise was to their best interests? It all just didn't work for me, as a comedy or a crime drama.
There was one character I did like, and like a lot - Stacy. Her part was fun, particularly her bargaining for a "Benjamin." More of this kind of humor would have done a lot for the overall story. Mia the blind driver, well, absurd yes but funny no.
There may be something here, but as it is this screenplay needs a lot of work. And an editor.
Sorry I don't have more positive comments to share, but it is what it is.
by Gammon on 08/27/2011I'm still not sure, having finished this script, whether the writer has uploaded something so bad as a joke on reviewers or whether the writer thinks this is a good script. Why do I think this might be a joke on reviewers? Writing like this: "Mike smiles as he walks through the barb wired fence seconds away from freedom and out of jail clothes..The guard escorts him to the... I'm still not sure, having finished this script, whether the writer has uploaded something so bad as a joke on reviewers or whether the writer thinks this is a good script. Why do I think this might be a joke on reviewers? Writing like this:
"Mike smiles as he walks through the barb wired fence seconds away from freedom and out of jail clothes..The guard escorts him to the end of the gate and opens it"
"Sitting in his luxurious,Carter,who is now more smarter than ever is one of the richest men L.A."
"GREG WASHINGTON,34,Carter’s apprentice,lackey, walks in and informs his boss on some information."
"Classical music playing.People chattering.Waiters go back and forth severing the guests." I'm a great fan of "severing the guests."
The script is chock-a-block with missing words, missing spaces after punctuation, bad grammar, and some of the most cumbersone prose I've read in a while.
Forget unfilmables. Let's talk about unbelievables: 1. A blind woman who drives a car and a boyfriend who lets her because the blind woman wants to be independent and doesn't blink when she runs over someone and kills them. 2. A bank robber who has forgotten he robbed a bank only 5 years ago. 3. A bank robber who has parleyed his share of the loot into owning a dozen casinos and over 50 night clubs--in only 5 years? 4. In a home office with the light on Mike is too far away for Tiffany to recognize him and then 6. Tiffany doesn't remember Mike.
The dialog is unbelievable. It's cumbesome and over-written. On the nose. It's a hot mess.
The characters don't behave as an outgrowth of a situation. They behave the way the writer needs them to behave in a given situation. And the situations are beyond believable. I note that the genre is comedy/crime. The comedy is so low brow and schticky that what could be funny just seems labored. And the crime -- it happens easily. The Russians are involved. A gazillion L.A. policemen are dirty cops on Carter's payroll. There's not enough willing suspension of disbelief in the world.
If this script isn't a joke on reviewers, I will say that you've got the imagination. You're loaded with imagination. And you've got the drive to write I think. Read other scripts like crazy and take pointers for them. Learn to spell or at least use a spell checker. And just keep writing. You don't want to do anything that can give readers a reason to dismiss your writing. read
by BeanTown on 08/27/2011OK, Non-story stuff. My first suggestion is to run this script through spell-check. Then have someone else give it a good look over, line by line. There are just way too many misspellings, typos and grammatical errors. So many so that some of them became comical... I laughed during the read, but not for all the right reasons. I am by no means a grammar Nazi, but you don't want... OK, Non-story stuff. My first suggestion is to run this script through spell-check. Then have someone else give it a good look over, line by line. There are just way too many misspellings, typos and grammatical errors. So many so that some of them became comical... I laughed during the read, but not for all the right reasons. I am by no means a grammar Nazi, but you don't want some professional reading this only to stop because of typos that are easily fixed. (pg.45 Mike's dialogue with BRAIN (Brian),sorry just had to laugh! Proper spelling and grammar show that you not only care about your story, but you also care about your audience, the reader.
Story: You have the makings of a good revenge story. They pull off a bank job, but have one man too many. But why? I think you have to give a good reason to get rid of Mike and a good reason why Mike should keep quiet. He survives, so why not just rat on everyone??
Plausibility: Your story takes place in the "real world". As such some of the things you propose just would not happen. Tiffany and Jeff not recognizing Mike after only five years passing. Jeff and Tiffany, after having got away with millions work everyday jobs? Sorry, I'd be living on a beach somewhere. And Carter owning all those casinos, that would draw a lot attention as to how he got the money to start with. Also, the FBI just going along with Mike's plan. When writing you have to ask if these things would really happen in the world you've created.
Characters: I like Mike, it's hard not to. You get us to relate with him quickly, that's a good thing. We identify with his plight right off the bat and want to find out what he's going to do. I like the scene with Dave telling how no one liked him in HS. Funny stuff, I could picture that in my head easily. Stacy was a fun kid too. "Can you duck tape his mouth" great line. I think you need to work on Jeff and Tiffany a bit more. They only seem to be around to help Mike. Give us a reason why they'd do that so easily. Carter's a bad ass but I think you could make him more so.. just a thought.
My suggestion to you is to find some scripts you like and not just read them, but study them. What is it about them that makes them work? What makes the characters seem real? What makes you keep turning the pages? Another suggestion, write, write, then write some more. You've finished a screenplay, that's not a small achievement.
I hope some of this helps and I wish you the best of luck with it.
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 08/24/2011Some general notes on your formatting: Continued on the bottom and top of the pages are unnecessary Make sure you use a spell check feature (page two, for example, untrustworthy is all one word, not two). When describing characters, if you're stating their age, you don't need follow in the description with "young". "Young" and "Old" are all relative. Make sure you... Some general notes on your formatting:
Continued on the bottom and top of the pages are unnecessary
Make sure you use a spell check feature (page two, for example, untrustworthy is all one word, not two).
When describing characters, if you're stating their age, you don't need follow in the description with "young". "Young" and "Old" are all relative.
Make sure you have proper formatting within your sentences (spacing after a comma for instance) - you're fairly inconsistent with this and I'm only on page two. Also be sure to end your sentences with a period, unless you're using something to transition such as ... or --.
In your narrative descriptions, refrain from describing internal things such as though processes - for example, page three when Carter taps Tiffany on the shoulder "hoping she cheers up". Perhaps say Carter gives a playful tap to her shoulder.
Page 4: There needs to be more motivation for Carter whacking Mike. Money is money... at least say something to the effect that there's more money to go around with fewer people. Tiffany watching with a look of disgust doesn't sound realistic. What is the world of these characters? Is this something they do all the time? She seems to be rather passive like, hey, this happened just the other day with someone else... and the day before.
Page 11: "makes his stomach sick to his stomach...", I admit, I laughed.
Page 17: Dave cracks a smile and looks at Dave? And how are we to know Mia is blind?
Dirty Mac: the health inspector bit - it doesn't quite work like that where he could simply give a false address.
Page 28: The assistant letting Mike into the mgr.'s office isn't very realistic. What is Jeff selling cars for anyway? Didn't these guys just pull off a robbery five years earlier worth millions?
Page 43: Opening dozens of casinos and clubs in a five year span on the amount of money that was robbed isn't believable.
Page 44: A brilliant lawyer doesn't translate as a filmable description. Your characters need to demonstrate via action their brilliance. You can, however, describe his surroundings so that we get the impression he's a SUCCESSFUL lawyer.
Page 45: Your character "Brian" is "Brain" in his dialogue header.
Page 49: Tiffany, now much older... we know this is five years later.
Page 51: Is it really believable that nobody seems to recognize Mike?
Page 65: Tiffany not recognizing Mike, yet deciding it's ok to be alone with him... isn't realistic, especially being a "stranger" in her home.
Page 66: Mike turns his back towards Stacy?
Page 67: Wow, that was quick. I guess cops really do only show up that fast... in the movies.
Page 70: So the crooked cops take Mike to the casino Carter happens to be at? That's pretty convenient. Also is the fact that Carter seems to be the only one to recognize Mike off the bat. Oh, and that Jeff is there... To help Mike.
Page 79: Mike is like "Rain Man".
Page 91: The ending, the surprise... I thought for a second there Dave was going to end up with Carter as his cellmate. That may be more believable than Mia. Why not go for both? Have Carter first, then Mia. It's not like Mia can stay there, after all.
Well, where to begin? I read your bio and more information. Kudos and good for you to be taking up screenwriting at a young age (though, like I said earlier, that's all relative). I don't know how old you are exactly, but the fact that you're pursuing something while you're young can only mean you've gotten a head start on a lot of other people your age who DON'T know what they want to do yet.
As for your script itself. It's a first attempt and I'm sure some of the feedback you're going to garner here is going to be pretty critical. It's cut throat out there and you're going up against people who've put themselves through college and pursued this same endeavor for many years. I can only hope that their comments only encourage you further to follow your passion and don't dissuade you from doing so. This "screenwriting" is an endeavor where it may take a long time and a lot of hard work, so it's something you need to be aware of up front.
Most of my comments early on here are based on the presentation of your script. Before you do ANYTHING else, you need to make sure you have your grammar down pat, your spelling, etc. This is akin to showing up at an interview dressed appropriately like YOU WANT the job, rather than showing up in jeans and loafers expecting it. You don't want to give anybody anymore reason to reject your story other than the story itself. If you've got typos all over the place, formatting problems, etc., most readers are only going to assume that, if you don't know the basics, you're not going to get much else right.
As a first script from a "youngster", I would say you're somewhat par for the course. The main things you're script is struggling with is structure. Particularly how things unfold in relation to each other (for example, characters, their motivations, their actions - they all relate in some facet or another.) You don't want things happening just for the sake of happening.
I do think you have a grasp on the basic three-act structure, you just need to work on the logical issues of cause and effect. Plotting. Building your story around a theme. There's a lot to learn, trust me. And it's going to take a while and a lot of practice and learning.
The core of your story is there, but you need to weed out all the stuff that doesn't make sense, isn't believable, etc. as you go about learning more. As is, there's just too many credibility issues for this to actually work, but those are issues that should iron themselves out as you go along (for instance, Tiffany's character becoming a lawyer - unless she was already through college - isn't going to happen in five years). Also, issues like WHY would Carter's ex-posse all want to help Mike now in the present? I mean, GENUINELY help, not because Mike's holding a gun to them. These are the types of things you need to iron out to make everything more plausible.
Use this draft as a springboard for all that you learn by continually coming back and applying what you've learned to it. You'll find that, over time, it will change dramatically. I think far too often writers write a script, revise it a few times, then think they're done because they want to move onto a new script. That's the wrong approach because all they end up doing is repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Take what you learn and apply it to this script. Put your other ideas away and focus on making this the best that you possibly can - that way when you do start on your next idea, you'll have all that experience, knowledge, and wisdom of what to avoid doing and your first draft will be that much further along because of it.
You have at your core here a revenge story and there's some good elements in play. The prison buddy bit; the getting to know Tiffany's daughter... those types of things are where you've provided some funny moments that, as you get to learn more about the craft, will have a chance to shine even more when you learn how to put them into a context within the rest of your story.
I hope that these comments provide some use for you and that you continue this journey you've only just begun. Like I said, despite whatever negative things people may have to say or how critical they may come across, the fact that you're doing this, NOW, puts you that much farther ahead than those who haven't made their minds up.
Good luck and keep writing!
by tarboy on 07/19/2011James Brown “The Big Payback” I am sure this will be a winner. I will write my opinion, nothing personal just what I feel. I hope this is a new concept worth reading. P1 LOL!!! Really? Fly over downtown in Los Angeles. Maybe you forgot to write Helicopter EXT. LOS. ANGELES - HELICOPTER – DAY Okay. As the writer your job is to describe what happens The SUV is giving the cops... James Brown “The Big Payback” I am sure this will be a winner. I will write my opinion, nothing personal just what I feel. I hope this is a new concept worth reading.
Fly over downtown in Los Angeles.
Maybe you forgot to write Helicopter
EXT. LOS. ANGELES - HELICOPTER – DAY
Okay. As the writer your job is to describe what happens
The SUV is giving the cops trouble and making it hard to catch up with them.
The SUV weaves around cars. It bumps a car causing it to hit a cop car.
Suspects are on Wilshire and miracle rd.
THIS IS A VISUAL MEDIA
How can the viewer tell the SUV is traveling sixty miles an hour?
The SUV speeding at 60 mph tries to evade the police by changing lane back and forth.
I always try to not use words such as BEGIN, START, BACK, ANOTHER, ALSO, STILL, CONTINUES, ING. AGAIN I just think it helps the story flow better.
The above is page one. In the real world this would be put in the trash, but I will continue.
MIKE SCOTT,24,young African American, Create a character someone will remember
It is clear YOU are clueless to how to write a script. Do all smart and untrst worthy people look alike?
CARTER NELSON,34,Caucasian,smart and untrust worthy,
What are his actions?
gives Mike credit for his driving.
What? Effect Guy?
JEFF LAWRENCE,31,sleazy yet effect guy for the job,
Do you SEE any money. If it’s in a bag how can we SEE it?
the both of them secure the bags full of money.?
Here is where you can tell the reader what type of crime they committed
Hundred-dollar bills liter the floor.
Two stacks of one hundreds in five thousand dollar wrapper are on the floor.
I know you read four scripts. I can see this is riddled with mistakes and high hopes. I need a break.
JOHN (15) Caucasian, thick glasses, wear pajama, gets up and walks into the bathroom.
Why are the letters CAPPED? ONLY names os character when being INTRODUCED and SOUNDS.
OH MY GOD WE DID IT!!
I need a break. Hold on. I think that is more then 100 words. I’m finished.
Two hrs later.
Head over to Arlington Heights there is an old abandon warehouse where there is a getaway car.
Oh God we did it.
The SUV races away.
EXT. ABANDON WAREHOUSE – DAY
See no exposition and we are at the location. You want to be impact.
The robbers quickly load the getAway car with the loot.
It sucks we had to o this but money is money.
I hope you explain why they knocked out Mike?
You need to put spaces between your sentense
Carter turns around and sees Tiffany with her arms crossedd
and is still mad.
How would we know what he is thinking?
Now that he is out he has one thing on his mind;Payback.
What does this look like?
Has over a dozen casios in the country and over 50 night clubs. He is more corrupt than ever having nearly the entire police in his back pocket.
Carter should wipe his knife clean on LIN clothes.
Brian or Brain
BRIAN HUGHES,35,A good looking man,well dressed,clean
Hello there sir how are you today?
Oh I’m just a little under the weather.
Well I promise
You need a proofreader.
?.Have a five yr old?
Don’t worry Mrs. Hughes I’ll have her before her bedtime.
I hope you can afford this song.
Stacy and Ryan are dancing to the song Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus.
Brian and Tiffany walk into the living room and see Tiffany up past her bedtime.
Tiffany stars panicking.
He’s talking to Tiffany
Mike turns his back towards Stacy.
Wow!!! What are the chances the Cops would take Mike to Carter? Real good in your story.
Mike is in the bike healing his wounds.
Carter sees a gun and starts crawling to him.
Thank you and good luck. read
by capper on 07/18/2011Hi congrats on completing your first script. It is a big achievement that you should be proud of. Below are my page notes followed by my overall notes and suggestions. "Dozen police cars are chasing four bank robbers driving" - Consider removing all -ing and -Ed words as they make your writing sound passive. It is easy to change the words to their non-passive cousins. Ie:... Hi congrats on completing your first script. It is a big achievement that you should be proud of.
Below are my page notes followed by my overall notes and suggestions.
"Dozen police cars are chasing four bank robbers driving" - Consider removing all -ing and -Ed words as they make your writing sound passive. It is easy to change the words to their non-passive cousins. Ie: "dozen police cars chase four bank robbers in a black SUV"
"DICK-69." - Officers would use the international letter sheet to say this; Delta India Charlie, Kilo etc, etc. Perhaps do this then make the cop mention it's dick-69. It would make it funnier in my opinion
"Mike nods his head and smiles." - Try to avoid wasting lines on little character movements like this. Unless it's essential to the plot, you can leave them out, saving pages and quickening the read
Description/action lines should be kept at a maximum of 4 lines, averaging at 3. Never go over 4 lines. Split up large blocks of description to do this.
"TIFFANY OH MY GOD WE DID IT!!" – Try to avoid caps, bold and italics in dialog. Only underlines are generally acceptable.
"(Unenthusiastic)" - Avoid using parenthesis to direct how your characters should say their lines. Let your scene and dialog indicate this, like it does in this instance.
"(To Mike)" - No need for this parenthesis as you have Carter say Mike's name. If he didn't then you'd need it.
"out crowbar." - "out A crowbar"
Your punctuation, spelling and grammar really need work. I'm only 4 pages in and already I've seen a large number of errors like missing full stops, missing commas, no spaces between a fullstop and the new word of a sentence, missing words, incorrect tensed words, etc, etc.
"here" - Hear me.
"(Shouting)" - This parenthesis is redundant. You mention he is shouting in the description, then also caps his dialog to indicate it again. In total you indicate it three times. Try to be economical. Tell us once. Make the read quick and lean
"Tiffany turns around and gives Carter a cold stare.She slowly make her way to the car. She opens the door.Before she gets in she turns around and looks at Mike knocked out in the SUV. She gets in the car.The car speed off at the right time as police sirens are getting louder as the police are almost there." – This Descriptions are a bit cumbersome. Try this:
"Tiffany glares at Carter as she makes her way to the car. She glances at Mike one last time as they speed away, police sirens wail in the distance." - This uses only two lines instead of nine and says the exact same thing. You want to make the read as quick as possible. Describe as much as you can with as little as you can."
"(Excited)" - Another example of an unneeded parenthesis. We can tell by the dialog that he is excited.
"This is the police we have you surround. " - Surrounded. You have done this a number of times, using non -Ed words when you should be, using -Ed words when you shouldn't be, etc. You really need to do a proof to clean all of this up. An agent or reader for a prod co, etc, would turf this script after the 3rd page because of all the errors as it gives the impression that you don't care about the craft."
"starting regain" - To regain
" He touches his head as it hurts a lot." - Cumbersome and passive. "He holds his head in pain."
"then tries to play it off cool." - Avoid describing what is about to happen just before it does. Stop at "pulls it down" then move to the dialog.
"trial for aggravated robbery and evading the police" - This is telling. How would we see this on screen? All we'd see is the court room and mike sitting. We’d know about the charge once the judge says it a little further down. Avoid telling.
“just let one out in front of the judge." - We know, we just read it. Avoid wasting lines by describing what is about, or what has, happened.
PAGE 10: You really need to proof read, or pay someone to do it as there are soooo many typos, it's distracting.
First ten impression: you have a pretty good hook so far and set up the story very quickly. Nice. However, insanely large amount of typos, grammar, etc. and the cumbersome descriptions are really hindering the read. Normally I would have deleted the assignment after reading the numerous errors you have in only the first 3 pages but because I like how you've set up Mike's smart arse character and the hook, I will read on. That's good news to you because a hook is always important, but agents and readers are even more picky than me and are looking for any excuse to turf a script. You have to proof read again, and again. Make it grammar, typo and format perfect.
"Mister Scott you are out of order?" - Why is the judge asking mike this? This should be a statement, not a question
"sentence" - Sentenced - you tend to not Ed words often.
PAGE 12: "approached" - Approaches the door
PAGE 13: "and personal issues." - This is an internal description. We couldn't see this on screen. If we need to know this, show it through his dialog and actions. Which you do a bit later on.
PAGE 17: "At first nothing but silence then all of a sudden sad violin music starts playing." - "Hahaha"
PAGE 18: "Dave cracks a smile and looks at Dave." - Huh?
PAGE 19: "then we she stepped" - When, not we
PAGE 20: "diner" – Dinner
Hahaha. I like the comedy here. Very silly.
PAGE 22: "Mike removes the beard from his face as it was a costume prop.He throws it to the side and resume his card game." - Hehehe.
"As the guys are playing their card games" - No need for this as it's redundant. Your line above shows us they are playing. There is no need to explain it again.
PAGE 23: "OK it’s starting to get a little homosexual." - Funny, but prepare to be ripped on for this line by others....
"that he is out he has one thing on his mind;Payback." - HOW would we know this on screen? So far Mike has made no mention about wanting payback in any way. Not via an action, or dialog. You need to show this, not tell it.
PAGE 24: "pull" - Pulls - you seem to have a lot of trouble with plural words and -Ed words
"as it looks horrific.He" - Show us how it looks horrific. Also the description is cumbersome. Here is an example of how I'd write this bit:
"Dirty, old and dingy. A cab pulls up, mike gets out. He glances at the motel in disgust.
"counter and rings the bell on the counter." - No need to mention counter a second time.
PAGE 25: "crazy.Mike is thinking of a way to get a room while not paying." - This is telling. How would we know this on screen?
PAGE 27: "take in" - Take you in?
PAGE 31: "after hearing the word "bank job." - No need for this as you put his eyes going wide after mike's dialog.
PAGE 37: "YEARS!!!!" - One exclamation is enough. There is never a need for any more.
PAGE 38: "luxurious,Carter,who is now more smarter than ever is one of the richest men L.A. Has over a dozen casios in the country and over 50 night clubs.He is more corrupt than ever having nearly the entire police in his back pocket." - All internal. We could not see this on screen at this point. All we'd see is Carter in an office, that's it. Show, don't tell.
PAGE 40: "lieutenant of the Black Dragon Chinese" - How would we know this? All we'd see is an Asian dude walking into the office
PAGE 41: "dies of his desk" - His what now?
PAGE 46: You have Brian's character slug as BRAIN. Did you proof read at all?
PAGE 49: "Pulling up across the street is Mike.He’s looking at the house." - "Mike pulls up across the street. Watches the house." Lean and mean.
PAGE 51: "hind." - "Hide"
PAGE 53: "Mike is trying to bribe the girl with money. " - We know. There is no need to tell us, as you have shown us.
PAGE 59: "(Crying) Please! I beg of you" - Someone who says dude, would not say "I beg of you"
PAGE 66: Why is Tiffany and the first dude so eager to admit they were in on the job. It would be more realistic for them to deny until they are blue in the face
PAGE 70: Give characters more meaningful names than officer #1. how about FAT OFFICER, or TALL OFFICER, something more descriptive and less generic.
PAGE 73: "the bike healing his wounds." - Firstly, back, secondly, what do you mean by "healing his wounds”?
PAGE 76: I'm all for silliness and bending realism, but there is no way the FBI would work with Mike. They'd get the info, tell him to fuck off and get Carter themselves. This is too unbelievable.
PAGE 77: And carter's men don't notice the 8 vans parked right across from them?
PAGE 87: Wait, what? The FBI gave guns and flash bangs to civilians?
PAGE 90: "Mike rips his shirt opens and reveals a wire tapped to his chest."
"But Carter hasn't said anything incriminating. It would be mike's word against carter's, who is a wealthy business man...."
PAGE 91: "Mike gives Carson a folder." - When did he grab this folder? We didn’t see it. There was no mention of a folder. You can’t make things pop out of thin air. They have to be seen by us.
Firstly, before anything else, you MUST fix the typos, grammar, missing words, incorrect tense, etc, etc, etc. There were literally 5 issues per page for the ENTIRE SCRIPT. It is unfair to except people to take their time to read and review your script if you can’t even make the effort to proof read your own work. You’ll probably find that you’ll get hardly any reviews because of this.
Characters: You did well with Mike. I liked him. The rest didn’t have enough screen time to really define them, but Carter was sufficiently bad, so well done.
Dialog: Generally it was pretty good. Some wooden dialog here and there, but for a first effort it was good.
Story: Some good gags in here. I liked the silliness of it. You had a good hook to me, starting off with a car chase and going straight into Mike getting caught. It was entertaining until Act 3, where I was totally put off. You were doing so well then it seems that you were like “Shit, I gotta end this thing!”, and then did whatever you could to do so, even if it meant that reality was completely thrown out the window.
Why would Jeff save Mike? Mike’s got him by the balls basically. He took half his money, calls him up at stupid hours, took a car for free; it would be beneficial for Jake to let him get killed. There needs to be more of a motive for Jake to do this.
Secondly, the FBI thing; this is just so unbelievable and killed your story for me. Firstly, the FBI just come to Mike just off his phone call (which I can let go). Secondly, they include him on the plans, no wait, they let HIM run the show. Thirdly, they give him, Jeff and the chick guns and ammo. Not to mention they just drive out in 8 vans at the FRONT of the casino and are unseen by the many guards at the front.
Having silly comedy is fine, and yes you can bend reality, like you did with the smart 5 year old, etc, but the FBI thing is just too far into absurdity that it throws the script off (for me, anyways).
STRUCTURE: Seemed like you hit the act points at the right times, so well done there.
Final notes: For a first attempt, and typos aside, it’s a fair effort, something to be proud of. I feel it still needs work though, especially the third act, but before you even consider working on it, PLEASE fix up the typos and grammar issues first, this is the only way you’ll get more reads on the site, or any, as many members will delete the script from their assignments because of the errors you have.
Good Luck. read
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