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Your log line is good, the first scene heading is good, however you tell us the same info twice. The seance room in the discription is redundant, we know the location from the scene heading no need to tell us again in the discription.
Not sure I love your title but it's what caused me to open this up.
Just so you know a 'reading' is like a palm reading or a tarot reading... he seems to be there to contact someone that has passed. It's minor but do your research.
Unless the breakfast table is in the bedroom, you need a new slug at the top of page 4.
Love when Zach tells the neighbor they are taking the train, yet he is driving right after. Good job.
I read down to page 12 and I am not real sure where this is going... but I do wish that there was something that would pull me 'in' more. I like your subject matter. Talking in tongues...doubt... names were cool you used as well. Some of the dialogue between Grace and Faith was pretty good. It still could use going through again IMO. But some good exchanges you got in there snappy...
Faith is intrigued. FAITH Enlighten me. ZACH Okay, Ms.--? FAITH Faith. ZACH Faith. You see, you’re born to believe. I on the other hand... A cynic is selfish and negative, but motivated by virtue. Whereas a skeptic relies on reason and critical thinking, rather than blind
Your logline is good but at the moment the only thing that is in the script from it is him being a cynical journalist so far there has been no mention of a Cartel nor even a suspicion he has about his wife's death., but I'm sure this will all come up at a later point in time. I just hope it isn't too late. There also doesn't seem to be much, if any, suffering from Zach at losing his wife ... he seems to be a normal single father, pretty much as if his wife took off on him. Or maybe it happened such a long time ago that he has recovered from it?
That said ... how long has Zach been taking care of his daughter? Shouldn't he already know Faith and vise-versa? Seems to me you can cut out the introductions and go right into the dialogue. Then again if he really is reeling from the loss of his wife would he really be this flirty with another woman?
The interaction between Zack and Steinmann seems a bit off to me ... Steinmann completely opens up to Zach who, as far as I know, is a stranger up until then. He even invited him to his home. Does Steinmann know or has at least heard of Zach before?
Error page 13 "Suffered a series of mini-storkes" Steinmann's dialogue.
Page 14, Zach's dialogue .... I believe you need to spell out slash instead of using the symbol "/"
There is still nothing really going on, he lost his job and has started an assignment with some professor guy. At first this has some potential to start something, even though it was pretty late into the story (page 36) I felt as though it was the start to the whole drug cartel and his wife's death thing, but that seemed to peter out fairly quickly as the story went back to focus on his daughter and relationship with Faith.
Did he really leave his 6 year old daughter alone all day? To me that's just pure carelessness about someone he should and seems to love a lot.
he was dying and wanted to be close to her parents. But they ended up moving away
You probably weren't intending it to be funny, but I laughed when I read that.
"ZACH (coldly; to Faith) Well that would depend. On whether God allows suicides into heaven. Seeing as how he doesn’t allow the twice married into his church, I doubt it."
wow, another thing to make me really dislike Zach, maybe tone this line down a little?
error page 40 " it's behoves me" should be behooves, Zach's dialogue
I really hope Faith and Zach realize their relationship won't work out,
It's odd that Zach randomly goes on a speech about his wife just when things are getting intimate with him and Faith ... and again there is still no emotion to him when he talks about his wife, no moments when he mourns her passing.
Best to give the neighbor a name, instead of woman. She is in the script too often to just be called woman.
Well so far I'm not really sure what the story is about, I've read 52% of this and nothing in the log line is actually happening. It's far too late for to start up the cartel bit imo because that will need some building up before it gets to the meaty bit ... there doesn't seem to be enough pages left to have this work out well.
I like the premise of this though, a heartbroken man trying to figure out why his wife died, possible revenge down the line all the while having an ever lingering presence of danger an death by investigating the goings on of the cartel of all things.
Page 51, Faith's dialogue " I have finals coming up. And I don’t think you’re over your wife."
The thing is Zach has never really been reeling over the loss of his wife at all, in this entire script. He has once or twice but they seem so random and out of place.
Page 53 - why is he so curious about his wife's death all of a sudden? ... he knew she took meds not prescribed by her doctor so why now? Also what will the doctor know about how she got it?
Why weren't these concerns brought up soon after her passing? He should've realized then that this drug wasn't prescribed by any of her doctors.
nitpick - seems too unlikely that he busts a druggy that happens to have the same drug he is looking for. What is the point of this scene anyways? He asks the guy where he got it, smashes the vial, then tells him to leave.
Why doesn't Zach ask the doctor about the drug, instead of Ray?
How is he going to get her husband back? He was or is being deported for being an illegal.
I wasn't feeling the ending at all, for a few reasons, but mainly that the actual premise of the story didn't start up until it was far too late. Seemed underdeveloped and rushed in a way. You need to start this much sooner into the story than this. Honestly, if he truly is reeling from the loss of his wife then he should've looked into where she got the drugs from soon after her passing.
What was the whole point of the professor using Zach to unknowingly investigate into illegal immigration and have them deported? Maybe I missed this, but it seems to have no point but to eventually bring Zach to to realized who killed his wife and why .... with no resolution. Nothing has changed from the start to the finish, the world of this story is the exact same as it was before, well more or less, the only thing different really is that Zach and Faith are now together, but based on their previous encounters I can see that not lasting more than a week, Zach attempts to confront the professor, but them seems to give up. You need to have some sort of resolution here instead of Zach and a friend selling a script that we never heard of up until this point
What I also didn't like about this ending is the fact that he abandons his daughter, does this guy really care about Sydney at all? He leaves her alone for an entire day and then hands her off to Anna (not sure who she is) and takes off with a woman he barely gets along with in the hopes that one day his 6 year old will visit him.
Anyways, I hope I don't sound like too much of an a-hole, this is a good idea, you just need to re-work the story. Have Zach actually mourning his wife ... this will give him more depth and when Faith is introduced into the story it will stir up some conflict. If he loved his wife then have him love his daughter, as is it doesn't seem like he does all that much. Start the premise of the story sooner, him getting fired seemed like a good moment... he will have more free time to think about his personal life.
Lots of "telling" instead of "showing" in action. Show it to us, don't tell us.
I assume Zach has never met Dr. Steinmann before, so wouldn't it be more realistic to meet in public, at least the first time and the Dr. reveals quite a bit to a stranger, doesn't he?
Some nit picks and format issues: SLUGS: * STREET is used for multiple locations, distinguish the locations. * DAY/NIGHT might be sufficient. * Mini slugs are handy, ex. a character moving from room to room in a house, P3, instead of INT. BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER, just write BEDROOM. * Be consistent, P10, STEIMANN'S HOME, P12. STEINMANN'S HOUSE.
ACTION: * Minimize the use of is/are/start/begin/can't - tends to be more telling than showing. * Go lean, remove any fat (ex. P1, "Zachary is in the process of getting a reading", we know this from the dialogue that follows. * Get rid of "we see" - it's implied if you write visually. * I would cap characters when first introduced, even if they don't have any dialogue (ex: P.18, The Waitress - instead go with A WAITRESS, "A", because it's the first time she's introduced). * Give the characters a little bit descriptions when they're introduced, at least the ones with dialogue. * P5., why not use Doctor Steinmann instead of PSYCHIATRIST.
DIALOGUE: * IMO, your strong point. * CONT'D is not really used that much anymore. * Maybe break up some of the big blocks with action.
There's some good writing and as I mentioned before, most of the dialogue is good. I've done some nit picking, so take it for what's worth. Story is the thing.
You might have a good story, but it's not quite my cup of tea.
I know you’ve taken some flack for it and I’m not one to beat dead horse but I really think this is important. My issues with it are two-fold. It’s repetitive. You literally said the same thing in the scene heading. This will immediately make someone think you don’t know what you’re doing (when you obviously do). You don’t want to give the gatekeepers reasons to stop reading.
The other thing is “We are in...” Who is we? It sounds like you’re making yourself, the writer, a character. I don’t know if you’re planning on doing this throughout, but I typically find that writing style problematic (it can be done well but most of the time it’s intrusive IMO). Now -- just to be clear -- I’m only basing that one sentence. The rest of the story could be genius but the first line, at best, has no positive value. At worst, it makes someone read things into you and your work that probably aren’t true.
That’s just one line!
Okay moving on... I’d break up that first graph a bit. I’ve heard that you should do a new line whenever the shot changes. You could also do a line describing the medium.
Relationship with “deceased” sounds very cold and medical. I almost think a medium would use phrasing like, “passing on”. I might cut the line to just say, your relationship with her. We can infer that she’s dead by the conversation.
Page 3: Enjoyed the first scene. Great way to introduce Zach. Don’t get the “Outed” thing yet but I assume that will come. I would say some of his dialogue was a bit on the nose -- after he reveals himself but overall great scene.
Page 3. Moments later, later, later - just wonder if there’s a better way to format that. My impression is that you’re not supposed to use LATER in place of DAY/NIGHT in slug. The nits will know better.
More page by page notes are in my email to you but wanted to fast forward to final impressions. I can't help but feel like you’ve built this really beautiful vehicle, with interesting characters and great dialogue but it just doesn't go anywhere especially quickly.
I was really excited by the first few pages because I figured this is a story about a guy who writes these cool articles for Skeptic magazine, but that storyline stalled out. I thought it was a love story between a skeptic and believer, but that story was jerky (with Zach literally being a jerk). For a moment I thought the story was about finding a way to make $500 by tomorrow to keep his daughter in school. That was immediately discarded after a few pages. It became a story about drugs and also a story about immigration. There were so many different threads that I didn't feel satisfied at the end.
For example, you build up this immigration storyline, Zach converts, gains understanding, has a ‘these people are just like me’ epiphany and writes a story that gets them deported. The resolution? ‘Well, I guess they broke the law by being here so -- I give up’. Huh? For all the build up of the story (loved the first carpool request) that just seemed unsatisfying.
I really enjoyed the beginning. In some ways, I could see this becoming a series -- with a scam of the week A story and a Zach’s personal life as a B story. Kind of like the Mentalist or something like it. As a feature it really needs a clear goal. At times I felt like an observer of Zach’s life rather than reader of a screenplay.
Anyway despite my criticisms you have something cool here. It just needs to be focused IMHO.