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The Keys To The Kingdom by Mark Mc Quown - Dramedy - Otis, an African/American, homeless man and ex lawyer, secretly moves into the townhouse of Sandy and Sylvia, builds a room in the attic and is finally discovered by Jo Anne, their African/American house cleaner. 104 pages
production:This is a one location story with four main characters only, two African/American's and two white bread Americans, no extras and a hysterical story. - pdf, format
Reading the first 10 pages, this could be a very interesting story. Otis talking presumably to the audience seem odd. You may find that a voiceover may work better. Also you don’t give full descriptions to the characters when you introduce them, their age or anything. I assume that Sandy and Sylvia are white even though it is not indicated, the only way I knew Otis was black is that you do close up of a black hand.
I think there is an interesting, dark-humour, satirical story buried here, with elements of six degrees of separation, Bonfire of the Vanities and Down and Out in Beverly Hills. But it needs a heavy competent rewrite and a clear up of many errors, IMHO.
Things I liked: I found the premise of the story interesting engaging, despite issues I had with the writing, I was motivated to finish the script to see how it turned out. The latter part of the script is better than the slow first half. There are some laugh out loud pieces of dialogue, although the humour may be a bit too sophisticated. The four characters interact well. I love the way Otis subtly worms his way into the centre of the household.
Things I didn’t like as much: I think the longline is slightly misleading, makes you feel you’re getting a hard hitting drama. No proper descriptions of the main characters. It was only towards the middle of the script I realized that Jo Anne was African American, or that she and Otis were older than the white couple. Something tells me that you wrote this some time ago, with references to video rentals and heavy boxed TV sets. This story feels that it needs to be absolutely contemporary. I would update, with references to these insane post-Trump times; that is an angle you could really exploit. I know you’re trying to keep it cheap by having most of it set in the house, but at times it really feels more like a stage play, might be limiting having a whole film set in such a confined area. Otis long poetic dialogue feels it is the glue that binds the story together. I think his dialogue needs to be shorter and to the point. Sometimes it is not clear if he is speaking to the audience or the characters. My feelings to Otis kept swinging from smart talking lovable hustler, to selfish parasite. I actually have more sympathy for the ‘white bread’ younger couple, it really feels like they are the ones being manipulated. I don’t think the plot about his former misdeeds in the legal world played out well at all, it was unclear, it felt rushed, and something taped on last minute to give your story completion. The writing often seems more in the style of a novel, i.e. ‘Extolling the demons that make bad things happen to him’. There is a lot of typos, and clumsy errors throughout. On page 73, you have the wrong character saying a key piece of dialogue, a turning point in the script (Sylvia when it should be Jo Anne) which indicates you have not proofread this. These are the typos that I listed: Pg. 6 - this could have all bee mine - bee should be been. Pg. 4 - CUBBARDS should be CUPBOARDS Pg. 12 unopened bracket. Pg. 13 righ.t should be ‘right’
Remove the title from the first page of the script. On the title page is enough.