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Title: Would the simple alliteration of Life, Lager and Lies be better? I'm sure you've considered it, but it rolls off the tongue nicely.
Dialogue is expert, comes across in my mind as Irish people, don't know why.
I feel you need to get to some action a little quicker at the start. Even if it's just cutting away from the two to take in some of the other characters or activities. I started to feel a little claustrophic glued to Trevor and David.
The beat at the top of page 5 where they've just done the glasses thing seems like a good spot to start things moving.
I'll take a longer look later. This looks like it has some potential.
Small pockets of MOURNERS are gathered in the grounds.
Could be just me, but I want a little more on the setting – e.g., are we at a rural church, small country side, big city cathedral? – something that would set the environment.
PG 1: over weight – should be overweight
DAVID He won’t mind.
Took me a couple of secs to figure out that "he" was the dead guy. Maybe add a parenthetical.
DAVID (points towards church) He won’t mind.
I really like the voices of David and Trevor – think you nailed it.
This (page 3):
TREVOR That’s what they all say. Are you sure you’re alright? David looks to his dad. DAVID
Yes, I’m fine, and what do you mean, that’s what they all say?
Started to make a funny nut sequence tedious – one too many are you alrights? (i.e., they had that chat before). I would just go with:
TREVOR That’s what they all say. DAVID What do you mean?
DAVID So was it old age then? TREVOR No, it was a heart attack. He didn’t help himself though, he was...shall we say, big boned.
Through me a bit. I assumed that David knew the dead man – why else would he be at the funeral. I know you have to get the he was fat thing in – but the exchange should be based on both of their knowledge that the dude was heavy.
The Christmas Flashback scene runs a bit long – I think you can trim it quite a bit.
VICAR Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to morn the passing of a great man.. Morn or mourn?
By page 30, you have not gone back to the object of David's eye - busty Sarah. Way too long I think. There should be a couple of instances where he eyes her in the church or something. Same with Frank. He's introduced and then pretty much forgotten.
Overall, the writing is solid. Descriptions are crisp and clean and the dialogue is 100% natural and subtly funny (my favorite kind of humor). But the pace drags. By page 30 I am getting a sense of now reading similar scenes over and over. That may be the whole point, but it does slow the page turning down. I am flipping through them early on - really engaged but by 30 we've been at the funeral for 30 minutes and the service is no where near over. As a result, it started to drag a bit for me.
Overall, your writing is excellent. I do think the story needs a little more pace.
Okay, Anthony: I have now finished. My observations for what they are worth:
Most of the dialogue is perfect. You have a great ear for how people really talk.
The structure of the story is interesting and clever. I very much like the one day event (funeral) serving as the catalyst to examine the entire lives of the characters. Yes, it is a slow burn, but like I said, I enjoy those.
Most of the flashback scenes need to be trimmed. They are too long. Not just because they are flashbacks. But because I kept wanting to get back to David and Trevor and after awhile they became an obstacle in that regard. The points are over beaten in them. Get to the core purpose of the flashback and move us back to the action. For example, the chess cheating thing could have been taken care of in have the time. I think all the flashbacks could be trimmed by at least one third. Don't get me wrong, they are all well written. But the meat and attention of the story is present day David and Trevor.
Speaking of flashbacks - I want to know what happened to that lottery ticket that the deceased held (did I miss something?)
The Trevor - Judith romance never seemed organic/natural is in most of the scenes (present and flashback) they seemed to have more animosity than attraction for each other. I would add a scene (flashback) where we see the passionate fire between the two - maybe when they were younger.
As I got towards the end of the story, it struck me as odd that there was never any discussion of the grandson (Thomas) between Trevor and David until the very very end. That didn't seem natural to me.
Also, at the end it sounded like David had not seen his son in six months (which now makes him a bit of a cad - loosing empathy.) - Did I just misread that? If not, he needs to be the type of chap that sees his son.
I would consider flipping the David - Sarah dynamic. i.e., have her be the one trying to get him, he's still not quite ready because of his love for the ex. If you have him having moved on (i.e., now on the prowl), then the reunification with his ex becomes less satisfying for the reader - i.e., we are not rooting for it.
I would have liked a little more in terms of exchanges between David and Trevor on whether or not an affair dooms a marriage. Maybe Trevor's wife did know about the affair, didn't forget it but got over it and somehow managed to keep the marriage together. Long winded way of saying there should be advice from Trevor to David that an infidelity does not mean it is over.
INT. DAVID & AMY’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY Amy sits on a plush comfy sofa, her eyes flick between a large wall mounted television showing a soap opera and Henry who plays with his toys that are strewn across the floor.
Who is Henry?
Just for for thought. For what it is worth I really dig your writing style and think this has a ton of potential.
This is great! I'm going to email my annotated notes but wanted to put something down here as well.
1) The title: I think it's great as is. It made me interested enough to click it. I was sold after reading just a page. 2) The formatting: Eldave1 is the expert at formatting. I noticed a couple things I might tweak but nothing major at all. Also some missing commas and stuff, but I noted what I saw in your email. 3) The writing: Stellar. Crisp, natural and FUNNY! I really liked this a lot. Don't have any complaints at all. 4) My biggest issue: This isn't even that big - I explain more in my annotated notes but there was one spot where I thought we were in the present but were still in the past.
It totally threw me for half a page until I figured it out (confusing because the scenes were both in a funeral setting and you didn't make a separate "name title" for the much younger version of the character. My impression is that you should because different actors would be needed). 5) The flashbacks: love the way you used them. There was only one (toward the end -- with the bartender) that I thought was too long -- but just great all in all.
Overall -- really great stuff.
I read it pretty much in one sitting and kept wanting to get back to it whenever something came up. This could ABSOLUTELY be a movie and an entertaining one, at that.
Whenever I see a great script I always have to ask. What inspired it and how long have you been working on it? This seems VERY polished to me.
Cooper, cheers for the read and the notes you sent on the pdf.
Thanks for the praise. To answer your question: I wrote a short script many years ago and always intended to extend it, and this is it. The original was just about David and Trevor at the funeral, and added all the other characters to extend the story and (hopefully) tie their stories together.
I'm glad you thought this was 'polished' as it's pretty much a first draft. Maybe I don't have too many more drafts to do then lol. One of my earlier features went through about 6 drafts and as I was trying to incorporate everyone's advice, though I think it turned out great. I guess I'm saying, everyone's advice is helpful, no matter how small it is. That's what's great about this site.
Thanks again for your kind words, and even getting the humor, as it's very British lol.
Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.