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I was intrigued by your logline and thought I'd give it a read. Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed by what I read.
For starters, this script is just too long. Every conversation goes on way too long. And your descriptions of things go on too long, as well. You could easily knock ten pages off it. Maybe even as much as fifteen.
Your characterization needs a lot of work. Everyone sounds alike. I had to flip back and forth to be reminded of the main character's name.
Bill's termination was completely unbelievable. No company would terminate a senior officer on the sole grounds of end of the year bonuses. Nothing was mentioned regarding his performance or anything that he may have done. It was all bonuses.
You went over the top in introducing Mark as a dickhead. An AIDS joke? You would've been better off showing him raping a little girl and killing her puppy.
You threw too much at us to show that Bill's life sucks. He lost his job. His wife leaves him for his twin; his dog dying (possibly the only funny joke in this script). I think that Blitzen probably sets the world record for the oldest German Shepherd, FWIW.
One superpowered stunt in a 26 page script is not enough. If you look at all superhero/action stories, they pepper the script with action. You show two action sequences and it's really the same one twice.
I strongly recommend that you rewrite this before you work on chapter two.
Hey Will. I liked this a lot more than Phil did but I'm going to agree with most of what he's said. Namely, Bill's life goes from too good to too bad way too fast. I can buy that he's fired and loses his wife to his brother on the same day but I would definitely suggest downsizing his position to something more disposable and possibly doing away with the stuff involving the kids and Europe. Just too much. The dog dying is great though and I think the AIDS joke is fair game as far as Mark, the dickhead, is concerned. The kid in World's Greatest Dad cracks an AIDS joke and that flick got rave reviews. The Choke reference might go over more than a few heads though.
I'll also agree that you could cut down on some pages and beef up the action so it's half and half. The character's aren't bad though. You could accentuate their personalities a bit more but whatever. I get it. Bill's an average Joe.
Finally, a good series ends an episode on a cliffhanger. Think about adding something to the end, maybe the first appearance of a villain? Something.
Anyway, not a bad start. I'll keep an eye on this one.
"There's a place where we all know, with blackened treetops filled with crows. The plough of loathing splits the earth. Lay down, accept this ghastly curse."
my sincerest thanks for your feedback. i realize there is a decent amount which needs to change, and im already thinking of ways to revise this.
now i probably should of stated this in my log line, but i envisioned this series as a dark comedy / parody of super hero comics, films, etc. anyways, i have a few questions and remarks about your comments - and would love your feedback so i can better understand your remarks and ultimately improve this.
so mainly, im really not aiming for a believable story. my main goal was to take a successful man and strip him down to nothing...and then kick him while he's down (hence why i think the dog bit works so well). and yes i do realize the dog is probably the oldest dog ever haha
now a large part of your critiques was that it should be stripped down - both in dialogue and in action. now to me, a script can be just dialogue, but the dialogue has to be clever and witty enough to sustain the duration. which is fine- and to a degree, i have to sharpen the dialogue and make it more entertaining. but as far as the action is concerned, how would you suggest implementing more action into the script? i tried to use dialogue as a way to build up characters - but you're saying more action. how so? this is obviously going to be a heavy, action packed series down the line- but for now i wanted to establish some characters to use later. i guess what im saying is that james, youre telling me that is goes from too good to too bad to fast- but if i were draw out the transition, wouldnt it even be more boring?
and i definitely agree with the characters having their own dialogue. i need to make them a little more unique.
the cliff hanger at the end is a superb idea btw
i think im going to keep the AIDS joke. this is a series where i wanted to push boundaries a bit and have free reign- but i dont want it to come across as tacky nor "controversial for the sake of being controversial"
the peter north and choke references are really obscure. in fact, theres even more obscure references littered throughout the script. if youre a comic book fan, then theres a few names here and there that should be recognizable (ie Carradine)
lastly, ive thought of a solution and wanted to get your opinions of it. what if i shortened the script by cutting out unneccessary dialogue and descriptions, to about 15 pages- and then continued the story with another 7 pages? thataway there would be more action, and the action that's in the script already would come sooner
thank you so much for your help! dont want to come across as defensive and i hope i dont. im all ears - i just want to get a deeper feel and understanding of your comments. thanks again!
Regarding the action, you have to show more. Plain and simple. It opens with the main character leaping out of a window. And it closes with the main character leaping out of the same window. And in between this, his life has gone completely to shit.
This script kind of read like the HBO series, Hung. You have a guy with a gift, and life shits on him. With Hung, the shit falls at a slow steady pace. You shit on your character so much in 26 pages that I wonder how you can keep it up. He lost his job, his family and his dog. If he lost his truck, he could write become a country singer.
but see, therein lies the problem. if i let the shit fall slowly, then you have a script with even less action- and then im just filling up the script with filler. in a way, i wanted this all to happen very quickly because i wanted to justify his suicide. also, there are some things which i plan on revealing later on in the series - things which shed more light on him losing his job and his wife (not so much the dog, he was just old haha). so i dont plan on shitting on this character any more. from here, he just wants to die (and will fight villians and other super heroes with hopes that they will kill him).
anyways, just my thoughts. thanks again for your response. im definitely going to see what i can do to add more action into the script. and nice touch with the country singer comment
ya know, i actually thought about doing that. and the more i think about it, the more i like it. just start the series off with a superhero fighting villans (and being killed then being put back together) and then slowly reveal his motives. i think the problem here is that every super hero story should start off on a bang and lots of action- and this takes too much time explaining his background. at the same time, its good to know his background to use later on.
im also starting to realize that television series require a lot of work, depth, and preplanning - even more so than a movie. its like writing a 3 hour movie...or longer.
something to think about for sure. thanks again for your advice
"and BILL lavishes himself in every slowed down second." not sure you're using lavish correctly. Do people really yell go fetch? seems a little on the nose. You say that Willie looks and acts like a surfer, then contradict yourself and say he acts professional. I get what you mean, but you could be a little clearer. Maybe be specific, he has long blond hair, wearing a hawain shirt tucked into slacks like it was a dress shirt, something to that effect. You switch from marie to mary once. BILL What’s gotten into people this morning? A little more on the nose dialogue. his reaction should say the same thing. Nothing wrong with an aids joke, but it does seem a little out of place and dark from everything we've seen so far. Missing a lot of commas in the dialogue, before and after names/titles mostly. The joke about being fired on a thursday is pretty good. p19. thats a seriously long expository speech about blitzen fuck aqua teen! funny stuff. definately agree you could restructure this better, start with him being a hero, cut back to his origin story or whatever. Overall, pretty funny. Biggest problem I had was the expository dialogue/serious long bits of dialogue. There isn't nearly enough added through the monologues to make them worth it. At least break them down a bit. I'm having the same problems RE preplanning a series. Each episode needs its own complete story, while at the same time having a bit of a cliffhanger to keep people interested and adding to the overall plot arc. No wonder those basterds make the big bucks. Other than that, I laughed a couple times, definately a cool start. Good luck with it.
Mine: HARD CASE (65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...
APU (80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
I want to be as constructive as I can with this. I will admit, it was tough to get through.
I think I'll start with the story. The story seems very arbitrary. It's elements of a story pulled from random genres, ideas, etc. I cannot seem to find a theme. If I were compelled to get to the bottom of this story, I'd have to ask a lot of questions.
Getting to a few specific elements of the story, I have a number of issues with realism. Even if this were a comedy, there are elements that are entirely unrealistic. The reasons for Bill's lay off are unfathomable. If he has an excellent history with the company, I can't imagine he'd get laid off just to pay some Christmas bonuses.
Along this same line, the way his employees treat him is abnormally impersonal after he is laid off. His wife's reasons for leaving him, while legitimate, are unrealistically exposed. Her plan to replace him with his twin brother is stuff of soap opera parody.
The dialogue is incredibly cheesy at times, ex; BILL: "Why I oughta...", followed by him strangling his brother.
There are redundancies in the action. Ex: "EXT. I-95 - MORNING" followed by the action "Bill drives his BMW out of the suburbs and into the city of Philadephia via the interstate."
Why is this man immortal? What importance does this have on the story? The unfortunate events that destroy his life are so severe and over such a short period of time, that it seems orchestrated just to destroy him.
If I were to try to define it in one sentence, "It's a bunch of unrealistic stuff happening, with none of the basic elements of a story." And I know that sounds harsh, but it's the easiest way to express what issues are present. The story doesn't really have a moment of change, it doesn't have a defined climax, and it's conclusion has no bearing on the story that led up to it.
if you want this to be successful, and retain some of the original idea, you'll really have to do an overhaul.
I apologize that it was such a negative critique, but I feel I owe you a review, having read the story. I may take a look at some of your other work to get a better feel for what type of writer you are.
Petty Torture Productions: Artwork and Scripts for Petty Torture cartoon and anime series concepts.
first jackx- thank you so much for your feedback. incredibly helpful
vlad, thanks for the read. however you must have hated the first episode of Lost haha
The unfortunate events that destroy his life are so severe and over such a short period of time, that it seems orchestrated just to destroy him.
you might be onto something there... i guess what im saying, is that im glad you had a lot of questions. i plan on answering them if i continue with this series.
what im finding, and ive said this before, is that writing a television series is much harder than writing a film. each individual episode has to have its own story while advancing the overall arc (like jackx said). and its really hard to determine how much of the overall story should be revealed in each episode.
with that in mind, i just submitted a revision for this script today - which ive been working on over the past few days. i think my biggest problem was that there wasnt enough action. so what ive done is used this origins story as a long flash back between an action packed battle sequence. so in other words ive added a completely new opening and closing to this script (and inserted this current story in the middle). with the new revisions in place, the script will soon have a defined climax and cliffhanger at the end.
im planning to tackle the lenghty dialogue and descriptions next.
anyways, thanks again to everyone who read it. we'll see how the new beginning and ending fares...