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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    My Work In Progress  ›  Lost Cub Moderators: bert
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Cooper
Posted: June 1st, 2018, 2:24am Report to Moderator
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This is the first draft of a survival feature I've been working on. So far I've gotten pretty positive feedback but I wanted to open it up and hear what you guys think.

LOST CUB - A wilderness diversion program was supposed to get a group of juvenile delinquents to grow up. Unfortunately growing up means surviving a predatory bear.

It's a super quick read at only 66 pages. I figured might be smart to get feedback before I really dig in further.


Am I on the right track with THIS ? Let me know.
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DanQ
Posted: June 2nd, 2018, 2:08pm Report to Moderator
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I read it and it is well written. Some thoughts on it:

I thought the mentor and Kyle were your best characters, they are somewhat flawed as people but not too much leading to me rooting for them the whole time. I like pretty much everything that takes place in the woods and how the story played out as far as attacks and reaction to the attacks. So I thought the main story was very good, moved quickly and was really nicely paced.

I think the biggest issue I had was until the end and we see the circumstances that led Dante to be how he is, which provoked a little sympathy for Dante, we aren't really rooting for your hero throughout the whole screenplay. He has no redeemable quality to make us root for him through the first 45 pages and then the flashbacks do garner some sympathy but not enough to fully change the feelings toward him.

The cast of characters remind me of the season of The Wire with the four kids which I think may be the best single season of any show ever, and how in that season we were rooting for all four of those kids the whole time, incredibly rooting for them. I know you need to keep it realistic with their characters being rough but I think that aspect of the screenplay could use work. I would cut back on the flashbacks and beef up the activity in the woods as well.

Just my opinions and very good first draft.

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DanQ  -  June 2nd, 2018, 8:21pm
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Cooper
Posted: June 2nd, 2018, 9:43pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the great feedback, Dan.

That seems to be the general consensus about Dante. I definely wanted a non traditional protagonist but it seems like I need to find a way to make him a little more relatable in the beginning. I think my hope was that you would see Dante through the same lense as the innocent cub on the early pages. Maybe that didn't connect as well as I was hoping.

About the Wire: I'm apparently a decade late to the party lol. Someone recommended it to me recently. Oh my gosh that show is so amazing. I've been binging hardcore over the past few days.






Am I on the right track with THIS ? Let me know.
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colkurtz8
Posted: June 4th, 2018, 11:48am Report to Moderator
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Cooper

Decent work here, man, I enjoyed the read and was engaged throughout. I love your unfussy, streamlined writing style. You don’t get bogged down in leaden prose or speechifying dialogue. Even the didactic Mr. Jackson is kept to a minimum and doesn’t overdo to as he could’ve easily had.

I think there needs to be more time in the set up of the other characters, even if it’s just a brief introduction as to how they ended up in the forest (think Sorcerer or Down By Law) particularly Kyle who we never really find out enough about and he’s an important character.

Having said that, I dug the smash cut from the city to the forest.

I liked how you balanced the humour with genuine pathos and nasty kills. You blended tones well, not an easy feat to pull off. There was some nice moments of levity, real moments of bonding and it got mean when it needed to.

The ending (epilogue really) is a little too neat and feels hastily thrown together. You can keep the general outline of it; Cops (and us the audience) making stereotypical judgements before finding out Dante is reformed, just the mechanics of it didn’t seem believable. I’d suggest giving it more thought.

I reckon some people will have a hard time with Dante as he is not immediately the most likeable person, he’s a bit of a thug, stubborn and combative but I like how you went all the way with him and didn’t try to compromise who he was too much, pandering to the reader in order to make him more likeable“.

To me, there is nothing worse, and more phony, when a film is clearly trying to garner your sympathies for their “edgy”, “flawed” main character by showing them to be actually decent at every turn.

It’s very much a “having your cake and eating it” scenario I feel. They want the unpredictability and audaciousness of an anti-hero while still trying to appease those who need their protagonists to be good people...which unfortunately is most viewers.

Without digressing too much, a prime example of this is Fruitvale Station. A film with a clear agenda about a real life story of the last 24 hours of a black guy who was shot by a police officer on New Year’s eve...The problem (for the film's morally righteous compass) is he was a drug dealer. Hence, it spends every possible opportunity reinforcing the idea that the guy was a solid dude so your heartstrings will be tugged to the max when he gets, albeit wrongly, shot. It feels so contrived and manipulative, especially since it’s supposed to be a true story. Yet many of his good deeds depicted throughout that day are evidently fabricated because they were no witnesses...I’m talking about you cradling-a-dying-dog-in-his-arms scene.

Anyway, here thankfully, you show Dante in an unflattering light and don’t shirk away from it. The guy is a scumbag but that’s why he’s in the forest in the first place, right? It’s a program for delinquents.

Not only do you show why he is the way he is via flashbacks but we witness his personal growth, not straight away but gradually, and not without some setbacks and regressions along the way, due to the ordeal he endures in the forest. It felt believable and true to your convictions which is even more a testament to your characterisation since he had to evolve from such a polar opposite.

You’ll see in my page by page notes that I had some narrative issues, some logical discrepancies, a few decisions made that didn’t make sense but I believe they can be remedied without too much trouble.

Overall this was impressive work, a solid effort.

p.s.: If this should ever be picked up, find out the name(s) of the person(s) who did the bear scene in The Revenant. Demand the studio hires them!

Col.


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Cooper
Posted: June 5th, 2018, 12:30am Report to Moderator
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You have me some really good notes here and in my email. Thanks for the kind words and the read (You're right, not everyone has gotten what I'm trying to do with Dante. I'm glad you saw it).

I'm going to have some feedback on your scripts in a few days!


Am I on the right track with THIS ? Let me know.

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Cooper  -  June 8th, 2018, 11:03am
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colkurtz8
Posted: June 6th, 2018, 3:28am Report to Moderator
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Cool, glad you got something out of them.


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