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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2019 -  One Week Challenge  ›  The Option - OWC
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  Author    The Option - OWC  (currently 1026 views)
Don
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 12:54am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Option by Rudolph Valentino - Short, RomCom - A writer falls for a woman he meets in a bookstore, but a series of complications prevents them from connecting. - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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StevenClark
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 2:38pm Report to Moderator
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Writer,

Pretty decent. A little overwritten and I thought that would take me out but it didn’t. A real life kind of tale with extra sappy on the side. Like that she met him at the restaurant he was waiting tables at — nice touch. Could’ve done without the actual dialogue of them talking over each other. I skimmed that. Also did not like the option/screenwriter angle. Could’ve been a little more creative there.

Overall, it worked. Good job.

Steve


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Dreamscale
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 3:27pm Report to Moderator
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Opening passage strangely written.  You could have set the scene so much better, so easily.

Although the dialogue is mostly quite good, it's a little heavy for me.

OK, on Page 5, and again, I think the dialogue is well written.  The setup, although fairly well traveled ground, works as it's intended to here.  Downside for me so far, is that other than the cardboard cutout, the characters are supposed to be (and are), I don't see much life here and am pretty sure where we're headed next.  Let's see...

Page 7 - we're still inside the bookstore, but Becca's not.  You need a new Slug here.

Again, we're in cliche land to the max, but, again, for some reason, it seems to work and I now have interest in both Josh and Becca, so good job on that!

"EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING - CONTINUOUS
The shrill sound of Becca’s scream can be heard out in the
parking lot. It can probably be heard three states over." - Personally, this is completely unnecessary, but I bet some will actually like it.

Page 9 - Although both dialogue boxes work great...they don't together...at all.  Choose one to go first, or have one stop mid sentence and let the other finish, then go into theirs.  It would work so much better.

I actually really like the ending with the single dollar bill option pickup, but the final sentence needs to go, as it's anticlimactic.

This is good.  It's cute, it hits off the parameters and you actually got me liking both characters, and that's tough to do.  Well done!

****


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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James McClung
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 3:38pm Report to Moderator
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First one for me. Easy dip into the OWC pool.

Well written. Smooth. Flows nicely.

Decent dialogue, but a little too writerly for my taste in spots. Maybe a little hurried and invasive as far as moving the plot along. But not bad and often strong.

A very responsible entry. Cozy fit for typical expectations of the genre. All the beats are there and carry appropriate dramatic weight. But very vanilla. Not sure how memorable it will be amidst so many other entries.

The scream on pg. 8 was a bit much. As were the tears during the climax. They've only just met. In fact, I think the stakes were adequate prior to both these elements.

Personal pet peeve of mine. Not a fan of screenwriter characters. They tend not to carry a story or be particularly interesting, even as someone of a screenwriter persuasion myself (sometimes they're not interesting in real life either). In the interest of not simply throwing negatives your way, I think it would've helped for Josh to pitch, say, a favorite movie, favorite genre, vision of what an ideal film is or what it does to people -- something simple/palpable to connect with a layperson who doesn't necessarily know a whole lot about film.

Will end on a positive. I appreciated the approach to Logan's character. He did seem slightly more realistic than usual for the kind of archetype he fills, or at the very least not completely loathsome/braindead. There was a specificity to his dialogue and references that made him a little more grounded. He even knew the name of a restaurant his girlfriend enjoys. I mean, he has to be at least somewhat competent to find himself by Becca's side, as opposed to ranking up antagonist points for the sake of the audience no matter.

Not much to grip about here, really, other than I think you played it a little too safe. Fine entry. Good job.


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ReneC
Posted: February 3rd, 2019, 4:32am Report to Moderator
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This is quite good. It's very well constructed, you set everything up and paid it all off nicely, like a well-tied bow. Congrats on that.

Josh comes off a little creepy at first, really trying to hit on women in a bookstore. That creep factor doesn't quite go away, and he's awfully presumptuous to leave a note for her knowing she has a boyfriend. But, hey, I've often said take risks in love and cooking, so I'll buy that.

The only part that didn't quite jive for me was returning to the bookstore and looking for each other. It made me question how much time had passed, but then you indicate it had been days. Days later, and they both return to the bookstore ten minutes apart and immediately look for each other like that would ever happen? That's a big coincidence, and it seems unreasonable that they would actively look for each other.

Overall, a really good entry, even if it does seem a little too writerly. Well done.


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Warren
Posted: February 3rd, 2019, 4:35am Report to Moderator
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Hi Writer,

So we have a stock-standard rom com here. It's as rom com as a rom com gets.

The set up is ripped straight out of the Netflix show You, other than the stalker angle, but that's what was good about You, the angle. This is too safe for me, it feels like you can write this genre and write it well, but then didn't really push the envelope.

Very well written, cute sentiment, and excellent dialogue.

One of the better ones so far for sure.

All the best.


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LC
Posted: February 3rd, 2019, 5:22am Report to Moderator
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It's pretty good but a bit quiet and lacking in personality for me - the characters, I mean.

I know Hugh Grant and Tom Hanks are getting on now but they always distinguished themselves in RomComs - foppish, bit clumsy, modest, cracking a joke, a funny look or sight gag. This needs more of that to elevate it and bring it more to life imho.

Bradley Cooper, maybe?  

And what's with the scream? Way too over the top. I had to see if something happened to her on the next line.

Everything's nice but a bit sedate and not exactly jumping off the page with energy and passion.

Definitely one of the better ones but I'd inject more rom and com into it.

Red, chocs, flowers, passable.


Short Fuse OWC Writer's Choice
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eldave1
Posted: February 3rd, 2019, 4:51pm Report to Moderator
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Lose the SCREAM

Lost the lengthy dual dialogue

Otherwise - a very nice bit of writing here. I enjoyed it. Solid job!


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: February 3rd, 2019, 11:02pm Report to Moderator
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Good job! In the spirit of the challenge!

In the beginning, Bargain Books is used, but if you also add Used in the title, you can gain yourself some space.

I did think that the description of books haphazardly strewn about was off because Book Store People take care of books. Don't they?

I like Josh’s line about being highly unemployable. True that.

It’s chilly. Very few people are out. Chilly as in -40 Celsius with a wind chill on top chilly? We’re you’ve got to walk around with a face mask chilly?

>She probably needs a leash on Logan...  

Check the Clerk’s dialogue on page 8 when she says, “She didn’t call?”  It reads like she’s on the phone talking when she asks the question without him actually saying anything.

This was very well done!  

Sandra




A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Vincent
Posted: February 3rd, 2019, 11:26pm Report to Moderator
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Needs better description, plus the dialogue blocks are too damn long. Like the characters, however. A standard rom-com.
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: February 4th, 2019, 9:59am Report to Moderator
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Hello writer

Just started this.

This starts how I would have expected a rom com to start - unlike a lot of what i have read - guy spots girl, likes girl, then they bump into each other and their worlds collide.

Dunno why, but really don't like it when screenwriters make their protagonist a screenwriter - I know advice out there is "write what you know", but every screenwriter knows what it's like to be a screenwriter. I hope it has some bearing on the story at least.

Ooo and the girl has a jerk boyfriend - proper Rom-Com stuff.

This is more like it - obstacles, drama - something other entries have been lacking.

Oh, they've bumped into each other twice - very rom-commy

Ok the screenwriting comes up again at the end, still don't like it though lol

Overall - Impressed, a proper Rom-Com. I'm not very far into my reads but this is on top so far, would be surprised if it isn't a contender for top score.

Matt


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khamanna
Posted: February 4th, 2019, 1:22pm Report to Moderator
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There's a lot of dialog at the beginning and I just can't imagine watching two strangers chat like that all of the sudden.

Especially if she has a boyfriend and seems to be invested in him. She calls him Romeo and all.

This one was very well written. The dialog was good although it was too much of it for me at the beginning. I'm not sure about the characters, neither stand out for me - Logan intentionally indifferent to everything in the world but himself, she's sweet - I'd call them a bit one-dimensional.

All in all a good entry, well written and fitting the challenge.
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irish eyes
Posted: February 4th, 2019, 3:02pm Report to Moderator
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This is your typical ROMCOM and one of the few that executed well.
The story itself not highly original but at the same time enjoyable.

I like how you brought it full turn when she crashes into him with at the plates.

Very well written and one of my favs..

Good job on entering


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Philostrate
Posted: February 4th, 2019, 7:02pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Writer,

I'm just a few scripts in but yours jumped right to the top of my list. You stuck to the standards and did a pretty good job. The idea isn't too original but the option angle was entertaining. I really liked how you handled the dialogue and the interactions. Very well done. My only gripe is that the humor was light and sparse.

Anyway, it’s pretty solid and I enjoyed it.

Good job!


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_ghostwriters
Posted: February 5th, 2019, 12:09am Report to Moderator
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To coin a phrase I am sure you are familiar with, "The Force is strong in this one."

Herein lies the problem,  a lot of romantic comedies aren't that concept-y, so it has to be in its execution.   And I think you've done that here.  It's very straight forward.

Paraphrasing here. It's like sound dating advice: take the initiative: approach her, get her number, call her, ask her out, pick up the check, kiss her.  I've known guys who don't do this, and I've known ones that do... and trust me: the sooner you become the guy who does, the better your dating life will be.   

Forgive the analogy writer.

Is the script perfect, no, but I'd only be nit-picking.

Kudos for finishing


"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

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Grandma Bear
Posted: February 6th, 2019, 10:27am Report to Moderator
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Page 1.   A bit prosey start for my taste.

Page 2.   Is this about simply scripts members?

Very talky.

Page 3.   And jocks are always a-holes, of course...

Page 6.   Why does Becca go back to the bargain bookstore and look for P & P? I mean, I know why you wrote this, but I mean logically. If she wanted the book, why not just buy it instead of going to a bookstore over and over to just look at it.

Finished.

Everything about this is standard middle of the road stuff and cliche. Yes, it works, but is predictable and dull. IMO, at least. Sorry if I seem cranky. Maybe I am.

As far as the writing goes, I would suggest trying to think in terms of shots. This is supposed to be seen after all. Not read about how people feel and such. The prose and dialogue could both be trimmed a lot, IMHO.

So, not bad, but nothing memorable either. Don't hate me. Nothing personal.  

Having looked at the other comments here, you should be happy with what the others have said and maybe ignore me.


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PKCardinal
Posted: February 7th, 2019, 6:30pm Report to Moderator
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The bad: Logan. Too one-dimensional. Makes me question Becca because she's with him. I realize you've only got 10 pages, but, something different here would help.

Count me as one who dislikes screenwriting characters. I've written them myself... and in hindsight, I wish I didn't.

The good: I actually like a lot of what you've done. I'm down with it as a romcom. A bit more comedy might help, but I personally like romcom humor that's more clever than over the top, so, you're close.

I like the standard romcom near misses. Sure, every one has them, and they're cliche, but, in this case I enjoy the cliche.

Well done.


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Cam Gray
Posted: February 8th, 2019, 5:03pm Report to Moderator
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Hey the writer,

Sorry to say this one didn’t really surprise, nor were the chocolates or flowers used in any creative way.

Girl meets guy, girl is going out with bellened, girl and guy fancy each other, a mix up happens, girl and guy start seeing each other, girl turns out to be a guy, labradoodle accidentally dies in a horrific golf cart accident...okay, I made those last two up but you get the idea.

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly amazing either,

Cam


Stuff I've done:
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Rebecca Wong Is Not Happy https://tinyurl.com/y97zwyhc
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DaveTroop
Posted: February 9th, 2019, 4:31pm Report to Moderator
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Trust your first impression.

My first impression was I think I’m going to like this. Then I thought ,this is really good.
By the time I finished, your script was a fav.

I don’t mind screenwriters as characters at all. I know a lot of them.
I liked how you worked in the story of the option for a dollar, then circled back to it at the end.  
Damn, that was good.

Is it too coincidental in spots?  Yes, but, this is a romcom, after all.

I thought the characters were realistic and the dialogue was well written.

Very good job.  

Thanks for entering.
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Spqr
Posted: February 11th, 2019, 2:23pm Report to Moderator
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It's a solid story, but neither of the leads had to do much to "win" the other. In the end, it was pure luck that they came together.

Josh's opening gambit should be challenged. Either Josh is just another bullshitter or else he's a lit major, because Becca has never come across a guy who said they'd read "Pride and Prejudice." So Becca asks him to offer up one of the "billion misconceptions." He happily complies, pleasing Becca. Before they can get better acquainted, Logan sticks his ugly head in and literally drags Becca out of the store, tossing the book she was holding onto the front counter with the comment that she already has enough books.

When Becca loses Josh's phone number, it's up to her to track him down. And she has two clues: he's a substitute teacher, and a waiter. After finding out where he works, maybe the first thing she does is dump her overly possessive and aggressive boyfriend by setting him up with an acquaintance who's hot and a slut.
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Conz
Posted: February 14th, 2019, 11:29am Report to Moderator
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Why do I feel like a ton of rom coms feature a book store?

This is just me, but some of my least favorite types of characters are ones that would bond over a shared knowledge of literature.  Here’s our meet-cute, let’s burst right into trivial conversation about old books… it fits the setting, and I’m a moron, but still.

Oh no, he’s a screenwriter… Maybe it’s just me, but every amateur writer loves writing a character who is also an amateur writer.  We all do it.  I’ve done it.  We’re not that interesting.

God, I’ve actually said these words to a girl before too.  Like literally said “I optioned a screenplay – that’s something.”  I didn’t say it within the first few minutes of meeting her, but I said it, and it’s making me cringe.

… jesus Christ, even the money aspect.  I HATE this guy… but don’t worry, it’s mostly b/c I hate myself.  

I mean, they have a common hangout.  Even if she lost the note, I’m not feeling the severity of it, b/c she can just go back and initiate the Clerk.  It’s a minor setback at best.

Oooofff, huge dual dialogue.  I get it, but I’ve never seen that done to that scale.

Cute final note, but this entire script felt like it was written by a “Random Rom Com Generator.”  Is that a good thing?  Possibly, as it’s a rom com challenge, but there was basically nothing here that was fresh.  If you told me this was a segment from an old movie I watched a decade ago I could be convinced “Oh yeah, I remember that now.”

You hit all the beats of a romantic comedy – change meeting, setback, douche boyfriend, literally bumping into each other… but it just wasn’t rewarding.  

Still one of the better ones.


I'd list my "work" here, but I don't know how to hyperlink.  

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jayrex
Posted: February 14th, 2019, 11:55am Report to Moderator
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Excellent story.  Enjoyed it thoroughly.  The ending was also really good.  Ties in well with the title and Josh's history.  I did think of an alternative location for the ending before I reached the ending.  I had thought if she was going to use the book store as the place to pass on her message.

All the best.


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AnthonyCawood
Posted: February 15th, 2019, 5:14pm Report to Moderator
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I was unsure with the first couple of pages, felt a tad over-written and a little bit predictable with one of those annoying coincidences driving the narrative.

But then she goes and loses the note and you go and shift tack/gears somehow and it all comes together really well.

I really enjoyed it - good job writer!


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
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Gary Howell
Posted: February 20th, 2019, 5:20pm Report to Moderator
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Okay, i see others commenting on their own script so I’ll Throw in my two cents on what I wrote here. First of all, thanks for all the comments, good and bad, because I can take something from all of it. And I’m happy that some of you thought enough of it to make it in the top 6, so grateful for that as well.

Admittedly, this is as about as rom-commy as you can get without overdosing on saccharine. But that was by design. I wanted to write outside of my comfort zone, but my wife has made me watch enough rom-coms to know that they almost always have the standard tropes in there, and those somehow seem to work for the target audience.  So you have the “meet-cute,” the overbearing boyfriend, the near misses, the fateful meeting at the end that brings them back together.  So I took all these and tried to fit them into the 10 pages we had allotted. The original draft actually was almost 15 pages and so I was slashing like Freddy Krueger to get it down so as not to be DQ’d. That would have likely explained a little more of the story, but that’s for another day. I may try to rewrite this as a Hallmark feature, but put the setting elsewhere and do away not only with the bookstore, but also the egotistical boyfriend. Maybe Josh has a girlfriend that he likes, but it’s just not a good fit. Who knows.

But mainly I tied to stick to the challenge parameters, which is where a lot of writers in this contest fell astray.  I know it wasn’t for everyone, and I realize it was full of cliches at points, but I’m fine with it for what it was.  As to turning it into a Hallmark feature (which has to focus on a female lead, I’m told) I’m open to any suggestions you might have to make it work. Thanks again for the valuable comments!

Gary


My web site and scripts can be found here:

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MikeK
Posted: July 11th, 2019, 12:36pm Report to Moderator
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This was a fun read. Really enjoyed it. my one check to you would be: for non writers, how many people know what an optioned screenplay mean? While Becca may be a smart girl, it just didn't feel natural to me.

Overall I liked it a lot. Great stuff!


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