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Thanks for taking a look at this story, Tweak. I should probably wait until you finish reading it to make some comments, especially when it comes to Mac.
I wrote this story way before I understand the difference between "spec" and "shooting" drafts, that's why you see camera directions, which have been eliminated from my newer stories (thanks to this site).
The story is starting to slow down for me. I am on page 86, and I am really not liking the dog scenes. I have two dogs, a Rott and a Chocolate Lab.
You misspelled Shepherd (think about their: job Sheep Herder). The dog is a working breed.
The kids being used for stealing is okay, but I just watched an old ep of Beauty and the Beast with the same plot line.
The middle seems to be just a weave of little subplots. These don't seem to really move the story along much. I am far enough now for a kids' movie, where I should know what the plot is about. As a kid's story you can get away with telling us more.
I think you have potentially good family story. I am thinking movie of the week: family channel, hallmark channel, and maybe Disney.
Bluecat read the whole story and therefore they are commenting on the whole thing. That's what Bluecat advertised and that's what you got. I have not read the whole script and won't. I've read the first few pages and there is no hook for me.
When introducing the Queen and Amun, the dialogue is without consequence. The mirror is introduced, but as a mirror. They did not have mirrors back then, in the sense that we have. The best they could do is present a highly polished metal, which I think would have been material to what you are writing. You could have easily had Amun running away from a burning temple, trip, the mirrors fly out, and a bird flies down and lands next to the mirror, and boom, two birds. The Queen is nothing. Amun's description of the mirror is nothing. The Queen's plight in the opening scene is nothing. What does that tell me? That the remainder of your story will be filled with things that can be ripped away in order to get at your story. But to get a vast majority of readers to keep your script on their desk and out of the trash, you must make the initial scenes mean something.
When you do introduce the mirror, the Queen looks at it without result, but when it's pointed at a bird, the bird is duplicated. Why is not the Queen duplicated when she "stares" at it? Don't tell me it only works on animals at this point, because you have already introduced the situation for me to question. Why? It seems like my simple trip and fall works quite well now. When you strip away all dialog, we see what the mirror does, and it's intriging. Wow, what's next?
If you must have a Queen, and mabye she shows up later (if she does not, then ditch her), then I feel your first scene dialogue is too freindly. The Queen is in trouble. You Amun said so. What you've done is set something up and you never paid it off. So make her in trouble. Have the place burning down around her and she doesn't know what to do. The middle class is pissed about taxes and all hell has broken loose. The Queen is desperate. She needs an answer. Then Amun brings her the answer. This will fix it. The box. The mirror. Right now it's all roses. Who gives a sh1t? Make the mirror do something meaningful here. Make it help her out, cause that's what Amun says will happen. Maybe she has some Egyptian baddies coming down on her Queen a$$ and Amun tosses her the mirror, says, use this! and Queen is like, what the phuck? What do I do with a phucking mirror, Amun? Then make it do something that saves her sorry a$$. What ever you do, make it conflict. A guy tripping and falling, casting his prized posession to the sand is conflict. Asking your 60 year old consult to come over and see the beautiful view is not conflict.
Then you super 1932 over the acient Egyptian scene. You do the same at the end of the next scene in the antique shop, to 1993, then again to the present. It's awkward. Put your super in the scene it's supposed to be in.
This antique shop scene is without consequence as well. What do I mean, now that I've said it twice? Why is this scene here? Probably to get it to the present. Why not have some kid dig it up on the beach? There is a reason for this scene, so make it meaningful. Make it another hook. Is the box like Amun's box, or is it Amun's box? Then he takes two mirrors out of the box, and the mirrors are identical to Amun's mirror. Are they Amun's mirrors? (you do the same thing on page eighteen) Why not have the antique dealer hold up Amun's box, then dialog, and the antique dealer takes out Amun's mirrors. You get away from saying "like" and "identical." Don't forget I'm watching a movie. When I sit in that seat, I don't give a shit about words "like" and "identical." If I see it again, I'm going to think it's the same one, so write it like that. You are not being mysterious using those words, you're only being confusing. The other point about saying they ARE them is because if there are more of these cool gadgets around, like the iPhone, who cares? It's no longer magical cause there are so many. I don't have to read more to find out. I should not have to. Now look at your shop keeper in this scene. His English is impeccable with his first line. All of a sudden in his third line, he's a dolt when it comes to English. It does not add up. You did not carry through your character and that was lazy and it shows.
Then you have the woman look at the mirror and she is skeptical. Then just a moment later you tell me she looks convinced. That is lazy. Just cause the guy says a few lines? It is not believable. But why is this scene without consequence? What does it do? Does the woman show up someday? No. Mrs. Richardson just says her mother picked it up. Her mother is no expert on Egyptian antquities is she? She was just a tourist. Is Mrs. Richardson an Egyptian expert? She acts like one when she gives away the mirror to Anthony. They don't need to know anything except that the mirror is pretty. In the antique scene, the Woman does not have to believe, she just buys it cause it's pretty. Then you don't have to say anything about the woman believing, she just asks "how much?" Boom, over.
Back to the mirror. If you described the mirror as polished metal when the Queen has it, and then showed the mirror doing something, then when the shop keeper picks it up a bazillion years later, it's tarnished. Metal does that. So that's the key. No reflection, no results. So since he's just a middle-eastern idiot shop keeper, he's not smart enough to polish it and release its secrets, so he sells it cheap. But you see the tarnished metal as the woman looks at it. What is attractive about the mirror, the frame. not the metal. she buys it because of the frame. That will propel the story. And then you'll get the mirror from Egypt to America without cloning every fucking cat and dog along the way.
Now when Mrs. Richardson hands it off, bam, still tarnished. I have not read the story further, but here is what I think about it....Anthony takes it home, he's in bed with a hot chick, he shows it to her, she's like cool, and she polishes it. Now you have reflection. The thing is activated now, like Microsoft Vista, but with cooler results, cause now Anthony has two hot chicks in bed. Wow! What a great picture! I can dig this!
Been reading scripts on these boards for a while, but this is the first time I’ve decided to actually post my thoughts.
There is extra dialogue that can come off sounding forced. For example, in the first page, when amun reminds the queen that he pledged his loyalty to her and her son before he warns her of danger. There is no reason why he would tell that to her.
A quick note on the names, capitalize them when you introduce characters that will speak. Also, not really sure why you are capitalizing random words in the dialogue.
I’m not really liking the part after Anthony runs away. How he finds out is well done, but the idea of the teacher not helping him back to his foster parents, letting him run off on his own, and giving him a mirror for good luck doesn’t ring true.
The idea behind the mirror is really nice. I enjoyed the scene with him turning into the Chihuahua and the seagull.
It’s weird talking about implausibility in a story that deals with a magical mirror, but you have a lot of coincidences in here that occur too neatly. For example, the black woman finding Anthony to direct him to exactly the right pay phone. Mac getting out of jail( right when Anthony leaves with the mirror. And the reasoning of why Mac was arrested was pretty flimsy.
Anthony’s dialogue never feels consistent. Sometimes it seems as if he is much older than thirteen and sometimes much younger from the way he talks and the way people treat him.
Also, how does Mac know who Anthony is? What he looks like?
Some of the dialogue gets a bit hokey. Read it aloud to yourself and if you don’t like it or cant imagine it being said then it probably needs to be changed. For example page 58 “…you are evil and will do evil things with it.” Also, a lot of the characters tend to have preachy, life lesson dialogue at certain points. Like the homeless women talking about why she is homeless. If you’re going to have philosophy in a dialogue it better be powerful and used sparingly otherwise it wont come close to sounding realistic.
Didn’t like the scene with the Lion and the gambling man and his family. The man gets scared by a lion in the house and suddenly he changes? I dunno, too weird, illogical.
Kathryn’s business card was a nice touch in terms of calling her from the hospital. Anthony’s Dad (foster parent), Kathryn, Jenny, William, and Andy are never really developed. They’re pretty much there for the sake of being there rather than having their real place in the world (hope that makes sense). This also is true with the Mirror. There is no explanation behind the mirror beyond the brief intro. This is important because this basically turns into a kid adventure movie running away from bad guys and such with a gimmick, which in this case is the mirror. Don’t know if you wanted that or not.
Overall, nice idea with the mirror, but it would be better served in a different way I think.
Hey, I just started reading and so far I'm intrigued, but I see several several SEVERAL problems, which if you intend to get this sent to the guy you were speaking about, I suggest you change immediately, so here are my notes so far:
You use up too much space with character aging and what not.
You used an entirely different line of description to just say he is in his 60's. Just say when we first introduce Hapshetsut (30's) And just say AMUN, (60's) That saves you more space then you'd think.
On the first page, you gotta try and show us why Amun looks worried, I mean it's no big deal in terms of writing, but given, "his eyes terrace the valley" it may be hard to tell why he looks worried.
A couple of grammatical errors in dialogue, not really that big a deal, but as you said, you wanted to really make this good to the guy you're sending it to, so I'd proof read this first and fix all grammatical errors you find.
On page two, when Amun describes the mirror, you don't capitalize the descriptions of the mirror unless it's actual scene description, since it's dialogue, you don't do that unless there's emphasis on those words.
Page three, I liked this scene, the whole speech about the mirror and then cut to 3 dollars, I laughed, but my history is a little off, was three dollars much back in 32 or is it still considered cheap?
Page four, you forgot to capitalize extra characters. You always gotta capitalize extras so they'll know for casting that they need those people.
Page five, once again, too much wasting words with age, (40's) that's it.
ALSO, the years of hardship have consumed her once pretty face. That is what we call a cheat. You're telling us, SHOW us. With scene description you have to be as objective as possible, through looking at her, how are we supposed to know that the years of hardship have done anything to her? You have to be objective, write down what we're supposed to see, that is all.
Capitalize the characters' name. ANTHONY, (13) Not Anthony is 13, that is not how you ever introduce your main character.
A minor note, but I think Why not would sound better.
Page 6, I hate teenagers sometimes specifically for that bit of dialogue, "Oh my God! Mom relax!" Very realistic dialogue, kind of a jump from "I just don't" if you ask me though. But hey, some people are edgy. In which case, I'd recommend making sure we can see that she's not just an angry woman.
"The only thing your dad and I can offer you," is the proper use for that bit of dialogue, but I don't know if that's just me or not.
Page 8, later we will know them as etc. We WILL know them later, why are you telling us now? Once again, be objective, unless we can see we will meet them later, don't tell us. Since we DO see them later on, put your character descriptions there, and give them their names in that scene, don't say we'll know them later on as etc, know what I mean bud?
Page 9, Mrs. Richardson, his old teacher. Objective, objective, objective man. Through dialogue or actions, we'll see she's his old teacher, don't tell us.
Page 13, David is an asshole, how the hell does Mary stay with someone so God awful to say such a thing I wonder. Haha, no this was good, I liked this scene. Very profound, and now you've added some more spice, so now we can see something else is going on, with who the man behind the money really is.
Page 14, when did the scene end? She runs inside, ANTHONY'S BED IS EMPTY.
INT. ANTHONY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Mary runs in, Anthony's bed is empty.
That is how you would write it out.
Also, don't put dialogue into scene description.
Page 15, look, at this point, all I can say is, just work on descriptions better. Trust me, use the proper format and you will save yourself so much time ultimately.
Page 20, don't underline words, italicize or capitalize, underline is something you don't use.
And that was as far as I could go before work started again. So when I come back from work I'll finish up and give you my entire log of notes.
But from what I've read so far, I've been left with a large sense of mystery, and curiosity. I think you've really worked hard on this screenplay and it shows, and I, for one, enjoyed reading what I've read. So I'll get back to you when I come back in a few hours, but PLEASE, I strongly urge you to fix up on what I've told you.
awesome story dude.....just finished reading it..............i am not a script writer but i really really liked the story....adventure,courage,freindship and ofcourse the good old lost and found drama....good stuff......
Thanks for the read, Lost, and I'm glad you liked the story. And I just also realized there were 3 more feedbacks that I completely missed and I'm VERY sorry, BigK, I work at Halls, and Randy... I have been away from these boards for a while, that's the only reason I never responded, but the reads are very much appreciated and your comments were excellent and it will help me make this story a better read.