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Really cool idea for a script. This is very original, and the storyline works well. The thing that impressed me most is how you took things like homelessness, child neglect and abuse and managed to turn it into an adventure story. The mirror is a great device to give the story some excitement and fantasy.
Also, I liked the multiple plot outlines. There was always new information that helped connect the whole story together. You have a very good understanding of the visual medium. This could definately be filmed for someone like Disney. There would need to be a few rewrites to tighten things up, but for the most part it's a solid story. It's relatively low budget except for all the animal wranglers.
Lastly, I would have liked to have seen a connection bringing the pharoah's wife, the aunt who bought the mirror, and Anthony together. Maybe some mystical family line of Egyptians. Good script, and keep up the good work.
" Lastly, I would have liked to have seen a connection bringing the pharoah's wife, the aunt who bought the mirror, and Anthony together. Maybe some mystical family line of Egyptians "
Luke, thank you so much for reading the script and for the input. The point you brought up about linking Anthony to the past history of the mirror sounds like a great idea. Would add more of a mythical feeling to the story. Thank you again
JD_OK, thanks for your comments, and I promise to read your script in the near future, but at this point of time I am working on a writing project that I might actually get paid from ..FINALLY!! I sent a synopsis to a story I'm working on to a friend who sent it to her boss (a big shot producer) who contacted me and showed great interest in the story, that's why I've been working day and night trying to come up with something decent to show this guy... Regarding your input on the errors (cut to, dissolve to and We..etc...) I know and totally respect the majority of opinions on this site that are against camera directions. But I truly don't understand why are they against it?... in my humble opinion, a writer should use any medium available to make his subject a clear and pleasant read, camera directions are not a distraction, again in my opinion... How else would you tell the reader to concentrate on someone's finger, for example, if you don't write CLOSE ON finger? How would you alert the reader that the scene is over unless you CUT TO a different scene? People say it's a distraction, because the writer is NOT a director and it's not his job to direct the camera unless it's a shooting draft. but I think the writer IS a director. the writer is, after all, the creator of these characters that never existed before and now he brought them to life. I don't know man, that's just my opinion, maybe I'm wrong, let me know what you think.
JD_OK, thanks for your comments, and I promise to read your script in the near future, but at this point of time I am working on a writing project that I might actually get paid from ..FINALLY!! I sent a synopsis to a story I'm working on to a friend who sent it to her boss (a big shot producer) who contacted me and showed great interest in the story, that's why I've been working day and night trying to come up with something decent to show this guy...
Regarding your input on the errors (cut to, dissolve to and We..etc...) I know and totally respect the majority of opinions on this site that are against camera directions. But I truly don't understand why are they against it?... in my humble opinion, a writer should use any medium available to make his subject a clear and pleasant read, camera directions are not a distraction, again in my opinion...
I understand where you are coming from. But I was truelly informed by a REAL proffessional screen writer (my consultant) That ANY SPEC script just needs to tell the story, no camera angles and we hear stuff. You can get the point across on how you words things.
People say it's a distraction, because the writer is NOT a director and it's not his job to direct the camera unless it's a shooting draft. but I think the writer IS a director. the writer is, after all, the creator of these characters that never existed before and now he brought them to life. I don't know man, that's just my opinion, maybe I'm wrong, let me know what you think.
It truely is a distraction, now I dont know if you have been around the these forums alot reading other scripts. But if you read and read dozens scripts, you just wanna imagine the story by the words. Having to stop to read. Ex: Betty takes her purse and places it next to her. PAN TO THE RIGHT, A HOLE IS PRESENT MONEY FALLS OUT
Bettytakes her purse and places next to her. Unknowly, money falls out a hole from the purse.
I hope this helps you.
One thing I hope you dont do is include camera direction to your producer. IT IS THE MARK OF AMATEUR. Trust me. Everyone will tell you the same as you can already see.
Sounds good, let me know when you will get time. At the point Ill look it over.
No he ain't. The director is a director. And when you put "CLOSE ON" or something like that, you are telling him how to do his job. And he won't like it.
What you do is imply the shots you envision through the words you choose:
"John examines his finger. Blood oozes from the cut."
The reader will SEE a CLOSE ON finger without your telling them explicitly.
Having said that, I opened the file looking for transgressions of this sort and actually found very few. The constant FADE IN and FADE OUT should really go. That's a for sure thing. I assure you that it is a distraction.
For an experienced reader, a new slug line implies a new scene. Your FADES are only clutter on the page and wasted space.
And it's a shame -- because the remainder of the script looks pretty professional -- so lose those fades that imply an amateur writer at work.
I also saw plenty of "we see". I am of the opinion that very, very sparing use is OK -- but plenty of people will tell you even one is way too many. There are very few sentences that cannot be rearranged to get rid of the "we see", and you should go back through this story and do it wherever you can.
I did spot a slug that reads "SEAGULL P.O.V.", and I think something really weird like that does demand a special slug. There are no rules that are written in stone -- but you should adhere to spec script conventions as much as you can -- and save the "bending of rules" for special occassions that truly demand it.
I have started reading your script. Up to page 67.
I am really enjoying this one. The mirror magic is neat and I like how you play around with and create some great moments with the concept eg; anthony turn into dog to beg for food, turn into lion to stop a domestic violence crime.
Out of all your scripts I have read so far, this one seems to really fit your mild and inoffensive writing style and ideas. With this script your style has a gentle, warm feel to it that enriches this childrens' tale.
With all your scripts the format is spot on. You forgot to introduce a few character names in up case. Your plot structure is solid and well excuted. You set up the plot turning points introduce villian and drama at just right the moment to keep the story interesting and keept me wanting to know what will happen next.
Just a few comments.
Some of the dialouge is just little bit to obvious with your intentions.
page 46 I started to suspect that William is the five hundred dollar man. it is very glaring and obvious, I wrote this first and by 67 I was right. So predictable and not a surprise.
Page 48, the explaination for death of Katlyn's baby is big a chunk of exposition. exposition sucks. it is boring to read and slows up the story. Why not just have katlyn say something like "we lost our baby while hiking. "A freak accidnet involving a cougar . . ." That's all you need and the vaugeness intrigues your audience. Much better then ham fisted exposition.
I love the scene where Anthony is cornered on the roof top and when he falls off, he escape death by "somehow" flash mirror at pigeon and turn into one, it is a over the top, unrealistic, bull shit scene and I love it. Most people here will scoff at a scene like that but not me. If your gonna make me suspend my disbelife you might as well as go the full hog. that's the beauty of story.
So i got to go back to writing my own script now and will review the rest as soon with in the next couple of days.
thanks again for the review Tonka, and I hope you like the rest of the story...
I'll make sure to read your new script when you finish.
my mild and inoffensive writing? Not sure what this means exactly, and even though I know dialouge is not my biggest talents, I try to make it fit with the character...but it's something to think about in the future...Onething though, I ran this story by one of those script doctors and their biggest problem was the "offensive" language or profanities that were in, since the target audience is the younger crowd, so I had to go in and clean it up a little...
Page 48 and the death of the child, I was trying to show Kathrin's uncertainty about the death of her baby...if she "knows" for sure that a Cougar killed the baby then we'll have a problem, because the baby is Anthony...
Glad you like the "off the top" scene when Anthony is cornered...I think scenes like that in Fantacy movies are perfectly normal...
So the whole motivation for killing anthony and making him become an orphan was pure greed. there you go.
The second part of your script was a little lose compared to the first half. The whole hero turn into duck, captured by Jack and have to rescue orphan thieves was more of a misadventure, a situation that is independent from the main story. It's a great scene but in the third act of your story it's not a good idea to be setting up new plotlines. The first half is so busy setting up the mystery of anthony's real parents that this scene with jack disrupts the forward momentum of your story and adds another twenty pages you don't need.
Also felt there was way to much exposition. Mother explain the whole deal in thick paragraph size dialouge. That annoys the crap out of me. It needs to simplified and show it. Not sure how.
But other then that this was an enjoyable story. The way the mirror is used in story is imaginative and exciting. Loved the scene when two people get caught up in mirror magic and turn into gorilla and have a big ape punch up, That was gold.
I just started it, and I am liking it. There are problems with spelling and formatting. There are some action sequences that can be implied.
Thanks for writing an interesting story. Finally, a feature length screenplay that is interesting and engaging. I have been hunting for a good unproduced feature length one to read for days.
I am about half way through your script now. The story concept is strong enough to keep the pages turning. But there are some definite problems:
1) filler scenes (how many scenes do you need to show that Anthony is a good character?) 2) Mac -- this character I have a hard time handling; I am not sure what he adds to the story. Think about cutting him out. 3) long dialogue -- there are places, where you think this is a play, not a screenplay. Look to tighten these up. A few is okay. Also, there will be times where the actor will change your lines anyway. 4) sometimes too much acting direction -- while we like to limit camera stuff to only the bare minimum, we also like to limit direction for the actors. Like the director, the actors need some freedom to interpret the character. If you cannot figure it out in the dialogue, then throw in some pointers. 5) weak character names -- the story is intriguing, experiment with character names 6) tons of characters -- how many characters do you need to tell this story? There are a lot of scenes with extras that can just be cut. 7) camera direction -- while I am not opposed to it, limit it to when it drives the story. Your job is to tell a great story; the director's job is show it with a camera.
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 Iíve 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.
Iím 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 doesnít ring true.
The idea behind the mirror is really nice. I enjoyed the scene with him turning into the Chihuahua and the seagull.
Itís 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.
Anthonyís 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 donít like it or cant imagine it being said then it probably needs to be changed. For example page 58 ďÖyou are evil and will do evil things with it.Ē 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 youíre going to have philosophy in a dialogue it better be powerful and used sparingly otherwise it wont come close to sounding realistic.
Didnít 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.
Kathrynís business card was a nice touch in terms of calling her from the hospital. Anthonyís Dad (foster parent), Kathryn, Jenny, William, and Andy are never really developed. Theyíre 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. Donít 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.