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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Action/Adventure Scripts  ›  Grid-Lock Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: August 31st, 2012, 4:19pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Grid-Lock by Gage Eggleston (asteroidjuice) - Action, Adventure - After their muggings prove unprofitable, two talentless crooks hatch a plan to purloin the very celebrities of their field: the bank robbers.  Through a series of robberies, betrayals, and killings, the two men find themselves in a greed-fueled blitzkrieg against an underground ring of bandits. - pdf, format


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Don  -  August 31st, 2012, 4:43pm
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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
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Hey Gage! I'm glad to see your script posted before I left.

I figured I would post a quick review as a side note to my previous read. It was an awesome and humorous story with some strong, colorful characters. The plot moves at a nice pace, a few hiccups here and there, but not that rough around the edges. Like I mentioned in PM, the third act needs some touch ups.

I would say if anyone is a fan of Kill Bill and Kick-ass, they will enjoy this read. Great job and thanks again for the early preview!

Johnny
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Gage
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Thanks M. Alexander and Johnny, appreciate your comments.  Johnny was kind enough to read the script before it was posted here and gave some really helpful feedback.

Thanks to the both of you,
Gage


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kingcooky555
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Finished it. I didn't get how the title fit the story.

The log line is a bit verbose. How about: Two bumbling crooks hatch a plan to purloin professional bank robbers, but things don't go as planned.

CHARACTERS
Simon and Murray have good chemistry and they set each other well to deliver their jokes/one liners. The only negative is that they are not the "traditional" likeable protags. For me, their arcs were Bumbling/poor crooks --> Would be Vigilantes --> Cop Killing Bad guys.

SIMON - I found Simon as the most "wus/wimpy" of the two. He can't shoot the gun, and can't let go of Naomi. In the end, I would have preferred if he was the one who shot Naomi. By him giving the gun back to Murray, he goes back to where he started. Part of his internal conflict is his cowardice/wimpy attitude. If the arc of these two protags is to make them Cop Killing Bad Guys, then Simon ought to have the guts to overcome his puppy love over Naomi and shoot her for her betrayal. As is, he ends up depending on his friend Murray to clean up his mess.

MURRAY - He didn't have much of an internal conflict. Maybe start with the cancer thing earlier and he struggles with this as the story develops. Then in Act 2, he has to somehow deal with this and reveal it to Simon.

PLOT
The setup is unique in that I don't recall a movie that has bumbling crooks stealing from professional bank robbers. I felt the Nellie robbery was too long. I think this is cuttable. I know this was inserted to show the protags' bumbling side, but as is, the setup is too long. I have the inciting incident on page 19, when Simon refuses to put down the cow (the eye contact thing).

The Nellie scenes was entertaining with jokes and good action, but it feels like filler and you can get to the real meat of the story and the inciting incident much faster.

I like how the protags have a list to kill. This naturally creates sequences in your story so that you have something to show every 10 minutes (kill someone off).

You allude to Murray's cancer in Act 3, but I did not see (or missed) where/when he went to the hospital to get diagnosed.

The action scenes are great. It does remind me of Kick Ass. Comedy throughout and then you have body parts/action stuff going on here and there.

Again, I would have preferred if Simon was the one who shot Naomi. I prefer my protags to be able to stand up on their own. In fact, I envision Murray giving Simon the gun and saying "Will you do the honor?" Or something like that, and then Simon shoots her.

THEME & CONCEPT
The concept of two bumbling crooks going after professional bank robbers is unique or I don't recall any recent movie like it. This is the irony aspect that you want to highlight in your logline and ideally in your title as well.

There's not much theme. It's a straight action/comedy flick so it might not be as important. But if you want to take this script to the next level, it's good to find a theme to harp on. It could be as simply as "Friends help each other overcome obstacles." Murray can help Simon overcome his cowardice and his obsession with Naomi so he can stand on his own. Maybe, Simon can help Murray overcome his battle with cancer (money for treatments and emotional support to deal with the cancer).

FORMATTING
Very well-formatted. You don't get bogged down on descriptions. You seamlessly move from one scene to another. You use mini-slugs well to describe the action. You really have some great ideas for action and show it well.

MARKETABILITY
It's a buddy comedy/action that has good humor and great action. There are some expensive explosions in this movie which might turn off some producers.

pg 2 - I think it should be Murray shooting the chip. I see Simon as the wimpier of the two. Also, won't shooting a chip destroy it completely?
pg 1-10 The Nellie scenes take up a lot of the first ten pages and it's rather long for a setup for the protags. I think this can be cut further to get to the real meat.
pg 16-17 - I think it should be Simon who's bumbled the bank robbery flashback
pg 19 - Simon refuses to kill cow. This is the incit. incident for me as it sets the duo off to their new adventure.
pg 20ish - The start of the rapturous and eye contact running joke. I like how you play this along throughout the story.

Overall, it's a good story as is. To take it to the next level, add more theme to it, and let Simon stand on his own in the end to complete his transformation.
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Gage
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Hey cooky,

Thanks for the incredible feedback.  I'll definitely be able to implement a lot of this in future rewrites.

I think the major problem I have when writing scripts is clarity.  Everything you said is extremely on point, I think I just have a hard time reading my material through the eyes of the audience.

As far as the title goes, it matches the "theme" that apparently I didn't make clear enough for a reader to pick up on.  The theme of the story is how everyone is out for themselves, willing to do whatever will make them successful.  In the process of this, they hold everyone else back, and as a result, hold themselves back as well.  That's where Grid-Lock comes in.  This is what Simon means when he talks to Naomi around page 66 or 67, "I would hold everyone back, so you and I can move forward."  The story is about good people becoming as bad as the enemies they loath.

I absolutely agree that Murray lacks conflict for most of the film (especially the first act).  He gets the brain tumor diagnosed off-screen (I wanted a big reveal), but he says he's going to get his head checked after their night of drinking.

The Nellie fight also does seem a bit long in retrospect, I'll have to trim.

As far as Simon giving the gun to Murray to shoot Naomi, I can definitely see where you're coming from.  I was going for a non-sequitur, and also to show that while Simon may seem like a villain now, he still has a human side (by the end of the story, I thought Murray was still okay but Simon was a total d-bag).

The twinkie shooting is unrealistic (it would probably blow the twinkie up), but I wanted to establish tone that the film wasn't going to be realistic at all.

Thanks for your read and feedback, cooky.  Glad I can make a ton of changes with your help.

Gage  


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As I go:

Page 3:  Casual homophobia from the main characters.  Not ideal.  Even if they’re schmucks.
The Twinkie gag is funny, but stretches credibility.  People hear gunshots, and report them, and so on.

Page 5:  The dynamic between Murray and Simon is confusing to me.  Murray’s the gung-ho one, Simon’s the more hesitant (and therefore) likable one, right?  Or that’s how we meet them, anyway.  But then on page 4, we have Simon educating Murray about crime, and on page 5, we have an equal-power scenario with Simon and Murray both having good perspectives on who to rob.  To me, it’s not clear enough where the differences between the two men lie, and what they mean for the movie and how the plot is going to progress.

Page 9:  I think you’re flirting with excessive un-likability with your two guys, here.  Tried to rob an old woman, it goes wrong, sure; stomps on her leg as he runs out the door?  I dunno.
The Clinton thing is funny.

Page 14:  It’s a very very ugly movie, so far.  Could use someone with a heart of gold…or something nice.  Naomi, the perfect feminine dream, isn’t gonna cut it in that respect, I don’t think.

Page 16:  Personal preference – don’t like the flashback for a quick gag.  Family Guy has ruined that sort of thing for another ten years at least.

Page 17:  “But I wanna get my life…”  Way too on-the-nose here with the obvious statement of objective.  We know as soon as they’re sitting on the couch with the Twinkie what this movie is going to be about.  No need to hammer us.

Page 18:  This scene is way too important to play on the phone.  Phone calls are boring to look at and should be avoided in films at most costs.

Page 20:  “We’re here, you have your coffee…”  We know.  We can see both of those things.
Do people use the term “renter”?  No-one that I know does.  Just curious.
“Can he do that?”  No, he can’t, obviously.  Don’t buy this additional incentive – don’t buy that Simon wouldn’t fight it, don’t buy that the landlord would try it.  Also, why do we have to hear it in a story, rather than seeing it?  A scene showing all this stuff happening would have fit in perfectly right before the cow scene.

Page 21:  “The money he wanted, I don’t make in two weeks…”  The money he wanted was rent, right?  I assume Simon doesn’t spend more than half a month’s pay on rent.  Now that I think about it, it doesn’t make sense that he has a house at all, really; he’d be in an apartment, wouldn’t he?

Page 22:  Again, gags about “ass-rape” tend to push Simon out of the potentially likable position his character should be in.  Even as a schmuck, I think Simon should have a little class.

Page 24:  Do they have the exact same mask?  Might get a bit confusing, visually.  Also, I think the president masks have probably been done enough.

Page 25:  FYI, you introduce Jason twice; first at the plant, then in the alley.

Page 26:  I don’t get it.  There are just a whole bunch of bank robbers that work together sometimes, and sometimes alone?  The news report said that there was no connection between Dillenburg (that’s probably too close to Dillinger, by the way) and the new robbery, so…I don’t know.  This “gang” of bank robbers seems a little odd.

Page 27:  If they drug ‘em, why blindfold ‘em?

Page 28:  Simon’s pretty easygoing about the killing part.  Even Murray is, although that kind of works.  The less Simon protests, the less we like him.  Part of this is that the stakes aren’t high enough for Simon.  He’s going to lose his house, so he’s willing to be involved in murder?  No way.  Not equivalent.  He needs to be in danger of losing something much bigger.
Speaking of stakes, Naomi was mentioned once and has disappeared; if she’s going to be a big part of the movie, she probably should have had a scene by now.

Page 34:  And here’s Naomi.  It seems to me, though, that she desperately needs to have been part of the first act.

***

Gotta bow out for now as I'm off to class; try to return for the rest ASAP.


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As I continue:

Page 35:  Naomi’s not working.  First of all, she’s annoyingly sarcastic, and we get the sense that we’re supposed to be interested in her largely because she’s beautiful.  Second, she’s just sitting there alone?  We’ve just been told she’s gorgeous (though I see this is addressed in dialogue, so maybe it’s the beginning of a good mystery).  The scene would be more fun, anyway, if Simon had to fight off another suitor.  Third, there is simply no gosh-darn way that Simon’s gonna land this woman that easily (unless she’s working as a mole or some such plot twist).  It’s so ludicrously easy that Simon should be suspicious of it himself – she goes from sharp sarcasm to the bedroom in about a page and a half.  Obviously there’s another element here, but it’s just all too ridiculous, in my opinion.  Besides, we wanna get to know her before they jump in bed.  Let’s see how Simon wins her over – let’s see what that spark used to be.  

Page 40:  It’s just all too fast.  Simon would be more suspicious as well.  I know, thinking with his dick/heart, but even so.  Part of the problem is that Naomi was introduced so late in the game.

Page 42:  “How did he make it into the group…”   I don’t get how this question is meant to play.  Dillenburg obviously knows the answer to that question; presumably, he chose Raleigh himself, or made the final call.  No matter how I read it, it seems decidedly un-slick from a very slick man.
“…hit on us, gentlemen…”  There’s a lady present; guys like Dillenburg I think do not miss these things?
“…are vigilantes…”  I think this is a less obvious conclusion than the entirely correct one; namely, that they were robbing Raleigh.  Isn’t that the clear conclusion to draw from the evidence Dillenburg has?  Is he supposed to be wrong, in this scene?  It seems odd for him to be wrong, but he is wrong…they don’t think they’re doing right.
Dillenburg as a whole isn’t working for you quite yet.  He doesn’t sound confident, smart, or elegant enough to command the respect that the script suggests he does.  A lot of his dialogue needs rewriting, in my opinion.  I’ll give one example here: “Men who think they do right, only to bring terrible wrongs upon themselves.”  This sentence’s logic doesn’t hold, or in particular, its two main ideas are not related, though the “only to” suggests that they are.  Men who seek to do right should expect to be the target of wrongdoers, but the “only to” suggests irony where no irony is present.  I harp on this only because a single slip-up for a character like Dillenburg completely undoes the character.  Another example would be “stripped Raleigh’s house of all its currency and possessions.”  This is a pronoun issue, suggesting that the house itself has possessions which were stripped from it.  The grammatical, and general, logic of Dillenburg’s sentences has to be perfect, or he won’t work.

Page 43:  (Most) banks aren’t open on Sunday, though the “orthodox” gag is funny.
Also, are we meant to understand that he robs a bank a month (as is suggested by the fact that they’ll get him this upcoming month)?  That seems a little unlikely.

Page 44:  See, the bank-robbing-gang thing doesn’t make any sense to me.  They’re a gang, but they all rob banks individually?  Do they then split the money?  That doesn’t make any sense.  But if they don’t split it, why are they a gang?  I’m confused.

Page 45:  Simon’s just right on board with killing, eh?  I dunno.  Really not likin’ the “good” guys too much (though I see you’re pushing the bad guys to be as bad as possible).  

Page 49:  Naomi is borderline character-less.  She should change the course of the scenes she’s in, or not be in them.  
By the way, the enthusiasm for movie references is appreciated!

Page 50:  Of course, if they don’t actually rob banks, then the news report which referenced five bank robbers earlier should have referenced three.

Page 51:  What about the car’s security guards?

Page 52:  Shoot the tires, Emerald.  If she has a rule about not killing, she wouldn’t consider it in the first place; therefore if she’s gonna pull her gun, she’s gonna shoot at the tires.  Or not pull the gun, and get outta the car.

Page 53:  “Put a bullet in her head…”  No, Pandolfi can’t say that.  Because if he hadn’t been busy talking, he coulda shot Simon and killed him.  He’s gotta just open fire.
Why’s he run for the magnum?  He’s got an assault rifle.

Page 54:  The woman is oblivious to the sound of gunfire?
To appear beside them, Simon would have had to run directly into/through/towards the line of fire.  Why didn’t he just shoot Pandolfi from the side?

Page 55:  Why doesn’t Emerald shoot him in the kneecaps, T2 style?  “I swear I will not kill anyone.”
The Pandolfi gag is funny, but he’s supposed to be a master gunfighter and he hasn’t noticed that the people he’s gunfighting with have been gone for fifteen/twenty seconds.  Doesn’t play.

Page 56:  Not buying (or liking) Emerald being a badass bank robber and also being in a shitty abusive relationship.

Page 57:  You let Simon off easy here.  He should have to make a more defined choice about shooting at the cops before the car gets slammed.  Does he raise his gun, or doesn’t he?

Page 59:  “Get me that gun.”  I like this a lot.  Great gag.

Page 61:  “…just like Hea-“  I don’t get the joke.  Why’s it cut off?
“Murray’s a different person when…”  We needed to see this right at the start of the movie.  And that’s probably too much pressure on the actor.  I think you need to find some business (action) that proves this.

Page 63:  A news anchor would not refer to vigilantes as “do-gooders.”
I feel at this point that the trio haven’t faced nearly enough conflict.  You’re building it up slowly, but we also need serious problems.  Emerald and Pandolfi shoulda kicked their asses.  Think Boondock Saints…look how many complications there are with all of those.  I think it’s safe to say that only one of the the second act sequences – usually the second – should go entirely right.

Page 64:  Why is Dillenburg surprised to see the Obama masks?  He’s obviously already seen them on TV.

Page 65:  The “sales call” line is funny, but directly contradicts his next line, “How did you get this number?”
She just name-drops Jason?  She’s gonna get him killed!

Page 66:  “I keep us safe and you keep me sane.”  Are either of those things true?  Simon hasn’t done anything to keep them safe, that I can think of, and Naomi doesn’t do anything different than Murray, except sleep with him of course.  She’s just as gung-ho about killing and so on.

Page 67:  “I would hold everyone back…”  What the heck does that mean?  And if it means something as broad as it seems to, why the heck would he say it out loud?  Too on the nose.  Part of the reason that this is unclear, though, is that we don’t really understand Simon’s flaw with her.  She left him because he was a loser, sure; why, how, specifically?  We need to know more.  She was with him in the first place.  Something happened, changed, whatever…something that changed back.  I really hope Naomi is lying all along, by the way, because her “I still love you” was still way too easy.  Simon always seemed like a bit of a clown for believing it.

Page 69:  See, now all of a sudden Simon’s competent.  That’s a bit of a problem.  Was he faking sleep?  And then he shoots her in the shin?  He wasn’t able to kill a cow recently.
Okay, so Naomi’s a bad person, always has been, and Simon needed to get over her, but didn’t (until now).  I think that’s what we’re ideally seeing here?  This hasn’t been adequately set up, though.  We have to understand that Naomi was bad in the past, that Murray didn’t like her for it, that Simon was blinded, that he thinks she’ll be different this time, and we hope she will be too, we hope that she’s changing, but then she doesn’t.  This isn’t achieved.  Is that a fair criticism?  Is that what we should be seeing?  That’s the root of tragedy, I think…that someone almost changes, or seemingly changes, but ultimately remains the same.
I don’t know how competently one combat rolls with a shattered shin.

Page 71:  You have two conflicting elements in the Murray’s apartment scene, and it’s not working.  Simon’s job is to get them gone as quickly as possible.  At the same time, possible discovery of Murray’s problem is being shoe-horned in.  One element needs to move fast; the other needs to move slow.  These need to be separate scenes.  Consider this scene on film; Simon has to be moving way too urgently for there to be any risk of him noticing some random papers or an X-ray or whatever.

Page 75:  Too much crying.

Page 76:  Always love a shout-out to my Canadian sista!

Page 78:  Simon lands in the passenger seat, then drives the car.

Page 80:  Yeah, we definitely needed a moment where Simon moves from being not badass and not killing people to…the opposite.  Consider Stanley Goodspeed in The Rock.  Or just watch/re-watch The Rock for fun, since it’s one of the greatest films of all time.  
A roadblock?  Why?  They couldn’t be for our gang…that’d be a ludicrously quick response.

Page 83:  Why does Jason aim in futility?  Dillenburg was just blabbing for seven seconds at least.  Shoot the f***!

Page 84:  Killing cops, now.  Further un-likability for the already very unlikable Murray.  Ideally he dies in the end.
Yeah.  They gotta be Dillenburg’s henchmen or something.  Not cops.  Can’t just slaughter innocent cops (with knives, no less).  

Page 89:  They shoot someone in the back and “chuckle lightly”?  Nah.  A major issue with this script is the general lack of gravitas surrounding murder.  I’m all for murder…my DVD shelf is packed with every 80s action bloodbath you can think of.  But there’s a rhyme and reason to what’s acceptable and what’s not, what works and what doesn’t, and this script doesn’t get it.

***

Good work, Gage.  I gotta head out to a show now, so I'll leave my general thoughts until tomorrow.  I enjoyed this one.


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Thoughts:

Alright.  A bit of Guy Ritchie/Matt Vaughn, a bit of Tarantino, and a fair dose of Mr. Troy Duffy.  Not an unwelcome mix; I think where your script manages to stand out from all of these is the overwhelming Everyman-ness of its two leads.  Simon and Murray are just a couple of lame dumb guys, and I think that's working for the story, although it does begin to stretch credibility during the second half -- shooting Emerald out of the air comes to mind, for instance.

The Everyman feel is offset, though, by the cold-bloodedness that I've sorta harped on throughout my reading.  The number one issue here is that something absolutely huge has to push Simon into killing...specifically, he has to be saving another life, I think.  The second is similar...something absolutely huge has to push Simon into going along with killing.  These are the two major beats.  He's gonna lose his house, he wants a better life -- that's true of all sorts of thugs who rob and kill, and we don't sympathize with them at all.  We need to see a guy who's unfairly put upon.  Maybe his lack of motivation ended his relationship with Naomi, sure, that we can do, but he can't have just fallen into crime for no reason whatsoever.  Murray should be the driving force in this; Simon just along for the ride -- that ties in with his lack of motivation.

But more importantly, the bad guys can't just be randomly bad people...vigilantism needs to have a personal angle to be understandable.  Consider Death Wish, Harry Brown, Batman Begins, Boondock Saints...always personal motive.  The premise of robbing the robbers is great, but the robbers need to hurt them first.  Maybe the reason that Simon can't pay for his house (and Murray for his operation) is that the robbers hit their bank.  Maybe Dillenburg shoots Simon's sister on his way outta the bank.  Something big, something direct, is needed for motivation.

Murray and his operation, since I'm reminded.  I think the script posits his trying to save his own life as cause for his ease with killing.  This is unjust (though realistic).  Again, stronger motivation against the bad guys is needed before we can see Murray's standpoint as anything but selfish.  If he were trying to save his son, different story.  When he's just trying to save himself...f*** him, he's a lowlife in the first place.

Naomi.  The seeds are there, but not working.  First, I think she needs to have more humanity to her -- the flickers of regret are not enough.  We as the audience want to believe along with Simon the character, that she has changed her ways.  For this too happen, we need to first understand that she was always bad for Simon, always took advantage of him, and so on, in the past.  Second, we need to get the sense that maybe this is changing.  Neither of these things happen.  The first doesn't happen because Naomi isn't introduced until Simon's already in his second act -- we have no sense of their base relationship before the movie's already in motion (and before Simon has $75,000, no less).  The second doesn't happen because Naomi sleeps with him and declares her love so quickly.  These latter two elements are also generally unsatisfying because Simon doesn't have to work for them.  Remember that your protagonist should be driving and shaping the story with his actions.  Naomi can't just hand herself to him...he has to convince her, work for her, fight for her.  He did something wrong before, something that lost her.  How is he gonna do it right, now?  The reason that these things have to happen -- even though in the end, Naomi is in it for the money anyway -- is that we have to at least hope that the story of Naomi being told to us is one of redemption.  If we call her out as a fake off the top, there's nothing dynamic to her arc.

Dillenburg.  I strongly recommend closely examining each and every line of his dialogue for consistency, elegance of style, and (relative) realism.  Do your best Lambert Wilson (or whoever) impression, read through the lines, see if they work.  I have a feeling that a lot of them don't quite get across the image that you're trying to get across.  The character that I understand from this script currently would not command the respect that he is said to.  Also, I feel that you might be stretching it with age 52, given the acrobatics-filled third act, but of course that's somewhat the nature of the script in general.

The general structure of the story is good, but I think you need to push your characters further, and they need to drive the story more in some places.  When you think about it, they knock everyone off pretty darn easily...we don't get a real sense of jeopardy at any point.  The conflict for them through the second act tends to be more internal, which is very important, but also needs to have an effect on the external.  For example, Simon has this major issue with trying to kill at the start...in refusing to fire on Raleigh, he could almost get Murray killed.  Murray's happy to kill...maybe he ends up wounding an innocent person with indiscriminate gunfire, who they then have to take to a hospital (lots of opportunity there for tension with Murray; maybe he's already been, the nurse could recognize him, or whatever).  Then Dillenburg or whoever shows up at the hospital, they gunfight, Murray gets a chance to save an innocent life (I dunno, just spitballing).  Naomi doesn't impact the course of the story until she sells them out.  She needs to do so before.  They're in a tight spot and she saves their lives?  She gets them all out of a situation they're trapped in with some unique expertise?  I don't know.  But is it clear what I'm getting at?  The characters' unique actions and personalities need to drive the plot a little bit more, rather than just exist within it.

It's a very ugly movie; I mentioned introducing something nice in the first act.  This means nice to look at, nice to listen to, etc.  Maybe Simon goes to see Naomi sing at some run-down bar, and she's good.  Maybe Simon has a sister who really has it together that invites him and even Murray over for Thanksgiving -- then her husband gets killed by Dillenburg.  The script has a lot of unpleasantness and I think it needs to be balanced a bit to keep us going.  Then again, a lot of this problem is because the two leads aren't particularly likeable.  I don't really know what to say about that that I haven't already.  They need to be struggling with identifiable issues; we need to be able to say, "Yeah, if I were in that situation, I might have ended up doing the same thing."  

Good work Gage.  Enjoyable stuff.


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Gage
Posted: September 11th, 2012, 3:33pm Report to Moderator
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Heretic, I swear, seeing that you've commented on my script is like waking up on Christmas morning.  Holy shit.

It seems that the main point of your review was that Simon and Murray are total schmucks.  Partly a success for me, because by the end of the movie, I want them to be total villains.  There's not really a way to keep them likable after they kill so many cops.

But, in the beginning, they STILL aren't likable, which is where my problem lies.  Gotta find a way to fix that.

In the end, I originally planned for Simon and Murray to get robbed by some random kid and by some turn of events, Murray gets shot in the face.  But that made the end really, really nihilistic, so I thought that implying that they get robbed/killed would make for a satisfying conclusion.  However, your comment on Murray: "Ideally, he dies in the end" really gets me thinking that I should rob/kill them in the end, anyways.  Would that be better, or worse?

So many useful notes in your posts, Heretic.  Thanks a heap.  Now, to begin the long process of rewrites...


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rmaze
Posted: September 27th, 2012, 9:02pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Juice!

   I've only read a third of Grid-Lock; and thus far, I'm not rooting for Simon and Murray. I really don't care if they succeed. It's difficult to root for stickup artists who prey on regular people--people I can identity with--just going about their day, even if the criminals are clumsy. They're not lovable losers; they're just losers.

  Also, the one violent scene I've read so far, makes me like Simon and Murray even less. I think showing (or writing, in this case) the really bad guys doing something awful would help Simon and Murray's cause. Murder is god-awful, so a person who deserves it should get a scene showing why. Stating their bad deeds doesn't seem like it's enough.

   When Simon and Murray decide to rob the robbers, I was hoping that they did something clever in order to find the bank robbers--something maybe the police would never think to do or can't do, maybe something illegal. But instead the info was just handed to them. That was a bit of the let down.

  I think opening the script with the "flashback robbery" but just writing it as a failed robbery. Followed by Simon and Murray in the apartment discussing the failed robbery along with all the other info you give in that scene would be a fine sequence.

I'm going to read this some more, very leisurely,  just to see it events unfold the way I imagine.

Best regards.
rmaze

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Gage
Posted: September 27th, 2012, 9:25pm Report to Moderator
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Hey rmaze,

Thanks for the read, every comment helps!  When you say "starting out the film with the failed robbery" do you mean the Nellie scene, or the really quick bank flashback?  Very interesting idea you have there, to make Simon and Murray more likable.

Thanks!
Gage


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rmaze
Posted: September 27th, 2012, 10:24pm Report to Moderator
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I left you a PM
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danbotha
Posted: October 2nd, 2012, 7:27pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Gage,

It's taken me a long time to get to this one, but finally I've started reading it. Up to page 10. To be honest, I'm a little torn between whether I actually like this one, or not. There's a lot lacking in terms of realism, for me and at the moment it seems a bit more like an attempt at comedy rather than action. I guess when I see the genre 'Action' I'm expecting a full-on gun slinging, explosions everywhere type concept, but instead I've got two complete idiots shooting twinkies in mid-air, and guys failing with back-flips. It seems more like a comedy than anything else.

Page 1: "But this all changes when he pulls a ski-mask over his face." - Just a personal preference here, but I really hate to see sentences starting with "But..." To me, it's redundant. If you eliminated the "but" from that sentence, it would still mean exactly the same thing.

"They each load a HANDGUN and place it in their pockets (all synchronized with the music, of course)." - I'd avoid using brackets as much as possible. Why not try...

"Synchronized to the music, they each load a HANDGUN and place it in their pockets." - It just reads better this way, IMO.

Page 2:

                             ANCHOR (CONT'D)
                 Little is known about Mr.
                 Dillenburg. What is known is that
                 in the past ten months, he has
                 killed at least fifteen people and
                 stolen over five-hundred-thousand
                 dollars form various banks.

- Another unrealistic aspect, here. I don't know how News Anchors in America operate, but the way this line comes across seems a little blunt to me. Wouldn't they tread carefully around the topic??

Page 4: "A piece of shit Mazda sedan..." - Again, this is personal preference, but I really don't see why some writers insist on having swearing in the action lines. It's not necessary, IMO. Swearing should be reserved for characters, not the way the author writes his/her action.

Page 9: "Henry hisses, turns and runs towards the wall. He walks his feet up it and attempts to do a back-flip." - I'm confused. What's the point of all this? What is Henry trying to achieve? More importantly, what are you trying to achieve with this? I think that any sane person with a gun pointed at them wouldn't try and do a back-flip out of the blue. It takes a large chunk out of the realistic aspect of the script.

That's all I have for now. I will be returning to read a little more of this, soon.

At the moment, I'm not sure. If you're not going for a realistic concept, then I think I'd be happy, but at the moment I just think there's so much in terms of story that can be worked on. Are you going for an Action film with funny bits or a comedy film with action bits? At the moment, it seems like you're aiming for something that is more funny than adrenaline pumping. JMHO.

Great job on getting a feature length done, though. That's something I have yet to do.

P.S. I haven't read any of the other comments. Hope I'm not repeating anything...?

Dan


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Gage
Posted: October 3rd, 2012, 7:57am Report to Moderator
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Hey Dan,

Thanks for your comments on the first ten pages.  Yeah, I was torn on whether to label this one an action or a comedy.  To me, there's a lot more action in this script than comedy, so I put it in the action section.  Although I would label it as a caper movie.

As far as the realism... yeah, there isn't any.  I wanted a heightened reality, kind of like an Edgar Wright film.  Most of his films are grounded in a realistic universe, but are highly stylized.  The same can be said of this one; in the first three pages a guy shoots a twinkie in order to split it between he and his friend.  It's ridiculous: it destroys all sense of reality and lets the viewer know what they're getting into.

I agree about the removal of the 'but' from that sentence, and the replacement of the parentheses.  You're also spot on about the news anchor lines.  Those come off a bit heavy-handed.

Thanks, Dan!

Gage


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vinny
Posted: November 20th, 2012, 7:05pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Gage
Started reading and am at page 59 right now.

So far, and even though Simon and Murray may seem unlikable, i like the chemistry between them and they're actually a funny bunch. I actually found myself rooting for them, couse the bare thought of under dogs trying to rob the big players is something i can relate to, i mean not really but you get my meaning.

Anyways, like many here have stated the biggest problem with this script for me is the lack of realism. Its not just shooting the twinkie, but how these guys turn themselves into murder killing machines in no time. In a scene they're holding handguns and then the next they're already handling assault rifles.
Granted i don't know much about guns, i think that was quite an improvement there.

Another thing i found a little disappointing is how easily they took out their obstacles so far.  Both the midget and the other guy were dealt with way to easly, i know you need to get going to the big boss mr. Dillinburg.

I also didn't really like the whole eye lenses camera idea. If they need to find out who these people are, why not through Jason, have him tortured or something. Think a funny torture scene would fit well in this script somehow.

One last thought, so far The trio are the only ones doing the chasing, i think it would be nicer if right after they got the midget they get tracked and chased by the bad guys, maybe they could regret killing the midget and realize the thug life was something they were not meant to live. But after they get chased after they have no other choice but to embrace it, and this need for survival might make them more ruthless.

anyway like people said, good concept. I liked the dialogues, the comical bits, some action here and there. I think the idea is there just needs a little tweaking. But you got the right formula.

Hope this helps.
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