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The Pfeffer Kerfuffle by Caleb Haines - Action, Adventure - An art heist unravels and two penniless roommates find themselves in over their heads. A kerfuffle ensues, involving an eccentric gallery owner, his alluring assistant, and one enigmatic Dutch artist. Their story begs to answer, "What is the true price of art?" 121 pages - pdf, format
I find itís helpful for me to write my random thoughts as Iím reading.
p.1 You start the script with a camera direction. Donít do that. Just describing Parker is enough for the director to visualize the shot and not make him think the writer is getting all up in his bidness.
Are Michael and Parker having this conversation while the heavy metal music blares in the background? If it was turned off, I missed it.
p.12 the fake lisping has been explained. Parker can fake being gay to land the job, nothing offensive about that, but the fake lisping is a touch too much. Iím personally not offended but I can see that others may/will be. You might want to eliminate it altogether.
p.17 SIR, NO SIR?? Is that a title, or an action?
p.18 donít put numbers in your dialogue. Write them out how you want the actors to say it: four, thirty-three, etc.
p.20 many long stretches of dialogue. Which is fine, the dialogue is snappy, but there needs to be some action to break it up. Maybe theyíre doing Tai Chi? Walking somewhere? Painting their bodies with glitter? Dialogue in screenplays should rarely go more than 4-6 lines long. Can you break up Michaelís longer lines with witty banter from Parker or Belle?
p.25 describe Finnís painting for the reader.
p.27 there is no need for Continued there.
p.27 so Parker has put the main conflict in motion: he wants to steal some art. I get that he and Finn are having some money troubles but I donít feel like itís dire enough for them to resort to theft. Nor is Michael despicable enough to steal from (if heís even their target). I would suggest watching Tower Heist. Itís admittedly a pretty terrible movie but it does a decent job of showing Ben Stiller and all of his friends and the reasons they resort to theft.
p.28 I donít think Belle would say ďyou guysĒ, doesnít fit her character.
p.30 Parker said the day sucked a bag of dicks. Michael is eccentric but I never get the sense that heís mean or that Parker truly hates the job. This is an opportunity to edit down some of Michaelís dialogue and let us see him emerge as the true villain.
p.29 through 34 is basically one conversation between Finn and Parker where one convinces the other to forge art. This can/should be one page.
Finn pretending to be someone else was pretty funny, well-written.
p.91 no one talks this much during a heist.
p.99 why are Belle and Michael in a diner? The setting doesnít really fit their characters nor the place in the plot.
p. 102 nice twist.
p. 105 Thanks Tony Robbins, LOL
p. 107 You can say Apartment- Continuous instead of Night, it directs the camera to follow them through the door. Otherwise you need a line of action after the scene heading.
You use long solid paragraphs to describe multiple action beats. Those should be broken up to make it easier for the reader. For example:
Robber Three puts his finger to his ear and nods. He then takes off his coat, wraps it around his hand, and punches through the side window. Parker hangs up and signals Finn with the glow from the goggles. Finn nods and pretends not to see him. He ducks behind some bushes and makes his way toward Parker.
Becomes: Robber Three puts his finger to his ear. Nods. Takes off his coat, wraps it around his hand and punches through the side window.
Parker hangs up. Signals Finn with the glow from the goggles.
Finn nods and pretends not to see him. He ducks behind some bushes and creeps toward Parker.
The biggest issue I have is the pacing. Youíve got scenes that go on 2-3-4 pages too long. Youíve got big blocks of action or dialogue that need to be broken up. A heist movie, with flamboyant witty characters, should move like a greased-up pool boy. I would suggest reading the script to The Thomas Crown Affair, or Oceanís Eleven, if you can get your hands on them. Then carefully analyze each scene. Can I enter later? Leave earlier? What is the purpose/conflict in this scene? If there is no conflict or humor, it can be cut. Once you figure out the purpose of the scene cut around it! Eliminate anything that doesnít help move the story forward. Cut large blocks of dialogue, especially Michaelís, to make it more rat-a-tat witty Sorkin or Whedon dialogue.