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I had the pleasure of finishing your script this morning. Apologies on taking so long, I had an unexpected house guest this weekend.
I like your script and the tone and overall coming of age messages. However, I felt like the third act was generally unsatisfying. The Badfella fight at Ben's house fell completely flat for me. It gets off to a poor start with a parent conveniently leaving the house. She sees a gang mafia kids she's never seen before and just leaves? My suspension of disbelief is wrecked right there. Perhaps if Gino teased Cora that might stoke Ben's fires to fight? However, I do like that Cora saves the day. It's good to revisit one of the chief motivators for the competition.
I don't recall Derek's security deal ever coming back. Why set it up then? If the Badfellas pulled shenanigans at the festival, that's a good recall for Derek. Which gets to my next point about act three, the festival. Nothing happens. All the folks you've put solid effort into creating sit there and do nothing. It reads static, much like the judges struggling for kind words about the bad entries. Almost always there's some kind of back stage shady doings. The Badfellas try to muscle or buy off the judges, something mafia like. I don't see savvy Gino buying into Rex's dance fest film without changes. Makes more sense to me Badfellas would use Rex to make a pro mafia picture. They love it, but the film flops with the crowd, villain humiliation, yay. I like the Rex reconciliation. It's a good moment. The parent job get/judge connection felt left fieldish to me. Arbitrary. I feel like that goal needs to be more prominent for our young hero. Perhaps Ben and Rex team back up post fest for a project to help Cora. After all that set up, it's a weak resolution to that plot point. I like the post birthday birthday party, all feels right. Just how we got there I think could use some motivational remapping.
This is a truly fine effort and with a character and motivator polish, it will shine. I love stories around this age group. The pseudo adult dialogue worked too. With J.J. Abrams' "Super 8" coming out this summer, the timing is right for this. Could be a renaissance of Hollywood buying more of these kind of specs.
Thanks for sharing and keep writing and rewriting!
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I thought you did an excellent job with this script. You knew the demographic and story you were telling and you kept the tone consistent throughout the piece. The opening signal was clear as to what I should expect from the rest of the script.
Most notably Ben's arc as a character was very good, it encouraged the reader to turn pages.
There was one thing I think could be improved. Though your antagonist and his gang were pretty good, I think Rex is under-involved. Bring him out more as a villain who is competent so we can be more worried about Ben besting him. You have Ben and the gang surprised his film was as good as it was - they shouldn't be and neither should we.
I also thought Ben's sister should get involved with the film in some way or other. Don't ask me why - I just think it would add an interesting element.
The only other thing that got me about the script was that the beginning seemed a bit dated. Not the ending, just the beginning. Everyone today has a camera in their phone - the technology assessment at the start just didn't feel right.
Thanks for digging this up and giving it a read. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
I hear what you're saying with everything, especially with Joanna. When I get around to another update of this I would like to get her more involved rather than just being "the babe" who periodically appears.
And regarding the phones, yeah, haha. I picked an area which has rapidly evolved since the first draft, so things have changed and I'll need to take in that angle.
If you've got some stuff you'd like feedback on, let me know. I know you have a new short up so I'll check that out to start.