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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  The Scorsese Club Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Scorsese Club  (currently 23359 views)
ajr
Posted: January 31st, 2010, 7:52pm Report to Moderator
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Oh, this is Greg as in "rock n' roll" Greg!  I'll definitely take a look at this sometime next weekend then.

AJR


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ajr
Posted: February 11th, 2010, 9:16pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Greg,

Okay, so I'm finally here with this. I'm going to give a Colkurtz type review with a bunch of notes I made along the way, because I read this over the course of several days (not the way I usually like to read things, but unfortunately just the way it worked out).

I have to say this is a strange one for me, because I think you have some very good elements here, and a somewhat fresh idea. I guess the main issue I had is with the plausibility of the premise.

We're given these thirteen-year-olds at the beginning who seem to be major goofy types who happen to like filming each other instead of reading comic books and lifting girls' dresses - okay, cool. But then Mr. Shields comes in and announces (very conveniently) a contest that while advertised for junior filmmakers seems very grown up. The prize money is something I'D kill for at present, and it's all very formal - a hotel, a convention center, screenings, and over 3 nights?

I could be way off if something like this exists. And I could also be off if you're purposely exaggerating the situation - if so though I'd like to see more winking at the audience by the characters. Do they know it sounds out of balance?

The other issue I had is that I'm not sure what the film wants to be. Is it aimed at children or adults? Is it for the big screen, or would it play better on TV and perhaps chopped down to an hour? Is it an absurd comedy, or a feel-good pre-teen flick? I picked up elements of each of these as I read it, so I would preach consistency in tone here.

Having said that, you had some genuinely funny moments, and at other times I felt this dragged a bit. Also, every single 13 year old in the piece sounds like they're forty. It's okay from a few of them, but not all (unless, again, you're winking at us - in that case, you should amp up the absurdity to "eleven").

Okay, my page by page notes:

You don’t fade us in?

Page 1 - “Falls to the ground but emerges moments later…” Have moments really passed? You’re playing with time compression here. Of course the audience knows what you mean, but you haven’t written it in “real time”, so your meter of 1 minute per page will be off.

Try something like this: He falls to the ground. He springs up quickly and runs behind a pile of boxes.  The boxes shake slightly… after a few seconds Dimitri emerges, wearing a wig…

You’ve got almost the same problem in your next narrative as well. I see this scene taking almost a minute to film, therefore it should be almost a page, and you have it wrapped up in less than half a page, so it’s timed out at less than 30 seconds.

I’m mixed about whether to give character descriptions on page 1, when they’re first introduced, or on page 2 where you have it. On one hand, they’re in costume on page 1 so giving a description may take away from their images. On the other hand, I’ve got 3 kids in costume and I don’t know how to picture them until page 2.

Also, give us an idea of what Ben’s parents look like?

On page 8 in your narrative instead of TWO GIRLS it should be BRUNETTE GIRL and REDHEADED GIRL?

Not sure about the slug on page 17 – EXT. LONG JUMP – should it be EXT. SCHOOL TRACK or something like that, and mention the long jump pit in the narrative? Ditto on page 33 with EXT. BIKE CAGE and then EXT. PLAYGROUND – since the bike cage is on the playground shouldn’t it just be two separate paragraphs of narrative under one slug?

Page 21-22 – Ben goes into the kitchen – the scene changes here – maybe give us a sub-slug? Also, Jodie’s next line would be (O.S.) if Ben is still in the kitchen. Then, when Ben returns, he gives the cookie to Cara, but she exits through the doggie door from the living room. Also, Cara’s running around on the lawn without a scene change – do we see her through the window?

Also, I think you can break here after the line “we’re talking hundreds” (funny line).  We get that the parents are idiots – I picture them as the parents of Ronnie Miller from “Can’t Buy Me Love”. When Stephen goes into the explanation of why they don’t have the money, it lends credibility to an absurd situation – letting a dog die over a few hundred bucks (why don’t they borrow it from the grandmother who gives the weird gifts?) – and we begin to question whether the parents are comic idiots or real ones.

I’m by no means the comedy expert, but I’ve found it’s best to leave the scene on a takeaway line, and you’ve got a pretty good one there. Also, it seems like at this point you wanted to up the stakes for the contest – i.e., there’s a cash prize, and Ben must win it to save his dog. This is too “Lassie-esque”, I think, for the tone you’ve set, which is quirky kids who in all honesty speak like adults, and dumb, weird adults like the parents and the homeroom teacher. I think beating that jerk Rex should be enough conflict.

Narratives need a bit of work – for example, on page 29 “Ben arrives on the scene and is horrified at the situation, but Chuck and Dimitri are amused.” First, horrified is too strong here. It’s a guy getting a soft ball in the ‘nads. Then, you have Ben arrive, but not Chuck and Dimitri – it appears as if they were already there.

And I hate to pick at plot, but when Ben promises to pay Oliver’s debt, he doesn’t make it contingent on winning. So don’t Aaron and Wallace only have to help with the movie in order to collect the $100?

Very funny line on page 31 by Chuck – “Well, I guess that makes you a pansy then, huh?”

Your dialogue is good and snappy – mostly because it is adult dialogue coming out of the mouths of 13-year-olds. It didn’t bother me – I thought it was amusing – but the danger here is that you have to keep the irreverent tone going. Any lapse into the saccharin or maudlin will strain the movie’s credibility.

Bottom of page 31 – after a cute reference to “Back to the Future”, Ben and his friends are horrified again?  You’re in love with that word! Maybe shocked, maybe they stare blankly, maybe with raised eyebrows – something like that instead.

“Oliver, but you can call me Olive” – another very funny line.

Page 46 – If Ben’s and Chuck’s line are O.S. (and not V.O.) then you should describe what they’re watching, instead of just saying that they’re watching the tape.

Page 54 – Shouldn’t Oliver say “ESH-O-L”? Oliver does play exactly like the Neil character from “Family Guy” though.

Page 55 – Wallace opens the front door and greets Oliver with Ben, Chuck and Dimitri behind him. This doesn’t read right to me? s/b “Wallace opens the door. He sees Oliver. Ben, Chuck and Dimitri stand behind him.”

Page 56 – I don’t get it – what is a retainer worth as collateral?

At around page 60 I start to have questions – why include Oliver at all if he’s going to take his camera away? He’s a plot point only because he has the camera, so the three put up with his weirdness because of it. If he’s not a means to an end then he existed only for the comic relief.

Also around this time I started to notice that every single kid in this piece speaks like an adult. It’s okay for a few, but when Gino and his mafia band start doing it, I lose the sense of it being unique to just a few characters.

Also, there is a scene where Rex and Gino discuss breaking up the boys’ group “from the inside. Yet in a scene following this, the group has a fight with Oliver and he storms off, and in the scene after this Ben and Chuck have a fight. And Rex is responsible for neither rift. So why have Rex and Gino have this conversation if the tension among our group is so amped up that it’s going to cause its own rift?

Page 92-93: an example of where to cut – Mr. Shields pretty much says what the announcer just said verbatim. I realize this is how it probably would be at a convention, but remember, you don’t need to show us everything blow-by-blow. Also, we don’t need to see the projectionist put the DVD in the player.

Page 94 – Tim is mean-spirited Simon type judge, for a junior contest?

Page 97 – wrylie in the dialogue – “the crowd chuckles” has nothing to do with the way the line should be said or to whom, so it belongs in the narrative.

Page 99 – “They’re acting is pretty good here” s/b “Their” acting

Page 100- Ben’s speech is very reminiscent of Belushi in “Animal House” (though nothing is as funny as “was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”). You do this a few times. I hope you’re aware of it and winking at the audience and not subconsciously lifting material?

Page 101 – Richard Nixon - you’re shameless. Also, “firey” s/b “fiery”. And very funny work on Rex’s picture.

SPOILER ALERT:

Nice touch with the 3rd place and the “no place” in the contest. Though my bet while reading this was that you’d go untraditional (glad you did).

Oh no, the mega happy ending, with Tim as Stephen’s new boss!  (o:


Click HERE to read JOHN LENNON'S HEAVEN https://preview.tinyurl.com/John-Lennon-s-Heaven-110-pgs/
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greg
Posted: February 12th, 2010, 12:07am Report to Moderator
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Hey AJ,

Thanks for taking the time to read and provide your feedback.

I see where you're coming from on what exactly this script's identity is.  I wanted it to cater to a more family-oriented crowd with stuff in it that adults could also relate to.  In terms of straight-to-video release type feature, that was actually also brought up in a "preview review" and honestly I never really considered that aspect.  It does need a clearer identity though.  A more firm kick in the ass!

And dude!  They really sound 40?  Whoa.  Specifically who and what kinds of things were they saying that made you feel this way?

Thanks again, man
Rock n Roll Greg


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ajr
Posted: February 12th, 2010, 12:22am Report to Moderator
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Well, I'm exaggerating a bit, but for example on page 1 when Rex says "by the likes of you", Nixon saying "your attempt at sarcasm humors me", the scenes between Rex and Gino, etc.

And what I mean by this is that they are all very-well spoken for 13 year olds - of course Chuck and Dimitri have their own personalities, and Ben is okay because he's supposed to be the brain. I would just work more on having the supporting guys say things unique to them, instead of saying the cleverest line that fits, if that makes any sense.


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rogerooni
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page 6 "of vent up hostility" do you mean "pent"
pg 10 : those are some mean ass girls to slap someone just because he's sings and asks you out.
pg 18: Andie's line: "Why? So you can exploit my body
for your own pleasure? Pervert!"  seems wholly inappropriate for that situation?

I don't know, the dialogue just seems completely not age appropriate.  Do thirteen year olds really say : "Yeah, including your mom from lasht
night. I’ll get on that. "   And where is Chuck's response?

Why is Tim the judge such an asshole to little kids?

the description of Rex's film wasn't clear enough.  I had trouble visualizing what i assume to be a funny scene.

Well first off, this was totally not what i was expecting.  from the logline I thought it was going to be a family/kiddie movie but the dialogue and characters really made it more adult.  I also had trouble with the conflict.  Ben wants to save Cara but really doesn't spend much time with her at all.  

Also none of the kids are that likable (other than Dimitri), I mean my god from the sister to Oliver they are all just mean/ weird /bad people.  It is hard to a kiddie movie where the majority of the cast is not cute at all.

a couple of things confused me.  is Wallace a middle school loan shark? Does he have vig.  And what is going on with the judge being the dad's new boss?  does his dad work in the movie business?

I think you might have a hard time selling the story as it is currently constructed.  I would suggest either focusing more on the children element or going full scale adult.  the way it is now I felt horribly uncomfortable for the majority of the script.


H.S.P  Sci Fi, Fantasy - When a splinter group instigates a desperate plot to prevent the extinction of their species at the expense of human life, a jaded Doctor and an FBI double agent is caught in a struggle between their own people and their humanity. 119
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greg
Posted: February 12th, 2010, 10:30pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Roger,

Thanks for reading this and I'm very sorry it made you feel horribly uncomfortable.  While your thoughts are fair, I must say that there is a big difference between a story aimed to the family and one aimed to "kiddies."  Barney, for example, is kiddie.  The Sandlot is something a whole family can happily watch, even if it's boys being boys.  That's the target I was going for, so even though you didn't think it to be cute, it wasn't really supposed to be.

And who and why, specifically, are you referencing to as mean/weird/bad people?  

Thanks again for taking the time
-Greg


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Grandma Bear
Posted: February 17th, 2010, 1:03am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from rogerooni

Well first off, this was totally not what i was expecting.  from the logline I thought it was going to be a family/kiddie movie but the dialogue and characters really made it more adult.  
I think you might have a hard time selling the story as it is currently constructed.  I would suggest either focusing more on the children element or going full scale adult.  the way it is now I felt horribly uncomfortable for the majority of the script.

I've read the original Scorsese Club and the rewrite that is now this one.

I almost fell off my chair reading this comment by you.

I loved the story and thought it was very sweet and portrayed that age group perfectly...I've had three kids in that age group myself...

There's nothing in this script that is not family friendly. In short, I think you're off your rocker. This script is clean, well written and has a very nice positive story. Did you even read the end?



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greg
Posted: February 17th, 2010, 4:30pm Report to Moderator
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Pia, you're my hero.

Thanks always for your insight and support

Greg


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jackx
Posted: February 17th, 2010, 5:28pm Report to Moderator
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When Ben throws the rock I would picture him biting off an imaginary spoon, just to clarify.  And I think it's a funnier image than just him throwin a rock.
Chuck is outgoing?  how do we know this?
And you tell us how dimitri talks before he has any dialogue.
You ever seen the show Home Movies on adult swim?
I dont think you can unanimously place hands over hearts, but could be wrong.
I like the teachers response to the bible book report.  schools and bibles and stuff, and just sit down.  great.  Though I agree with some of the previous comments that your gonna lose your kid audience with this kind of stuff.  Though its not necessarily a bad thing.
I also have to agree the film contest does seem a little easy, especially just thrown in the middle of class like that.  Might be better to have the teacher like pull one of them aside as they all go to lunch, and offer it just to them, so its a little more planned and not just randomly thrown out at them.
Also I dont remember when I was 12 all that well, but I think there was more to doing a book report than just saying two paragraphs and sitting down.
It's pretty odd that they make fun of Ben for not having any friends, when they are all his friends.  And there's like four of them, which seems like a reasonable size for a clique at that age.
I agree a lot of the dialogue is unbelievable for kids.  "You ignorant patch of cabbage!"  What?
Were wedgies really still an issue at twelve?  
The scene with the milk mafia is a little too easy, "lets make a deal"  "Okay"  And their whole deal is a little unbelievable.

Read up to page 57 so far.  I think most of the issues I had were covered by others, IE the "lassie esque"  bit with the dog, or the way the kids talk, or how well it would relate to kids.  Personally I dont imagine a kid enjoying watching this all that much.  And theres a few too many dorky bits for adults.  That said, there is a lot of funny moments in it, and its enjoyable.  But all the spots I laughed at were definately adult humor.  I think you're kinda doing a disservice to your story and humor by trying to ride that fine line where everyone enjoys it.

I'll keep reading later, it does read very smoothly and it is funny, you just need to figure out your tone and audience a little better.


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grademan
Posted: February 18th, 2010, 7:42pm Report to Moderator
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ANY MAJOR DUDE

Greg,

Not afraid to write family comedies, eh? I liked it -- The ending was golden -- but think it may be a draft or two away from hitting it out of the park.  I know this is a max rewrite from the previous Scorcese Club script so kudos on that. To me, this had a School of Rock vibe. Well done!

Some suggestions, comments and questions:

-- Change the title?  No connection in my mind to the present story.

--Add a scene where Cara and Ben are buddies?  Now she’s just a dog on the floor when introduced. Ben pretty much ignores her for the entire story.

--Mr. Shields spouts some inappropriate comments to his middle school class. Example “brew crew” and “communists” which I know is to establish Mr. Shields as the hip emcee later.  

--The who's who of the two opposing film crews were confusing to me in the middle of the story.

--Dialogue wasn’t not very 13ish for me. Very adult. See examples below.  “Naysayer!” is a prime example.

--Ben did not seem like a lonely boy or that unsure of himself as he wrote in his blog

---Mike being Stephen’s boss was a bit convenient for me but okay. It shades Ben’s 3rd place and Rex’s no place finish nicely.

--Chuck comes off as a perv when pulling the pants of sixth graders down.  

Three standouts in this script;

--The ending
--The scene where the boys are brainstorming really caught the spirit of young teen age boys.
--The scene where Chuck buys the T-shirt for his pal.

************************
Here are my detail comments.

p. 1

Great 007 opening!  But no scene heading or fade in? Does the gun look like a real gun? Or a squirt gun?

BEN(12) should have space BEN (12). Same for DIMITRI(13) and CHUCK(13).

emerges > appears (he’s not emerging from anywhere)

reemerges > reappears

p. 2

Dimitri “…fast speech and a Russian accent” should not be character description. If he does have an accent shouldn’t it creep up in his dialog? Otherwise it’s a wasted detail.

“Did you even do your two hours of required script reading last night?” Sounds forced esp. for a 13 yr old.

Parenthetical not needed. Also, appears to conflict with dialog below:

REX
(angrily nods)
Uh huh. See, I don’t think you are.

Chuck has a reasonable question and gets blasted by Rex?

Dimitri should be playing the Russian. This may be an opportunity for a bit of comedy.

“The proof is in the pudding.” Most kids today don’t know this saying. Even if Rex doesn’t get it, it’s too dated.

p. 3

“Relax, Rex” – Nice use of Rs and Xs

So Ben’s last name is Flanagan? Why not in intro?

And Rex’s last name is Morgan? Again, why not in intro?

“You make as much sense as a baked potato.”  Mr. Potato Head?

Rex continues his rant a la Christian Bale. Sounds like an adult here.  How many 13 yr olds can rattle off phrases like “I did not go into directing major motion pictures to be disrespected by the likes of you! You are to refer to me as Mr. Morgan, Flanagan!”

p. 4

ground > floor

Awe >Aw

No age or description for STEPHEN FLANAGAN and JODI FLANAGAN?

Stephen’s beginning dialog is forced. “ Because I am a human being and I live in the United States of America and I demand satisfaction” to test a deaf dog’s hearing? I understand you wanted the loudness to surprise us into thinking Ben’s home life sucked too. Is this a film quote?

p. 6

Captains Log – cool. I’m not sure a boy would be revealing his greatest fear in a blog where anyone can see it.

p.7

I was confused by the opening of windows on his computer and the opening of a house window within a few sentences of each other.

“scrolling with gibberish” not clear.

A window frame is the frame structure around the window not the glass. Window pane?

p. 8

“Ben rolls his eyes” not needed

The introduction of the girls is fine.

p. 9

I do wonder why a song would be enough for them to each slap Dimitri.

And why do they call D. prune-face? Again, a dated saying.

If two of my middle school friends saw me crash and burn with the two girls, they’d LAO instead of commenting “Smooth.”

Scene heading ENGLISH CLASS should be CLASS ROOM.

Throwing papers? Try something a little more exciting than 1950. Sorry, didn’t mean to be nasty.

Unanimously > simultaneously

p. 10 “brew crew” inappropriate given anti drug campaigns in schools. Calling the kids communists wouldn’t go over big either. Just saying.

I’ll stop my detail review now...

Gary

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greg
Posted: February 18th, 2010, 10:13pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Gary and Hi Jack,

Wow guys, thanks for opening this.  Jack, I'll respond to your comments when you've had the chance to finish it up.  

And do you think you guys could give a little more feedback on the dialogue and its adult sounding tendencies?  I do have a reason for certain things, but I'm really curious now because it keeps coming up.  Certain things may seem exaggerated to fit the characters(i.e. Rex is a really artsy dork and can even be labeled a drama queen for the crap he stirs up.  Gino, too, has his own little style going on and his own way of saying things).  Obviously certain lines will need retooling, but on a whole could you go into more detail about their speech patterns/flows?  This is a huge red flag to me and I want as much feedback on it as possible!

And Gary, thank you for your feedback!  I'm glad you enjoyed it for the most part.  A couple things I wanted to respond to:


Quoted Text
Change the title?  No connection in my mind to the present story.


While it was inspired from a song, it's more of a reference to the theme of these guys trying to do something big or "major" with their lives/selves.


Quoted Text
Chuck comes off as a perv when pulling the pants of sixth graders down.


This also fits for the wedgie thought that Jack mentioned; wedgies and pantsings, at least when I was in 7th grade not too long ago, were huge.  Chuck likes teasing others, not to the cruel or even violent extent as Gino and his boys, but pantsing a kid here and there to feed his ego a little bit is the kind of guy he is.

So thank you very much for checking this out!  Your comments are much appreciated.

Greg


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Quoted from Grandma Bear

There's nothing in this script that is not family friendly. In short, I think you're off your rocker. This script is clean, well written and has a very nice positive story. Did you even read the end?


Now that's just strange, I don't want to take over someone else's thread but my opinions don't seem that off.   alot of other reviewers have commented on the adult nature of the dialogue and I have no idea why you would personally attack me on this.  shrug


H.S.P  Sci Fi, Fantasy - When a splinter group instigates a desperate plot to prevent the extinction of their species at the expense of human life, a jaded Doctor and an FBI double agent is caught in a struggle between their own people and their humanity. 119
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Grandma Bear
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Personally attack? Wow....


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jackx
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The rest from page 59

More kid unfriendly stuff talking about bens sister at the strip club.  again, not necessarily a bad thing.
p61   You say everybody except oliver steam?  doesnt steam mean mad?  they should all be laughing.
64 if bens dad has a camera why didnt that come up before?
why does dimitri throw out spanish randomly?
"Ah, what’s money? My family doesn’t make that much either, but it doesn’t bother me. If anything, it just makes you appreciate what you got a little more."  Really?  twelve year olds saying that?
The comedy is pretty stalled during this whole section.
boss wants to have dinner tonight.  like soon!"  Like soon?  odd wording

Ending was definately on the good side.  It dragged a bit between p60 and 75ish, if you're trying to shave it down that would be the place to do it. But I understand that's kinda the darkest before the dawn bit where everything goes wrong.  
I think part of the problem with trying to have this a kid friendly movie, besides the adult comments, is the majority of the movie is kids playing dress up and using their imaginations.  This is fun and nostalgic for adults, who can reminisce about that.  But for kids whats the point of watching other people pretend, when they can pretend themselves, if you get my meaning.  

In any case, still an impressive job, and a lot of potential.  Let me know if you get any future drafts up.  Good luck.


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greg
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Hi Jack,

Thanks for your review and your kind words!  I'll take your thoughts into consideration for the future.

I'll get to your work next and give you some feedback as soon as possible.  

Greg


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