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Not sure if I see the meaning in the title but it was a nice, family-friendly story. Based on earlier posts I was waiting for them to turn to some sort of adult situation, but all I saw was a PG-type story made for Teen Nick or something. So I tried to adjust my comments accordingly (I've been out of that demographic for too long )
Your formatting looked very clean, other than a few slugs. I think you have them inverted, Ex:
INT. GARAGE - REX'S HOUSE
INT. REX'S HOUSE - GARAGE
at least that's the way I learned it. And I didn't find any typos, which is impressive.
Your descriptions of each character could be more vivid, and there's some minor inconsistencies with their vocabulary. I thought they sounded geniune 90% of the time, but just some phrases sounded a little too grown-up to me (I had to look up the definition of "poltroon"). Not exactly what you'd expect to hear a 13 year-old say. A few of your references seemed dated -- I got them, but I don't think young teens would. (I would keep the Rick roll, but ditch Spud Webb for example)
All that aside, you've got a good story here. I like your main characters, but the adults in the story could use some life; they seem a little stiff.
Some random thoughts/comments:
p9. the girls' reaction to Dimitri seems a little strong. they'd laugh, sure. might even insult him. but would they slap him?
p12. Mr. Shields could segue into the competition a little smoother. ex. "Speaking of film directors/movies/etc."
also, you've got some big chunks of dialogue that could be trimmed. see if there's a way to be more economial with your words, while also being realistic. it isn't easy, I know. I struggle with it myself.
p16. probably nit-picking, but I'd have Ben shrivel his face before he says "that's disgusting"
p.17. very funny stuff with Gorp and Addie.
i would add TRACK or STADIUM to your slug before LONG JUMP, and fix the "have already jumped" (avoid past tense)
p. 19. you can probably dump the wyrlie if you drag out Oliver's line. example: "Ssshhhhut up!"
also, spell out your numbers throughout, starting with "factor of 0"
p. 22. "his question still unanswered" ...change to "awaits an answer"?
p. 23. not sure the series of shots is needed, since it's only three. you could probably write these out the long way
Chuck's "Tough Guy" idea is very funny, esp "Uh. Don't get in Tough Guy's way" LOL!
p.24. I like Ben's business card. subtle and clever.
p.30. if Oliver still has his retainer, "dumbass" might come out as "dumbassh"
p.36. I think the Ali quite should be "float like a butterfly"
p.41. most of your action lines are good, but this is one that could be cleaned up a bit. example: "Everyone crowds into the room and starts chatting amongst themselves, creating a noise level..."
p. 45-46. this is where I would use SERIES OF SHOTS; get rid of all those pesky LATERs
p. 53. really liked Dimitri's version of a half-dollar
p. 64. I don't buy Stephen's "get out of my house" line, for two reasons. 1) because he just seems too tame, it's out of character. and 2) because there's no indication that Stephen is angry. if you write it into the action line preceeding it, it might work. or, you could just have him sternly ask Dimitri to clarify "What did you say?" etc.
p. 67. I get that Rex would try to sabotage their film project, but I think you could do a better job of selling Ben & co. on his sincerity.
p. 73. Jodie's line could be cleaned up. ex: "...The drugs are an adult problem. Your problem should be..."
p. 81. i think you mean "simultaneously" instead of "unanimously"
p. 85. Gino's line about being better than everyone sounds repetitive. if you want him to sound like that, i suppose it could work if you stay with it enough. if not, clean it up so he's only saying things once.
p.88. Dimitri's name is hillariously unpronounceable. However, you might want it to end in "ov", (male) not "ova" (female)
p. 89. Passion of The Christ 2... made me think of Family Guy "Let he who is without sin ...kick the first asss!"
p. 94. The judges seem lame to me. if they're going to be snarky, make them sound more clever.
p. 96. I'm noticing a theme here with the other entries... revenge!
All in all, not bad. kinda loses a bit of steam in act 3, and I think you could use a little more depth to certain scenes and characters, but it was light, funny, and an enjoyable read. Keep going on this, I really think you're on to something!
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.
I think that's what makes them funny- they're kids living in an adult's world. It's funny that there's a mafia at a middle school. That could be a movie in itself- Middle School Mafia. You could cast Bobby de Niro and Allie Pacino
Your script? Wow! So, I just finished reading it, and man it’s got so much potential to be awesome. I love middle grade ‘ish’ ‘boy’ stuff – books, films, whatever – so this was enjoyable to me. (Maybe having five brothers helps…)
I’m definitely echoing what a couple others have said about the ‘adult’ dialogue/attitudes, but I saw it as a positive. No, my brothers and their friends don’t all talk like that, but this script is very OTT, I can see that’s what you’re going for, and it’s like a lot of the humour that’s around for this age group these days. I can see it playing on Nick. Boy, do they love ott, zany comedy for this age… The whole mini adult get ups were cute/funny.
Adult themes, a bit of cussing, sexual undertones, are sprinkled throughout PG films. Take Drillbit Taylor – there’s ‘partial nudity’ cussing, and violence to boot. Grown Ups – sexual undertones, boobs, man everything. You can get away with a lot these days in film for the whole FAM. Have you seen Son of Rambo? It’s PG. When I read your logline that’s what I was reminded of. It’s about a boy that makes a short film with the school bully and a bunch kids, and they want to enter it into a film fest? The kid in that is an eleven-year-old, cigarette smoking, badarse who makes these kids look soft. Pretty sure you’re safe, man.
Ok, so now that you know I liked this and am not a complete arsehole, I’ll give my thoughts Sorry if I kind of jump around here – I just jot things down as I remember.
I was surprised, at age 13, that Ben didn’t have some cute gal on his eye, and surprised that this avenue wasn’t explored as a type of motivation/sub plt, instead of using the family pet being sick – which I actually saw as being somewhat melodramatic. Sorry. I just don’t think it was fully realized, (can’t think of the right word…Someone said Lassie-esque? I second that, to a certain extent.) It just felt inconsistent with the tone. Tone was a bit of an issue for me, actually.
For example, the issue with the parent’s finances was underplayed. The ‘problem’ was never really a problem because it never stood in the way of anything, or at least I never got the impression that it was a big deal. The IOU Ben’s parents gave him could have been a great place to create conflict between this kid and his seemingly perfect parents. Their relationship felt artificial – every time they asked Ben ‘how was your day?’ ‘How’s the film going?’ he always blurted out his exact feelings. It’s all good if you want to portray him having a good relationship with his parents, but it was just too much After all, it is almost moody teenager age he’s at? Maybe let Ben hold back on the sharing so you can add some emotion and ‘big moments’ later on, like when he has to apologize, or finally tell his parents things aren’t working out, or has to crawl to them for advice after things to custard.
You’re definitely not afraid to make waves with the kids’ relationships – now do the same & maybe stir up the pot with the parents, too! Can’t Ben be a little angry at his parents for the lack of birthday gifts? Letting the dog die? (I’m sure 13 year-olds are more selfish…) This would make the ending with the party actually have some emotional impact if they patched things up at the celebrations. As it is, it’s anti climatic. We get it - happy families, everyone wins. Great. But nothing changed from the beginning? They were already happy. Now all they have is money, but I thought money wasn’t important according to Ben? Bit of a contradiction in messages. I don’t know. Just trying to add things up.
Random note -maybe even make the party a surprise? Their way of making it up to him? Thinking out loud here. Anyway,
I was confused about how quick all the guys dismissed Rex at the start? Yes, I know he was a controlling syko, but we never got to see it that much until the film progressed. I mean, how long have these guys been friends? And they just suddenly turn on each other and become enemies over something like that? Don’t they know what Rex is like? Wouldn’t it take more to push them over the edge and in a sense ‘breakup?’ These guys were like besties right? The two guys interested in movie making, they must know each other’s secrets/what pisses each other off? Use that. Every thing just needs to be pushed a little further IMO, that’s in relation to everything really.
Ok. I’ll chill now. Just a couple notes:
-Why are Ben’s parents sitting by the door with the dog every time Ben arrives home – like three times, I think? I was wondering if they’re poor because they just sit around all day playing with the dog. No jobs. Not a great look.
-Why do the girls slap Dimitri? It would be funny, & probably make more sense, if he did a slightly crude/suggestive song and dance to them, justifying the slap?
-Could the teacher announce the competition in a more subtle way? Less convenient and obvious. Maybe he especially pulls aside Rex and Ben, who he knows are interested in film, and just tells them? That would create some more immediate tension… I don’t know. Just something more subtle.
-When Ben says ‘rock n roll’/stares at the movie flier, it doesn’t have much, if any, impact because we already knew he was going to do the competition because of all this build up you have before it. It would make more sense if he was still under Rex’s ‘reign’ when he decided to act/said something ball busting like this. Timing feels out of sync. If you want to have it here, then could Ben have been doubting whether or not he was going to do the film before this, until the dog (if you must) pushes him to act?
-Why do the parents have the IOU chat when Chuck is still around? Seems like a private thing to me.
-Why does Rex tell Ben how much he’s paying the Badfella’s? They’re not friends. Wouldn’t he say none of your concern or piss off…
-Why would Wallace lend money to Olive if he doesn’t really like him? And if he does like him, then why does he pester him so much to pay him back? I think you even mention this in the dialogue…
-They accept Rex back into the group far too easily after everything he’s done. Make it harder ‘cause I saw that little stunt he pulled, in Ben’s room, coming.
- For Rex and Ben’s ‘reconciliation’ could the mafia guys be dicks to Rex about losing the competition (he does owe them a lot of promised prize money, after all?) And maybe Ben and his guys can step in and help Rex out. One of the recurring themes in these movies, is the whole love thy neighbour, be the bigger man, help out the big bad guy when things go wrong – yeah? That would create an actual reason for Ben to step in and help/forgive Rex, other than just being this ‘perfect’ kid that Ben seems to be… Think Wimpy Kid – Greg forgives his friend/takes the blame for eating the moldy cheese. Superbad – saves his dick friend from getting his arse kicked by drunks. Bromance. Anyway, I’m sure you know all this. Ok. The end. Promise
My fave line of the whole thing was Addie’s: Why? So you can exploit my body for your own pleasure? Pervert! - would gain work better than the word pleasure? Lots of crack up lines in here, Greg. Couldn't list them all.
I’d like to read a rewrite. This could be mint. The dialogue between the boys was great to read. Cool watching this all unfold. I can see all the ingredients here; everything just needs to be stirred up a little! I really don’t know how this got so long…I get a bit… thorough? sometimes. It seems like I’ve commented on heaps of stuff, but they aren’t major structural things, for the most part. So, feel free to disagree with anything (or yell) won’t hold it against you. These are all just ideas/my opinions, after all! I should be in bed. Forgive anything that doesn’t make sense – it’s too late for a once over!
Kay. I said I’d stop now…hope I didn't do your head in.
Yet another great piece of work. I'll cut the formal critique here, cause everything I could think of was already mentioned in the countless other reviews.
Actually, I read it out of interest, whether you also anticipated the success of Youtube (like u did with Facebook). Although u didn't, this script made my day, because it reminded me of my childhood. I started out in filmmaking when I was 7 and maintained the interest so that I'm now in the TV business. I think when I was 12, I was exactely like Ben. You really nailed all the problems we hobby-directors stumble across: No money, no participators as actors or crew, no decent camera, those who take part are never serious about the project, and so on...
For the characters, I think they seemed like real people all the time. Even the sidekicks had decent characterization. As a friend of the 90s TGIF lineup, and especially of the early Boy Meets World, I loved that you set the story into the world of 12/13-year olds. Most of the stuff that happened would seem redicolous for older kids, but at this age everything was absolutely credible.
I normally take a few days to finish reading a feature. This one I finished within hours. WELL DONE!!!
I've seen you reviewing some of the OWC's and I guess this is your first feature? I'm honored you considered mine. I appreciate you taking the time to look it over. You've got a lot of well thought out comments here and I'm gonna try and answer some of your questions --
Canï¿½t Ben be a little angry at his parents for the lack of birthday gifts? Letting the dog die? (Iï¿½m sure 13 year-olds are more selfishï¿½) This would make the ending with the party actually have some emotional impact if they patched things up at the celebrations. As it is, itï¿½s anti climatic. We get it - happy families, everyone wins. Great. But nothing changed from the beginning? They were already happy. Now all they have is money, but I thought money wasnï¿½t important according to Ben? Bit of a contradiction in messages. I donï¿½t know. Just trying to add things up.
Some kids would get mad, some kids wouldn't. I personally didn't when that scene played out on my 14th birthday, but everyone would respond differently and Ben is established as a pretty mellow kid to begin with. Likewise, folks ask a kid what's wrong, some will say "nothing," some will literally say nothing, some will say "meh," and still others will talk with them about it. At that age everyone develops at different speeds. Oliver, Rex, and Gino are the kind of kids who probably wouldn't. Dimitri, well, who knows what planet he's on.
Things did change -- a lot of it is in between the lines. Early on Jodie says money isn't everything. At the end Ben realizes money isn't everything. But everything in between no matter if it was kid or adult, money mattered and it was a reoccurring theme. No money, no camera, creates the conflict. The prize money for the festival is what he wanted to use to help his dog out, but along the way he forgot a couple basic things; he's 13 and making movies for him is supposed to be fun. But he got so caught up in everything that he forgot about that. And the parents feel horrible - no one wants to give their kid an IOU, no one wants to say there's nothing we can do for the dog since those chemo drugs are ridiculously expensive and finances are freezed. Are they happy? Eh, subtly happy enough for the purposes I was going for, but there are issues there.
Random note -maybe even make the party a surprise? Their way of making it up to him? Thinking out loud here.
Originally there was but I felt transitioning directly from the festival to the party in the backyard (with Chuck's repeated "Party at Ben's House line") was how I wanted to play it out.
I was confused about how quick all the guys dismissed Rex at the start? Yes, I know he was a controlling syko, but we never got to see it that much until the film progressed. I mean, how long have these guys been friends? And they just suddenly turn on each other and become enemies over something like that? Donï¿½t they know what Rex is like? Wouldnï¿½t it take more to push them over the edge and in a sense ï¿½breakup?ï¿½
Push them over the edge? Or Rex? Cause Rex was the one who fired them and they had just pretty much had enough of his bitching. In terms of friends they weren't great pals to begin with - they had similar interests so it was a friendship forged from that. In Ben's blog he's more fazzled by not having a camera than he is from losing Rex as a friend. In 7th grade, we had partnerships like this. We actually once "hired" two guys to be critics at our own "competition" even though one of these guys I couldn't stand. The reason I brought him on board is that we had similar interests for this kind of thing.
Why are Benï¿½s parents sitting by the door with the dog every time Ben arrives home ï¿½ like three times, I think? I was wondering if theyï¿½re poor because they just sit around all day playing with the dog. No jobs.
They like the chairs Yeah, they're sitting around a couple times in the family room, kitchen, etc. In the middle of jobs exemplifies the waiting game aspect of it. Jodie got a part timer in an earlier draft and wound up throwing a can of soup at a customer.
Why do the girls slap Dimitri? It would be funny, & probably make more sense, if he did a slightly crude/suggestive song and dance to them, justifying the slap?
Well he did ask both of them out simultaneously after Rickrolling them
-Could the teacher announce the competition in a more subtle way? Less convenient and obvious. Maybe he especially pulls aside Rex and Ben, who he knows are interested in film, and just tells them? That would create some more immediate tensionï¿½ I donï¿½t know. Just something more subtle.
That's also been bounced around. I think it was just a random flier initially but after developing Shields as a more integral role (and replacing the original host of the festival) I wanted to give him a more involved presence. He knows these guys are into that kind of thing so he personally brings it up. Including Rex is a good idea though. I'll keep that in mind.
Why do the parents have the IOU chat when Chuck is still around? Seems like a private thing to me.
Why does Rex tell Ben how much heï¿½s paying the Badfellaï¿½s? Theyï¿½re not friends. Wouldnï¿½t he say none of your concern or piss offï¿½
One kid may, another kid may not.
Why would Wallace lend money to Olive if he doesnï¿½t really like him? And if he does like him, then why does he pester him so much to pay him back? I think you even mention this in the dialogueï¿½
The funny thing about 7th grade logic is it doesn't make sense a lot of the time. True story: In 8th grade I asked this kid for a dollar so I could get a burrito at lunch and I said if I don't pay you back tomorrow, I'll give you another dollar interest. The next day I was absent with an illness so when I returned I gave him his dollar -- but he wanted another for the missed day. I said I was sick and there was no way I could have given it to him but he insisted. The middle school yard codes can only do so much for you there. Well into high school he still pestered me for the accumulated interest - which was getting into the hundreds (yes, he counted). I would give him a dollar here and there just to try and shut him up but it didn't work. I'm still not sure if he was serious or not, but he started to bump into me in the hallways, curse at me, and just be a pest whenever he could while demanding I pay up...and then I punched him and he never spoke of it again.
So really, the thing is -- part of it is having that power, the other part of it is just to bug someone, and the last part of it is to make their lives seem more adult than they actually are. Why would anyone lend Olive money? From a kid's perspective, especially one such as Wallace who's not afraid to impose himself, he sees Olive everyday and Wallace is higher in the popularity totem pole, so if Olive doesn't pay up then Wallace gets to pester him. That's what kids do haha.
For Rex and Benï¿½s ï¿½reconciliationï¿½ could the mafia guys be dicks to Rex about losing the competition (he does owe them a lot of promised prize money, after all?) And maybe Ben and his guys can step in and help Rex out.
That's a good idea and it would complete the loop - Rex kicks Ben out in the beginning, Rex gets kicked out in the end, then they make peace.
So, feel free to disagree with anything (or yell) wonï¿½t hold it against you.
Yeah - WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!?!
Haha, but really - thank you for the read and your well constructed thoughts. I hope my responses to your questions didn't come off as dickery or anything - I really do appreciate the time you took for this!
If you've got something you'd like read, feel free to let me know and I'll check it out for you.
I’ve listed my comments as I read this below. Often I’m more likely to note negatives than positives.
Title Page – The title has a good sound about it and I’m intrigued. I’m also a little afraid about this being a rip off homage type thing because of the Scorsese reference.
Pg 1 – I know this is a point of debate here at the moment, but what is to be lost by putting “FADE IN:” on the left and having one line after it?
“The James Bond trademark opening” – If it is “James Bond trademark” what makes you think you can get permission to use it?
The first page gets this moving really quickly.
Pg 3 – Rex’s early melt down is quite amusing, but I wonder if he’s a little well-spoken for a 13 year old. Maybe it’s okay.
Also in this scene I don’t have a sense of whose side I’m supposed to be on. Since Rex talks so much I’m wondering if it is his film.
Pg 6 – The family intro is nice, perhaps a bit too much so.
Pg 7 – It probably doesn’t matter but instant messages could probably be formatted as INSERTS.
Now Ben is using swanky sounding language in his blog. One well-spoken child I can believe, two is pushing it.
Pg 11 – I’ll be interested to see if Aaron reappears as a character and if his religious views matter. If they don’t then this will have been an example of entering the scene too early, since it is Ben’s bit that we are interested in.
“three of the best movies of all time” – What, no love for Raiders of the Lost Ark?
Pg 12 – I’m guessing this contest is the inciting incident and is going to be what they set out to achieve.
Pg 14 – I get that this is a fun teenage thing, but I’m wondering if it doesn’t make sense to age these characters up a few years and then you can let loose with the comedy.
“, startling the two.” – For me this is example of redundant description that could be tightened up.
Pg 17 – The story is well under way now. I wonder if the scene that ends on this page could be broken up and happen over some other actions. As it is they are in the Lunch room for 5 pages going through some fairly obvious situation set up.
“I’m so ashamed.” – An example of on-the-nose dialogue.
Pg 18 – “Oliver trips over his shoes and tumbles into the pit.” – This is pretty funny, but comedically I wonder if having the other kid fall over before this makes this seem repetitive?
Pg 20 – “But he said that Rex is in talks” – How would this kid know that? And could you hold this back to be revealed later?
Pg 22 – Using the dog as a reason he needs money might work, but I’m not sure cancer is a good choice of problem. Also it seems to me that at least one, and most likely both parents would be upset by the imminent demise of their dog. Another problem with this is that the golden rule of screenwriting is that you never kill the dog, so I know you’re not doing that, so now I know the outcome of the movie!
Pg 25 – For some reason this audition scene made me think of that movie from a couple of years ago where a group of teenagers made a porn film.
Pg 27 – “20th Century Chuck” – Again I’m not sure about using these things.
The story has been set up fairly well. Much of it is dialogue driven and especially it seems like you are aiming for comedy from the dialogue. That can work fine, but often it is situations that are funny and the dialogue becomes funny because of those situations.
Pg 29 – “I’ve just got a feeling.” – On-the-nose?
Pg 31 – “Gino knocks his fist” – I had to search back to remember who Gino is. This might be a sign that you have quite a lot of different characters floating around in here. An initial thought on this would be, why not have Nixon and Joshua be the badfellas leaders?
Pg 34 – “You talkin’ to me?” – A Scorsese reference! I bet there have been loads of others and I’ve missed them.
Pg 35 – “but #are# overpowered” - ?
This fight is good stuff, but having set up the badfellas as frightening demons it seems odd to have our heros initiate a fight with them.
Pg 36 – And now Derek turns up and all by himself is more badass than your badass bad guys?
Pg 38 – I had expected that it would be Silly Billy who helps them out after being rescued, but at this point they got nothing from him.
Pg 41 – The stuff about sister and mom being hot is okay, but for me it has a tired cliché feel about it.
Pg 42 – “I have a script, guys.” – Seems a little odd that it’s taken this long for this to come up.
Pg 47 – Again I’m not big on the dynamic the parents bring to this.
Pg 49 – This filming of a Star Wars parody reminds me of what I think happens in Zak & Miri Make A Porno.
Pg 54 – I can see them being desperate for entry money, but to buy one light?
At the moment I’m sort of lost on where this is at. They filmed a bunch of stuff, but they are still testing different ideas, I guess this might be a sign of the second act losing pace.
Pg 56 – This page seems to highlight the dual bad guy thing you have going on. You could consider making it clearer that Rex is calling the shots, so that he is the super bad guy.
Pg 59 – The posters are cool things, but again I’m not sure you’ll be able to use them.
Pg 65 – I’m not sure I buy them getting pally with Rex at this point.
Pg 68 – The discussion on this page has similarities with stuff that happened much earlier in the story. That might suggest that the story has not moved on much.
Pg 72 – Sorry to harp on the rights thing, but now you have a guy singing a Rolling Stones song and they are famously awkward about people using their stuff.
Pg 75 – “Ben checks out the title; “The Scorsese Club.”” – I had thought about that outcome about 50 pages ago. It makes good sense.
Pg 77 – “Well, up until now all we’ve been doing is shooting random scenes and whatnot.” – This has the effect of emphasizing the aimlessness of some of their earlier scenes.
Pg 81 – Solid final act action.
Pg 82 – “That’s why I’m doing this; to prove that I’m better.” – Feels like psych-analysis of the character.
Pg 84 – Since that last sequence felt like the first part of the final act I’m a little surprised that you’ve got 20 pages still to go.
Pg 89 – For me it feels like some of the energy from the earlier confrontation has sapped away because you are setting up the festival. I’m not sure you need much of this.
Pg 92 – Having a night appear in your festival also seems like an unnecessary slowdown in the story.
Pg 98 – I’m a little surprised that the bad guys’ movie is playing second.
Pg 99 – Another night slowing this down again, you can have aside scenes in the breaks between screenings and before the results.
Pg 100 – The characters are very passive throughout this finale. They are not making stuff happen and it seems like the judges are being expected to save the day.
Pg 101 – So they didn’t win, now they need a miracle solution to all their money problems.
Pg 105 – And things wrap up with things just kinda turning out to be okay.
Overall the story has some good potential. You’ve got a solid underdog story, clear protagonists and antagonists, and a clear set of objectives for them to work towards. Much of this hinges on peoples’ taste in comedy and I could see this comedic content finding an audience.
For me though the comedy felt a little flat and that meant that I was probably not going with the flow enough to buy into the wider story. You can probably get most of the things I had trouble with from my earlier notes.
The writing technique is very clean and smooth.
Sorry about not being more positive. Good luck with it.
No dickery on your part. Yep, this was my first feature review. A great starting place.
I’m hearing what you’re saying about Ben being a mellow kid and having this good relationship going on with his parents. I always had/have a good relationship with my folks, too. I was a communicative Ben. I get that. But the reason I brought up Ben’s possible anger/annoyance at his parents and the IOU was just my (random/one possible…) idea for making Ben have a little more kid quality. He does seem very mature, which is fine, but to seem ‘unflawed is different… He seems like an ‘almost’ perfect dude, and his only real faults or issues are focusing too much on the sick dog/winning prize money for it, which are actually not faults, but virtues/pretty admirable qualities. I get the arc and the subtle change, but it would have been nice to see Ben realize something small, other than kinda how wonderful/grown-up he is? If he had become a bit of a dick on his road to festival winning glory, then the outcome as written, I would have totally eaten up…bought it. I’m not saying to make him a dick, just that it seemed like you might be afraid we wouldn’t like the character if he did anything too wrong… (Like, random example – making him have a little stronger hatred of and desire to beat Rex?) Just my two cents.
Don’t know how well I explained that.
Anyway – kudos again on this. And I forgot to mention last time that I thought Dimitri was great!
Oh, and thanks for the IOU on the read I should be finished working on my first screenplay – to actually be seen through to the end – in a couple of weeks. Been working on it for about six months, with no one having read it yet…so kinda nervous. But, yep. Will appreciate any comments. Good. Terrible. Whatever.
OK, I've read about 300 screenplays in my life and out of all of them, this is the one I think needs to be produced. Not only is it clever, funny, original, and a realistic portrayal of teenagers such as myself (I'm 15), but it's poignant and heartwarming.
Long story short, I think kids my age and slightly younger and older will really dig The Scorsese Club. If it's released as a feature film, I think it could also play to older crowds, like Pixar does.
Thanks for the read and your thoughts. A couple things I wanted to respond to so you can see what I was thinking --
ï¿½The James Bond trademark openingï¿½ ï¿½ If it is ï¿½James Bond trademarkï¿½ what makes you think you can get permission to use it?
Trademark as an adjective. Sorry for the confusion.
Pg 14 ï¿½ I get that this is a fun teenage thing, but Iï¿½m wondering if it doesnï¿½t make sense to age these characters up a few years and then you can let loose with the comedy.
13 is the best age. After that, the awkward stage begins.
ï¿½Iï¿½m so ashamed.ï¿½ ï¿½ An example of on-the-nose dialogue.
Pg 20 ï¿½ ï¿½But he said that Rex is in talksï¿½ ï¿½ How would this kid know that? And could you hold this back to be revealed later?
Playground politics - a lot of people know things going on with others.
Another problem with this is that the golden rule of screenwriting is that you never kill the dog, so I know youï¿½re not doing that, so now I know the outcome of the movie!
The dog isn't the mystery, though -- how they're going to compete to achieve their goals with all this stuff going on in their clique is the obstacle to overcome. The cliche easy-to-predict outcome would be for them to win (which they don't).
Pg 49 ï¿½ This filming of a Star Wars parody reminds me of what I think happens in Zak & Miri Make A Porno.
That scene was actually written 3 years before that movie was released.
Pg 54 ï¿½ I can see them being desperate for entry money, but to buy one light?
At the moment Iï¿½m sort of lost on where this is at. They filmed a bunch of stuff, but they are still testing different ideas, I guess this might be a sign of the second act losing pace.
Jumping from one thing to another is what 13 year olds enjoy doing - quick ideas for finding quicker solutions. Light was an issue so they come up with a quick plan to get one and that unfolds into other issues. I'm sorry though you felt it was losing pace.
Sorry about not being more positive. Good luck with it.
No need for apologies. I appreciate your thoughts and thank you
Been working on it for about six months, with no one having read it yet…so kinda nervous.
Yeah, it can be pretty nervewracking to post your stuff for the world to see, but you get used to it and it's always good to get your stuff out there. If you want me to check it out before you post it, you can always contact me through e-mail
Thanks for your words. You've been a big champion of the script for a while and I appreciate your enthusiasm and relation to it!
I'm a big fan of family friendly properties. So, I was excited to learn about this script. The Feature Script of the Month idea is pretty nifty so far. I intended to sit down and read the first third (35 pages). However, when I looked up, I realized I was on page 38. That's rare, when I lose my place in a script, speaks highly to the flow of the pages.
Your grasp of the format is solid. Only one typo stood out to me. p. 6 "vent up" Methinks you meant "pent up". Unless it's a misuse joke I failed to get.
So far, I am engaged by your story. Your set up and character dynamics in the first act are pretty solid. I feel the protag/antag aspect could use some enhancement. As a rule, I care less about heroes that are reactive instead of proactive. Ben can only react to Rex's prima donna departure. Ok. It doesn't tell me much about our hero or what his morale code is like. You have a mildly clumsy parental exposition scene about Cara. For what it is, it's pretty decent, but there's a better way to inform the audience.
For example, if Cara was an actor in the Bond opener, here's how it could go... Instead of someone just flubbing a line, Cara misses a mark, Rex calls cut. Rex tantrums, Ben defends Cara, she's going to the vet tomorrow or something. Rex declares either the dog goes or he walks. Our hero has a choice to make. Ben chooses to defend his beloved dog, Rex walks off the set. Our hero made a choice, free will and it tells us a lot about him as a character. Now, the dilemma of that choice, we learn about the competition. Ben realizes his choice has now put him in a hole to raise money for Cara. Instead of wallowing, Ben rises to the occasion and will take up the challenge. He rallies his friends and will use his abilities to do his best to win the day.
A simple "plumbing" change like that opens up the story to me a lot. Ben steps up, makes a choice with free will and spurns and embarrasses Rex. Thus, making Rex a more antagonistic villain, wanting to make Ben look bad. Your protag/antag dynamic is enhanced and we know Ben much better this way. And we're invested in the ensuing dilemma from the choice he made to protect Cara. We root for him when he protects his dog and want him to succeed in the contest. A story opener like that has got me hooked, I like Ben, he makes good choices. I'm much less interested in reactive protags always adjusting to deal with villains.
But then again, what do I know? I'm a no resume nobody. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the pages, thanks for sharing.
Keep writing and rewriting!
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I read pages 38 - 70 this morning. Your pages are still moving along well. The script testing phase didn't catch fire with me. The parodies felt tame, something an adult would come up with, not a kid. Check out "Son of Rambow" for some truly off the hook kid film auteurs. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0845046/
I know the mid section is typically where scripts flirt with b stories, etc. But I felt as though the boys haven't gotten anywhere in these thirty pages. The Rex defection felt like filler to me, flat and unconvincing on all fronts. It's followed up by a summary speech, resetting the goals of the characters. The speech echoes the sentiments of the end of act one, with no progress. Perhaps the mid section can be enhanced with more Chuck and Dimitri. I struggle to distinguish between the two of them constantly. Everyone else pretty much has an affectation or something to set them apart. A couple more noble goals for the cash would help out the second act.
The money for the light took me right to cash collection in "Stand by Me" for food. If that's an intentional homage, it definitely felt like that film. I'm not buying into the Badfellas at all. I've seen the kid mafia trope in lots of family films, what sets it apart here?
I liked the contract from the parents, it's a light touch. The script could use a bit more sentiment like that sprinkled here and there. However, it felt like a missed opportunity ending on the video game thought. I see Ben amending the contract to use those funds to help Cara. Even initializing the amendment on the contract, like an agent. That kind of sentiment helps cement our hero to me.
Your pacing is still crisp and your format never trips me up. I'm looking forward to finishing the script. Feel free to look over Red Sun at your convenience, it's appreciated.
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