Thank you very much for the read, E.D. And for your thoughtful notes. I’m glad to see the B’s bring the Cup back to Beantown. It’s been a while.
I think one of the difficulties we’ve run into on this script is sheer numbers. By that I mean the number of elves. We give focus to a lot, in and out of therapy. It lends credence to the concept, but in the process, the relevance of each elf gets watered down. Honestly, I think that’s been the issue all along. Turnstile therapy makes it tough to feel connected to any one particular individual. It’s many things happening without much resonating, and that has to change.
The story is set in present day. I think upping the offer from $25K makes sense. Joy would still need to push back so tension isn’t diminished too much. The idea of her being an efficiency expert may become less important in the next rewrite; I’ll explain why below. The Rubik’s Cube isn’t integral. Swapping it out for more conflict between Joy and Cal is a good way to build on their arc and lace in more backstory. Gives us more of a chance to experience what this family is going through as a result of the divorce, and humanizes Joy.
Leon reminding Joy of her absent husband has lots of comic potential. Nice call. The stuff about the nicotine gum is a little muddled, agreed. I think it works better if Cal gets himself into another jam by disobeying his mother, and then having to deal with the consequences. It raises the stakes of their relationship and, at the same time, doesn’t dilute the threat from Leon.
I disagree on the point of Stan’s personal life. He doesn’t need to be worried about it, per se, but he’s pretty much without human contact 24/7/364. And if he has a successful Christmas Eve, make that 365. Seeing that isolation creep up on him at an inopportune time could be an interesting twist, and gives Joy a “patient” outside the confines of her office. The trick is getting that across in a comedic way. Re: the toy reject scene, some dialogue could be trimmed and more action woven in. But generally speaking, I don’t mind pushing the 3-page limit as long as what’s happening on the page continues to move the story forward.
When we dive back in, I think Leon being the ‘problem elf’ needs to be known right up front. Even as early as Stan and Joy’s first encounter. His notoriety needs to be upped, and done so in singular fashion. Make him sort of the Hannibal Lecter of the elves, minus the cannibalism. That would be a different film entirely. Christmas needs to hinge on whether or not Joy can turn him around in time. Hopefully, this would crystallize things and stoke the sense of urgency. Furthermore, it will nudge Noel and Hark to the forefront, giving Joy a manageable trio of elves (gnome +1) to work with. Ode, Schmelf and Ancy would thankfully blend into the woodwork, enabling us to focus on the main relationships.
Thanks again for your comments, E.D. They’re greatly appreciated and will be very useful in Rewrite # We Lost Track. There’s a seachange coming to Candy Cane Central.