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Just wanted to say that I read your script. Great dialogue, fun characters, a very enjoyable, funny read. You're a good writer. Not that I'm an expert or anything... but there's my two cents, for what they're worth.
CrazyArtist recommended this to me. I gave it a read and really enjoyed it.
I made a few mental notes while reading, but since I'm at work I couldn't write them down. If you're interested I'll give it another read and post them over the weekend. or maybe I'll read Down Holler first
I enjoyed this very much. It's a good story, it's a story worth telling, I think.
There are a few places where the crisp dialogue becomes a little heavy handed. Capra got away with his characters giving mini lectures to each other but unless this is performed as a radio play, I think you could edit a little bit.
I was thinking about the scene where Katie talks about watching her would-be husband slowly die...she sounds self righteous because it goes on and on. It makes Katie a less likable character and that's not good for the story, I think.
On the other hand on pages 93 and 94, Myron carries on, line after line, and that works very well, the venom that comes out of him hits the audience hard, and it would be even more affecting, I think, if he didn't say so much earlier. We get it, he's nasty.
Anyway, I don't mean to be critical at all -- I think this would be a terrific film. Note: page 41, he collapses on the bed twice (?) page 65, the word mystical page 123, the word acre = care, I think
Thanks very much! I'm a sucker for Capra, and it's a problem, but I've been paring this one down a bit and I sincerely appreciate the notes. I'm really fond of these characters, and sometimes I wonder if I don't just put Sam into my different stories and see what happens. Thanks again!
I've been hanging out in the comedy section lately, don't know why. Then I came across your script. Seems this goes back to last year. This must be an old script that has been resurrected.
So I gave this a go. I read the previous comments, unfortunately, I'll have to disagree with the majority of them.
The biggest thing is your writing. You have alot of issues here. Redundancy-- passive verbiage to name a few. Too wordy, doesn't flow, awkward which tends to turn people away. I'm not going over everything I seen, just hit on some highlights and other noticeables. Take your first actionline. If you take out interstate and the otherwise, both unnecessary and the former redundant, then re-word what's left to make it sound better. Your very next line don't read well either. Once the main artery of the community, now largely unused. How are we suppose to know that? This reads like a passage from a novel. Show, don't tell us. Further away from the interstate, a sporty SUV moves along a deserted stretch of highway. Eveything else in that paragraph is just taking up space. If I was writing this, it would read like that. (but I'm not) This is your script. When you first introduce SAM and TED, it too reads awkwardly. Your WRYLY for Marc on page#2 doesn't need to be there. I'd get rid of that all together. DE-CAP KELLY on page#2. page#4, you reveal TED to be a dog. Then why did you even introduce him when you introduced SAM. If this is how you want TED to first appear, then I'd remove him from the opening scene or just mention this fact then. Is this suppose to be a surprise to us? page#7, the city square. I ran out of breath reading that seven line paragraph. I think you need a period and even one of these ;, would help. Better yet, I'd break it up too. Over written. This passage... Sam scratches Ted's head as the dog sits up in the bed of the truck, yawning. (We know he's a dog, why mention it?) Unnecessary. I'd get rid of "as the dog." page#11 Kelly professionally scoops it up. Do we really need, "professionally." I'm skipping now... page#34, should it be "I just walked off my job" and not of. Between page#29 and 31, you have lots of dialogue and your characters not doing anything. I'd have them do something. Nothing major, it can be something small. page#36, I'd put a period after milwaukee. page#37, you first introduce us to Andy. I'd CAP him. page#40, cheap motel room. Needs to be re-written. C M HALL pointed it out in her review. page42, a young woman SANDY, in her mid-twenties. You see what I'm saying. I'd get rid of a young woman. page#43, when you have Sam spin on his heel to face the young woman. You have already introduced her. Just say SANDY. page#45, understading passes between them. These are both people who futures are uncertain. (not good) page#56, re-enters, I believe, not reenters. I didn't jot down everything, because you had alot of things mentioned above going on. FADE OUT... FADE TO BLACK... no need for things like this. I'd get rid of them all together. But if you insist on littering your script with these, then you need to FADE us back IN. When you move from scene to scene, (HEADINGS), it's almost like an automatic "gimmie" when it comes to FADE OUTS... FADE IN'S.
Needless to say, I stopped at page#56. Your story is interesting and a few of your characters seem colorful. For the most part it is structured alright but I didn't get to the ending so I wont comment any further on that. You had a few funny lines in here as well.
This is an older script, so your writing maybe already be better. I don't know but based of this one...
If you tighten it up, you can easily get this down under 120 pages which would be ideal for a comedy script like yours. This feedback... will only help to make this better.
"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."
I certainly appreciate the comments, and, yes, this is an older script and there are places to tighten, no doubt. I like to think I've gotten better, but many of the later scripts don't appear here on advice of the agent, so I keep them a little quiet.
I do have an expository writing style, which is not standard, but it has led me to working a gig for a now-produced film, so I am reluctant to let that go just yet, especially for a draft that is clearly not designed to be a shooting script. That, as you know, is a totally different process.
Given time, I would love to go back and polish some of the very things you mentioned, and I hope you give my other work on here a try. I really do appreciate your input, and no one benefits from totally positive feedback.
Of course, I agree with some of it, not so much other bits, but it all serves to make us all better, whether reviewing or being reviewed, so, again, I very much appreciate it. Thanks!
I've been away from screenwriting and SS for almost 2 years now, and I decided to start reading other scripts again. I picked yours at random, and I'm glad I did. You are a very talented writer. Dialgue is definitely your strength. I'm up to page 23 and really enjoying this so far. Here are some notes:
p.1 - A sporty SUV moves along the bare road, searching for signs of life.
This sentence is awkward to me. I don’t understand how the SUV looks for life. In fact, the first two graphs are a little confusing. You may want to have the major interstate as the first scene, and follow the SUV to the second scene, which would be the lonely highway. Technically, this is two scenes.
p.4 - MARC Kelly, I got $10 worth. Can you pay him?
I don’t see where Marc ever got out of the SUV.
p.4 - Beat.
The screenwriting group I’m in has boycotted the use of “beat”. I know it’s used a lot, but our coach believes it’s used too much and suggests showing some sort of action or reaction from characters instead. In the case, I agree. Show me what Ted does, especially since he doesn’t say anything.
p.4 - Ted is revealed as a baggy-eyed hound, sitting motionless on the porch.
You need to intro Ted as a dog in the opening graph. This is confusing.
p. 7 - FADE OUT.
Only add this to the end of a script.
p.7 - EXT. CITY SQUARE - DAY Sam’s tired red pickup pulls into the hub of Sparta, a small town city square. The centerpiece is the county courthouse in the center,a towering white wood and brick monument, surrounded by real estate offices with plywood walls, shops with specials advertised on the windows in shoe polish and a restaurant with the words ‘CITY CAFE Est. 1917’ emblazoned in white across the large front window.
This needs to be broken up. Better yet, have an establishing shot that shows the square as the truck pulls in, and then a tighter scene of the café front with the truck pulling up. I think it would make an easier read.
p. 7- In the alley, a small blue, battered import, long past its prime, is parked in the alley between two newer vehicles.
This needs a new scene heading (EXT. ALLEY – DAY)
p. 13 - Lowering the tailgate,
Does Ted or Sam lower the tailgate? If it’s Ted, he’s talented.
p. 13 - ‘US CODE HANDBOOK.’
You’re going to think I’m nitpicking, but the title is too vague. Perhaps “U.S. Army Code Handbook” or “United States Morse Code Handbook”. If you use the latter, then you won’t have to show him turning to a section to explain what he’s doing.
p. 15 - Terry’s 7-year old son,
You’re telling and not showing. Explain this through dialogue.
p.15 - Sam ducks inside and returns quickly with the boy, KEVIN, Terry’s 7-year old son, hair tussled and face flushed with fever. He opens up his truck and lays the boy down in the back seat. Sam climbs in the driver seat while Katie and Terry slide in the front. Terry leans over the seat to rest a cool washcloth on Kevin’s head.
Too long. Break this up.
p.20 - SAM I think I’m going to get some coffee of my own. Would anybody like anything?
Why didn’t he get a coffee earlier? Maybe he should say he’s going to stretch his legs or something like that.
p.22 - You think I feel great about telling you that my refrigerator is sending me messages to deliver to mothers in hospital waiting rooms.
I finally had a chance to read again. Here are some notes:
p. 24 - Standing, Sam walks inside
avoid gerunds and other passive verbage. Could be rephrased as “Sam stands, walks inside.”
p. 27 - I can’t believe you have nothing but light beer in here.
Really good line.
p. 28 – The scene with Katie and Sam is good, but a bit long. You seem to recap the hospital conversation quite a bit here, and perhaps you can edit that down. I also struggle with the fact that Sam suddenly believes this is a religious experience. I would suggest dampening his belief in that, or he could explain to her why he feels that way. He did not feel that way the previous night at the hospital.
p. 30 - Okay, that’s enough. Katie, want to help me in the kitchen a minute.
Question mark needed here. Also, maybe delete the first part of the sentence. Just say “Katie, want to help me in the kitchen a minute?”
p. 31- SHERYL That boy you met at college, right? The one you were engaged to?
A bit on the nose.
p. 32 - him, put his clothes on for him... wiped his ass for him when he couldn’t.
The wiping ass part doesn’t fit.
p. 34 - getaway car for the messiah.
p. 39 - Jessica slides down to her knees before Myrom as we focus on a look of contentment spreading across his face as he sips his drink.
Avoid the “we focus” part.
p. 40 - oily
An odd description. Clarify.
p. 40 - MIKE That’s not a very good scoop.
Should this be O.S.?
p. 40 - Sam leans down his head to the boy,
What boy? You haven’t intro’d Mike yet. You need to rewrite this scene. Before you intro Mike, his voice should probably be slated as VOICE (O.S.)
p. 43 - Yes, it is. (to MIKE) And he knows better than to talk to strangers around here.
No need to cap Mike in the parenthetical.
p. 43 - When I was his about his size,
typo – “his about his size”
p. 45- Sam gently swings Mike around, both laughing. Their laughs slowly subsiding, Sam sets Mike back on his feet and straightens his shirt.
This is a bit much for someone he has just met. Just half a page ago she didn’t want Sam talking to Mike.
p. 48 - SHERYL Katie, sometimes believing is hard.
Needs (cont’d) after SHERYL
p. 50 - FADES TO BLACK.
p. 52 - The pool side view of the slightly better motel next door.
“poolside” is one word, and I don't understand this sentence.
p. 52 - Sam does like wise.
“likewise” – one word
p. 53 - I see what I am. Poor, used to be pretty, with a kid that she barely looks old enough to have, living in a motel that is certainly no place for a child.
Some of this, especially the part about being pretty, seems out of place. Maybe she simply refers to herself as “a little rough around the edges”.
p. 58 – I have a problem with the scene that shows the tension between Myrom and Jessica. It’s not that it’s not a good scene, it’s that it is inconsistent with the first time we meet them. In the first scene, she willingly gave him the blow job. Now, it seems that she has a dislike for him. Maybe it would be more believable if he forces the issue in the first scene. Also, Myrom’s dialog that details her past is a bit on the nose.
I also am not crazy about Sandy throwing herself at Sam. Not just yet, anyway. I'm finding their relationship and sudden friendship a bit rushed and forced.
The introduction of Myrom and Jessica has helped pick up the pace, and your dialog continues to shine.
Again, thanks for the thorough notes. I should be wrapping up a new rewrite this week, and I'm trying to get the agent excited about this script to give me the excuse to go back and start the rewrites on this. I really do appreciate the feedback, and I agree that Sandy throwing herself at Sam is too quick. In fact, I have a better way to play that in mind, just need the time to spend with the pages again. Please keep it coming when time permits.