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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  Headlong (7WC) Moderators: bert
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: December 24th, 2010, 4:01pm Report to Moderator
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Holiday Greetings Stevie,

Seen a lot of action on this thread, so I thought I'd weigh in.
I read through the first act this morning. It's a fun holiday read!
I enjoyed your set up so far.
My only real criticism so far is the poor action description of the fissure.
I would have liked some more detail there.
Your comic senses are smart. No one points out the absurdity of things.
Odd is as odd does, as it should be, high marks for figuring that out.

Some scene specific notes so far:
p. 7 Vey...gas cracked me up big time. Even though I saw it coming.
p. 13 Good luck with getting the right to a Beatles song.
p. 15 You mention a Corvette here. Is that a mistake?
p. 17 The upright pipe, some pretty wild physics there. Didn't work for me.
p. 37 Axl Rose is a zombie. I knew it! That explains that funky shuffle. LoL
p. 38 Pop's sticky kiss, comedy gold! Keep it up!

Regards,
E.D.

P.S. Pretty intrigued to see if the Matt Damon thing pays off later in the story.


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Revision History (1 edits)
Electric Dreamer  -  December 24th, 2010, 6:11pm
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: December 25th, 2010, 11:38am Report to Moderator
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Stevie,

I hope you had a fab holiday.
Onto Act Two...

It seems we traded in the absurd humor for a road trip chase picture.
This act kinda has that It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World type vibe going.
And it doesn't quite work for me, and it took me a while to figure out why.
Ray is the glue of the story for me, and he's awful quiet in this act.
I think I counted like ten plus pages where he only gets one line of action.
Ray is the catalyst in the first act and I adore that in your story.
Pages 38 - 76, Ray feels ancillary at best and your script suffers for it.
You did a fine job setting up this crew of characters, but they are muted on the road.
Ray is your greatest asset so far and he's under utilized in the mid section big time.

Here are a few scene specific notes...

p. 48 Seemed odd Steak didn't react to Firebird going over the side.
p. 60 Pop's Jaws quotes would fit better as commentary during chase and ramming.
p. 71 Is Brent's lawyer dad The Big Boss? Just a thought. Is this a set up?
p. 76 I finally figured out what's missing in the second act. More Ray please.
p. 77 Random revelation about the tracker feels random.

I'm looking forward to the third act.
Hope you're enjoying your holiday weekend!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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stevie
Posted: December 25th, 2010, 6:09pm Report to Moderator
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Hi E.D! Hope you are having a good xmas too. I know you are still reading HL (and your comments are much appreciated), so I'll wait till you finish before I answer in detail.

Just wanted to let you know that Ray wasn't in the original script - i added him for the re-write. That's why he's in the background a bit in the middle. Because I dleted chunks of it, I realised later that he isn't doing much in the 'intact' parts. i sor tof rushed through, inserting lines and things for him, but, yeah, it makes him less visible.
I will amend it when i get back to HL at some stage.

Cheers stevie



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Electric Dreamer
Posted: December 26th, 2010, 11:24pm Report to Moderator
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Stevie,

I finished the script and had a few thoughts to share.
Scanning the thread, I see there are some hybrid circumstances on this one.
I don't know the details, but I'll jot a few thoughts down here anyway.
I guess there was a reason why the zombie fissure is never revisited?

I did not think your third act did the first act much justice.
There's an overload of chasing and cops with little character work.
The good news though is, your first forty pages are pretty darn good.
So, the foundation is there for something truly outstanding.
I thought the cop characters contributed next to nothing to the story.
They felt more like a plot device than characters.
The group I got to know and enjoy in act one, don't do much with the cops here.

Your tech skills here are dandy, this does read well, no problem getting through it.
But Pop turns into a quoting idiot. The relationship with his daughter stagnates.
Ray's whackiest bits are in the first act, at least you do have that to fall back on.
As far as comedies on this site go, you have one of the better set ups I've read.
But I got bored fast with all the cop plot mechanics.
Not to mentio all the plot conveniences with Ray and Slick.
One of the things I really like about the first act was the lack of plot convenience.
I almost forgot Steakhouse (great name) and Pepita were in the third act.
Your Matt Damon payoff was pretty good.

This is a breezy read with an intriguing set up.
I look forward to checking out later drafts of this.

Thaks again for sharing and keep writing!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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stevie
Posted: December 27th, 2010, 3:39am Report to Moderator
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Hi E.D. Thanks agaain for the read and review. All your points are very vaild(as are everyones).
This script has had a mixed histroy - the rewrite was a real pain and I did hurry it a bit to get it out of the way.

I know have a solid base of comments to work on a third (and hopefully) final draft at some stage.
I'm glad you really liked the first 40 pages especially, as that was all the new stuff with Ray.
The finale was meant to be this crazy all-in, no bars held scenario - I see your point about the characters suffering(the cops) and I can look at that too.

Cheers again and if you have any new stuff you need read, let me know  stevie



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Electric Dreamer
Posted: December 27th, 2010, 1:53pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from stevie
Hi E.D. Thanks agaain for the read and review. All your points are very vaild(as are everyones).
This script has had a mixed histroy - the rewrite was a real pain and I did hurry it a bit to get it out of the way.

I know have a solid base of comments to work on a third (and hopefully) final draft at some stage.
I'm glad you really liked the first 40 pages especially, as that was all the new stuff with Ray.
The finale was meant to be this crazy all-in, no bars held scenario - I see your point about the characters suffering(the cops) and I can look at that too.

Cheers again and if you have any new stuff you need read, let me know  stevie


Stevie,

Thanks for the kind offer. I will have a new short up soonish.
Oh, one more thing, the title. I didn't get it. :/
Did I miss something in the script? I feel bad for asking, but I really want to know.
I like the title, but I somehow missed the connection to your story.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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stevie
Posted: December 27th, 2010, 7:05pm Report to Moderator
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The title, E.D?  Yeah, it just came to me while writing the original. I'm a fan of one word titles, if possible - short and sweet.

It denotes the franticness of the script (hopefully). its funnny, cos i think you and James are the only ones who have mentioned it. He thought since I introduced Ray the zombie, the title shoudl reflect that somehow.

If you wanna send me your short before you post, feel free.

steve-abbey@hotmail.com



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dogglebe
Posted: December 28th, 2010, 7:46pm Report to Moderator
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I finally got around to looking at your script.  I was kind of surprised that you broke Simply Script's first carnal rule:  Don't give Phil a zombie script to read.  He hates zombie scripts, zombie movies and the whole zombie genre... except for zombie baked beans.  Them's tasty!

You've crossed so many genre's in this script that it scares.  You have zombies, a comedy, a buddy-buddy story... oh, and gangsters.  I know the trend in Hollywood now is crossed genre pics, but Christ!  Cut it down, some.  

My biggest problem with this script is the dialog.  Right out of the gate, it's forced and phony and most of the characters sound alike.  The only character who sounds different is Slick, and he comes off like a rip off of Big Tony from The Simpsons.  Quote like:


Quoted Text
Hey, you give me a Magnum and I'll definitely be in control.  Man, those things in there were like... zombies.


and


Quoted Text
Yes, good driving.  It doesn't excuse the stupidity that proceeded it, but...we'll discuss that later.  For now, let's get going.


I found these lines, and others, to be forced, artificial and over all, unfunny.  I know that comedy is subjective, and you're from the other side of the world, but we do share the same language.  You should read your dialog aloud to see if it sounds natural.  Another dialog exercise is to tape record an actual conversation and then write it word for word.  Include all the sentence fragments, pauses, err's and umm's.  It'll look funny on paper, but it sounds real.

Finally, I thought this script dragged.  There was no rush--no urgency on anyone's part.  It read like Driving Miss Daisy... without zombies, gangsters and wacky characters. You probably could cut this script in half and really improve the pacing.

Hope this helps.


Phil
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stevie
Posted: December 28th, 2010, 8:21pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Phil! Thanks for the erad and comments - appreciate it.

Sorry you didn't get into HL that much. Yeah, I do have a prob with dialogue a fair bit. Maybe because I usually write a lot of stuff from an American view, so I'm trying to 'artificially' insert myself into that feel(sounds almost obscene...)

Slick was meant to be a suave, above-his-world sort of due. As I said in an earlier post, he was meant to be a cross between James Bond and Blackadder. while all around him slowly crumbles, he tries to maintain his coolness and sense of control. In the end, it becomes too much!

I like your point about actually speaking lines as I write - I'll try that in my new scripts.

In a few months, I'll go over HL again and see what I can tighten up.

Will start reading Santa Inc. soon - all the best for the New year and thanks again.

Cheers stevie



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Dressel
Posted: March 9th, 2011, 6:39pm Report to Moderator
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Stevie,

Having read the original script, this one was difficult to critique.  I'm not sure how many people are familiar with the non-zombie version of the story (not sure if you even posted that), but I remember being pretty keen on it.  So naturally, when you like something, you're going to be far more critical when it's drastically changed.  And so when the script starts off with zombies coming up out of the ground...I knew I was in for something completely different.

Even if I hadn't read the original script, that's a heck of a way to open a film for an unsuspecting audience (I hadn't read the logline).  It kind of opens like a film already in progress, to tell you the truth.  It's at this point, as an audience member, you either accept it and go along for the ride, or don't.  Sad to say, from the very beginning, I wasn't really digging the established tone. (Might have something to do with having read the earlier draft too).

So needless to say, most of the stuff with Ray didn't work for me.  It was just too out there and I couldn't really picture it in my head.

But anyway, let's move on from the zombie stuff in the beginning and get to your set-up.  I don't recall if it was this way in the original, but the set-up goes on for way too long.  One could make the argument that the set-up ends at Slick and the gang heading out after Jason and Brent, but it doesn't.  The real meat of the story doesn't even begin until pg. 40, when the hunt actually begins.  Up until that point we're still just meeting characters and getting the story underway.

For example, let's analyze the scene at the bar.  Now, the scene at the bar lasts almost 20 pages (20 minutes!) long, and what does it accomplish story-wise?   The guys meet Andrea, and agree to take them on the trip.  Sure, there are some comic mishaps, but that's really all that happens.  It's at this point I feel like the story's just mulling around.  The conflict's gone, so I'm left looking at the page numbers, wondering when they'll get on the road again.  And then they do, about halfway through the movie.

THAT BEING SAID

Your strong point, like I said in my previous critique, is the chase, the characters, etc.  It works.  But it's the getting to all that (at least in this draft) that's NOT working for me.  It just takes too long. (And in the end, your script ends up being almost 120 pages!  That's way too long for a comedy).  I understand that you really want to make this film gag-heavy, but it ends up becoming (at least in the beginning) more about the gags than the story or the characters.

So while the Ray character isn't my favorite addition to the story, if it works for people, go with it.  My point, after all this rambling, is that I really dig the meat of your story.  I'd just like it a lot more if you'd get to it.  It's a lot of fun, and I'd hate to see people get detracted from the set-up.

Other Notes Along the Way

-Not digging Slick's dialogue.  Seems too stilted to me.  I see what you're going for, but it's coming across a little too awkward.

-Was your plan to actually have Matt Damon or a celebrity play that role?  If so, explicitly state that.

-p.22 - Don't have Pop whisper to himself.  It's too obvious.  

-Why "Jaws"?  I think I made this critique before.  The lines don't really pop like they should, in my opinion.  I feel like you could find a better movie.  Also, a lot of the humor comes in Pop being misunderstood by others, not just him blurting out the lines.  After all, the group (Jason, Brent, etc), know why he's doing it, so it's not as  funny as someone who doesn't know.


That's all I got.  Hope you see where I'm coming from and don't take this to be me ragging on your script.  I guess I'd just prefer to see more of the original draft in this newer draft.

-Matt


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stevie
Posted: March 9th, 2011, 6:49pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Matt. Wow, that was a fast read - cheers!

Yeah, I knew the changes would be liked/disliked by a few readers. I guess because you liked the original - this version replaced that on site - it was harder to accept the new stuff, especially Ray!

I was trying for something different in the second draft and it ended up completely taking over the story.

I'm not sure what I'll do with it next - i still believe in it as a comedy and it's my strongest feature to date. I had planned to tighten it up some more and enter some comps, but the family budget doesn't allow for it at the mo!!

Thanks again for the read, Matt, much appreciated. Headlong was originally influenced by one of your features (can't recall the name just now, it had quite a few characters and a wacky premise) and I wanted your view on it.

Looking forward to reading your thriller when up!!

Cheers stevie



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leitskev
Posted: May 6th, 2011, 12:31am Report to Moderator
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Wow, Stevie, I've only read the first 20 pages or so, but this script REALLY HAS POTENTIAL.

I just read an article last week someone sent me a link to about zombie movies. Hollywood apparently thinks they'll be the next vampire, so is hard on for scripts. And the formula you have here, 2 Aussie guys in America with a criminal zombie, is loaded with potential.

In addition, from the early read, the characters are amusing and there are some real funny moments and great dialogue. I'm going to get back to this tomorrow. I think you really got something here.

There were some dialogue spots that I think needed some work. Fine tuning really. But I think you have a really marketable concept, and I am not at all into zombies. I hope you are still working on this. I'm going to give it a good read and hopefully you can get some more reads here, because this could be pushed. Exciting, actually.
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leitskev
Posted: May 6th, 2011, 12:46am Report to Moderator
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I have to come back to this tomorrow when I have time and coffee. Sounds crazy, but just the combination of the early read and the overall concept really gives me a feeling I am looking at something that will be filmed. In don't think I've ever had that with a script, not like this. I've read good scripts but this is also so in demand and inexpensive to shoot.

My early read on the dialogue is that it's good. It needs to be perfect though, especially in a movie like this, where dialogue is everything. So def keep rewriting, and get reads. I will start working on it, hopefully get as many as you can.
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leitskev
Posted: June 9th, 2011, 12:17am Report to Moderator
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Stevie, I just took this read up again. I did first half tonight, will finish tomorrow.

I think the concept has tremendous potential. I don't know enough about zombie movies to know if anything like this has been done. What you have here is the combining of two familiar tales: the lovable, rogue zombie; and the young foreigners coming to explore America.

In addition to the concept, I like the portrayal of the 2 Aussies. They're just likable enough and sufficiently funny. Kind of a Bill and Ted's Adventure type feeling about them.

Also, there are an abundance of cute or funny little scenes. A zombie farts, I laugh. Can't help it.

So three great elements: concept, likable protags, and entertaining scenes.

There are some things I consider to be problems, take my amateur opinion for what it's worth.

First problem is the opening scene, as currently constructed, and that's a real bad place to have a problem. I am assuming the sudden appearance of zombies in the farm during this purchase of diamonds will be explained later. Then there are the gunless gangsters. Kind of hard for me to accept gunless gangsters. If not guns, there needs to be some other force element. But even if we accept that this is how they do things, why are the gangsters just asking the boss now why that is his policy? I don't know. I had trouble buying it, and it's had the effect of souring me on your villeins, and having me not accept their dialogue.

So in the front 50, I find myself really enjoying the Aussies and Ray scenes, and not so much the gangster scenes.

The jury is still out for me on Andrea and Pop, but I lean toward liking them, especially Pop running out naked and drunk.

Not sure where Taylor is going.

I don't understand how Ray, who can barely speak, can do flawless karaoke. I got to think about that one. I guess it does have some shock value. Could Ray sing like that before he was dead? Has death given him super karaoke powers?

So far, I think this is a winning concept with a lot of great elements, that still needs work. If the parts that need fixing get fixed, I could definitely see this being marketed. It would be easy to film a short and market it that way too. I think some readers might not be reaching the good stuff, which comes early, because they might be turned off by the opening scene. Just my opinion, but I feel I need to say, because I really would hate for that to be the case, since you don't have to get far before things really get funny.

I will finish tomorrow.
Kevin
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leitskev
Posted: June 9th, 2011, 8:59pm Report to Moderator
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Finished.

As I have said, much potential here. A lot of good. But, and I want to again emphasize my lack of experience, I think this really needs a major rewrite if it's going to take the next step. The concept is winning, and many of the scenes would be very effective in film, and very cheap to make too. And a lot of the characters have charm appeal. So I think it would be worth the time invested.

Let me try to address things that I think are problems. First, as I said, the opening scene. I thought the dialogue was not natural, and I couldn't make sense of what was happening. Even for a comedy, it didn't seem right.

There was never, unless I missed it, an explanation for the zombies. That seems really strange to me. An illegal diamond exchange worth millions takes place in a barn, and the earth opens, and zombies attack, and one of the gangsters becomes one. If there's no explanation for that...there just has to be.

The best part of the story are the Ray scenes, particularly the interaction between Ray and the likable Aussies. But there really aren't many scenes, IMO. I have not yet seen the movie Paul, the one with the little alien, but when I do, if I find he's only in about 10% of the film I will be disappointed.

I am going to be honest about something, and please bear in mind, the problem could really be more on my end than with the script, because sometimes I am not a patient script reader. The truth is I really had a hard time reading the second half of the script. And I repeat, this could be me. I have a hard time getting through features sometimes. But there wasn't enough Ray in the script. There was no protagonist, someone who really wanted something, someone who you had to keep reading to find out what happened to him or her. The groups chasing for the diamonds became tedious to me.

This story should be about Ray: the situations he gets them in, and the situations he gets them out of. Maybe one of the Aussies should have a fiance waiting for him in Vegas. I don't know.

I hope this helps. If you ever do decide to do a complete rewrite, I would be happy to take some time and throw some ideas out there. I still think you have the basis for a great script and a marketable concept. And the many parts and scenes that are well done suggests you should be encouraged by everyone to take on the job, because the talent is there. The keys to writing: time and desperation. If and when you have enough of either, you'll take this on from scratch and really make it something.

Kevin
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