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Life of Riley by Mark Moore (irish eyes) - Comedy - Michael has a few weeks to save his beloved Pet Shop and his sanity. Aided by his suicidal girlfriend, 3 muttonheads, an arrogant uncle, an illegal karaoke loving China man and a crackhead psychiatrist, to name a few, will his life ever be the same? 113 pages - pdf, format
There's a great deal of clever dialogue, and a complex plot -- in other words, you clearly put thought into writing this -- but in my opinion you take the easy way out of every plot twist -- everything that can go wrong does go wrong and whatever the debris happens to land on gets destroyed, too.
Since I try to write comedy too, I'm familiar with this problem and I'm especially aware of it because I see myself fall into the same bad habit.
Maybe your script could make a screamingly funny movie, who knows...
I read a good part of your script. You have a good gift for comedy. One thing that stuck out was Chad's dialogue. It was hard to read as it was written in his dialect. I don't know if it would be proper but in the intro, you could describe his dialect and leave the rest up for the actor...otherwise it slows down a read.
Thanks pontoof. I tried to keep it all free flowing, I could see how Chad`s dialogue could slow a reader down, as you have to try and make sense of each word he says. He was based on a real person I used to work with and that`s how he pronounced every word. You do have a point, it would have been easier to write and leave the rest up to the actors. thanks again
I read through the first 11 pages or so and while there are a couple of issues you could clean up, which I'll get into upon a full review, I liked some of the jokes and the bar banter was good. Enough to keep me reading.
I'd be interested to know what you think of "Grand Avenue" since we write in the same genre.
Okay, I'm half way through it, and though I'll finish it over the weekend out of respect, I'm not sure my opinion will change because I think I have a pretty fair handle on where this needs to go...
To address some of the earlier remarks - I agree with cm hall that your dialogue is good, but I disagree that there is a complex plot here. To me it feels like a string of gags sewn together with the barest of threads - Mickey gets a letter that the pet shop will close (I'm actually a RE analyst in "real life", and no one would ever get a letter like that).
And we get to page 55 before the "conflict" is re-introduced...
Add to that the fact that your wrylies are too long and most times need to be their own action line, and your narratives have many unfilmables in them.
Oh, and pharmeceutical company or no pharmaceutical company, no receptionist takes urine at the door. If you want the buffoon to actually think he's supposed to deliver the urine at the job interview then fine, but at least make the receptionist refuse it and send him to the lab for a fresh sample - I'm not sure this huge stretch to reality was worth the "dog urine" joke...
Now, for the good stuff -
First off, don't change Chad's dialogue. I know, I know, people might say it slows them down, and some might say it's mean-spirited (or worse), but the bottom line is that it's funny. And the way it's written forces the reader to slow down and thus is gives Chad a funny cadence (but change the song - Eddie Murphy has the patent on "Roxanne" from 48 Hours, and no one can improve on it).
And you have some really good lines in here - i.e., "there really is no beginning to your talents" and "I'll answer your questions in no particular order - because I'm too drunk to remember which order you asked them in" (I'm paraphrasing that one).
And the characters are drawn pretty nicely as well - except, ironically, for Mickey, who seems a bit underdone and all over the place. I think you need consistency with him - in other words, when he starts to wisecrack he sounds like the rest of the characters. Leave him as the pristine one who gets on everyone else's nerves, I say...
So here's my advice - if you leave this as a movie (more on this in a bit) I would take the "Saving Silverman" angle. In other words, turn the movie over to Brad and Bob and make Mickey more passive - as it stands now Brad and Bob, along with Jimmy, get most of the screen time anyway. You'd also need to come up with a better premise - or add more jeopardy to Mickey's circumstances.
I think however that this may be better served as a series. You have all the elements - funny characters and good dialogue, and two sets for the action to revolve around - the bar and the pet shop. And you've got the burgeoning relationship with Mickey and Sally, which in this present version feels rushed.
If you agree that this idea is intriguing, check out Craig's "Spiritual Connections" in the series section here. SC is a blueprint of how to write a wacky, six-part series. You can also move your location from the US to Canada or Europe, as your likely outlet for a series of this nature would be the CBC or BBC.
Thanks Anthony. I appreciate your comments. I did figure that the letter was weakly written, I just thought being a comedy and not a drama, I could get away with it, same with the urine sample scene. Of course you would have to be a RE analyst. The more I read it, I agree that Mickey needs to be stonger and more in depth in the movie. As for Roxanne, I should have checked first, but that can be an easy change.
Once again thanks Anthony for your honest comments.
First off, I take no joy in being a real estate analyst... (o:
Second, don't lose sight of the fact that there are some pretty good things here. I've read a lot of comedies, and while most only make me smile, yours had some pretty good laughs in it - that's big...
I do feel strongly however that this is a TV series and not a movie. I would encourage you to read "Spiritual Connections" in the series section - who knows, you might get inspired and find your calling?
Also, read, read, and read more scripts, so that the format and style becomes second nature to you. Get your narratives lean and mean so that your dialogue will pop more.
And there are produced scripts here as well as our unproduced ones, so you have the world at your feet, so to speak...