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Huge thanks for reading this. I'm glad it wasn't a waste of your time. It's a MASSIVE relief that you liked the ending. I was starting to believe I was the only one who thought it worked.
Some excellent suggestions, too. I really like the idea of Charlie having the seed buried deep in his head because he was a failed actor in the past. This is something I will definitely work on as Charlie's sudden decision to become a publicist isn't working for me.
The idea of Violet trying to regain her top spot is also a very good one. I'll explore this more for sure. If I bring the scene where Julia and Charlie meet back 10 pages, bring the fight scene back, I will have more pages to play with to make this happen.
I see what you mean about the James/Julia releationship. In Britain, footballer's wives or girlfriends are in the newspapers every day. My own mother doesn't watch or take any interest in football but she could name most of their girls to me because of the pages they get in all the papers/magazines everyday. I wasn't sure if this was the case in America. This is something I'll need to look at.
I can't say I modeled them on anyone in particular. Bits and pieces... yes. I had Victoria in mind with Violet's skinny body. David Beckham, not really. I just thought star footballers would have lots of media attention with their girlfriends in the USA as they do over here. I actually had Anna Faris in mind when writing Julia's character. I don't know why. Violet's attitude is based on a "celebrity" over here called Katie Price, or Jordan (her model name), a former glamour model who is always in the newspapers, brings out a new book every few months etc. Everyone hates her, yet they still buy her books and I still have to skip past the page with her ugly face in the newspaper every morning, something I'll never understand. That's what made me want to write this, in a way.
Agree about the R rating stuff. I added in a lot of language at the last minute as the early draft I sent to a few people had nearly no curses at all. I don't want to push it too far though, so I will look at this again.
Thanks again for reading and posting your thoughts. Some things in there I will definitely be looking to do. I have a lot to think about. If you write anything new that you want me to look at, give me a shout.
I had planned to go to bed after 20 pages, but your script kept me interested til the end. It was an easy read, not over complicated, with grammar and format both excellant. It wasn`t laugh out loud, but definately gave me a smile or 2. I agree that the Violet/Julia scene was overplayed and maybe a few more characters thrown in would help. The ending took me surprise which was great, i was expecting a hollywood ending, so it was a great twist. Overall nice concept, good writing and an enjoyable read
Thanks for reading and posting your thoughts. I'm glad you thought it was an easy read, that's half the battle. I'm also delighted that you liked the ending. That has been a sticky point for some but I'm still convinced it's the right way to end things.
I will give Life of Riley a read and have some feedback for you in a few days. Thanks again.
It`s all very well to write ` and they all lived happily ever after` , so its very refreshing to see the good guy Charlie, get a` kick in the ass` at the end, because in real life, it`s the more likely outcome.
this will be a very short review. I read this over Memorial Day, but then our A/C unit completely died and I went into panic mode. It was 96 outside and extremely humid. In other words I never wrote down my would be comments and the following is what I remember from then. My apologise (don't know why I can never learn how to spell that word) for the subpar comments.
First off I want to congratulate you for writing a good script! I mean that! I thought your writing was very good. The script was a breeze to read, few typos. I spotted only 3 or so. Very clean and it flowed well.
I liked your story and you kept increasing the stakes.
I thought it was pretty funny. Some visually funny stuff and dialogue too.
There were only a couple of words that stood out for me that screamed "a non American wrote this". Like SITTING ROOM and FOOTBALLER. We just call them football players or soccer players and sitting room is usually a living room. No biggie, but I thought I'd mention it.
Okay, now onto what didn't work for me... My biggest problem here was Julia. I agree with the other comments that Charlie doesn't have enough presence here. I liked him he was fine, he just needs to be better developed. I thought the story was going to be about him, but he takes a backseat to Julia. The problem with Julia is that she's not really that likable. She's an unpleasant publicity whore who gets what she wants in the end. That doesn't leave the right taste in my mouth if you know what I mean. I was, however happy to see Charlie having something good happening to him, but Julia didn't really deserve a break IMHO.
Other than that, be proud of yourself. You did well!
PS. No need to read anything in return. I probably owe you anyway.
Thanks for giving this a read, I really appreciate it! I'm happy that you found it funny and liked the story.
I still struggle with the English/American words, it's something I'm working hard to fix. Thanks for pointing them out.
You are right about Julia. In the next draft, Charlie will have a bigger role so it's not just all about Julia as it is right now. While I was hoping Julia would come across as unlikable to start, I wanted her to become more likable as she spends more time with Charlie, especially when she takes the time to go to Taylor's birthday party as a thank you for everything Charlie done. I wanted to show that she was capable of change, to act like a normal person and not some celebrity with a big ego so the ending has more of an impact. I see that more work needs to be done for it to come across this way.
While it was always the plan for Julia to leave Charlie at the end, I understand the problems you have with Julia walking away with everything she wants. I think I need to hint more towards her fame not lasting because of another new reality star or something so everything's not going to be so great for her. I'll need to have a think about this. Thanks for pointing this out!
Again, thanks so much for taking the time to read and post your thoughts. If you want me to read over anything new from you, get in touch!
I think Julia just need a better arc. The ending will work if we like her by the end and feel happy for her. She learned her lesson so to speak. She became a better person. I also thought one way of helping that a little bit would be for her to really be disgusted by the dog, but then bond with it. Make the dog her most important thing. There's no love story in this script. Why not make that in the relationship between her and the dog? And obviously I don't mean that in a beastiality kind of way.
Excellent suggestion about the dog, which I think could really work here. I don't think I want people to like her in the end though, her actions in the current ending I think would be what someone like her would do in real life. Celebrities only care about themselves, so I'm told! It's a tricky one because some readers have hated the ending, and some have loved it. I want to show Julia's character changing for the better as the script goes on, only to be kicked in the gut by her leaving Charlie in the end. Obviously I don't want her to get everything she wants after doing something like that, and I'm glad you brought it up as I'd never even thought of it that way before.
The dog would really work showing the change in her character, though. Brilliant suggestion. Thanks again, you have given me a lot to think about.
Page 1: “Footsteps. Moving quickly. Running.” This is a really awkward way to start, in my opinion. Do we hear the footsteps? Or do we see feet? “Moving quickly” and “running” seem a little redundant. Charlie Barton sounds like Charlie Bartlett.
Page 3: Julia is overdone. The excessive stereotyping will make it hard for people to engage with the film, which is not how you want to start your movie off.
Page 4: I’m not sure if we’re supposed to like James – I’m thinking we are – but I wouldn’t have him say “retarded”. That’s a word for uncouth and disrespectful people, and I don’t think that’s what James is. Or are they both jerks? How could James stand being with Julia for as long as he did? We need to see a reason for this. The argument makes no sense. Has he just suddenly realized that she’s a terrible person? Why not replace this scene with a real argument about something that’s important? Then we can identify with their breakup.
Page 8: Hee hee! That Miley Cyrus gag is excellent.
Page 9: So is Charlie always like this? Or was he just having a bad night? This is something which could be established in the very first scene with him running. I’m assuming he’s always like this…in that case, how has he lasted at the restaurant? Or has he not been there very long? This is also something which should be addressed. I feel like there may not have been enough thought put into the world of this script – as writers we are responsible for not just what happens in our story but everything that happens before, after, and off-screen during the story. “Horde” not “hoard”.
Page 11: I guess James and Julia are both jerks? I think we should see that in the first scene then – it reads as though James might be a reasonable guy (except for that “retarded” thing I suppose). It seems to me you could have a lot of fun with a fight between two self-absorbed Hollywood jerks. I think that first scene needs to be pushed. Give the actors something to have fun with.
Page 12: I guess we’re identifying with Julia here? She’s supremely annoying. I always enjoy the story of the thoughtless rich person redeemed – I assume that’s what’s coming – but we have to see that they had something to them in the first place. So far Julia’s just annoying. This is why Material Girls, for example, with everyone’s favourite Duff sisters, was so totally ineffective.
Page 15: “Sheer” not “shear”. The fact that Nikki sided with the kid makes me strongly dislike them both. Can’t Nikki make Taylor give the classic a chance, and then Taylor act like a bored little brat until Charlie changes it back out of frustration? What kind of a mom let’s her dumb little daughter watch The Hills instead of a classic? Not one we like…
Page 16: Reasonably inappropriate conversation to have in front of the kid, no?
Page 20: “In slow motion” Not your call.
Page 23: “Retard” again. I find the use of that word extremely distasteful, and again it does not appear to have a point. Even if they are jerks.
Page 24: 25 minutes in and Julia hasn’t shown she has a soul yet. I’m done with her. And she hasn’t even met Charlie yet!
Page 26: The wrist slashing joke seems a little dark for the mood of the script so far.
Page 28: Another huge dialogue scene with the paparazzi? We’re losing forward momentum here. This exact scene just happened!
Page 30: “Two MEN make out. Two WOMEN who look like men hold hands.” I would avoid the “who look like men” bit. It has the potential to sound a little incorrect on a subject about which people can be very touchy.
Page 31: You’ve been good about unfilmables but partway down the page you’ve got “Her feelings hurt…” By the way, a big part of the problem with Julia’s story is that she has no forward momentum. Since the first scene she’s just been wandering around acting like a narcissistic jerk. If she were at least actively trying to accomplish something, it would be easier to engage with her story. But she’s just walking around not putting effort into anything, and all her scenes are the same. We get it. She’s fallen from grace.
Page 33: Yes! Hilary Duff! “Whose” not “who’s”. You’ve done this twice now. Candice’s sentence structure – “in whose trash” – doesn’t fit her; it’s too proper. People like her say “Whose trash did you blah blah blah in?” See now there’s someone who can say “retarded”…a character we love to hate who’s too stupid to know how offensive that is.
Page 37: This is a scene between four people I hate. I want it to end. These four characters need to be rewritten into people we can stand to watch. Even the shallowest people have some depth, some personality – find it in these characters, at least Violet and Julia. Otherwise, why would we want to watch them? What do we have to identify with?
Page 39: Finally! These two need to have met, like, 15 pages earlier. Your first act is incredibly long and it has no reason to be. The information you need to get across is: 1) Charlie is a loser with big dreams who can’t hold a job and lives with his single-mother daughter. He decides to become a publicist; 2) Julia’s a shallow celebrity dumped from the spotlight who wants to get back in; 3) Julia was dumped by her jerk boyfriend James for a woman named Violet who is also a jerk.
How can that have taken this long to set up?
Page 40: Julia saw Slumdog Millionaire?
Page 41: It’s really obnoxious of Nikki to attempt to sabotage Charlie like that, especially if he’s trying to get himself out of the house. Taylor wouldn’t ask “Where are the rest of your clothes” if she’s wrapped up in celebrity culture, as we learned in the earlier scene. Why are they here in the first place? Wouldn’t they have agreed to hide?
Page 42: Julia has spent roughly 900% of this movie crying.
Page 44: If there’s going to be crude humour like this in the script I would recommend setting that up at that start. It’s been a little unclear who the target demographic is here but if you’re gonna take it into ‘R’ territory here you might as well get some use out of the rating earlier. It’s just surprising when it comes out of nowhere (I think there were a couple little things earlier, but nothing in-your-face like this Assbook business). Does Julia have any money? No money? Lots of money? This should be covered earlier. She’s had enough money to get wasted a couple times…
Page 45: It’s hard to say if you’re playing with a movie cliché or just brazenly using it, but I’m leaning towards the latter.
Page 49: I’m guessing they agreed on the panty flash then? That’s no good. I thought Charlie was going to stick to his morals and teach Julia to be a good person and how to try to get ahead without being shallow or pandering and Julia would eventually become more successful by doing things the right way. If that doesn’t happen then all of your characters are jerks.
Page 51: Why is Violet everywhere? Kinda stretches the bounds of credulity. What is the point of watching Charlie and Julia team up? The idea behind characters teaming up is that they each have a special set of skills and abilities that not only allow them to get ahead as a duo, but also end up teaching the other person something about themselves. So far these people are both equally incompetent and acting like jerks. They didn’t even pick a charity; they’re just trying to get her publicity? Jerks! These people are bad people! Even Charlie, who I thought I liked.
Page 52: How many times have we had to watch Violet and crew be jerks now? They’re jerks. We get it. Enough already.
Page 56: Okay. Nearly an hour in and Julia hasn’t learned a single thing. I’m done with her. Charlie seemed like a nice guy but I see no moral strength in him whatsoever – nothing to like about him remains. I have no interest in reading on because I don’t care about any of these people. Each and every one of them is as shallow, vapid, and uncaring as the culture which this script attempts to send up – each and every one of them including the protagonists. For this script to be successful Charlie must be morally strong, and in being so must teach Julia to be so as well. Otherwise, we are just watching jerks, and nobody likes watching jerks, because they act like jerks.
Too many redundant scenes. I have mentioned this here and there in my notes above. This is a big issue. It takes way too long for Charlie to meet Julia.
This script is about plot, not character. A script must always be about character first and foremost. Who is Charlie, what is he trying to accomplish, and what about his own character is standing in his way? Same questions for Julia. If you can answer these questions I believe that this script will start to work. The ideas aren’t bad, the setups aren’t bad, the plot as far as I read wasn’t bad – but this needs to be about characters that we care about. Let’s see them interact, see them spark off each other, argue, find common ground. We don’t want to follow a plot…we want to follow characters through a plot. Character is first, always.
Thanks for the read! It was fast and well-formatted, which is nice.
While I'm disappointed you couldn't read on, I completely understand your reasons for stopping. The characters need some serious work, especially Charlie. It's funny because everyone hated the characters in the first draft of my horror feature but the second draft fixed those issues. I hope I can get it right when I do a second draft of this.
I plan on bringing forward the scene when Charlie meets Julia at least 10, maybe 15 pages earlier.
It was my intention for Julia to be completely annoying and unlikeable to start with, but show she is at least human later on in the script to set up the ending. Right now, I realise that she is annoying the whole way through and nobody believes her "change", so work definitely has to be done here as I've missed the mark completely.
Charlie does seem to be the biggest problem, but it's something I'm sure I can fix. I've had some excellent suggestions already which I'm still thinking over.
I'm actually familiar with the Material Girls movie (don't tell anyone!), so I understand what you are saying here.
I can't argue with your comments. In Hollywood today, most comedies have annoying characters (Will Ferrell) with zero depth which focus only on the plot. I want this script to be better than that. If I was reading a comedy and the characters were bland, I would say so.
Thanks a lot for reading and your detailed feedback. It will help me loads when I get to the rewrite (after the World Cup, of course). I really appreciate you taking the time to read this, even though it didn't work for you. Do you have anything posted that you would like me to look at?
]I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea. I think this is an idea ripe for getting made, and I think you're in the ballpark.
Like everybody else, I think Charlie's leap to celerity publicist is a little implausible. This, and everythig else I'm going to say, is just my opinion, so do with it what you want. Maybe Charlie's an older, down on his luck publicist. He represented the first wave of reality stars 20 years ago, but now he's just down to f list, local celebrities.
Also, I think we need to get more of an idea of what it was that Julia did. What was the show? What did she do on that show to make her famous? Did she do a second show? Etc.
Lastly, your logline says he does it to impress his granddaughter, but I'm not sure that really comes through. I think I'd like to see a little more of her. In fact, maybe she's more up on todays celebrty culture, and she sort of gives Charlie the ideas that drive Julia's comeback.
I do like the ending. I thnk it fits Julia perfectly.
So this is a really good idea. Keep working and let me know when you get another draft done!
Thanks for reading! I started an outline for the rewrite a while back but haven't got around to it yet. It is something I'll definitely be doing in the coming months, though.
I'm glad you like the idea, I think it could be pretty cool if made, and it's something I'd definitely go and see. I've got a lot of work to do, especially with the characters, but I think I can make it work. I'm delighted you liked the ending, I've said from rhe start I couldn't see a happy 'Hollywood ending' working for this.
I'll let you know when I finish another draft. Do you have anything else you want me to look at? Thanks again!