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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  Ezekiel Spelling Moderators: bert
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  Author    Ezekiel Spelling  (currently 5549 views)
Don
Posted: October 13th, 2010, 9:37pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Ezekiel Spelling by John Patterson - Comedy - Struggling actor, Zeke Spelling, vies for the love of a director he met while working for the History Channel. 101 pages - pdf, format


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Don  -  January 8th, 2011, 6:32pm
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screenrider
Posted: October 14th, 2010, 3:21pm Report to Moderator
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Every now & then a script lands on this site that is clearly head and shoulders above the rest.  This is one of them.   Brilliant.  Hilarious.  Vile.

Get it into the hands of Judd Apatow, ASAP.

This script will definitely sell.


PS - I only found one typo.  Pg. 52, Drew's never meet a person he didn't like --

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Don  -  October 14th, 2010, 3:54pm
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jap313
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Thanks Screenrider, that really makes me feel good.  The script is the culmination of a year of bad writing with sporadic moments of creativity.  It seems that all the hard work paid off.  Thanks for the read.

JP
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Murphy
Posted: October 14th, 2010, 11:07pm Report to Moderator
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Based on the above I am gonna read this.

First thought, if you want to sell this to Judd Apatow, or anyone for that matter, you will need to get it read first. If you want to get it read then you are going to have to get rid of at least 10 pages, preferably 30.

From everything I have read it is extremely unlikely that a spec over 120 pages will ever get a read, for a comedy you should be aiming at 90-100 pages. It would be a good idea to work on that as a priority and re-submit.
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screenrider
Posted: October 14th, 2010, 11:35pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from jap313
Thanks Screenrider, that really makes me feel good.  The script is the culmination of a year of bad writing with sporadic moments of creativity.  It seems that all the hard work paid off.  Thanks for the read.

JP


It definitely paid off.    You trapped the lightening.  


Quoted from Murphy

First thought, if you want to sell this to Judd Apatow, or anyone for that matter, you will need to get it read first. If you want to get it read then you are going to have to get rid of at least 10 pages, preferably 30.

From everything I have read it is extremely unlikely that a spec over 120 pages will ever get a read, for a comedy you should be aiming at 90-100 pages. It would be a good idea to work on that as a priority and re-submit.


Murphy, take my word for it -- there's so many laugh-out-loud moments in this script, an extra 20 pages won't even matter.    Any pro reader will easily be hooked by page 10.   Guaranteed.   It's just a well-told funny story.






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Don  -  October 15th, 2010, 12:03am
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rendevous
Posted: October 15th, 2010, 4:10am Report to Moderator
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Wow. Look at that. Two posts from Screenrider that worship the gods of comedy.

That'd be like me posting without mentioning booze or women or. Er... Did I really type this? I though I was just thinking it.

I'm sure it's good. However, that title.

In the Seventies Declan McManus used to go round calling himself Napoleon Dynamite. He subsequently became Elvis Costello. And his old name became a comedy movie.

Sure you have your reasons but that title put me off. Peruade me otherwise.

R ox


Out Of Character - updated


New Used Car

Green

Right Back

The Deuce - OWC - now on STS

Other scripts here
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screenrider
Posted: October 15th, 2010, 11:09am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from rendevous
Wow. Look at that. Two posts from Screenrider that worship the gods of comedy.

That'd be like me posting without mentioning booze or women or. Er... Did I really type this? I thought I was just thinking it.


You might wanna back off, mate.   I worship the God of Psalm 104.  

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Don  -  October 15th, 2010, 2:05pm
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conwall
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Got through about page 45 or so.  Here are some thoughts.  Other posters have mentioned length, and I agree.  It's pretty wordy.  Wat's worse, the wordiness is wrecking some of the jokes.

The best example is the red hot poker.  Just let the VISUAL be the punchline.  When the V.O. comes on to say "the shoved a red hot poker up his rectum" or whatever, it sort of takes the wind out of it.  The following discussions of facial expressions were pretty funny too.

I spotted more typos than Screenrider.  First page, He BURST in, should be he BURSTS in.  By the way ditch the capitalization.  It's laborious to read.  Later you write that "Allan's in a bad mood," or something.  It's "Allan IS in a bad mood."  Without the possessive apostrophe.

I know screenrider and I disagree on this point, but my belief is that small transgressions of grammar really lower a reader's trust in your ability to convey a story.  When you're up against the best in the world, it's a good idea to execute to perfection wherever possible.

The sperm whale bit was really funny.  Have to give you props there.  Got a decent laugh out of me there.  The scene cut was a little sharper at the end too.

Exclamation points on page 14.  Sometimes two, sometimes one, sometimes three.  Is there really a difference in how I read these?  How about performing?  If it has to be an exclamation point then one will almost always suffice.  More than that is within the strict purview of teenage girls.

How exactly does one "greasily lean?"  I think I get it, but one of the reasons the script is too long is because of things like this.  You're taking up a lot of valuable white space (on the page) describing action that doesn't need to be described.  It will "read" a lot smoother without it.  

Oh, and before I forget...the cadaver bits were also very funny.  I can't believe it would really go like this, (somebody donating his body for a documentary) but the visual was great.  I can wholely identify with his reticence.  

The guy has a letter from a kid in high school?  Really a letter?  Who writes letters anymore?  Wouldn't the kid just look him up on facebook to begin with.  The scene should start there.  "Hey, I got a hit from an agent on my facebook page!"  Oh, crap it's just a kid.  You get the idea.

Dude...the comedy.  I'm not sure who I'm talking to here, but write back and let me know if you've ever really stood in front of an open mic crowd and cut loose with these bits.  They are groan-inducing and painful.  I've seen a lot of open mic comedy and there are performers who consistently don't get it and soldier on with some pretty weak material.  

If you have done open mics, good for you.  Keep at it.  If not, you should try it.  It will give you a much better idea of what jokes are working and which are not.  Plus, a lot of successful screen writers started out with Stand-up.  The prevailing sense in Hollywood is, "Fine.  You think you're funny?  Pick up a microphone and prove it, smart guy."  

So the scene, in my opinion, should either be a killer set, (it's not), or a horrible set where he bombs.  This is actually funnier to an audience.  Plus, bombing would probably be more in keeping with his character as sort of a struggling wannabe anyway.  

The plot.  Okay, I can hang with most of it.  But it seems to set up like a romantic comedy sort of.  Guy falls in love, right?  Fine.  Nothing wrong with that and the millieu is original and funny.  The biggest problem is that I don't feel a lot of conflict.  Act I would be much stronger if she HATES the guy.  Think of the cadaver scene.  Wouldn't it be great if Claire was the director here.  Now we're getting somewhere.  Guy really has to overcome his reluctance to mutilate this corpse not because he's sickened by it but because he wants to impress this unbelievable chick.  So now we're layering, and layering.  

I probably didn't read far enough, sorry, but from what I could see she was a perfectly nice person.  "Sure I'll have a private little talk with you."  "Sure I'll sit on the set and have lunch with you."  "Sure, I'll confess my little hang up about my uncle's fame to you."  Where is the conflict here.  

Way better if her hang up about her uncle (father? i don't remember) turned her into a raving bitch on the set, and the guy still decided he wanted to get together with her he'd be starting with a lot more obstacles to overcome.  Plus, it's an opportunity for her to have some really great, (read: funny) lines when she's abusing the actors and crew on the set.  Plus, of course, shutting him down when he makes the slightest personal advance toward her.  

Now we have drama.  Conflict.  And  ultimately a hero we can identify with and rout for.  




Your comments welcome on:  GOD GETS FIRED.  Comedy, 89 pages.  Humans are such a failure that God loses his job.  Worse, his ex-wife is appointed to oversee Earth’s destruction.  Luckily, God has a plan…but it’s not about saving us.  It’s about winning her back.

http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/GodGetsFired.pdf
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screenrider
Posted: October 18th, 2010, 11:26am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from conwall
Got through about page 45 or so.  

Unbelievable.  

You're right about one thing, though.  The story does need a bit more more conflict.    Keep in mind, once the Hollywood studio exec's get a hold of this script they'll make the necessary changes.  No script is perfect straight out of the gate.

Conwall, you should really listen to this Radio Simply podcast from a professional Hollywood Reader.  http://www.simplyscripts.com/2010/02/27/simplyscripts-radio-inner-sanctum-edition-22610/

Alright, I'm done defending this script.   Moving on.


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Don  -  October 18th, 2010, 11:54am
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jap313
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Hey Conwall, thanks for the read.

The script is very dialogue driven, and some may percieve that as wordy.  In the red-hot poker example you gave, I inserted the V.O. because of the documentary.  That scene is meant to show how pitiful Zeke's situation is, but I can see how it takes the wind out the joke.  A reword wouldn't be a bad thing.

Quoted from conwall
I spotted more typos than Screenrider.  First page, He BURST in, should be he BURSTS in.  By the way ditch the capitalization.  It's laborious to read.  Later you write that "Allan's in a bad mood," or something.  It's "Allan IS in a bad mood."  Without the possessive apostrophe.

I know screenrider and I disagree on this point, but my belief is that small transgressions of grammar really lower a reader's trust in your ability to convey a story.  When you're up against the best in the world, it's a good idea to execute to perfection wherever possible.

The BURST is a good catch.  The "Allan's," however, is a contraction with Allan IS.  It's not a possessive apostrophe.  I agree that the grammar should be fairly good.  I tried to catch all the typos, but this is a first draft.  The podcast that Screenrider posted is a very good one.

Quoted from conway
Exclamation points on page 14.  Sometimes two, sometimes one, sometimes three.  Is there really a difference in how I read these?  How about performing?  If it has to be an exclamation point then one will almost always suffice.  More than that is within the strict purview of teenage girls.

Ha yeah, i get a little carried away sometimes.

Quoted from conway
How exactly does one "greasily lean?"  I think I get it, but one of the reasons the script is too long is because of things like this.  You're taking up a lot of valuable white space (on the page) describing action that doesn't need to be described.  It will "read" a lot smoother without it.

The Greasily lean was supposed to be a reference to the Outsiders, but now that i read it out loud, it sounds kinda stupid.  I try to find a balance between being too descriptive and too vague.

Quoted from conway
Oh, and before I forget...the cadaver bits were also very funny.  I can't believe it would really go like this, (somebody donating his body for a documentary) but the visual was great.  I can wholely identify with his reticence.

That's one of my favorite scenes.

Quoted from conway
Dude...the comedy.  I'm not sure who I'm talking to here, but write back and let me know if you've ever really stood in front of an open mic crowd and cut loose with these bits.  They are groan-inducing and painful.  I've seen a lot of open mic comedy and there are performers who consistently don't get it and soldier on with some pretty weak material.  

If you have done open mics, good for you.  Keep at it.  If not, you should try it.  It will give you a much better idea of what jokes are working and which are not.  Plus, a lot of successful screen writers started out with Stand-up.  The prevailing sense in Hollywood is, "Fine.  You think you're funny?  Pick up a microphone and prove it, smart guy."  

So the scene, in my opinion, should either be a killer set, (it's not), or a horrible set where he bombs.  This is actually funnier to an audience.  Plus, bombing would probably be more in keeping with his character as sort of a struggling wannabe anyway.

Actually, I did do stand-up, but it's been a couple of years.  Now, I live in a small, soul-crushing town and can't get back into it.  The first routine is very high-energy, and the funniness depends a lot on the actor.  I was limited with the bits I could use because of time.  I wanted to have short, funny bits because I didn't want the movie to become a stand-up routine.  I'll try to come up with a better set.  Later in the script Zeke bombs hard.

Quoted from conway
The plot.  Okay, I can hang with most of it.  But it seems to set up like a romantic comedy sort of.  Guy falls in love, right?  Fine.  Nothing wrong with that and the millieu is original and funny.

The first act is designed to build relationships with all the characters and introduce the inner conflict.  The inner conflict is about the guys star-fucking to get ahead (do they have the heart to do it?).  The outer conflict comes a little later when Drew, Claire's boyfriend shows up.

For me, comedies should get better in the second half of the script; in the second half, characters are already developed and the set-ups for jokes start paying off big.

Great comments, thanks again.

JP
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fionaman
Posted: October 20th, 2010, 1:49am Report to Moderator
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I think the first ten pages are strong, lets see where it goes from there. Awful, awful title though, you MUST change. it.

EDIT:

Okay, I'm up to page 44, and I really don't know where the story is going. Zeke and Ben are working, meeting women, kinda just going through the motions. It's all very slice of life. You need to tighten this up, it needs to be more cinematic, it needs to move. A good movie that managed to do BOTH was Knocked Up, in my humble opinion.

What's your theme? Because I'm more than a quarter into the script and I don't see a concrete one. The theme drives the movie, nail that, and it'll start to fall into place.

I do however love, love, LOVE these characters, especially Zeke and Ben, they have great chemistry together. I like the fact that Zeke is not the standard mawkish, whiny protagonist we find in most comedies these days: he kind of just goes with the flow, very easygoing.

I think most of the jokes are spot-on, except for maybe the scene where Zeke bombs with the gay jokes. I don't know, but homophobia in comedies is kind of lame and tired.

I'll be back with my closing notes. SEE YA!

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fionaman  -  October 21st, 2010, 1:28am
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jap313
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Quoted from fionaman
I think the first ten pages are strong, lets see where it goes from there. Awful, awful title though, you MUST change. it.

I’ m glad you think the first ten pages are strong. That’ s something I tried to focus on.

As for the title, I’ m open for suggestions.  Others have commented on it, but what is so bad about it? I actually like the title.  The title is the name of the main character and is significant to the story (besides being his name, it reveals something about his character).  I googled “ writing advice title,” and the Zen Pen said a good title should do three things 1. NOT synopsize the story; 2. Intrigue the reader to learn more; and 3. Make greater sense only after reading the story, providing the reader with a sense of completion. Maybe it’s weak with #2.  

However, look at Moby Dick. I don’ t think critics would say, “ Man, that’ s a great novel, but what a terrible title.” In the end, how critical is the title? Of course, I can think of some really terrible titles – Plan 9 From Outer Space, Snakes On a Plane, etc – but I don’ t think Ezekiel Spelling falls into that region. However, like I said, I am open to suggestions.

Thanks for the post. Hope you enjoy the rest.
JP
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fionaman
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I don't know, but it just doesn't flow.

I think a great title sums up the theme of the work. Just my $0.01.
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jackx
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I agree the title is bad, and mostly because its weak on number two of your list.  To put it this way, I pretty much scroll up and down the "New Scripts" page of this website, looking for scripts that catch my eye, then read logline, then check if there are comments, then decide to read.  (Not saying that my method is particularly good at finding the high quality scripts)  Yours I skimmed over until today because it didnt intrigue me at all.  I just happened to see screenriders rave reviews and decided to check it out.

Thinking about it more, I thought of 'Zoolander', named for the main character.  The difference between that and yours is A, much more concise, B, odder, C, better flow, D, sounds kinda exotic.  Ezekiel Spelling is a bit awkward, Ezekial is biblical, sounds conservative, harder to say, longer, etc.  The solution might be to change the characters name, only use first or last name, etc.  When I hear the name I'd picture an amish guy, not a comic.

Missing a coma in dialogue after names, such as "Ben, I came to tell you we start at 9 tomorrow"

Haha, and you have amish people making fun of the name.  thatll be a hint that its not a good title.

p30 sake weight should be shake
How does zeke stammer without saying anything?  

I agree the relationship comes along a bit too easy.  I like him being charming, but maybe she should be a bit more stressed/distracted.  Make him work for it a bit more, doubt himself a little.

and thats up to about p4o.

funny so far, but could use a little more narrative drive.  Whats really at stake?  Just zekes pride?  Maybe he should be running out of money, etc.  raise the stakes and the conflict.  
good job though


Mine:
HARD CASE
            (65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...

APU
            (80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
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Kevin Loughnane
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Hi John,

Read your script and I enjoyed it.  Plenty of laughs! My favourite character is Chuck.  His dialogue was always funny.  Here are some of my observations:

At 126 pages the script is a bit long and could do with a bit of tightening up here and there.

On page 10 in Blonde's room you say 'he tiredly' - I'd delete this as we already know that he's just woken up and is rubbing his eyes so no need to repeat this.

P12 - you say looks like actor in a sexual-harassment training video - from time to time you say things like this when describing a character, however remember that from the audience perspective everythnig is visual therefore you need to delete these from the script.  You've said enough by mentoning his gelled hair etc.

P13 - same here you say Tom, Ed Norton Wannabe, we know by the bruises on his face that he's a fight clud wannabe so no need to say this.

P14 - when Zeke says Allan showed him porn on his phone you break his dialogue with Sits straight, really agitated.  Suggest cutting this description and keeping the dialogue together as I think it flows better.

P15 - typo here - they jerked - so need t add y.

P29 - Description of Chuck - I'd finish on Bearded slob - no need for the rest of the description afterwards.

P31 - Typo - squint their eyes not there!

P46 - Typo - Ha, you're funny not your.

P50 - to me the scene in office building is unnecessary and so if you're trying to reduce the size of the script here's one area you might consider.

P53 - Drew's never met a person he didn't like - audience will not know this so delete! Like the ones I mentioned above, these are director notes, and therefore don't need to appear in your script.

P55 you say ben is very impressed and then Ben says WOW - How about delete the description and just let ben say WOW - therefore we know he's impressed.

P57 - same idea here - you say they jump in car after a long day and then Zeke says Christ that was a long day.  Again keep dialogue and delete description.

P62 - Just wanted to say I really enjoyed Chuck's gun and poem scenes!!  He is a brilliant character!!

P80 -Typo - believe in ghosts - so missing the 's'.

P102 - Typo Wanking it.. - so remove 'h'.

Well that's all from me John.  Overall I enjoyed it and laughed out loud a few times.  My only general concerns are that it's too long and also too descriptive.  If the dialogue is good then the reader knows how the character is feeling/reacting!  

Best of luck,
Kevin
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