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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 5552 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

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Right Back

The Deuce - OWC - now on STS

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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 Earthís destruction.††Luckily, God has a planÖbut itís not about saving us.††Itís 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
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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!

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
fionaman  -  October 21st, 2010, 1:28am
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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.

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

As for the title, Ií 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 ď writing advice title,Ē 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 itís weak with #2.  

However, look at Moby Dick. I doní t think critics would say, ď Man, thatí s a great novel, but what a terrible title.Ē In the end, how critical is the title? Of course, I can think of some really terrible titles Ė Plan 9 From Outer Space, Snakes On a Plane, etc Ė but I doní 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


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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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Kevin Loughnane
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Oops sorry forgot to mention the title!
I know others have said the same and I'm afraid I agree.
Just don't like it.  You need to find something that rolls off the tongue better!
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jap313
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Hey, Jackx.  Thanks for the review.  Great points about the title.  You even predicted the Amish joke.

Iíve been trying to think of a catchy title.  Since the History Channel thing is catchy, Iíve been trying to incorporate it into the title, like: Rising Historical Actor.  What do you think about that?

Quoted from jackx
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.


Quoted from jackx
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.

I see what youíre saying about the relationship coming too easily.  I did it like that to make the arrival of Claireís boyfriend, Drew, more powerful.  I think the doubting-self comment is very good.  At that point, Zeke should be doubting his life choices.  This brings me to the conflict.  Youíre Zeke-running-out-of-money comment is great.  Iím working on ideas right now, and Iím thinking Zeke should want to go home to Mississippi and give up his dream.  Maybe Ben convinces him to stay for this one last documentary.

Great comments,
JP

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jap313  -  October 24th, 2010, 9:26pm
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jap313
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Hi Kevin.  I really appreciate the detailed review.

I love Chuck, too.  Heís the definitely the easiest character to write for; I had several lines that I hated to cut, but I had to because they didn't fit anywhere.  

Quoted from Kevin Loughnane
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.

Now for the length.  Iíve been really concerned about that, and Iím thrilled you focused on it.  Youíre comments are absolutely great.  Especially the one about director notes.  Iím fairly new to screenwriting and that comment really cleared up how to write descriptions.  Iím working on creating more conflict, and Iím worried about length.  Youíre notes are definitely going to help when it comes to a rewrite.

Thanks,
JP
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jackx
Posted: October 28th, 2010, 12:27am Report to Moderator
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p 54 you have claire and dave "continue to catch up"  the way it is right after zeke walking away and ben following makes it a tad confusing you mean catch up as in talk.  might change it to chat or whatever.  or just put it above the other paragraph.

They're talking about blow guns, then suddenly about bows?  inconsistent with the killing of the tree frog.


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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Nice catch.  I'll make the change.
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Trojan
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Finished reading your script. It was good enough that I was able to make it through to the end, but I don't agree that it's good enough that you should be trying to shop this around. Honestly, it needs a lot of work. But there is some potential there that you could turn it into something decent.

As others have said, you need to cut at least 20 but preferably 30 pages from this. The first way to lose some pages is with your actual writing. There are so many things that are over-described and unneccessary. You have a habit of writing some action, and then telling us what it means. The actions speak for themselves, you don't need
to add notes on what is going on.

Let me give you an example from right at the end of the script. Page 124, when Zeke is performing. You have 'The crowd laughs and applauds, really appreciating Zeke's routine.' You don't need to write 'really appreciating Zeke's routine' as the laughter and applause shows us this. Give the reader some credit. There are many, many
similar instances throughout your script, and if you tightened this up you'll save a few pages immediately.

You've also got quite a lot of errors in here. Misspelled words, grammar and punctuation errors, missing words or extra words. No worse than most of the scripts you see on here but a long way from being of a professional enough standard. A few good edits and you should pick up the majority of them without much problem.

But the biggest problem I had with this was the lack of structure and focus in the story. It's all over the place at the moment, and that's the main reason you have all these extra pages, is you're unsure what you should be focusing on.

Are you familiar with the three Act structure? I was reading this waiting for something to happen, for things to kick off in another direction and into the second Act. But it never really came. Until about page 40 when Claire tells Zeke that he should write a screenplay. To me, that felt like the end of Act one. Which is way too late at 40 pages in. But then you didn't really capitalize on that and things pretty much just stayed the same, only a couple of times do we see a glimpse of him writing.

So I'm thinking, what is he trying to achieve? What is his main goal driving the story forward? And there really isn't one. Or at least, it is so unfocused that the story sort of veers off in different directions. You have him wanting to be an actor, wanting to be a comedian, wanting to be a writer. I think you need to decide what his dream is and just focus on that one thing. I would consider losing the stand-up parts altogether and just focus on him being an actor who then writes a screenplay to write a part for himself. How long has he been doing comedy anyway? It reads like he has been doing it awhile, but can't get past doing open mic nights. We never really find out if he's any good or not. The first time we see him the audience are laughing, but the routine itself is pretty terrible IMO. Doesn't really gel for me. But in terms of character arc and story progession, it would be better to see him bomb the first time and get better as the script progresses.

You have a lot of pointless scenes and characters here IMO. When you are at 126 pages you can't afford to carry dead weight. Power Rangers? Lose it. His scenes at work with Allan? Lose them. You probably won't want to hear this but I'd even consider losing Chuck altogether. He doesn't bring a lot to the table and exists merely as a
plot device in your story. He doesn't feel real in that you haven't given him any clear goals or direction here.

I was waiting at the end to see Chuck reconcile with his father and have them come together, but it didn't happen. I don't even know why they have problems in the 1st place. But when you have these minor characters and subplots you have to tie things up with them as well, and you haven't done that. How has Chuck grown here? What
is his character arc? There isn't one. I mean, I can't buy that he is the son of a billionaire and needs to live with two nobodies he has never even met, but that is besides the point. Even in this unlikely scenario, he still has to feel like a real person and have something to aspire to. There were no real scenes between he and Claire
or his father so it felt strange. Either give him his own storyline and wrap it up at the end or just cut him out of the story altogether.

Most of your characters all sound alike. Like it is you speaking through them rather than them speaking themselves. Ben and Zeke are incredibly similar. The way Claire speaks sounds similar to them both at times as well. Chuck and Drew are very inconsistent in their actions and dialogue. So one minute they sound in character
and the next it seems they have morphed into Ben or Zeke. Let me give you an example of this. You set Drew up as this goody-two-shoes guy who is out trying to save the world. A real sincere guy who is not funny or witty. So that's his character, cool. You need to stay consistent with that. The problem comes when they are out hunting and he says the holocaust joke about stacking the deer on top of each other. It's an insensitive joke and not what you would expect from a guy like him. So it feels fake. It sounds like something Ben might say (similar to his 'I'll take care of the homeless' joke), that's what I mean about them sounding too similar. One minute Drew is making holocaust jokes but later on he acts offended about the one-armed kid swimming in circles? It doesn't make sense. Don't sacrifice character to put in a joke.

While we are on Drew, he is too passive in regards to Zeke that I don't really buy it. This guy is in his late 20s, older than Zeke, but for some unknown reason desperately wants his approval. Why? He also doesn't seem to mind when Zeke is obviously trying to steal his woman away. And still worries about whether Zeke thinks he is funny or cool. There is a lack of conflict here, as there is throughout the script. Why not have Drew try and be friends with Zeke at first but when he finds out Zeke is in love with Claire, then things get hostile between them? Make him feel like a real person rather than a caricature. Even at the end when Claire tells Drew she doesn't love him, he accepts this way too easily. She is his fiancee! Let's see some emotion or outburst from him. All he does is tell her Zeke is a great guy, WTF? Sorry, but this doesn't work well.

I'm not sure what happens at the end. When Claire goes into the comedy club and sees him, are they already together or is this the start of them getting together. Because we don't see any sort of conversation that involves Claire telling Zeke that she left Drew and wants to be with him, and they are acting as if they assume
they are automatically together. So you have missed a golden opportunity to inject some tension here, to have the reader wonder what will happen between them. Not to mention the first kiss between them. It's like every time you have a chance to put some conflict into your story or some dramatic tension you decide against it and just skip ahead. I mean, the horoscope thing is actually not bad, but why not push things further and have him actually make a move on her and SHOW them finally hooking up?

Here's what I think you should do. Clearly define what your logline is and what the main goal for Zeke will be. Break this up into 3 Acts and try to get it into 100 pages. Which means by page 25 you need to have set everything up and progressed into your second Act. You have a lot of set-ups here and then not paid them off, which is just cluttering your script. The whole Michael Scott thing and being an uber-producer never really comes into play. Not to reconcile with Chuck or not even to provide an opportunity for the guys to try and get acting gigs through him. You are missing some great opportunities here to utilize your characters fully.

How about if Claire offered Zeke a job writing the screenplay for her new documentary, thus propelling us into Act two. But then at the hunting trip Zeke comes in contact with Michael Scott, who offers Zeke a job in one of his movies. All of a sudden Zeke has a decision to make. Follow his brain to land a role in this movie which could make his dream come true, or follow his heart and pursue the girl. It provides some conflict and anytime you put your protagonist in a position where he needs to make a tough decision it goes a long way to showing us who he really is. What if Claire was at odds with her father because she doesn't like his movies and sees them as selling out, while she is focused on creating art. More conflict. Or her finding out Zeke was only interested in talking to her to worm his way in to try and meet her father. Look for opportunities to put your characters in tough situations and see how they resolve them. Even when things are the most bleak here for Zeke they still could be worse. Add more conflict and drama and step things up a level.

Just a note on your scene construction. It feels like there wasn't much thought put into how you ended a lot of your scenes here. You want to end them on a high note, preferably with something funny since this is a comedy. A lot of your scenes run on too long with pointless dialogue which really adds nothing. Like on page 62, where
Chuck leaves and they say they like him being around and that he's a good guy. Really not necessary to have this here and doesn't exit the scene on a high point or anything funny.

Overall the dialogue needs some work. The highlight is when Zeke and Claire are flirting, and the dialogue from Zeke in particular is funny and feels real. But at other times it is very wooden and on the nose. There's a lot of exposition going on here in your dialogue. Not going to list every example but go through and say it out loud and see how a lot of it sounds. Would two people who knew each other really well (Zeke and Ben) speak like this? It's too formal in many parts and seems like you have focused on how it reads rather than how it sounds.

Some of the jokes seem forced. The whole part about Ben worrying that Sarah is early is strange. I just can't believe that a man of his age would not know that a girl isn't pregnant after she's just had her period. Especially as Ben hasn't been set up as dumb, so it just feels like you have tried to force this joke in there at the expense of character consistency. The same with the Mike's Hard Lemonade bit. To me that was the worst joke in the whole script, it made me cringe. Not Drew's joke about it, rather that Claire is going to say 'I need some Mike's hard in me' or whatever it was. Just way too convenient a setup and it doesn't ring true at all. I think your idea of having Drew try to crack a bad joke and Claire telling him he doesn't need to be funny is good, just the way you have executed it does not work well IMO. Try something more subtle and believable. I'd also suggest losing the Nazi girl sex scene. Only because you have already done a few Nazi jokes and it's getting repetitive and a bit odd. Find another kink for this girl to have so you can use a fresh joke.

There's other things but I don't want to overload you with too much information. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trashing your script, I'm not. I thought it was good for a first draft and there are obvious things that need to be worked on. Just don't want you to get the wrong idea that this script is good enough as is and you should be looking to get it into the hands of producers yet. There's a heap of expertly written, very funny comedy specs out there. Your work needs to be of that standard to have a chance, not just better than most of the scripts posted on this site. Good luck with it, hopefully you find some of this advice useful.

Cheers,
Tim.
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jap313
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Thanks for the detailed read, Trojan!  I believe I still have a little ways to go with the script also.  Right now, I feel the biggest thing going for E.S. is the struggling-History-Channel-actor theme.

Quoted from Trojan
As others have said, you need to cut at least 20 but preferably 30 pages from this. The first way to lose some pages is with your actual writing. There are so many things that are over-described and unneccessary. You have a habit of writing some action, and then telling us what it means. The actions speak for themselves, you don't need to add notes on what is going on.

Yeah, my descriptions are over written a bit.  Honestly, this is because Iím still learning the craft.  When I was writing, I thought it was great, but now I see whatís wrong with it.  At least Iíll be able to whittle down some of the pages.  

Quoted from Trojan
You've also got quite a lot of errors in here. Misspelled words, grammar and punctuation errors, missing words or extra words. No worse than most of the scripts you see on here but a long way from being of a professional enough standard. A few good edits and you should pick up the majority of them without much problem.

Iíve corrected the typos that readerís have pointed out, but I just didnít think I should post a corrected script until I did a rewrite.  However, I think Iím going to go ahead and post a corrected script.

Quoted from Trojan
Are you familiar with the three Act structure? I was reading this waiting for something to happen, for things to kick off in another direction and into the second Act. But it never really came. Until about page 40 when Claire tells Zeke that he should write a screenplay. To me, that felt like the end of Act one. Which is way too late at 40 pages in. But then you didn't really capitalize on that and things pretty much just stayed the same, only a couple of times do we see a glimpse of him writing.

Yeah, Iím familiar with the three Act structure.  Hereís a brief description of what I used.  The first act shows Zekeís struggles and his desperation to ďmake itĒ in Hollywood.  Zeke and Ben talk about star-fucking, and Ben gets Zeke the job on Claireís documentary so Zeke can use her to further his career.  Then Zeke falls for Claire when he first sees her.  This sets up the question, will Zeke get the girl?  Thatís the end of the first act.

The second act is Zeke chasing after Claire.  The second act ends when Zeke embarrasses himself at the awards show.  This is when Claire tells Zeke off for the final time (we think).

In the third act, Zeke gets everything together and continues to grind on.  At the end, heís a little bit more successful than when he started.  Heís now a headliner at the comedy club, and heís got bigger roles on the History Channel.  This is when Claire realizes sheís in love with Zeke and pursues him.


Quoted from Trojan
So I'm thinking, what is he trying to achieve? What is his main goal driving the story forward? And there really isn't one. Or at least, it is so unfocused that the story sort of veers off in different directions. You have him wanting to be an actor, wanting to be a comedian, wanting to be a writer. I think you need to decide what his dream is and just focus on that one thing. I would consider losing the stand-up parts altogether and just focus on him being an actor who then writes a screenplay to write a part for himself. How long has he been doing comedy anyway? It reads like he has been doing it awhile, but can't get past doing open mic nights. We never really find out if he's any good or not. The first time we see him the audience are laughing, but the routine itself is pretty terrible IMO. Doesn't really gel for me. But in terms of character arc and story progession, it would be better to see him bomb the first time and get better as the script progresses.

I think itís essential that Zeke be a good comic.  This shows that Zeke has a lot of talent, but heís just having a hard time getting noticed.  Maybe the stand-up isnít the best, but I was limited there because of length, too.  Itís difficult to find quick, funny bits, but Iíll work on it.  In my defense, stand-up is not usually funny when itís read.  Stand-up is very performance driven.


Quoted from Trojan
You have a lot of pointless scenes and characters here IMO. When you are at 126 pages you can't afford to carry dead weight. Power Rangers? Lose it. His scenes at work with Allan? Lose them. You probably won't want to hear this but I'd even consider losing Chuck altogether. He doesn't bring a lot to the table and exists merely as a plot device in your story. He doesn't feel real in that you haven't given him any clear goals or direction here.

I had several themes in the story.  I wanted to show hierarchies.  1.) Ben was the man at the H-channel, but at the lodge, Channing belittled him. 2.) In turn, Ben and Zeke looked down on the Power Rangers.  3.) Zeke is always low in the hierarchy, i.e. Gill calls him an extra

I also wanted to show everyone trying to star-fuck. 1.) The one-night-stand Blonde in the beginning slept with Zeke and asked him if he could get her a part on the Valkyrie doc.  2.) Ben and Zeke were going to use Chuck and Claire to further their careers by getting to their dad.  They discovered that Chuck didnít have a good relationship with his dad, so that didnít work out.  Chuck actually ended up using Ben to get parts. 3.) Of course, Zeke fell in love with Claire, and he only focused on getting with her.  The idea at the end was that Zeke and Ben are too nice to star-fuck.



Quoted from Trojan
I was waiting at the end to see Chuck reconcile with his father and have them come together, but it didn't happen. I don't even know why they have problems in the 1st place. But when you have these minor characters and subplots you have to tie things up with them as well, and you haven't done that. How has Chuck grown here? What is his character arc? There isn't one. I mean, I can't buy that he is the son of a billionaire and needs to live with two nobodies he has never even met, but that is besides the point. Even in this unlikely scenario, he still has to feel like a real person and have something to aspire to. There were no real scenes between he and Claire or his father so it felt strange. Either give him his own storyline and wrap it up at the end or just cut him out of the story altogether.

I just canít cut Chuck out of the script.  It would be like cutting Allan out of The Hangover.  As I said earlier, Chuck is an example of someone star-fucking.  I donít really think a reconciliation with his father is needed.  

Quoted from Trojan
While we are on Drew, he is too passive in regards to Zeke that I don't really buy it. This guy is in his late 20s, older than Zeke, but for some unknown reason desperately wants his approval. Why? He also doesn't seem to mind when Zeke is obviously trying to steal his woman away. And still worries about whether Zeke thinks he is funny or cool. There is a lack of conflict here, as there is throughout the script. Why not have Drew try and be friends with Zeke at first but when he finds out Zeke is in love with Claire, then things get hostile between them? Make him feel like a real person rather than a caricature. Even at the end when Claire tells Drew she doesn't love him, he accepts this way too easily. She is his fiancee! Let's see some emotion or outburst from him. All he does is tell her Zeke is a great guy, WTF? Sorry, but this doesn't work well.

I wanted to make Drew too nice of a guy.  I believe making him a nice guy makes better comedy than the more common theme of asshole-guy-dates-dream-girl.  For example, in  the woods, Zeke says, ďThat Drewís an asshole right?Ē ďActually, he seems like a pretty good guy.Ē  ďGod, I know it.Ē

I wanted Drew to envy Zeke and always look to him for approval.  Drew is envious because heís the type of guy that canít tell a joke.  Throughout the script heís called unfunny, but Claire tells him that itís alright to be unfunny.  This eats at him and puts so much pressure on him that he ends up telling inappropriate jokes.

When I finished the script, there were two areas that I thought were obviously weak.  One was the break-up scene with Drew and Claire and the other was the stand-up ending.  I now picture the break-up very differently.  Like, Drew sobbing uncontrollably or something.


Quoted from Trojan
I'm not sure what happens at the end. When Claire goes into the comedy club and sees him, are they already together or is this the start of them getting together. Because we don't see any sort of conversation that involves Claire telling Zeke that she left Drew and wants to be with him, and they are acting as if they assume they are automatically together. So you have missed a golden opportunity to inject some tension here, to have the reader wonder what will happen between them. Not to mention the first kiss between them. It's like every time you have a chance to put some conflict into your story or some dramatic tension you decide against it and just skip ahead. I mean, the horoscope thing is actually not bad, but why not push things further and have him actually make a move on her and SHOW them finally hooking up?

I agree that Claire and Zeke should finally hook-up.  Right now, itís sort of unfulfilling.  


Quoted from Trojan
How about if Claire offered Zeke a job writing the screenplay for her new documentary, thus propelling us into Act two. But then at the hunting trip Zeke comes in contact with Michael Scott, who offers Zeke a job in one of his movies. All of a sudden Zeke has a decision to make. Follow his brain to land a role in this movie which could make his dream come true, or follow his heart and pursue the girl. It provides some conflict and anytime you put your protagonist in a position where he needs to make a tough decision it goes a long way to showing us who he really is.

Thatís a very interesting idea.  Definitely could work.

Quoted from Trojan
Just a note on your scene construction. It feels like there wasn't much thought put into how you ended a lot of your scenes here. You want to end them on a high note, preferably with something funny since this is a comedy. A lot of your scenes run on too long with pointless dialogue which really adds nothing. Like on page 62, where Chuck leaves and they say they like him being around and that he's a good guy. Really not necessary to have this here and doesn't exit the scene on a high point or anything funny.

I ended the scene there to show that Zeke and Ben are too nice to star-fuck.

Quoted from Trojan
Overall the dialogue needs some work. The highlight is when Zeke and Claire are flirting, and the dialogue from Zeke in particular is funny and feels real. But at other times it is very wooden and on the nose. There's a lot of exposition going on here in your dialogue. Not going to list every example but go through and say it out loud and see how a lot of it sounds. Would two people who knew each other really well (Zeke and Ben) speak like this? It's too formal in many parts and seems like you have focused on how it reads rather than how it sounds.

The Claire dialogue is actually almost word-for-word conversations that Iíve had with girls.  I can see that some of the dialogue feels on the nose.  I havenít read E.S. in a while because I wanted to set it down for a bit, but I could see some woodenness in the opening scenes.

Quoted from Trojan
There's other things but I don't want to overload you with too much information. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trashing your script, I'm not. I thought it was good for a first draft and there are obvious things that need to be worked on. Just don't want you to get the wrong idea that this script is good enough as is and you should be looking to get it into the hands of producers yet. There's a heap of expertly written, very funny comedy specs out there. Your work needs to be of that standard to have a chance, not just better than most of the scripts posted on this site. Good luck with it, hopefully you find some of this advice useful.

Again, thanks for the read, Tim.  Right now, Iím taking a break and writing an episode of The Office.  When I get back to E.S., Iíll definitely take in account your suggestions.  One is the focus on the conflict.  Itís sort of ambiguous now because there are two conflicts: will Zeke make it in Hollywood?  Will Zeke get with Claire?  Hopefully, Iíll work it out.

Cheers,
JP

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jcolon2
Posted: December 21st, 2010, 4:38pm Report to Moderator
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I truly enjoyed this script. I read through the entire script this morning. My comments fall along the same line as everyone else.


"Art is literacy of the heart" Elliot Eisner
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jap313
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Thanks for the read, Justin.

I'm actually close to finishing a second draft.  I cut around thirty pages and created a tighter structure.  Hopefully, I'll have the new draft completed in a couple of weeks.

So guys, please hold up on the reads until i finish the new draft  

Thanks,
JP
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jcolon2
Posted: December 22nd, 2010, 10:57am Report to Moderator
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Great, I cannot wait to read the second draft!


"Art is literacy of the heart" Elliot Eisner
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vinny
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well, im new to this script writting (and reading stuff), writting my frist script and all, and for the first time that i've been digging around this forums, for a couple of weeks now, i've read the whole script, i mean, you really got it going, i couldn't stop reading, and im not a big fan of comedy.

Kudos.
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05c4r
Posted: December 22nd, 2010, 8:40pm Report to Moderator
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jap313

I read a little bit and will finish it up, but I read through others thread around here and most of them is talking about the title. My suggestion is,

KEEP YOUR TITLE if it means something to you. It is as you mentioned about Moby Dick, the story is the main point... you can call it "poop" for all means and have a good backbone in the story.

The reason why your script attracted me is because my main character in my script have the same first name, but if it wasn't I still be curious about the script, because of the name. If it's still a hustle about the name just call it "EzS" or something.

Just adding something more about the length, if the story is good, clean and gripping it doesn't matter how long it is. I understand about cutting screenplays and stuff to sell or something, for me the only thing I see is just a lazy reader, and I don't care if your a professional from Hollywood or Bollywood....you can see it here on the board as well, were people just read the shorts and give them reviews because they don't want to sit through a 110+ pager and most of them good features falls through without notice because of that.

Cheers,
05c4r


Excuse My Writing, I'm french!
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jap313
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Hi Vinny, thanks for the read.  Iím glad to hear that you liked it.  Iím close to finishing the second draft, and I believe itís A LOT better.  

Cheers,
JP
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jap313
Posted: December 23rd, 2010, 11:25pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Oscar, thanks for the comments.  I kind of feel the same way as you about the title, but I think Iím going to change it because the second draft is not as focused on Zeke.  By the way, if you plan on reading ES, please wait until I finish the second draft.

As for the length, yeah some people are lazy about reading, but like you pointed out, thatís why itís important to have a shorter screenplay, to sell it.  I donít want anyone of importance to pass over the script because of the length.  My second draft is about thirty pages shorter.  Cutting actually helped GREATLY: helped structure, cut superfluous scenes, cut a lot of verbiage, etc.  Basically, shortening the script helped me, but there are many professionals with scripts over 120 pages.  The key word, though, is professionals.  I figure I should always shoot for 100 pages.  If I have to delete a scene that I believe is funny, I figured I could add it after it gets attention.

Thanks again for the comments.  Iíll give your script a read when I get a chance.

Take care,
JP
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: December 30th, 2010, 2:51pm Report to Moderator
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Greetings John,

Congrats on finishing the screenplay, feels good don't it?
Ack! I just read through the comments and see a second draft is on the way.
Heh, I already read through the first act.
I'll jot down a few thoughts anyway for posterity.

Overall, I like the idea, its kinda like "Funny People" if no one was famous or dying.
The documentary extra is a hook I have not seen used before.
Even better, its something easily understood by others, and that's a big bonus.
Personally, I don't care for stand up routines in fiction films.
It's a very polarizing scenario. When it works, it's gold.
But if the material the audience is roaring at is so-so, I get up and start laundry.
The only movie I've seen where it worked for me is Tom Hanks in "Punchline".

You have a solid grabber opening scene. Dropped me right into your world nicely.
Everyone is likable enough and I'm never bored, despite Act One being 41 pages.
And you wrap up the act well with tasking your protag to write his own ticket.
Sound story structure there, I like it long time.
I'm intrigued and want to know where the story is going to take me.

Here are a few scene specific notes from Act One:

p. 8 Didn't care for football skit, audience laughs lots, spell broken, almost lost me.
p. 25 Horoscope service made me LoL, nicely done.
p. 27 the spooge pillow grossed me out. =p Would the History Channel show that?
p. 34 Shiv stuffing on the outside LoL head shake. Chuck = Zack Galifinakas

Thanks for posting and good luck with the new draft!

Regards,
E.D.


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jap313
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Hi E.D.,

Quoted from E.D.
Ack! I just read through the comments and see a second draft is on the way.
Heh, I already read through the first act.
I'll jot down a few thoughts anyway for posterity.

Yeah, I just submitted my second draft two days ago, so hopefully itíll post in a week or so.  Still, your comments are much appreciated.

Quoted from E.D.
Overall, I like the idea, its kinda like "Funny People" if no one was famous or dying.
The documentary extra is a hook I have not seen used before.

The idea is similar to Funny People.  Like you said, stand-up movies are very polarizing, so in the second draft, I cut all but two stand-up scenes, and focused the story on Zeke chasing Claire.  The second draft is twenty-six pages shorter.  I cut A LOT, but I think it helped greatly.

I think the biggest thing going for E.S. is the hook.  Iíve been trying to think of a title to exploit that, something like ďProlific Re-enactorĒ or ďStar Re-enactor.Ē  However, I stuck with the same title for the new draft.

Quoted from E.D.
You have a solid grabber opening scene. Dropped me right into your world nicely.

Everyone is likable enough and I'm never bored, despite Act One being 41 pages.
And you wrap up the act well with tasking your protag to write his own ticket.
Sound story structure there, I like it long time.  
I'm intrigued and want to know where the story is going to take me.

I tried to tighten up the structure this time.  Act one now ends around p.30, Act two around p. 80.

Quoted from E.D.
p. 8 Didn't care for football skit, audience laughs lots, spell broken, almost lost me.

Thatís one of the stand-up scenes I cut completely.  

Quoted from E.D.
p. 25 Horoscope service made me LoL, nicely done.

I added a little bit to the horoscope joke.

Quoted Text
p. 27 the spooge pillow grossed me out. =p Would the History Channel show that?

Ha, the pillow scene was difficult to write.  ďThe Mad Henry the EighthĒ show isnít a documentary, itís a show just like ďThe Tudors.Ē The sceneís actually a straight rip-off of an episode of ďThe Tudors.Ē  In the scene, you never see Henry jerking off or his splooge.  You just see his torso and see his arm making the motion.  At the end, you see him orgasm and then a servant stands revealing he was there the whole time holding a pillow.  While watching the show, I just thought Ďhow embarrassing for the extra.í  Thatís where the idea for the screenplay stemmed.  I didnít do too much to the scene in the rewrite.  Iíll take a look at it and try to make it more clear.

Quoted from E.D.
p. 34 Shiv stuffing on the outside LoL head shake. Chuck = Zack Galifinakas

Ha, yeah Galifinakas is definitely Chuck.  After the Hangover, you just canít read the script without thinking of him.  I actually started on the script before The Hangover released, but after itís release, Chuck was much influenced by his character.

Thanks for the read,
JP
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from jap313
Hi E.D.,

The second draft is twenty-six pages shorter.  I cut A LOT, but I think it helped greatly.

I tried to tighten up the structure this time.  Act one now ends around p.30, Act two around p. 80.

Thanks for the read,
JP


John,

I hope the rewrite was a satisfying process for you.
I know it can be a real slog sometimes going back through material.
I may finish the first one anyway, as a compare and contrast thing.

So you cut 26, you must be coming in right around 100 pages then.
30 for Act One, 50 for Act Two...and 20 for Act Three?
Maybe I'm a bit square, but I try to keep them relatively close to each other in length.

Anyone else have thoughts on proportionate act lengths?

Looking forward to the new draft, sounds like you're progressing well with it.

E.D.


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jap313
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E.D.,

Quoted from E.D.
So you cut 26, you must be coming in right around 100 pages then.
30 for Act One, 50 for Act Two...and 20 for Act Three?
Maybe I'm a bit square, but I try to keep them relatively close to each other in length.

I was taught that the first and third acts each make up a quarter of the story, and the second act takes up half.  That's for the three-act structure.

Quoted from E.D.
I know it can be a real slog sometimes going back through material

Right on!  

JP
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cloroxmartini
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Gave it a read to page 30. I didn't laugh but then I don't laugh much at jerk-off humor films (just not my style).

Stuff is going on but there is no direction (to page 30). The plot thickens with Chuck and Claire showing up but it's too late for me.
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Quoted from jap313
E.D.,

I was taught that the first and third acts each make up a quarter of the story, and the second act takes up half.  That's for the three-act structure.

JP


Huh, I don't recall hearing that breakdown before. Is that from a book or class?
Mine stuff always winds up in a half dozen pieces it seems.
I reckon they can be arranged any way we see fit so long as it works!

E.D.


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jap313
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Quoted from E.D.
Huh, I don't recall hearing that breakdown before. Is that from a book or class?
Mine stuff always winds up in a half dozen pieces it seems.
I reckon they can be arranged any way we see fit so long as it works

I bought The Screenwriter's Bible by David Trottier a while back.  He has the three-act structure breakdown on p. 5.  If you don't have that book, I strongly recommend it.  It's like six books in one.  It talks about style, structure, format, coverage, and marketing.

Anyways, that's the book i use.  Like you said, whatever works.  However, the three-act structure is a tried-and-true structure.  It's kind of funny; even though the structure is simple, it's pretty hard to follow.

JP
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Quoted from jap313

I bought The Screenwriter's Bible by David Trottier a while back.  He has the three-act structure breakdown on p. 5.  If you don't have that book, I strongly recommend it.  It's like six books in one.  It talks about style, structure, format, coverage, and marketing.

Anyways, that's the book i use.  Like you said, whatever works.  However, the three-act structure is a tried-and-true structure.  It's kind of funny; even though the structure is simple, it's pretty hard to follow.

JP


JP,

Thanks for the book reference, I'll take a look at it.
Does the book actually stipulate the rough percentage and page count per act too?
Or did that come from somewhere else?
Yeah, I certainly do the three act thing too.
Always seems something's a brewing half way through that's sorta like an act break.
Hence, the six remark.
I think at one time, there was a six act structure a ways back.
I recall hearing there was a game changing book/teacher that truncated it to three.
Could be the schnapps talking, but I may be right.

E.D.


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jap313
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Quoted from E.D.
Does the book actually stipulate the rough percentage and page count per act too?
Or did that come from somewhere else?

Yeah, I certainly do the three act thing too.  
Always seems something's a brewing half way through that's sorta like an act break.
Hence, the six remark.

Yeah, the book gives the numbers as 25% for Acts 1 and 3 and 50% for Act 2.  That's all on page 5.  What you're talking about halfway through the act Trottier calls the Pinch.  It's the point in the second act where the character's fully committed, a point of no return.

There probably was a six-act structure.  Shakespeare used a five-act structure.  I guess as long as you have rising action, a climax, and a resolution, it doesn't matter how you break it up.

JP
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JP,

Yeah, you're spot on about the five act thing, heard that one before.
Not sure if it was William Goldman's second book or perhaps The Dialogue DVD series.
Someone said that the three act structure was adapted from an old six act style.
It might have come from theater, I'm not entirely sure.

Well, I read through pages 42 to 84 today.
The pages move well enough, your style is very readable for me.
I didn't feel like there was a lot happening though, felt a bit rehashy of act one.
Not much of the screenplay idea over these forty plus pages.
The schmoozing things doesn't seem to be progressing all that much.
I've seen the awkward deer hunting scenario a few times.
I didn't feel you brought anything new to that concept, save for the point blank gore.
Drew feels a bit cookie cutter to me, is that on purpose?
Zeke, Chuck and Ben are affable enough, but not a lot of forward momentum.

A few scene specific notes...

p. 42 Miscarriage. Whoa. Didn't see that coming. Intense.
p. 62 Not writing the poem for money. LoL
p. 74 Double penetration paintball gun. Nice.
p. 75 Second time this act Ben explains Sarah's voracious appetite.
        Even the lines seemed virtually identical.
p. 84 The surprise party was surprising. Looking forward to see what happens there.

Happy New Year!

E.D.


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jap313
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E.D.,

I felt the first draft moved a little slow in the second act.  There wasnít a clearly defined goal.  

The deer hunting scenario has been used a few times.  In the new draft, I added a little bit more funny and cut down on its length.  I really wanted to do the Avatar joke (the one where Chuck whispers in the deerís ear).

I changed Drewís character completely.  In this draft, heís a super nice guy, and I just couldnít quite make it work.  I changed him to an asshole, which created more conflict.  I also created a better relationship between Chuck and Michael.

I cut the miscarriage joke, too intense.  I used a similar joke somewhere in the second draft, and I think it works well.  You mention the Sarah talk.  Thatís something Iím worried about in the new draft.  I tried to change the scenes a little bit to not seem repetitive.  Hopefully, it works.

Thanks again for the thorough read.

Happy New Year!

JP
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cloroxmartini
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Plane is late so I had time to kill, thought I'd give it another shot. Up to page 68.

No change.

So I wonder, is it just me? Don't I know funny when I read it? I've read scripts from SS that made me gut bust laugh, this one didn't. There are scripts that show up that hook me, some hard, some not so hard, but enough that I read them to the end.

So what is it with this one?

I have to settle on the jokes ALL being about sex. Star fucking. Masturbating on a pillow. Jerking off. Feeding the Geese. Sex robot.

Have you ever seen Brian Regan? Have you ever seen Louis CK? Polar opposites in adjective delivery, but both of those guys are very funny and they both tell stories. Louis CK's best bits are NOT about sex.

The relationships are stagnant. That makes the dialogue stagnant. If you moved the story forward, not sideways, you would not be stagnant in those relationships and the characters would have something to talk about besides the weather and you would not need sex jokes.

Sex jokes do work, of course. Role Models is a good example, but Role Models had a moral and a forward story. Wedding Crashers, lots of sex (I didn't like that as much as Role Models), had story and moral, too. The story as well as the moral are at least being set up early so you can root (in this instance) for your protagonist to "get it,", to "fall in love," in other words: win. Yours currently has neither and it needs both.

I will keep reading, but I can tell you that it won't change from here. Nothing will change until you give the protagonists something to live for. Giving Zeke a screenplay to write isn't it because that's not what your story is about. If Zeke had to write AND  SELL a screenplay to Mr. Mogul in 90 days or Snidely Whiplash would bind up Claire and lay her on railroad tracks to be halved by the 3:10 to Yuma, that would be a story.

Drew shows up too late and he immediately reminds me of Drew Barrymore's love interest in The Wedding Singer.

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jap313
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Hey Cloroxmartini,

Thanks for reading on.  I submitted a new draft that will hopefully post next week.  That said, I'm still not sure you'll like it because it's the same type of humor.  I did cut 26 pages and made the relationships stronger.  I made the story focus more on Zeke trying to win Claire.

This is a pretty crass comedy.  I'd liken it to Knocked Up and Superbad.  Honestly, i didn't like Role Models.  The jokes just didn't make me laugh.  I thought Wedding Crashers was great when i saw it in high school, but i watch it now and think it's good not great.  Actually, the new draft has a structure very similar to Wedding Crashers.

Writing comedy is difficult because you're not going to make everyone laugh.  There are just so many different senses of humor.  I haven't seen those comics you mentioned perform, but i'll check them out.

If you want to give my screenplay another go, i'd wait until the new draft posts.  I feel it's a lot better.

JP
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ajr
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John,

I just had to jump in here because CM named my two favorite comedians - in my opinion, the two most brilliant people working in standup today. And as he said, their styles are opposite ends of the spectrum...

For you to want to write comedy and not know these guys?

Regan, C.K., Jim Gaffigan, Dom Irrera, Adam Ferrara, Juston McKinney - These are some of the guys working today that I would recommend to you, along with guys I'm sure you've heard of like Rock, Dennis Miller, etc.

And comedy's not about watching a recent comedy movie and getting its structure down - it's about studying the greats and how they do it. So also beneficial would be to go watch tape of Buddy Hackett, Bill Hicks, Rodney, etc.


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Quoted from jap313
Hey Cloroxmartini,

Thanks for reading on.  I submitted a new draft that will hopefully post next week.  That said, I'm still not sure you'll like it because it's the same type of humor.  I did cut 26 pages and made the relationships stronger.  I made the story focus more on Zeke trying to win Claire.

This is a pretty crass comedy.  I'd liken it to Knocked Up and Superbad.  Honestly, i didn't like Role Models.  The jokes just didn't make me laugh.  I thought Wedding Crashers was great when i saw it in high school, but i watch it now and think it's good not great.  Actually, the new draft has a structure very similar to Wedding Crashers.

Writing comedy is difficult because you're not going to make everyone laugh.  There are just so many different senses of humor.  I haven't seen those comics you mentioned perform, but i'll check them out.

If you want to give my screenplay another go, i'd wait until the new draft posts.  I feel it's a lot better.

JP


I finished reading it and nothing much changed for me overall.

I laughed at Knocked Up and a little at Superbad.

My point about both Role Models and Wedding Crashers is that they have story and moral. You create some moral near the end where Zeke freaks out then straightens up and Claire loves him because he writes a script and acts. How many pages did that happen in? And how deep is Claire because of that?

While your script does have some structure, I don't think it has much story. You could get rid of half of your script and it would matter not to Zeke trying to get Claire. Your story starts with Zeke professing his love to Claire at the award ceremony (and puking on the stage) then it ends with Claire and Zeke together, sharing a Star fuck joke. That's how long it takes for Zeke to get a goal despite him meeting her early on.

Yes, you will not appeal to everyone with your humor and you have your champions here. I will tell you that you have narrowed your audience with the way you tell your jokes.

Write ten things that you LOVE about your script.
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jap313
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Quoted from ajr
Regan, C.K., Jim Gaffigan, Dom Irrera, Adam Ferrara, Juston McKinney - These are some of the guys working today that I would recommend to you, along with guys I'm sure you've heard of like Rock, Dennis Miller, etc

And comedy's not about watching a recent comedy movie and getting its structure down - it's about studying the greats and how they do it. So also beneficial would be to go watch tape of Buddy Hackett, Bill Hicks, Rodney, etc.


Ajr,

Thanks for the recommendations.  Iím sure they can give me a lot of ideas.  As for the structure, I didnít watch Wedding Crashers and copy its structure, but if I did, I donít think that would be a problem.  How many times has Romeo and Juliet been copied?  I donít think copying a structure is a bad thing.

Actually, I guess what youíre saying is only copy the Romeo and Juliets and not the Wedding Crashers.  


Quoted from cloroxmartini
While your script does have some structure, I don't think it has much story. You could get rid of half of your script and it would matter not to Zeke trying to get Claire. Your story starts with Zeke professing his love to Claire at the award ceremony (and puking on the stage) then it ends with Claire and Zeke together, sharing a Star f*** joke. That's how long it takes for Zeke to get a goal despite him meeting her early on.


Cloroxmartini,

I agree with you there.  I cut 26 pages and created a better story.  Hopefully, the new draft will post this week.  Thanks for the comments.
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Electric Dreamer
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JP,

Went ahead and finished reading the first draft over the holiday for posterity.
It will help me go through your second draft, when it posts.
Overall, I felt you made some strides to bring your story together in the last forty pages.
I wasn't entirely convinced with Zeke and Clair as a couple, but the structure is there.
And if you've got the basic structure sorted, you can build up from there, my friend.
I liked the awards show idea, but I didn't care for how it was used.
The depression/rejection stuff felt too familiar to me. Seen it lots.
This might be a great point for Zeke to wallow in self pity in a way unique to him.
I saw Zeke using his anger and rejection as fuel for his stand up routines.
He finds success through turning his bitterness into entertainment.
So, he gets the break he wanted, but not in a way he ever thought he would get it.
In the end, Zeke is faced with a true dilemma...
Be successful but with a bitter heart that harbors resentment. Or...
Let it go and be true to yourself, regardless of the pain.
And the screenplay comes from that honest place.
Where did all this come from? Your awards show idea, which I really dug.
I thought it would be great to have Zeke host the show that Claire wins at.
Now that's irony and does not feel forced to me that they reunite over that moment.
It's quite a journey for both of them towards a potential reconciliation.  

Please don't take me the wrong way, I'd never tell you what to write.
Your structure and character are intriguing enough to inspire these thoughts.
So, I think you're onto something with your premise, stick to it!

Here are some scene specific notes:

p. 86 cyclops bitch, wow, nervous laugh for me, I dug it.
p. 90 Swimming in circles remark cracked me up.
p. 93 off screen Sarah break up is a missed opportunity that you set up earlier
p. 98 Ben and Zeke's argument did not work for me. I want to see some fire here.
        Zeke descends into bitterness and uses his sense of humor as a weapon.
p. 101 Shake weight pay off was good. LoL
p. 105 Like the Awards show idea, but I don't think you used it to the best end.
p. 107 Zeke needs to verbalize how he ruined Claire's moment. It was big for her.
p. 114 It's unclear to me why Drew seeks Zeke's approval. Seems childish almost.

Thanks again fro sharing and keep writing.
Looking forward to your new draft.

Regards,
E.D.




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jap313
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E.D.,

Hey, I really appreciate you giving me this detailed of a review.  It definitely helps.

Quoted from E.D.
I liked the awards show idea, but I didn't care for how it was used.
The depression/rejection stuff felt too familiar to me. Seen it lots.
This might be a great point for Zeke to wallow in self pity in a way unique to him.
I saw Zeke using his anger and rejection as fuel for his stand up routines.
He finds success through turning his bitterness into entertainment.
So, he gets the break he wanted, but not in a way he ever thought he would get it.
In the end, Zeke is faced with a true dilemma...
Be successful but with a bitter heart that harbors resentment. Or...
Let it go and be true to yourself, regardless of the pain.
And the screenplay comes from that honest place.

These are both really good suggestions.  I too am worried that the self-pity bit is a little overused/clichť.  Thereís two moments where Claire turns Zeke down, and Iím worried that thatís maybe a bit repetitive; I made Zekeís reactions to turndowns different to make it less repetitive.  

Quoted from E.D.
I thought it would be great to have Zeke host the show that Claire wins at.
Now that's irony and does not feel forced to me that they reunite over that moment.
It's quite a journey for both of them towards a potential reconciliation.

I think thatís an excellent idea!  This will get rid of the repetitiveness and create a solid ending.  (Iím not sure if the ending works, still)

Quoted from E.D.
Where did all this come from? Your awards show idea, which I really dug.

I actually used an awards show ending in my first screenplay, State School.  Itís on the site somewhere, but itís very rough.  I plan on doing a rewrite one day but not soon.

Quoted from E.D.
Please don't take me the wrong way, I'd never tell you what to write.
Your structure and character are intriguing enough to inspire these thoughts.
So, I think you're onto something with your premise, stick to it!

Not at all.  The goal is to write the best screenplay that I can.  All comments, as long as their constructive, are welcome.  Trojan gave me a great idea that I incorporated in the new draft.

Quoted from E.D.
p. 86 cyclops b****, wow, nervous laugh for me, I dug it. [\quote]
Ha, I actually took this out.  Youíre the first to say you liked it.  I substituted this line with a couple from Chuck.
[quote=E.D.]p. 90 Swimming in circles remark cracked me up.

Thatís actually something that my friend really asked a lady after she told a heart-wrenching story about someone she grew up with!

Quoted from E.D.
p. 98 Ben and Zeke's argument did not work for me. I want to see some fire here.

Iíll watch this in the new draft.  The tone is almost the same.

Quoted from E.D.
p. 114 It's unclear to me why Drew seeks Zeke's approval. Seems childish almost.

I changed Drewís character completely.  I just couldnít make it work, him being a nice guy.

Thanks again.  Look forward to your thoughts on the new draft.

JP
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jap313
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Thanks for posting the new draft, Don.  This site has really taught me a lot and has helped me grow as a writer.

Anyways, the new draft is twenty-six pages shorter, and I feel the plot and characters are more interesting.  

Thanks for all the reads,
JP
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Quoted from jap313
Thanks for posting the new draft, Don.  This site has really taught me a lot and has helped me grow as a writer.

Anyways, the new draft is twenty-six pages shorter, and I feel the plot and characters are more interesting.  

Thanks for all the reads,
JP


JP!

Congrats on finishing the new draft.
You've illustrated the most important tenet of writing...rewriting!
When I finish something I think, "That's it, I've got no more to give to it."
Then days or weeks pass and suddenly I think the draft is junk.
Let the rewrites begin! xD I'll put this back in my queue.

Looking forward to seeing your changes.

Regards,
E.D.


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Hi John, I gave your 2nd draft a read. It definitely benefits from being shorter and I think overall the structure is much better here. I made a few notes for you.

Your first scene header on page one, you state that it's taking place in the 14th century. But unless I am missing something, it's only the set that's designed to look like the 14th century, so I would remove that from the slug. It's a bit confusing.

I don't know what the point of the Fight Club scenes are. I think it's fine to have them if they come into play at some point later on and influence the story, otherwise it is just very random and serves no purpose. What I was expecting was that those two guys would appear later in the story and knock Drew out to help Zeke. If that happened, then the scenes would be useful as they provide a set-up for the payoff. But because there is no payoff here it doesn't work, IMO.

I felt like the scene/jokes go on a little too long in regards to Chuck thinking he'd be sharing a bed with one of the guys. It was also a bit of a stretch for me to buy that he'd move into a house expecting to share a bed with another grown man, but it wasn't a big problem for me.

The King Henry masturbation scene seems a bit strange, in that I can't imagine the History Channel would be showing this.

When Michael meets Zeke for the 1st time, why does he ask him if he is the comedian? Where does he get this idea from, since in this draft Zeke has never done stand-up?

I mentioned this in the first draft review, the scene where Ben worries about the girl being early feels like you are trying to get a laugh here at the expense of character consistency. We've been given no reason up to this point to believe Ben is stupid, and a guy of his age would not think this. It feels like a joke you want to put in, but it's not something the character would say. That's really something you need to be careful of. The same for the scene where Ben talks about pleasuring men on the chat show. It feels like a forced joke and Ben is not so naive as to say that.

I didn't like the use of Nazi girl, because you have used the same jokes earlier with the deer hunting scene. Lay off the Hitler jokes and come up with something different here or it comes off as repetitive and IMO, unbelievable.

I think you need to develop the character of Sarah a little bit. Throughout the whole script I think she only has a couple lines, the rest of the time she is in the background or Ben is talking about her. She is basically a plot device. Think of ways that you could make her more interesting so that an actress would want to play this part. There is too much telling and not showing with her. For example, is it funnier to have Ben tell the guys that she brought up the topic of double penetration, or to actually show the scene where Sarah suggests it to Ben and we can see his reaction?

I think someone else mentioned a similarity to Wedding Crashers in some regards, and I can see that in some places. For instance, the character of Sarah here is similar to the Isla Fisher role of the over-sexed psycho. But what made that work was we saw her jacking him off at the dinner table, we saw her tying him up in bed. If Vince Vaughn just spent the whole time telling Owen Wilson that she wanted sex all the time, and we didn't see this visually, it wouldn't have worked nearly as well. I think you're quite heavy with dialogue here and there's some things you could simply show us to break things up a bit.

The character I had the biggest problem with was Drew. I don't think you really know what you want to do with him, and the result is he's very inconsistent. I see you mentioned that you tried to make him an asshole in this draft, but I don't know that you succeeded if that's your intention here. It's like you have him the same as from the first draft in parts, then you try to imply he's an asshole in other scenes. The thing is, you are way too subtle with this. The parts where we see him texting on the phone I assume are meant to imply he is texting/dating another girl. And the same where he kisses that girl on the nose. But you never come right out and show us he is cheating on Claire. If you want to make him an asshole, then show us how he is an asshole. Show him hitting on some other woman, actually kissing someone else, being a prick to people. But I still think he's way more of a nice guy than an asshole.

Sticking with the Wedding Crashers analogy, the Bradley Cooper character works well because he is a real asshole and we know for a fact he's cheating on the girl. The viewer has no doubt that they want to see this guy get his comeuppance and our hero should get the girl. But in your story, even though Claire has chemistry with Zeke, there is no real motivation for her to break up with Drew. And as the reader, we have no reason to dislike him. He calls Zeke an asshole after he declares his love for Clare, but that is what you would expect. Zeke is trying to steal his girl, he should be angry with him. But if we knew Drew was the asshole and was cheating on claire then that changes things.

As it is, Drew is a guy who is off trying to save the world. Not really unlikeable. But one minute you have him telling a story about the boy with one arm and how much of a humanitarian he is, yet 5 minutes later he is laughing and telling a story about a guy punching his girlfriend in the face. A complete 180, from nice guy to asshole. Do you see what I mean about him being inconsistent?

If it was me, I would have focused on the starfucking thing a bit more. I mean it is set up nicely early on with the chubby girl scene, where the subject of starfucking is introduced. You could have Ben ask him if his plan worked, and if the wrestler guy will be able to hook him up with some work, only for Zeke to confess that the chubby girl starfucked him and only slept with him hoping to get a part on one of the documentaries. Then Ben and Zeke decide that Zeke needs to step it up, that he needs to fuck someone who knows a really big star to help him get a really big job. Then they find out that Claire is working on the next documentary and is the daughter of the biggest movie producer in the world. Boom. There's the end of Act One and Zeke now has a clear goal. But he meets Claire and actually begins to fall for her. Now there is some real conflict here, as his goal (be in a movie) conflicts with his need (to be with Claire). You really want to have as much internal and external conflict in your stories as possible, and if they contradict each other, so much the better.

I mean look at it this way. You want things to get as bleak for your protagonsit as possible late in Act Two. Here it gets bad for Zeke because he confesses his love for Claire and does the whole vomiting at the award show thing. But is that the worst that could happen? What if Claire found out that Zeke set out with the intention of starfucking her to get in good with her father, and that she thought he was just manipulating her the whole time? How much worse would that be? Then in Act Three he has to confess that was his intention but that he gradually fell in love with her and she has changed him etc., you know how the speech goes. All I'm saying is that is a bigger hurdle to overcome and ultimately provides a lot more conflict.

And it would also provide a better hook for your logline. Something like this for example, 'A struggling actor, determined to sleep his way to the top, has to choose between love and his career when he falls for the daughter of the world's biggest movie producer.'

That's not the best example, but it's just off the top of my head. What it does provide though is a hook for your story and reveals the potential for conflict. When you are trying to sell your story you need to have something that people can grab onto. I just think that your title and logline are a little bit lacklustre. I mean if you titled this script Starfuckers you would immediately get more interest in it. (Not saying you should call it that, I'm just illustrating a point)

Overall though I think this is pretty good. It's certainly funny in parts and the basic structure is much better in this draft. The character of Chuck works better this time around and the way you have Michael trying to repair their relationship makes the story much better. The final scene where we see that the movie Chuck is in is one of his dad's movies is a nice touch.

That's all I have for now, best of luck with it.

Cheers,
Tim.
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jap313
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Quoted from E.D.
You've illustrated the most important tenet of writing...rewriting!  
When I finish something I think, "That's it, I've got no more to give to it."
Then days or weeks pass and suddenly I think the draft is junk.
Let the rewrites begin! xD I'll put this back in my queue.

Ha yeah, itís kinda funny how that works, but every now and then you reread your work and think, ďthatís not too bad.Ē  Those moments are nice!

Look forward to your comments,
JP
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jap313
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Hi Tim, again thanks for the detailed review.  Your notes are going to be a great help with a rewrite.  I guess Iíll jump right inÖ

Thanks for the note on the slug.  I was curious about that.  Iíll take the 14th century out.

Quoted from Trojan
I don't know what the point of the Fight Club scenes are. I think it's fine to have them if they come into play at some point later on and influence the story, otherwise it is just very random and serves no purpose.

I thought the Fight Club scenes emphasized the lowness of Zekeís situation.  He has to deliver canisters to the degenerate pair, and later, during his depression, Zeke ends up watching porn with them.

Quoted from Trojan
The King Henry masturbation scene seems a bit strange, in that I can't imagine the History Channel would be showing this.

I need to rewrite this scene.  Electric Dreamer had this same comment.  Iíll quote my response.

Quoted from jap313
Ha, the pillow scene was difficult to write.  ďThe Mad Henry the EighthĒ show isnít a documentary, itís a show just like ďThe Tudors.Ē The sceneís actually a straight rip-off of an episode of ďThe Tudors.Ē  In the scene, you never see Henry jerking off or his splooge.  You just see his torso and see his arm making the motion.  At the end, you see him orgasm and then a servant stands revealing he was there the whole time holding a pillow.  While watching the show, I just thought Ďhow embarrassing for the extra.í  Thatís where the idea for the screenplay stemmed.  I didnít do too much to the scene in the rewrite.  Iíll take a look at it and try to make it more clear.


Quoted from Trojan
When Michael meets Zeke for the 1st time, why does he ask him if he is the comedian? Where does he get this idea from, since in this draft Zeke has never done stand-up?

I was trying to imply that Claire talked to Michael about the screenplay and that she said Zeke was really funny or something to the like.  Michael merely thought Zeke was a comedian.

Quoted from Trojan
I mentioned this in the first draft review, the scene where Ben worries about the girl being early feels like you are trying to get a laugh here at the expense of character consistency. We've been given no reason up to this point to believe Ben is stupid, and a guy of his age would not think this. It feels like a joke you want to put in, but it's not something the character would say.

I thought I set up Ben as stupid with the beating-off-whales scene.  In the least, I didnít set him up as smart.  The whole early thing came from an actual conversation I had with a friend.  He was twenty, and he really thought it was only good if girls were on time.

Quoted from Trojan
I think you need to develop the character of Sarah a little bit. Throughout the whole script I think she only has a couple lines, the rest of the time she is in the background or Ben is talking about her. She is basically a plot device. Think of ways that you could make her more interesting so that an actress would want to play this part. There is too much telling and not showing with her. For example, is it funnier to have Ben tell the guys that she brought up the topic of double penetration, or to actually show the scene where Sarah suggests it to Ben and we can see his reaction?

I agree, Sarah is underdeveloped.  I think Iíll do what you say and give her lines to make the Sarah sex talk less repetitive.  I tried to put in more visual jokes; the scene where Sarah straddles Ben on the gallows comes to mind.  Great suggestion with bringing in Sarah for the DP joke.

Quoted from Trojan
The character I had the biggest problem with was Drew. I don't think you really know what you want to do with him, and the result is he's very inconsistent. I see you mentioned that you tried to make him an a**hole in this draft, but I don't know that you succeeded if that's your intention here. It's like you have him the same as from the first draft in parts, then you try to imply he's an a**hole in other scenes. The thing is, you are way too subtle with this. The parts where we see him texting on the phone I assume are meant to imply he is texting/dating another girl. And the same where he kisses that girl on the nose. But you never come right out and show us he is cheating on Claire. If you want to make him an a**hole, then show us how he is an a**hole. Show him hitting on some other woman, actually kissing someone else, being a prick to people. But I still think he's way more of a nice guy than an a**hole.

As it is, Drew is a guy who is off trying to save the world. Not really unlikeable. But one minute you have him telling a story about the boy with one arm and how much of a humanitarian he is, yet 5 minutes later he is laughing and telling a story about a guy punching his girlfriend in the face. A complete 180, from nice guy to a**hole. Do you see what I mean about him being inconsistent?

I mightíve been too subtle trying to make Drew an asshole.  One thing I didnít want to do was to make him so much of an asshole that his relationship with Claire wouldnít be believable.  I went back and read the scene where Drew is talking about a guy punching his girlfriend in the face, and I see that I need to rewrite that part.  I was a little too forward there.  What I need to do with the one-arm-swimmer story is make it where Drew tells the story only to make himself look good.  Something like, ďSaheed made the team only after my inspiration.  In a way, I made the Olympic team.Ē

Quoted from Trojan
If it was me, I would have focused on the starfucking thing a bit more. I mean it is set up nicely early on with the chubby girl scene, where the subject of starfucking is introduced.

Great comments!  Iím not going to quote the two paragraphs for brevity, but I think Iím going to run with the star-fucking idea.  I already have some good ideas brewing.  Right now, this is basically a love story, and as you said, adding this will create much more internal and external conflict.  The star-fucking idea also gives a nice wrap-up ending.

Quoted from Trojan
And it would also provide a better hook for your logline. Something like this for example, 'A struggling actor, determined to sleep his way to the top, has to choose between love and his career when he falls for the daughter of the world's biggest movie producer.'

Definitely.  As you said, this adds more luster.  Maybe the title of ďCasting CouchĒ or something.

Again, thanks for the detailed read.  Your comments on the first draft helped a lot in forming a structure and getting me to this point.

Cheers,
JP







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vinny
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A new draft, great! stopping at page 3 right now, but i'll make sure to read it and get back to you...oh, on page 3:
"A GUY walks buy with FRIENDS."

i supose you meant by...cheers.
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Electric Dreamer
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John,

I started in on your latest draft today, made it to page 33.
This overall feels much tighter, but still retains your comic touch.
I'm glad the football skit is history.
The screenplay idea feels a bit rushed, but I may change my mind as I read on.

Some scene specific notes:


p. 1 Lose the "14 century" in your slug. Narrator gives us that in very next line.
p. 3 "walks buy" methinks it be a typo
p. 5 Chubby Friend needs a name, feels odd she doesn't.
p. 18 I'm surprised no one asks if Zeke is related to "that Spelling". =p
p. 33 ankle paintball holster made me chuckle =p

Will return to the script as time allows!

Regards,
E.D.


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outtosea
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I gave this one a read all the way through...

I want to say, overall, very good job. It's not "there" yet, but there's a lot to be proud of. If anything here seems harsh, it's honestly because I think you can turn this into something really great.

Small things to point out... There are still a few typos. I'm sorry, I didn't log them as I read. But you should look over and check things like making sure you use the right version of words like "their" or "there." I know there were a few mistakes on that that popped out to me as I read. Lots of missing commas.

I don't know if anyone else mentioned this, but Michael Scott is the name of the main character on The Office, which is a pretty popular show... most people I think might get distracted hearing that name.

I'm not sure I bought into the Claire/Zeke relationship. Besides them enjoying a few of the same movies, I wasn't quite sure why he fell so HARD for her to the point of tears at rejection. He clearly charmed her, but I think we have to see her show some sign of inner-conflict AWAY from Zeke. I don't remember anything like that, but I read this yesterday.

You have some really great jokes in here... some REALLY great jokes. You know, I read some of it and it just depressed me... like, why can't I* write like that??? That's a good thing! Some lines are extremely clever and witty. I loved the poem.

HOWEVER.... some are just not. The jokes that don't* work are so unworthy of the talent you show in the parts that do. The shake weight thing... Come on. DUDE. COME ON. EVERYONE who has ever seen that thing knows it looks like you're jerking off. There's absolutely nothing new there. And you use it MULTIPLE times. Them watching porn in the editing room. Yeah, funny at first, but after awhile... we get it. Maybe if the porn got stranger and stranger... up the stakes.

I'm not against dirty humor at all, it just has to be funny. Him accidentally getting semen instead of deer urine? You lost me on that one. What else? Again, I'm going from memory here... Oh, I don't believe any channel would ever really use a real dead body, donated or not, for use on a documentary like that to show how weapons are used. Clearly, you just put that in there because you thought you had a funny idea for him missing and messing it up. Even if it's a dummy.... it'll still be funny, and people won't be rolling their eyes.

Not too sure enough people have seen Hard Candy to get the joke. That's a pretty obscure reference.

Overall though, this is one of the better scripts i've seen. I admire everyone whose done one. I just finished the first draft of my first script, and as critical as I might seem, I guess that's what this is for... and mine's not on par with yours. That might make me a hypocrite, so take my critiques for what they're worth.

Good luck! I'll be first in line if this makes it to the big screen.
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jap313
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Vinny and E.D.,

Thanks for the comments guys.  It kinda sucks to have a typo on page 3.  E.D., ha thatís the first time I noticed that no one asked Zeke if he was related to any famous Spellings.  Good note.  Also, Chuckís holster had a real gun, not a paintball guy.  I can see how that read differently.

Thanks,
John
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jap313
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Quoted from outtosea
I want to say, overall, very good job. It's not "there" yet, but there's a lot to be proud of. If anything here seems harsh, it's honestly because I think you can turn this into something really great.

All constructive criticism is welcome.  I really appreciate hearing honest opinions about the script.  Iím with you as far as it not being ďthereĒ yet.  Like Trojan said earlier, I need a catchier title and a catchier plot.  I think Iím gonna change it to Zeke tries to sleep his way to the top but then falls in love with Claire.  Maybe change the title to ďCasting Couch.Ē  

Quoted from outtosea
Small things to point out... There are still a few typos. I'm sorry, I didn't log them as I read. But you should look over and check things like making sure you use the right version of words like "their" or "there." I know there were a few mistakes on that that popped out to me as I read. Lots of missing commas.

I have a problem catching words like ďthere/theirĒ and ďyouíre,your.Ē  Itís not that I donít know the difference between them; I just canít catch them when I read because they sound alike.  As for the commas, Iíll go back and look at that.  Iím usually a stickler about them.

Quoted from outtosea
Michael Scott is the name of the main character on The Office, which is a pretty popular show... most people I think might get distracted hearing that name.

Iím actually a huge fan of The Office, and thatís why I used the name.  I can change it, though.  No big deal.  

Quoted from outtosea
I'm not sure I bought into the Claire/Zeke relationship. Besides them enjoying a few of the same movies, I wasn't quite sure why he fell so HARD for her to the point of tears at rejection. He clearly charmed her, but I think we have to see her show some sign of inner-conflict AWAY from Zeke. I don't remember anything like that, but I read this yesterday.

I think youíre right about Claireís inner conflict.  I showed the conflict in the end, but I donít remember showing it before the rejection at the restaurant.

Quoted from outtosea
You have some really great jokes in here... some REALLY great jokes. You know, I read some of it and it just depressed me... like, why can't I* write like that??? That's a good thing! Some lines are extremely clever and witty. I loved the poem.

HOWEVER.... some are just not. The jokes that don't* work are so unworthy of the talent you show in the parts that do. The shake weight thing... Come on. DUDE. COME ON. EVERYONE who has ever seen that thing knows it looks like you're jerking off. There's absolutely nothing new there. And you use it MULTIPLE times. Them watching porn in the editing room. Yeah, funny at first, but after awhile... we get it. Maybe if the porn got stranger and stranger... up the stakes.

Thanks!  Comments like that keep me writing.  I agree the shake weight is over done.  I just like the awkwardness of the conversation between Chuck and Zeke.  I tried to use the porn thing to show Zekeís downward spiral because he ends up watching porn with those guys.  

Quoted from outtosea
I'm not against dirty humor at all, it just has to be funny. Him accidentally getting semen instead of deer urine? You lost me on that one.

I was trying to push it with that joke.  I already had Ben sprayed in the face with deer urine, and I was trying to push it further.  

Thanks for the feedback.  Being critical is a good thing, and a good critique helps me put my jokes in perspective.  Sometimes I think something Iíve written is genius, but then when I go back, it just seems stupid.  However, every now and then I look back and think ďthatís not bad.Ē

Cheers,
JP

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Electric Dreamer
Posted: January 21st, 2011, 2:13pm Report to Moderator
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JP,

Got through pages 34 - 68 today.
All in all, I didn't feel much forward thrust in the mid section.
The whole star f*ckers aspect seems to have dried up.
The deer scene is a little better, perhaps more wildlife humor with Chuck.
The whole rut/vagina thing could be expanded upon for awkward humor.
Michael Scott comes off as kinda lunk headed, not a suave Hollywood type.
I'm just not feeling much chemistry from Claire and Zeke anymore.
The willing star screwing would be comedian isn't arcing much so far.
I think Zeke starts out looking for contacts and then connects with Claire. Something.
We'll see how the final third shapes up.  

Here are some page specific notes:

p. 36 preggers vid laugh felt forced.
p. 40 writing in the studio, don't feel it adds to story or plot, just lays there
p. 53 The deer in the shower joke bombed with me.
p. 56 the random replacement semen spray didn't click with me
p. 62 not feeling the whole deer scene, more Chuck might help there.
p. 64 Sarah off screen break up feels odd. Is she a star f*cking example?
p. 66 Claire should be the one to notice the birthday, all her idea. More poignant.

Thanks for posting, rewriting is good for the soul!

Regards,
E.D.


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jap313
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Quoted from E.D.
All in all, I didn't feel much forward thrust in the mid section.
The whole star f*ckers aspect seems to have dried up.

In this draft, I basically took out the star-screwing theme.  Now, Zeke falls in love with Claire and forgets about getting ahead.  Zeke even turns down the break Michael gives him.  Reading back, I think the story does lose a little thrust.  Iím probably going back to the original theme but tighten up a bit.

Quoted from E.D.
The whole rut/vagina thing could be expanded upon for awkward humor.

Ha, that sounds really weird out of context.

Quoted from E.D.
I'm just not feeling much chemistry from Claire and Zeke anymore.
The willing star screwing would be comedian isn't arcing much so far.

InterestingÖdo you think the problem is that there arenít many extended scenes between Claire and Zeke?  Also, I tried to do away with the whole comedian arc, but as addressed earlier, I got rid of the star-screwing theme, maybe to a fault.

Quoted from E.D.
p. 36 preggers vid laugh felt forced.
p. 40 writing in the studio, don't feel it adds to story or plot, just lays there
p. 53 The deer in the shower joke bombed with me.
p. 56 the random replacement semen spray didn't click with me
p. 62 not feeling the whole deer scene, more Chuck might help there.
p. 64 Sarah off screen break up feels odd. Is she a star f*cking example?
p. 66 Claire should be the one to notice the birthday, all her idea. More poignant.

P.36 Ė The joke wasnít meant to be a belly roll.  It was meant to be cute, like a cute, playful moment.
p.53 Ė This joke too wasnít meant to be a belly roll.  It would actually be out of character for Michael to say something very funny (Yeah, his character probably needs work).  The joke was really a set-up for Drew to take it too far.
p.56 Ė huh?  This is the second comment about that.  I really thought pushing that joke paid off.
p.62 Ė The deer scene is a kinda weird scene to write because theyíre dressing deer.  Itís hard to write a scene with a dream girl skinning a deer.  Iím thinking about changing that scene up, but somehow I want to keep the deer vagina joke because I think itís a perfect awkward comment for Chuck.
p.64- Yeah, she is star fucking.  I need to think of a cool way for the two to break up on screen.  However, right now, sheís a phantom.  She only has a couple of lines.
p.66- Thatís a good idea.  Iíll have to inject a reason for her to know itís his birthday.

Again, thanks for the review.  With all this help, this script will be golden in no time.

JP
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: January 22nd, 2011, 12:45am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from jap313

InterestingÖdo you think the problem is that there arenít many extended scenes between Claire and Zeke?  Also, I tried to do away with the whole comedian arc, but as addressed earlier, I got rid of the star-screwing theme, maybe to a fault.


JP,

Yeah, this aspect was one of the character arcs I liked before.
That Zeke decides he needs to starf*ck to make it in the business.
And then he winds up falling for his intended target.
It sets up a classic dilemma for Zeke.
I haven't finished the script yet, perhaps there's an arc I've yet to read.

Regards,
E.D.


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Electric Dreamer
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JP,

I finished the new draft tonight, pages 70 -101.
Overall, it feels more plot driven than character oriented.
I don't have much to say because I felt most of the scenes could go only one way.
I never felt Zeke make any decisions to change how things go.
This comes back to the note I gave before about the concept of dilemma.
I don't feel any conflict in the third act that Zeke must make a choice.
He never has to chose between a career or relationships.
Circumstances seem to dictate which way he will go.
When free will is off the table, it tends to make for a stiff read.
But this is a new draft and rewriting is always good.
There's some new material I've commented on previously that I like.
I think Drew is less annoying in this draft, he's going in the right direction.
I think the big question now is, "What is Zeke's dilemma?"

Thanks for posting! Keep writing and rewriting!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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jap313
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E.D.,

I'm certain i'm going to change up the plot.  I think this draft focused the story more, but what i'm getting from you and others, i think i focused it on the wrong thing.  I have some ideas about where I'm going to take it.

As always, thanks for the feedback

JP
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