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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  Zombie Playground Moderators: bert
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  Author    Zombie Playground  (currently 24013 views)
RayW
Posted: July 20th, 2011, 5:37pm Report to Moderator
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p20
INT. MINIVAN - DAY

Three minutes ago the previous scene with this group had Garth announcing to everyone, especially 11yo Hanna and 6yo Mason, that their mom was quite f#ckable. This continuation of that "discussion" is missing some likely vehement objection of Scott's.

Leahanni, slathered in heavy make up, sniffs an open can of
Bite and gulps down the contents.

Oh, yeah. Nickelodeon-ville.

STEPHANIE
Alright, Iíll tell you. Milf means,
mothers in love with farts.

Farts is cool.
But the MILF stuff has gotta go.
Ain't no way that's gonna float.

Okay, I'm finishing up p20 and this has been a long slow haul.
Across the first twenty minutes, if this is PG for kids you gotta hit em with a helluva lot more than some spazzy janitor, some purple goo and commonplace family dynamics.
ALIENS IN THE ATTIC is what this mostly reminded me of: http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2009/ANATC.php
Of the single genres Adventure comes to mind.
2011: http://www.the-numbers.com/market/2011/Adventure.php
2010: http://www.the-numbers.com/market/2010/Adventure.php
2009: http://www.the-numbers.com/market/2009/Adventure.php
My God. look at some of that competition. That animated sh!t is a category killer.

Cross reference those against PG movies.
2011: http://www.the-numbers.com/market/2011/Rated-PG.php
2010: http://www.the-numbers.com/market/2010/Rated-PG.php
2009: http://www.the-numbers.com/market/2009/Rated-PG.php

This slow build stuff with a few teasers is barely tolerable for adults.
Kids won't clamor for it any better.

p21
          GIL
Itís like watching rush hour on the
addiction turnpike.

That is a nice line.

p22
Glen gives Leahanni mouth to mouth.

Kidz're gonna love that!

Leahanni sits up. Skin and fingernails now purplish, she
moans and shambles, like the goop christened Pygmies.

There were no goop christened Pygmies in the intro sequence.
Goopy purple painted Pygmies for sure, but no shambling.

In fact, they were even dancing after gooping and gorging.

p1
The gloppy natives gorge themselves on the glistening meat,
like a ravenous wolf pack, tearing into the cooked flesh.

The Pygmies dance to tribal drums and exclaim, ďBig Fig!


p23
A sign on the high chain link fence says: ďClosed for Private
Party. Welcome Special Fig Kids to Predator/Prey Day.Ē
Finally! A name for the elusive "special event": PREDATOR/PREY DAY!

Great! I love it.
Now go C&P that all over all the previous "special event"s.

- Zombie Sully holds a pan with oven mitts in a break room
- FigCorp space satellite aligns itself over California

Got sidetracked about here. Went investigating other Nickelodeon movies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickelodeon_Movies

p25
COACH D (40s), NFL linebacker build, bites into an
overstuffed sandwich.

Nice juxtaposition with prior line of dialog.

p26
          COACH D
The red stickers on the back of
your species tag are used for a
kill. Simply place the sticker on
your cowering pathetic victim.

Oh, yeah. this has completely taken a turn into MATILDA fun and silly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_(film)
A world apart different than the first twenty mins.

p27/28
          SCOTT
You were kissing up to Radish.
          RADISH
Really?
          HANNA
No, I wasnít.

I musta missed this from a prior conversation. Whuuut?

p28
          COACH D
Super bodacious bacon FigBurgers
and PotatoTastic FigFries.

These are great fake product names.

p31
          COACH D
I want you to teach those geeks and
future CEOs my big brother loves so
much a lesson theyíll never forget
with their own insipid products.  

Nice turn of events and fate. Real nice.

p33
          GIL
I wanted to ask this morning, but--
Gil kneels in front of Joan.
          GIL
Joan, will you marry me?
          JOAN
Yes, I will marry you.

Awwww! So cuuute!

p34
Joan pulls and kicks the locked door. The portable
defibrillator on the wall catches her eye.

Hooray! Nice save!

p38/39
EXT. KIDPLEX - HAMSTER CAGE - DAY

This scene begins to hash out some family mess, but doesn't build up to any suspenseful event. It just quits by a dumb mistake as we were about to get to something.

p39
EXT. KIDPLEX - FORTRESS - DAY

Sounds like a $500k set.

p45
The zombie guard tries to stuff his face as he convulses, a
slice in hand flops just out of reach of his gaping maw.

That's going to be funny to watch.

Amazing.
Either I just totally zoned out one the action started or all of a sudden so many wiener errors went away.

Story all gelled together by the end.

Yeah, that first twenty is killing this.

I know you can clean up all the little stuff between now and your week end InkTip, but that front end needs some POWER RANGERS and  work.

Fundamentally this is a good story with good characters that with proper casting should keep clear who's who.
Brady bunch 'em: Hortons are brunettes and Brewsters are blond. Done.



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Breanne Mattson
Posted: July 20th, 2011, 11:04pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Brett,

Nice to read something from you.

I think thereís a lot of good writing here. Itís got a good tone for a kidís flick. Lots of kid friendly action. Following are just some thoughts I had while reading.

First, the zombies:

I have to admit I went into this with a sense of dread. The word zombie generally causes me to groan. I like a few zombie pictures but generally I think theyíre done to death. The writers are usually delusional and their ideas are usually nowhere near as fresh as they think. If I didnít know you, thereís no way I would have opened up this script.

But I do. And I did.

I understand youíre basically trying to market zombies to kids. And to do that, youíve created zombies that donít eat flesh. They snack a lot instead and turn others through spewing goop. That makes sense. Flesh eating is too much and children notoriously love goop.

It does raise the question of whether or not these zombies are technically zombies. I donít personally think thatís a big deal but zombie enthusiasts are particular about this sort of thing. Theyíll probably reject this as being a zombie flick.

That said, your target audience almost certainly wonít mind. Children will probably like this conceptually.

Technical stuff:

Itís good that you use synonyms but sometimes it feels wordy. Itís dynamic, which is good on one hand. Most scripts are too bland and need to be punched up. In your case, at times there are so many words it ends up feeling jumbled. Itís like you got a thesaurus rush and couldnít resist showing off how many different words you could use.

That said, itís nice to read something generally well written that clearly shows the author put some work into it.

Itís very choppy initially but smoothes out once we get to the second act. Thatís very common. What I find useful is to look at the flow through the second and third acts as a sort of meter for the way the script should flow in the first act. The bottom line is that the pace should be consistent throughout.

I see ways you could introduce characters more concisely early on. For example, instead of having a girl run by the doorway chased by a boy, why not start with introducing those characters as Hanna and Mason, then transition to Gil and Joan as the kids run by the door? As it is, thereís this sort of confusing back and forth.

Notes as I read:

I didnít know until page 8 that Gorzon was a real dragon. I thought he was a puppet ha ha.

P18,19 - MOS means we see their lips moving but thereís no sound. Not sure if thatís what you really wanted. Given the way you use it, you could just as easily cut it. Same with pages 30 and 85. I really think this is a device youíll eventually stop using except for special circumstances.

P22 - Joan says oh no, should be Glen.

P25 - you have dialogue attributed to Coach D twice in a row.

I like the proposal scene. Had a Rocky Horror feel. I do have to say that the relationship between Gil and Joan did baffle me a little. They just moved in together, unmarried, and before theyíve even settled, Gil is planning to ask Joan to marry him. That whole setup just felt odd to me.

In the scene where zombies first attack Scott and Hanna, theyíre still having a relaxed exchange as the zombies approach. I think you should either build tension a little there before the attack or not show the zombies approaching and make it a surprise attack.

P49 - I didnít understand exactly what happened between Scott and Hanna when they descend.

P51 - Macon lands - I presume Macon is either a typo or the characterís previous name.

Coach D calling the zombies off when all seemed hopeless felt like a convenient plot device. It made for a bit of a disappointing midpoint. It worked out, I think. Infiltrating the zombies kept it interesting. I think you should be careful about letting characters out of situations too easily in the future, though.

P64 - Mason head shakes - maybe thrashes would be a better word?

P74 - Peg chases on foot, then on p75 her kart crashes into a haystack. Not sure if I missed something.

Iím not sure the Abraham joke works given that Abraham is only briefly introduced in the beginning and never seen again until the end. Plus, Sully kicked out the shelf blocking the door earlier, which raises the question of why Abraham has been stuck in the cage the whole movie.

And this brings me to the jokes. Some of the jokes feel a little too obviously set up. I didnít really find the script all that funny. However, I realize that a great deal of the humor will be found in set pieces. Itís also got adventure, which really lends a lot to these types of pictures.

I also think you did a really good job of keeping characters involved and busy. At least as far as the good guys. I do think the villains were a little lacking. We didnít really even meet any villains until shortly before they became zombies. Once theyíre zombies, itís really too late. Theyíre essentially mindless and no longer relatable.

I applaud you for focusing on the family coming together. I like that you stuck with it and brought them together a little at a time in the middle of everything. It never held up the action for me. Nice job there.

I think it could be made into a winner. I donít think itís quite there yet but I think it could get there.

Overall, I think you did a really nice job with it. I think it needs some revisions and some polishing. There are a few typos and grammar errors but theyíre clearly errors and not a matter of the writer not caring. You have clear skill and talent. I just think the script needs a little more work.

Good job and good luck with it.


Breanne



Revision History (1 edits)
Breanne Mattson  -  July 21st, 2011, 12:05am
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 26th, 2011, 1:24pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Breanne Mattson
Hi Brett,

Nice to read something from you.

I think thereís a lot of good writing here. Itís got a good tone for a kidís flick. Lots of kid friendly action. Following are just some thoughts I had while reading.

First, the zombies:

I have to admit I went into this with a sense of dread. The word zombie generally causes me to groan. I like a few zombie pictures but generally I think theyíre done to death. The writers are usually delusional and their ideas are usually nowhere near as fresh as they think. If I didnít know you, thereís no way I would have opened up this script.

But I do. And I did.

I understand youíre basically trying to market zombies to kids. And to do that, youíve created zombies that donít eat flesh. They snack a lot instead and turn others through spewing goop. That makes sense. Flesh eating is too much and children notoriously love goop.

Hey Breanne,

Thanks so much for taking a look at ZP.
I thoroughly enjoy going through your pages.
Even better to hear from someone that doesn't care much for zombies.
I love to hear from non-zombie fans, that's where crossover appeal comes in.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

It does raise the question of whether or not these zombies are technically zombies. I donít personally think thatís a big deal but zombie enthusiasts are particular about this sort of thing. Theyíll probably reject this as being a zombie flick.

That said, your target audience almost certainly wonít mind. Children will probably like this conceptually.

That question has come up with executives, for sure.
They pretty much echo your sentiment, verbatim.
Folks recognize the departure of zombie mythology, for sure.
But execs agree that it does retain the "spirit" of zombie splatter fun.
It's a trade off, to get that PG rating.
Producers I pitch see it as a good trade, for one reason more than others...
No one's ever made a "zombie family movie".
Say those three words when you sit down with an exec, and they want to hear more.
Why? because they've never heard of it before, and that's rare for them.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

Technical stuff:

Itís good that you use synonyms but sometimes it feels wordy. Itís dynamic, which is good on one hand. Most scripts are too bland and need to be punched up. In your case, at times there are so many words it ends up feeling jumbled. Itís like you got a thesaurus rush and couldnít resist showing off how many different words you could use.

That said, itís nice to read something generally well written that clearly shows the author put some work into it.

Itís very choppy initially but smoothes out once we get to the second act. Thatís very common. What I find useful is to look at the flow through the second and third acts as a sort of meter for the way the script should flow in the first act. The bottom line is that the pace should be consistent throughout.

I see ways you could introduce characters more concisely early on. For example, instead of having a girl run by the doorway chased by a boy, why not start with introducing those characters as Hanna and Mason, then transition to Gil and Joan as the kids run by the door? As it is, thereís this sort of confusing back and forth.

In recent drafts, it's the first 20+ pages I tune on the most.
And yeah, I need more precision adjustments, for sure. Good suggestions.
I didn't make it easy on myself, with an ensemble adventure & many characters.
But, that's the only way I saw this story working, was with a large group of kids.
It's a work in progress and your candor is appreciated.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

Notes as I read:

I didnít know until page 8 that Gorzon was a real dragon. I thought he was a puppet ha ha.

P18,19 - MOS means we see their lips moving but thereís no sound. Not sure if thatís what you really wanted. Given the way you use it, you could just as easily cut it. Same with pages 30 and 85. I really think this is a device youíll eventually stop using except for special circumstances.

P22 - Joan says oh no, should be Glen.

P25 - you have dialogue attributed to Coach D twice in a row.

Mistakes fixed. Thanks. Notes like that are GOLD.
Put in a few more descriptives for our intrepid lizard too.
MOS is something I picked up somewhere.
And like most new toys, I tend to use them too much.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

I like the proposal scene. Had a Rocky Horror feel. I do have to say that the relationship between Gil and Joan did baffle me a little. They just moved in together, unmarried, and before theyíve even settled, Gil is planning to ask Joan to marry him. That whole setup just felt odd to me.

If you stop and think about it, as an adult, it doesn't make complete sense.
It's that fine line of adults acting kid-like enough so tykes don't get sleepy.
But there's also the "heat of the moment" impending death vibe too.
Who wouldn't want to propose if you thought you might not live to see tomorrow?
A grim prospect, but I tried to handle it in a comedic manner.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

In the scene where zombies first attack Scott and Hanna, theyíre still having a relaxed exchange as the zombies approach. I think you should either build tension a little there before the attack or not show the zombies approaching and make it a surprise attack.

Good thought! I went with building some tension.
By bringing the zombies in half a page sooner, it creates a nice seque.
It tells the audience we're about to move from reconciliation to action. Good call!

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

P49 - I didnít understand exactly what happened between Scott and Hanna when they descend.

P51 - Macon lands - I presume Macon is either a typo or the characterís previous name.

p. 49 The kids climb down the rope tee-pee. I'll take a look at that. Thanks.

p. 51 Oops! Mason used to be a "Macon". Fixed.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

Coach D calling the zombies off when all seemed hopeless felt like a convenient plot device. It made for a bit of a disappointing midpoint. It worked out, I think. Infiltrating the zombies kept it interesting. I think you should be careful about letting characters out of situations too easily in the future, though.

I hear you, but I hoped setting up the junk food obsession would help.
My thinking was a decent set up would take the sting out of that.
I set up lunch and the fast foods obsession and even the bugle call for food.
I realize I may need to tweak on that so the audience doesn't feel cheated.
But it does beg a question which leads to the next leg of the adventure.
So, I'm hoping that "bread crumb trail" makes it work.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

P64 - Mason head shakes - maybe thrashes would be a better word?

P74 - Peg chases on foot, then on p75 her kart crashes into a haystack. Not sure if I missed something.

Done. Fixed. All good points.
I even added a beat about the Gymnasties finding matching green go-karts.
Since their track suits and braces already match, why not?
Hyper reality humor like that seems to suit the scene. Much thanks for the thought!
Give them zombies a manical grin and off they go on the go-kart chase!

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

Iím not sure the Abraham joke works given that Abraham is only briefly introduced in the beginning and never seen again until the end. Plus, Sully kicked out the shelf blocking the door earlier, which raises the question of why Abraham has been stuck in the cage the whole movie.

I meditated on that and re-worked his intro and killed the end joke.
I didn't miss it when I re-read the pages, so it's gone for now.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

And this brings me to the jokes. Some of the jokes feel a little too obviously set up. I didnít really find the script all that funny. However, I realize that a great deal of the humor will be found in set pieces. Itís also got adventure, which really lends a lot to these types of pictures.

I hear you and apreciate your candor.
I focused on more situational humor and action beats than yuck yuck set-ups.
And I feel that's where the focus should with an absurdist comedy adventure.
However, that's no excuse for having flat dynamics.
I kinda look at ZP as "Die Hard at 1/4 scale".
Producers like to hear that, sure, it means a strong sense of adventure.
But instead of car chases, we have go-karts, etc.
Capturing the spirit of adventure doesn't have to cost $200 million.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

I also think you did a really good job of keeping characters involved and busy. At least as far as the good guys. I do think the villains were a little lacking. We didnít really even meet any villains until shortly before they became zombies. Once theyíre zombies, itís really too late. Theyíre essentially mindless and no longer relatable.

I keep hammering away at the antag characters.
Every new draft it seems I spend more time with them than anyone else.
At the very least, I want Coach D's arc to pay off with her brother at the end.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

I applaud you for focusing on the family coming together. I like that you stuck with it and brought them together a little at a time in the middle of everything. It never held up the action for me. Nice job there.

This one point has been the only sticky area for producers I've met so far.
They want a strict kids movie more than a family piece.
They see risk where you see reward, etc.
It's an issue I'll have to promote very heavily to try and keep it in there.
To me, it's vital that ZP retain that strong family message of cooperation.
Honestly, it's one of the biggest reasons why I wrote the script.
Never had it when I was a wee lad, so I like to wrote about ones that do get it.

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

I think it could be made into a winner. I donít think itís quite there yet but I think it could get there.

Overall, I think you did a really nice job with it. I think it needs some revisions and some polishing. There are a few typos and grammar errors but theyíre clearly errors and not a matter of the writer not caring. You have clear skill and talent. I just think the script needs a little more work.

Good job and good luck with it.


Breanne


Thanks a ton, Breanne. Always thoughtful and circumspect.
I've already addressed most of your thoughts in a new draft.
It should be up here some time next week.
You're a fabulous resource and I'm humbld by your efforts.

Anyime I can return the gesture, count on it.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Breanne Mattson
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Quoted from Electric Dreamer
I meditated on that and re-worked his intro and killed the end joke.
I didn't miss it when I re-read the pages, so it's gone for now.


I think the end joke could work. I just think there needs to be some explanation as to why Abraham is in the cage the whole movie when he really didnít have to be. Or he should get stuck again.

For example, when Sully gets turned, maybe he knocks the shelf (or something else) over so it blocks the door and Abraham gets stuck again. Then, at the end of the movie, we cut to him and heís back to Abraham in the middle of trying to get the shelf or whatever out to free himself. As soon as he gets ready to leave the cage, he accidentally does something to get himself stuck again.

Otherwise, if heís freed when Sully is turned, he should join the other zombies. As it was, I just think people would wonder why he was in the cage if Sully freed him.


Quoted from Electric Dreamer
This one point has been the only sticky area for producers I've met so far.
They want a strict kids movie more than a family piece.
They see risk where you see reward, etc.
It's an issue I'll have to promote very heavily to try and keep it in there.
To me, it's vital that ZP retain that strong family message of cooperation.
Honestly, it's one of the biggest reasons why I wrote the script.


You mean there are people in Hollywood who would *gasp* cut the heart out of a story? No! I donít believe it! Not Hollywood.

Just kidding. I know people in Hollywood are just people. Some really care about making great movies and some only care about money.

That said, a compromise might be to shift some focus off the parents and move it to the kids. You could minimize their roles a little and give the kids some more face time.

Another thing you might consider is turning one of the good guys into a zombie. That could open the door for some very powerful emotions. It would raise the stakes for our heroes. Thatís just an idea, though. Something to consider.

Best of luck with it.


Breanne


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 27th, 2011, 11:40am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Breanne Mattson

You mean there are people in Hollywood who would *gasp* cut the heart out of a story? No! I donít believe it! Not Hollywood.

Just kidding. I know people in Hollywood are just people. Some really care about making great movies and some only care about money.

That said, a compromise might be to shift some focus off the parents and move it to the kids. You could minimize their roles a little and give the kids some more face time.

Another thing you might consider is turning one of the good guys into a zombie. That could open the door for some very powerful emotions. It would raise the stakes for our heroes. Thatís just an idea, though. Something to consider.

Best of luck with it.


Breanne


Hey Breanne,

All A+ ideas I have considered, even generated notes to that effect.
At this time, I feel those changes could come with interest.
I'm leery of getting too bogged down with incessant tweaking on this script.
I don't feel these kind of changes are the difference makers for a producer.

However, if a producer genuinely wants to put ink to contract, it's all a go.
I have a "bank" of revisions I keep in storage for such a situation.
I want to have fresh ideas at the ready should I get traction with ZP.
That demonstrates I can take this script to new places to a producer.
Which may very well get me the job on rewrites!

I'm trying to stay away from ZP and focus on a new feature.
I need to learn to not obsessively tweak and tune every time I send out the script.
Thanks again for your insightful...insights.

Regards,
E.D.





LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Hugh Hoyland
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Electric Dreamer Hi!

Sorry its taking so long to get through this. I really dont know if I could add anything of note that you would not have already found suggested or needed. Most people here have added a LOT of good advice.  

I must admit that that this story has a strong Spielberg vibe to me, expecially the family and even the theme. In fact the children remind of of the two kids in JP (cant help it, they just do lol).

Overall your structure is pretty much spot on IMO.  

Anyway I will finish the entire script asap and if I have anything I think you can actually use to improve it I will give it for sure. But be proud of what you have here so far, but remember, once you think its reached its peak....push it some more! lol (Joking, we tend to obsesse dont we).

Harley


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Hugh Hoyland
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And forgive the above typos...I try to limit them to my screenplays only and not actually discussion boards. :]


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 28th, 2011, 12:37pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Hugh Hoyland
Electric Dreamer Hi!

Sorry its taking so long to get through this. I really dont know if I could add anything of note that you would not have already found suggested or needed. Most people here have added a LOT of good advice.  

I must admit that that this story has a strong Spielberg vibe to me, expecially the family and even the theme. In fact the children remind of of the two kids in JP (cant help it, they just do lol).

Overall your structure is pretty much spot on IMO.  

Anyway I will finish the entire script asap and if I have anything I think you can actually use to improve it I will give it for sure. But be proud of what you have here so far, but remember, once you think its reached its peak....push it some more! lol (Joking, we tend to obsesse dont we).

Harley


Hey Harley,

Thanks for the read so far and your thoughts.
I hope the Spielberg and Jurassic Park references are a good thing.
Please try not to feel like you can't add to the great thoughts posted here.
I'm always interested in contributing member opinions.
Even if they may echo previous comments, it's good to hear that.
To me, that's a red flag that there's a big issue that needs work.  

And to that end, we're always fine tuning on our scripts that we love.
As a matter of face, a new draft of ZP is hitting the boards very soon.
It's mostly some tweaks in the first forty pages.
I try to tune on it a bit after I pitch a bunch of industry folks.
Then, I send out that to producers, you never know.
A small action beat in a slow spot could make the difference to a reader!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 29th, 2011, 11:54am Report to Moderator
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Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

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Quoted from RayW
Alrightty! Here we go... !
p1
SUPER: Somewhere in the Congo
Depending upon the humor vs political correctness the tone (I told ya!) you want to achieve here, the proper national name is Democratic Republic of the Congo or if it's just rain forest specific the Somewhere in the Congo Basin or Somewhere in equatorial Congo.
ygmy_languages_" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fileygmy_languages_(Bahuchet).png

Okay, first page opinion:
This looks like a standard semi-documentary narrative with nothing really pulling my pants down. I know the (unremarkably common) filthy, organic setting the zombie agent is likely originating from. I am introduced to two likely character players with only an inkling as to their personas and almost no archetype establishment other than generic "field scientists", anthropologists, botanists, linguists I dunno? And FigCorp is introed. I don't know if the screenplay's tone is ARACHNOPHOBIA, INDIANA JONES or PREDATOR.

Nice match cut on pg 2.

BITE ENERGY BOOST CAN IMAGE

Hot d@mn! Got a tone! Love your can graphics & text.

Hey Ray,

Thanks for taking a look at this draft.
Always good to have a pair of eagle eyes like yours on a script.
The opener is as much back story as a grabber, for sure.
I'm a fan of how it goes from feel good documentary to native kids and video games.
Granted, it takes a page, but segueing that into the match cut works for me.
It may need to be trimmed, even more so if this were to ever be produced.
I think kids may get a kick out of the Pygmy kids running around with the goop.
Then the satire comes in pretty fast with the can graphics, etc.

Quoted from RayW

p3
ďFIGCORP TO TEST NEW REVOLUTIONARY ENERGY DRINK NEXT WEEK"
Change to ďFIGCORP TESTS NEW REVOLUTIONARY ENERGY DRINK NEXT WEEK".
Additionally, New + Revolutionary are kinda redundant, so depending upon how you want that to go it can be left alone to give this a slight goofy sense or cut the New: ďFIGCORP TESTS REVOLUTIONARY ENERGY DRINK NEXT WEEK" or "FIGCORP MARKET TESTS REVOLUTIONARY ENERGY DRINK NEXT WEEK".

Yeah, I could see those changes working, but I was trying to be a bit goofy.

Quoted from RayW


A picture of Bite can art in an open three ring binder.
<-- I'm not real sure what I'm looking at. Why is there a picture of Bite in a kid's 3ring binder?

I can see why calling it a three ring binder may give a kid vibe.
But that shot is in the parents bedroom.
Perhaps it can be something other than a binder, if that helps.

Quoted from RayW

The breeze from a nearby open window flutters the page. The
ceiling creaks and thumps, as if someone is on the roof.

EXT. HORTON/BREWSTER HOUSE - ROOF - CONTINUOUS
SCOTT HORTON (12), shaggy bangs and pale complexion, sleeps
on the roof under a flannel blanket as the morning sun rises.

Okay, now these two back-to-back descriptions don't geehaw unless when we goto the roof Scott is restlessly turning over (to cause the aforementioned creaks and thumps) not just laying there peacefully asleep.

Yup, I was suggesting that he was restless. We hear sounds.
The camera leaves the bedroom and cranes up to the roof, etc.
I suppose I could support it with a note about Scott tossing and turning.

Quoted from RayW

p4

Gil flips open the box behind his back with his thumb. A
diamond engagement ring sparkles...
Joan sits up, Gil conceals the ring...
Gil puts the ring back in his coat.

Aww, how sad. I am interested in knowing his reconsideration.
That aside, he pulled the ring out of the box behind his back, so he cannot very well put it BACK in his coat.
Gil puts the ring in his bedside coat pocket.

Ah, I see what I did there, gotcha, I can fix that. Thanks.

Quoted from RayW

p5
... holds a bearded dragon,...

As in a real live f#ckin lizard? Good lord.

Joan drops to her knees in front of Mason.

Kinda overly dramatic.
Joan takes a knee in front of Mason.

          MASON
Lord Gorzon accepts your yummy
offering, earth woman. The veggie
alien will be spared, this time.


Yup, Lord Gorzon is LIVE bearded dragon!
http://www.maguirefarm.com/l/lizard.htm
And I already changed the thing about the knee, thanks!

Quoted from RayW

Change to vegetable alien and add ellipsis before... this time.

          HANNA
Vegetarian
  --> Vegan.  She's old enough to know the proper term, esp w/ her Dr Mom.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegan

Hanna's a vegetarian, not a vegan. There's a diffy.
Vegan seems, too crabby for a kid for me.
Also she's correcting Mason's words, "veggie alien".

Quoted from RayW

p6
          GIL
The kitchenís downstairs.
  --> consider "You going to make me squeal, again?"

LoL, maybe if this was a PG-13 movie that funny line could work.

Quoted from RayW


Bacon sizzles in a pan as Hanna and Stephanie use their
ďFigCorpĒ laptops and smartphones.
... blah - blah - blah...
Joan turns to Stephanie, spatula in hand

Okay, this is one of those "stupid" things I typically roll my eyes at when SS-ers nail me for it.
Could I shoot this simple scene with actors and a camera? Sure.
Mom's at the stove top frying bacon, H & S are at the table computin' and gaming away. Cool. Fine. Great. Bagged and tagged.
However, it does read like H & S are using their laptops and smartphones to tend the sizzling bacon in a pan in the kitchen.
Thennnnn we reeeeead (not see) that it's mom tending the bacon in the pan, spatula at hand.
Yeah. It's stupid. And I hate the f#ckers that can't non-sequentially compose a multi-character set.
"Nooooo! Everything must be described linearly".
OMG. Jerk-offs.
Whatever.

I see what you're saying, but I'm kinda whatever on that too.
I will look at it though, next time I take a whack at the script.

Quoted from RayW

pp6 - 8 I like the breakfast banter. This was constructed well, especially when mom says to ditch the computers just before dad come in with a reason to bring them. Classic family dynamics without being cliche. Good work.
I'm getting a definite ALIENS IN THE ATTIC, JUMANJI/ZATHURA feel to this.

          RADISH (V.O.)
Can I have a bag, Doctor Horton?
Gil looks at Hannaís laptop.

Another nice credential expo!

I'm glad you feel I efficiently got through these intros.
I know it's a lot, but I try to make it fast and painless.
I'm still getting dinged for it by some producers I've heard back from.
Sometimes I feel like I'm getting penalized for bothering to give my characters life.

Quoted from RayW

p9
          MASON
But, mom.

Should either be a trailing though ellipsis or double-dashed interruption.

          GIL
No mall and no texting. We have the
Direct Connect Fig Family package

Does not reconcile with the pg 8 laptop bag to bring laptop to KidPlex.
I don't have a readily available solution, only a point-and-grunt.

Not sure what you're talking about here.

Quoted from RayW


NATALIE (17), girl next door, puts away her FigPhone and
blushes as GARTH (17), gangly with athletic physique, nuzzles
her neck. Garth holds a packet of FigCorp Corn Nuts.

Okay, the extensive Fig this and that are becoming ridiculous.
Perhaps in communities built around a major employer actually are inundated with such comical levels of company premiums, but this is getting silly. Like Troma-ville silly.
And there really hasn't been any semblance of an explanation for the rather goofy name of "Fig".

It's silly, but also true, I have a friend I stayed with in Celebration. FL.
That is a Disney community, literally, set up for employees.
Mickey Mouse door knockers, mail boxes, the whole nine yards.
So, that's what I was after when I wrote those bits.

Quoted from RayW

p10
          NATALIE
Thatís right. So, our first time
alone together has to be our
special secret, OK?

Okay, that was more of a PG-13 moment. "Our first time alone"? At seventeen years old? What, are they going to play Scrabble or something? C'mon, man.

She's got a conservative church goer for a Dad. You, c'mon. Man.

Quoted from RayW

p11

Scott plays the same FigCorp console used by the Pygmy kids

Now, how are you going to demonstrate it it's the very same console used by the Pygmy kids?
Some thumbprint? Nah, that could be wiped off over transport time.
Does the purple Pygmy paint stain? If so, then establish such in opening sequence.
A scratch, a burn, something.

Oops, that's poorly worded.
It's supposed to be the same MODEL of console. My bad.

Quoted from RayW

p12
KIMIKO TAKESHIRO (12), long hair in a tight bun

Is that some kind of oxymoron I'm just being obtuse to?
If it's in a bun, then how do I know...
Is it like... just a very BIG bun?

Yup, a big Leia bun on her noggin.
Something a gymnast would have to have with long hair to practice, etc.

Quoted from RayW

p13
          GIL
Look, I know itís the first week in
a new house, but itís still the
same neighborhood. School starts
soon, and Oz and Kim will be at the
KidPlex for the special event.

"Special event" sounds to vague to even be interestingly cryptic.
Name it. Grand opening. FigFest. Something.

Sure, I can do that next draft.

Quoted from RayW

p14
          SCOTT
I donít want a new mother. Gil. I
already have one.

Gil? Twelve year old kid calls his dad by his first name?
How about "dad".

INT. HORTON/BREWSTER HOUSE - HALLWAY BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS
Scott sits in the empty bath tub and sobs.

Okay. I can't wait to see what sort of heavy sh!t this is going to pan out to be.

Scott calls his dad "Gil" as a point of sarcasm.
The previous line was "One day, she could be your mother, Scott."
So, the boy is mimicking his father's tone. I could improve that, perhaps.

Quoted from RayW

p16  I'm not so sure about this scientist/FIg employer relationship. Of course companies employ their own internal scientists to conduct research, but it's supposed to be fairly objective which is kinda hard to do when the CEO is bugging you amid an ocean of self promotion.
Not that kids would generally have an objection to this leap from reality, but it does put this one peg closer to a genuine Nickelodeon made-4-TV project.

That's kinda part of the satire, the whole "conflict of interest" thing.
But it's almost a red flag to adults that something is amiss.
And, we learn later that the CEO rushed into this unplanned early test.

Quoted from RayW

p17
Gil stops short of a spike strip at the security gate.

Better be a payoff on this spike strip.

Ray, you know me well enough to know I set up many "runners" in my scripts.
I LOVE to set up runners and pay them off like machine fire in the third act.

Quoted from RayW


Scott looks out the window, his softens.

I don't understand what "his softens" means in this context.

Boo boo fixed.

Quoted from RayW


          GARTH
Yeah, Miss Brewsterís a total milf.

Milf is an acronym for Mom I'd Like to F#ck, so I'm pretty sure this just tippy-toes out of PG bounds.
Try babe, instead.
And all heads should look up at Garth's grand faux pas.

Hmmm, not sure I like babe, but something to think about.
It just felt right at the time, so I stuck the milf thing in there.
It does pay off in a PG way in less than three pages, but still.
It's good to have alternatives in mind when talking to producers.

Quoted from RayW

p19
Leahanni points to a portable defibrillator. Glen balks.

Another odd insert that had better have a good payoff.

I am a whore for "runners" love to set them up and knock them down.

I realize I'm not the best at ensemble cast speed introductions.
But, I'm working on it, chipping away at it here and there in my own time.
There's a new draft going live the first of the month.
It's got some tweaks in the first thirty to make it more "slimy".
If I can punctuate these intros with a bit more action, it should help.
I'm trying to create the illusion of the encroaching plot with these opening scenes.
Perhaps watching a few ensemble adventure films could help me out.

Thanks for the ultra detailed thoughts. I'll put them to good use.
I'll continue my reply once my fingers recover.

Cheers!
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 31st, 2011, 6:45pm Report to Moderator
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Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

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Quoted from RayW
p20
INT. MINIVAN - DAY

Three minutes ago the previous scene with this group had Garth announcing to everyone, especially 11yo Hanna and 6yo Mason, that their mom was quite f#ckable. This continuation of that "discussion" is missing some likely vehement objection of Scott's.

I disagree, Scott doesn't care cuz it's not his mother, he resents Joan.
Moving in with his dad's girlfriend is tough on him.

Quoted from RayW

STEPHANIE
Alright, Iíll tell you. Milf means,
mothers in love with farts.[/face]
Farts is cool.
But the MILF stuff has gotta go.
Ain't no way that's gonna float.

Not one executive has dinged me for it, yet.
I've seen a lot worse in PG, though perhaps the "explanation" can be sooner,
But I'm open to it being removed if someone wants offer a contract.

Quoted from RayW

Okay, I'm finishing up p20 and this has been a long slow haul.
Across the first twenty minutes, if this is PG for kids you gotta hit em with a helluva lot more than some spazzy janitor, some purple goo and commonplace family dynamics.

This slow build stuff with a few teasers is barely tolerable for adults.
Kids won't clamor for it any better.

I'm watching Hop as I reply and I don't see much to what you're saying.
ZP has way more action in the first 20 minutes than Hop and Aliens in the Attic.
Planet 51 was also slower to develop, I timed them out, down to the minute
It's not the fastest opener for sure, but it does come on strong after that,
However, I do realize ZP seems slower due to the ensemble nature.
People equate character introduction to slow, but I'm working on it.
To that end, I've made changes in the first 30 pages in a new draft.
To that end, I've highlighted more slimy moments in that area.
Hopefully this tightens things up.

Quoted from RayW


Leahanni sits up. Skin and fingernails now purplish, she
moans and shambles, like the goop christened Pygmies.

There were no goop christened Pygmies in the intro sequence.
Goopy purple painted Pygmies for sure, but no shambling.

They do smear goop on each other on the opening page, it's there.
In the new draft, I made some trims and tucks there, including the shambling bit.

Quoted from RayW

p23
A sign on the high chain link fence says: ďClosed for Private
Party. Welcome Special Fig Kids to Predator/Prey Day.Ē
Finally! A name for the elusive "special event": PREDATOR/PREY DAY!

Great! I love it.
Now go C&P that all over all the previous "special event"s.

I see your point, I can foreshadow the game better, thanks.
It would probably benefit the setup some.

Quoted from RayW

p27/28
          SCOTT
You were kissing up to Radish.
          RADISH
Really?
          HANNA
No, I wasnít.

I musta missed this from a prior conversation. Whuuut?

Nope, Scott is accusing Hanna of things, she didn't do.
He's prejudiced against Joan's kids.
And that gets rectified when they talk later on the rope climb.
It's the turning point where Scott begins to realize he's being unfair to the kids.

Quoted from RayW

p28
          COACH D
Super bodacious bacon FigBurgers
and PotatoTastic FigFries.

These are great fake product names.

Thanks, maybe I should have gone into marketing.
I did try to inject some consumerism satire and silliness to texture the tone.

Quoted from RayW

p31
          COACH D
I want you to teach those geeks and
future CEOs my big brother loves so
much a lesson theyíll never forget
with their own insipid products.  

Nice turn of events and fate. Real nice.

I felt the same when I came up with it, not what I had originally expected.
I'm done a lot of work on Figgis and the Coach in the later drafts.
In the latest draft, that seen takes place in her office with the Gymnasties.
She drinks the Bite in there and turns them on the spot to slime zombie jocks.
I'm hoping that will help with the pacing concerns.

Quoted from RayW

Amazing.
Either I just totally zoned out one the action started or all of a sudden so many wiener errors went away.

Story all gelled together by the end.

Yeah, that first twenty is killing this.

I know you can clean up all the little stuff between now and your week end InkTip, but that front end needs some POWER RANGERS and  work.

Fundamentally this is a good story with good characters that with proper casting should keep clear who's who.
Brady bunch 'em: Hortons are brunettes and Brewsters are blond. Done.

I see right around page 30 your concerns pretty much dried up.
I like the blond/brunette idea, I'll put that in the next draft, for sure.

I've made some subtle tweaks to the first act pacing.
If you want an ensemble adventure, it takes time to set up.
I'm working on tightening up, thanks for the notes.
The biggest thing I'm running into with production companies is the family element.
Most seem to want just the kids and discard the family.
But going that route guts the theme right out of the script. Dilemma.

The idea and tone are sound, we'll see if someone wants to buy it!
Thanks for the mega detailed review.
If you have the time and inclination, check out the first 30 of the new draft.

Cheers! And get back to writing!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: August 5th, 2011, 9:48pm Report to Moderator
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I got this today from the Head of Development for an A-list production company:


Hi Brett:

Thanks so much for letting us look at your script "Zombie Playground."
You've done a nice job and wrote a really fun script.  
Unfortunately, we are focused on our kids films having kids be the sole protagonists.
They must be driving the entire film on their own.  

I truly appreciate all your great work and wanted to respond to you myself.
Perhaps in time, one of our finance sources will change their mandate.
If so, I'll happily circle back and see where you are with this.

Best of luck to you.


I know I should be happy about this, but I'm not.
Maybe, it's because I'm currently writing a sad scene for a new feature. I don't know.

Perhaps this is why so many kids movies today don't focus on family.
It could be corporate mandates handed down by financiers.

I've been dinged before for ZP being a family film and not an exclusive kids movie.
Just never by someone that green lights $100 million movies before.

I need a drink.
Sorry for the babble, guys.

E.D.



LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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leitskev
Posted: August 5th, 2011, 10:01pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, you pitched well, made a good impression. You got through! Now you know the way in. You're on your way, man. Keep pushing.
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Dreamscale
Posted: August 5th, 2011, 10:11pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Yes, that is my real hair...

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Brett...don't fret.  Definitely have a drink...I'm on # 3.

You have completely and totally rocked it, bro!  Seriously.  Your first real feature and look where you are already.  Sky's the limit, my friend.  A door closes and a bigger one opens.

As I've said from day1, you're gonna make it and we'll all be behind you 100%...maybe 111%, even.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Grandma Bear
Posted: August 5th, 2011, 11:17pm Report to Moderator
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I'm sorry Brett, but that sounds like a standard "no".

Pat you on the head while telling you no.

Don't give up though. There are other fishes in the pond.

You wanna do a pc about it?  


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Hugh Hoyland
Posted: August 6th, 2011, 12:46am Report to Moderator
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Hey E.D.

While I understand your feeling down, you've done a great job on this script IMO.

So my advice is have a few drinks sleep it off then start cracking again!

As was said before, one door closes another opens, and its true. :]


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