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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 24099 views)
Electric Dreamer
Posted: May 28th, 2011, 2:00pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from rc1107
Hey E.D.,

See you went with Macon's namechange.  It just sounded a little weird, especially with how much bacon is in the script.  I do like Mason better.


Mark!

That was all you. "C" to a "S".

Quoted from rc1107

I remember the first draft was 93 pages, then the second draft I read was 89 pages, and now I see it's back to 93 pages, yet the pygmies from the second draft are still in it.  Is there a significant difference between the second draft I read and this draft.  Did you put more in it, or just put back in a little bit of what was cut from the first draft?

Ahh, the draft parade. I'll go through this chronologically...

Your first read was on the second draft.
Your second read was the fourth draft.
I posted the sixth draft on SS.

There have been wholesale tweaks throughout the script.
Scene trims, scene expansions, a scene moved and merged into another, etc.
I'd say overall, there's about 5-6 pages of new material.
It's sprinkled throughout critical areas in the story.

To me, this is, detail wise, very different from draft four.
Your insight is always appreciated, pal.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Regards,
E.D.

I'll take this opportunity to thank those on the thread pledging reads.
I apologize for any inconvenience due to coinciding with the new action fest OWC.
Reads post-PitchFest will be just as helpful as before the convention. Thanks!



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: May 28th, 2011, 2:10pm Report to Moderator
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I will be reading the rest later. Now that I know the characters, it should be an easy and enjoyable read. I seem to have a hard time remembering a lot of characters in a script. An example of something that is not the fault of the script, but the reader.

Another thing that comes to mind: if I have interpreted correctly where this is going, it will conform to a predictable formula. But I don't at all think that makes it guilty of being cliche or unoriginal. It follows a familiar path, just like a hero based story, or a coming of age tale. And there will no doubt be familiar landmarks along the path: the whiny teenage girl absorbed in her own affairs, the parent who is afraid to commit to her new relationship, either because she/he is insecure because of her past failing, or can't let go of something, or is afraid how it will affect her kids; the greedy corporate boss. But story telling is in essence a reassembling of familiar parts into new but recognizable forms. The key to being original has nothing to do with avoiding those recognizable forms, or even the recognizable formula. And  I don't think there's any need for a crazy twist at the end, especially for a kid's film. If you have one, it may add power to the story, but it's not a requirement. What you need is what you have: an original and colorful device for telling a familiar tale. Then all you need to do is bring the characters sharply to life, make them entertaining and comical, make us care about them. So far things seem to be successfully moving in that direction.
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grademan
Posted: May 28th, 2011, 2:11pm Report to Moderator
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E.D.

Very good writing style. Great selection of action verbs, No BS in your narrative. If any one thinks RED SUN was a wasted exercise, just look at the huge progress you've made with this script. Know that, And feel good.

Here are my issues regarding your new script.

* 20 min. maybe too long for set up
* a central villain might help solidify the threat from the zombies (Figgis was inept, greedy)
* Is there a name for these new zombies? newbie? ha!
* Too many characters make it hard to care for the core group.

Th atmosphere reminded me of Spy Kids (2001). Good luck.

Gary
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c m hall
Posted: May 28th, 2011, 3:01pm Report to Moderator
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ah, go-kart of course -- I'm wheels-happy this weekend, Indie 500, Nascar etc.


Cathy
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Mr.Ripley
Posted: May 28th, 2011, 3:19pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Brett

Good luck! Read about 50 pgs.

Here's what I have so far:

Too many characters. Try combining a few of them or eliminating them.  

Coach D should be like the principal from Matilda. In other words, mean and more pro- Darwinian. Exaggerate her.

I think you should remove the opening with the villagers. The scene where Gil and Joan are testing the product out is sufficient enough to show the positive and negative effects of the product.  

Like Mason.

Like the exchange between Joan and Gil.

Why not add Joan's ex into the mix? He could be Gil's opposition. That would be
some funny moments.

For Figgis's joke to work, the reader needs to know whose Figgis sister is? i say Coach D.

Hope this makes sense, lol. If not, let me know.
Gabe
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Heretic
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As I go:

Page 2:  Hahah!  Social commentary.  Good.

Page 14:  "What they really need is to get their heads..."  You're walking the line well of not making the message too obvious; this line, though, is too far.  This is the one that's stuck out to me, anyway.

Page 16:  "Only Nana calls me that."  This comes right after "Only my sister calls me that" from Mr. Figgis.  Is that intentional?

Page 17:  "You're mom's amazing" should be "Your".
"...the upcoming penultimate playoff game..."  This is a little awkward.  Wouldn't want this line as an actor.

Page 27:  I don't get it.  How was Hanna kissing up to Radish?

Page 32:  I realize only now that I'd like to know a little bit more about Figgis.  Just a line or two here or there to give us more of a sense of who he is, past that he hides from his sister.  

Page 33:  "The doors are electronically sealed..."  You're missing a "by" in the second sentence.

Page 39:  "Stephanie trips and..."  Missing the "falls".

Page 44:  I had to re-read to understand that he was choking Oz with the binocular straps.

Page 49:  Personally, I would move the Scott/Hanna reconciliation to immediately after the jocks attack.  They're forced to protect/help each other first, THEN they deal with their personal problems.  Otherwise, it kinda just seems like Scott had a change of heart for no reason.

Page 71:  I think the moment with Gil and Joan is more romantic if they don't hug, personally.  Hug's too much for me.

Page 77:  Missing the capital "Z" on "Kart Zombie #2".

Page 78:  And again here.

Page 86:  "The mobile net corral holds..."  "Hungover" seems like an odd choice of word.

Thoughts:

Rave review, basically.  This could be the kind of movie that I remember from my childhood -- the kind that really inspires kids.  Family movies are generally CG and/or bullshit now, and this is great.  Your writing's very tight, and the script is pretty much exactly what it should be.  

I think you're getting close to the too many characters problem -- the obvious cut, to me, would be the Japanese duo -- but on the other hand, Cheaper By The Dozen worked quite well.

I dunno.  It was very good.  I wish you luck with the pitch, but I don't think you need it -- the script is super solid.

Thanks for the great read!



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Heretic  -  May 29th, 2011, 3:51pm
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leitskev
Posted: May 28th, 2011, 9:19pm Report to Moderator
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Finished the second third Brett. Figured I will comment while ideas are fresh, read the rest tomorrow.

I only found a couple of writing mistakes, so I will PM those.

Ideas are free, and there's no harm in my running a couple by you on the chance you can use them.

I started my own zombie script a couple weeks ago, different than this, but some challenges are faced in any zombie script. I had never been a fan of zombies, and really haven't seen a lot of them in movies. But the questions that come up right off the bat: how are zombies created, how does it spread. I imagine that the normal method is virus. Naturally one wants to avoid that mechanism since it's so over done. But other mechanisms do create problems.

In this case we have an extract from a leaf discovered in Africa that has been altered and included in a soft drink as the method of creation, and then it seems to spread through contact, usually through kissing or some other harmless means, this being a kid's flick.

If this was not a kid's movie, you just couldn't get away with this mechanism. Too much doesn't make sense. The fact that the product was made without testing, and then the testing was just people in a room slugging cans. And then the spreading had to be a little of a challenge for you, since you didn't want violence, so now we are left with kissing zombies. Unless the kids are going to be really young, they will start to question some of this.

So I tried to think what esle you could do without having to go through a major change. At first I actually thought you might have this company trying to spread this zombie outbreak on purpose. That would explain the lack of true testing. It might make the testing we do have here no longer sensible, but something could be crafted as a justification. You could just have some kind of a grand opening party too.

Another idea was to have the zombie purple stuff be somehow alien related. How this stuff was first introduced by the aliens would open up some great visual opportunities for you. And then the spreading of it could be related to the aliens trying to spread. I don't know, not sure if that works either. I just had some problems with the mechanism. This is for kids, so it isn't necessarily a problem, but if you could solve these issues it would help the plot, even for older kids.

The other idea was to do with the Gymnasties verses the gerbils, which I really like a lot. In fact, you could have built a movie around that even without zombies. It's familiar, with the cool kids against the nerds, but it's still unique enough. My idea is nothing big, but I thought Coach D could use this game as a life lesson, in her Darwinist world view, for the kids. Let me give an example:

Coach D: "Life is about the survival of the strong over the weak. So listen up weakling gerbils. The last two prey to get caught will make the leap to predator next time. No more hiding with the slow and the weak.

Oz whispers to Kimi: She always forgets that sometimes the slow and the weak are also the smartest.

Just ideas Brett. I've been trying to weigh whether there's too many characters, and I think it's ok in that regard, though I don't know if you need the two at the beginning in Africa. But the number of kids you do need because you're setting up this battle with the gerbs vs the gyms. Now that I think about it, I'm a little surprised you don't have a kid we know on the gyms, unless I'm forgetting one. Usually there's a brat/bully type in these stories, one that eventually becomes the focus of humorous action by the good kids.

I hope something here helped and I look forward to seeing it on the screen!
Kevin
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: May 29th, 2011, 3:11pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from leitskev

In this case we have an extract from a leaf discovered in Africa that has been altered and included in a soft drink as the method of creation, and then it seems to spread through contact, usually through kissing or some other harmless means, this being a kid's flick.

If this was not a kid's movie, you just couldn't get away with this mechanism. Too much doesn't make sense. The fact that the product was made without testing, and then the testing was just people in a room slugging cans. And then the spreading had to be a little of a challenge for you, since you didn't want violence, so now we are left with kissing zombies. Unless the kids are going to be really young, they will start to question some of this.

Hey Kev,

Thanks for the spitball session.
The Bite origin mythology is a work in progress.
You've given me food for thought and some new ideas for the next draft.
No aliens, I'm afraid. Mutant zombies is more than enough fantasy for the script.
But, rest assured, I did think of something simple and character related. Thanks!

Quoted from leitskev

Now that I think about it, I'm a little surprised you don't have a kid we know on the gyms, unless I'm forgetting one. Usually there's a brat/bully type in these stories, one that eventually becomes the focus of humorous action by the good kids.

Good point about the bullies being the butt of the joke.
There's some of that in the last third.
You may recall that Oz and Kim made a joke at the Gymnasties' expense earlier.


Quoted from leitskev

What you need is what you have: an original and colorful device for telling a familiar tale.

This! You're writing up some good craft nuggets.

Thanks again for all your insight and effort!

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: May 29th, 2011, 3:18pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from grademan
E.D.

Very good writing style. Great selection of action verbs, No BS in your narrative. If any one thinks RED SUN was a wasted exercise, just look at the huge progress you've made with this script. Know that, And feel good.

Wow. Thanks, it means a lot to me to see that in writing.
I figured if I could put a lot of love into something I essentially couldn't sell...
Imagine what I could do when I could make a career off the next one.

Quoted from grademan

Here are my issues regarding your new script.

* 20 min. maybe too long for set up
* a central villain might help solidify the threat from the zombies (Figgis was inept, greedy)
* Is there a name for these new zombies? newbie? ha!
* Too many characters make it hard to care for the core group.

Th atmosphere reminded me of Spy Kids (2001). Good luck.

Gary


All good points that producers may bring up.
I'll keep these in mind and make sure I have good answers at PitchFest for them
Thanks so much for your input and kind words.

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: May 29th, 2011, 3:29pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Mr.Ripley
Hey Brett

Good luck! Read about 50 pgs.

Here's what I have so far:

1) Too many characters. Try combining a few of them or eliminating them.  

2) Coach D should be like the principal from Matilda. In other words, mean and more pro- Darwinian. Exaggerate her.

3) I think you should remove the opening with the villagers. The scene where Gil and Joan are testing the product out is sufficient enough to show the positive and negative effects of the product.

Hey Gabe,

Thanks for taking a look at this so quickly.
I numbered your points for easy referencing...

1) It's a constant fear/danger with ensemble pieces.
    However, I keep in mind that the number is less daunting on the screen.
    I've tried hard to give the kids each their own voice, hope that helps.

2) Coach D's character arc been in flux in recent drafts.
    I'll be interested to see how you feel about it when it hopefully pays off later.
    I could see her being more extreme.

3) The villagers opener/grabber serves a lot of purposes.
    For me, it's more than origin mythology.
    Hopefully, in the second half, you'll see what I'm talking about.  

Quoted from Mr.Ripley

Like Mason.

Like the exchange between Joan and Gil.

Why not add Joan's ex into the mix? He could be Gil's opposition. That would be
some funny moments.

For Figgis's joke to work, the reader needs to know whose Figgis sister is? i say Coach D.

Hope this makes sense, lol. If not, let me know.
Gabe


Mason was the one I was worried about.
Never wrote such a young protag before.
And he's rather integral to events, especially in the second half.
I'm glad he works for you as well as the newly engaged under fire couple.

Neat idea about the ex, I'll keep that in mind, thanks!

Coach D and Figgis related? Really? Hmmm, interesting idea.

Thanks for your time, enjoy the long holiday weekend.

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: May 29th, 2011, 3:52pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Heretic
As I go:

Page 2:  Hahah!  Social commentary.  Good.

Hey Heretic!

Thanks for the super "as you go" notes.
I should do this more often when I read scripts here.
Sometimes I do start my post as I read and just type as I go.

Oh yes, there will be social commentary. You're the first to mention it.
It's one of the many things I loved about Romero's Dawn of the Dead.
And I wanted a modern family friendly take on that sentiment in this script.
It gives the adults a little something to chew on, other than popcorn.

Quoted from Heretic

Page 14:  “What they really need is to get their heads…”  You’re walking the line well of not making the message too obvious; this line, though, is too far.  This is the one that’s stuck out to me, anyway.

You're right, it is on the nose, but felt like something a parent would say.
I kinda envision it as one of those "see, I told you" moments.
Where a parent leans in and whispers to their kid in the theatre.
Maybe I'm reaching a bit, but that was the thought process behind it.

Quoted from Heretic

Page 16:  “Only Nana calls me that.”  This comes right after “Only my sister calls me that” from Mr. Figgis.  Is that intentional?

Indeed, it was, a word play recurring joke.
There's several of them sprinkled throughout the script.
They're like "verbal bread crumbs" subconsciously linking the intercutting action.
I got a great comment on it in coverage, but alas, nothing quote worthy for the poster.

Quoted from Heretic

Page 18:  “We’ve got you covered.”  Hahahah!

Glad you like the FigCorp banner.
You'll be seeing more of it soon. Very soon.

Quoted from Heretic

Page 27:  I don’t get it.  How was Hanna kissing up to Radish?

She wasn't, Scott is displaced and not wanting to share his life with the Brewsters.
It's easier for him if Hanna isn't associated with his friends for that.
It's not intentional, more of a subconscious thing for the boy.
Does that make sense?

Quoted from Heretic

Page 32:  I realize only know that I’d like to know a little bit more about Figgis.  Just a line or two here or there to give us more of a sense of who he is, past that he hides from his sister.  

Good to hear, I always worry about my supporting characters carrying their weight.

Quoted from Heretic

Page 33:  “The doors are electronically sealed…”  You’re missing a “by” in the second sentence.

Page 39:  “Stephanie trips and…”  Missing the “falls”.

Page 44:  I had to re-read to understand that he was choking Oz with the binocular straps.

Catches like these are big, thanks.

Quoted from Heretic

Page 49:  Personally, I would move the Scott/Hanna reconciliation to immediately after the jocks attack.  They’re forced to protect/help each other first, THEN they deal with their personal problems.  Otherwise, it kinda just seems like Scott had a change of heart for no reason.

The change of heart is when Scott learns how his dad helped Mason cope.
Lord Gorzon gives Scott the knowledge he's misjudging his father's intentions.
And he realizes he's been too harsh with Hanna, so he gives her a gift...
The gift of confirming that indeed, Radish does like her.
Sorry it didn't come off that way for you, I'll take a look at it.

Quoted from Heretic

Page 71:  I think the moment with Gil and Joan is more romantic if they don’t hug, personally.  Hug’s too much for me.

You're right, it plays better in my mind, now that you mention it.
So Gil and Joan making the choice...then cut to Mason hugging Lord Gorzon.
It's a nice cut point that I missed, thanks!

Quoted from Heretic

Page 77:  Missing the capital “Z” on “Kart Zombie #2”.

Page 78:  And again here.

Page 86:  “The mobile net corral holds…”  “Hungover” seems like an odd choice of word.

Hungover to lethargic? Yeah, that works.

Quoted from Heretic

Thoughts:

Rave review, basically.  This could be the kind of movie that I remember from my childhood -- the kind that really inspires kids.  Family movies are generally CG and/or bullshit now, and this is great.  Your writing's very tight, and the script is pretty much exactly what it should be.  

If your childhood movies were anything like mine, then yes.
I think what you're driving at is the sub genre of family film I'm after here...
Wish fulfillment adventure. Kids solving their problems without adults.

It's oft overlooked these days and it's one I hold in high regard.
And I try to set that tone right off, even with the taglines...
No Adult Supervision. Play at Your Own Risk.

There are many wonderful films in this sub genre.
And ZP wouldn't exist without them.

SS has been integral to me becoming a more efficient writer.
I wanted to put together a tight draft and present it to the group.
I'm glad it provided you with some fun this holiday weekend.

Quoted from Heretic

I wish you luck with the pitch, but I don't think you need it -- the script is super solid.

Thanks for the great read!

Ha! Now I need to find agents and development execs that share your sentiment.
Thanks so much for the great feedback!

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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Mr.Ripley
Posted: May 29th, 2011, 4:33pm Report to Moderator
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Got to finish the script.

I think the main heart of the story are the kids. That's what i got from the second half. Not so much in the first half. Should prob rectify that.

It got difficult when the science jargon and the kids battling came into play. I think that's a result of having too many kids. I would say combine a few of them.

Hope this helps,
Gabe

And good luck.
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outtosea
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Hey you're probably locked in by now this close to your pitch. But I've scanned this over and it's definitely the most tightly written one I've seen on this site. Just want to say good luck to you... I'm sure a lot of people will be sending positive thoughts your way!
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B.C.
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Hey E.D.

Just a couple of points, I think the family is introduced really well -- well done because there's alot of them to introduce - and thats before we get to their friends (the twins etc). Anyway, I do agree with the general consensus that you may need to condense or eleminate some of the characters in future re-writes.

Here's why -- I'm not a format 'expert' but it leads to things like the SERIES OF SHOTS on pages 26, 59 and 81, for example. When filmed it's not really a problem. Used sparingly in a script it's ok, but this amount of shots in a spec script borders on the age old no-no of telling the director/editor of what to do. This might be a personal gripe, as no one else has mentioned it.

On the positive, the dialogue between all the kids seems genuine to me. The kids come across as cool and sassy, well done. Family dynamics are slickly potrayed.  

On the negative -- alot of the techno-speech does make certain scenes hard work. If your core audience is kids (and I know you want adults to dig this is as well, but...) is it all neccessary?  

Anyway, thanks for the read and good look with your pitch.



  
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CindyLKeller
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Hey Brett,

I decided to read this one instead.  

I'm on page 49 now.

Nice writing style.

I did get confused with all of the characters, but I believe that would clear itself up on film.

I haven't read The Sandlot, but now I'm wondering how they introduced the kids.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing how this will all work out in the end.

Cindy


Award winning screenwriter
Available screenplays
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