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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 24110 views)
Electric Dreamer
Posted: May 31st, 2011, 11:44am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Mr.Ripley
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.


Thanks for the notes, Gabe!
Ensemble stories are tricky and I appreciate the thoughts.
I've already tweaked the technobabble and gave it more character motivation.
Your time is always appreciated.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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Electric Dreamer
Posted: May 31st, 2011, 11:54am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from B.C.
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.

It's something I suspect that may come up with "interested parties".
I tried very hard to give each kid their own voice.
It is harder to distinguish on the page than on the screen.
It's a potential problem spot I'm keeping an eye on, thanks.

Quoted from B.C.

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.

I tend to look at series of shots as condensed storytelling than directing.
I'm not telling the director how to shoot, just super concentrating story elements.
If they want to show more, at least they have the framework I want them to have.
I will keep that in mind as a potential trouble spot, thanks.

Quoted from B.C.

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.  

I'm relieved to hear this, I tried super hard to make each kid stand out.
But not use cheap tricks or props to get that across.
At it's heart, ZP is a story about two families in discord thrown together.
It's not super deep, nor should it be for this type of picture, but it's still there.

Quoted from B.C.

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.



In the new draft I've been tweaking the techobabble.
It's a bit thick in the posted draft, due to most of it being new.
That's me "sounding it out" on the page some.
I've already streamlined some of it and made it more character centric to Figgis.
Thanks for pointing that out.

I appreciate the read and the comments.
Glad the Hortons and the Brewsters worked well for you.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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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 31st, 2011, 12:00pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from CindyLKeller
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


Hey Cindy,

Thanks for read back! I do enjoy the tone you establish in your scripts.
I hope you can see why now that you're reading my spin on a family adventure.
I'm rather enamored with writing for general audiences, it's fun!

Oh, The Sandlot! What a great suggestion!
I haven't seen that one in ages!
I'll have to give that one another look, pronto.

I'm glad my writing style works for you.
It wouldn't be nearly as good without the contributing SS members.
I've been lucky to be given a lot of constructive criticism here.

I'm going to agree with you about the character count.
It's a bit daunting on the page, partly because I didn't resort to stereotypes.
There's no fat kid that everyone makes the butt of the jokes, etc.
But I do hope their voices will help distinguish them on the screen.

Thanks a bunch for reading this, I look forward to hearing more from you.

Keep writing and rewriting!
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 31st, 2011, 12:04pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from outtosea
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!


Hey Outtosea, thanks for the read!
Locked in? Hardly, I'm working on this puppy every day!
PitchFest is more about selling me than the individual script.
That's how it's been described to me by attending agents.
I need to let people know I have what it takes to get in there and work together, etc.
The main goal is to generate interest and get meetings at their offices post-con.

SS has been an invaluable resource to help improve my craft.
The contributing members have been very generous to me with their time.
I tried to put their sage advice to use and construct something worth their time to read.

I'm glad you enjoyed the script.
Thanks for the well wishes.

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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leitskev
Posted: May 31st, 2011, 9:01pm Report to Moderator
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Finished!

Well, I've never been to pitchfest. Matter of fact, last time I pitched something it was slow pitch softball. I'm sure you are nervous. As this is about pitching yourself as much as your script, though I've never met you, I am confident you have nothing to worry about. You have been prolific in your reviews at SS, and somehow manage to bring first class analysis as well as meticulous professionalism to every single review. You take absolute care in all of your work, and I'm sure that will come across at pitchfest.

And of course you do need to develop some interest in the script. I think those that are interested in kids movies will be intrigued by the original concept here. And if they flip through the pages, they will not find amateur work. They will find things are pretty tight.

So you'll have 3 critical pieces: the dedication and professionalism of Brett Martin; a colorful, original script; and more or less effective writing. Hopefully from there, someone will want to work with you on this script to bring it to the next level.

There are some issues with the script, but with someone interested in working with you they will be confident they can be resolved. I found this kind of a difficult read. Let's face it, many good scripts are difficult reads, so this is not necessarily a problem. Early going, one has to learn a lot of characters. As I've said, I don't think this is a problem in film, but it will turn away a reader or two. Once I got to know the characters, the middle went nice and smooth; but then the last third of the script became very laborious to read because of the action. Page 86 is a good example of this. Wow, it takes effort to get through pages like that. Again, maybe not so much a problem in film, but that's a load to try to read, especially if you're really making an honest effort as a reader to visualize the scenes.

There were some things that never developed the way I thought they might, things you might consider on rewrites. First, as the goal here is to have the zombie fight bring about the union of the two families, I thought at some point the parents would join the fight. Instead, their battle is separate. So the unifying is only between the kids, really. Which leads to the second surprise.

My impression was that Joan was trying to avoid accepting the ring. I anticipated there would be a gradual process by steps where her doubts and fears were broken down during the crisis. Interaction with the kids I expected would be part of this. It didn't really play out that way. But it could. In fact, the interaction between Joan and Gil was cute, but emotionally flat. You've invested most of the emotional capital in the kids, I understand. But there is opportunity there to do more with that, and you really might want to.

Other observations: remember Mel Gibson's the Patriot? Remember the little daughter that would never speak to him because she was mad? That was very powerful stuff. It's the first example I could think of about emotionally powerful moments in kids movies(not that the Patriot is a kid's movie), but there's obviously many examples. There did not seem to be anything really powerful emotionally here. No powerful emotional moment, or sequence. You flirted with a couple. I'm just not sure they really pushed any emotional buttons. It's possible they would work better in film, as there was so much to absorb reading that it kind of blinds one, perhaps.

I'm not sure how you should go about creating this, Brett. I'm drawing blanks! But I wouldn't worry about coming up something cliche that works. Maybe Mason blames his parents divorce on his sister, doesn't talk to her at all. I don't know.

I suppose these thoughts are pretty random, and not helping much. Sorry, I had a long day. I will think about this some more over night. If you have any particular concerns that you are looking for some brain storming on, feel free to leave a post on it here, and I'm sure people will put their minds to it. I know I would.

Ok, I hope I helped a little somewhere. Good luck with the pitching. I feel good about you going in. You're ready.

If I can come up with more thoughts, I will.

Kevin
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MacDuff
Posted: May 31st, 2011, 10:00pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Brett,

Here are some of my random notes:

Format:

The format is fine. I did not see any major formatting errors or slug errors. I've noted some grammar issues below:

age 1 - "Mr. And Mrs." -- I don't think you need to capitalize the 'A'
page 2 - "GROUP B". -- Period outside of quotations
Page 3 - "...BIG HIT". -- Period outside of quotations
Page 23 - "...Use Only". -- Period outside of quotations
page 33 - "I wanted to ask you morning..." -- missing word between "you" and "morning"
page 39 - "Stephanie trips and face first" -- missing word between "and" "face"
page 45 - period outside of "cycle started".
page 55 - "signal lost". -- period outside of quotations
page 66 - "tool shed". -- period outside of quotations
page 80 - "v2.7". -- period outside of quotations

So - for all the quotation issues, I was always taught to put the period inside the quotations if it's the end of a sentence or thought. If I'm wrong, I apologize.

Structure/Plot:

The story moves along with a nice pace and consistent tone. The writing feels like a kids script, so it envelopes the reader into the action. Nicely done.

With that said, I did have some notes:

1. I found the opening scenes in the jungle unnecessary. If even there is an opportunity to cut it down or remove it, that would work for me.
2. I found the first act a little slow to get going. Now, I am saying this with a kids attention span in my mind. It's a lot of character building and not enough action.
3. I was a little unsure at first how the "zombies" moved around. Were they classic style zombies or like 28 Days Later style?
4. You have 3 sets of Series of Shots - all of them are quite long and involve a lot of camera setups. I see opportunities to cut them down.
5. The biggest issue came in the 3rd act for me and I'm torn about what I feel about it. On one hand, I like the idea that Bite produces an 8 hour "rush" that will eventually wear off. It's a neat idea. What I felt was missing was a goal for the characters, some sort of "Aha!" moment where I knew what the characters needed to do to save the day. Since the conflict resolves itself eventually, it felt like a bit of a letdown that the kids couldn't "save the day." Something they discover in the 2nd Act that leads to the realization in the 3rd Act that they need to do something to save everyone. That the kids have to come together and work together as a family to save the day (and/or their parents). You have something similar (them coming together) with the plan and capture of the zombies, but I still wanted them to save the day - not just themselves.

Characters:

The characters you paint are vivid, unique and believable - well done. There wasn't a character I did not like. But, I did have some issues throughout the script that have already been brought up, but I'll echo them here:

1. I thought there were too many characters - especially the kids - and I thought that bogged down the first half of the script. If there is an opportunity to cull some and/or combine them - I would recommend that.

2. The script (IMHO) was screaming out for a kid protagonist. I kept coming back to Scott, who is well developed, but not developed enough for the story you place him in if he were to be a protagonist. I kept asking myself:

Who is pushing this script forward?
Who is the window into the script for the audience?

Obviously, if you are going for the ensemble, then go for it. I just felt, as a reader, it needed a protagonist.

3. The flip side of the protagonist is that I thought the script needed an antagonist. You have antagonistic characters, but no single person stood up as a true antagonist. One who tries to prevent the protagonist from reaching his/her goal. For a kids movie, you usually have the evil genius. The memorable character that the kids can relate too. Think of the dvd cover of many kids movies. They usually contain the protagonist(s) and the antagonist. Kids identify quickly with the goodies and the baddies.

Overall:

This was a smooth read. I love the concept (a kids zombie movie) and that's the hook; the strong point in the script. It's got great potential and I think it will get there, regardless of what opinions and comments I make

Good luck and I hope this was good feedback for you.

Stew


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leitskev
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 10:11am Report to Moderator
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I've given this some more thought over night, Brett. Also, I've just read Stew's remarks and they're pretty insightful, worth considering.

I love the concept of the gymnasties vs the gerbils. While in some ways it's familiar, the fact that the teams were selected by Coach D gives it some originality. And as I mentioned, having Coach D offer elevation for the surviving gerbil could add some more.

To a certain extent, the zombie aspect hinders the battle of the gyms vs the gerbs. Because they all become zombies very quickly we never see any personality to the antagonist kids. We don't see them planning and scheming, or being arrogant or bratty or cocky.

I am not at all suggesting the zombie element be removed, because I do realize what they bring to the table. But there could be in between possibilities. For example, you could delay the conversion to zombie; or you could have only part of the gyms convert to zombie at first.

I know it's important to you to avoid stereotypes. That's why you don't have the fat gerb or the bully gym. But consider that sometimes you need archetypes. And certain characters fit the mold. It's mentioned above that you should have a kid stand out as more of a protagonist, and I agree. And I don't think Mason fits the bill for that at all. Too young. He's cute, but not smart enough because of his age.

I think an antagonistic kid is equally important. We need a kid that the audience identifies as the bad kid, or bully kid, or at least obnoxious. The kid everyone wants to see defeated. And this kid needs to be introduced early somehow. In fact, I believe it is standard form to have your antagonist introduced early. There really isn't an antagonist here, and to the extent there is(Figgins, Coach D), they are introduced late and seldom seen.

Not really possible for you to do this by this weekend. But, you can be thinking about it, and if questions come up, have possible replies verbally lined up.

Best of luck.
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Dreamscale
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 12:37pm Report to Moderator
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I have to agree with this.  I think you need a much better and more recognizable Antag.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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James McClung
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 2:26pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Brett. Read this as promised.

Despite your warnings and me going in with an open mind, I was still completely caught off guard. This whole Figcorp world was as bizarre as anything I could've expected. Again, I'd be curious as to where the inspiration for this came from. The purple haired zombies were stranger still yet I could see how they came out of this world.

Anyway, I can't say this was quite my cup of tea. I thought the face and minutia of Figcorp were far too goofy and childish and yet almost overly satirical at the same time. It reminded me of Robert Rodriguez's family films which I can't stand. The story revolves around this company so naturally the tone is tinged with a certain wackiness.

I didn't care much for the cast of characters either. I always have a hard time with too many characters. Not your fault. That's just my sensibilities. But I almost always get lost in the narrative if the characters aren't especially memorable. Macon and the twins stood out (Macon because of his toy monster) as did Stephanie because she was older than the rest. Raddish, I remember by name alone but never got a sense of him.

Someone needs to lead. I'm in agreement about that.

The parents seemed to fill that traditional [insert personality here] element that most kids films feature by way of adults but I suppose that's fine to a point.

The whole prey vs. predator thing, I never quite understood. Would anyone really make kids do this?

I kept expecting the zombies to eat somebody but eventually realized that was not happening.

Now...

I had no idea you were going for a family film until I was near finished. This put a lot of things into perspective (except the prey vs. predator... what?!). I wasn't sure it was even possible to write a family zombie film. But apparently it is.

In this regard, I'll give you some kudos. This is true "thinking outside the box" and I think you've filled a niche that a lot of people wouldn't even think needs filling. So a very good call. And to be fair, this did have a lot of splatter. Obviously, not blood splatter but... splatter. When I wasn't reminded of Spy Kids and such, I was reminded of Gremlins, namely Gremlins 2. That flick also had a lot of goop as well as a silly corporation that's just too retarded to exist.

So yeah. Not for me. But I think you might have something here.

I didn't take much notes as the whole thing was kinda baffling to me. Not much stood out by way of peculiar. But I've still got a few comments of a more detailed nature.

- The circumstances of the marriage proposal was awkward. Really awkward. I'm not sure where else you might stick this in but where it is... eh.

- This might be a little harsh but pages 30-40 felt straight monotonous to me. Nothing really progressed.

- Liked the intercut on 65.

- The reunion between Figgus and Coach D was strange and overly abrupt. You might think about adjusting it.

Anyway, there you have it. Good luck at Pitchfest.


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Andrew
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 3:09pm Report to Moderator
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Brett,

How long do I have to get this read before you pitch it?


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CindyLKeller
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 5:09pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Brett,

Okay, I finished it.  

I guess I'll give you the bad first and get it out of the way...

Even though all the kids spoke differently, I still had a hard time remembering who was who and that, I think, is what held me back from really getting into this story.

I think you have to have a main character. One that we can watch grow and change. You have that person.
I believe that person should be Scott.

Why him?

Because his father is going to marry another woman and that woman has two kids.

Scott had a change of heart for his father when he learned what he did for Mason, right?

Well, I didn't get that he was all that upset with his father to begin with.
He just went along with everything like the other kids did.

I think you should make Scott more of a rebel. A loner. A tough kid on the outside  who hides his true feelings.

Maybe Stephanie has a horror story of her own that she lets Scott know of and he finally sees her as he sees himself, lost and alone.   ???

Have him be the one to save his soon to be stepbrother and sister (even though he doesn't know they are going to be related until the end).
Make him actually care for his new family.

I also believe you can get rid of the pigmy stuff at the beginning.
You don't introduce Francis Figgis until page 15.
I believe you should open on him in his lab, creating Bite. Experimenting with ingredients to see which would create a hunger for junk food.
Make Figgis the antagonist instead of just the FigCorp.
Maybe have a chart in the background showing this year's sales of snack foods going into the toilet.

On the good note, you have some witty dialogue and good action scenes.

Well, that's my thoughts.
Hope it helps.

Good luck with this,
Cindy


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rc1107
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 5:38pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Brett.

Well, I guess I was wrong, since (that I saw) nobody has brought up the 'you know what' part I said that might offend a few people.  Maybe I was just looking into it a little too much.

But you know how I am.  I just don't like to see people's moms talked about in MY scripts.  


Quoted from James McClung
And to be fair, this did have a lot of splatter. Obviously, not blood splatter but... splatter


This might not be a bad idea to work into your pitch somehow.  Something along the lines of 'The first family film with a whole lot of... um... well you know... let's just say it's the first family-splatter film.'

Maybe a stupid idea.  I'm just throwing stuff out there for ya to think about.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 6:53pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from leitskev
Finished!
Well, I've never been to pitchfest. Matter of fact, last time I pitched something it was slow pitch softball. I'm sure you are nervous. As this is about pitching yourself as much as your script, though I've never met you, I am confident you have nothing to worry about. You have been prolific in your reviews at SS, and somehow manage to bring first class analysis as well as meticulous professionalism to every single review. You take absolute care in all of your work, and I'm sure that will come across at pitchfest.

Hey Kev,

Thanks a lot, it's been a real trial this week, and I needed to hear this.
Honestly, writing the beast was easy compared to everything else.
Car rentals, hotels, printing, graphic design, coverage, printing, etc.
I'm run down to say the least.
I try very hard to treat folks here the way I want to be treated. Across the board.
I'm grateful for what I've learned here and try to pay it forward, in earnest.
I've been told I can hold my own in conversation, I hope it serves me well at the con.

Quoted from leitskev

And of course you do need to develop some interest in the script. I think those that are interested in kids movies will be intrigued by the original concept here. And if they flip through the pages, they will not find amateur work. They will find things are pretty tight.

So you'll have 3 critical pieces: the dedication and professionalism of Brett Martin; a colorful, original script; and more or less effective writing. Hopefully from there, someone will want to work with you on this script to bring it to the next level.

I've gotten a lot of coverage notes about the originality of the idea.
I've received unanimous notes about that, there's a hook, they all agree.
I hope those that love the movies that inspired ZP see a bit of that magic here.
You're thinking is pretty in line with me about the necessary elements.

I have no illusions the script is near ready for production.
But, I do believe it's in a pretty good place to generate interest.
Which is all I'm trying to do, I have to get them interested in me, firstly.
Of course it needs work, and hopefully it will catch the eye of a development exec.
Someone that sees the potential within the established framework.

Also with the poster and flip side "document", I hope to create some intrigue.
I don't reveal much, I want them to invite me to their offices for that stuff.
I hope the combination of the aforementioned results in some interest.
The logic's sound and there's only one way to find out if I have a shot.
Even if ZP serves as a sample that leads to other work, I'd be thrilled. We'll see.

Quoted from leitskev

Page 86 is a good example of this. Wow, it takes effort to get through pages like that. Again, maybe not so much a problem in film, but that's a load to try to read, especially if you're really making an honest effort as a reader to visualize the scenes.

ZP is a visual spaz attack. No doubt.
I approached writing this script like I was a 12 year old on a sugar high.
I wanted to come up with action solutions that kids, not adults, would concoct.
Kids use their imagination and make the best out of what they got.
Whether they are poor and don't own many toys, or...
They are trapped in a playground full of zombies with the lamest tool shed, ever.
So, I understand where you're coming from and grateful you stuck with it.

Quoted from leitskev

There were some things that never developed the way I thought they might, things you might consider on rewrites. First, as the goal here is to have the zombie fight bring about the union of the two families, I thought at some point the parents would join the fight. Instead, their battle is separate. So the unifying is only between the kids, really. Which leads to the second surprise.

There is a unification, but it's at the very end, post zombie capture.
There is the beat where the parents get to protect their children.
Then, when they can finally act like real parents, is the marriage proposal revealed.
Granted, it's brief, but I believe to does speak to what you're talking about.
Could it be more? Sure. Am I open to it? You bet.

Quoted from leitskev

My impression was that Joan was trying to avoid accepting the ring. I anticipated there would be a gradual process by steps where her doubts and fears were broken down during the crisis. Interaction with the kids I expected would be part of this. It didn't really play out that way. But it could. In fact, the interaction between Joan and Gil was cute, but emotionally flat. You've invested most of the emotional capital in the kids, I understand. But there is opportunity there to do more with that, and you really might want to.

You're right, I do invest most of the emotion into the kids. Why?
This is a kid wish fulfillment fantasy adventure. Kids solving their own problems.
That's the ultimate fantasy when I was kid at the movies.
To heck with adults, what do they know? Us kids can solve it on our own.
That's the DNA I'm trying to encode ZP with.
Hence, the adults get the shorter arcs, but I still want them to work.
There was an argument beat in the supply closet I took out.
It's a bit of common ground between Joan and Gil.
I have to take another look at that after PitchFest. Thanks.

Quoted from leitskev

No powerful emotional moment, or sequence. You flirted with a couple. I'm just not sure they really pushed any emotional buttons. It's possible they would work better in film, as there was so much to absorb reading that it kind of blinds one, perhaps.\

You're right I do flirt with emotional stuff and mostly thematically.
I don't want to make folks cry. This is a PG movie.
I want to instill the message of family and it's various definitions.
Overcoming differences and accepting others on their own terms.
And not simply defining them as "her kids" as is in the beginning with Scott.
I want them to band together, because they want to, not because they have to.
Which is why the emotional beats come in before the lead kids get attacked.

Quoted from leitskev

Ok, I hope I helped a little somewhere. Good luck with the pitching. I feel good about you going in. You're ready.

If I can come up with more thoughts, I will.

Kevin

Thanks for all your insights, they'll come in handy the next round of rewrites.
Developing ZP from a 18 month old treatment has been a blast.
The detail of your posts is staggering and humbling.

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
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 7:07pm Report to Moderator
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Hi E.D.

I just cracked this open. Now I havent got to deep so I dont have any direct comments yet. But they will come.

Now a question or two, when do you plan on pitching this? I want to get to this asap but have another feature I promised to read first. Is this coming pretty fast or do I have a little room as far as time goes?

If not I guess I'll be reading two features at the same time. Which wouldnt be to bad I suppose.

Either way so far so good as far as what Ive got to.


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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from MacDuff
Hi Brett,

The format is fine. I did not see any major formatting errors or slug errors. I've noted some grammar issues below:

age 1 - "Mr. And Mrs." -- I don't think you need to capitalize the 'A'
page 2 - "GROUP B". -- Period outside of quotations
Page 3 - "...BIG HIT". -- Period outside of quotations
Page 23 - "...Use Only". -- Period outside of quotations
page 33 - "I wanted to ask you morning..." -- missing word between "you" and "morning"
page 39 - "Stephanie trips and face first" -- missing word between "and" "face"
page 45 - period outside of "cycle started".
page 55 - "signal lost". -- period outside of quotations
page 66 - "tool shed". -- period outside of quotations
page 80 - "v2.7". -- period outside of quotations

Hey Stew,

Thanks so much for your time.
This is the nutsy boltsy stuff I don't know that I needed, thanks.
I had no idea periods were supposed to be within quotes. Thanks.

Quoted from MacDuff

Structure/Plot:

The story moves along with a nice pace and consistent tone. The writing feels like a kids script, so it envelopes the reader into the action. Nicely done.

I tried to write ZP like I was a kid on a sugar high.
And come up with kid solutions to adult problems.
I have some hard rules about violence and weapons too in the script.
They don't lend themselves well to the kid wish fulfillment fantasy story.

Quoted from MacDuff

With that said, I did have some notes:

1. I found the opening scenes in the jungle unnecessary. If even there is an opportunity to cut it down or remove it, that would work for me.
2. I found the first act a little slow to get going. Now, I am saying this with a kids attention span in my mind. It's a lot of character building and not enough action.
3. I was a little unsure at first how the "zombies" moved around. Were they classic style zombies or like 28 Days Later style?

1. The Pygmies are polarizing for sure. The coverage I got unanimously praised the
   "grabber" quality of it. Yet, some folks aren't sold. I'll keep an eye on it.
2. Yup, the character building can probably use some condensing.
    Frankly, I'm just not that good at it yet, but I'm learning.
    And I certainly don't make it easy on myself choosing an ensemble piece.
3. Zombie mythology is tricky. They do start out as moaners.
    However, when they get some snack food, they perk up.
    It's a recent script development, I'll certainly work on refining it.

Quoted from MacDuff

4. You have 3 sets of Series of Shots - all of them are quite long and involve a lot of camera setups. I see opportunities to cut them down.
5. The biggest issue came in the 3rd act for me and I'm torn about what I feel about it. On one hand, I like the idea that Bite produces an 8 hour "rush" that will eventually wear off. It's a neat idea. What I felt was missing was a goal for the characters, some sort of "Aha!" moment where I knew what the characters needed to do to save the day. Since the conflict resolves itself eventually, it felt like a bit of a letdown that the kids couldn't "save the day." Something they discover in the 2nd Act that leads to the realization in the 3rd Act that they need to do something to save everyone. That the kids have to come together and work together as a family to save the day (and/or their parents). You have something similar (them coming together) with the plan and capture of the zombies, but I still wanted them to save the day - not just themselves.

4. I'm open to trims there, if I'm bordering on being repetitive.
    I use them to keep things moving for the kids too, insert a sight gag or two.
5. Ahh yes, the "evil sugar rush". I cant stop shoehorning subtext in there, it seems.
    You're right, it's not a big "save the day" beat, I've always been sensitive to that.
    So far, I've been worried that it would overshadow the character beats.
    And to that end, I chose to make it more about the kids, I need to.
    However, when the kids are where I need to be, upping the peril may work better.

Quoted from MacDuff

Characters:

The characters you paint are vivid, unique and believable - well done. There wasn't a character I did not like. But, I did have some issues throughout the script that have already been brought up, but I'll echo them here:

Whew, thanks. Heh. Eleven primary and secondary characters is a lot, agreed.
I tried to give the 7 kids and 4 adults some modicum of color and truth.
And I think there's room for improvement with each of them.

Quoted from MacDuff

1. I thought there were too many characters - especially the kids - and I thought that bogged down the first half of the script. If there is an opportunity to cull some and/or combine them - I would recommend that.

It's the big question, and a valid one. Does it need to be seven kids? No.
But it is and I'm not deconstructing the script unless one of two things happens.
There's legit interest and I get picked up, then, of course, it's a paying gig. Or...
There's zero interest and I need to regroup and restructure the whole thing.
Believe me, I debated heavily on five or seven, both good numbers for kid ensembles.
Monster Squad is five. Goonies is seven. Heck, Sandlot is nine. O_O

Quoted from MacDuff

2. The script (IMHO) was screaming out for a kid protagonist. I kept coming back to Scott, who is well developed, but not developed enough for the story you place him in if he were to be a protagonist. I kept asking myself:

Who is pushing this script forward?
Who is the window into the script for the audience?

Obviously, if you are going for the ensemble, then go for it. I just felt, as a reader, it needed a protagonist.

Scott is the lead kid, no doubt, and I feel he's developing in that direction.
He's a flawed leader with preconceived notions he needs to unlearn.
Scott does save Hanna and lead her and Mason and Stephanie to the fortress.
It is Scott that rallies the seven into one last stand at the fortress.
Scott does lead the group into the arcade and make contact.
He does conceive the plan to capture the zombies.
Scott does a heck of a lot of leading in the second half.
However, he doesn't play a lead role in the net capture, hmmm.
Perhaps I'm not hitting those beats hard enough, I'll look at that next week.

Quoted from MacDuff

3. The flip side of the protagonist is that I thought the script needed an antagonist. You have antagonistic characters, but no single person stood up as a true antagonist. One who tries to prevent the protagonist from reaching his/her goal. For a kids movie, you usually have the evil genius. The memorable character that the kids can relate too. Think of the dvd cover of many kids movies. They usually contain the protagonist(s) and the antagonist. Kids identify quickly with the goodies and the baddies.

I agree with you, to a point.
You're right, there's no single mustache twisting cackler at the core here.
The antags are tepid, a misguided CEO and a bitter athlete coach.
The Gymnasties certainly fill the role of bullies, but are in support.
Many kid ensemble pictures don't have that big villain.
I'm not making excuses, but I did make that conscious choice.
I'll use two Spliebergian samples that came to mind when creating ZP.
Goonies, the Fratellis aren't much of an antag in that film.
If anything, I noted they slowed down the action quite a bit with their antics.
In Gremlins, all you have is Spike, the ring leader that hates Gizmo.
That being said, I do think Figgis and D need some work.
And the Gymnasties can be even meaner, and I'm working towards that.

Quoted from MacDuff

Overall:

This was a smooth read. I love the concept (a kids zombie movie) and that's the hook; the strong point in the script. It's got great potential and I think it will get there, regardless of what opinions and comments I make

Good luck and I hope this was good feedback for you.

Stew

Thanks for all your effort and comments. They're very helpful.
All I need this week is to show industry types that I have a decent grasp of craft.
And I can work horse through rewrites and I can come up with catchy hooks.
Right now, it's about getting someone's attention, so we'll see.
Then it's back to rewrites after trying to sell myself all weekend, heh.

Best of luck on your love letter to 80s genre pics too!

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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