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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 24111 views)
Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 14th, 2011, 12:27pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Ryan1
Brett,
I see you've already got four pages of feedback after just a few days.  Very impressive for a feature length script around here.  And congrats on completing another feature.  You already know I think you've got a great concept and catchy title here.

Hey Ryan!

Thanks so much for taking a look at this.
I did review your notes prior to PitchFest.
And they came in handy while I was refining my pitch.
Please forgive the tardiness of my reply.

I was quite overwhelmed with how many folks took a gander at this so fast.
Don rallying the troops tugged on my heart strings a bit to boot.
So many folks busted out with insightful comments and suggestions.
You guys seriously bowled me over, you went above and beyond.

I recognized that ZP was a property with some marketing potential.
So, I picked this one first out of my crop of developed treatments.
"The first kid friendly zombie "splatter" film is a nice lead into a pitch.
And making that a 1-2 punch with the leave behind was a smash mouth start.
One executive said, "It's Bugsy Malone with zombies, I love it."

Quoted from Ryan1

One question I had from the get go here is regarding the Bite product itself.  I didn't understand how it got this far along, well into the branding phase, without anyone at Fig understanding the terrible side effects.  I think I would have found it much more believable if this product was in the preliminary testing phase, where no one fully understood yet the nasty effect of the purple goo.

Good point, eloquently written.
I have addressed that in a recent draft with a character centric flaw.
Figgis alters the formula, without corporate approval, after poor initial tests.
He rushes into production and coordinates a secret test with our parent scientists.
This should go a long way to addressing those concerns.
While, at the same time making Figgis a misguided antag, instead of a mean one.
Trying to undo his "bad thing" and regretting not being a good brother to his sister.

Quoted from Ryan1

I think the first ten pages need to move much more quickly.  We're still at the Brewster house by page 13.  The story felt like it was just treading water here.  We need to get to that playground!  You introduce a dizzying amount of characters during the breakfast.  I found it hard to keep track of who was who.  Maybe give us a couple of the kids, let us get to understand who they are, and then intro some more at the playground.  I do have to agree with Pia about the "makin' bacon" line.  If you make no other adjustments before your pitchfest, I'd definitely ditch that.

I hear you on the ensemble aspect, it's tough to get them in there so fast.
And yes, I did change the making bacon things to something more PG suggestive.
I do want to get there sooner, if possible, without damaging character development.
I did review many films that are similar in structure to ZP.
And they too took a while to get wound up, but once they did, look out.
So, I'm torn, but open to ways of getting to my main set piece sooner.

Quoted from Ryan1

One of the kid characters has to emerge as the lead.  Mason is the guy I was rooting for.  But, I'd give him a more complete arc.  Right now, he's the little guy who gets crapped on by his older siblings, but I'd like to really see a full character transformation in him by the end.

I agree and I've been working on Scott.
He's my flawed hero and I needed to make him stronger.
I wrote him an opening scene right after the janitor gets it.
It's just a beat showing his rejection of the new living situation, literally.
Starting with him rejecting his surroundings should help set his tone.
He's the reluctant hero that has the will to become a leader of the kids.
However, he starts out using his will to be in denial and combative with the families.
I did an extensive character polish on him to enhance his arc, hope it shows.

Quoted from Ryan1

I did like Coach D and her dreaded gymnasties.  I think because the zombies form sort of a single mass antagonist, as in Dawn of the Dead,  having one particular antag isn't as important as having a strong lead.

I agree with you wholeheartedly on this one.
But I still feel the Gymnasties need a bully infusion.
So, I chose to review Gremlins for some "bully lore" tips.
Spike is their ring leader and he has a very big visual identifier, his mohawk.
Every time we see his head, we know, he's that guy.
For my Gymnasty character polish, I gave them something similar.
They now have green braces that match their track pants.
Every time they leer and goo drips from their maws, it's over sickly green braces.
And I made them the arcade door guards and the go-kart pursuers.
Hopefully these changes will bring them to life as super bullies.

Quoted from Ryan1

The actual playground doesn't become a zombie playground until around page 40.  I think it might work better if you could find a way to have that be your turn into the second act, say right around page thirty.

I agree with the sentiment, I just haven't figured out how to make it happen yet.
Short of character elimination, I'm at a loss right now.
And I don't want to go there yet, it's a last resort for me.

Quoted from Ryan1

I liked the second act best when you were able to keep it suspenseful but also lighthearted, like the escape scenes in the hamster cage and arcade.  This is when your script is at its best.  However, the cutbacks to the adults in FigLab gave the story a disjointed feel.  It's like you have a kid's movie going on at the playground and a more conventional horror/thriller at the labs.  The two storylines never quite meshed for me.

The suspenseful lighthearted mix is exactly what I was going for.
PG peril all the way intermingled with common ground character developments.
There's a reason why the kids find some common ground before getting attacked.
Through that common ground, they cooperate and prevail.
I'm going to agree to disagree with you here to a point.
ZP is not a kid adventure, it's a family adventure. Parents included.
If those parents don't get on the same page and re-prioritize, the kids are doomed.
Perhaps I can find a way to do that more efficiently, for sure.
But to marginalize that aspect of the theme is not an option for me.

Quoted from Ryan1

I loved that go-kart zombie roundup scene.  But, having the Bite wear off after eight hours, right on schedule, felt like a bit of a cop out.  I wanted these kids to come up with some brilliant solution to save the day.  Another poster mentioned the stakes need to be raised, and I would agree.  What if these zombies were somehow threatening to leave the confines of FigCorp.  What if mass amounts of Bite were about to be taste-tested somewhere else?  Just spitballing here.

I agree about upping the peril a few degrees, it would help.
I'm working on a more character centric tone for the peril, as opposed to global stuff.
Finding a way for our hero to go above and beyond in the line of fire.
Sacrificing himself to ensure the plan works, when it looks sure to fail, etc.
The kids rally around our fallen hero after his deed saved the day, that type stuff.
That kind of peril serves the filial themes of ZP better than plot mechanics, IMO.
Good ideas, though, they all have their merits for sure.

As to the 8 hours of awesome in a can, I like it.
Execs that asked how it resolved, responded well to the tidy wrap up.
They dug how the cheesy slogan was the "solution" all along.
Saying, it's good you don't have to jerk around to solve an extraneous plot point.
It gives you more time with the family interacting, etc.
I respect that is didn't work you, and I'm addressing it.
Hopefully upping the peril and thematic elements will assuage that issue.

Quoted from Ryan1

To me, this is strictly a kid's movie.  And that's not an insult.  I just don't see many adults being too eager to see a film with such a kid-based concept.  So, in the rewrites, I would seriously steer the script much more in that direction.  Make Gil, Joan and Fig less prominent and give those pages over to the kids.  I think you've got a strong start here and this has real potential to be a saleable script.

I do agree with you some, the parents are the B story.
Perhaps there's a way I can trim them up a bit to reflect that.
All the while being careful not to undermine their thematic relevance.
It's a real tightrope walk in a full throttle ensemble piece, but fun.
I got a lot of comments from execs on the freshness of this.
And they also responded to the old fashioned family elements too.
It's a mix of old and new that struck a chord with lots of folks so far.
I hope I can do their enthusiasm justice in future drafts.

Thanks a lot, Ryan. You're comments are always insightful.

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.

Revision History (1 edits)
Electric Dreamer  -  June 14th, 2011, 2:33pm
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 17th, 2011, 12:11pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scoob
Hey Brett, best of luck with the upcoming pitch/ hope it all went well!

I do owe you a read and Red Sun looks like it's been covered so I wanted to try and give this a go.

The first 16 pages were hectic due to the volume of characters we're being introduced to but the dialogue seems more than realistic, I thought it was fun snappy and something kids and adults would both find amusing and probably relate to.

Hey Scoob!

Thanks for the read and the well wishes.
PitchFest was a great experience for me.
I'm actually off on a meeting this afternoon as a result of the con.

Red Sun was a great learning tool for me.
But, it was time for me to focus on developing new original material.
I'd gladly return to it, if there were interested parties in the industry.

Glad to hear the character intro frenzy didn't throw you for a loop.
It's a lot on paper, but I tried to give everyone their own voice.
I watched other ensemble films, they pretty much stuck to the same time table.
The comedies did, the ensemble dramas tended to be a bit slower.

Quoted from Scoob

Liked the Figcorp building being all dark and with a sense of doom haha.

Liking the Figgis character, could turn into a real eccentric. Liked the conversation as Gils and Joan head to the lab - reading between the lines I thought it was a good idea saying that the adults have lost their sense of fun whilst slaving over work whereas kids are more adventurous.

No corporate satire would be complete without a satirical corporation.
Nothing says doom like a giant fig leaf covering up the world.

And yes, the adults are caught up in the work, I wanted that to play in the scene.
Also, Gil plays the deflection game very well early on, it's a flaw for sure.
I wanted to set up those emotional chasms as early as possible.
Gil blames work for his shortcomings at home, classic deflection, etc.

Quoted from Scoob

18> I found the minivan scene innocent fun but the cynic in me tells me I'm sure some parents might be unhappy about having to explain what a milf is haha - edit: you covered this well on 21!

Yeah, wanted to slide in that new "definition" pretty quickly.
It's just me having a bit of fun, but I do use it to spark the minivan fracas.
Which is what I wanted the audience to see while the zombies mutate at the lab.
To me, it sets a playful tone for the "violence" to come.

Quoted from Scoob

Digged the FigCorp ad and slogan, the coloful mutation of Leahanni and the "predator" vs "prey" gymnasties!
26> Amused by Coach D haha

Glad to hear the supporting characters are working for you.
I tried to dovetail the B & C story into the main character's flaws.
Mother. Father. Brother. Sister. Boyfriend. Girlfriend.
I sued those as templates for explore different angles of the thematic arc.

Quoted from Scoob

at 41 - the kids have separated into two's which gives us more views of the playground/golf course. Nice descriptions of the various sections, short and sweet.
Read from 41 to 61 and found no problems. Will probably check out the final part during the week.

Somewhere along the line in an ensemble piece, you gotta break them up.
It's a simple device I can use to enhance the emotional conflicts.
And we get to see how these characters change when they are isolated.
And yes, it sets up some rather nifty set pieces at the same time.

Quoted from Scoob

I thought the food being contaminated with a "virus/zombie thing" concept reminded me slightly of The Stuff (1985) although its been so long since I've seen that film, I wouldn't be able to say anything other than the concept was similar.
The idea of kissing transforms the victim into a zombie is a good one, suitably fitting for a film of this nature. I don't recall seeing it done like this before ( perhaps Shivers (1975) or Rabid (70's) - always get those two mixed up for some reason ) so much credit for coming up with a " family friendly" way of passing on the infection! I thought it was clever and all done in a fun way but kiddishly gory enough, if that makes sense!

It makes perfect sense. I wanted this to be gore, but on 1:4 scale.
Films like Goonies, Gremlins and Monster Squad fueled inspiration for ZP.
To a pre-teen the gooey zombie kiss of doom is like a PSA for abstinence.
I strived to bring that kid sensibility to the peril of the story.

Quoted from Scoob

Figgis - reminds me of John Lithgow playing his role as the main bad guy in Santa Claus The Movie haha. Even though Figgis is not a "real" baddie in this, I just couldnt get him out my mind from being this character!

John Lithgow, great choice! He was quite the mustache curler in that film.
Sometimes I see him as a Bruce Campbell type too. Slick huckster and all.
I suppose in my heart of hearts, Figgis will always be Robert Picardo, love that guy.
Figgis is not the real antag here, he's the misguided antag.
In act two, he arcs and becomes a supporting protag, to undo the damage he caused.
Without him, the scientists can't become parents and rescue their kids.

Quoted from Scoob

Dialogue and writing is awesome. Action is well crafted and delivered. The humour feels perfectly at home. Obviously I'd have to finish this up to have an overall view but I doubt the last 30 will nosedive dramatically.

I think you should be very proud of yourself with this one.
Top job!


Thanks for all the kind words, Scoob.
If you haven't finished the script, hang in there.
I just uploaded the draft I sent off to the gov't copyright monster.
Lots of wholesale tweaks throughout the entire script.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on the new material, if you have the chance.

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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KrisKrazy
Posted: June 17th, 2011, 5:13pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, my name's Kris. Been on these forums for 3 years, finally decided to get an account. Last night I read 77 pages of this. I'm a big Goonies fan & this really reminded me of this. I love to review things using pros & cons so here it goes:

The Pros:
Great dialogue: The dialogue was amazing, especially for kids today. I really like Oz & Kim's dialogue. It really flowed through all 77 pages I read.

Likeable Characters: I instantly knew I was gonna like Mason. You really made him stand out with sort of an imaginary friend like Lord Gorzon. The way he's connected to a toy took me back. Plus I loved this scene:

Mason bites Scott in the leg. Scott yells and drops the phone
on the desk. The clip falls out and the screen flickers.

MASON
(into phone)
Mom, I have a tummy ache and the
zombies won’t leave us alone. Can
we go home now?

All the other kids facepalm.



When scenes cuts: You did a perfect job with using scenes from the FigCorp factory & the KidPlex.

Cons

Pace: I agree with grademan. It took about 20 mins. to set everything up. The opening scene confused me a little bit aswell. I think it may all come to full circle when I finish reading it later today. Also there was a part, I'd say around the middle of the film where it was Joan & Gil for awhile. For young audiences, they'd probably want a few cuts to the kids, but for the most part, you got screen time down correctly.

The "Villian": Again agreing with grade man. A central zombie (which I sort of felt was Coach D) would help, but it's not the biggest problem. Just something that could be added & may help.

That's all I felt. The film so far is a 8/10. Good luck, if you haven't already gone, at PitchFest. This could really become a hit.

Good Luck,
Kris A.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 21st, 2011, 12:36pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from KrisKrazy
Hey, my name's Kris. Been on these forums for 3 years, finally decided to get an account. Last night I read 77 pages of this. I'm a big Goonies fan & this really reminded me of this. I love to review things using pros & cons so here it goes:

Hey Kris,

Welcome to SS!
Thanks for picking up my script and giving it a go.
This site is a fantastic resource for screenwriters wanting to hone their craft.
The peer review process is a baptism by fire, you'll get some accurate feedback here.
Are you a writer yourself? Looking to share your amateur work with colleagues?
You'll do yourself a great service by giving thoughtful peer reviews here.
And in kind, those contributing members will offer comments on your work.

Yay for The Goonies, and yes, it's definitely an influence on this script.
There's even a Goonies Easter egg in the script, if you're feeling adventurous.

Quoted from KrisKrazy

The Pros:
Great dialogue: The dialogue was amazing, especially for kids today. I really like Oz & Kim's dialogue. It really flowed through all 77 pages I read.

Likeable Characters: I instantly knew I was gonna like Mason. You really made him stand out with sort of an imaginary friend like Lord Gorzon. The way he's connected to a toy took me back. Plus I loved this scene:

Mason bites Scott in the leg. Scott yells and drops the phone
on the desk. The clip falls out and the screen flickers.

MASON
(into phone)
Mom, I have a tummy ache and the
zombies won’t leave us alone. Can
we go home now?

All the other kids facepalm.

Creating believable kids with natural dialogue was a big concern for me.
At times, as an adult bachelor, it's easy to doubt you can pull it off.
I wanted it to seem believable, but not fall into trendy trappings.
I can be quite fun, if you let it, try being a 12 year old and capture it on the page.
My roomie noticed I've been very bouncy and upbeat since I started this script. Heh.

It's been suggested by someone that Mason is my love letter to Gerty in E.T.
I never thought of Mason in those terms during his conception.
However, I can see where someone into these kinds of films would say that.
Mason freely moves between reality and the fantasy world of his bearded dragon.
And I think it's that fluid suspension of disbelief that drives his motivations.
The divorce robbed him of his confidence, Lord Gorzon's "powers" heal that.
I think we all want to believe the magic of a beloved pet can heal our wounds.

Quoted from KrisKrazy

When scenes cuts: You did a perfect job with using scenes from the FigCorp factory & the KidPlex.

Someone in a previous review likened the scene cuts to Rube Goldberg gadgets.
It's quite intentional, downright methodical actually.
This is ensemble family adventure that basically has 11 primary characters.
The thematic elements of the group all revolve around family dynamics.
To that end, I wanted to use editing to give the scenes some "togetherness".
There's "chains" connecting the intercuts of action throughout the script.
I hoped that interconnectedness would give a sense of cohesion to the script.
The goal was making FigCorp and the KidPlex feel as one giant filial story

Quoted from KrisKrazy

Cons

Pace: I agree with grademan. It took about 20 mins. to set everything up. The opening scene confused me a little bit aswell. I think it may all come to full circle when I finish reading it later today. Also there was a part, I'd say around the middle of the film where it was Joan & Gil for awhile. For young audiences, they'd probably want a few cuts to the kids, but for the most part, you got screen time down correctly.

The Pygmy grabber, which establishes the exotic element.
There are several "runners" in the opener.
Some of them haven't played out by p. 77, saved the biggest one for last.
It takes a lot of establish twelve primary characters in 15 pages.  Agreed.
I looked to "The Poseidon Adventure" as a good example.
That fine film got their primary ten players set up in about 12 minutes.
Structurally, I feel ok, but I recognize the need to return to the plot sooner.
In the new draft I just submitted, there's a p. 10 zombie beat added.
This should hopefully bridge the gap until we get to Bite testing.

Quoted from KrisKrazy

The "Villian": Again agreing with grade man. A central zombie (which I sort of felt was Coach D) would help, but it's not the biggest problem. Just something that could be added & may help.

That's all I felt. The film so far is a 8/10. Good luck, if you haven't already gone, at PitchFest. This could really become a hit.

Good Luck,
Kris A.

To address this issue, I revisited Gremlins.
ZP does share some structure similarities to that film, including antags.
I took special note of Spike, the ring leader with the mohawk.
Every time we see Spike, we identify him as the mohawk leader.
The Gymansties are my Spike equivalent in ZP.
In the new draft, I gave them matching color coordinated braces.
Every time we see their goo dripping maw, there's those menacing braces.
I'm hoping that visual and upping their bully factor will help things out.

CEO Figgis is even more of a misguided villain than a meanie in the new draft.
I think it gives him a bigger arc as he tries to undo the damage from his greed.
And the sister reveal is early in the script, which gives him more of a filial theme.
So, hopefully these fundamental reworkings will help address your points.

Great American PitchFest was the first weekend of June.
It was an amazing experience, and ZP was very well received.
JonnyBoy will be featuring a SimplyRadio podcast about that event soon.

The new draft I submitted here yesterday is going out into the industry.
I was fortunate enough to get script requests from production companies.
So, we'll see how it all works out.
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the new draft when it posts.
There's truckloads of wholesale tweaks throughout the script.

Thanks so much for time and comments.
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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vancety
Posted: June 22nd, 2011, 11:00am Report to Moderator
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Hi Brett,

Try Harcos labs http://www.harcoslabs.com/ for a sponsor.

With regards,

Rutger Oosterhoff
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nybabz
Posted: June 23rd, 2011, 9:58pm Report to Moderator
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THAT IS FREAKIN FANTASTIC!! WOW, ED, YOU ARE THE MAN....hugs on ya. I am going to listen to the show now. bb
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 27th, 2011, 12:53pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from vancety
Hi Brett,

Try Harcos labs http://www.harcoslabs.com/ for a sponsor.

With regards,

Rutger Oosterhoff


Oh, fascinating company.
You have a good eye for marketing, thanks for the tip!

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: June 27th, 2011, 1:02pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from nybabz
THAT IS FREAKIN FANTASTIC!! WOW, ED, YOU ARE THE MAN....hugs on ya. I am going to listen to the show now. bb


Thanks, Babz.
I tried my best to take your advice to heart about generating enticement.
So, I figured, "Why put a dry synop on the back of the poster?"
I created a fictional leaked "Classified" document from the shady corporation instead.
Many execs really responded to the snarky corporate logo too.
Not a single one of them asked for a dry "one page" after they saw the leave behind.
So, big shout out right back at ya!

Regards,
E.D.


***DRAFT UPDATE***

The draft of ZP I sent to production companies and management agencies is up now.
I took a week after PitchFest to polish the script and get it ready as best I could.
Member advice played a critical role in helping me shape this draft. You guys rawk! Enjoy.


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: June 30th, 2011, 10:33pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Hey Brett

The opening act is tighter, more visual, and gets to the zombies a little quicker. Good work.

I'm about half done the reread. I still have a little bit of a problem with the zombie mechanism. The plant compound is supposed to make people crave all Figcorp products, from energy bars to phones to video games? I wish this could somehow be made clearer. I know it doesn't matter as much because this is a kid's movie, but it's really kind of the last missing piece. There has to be a way.

What if you change approach from the standard greedy corporate owner. What if Figgins notices the plant extract makes people smile for 8 hrs? Energy drinks are popular, this would be a smile drink. Maybe Figgins feels guilty about something, so wants people to smile. Eight hours awesome in a can means well, but goes bad.

Also, I just thought: does the eight hours all wear off at the same time in the script? Because they didn't all become zombies at the same time. It spreads over time.

Ok, I will pick this up again in the morn.
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leitskev
Posted: July 1st, 2011, 8:58pm Report to Moderator
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Finished my second go at this!

Very professional work Brett. Let me run down the positives, and things are mostly positive.

1) fun, family friendly tone from beginning until the end. The rewrite has added a layer of warmth to the script, which was already cute and nice, but now the connections between the key family characters is more keenly felt.
2) outstanding attention to detail, such as elaborate action scenes. When they film this, they're gonna keep you busy designing sets and laying out scenes!
3) the dialogue is consistently clean and believable. The rougher moments from draft one, few as they were, have been smoothed.
4) visually colorful. Purple zombies, the playground, even the lizard. If they make the factory look like a Willy Wonka plant, this will be an artistic delight.
5) the writing for the action heavy third act is much more balanced and easy to read now. I know that was a lot of work, because it's packed with detail. Very good job.

suggestions:
1) you've tweaked Scott to look a little more like the protagonist, and it was effective. It could possibly be tweaked a bit more in that regard by accenting his character arc. And the arc is already there, I was watching closely for it as I suspected you might make this adjustment. So I'm just talking about accenting that arc. I might even go back and read just his lines.
2) still no antagonist. And that might be ok, you have antagonistic force. But you do have a great opportunity for some kind of kid antagonist. I don't think Coach D really is an antagonist. You know she's maybe my favorite character in this, and I like the tweaking you gave her, but I see her more as comic relief than as antagonist. At the very least I would give it some thought in case a producer asks for one, because I know it will take a little work to line one up. I just can't picture a kid's battle like this not having a clear, memorable "bad" kid.
3) I'm still struggling with the zombie mechanism a little. It may be that nothing can be done. See, the effect wears off in 8 hours. That would make sense...except that the "disease" spreads through contact as well. I guess if they captured all the zombies, and zombies are developing antibodies...I guess I'm thinking it through too much, so not a big issue. Don't worry about it unless others bring it up!

I will look over my notes and see if there's anything to send. I am far from an expert on slugs, but it seemed there were times in the playground when people went from ext to int without a slug change, and vice versa. Not an issue with me, but might look into.

I would be curious to see a quick structure outline. I wasn't reading for it, but thinking about it now. What is the second turning point, the end of Act Three? Is it when Scott hangs up on his parents? I'm not sure where that was, seems around the appropriate time for that transition.

Good luck Brett! I may read through this again in a couple of days, but just the dialogue. If there's something you want focused on, let me know. Coach D rules!
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lalaindahouse
Posted: July 2nd, 2011, 1:03am Report to Moderator
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hey brett!  

it's Linder from the GAPF!  I read through the beginning and i like your writing style.  hope you had a couple bites so far!  good luck with everything!
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 3rd, 2011, 10:57am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from lalaindahouse
hey brett!  

it's Linder from the GAPF!  I read through the beginning and i like your writing style.  hope you had a couple bites so far!  good luck with everything!


Hey Linder!

How are things back east?
It was great to meet you at PitchFest.
Thanks for the comments on the writing.
I've had a few meetings so far about the script, and a few more to come.
Right now, I'm just eager to meet folks working in the industry.
Hope your BrideZilla script is getting some traction!

Regards,
Brett

P.S. You coming back out for the InkTip Pitch Summit?

Kevin, I'll reply to your great comments, post holiday!


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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bert
Posted: July 3rd, 2011, 2:41pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Brett.

So, like I told you, this thread grew too fast for me to really keep up with it, so I am uninfluenced by prior comments.  All I really have going in is your podcast pitch, but that was quite exceptional, and it did pique my interest.

I am also aware that you are in the fine-tuning stages with this (for now, anyway), so I will try to avoid speaking too broadly and focus on things that are easily amended (should you elect to do so).

Notes as I go:

Use of the match cut, transitioning from jungle to industrial plant, was excellent.  Do not let people tell you that you cannot use this stuff for a specific shot if you have something good in mind.  Not entirely sure this would not be better as a DISSOLVE, however.

I am a little confused about the character of Abraham and what happened to him.  You should examine that passage for clarity.

Radish is a great name for a kid character.  [Unrelated:  My kid has a friend named Matt Toth, and everybody calls him "Toast."  I am going to use that for a kid one of these days.]

By the time we meet the Japanese twins, I am really hoping that we have met everyone.  You are bordering on too many characters, and though I acknowledge you are introducing them efficiently, labeling this as an "ensemble" only buys you so much sympathy in that department.

Weird typo on page 17:  "his softens."  Do not even know what you meant.

You are missing a good opportunity for a nice "shock" scene when Leahanni charges the observation lab window.  You handle this, at least on the page, way too matter-of-fact.

Lots of good things going on in the play area.  A pricey but entertaining set.

The battle scene at the fortress strikes me as very reminiscent of your "West Side Markets."  Different context, but same tone.  And it works well.  That short must have been good practice for this.

So far I have not dinged you on the wonky science (polymerases?  really?); I mean, I know it is a kid's movie, but pegging a mutation to a specific time like five o'clock sharp is kind of absurd.  You might reconsider that.  Isn't it enough that they know "something" will happen, but they are not sure what or when?  You can always pull in the "8 hour" reveal later, once things are resolved.

At the go-kart track, I was not aware until the end of that scene that Peg was in a cart, too.  The way you have written it, I thought she was just able to run super-fast or something.  You should fix that.

On page 77, I think you are missing a slugline right before Mason dives into the cove.  Pretty sure that is a new scene.

Abbreviating the Turbo Dance machine like that (TDBE) in a script is interesting.  I mean, I know what you are doing, of course, but I am not sure I have ever seen it used in a script before.  I wonder if a format Nazi would frown on that one?

Oddly, I have actually used a pallet wrapper in the past, and know what you mean.  But I suspect most will not.  You might provide a few details about this super-wrapper to help a reader envision why this specific tool would work so well.

It may be just me, but it was not until very late in the script that I realized Lord Gorzon was not some kind of crazy toy or action figure.  You should definitely clarify when we first meet Lord Gorzon that this is a pet, and something alive.
  
And reaching the end, subplots are cheesily resolved, everybody gets their happy endings and oh, lord, you have even set up the sequel.  You have got this formula nailed haha.  That is intended as a compliment.

So I would say that you have indeed accomplished your Nickelodeon zombie film -- something I was not sure could be done.  The violence is comical, yet blithely benign, the good kids are likable, the villainous kids appropriately nasty, and everything is coated in healthy dollops of purple goo.

The pace is just right once we have gotten introductions out of the way and this actually gets rolling -- and I do think all of those introductions would be less annoying on film than they are to read -- so based on the strength of the rest of this, I think I will give that a pass as something you do not really need to worry about right now.

So, yeah, all of my grievances are pretty minor.  I think you are mighty close to having something you can shop around with this one.  Nicely done.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 5th, 2011, 11:34am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from leitskev
Hey Brett

The opening act is tighter, more visual, and gets to the zombies a little quicker. Good work.

Back to the screenplay grind after a long weekend of independence.
I tried to find subtle ways to retain the tone but tighten the pace.
I'm glad it worked better for you, pace perception is a tricky beast.
A few tweaks and a half page zombie beat seem to make a big difference.

Quoted from leitskev

I'm about half done the reread. I still have a little bit of a problem with the zombie mechanism. The plant compound is supposed to make people crave all Figcorp products, from energy bars to phones to video games? I wish this could somehow be made clearer. I know it doesn't matter as much because this is a kid's movie, but it's really kind of the last missing piece. There has to be a way.

I could add something to Figgis's admittance speech.
I thought the line about the Pygmy kids being attracted to the games helped.
Perhaps too much time passes between that and the "demise" of Figgis.
Maybe even flashback to that moment in the mid section. Thanks.

Quoted from leitskev

Also, I just thought: does the eight hours all wear off at the same time in the script? Because they didn't all become zombies at the same time. It spreads over time.

The FigCorp zombies change back a bit sooner than the playground zombies.
It's subtle, but there's a difference. It's a ball park figure of eight hours.
Everyone reacts slightly differently due to their own metabolism.
Kids go through it a little quicker than older or obese folks, etc.

Quoted from leitskev

Finished my second go at this!

Very professional work Brett. Let me run down the positives, and things are mostly positive.

1) fun, family friendly tone from beginning until the end. The rewrite has added a layer of warmth to the script, which was already cute and nice, but now the connections between the key family characters is more keenly felt.

2) outstanding attention to detail, such as elaborate action scenes. When they film this, they're gonna keep you busy designing sets and laying out scenes!

3) the dialogue is consistently clean and believable. The rougher moments from draft one, few as they were, have been smoothed.

4) visually colorful. Purple zombies, the playground, even the lizard. If they make the factory look like a Willy Wonka plant, this will be an artistic delight.

5) the writing for the action heavy third act is much more balanced and easy to read now. I know that was a lot of work, because it's packed with detail. Very good job.

I'm glad the new draft worked better for you, I made a lot of changes throughout.
I hoped Scott would finally emerge as the hero he was meant to be all along.
Heh, I tend to be very visual when I write and I love action set pieces.
So, I thought those qualities would help with a script of this nature.
I'm big on a bright color palette for this, all part of the plan.
Right down to having all this take place during the day.
Not to mention, much easier to shoot with kids during the day.
Though it has been suggested the climax should be at night, I'm not sure about that.
Right now, I think the script is in a pretty good place. So, we'll see.

Quoted from leitskev

suggestions:
1) you've tweaked Scott to look a little more like the protagonist, and it was effective. It could possibly be tweaked a bit more in that regard by accenting his character arc. And the arc is already there, I was watching closely for it as I suspected you might make this adjustment. So I'm just talking about accenting that arc. I might even go back and read just his lines.

2) still no antagonist. And that might be ok, you have antagonistic force. But you do have a great opportunity for some kind of kid antagonist. I don't think Coach D really is an antagonist. You know she's maybe my favorite character in this, and I like the tweaking you gave her, but I see her more as comic relief than as antagonist. At the very least I would give it some thought in case a producer asks for one, because I know it will take a little work to line one up. I just can't picture a kid's battle like this not having a clear, memorable "bad" kid.

3) I'm still struggling with the zombie mechanism a little. It may be that nothing can be done. See, the effect wears off in 8 hours. That would make sense...except that the "disease" spreads through contact as well. I guess if they captured all the zombies, and zombies are developing antibodies...I guess I'm thinking it through too much, so not a big issue. Don't worry about it unless others bring it up!

1) I'm open to making Scott a better hero, just out of ideas at the moment.
Hopefully, producer interest will prompt me to revisit the subject.

2) I'm glad you're fond of Coach D, she doesn't get a lot of love, heh.
You're right, she's a "misguided antagonist", much like her brother.
She doesn't mean to be nasty, but her shortcomings get the better of her at first.
The Gymnasties are the "antagonistic force' you're referring to.
I upped their role in the film and gave them an identifier, the green braces.
I thought that would help visually make them stronger baddies.

3) As to the effect, when it spreads from goo, think of it as on a timer.
When someone drinks Bite, the eight hour clock basically starts.
Now if they "infect" someone two hours later, the effect does not reset.
The new victim will be affected for six hours, the potency is diminished, etc.
I thought it would be a simple and tidy process that way.
Then I don't need to expend lots of plot on an "antidote" scenario.

Quoted from leitskev

I would be curious to see a quick structure outline. I wasn't reading for it, but thinking about it now. What is the second turning point, the end of Act Three? Is it when Scott hangs up on his parents? I'm not sure where that was, seems around the appropriate time for that transition

ZP does have a pretty firm basic act structure.
Act One ends on p. 23 when the zombies take over the lab.
Act Two ends on page 69 when Scott rallies the kids to take back the playground.

Act One is 23 pages.
Act Two is 46 pages.
Act Three is 23 pages for a total of 92.

I didn't plan it to be that Save the Catish, just came out that way.

Thanks for all your great comments, you helped make this a better draft.

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: July 5th, 2011, 1:34pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Brett, thanks for replying

As far as the zombie mechanism, don't use flashbacks. Better just to leave it as is. I made a big deal about it, but in the end, it's a kid's movie. They don't need the mechanism to be air tight. They need purple goo!

As for the adults in the theater, they will be happy if the kids are, and if one thinks about it, there is pretty much no zombie movie that makes sense. Usually it's a virus that seems to spread through biting, and causes cravings for brain. Please.

Now that I understand that the spreading goo diminishes in strength, I guess it makes more sense. It's hard not to think of the spreading being something viral, but it would seem that you have two type of zombies: primary(those that drank the drink) and secondary(those that were "infected" by a primary). Secondary zombies, I would assume, have a limited ability or no ability to infect others. so there's no real danger of this spreading beyond the industrial grounds. Whew!

It's not that Scott needs to be a better hero. The improvements made have been notable. I was suggesting giving him more accent on his character arc. Usually this means that early in the story, he's a bit more trouble, a little cynical perhaps, not a team player. You've done that too, so I'm just talking some tweaks.

My remaining question would still be on structure, and this is not at all a criticism, but just a question. Act one's conclusion is the appearance of the zombies, which is plot device. Act Two's conclusion is more in line with what we expect, where the protagonist reaches the emotional state where he's ready to lead the team to victory.

My limited understanding is that structure should revolve around the protagonist, even in an ensemble. The end of Act One does not change anything emotionally for the protagonist. It doesn't change what he wants or what he thinks. Does this make sense? It was my understanding that at the end of Act One, there is a turning point which sends the protagonist in a new direction.

I'm not sure if you need to do that, or how. I suppose Scott could be resisting going to the playground. I don't know.

Ok, Brett, best of luck!
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