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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 24012 views)
Don
Posted: May 27th, 2011, 6:35pm Report to Moderator
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Zombie Playground by Brett Martin (electric dreamer) - Comedy, Ensemble, Family, Adventure - Children of cohabiting scientists must overcome their prejudices and battle junk food obsessed mutant zombies that take over their playground. 93 pages - pdf, format


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Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  September 9th, 2011, 3:57pm
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: May 27th, 2011, 6:35pm Report to Moderator
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Final version of the double sided leave behind for Great American PitchFest.
Thanks to all contributing SS members, I learned a lot of what I know from you.


LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.

Revision History (5 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Electric Dreamer  -  December 27th, 2011, 2:12am
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Dreamscale
Posted: May 27th, 2011, 7:10pm Report to Moderator
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Wow!  Nice poster, dude!  How'd you make that?

It will be interesting to see what everyone has to say about this script.  Good luck!!!


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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B.C.
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I'll be giving this a read this weekend.

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leitskev
Posted: May 27th, 2011, 9:17pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Brett

I've read the first 30 pages twice. There's a lot of characters, but that's only a minor problem, and one for readers, not the film. You probably have just the right amount of characters for this type of film.

I've never read a kids script before, so very unfamiliar ground for me. I would say you've succeeded in capturing a kid friendly tone both with the settings(bright colors, flashing lights, new technology) and with the dialogue.

One seems to face a unique challenge with a kid's script about zombies. A major goal of a script is to create conflict and tension. But you don't want to make a kid's script really scary. So you are establishing your conflict within the Brady Bunch family setting, and in other personal relationships. I think that makes absolutely perfect sense. Some might suggest it is too familiar, but I think it is completely appropriate here.

In answer to the question what do the protagonists want, I think your answer seems to be they want to unite as a family. The zombie situation is merely the temporary obstacle and ironically in the end will be the means of achieving this unification. That works for me.

Normally I would wonder about some technical things. Like this zombie drug. The testing of it was kind of weird. They produced it, canned it, even created the marketing campaign; but never tested it until now. The scene with the pygmies confused me a little too. It seems they discovered a chemical that makes kids what...play a video game? Maybe I will learn more in the rest of the script.

But I'm not sure whether these questions need to be answered anyway in a kids script.

So based on the first 30 pages, I would say the script is colorful, family friendly and potentially a lot of fun.

Oh, I liked Coach D. Again, the character is slightly familiar, but perfect for this setting. I'm not sure which direction you will go with her, but you've set it up where she can be both humorous and sympathetic, as well as a convenient plot device for other mischief. And the predator/prey game is cool, sets things up nicely with the oncoming zombies.

I will finish the rest this weekend, but nice work so far Brett!
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Don
Posted: May 27th, 2011, 10:20pm Report to Moderator
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Folks,

Brett is going to pitch this next weekend (June 4th) so he would benefit from a quick read from the community and some positive reinforcement (seriously, after pitchfest you can tell him his script is crap, but until after pitchfest, let's focus on typos and plot holes).

Don


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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  May 27th, 2011, 10:57pm
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MacDuff
Posted: May 27th, 2011, 10:41pm Report to Moderator
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I will try to get this read and critiqued in the next few days. Looks like a good, fun read.

Good luck at Pitchfest.

Stew


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leitskev
Posted: May 27th, 2011, 11:02pm Report to Moderator
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As I usually do, I sent notes of grammar mistakes, typos by PM. I only found two, but one right in the first line. Trying to watch for them because of the circumstances.
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Grandma Bear
Posted: May 27th, 2011, 11:11pm Report to Moderator
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I'll give it a read over the weekend....

thanks for deleting my post, whoever did that.     I guess Don since he edited his post.................................


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Don
Posted: May 27th, 2011, 11:22pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Grandma Bear
I'll give it a read over the weekend....

thanks for deleting my post, whoever did that.     I guess Don since he edited his post.................................


That was me.  My joke was poor and in hindsight didn't want to take away from Brett's current need.

Don


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c m hall
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Congratulations, it's a monster hit.
Relentlessly energetic in the spirit of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (survival of the most clever) -- you've got some great fire power for pitch points on pages 70 (Joan's "bad touch" warning and Scott's rally cry speech) and page 83 (CEO in the chair) -- those pages ought to sell this script to any producer who really is looking for a monster hit.
Brilliantly concise writing.
Love the golf cart and leaf blower scenes, especially.
Your character Mason is a real charmer -- audience will love Mason.
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rc1107
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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.

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?


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: May 28th, 2011, 2:30pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Wow!  Nice poster, dude!  How'd you make that?

It will be interesting to see what everyone has to say about this script.  Good luck!!!


Hey Jeff!

Thanks, I'll pass along your words to the animator/artist, my roommate.
I'm blessed to have a very talented partner in crime that believes in me.

And thanks again for your help in the early going with this one.

Enjoy the long 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 28th, 2011, 2:36pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from leitskev

One seems to face a unique challenge with a kid's script about zombies. A major goal of a script is to create conflict and tension. But you don't want to make a kid's script really scary. So you are establishing your conflict within the Brady Bunch family setting, and in other personal relationships. I think that makes absolutely perfect sense. Some might suggest it is too familiar, but I think it is completely appropriate here.

In answer to the question what do the protagonists want, I think your answer seems to be they want to unite as a family. The zombie situation is merely the temporary obstacle and ironically in the end will be the means of achieving this unification. That works for me.


Wow. This!
You sure you never read a family feature script before?
That's one hunk of insightful storytelling mechanics there, pal.

I'm a big believer in "devices", especially in "hyper reality" scripts.
I tried to avoid the trap here of the story being about the device.
My device is in service to the family I'm writing about.
I'm much more into scripts that enhance an existing story with a device.
I tend to tune out on stories that merely exist to serve a flashy device.

Looking forward to your thoughts, thanks so much for everything.

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 28th, 2011, 2:50pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from c m hall
Congratulations, it's a monster hit.
Relentlessly energetic in the spirit of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (survival of the most clever) -- you've got some great fire power for pitch points on pages 70 (Joan's "bad touch" warning and Scott's rally cry speech) and page 83 (CEO in the chair) -- those pages ought to sell this script to any producer who really is looking for a monster hit.
Brilliantly concise writing.
Love the golf cart and leaf blower scenes, especially.
Your character Mason is a real charmer -- audience will love Mason.


Hey C.M.!

I feel like a doof, I don't recall your first name.
Thanks so much for the quicksilver read, you SS members are so kind.

Wow. Joss Whedon rekindled my interest in television with that show.
One of ZP's big themes is cooperation prevails.
And with that cooperation comes group ingenuity.
I tried hard to stick with that notion while constructing the scenes.
All the while concocting scenes with high visual impact to attract interest.
The challenge of trying to juggle all that is a lot of fun for me.

You cited several of those "trailer moments" I was hoping folks would enjoy.
But they're in service of the two families trying to reunite, so I hope they're genuine.

Hmm, golf cart or go-kart? Maybe both, heh.
Any neat device with wheels I can shoehorn into a story, I'll do it.

Honestly, I was terrified of Mason.
I've never attempted to write a feature protag of that age before.
I wanted him to be integral to the sibling pairs coming together.
But not resort to trickery that wouldn't be appropriate for his age.

Thanks so much for your effort and thoughts.
I hope ZP brought a little breezy joy to your 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.

Revision History (1 edits)
Electric Dreamer  -  May 28th, 2011, 3:03pm
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: May 28th, 2011, 3:00pm 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
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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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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
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ah, go-kart of course -- I'm wheels-happy this weekend, Indie 500, Nascar etc.


Cathy
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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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leitskev
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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
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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
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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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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.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: May 29th, 2011, 4:52pm 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

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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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Mr.Ripley
Posted: May 29th, 2011, 5:33pm 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
Posted: May 29th, 2011, 10:13pm Report to Moderator
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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
Posted: May 31st, 2011, 5:12am Report to Moderator
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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
TINA DARLING - 114 page Comedy
ONLY OSCAR KNOWS - 99 page Horror
A SONG IN MY HEART - 94 page Drama
HALLOWEEN GAMES - 105 page Drama
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Electric Dreamer
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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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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, 12:54pm 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, 1:00pm 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

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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
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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, 10:01pm 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
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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, 11:11am 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
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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
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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, 4:09pm 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
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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


Award winning screenwriter
Available screenplays
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rc1107
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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
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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.


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Hugh Hoyland
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 8:07pm 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.



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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from Andrew
Brett,

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


Actual Pitch Day at the convention is Sunday.
Any thoughts/insights/typos caught before then would be great, thanks!

Regards,
E.D.



LATEST NEWS

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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from Hugh Hoyland
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.


Hey there Hugh!

Thanks for cracking this open, I appreciate your consideration.
Actual pitch day at the con is Sunday. Friday and Saturday are class and socializing.
Any insights you'd like to share by Saturday night, I should receive.
Unless, I'm schmoozing my way into a cocktail napkin deal at the hotel.

Regards,
E.D.



LATEST NEWS

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A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from leitskev

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.


I do agree with this, in spirit.
However, I've been treading lightly due to the ensemble nature of the piece.
The Gymnasties rough up Oz and Kim and smack Scott around.
I do believe there's room for enhancement with the antags.
It's something I'll revisit the next time out of the box. Thanks!

E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Grandma Bear
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Brett,

I see people are giving you a lot of input. Great! Mine will be short as I read this in places where I was unable to take proper notes.

First of all I want to say that I'm very impressed with this being just your second feature and how you managed to string this story together. It's solid. Something I've never managed to do with a feature yet...maybe due to me also posting first drafts!  

Anyway, great writing and format. All I spotted was some missing words on pages 33 and 39 I think.

So, in short, you did a GREAT job over all. The rest will be me complaining about some of the things that needs attention or tweaking IMHO.

First off, who is this intended for? As a parent of three, I have sat through countless of "family" films. Horrible ones as well as great ones. IMO, it's very hard to write something that will work for pretty much everyone. Writing something that is not offensive to anyone is not equal to writing something everyone will like. Disney and Pixar for example make great films that almost everyone will like. I read ToyStory 3 a while back and I thought it was a fantastic read. You may want to read it if you haven't already. To me, your biggest issue here is who this will appeal to. Maybe I'm wrong and Cathy (C M Hall) is right, I don't know, but I can only comment on something from the way I see it. And to me it seemed like you tried too hard to cram stuff in there to appeal to everybody, but it becomes too busy and doesn't quite work. There are way too many characters in this piece. Even for an ensemble cast. I can't say I connected with anyone. I probably thought Mason was the cutest and most charming, but other than that no one else stood out with their personality. They were just names on the pages. It's almost like you tried to cover every single age group in this cast. Which brings me to the target audience again. Who is this for? IMHO, it is not clever or witty enough to keep an adult interested. At least not me. Again, study some of the big studios and how they manage to keep the adults entertained at a higher level that goes over the kids heads. Lots of those films have a lot of innuendo and can be very suggestive, but don't sink to the level of having a mother say she and her boyfriend are heading into the bedroom to make bacon. Cringe!! Is what I did when I read that. It doesn't fit this story. Find better more intelligent less blunt ways to entertain the older crowed. Kids do not think it's funny when their parents joke about having sex.  I also didn't think this would keep teenagers (14 and up) interested. IMO, the very young crowd is probably who this would work best for. It reminded me quite a bit of that Nickelodeon show that had a lot of green slime in it. I forgot the name. But that's about how this looked to me.

Second problem I had here was the lack of a real feel of tension and suspense. I felt that there really wasn't that much at risk. I'm not sure little kids are even gonna feel it. What's the worst that will happen? Not enough at stake here. I would have liked to see someone from the protag side being in real jeopardy. Something. Being vomited on and possibly turning into a vomiting being themself is bad, but not bad enough.

I also didn't like that someone said Joan's other boyfriend did this or that. She's moving into a house with this new boyfriend and both have a bunch of kids. You made it sound like Joan is trying out new boyfriends all the time. At least in the kid's eyes. That along with the bacon and even MILF part doesn't fit this script.

Where are the other parents? The kid's other parents? That was a big gaping hole. It stood out by not even being mentioned.

Your writing was great, but you seriously need to check how often you use "as".

That's all I have for now. I will look this over later "as" I'm in a hurry right now.

Any q's, just fire away.

Good Luck at the pitch and I hope this can be of any help to you.

Pia  


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leitskev
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Hey Brett

Thanks for your reply. I want to touch on the emotional moment(s) I was looking for because I may have explained that poorly.

When I became a bar owner, I had to learn how to become a DJ. No, I didn't spin records or sit there with headphones. I played MP3s. But I paid very close attention to what worked and what didn't. I learned how to build the energy of a crowd, by steps, to a feverish pitch. The formula was fairly simple, and yet it seemed to be uniquely our own. Humor me and let me explain it, then I will relate the relevance.

I would have a full house just starting to loosen up with some current hits played at modest volume. Then I would do a 180 on them, switch gears. I'd all of a sudden play something less clubby, more class rockish, something everyone knew the words to. Like Ac/DC shook me all night long. As the energy built to its peak about half way through that song, I'd fade out early and into a current dance hit. Loud. You could feel the energy jump. I'd play a few songs like that, then repeat the process. Maybe I'd play something really out of place, like Piano Man. Followed by the highest energy dance hit of the time.

I could build crowd energy to where it was basically a frenzy. Well behaved, but a frenzy. The idea is to kind of create an emotional roller coaster. Playing the rock ballad favorite served to really accentuate the energy of the dance hit.

When I am talking about adding emotional moments for your script, I am not suggesting making this sappy, or a tear fest. Think of a suspense thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. When comedy lines or moments are inserted, they really stand out because of the tension, and are funnier than they normally would be. But they do more than that. When the audience laughs, it releases tension that's been building. But what this does is it allows the next build up to reach a higher plateau. I don't know why, but it does, just as it does with the music formula. So by steps you lead your audience to a higher experience level.

There are different ways this can work, too. I mentioned how comedy breaks up tension, allows higher levels of tension. Well, tension, or sadness, can do the same for comedy. If, in the middle of a comedy, something sad or stressful happens, the comedy that follows is that much more powerful for the audience. I've never tried to explain this in words, so not sure if that makes sense.

So when I'm talking about hitting a powerful emotion, it doesn't have to be tears. It could be fear, or some other variation of stress or conflict. Every emotional punch you include will sharpen the audience's senses, draw them into the movie, and make them feel and appreciate all of the other elements much more.

I think those emotional moments stand out in a script, too, like landmarks. When someone reads your script, they will remember the general plot, and the characters. They will also remember those emotional punches if you have them.

Man, 18 months, huh? I've only been writing screen for 6 or 7 months. I've written 3 features, but I consider it more part of the development process, of learning how to write a screen. Hopefully. My first script was written on word, with little knowledge of format. My second script I learned basic formatting, and my third I got a basic hold on screen writing. What's left is to master the basic elements of story telling. I'm nearing completion of my 4th script, and hopefully I can start to do the things that create stronger story. The things I have been talking about, creating emotional punch, are not things I have done yet either. That's the next step.

Let us know how the rewrite goes when you start!
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 1st, 2011, 9:38pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
I have to agree with this.  I think you need a much better and more recognizable Antag.


I'll agree in spirit, but not in severity.
They'll be no mustache twizzling maniacal nonsense here.
This simply isn't that kind of story. It's an ensemble character piece.

The Fratellis in The Goonies didn't add much zip to the story.
They did keep things moving for the most part though.
Gremlins only had Spike, a mild dislike between him and Gizmo.
Explorers had no villain at all, but I don't think that's a very successful film.
Heck, even Super 8 is essentially a benign critter that just wants to phone home.
Granted, it's rather cranky after decades of government capture and scrutiny.

However, I do agree that D, Figgis and the Gymnasties are a work in progress.
I'm edging them closer to being effective antags.
And they've developed a fair bit in the four subsequent drafts you haven't seen.

It's back to the grind after a weekend of shameless self promotion!

E.D.




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c m hall
Posted: June 2nd, 2011, 1:23am Report to Moderator
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Anther thing I found charming in Zombie Playground is the Rube Goldberg sort of quality in the vast number of characters and peculiar plot twists -- the improbable story moves along at an odd pace that is oddly fascinating.  Family ties, some unexpected, really do ground the  story, however, so no matter how complicated it gets, it's not just (purple) froth.
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Ryan1
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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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Good luck at PF

Ryan

  
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from James McClung
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.

Hey James,

I think it's hilarious despite all my efforts and the poster, it didn't quite sink in.
Here I was thinking I was leading you on too much.
Or perhaps the poster was bit too on the nose. Heh.
I liked the idea of making a zombie friendly kids movie.
Since you asked the original idea was inspired by a piece of art I saw in 2009.
It depicted a zombie takeover of a playground.
Remaining human kids were huddled, defending themselves with makeshift weapons.
As straight up horror it would not work in my mind.
However, if I could swap out blood for goo, I thought it might work.
Toss in some consumerist satire a la Dawn of the Dead and off I went.

Quoted from James McClung

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

Scott is developing into that role as the film goes on.
I'm at a loss for an opening scene to establish him better.
I need something, character centric, it just hasn't hit me yet.

Quoted from James McClung

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

I thought it was a fairly common group game, played a lot at summer camps, etc.
I also use it to juxtapose the zombie outbreak and have some thematic fun.

Quoted from James McClung

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.

Hopefully the poster and leave behind document will assuage some confusion.
I got some kid oriented reviews on there as well. Heh.
It's different and homogenizes two recognizable genres not tried before.
Zombies are pretty hot and kid adventure is on the rise with Super 8 coming out.
This was my general thinking, gotta make a splash to get noticed.
You're right, I swapped gore for splatter, but to the same basic effect.
I hope it comes across that way.
I might ask you to review it now knowing what you know.
But if ensemble pics and Spy Kids type stuff isn't your thing, I understand.
Even as a "hater" you recognized the value of the concept, and that's fine too.
So yeah. Not for me. But I think you might have something here.

Quoted from James McClung

- 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.

There's a lot of set up there that could probably be better handled.
It's a lot of plot threads and I'm working on tightening them up.
The marriage proposal is a polarizing scene.
Some of the coverage I got praised that absurd sequence.
But some SS members fill the same as you. It is what it is.
I'll keep an eye out for more notes on it though.

Quoted from James McClung

- 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.

I assume you're referring to the battle prep intercut?
It's action heavy in parts, but what adventure picture isn't? Glad it worked for you.
Figgis and D is a work in progress.
Perhaps I'm being too precious with their "identities".

Thanks for all the notes, hopefully I'll make a decent impression at the con.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 2nd, 2011, 1:20pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from CindyLKeller
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.

Ensemble pieces are tricky and I didn't make it easy on myself, all true.
Goonies has 7 kids. Sandlot 9. And Monster Squad 5.
I guess I chose seven because of The Goonies and Seven Samurai, heh.
You're right about Scott, I need a new opening scene with him.
There was one on page 3, but I merged with the argument scene.
Which I guess needs some work too, since it didn't come across for you.
I'm stumped for a character centric opener for him right now.
I might revisit some old notes and see if that sparks anything, thanks.

Quoted from CindyLKeller

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.

He does save Hanna and help save Steph and Mason in the cage.
And he does lead them to the fortress and rally the troops there.
And it is his anger that fuels the retaliation and eventual capture.
I feel like I'm missing a galvanizing first moment to establish him though.
I'll have to go back to the beginning as see what hits me.

Quoted from CindyLKeller

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.

The Pygmies are another polarizing point. Some SS'ers rail against him.
Yet, it's one thing I get unanimous praise for in the industry coverage. Go figure.
I'll keep this in mind though, many think it goes a long way to setting up the "rules".

Quoted from CindyLKeller

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

I tried to construct distinct voices and neat scenes for the kids.
I'm glad they worked for you.
Thanks for all the helpful notes.
Now, I've gotta psych myself out for the convention.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 2nd, 2011, 1:32pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from rc1107
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.  

We all know how you feel about spastic mothers. Did I just type that?
Since you posted this a couple have, so thanks a lot! Heh.

Quoted from rc1107

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.

The first family splatter film! Genius! Stolen. ^_^

E.D.


Final version of the leave behind that went to the printer this morning is posted.
It's the first comment on the thread, opinions always welcome!


LATEST NEWS

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Revision History (1 edits)
Electric Dreamer  -  June 2nd, 2011, 1:43pm
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Penoyer79
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the title of this script gave me the idea of doing a zombie script where the unleashed zombie virus has wiped out all the adults - and only pre-pubescent children are left in the world
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CindyLKeller
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Brett,

I forgot to comment on your poster. Your partner in crime did a fantastic job on it.

And after going back and taking another look at it, I saw Screenplay readers gave you coverage.

How was it?

Cindy



Award winning screenwriter
Available screenplays
TINA DARLING - 114 page Comedy
ONLY OSCAR KNOWS - 99 page Horror
A SONG IN MY HEART - 94 page Drama
HALLOWEEN GAMES - 105 page Drama
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from Grandma Bear
Brett,
I see people are giving you a lot of input. Great! Mine will be short as I read this in places where I was unable to take proper notes.

First of all I want to say that I'm very impressed with this being just your second feature and how you managed to string this story together. It's solid. Something I've never managed to do with a feature yet...maybe due to me also posting first drafts!  

Hey Pia,

Thanks for the read, I really appreciate you fitting me in your busy schedule.
I wanted to try and polish up a decent draft for the site.
Active contributing members have helped me tons.
So, in return, I wanted to try and put together a decent read for folks.
Instead of just giving them my early draft messes.
The story had been marinating in my brain for 18 months.
I outlined, boarded and mapped it out after writing a long treatment.
All those steps helped me to string along the story.

Quoted from Grandma Bear

Anyway, great writing and format. All I spotted was some missing words on pages 33 and 39 I think.

So, in short, you did a GREAT job over all. The rest will be me complaining about some of the things that needs attention or tweaking IMHO.

I took care of those missing words, thanks.
Heh, I appreciate the kudos prior to the complaints.

Quoted from Grandma Bear

First off, who is this intended for? As a parent of three, I have sat through countless of "family" films. Horrible ones as well as great ones. IMO, it's very hard to write something that will work for pretty much everyone. Writing something that is not offensive to anyone is not equal to writing something everyone will like. Disney and Pixar for example make great films that almost everyone will like. And to me it seemed like you tried too hard to cram stuff in there to appeal to everybody, but it becomes too busy and doesn't quite work.

You're right, I did cast a wide net to suggest a kitchen sink approach to appeal.
I thought it might help execs see the potential to go PG or PG-13.
This is definitely leaning towards the PG end of the spectrum.
But I did insert some slightly more risque PG type stuff.
It's quite surprising to see how much innuendo PG films get away with.

Quoted from Grandma Bear

There are way too many characters in this piece. Even for an ensemble cast. I can't say I connected with anyone. I probably thought Mason was the cutest and most charming, but other than that no one else stood out with their personality. They were just names on the pages. It's almost like you tried to cover every single age group in this cast. Which brings me to the target audience again. Who is this for?

It's aimed at the 6 - 12 male and female crowd.
Teaching the value of family by having the adults involved as well.
Ensembles are tricky, I have been making character tweaks all week.
I'm trying to bring Scott into focus better as a lead protag.
I tried to give each kid their own voice, sorry it didn't come across for you.
Monster Squad did 5. Goonies 7 and Sandlot was 9 kids.  I'll keep at it.

Quoted from Grandma Bear

IMHO, it is not clever or witty enough to keep an adult interested. At least not me. Again, study some of the big studios and how they manage to keep the adults entertained at a higher level that goes over the kids heads. Lots of those films have a lot of innuendo and can be very suggestive, but don't sink to the level of having a mother say she and her boyfriend are heading into the bedroom to make bacon. Cringe!! Is what I did when I read that. It doesn't fit this story.

Point taken, I've rewritten those lines to be a bit less, bombastic.
Innuendo is something I'm working on, it's fairly new to me on the page.

Quoted from Grandma Bear

I also didn't think this would keep teenagers (14 and up) interested. IMO, the very young crowd is probably who this would work best for. It reminded me quite a bit of that Nickelodeon show that had a lot of green slime in it. I forgot the name. But that's about how this looked to me.

That's pretty much the target right there, a family "splatter" adventure.
It's not something for teens, as written. If a producer want to up it to PG-13, I could.
As written, it's focused on the younger kids.

Quoted from Grandma Bear

Second problem I had here was the lack of a real feel of tension and suspense. I felt that there really wasn't that much at risk. I'm not sure little kids are even gonna feel it. What's the worst that will happen? Not enough at stake here. I would have liked to see someone from the protag side being in real jeopardy. Something. Being vomited on and possibly turning into a vomiting being themself is bad, but not bad enough.

That's a pretty good idea to kick around.
I wanted to stay away from the whole world danger outbreak type stuff.
I felt confining it to a playground would be more suitable peril.
It's something I'm open to adjusting, should there be interest.

Quoted from Grandma Bear

I also didn't like that someone said Joan's other boyfriend did this or that. She's moving into a house with this new boyfriend and both have a bunch of kids. You made it sound like Joan is trying out new boyfriends all the time. At least in the kid's eyes. That along with the bacon and even MILF part doesn't fit this script.

Good points, I adjusted the bacon business at the boyfriend thing.
I hadn't thought of it that way before, thanks.

Quoted from Grandma Bear

Where are the other parents? The kid's other parents? That was a big gaping hole. It stood out by not even being mentioned.

They return at five to pick up the kids.
They are all the angry folks trying to get into the locked playground.
Perhaps I need to be clearer about that, thanks.

Quoted from Grandma Bear

Your writing was great, but you seriously need to check how often you use "as".

That's all I have for now. I will look this over later "as" I'm in a hurry right now.

Any q's, just fire away.

Good Luck at the pitch and I hope this can be of any help to you.

Pia  

LoL, guilty "as" charged. I can scale that back a bit.
You did get the young family genre right. I'm glad for that.
The director of Gremlins, Explorers and Small Soldiers has a company attending.
And in their con manifest, they are looking for this kind of film.
They described it as, "fresh genre bending family films".
So, I'll definitely polish my pitch and meet with that company.
As well as manager and talent agencies.
The consensus seems to be a manager is more needed to start, than an agent.

Should be quote an adventurous weekend!
Thanks for your insights and effort.

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
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Quoted from leitskev
Hey Brett

I think those emotional moments stand out in a script, too, like landmarks. When someone reads your script, they will remember the general plot, and the characters. They will also remember those emotional punches if you have them.

Man, 18 months, huh? I've only been writing screen for 6 or 7 months. I've written 3 features, but I consider it more part of the development process, of learning how to write a screen. Hopefully. My first script was written on word, with little knowledge of format. My second script I learned basic formatting, and my third I got a basic hold on screen writing. What's left is to master the basic elements of story telling. I'm nearing completion of my 4th script, and hopefully I can start to do the things that create stronger story. The things I have been talking about, creating emotional punch, are not things I have done yet either. That's the next step.

Let us know how the rewrite goes when you start!

Hey Kev!

All good points about those emotional moments. It's something I believe in.
I strive for that, such as having a wedding proposal during a zombie attack.
Or Gil complaining about airfare because he doesn't want to see Joan's mother.
The kids taking issue with the zombies being better at video games, etc.
I'm working on it and will try to take your words to heart, thanks.

Well, I didn't work on ZP 18 months straight.
I wrote a thirty page treatment in late 2009.
Let the idea kick around in my head, the rewrote the treatment in summer 2010.
With PitchFest coming and the release of Super 8 coinciding, I saw a window.
Might be a good time to develop ZP into a feature script for this event.
I boarded the story the last two weeks of March.
Just sat around and immersed myself in the characters and plot.
Then wrote a 100 page first draft in April. 25 pages a week.
Since then, I've been rewriting and refining ever since.
Heh, maybe I should start a ZP development thread, heh.
Looking back, it's quite a lot of work to build up to the actual pages.
I'm rewriting every day, there's already been a new draft this week.
I may refine some more, then likely upload again.

Thanks for your extensive and useful thoughts and comments.
It's time to see who's got the long pants and wade into battle!

Regards,
E.D.

Ryan, great comments! Will reply as con schedule allows.



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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from c m hall
Anther thing I found charming in Zombie Playground is the Rube Goldberg sort of quality in the vast number of characters and peculiar plot twists -- the improbable story moves along at an odd pace that is oddly fascinating.  Family ties, some unexpected, really do ground the  story, however, so no matter how complicated it gets, it's not just (purple) froth.


Hey Cathy!

I dig your Goldberg reference. A lot!
I did try to add a clockwork type of askew precision to the plot movement.
You have a very keen eye for the peculiar.
And yes, ultimately, this is a tale about family coming together, no doubt.
That's for such eloquent words of encouragement.

The director of Gremlins, Explorers and Small Soldiers is represented at the con.
You better believe I'll be in that queue to pitch ZP!

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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Grandma Bear
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Actually, I meant the parents to Joan and Gil's kids. Their ex's.  

Don't be nervous about the pitch. I went to one in LA 2 years ago. It was major production companies, studios and Television companies. I was very nervous at first, but there was no need to. They where all super nice and easy going. The only thing is that they know exactly what they are looking for and they know if you have what they're looking for or not in less than one minute. I saw many people walk away from there depressed.  At that time, comedies were hot. Almost everyone that had a comedy script got read. I met some people there that I still keep contact with. They were all told that their scripts were great, but....could they turn it into a television script? A series? and so on. To this day they've spent countless hours rewriting like mad in the hope to sell their scripts, but nothing ever happened. It's a very tough business. Be strong and thick skinned and have fun....  I did!  


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Best of luck, Brett!  Knock 'em dead, kid...knock 'em dead!!!!

Be yourself, be cool and confident, and you never know what will go down.

Keep us informed.  We're all rooting for you!!!!


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from Grandma Bear
Actually, I meant the parents to Joan and Gil's kids. Their ex's.  

Don't be nervous about the pitch. I went to one in LA 2 years ago. It was major production companies, studios and Television companies. I was very nervous at first, but there was no need to. They where all super nice and easy going. The only thing is that they know exactly what they are looking for and they know if you have what they're looking for or not in less than one minute. I saw many people walk away from there depressed.  At that time, comedies were hot. Almost everyone that had a comedy script got read. I met some people there that I still keep contact with. They were all told that their scripts were great, but....could they turn it into a television script? A series? and so on. To this day they've spent countless hours rewriting like mad in the hope to sell their scripts, but nothing ever happened. It's a very tough business. Be strong and thick skinned and have fun....  I did!  


Thanks, Pia!

Day one was interesting, much smaller than I thought, about 600 attendees.
I'm looking at a mix of managers, agents and production companies.
So, the only film companies I have time to pitch are looking for what I have.
One company in attendance is run by a director that make films that inspired ZP.
So, you can bet I'll pay them a visit once I got my game on!

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: June 4th, 2011, 11:05am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Best of luck, Brett!  Knock 'em dead, kid...knock 'em dead!!!!

Be yourself, be cool and confident, and you never know what will go down.

Keep us informed.  We're all rooting for you!!!!


Day one done.
Very chill. Good class. Good schwag.
Great location, very convenient.
Small attendance, 600+, very low key crowd.

I'm sure on Sunday it will be a madhouse when the execs arrive.
Got a full slate of classes today.
It seemed to me I was very well prepared compared to many writers I spoke to.
Loved the leave behind and concepts, etc.
Orchestrated a roundtable of pratice pitching with 7 writers in the bar. Fun!

Regards,
E.D.

I'll get to more reviews soon, guys, thanks for the reads!



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 4th, 2011, 2:17pm Report to Moderator
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E.D.

Knock em dead! best of luck with this.

I'm sorry I couldnt add more to this, but my work schedule changed and I simply ran out of time.

What I did get to has a definite good family film vibe to it.


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svsg1982
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This is a good idea.  But off the bat I would say your dialogue needs an overhaul.  You need to leave more room for subtext.  I.E. characters not saying everything that is in their head yet the reader gets a feeling of what they are thinking.  Example:

GIL
Sure, we can start being a family
next weekend. But wait, I almost
forgot, next Sunday we have focus
groups for FigCorp’s new ointment.
Joan looks through her schedule book.
JOAN
Ha-ha, very funny.

Would sound more natural if you said:

(the dialogue before this part staying the same)

GIL
Sure, we can start being a family next weekend.

JOAN
Ha-ha, very funny.

You have already stated they are busy people so Gil saying all that stuff after "weekend" makes the dialogue clunky.  Leave that for the audience to interpret.  We're smart.  We know what he means.  There are lots of bits of dialogue like that were if you cut a few words here and there it would improve things.  I would say anywhere you have a paragraph of dialogue (three lines or more) you could cut it down at least half of the time.  Just my opinion.  The more white on a page the better.  Good story though.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 6th, 2011, 4:54pm Report to Moderator
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Back from Great American PitchFest.
What an adventure. I am utterly exhausted.
25 pitches. 4 hours.

Highly recommended for anyone wanting to find out if they can pitch.
Five minutes to share a vision and passion in a marketable coherent manner.
Surrounded by hundreds of people trying to do the very same thing.
You'll find out what you are made of when you look an exec in the eye and pitch.

The exhilaration, adrenaline and sheer terror of it all is awesome.
No matter what happens from here, it's been a game changer for me.
No one can take away the fact that one of my idols is genuinely interested in my work.
I can ride that wave to the grave, and I will.  
My voice is shot and I can barely think straight. And I feel great.

I'll be back in a day or two, after I recover.
You guys are awesome, I never would have had the courage to go without you.









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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Dreamscale
Posted: June 6th, 2011, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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Good job, Brett!  Look forward to the details.  Hope it works out!!!


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Scoob
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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.

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.

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!

Digged the FigCorp ad and slogan, the coloful mutation of Leahanni and the "predator" vs "prey" gymnasties!
26> Amused by Coach D haha
33> "we're about to be overrun purple zombie thingys" - Joan is missing a "By".
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.

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!

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!

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!




Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Scoob  -  June 7th, 2011, 7:27pm
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from svsg1982
This is a good idea.  But off the bat I would say your dialogue needs an overhaul.  You need to leave more room for subtext.  I.E. characters not saying everything that is in their head yet the reader gets a feeling of what they are thinking.  Example:

GIL
Sure, we can start being a family
next weekend. But wait, I almost
forgot, next Sunday we have focus
groups for FigCorp’s new ointment.
Joan looks through her schedule book.
JOAN
Ha-ha, very funny.

Would sound more natural if you said:

(the dialogue before this part staying the same)

GIL
Sure, we can start being a family next weekend.

JOAN
Ha-ha, very funny.


Hey SVSG!

Thanks for taking a look at this.
You make some valid points all screenwriters should follow.
I agree in principle, but the example you chose does have subtext.
It's Gil always blaming things around him when there's problems.
And it's also serves as a tease leading up to Figgis' reveal later in the story.
How did he know they were saying that? Because he's nearby and monitoring them.

Still sage advice and I appreciate the read!

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: June 13th, 2011, 1:06pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Hugh Hoyland
E.D.

Knock em dead! best of luck with this.

I'm sorry I couldnt add more to this, but my work schedule changed and I simply ran out of time.

What I did get to has a definite good family film vibe to it.


Hey Hugh!

I did my best to knock them undead.
I'm sorry you weren't able to finish the script.
A critique from a member is valuable anytime.
I'd like to hear your thoughts, should you choose to continue.

PitchFest is just the tip of the iceberg.
A read is just as valuable now, as it was before the event.
Thanks for your kind words and 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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Electric Dreamer
Posted: June 13th, 2011, 1:08pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Penoyer79
the title of this script gave me the idea of doing a zombie script where the unleashed zombie virus has wiped out all the adults - and only pre-pubescent children are left in the world



Oh, so it's a zombie spin on the old Lord of the Flies.
That could be a fun story to pitch and develop, go for it!

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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Mr.Ripley
Posted: June 13th, 2011, 1:14pm Report to Moderator
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Good luck with this script man. Rewrite the hell out of this...lol.
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from CindyLKeller
Brett,

I forgot to comment on your poster. Your partner in crime did a fantastic job on it.

And after going back and taking another look at it, I saw Screenplay readers gave you coverage.

How was it?

Cindy



Yeah, my partner is a wizard at that stuff.
"Getting" the script was also a big help with setting the tone with a sly visual.
I've talked it to death probably, but at least it translated into a nice image.

The "reviews" on the poster are from my Screenplay Readers coverage.
I thought, "Why not post them like movie reviews? They're pretty much just that".
The execs at the con dug the idea, so it's all good in my book.
Besides, I give the company some ad space on my poster too.

In addition the niceties, there's criticisms were helpful.
I've tweaked the structure a lot based on their sage advice.

When you're ready for the hard truth, I highly recommend the experience.

Regards,
E.D.

You're next, Ryan. Mwahahahaha!


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
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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, 3:33pm
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Electric Dreamer
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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

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A list of my scripts can be found here.
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KrisKrazy
Posted: June 17th, 2011, 6:13pm 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
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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, 12:00pm 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
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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
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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, 2:02pm 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

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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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leitskev
Posted: June 30th, 2011, 11:33pm Report to Moderator
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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
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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
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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
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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

CineVita Films
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, 3:41pm 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
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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

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A list of my scripts can be found here.
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leitskev
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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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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from leitskev
Hey Brett, thanks for replying

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!


Hey Kev,

Scott doesn't want to go to the playground and protests to his father.
Not only does he wind up being forced to go, now he's locked into the place.
I felt that was a big point of set up to close the first act.
The stage is set for both parents and kids, they're all locked in for the duration.
To me, that was enough, the environment change and lockdown.

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
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Quoted from bert
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).

Hey Bert!

Thanks a ton for reading this, your opinion carries mucho weight with me.
It's great to get a read from someone unfamiliar with the thread.
I deliberately didn't give much of the pitch during the podcast.
I was hoping to entice some "cold readers" to the thread.
As to fine tuning, I sent this draft out to production companies June 20th.
I hope to get some rumblings back by month's end or early August.

Quoted from bert

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.

Thanks on the match cut.
The flashpoint inspiration for that was quite fun in my mind's eye.
I hoped to say a lot with just that one image. A dissolve might be better. Thanks.

Abraham. He could use another beat before succumbing to the Bite.
You're not the first to say that. It needs a little something there.
Perhaps I was too vague in the interest of maintaining the mystery of the Bite.

Quoted from bert

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.]

Toast is an awesome kid name.
The cool kid nickname is a bit of a nod to The Goonies.
It's one of many Easter eggish things in the script.
Though I think they went a little too far with the nicknames in that film.
Mouth. Data. Chunk. It was a bit much for me.
Radish felt more organic, since it's a bastardization of his birth name.
Much like Toast from Toth.

Quoted from bert

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.

I acknowledge I'm straddling the line here, but straddle I must!
I did try to give all the kids legit affectations to help give each their own voice.
And several have pointed out that on the screen they will be even more distinguished.

Quoted from bert

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

Yup, my bad, just got past me. Fixed. Thanks.

Quoted from bert

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.

Good point, I'll revisit that beat in the next draft. Thanks.

Quoted from bert

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.

Pricey sets indeed, but we get a lot of mileage out of them, so it's good in my book.
Not to mention all the funky camera stuff you can play with slides and chutes, etc.
And projectile goo and all the attractions kinda scream 3D, perhaps.

And yes, you're the first to point that out to me. Busted.
I was prepping ZP when I wrote West Side Markets back in February.
That short was a testing ground for the tone of action I wanted for this feature.
Shorts to me have always been about experimentation.
I'm not concerned so much with production as I am about honing my skill set.

Quoted from bert

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.

I can work on that, wonky exposition is not my strong suit.
I still want that race against time feeling, just perhaps less "on the dot".

Quoted from bert

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.

I'll go back and work on that, thanks.
The Gymnasties were inserted into the go-kart chase just this draft.
So, I'm not surprised I didn't nail that transition on the first try.

Good point on Mason. I have the time to punctuate that cannonball with a slug.
Take a beat to show him and the lizard splashing around.
That might help with the solidifying Lord Gorzon as a live pet too.

Quoted from bert

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?

Heh, you're the first to even bring it up.
No one's dinged me for it, yet.
I'd never seen an abbreviation in a script, but it made sense to me.
Anything I can do to shorten up descriptions without losing clarity, I'm so there.
Heck, I even give most of my characters short names to save space!

Quoted from bert

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.

I'll keep an eye on that, no one's mentioned any confusion, yet.

Quoted from bert

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.

I can make him more scurry friendly and maybe even hiss a bit at the zombies.
Lord Gorzon can do whatever he wants, he rules all he surveys!

Quoted from bert

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.

LoL! Some may write something like that and intend it as something else!
But yeah, I recognize the need to have some kind of wrap up for everyone.
It could be equated to the scene on the beach at the end of The Goonies.
But I did manage to shoehorn a "Die Hard" beat into my riff of that scene.

Quoted from bert

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.

Thanks, Bert. Your words mean a lot to me.
The Farm is one of my all time favorite SS submissions.
I was a little bummed it did not get chosen for the Script Club.

I was going for a modern spin on 80s kid wish fulfillment fantasy adventures.
Not enough family films today feature kids solving problems on their own.
And ever rarer one that extolls some good family values while entertaining.

Should someone decide to produce ZP, I hope those qualities shine through.
Up next for ZP is Inktip Pitch Summit on 7/23.
Nickelodeon will be attending and I'll be there!

Regards,
E.D.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 9th, 2011, 12:07pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Ryan1

Finished reading the new ZP and it's definitely superior to the first version.  You tightened up that opening section where you intro the family, and quickly establish Scott as the go-to kid in this tale.

Hey Ryan!

Thanks for the second read, it's doubly appreciated!
I focused a lot of energy on the first act for this new draft.
Sharpen Scott as our hero and get the plot moving sooner.
But I tried to tinker with the comedic beats as little as possible.
I'm glad it worked for you.

Quoted from Ryan1

A few notes:  on pages 2-3 was that gruff voice Big Fig?  I wasn't sure.  Also, Abraham almost instantly turns into a zombie when he takes a swig of Bite, yet when the test group starts drinking, it seems like it took them several cans to turn.  I guess I just never understood the significance of the Abraham scene, or what he meant by "Do we have a deal or not?"  But then, I did read this over several days, so I may be forgetting something later in the script.

There's a line on p. 25 that addresses this, but I guess I didn't make it clear.
"A familiar GRUFF VOICE addresses the kids."
That's what I said when Coach D speaks to her charges.
Hmmm, I may need to work on that, but you're the first to bring it up.
She makes a deal with Abraham to smuggle the Bite out of the building.
I wonder if holding her identity is the wrong call there. Thoughts?
And yeah, I should give Abraham a beat there to "digest'.

Quoted from Ryan1

I still think you should show a scene where Big Fig is tampering with the Bite early on here.  Maybe showing a mysterious figure in a lab adding the "special ingredient" to the drink.  I know you added that flashback scene on page 53, but it just seems to me it would serve the story better here, IMO.
I'll keep it in mind.
Why do you think it would serve the story better up front when we don't know Figgis?
I showed it when I did since he's a misguided antag, to show his folly.
[quote=Ryan1]
I see you found a way to keep the makin bacon after all, lol, you basterd.

Mwahahaha! And it's now totally PG safe. Yay for innuendo bacon sex!

Quoted from Ryan1

Do you really think Natalie and Garth are necessary in this script?  They don't add much, IMO, and if you got rid of their early dialogue you could save yourself a page and a half.  What if FigCorp provided a shuttle service for the kids to get to the playground?

Now they are not necessary, but they do provide some aside comic cutaways.
This script is 92 pages, I don't really need to save much.
I agree they could go, but I don't see the benefit, the script's pretty brief, as is.
I'd rather a producer or director think it's their idea to remove them.
That way, they feel like their stamp is on the project, so they won't tinker too much.
I read that somewhere, always leave something in there for others to remove.
If you don't then they'll start to mess with parts you don't want touched.

Quoted from Ryan1

Typo on page 17 where it says "Scott looks out the window, his softens."  Guessing you forgot to put "expression" in there.

Yeah, my bad. Fixed. Thanks.

Quoted from Ryan1

I'd still like the playground zombies to arrive a little sooner.  What if you had Coach D chug a swig of Bite as she eats her sandwich on page 25.  This way she could start to transform by page 30, and maybe you include a scene where she pukes on the gymnasties and from there zombieness spreads like wildfire.  Right now you just cut back to the playground on page 40 and coach and the gymnasties and a ton of kids are all zombies.  Felt like a scene missing there.

Oh, there may be something here to work with, hmm.
She gets the Gymnasties and gives them a speech about taking it to the kids.
Then she gets sick and BLAM-O! Could be a stronger set up for our bullies! Thanks.

Quoted from Ryan1

I noticed a couple of times you spelled Francis as Frances, which is the female version.

Fixed. Thanks.

Quoted from Ryan1

Other than that, I liked it.  It retains the lighthearted feel, which is all-important in a script like this.  Hearing anything back from these execs?

I"m glad you "get it". The lighthearted feel and all.
I've heard back from a couple script requests so far. Both rejections.
The basic reasoning being is, they want a strictly kids movie.
ZP is a family movie. And family movies have parental and spousal dynamics too.
It's an integral part of the thematic core of the script, and it stays.
Unless someone wants to pay me a chucnk of change to rewrite it, maybe.
Hopefully there will be more nibbles, we'll see.
Thanks again for all your insights!

Regards,
E.D.


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mcornetto
Posted: July 10th, 2011, 5:58am Report to Moderator
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Going to do this as I go.

I'm not sure that the opening grabbed me as well as it could have.  I was expecting some sort of event and what I got is a bit of back story.   It isn't bad but it could be improved.

From the first page I'm expecting the genre to be comedy.  That's the opening signal you gave me by the end of it.  If you can give it to me a bit earlier would make the first page read better.

Lots of characters up front.  Not a problem having that many in a script this size but  I'm hoping I can remember who is who.   I guess the last names are necessary.

I was seeing this aimed at children, now I'm not too sure because of adult concepts being bandied about like cohabitation and sex in the back of cars.  Like I said, not entirely certain of the target audience (even though I should be by now). I'll withhold judgement.

Complete nit but you don't really need evil in "evil Gymnasties".

And milf too, hmmm.

Going to stop here for a short time - up to pg 20.

I'm really not sure exactly where this is headed.  I don't see a strong focus on any one character as the protag.  I'm guessing the corporation is the antag but I'm getting a nebulous sort of picture of them, they feel disorganized and therefore to me, weak.  But we'll see.  

  
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mcornetto
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Ok. I get what you're going for now.  But you have to tell us much earlier.  You can't just hurl projectile vomit at us 20 pages in and expect us not to react.  Well you can but you'll turn off a lot of readers at this point if they aren't expecting it.  You'll turn off a lot of readers period (speaking from experience) but that doesn't mean don't do it.  It's certainly not boring and really, when it comes down to it, what we want to do is not be boring.

Now that I finally get your target it's reading much better.  You really need a better opening signal with this.  I should know what I'm in for on the first page.

I have no idea what this means "I'm not a green bean" but somehow it still works for me as dialogue.  Maybe I missed something earlier.  I've hit of couple of these sort of odd pieces of dialogue that seem a nonsensical to me but somehow don't really bother me.

I'm still not identifying with any one character.  I guess that ain't going to happen and that's an ensemble piece. It would make the read a bit better if it was someones story I was following rather than an ark piece.

I liked the bit of romance in the middle of it all. You're good at romance.

For the mother stuff to work, I think we need to have some mention of it a bit earlier.  I don't think we have.  It just kind of comes out of nowhere and seems thrown in to create conflict.

Purple crusty Predators haul more crying human Prey towards
the gyrating scream filled garish funhouse. <--Wonderfully worded but really took me a moment to get what you were talking about.   This particular scene was fast and furious with characters so you should be extra careful that your actions aren't confusing.

Some of the dialogue is really amusing "Pizza's very bad for your skin"

Pg 47 and I finally get what's going on with the Predator/Prey game.  Maybe I missed something earlier.

pg 51 Macon instead of Mason.

I think I also missed where the Gerbils first had Bite.

The number of character in this make certain parts very hard to follow.  Like what's going on on page 60.  I've forgotten who these characters are.   I'm not sure what to suggest to make it more readable.  If you need the characters you need them.

If you don't however, condense them.  I think you really only have a few stand out characters in this, the rest just kind of meld into the background.  If you want us to remember them they need to do something memorable or at least have a memorable name and if they aren't going to be memorable then they can be changed or perhaps removed.

More a bit later.



  
  

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Electric Dreamer  -  July 10th, 2011, 8:53am
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mcornetto
Posted: July 10th, 2011, 8:46am Report to Moderator
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Ok. Getting confused at this point as to who is a zombie and who isn't - this is when they are in the snack center.  Coach D (who is one of the memorable characters) is not a zombie.  Neither is Mason (Who is also memorable because of Lord Gorzon and this scene more than anything else) is not a zombie. Neither is Hanna (who is memorable because of her thing with Radishes and her friendship with Mason) is not a zombie and a vegetarian.  Scott (who I've seen mentioned a couple of times but can't remember much about him unless I look back a bunch of pages) is not a zombie.  But everyone else is?

I thought the zombies tried to turn the people who weren't?  This scene really doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  It seems like they are suddenly not a threat.

Other characters I remember at this point.
OZURU (mostly because of his name and his introduction of Gymnasties.
KIMIKO (because of her name and because she's OZURU's sister)
GIL and JOAN (because of their engagement)
FIGGIS (because he's the CEO)
RADISH (purely because of the name)

Characters I don't remember without looking back.
STEPHANIE
PEG?

Are you sure Mason isn't a Zombie?  He seems to have undergone a change.

pg 67 "Bad touch, Mason"?  Bad stuff?

Because there's so many names, I would rather you had named the Gymnasties by their qualities.  That's a personal preference though - would have made it easier for me to remember them.

Calling Ozuru Oz in actions isn't a good idea since so many names are being bandied about.  Call him Oz or Ozuru and stick with it.  Same with Kim.

The elderly Takeshiros help Joan and Gil hoist the chair
bound CEO up to the gate’s retinal scanner. Hunh?  Ah.  I see it earlier.  I think here your trying to mimic how the film will be edited a bit too much.  That's entirely your prerogative but it gets even harder to follow what's going on with so many short scenes.

I'm not really certain how everyone was cured. It had something to do with electricity. Sorry I must have missed something.

And now Coach D is the only zombie? And then she's ok?  I definitely missed something.

Oh! Eight hours of awesomeness....

And done.  

Final Comments:

Overall a good early teen flick. Lots of amusing dialogue and gross sticky bits. In some places the dialogue was excellent.  The concept is a sound one, it can work - with a bit more work.

The opening signal needs to be improved.  I should know on the first page exactly what I'm getting into.  I think this makes us guess until around page 20.

I think it also suffers by not having any strong characters to follow through the story.  It's an ensemble piece, which is ok, but unless it attracts big name stars or it's a block-buster disaster movie, that isn't going seem like a good business proposition.  And I know you want to sell this.

If you were to have a strong protagonist I would make it Mason rather than Scott.  Mason was memorable whereas Scott was a bit forgettable.  Personal opinion, of course - it could be any one of them as long as you make them memorable.

And do try to cut down on some of the characters.  I know, it's not going to matter on the screen but it does matter during the read.  

The antagonist, the zombies, were a hot/cold threat.  Sometimes they seemed on a path to turn everyone, other times they seemed like they were normal everyday people.  They need to be a threat and if they aren't because this is a comedy, then they need to be even funnier than they already are.  No matter which direction it needs to be consistent.

I have to be honest and say that after page 60 I was a bit lost for a while - precisely because of the above reasons.  I think that part of your script needs the most work. Too much going on, at least for a single reading (If I was going to read it more than once then maybe a lot more would make sense to me - unfortunately you usually only get one shot).

The ending didn't really work for me at all.  Sorry.  They just got better is kind of like it's all a dream.  Cute and you did foreshadow it but a bit of a cop out just the same.

But you did finish a script, it's funny and the concept is really good. So well done. Now it just needs a bit of polish.  

Cheers,

Michael  

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Electric Dreamer  -  July 10th, 2011, 9:45am
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from mcornetto
Going to do this as I go.
I'm not sure that the opening grabbed me as well as it could have.  I was expecting some sort of event and what I got is a bit of back story.   It isn't bad but it could be improved.

From the first page I'm expecting the genre to be comedy.  That's the opening signal you gave me by the end of it.  If you can give it to me a bit earlier would make the first page read better.

Hey Michael,

Thanks a lot for taking a look at this.
Always good to get a fresh perspective from veteran eyes.

I'm glad that you got from the opening grabber this is a comedy.
That's what I wanted, showing purple coated Pygmy kids running around, etc.
I kinda see it as Nickelodeon goop meets the opening of Coming to America.
You're right about it being back story, but I felt is set the tone I wanted too.

When you say I should set the tone earlier, you mean earlier on page one?
By half way through page one, we've got the native "block party" going on.

Perhaps I can have the kids playing the video game look more zombie like.
Glazed expression in their eyes illuminated by the game, etc. That could work.
Perhaps a clap of thunder outside the hut as the exotic leaf is revealed?
Is that the kind of stuff you are alluding to? I can see that working. Thanks.

Quoted from mcornetto

Lots of characters up front.  Not a problem having that many in a script this size but  I'm hoping I can remember who is who.   I guess the last names are necessary.

I used the last names to help keep which kids belong to which parent.
There's definitely a rift between her kids and his kids at the start of things.

Quoted from mcornetto

I was seeing this aimed at children, now I'm not too sure because of adult concepts being bandied about like cohabitation and sex in the back of cars.  Like I said, not entirely certain of the target audience (even though I should be by now). I'll withhold judgement.

It's pretty much aimed at the general age group of the kid characters.
This is not a PG-13 film, definitely a PG deal all the way.
As to cohabitation and vague sex innuendo, it's intentionally mild.
I personally don't like it when adults act like pre-teens.
"The Zookeeper" would be a relevant recent example of that.
I don't think that's the answer to adults being in kids tales.
I'm trying to be a bit more authentic about it, it's a work in progress.

My 12 year old cousin hocks his mom's Zanex bars at school for Burger King money.
I don't think there's anything in this script that's going to challenge his sensibilities.
But I'll keep an eye out for sore spots that folks have issue with.

Quoted from mcornetto

Complete nit but you don't really need evil in "evil Gymnasties".

And milf too, hmmm.

Going to stop here for a short time - up to pg 20.

I'm really not sure exactly where this is headed.  I don't see a strong focus on any one character as the protag.  I'm guessing the corporation is the antag but I'm getting a nebulous sort of picture of them, they feel disorganized and therefore to me, weak.  But we'll see.  

Good point about the Gymnasty opener, their moniker implies evil already.
Yup, the milf joke, it's resolved on p. 21, you may have stopped before then.
Gotta test the boundaries or you'll never know what you can get away with.
And the "answer" is a non vulgar resolution that hopefully satisfies.

Scott is the lead protag, and they are tricky in an ensemble.
I open on him on the roof, we cut to his reactions a fair amount.
Scott plays an online game with friends that goes sour.
We see his strained relationship with his father.
We're alone with him in the bathroom, as he has a private cry.

I hoped these indicators would steer things in the right direction.
It's a work in progress and I'm open to strengthening Scott's first act.
Thanks for the insights, they'll come in handy at the next pass.

Regards,
E.D.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 11th, 2011, 12:22pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from mcornetto
Ok. I get what you're going for now.  But you have to tell us much earlier.  You can't just hurl projectile vomit at us 20 pages in and expect us not to react.  Well you can but you'll turn off a lot of readers at this point if they aren't expecting it.  You'll turn off a lot of readers period (speaking from experience) but that doesn't mean don't do it.  It's certainly not boring and really, when it comes down to it, what we want to do is not be boring.

Now that I finally get your target it's reading much better.  You really need a better opening signal with this.  I should know what I'm in for on the first page.

There's a famous quote about rather being confused than bored by a script.
I did "foreshadow" the vomit on page ten with the security guard getting nailed.
Then we segue into Scott playing the online video game from there.
Perhaps that wasn't written as strongly as it should have been.
I suppose I could try to shoehorn something in the opener about the ooze.
As it stands, the Pygmy kids smear their tag victims with the goop.
Maybe something more overt would set the stage sooner. I'll keep it in mind. Thanks.

Quoted from mcornetto

I have no idea what this means "I'm not a green bean" but somehow it still works for me as dialogue.  Maybe I missed something earlier.  I've hit of couple of these sort of odd pieces of dialogue that seem a nonsensical to me but somehow don't really bother me.

It's a bit of kid speak and a bit of set up mixed together.
Hanna is a vegetarian, so calling her a "green bean" is related to that.
Stuff like that to me felt authentic for kids, so I let it fly.
The words just came out that way on the page and I went with it.

Quoted from mcornetto

I'm still not identifying with any one character.  I guess that ain't going to happen and that's an ensemble piece. It would make the read a bit better if it was someones story I was following rather than an ark piece.

You're right in that the tale is not told subjectively though one character.
It's a conscious choice I made as an ensemble comedy adventure.
This is not just a kids movie, it's about families.
And to make it about families, the parents have to have their time too.
So, that makes a singular subjective POV rather problematic.
It's a style choice I made early on, and I realize it can cause issues.
I'm honing in on Scott as the ring leader/organizer type.
But that's as far as it will go, for now.

Quoted from mcornetto

I liked the bit of romance in the middle of it all. You're good at romance.

Thanks, that's good to know.
Especially since the new feature I'm marinating is a romantic comedy.

Quoted from mcornetto

For the mother stuff to work, I think we need to have some mention of it a bit earlier.  I don't think we have.  It just kind of comes out of nowhere and seems thrown in to create conflict.

Are you referring to the unseen mother-in-law character?
I suppose there could be an earlier line about her wanting them to visit.
Perhaps in the car on the way to work, yeah, I can see that, thanks.

Quoted from mcornetto

Purple crusty Predators haul more crying human Prey towards
the gyrating scream filled garish funhouse. <--Wonderfully worded but really took me a moment to get what you were talking about.   This particular scene was fast and furious with characters so you should be extra careful that your actions aren't confusing.

When the zombies take over the playground, it gets visually, dense.
Perhaps some spacing would be in order to punctuate certain beats.
I despise those jumpy castles, they are an abomination.
So, I wanted to portray them as the evil creations that they are.

Quoted from mcornetto

Some of the dialogue is really amusing "Pizza's very bad for your skin"

This is a line I struggled with, quite frankly.
I've never been fully satisfied with how I worded it, but it stands, for now.
I'm glad someone mentioned it, I don't feel as bad about it.

Quoted from mcornetto

Pg 47 and I finally get what's going on with the Predator/Prey game.  Maybe I missed something earlier.

There is an explanation of the rules by Coach D starting on p. 25.
I can see how it might be confusing if those scenes didn't register for you.
I thought her lines were fairly explicit, I'll take another look at that.

Quoted from mcornetto

pg 51 Macon instead of Mason.

I think I also missed where the Gerbils first had Bite.

Whoops! My bad on p. 51. There was a name change in recent drafts.
He started out as a Macon, but was changed with all the bacon stuff.
I'll have to fix that, thanks.

Gerbils is the moniker that the hero kids adopt at the slide fortress.
The Predators imbibe the Bite via Coach D earlier in the script.
We don't see their change, just the aftermath and cans on the ground.
Ryan suggested giving a little more detail there, I might do that now.

Quoted from mcornetto

The number of character in this make certain parts very hard to follow.  Like what's going on on page 60.  I've forgotten who these characters are.   I'm not sure what to suggest to make it more readable.  If you need the characters you need them.

If you don't however, condense them.  I think you really only have a few stand out characters in this, the rest just kind of meld into the background.  If you want us to remember them they need to do something memorable or at least have a memorable name and if they aren't going to be memorable then they can be changed or perhaps removed.


You aren't the first to suggest that seven kids may be a bit much.
It's something that weighs on me from time to time.
I settled on not changing it until there's an external reason to do so.
Due to producer interest or something like that.
I like the number, but always open to making the kids more standout.

After page 60, there's a lot of ideas the supporting kids bring to the table.
Once they start working together, they become more integral.
But I can see where you're coming from and I appreciate the candor.

Yikes. Workout time. Thanks muchly for the detailed notes so far.

Regards,
E.D.

TO BE CONTINUED...



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mcornetto
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Quoted from Electric Dreamer
When you say I should set the tone earlier, you mean earlier on page one?


It's not easy and unless you're a Master Screenwriter you can't do it most of the time (I'm certainly pretty bad at it myself)  but if you can then you should set the opening signal on the first sentence of the first page.  Usually, it's going to end up later on the page because it's really hard to get it on that first line.  

The reason you want to do this is because anything you can do to put the person reading in the right head for reading your script means they are likely to continue.  You want to put them there as early as possible.
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from mcornetto


It's not easy and unless you're a Master Screenwriter you can't do it most of the time (I'm certainly pretty bad at it myself)  but if you can then you should set the opening signal on the first sentence of the first page.  Usually, it's going to end up later on the page because it's really hard to get it on that first line.  

The reason you want to do this is because anything you can do to put the person reading in the right head for reading your script means they are likely to continue.  You want to put them there as early as possible.


Hey Michael,

I see what you're saying.
And you've given me some food for thought with the opening grabber.
I've had some ideas to tailor it a bit to infuse more for zombie comedy.
But I think I'm gonna stick with the opening establishing shot of Africa.
And I like the moment with the irrigation system and the anxious natives.
Then, it's party time in the native village. So, that's like a third of the page.

I see where you're coming from though.
It's something I'm striving for on the feature I'm currently working on.
Ironically, I wrote the opener yesterday, this subject is timely.
I took my time with my opening image, trying to capture the spirit quickly.

I just haven't had that eureka clarity with the ZP opener, I guess.
Though I'm pretty satisfied with the Pygmies themselves.
If I can tweak the comedic tone and dial it in better, I'll do that.

Regards,
E.D.


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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from mcornetto

Ok. Getting confused at this point as to who is a zombie and who isn't - this is when they are in the snack center.  Coach D (who is one of the memorable characters) is not a zombie.  Neither is Mason (Who is also memorable because of Lord Gorzon and this scene more than anything else) is not a zombie. Neither is Hanna (who is memorable because of her thing with Radishes and her friendship with Mason) is not a zombie and a vegetarian.  Scott (who I've seen mentioned a couple of times but can't remember much about him unless I look back a bunch of pages) is not a zombie.  But everyone else is?

I thought the zombies tried to turn the people who weren't?  This scene really doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  It seems like they are suddenly not a threat.

Other characters I remember at this point.
OZURU (mostly because of his name and his introduction of Gymnasties.
KIMIKO (because of her name and because she's OZURU's sister)
GIL and JOAN (because of their engagement)
FIGGIS (because he's the CEO)
RADISH (purely because of the name)

Characters I don't remember without looking back.
STEPHANIE
PEG?

Are you sure Mason isn't a Zombie?  He seems to have undergone a change.

pg 67 "Bad touch, Mason"?  Bad stuff?

Hey Michael,

Ok, I'll wrap this one up today.
I think I know where the bulk of this confusion is coming from.
On pages 61 & 62 is a detailed "zombie makeover" sequence.
The kids steal slurpee syrup and make themselves look like zombies.
They do that to infiltrate the arcade and recover their phones.
The "threat" is real, but the zombies don't know the kids are human.
It's the classic infiltrate the impregnable fortress action trope.
Instead of Nazi uniforms, I use purple syrup and silly strong.
I can see how disorienting it would be, if those pages didn't work for you.
I thought I was pretty explicit, but I'll take another look at that sequence.

Quoted from mcornetto

Because there's so many names, I would rather you had named the Gymnasties by their qualities.  That's a personal preference though - would have made it easier for me to remember them.

Calling Ozuru Oz in actions isn't a good idea since so many names are being bandied about.  Call him Oz or Ozuru and stick with it.  Same with Kim.

I never thought about that with the Gymnasties, I'll keep it in mind.
Not sure what quality outside the menacing braces I could give them.
But I'll keep my mind open for suggestions, thanks.
I see what you're saying about the nicknames.
Perhaps it would work better if the grandparents call them by their full names.
I like the abbreviations in the description, saves space.
I'll meditate on this point.

Quoted from mcornetto

The elderly Takeshiros help Joan and Gil hoist the chair
bound CEO up to the gate’s retinal scanner. Hunh?  Ah.  I see it earlier.  I think here your trying to mimic how the film will be edited a bit too much.  That's entirely your prerogative but it gets even harder to follow what's going on with so many short scenes.

I'm going to disagree with you here.
As the scene plays out, some pinpoint timing is necessary.
The electric fence deactivates right before Scott falls and hits it.
I need to bring that together on the page to show why he survived.
I'm sure the director would do their own thing.
But I have to bring urgency to that scene the best way I know how.
Showing parents and kids working independently towards the same goal.
The kids negate the zombies, the parents negate the security.
Without the combined independent effort, neither succeeds.
So, I feel a few quick scenes to illustrate that are appropriate.

Quoted from mcornetto

Final Comments:

Overall a good early teen flick. Lots of amusing dialogue and gross sticky bits. In some places the dialogue was excellent.  The concept is a sound one, it can work - with a bit more work.

The opening signal needs to be improved.  I should know on the first page exactly what I'm getting into.  I think this makes us guess until around page 20.

Thanks, I'll fine tune the opener and make it more goop friendly somehow.
I felt the native scenes, the janitor and security were laying down the foundation.
But I can see that didn't work for you, I'll review those areas.

Quoted from mcornetto

I think it also suffers by not having any strong characters to follow through the story.  It's an ensemble piece, which is ok, but unless it attracts big name stars or it's a block-buster disaster movie, that isn't going seem like a good business proposition.  And I know you want to sell this.

If you were to have a strong protagonist I would make it Mason rather than Scott.  Mason was memorable whereas Scott was a bit forgettable.  Personal opinion, of course - it could be any one of them as long as you make them memorable.

Mason is too young, IMO, but I see your point.
Perhaps I made Mason so strong, he eclipses Scott.
That may be part of the problem I have not considered.
I've taken small steps to make this Scott's story over the drafts.
And I imagine I'll make more strides in subsequent drafts, it's ongoing.

Quoted from mcornetto

And do try to cut down on some of the characters.  I know, it's not going to matter on the screen but it does matter during the read.  

This is exactly why I don't intend to cut characters.
Two managers said the very same thing, so they didn't criticize the read.
They understood that it would play on the screen fine, so they didn't ding me for it.
I tried hard to differentiate the kids on the page to help with this.
I understand it may thicken the read, but I feel it will translate to film.
I've found the few industry types I've met are very visual folks that way.
However, if I start getting dinged for it, it's certainly worth revisiting.

Quoted from mcornetto

The antagonist, the zombies, were a hot/cold threat.  Sometimes they seemed on a path to turn everyone, other times they seemed like they were normal everyday people.  They need to be a threat and if they aren't because this is a comedy, then they need to be even funnier than they already are.  No matter which direction it needs to be consistent.

I think this is a direct result of the "zombie makeover" not working for you.
Without that sequence, I can see why you'd feel this way.
It would indeed seem like the zombies and kids were hanging out and eating.
Once the ruse is discovered, the chase is back on again.
Perhaps I can augment the makeover/infiltration scenes some.

Quoted from mcornetto

I have to be honest and say that after page 60 I was a bit lost for a while - precisely because of the above reasons.  I think that part of your script needs the most work. Too much going on, at least for a single reading (If I was going to read it more than once then maybe a lot more would make sense to me - unfortunately you usually only get one shot).

The ending didn't really work for me at all.  Sorry.  They just got better is kind of like it's all a dream.  Cute and you did foreshadow it but a bit of a cop out just the same.

But you did finish a script, it's funny and the concept is really good. So well done. Now it just needs a bit of polish.  

Cheers,

Michael  

It seems the final act is a polarizing point.
I'm curious if it would have read better for you, if the makeover scene worked.
i could see that as a point of disorientation and losing the thread.
The third act has a lot of movement and it moves along.

The execs I have heard back from think the second half is the best.
The 8 hours of awesome in a can can be viewed one of two ways.
Yes, it could be considered a cop out, if I didn't foreshadow it well.
I've also been told it's a neat and tidy way of dealing with the phenomenon.
I don't have to spend lots of plot on discerning an antidote, etc.
Which I wanted to avoid that in a family movie.
As it is, I think I have a bit too much science on the page.

Thanks for the extensive notes.
They will come in very handy when I take another run at this script.

Your time and effort is always appreciated!

Regards,
E.D.


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mcornetto
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I think it's fine that you stick to your guns btw.   I don't have any issues with that whatsoever, which I think you know anyway.  Just trying to give you my honest opinion. Ultimately, no one can tell you what will sell and what won't.  It's anybody's guess and I, of course, wish you complete luck selling it.  

I did want to respond to couple of your comments though.  The first is please don't try to underplay other characters to make another one stronger.  If anything, just make that character stronger.

I thought you did a fine job of foreshadowing the ending.  And no denying it's cute and clever, I just found it a bit too simple for my tastes.  IMHO when writing for children there are two options -- either it's good to have a simple story, or you make a good story simple.  Both would be appreciated by a child but the first would likely  be forgotten as they grow while the latter would likely be cherished.  

And purely to show you there are other cures available in your story - and while I am trying to open your mind to other options,  I'm not asking you to change a thing - chiptune music.  

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Electric Dreamer  -  July 12th, 2011, 6:35pm
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Quoted from mcornetto
I think it's fine that you stick to your guns btw.   I don't have any issues with that whatsoever, which I think you know anyway.  Just trying to give you my honest opinion. Ultimately, no one can tell you what will sell and what won't.  It's anybody's guess and I, of course, wish you complete luck selling it.  

I did want to respond to couple of your comments though.  The first is please don't try to underplay other characters to make another one stronger.  If anything, just make that character stronger.
[quote]
Hey Michael,

Thanks for the continued dialogue and elaboration.
I think you're right about the characters, I was just spitballing in the moment, per se.
It's a fine line between preserving your voice and being market attractive.
[quote=mcornetto]
I thought you did a fine job of foreshadowing the ending.  And no denying it's cute and clever, I just found it a bit too simple for my tastes.  IMHO when writing for children there are two options -- either it's good to have a simple story, or you make a good story simple.  Both would be appreciated by a child but the first would likely  be forgotten as they grow while the latter would likely be cherished.

Gotcha, I misunderstood you there, my bad.
I know it won't appeal to all, but it seemed an effective way to wrap things up.
And be a bit snarky towards consumerism with the slogan and all.

Quoted from mcornetto
  
And purely to show you there are other cures available in your story - and while I am trying to open your mind to other options,  I'm not asking you to change a thing - chiptune music.  

Hmmm, are you suggesting the music is the solution?
I like the mobile net corral very much, I'd like to keep both.
Seems like you're alluding to a music soothes the savage beast motif?
Some outside the box thinking there, intriguing. Thanks!

Regards,
E.D.



***There's a new script awareness industry site on the net.***
***It's called Cinepresto, it's free to upload your script during beta testing!***

However, they do require a Facebook log in to join.

Thought I would share the page with my esteemed SS colleagues.
http://www.cinepresto.com/scripts/zombie-playground

You can learn about site details and how it all works here:
http://www.cinepresto.com/

Yay for new ways to get our scripts seen for free!




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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from wonkavite

Okay, here are the little bits I didn't like and/or suggest revising:

* One thing with your writing style: while sharp and clean, you like to pull two ideas into a single sentence, and separate them with a comma.  Examples include p 46: Joan powers up the Interpolator computers and unpacks glass slides, Gil barricades the door.  Personally, I'd start a new sentence at Gil.  You do that a number of times in the script, so I didn't itemize them.  But IMHO, I'd go through and chop up sentences like that in two.  It'll read even cleaner that way.


Hey Janet,

Thanks a ton for reading through this draft.
Apologies for not replying to your notes sooner.
I had forgotten that you PM'd them in a note.

You're right, I tend to stack descriptions I shouldn't on occasion.
Sometimes, in my mind's eye, things play out in a "master shot".
But that doesn't always translate well to the page and I need to watch that.
In the new feature I'm banging out, I endeavor to minimize this kind of mistake.

Quoted from wonkavite

Typos/description issues:

p. 1:  The fulcrum description feels awkward.  I'd chop that up.

p 17: his softens (his expression softens)

p. 20: The playground amusement experience description feels awkward.  Reword?  I'd also rephrase another line on that page as Tell me.  And Lord Gorzon...

p 21: Okay. Everyone's zombified.  Wouldn't they have run *some* animal tests firsts?  This is a great opportunity to come up with "we were supposed to do animal tests first?"  Or: Well, this didn't happen to the hamsters...  And: please tell me this is covered under insurance...

p. 32: I'd take out the "more" in "We're the more snacks".  I know what you're doing.  But it just flows better without it.

p. 39:  Maybe I missed it - but when did Lord Gorzon disappear?

p. 40: The Gymnasties ARE in for a surprise

p. 1 I can take a look at that the next time around.
      Sometimes, I get obsessed with saving place and skimp where I shouldn't.
      Question is, did you know what I meant by how it's written?

p. 17 Fixed. Thanks.

p. 20 Honestly, that's two descriptions I hodge podged together. Guilty as charged.
        I could probably use a better description of the sign there. Thanks.

p. 21 It gets explained later, but I see what you're suggesting here.
        Perhaps a line or two about supposed pre-testing would be appropriate. Thanks.

p. 32 I see your "more" point. I can be too fancy for my own good, at times.

p. 39 There's a few shots of Lord Gorzon in the backpack earlier.
        We see his tail sticking out as the Gymnasties confiscate the packs.
        So, our intrepid lizard returns once they break into Coach D's office.
        Perhaps I need to be more explicit about that confiscation beat. Thanks.

p. 40 Fixed. Thanks.

Quoted from wonkavite

Those issues aside, I have nothing to complain about.  The characters are fun, and not overly cliche (hey, it's a kid's film!)  And the structure/plot work.  Extra plus, this is potential a very low budget piece.  Which is a selling point.

Despite the high adventure tone, I tried to keep it "contained".
That way, I can get a lot of "mileage" out of my set pieces/playground attractions.
And the set pieces "spin" the intent of said attraction for satirical mayhem points.
I wrote a treatment then converted it to index cards to structure the plot.
Glad to hear those efforts worked for you.

Quoted from wonkavite

A quick read.  And a very, very good children's film!  I think you've got a winner here.  Honestly.  The writing's sharp, the dialogue's witty, the action's kid friendly..and it's a neat Goosebumpy, Nickoleon spin on zombies.  As a side issue, the poster's fab, too.

Honestly, I like this ALOT better than the shorts I've read of yours.  Very nice stuff.  Kudos!!  (PS: I cringed at the idea of reading a zombie script.  But this worked, for the kid-friendly reasons mentioned above.)  Go for it....

I'm thrilled to hear you "got" the tone that I was going for with this story.
Sadly, Nickelodeon pulled out of the InkTip pitch con this week.
They were my "number one" at this event. Alas. I'll rethink my strategy.
The poster was done by my roomie, he's a very talented artist/game designer.
And I agree that it goes a long way to setting the tone for the script.

LoL, I submitted the Puerto Rican rewrite of Lie Detector last week.
Hopefully, you'll like that short a little better than the others.

Thanks for the worlds of encouragement.
I'll carry them with me as I brave the industry con this weekend!

Regards,
E.D.


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RayW
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Alrightty! Here we go... !

Characters:
MR. and MRS. GRABOWSKI (40s), outdoor types in FigCorp work khakis bearing their name
ABRAHAM (60s), comb over in custodial FigCorp coveralls
SULLY (40s), scarecrow build with a moustache in a guard uniform
“BIG FIG” FIGGIS (50s), masks his bookish looks with corporate polish,
LOUIS (50s), turkey neck guard
LEAHANNI MONROEVILLE (80s), wears a pill box hat over blue silver hair
GLEN (20s), lanky with a soul patch

Blended family
GILBERT HORTON (40s), (Scott and Steph's Father) average build and earnest eyes
JOAN BREWSTER (40s), (Dad's GF) pixie nose and long locks
STEPHANIE HORTON (14), (Gil's Daughter) tweener fashion magazine victim,
SCOTT HORTON (12), (Gil's Son) shaggy bangs and pale complexion
HANNA BREWSTER (11), (Joan's Daughter) button nose and braids wearing a green “Recycle or Die” T-shirt
MASON BREWSTER (6), (Joan's Son) freckles and round face

RADISLAV “RADISH” GRABOWSKI (13), curly hair and big ears
NATALIE (17), (babysitter) girl next door
GARTH (17), gangly with athletic physique
OZURU TAKESHIRO (12), dark hair and slim
KIMIKO TAKESHIRO (12), long hair in a tight bun
COACH D (40s), NFL linebacker build
CHIPMUNK GIRL (7), bowl cut and buck teeth


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

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

Nice match cut on pg 2.

BITE ENERGY BOOST CAN IMAGE

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

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

Bite dampens the front page headline. The purple liquid trail
continues down the page and contaminates a smaller headline:
“FIGCORP KIDPLEX PLAYGROUND FRANCHISE A BIG HIT”.

Very nice imagery.

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

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

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

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

p4
          GIL
It’s our one week cohabitation
equation anniversary, Dr. Brewster.

Nicely handled exposition of Dad's cohabitating GF's credentials.

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

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

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

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

Joan drops to her knees in front of Mason.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another nice credential expo!

p9
          MASON
But, mom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

p11
          SULLY
Abe, you’re one pig of a janitor.
Faint mocking pig grunts break the silence. Sully squints as
he scans the cluttered cage with the flashlight.

Cute.

Scott plays the same FigCorp console used by the Pygmy kids

Now, how are you going to demonstrate it it's the very same console used by the Pygmy kids?
Some thumbprint? Nah, that could be wiped off over transport time.
Does the purple Pygmy paint stain? If so, then establish such in opening sequence.
A scratch, a burn, something.
Also, I know the Horton/Brewsters just moved next door to the traveling Grabowski's. Why does Scott Horton already have Radish Grabowski's hand-me-down console?

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

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

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

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

p14
          SCOTT
I don’t want a new mother. Gil. I
already have one.

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

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

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

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

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

Better be a payoff on this spike strip.

Scott looks out the window, his softens.

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

          GARTH
Yeah, Miss Brewster’s a total milf.

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

p19
Leahanni points to a portable defibrillator. Glen balks.

Another odd insert that had better have a good payoff.



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RayW
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p20
INT. MINIVAN - DAY

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

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

Oh, yeah. Nickelodeon-ville.

STEPHANIE
Alright, I’ll tell you. Milf means,
mothers in love with farts.

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

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

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

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

p21
          GIL
It’s like watching rush hour on the
addiction turnpike.

That is a nice line.

p22
Glen gives Leahanni mouth to mouth.

Kidz're gonna love that!

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

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

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

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

The Pygmies dance to tribal drums and exclaim, “Big Fig!


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

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

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

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

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

Nice juxtaposition with prior line of dialog.

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

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

p27/28
          SCOTT
You were kissing up to Radish.
          RADISH
Really?
          HANNA
No, I wasn’t.

I musta missed this from a prior conversation. Whuuut?

p28
          COACH D
Super bodacious bacon FigBurgers
and PotatoTastic FigFries.

These are great fake product names.

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

Nice turn of events and fate. Real nice.

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

Awwww! So cuuute!

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

Hooray! Nice save!

p38/39
EXT. KIDPLEX - HAMSTER CAGE - DAY

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

p39
EXT. KIDPLEX - FORTRESS - DAY

Sounds like a $500k set.

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

That's going to be funny to watch.

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

Story all gelled together by the end.

Yeah, that first twenty is killing this.

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

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



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Breanne Mattson
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Hi Brett,

Nice to read something from you.

I think there’s a lot of good writing here. It’s got a good tone for a kid’s flick. Lots of kid friendly action. Following are just some thoughts I had while reading.

First, the zombies:

I have to admit I went into this with a sense of dread. The word zombie generally causes me to groan. I like a few zombie pictures but generally I think they’re done to death. The writers are usually delusional and their ideas are usually nowhere near as fresh as they think. If I didn’t know you, there’s no way I would have opened up this script.

But I do. And I did.

I understand you’re basically trying to market zombies to kids. And to do that, you’ve created zombies that don’t eat flesh. They snack a lot instead and turn others through spewing goop. That makes sense. Flesh eating is too much and children notoriously love goop.

It does raise the question of whether or not these zombies are technically zombies. I don’t personally think that’s a big deal but zombie enthusiasts are particular about this sort of thing. They’ll probably reject this as being a zombie flick.

That said, your target audience almost certainly won’t mind. Children will probably like this conceptually.

Technical stuff:

It’s good that you use synonyms but sometimes it feels wordy. It’s dynamic, which is good on one hand. Most scripts are too bland and need to be punched up. In your case, at times there are so many words it ends up feeling jumbled. It’s like you got a thesaurus rush and couldn’t resist showing off how many different words you could use.

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

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

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

Notes as I read:

I didn’t know until page 8 that Gorzon was a real dragon. I thought he was a puppet ha ha.

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

P22 - Joan says oh no, should be Glen.

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

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

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

P49 - I didn’t understand exactly what happened between Scott and Hanna when they descend.

P51 - Macon lands - I presume Macon is either a typo or the character’s previous name.

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

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

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

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

And this brings me to the jokes. Some of the jokes feel a little too obviously set up. I didn’t really find the script all that funny. However, I realize that a great deal of the humor will be found in set pieces. It’s also got adventure, which really lends a lot to these types of pictures.

I also think you did a really good job of keeping characters involved and busy. At least as far as the good guys. I do think the villains were a little lacking. We didn’t really even meet any villains until shortly before they became zombies. Once they’re zombies, it’s really too late. They’re essentially mindless and no longer relatable.

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

I think it could be made into a winner. I don’t think it’s quite there yet but I think it could get there.

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

Good job and good luck with it.


Breanne



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

Nice to read something from you.

I think there’s a lot of good writing here. It’s got a good tone for a kid’s flick. Lots of kid friendly action. Following are just some thoughts I had while reading.

First, the zombies:

I have to admit I went into this with a sense of dread. The word zombie generally causes me to groan. I like a few zombie pictures but generally I think they’re done to death. The writers are usually delusional and their ideas are usually nowhere near as fresh as they think. If I didn’t know you, there’s no way I would have opened up this script.

But I do. And I did.

I understand you’re basically trying to market zombies to kids. And to do that, you’ve created zombies that don’t eat flesh. They snack a lot instead and turn others through spewing goop. That makes sense. Flesh eating is too much and children notoriously love goop.

Hey Breanne,

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

It does raise the question of whether or not these zombies are technically zombies. I don’t personally think that’s a big deal but zombie enthusiasts are particular about this sort of thing. They’ll probably reject this as being a zombie flick.

That said, your target audience almost certainly won’t mind. Children will probably like this conceptually.

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

Technical stuff:

It’s good that you use synonyms but sometimes it feels wordy. It’s dynamic, which is good on one hand. Most scripts are too bland and need to be punched up. In your case, at times there are so many words it ends up feeling jumbled. It’s like you got a thesaurus rush and couldn’t resist showing off how many different words you could use.

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

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

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

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

Notes as I read:

I didn’t know until page 8 that Gorzon was a real dragon. I thought he was a puppet ha ha.

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

P22 - Joan says oh no, should be Glen.

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

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

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

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

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

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

P49 - I didn’t understand exactly what happened between Scott and Hanna when they descend.

P51 - Macon lands - I presume Macon is either a typo or the character’s previous name.

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

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

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

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

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

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

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

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

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

And this brings me to the jokes. Some of the jokes feel a little too obviously set up. I didn’t really find the script all that funny. However, I realize that a great deal of the humor will be found in set pieces. It’s also got adventure, which really lends a lot to these types of pictures.

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

I also think you did a really good job of keeping characters involved and busy. At least as far as the good guys. I do think the villains were a little lacking. We didn’t really even meet any villains until shortly before they became zombies. Once they’re zombies, it’s really too late. They’re essentially mindless and no longer relatable.

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

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

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

Quoted from Breanne Mattson

I think it could be made into a winner. I don’t think it’s quite there yet but I think it could get there.

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

Good job and good luck with it.


Breanne


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

Anyime I can return the gesture, count on it.

Regards,
E.D.


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


I think the end joke could work. I just think there needs to be some explanation as to why Abraham is in the cage the whole movie when he really didn’t have to be. Or he should get stuck again.

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

Best of luck with it.


Breanne


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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from Breanne Mattson

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

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

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

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

Best of luck with it.


Breanne


Hey Breanne,

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

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

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

Regards,
E.D.





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Hugh Hoyland
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Electric Dreamer Hi!

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

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

Overall your structure is pretty much spot on IMO.  

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

Harley


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


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Quoted from Hugh Hoyland
Electric Dreamer Hi!

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

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

Overall your structure is pretty much spot on IMO.  

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

Harley


Hey Harley,

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

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

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 29th, 2011, 11:54am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RayW
Alrightty! Here we go... !
p1
SUPER: Somewhere in the Congo
Depending upon the humor vs political correctness the tone (I told ya!) you want to achieve here, the proper national name is Democratic Republic of the Congo or if it's just rain forest specific the Somewhere in the Congo Basin or Somewhere in equatorial Congo.
ygmy_languages_" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fileygmy_languages_(Bahuchet).png

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

Nice match cut on pg 2.

BITE ENERGY BOOST CAN IMAGE

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

Hey Ray,

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

Quoted from RayW


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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

p4

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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

Joan drops to her knees in front of Mason.

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

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


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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

Quoted from RayW


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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

Another nice credential expo!

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

Quoted from RayW

p9
          MASON
But, mom.

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

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

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

Not sure what you're talking about here.

Quoted from RayW


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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

p11

Scott plays the same FigCorp console used by the Pygmy kids

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

Sure, I can do that next draft.

Quoted from RayW

p14
          SCOTT
I don’t want a new mother. Gil. I
already have one.

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

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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

Better be a payoff on this spike strip.

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

Quoted from RayW


Scott looks out the window, his softens.

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

Boo boo fixed.

Quoted from RayW


          GARTH
Yeah, Miss Brewster’s a total milf.

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

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

Quoted from RayW

p19
Leahanni points to a portable defibrillator. Glen balks.

Another odd insert that had better have a good payoff.

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

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

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

Cheers!
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: July 31st, 2011, 6:45pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RayW
p20
INT. MINIVAN - DAY

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

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

Quoted from RayW


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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

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

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

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

Quoted from RayW

p27/28
          SCOTT
You were kissing up to Radish.
          RADISH
Really?
          HANNA
No, I wasn’t.

I musta missed this from a prior conversation. Whuuut?

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

Quoted from RayW

p28
          COACH D
Super bodacious bacon FigBurgers
and PotatoTastic FigFries.

These are great fake product names.

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

Quoted from RayW

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

Nice turn of events and fate. Real nice.

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

Quoted from RayW

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

Story all gelled together by the end.

Yeah, that first twenty is killing this.

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers! And get back to writing!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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

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


Hi Brett:

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

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

Best of luck to you.


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

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

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

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

E.D.



LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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leitskev
Posted: August 5th, 2011, 10:01pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, you pitched well, made a good impression. You got through! Now you know the way in. You're on your way, man. Keep pushing.
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Dreamscale
Posted: August 5th, 2011, 10:11pm Report to Moderator
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Brett...don't fret.  Definitely have a drink...I'm on # 3.

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

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


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

Pat you on the head while telling you no.

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

You wanna do a pc about it?  


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

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

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

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


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Hugh Hoyland
Posted: August 6th, 2011, 12:54am Report to Moderator
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Funny thing is sometime down the road they'll figure out theres actually money to be made by stories dealing with the whole family.

Then its send in the family orientated script please lol.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: August 6th, 2011, 12:51pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Hugh Hoyland
Funny thing is sometime down the road they'll figure out theres actually money to be made by stories dealing with the whole family.

Then its send in the family orientated script please lol.


Hey Hugh,

Thanks for the kind thoughts.
There's a lot of truth in this statement. Timing is so important.
If ZP doesn't gain traction, I should just put it in a drawer.
One day, family movies will get some attention again.
Then I can pitch it as Swiss Family Robinson, with zombies!


Quoted from leitskev
Hey, you pitched well, made a good impression. You got through! Now you know the way in. You're on your way, man. Keep pushing.


Hey Kev, no give up here, just hurdles to be jumped. It's all good, thanks.
Just caught me in a funny way, given what I was writing yesterday.
I tend to behave according to the tone of what I'm writing.
I'm back on the horse, taking notes and making pages.


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

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

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


Hey Jeff, no fretting here, just needed to take a breather.
It's very cool they took the time to write me an encouraging note.
I'm not mad or frustrated, honestly, I did this, it was my choice.
I decided to write ZP as a family movie, not just a kid adventure.
I knew it would do what some may call, "limiting it's appeal".
To me, it's a choice that "focuses the appeal" of the story.
It does give me the idea of marketing ZP as Swiss Family Robinson with zombies!


Quoted from Grandma Bear
I'm sorry Brett, but that sounds like a standard "no".

Pat you on the head while telling you no.

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

You wanna do a pc about it?  

Hey Pia, thanks for the note, I realize it's a pass.
But, it's a pass with an encouraging note from the Head of Development.
This is part of making narrative choices, it's part of the game.
I make choices that limit the appeal to some, while hopefully enhancing it for others.
No give up here, just hit me funny yesterday while I was writing sad scenes.
I got it out of my system and I'm back on the horse writing today.
No sad sack pity party podcast from me, rather it be fun and edifying.
Have a great weekend!


Quoted from Hugh Hoyland
Hey E.D.

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

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

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


It's very true, I haven't decided how I will reply yet.
There's a relationship to cultivate here, just need to be classy about it.
I'm back on the writing horse today.
I should finish the rough draft of the new feature this afternoon.
Then, I'm partying the rest of the weekend.
Hopefully going to see "Bellflower" at the NuArt on Sunday!

Thanks everyone for the thoughts, you all rock!

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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Branzig Rubenburg
Posted: August 13th, 2011, 5:16pm Report to Moderator
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I just started reading this script.  It's great.  I've never got a chance to read a children's story-type script before on here.  Keep up the good work!
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: August 16th, 2011, 7:58pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Branzig Rubenburg
I just started reading this script.  It's great.  I've never got a chance to read a children's story-type script before on here.  Keep up the good work!


Hello Branzig,

Been seeing you reading around here, thanks for stopping by.
I'm glad you enjoyed what you've read so far.
A new draft with many changes should be posted by the end of the week.
Should you wish to continue, your thoughts would be appreciated.
Are you posting your own scripts as well?

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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Branzig Rubenburg
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Quoted from Electric Dreamer


Hello Branzig,

Been seeing you reading around here, thanks for stopping by.
I'm glad you enjoyed what you've read so far.
A new draft with many changes should be posted by the end of the week.
Should you wish to continue, your thoughts would be appreciated.
Are you posting your own scripts as well?

Regards,
E.D.


That's great news.  I'll be sure to check that out!  I have a couple of scripts, but have not posted any online.  I hope to do so within the next month or two.  

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leitskev
Posted: August 19th, 2011, 2:47pm Report to Moderator
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When's the latest draft coming? I'm gonna sleep outside for tickets like I did for U2 concerts in college!
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pwhitcroft
Posted: August 23rd, 2011, 7:49pm Report to Moderator
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Brett,

I’ve listed my comments as I read this below. Often I’m more likely to note negatives than positives.

Title Page – Strong title.

Pg 1 – Just to demonstrate how picky I am... I’d suggest taking out the extra line after “FADE IN:”.

For me you could either take out “Somewhere in” or change it to a stronger tone setting gag.

“It’s a miracle.” – She could say this before we get the reveal of the game console. Also I’m not clear on whether the Grabowski’s have entered the hut or not.

The first page kicks the story off quickly.

Pg 2 – The transition is great and it has the effect of launching things quickly.

“COACH D” – I thought I’d missed his intro, but I see it’s further down.

“Eight hours of awesome in a can.
What does that crap even mean?” – This might be an example of dialogue that could be tightened. If it ended “can?” I think we’d understand what he’s saying.

Pg 3 – I got confused with the “MATCH CUT TO:” on this page. I think it’s because there’s no scene heading so I couldn’t picture where it is.

There’s been good stuff so far but I get the sense that it’s all been a prologue. If that’s the case then you could consider the option of punching it up so that it really hooks us in.

Pg 4 – “average build” – Doesn’t tell me much.

Pg 5 – I’ve noticed in several places that your descriptions might be a little detailed. Also you could consider tightening up the language in a few ways to make the read sharper. Examples from this page:
“growling and snarling.” – If he just “growls” does it make much difference?

“before she exits” – We know what she’s doing and we’ll see where she ends up, so does this add much?

“Gil puts the ring back in his coat.” – How about “puts the ring away.”

“button nose and braids wearing a” – Is her nose going to matter? Could she “wears” instead of “wearing”?

“Mason zombie walks” – As well as thundering?

“Gil enters the hall, wearing pajamas.” – I know they are in “the hall”, and does it matter what he’s wearing?

“Mason halts, he whispers to his trusted lizard pet.” – “Mason halts, whispers to Lord Gorzon.”

I’m being ridiculously picky with all of these, but taken together hopefully it shows what I mean about the read being slowed down.

Pg 10 – “my father is”, “Coach D will” – I got confused into briefly thinking these are the same person.

At this point I get the sense that something is going to happen at the KidPlex and that all these people will play their part. The characters feel varied and they are being introduced in a variety of ways. However I’m starting to get a lingering doubt about the story needing to move along.

Pg 11 – And right on cue it does what I wanted!

Pg 15 – At this point, even though the story has begun elsewhere, the main characters are continuing to live life as per normal. From their point of view nothing has happened that sets this day apart from any other. That might be okay, but it makes it hard to give the story energy.

Pg 20 – “day over--“ – I think “--“ typically denotes an interruption or something that will continue with another “--“ further down. If you want him to tail off “...” is more common.

Pg 22 – “But how?” – Since she saw him kiss her, I’m not sure what she’s asking.

I like the purple ooze thing. It gives this an extra dimension of grossness.

Pg 30 – The action has kicked off now. I’m not sure that I’m attached to any of the characters in particular. Having a large ensemble like this it makes it hard to connect the audience to the people involved.

Pg 31 – I really like Peg and Amy getting contaminated. It makes the kids’ situation much more serious.

Pg 33 – “Yes, I will marry you.” – I was expecting you’d save that for the end. On the same subject I’m guessing that at some point these two are going to have a big falling out with each other, to add conflict.

Pg 36 – Nice action sequence for them getting out.

Pg 37 – “CHURCH INTERIOR POV
Natalie peers down inside and blushes.
RETURN TO SCENE” – I’m not sure you need the camera directions.

Pg 39 – The Fortress feels like a pretty cool location. It’s good that you’re delivering on what you promised with the title.

Pg 43 – You could consider making more of the first child attack that we see. It could be a scene which sets up the special powers of Peg and Amy.

Pg 44 – Similarly, there is an option to have the good kids discover the bad kids in a more developed scene, rather than seeing it in the distance.

Inside the church there seems to be an opportunity for a good chilling moment in having Natalie unsure if she’s doing the right thing and then seeing devil eyes staring at her. You’ve kind of got this already, but as described it’s not punching very hard.

Pg 51 – These scenes of the other kids encountering zombies work well.

Pg 54 – Figgis giving himself up is good stuff. I wonder if there is a way to have him be in the same place as the other two when he does it since that might make the scene more dynamic.

Pg 61 – The playground battle works well.

Pg 70 – “Whatever we do, we do it together.” – Maybe they are being too nice to each other.

I had expected that when the two groups contacted each other they would agree some coordinated high risk plan that would need both sides to defeat their enemies and come together to solve the problem. Maybe that’ll still happen.

“Then meet us at the mini golf cavern.” – On that subject, what happened to Natalie and Garth?

Pg 72 – At this point I see that they are trying to gather stuff for battle, but I’ll admit I’m a bit lost on what they are trying to achieve.

Pg 73 – “operate the Bite production assembly line” – For monster zombies this seems a bit organized.

“Now what?” – At this point in the story I wonder if they should be passed this kind of question. It seems to highlight my impression that they are all a little bit aimless at the moment.

Pg 75 – “Gymnasty Peg blows past the jocks in her kart.” – I’m not a real expert on Zombie movies, but I think I’ve heard it said that Zombies driving really annoys some people. Having said that, I really like the idea of a go-kart chase sequence.

I believe I’m right in saying that so far the good guys have not lost anyone, except perhaps Natalie and Figgis. This might be okay but it kind of makes threats to them seem trivial.

Pg 81 – It’s good pacey finale action at the moment. I’m still not sure what either group is trying to do.

Pg 88 – So everyone returns to normal all by themselves? This seems to mean that all their efforts were a bit pointless. Also it feels little deux et machina. I’d suggest devising a way in which the various characters can knowingly and dynamically save everyone. The kids getting all the zombies tied up and in one place could be one half of the plan, the other half would be the parents getting an antidote and battling to bring it to them. Earlier on I thought that the bearded Dragon was going to play a role in discovering the antidote, i.e. it licks someone and they recover (If the Dragon comes from the Congo then this makes sense.) When the parents are told this they understand how an antidote can be made.

Pg 89 – “Figgis puts himself between the cart and the families.” – Why does this stop the cart?

Pg 92 – I really like the twist ending. I’m not sure you need to have half a page of dialogue to set it up. If someone says “When’s the Tokyo test due to start?” that pretty much covers it.


Overall the story is fun and has a lot of strong action sequences. The characters work pretty well.

I really like the metaphorical aspect of the harm that fizzy drinks and snacks can do to people. It gives the whole thing an extra level of meaning.

This works pretty well as a zombie movie for kids, so it might make sense to back away from the sex and “milf” stuff. That also means that it needs to fall to the kids to save the day.

The technique works quite well. As I described, it could be tightened up a little.

My biggest suggestion on this is to see if you can give them clearer objectives and obstacles through the story and in particular in the finale.

Another thing to consider is if there is a way to create a minor zombie playground/street crisis that can happen the previous day. I say this because it feels like the story takes a while to get going, so having a minor version of the crisis play out early in the story is one way to help with this.

Good luck with it.

Philip


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: August 25th, 2011, 4:04pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from pwhitcroft
Brett,

I’ve listed my comments as I read this below. Often I’m more likely to note negatives than positives.

There’s been good stuff so far but I get the sense that it’s all been a prologue. If that’s the case then you could consider the option of punching it up so that it really hooks us in.

Hey Philip,

Thanks for the detailed read.
I have submitted a new draft, it should be posted here soon.
I have made a lot of changes to the opener.
The Grabowskis have been replaced with Figgis and his sister, etc.
Scott has a much stronger introduction now.
I appreciate your insights though, seems you have an eye for detail.

Quoted from pwhitcroft

Pg 15 – At this point, even though the story has begun elsewhere, the main characters are continuing to live life as per normal. From their point of view nothing has happened that sets this day apart from any other. That might be okay, but it makes it hard to give the story energy.

In the new draft, I shuffle things up a bunch in the first act.
Including breaking up the long breakfast scene.
I think it's a step towards addressing what you mention here.

Quoted from pwhitcroft

Pg 33 – “Yes, I will marry you.” – I was expecting you’d save that for the end. On the same subject I’m guessing that at some point these two are going to have a big falling out with each other, to add conflict.

Funny you should mention that, it's already been changed in the latest draft.
The proposal gets aborted in the lab and the tension carries to the end.
I'll be curious to see what you think of this change.
Assuming you're game to give this another read through.

Quoted from pwhitcroft

I believe I’m right in saying that so far the good guys have not lost anyone, except perhaps Natalie and Figgis. This might be okay but it kind of makes threats to them seem trivial.

You zeroed in on another change I've already made.
I upped the stakes in the third act by zombifying one of the kids.
I think it also better motivates our hero to lead the kids.

Quoted from pwhitcroft

Pg 88 – So everyone returns to normal all by themselves? This seems to mean that all their efforts were a bit pointless. Also it feels little deux et machina. I’d suggest devising a way in which the various characters can knowingly and dynamically save everyone. The kids getting all the zombies tied up and in one place could be one half of the plan, the other half would be the parents getting an antidote and battling to bring it to them. Earlier on I thought that the bearded Dragon was going to play a role in discovering the antidote, i.e. it licks someone and they recover (If the Dragon comes from the Congo then this makes sense.) When the parents are told this they understand how an antidote can be made.

I've toyed with something like what you're suggesting in outlines, etc.
I like the simplicity of the energy drink's slogan being the solution.
"Eight hours of awesome in a can" The zombie effect wears off, like a sugar rush.
But I'm open to changes should a producer with to pursue the script with me.

You've got a lot of great suggestions here for me to ponder, thanks!
I hope you'll look over the revisions I've already made.
The new draft should be available here soon, I've already submitted it.
If I can return the favor on any of your work, please let me know.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: August 25th, 2011, 4:06pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from leitskev
When's the latest draft coming? I'm gonna sleep outside for tickets like I did for U2 concerts in college!


LOL! Do I have to give out purple wrist bands then?
I haven't waited out for concert tickets since high school!
I submitted the new draft to Don, I'm sure he'll post when he can.

E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: August 25th, 2011, 4:16pm Report to Moderator
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***PITCH UPDATE***

I'll be taking Zombie Playground to Sherwood Oaks pitch event tomorrow.
You can learn more about this nifty institution here:
http://www.sherwoodoakscollege.com/

To prepare for this event, I stepped up my ZP concept art, big time.
I added two new images to my pitching arsenal.
These are to be used in support of the original one sheet.
I've upgraded the corporate logo for FigCorp and added the slogan.



And I'm nailing down the look and feel for the Bite Energy Boost can.



There's a new draft coming with lots of first and third act changes.
I've taken your great suggestions and hopefully put them to good use.

I've also got a new feature out to coverage.
Once I get that in decent shape, I'll post it to the boards.

Thanks, guys! Wish me luck tomorrow!
Hopefully purple is some producer's favorite color!

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  -  August 25th, 2011, 9:24pm
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Grandma Bear
Posted: August 25th, 2011, 8:22pm Report to Moderator
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Brett,

good luck at the pitch!

I like the new graphics.....but not as much as the original to be honest.

What's with the bite thing? They're not vampires. IMHO, it gives the wrong impression.

I thought the original 1 page showed the right tone and feel of the script better.

Still, kick ass at the pitch!  


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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from Grandma Bear
Brett,

good luck at the pitch!

I like the new graphics.....but not as much as the original to be honest.

What's with the bite thing? They're not vampires. IMHO, it gives the wrong impression.

I thought the original 1 page showed the right tone and feel of the script better.

Still, kick ass at the pitch!  


Pia,

Glad you like the graphics.
These new images aren't replacing the original one sheet.
They are just a couple more tools I can use during a pitch, time permitting.
I will always start a pitch with the original poster image at the top of this thread.
The "Bite" is the prototype energy drink that causes the zombie mutation.
FigCorp wants to "cash in" on the vampire craze with the marketing, etc.
The only "biting" going on in this PG zombie flick is consuming energy drinks!

Thanks for the well wishes, I'll take all I can get!
Hope your writing and production work is going well.

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
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Hey Brett

Hope everything's going well with you. Read 30 pgs. My thoughts on them:

Coach D and Figgis relationship. Very odd how she's so domineering in appearance yet she's so sensitive against Figgis. I understand that their brother and sister but Coach D can beat him up. Why can't she just beat him up? I think it would be good to change her phsyical attributes. they remind me of Dexter and Dee Dee from Dexter's laboratory. Dexter finds Dee Dee so dangerous because she would mess things up. Let the same thing happen with Coach D. Why not have Coach D attempt to prove her intelligence to her brother by messing around with the formula?  You already established this when Figgis slaps her hand away from touching the leaf.

Also, I think you should show the formula being made. A trial and error process. A simple montage can do and then someone  like Coach D messes it up.    

predator/prey day. I don't think the title is children friendly. I like the speech that Coach D gives about that day but I can't see parents bringing their children to that type of event.  


Gil and Scott. Their first dialogue could be trimmed. I think there should be certain points where they can be silence.

Hope this helps. Will continue reading,
Gabe
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wonkavite
Posted: September 1st, 2011, 9:45pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Brett -

So, just finished the read on the re-write.  As I've said before, this one's a gem.  TONS of great lines, jokes and giggle worthy bits.  I'd go into which ones I liked best, but honestly that would take too long.  (MILF was terrific, just as an example.  So was the "overdone" FIG branding of all the products, and the Mini Golf Church, and the Slow Metabolism line, etc, etc.)   Said it before, and will say it again...Nickelodeon should be banging down your door for this one.

Hey, but what's a review without a little criticism?  Not much by any means, but just certain things that stuck out at me.  Take them as you will...

p. 1:  You mention D's Havana shirt two times...surely, once is enough!
         The placement of the logo breaks things up confusingly, for me
         While I feel the new intro works, I actually liked the activity in the original version        
          better.   More dynamic for my tastes.

p. 4:   What is D looking to accomplish by giving the can to Abe?

p. 5:  ""Bearing" logos

p. 14:  Might be, my wife (awk)

p. 21: (or so): When the test group starts to turn, I STILL think that'd be the perfect place for a
          throw away line regarding "That didn't happen with the hamsters!" (or similar)

p. 27:  I feel the rules of the game need more explanation.  As I remember, the earlier version
           laid them out well, very neat and clean...  I'd also like a more definitive start to the
           game...  Just to get the mental clock ticking for the audience.

p. 32: Joan's looks (Joan looks)

p. 35: Re: the ventilation shaft.  Perfect place for Joan to complain - Climb in?  They might still
           be in there!  Gil: Well, there's definitely one in here...

p. 36:  Monroeville?  Huh?

p. 38:  Take out the hip touching.  Too sexy for a PG flick...  

p. 43:  Hey, you already mentioned the boy was obese.  Maybe take one repetition of that
           adjective out.  Otherwise, you be hatin' on metabolically challenged folks....

p. 47:  Gerbil national holiday.  Huh?

p. 55:  Coach D holds a clipboard AND DROOLS.  (Just a thought.  The visual's funny to me...)

p. 74:  Everything?

p. 84:  I really, really want to see Grandma and Grandpa introduced at the beginning.  
           Otherwise, bringing a dialogue speaking character in so late in the game is jarring...  
          Besides, they seem like great characters that you could milk for further jokes...

p. 85: Dammit, use the batting cages, and hit a zombie kid in the head with a softball!  It's
          there for the taking, use it..!   (And not all that comparatively violent.  After all, you did have a go-kart go up
           in flames.)

*** In general, I felt that the playground action went on a "touch" too long.  It may be that on screen, it moves faster - so I could be wrong on that.  But if you replaced a tiny bit of it with a little more heart-to-heart kid bonding, or Gil/Joan dialogue, I wouldn't mind****

p. 88: I actually felt the script lost a little steam, here.  Everything's building up to a crescendo, and then - flatline.  Everyone seems to take the zombie reversion a little too easy.  I know that you briefly touch on the DNA strand and sequence at bit...but I could have really used some more clear cut explanation of why everyone suddenly got better.  And the kids took the reversion too much in stride.  Possibly, you could kill two birds with one stone by having Gil and Joan explain "why" to the kids, who weren't privy to their earlier conversation.

p. 90: Why does Coach D stop?  Just because Figg said so?  She's a zombie at that point: why would she care?  And with a remaining zombie still on the attack, the crowd stops to applaud the wedding proposal?  Maybe juggle the dialogue sequencing around a bit on this one.  And Figg's "I'm such a selfish corporate pig" speech was a bit much.  Though it was cartoony, which fits into the general theme of the film.

p. 93: Maybe use "the second-wave focus group!"  Or Eastern...  Something to deliniate that
           they're not talking about the original set of volunteers...

Despite the deflation I felt at the "everything's returning to normal point", the ending worked great.  Classic "here we go again" scene.  Perfect, colorful and humorous.

So - with the exception of me really wanting to see the denouement punched up several degrees - serious kudos!  Extremely solid script, story, writing...and a nice poster too.

Side Item: Just took a quick look at some of the earlier posts, and the "it's gotta be just the kids" studio comment.  Honestly, a load of hooey - if it makes you feel any better.  The kids DO drive the vast majority of this story, and Gil/Joan hardly take away from that.  I know it's only so helpful to say "their loss, not yours."  But that's true for this one.  Someone will definitely take up the gauntlet on this script - IMHO.  It's just got too much PG appeal and humor to fail, even bringing in the ever-popular zombie theme with a fresh twist.  (BTW..just in case you're worried about me being too positive, please let me reassure you...  I'm very willing to say 'you suck', if I read something of yours that isn't decent.  Though - based on this script - I kinda doubt that'll happen...)

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Electric Dreamer  -  September 1st, 2011, 10:03pm
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capper
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Very interested in reading the new revision. My 5 year-old son would love to see this.

In pre-school (when he was 3) he decided to tell the rest of the kids about zombies and their brain fetish, then rallied them all to stumble around moaning "brainnnns" and fake eating each other's brains.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: September 3rd, 2011, 2:42pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Mr.Ripley
Hey Brett

Hope everything's going well with you. Read 30 pgs. My thoughts on them:

Coach D and Figgis relationship. Very odd how she's so domineering in appearance yet she's so sensitive against Figgis. I understand that their brother and sister but Coach D can beat him up. Why can't she just beat him up? I think it would be good to change her phsyical attributes. they remind me of Dexter and Dee Dee from Dexter's laboratory. Dexter finds Dee Dee so dangerous because she would mess things up. Let the same thing happen with Coach D. Why not have Coach D attempt to prove her intelligence to her brother by messing around with the formula?  You already established this when Figgis slaps her hand away from touching the leaf.

Hey Gabe!

Thanks for taking another look at this, it's greatly appreciated!
I like the dynamic you're suggesting, it has merit.
However, I feel it may put too much focus on these supporting characters.
ZP is already very much an ensemble piece, I fear more Figgis could muddle things.
I like that COach D is big, but has a soft gooey center.
And she finds it once again in the end, bringing her full circle.
If this story was more about them, I think your idea would be great!


Quoted from Mr.Ripley

predator/prey day. I don't think the title is children friendly. I like the speech that Coach D gives about that day but I can't see parents bringing their children to that type of event.  

I see your point, but it's Coach D on the day that decides to get serious.
Pred/Prey is common camp game for kids, I played it as a kid even,
She's using the evolution teaching game for her personal vendetta.
If parents knew that, then absolutely, I would agree with you 100%.

Many thanks for all your insights, thanks so much for helping me make this better!
Looking forward to more posts from you.
And always ready to return the gesture in kind with your work.

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
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Hey Brett

Finally got to finish the script.

I still don't get Coach D's motivation on releasing the zombie drink. I understand it's her form of vengeance against Figgis but I don't see how turning people including herself into zombie's a form of vengeance. Did she know what the drinks were going to do? If so, that's more of a reason for her to not drink it. It's not making a strong connection for me. But prob it's just me.

Also i think you did Figgis's transformation from being mean to Coach D to being sympathetic and understanding way to quickly. There needs to be a bit more interaction between the two so they can resolve their issues.

There's a scene where Radish, Hanna, and Mason meet up with the other kids, and Mason describes how Hanna was cool. I think that should be split btw Radish and Mason. You can have Radish start and then Mason cuts in and finishes the praise.

Other than that, I enjoyed it. After reading it, the material left me heartwarming. lol. (I'm a sensitive guy ok). I suggest you give this another proofread for grammatical errors just in case.

Hope this helps,
Gabe
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Electric Dreamer
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Quoted from capper
Very interested in reading the new revision. My 5 year-old son would love to see this.

In pre-school (when he was 3) he decided to tell the rest of the kids about zombies and their brain fetish, then rallied them all to stumble around moaning "brainnnns" and fake eating each other's brains.


LOL! It's wild how much zombies have become popular culture.
The very latest version, very minor tweaks, should be up any day.
Kevin and Janet gave some great tips I wanted to include.
A review from a parent of the target audience would be greatly appreciated!
I'd also want to know whether, as a parent, you could sit through it more than once!

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
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Quoted from wonkavite
Hey Brett -

So, just finished the read on the re-write.  As I've said before, this one's a gem.  TONS of great lines, jokes and giggle worthy bits.  I'd go into which ones I liked best, but honestly that would take too long.  (MILF was terrific, just as an example.  So was the "overdone" FIG branding of all the products, and the Mini Golf Church, and the Slow Metabolism line, etc, etc.)   Said it before, and will say it again...Nickelodeon should be banging down your door for this one.

Hey Janet!

Thanks a truck load for revisiting this.
It's great to know I can trust members to go through my stuff again.
ZP was not an ideal first original feature.
Ensemble narrative structure and genre bending do not a simple script make.
Whenever I get down on myself for this one, I can look at these words and smile.
I'll keep wrestling with it in between other projects until I get it sharp in focus.
But that process is much easier knowing folks out there dig the material.

Quoted from wonkavite

Hey, but what's a review without a little criticism?  Not much by any means, but just certain things that stuck out at me.  Take them as you will...

Many of these corrections are in the new, new draft I sent to Don over the weekend.
I'll address the ones here that I will get to when my schedule permits.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 4:   What is D looking to accomplish by giving the can to Abe?

She uses the can to block the kiss. I changed to wording to clarify that.
Coach D is kinda using poor old janitor Abe for some insider leverage.
But she doesn't want to outright reject the poor guy, hence the can.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 21: (or so): When the test group starts to turn, I STILL think that'd be the perfect place for a
          throw away line regarding "That didn't happen with the hamsters!" (or similar)

You make a pretty strong case here, I'll have to think of something for the next pass.
Maybe stick with the gerbil theme, or something.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 27:  I feel the rules of the game need more explanation.  As I remember, the earlier version laid them out well, very neat and clean...  I'd also like a more definitive start to the game...  Just to get the mental clock ticking for the audience.

Hmm, I'll have to review an earlier draft to see what I cut. Thanks.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 35: Re: the ventilation shaft.  Perfect place for Joan to complain - Climb in?  They might still be in there!  Gil: Well, there's definitely one in here...

Now that's theft worthy, as written!

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 36:  Monroeville?  Huh?

Joan is referring to the old lady that mentioned the defib unit earlier.
OR, are you referring to the "special meaning" of the name.
The crusty broad's name is also an Easter egg for intrepid movie fans.
Actually, ZP is loaded with Easter eggs of movies that inspired it.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 43:  Hey, you already mentioned the boy was obese.  Maybe take one repetition of that adjective out.  Otherwise, you be hatin' on metabolically challenged folks....

Done. Fixed. Just now.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 47:  Gerbil national holiday.  Huh?

It's a reference to species chosen for our hero kids by the Gymnasties.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 74:  Everything?

Whoops. Busted. Fixed.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 84:  I really, really want to see Grandma and Grandpa introduced at the beginning.  
           Otherwise, bringing a dialogue speaking character in so late in the game is    
          jarring...Besides, they seem like great characters

Love for the Takeshiro grandparents! Yay!
Hmmm, so tight for space in this one, already.
But, I MIGHT be able to give them a line or two when Ox and Kim are introduced.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 85: Dammit, use the batting cages, and hit a zombie kid in the head with a softball!  It's there for the taking, use it..!   (And not all that comparatively violent.  After all, you did have a go-kart go up in flames.)

I thought about it, but decided against it, here's why.
The kids do something similar in the hamster cage in a much more creative way.
The batting cage retread of that this late in the script felt repetitive to me.
However, if I get this note a lot, you bet I'll change it! Thanks.

Quoted from wonkavite

*** In general, I felt that the playground action went on a "touch" too long.  It may be that on screen, it moves faster - so I could be wrong on that.  But if you replaced a tiny bit of it with a little more heart-to-heart kid bonding, or Gil/Joan dialogue, I wouldn't mind****

I see your point, but also came to the same conclusion.
My action scenes are detailed, but it's mostly about capturing tone for me.
If this were to be fortunate enough to be made, I'm sure they'd change stuff.
But hopefully do their best to capture the vibe I set forth on the page.
The action scenes are so busy, I'm pretty sure they'll fly by faster on the screen.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 88: I actually felt the script lost a little steam, here.  Everything's building up to a crescendo, and then - flatline.  Everyone seems to take the zombie reversion a little too easy.  I know that you briefly touch on the DNA strand and sequence at bit...but I could have really used some more clear cut explanation of why everyone suddenly got better.  And the kids took the reversion too much in stride.  Possibly, you could kill two birds with one stone by having Gil and Joan explain "why" to the kids, who weren't privy to their earlier conversation.

It could be a little more, I just haven't hit upon that great line that sums things up.
But when I do, it'll go in there to button up things better.
I didn't have the kids or parents explain anything for a very specific reason.
I feel a big part of the magic of the reunion is that they don't do the obvious.
They're just so happy to be together, as a family, explanations can wait.
Personally, I love the fact that the kids go back to acting like kids at the end.
They are now a functioning family, talking about zombies can wait.
It's a little sentimental, but for me, it works so well for filial themes.
I also like that only the audience knows what everyone went through to get there.
It's making the audience a member of a secret club.
If the characters knew everything the audience did, it would ruin the magic, IMO.

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 90: Why does Coach D stop?  Just because Figg said so?  She's a zombie at that point: why would she care?  And with a remaining zombie still on the attack, the crowd stops to applaud the wedding proposal?  Maybe juggle the dialogue sequencing around a bit on this one.  And Figg's "I'm such a selfish corporate pig" speech was a bit much.  Though it was cartoony, which fits into the general theme of the film.

Cartoony and abrupt, agreed, I was running out of time.
Coach D's time was a little longer because she's got a slow metabolism.
Being a big girl and all, took her extra time to recover.
Just in time to accept her brother's over the top PR apology.

Quoted from wonkavite

Side Item: Just took a quick look at some of the earlier posts, and the "it's gotta be just the kids" studio comment.  Honestly, a load of hooey - if it makes you feel any better.  The kids DO drive the vast majority of this story, and Gil/Joan hardly take away from that.  I know it's only so helpful to say "their loss, not yours."  But that's true for this one.  Someone will definitely take up the gauntlet on this script - IMHO.  It's just got too much PG appeal and humor to fail, even bringing in the ever-popular zombie theme with a fresh twist.  (BTW..just in case you're worried about me being too positive, please let me reassure you...  I'm very willing to say 'you suck', if I read something of yours that isn't decent.  Though - based on this script - I kinda doubt that'll happen...)

Thanks a ton, Janet!
Whenever I get down on myself for this script, I'll revisit your words.
I truly do love this script and still get misty eyed when I read the end.

It's stuff like this and words of encouragement I get from mothers, that really help.
Saying how it's fun but also delivers a good message about family values.
Every mom I've talked to about it, says there's just not enough of that in movies.
My barber's wife keeps after me to get it made so she can show it to her kids.

***REVISION SPOILERS ALERT***
Janet, I was interested to know your thoughts on the big changes.
Figgis and Coach D now open the story, etc.
What did you think about Scott's letter to his absent mom?
Did it help set him up as our hero and express his plight?
Whole lotta scene shifting in the first act this go around, to break up breakfast.
Did you like aborting the proposal in the lab, waiting until the end.
Did you feel that zombifying Stephanie helped up the stakes?
Does it help galvanize Scott as our hero, now that his sister is gone?

If you have any thoughts on these changes, please share!

Thanks again for your continued support and insights.
You've been quite a bright spot on SS this year, now get back to writing!

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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leitskev
Posted: September 9th, 2011, 12:15pm Report to Moderator
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Still working on the latest draft, Brett. You have my notes for first half; the rest will come this weekend.

I wanted to mention something. I don't get the complaint that the studios want "kids only" scripts. What do they want, Lord of the Flies? First of all, this story is mostly kids. What is it, 70/30 kids/adults?

Second of all, it seems to me the studio should be evaluating the overall concept and the writer. If they like both, then they can tweak the story in the direction they want. 70/30 can easily become 80/20, or whatever.

This is where I wonder about the wisdom of extensive rewrites. It's probably impossible to tell which concepts will grab the studio. I bet if one is really good at creating marketable concepts, like someone that's a real veteran of the industry, he's still only going to hit on something that happens to appeal to a studio only a very small percentage of the time. And, even for a veteran, it's probably really hard to know what will in fact find an audience with a producer.

My point is this: would you rather have one script and tweak it over and over for a year; or would you rather, in that year, produce 4 or 5 solid scripts. If you start getting nibbles on one, keep working that script.

This is not in any way at all a criticism, Brett. We're all new writers, so we should be trying to perfect our early scripts. I'm just pondering what's the best long term approach. And we know you have other projects in the works too!
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wonkavite
Posted: September 9th, 2011, 6:06pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Kev:  

For me, I'll rewrite until something in my gut says "ok, I like this."  Then - if a good suggestion for a tweak comes along - I'll run with that and make the changes.   Can't speak for other writers, but for me the feeling of "this script is done" is unmistakable, and a sign that it's time to move on.  (Until those suggested changes suddenly appear and hit a chord, anyway.)  

Brett: Thx for the kind words - you've got a great script here (and an extremely cool poster).  My pleasure to help out..  BTW - as for getting back to writing...finishing up research for my fourth script in the works this weekend.  Course, now I find out there's an OWC about to pop?

Re: the questions on the new material...easy "yeses" first.  

Enjoyed Scott's letter to his mom.  Gave the audience a chance to bond with Scott, provide some family dynamics/backstory without being exposition heavy.  

Aborting the proposal was the right choice.  Adds suspense, and a continuing theme.  Which is good, because there's got to be a *little* something going on that ain't about the zombies.

Zombifying Steph also worked.  You need to have one of the good guys "fall in battle", in order to up the stakes.  And yes, that successfully forces Scott to stand on his own and be the hero.  (Glad to see a little more Lord Gorzon, too - my Sudan Plated Lizard approves.)

Regarding the opening scene.  Honestly, I'd prefer a combination of the new and the original.  Pluses to the new version: puts Figg and D front and center.  Also provides more intro into FiggCorp, which the original scene mostly lacked.  BUT - I felt that the earlier version was much, much more dynamic (as I remember, it had more chanting and tribal rituals and mystery?)  If you could synthesize the best of those two scenes, you'll nail it.  IMHO.

So - those are my only two primary gripes.  Adding more "oomph and mystery" to the opening scene...  And keeping that momentum going for the final showdown, between Figg and Zombie-D!
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leitskev
Posted: September 9th, 2011, 6:53pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Janet.

Zombie Playground has become our Discussion Playground!

I think you are like me. I really love starting a new project. It's not even that I get sick of working on a project, but more that I just can't wait to start the next. I have several things in my head at any one time, and I get itchy to start one.

I can rationalize it though, too. I think if you take some time off from a script, especially by doing another script, when you go back to the script you can see it with better perspective. Sometimes you can come up with solutions to problems that you couldn't see before.

My view on ZP is that while I'm sure Brett will tweak it from time to time, I'm glad he has other scripts in the works. At this point, future changes to ZP will hopefully be ones requested by the producer! It's a solid effort, and now it's just a matter of hopefully someone thinking the concept is something they want to do. When someone does, they know they have a competent writer and promoter who will work with them on the project.
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Ryan1
Posted: September 11th, 2011, 3:39am Report to Moderator
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Okay, notes on the new version:

Much better opening.  We get to meet Fig and Coach right away.  I'd suggest having Fig take a small taste of the purple brew with his finger, which is how he knows it needs more sugar.

After Abe says "Eight hours of awesome in a can," it seems like he should have transformed quicker.  That scene leaves the impression that Bite puts you to sleep, then zombifies you.  

Good use of VO to intro the Brewster/Horton clan and to show Scott as your hero, especially where he says how its the worst week of his life.  Seems you should more clearly establish the rift between the Horton and Brewster kids.  Scott should voice his displeasure more to Stephanie about the living arrangements  

I'd still recommend ditching the whole "I'll show you some pork products," "Mother was upstairs making bacon" thing.  Just feels wrong for a family show.  You don't want to turn off a reader for Nickelodeon this early into the script.

On page 10 it reads as if Scott is in the Takeshiro house.  You should indicate a VO or an intercut if that's what you intended.  Also the "Coach D and the Gymnasties rule the playground" line didn't sound right coming from Scott.  From the opening, he seemed like he had too much attitude to utter something like that.

Predator/Prey games sounds like a really odd idea for a kid's day.  But, this is such a strange community I actually buy it.

I think you have to get out of the house sooner.  You spend 11 pages there.

Ditch the MILF stuff on 18.  Gotta remember your target audience here.

What's the deal with the satellite beam that envelops FigCorp and KidPlex?  Do we actually see this?

On page 25, if the gymnasties are tween gymnasts, would they really be able to lift Oz and Kim off their feet?  How big are these chicks?  I always thought gymnast girls were like elfin tiny.

Good line with Coach D telling the chipmunk kid what compost means.

So, Coach D and the gymnasties become zombies much sooner, which is a good thing.  Seemed like it took Coach a little too long to transform though.  

On page 43, shouldn't it be Radish who says "Monster jocks everywhere."

Noticed you call the characters Oz and Kim through the entire script, but their character slugs are Ozuru and Kimiko.  I'd just stick with Oz and Kim for clarity.

I still don't really understand the five o' clock pattern mutation and what that refers to.

It's good that Stephanie gets zombied on page 70, but having another kid get splattered before that would help to sustain the tension and element of danger during the second act.  I'd say Kim or Radish or both of them could go purple.

I'm not really buying the whole zombies operating the bottling plant scene.  They've gone from drooling idiots to cheap labor.

Typo on 82 "an demented clown head"

p 86 I'd change rugby huddle to scrum.

I liked the final image of Bite Boy puking on the screen.

Overall, it was a good overhaul.  I'd still like to see either the kids or Gil and Joan come up with a more complex solution to the problem.  Maybe they can concoct an antidote or something and the kids think of a way to get it to the zombies.

I still don't really understand that scene with Coach D giving the can of Bite to Abe.  Does she know its spiked?  If so, why would she drink it herself?

To me the script is definitely more cute than funny, and would appeal to the young kid demographic.  It's a strong concept and I think this version was a step in the right direction.

Good luck with it!











































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James McClung
Posted: September 11th, 2011, 11:35pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Brett. Took another look at this. I honestly can't say it read that much differently from the first time around. I really couldn't tell you which scenes were shifted around.

I will say that keeping track of characters was a little easier this time around. You seem to have made an attempt to promote Scott as the main character. I think it was a good effort. Introducing him with his letter to his mother made me pay more attention to him and rounded him out a bit as well. I was able to keep track of the other characters by their relationship to Scott. I didn't feel like I was lost amongst characters I didn't know.

That said, I still don't think he held his own as a main character. This still felt very much like an ensemble story. I think Scott was slightly more developed than the others but the story's attention seemed more or less evenly distributed amongst characters. I think you're on the right track though.

Not sure what else to say, really. These are the things that stood out to me. Overall, an improvement. Still not quite my kind of story but I do think it's got a niche.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: September 14th, 2011, 11:29am Report to Moderator
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Hey Guys!

Thanks for the reads, some really great stuff in your notes!
I uploaded a tweaked new draft with lots of your suggestions in there.
It should be posted soonish. Right now, I'm prepping for two events.
So, I'll address the notes individually after the big Expo & Sherwood Oaks.

Per Babz's suggestion, I submitted ZP for Screenplay Readers new promotion.
You can submit the first ten pages of your feature for a free critique!
It's a great way to see if your opener is on the right track.

Check it out for yourselves!
http://screenplayreaders.com/first-ten-pages/

Here's the review I got on Zombie Playground:
http://screenplayreaders.com/f.....yground-by-b-martin/

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: November 1st, 2011, 1:27pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from wonkavite
Hey Brett -

p. 4:   What is D looking to accomplish by giving the can to Abe?


Hey Janet,

I quietly posted the latest draft of ZP a few weeks ago.
Your last round of notes made a big impact on this draft.
I added a beat here to show the can as a "kiss blocker".

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 21: (or so): When the test group starts to turn, I STILL think that'd be the perfect place for a
          throw away line regarding "That didn't happen with the hamsters!" (or similar)

I did give you a nod for the great advice and added a piece here.
Gives a touch more spice to the tense couple dynamic. Thanks!

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 35: Re: the ventilation shaft.  Perfect place for Joan to complain - Climb in?  They might still
           be in there!  Gil: Well, there's definitely one in here...

Another example of adding some couple spice, great comment!

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 36:  Monroeville?  Huh?

Mrs. Monroeville, this beat was a fragment left from an old draft.
However, her name is one of many easter eggs throughout the script.
Monroeville is the name of the mall where Romero shot "Dawn of the Dead".

Quoted from wonkavite

p. 55:  Coach D holds a clipboard AND DROOLS.  (Just a thought.  The visual's funny to me...)

Well, you earned a drool bit for all the nifty suggestions. Done!

Just wanted to point out these little beats you gave me.
Fine tuning like this helps me stumble onto some "trailer moments".
They earned a place in the script, your comments have been uber helpful.

Regards,
E.D.

P.S. Ryan, I woe you a very belated reply!


LATEST NEWS

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A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: November 2nd, 2011, 11:24am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from James McClung
Hey Brett.

I will say that keeping track of characters was a little easier this time around. You seem to have made an attempt to promote Scott as the main character. I think it was a good effort. Introducing him with his letter to his mother made me pay more attention to him and rounded him out a bit as well. I was able to keep track of the other characters by their relationship to Scott. I didn't feel like I was lost amongst characters I didn't know.

That said, I still don't think he held his own as a main character. This still felt very much like an ensemble story. I think Scott was slightly more developed than the others but the story's attention seemed more or less evenly distributed amongst characters. I think you're on the right track though.


James,

You bring up a great point I hadn't really considered.
By setting up Scott the way I did, it helps orient the reader to other characters.
You kept track of all the kids by how they are connected to Scott.
It's so obvious now, but until someone says it, I never embraced it. Thanks!

Yes, ZP is an ensemble piece through and through.
But I still needed a hero, and it took several drafts to bring him out.
I had to be careful to not tamper with the ensemble dynamic while doing it.
Great observation! I'll file that "rule" away in the "ensemble rolodex".

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
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Quoted from Ryan1
Okay, notes on the new version:

Much better opening.  We get to meet Fig and Coach right away.  I'd suggest having Fig take a small taste of the purple brew with his finger, which is how he knows it needs more sugar.


Hey Ryan,

Thanks for the read. Your insights are always appreciated.
Good point right out of the gate.
This beat has been added to the draft now posted on SS. Thanks!

Quoted from Ryan1

After Abe says "Eight hours of awesome in a can," it seems like he should have transformed quicker.  That scene leaves the impression that Bite puts you to sleep, then zombifies you.

Point taken. Fixed in the new draft.

Quoted from Ryan1

Good use of VO to intro the Brewster/Horton clan and to show Scott as your hero, especially where he says how its the worst week of his life.  Seems you should more clearly establish the rift between the Horton and Brewster kids.  Scott should voice his displeasure more to Stephanie about the living arrangements

Once I came up with Scott's letter to his mom, I knew I was onto something.
I got really lucky with that, it hit me in bed one morning.
I grabbed my iPhone and started typing notes post haste.
Then wrote the scene later that day. It really helped shepherd the story.

Good point about the Horton kids versus the Brewsters.
In the new draft, the Horton kids want to bail on the KidPlex, the Brewsters are excited.
This adds some spice to the breakfast scene. Thanks.

Quoted from Ryan1

I'd still recommend ditching the whole "I'll show you some pork products," "Mother was upstairs making bacon" thing.  Just feels wrong for a family show.  You don't want to turn off a reader for Nickelodeon this early into the script.

I see what you're saying, but it's not a "deal breaker" situation.
No one's going to PASS on the script because of that.
I've gotten positive feedback on the innuendo, little something for the adults.
If a deal is struck and they want it gone, then of course, it goes.

Quoted from Ryan1

On page 10 it reads as if Scott is in the Takeshiro house.  You should indicate a VO or an intercut if that's what you intended.  Also the "Coach D and the Gymnasties rule the playground" line didn't sound right coming from Scott.  From the opening, he seemed like he had too much attitude to utter something like that.

Ahh, I see that format snafu. Now fixed in the new draft.

Quoted from Ryan1

Ditch the MILF stuff on 18.  Gotta remember your target audience here.

I thought you were on board with paying that off sooner.
I agreed that letting it linger was a bad call.
But now, there's that immediate punchline which isn't vulgar at all.
This one falls into the same category as "pork products".
I'm open to those changes, if there's  deal to be struck.

Quoted from Ryan1

What's the deal with the satellite beam that envelops FigCorp and KidPlex?  Do we actually see this?

Changed it to a translucent beam. That should do the trick.

Quoted from Ryan1

On page 25, if the gymnasties are tween gymnasts, would they really be able to lift Oz and Kim off their feet?  How big are these chicks?  I always thought gymnast girls were like elfin tiny.

Yikes, good point. Now fixed.

Quoted from Ryan1

On page 43, shouldn't it be Radish who says "Monster jocks everywhere."

D'oh! Fixed. I switched something there earlier, forgot that part. Thanks.

Quoted from Ryan1

Noticed you call the characters Oz and Kim through the entire script, but their character slugs are Ozuru and Kimiko.  I'd just stick with Oz and Kim for clarity.

I have no idea why I do this, maybe cuz the grandparents use the full names.

Quoted from Ryan1

I still don't really understand the five o' clock pattern mutation and what that refers to.

It's when the energy drink "zombie buzz" expires.
Gil and Joan are not that kind of research scientist.
They only know something big will happen with the effect at that time.

Quoted from Ryan1

It's good that Stephanie gets zombied on page 70, but having another kid get splattered before that would help to sustain the tension and element of danger during the second act.  I'd say Kim or Radish or both of them could go purple.

You were one of the advocates for turning a main kid purple.
And I agree, that it totally elevates the script in the third act.
However, I have to draw a line in the sand on this subject matter.
ZP is a rated PG film, so long as I have control over the script.

Consider the films that inspired ZP...
Goonies. Cloak & Dagger. WarGames. Explorers. Sandlot. Monster Squad.
They don't kill off a single kid. Even the PG-13 one in that list.
Taking out more after all the ancillary kids are turned is too much, IMO.
It doesn't make the threat more real because a kid that got more lines is turned.
There are DOZENS of kids turned in the second act.

The loss of Stephanie brings so much intensity and drive to Scott.
It elevates the entire script, and you were part of that choice.
But I don't see anything close to that kind of benefits with adding another death.
Keep in mind, the adults lose Figgis too. He sacrifices for the parents.
I think there's plenty of supporting character sacrifice as it stands.

Quoted from Ryan1

I'm not really buying the whole zombies operating the bottling plant scene.  They've gone from drooling idiots to cheap labor.

Drooling idiots + cheap labor = a touch of self indulgent satire.
Do I need it? Nope. Do I like it and the subversive consumerism humor? Oh, yeah.
Though perhaps a beat of Figgis directing them would help.
Besides, it's all an excuse to have zombies in hair nets!

Quoted from Ryan1

Typo on 82 "an demented clown head"

Blargh! Fixed.

Quoted from Ryan1

p 86 I'd change rugby huddle to scrum.

That works. Changed. Gracias.

Quoted from Ryan1

Overall, it was a good overhaul.  I'd still like to see either the kids or Gil and Joan come up with a more complex solution to the problem.  Maybe they can concoct an antidote or something and the kids think of a way to get it to the zombies.

I could see that happening, but how to do hasn't hit me yet.
It hasn't been a sticking point so far in pitches.
Spinning it as an "energy drink buzz" has gotten good responses so far.
But if that sentiment changes, I'll get all over that.

Quoted from Ryan1

I still don't really understand that scene with Coach D giving the can of Bite to Abe.  Does she know its spiked?  If so, why would she drink it herself?

She uses the can to block Abe's kiss. I cleaned up the description there.
Coach D has no idea of the Bite's ill effects.

Quoted from Ryan1

To me the script is definitely more cute than funny, and would appeal to the young kid demographic.  It's a strong concept and I think this version was a step in the right direction.

Good luck with it!

Thanks for all the detailed comments, super helpful!
All that's now reflected in the current draft here on SS.

I think taking the rest of the year away from the script will help.
I don't plan to mess with it unless someone gives a good reason to tinker.
Or, if someone wants to pursue an option, then I'll dive right back in!

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: December 8th, 2011, 2:17pm Report to Moderator
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Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

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Quoted from Mr.Ripley
Good news, brett. Congrats. Hope everything goes well. How's Zombie Playground going?


Hey Gabe,

Thanks for the vote of confidence!
I'm negotiating with a production company for an option on Zombie Playground.
They are a feature film production house and they also produce video games.

ZP was written with a social network gaming slant always in mind.
And my partner works for the number one social networking company in the world.
That got them even more interested in Zombie Playground as a transmedia property.

And, they have a feature film script aimed at kinds they want me to look at.
Put that all together and there's lots of reasons why we should do business together.

It's all about creating that attraction package they can't resist!

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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JoshuaBman
Posted: December 9th, 2011, 1:46pm Report to Moderator
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Let's Smoke Crack and Build Everything!

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That poster kicks ass! When I get some time after finals I am totally going to check this script out!
Cheers,
Josh B.


Here are some of my scripts, check them out if you dare.

Damn You Bruce!  

http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/DAMNYOUBRUCEnnn.pdf

15 page version with fixed formatting available upon request.

3 Nazi's in a Foxhole

http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/3NazisinaFoxhole.pdf

Shopping at Save Mart

http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/ShoppingatSaveMart.p
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: January 6th, 2012, 2:43pm Report to Moderator
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Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

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This is the new Talentville banner for the script.
As a new citizen, I hope to generate some interest in my work on the site.
And once again, my partner in crime came through in aces for the art work!




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: February 6th, 2012, 1:56pm Report to Moderator
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Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

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Status Update:

Zombie Playground made the Talentville Weekly Top Ten list!

http://www.talentville.com/hof/1
(you may have to refresh the link to see the chart)

Hopefully this will lead to more citizens taking on assigned reviews.
If I can keep up the mojo, I could land $200 worth of free coverage for the script!

Scriptapalooza gives free coverage to the highlighted scripts.
So, I need to try and be one of the top three scripts for the month of February.

It's been super getting some fresh eyes on the script.
A stat junkie like me enjoys this leaderboard stuff, there, I admit.

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: February 6th, 2012, 6:09pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while



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Thats great E.D. !

This script is getting noticed indeed.

Keep up the great work. Something good could be on the way.

HW


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Mr.Ripley
Posted: March 9th, 2012, 6:56am Report to Moderator
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Writing

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check this out.

Company F
**

We are looking for completed feature-length adventure-style scripts for family audiences that can contain martial arts. In other words, the script doesn’t have to necessarily focus on martial arts, but should be an adventure script with a teen or tween character that could be adapted to include more martial arts (think “Spy Kids,” or “Goonies” if martial arts was used more). We currently have a young teen actor so we are looking for the right script for him.

Budget is open. Both WGA and Non-WGA writers may submit.

For more information on gaining access to this lead, please see
http://www.InkTip.com/pnews.php.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: March 9th, 2012, 12:17pm Report to Moderator
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Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

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Quoted from Mr.Ripley
check this out.

Company F
**

We are looking for completed feature-length adventure-style scripts for family audiences that can contain martial arts. In other words, the script doesn’t have to necessarily focus on martial arts, but should be an adventure script with a teen or tween character that could be adapted to include more martial arts (think “Spy Kids,” or “Goonies” if martial arts was used more). We currently have a young teen actor so we are looking for the right script for him.

Budget is open. Both WGA and Non-WGA writers may submit.

For more information on gaining access to this lead, please see
http://www.InkTip.com/pnews.php.


Hey Gabe!

Thanks for the heads up.
I submitted the script for this lead yesterday...

And there was a rejection letter in my mailbox this morning...
So I just need one more rejection for this to be a legit working day.
It's only 7am here, so I should be able to cover my quota.

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: March 9th, 2012, 12:26pm Report to Moderator
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Writing

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Damn! That sucks! I know it's part of the working day but damn!

Gotta keep at it then.

Gabe
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Penoyer79
Posted: March 9th, 2012, 1:31pm Report to Moderator
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Chaos isn't a pit, it's a ladder.

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dog gummit E.D.!
i had this great idea about kids fighting zombies for a short....all outlined and ready to write..

and then i see THIS!!!

#smh

oh well... mine's no kids movie though....but the somewhat *original* angle i took with it is now completely out the window. you beat me to it,
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: March 9th, 2012, 3:25pm Report to Moderator
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Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

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Quoted from Penoyer79
dog gummit E.D.!
i had this great idea about kids fighting zombies for a short....all outlined and ready to write..

and then i see THIS!!!

#smh

oh well... mine's no kids movie though....but the somewhat *original* angle i took with it is now completely out the window. you beat me to it,


Hey Penoyer!

Thanks for the shout.
There's an OWC short around here too that sounds like that.
I think Cornetto or Bert unearthed that one and pointed them towards me.

Don't beat yourself up though...
Take a swing at for Paramount Pictures for... "Boy Scouts vs. Zombies"!

http://screenrant.com/boy-scouts-zombies-etan-cohen-director-sandy-158074/

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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