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"Not on this guy. It isn't right." Pick one or the other. I'd go with "It isn't right." Using both, slows down the read.
"Across from Ralph, pronounced Rafe," I know it's pronounced Rafe because for some unknown reason, Ralph told me so over a black screen. Telling me that again, slows down the read.
I'd establish that they're sitting across from each other in an interview format. It makes for a better visual.
Ralph calling Steve an "Eager Beaver" sounds out of character for Ralph. He seems more like the kind of guy who would just sternly correct him. Remove "Eager Beaver".
"Pussy" is the wrong word. "Pussified", makes more sense.
"That sounds like it's only one man. That's not a line, really." This could be worded better. Saying it "sounds like it's only one man" is unnecessary. Just have Steve say, "That's only one man. More of a dot than a line, don't you think?"
Why is Ralph using British slang for a cigarette? I thought he was American because he says, "this country". Is he British and Steve is American? It needs to be cleared up.
Describing smoke as creamy doesn't work for me. It's the wrong consistency. Creamy is too thick of a word. Milky, would work a little better.
Instead of "England English", use "English English". It's funnierer.
Why does everyone else have an exact age but the Producer is just, 30's? Nitpicky? Maybe. If he's just in this one scene then I guess, 30's, would work.
Why do you write, "His tone says that he does not, in fact, find this fascinating.", to describe how Steve says, "This sounds fascinating."? You could use a wrylie that states (sarcastically). The way you have it written, simply slows down the read and wastes space.
"I'm sure I have it in my notes, but I doubt I'm gonna look all the way down at the cards in my hand - so why don't you just tell me." I see how you're trying to be funny with this dialogue, but it's not funny. I'd use "I'm sure it's written on my cards, but they're all the way down in my hand. So please, enlighten me." Still not that funny, but it's better.
Lol...you've got such a hard on for me that you're literally showing how few actual pro scripts you've read.
Go ahead and think that the dashes are 'wasting the reader's time' - that literally made me chuckle, by the way.. Where do dumb fucks like you come up with this shit?! Read The Disciple Program, White House Down, scripts that actually selling...they literally break every fucking 'rule' you just pointed out.
And you've never read "Long beat"? Um...how many scripts have you read?!
And pointing out that a man's pants are too tight? That he shouldn't be wearing pants so tight? That constitutes having a hard on for a character?
God, you're fucking reaching. I mean, if you're gonna go after someone, at the least don't make yourself look like a jockeying asshole just working to make a point. I mean, I could point out things on the first page that are wrong....but you're too fucking stupid to find those and choose to go after things that are preference, not hard, fast rules.
And that's my problem with this site. Nearly everyone who's pointed stuff out has pointed out things that are preference, not actual formatting rules. Which you would know had you actually read scripts that were selling?
And I'm mean spirited? Um...what has nearly every person posting in this thread been to me? I was never mean-spirited, except to your stupid ass when you said you'd like to punch me in the fucking mouth. To others, I simply said that this site does not run on constructive criticism, but instead piles on anyone new trying to get reads, all while spouting off bullshit non-existent rules.
So when you say you wanna punch me in the mouth, I again tell you you can go fuck yourself. Because you have no fucking clue....as your post has 100% proven. Your head is so far up the ass of your shitty scripts and the other shitty scripts on this site that you have to resort to calling out 'rules' that are clearly broken on a daily basis in scripts that are actually selling, and these aren't known writers I'm talking about...specs by unknowns that break your supposed rules.
You would know this if you were actually reading scripts that are selling...but...
So, yeah. Thanks for the drive by. You're cool. I like you...except when you say you wanna punch me in the face.
"Nate, I appreciate you actually saying what didn't work for you. I actually didn't write it with Danny McBride in mind but his characterization certainly works. You still haven't really given any actual usable feedback, but that's better than nothing. Thanks, everyone. This site is awesome. Chazz" Any suggestions people leave after reading your script are merely SUGGESTIONS. No one expects you to instantly make changes to your script based on a single comment, they are just giving you their opinion on your work. If a reader says it isn't funny, take it as a grain of salt, if 7 or 8 readers in a row say it isn't funny, maybe you should take notice.
I figure the overwhelmingly positive feedback you've received has come from sites like Circalit, Amazon Studios and Talentville where members are practically giving each other reach-arounds because they're too afraid to say anything negative about someones script in fear that they will reciprocate the same negative comments on their own script. Seriously, the reviews on those sites might as well be written by Pete Hammond (anyone? anyone? check his reviews out on Rotten Tomatoes if you haven't already) But after all the commotion, it still comes down to you automatically dismissing any feedback that isn't positive. From your posts people can decipher that you think "enough" people have read your script and said it's "funny" so therefore any further comments mean absolutely nothing unless they are giving you a rub and tug. Then why are you even bothering posting it here? Your post says you think people that "get it" could offer you suggestions on structure, but you've followed the Save the Cat structure to a tee, so why bother? All in all, you give screenwriters a bad name. Just another douchebag that's in it to try and cash in. By the way, you mentioned your music, please, for the love of God, give us a link to it... please!?
New comedy short, "CRIME SCENE REENACTMENTS." The only TV show that lets actual crime victims reenact the worst moments of their lives for your viewing pleasure.
Oh Chazz...you just keep digging deeper and deeper, don't you? Are you really this clueless, or just another young douchebag kid who's got something wedged up his ass so far, at this point, it ain't coming out?
I'm going to try 1 more time to give you critical feedback that you can and should actually use. It's all going to be on Page 1, because you know what? Page 1 is actually your most important page. It's make or break. It shows what you know and what kind of writer you are.
But first, let's talk about your "preference" issues you brought up. Preferences are good and we all have them. The problem is that many douches come up with preferences based on what others think is cool or hip...or "what's selling". It's like all the fucking little lambs dressing in horrendous little "outfits" because the stars or Pro athletes wear them. Because most people are so uncool that they honestly believe wearing a certain "cool" brand or look, makes them cool.
It doesn't, bro, and the same thing goes with screenwriting. IMO, it's a serious issue that has really dragged down the quality of scripts we've had to deal with for years. You earlier stated that you try and emulate Shane Black, and somehow seem to think that's a good thing. Yeah, the guy made a shitload of money, but did he ever write a good script, actually? Is his "style" anything to write home about? Is it a style that unproduced writers should try and emulate?
I'll answer for you on all those questions - Hell no!
You really need to find and develop your own voice and base your preferences on things that actually make sense in writing. Things that matter. Things that provide stronger visuals, more clarity, ease of read, efficiency, Professionalism. You like using dashes? Go for it. You like using double dashes? Sure, why not. But, please, Chazz, don't think that a script sells because it has dashes in it, or that it doesn't sell because it doesn't have dashes in it. Get a clue, man.
Page 1 - I won't comment on your OVER BLACK V.O. because it's a choice you made and it's not wrong - it ain't good either, but I can't fault you on it. But, once we get into your first Slug, we've got problems, and you don't want any problems in your very first Slug. Let's look at it and figure this out, so you can actually make a correction based on feedback at SS.
"INT. TV STUDIO - DAY RALPH WATERSTOWN (40), tall, sturdy, massive beard, wearing a flannel shirt and a too-tight pair of jeans. These arenít meant to be skinny jeans. Not on this guy. It isnít right."
I always recommend setting your scene first and foremost, so your readers can get a solid visual. You sure as fuck haven't done that here, as we don't get a single word of description of what this "TV Studio" is supposed to be. Instead, we get a 4 line "description" of a character that starts out with a 2 line, misleading fragment, that makes zero sense if you'd actually think about it.
Another thing I always recommend is writing in full sentences. People say, fuck off, Pros write like this all the time...read some Pro scripts and you'll see. Well, Pros may indeed write that way, but it doesn't make it right. You see, you fucked up here badly and even though many are calling you out on it, you don't understand the issue.
Because you don't have a single verb in your opening description, we have no idea what this character is doing. Based on your overly detailed description, we have to assume that he's standing, unobstructed, giving us a full view of these jeans you want to highlight. Then, for some unknown reason, you decide to tack on another 3 non sentences, covering 2 more lines.
Do you see what's wrong here? Ralph is actually sitting, as we later find out. Most likely, he's seated at some kind of table across from the guy interviewing him. We'd never see his pants, and even if we somehow did, in no way is anyone going to know that his jeans are too tight, skinny jeans, or that they look wrong or right on this guy. It's completely wasted lines of overwritten detail, in which you, the writer are simply trying to be a smartass hipster using completely unfilmable detail.
In your next passage, you decide to use another 4 line description of a single character, but at least here, you use a verb, so we now know they're both sitting and we know your opening passage is completely fucked up and incorrect. The voice you use here, Chazz ain't working, as you probably know by now.
Then we get some dialogue from our 2 talking heads, followed by another completely incorrectly formatted line of action/description. Check this out.
"The audience gasps along with the camera men. Ralph doesnít seem to notice, just plods along."
As Led correctly pointed out, you didn't properly CAP the initial intro of these characters - camera men and audience. But wait, who fucking knew these people were even in the scene? No one fucking knew, because you didn't properly set your scene from the getgo. And why is there a live audience at an interview, in a PBS TV studio?
OK, that's all you get, but if nothing else, I will assume that you will no longer say that no one has given you any usable feedback at SS. Not only is this usable, you need to use it!
Nobody and nothing is perfect and once you think it is, you're fucked for life. Learn some humility and be thankful to those who try and help.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Nate, please point out 1 place...just 1 fucking place that I dismissed feedback because it wasn't positive. Just 1. I never dismissed feedback for not being positive. 100% of the time I have said, please give me something that's remotely usable. Saying "your jokes don't work for me" isn't usable. I can respect that you don't like the jokes but a dismissive comment like that in no way can help my script (or anyone's for that matter).
That's what douches like you miss. You think that b/c you took 20 min to read a few pages that we writers should give you a hand job and say thank you when you dismissively say, "it didn't work for me" or "your jokes fell flat" or whatever bullshit you wrote every time you wrote.
The point of sites like this is to help screenwriters become better. When I wrote a review I 100% of the time tell people what was wrong in my opinion then I tell them how I believe it can and should be better. They're suggestions, but it's with encouragement that though things didn't work for me, they can be better with a few small (and sometimes big) changes.
There is a MASSIVE difference between what I just described & what EVERY fucking person has done on this site. And not only that, when someone points out that what you gave wasn't constructive then you all dogpile the new guy to shut him up.
And fuck you for your comment on trying to cash in. You stupid fuck...who the fuck are you to possibly make that kind of comment? I would NEVER comment on you personally. That's rude, uncalled for and beyond douchebaggery.
I'm sorry but I have to use actual quotes here, so that there is not this misunderstanding. I have never once said that my script was perfect. I have never once said that the script was perfect. I have never once acted like I was better than anyone else. Here are actual quotes:
Post #4: "I'm not saying it's perfect - in fact, you and siColl may actually have a point about the actual sentence (though in roughly 20 reads not one person has brought it up) - I had never thought about it in the way that he/she brought up.
I'm not defensive at all about my work -- unless someone comes on, reads a paragraph and talks trash about it.
But my being rankled doesn't mean that his deal with the jeans is necessarily wrong. I do disagree with the unfilmables comment, however."
Not arrogant at all. Disagreed with what I disagreed with, but was open to possibly being wrong about what they pointed out.
POST #7: "Again, I will for sure take a look at that paragraph. You probably have a point."
POST #10: "It doesn't really help the overall arc of the script, but it did hit me with a couple of ideas on the first act. Which is good. Thanks.
I am sure that every script's first 10 pages can be funnier and I will for sure look at how jokes can snap a little better. But the overall, consistent theme I've gotten from most readers is that it's pretty damn funny - even the first 10-15 pages. But comedy is subjective, so I am not saying that you're wrong or right - just that some people think it's really funny."
I point out that I could be wrong, though it's hard for me to process since the reads I'd gotten from readers I know and trust have not pointed this out...this isn't arrogant. It's simply saying that I'm processing. If you put on your asshole hat, you can assume everything is defensive" but this was not written defensively at all, just processing.
POST #12: "The new logline is this:
When the greatest competitive lumber jack ever realizes he's broke and decides to come out of retirement, he comes to understand that to truly make a comeback, he must get more than his body in shape to defeat his arch-nemesis and be a world champion again"
I agreed that my logline needed help. Arrogant?
POST #18: "This script is a stupid, low-brow, (what I think is) very funny Rated R sports comedy focusing on a world that has never been explored in mainstream film. Most "readers" on this site (and other sites) aren't going to "get it" and that's okay. The few who do get it will speak into the structure of the story and help me take it from what I think is a good level to possibly a great level.
Unfortunately, no one on this site has done anything but talk about the first 5 pages or less. So, I have a hard time trusting the readers of this site thus far. Might be a learning curve for me - might be that my instinct is right. But I gave this site another chance. We'll see how it goes."
I never said my script was perfect. I did say that thus far the readers of this site were not very helpful. Why is that a bad thing to say? Is that arrogant? If so, I have a hard time understanding your definition of arrogant.
At this point in the thread was when I started to be accused of not taking constructive criticism when, at this point, there had not been one piece of constructive criticism yet. The people giving me the negative, dismissive comments seem to be the arrogant ones here...I guess their comments should be treated like pieces of gold because they said, "The humor didn't work for me"? And I'm the arrogant one? How does that work out?
POST #23: "I don't give a s*** about positive feedback. I care about useful feedback. Saying "your jokes don't work" isn't helpful. Saying "your script isn't visual" doesn't help. You're using your paradigm as the definition of humor and/or writing. How arrogant is that? Now, if you say "xxxx didn't work for me and here's why...." then suddenly you're saying "I get how this might be funny to some but it wasn't for me" AND you're saying "here's how in my opinion you can make it better.". The difference between what I've seen on this site and what I just put here is incredibly VAST.
So be negative all you freaking want. Your opinion won't get the time of day from anyone unless you can figure out how to do it in a way that's helpful/constructive.
I've tried twice here to get involved here but all I've gotten thus far from the "regulars" is non-helpful critiques.
I'd love for it to be better."
And still no constructive feedback.
POST #27: "Thank you, basket case.
That is fair."
And you can read above, once things escalated.
I look at all of those posts, and UNTIL things escalated with nasty nate and Ledbetter calling names and going personal, I feel like I really tried to look for things that I could work on.
I'm not some asshole just trying to get positive comments. After being in the music business as long as I have, you realize that people shitting on you is the best thing for you, as long as you can see how to make it better. Up until your VERY last post, Dreamscale, you have not given one piece of useful information.
And in your last post, you helped me. And for that I am very, very thankful.
So yeah, somebody sent me a PM about this thread, and it is getting a little ridiculous.
First off, everyone should agree that there is the "novice", and there are those who are beyond that, and have developed a style and voice with which they are comfortable.
Chazz here obviously falls into the latter. He knows enough to think what he is doing is correct, and it appears that he knows enough to know that people are free to disagree with these things. He rejects the notion of iron-clad rules, as do many, and that is not some kind of horrible offense.
He feels that pedantic nitpicks are of little value -- for example, calling him out on his use of the old double-dash -- I love the double dash -- so why continue to foist this upon him and expect a reaction different from that you received in the first place?
Same goes for reviewing the first couple of pages. He obviously does not want that. So why bother doing that?
Now, I can bark at Chazz a bit for his role in this, too -- but most of that can be attributed to lashing out like a cornered animal as he is totally ganged-up on here.
And the gang mentality can occur here just as easily as on any forum, so it is a little disingenuous for Chazz to look around and be, like, "Who me?"
Speaking to Chazz now, with a wee bit of house ethics -- if you get feedback (for free, no less) that you feel is of nominal value, it is very poor form to say, "this feedback is useless". What you say is:
Quoted from Chazz
See how perfect that is? No arguments, no disagreements, and totally polite. So elegant in its simplicity.
Just something to keep in mind.
As I have said elsewhere, my checking in will be spotty for a month or two, so I trust the hijinx on this thread are drawing to a close. Deletions from this point forward might very well ensue, so don't act all surprised and everything if they do.
Especially the name-calling and the f-bombs. Totally unacceptable.
The more I read about what you say - the more difficult it is to believe you. I'm on most of the other sites that you have posted on, so I thought I take a look, and see how 'glowing' your other reviews were:
Circalit - 'Nederland'. 14 reads. No reviews posted, that I could see.
Talentville - 5 scripts. Two got into the top ten with good reviews. One received fairly good reviews. Two received ordinary reviews.
TriggerStreet. One script posted, 'Nederland' - modest to good reviews.
Amazon - 4 scripts posted. Generally modest to good 3/4 stars.
I counted 59 reviews in total.
So competent, more than anything. And cetainly, these reviews on other sites show criticism of your work - from your structure, to your dialogue, etc - certainly things that people have brought up here.
From Triggerstreet, posted by 'DontStealMyScript':
"This doesn't feel like a comedy. There aren't many laughs to be had. I think you need to either punch up the humor, or change the genre you have this listed under. There was only one thing in the story that made me laugh, and believe me I really wanted to find something funny."
There's nothing amiss with the feedback you've received from people on this site -- you know as well as I do that many here will frequent and review on the other sites you use.
I apologize to everyone in advance for beating a dead horse, but I did it! I actually did it! I read this entire script!
I urge everyone to forget about any formatting/grammatical errors and just read it based on character and story alone. It's like the author took the scenes from all your favorite movies and changed them slightly, then put them back in this script... except this time... they aren't funny. Especially the 2nd half, there is some strange stuff going on.
I admit, I'm in the minority, I thought the original idea had potential, but if readers can give it a look it's a perfect example to see how things can go haywire with your 2nd and 3rd acts.
And it's still a week and a half after his script was posted and he has gone on and on about not getting any useful feedback in return, yet he still hasn't left a single comment on anyone's script but his own. It's a give and take world Chazz. I'm pretty sure at this point that Chazz has moved on and won't care to comment.
New comedy short, "CRIME SCENE REENACTMENTS." The only TV show that lets actual crime victims reenact the worst moments of their lives for your viewing pleasure.
I will most likely not get involved here just b/c the give & take seems to be more give crap than take crap. Plus I've read a coupla scripts that have done well here & found too much wrong with them to be constructive, and due to the response of I've gotten thus far to any and all things critical has not been received well...so I'm unsure I could carry on dialogue without being cornered and then attacked. I personally don't enjoy being put in the position of telling someone to f off.
But, Nate, if you'd like to PM me and tell me the weird stuff happening, because I'm 100% sure it was purposeful. In return I'll gladly read a script of yours. I'd enjoy reading someone who seems to assume mastery over screenwriting and originality and who takes the art of screenwriting more seriously than I. I've only gotten to read a coupla amateurs like that, so it'd be an honor.
Just lemme know where I can read! I'll give detailed notes as to what was good & what wasn't and the why behind what didn't work. Basically I'll give you what I'm asking for myself.
Buzzed through this at light speed out of curiousity -- no notes -- first impressions.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this script. You go into it knowing basically what you will get and it basically delivers.
Will Farrell could make about 50% of this dialogue work and be funny with it, too. Some parts are not funny but I do not agree that none of it is funny. I will say that the raunchier it gets the less funny it gets -- with the lone exception of the Japanese guy, where the raunch does work. (He was the only one of that trio of trainers I really liked, though).
Lose the Save the Cat beats. Those took me right out of the story and I am not even sure what you are trying to accomplish with those. It is nothing good, though. I usually hesitate to use the word "absolutely" in a review, but I am absolutely sure of this one.
Lose the midget wrestlers. No humor there, and too WTF anyway.
Totally lose the diarrhea. It is way over the top and damages the character. You like him much less and it is too late at that point to do that. Figure out some other way to get him into diapers for that one scene. Shouldn't be too hard to come up with another way to trash his pants.
Way too much stuff with the ESPN guys, particularly for those who will not even get it. Take only the funniest 50% of that stuff and cut the rest. You also spend too much time with that hobo lumberjack.
I liked the religious kid. That angle was oddly amusing, at least to me.
Thank you for reading. This was incredibly helpful.
I take a bit of a different approach to letting people read my stuff. Some people believe that places like SimplyScripts and Talentville and Zoetrope and such should be a place where they put finished works, because agents and such might see them. I believe that to use these sites to the fullest, you should put things out ASAP and get feedback.
This script is another 2 drafts away from going to anyone on my team. I use a pseudonym purposefully so that I can get gut instincts from other writers and readers that aid me in my rewrites.
Zoetrope and Talentville helped me re-write/rework a script that I will (Hopefully, if the deal doesn't fall through) be shooting within the next year, co-directing with my cinematographer/D.P./Co-director. It got torn apart at zoetrope and the second draft got torn apart at both Zoetrope and Talentville.
But that getting torn apart made me see some angles on things that helped me take a few scenes in different directions. The newest draft of that script is ranked now #6 of all time on Talentville and is one of the top 3 scripts of the month this month. That obviously doesn't do anything for my career, but what it does tell me is that I'm beginning to get closer to that script being good.
A lot of screenwriters tend to think that putting early drafts out there and (on the other side) reading early draft is a waste of time. I have found it to be invaluable. There are angles that other writers/readers see in early drafts that I just wouldn't see because of the kinds of films I prefer and love. But once they shed light on the "blind spot" it allows me to explore a dark area that I didn't know was there.
And let's be honest. Few, if any, of us will ever sell a script BECAUSE of any of these sites. These sites are really just there to help each other reach whatever is the next level in our screenwriting journey. For some, they need to be told that they need to learn how to make slugs right or to not write 14-line action blocks. Some have it harder - they have to be told their script is good, but to be great you have to nail tone throughout the script; to be great you have take really good dialogue and make it great; you have to take really good characters and make them great with backstories that inform their characters. To me, that's way harder than dealing with BIG problems up front. Taking something from 85% to 100% is much harder than taking it from 40-85%.
I'd much rather have BIG problems like certain scenes not working or the ending not being right (which by the way, in this draft, the ending is NOT right. The next draft has completely changed the ending, AND the MMMAA makes much more sense in the new ending).
With all that said - yours and a couple of others have made me see a couple of blind spots that needed illuminating. And that is invaluable.
Bert, is there any of your scripts around here? I'd love to return the favor. I just am not sure how to search for a certain person's scripts. Thanks for any help you can give me towards that.