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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  The Naughty List Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Naughty List  (currently 3893 views)
Posted: April 6th, 2013, 7:34pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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The Naughty List by Mitchell Kirk - Comedy - A lawyer is forced to rat out his employer who is wanted all over the globe for a slew of high profile crimes. The cops who turned him become concerned however after he tells them his boss lives on an iceberg in the Arctic Circle and used to be a renowned philanthropist. 113 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: May 8th, 2013, 10:10am Report to Moderator

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Okay, read the first 36 pages. There are some funny excahnges but the biggest problem you have is scene length. You pretty much have an interrogation that lasts for 20 pages. I would find a way to insert some action and cut away to various scenes or it simply won't work.

You can't have two people talk for that long.
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Posted: June 16th, 2013, 10:43am Report to Moderator

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Hey, Mitchell. Your title caught my eye and your one-line pitch seemed interesting so I started your story. Got to page 47 and put it down as I was confused. Don't get me wrong, you have some interesting elements here, that despite the very slow pace, kept me intrigued enough just to see where you were going. But by 47, I couldn't figure it out. That's where Leslie says Klaus wants "one or two" more big jobs then he's out. This make Klaus seem like he's a gangster out for his own good. But earlier you alluded to the fact that he was some sort of international freedom fighter providing arms and such to rebel groups around the world. And that's after you reveal that because of modern technology, Klaus was almost out o fa "job" because people were less reliant upon him. But how is delivering toys for free a job? He's not getting paid, so to make it sound like he was looking for a new line of "work" didn't make sense. If he maybe just had more free time on his hands and was looking to just do some "good" instead of creating a new "job" that might make more sense. Or if he needs money to perform some grand gesture and the arms-dealing is his means to that end, fine. But then he's got "one or two" more big jobs? You had me thinking he's in the middle of a career change, then I thought he's helping the down-trodden, then he's Al Capone of the North Pole. I couldn't figure out which you were trying to convey.

But all that's beside the point. The way you've structured your SP up till now makes it a longshot to be read by industry pros. It reads more like a play with non-stop, dialogue-ridden scenes. Not much is happening in them other than a give and take with a lot of extraneous small talk that slows it even further. The opning scene with Mason and Duggan dragged on. You can get to the point in two or three pages instead of the ten you used. The scene onboard the train with Peyton was cute and revealing as it cleared up my initial confusion--okay, the people on strike are elves and Mason works for Santa. That's when you had me as I thought "this is a nice take on things."

Then he gets taken by an international police force which made me think you didn't do your research as the Canadian Mounties would've ran point on this and you almost lost me. Granted you explain later via Melanie that they pulled strings, did things off-the-book, and I can buy that. So you're better off not mentioning where the arresting police are from when they take down Mason at the train station. Just mention their names and nothing about Interpol, France, or UK. That can all be revealed later in the interrogation, followed quickly by Melanie's explanation of how they got around the "rules" of arrest.

But then you get to Melanie's scene with Mason and it's another long talking scene with zero action. This is another one you need to trim down to two-three pages and lose the small-talk stuff especially. And why in the hell would she make out with him just out of the blue? James Bond, he's not. Seemed completely out of the blue and made no sense.

Your action blocks are also on the long side. And most importantly, the comedy really isn't there. You have some cute one-liners, and the premise itself is cute, and some of the visuals of Klaus as a party animal with an entourage and hoodsies are good, but I think you could exploit those further.

In the end, your premise is both very promising but confusing so far in its execution. I think this take on the Klaus story could be very fun. But you need to cut down on the chatter and amp up some action--by that I don't mean car chases and explosions. I mean Mason needs to act--and maybe he does further into the story but you can't wait that long. You need to show more conflict sooner, have him make more decisions quicker, and act on them where they bring more disastrous results. Mason could also use a make-over. I didn't particularly like him (not that I hated him, either). You gave me nothing about him for me to feel and grasp onto--he wasn't that particularly funny, nor likeable. He was neither the larger-than-life hero that I would want to be, nor the poor common man trapped in a situation and forced to do things under duress that I could empathize with. IOW, give me some reason to want to follow his story. Some personal trait or personal mission he needs to follow. Right now, he's been threatened and released by police--what's stopping him from blowing town? I don't believe cops would do that unless they had an angle to work like his family, personal reputation, etc. So I'm not that fearful of what might happen to him.

Just my opinion. Do with it what you like and good luck with your story.
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