Apologies for taking so long to get round to reading this. I got a temporary job soon after I posted up the thread asking for people to send me scripts to read, so I suddenly had a lot less time for reading than initially anticipated.
But here are my notes anyway, so I hope you find some of my comments helpful
First off, I would suggest maybe changing the genre from straight comedy to dramedy/ crime caper? Not that I'm saying that this wasn't funny - on the contrary, I did chuckle a few times, which is a rare occurrence for me regardless of the genre - but here you had as many, if not more, scenes which were played straight versus those played for comedic effect (especially at the start of the script). I just felt that by labeling the script more accurately would allow the reader straight away to know what to expect, without entering the script expecting to be rolling on the floor with laughter.
But anyway, I enjoyed this script. It was a fast, easy read, and more importantly, it was entertaining. The characters you introduced were well defined, with each having their own distinct characteristics and personalities. I was especially fond of Agatha. I thought that she was a great character. However, I wasn't a huge fan of Degsey's character, as the 'white-guy-pretending-that-he's-from-the-hood' is a little cliched now, in my opinion, and he just reeked of a Ali G rip off. But I thought that the rest of the characters were great.
Despite this, unfortunately I did have a few issues with the script.
The main issues I had with it were related to the story itself. Firstly, I wasn't exactly sure what it was that Billy was trying to achieve with digging up the body. I mean, I know Agatha said about her dad digging up the body and then charging people money to "to search out their undead loved ones and help return them to sacred ground" (which I'm not exactly sure what that means), but once Billy has dug up the body, he doesn't really try to do anything with it? I know he goes to visit Tony pretending that he is Henry and then tells Chloe about the witch, but I really couldn't for the live of me work out how he thought that this would help his money issues (which seemed to be his main motivation throughout the story). I would personally consider having Billy construct a more specific plan in regards to how digging up Henry's corpse will allow him to earn some money, and then relay this explicitly to the audience. Not only will this clarify Billy's motivations and actions, but it could also address my next point...
The second issue I had with this was regarding the structure, as I felt that Henry's alive corpse was introduced far too late in the story. I can't remember specifically when he was introduced, but it was nearing the end of the second act, when I felt that the majority of the second act should have been dedicated to Billy dealing with Henry coming back to life. So how is this linked to the last point I made about Billy's plan? Well, I think the structure would be much tighter if Billy steals Henry's corpse at the end of the first act, then spends the first half of the second act trying to implement his money making scheme, only to have the major complication arise at the midpoint of Henry coming back to life. I think the story would work a lot better if Billy then spends the rest of the act trying to still use Henry's corpse to make money, only to realise at the end of the act that he should actually do the right thing and reunite Henry with Tony. But regardless, I would seriously consider introducing Henry's alive corpse earlier, because at the minute, you've got this brilliant idea, which I just didn't feel was executed to the fullest. Because what happens after Billy realises that Henry is alive? Not much. He phones up Degsey and his brother and then they visit Tony, who comes to visit his father. I just felt that it would work better if Billy still continued trying to use to missing corpse to earn money, even after the corpse had come back to life, as the dramatic irony of the situation would lead to some great scenes (ie, police/ Chloe interviewing Billy with Henry in the next room, etc.).
I also think that more time needs to be spent explaining how Henry's corpse (and only Henry's corpse) came back alive...?Below are some notes I made whilst reading:
Page 1- Not a fan of the opener.
Page 12- This line by Billy reads awkward: “Yeah, don’t be a dickhead, Donovan”. I don’t understand the Donovan part?
Page 36- Kylie: “Jealousy not attractive, honey.” Should read “jealousy IS not attractive.”
Page 40- “The Homeless man retreats the scene. He jig-zags between the graves...” Jig-zags?
Page 46- Kylie: “Tonight, Why the rush?” Unnecessary capital letter.
The scene with Billy visiting Tony, dressed as his father made me chuckle.
Page 50- I wasn’t a fan of this line by Jason: “Degsey’s sister perhaps? And I thought it was bullshit.” I thought that it read too unnatural/ on the nose.
Page 55- Billy: “I’m not surprised, how many times have you boiled the kettle since you arrived?” Great line.
Page 59- I thought that this line of Billy’s was too long and a bit awkwardly written: “Must be the fucking weed? God, I hope it’s the fucking weed?” Could convey the same meaning with something as simple as: “what the fuck is in that weed?” Or alternatively, I don’t even think this scene is needed because in the following scene, Billy phones up Degsey to complain about the weed.
Page 62- Billy: “Jez, that was quick.” Should that be “Jeez”?
Page 69- Everyone is reacting too normal, in my opinion. They are acting like the only thing which has happened is that Billy stole a body, not that he stole a body which has now come alive...? Same thing when Billy visits Tony and Sally, who instead of dealing with the situation at hand begin to argue with each other over who gets to hate Henry...?
Page 70- I would have Billy go into more detail about his plan and his motivations when he is telling the others what he did.
Page 72- I’ve never been a fan of toilet, so I didn’t really like Henry’s fart line. The humour just seemed a little out of place with what has been set up prior.
Page 78- “Tony grimaces with anger and slowly removes.” Need to say what it is that he removes.
Page 92- Billy’s sudden change (“I’m sorry I dug you up, for money though, honest. I’m going to make a real effort to change, I promise.”) felt too forced, in my opinion. Conclusion
Overall, this was an entertaining read. However, the few issues that I had with it did stop me from enjoying it as much as I could have. As I said, I really liked the idea, but I just felt that it wasn't executed to its maximum potential. However, if you tighten up the structure and the story itself, you'll have a decent little script on your hands.
All the best man, and sorry once again that it took me so long to get around to this.