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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  Santa's Helper Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: May 10th, 2015, 2:02pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Santa's Helper by Leo Birchley - Comedy - A family Christmas comedy about Santa Claus being evicted from his North Pole home by a power crazed tycoon, and his efforts to convince a hapless pessimistic security guard to help him overpower the tycoon and save Christmas 107 pages - pdf, format


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GreenGecko
Posted: May 10th, 2015, 7:38pm Report to Moderator
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You have a lot of issues with clarity on the first page.

"Mystical feel" is sort of confusing. Maybe it's fine because it's setting the tone, I don't know.

The real issue is this "unseen force." What does that mean? As an audience, can we see anything? Is it like smoke? Is it just distortion (and how could we tell since the North Pole is barren)? Does it blow the snow around as it passes? Is it colored? It's way too vague.

"Sprite like being" is also vague. I'm not exactly sure what a sprite is. Is it like a wisp of light? When you say it reappears, does that mean it came back from the distance, or literally popped back into existence? Should these two things be capitalized?

And it's sort of weird that Santa is talking before we've even seen him. What I mean by this is Santa introduces himself and starts talking about Terry, but that seemingly has nothing to do with what we just witnessed with the Unseen Force and Sprite. First I think we're witnessing some supernatural battle, but then Santa of all people is telling us about some guy we don't even know?

So the intro might be a little long. It's not too long (7 pages), but we already know the gist of Santa, and it seems you just need to introduce this purple bottle and that's it.

Starting with someone waking up is a bit of a cliche. But it's Santa, so it's forgivable. However, then you cut to Terry waking up and doing his daily routine. It's the most common beginning I've seen in scripts (and I've done it myself!). BUT it's cliche and dull, and you can probably think of better ways to introduce your character. The scene only serves the purpose of introducing his family, and you can a) do that later or b) fit it into another scene.

You use the word 'suddenly' nine times in the first ten pages. You're always describing in the moment, so saying suddenly doesn't add to the action. Take it out, and you'll see it isn't that necessary. It's one of those filler adverbs like "just" or "very" that don't describe anything and make your writing feel weaker.

Your dialogue needs work. At first I thought this was more of a family/children's movie, some of the visual jokes were cute, but you have the elves and Santa saying things like "Damn it" which was weird to me. This is just my opinion, but it seems like too harsh a word for Santa to use. It'd be okay if he's that kind of Santa, but he doesn't seem to be. Maybe he is, but your tone is too confusing for me to really say.

Another thing is that your dialogue, especially your voice over, describes too much. I imagine it's supposed to have that sort of fairy tale effect, but I think you go overboard, and it feels like filler. The worst examples are "Every story needs a beginning, a middle, and end. ... So, let's start at the beginning." (1) or "This is Santa's workshop. Every year these wonderful Elves create billions of toys. Toys which will be delivered by me every Christmas to all the children in the world" (2), "I guess I've just got to do this the mean way" (3). Some of the VO I can let slide since it's in the beginning, but even on page 10, you say "Terry might not feel successful at the moment, but his life will soon change forever" and by then we're not really in the introduction anymore, and it doesn't feel right.

Of course take all my advice with a grain of salt. I'm sorry I didn't finish it, I'm not too into Christmas stories, but it seems like a wacky one. Thought it does remind me of The Santa Clause.



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GreenGecko  -  May 10th, 2015, 10:25pm
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