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Lawn Boys by Steve Cleary - Comedy - When an unemployed adman takes a job on his best friend’s struggling landscaping crew, he comes up with a risque campaign to keep them in business -- but he must sharpen his new yard work skills in order to prevent a rival company from ruining their hometown’s natural beauty with artificial grass. 107 pages - pdf, format
That's a bold claim, I took it as a challenge and there on page 4: class act with a hyphen. Do I win a cookie? Manhattan ... iPhone ... 'roided (?) ... Hetz ... Rheingold ... straightforward ... oncoming ... headfirst ... double exclamations ... split infinitives ... flies not fly (for barrage), etc.
I buy your theme of landscapers fighting the disfigurement of their city oasis. It's very down to earth and there's a big target audience of "normal" people who campaign against such locally problems day by day. Interesting to translate something like that into an over the top comedy, what I guess you do here.
You're logline has a problem though - the theme alone isn't enough. You need to add drama which directly concerns character. The adman here will have to change, I guess. If he can't, the town is going to get artificial grass in the future …
What's missing yet are his "personal" motives to step into this world from the start and what would be the "personal" consequences of failing there?
In other words, introduce the emotional angle of your script. Does he change from A to Z and discover life from another perspective, overcomes a trauma - or a pretty standard plot would be, he meets a girl who motivates him to get it done and he fights for her respect etc...
You should know what it is and deliver it not any later than in your logline.
That said, if it's a flick just about extreme comedy trash, then drama does not count but the the logline must read funnier and more subtle for sure.
What I read:
Concerning the writing, I got nothing to say from my side. Things are so clean that I won't give you any call how to polish it even more or whatever. That's your own job. I can follow the screenplay, anybody else could, because it reached the quality it has to , since it's no literature.
Only point here, I don't like the slugs, most of them. I hardly suggest investing some time there.
4 points on story
1. I liked the slow exposition in general, allthough after reading I reconsidered if this isn't all too nice and lovely as an 80's/90's way of telling.
Perhaps you need even more situation comedy moments. The beats work to slow in case of direct entertainment. This opinion is not about my taste, more what I see on today's markets.
However, there is already some of it inside but it could be quicker as a whole, better connected, quicker connected, and edited, cut, so that it's so compressed that every idea/sentence delivers at least "a bit of" comedy -- with direct story progress.
2. "Steve turns to Heiko.
STEVE How about I start tomorrow?"
That was too simple. Clear problem here imo.
And it could be connected with No.
3. Who is the protagonist? From the story it's Heiko. Steve's decision above is completely passive. He's asked to help, "Sure I'm on it"… This does not work. If Steve is your prot, as the logline tells, then he must be active. Show us why he agrees on that truly. Friendship is not enough and a very, very, very passive way to drag your protagonist in the screenplay. Furthermore he's rich and all that. Give him an introductory scene. What pisses him on in his original world/life? What's his motive to act?
4. A little point. Beware of using too many loud machines. (I remember the long phone ringing in the Untouchables almost killed me once…) It's not enjoyable too watch a movie where somebody constantly mows grass in the background. I know it's hard to avoid in your theme, however, work hard to get as many loud sounds as possible off your script . Only use those you need to establish their craft. And make it clear that you cared about that toward your reader. It will give you credit showing that you understand what doesn't work on screen.
Thank you very much for the thoughtful and thorough notes! My latest draft won a table reading in the ISA's 2016 Comedy Festival. This turd is as polished as its gonna get (unless of course a producer options it and wants some more work on it). Time to move on to other projects...
Don't understand why you call your script here a turd, possibly irony. However, not a motivating statement to make people get in touch with your material. What should I think spending half an hour on your script, and then reading that suddenly it's a piece of shit in your eyes, some weeks after telling it's great? You're talented, well educated on scripts, for sure. It seems to get you somewhere at least with the table read. Good luck.