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First of all thanks spotting so many tiny errors! You're right, you become blind to stuff after reading it a bunch of times. SUPER helpful.
Page 6: Amy is in caps. Is she in the scene? I can see from how you wrote everything that she's not, so unless she's being introduced on screen physically you don't need her name in caps.
Page 7: Attractive woman should be in caps if she's on the screen. Actually, the first half of page 7 is a little confusing. Is the attractive woman Amy? And did she just wait around for twenty minutes?
You're right. This threw a lot of people off. I simply wanted to indicate that the woman he was texting with in Kansas, was the woman who knocked on the door in New York. I clearly need to rethink formatting to make that clearer. She wasn't waiting. It just takes people 20 minutes to get ready and show up some place.
Page 8: "This may seem like a dream scenario for many men but as they all slumber, Nick is fidgeting". I don't think the dream scenario line is of any use here. This would be something that you'd put in a novel, but not in a script. The old adage "Show, don' tell" comes to mind. Perhaps something like "Nick fidgets in bed, while the three gorgeous women sleep peacefully around him". That single line would take care of the three action paragraphs you have. With regards to the nightmare line, I don't think it's necessary. We go right into the nightmare scene afterwards, and from his fidgeting, one would assume something like that is happening anyway... at least I would!
You're probably right. I think I'm trying to make it very clear because in my very first draft a friend was thrown by the time jumps. I'll look at the nightmare line again. I like it because it drives home the point that he's "living the dream" juxtaposed to having a nightmare. But you're right, that's me just indulging in some overwriting lol.
Page 11: Just a nit pick, but maybe you should re-arrange the order of your flashback. I'd put the German rave first, only since Germany is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard time.
HA! Didn't even occur to me. The only reason I put them in that order is because I wanted to go from most familiar (US) to least familiar (rain forest tribe). i have to assume most people wouldn't notice, so I'll leave that one.
Page 12: Is the Newscast clip a scene? Is the Anchor in the scene or is he off screen? Or is the picture of the terrorist the only thing being shown? The way it's played out in the script is that the Anchor is being shown. I feel like you're looking to just show the clip, without the Anchor in the scene. You've gotta make that clearer.
The anchor is on the news desk then they take the terrorist picture full. That what I was trying to get across. it would be a voice over for the newscast -- but I'm not sure how to describe it for the newscast -- within a movie. (do you see what I'm saying). Guessing I should just use an action line to describe FOOTAGE or something? I used O.S. because we're not seeing him but he's still talking under the footage.
Page 20: "He takes a SIP with a spoon. Needs salt." You say it needs salt here, but nowhere does it say that Nick actually puts any salt in it, or anything like that. Unless you have him physically put salt in whatever is cooking, there's no way the audience would know that it needs salt.
Totally right. I think I was just going for the face you make, when you're cooking and something needs salt. Almost as an expression "needs salt". Nothing more.
Page 24: The scene where Nick tries the suit on is a little confusing. He's speaking off screen, but when she pulls the mirror out, he's there. I feel like what you're aiming for is to have him appear in the mirror. If that's the case, I'd take another look at that and see if you can re-word a few things to make it clearer.
Totally right. Need to clear that up.
Page 28: "Nick's alien brain automatically and visually PROCESSES what it's seeing". How does this happen? It's just an awkward line that, if I was a film maker, I'd wonder how I was supposed to film that. Show me how Nick processes it with something more visual. And you do that in the next few lines with Nick's reaction. In my opinion, the first part of Nick processing everything isn't needed.
The line before describes lines and calculations being superimposed. That is Nick's brain processing automatically. He just sees it. Does that make sense? He had no idea how it happens, it just does. I figure a director could do whatever effects they wanted to make it clearer.
Page 29: "Nick's mental calculations show it's actually speeding". Again, kind of awkward. Take another look at that.
Looks like I have to reevaluate the way I describe this. Because this is the same thing. Supported by superimposed images and calculations. His alien brain just computes stuff on it's own.
Page 33-34: The New Anchor is speaking twice, without any kind of action line between his dialogue. And in one dialogue block he's speaking on screen and in the next one he's speaking O.S. And there's a 2 in the dialogue.
Same thing as before I think. I need to put "LIVE FOOTAGE shows smoke rising from a distance" in between the lines.
Page 36: The reporters are never introduced, they just have speaking roles. And, you have some speaking O.S. at different points. I can infer what you're trying to do, but make it as clear as day when you're writing so there's no miscommunication about it.
Does the PRESS CORPS introduction in the line above not satisfy that requirement? That's a collection of reporters.
You're right on the O.S. I guess it would be a (VO) if the video pops in, but that seems strange. Should I just take it out and leave in the action line about "internet videos show a distant object"?
Page 41: In your action dialogue you say every male is wearing a hoodie, including a young kid. Wouldn't he be included in the every male? I think the every male wearing a hoodie line would suffice.
The kid is just there to add insult to injury for the cops. To drive home the point that EVERYONE wears hoodies (and who could be MORE innocent that a kid)
Page 61 to 62: In my opinion, the call to the other room isn't needed. The joke was a good one in the scene before that. I think it may be a little over kill to keep it going with one more scene. Again, just my opinion on that one.
I'll take another look as a go through future drafts.
Page 66: May I suggest a separate scene with Nick's home planet rather than just a line? Then you would have Zookri and Nick talking in V.O. rather than the O.S. Same thing at the bottom of the scene. Perhaps block all of those visions into one scene with the two speaking in voice overs. Just a suggestion.
Not a bad idea. I'll look at it again.
Page 85: You have a scene taking place in the fighter jet, yet you mention that the General is on the ground the general looks pained. If it's necessary to the scene, I'd say that would require a different scene all together even though it's very short.
I think so. The General has a chance to kill two birds with one stone. I think it's important to his growth -- and makes the happy ending make more sense.
I think Nick is a good character. You get a good sense of how he's feeling and why he chooses to do what he does, and why he went away from being a hero. So, good job there.
Thanks. I think you really got what I was trying to do here!
If you can get engrossed in the story, then that's all that matters. And that's what happened with me
Thanks for the read and comments. I think the key to this screenplay is that it's making fun of comic book and action movie conventions -- so some of this stuff is literally done, just to be funny and ridiculous.
Overall, I enjoyed it.
This is a trend! Sweet!
2. Do the emojis really work like that? I was clueless too... And how will you show this information in the movie??
Yes and no. They absolutely have sexual meaning like that -- I just riffed a bit on the meanings -- but all are based in reality. I figure the translation would be subtitled. I should probably just write that explicitly
3. You have music by artists. I'd refrain from doing so. Let the studios work out whatever they want.
I know this is a sin -- but I do it as a punchline. If they have to drop the song, that's fine (I gave options) but it's a punchline. I'm going to add an action line to make it clear "Nick literally has hoes in different area codes".
4. On page 9, he's in bed with all those girls. How can they "look" satisfied and at the same time sleeping? Is he sleeping with them in their dreams too?
Grins on their faces I guess. I was just trying to be economical with words but maybe I need to write that out.
5. On page 12, you have the telecast about him being a terrorist for us to see, but, not them? I'd imagine he'd be worried about that, especially given the past...
That's the point. He should be worried but he doesn't care. He's incredibly irresponsible. That's what drives him and Tessa apart (and ultimately sets the story in motion)
One thing I don't understand, like at all. How did the gov't find out his name? I get that they got his DNA from the failed assassination attempt, but, that wouldn't lead them to his name. So, how would they ever know anything personal about him??
They figure where he was on page 8 - the data inputting is vague -- but it's clearer on 13 in the bunker. Screens show air traffic around the world. He tells the General, you were right. it wasn't just birds. The general wants the extraction team on standby because they know exactly where he is.
I didn't want to be too explicit because otherwise you'd know they were keeping tabs on him. but yeah -- nick's irresponsibility made him easy to track for someone who was looking.
7. This is a big issue for me and one I will spend some time with. You basically copied Superman's trip to Earth AND gave him his same powers.
That's by design. The whole concept of this movie (which primarily is a comedy) is what would happen if Superman was a complete dick lol. That was where I started. The rest of the story filled it self in from there.
I'm absolutely making fun of super man's origin story and powers. This really isn't supposed to be an "origin story". Nick isn't a super hero. That's the point. He's just dude with powers who is kind of a dick lol.
Superman got his powers from the yellow sun. Again, unless everyone on his planet has those powers, where did he get them? And if everyone does have powers, then why did he need a spacecraft to find Earth?
In my mind he's an explorer. His planet's survival requires knowledge and eliminating potential competitors. I don't think the backstory that critical here. I think spoofing superman helps with that.
It is SOOOOOOOO telegraphed that they are gonna fall in love. I mean, why wait until the end of the movie? It makes no sense. Why wouldn't she pursue him that day she was fawning over him?
She did, kind of but he was never in that place. He was like a big kid -- a boy scout until "Denver". that experience and isolation made him jaded.
How does he groom himself? How does he cut his hair? with laser vision and a mirror? I think I remember reading that in a superman comic a long time ago.
So, if he has sex and he, ahem, "cums" in her, wouldn't that blow out the top of her skull? Robot Chicken did a funny spoof of that. That spoof sounds hilarious. I actually considered something a long that line but it's just not where the story went. I would also point out that I remember reading a comic when I was a kid, that had Superman and Lois Lane having a kid. So therefore, i think my reasoning is sound.
8. I like some death metal, so, I take some offense to what Sammy's pale attempt at whatever song you think that was...
Sorry, maybe that line wasn't funny. I felt like I needed something (to drive home the fact that Sammy is in the dark) and that's just the first thing that occurred to me.
9. Is it ever explained why he has no memory of his former life? when he land he bleeding from the center of his forehead. As we go through the movie, we understand that area is critically important to his alien race (with telepathy etc.)
10. You also never clearly indicate exactly WHEN the request happens that he use his powers more. You mean a year? I kind of did, it happened after Sammy turned 10 and before the start of the movie (when he was 11)
11. I don't buy the whole Gov't keeping everyone in the dark about the asteroid. If something's gonna hit the planet, millions will see it. No way that's kept under wraps.
That's true. The government didn't keep people in the dark. they just denied the truth, blaming lie on facebook. they didn't care because it might take out US enemies.
12. In addition, an asteroid that big could and most likely would be a "planet killer" that would result in the death of the planet and all life on it. True. That's a plot hole.
13. I was totally confused on page 28. So, he flew out to space? Did he bring oxygen to breathe? He'd suffocate out there. That's a weakness Superman has that often gets overlooked. That's why in recent cartoons and movies he wears a mask that allows him to breathe in space. It's a bit odd to think that he can fly to Krypton, but, he'd suffocate before he got there.
Again, I'm going of the super man methology here -- Specifically Superman 1 and 2, there are scenes with him in space.
14. Oh, you do, at times, the same thing that Ashley does. You use the word "is" in non-dialog sentences. It slows the reader down. What reads best: Nick is gonna go bowling. Or- Nick goes bowling? You're absolutely right.
15. So, a fraction of the asteroid breaks off and hits the USA. Bummer. So, why couldn't he see that?
He wasn't paying attention.
16. Really? A domino convention in a parking lot??? Yeah, um, no way...
That whole scene was just supposed to be funny, along with having the cliche guys carrying glass panes across the street. It's humorous because you know a giant asteroid is coming and they don't (I think that's one of the forms of comedic irony)
17. How could they be wrong with the asteroid? That really made no sense. You're better off saying that a chunk broke off at the last second, perhaps from him punching it and hits us. He had weakened it and it just cracked. He flew back to Earth, so, he never knew.
They were focused on the BIG asteroid. Why would they even look for pieces. they had no idea someone was trying to change the course.
18. Why wouldn't Nick say "oh Fuck, I screwed up" when it hits the USA? He had no reaction at all.
19. So, Nick gets an invite to a random "Thank you" party and Tessa doesn't warn him? She knows what happened.
She probably encouraged him to go. He did save a lot of people.
20. Why couldn't Nick see that the General was a hologram? He has X-ray and can see into the inferred and ultraviolet spectrums. He saw that the cars only have automatic weapons. He's been on Earth for over a decade and knows how the planet operates, even if most of that knowledge came from bad superhero TV, comic books, and similar sources.
Nick is really sheltered up to this point. Never been out of Kansas until then. He's totally naive. A big kid.
21. So, Nick hides out in space until he isn't radioactive anymore. How'd he get the TV into space and how is it working? And how is it picking up transmissions? And how is he breathing in a vacuum?
Superman straight up reversed time by reversing the rotation of the earth. I'm taking a pass on that one. Also TV transmissions do radiate into space.
22. I got the feeling that Tessa knew who Dr. Light was/looked light. But, we know he was "removed" (killed by the army, but, wouldn't she comment on the Doctor's something? His personality, quirks, physical attributes, etc? She recommended him.
She didn't recommend him. She just said see someone or pack or stuff. By then the military was monitoring their phones.
23. You really do need to explain how they found out his name? I see no evidence how that happened.
when they found where he was flying from. they had everything they needed. this is the government we're talking about .
25. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but, he comes out of a theater, and gets hit by a missile. See the issue? Perhaps if you cut to them debating if the loss of life in the movie theater is okay if they get him. I know that's a touchy subject (the batman killings) so, that might not work. But, you have to show they are on to him. And show us how they put the pieces together.
this was done for comedic value. they wouldn't bomb a theater, that's over the top. They waited until he was in a place where they could take him out.
Perhaps you keep Dr. Light legit and make him work for the gov't and he contacts them. That'd tie everything together nicely and be easy to fix. You can change the ending to show that he's come to realize that he loves Tessa and the Doc tries to help. And only when Nick threatens to stop going to therapy does the Dr. make the call to take him in...
Nick never tells Dr. Light about his powers. He has to know on his own. Also I love Dr. Light. He's actually a good guy, when you think about it. He spends the entire movie trying to save Nick from himself and from the hole than Stanford wants to stick him in. He ultimately dies because of it.
26. You say that the Dr. has 1 hr to break Nick then he takes over, yet, you don't wait for 60 pages. Pretty much everything happens quickly here, so, I'd change that to 20 min. It's not real time. An hour just felt right, but I'll take another look.
Thank you so much for all the feedback! This is all very helpful. Hopefully you can tell that I really thought this stuff through lol.
Pg. 2: “You’re so screwed” look… I understand what this might be, but I fear it could be a little nebulous in terms of what you wanna communicate.
Pg. 2: “She’s tough, beautiful, and protective” I don’t think this description is concrete enough for me to actually picture a person, I think more specific physical description would be better in this case.
I think just generally I’m not a huge fan of the number of implied characteristics in these character descriptions, but that just might be me. I like Nick’s intro, but not so much the ones for the other members of this family.
So far I really love the dialogue. Most of the zingers totally land, and I love the snark here.
The smash cut on pg. 10 is fucking hilarious.
This angry interaction between Tessa and Nick after he trashes the Ferrari seems kinda forced? She’s unloading her frustrations and Nick’s flaws onto him, but it seems like a “look audience, this is what’s wrong with Nick” scene a little too obviously, and I think there are better ways to do it. I think Sammy is a better vessel for this message than Tessa, who always seems to be nagging on him. Tessa revealing “Denver” makes sense, but her yelling at him about partying after a car crash doesn’t seem to connect too well.
Okay, the General’s introduction is perfect. So, I may have been wrong about the others. I often am.
So right about page 22 and it feels to me that Tessa is too much of an information dump. She has a past that’s alluded to but, right now she just kind of talks at Nick about his motivations and needs and journey. Maybe Nick should be discovering the responsibilities he harbors on his own? I think just the Awesome Man TV show is a great way to do that, you already use it to communicate these ideas, and I don’t know if you need Tessa to ground them any more than they are.
On page 34, Nick’s transition from SUPER HAPPY to depressed and regretful seems way too quick. I think his celebration should be less cartoonish, him being exhausted but smiling and walking down the street would be more subtle.
Pg. 35: Should be “A bicycle sits on its side”
So, without knowing anything about the guy, the military just blasts this dude away? I think there should be more build-up to this. At least something that indicates MAYBE Nick could be super dangerous, more reason for alarm. I don’t think we really see that except for an implication that isn’t very clear.
Okay, so I’m at the midway point, and this is gonna suck, but I really don’t think this psychiatrist framing device works. It’s clever in a way, but it slows the story down a lot and gives this impression that there’s no real progression. All we’re seeing is backstory, a hidden past is the entire plot for half of this thing, and just by removing this framing device I think you’d be all clear to make this a straightforward character journey. If we see that Nick is totally fine but also a sex and partying addict with a lot of issues, a bunch of tension is lost from these plot points.
This isn’t an easy answer, of course. I still think the therapist could play a part of this story, just not THIS BIG a part.
The cops being exacerbated with everyone wearing the hoodie is pretty funny.
Pg. 50: “Cole” should be “coal”
I like the Modern Awesome Man scene. Poking fun at dark reboots is always a funny move.
Okay now the big reveal about Evan Light is up, but I’m still not sure if that angle works too well earlier in the story. This isn’t an easy solution, and it might just be me.
So why does Nick assume Dr. Light is a real person who exists somewhere rather than a character used by Mattison?
Jesus dude, the dialogue, even in a torture scene, is super funny. I love it. Between this and your descriptions I’m getting some serious Shane Black vibes here.
Pg. 64, the Forrest Gump reference is a little clunky
Nick’s reaction to meeting Zookri is awfully cavalier. I’d expect more confusion and resistance.
The lead up to the final fight is SUPER quick. The conflict is established well, but it’s also very rushed.
I really, really, really like this element of these aliens wanting knowledge of how to conquer by taking our ability to do that. That’s a really cool commentary I don’t think I’ve seen expressed this way before.
Finished. I have to say. I. Loved it. I know I listed out a bunch of my issues that may not have made sense, but if I wanted to give my honest thoughts all the way through, it would’ve just been praise upon praise. This was really satisfying, and I could TOTALLY see it on the big screen. The biting political commentary was also really nice in a world of sterile apolitical superhero movies. Wow. Great stuff here. I’m not exaggerating when I say this was a hilarious and amazingly fun breeze to read.
I. Loved it. I know I listed out a bunch of my issues that may not have made sense, but if I wanted to give my honest thoughts all the way through, it would’ve just been praise upon praise. This was really satisfying, and I could TOTALLY see it on the big screen. The biting political commentary was also really nice in a world of sterile apolitical superhero movies. Wow. Great stuff here. I’m not exaggerating when I say this was a hilarious and amazingly fun breeze to read.
I'm seriously blown away by the praise! Thanks Josh! I'm about to start work on the second draft so your notes are extremely helpful!
FYI I just finished your screenplay and emailed you page by page notes. Going to post some general thoughts on the board.