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A Sunny Way To Die by Martin Fleming - Comedy, Action - A workaholic MI5 agent is ordered to take vacation on a Caribbean island and befriends a female environmentalist but suspects her eco-developer boyfriend is part of an eco-terrorist group. The MI5 agent gets help from his ex-girlfriend agent, his boss and a younger agent to uncover the true terrorist trying to blow up a British Oil Rig. 111 pages - pdf format
I read your script on Simplyscripts.com and tried to comment on the discussion board, but the site wouldn't let me log on. Too bad, because I wanted others to see my feedback. Feel free to post this in the feedback section if you are able.
I simply loved your screenplay. It was extremely well-written (besides the typos and some formatting issues). The characters each jumped off the page, and I found the dialogue fresh and lively. To be honest, I didn't want it to end! I can't imagine this is your first script, and I wonder what else you've written.
What will you do with the script now? Have you entered it in any major screenwriting contests? Have you considered getting your script to actors you have in mind for the roles?
I was involved with a similar script (same tone) a colleague of mine wrote years ago, and he simply contacted actors' reps and was surprised to get responses. At one point Demi Moore and Henry Cavill were attached.
In this day and age this may be a difficult film to get made. Everyone wants edgy now, and your film harkens back to films from years ago. But the advantage is there are many more outlets for film these days, and I'm sure yours will find a home.
My final note: don't sell yourself short. Lots of actors you might think you don't have a chance of attracting could very well surprise you. I think they will be taken with the writing as I was, and would enjoy being in such a fun film. If you've ever wondered how big name actors became attached to smaller projects, it's because they were taken with the writing, and the role.
A friend of mine used to run MGM studios in the late 70s/early 80s. He was trying to get Jon Voight to star in one of his pictures. Voight had just come off the success of Midnight Cowboy and was very full of himself. My friend met with him at his home and Voight was acting very standoffish, despite all the years they had been friends. Finally my friend said, "Jon, I thought you were an actor, not a star." And that hit something deep inside him and he agreed to do the film on the spot.
Best of luck with this wonderful screenplay.
Wed, Dec 16, 4:20 AM (7 days ago)
Firstly, thank you so much for your email. Absolutely made my morning, I cannot tell you. Sometimes it feels like you're writing in a vacuum, so receiving feedback like this is so fantastic. I'm so glad you liked it. I tend to work under the adage of "write the film you want to see". So, happy I've found somebody else that feels the same!
It's funny you say it harks back to those films of yesteryear, because that's kind of what I was going for. I'm trying to think of one that matches the bill, but am drawing a blank, but that sort of dry, action comedy.
This is actually the first feature I've written. I've written a few TV animation pilots, and a couple of drama TV pilots, with a few nice results in a couple of contests, but this was my first proper film script. I entered it into just the one contest this year, the Shore Scripts Film Competition, where it got to the semis, so I was happy with that. That was actually a slightly earlier version too, and have made changes based on a few bits of feedback here and there. So the one you read was the latest, and you've given me hope that maybe I should enter it into a few more!
I'm relatively new to this whole "scriptwriting" lark by most standards, (only been at it a couple of years) and still trying to wrap my head around the industry I guess. I've never thought of going directly to actors as I never knew if that was a done thing, but I definitely will now. That's a great idea, thank you. I even wrote it with a couple of actors in mind, so that gives me even more confidence.. Your Jon Voight story intrigued me as well, especially because I can 100% see him being that sort of abrupt kind of character. Good on your friend for keeping these actors grounded!
Thank you again, Howard -- you really did make my day.
P.S you mentioned a couple of typos/formatting errors? Typos i've tracked down but in terms of formatting, could I pick your brain a little more? LIke I said, I'm still learning on the go, and to be honest I probably can't see the forest for the trees on this one anymore.
Wed, Dec 16, 5:57 AM (7 days ago)
Hello Martin and many thanks for writing. Please consider asking the administrator of Simplyscripts to post these responses to your script, because positive feedback can stimulate more reads, and who knows where that could lead.
I'm simply amazed that this is your first feature screenplay. I think you're destined for greatness my friend! I suggest you consider the top three screenwriting competitions, contacting agencies or managers that represent the talent you want for the parts, and look for actors with their own production companies, because they have the clout to get the film made with production deals they have at major studios.
Besides actors, your aim at attracting talent can extend to directors. Look at the work of those directors who do films of similar tone--even consider offering one of your stars the directing gig. It's not a hard shoot, and your DP will be doing most of the work anyway.
I feel your angle should be with a Netflix, Amazon, or Apple streaming content, but that will be up to the producer. Because who wouldn't love to curl up on a couch with this movie?
I read your screenplay over a number of days, and I'd wake up in the morning with the lingering feeling I was in the middle of watching a film I recorded on TV and wanted to get back to it, and then I remembered no, it was your script, not a movie!
Another option besides screenwriting contests is relatively inexpensive coverage services or consultants, where if they like what they read they can pass it along to industry players. Here's one example, and I'm sure there are others (but do your research as a lot of these are rip offs):
On your title page, the title should be in all caps. You can underline or not, your choice. No period at the end of the title. Usually "Written by" and your name are on separate lines.
Page one: Only use FADE IN:
On your scene heading put EXT. EAST LONDON - DAY
A scorching hot day.
In the bar scene you have one too many spaces after your dashes (before "acting the tourist...)
When the bartender speaks twice intersected by description, the second dialogue of his should read (CONT.). You've got the same issues elsewhere in the script, for instance on page 4 with Cassie speaking.
VIEW ON the beer garden outside (delete "is" here).
The news presenter is not V.O., it's either O.C. or O.S.
Now I don't think it's important to introduce the character Stepan here because you kill him off so quickly. He's just a Russian.
I would capitalize TUTS when the businessman drops rubbish.
You might consider having the scene heading of DERELICT BUILDING and GHETTO HOUSE be one and the same. In other words, choose one and use it both times.
I'm not a big fan of using SFX:. Instead consider just capitalizing MAJOR FIGHT.
WIth MI5, I would make sure this is consistent throughout. Sometimes you have it written Mi5.
Page 3: No need to duplicate Head of MI5's office in the scene heading and scene description. I would just do:
INT. MI5 OFFICE - DAY
The head of MI5, CASSIE WHITLEY...
"Whose" is wrong here. Should be "who has" or "who's".
Big typo here, not "through" him out the window, it's "threw".
These types of errors can turn off pros and they won't continue to read your script.
(reading the report), not Reading
Consider putting a period after though "...shoot people though. Like this career..."
Consider Cassie's line being "Since you keep killing off art students." or something like that.
So then it's the Russian flies out the window (not Stepan).
Whack A Mole or Whack a Mole or Whack-A-Mole.
On top of page 5 I would go with "any more" rather than "anymore".
Consider teenagers these days are using a lot less oxygen
I would lose the SFX: again here. These are production notes and not really appropriate for a spec script.
"I killed a couple of teenager"...should read "I killed a teenager," or "I killed a couple of teenagers".
Sally says "Ah yeah. The union." But earlier Cassie said "the unions".
So you see where I'm going with this? You can do the same through the rest of the script and it will read very nicely.
Hope this helps!
Thu, Dec 17, 10:38 AM (6 days ago)
Forgive the lateness of the reply -- it's been a wild couple days (sadly boring advertising work, not fun script work!)
Thanks so much for your kind words. You've certainly lit a fire up under me. It's rare for someone to take the time, so please don't underestimate how happy it made me.
And thank you for taking the time to offer that feedback. That's absolutely invaluable and spot on. Thank you for taking the time. Reading this: I read your screenplay over a number of days, and I'd wake up in the morning with the lingering feeling I was in the middle of watching a film I recorded on TV and wanted to get back to it, and then I remembered no, it was your script, not a movie! caused me to smile more broadly than I have in a very long time.
I'm going to start looking into the competitions. A friend of mine knows a couple of agents apparently, so might try to jimmy my way in a little bit with that. I shall also speak to the admins of simplyscripts and see if I can't add some of this feedback as well.
I shall keep you up to date with an developments on the script and how I get on with Simply Scripts
Thank you Howard, have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Thu, Dec 17, 10:51 AM (6 days ago)
Not at all, glad it helps. No need to keep me informed, just wishing you the best of luck with it. One last note: there are quite a few times where you end an interrogative sentence with a period instead of a question mark. Have a look at those, too.
Dec 17, 2020, 10:57 AM (6 days ago)
Haha the latest thing I've been writing I've noticed I do that a lot! Weird little peccadillo of mine.