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  Author    Who Wants to be a Princess?  (currently 2302 views)
Don
Posted: February 15th, 2018, 12:34pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Who Wants to Be a Princess? by Frank MacCrory & Cynthia MacCrory - Family - A young woman enters the prince's contest so she can change the kingdom's future, but a past she can't remember brings three royal families to the brink of war. 117 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Revision History (5 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  August 17th, 2020, 5:15pm
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Sam
Posted: February 15th, 2018, 4:15pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Frank,

I just had time to read the first ten but i will get back to it.

I really like your writing. I don't know what draft this is but you've clearly spent the time on the rewrites and perfecting it.
Writing a script set so far back in history is really tough because so much needs describing. I've seen a few unproduced scripts get tripped up by this, getting bogged down in long action lines trying to describe something an audience would see in a second if it was filmed.
Your descriptions and choice of words are short and precise. It makes for an easy read.

Dialogue is also really good. There's no fat and there's a rhythm to the conversations. Again, i'm guessing this is another sign of good rewriting.
I've only read the first 10 but i can already see the story playing out. A have a few notes but i do realise i have only read a very small part.

You set Holly up as feeling trapped in her life as a princess.  
Another day in hergilded cage..
I'm not sure we really see this. You get straight into the story which is good but i would like to see Holly's life before she leaves it. Why does she feel trapped? What relationships is she leaving behind? What's at stake if she stayed?

I'm also unsure why she just stays with that other family. We don't see them interact, she just never seems to leave.

One thing i'm really trying to improve is creating tension. Considering it's such a basic aspect of films it's amazing how easy it can be to leave it out.
When the bandits try to kidnap Holly it just happens. It might add a bit more tension if we know its going to happen before Holly does. Maybe the bandits trick them? Just food for thought. Hitchcock gives a great example of tension regarding a bomb under a table as two people talk.

You also sometimes put things like...
Evera has Holly reciting something during this time.

I think you need to actually write what it is is she's reciting.

Anywho, I'll get back to this soon but this is clearly a strong script and worth getting a few reads.

Sam


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FrankM
Posted: February 15th, 2018, 5:46pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Sam
Hi Frank,

I just had time to read the first ten but i will get back to it.

I really like your writing. I don't know what draft this is but you've clearly spent the time on the rewrites and perfecting it.
Writing a script set so far back in history is really tough because so much needs describing. I've seen a few unproduced scripts get tripped up by this, getting bogged down in long action lines trying to describe something an audience would see in a second if it was filmed.
Your descriptions and choice of words are short and precise. It makes for an easy read.

Thanks, I appreciate that. It's what I'd call a first complete draft (only got rid of the last red-text-that-says-what-is-needed-here a couple weeks ago), but then went a couple rounds of polishing it to be suitable for SS consumption. The first few pages had been done for a while and received some great feedback on the work-in-progress board, and Final Draft's "read aloud" tool is really helpful for finding clunky dialogue.

(Hint for anyone else who doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg on voiceprints: the Windows default voices for other languages are perfectly capable of reading English, so you don't need to limit yourself to one male voice and one female voice.)

I made a conscious choice to use precise words rather than long descriptions, even if it means a couple readers need to look up a word or two.


Quoted from Sam
Dialogue is also really good. There's no fat and there's a rhythm to the conversations. Again, i'm guessing this is another sign of good rewriting.
I've only read the first 10 but i can already see the story playing out. A have a few notes but i do realise i have only read a very small part.

You set Holly up as feeling trapped in her life as a princess.  
Another day in hergilded cage..
I'm not sure we really see this. You get straight into the story which is good but i would like to see Holly's life before she leaves it. Why does she feel trapped? What relationships is she leaving behind? What's at stake if she stayed?

That's fair, I felt the need to get in a "hook" very early and get on with the main story, but may have sped things up a bit too much. I really like the idea of doing everything under the opening theme until the recital, but I won't cling to it if it gets in the way of storytelling.


Quoted from Sam
I'm also unsure why she just stays with that other family. We don't see them interact, she just never seems to leave.


She's got Hollywood Amnesia That could be explained better, though.


Quoted from Sam
One thing i'm really trying to improve is creating tension. Considering it's such a basic aspect of films it's amazing how easy it can be to leave it out.
When the bandits try to kidnap Holly it just happens. It might add a bit more tension if we know its going to happen before Holly does. Maybe the bandits trick them? Just food for thought. Hitchcock gives a great example of tension regarding a bomb under a table as two people talk.

That's a really good idea.


Quoted from Sam
You also sometimes put things like...
Evera has Holly reciting something during this time.

I think you need to actually write what it is is she's reciting.

There was originally a note saying "no audio other than the continuing opening theme" but it got very repetitive and annoying. The dialogue here would just be gibberish proper nouns to first-time readers, but there's no harm actually putting them there.


Quoted from Sam
Anywho, I'll get back to this soon but this is clearly a strong script and worth getting a few reads.

Sam

Thanks, looking forward to it!


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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Dustin
Posted: February 16th, 2018, 6:02am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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I don't tell people what I think is wrong with their stories, I only read with an interest in their style of writing. This is also not my genre.

Your writing is excellent and it took me all of half a page to figure that out. I have been pulled up a couple of times in that first half page though.

Code

The stern and silver-haired governess EVERA (60-ish),
her silver hair pulled into a tight bun that only makes her
look sterner, ...



I don't like the use of 'stern' twice in this, albeit one of them modified. You also mention her silver hair twice. You can try:

The governess, EVERA (63), her silver hair pulled into
a tight bun that only makes her look sterner, ...

'that only makes her look sterner' instantly tells us that she looks stern even without her hair tied up.

Also, consider putting an actual age. I used to do the same as you, then a writer here (LC) asked me if I actually knew the character's age? Create your characters the way you want to, completely. Note the comma before the character name in this instance too.

Code

From under the sheets PRINCESS HOLLY VERMILLION (4) emerges,
pushes long brown hair out of her eyes, blinks, lets out a
resigned sigh upon seeing her governess. Another day in her
gilded cage.



Missing comma after sheets and also after her age. There's a missing 'and' after 'blinks'. Change 'her governess' to 'Evera'. Also instead of this:

Code

...lets out a resigned sigh upon seeing her governess. Another 
day in her gilded cage.



Try:

lets out a resigned sigh upon seeing Evera - another
day in her gilded cage.


Anyway, good luck with this script. I hope you sell it and it gets produced.


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FrankM
Posted: February 16th, 2018, 11:30am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
I don't tell people what I think is wrong with their stories, I only read with an interest in their style of writing. This is also not my genre.

Your writing is excellent and it took me all of half a page to figure that out. I have been pulled up a couple of times in that first half page though.

Code

The stern and silver-haired governess EVERA (60-ish),
her silver hair pulled into a tight bun that only makes her
look sterner, ...



I don't like the use of 'stern' twice in this, albeit one of them modified. You also mention her silver hair twice. You can try:

The governess, EVERA (63), her silver hair pulled into
a tight bun that only makes her look sterner, ...

'that only makes her look sterner' instantly tells us that she looks stern even without her hair tied up.

Also, consider putting an actual age. I used to do the same as you, then a writer here (LC) asked me if I actually knew the character's age? Create your characters the way you want to, completely. Note the comma before the character name in this instance too.

Code

From under the sheets PRINCESS HOLLY VERMILLION (4) emerges,
pushes long brown hair out of her eyes, blinks, lets out a
resigned sigh upon seeing her governess. Another day in her
gilded cage.



Missing comma after sheets and also after her age. There's a missing 'and' after 'blinks'. Change 'her governess' to 'Evera'. Also instead of this:

Code

...lets out a resigned sigh upon seeing her governess. Another 
day in her gilded cage.



Try:

lets out a resigned sigh upon seeing Evera - another
day in her gilded cage.


Anyway, good luck with this script. I hope you sell it and it gets produced.


Thanks, Dustin. The double silverness was just poor editing on my part (she was originally described as "stern and elderly" but that didn't work because in a few pages she's described as running while carrying a child).

As for the missing "and," I've seen advice in various places that one should strip out as many "and"s and "then"s as possible from screenplay action lines without causing confusion. To me, it almost makes commas and periods interchangeable, and I'm not familiar enough with the format to have any real intuition for what "feels" right.

Thanks for the word about ages, my intent was to let the casting people know exact ages weren't important for some characters. Even when an exact age is given, the actor merely needs to pass for that age... which is much easier in animation.* That said, I assigned exact numbers for all the "mid-60s" and "late 20s" and so on later in the script.

*The "Holly halts in shock" scene would be really expensive to do in live action, and it's kind of an important scene. It might be doable with something like MASSIVE, though I shudder to think of the evil to which that modelset would be applied afterward. A live action version of the montage on page 7 would require heroic amounts of age-adjustment through CGI. Again, probably possible but not how I picture the film in my head.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.

Revision History (1 edits)
FrankM  -  February 16th, 2018, 1:03pm
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khamanna
Posted: February 18th, 2018, 8:03am Report to Moderator
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Hi Frank.
Congrats on completing a script, I really liked the writing.

So, this is a story of love I guess, right? Holly and Rolland are your two main characters I think. you have so little of them on the pages that it's hard to tell.
but let me start from the beginning.
you have silent scenes at first. it was hard to visualize them, and I dodn't know whete you are going with them. Lately I learned you wanted to show that Holly was suffocating there. you didn't show it at first. you told us some but it's not something that should make her not want to reveal her identity later. I thought of Alladin's Jasmin. she also wanted to experience a commoner's life, as a princess she had no friends. but she ran away only when her dad decided she should marry Jaffar - talking about the Disney movie here.

later you dont show how her new parents decided to keep her. It should be dangerous to do that. may be you could tell us they couldn't have children for a long time or something. but you can't skip it, otherwise it's a mystery.

later Holly decides to finaly fight for Rolland and become a princess after all. I absolutely dont get her. is she in love? that could explain her actions, but she couldn't fall in love after only seeing him once. we should see more of them together, I think. If Roland is important maybe even earlier. I suggest they meet when kids.

which brings us to the competition. how absent minded should roland be to make them go throughall the stages without making sure the one he loves wins. sorry if it sounds harsh but to me Roland is vain as written. i suggest they plot the competition together behind the scenes.

i also suggest you get rid of the majority of the girls. and the scenes - like Jades and Aimees talent show scene. and have more of holly and Roland instead.

You startedintroducing more characters at the end. do you need them. i say get rid of 2/3 of the characters that you have now and you'll be better without them.

good luck with the rewrite if you're planning one.
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FrankM
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Quoted from khamanna
Hi Frank.
Congrats on completing a script, I really liked the writing.

So, this is a story of love I guess, right? Holly and Rolland are your two main characters I think. you have so little of them on the pages that it's hard to tell.
but let me start from the beginning.
you have silent scenes at first. it was hard to visualize them, and I dodn't know whete you are going with them. Lately I learned you wanted to show that Holly was suffocating there. you didn't show it at first. you told us some but it's not something that should make her not want to reveal her identity later. I thought of Alladin's Jasmin. she also wanted to experience a commoner's life, as a princess she had no friends. but she ran away only when her dad decided she should marry Jaffar - talking about the Disney movie here.

later you dont show how her new parents decided to keep her. It should be dangerous to do that. may be you could tell us they couldn't have children for a long time or something. but you can't skip it, otherwise it's a mystery.

Thanks, I really appreciate that you invested your valuable time in looking over my script.

I envisioned the first few scenes (up to the start of the recital) as the opening credits sequence. It was my attempt of doing the "day in the life of the protagonist" with as little screen time as possible.

It's actually not integral to the story that Holly feels trapped in her life as a princess... that is simply so that the audience doesn't feel sorry for Holly suddenly growing up in different circumstances. That said, I will need to do a better job showing it, and it may not be possible to keep everything confined to the opening credits. (Besides, it's not like being a farmgirl is wall-to-wall freedom.)

Holly is supposed to have Hollywood Amnesia and not remember her origins at all, and I obviously did a terrible job of explaining that in this draft. She only remembered her name, so her adoptive parents ensured she'd remember her new home by drilling in that she's "Holly from Bosky Village." Without memory loss, a real four-year-old, even one who claims she doesn't like her parents, would have tried to get home.

Something else that I failed to explain is that the adoptive parents were having trouble having their own children. A medieval farming family with only one child born after at least nine years of marriage is in desperate need of an IVF clinic.

Definitely a couple serious weak spots in this draft.


Quoted from khamanna
later Holly decides to finaly fight for Rolland and become a princess after all. I absolutely dont get her. is she in love? that could explain her actions, but she couldn't fall in love after only seeing him once. we should see more of them together, I think. If Roland is important maybe even earlier. I suggest they meet when kids.

which brings us to the competition. how absent minded should roland be to make them go throughall the stages without making sure the one he loves wins. sorry if it sounds harsh but to me Roland is vain as written. i suggest they plot the competition together behind the scenes.

An earlier version of the story had Roland pre-picking Holly as the winner, and his father pre-picking Amity, but that left no agency for any of the girls in the story. In this version, Roland actually is vain in the sense that he doesn't really treat "little people" as individuals. The princess tournament is effectively a search query on a dating site, and he'd rather blindly take the "top result" on that query than any of the people his parents picked out.

Roland is called out for a similar attitude once late in the story, but I'll work out a way to point out this character flaw earlier.


Quoted from khamanna
i also suggest you get rid of the majority of the girls. and the scenes - like Jades and Aimees talent show scene. and have more of holly and Roland instead.

You startedintroducing more characters at the end. do you need them. i say get rid of 2/3 of the characters that you have now and you'll be better without them.

The contestants are what I'd informally call tertiary characters... they have bits of personality and have more than a line or two, so somewhere between a main/supporting character and a throwaway character like GLENWOOD CONTESTANT 8. If nothing else, they let me split up the exposition into bite-sized chucks from each character.

I'd be grateful if anyone knew of a way to signal their marginal importance. As it is, I had to contrive a way of saying each one's name in dialogue. Probably worth condensing at least some of them together.

Jade & Aimee's talent show is a lot of pages for non-essential exposition, so ripe for pruning. I think I have a different way of addressing the talent show altogether, though I still need some on-stage time to surround the birthmark reveal.

The only semi-important characters introduced in Act III are the diplomat and the rival knight. The rival knight was previously discussed during one of the disaster dates (Sarah gushed about him when she was supposed to be impressing Roland). The diplomat can be present during the recital, but there would be such a long gap that he'd basically need to be re-introduced anyway.


Quoted from khamanna
good luck with the rewrite if you're planning one.

Thanks, very helpful feedback!


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.

Revision History (1 edits)
FrankM  -  February 19th, 2018, 3:16am
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khamanna
Posted: February 20th, 2018, 10:54am Report to Moderator
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I think the best way to do it is to cut some of the contest in my humble opinion. The script cant be about a contest, it's about characters, what drives them, their motivations, their actions.
the contest is to spice things up nothing more imho. well, it's your call...

I'm travelling right now and couldn't go over scenes to provede examples to what I call "not needed". I can do it later, in March if you like. I also wish more people read it. If you read and provede feedback to others here people reciprocate - just saying) I see that you already do)
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FrankM
Posted: February 20th, 2018, 1:00pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from khamanna
I think the best way to do it is to cut some of the contest in my humble opinion. The script cant be about a contest, it's about characters, what drives them, their motivations, their actions.
the contest is to spice things up nothing more imho. well, it's your call...

I'm travelling right now and couldn't go over scenes to provede examples to what I call "not needed". I can do it later, in March if you like. I also wish more people read it. If you read and provede feedback to others here people reciprocate - just saying) I see that you already do)


Hey, glad to have earned a bit of your WiFi use while traveling

I've been revising based on the feedback so far (not every last bit of it, but the overwhelming majority of what folks have said has been helpful) and hope to push an update to Don in the next few days. Want to make sure I check my changes for any ripple effects elsewhere in the story.

The draft everyone has now includes every single step of the tournament from 510 entrants to the final 2, which is unnecessary. Whittling that down gives me some space to flesh out parts of the story that were only sketched the first time around.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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MarkItZero
Posted: February 21st, 2018, 6:15pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Frank,

I didn't have time to read to whole thing so take these notes with an extra grain of salt. The writing is quite good. Very believable world and you've got all the pomp and circumstance down perfectly. I liked that scene with Princess Vanna rambling on about nonsense and Roland bored out of his mind.

I do think it's moving a bit fast at the beginning. It could do with more establishment of Holly's character before the bandits. Ideally, we'd get a sense of her weaknesses and how far our main character has to grow.

Your opening is somewhat similar to the opening of Kate & Leopold. I've never seen the movie, might not be good, but I do think script-wise it's a fitting example of what I'm talking about (have to get past the absurd amount of description writing till you get to the first dialogue).

The writer establishes Leopold's flaws. He's arrogant, lazy, self-pitying, etc. And as Uncle Otto suggests, he has room to grow. We see he needs to stop being such a whiny ninny and take control of his life. Once that foundation is established, the rest of the film can build on that, exploring those weakness and ultimately have the character grow and change before our eyes.

That same principle applies to most anything in your genre. Take The Lion King for example. It's established early on Simba has to grow up, take responsibility, in order to become a great King.

Pg. 2 of your script is prime position for this stuff. As written, Holly expresses a desire to play the flute but that's about it. Think about some flaws for your character. Is she naive, demanding, controlling, reckless, lazy, etc. Give us a sense of what she needs to overcome. You do a good job showing she's not content with her rich, sheltered existence. Build on that, explore it a little more in this scene.

Okay, that was a lot of notes for one scene. I get carried away sometimes.


I agree with other comments about that bandit scene too. I think you can work in a little more tension there. Maybe you can even bring up the threat of bandits earlier. For example, King Farrell could be reluctant to let her leave the Castle because of vicious attacks in the past.


That rug really tied the room together.
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FrankM
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Quoted from MarkItZero
Hey Frank,

I didn't have time to read to whole thing so take these notes with an extra grain of salt. The writing is quite good. Very believable world and you've got all the pomp and circumstance down perfectly. I liked that scene with Princess Vanna rambling on about nonsense and Roland bored out of his mind.

I do think it's moving a bit fast at the beginning. It could do with more establishment of Holly's character before the bandits. Ideally, we'd get a sense of her weaknesses and how far our main character has to grow.

Your opening is somewhat similar to the opening of Kate & Leopold. I've never seen the movie, might not be good, but I do think script-wise it's a fitting example of what I'm talking about (have to get past the absurd amount of description writing till you get to the first dialogue).

The writer establishes Leopold's flaws. He's arrogant, lazy, self-pitying, etc. And as Uncle Otto suggests, he has room to grow. We see he needs to stop being such a whiny ninny and take control of his life. Once that foundation is established, the rest of the film can build on that, exploring those weakness and ultimately have the character grow and change before our eyes.

That same principle applies to most anything in your genre. Take The Lion King for example. It's established early on Simba has to grow up, take responsibility, in order to become a great King.

Pg. 2 of your script is prime position for this stuff. As written, Holly expresses a desire to play the flute but that's about it. Think about some flaws for your character. Is she naive, demanding, controlling, reckless, lazy, etc. Give us a sense of what she needs to overcome. You do a good job showing she's not content with her rich, sheltered existence. Build on that, explore it a little more in this scene.

Okay, that was a lot of notes for one scene. I get carried away sometimes.


I agree with other comments about that bandit scene too. I think you can work in a little more tension there. Maybe you can even bring up the threat of bandits earlier. For example, King Farrell could be reluctant to let her leave the Castle because of vicious attacks in the past.


I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. There's certainly a lot to do with the first few pages. Looks like the theme will end during her lesson, then we get a bit more of a day-in-the-life with the recital the next day. That's effectively inserting it at the top of page 2.

Cramming in a plausible character flaw for a four-year-old is a great idea, but will take some thought. She's four because as far as I know that the earliest possible age someone could actually demonstrate musical talent (and even that is using modern Suzuki instruments designed for small hands), and I want her as close to a blank slate as possible for her adoptive parents. Will take a look at Kate & Leopold, an early glimpse at flaws will give me a little more space to show some growth for Holly.

I personally don't like it when a movie telegraphs a threat, but ultimately the story needs to hang together in the audience's eyes, not mine.

"Hey, Bob, see that glass bottle labeled 'extremely dangerous virus'?"
"Yeah, Joe. Looks fragile. Kinda careless that someone put it so close to the edge of the table."
"Someone should probably do something about it."
"The same someone who put it in that precarious spot?"
"Now is not the time for puns, Bob. A large group of inattentive children are about to run through this room."
"Right, no time to move that bottle; let's get out of the way."

Hopefully I can handle the issue with a bit more subtlety.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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MarkItZero
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Maybe a Meg Ryan rom-com was not the best example. I blame my lack of sleep. Lines like this from The Lion King might be a better illustration:

SIMBA
But I thought a king can do whatever he wants.

MUSAFA
There's a lot more to being king than getting your way all the time.


Of course, you get to come up with any character you want. But films like The Lion King, Brave, How to Train Your Dragon, Big Hero 6, might be more instructive.


You've got a good script here though.


That rug really tied the room together.
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FrankM
Posted: February 22nd, 2018, 4:24pm Report to Moderator
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Rewriting continues apace, between working in the feedback here and shuffling around some of the original stuff (for example I realized that "I only came here because my parents made me" had to come from a princess; no one else would dare say it out loud), now I have to handle a bunch of ripple effects throughout the script.

The story is definitely easier to follow now.

When my wife looked over the new opening she said, "You can't let the audience know Holly had a pony if you want people to like her. Haven't you ever seen Seinfeld?" It'll be a fun balancing act


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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FrankM
Posted: February 24th, 2018, 1:29am Report to Moderator
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I've sent a second draft to Don, not sure how long it will take to appear.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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FrankM
Posted: February 24th, 2018, 10:36pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from FrankM
I've sent a second draft to Don, not sure how long it will take to appear.


And that was fast! The second draft is live at the original link.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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FrankM
Posted: February 15th, 2019, 12:48am Report to Moderator
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Thanks to all the feedback I got here and a couple contest reports, a new and hopefully improved version is now available.

The opening childhood scenes have been condensed.

A lot of named characters have been demoted to tertiary status. The actual number of characters stayed almost the same, but with names like BLOND BANDIT, TENSE GLENWOOD CONTESTANT, and UVA PRINCESS for minor roles it's easier for a reader to pick out who is critical and who is not. (Fun bit of trivia: there were originally 24 named contestants each starting with a different letter: Aimee, Becky, Cybil, Dorinda, Edith, Flora, etc.)

On a related note, all of Amity's lines are now labeled AMITY. Previously I used AIMEE when she was undercover to match her alias, but one of the contest judges really took exception to that idea. I agree that it was confusing, but I still refer to her as "Aimee" in quotes in her action blurbs to remind the reader she is pretending to be someone else.

I realized that I'd spent a lot more screen time developing the antagonist Amity than I had developing the protagonist Holly. In my head, Holly was always outspoken (for a peasant), but that should come out more on the page now. Her initial refusal to enter the contest and eventual entry are hopefully more plausible now. Her lack of confidence at the start of Act II actually builds to a crisis at the midpoint.

I've also put more effort into putting this firmly in the family genre than simply being a light drama (Only in a family film can the heroine talk her way out of an Act III jam!). It's made clear that Holly "deserves" to win since she's the only one not cheating, and a Court Jester character has been added to keep things moving on screen for younger viewers. The two actually intersect at one point as well.

The contest has been revamped so that all of the stages kinda-sorta relate to princess potential (sorry, Exasperated Cow, but your scene had to be cut), and the interruption happens one stage sooner. A ripple effect of this is that Roland now has two helpers and his revised rescue plan actually stands a chance of success.

The cultures in this world have been sketched out better, with a bit more attention to the fact that in this era it's noteworthy if someone understands a different culture. I retained the kid-friendly color coding of the countries.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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Surina
Posted: March 4th, 2019, 5:19am Report to Moderator
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I'm about half way through and I am totally loving the story, the characters and style. I'm am as you know not the most experienced, but I really do like your story this far. I should finish in a day or two when I'll post more thoughts.
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Surina
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Just done reading the script and I loved it. I thought it was entertaining, and well written. Knowing my work, you know it is not in my capabilities to critique your work. It doesn't mean though that I haven't read with attention. Some of the scenes had me laughing out loud as I could just see Hulking Knight and the spider. Found that hilarious. Overall I think that it was well planned and executed with no loose ends. Congrats on a great job
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FrankM
Posted: March 6th, 2019, 1:28pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read, and I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

This is about the fifth draft of the script, so hopefully all of the technical issues have been ironed out. I'm more concerned that each character is consistent, no stretches come across as boring, and that the romance between Roland and Holly actually has some romance in it.

A full romance subplot would require a temporary split-up at some point... or in their case, a temporary pause in trying to get together. To me, the most obvious choice is having Holly discover that Roland kinda likes Princess Galena from Silverplains (because she can fight) but the feeling is most assuredly not mutual. Contriving a situation where Silverplains suddenly pushes for a political marriage after the tournament started seems like it would take too much screen time, and the story is already on the long side.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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eldave1
Posted: March 11th, 2019, 2:27pm Report to Moderator
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Frank: I had a chance to read the first ten over a morning cup of Joe.

Solid writing for the most part – great world building.

I can tell already that this is going to be a good story in a setting that should pique a lot of interest. First a couple of nit issues:


Quoted Text
Morning in a bustling city of arched stone buildings and cobblestone streets, the capital of Cinnabar, where nearly everything and everyone is accented with something red.


Very visual. I would be tempted to add something about the people. You say it’s bustling – so I assume that they are already on the street. I would let the reader see them.


Quoted Text
Princess Holly stands in her fancy red pajamas while a servant systematically combs her hair. The Governess has Holly reciting a list of names during this time.

Servant is a character and should be capped.


Quoted Text
MUSTACHIOED RED KNIGHT
No bandit would leave this behind. You were right, she was here.

A bit on the nose. I would just go with “She was here. “


Quoted Text
GOVERNESS (V.O.)
Princess, run that way through the forest. Keep running no matter what you hear, do you understand me?


It wasn't clear to me whether this was a line out of Holly's earshot or something she is just hearing in her head. Regardless, not a fan of the line's placement because of logic issues - explained...

Logic starts to become a problem for me right around page 5.

The Governess' Ruse.

The Governess flees the carriage carrying Holly in her arms. Moments later she is carrying Holly's cloak stuffed with pillows (i.e., when the Bandits find her).  So, I have to believe two implausible things - (1) The Governess bothered to grab pillows of all things from the carriage is part of her escape and (2) had the ability to carry them while also carrying Holly. Both of these stretch credulity.  

My recommendation:

- lose the pillows
- Add a scene where a tiring Governess puts Holly on her feet. She knows being caught carrying the girl is inevitable.
- The Governess takes the cloak and the fairy doll from a frightened and reluctant Holly (the doll that gave her such comfort in the Carriage) and then the Governess' dialogue directly at Holly (rather than a VO)

i.e.,

GOVERNESS
Princess, run that way through the forest. Keep running no matter what you hear, do you understand me?

Holly scampers off. Then the Governess straddles the cloak across her arms giving the appearance that she is holding Holly, dangling the doll from her fingertips.

Holly's New Far Away Home

You created a Kingdom and Holly is a princess. Villagers and peasants would certainly know that a Princess has been kidnapped/missing and word would spread like wild-fire as the King's troops searched for her. So, Holly needs to end up in a far away enough land that she would end up with people that would not have knowledge of this. So, my question would be how far can a four year old walk - and a head injured one at that???? My inclination is - certainly not far enough to satisfy this plot point.

Now I know that the carriage has traveled far from the Kingdom - but still, the perimeter around the attack site is still too small - e.g., the King's guards would be interrogating every household within five miles of the attack site.

i.e, You need to create a logical way for her to get as far away as possible - beyond the physical limits of a four year old. As an example:

Holly makes her way to a river bank - finds an abandoned canoe - crawls in/hides. Then the storm makes the river rise/flow - the canoe starts to rush down river - Holly sits up - her head whacked by an overhanging branch - out cold. The river rises more and more hurtling the canoe downstream......until it finally nestles in a bank miles and miles away.

Or something like that - anything really that moves her a sufficient distance from the Kingdom.

Where is the Parent's reaction??

Here's the scene where the tragic news is delivered.

INT. THRONE ROOM - DAY

The Mustachioed Red Knight presents the broken necklace to the king and queen.

MUSTACHIOED RED KNIGHT
The bandits hit just before the storm. It looks like all six with her gave their lives to secure her escape. But... (voice breaking) there’s no way she could have survived alone in that storm.

There is no reaction from the King or Queen or her brother here. At this point I really have no sense of whether they love this child or not (other than they want the best flute instructor for her).  

I really think this needs to be expanded. Show us the family reactions.

The Courtroom Scene


Starts her:


Quoted Text
INT. COURTHOUSE - DAY

Warrick and Treva stand before their MAYOR (59) in the small meeting hall that passes for a courtroom in this tiny village.

Holly, dressed in green homespun coveralls with a bandage on her forehead, sits quietly in a big wooden chair.

MAYOR
Seeing as it’s been six months and no one’s come looking for a missing girl, and she herself still don’t remember where she comes from, seems right that she get adopted.


It's been six months and she still has a head bandage??

It also seems unnecessary/forced to involve an adoption setting here and you lose an opportunity for us to get to know Warrick and Treva better. e.g, you could provide us with the same exposition - plot points with something like....

Treva tending to the house, keeping a close eye on a now healed Holly as she plays. An exhausted, hard working Warrick returns from the fields - he and Treva have a chat about  Holly's state (e.g., still don't remember anything...?, etc) - they convince themselves that she was meant for them.  Just a thought.

Wasn't in love with the fact that they called her Holly -  yeah I get it - the Holly tattoo and all. Just seemed like a bridge too far that they would land on that exact name. Maybe it's just me.

Anyway - I don't mean to be a downer - there was a whole lot to like here and I wouldn't not be surprised if this ends up being made. It is a great premise. But early on I do get the sense that you are not laser-focused on logic issues.

Just my thoughts - hope they help




My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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khamanna
Posted: March 11th, 2019, 6:15pm Report to Moderator
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Hi, Frank.

So, here it is.

Getting extremely wordy here P11

“Anyway my friend here (pats bear) was a little rough with my shield” – you may just leave this and get rid of the rest

p11 “he and his sons” – who?

P10 – “It hasn’t been rained on so it must be new here” – don’t get what she’s talking about

P11 HOLLY “But that would ruin … quite a fight” – you sure you need that? Some stuff from here didn’t land on me like the first sentence. Don’t get what she’s talking about.

P19 – This is getting talky plus they are just repeating the into on p18.
I suggest you show Herald behind the door listening to elevated voices or something. Then back to important bits of conversation – Linnaeus okays’Roland’s proposition.

P24 Wait, you mentioning they were in debt for the 1st time, right? You should have started with it

p31 See Dorinda is of no interest to me and you’re giving her an awful lot of lines and thus, attention.

Too many asides and I almost never complain about those – but too many in your case.

P48 It got very talky again. It was said twice that the cook was off today. I think only 1/3 of this should be used. For example I don’t think you need this at all ”At it seems we have at least…. The details” or “he seems to know …. In land and water”

Besides why would Holly suddenly decide to complain about food. She liked it.

P41 Aimee is trapped. I don’t remember what was there with sir Douglas.

See you could cut out of convo with Douglas.. For example you could cut this DOUGLAS “I’m visiting all of the kingdoms in turn” Start with “As this years”
Also cut Rolands “Oh well… I think” just use “Things are pretty fair as they are” Nice of you to come all this way to ask.
Cut the last Douglas’ line make him bow and leave. Or let him say something short like “Thank you for your time”

I think next convo between Roland and Aimee about how Douglas is should be cut completely. It’s already there, you don’t need to make it so on the nose.

P43 I’m glad Holly is talking about her past and Aimee with Rolland don’t chuckle. It’s as if they start suspecting. I want more of that.

P44 Father and son just repeat the convo they already had.

p45 Holly “I know we can learn…” this is sudden and not fitting I think

The whole show off on p46 – doesn’t work for me. It’s random kind off.

P47 Linnaeus and Aimee – why they have this talk? To show us that someone heard them. Lin. Should have a reason to approach Aimee in the middle of the night. They already had this convo, doesn’t carry any additional detail and it should.

P54-55a lot of attention on Bandits and they converse mainly with other girls, not Holly
I think only scenes with Holly or maybe Aimee since she’s your antag) belong.

I think the scenes should have multiple purposes. Like Holly does a challenge, makes someone suspicious, suspects Aimee or maybe defends Aimee.

Also, I don’t see much character from Holly. Is she kind? Is she feisty? I’m not sure.

P56-57 – very good job here.

I’m on p60 and the game a bit wears me out. It doesn’t move the story forward much for me. And your story is not about the game. I mean it shouldn’t be. It’s a love story between Holly and Rolland, and maybe Aimee a little. And how Holly became a princess again. You should stick to that, not go on and on about the game I think.

P62-63 All the guest introductions – what for?

It’s just there’s no struggle on the pages. No much conflict. They just proceed forward with challenges, that’s all.

Holly sees Aimee’s note – very good. Finally. I wish it happened much earlier though. Like 20 pages earlier to add the conflict. I wish for tension now! Hopefully I get to see some.

P69 Instead Holly could slip for Aimee “wrong instruction” note. Just a suggestion.

P76 I don’t understand what’s going on here. It’s an overcomplication and you’re directing the read to be too much about Aimee. We already know her plan with Linneaus, so I absolutely don’t see the point of having more of that. Or changing it in some way that’s hard to understand (p.s. I already finished the script and thinking you have to get rid of that overcomplication)
P101 why don’t you cut Roland “May we at least…silence” SEBASTIAN “Your Highness… suterfuge”

Mustacioed “This won’t… useful”

It’s very talky, and has to be to the point, sharp and all business.

Ok, finished. From page 85 onward it was an easy read – it picked up the pace and was full of conflict and events that mattered. I liked how Aimee turned up, liked the fact no one killed each other.

Overall from page 85 onward I liked it a lot.

Holy turned out to be quite a character, funny and all. She reminds me of Repunzel and that one is my most favorite out of all princess characters.
But at the beginning  I was not feeling her as much.

The preceding pages – add Holy to the pages, add conflict. Every challenge should have a purpose.

At least in my opinion☺

Good luck to you with it!
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FrankM
Posted: March 12th, 2019, 12:01am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from eldave1
Frank: I had a chance to read the first ten over a morning cup of Joe.

Solid writing for the most part – great world building.

I can tell already that this is going to be a good story in a setting that should pique a lot of interest.


Thanks for the read and the kind words.


Quoted from eldave1
First a couple of nit issues:

Very visual. I would be tempted to add something about the people. You say it’s bustling – so I assume that they are already on the street. I would let the reader see them.

Servant is a character and should be capped.


The writing makes more sense if you picture this as an animated feature.

That means the animators can go nuts with "bustling" without affecting the budget. I was also under the impression that characters with no lines don't need to be capped. Seems especially relevant in animation since a character with no lines is essentially a prop.


Quoted from eldave1
A bit on the nose. I would just go with “She was here. “


I was trying to be "near the nose" to help along the young end of the target demographic, but maybe I got a little too close.


Quoted from eldave1
It wasn't clear to me whether this was a line out of Holly's earshot or something she is just hearing in her head.


(V.O.) was supposed to indicate recollections-in-the-head. Although it could be avoided this time, the later uses of this technique would be much harder to write around.


Quoted from eldave1
Regardless, not a fan of the line's placement because of logic issues - explained...

Logic starts to become a problem for me right around page 5.

The Governess' Ruse.

The Governess flees the carriage carrying Holly in her arms. Moments later she is carrying Holly's cloak stuffed with pillows (i.e., when the Bandits find her).  So, I have to believe two implausible things - (1) The Governess bothered to grab pillows of all things from the carriage is part of her escape and (2) had the ability to carry them while also carrying Holly. Both of these stretch credulity.  


In my head, the Governess was leading Holly by the hand. She had the foresight to know she'd need the ruse, but having her carry several pillows does seem far-fetched, even for a cartoon.


Quoted from eldave1
My recommendation:

- lose the pillows
- Add a scene where a tiring Governess puts Holly on her feet. She knows being caught carrying the girl is inevitable.
- The Governess takes the cloak and the fairy doll from a frightened and reluctant Holly (the doll that gave her such comfort in the Carriage) and then the Governess' dialogue directly at Holly (rather than a VO)

i.e.,

GOVERNESS
Princess, run that way through the forest. Keep running no matter what you hear, do you understand me?

Holly scampers off. Then the Governess straddles the cloak across her arms giving the appearance that she is holding Holly, dangling the doll from her fingertips.


This is a good suggestion and not too far off from what "actually" happened, give or take a pillow. It was shown to the audience slightly out of sequence to give viewers a scare that young Holly was about to be captured.


Quoted from eldave1
Holly's New Far Away Home

You created a Kingdom and Holly is a princess. Villagers and peasants would certainly know that a Princess has been kidnapped/missing and word would spread like wild-fire as the King's troops searched for her. So, Holly needs to end up in a far away enough land that she would end up with people that would not have knowledge of this. So, my question would be how far can a four year old walk - and a head injured one at that???? My inclination is - certainly not far enough to satisfy this plot point.

Now I know that the carriage has traveled far from the Kingdom - but still, the perimeter around the attack site is still too small - e.g., the King's guards would be interrogating every household within five miles of the attack site.

i.e, You need to create a logical way for her to get as far away as possible - beyond the physical limits of a four year old. As an example:

Holly makes her way to a river bank - finds an abandoned canoe - crawls in/hides. Then the storm makes the river rise/flow - the canoe starts to rush down river - Holly sits up - her head whacked by an overhanging branch - out cold. The river rises more and more hurtling the canoe downstream......until it finally nestles in a bank miles and miles away.

Or something like that - anything really that moves her a sufficient distance from the Kingdom.


Another excellent suggestion. Starting in a couple scenes, you'll see reference to the Glenwood village getting "news" bulletins that are two years old and many news stories never reach them at all. But even so, it stands to reason that the Glenwood king would pitch in on the search, so there is a need to get Holly as far from the attack site as possible.

The canoe thing seems a bit Moses-y, but something in that vein sounds like a very good idea.


Quoted from eldave1
Where is the Parent's reaction??

Here's the scene where the tragic news is delivered.

INT. THRONE ROOM - DAY

The Mustachioed Red Knight presents the broken necklace to the king and queen.

MUSTACHIOED RED KNIGHT
The bandits hit just before the storm. It looks like all six with her gave their lives to secure her escape. But... (voice breaking) there’s no way she could have survived alone in that storm.

There is no reaction from the King or Queen or her brother here. At this point I really have no sense of whether they love this child or not (other than they want the best flute instructor for her).  

I really think this needs to be expanded. Show us the family reactions.


I had intentionally left that out because the king's reaction was downright volcanic. Later in the script the audience learns this was the dawn of a pogrom to purge the bandits and everyone else in the borderland tribes (collectively known as the Colorless). I have an idea for a subplot that would flesh this out, just need to make space for it by cutting back the overly talky scenes (see Kham's notes).


Quoted from eldave1
The Courtroom Scene

It's been six months and she still has a head bandage??


Somehow this got mangled in editing. The bandage isn't necessary at all, just something Treva did for sympathy. Holly was supposed to take it off while running outside. I blame the writer

I toyed with the idea of Holly having a slight scar on her forehead, but it turns out that a wound like that on a kid would at worst tan differently than the skin around it.


Quoted from eldave1
It also seems unnecessary/forced to involve an adoption setting here and you lose an opportunity for us to get to know Warrick and Treva better. e.g, you could provide us with the same exposition - plot points with something like....

Treva tending to the house, keeping a close eye on a now healed Holly as she plays. An exhausted, hard working Warrick returns from the fields - he and Treva have a chat about  Holly's state (e.g., still don't remember anything...?, etc) - they convince themselves that she was meant for them.  Just a thought.


There has to be a scene establishing that she's not going home, and the adoption seemed the most obvious way to accomplish that. The conversation you described would be on-the-nose enough to qualify Treva as an As-You-Know-Bob, but there could definitely be a scene in the home where maybe Holly calls Treva "Mother" for the first time.

An alternative would be to switch to the Red Knights dishearteningly calling off the search, showing a big circle on the map with Bosky Village somewhat outside of it. This would require mentioning the name of the village earlier, but that's not a big deal.


Quoted from eldave1
Wasn't in love with the fact that they called her Holly -  yeah I get it - the Holly tattoo and all. Just seemed like a bridge too far that they would land on that exact name. Maybe it's just me.


Yes, this is a Huge Coincidence(tm), but one that I felt was necessary to keep kids in the audience from being confused. Besides, the only other name I could find that meant "red and green" was Poinsettia, which sounded odd. I did try to make the selection of Holly plausible even without the birthmark.

Holly's name turns heads later in the script, and she doesn't know why due to her news-free upbringing.


Quoted from eldave1
Anyway - I don't mean to be a downer - there was a whole lot to like here and I wouldn't not be surprised if this ends up being made. It is a great premise. But early on I do get the sense that you are not laser-focused on logic issues.

Just my thoughts - hope they help


Thanks again, some good food for thought here.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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eldave1
Posted: March 12th, 2019, 12:55am Report to Moderator
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My pleasure.  


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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FrankM
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Quoted from khamanna
Getting extremely wordy here P11

“Anyway my friend here (pats bear) was a little rough with my shield” – you may just leave this and get rid of the rest

p11 “he and his sons” – who?

P10 – “It hasn’t been rained on so it must be new here” – don’t get what she’s talking about

P11 HOLLY “But that would ruin … quite a fight” – you sure you need that? Some stuff from here didn’t land on me like the first sentence. Don’t get what she’s talking about.


Thanks for the read, and pointing out the spots in desperate need of pruning. There's supposed to be some subtle flirting going on here, but given the difference in their (apparent) social standings and the presence of the little boy, it would never be serious.

The antics with the dogs were a safe analogy to satisfy those who suspect a medieval prince would be more of a love-em-and-leave-em type.


Quoted from khamanna
P19 – This is getting talky plus they are just repeating the into on p18.
I suggest you show Herald behind the door listening to elevated voices or something. Then back to important bits of conversation – Linnaeus okays’Roland’s proposition.


Believe it or not, this scene was even longer in early drafts. I've taken an axe to it again, taking out among other things the homage to Coming To America. Hopefully now it's zippy enough to go by without boring anyone.


Quoted from khamanna
P24 Wait, you mentioning they were in debt for the 1st time, right? You should have started with it


You're right, not the clearest bit of writing there. The idea is that getting a new horse on short notice would put the farm in debt.


Quoted from khamanna
p31 See Dorinda is of no interest to me and you’re giving her an awful lot of lines and thus, attention.


She was originally conceived as The Buddy role, but that responsibility has been smeared onto a handful of characters. She also seems competent at too many things at the moment.


Quoted from khamanna
Too many asides and I almost never complain about those – but too many in your case.


Didn't think there was any harm if they did not break onto a new line, but I'll take a look at each and see if it actually adds to the reader's understanding.


Quoted from khamanna
P48 It got very talky again. It was said twice that the cook was off today. I think only 1/3 of this should be used. For example I don’t think you need this at all ”At it seems we have at least…. The details” or “he seems to know …. In land and water”

Besides why would Holly suddenly decide to complain about food. She liked it.


This is a bit of fleshing out the cultures beyond clothing colors, while showing that Holly is among the few who understand other cultures. Point taken about discussing the chef too much.


Quoted from khamanna
P41 Aimee is trapped. I don’t remember what was there with sir Douglas.

See you could cut out of convo with Douglas.. For example you could cut this DOUGLAS “I’m visiting all of the kingdoms in turn” Start with “As this years”
Also cut Rolands “Oh well… I think” just use “Things are pretty fair as they are” Nice of you to come all this way to ask.
Cut the last Douglas’ line make him bow and leave. Or let him say something short like “Thank you for your time”


Amity fears being recognized, and the most likely people to do that would be from her country. I'll try to make that clearer.

It's a talky scene in general, and the exchange between Roland and Douglas is a good place to start cutting. Just need to establish that Roland perceives this guy as a worthy rival.


Quoted from khamanna
I think next convo between Roland and Aimee about how Douglas is should be cut completely. It’s already there, you don’t need to make it so on the nose.


I agree. Roland can just sit there fuming until someone is brave enough to change the subject.


Quoted from khamanna
P43 I’m glad Holly is talking about her past and Aimee with Rolland don’t chuckle. It’s as if they start suspecting. I want more of that.


With the space saved from cutting talky scenes, there should be room to nurture the dislike between Holly and Amity.


Quoted from khamanna
P44 Father and son just repeat the convo they already had.


I think this can survive after cutting down the Dinner With The Parents. Maybe. We'll see.


Quoted from khamanna
p45 Holly “I know we can learn…” this is sudden and not fitting I think

The whole show off on p46 – doesn’t work for me. It’s random kind off.


You're right that there isn't much point going into detail about what the other contestants are doing, and Holly's dialogue needs some tuning here.


Quoted from khamanna
P47 Linnaeus and Aimee – why they have this talk? To show us that someone heard them. Lin. Should have a reason to approach Aimee in the middle of the night. They already had this convo, doesn’t carry any additional detail and it should.


This is supposed to be Amity recalling bits of the conversation in a dream, with minimal repetition for context, to establish that Amity is annoyed she won't be allowed to compete on her own merits. Recall her father's "She has our confidence" line. She doesn't have Linnaeus's confidence, and it irks her.


Quoted from khamanna
P54-55a lot of attention on Bandits and they converse mainly with other girls, not Holly
I think only scenes with Holly or maybe Aimee since she’s your antag) belong.


This is a hold-over from early drafts when I didn't want the audience to know who would turn out to be important (i.e., make it to the end of the contest). As written, the scene is completely peripheral and should be cut.

I went through and identified a handful of scenes with no Holly, Roland or Amity in them (file this under Final Draft features I never thought I'd need). Turns out most of them can be cut, and Dave's advice may help me re-write the ones about the search and presenting the necklace.


Quoted from khamanna
I think the scenes should have multiple purposes. Like Holly does a challenge, makes someone suspicious, suspects Aimee or maybe defends Aimee.


This is excellent advice. * Points finger to ear and then heart *


Quoted from khamanna
Also, I don’t see much character from Holly. Is she kind? Is she feisty? I’m not sure.


The characters have developed over time, and you reminded me that I need to go back and make sure the previously written stuff is made consistent with the "new" persona.


Quoted from khamanna
P56-57 – very good job here.


It was about time for a Midpoint Crisis. I think we could do with several smaller-scale ones throughout Act II.


Quoted from khamanna
I’m on p60 and the game a bit wears me out. It doesn’t move the story forward much for me. And your story is not about the game. I mean it shouldn’t be. It’s a love story between Holly and Rolland, and maybe Aimee a little. And how Holly became a princess again. You should stick to that, not go on and on about the game I think.


I've read guides on screenwriting, and they always seem to warn writers that Act II can easily end up dull. Looks like I fell into that ditch

With the space I'm saving from cuts, there should be room for a subplot or two to make the tournament bearable.


Quoted from khamanna
P62-63 All the guest introductions – what for?


I wanted to split up the lengthy description of the dining hall from the lengthy description of the seating arrangements, but there's significant scope for condensing things here, and I think I can relegate the announcements to background noise.


Quoted from khamanna
It’s just there’s no struggle on the pages. No much conflict. They just proceed forward with challenges, that’s all.

Holly sees Aimee’s note – very good. Finally. I wish it happened much earlier though. Like 20 pages earlier to add the conflict. I wish for tension now! Hopefully I get to see some.

P69 Instead Holly could slip for Aimee “wrong instruction” note. Just a suggestion.


Good observation, Act II needs more conflict and tension. Not sure exactly how to accomplish that yet, but counterfiet notes sound like a plan.


Quoted from khamanna
P76 I don’t understand what’s going on here. It’s an overcomplication and you’re directing the read to be too much about Aimee. We already know her plan with Linneaus, so I absolutely don’t see the point of having more of that. Or changing it in some way that’s hard to understand (p.s. I already finished the script and thinking you have to get rid of that overcomplication)


It's about a one-page diversion that involves Amity and brings up some subtle character points. Amity must have known her partner had no acting ability whatsoever, but selfishly went forward with the show idea anyway. We see a bit of Linnaeus's backstory (explaining the history behind Amity's painting and the Court Jester's joke about orange soup) and that he wants everyone to appreciate how hard his accomplishments were.

Weaving in Holly's reactions, or better yet a subplot thread, would probably make this scene more valuable.


Quoted from khamanna
P101 why don’t you cut Roland “May we at least…silence” SEBASTIAN “Your Highness… suterfuge”

Mustacioed “This won’t… useful”

It’s very talky, and has to be to the point, sharp and all business.


Yes, it is talky. Sebastian is a talky guy, but everyone else can be to the point.


Quoted from khamanna
Ok, finished. From page 85 onward it was an easy read – it picked up the pace and was full of conflict and events that mattered. I liked how Aimee turned up, liked the fact no one killed each other.

Overall from page 85 onward I liked it a lot.


The best thing about Act III is that Act II is over. I'll be working on Act II.


Quoted from khamanna
Holy turned out to be quite a character, funny and all. She reminds me of Repunzel and that one is my most favorite out of all princess characters.
But at the beginning  I was not feeling her as much.

The preceding pages – add Holy to the pages, add conflict. Every challenge should have a purpose.

At least in my opinion☺

Good luck to you with it!


Thanks again, Kham. Lots to chew on here. I'll try to make each scene serve at least double-duty, and I'll have to go back and make sure Holly speaks with the same voice throughout.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.

Revision History (1 edits)
FrankM  -  March 12th, 2019, 11:12am
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FrankM
Posted: March 21st, 2019, 6:12pm Report to Moderator
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I sent in a revision based on the above feedback, and Don got in online with amazing speed.

Starting from Kham's pointers, we were able to condense a LOT of talky scenes and eliminate some altogether. I don't think we're quite at every scene pulling "double duty," but it's moved in the right direction.

From Dave's feedback, the ruse hopefully reads as more plausible now, as well as Holly ending up outside the search radius. The audience also now sees her father's initial reaction to the news. It doesn't become clear until later in the script just how far he went in taking out his anger.

Also from Dave's pointers, the adoption scene has shifted from the sterile courtroom process to the more emotional decision to apply for adoption.

I was outvoted 1-to-1 on how pervasive cheating should be in the contest (this happens when you're married to your writing partner...). There are still the two explicit cheaters, but no implication that anyone else is. The goal is to keep the story's tone on the family side of the family/drama line.

In taking a weed-whacker to overly long scenes, we came up with another way to arrive at the "Final Four" contestants. Originally, Edith had to go because she would have recognized the birthmark, but this leaves Holly with only one friend in the contest and Act III needs at least two to make their Plan A sound achievable. Of course Plan A fails like it does in every other movie ever, but Plan A still needs to sound achievable. This left Lavender risking life and limb for someone she doesn't know very well. The simpler solution turned out to be putting Edith somewhere outside the line-of-sight for the birthmark. This let us balance things more evenly between Dorinda and Edith.

With all the space freed up by condensing talky scenes, there's now room for the bandits to play a somewhat bigger role, for Holly to take active measures once she identifies Amity as the cheater, and for putting a bigger spotlight on Roland's inability to see unfamiliar people as individuals.

This round of feedback was very helpful for improving the script.


Feature-length scripts:
Who Wants to Be a Princess? (Family)
Glass House (Horror anthology)

TV pilot:
"Kord" (Fantasy)

Additional scripts are listed here.
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eldave1
Posted: March 21st, 2019, 6:59pm Report to Moderator
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Glad it helped


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Colkurtz8
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Frank

I liked this. It was an enjoyable read. Honestly, I wasn’t too excited about it from the outset since I don’t write nor really watch family films. I was expecting a box ticking, formulaic, sugar coated slog but to your credit, you’ve crafted a charming story with lots of things to like. The writing, if rather bloated and overly detailed is solid and the story moves along nicely. It had won me over by the time the contest gets underway.
  
While it is overwritten in parts (people mileage may vary in this regard. I’m fairly forgiving if the writing is good.) I have to give you credit for creating such a fully fleshed out world, you really went for it. From the different kingdoms, to all the various accoutrements associated with the age (weapons most certainly included) and you clearly had great fun with all those elaborate names. I got a kick out of them too.

So, in terms of act 1 I think you’ve nailed it. The set up is well handled and puts us in the world, establishes the characters and the central thrust of the story. From then on, it becomes a bit more inconsistent, mainly once the contest is in full flow.

Yes, the saying goes “action is character” but I wonder are there too many challenges here? Some are given more time than others which is unavoidable I know but some are given no time at all. Would it be better to reduce the number of challenges and spend more time on developing the characters and their inter-relationships? Maybe choose 5 or 6 challenges and really develop them into set-pieces with action and humour.

You do a decent job of it as it stands, Holly obviously and Aimee are given distinctive personalities as the main antagonist/protagonist, Roland gets plenty of page time too and the Bandits have their moments but outside of those 5, given the sheer amount of characters here, we don’t learn much more about the others outside of them living up to their key trait names; suck up, chatty, rustic, etc.

So again, while I appreciate the litany of names on show and the reams of (literally) colourful supporting characters (and conceding it won’t be as big a problem on screen) are there too many contestants? Should you try to streamline the contest a bit and start with 24 or something? Like a sports knock out competition, then whittle it down from there. Too much of the script is given over trying to cram all these people in and merely giving them a line of two.

My page by page notes will give you an idea of how I experienced the read as I went. I question certain motivations and reasons for things happening narrative-wise but all in all it works well enough.
I do dig the scope of this. As I said, you really went for it and opened it out. This is by no means a modest tale, I have to applaud your ambition.

Tonally, it’s pretty consistent throughout but a few more laughs would do no harm. You have some good physical comedy here but verbally, it could be sharper. I think by focusing the story in regards characters and contest challenges might leave you with more room to have fun, find the humour between the details if you will. Right now, there is so much incident and plot to get through, it’s already bursting at the seams.
  
I know, I’m contradicting myself, I appreciate the grandiosity and attention to world building while also thinking it might be overstretched. It’s  a tricky balance to strike but you know your script best. These are just the conflicting feelings I had as I read it.

Anyway, overall, there is great potential here, commercial potential too. I’d be curious to know what plans you have for it in terms of shopping it around or entering it into competitions.

Col.


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