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Christmasville by Steven Clark - Family - Just days before Christmas and out of work, a father finds healing and purpose when he's spirited away to the magical world of Christmasville. 86 pages - pdf format
I like the structure. It’s establishing well and not getting bogged down. Voice over is not intrusive. You do a good job showing, rather than telling. Something I get lazy with. You’re teaching me. Good descriptions.
Some people will want Dale strangling a Santa in the opening scene, but not me.
I don’t do “feedback”, I just give thoughts:
More succinct dialogue is a little more natural: “The Messing account”?
Dale says give me the envelope, but, there’s no mention of an envelope previously. Herb should be waving or pull out the envelope re the holiday bonus, I think.
4 - TABITHA, 32, “Pretty even” vs pretty without trying or add comma.
7 - Is it more interesting if Tabitha doesn't want to talk about Emily? Too painful? And just looking at the picture may be enough. Move quicker into “dad’s old shop”? In general, page 7 may need a little more patience to craft. It’s emotionally delicate for Tabitha and Dale.
10 - Might be funny to have Pete mention the Messings. “News travels fast, huh”. “The messings." LOL
After the crash I like wanting to see what happens to him. Keeps reader reading.
I ran out of time at this point, but look forward to finishing. Reads well and I want to keep reading to see what happens. Good characterization and feel like I’m in the hands of a competent writer. Which is not always the case. LOL Thanks for posting it. Gives me hope for Holiday movies.
Part of me hopes the Elf turns into Kathy Bates. J/K
SPOILERS: I really liked it. A feeling good story. I liked how you transitioned from Dale's world via the cabin to Santa's workshop. Nice flow. Great dialogue, in my opinion your strong point. How Dale got some closure meeting Emily, nice touch. I chuckled at some of the dialogue. Butter Finger and Shirley being my two favorite characters. You kept it simple, but yet interesting, read this in one sitting. Good work.
I don't think I have anything to add to the story. As I said, I thought dialogue was well written.
I believe action needs a little tightening and I'd like to see it more visual. There are unfilmables throughout, but it really didn't take away from the read. At 86 pages, it's slightly on the short side and with some tightening of action, you might end up with a script on the short side.
I've listed a few nitpicks. Most of these are my own opinions, so take it for what it's worth. I'm new to screenwriting, so I'm here to learn.
* Not a big fan of CAP words in action, unless absolutely necessary, just my style. * P1: Not sure if I liked DALE(V.O.), exposing that he was a good woodworker, now shipping and receiving. I guess he's thinking this. I would've like to see this brought out more in dialogue with his boss and/or his wife. * P!: I would cap co-worker. * P4: "INT. LIVING ROOM - HOUSE - SAME" -- my preference would be INT. HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - SAME (also see MARONE'S/HOSPITAL) * I do see DALE'S HOUSE AND HOUSE being used in slugs, be consistent. * In general, words like is/are/has/have/does/doesn't in action tend to tell more than show. * Also, I like to keep it present tense (ex: smiles), more active instead of present progressive (ex: smiling). * Also, words like then/just/start/now in action are more fillers, I'd remove them. P11: Dialogue starting with "Liz", I would use ... as a continuation and ... ready (before the next dialogue). P12: "INT. CAR - DAY" -- I would add 'MOVING" in the slug when the car is moving/driving, a few of those. P16: "Dale exits the mall" -- No need to repeat in action what's been established in the slug, "MALL." P19: "Only now, footsteps are heard crunching in the snow" -- not a fan of "are heard" P21: "(Dale tries to stand)" -- I would think this would be more suited for action. P21: Funny Butter Finger dialogue. P23: Good dialogue, Butter Finger and Dale P27: Nice, Steve, "A majestic NORWAY SPRUCE" -- icing on the cake for me being a Norwegian, thanks man. P30: "And ELVES. Elves everywhere," -- Elves everywhere should be sufficient P31: "(he comes over)" in dialogue --maybe better suited in action. P33: Shirley is funny. * I don't believe CONT'D is used that much anymore. * P39: "OUTSIDE" -- I'd rather see Dale peers through a window. * A few orphans scattered throughout, not that big of a deal. * P52: "TITLE: CHRISTMAS EVE" -- I assume same as SUPER: * P59/61: "The reindeer are" -- reindeers are * P72: Very nice connection with Emily. * P74:"EXT. BENCH - LATER" -- not sure if I like this slug, is it really a slug? * P76: "She nods her head yes." -- don't think you need "her head yes", it's understood. * P80 Using RADIO as a (V.O.) -- I've never seen that.
All in all a really nice story and a well written script.