All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com and simplyscripts.net domain are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. This screenplaymay not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
One Man's Trash by Jay Williams - Romantic Comedy - An everyman garbage collector, in love with a wealthy woman who hates him, makes a discovery in her trash that may change their lives forever. 89 pages - pdf format
Whether or not you agree with the Blake Snyder beatsheet, you should do some more research on various elements that need to happen in the first part of your story. Primarily, you have to find a way for us to connect to the 'hero', generally one or more of the followiing: tragic, comedic, skilled, nice guy.
Dylan, your hero, starts out as a nice guy (dogs like him...), but his first reaction to the old lady is sarcasm. That's not a nice guy thing to do. Nor is he nice to Wendy, the girl he has a thing for. Think about Princess Bride here, were the hero is always nice to the girl he loves, even though she treats him like dirt (initially).
This niceness could carry on very well when he gets to the bar and sees Wendy there. If she continues to treat him like dirt, but he continues to be super nice to him, that could be commented on by one of her friends. "Gee Wendy, why do you treat him like that. He's just being nice....and he's kinda cute, too." Granting conflict that helps carry the story forward and makes Wendy question her own conduct.
As well, a lot of your dialogue is "on the nose". Yes, there needs to be exposition to move the story forward, but this is a visual medium and you don't need to describe the minutia of life.
Read as many Rom-Com scripts you can find and analyze the dialogue in those. It's about what they don't say, but want to that makes great characters.
Pretty harsh, I know....
That being said. I really like the ideas you got going on there. You have characters in contrast to your hero, which helps to solidify how nice of a guy he is. And you have established some SETUPS that will PAYOFF later in the story.
Hey there, Vic. Congrats on the script. Was a clean, easy read.
In terms of formatting, the only thing that really stood out to me was the CUT TOs and FADE TOs peppered in between the scenes. I don't know if this is standard industry practice anymore. Some senior members can confirm this.
Some individual notes as I was reading:
Page 8: I notice from time to time you use the parenthetical (then) in the middle of some of your dialogue. Not familiar with this. Is this the same as (beat)?
Page 10: I've also noticed that when you want to emphasize words in dialogue, you italicize them. I don't know which is correct, but I was always taught to underline words in dialogue to emphasize them. Not sure, but thought I'd mention it.
Page 24: I understand what you're trying to establish with the tension between Dylan and Wendy, but there is one verbal exchange that, in my opinion, does not work at all. It's this one:
DYLAN: I sacrificed a college education whilst I nursed my mother at home as she was torn apart by cancer -- if that's what you mean?
WENDY: Oh, spare us the violins.
Ouch. Double-ouch. When I read this, my jaw hit my laptop. I understand that this is a class warfare romantic comedy, and that it's necessary to establish an initial mistrust and inject a little sexual tension into the proceedings, but for me, this was a bridge too far. Snobbery is one thing, misanthropy is another. Giving this line to your female romantic lead makes her come off as so vile, so absolutely despicable that, for me, she couldn't be redeemed in my eyes. Now perhaps, for an over-the-top secondary character like Mrs. Oppenheim... a character like that may be able to get away with such a line, but not Wendy. (Again, this is just my opinion.). Anyway, moving on...
Page 27: A little confused about the timeline here. We go from the Community Hall-New York-Day, then to Vegas-Night, then back to the Community Hall-New York-Day... but it's the same day. So how could... you know what? The hell with it. If I think too hard about this, my head is probably gonna explode. Let's move on...
Page 53: Todd's prognosis announcement at the party... relevance to the plot? Just curious.
I'm noticing that in the dialogue, characters keep saying each other's names. A lot. Just an observation.
As far as the characters... overall, I liked Dylan, though I would have been interested to learn a little more about his dreams and aspirations. We can see he's a decent man who's not ashamed of his lot in life at the outset, but does he long for something other than being a garbage collector? Movies are an empathy machine, and imbuing him with an aspiration can really endear him to us and make us root for his happiness.
I struggled a little with Wendy. I understand that we weren't supposed to like her at the beginning, but somehow she remained in a constant state of inscrutability for me. I just couldn't get a read on her. Yes, she was nicer to Dylan in the story's second half, but there was still something... I dunno, something kind of hollow about it. Was she kind because Dylan was still nice to her? Maybe. But I just couldn't shake the thought that it might have had something to do with the fact that Dylan had suddenly come into a financial windfall. (The fact that he buys her favor with rent money, a new iPhone and that she ultimately forgives him on a dime only when he deposits the money into her account doesn't help matters for me.)
All in all, though, I did enjoy the read. I think the premise is ideal for a romantic comedy, and it doesn't surprise me in the least that this was optioned. As a viewer, I just wanted to see some kind of an emotional connection between Dylan and Wendy. I never really sensed that. For me, I couldn't see what someone with a heart like Dylan's would want with a heart like Wendy's. I just couldn't help but think that, as they were driving off into the sunset after Wendy had all the money back, that it would only be a matter of time before she drops him like a brick, takes up with her snobby friends and poor Dylan winds up back at square one. I hope I'm wrong.
Best of luck to you, Vic. Congrats on the option, good work!