Page by page notes
“This is PAUL FRANCE (30’s). He’s a hopeful guy -- faith
driven -- no such things as coincidences to him -- only
- How are we supposed to glean all this by looking at him? Only describe what the audience, not the reader, can discern. Convey his character through what he says and does, not through his character description on the page.
it’s going to come to past. Right?
- You mean “past” instead of “pass” right?
God always spoke to Paul in
visions. And they always came to
- I’m curious to know what these visions are that came true. Again, it should be “pass” instead of “past”.
“A PROPHET is laying hands on her
stomach, speaking “life” into her belly.”
- I’m confused as to the nature of this “Prophet” This isn’t just a normal service led by a Priest in a church then?
Don’t get me wrong. I wanted a baby
-- I want one badly. I’ve tried for
seven years. For SEVEN YEARS I did
all that was required to increase
my chances and still no luck.
- I dunno, girl, with the religious fanatic you have for a husband I’d be thinking twice about raising a family with him.
No problem, we can go rest.
- Don’t mean to joke but is English his first language?
Get thee behind me Satan!
- Ha, I had to laugh at this although I dunno if it was your intention. Love the song though, only became familiar with the Ella Fitzgerald version lately through watching “The Master.”
You would think that I’d despise
- Scared/wary of him more like.
The AIDS reveal is pretty left of field, didn’t see that coming. I wonder though could you tell us through visuals rather than just telling us in a V.O.?
“Great Aunt Bernice passes out in her seat.”
- That could be an interesting visual actually. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone on screen pass out on their seat like that.
It’s a good scene too, to your credit the twist on page 4 has answered some of my queries during the previous three pages.
I would consider interspersing Erica’s lengthy V.O at the top if page four with the subsequent scene at the doctor’s.
The story has picked up considerably by page 6. However, with the title in mind, I’m already sensing how this is going to play out. Let’s read and see…
I thought the scene at the bottom if page 6 might be a call back to page one, that all the preceding scenes with V.O. were a flashback to this point again…but I was mistaken
Might be an idea to entertain all the same.
“Out of nowhere Paul starts rejoicing. Jumping up and down.
Thanking and Praising God”
- Sh?t, this man has gone off the deep end!
ERICA (V.O.) (CONT’D)
... And the constant questioning
about this would keep it in the
front of my mind.
- 0dd phrasing here, reads strange. Should it not be “his” mind instead of “her”? Could be rewritten as:
“...And the constant questioning of this would forever dominate his thoughts”
Perhaps too fancy, I dunno, just a suggestion.
“Erica resting on the couch -- a wet rag on her forehead and
an ice pack on her pregnant belly. She fans herself with a
- To be honest, my mind was going in a different direction in terms of how this would pan out but now that you’ve gone the pregnancy route its seems so obvious. Interesting direction to go nonetheless although I imagine others won’t be as slow as me.
I was depressed. This is the worst
time of my life. I didn’t want this
-- I don’t want this.
- Rather clunky, you can do better.
ERICA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I let him guilt me
into keeping the baby –
- Can’t believe I’m sticking up for the guy but this seems harsh on him.
If this is a blessing then I’d
rather be cursed. Pregnancy’s been
nothing but tumultuous. Weak uterus
-- placenta previa -- a host of
other complications –
- This reads very wooden, very on-the-nose, we’re all guilty of it from time to time. I wouldn’t so strong with Erica’s woes regarding the baby. She’s coming across as more bitter then any of the more natural emotion I’d imagine a woman in her position would feel; fear, anxiety, self loathing.
Then again, what could I possibly know about what she’s going through, it’s a hellish situation.
“DR. BRIMHALL, tall, deep voice -- picture Batman in a white
- An odd but amusing description.
This was a very difficult pregnancy
for her. During the C-section, a
large part of her heart stopped
- Is it just me or is there something rather unscientific about the phrase “a large part of her heart stopped working”? Just doesn’t sound like something a doctor would say.
DR. BRIMHALL (CONT’D)
Her heart just couldn’t
keep pumping blood.
- Don’t think he’d say it like this either.
(a beat, his eyes say it
She’s alive -- she made it.
She’ll... She has Angelmans
syndrome which –
- Interesting choice of condition, laden with symbolism. Is it too much perhaps? Either way, can it be detected so early?
Also, Paul doesn’t seem too concerned with the baby to the point of cutting the doctor off when he mentions her condition. Not how you’d imagine a God fearing person like Paul to react.
Sorry Mr. France, we can’t allow
- Just for now or indefinitely? If so, why not?
It was my time. I knew it was. I
didn’t want to live here anymore.
So that’s why I didn’t fight it. I
guess I did what I was put here
for: to give Paul all he could
want. And that’s what I did our
whole relationship and I regretted
it. And I believe God knew I
couldn’t live with those regrets.
- So what are we to take away from Erica’s speech here? That she gave her life for Paul, acknowledges it now as being a mistake, a waste and has chosen death to relieve herself of misspent existence?
If so, whoa that’s bleak! And this is coming from someone who writes mostly pessimistic stuff. I wonder could there be some silver lining here? Does it have to be so unrelentingly tragic? Does Erica have to be s cynical, so spiteful of the haplessly oblivious Paul? Maybe think about reworking the newborn child aspect, could that be seen as a positive?
I thought we would see some closing shorts of Paul managing, or not, with the baby but I guess this wasn’t the kind of story you wanted to tell and that’s cool too. You won’t find no bittersweet endings ‘round ‘ere!
Themes aside, the writing is pretty solid format wise, nice and lean. The plot is tightly constructed, plenty of twists and turns which ultimately surprised me by the end despite be thinking I had it rumbled early on so well done on that.
However, I wondered about the feasibility of the AIDS element and these apparent miracles happening at Paul's command. It felt such a big factor of events unfolding yet only loomed in the background to support Paul fanaticism before being largely forgotten about. For a vast leap of faith your expecting the audience to take it only takes up one explicit scene at the doctor's regarding Paul test results. Feels bolted on purely for convenience to justify certain characterisations. Just changing it to cancer would make it more believable. Something to think about.
The dialogue, particularly the V.O could well do with some tweaking, it knocks the wind out of the emotional impact inherently contained in the script’s scenario.. Although, I do think the V.O, as a device, works well within the context of said scenario.
Overall, not a bad job. The fact that I was encouraged to take some page by page notes (positive or negative) shows that I was, at least, engaged with the story. There’s potential here.