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Hey Logan, I read the entire script, so that's a positive.
Lots of issues, however...
The premise itself is ludicrous and heavily borrows from Hostel. Why wouldn't Art simply pay some lowlife a few bucks to do this work? Why risk his entire operation on someone like Casey, who knows nothing about this> It's completely implausible, but still a rather entertaining ride.
Lots of awkward phrasings throughout. Lots of awkward sentence structure. Lots of unnecessary orphans.
All your Slugs are super generic, which takes away from really being able to "see" this as one reads. Writing itself just isn't as visual as it should be, but not terrible, by any means.
A big issue that is very glaring is your use of the same Slug over and over with "(LATER)" as the time element. This is incorrect, as written and an eyesore as well. There are a few different ways you could go here, one being simply using "LATER" as a mini Slug. You could also use a montage/series of shots.
Anyway, not bad. It's rare I read an entire script with no real reason to, so if nothing else, you made me want to get to the end and see what happened.
Hope this helps.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Hey Logan, very interesting and spooky script! I was kept on my toes and wanted to know what the job was about. On page 1 I needed some description and GENDER for Casey .For a page or two I thought Casey was a girl! I didn't get the ending. Probably because lack of description of Casey's emotions. Is he scared, surprised, or resigned by now?
Thanks for the reads and notes. Dreamscale: There is a reason as to why Casey was chosen instead of a random homeless man. I moved to NYC about a year ago and my first couple months were difficult. I held a couple jobs including a few stints in catering, food delivery and a depressing 2 months working the registers of a Burlington Coat Factory. I didn’t work those jobs because I wanted to; I did them for the money and to survive in the city.
I wanted to explore the idea of doing things that are difficult and frustrating for the money and losing your morals in the process which leads to why Casey comes back at the end to continue working for Art.
God knows I didn’t want to work in retail but no one wants to read about someone complaining about a customer trying to use expired coupons and I wasn't that morally corrupted by working at BCF. So I combined that idea with a time when I saw a flyer just like the one in the beginning of the script and coming up with messed up reasons to what the elusive “Job Opportunity” was.
Orphans are the single sentence action blocks, right? Just want to make sure.
Thank you for addressing the montage scene. I struggled with formatting that.
Marcela: Thanks for addressing Casey’s description at the beginning. The version I submitted had been through re-writes and it was something I missed. Same goes for the ending. Glad you enjoyed it!
Ah, so Casey comes back willingly! Yes, that will work nicely. I didn't understand that he came back willingly. I thought maybe Art's business expanded so much that he was taking over the world. I, personally, think you should make it more obvious that Casey comes back willingly. How about include a scene where he cleans public toilets and gets beaten up by a drug user and can't work for a week or two and struggles to pay rent, and that makes him to go back to Art?
I like the script even more now. I suppose many of us are stuck between what we think is ethical and what an employer demand of us. Every now and then I still have a nightmare about a short-term job that I had about fifteen years ago! Only took the job because I felt I had no other option...
The Original beginning had Casey at an interview desperately trying to get a job and sulking around his apartment for a page. I got rid of it to speed up the plot. The second interview at the end was meant to be a connector to the beginning but I decided to keep it to show Casey trying to find other work after his ordeal.
A common note of my last few scripts was that they were over written. I tried to slim as much down as I could but I went a little overboard. All apart of getting better.
Gotta love those stress dreams after working a long shift!
Logan, as mentioned by Jeff, this is very much like Hostel; same premise anyway. I also echo his thoughts on why Art would risk employing someone like Casey, who could toddle off to the cop shop, rather than someone he knows or trusts?
It was certainly an entertaining read and the ending was decent too, though I re-read it as I wasn't sure at first if Casey was returning to work or taking a seat lol
Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.
Orphans are the single sentence action blocks, right? Just want to make sure.
Logan, an 'orphan' or 'widow' is one word (sometimes two) left dangling in a line of description/dialogue. You should be able to edit the line in most cases to do away with it. If you have a lot of orphans throughout your script technically they could add unnecessarily to page count. The occasional one is not a problem imh.
As soon as I read the logline, I was reminded of a film I love dearly, The House of the Devil. Judging by previous comments, the story is not alike though. More like Hostel? Not a bad film either. Anyway...
The interview with Art at the beginning actually still reminded me of The House of the Devil. It was weird and you just know this guy isn't telling Casey something important/messed up. You did a good job setting it up. A small scene, such as the note demanding rent and then Casey asking for an extension is also nicely done.
Then it kicks into full on Hostel mode, although from a different perspective. It was enjoyable and easy to get through. I like your style. It was definitely a big risk for Art to take employing some randomer though. He could have so easily rat him out. Maybe he was confident enough that the money he was making was enough to keep him quiet? If there's going to be more drafts of this one, maybe Casey is headhunted by Art in some way. Knows the problems he has with money?
All in all though I enjoyed this. Good work for sure.
Hey Glen, Thanks for the read! I actually haven’t seen House of the Devil but I put it on my queue on Netflix a while back. I’m not sure if it’s still on there but ill check and if it’s still there I’ll give it a look.
I’m not sure if I’ll do a revision for a while as I’m working on revising a draft of a feature I’ve been working on for a while now but if I do i think it would be interesting to expand the world and Art’s intentions with Casey.
As I never saw Hostel, I can look at this with fresh eyes. You have a creepy little tale here. Good imagery, and a decent "circle" ending. Not bad at all. The only criticism I have would be that some of your sentences need to have a better flow to them. Example:
A large man walks out of a door down the hall and makes his way toward Casey. This is ART HARMON (46). His face features rosy cheeks and a brown moustache.
First of all, it sounds a little awkward.
Could easily be...
A door opens. It's hinges SQUEAK. Coming towards Casey is ART HARMON (46), rosy cheeks and a brown moustache.
Not a great example, but with the door squeaking you give little bit of foreshadowing as to who this Art Harmon really is, and to how Casey's night is gonna end up. I might even lose the rosy cheeks ad brown moustache in favor of how he's dressed (business suit) or his facial expression. Cold, steely eyes? Perfect, unblemished almost waxy looking face? Give us something more, initially, to let us know that all is not as I seems around here.
Lastly, in the killing room I feel you could get waaay more descriptive, and it's a perfect time to ramp up the tension. You have a few things in there to give us a good feel -- now let us have it in the gut! Fucking go for the knockout!
I found the premise hard to swallow. That Art would be relying on random hires for this ‘job’ undermines the horror of the situation.
The gore’s there, literally in buckets. But a lot of horror itself comes from building in tension. You had a sense of mystery with the interview -- I wanted to know what this job was about -- but when we got to the ‘room’ I lost the investment.
Is there a way of making this plausible? I don’t know. Perhaps if Art had some leverage over Casey -- something that forces him into this situation. What if Art were Casey’s landlord? Tie these issues together. Work off the rent so to speak… Work on setting up Casey’s desperation; perhaps even make us question his moral judgement at the outset. I could get with the idea of someone doing this for money -- but this Casey guy?
I initially missed that Casey was coming back to work for Art. I thought somehow Art just happened to work for the new job he’d said ‘yeah’ to. Though evidently he didn’t take the retail job after all?
I think if you remove Casey’s ‘yeah’ from the dialogue we’ll know what his answer was. Leaving it in makes that last scene confusing.
Be aware of redundancies when writing action:
‘Casey begins to stagger back. He swallows down vomit.’
In most cases you can get rid of words like starts/begins and lose nothing from the sentence.
‘swallows down’ -- down is implied by swallows. You wouldn’t swallow up. How about 'gags'.
Same thing for this line:
‘Casey begins to hyperventilate. Art slaps him across the face.’
‘Casey hyperventilates. Art slaps him.’ Could give them their own separate lines even.
Little things like this help smooth out the read and help the action to flow.
Hope this helps,
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I just wanted to let you know that his script has been optioned! Thank you to everyone who reviewed it and I'll do my best to add a link to it in the latter months. Production should begin around March.