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.
Concorde Rising by Sebastian Gran - Short, Dramedy - Sam, a cynical drunk misanthropic lottery winner buys the local theatre to live out his showbiz dreams with his two best friends while attempting to get over his broken heart. 32 pages - pdf format
Overall I think you're a good writer who understands comedy. Your characters shine through and there are some really funny moments in it.
The biggest issue for me was the disconnect between your story and your plot. Your story is about a guy who wins the lottery and buys a theatre. Your plot is about a guy who gets drunk at the arcade and goes on a tinder date.
I've read a few script series on here and it seems to be a common problem. They say it's about one thing but the thing it's meant to be about becomes a side note, even an annoyance at times. Sitcoms are situational comedies. A good situation should be a goldmine for comedy.
It's like if episode one of The Office started on a Sunday and ends on Monday morning. We see the characters living outside of the situation and talking about it. It would be funny but the show's called The Office.
Now, I enjoyed the script and it's funny but without fully realising your premise you get into situations we've seen before. Like the blind date or friends hanging out.
If you've chosen to write about a guy who wins the lottery and buys a theatre then I'm guessing it's because you've got loads of jokes about a guy winning the lottery and buying a theatre. But he wins the lottery before we arrive and buys the theatre just as we are leaving.
In my opinion you start the script too late. You have a throw away comment about Sam winning the lottery but because we don't see it or it's effects on him it feels like a cheap plot device so he can buy a theatre. And then when someone asks him why he wants to buy the theatre he doesn't have a good reason. He's just bored and wants to because he's brought everything else. But We haven't seen that. He still lives like a broke guy in his early twenties.
You should clarify how much he has won. If he has won fifty million pounds and the theatre costs one million pounds then who cares, he can afford it. But if he won one million pounds and the theatre costs one million pounds then the stakes are higher.
It shouldn't be about a guy who buys the theatre it should be about a guy who HAS to buy a theatre. What problem does he think it will solve? I like the dialogue in the arcade but why can't you set it in the theatre after he has brought it? Why are we in an arcade? I tuned in to watch a guy win the lottery and buy a theatre!! I mean... Why doesn't he buy an arcade?
Sorry... (Wipes brow with a handkerchief) I think I've made my point.
Moving on to format. This really threw me. Your opening action line is poorly written. I had to read it again to understand what was going on. And then the first bit of dialogue is all exposition. I thought this was going to be a tough read but then your action lines and dialogue are absolutely spot on from there. I really like the way you write. It's just an awkward start.
You have some really witty lines that come out of character and I really like the fact he's haunted by his ex girlfriend. It's really inventive, strange and funny.
Sometimes Reggie sounded a bit like the tall one from the inbetweeners. The dynamic of the three characters is strong and defined but as a little niggle I felt like I had seen this dynamic before. Sam is good but the other two could be tweaked a little to make them more unique from characters we've seen before. Also, all your characters are supportive of his decision to buy a theatre. There's no opposition. No one to defend his choice to. No conflict.
Overall, your writing is really strong and you have an ear for dialogue. It's a fast read, you're a funny guy and the jokes hit. But my issue with the plot and story made me feel like I'd taken a wrong turn and the route was nice enough but I'm not going where I want.
I'll be happy to answer any questions. I'm glad I read it. I really enjoyed it.
Hi Sam. Thank you for taking the time to read it and for your really detailed feedback, it's really helpful.
I guess the whole plot / story disconnect could be where it comes from. Although like you say it's about a guy who wins the lottery then decides to buy a theatre, the show is more about Sam's depression and self doubt as well as how he copes with it. He has a gap in his life that he doesn't know how to fill.
I guess Sam doesn't talk about his winnings too much because of how little it matters to him. He establishes that the money doesn't make him happy so it didn't feel in character for it to change his life too much. His problem is he hasn't changed since he was dumped and therefore hasn't done anything to help him recover.
I wanted to establish Sam's attitude to money, relationships, his own well being and other things that can contribute to happiness to show why he's so unhappy.
So yeah, if the plot feels unfocused that's partly because Sam is unfocused as a person. It might be realistic for someone who feels the way he does but I guess it makes it difficult for telling a narrative.
In terms of how much he's won, I wrote a second episode where it's revealed that due to his buying the theatre and generally being careless with money he hardly has any left by the beginning of episode 2, and in order to hire Kate who he fancies he gets a part time job himself (Earning less money than it costs to hire Kate in the process.)
I mean you're kind of right that there's no conflict with the other characters when it comes to Sam's wish to buy the theatre. It's more of an internal conflict that he needs to solve.
I'll take another look at the opening action and line (I assume from Wain). Maybe I can improve that. I hate expository dialogue too but maybe I overcompensated because I was told the previous draft was too vague and didn't expose enough.
I'm glad you mentioned Reggie. The thing about him is, and I'm not sure if it's obvious or not but he's not particularly dumb in the traditional sense like Neil from the Inbetweeners, but he's really tactless and flippant and doesn't always realise he's said something offensive or caused a problem. There's more character moments with Reggie and Wain in the second episode.
I guess I have a few questions, but I feel bad about taking up your time haha.
1: Did I focus too much on Sam in the first episode? I wanted to establish him and what makes him tick so I could be free to focus more on Kate, Reggie and Wain in future episodes.
2: Did I do enough with Kate? She becomes a main character later in the series but I thought it would be important to introduce someone new to Sam's life to challenge him to change and grow later.
3: What did you think of Wain?
I guess that's all for now. I'm glad you enjoyed it and you've given me lots to think about, which is always good.
“I guess the whole plot / story disconnect could be where it comes from. Although like you say it's about a guy who wins the lottery then decides to buy a theatre, the show is more about Sam's depression and self doubt as well as how he copes with it. He has a gap in his life that he doesn't know how to fill. “
So why does he buy a theatre? The premise should be the vehicle that drives the inner journey. If they work independently from each other and one can live without the other then you can get rid of the premise. For example, Stranger Things is about an evil lab that opens a portal to an evil world, releasing an evil monster. This premise directly pushes the inner journey of the characters. Winona Ryder, who everyone thinks is a weak Mum has her parenting pushed to the limit and finds the strength needed to fight for her son. The Sheriff learns that he still has purpose after the death of his little girl and the kids learn to never give up on a friend. If you take away the premise, the characters stay the same.
“I guess Sam doesn't talk about his winnings too much because of how little it matters to him. He establishes that the money doesn't make him happy so it didn't feel in character for it to change his life too much. His problem is he hasn't changed since he was dumped and therefore hasn't done anything to help him recover. “
How is this expressed in the script? We don't know what he was like before he won so there's no change.
"In terms of how much he's won, I wrote a second episode where it's revealed that due to his buying the theatre and generally being careless with money he hardly has any left by the beginning of episode 2, and in order to hire Kate who he fancies he gets a part time job himself (Earning less money than it costs to hire Kate in the process.) "
So the only purpose the lottery win has is so he can buy the theatre? And then when he gets it he doesn't even work there? Winning the lottery is life changing. Even if the character doesn't change that's still something he has learnt and so IS change. Something that big can't just be a plot device.
!I mean you're kind of right that there's no conflict with the other characters when it comes to Sam's wish to buy the theatre. It's more of an internal conflict that he needs to solve.!
Internal conflict doesn't really work on screen. We need to see it and having a character in opposition is a great way of bringing it out. I can't think of one comedy series where all the supporting characters are supportive of the main character.
Your explanation of Reggie makes more sense. I like it. Maybe my head went to the inbetweeners unfairly. If someone else reads the script you should ask them about that character.
To answer your questions. 1. You've created a great character in Sam. I don't have a problem with the focus on him. 2. It's tough writing a “cute/meet” but you pulled it off. I only have one issue with your script and that's the premise and plot. Kate is disconnected from the theatre. Again, at this point it makes more sense for him to buy the arcade. He spends his time there and he can spend time with Kate and improve her working conditions. 3. It's strange that Wain (Is that how it's spelt?) is an actor but he expresses no personal interest in Sam buying a theatre. I like him but I don't know what he wants.
I tried opening episode two but it wouldn't open. Like I said, I only have one issue with your script and I really liked everything else. The trouble is that my issue is a foundation one. It's not a quick fix, it's a rewrite. I would be really interested to see what other people thought.
What software are you using? The margins and the font seem off/non-standard.
Pretty nice job with dialogue - think you have a good sense there.
Your action/description blocks need work. A few examples.
WAIN (30, M), who is dressed as the phantom of the opera paces purposefully before a smartly dressed SAM (28, M) and REGGIE (28, M) who are sitting, waiting in the wings for something important. Sam is anxiously listening to Wain’s motivational script.
Get rid of all the who is' and is' and who ares" - it's clunky.
Get rid of the M for male, unless it ain't obvious.
Lost the ing words where you can (waiting, listening) - make it more active - waits, listens. e.g.,
WAIN (30), dressed as the phantom of the opera paces purposefully before a smartly dressed SAM (2 and REGGIE (2 who wait.... etc
You are also inefficient - adding stuff we don't need. e.g., This:
The Assistant nods in understanding and leaves the door ajar and Sam alone to talk with his friends
Should simply be:
The Assistant nods, then exits.
You also sometime tell rather than show. e.g.,
Sam visibly panics. Wain is taken aback and Reggie tries to comfort Sam by patting him on the back.
Tell us what we see that let's us know - Sam's eyes widen - or Sam starts gasping - i.e., tell us what visibly panicky means. What does taken aback mean visibly.
And again very inefficient here:
Reggie tries to comfort Sam by patting him on the back.
Should simply be:
Reggie pats Sam on the back.
Overall - I like your dialogue - I think you need to work on the action blocks
Like I said, I only have one issue with your script and I really liked everything else. The trouble is that my issue is a foundation one. It's not a quick fix, it's a rewrite. I would be really interested to see what other people thought.
Yeah, that's the tricky part. I've thought about the foundational issue and looked back at this script and the next one. You're not wrong, Sam doesn't need to buy the theatre for all of the characters to do the things they want to do.
Which is strange because when I first came up with the idea I kept thinking of funny situations at the theatre and what could go wrong with the shows that go on, and now when I think of ideas for episodes they're always about the characters themselves, funny things they could say or do or issues and relationships.
I'm beginning to toy with the idea of cutting out the lottery winnings and the theatre entirely, perhaps the show is about the characters and their friendships with one another more than it was ever about the Concorde. Could it be an example of development hell where the plots completely transformed as I wrote more and more?
And in response to eldave1, the script that's uploaded was made using word, but I've recently treated myself to final draft, so I'm transferring my scripts over.
I'm more used to writing novels than screenplay, so I could definitely look at shaving down the actions. What did you think of the rest of the script?
I've had a similar experience with the script I'm writing at the moment. I wrote 50 pages before realising a basic element of the premise wasn't working. Started again. It's a little heart breaking but it's also nice to realise the mistake and move on.
I read the second episode and it has a similar issue. I really liked the joke in the bowling alley when Sam says he needs to forget the sound of crushed skulls and then we hear the sound of a bowling ball hitting the pins. Very good.
Structurally I think it's very good as well with two stories running together. I don't know if I'm completely comfortable with a dwarf being used for comical effect but hey.
You've got two choices going forward. Like you said, you could take out the lottery win and the theatre and just have it as about a group of friends. I wouldn't be in favour of that. There's so many people writing comedy scripts that you really need a strong premise other wise you'll get lost in the crowd.
What you could do is look at all your story elements that deviate from the premise and try and connect them . For example, Kate is the love interest, working in an arcade with no connection to the theatre. You could have her already working at the theatre. Giving Sam another reason to buy it.
In the second episode Sam goes to work in a hotel. Why can't he work in the theatre? He could hire Reggie to work on the bar but due to money being tight he has to work there as well.
Bring your characters into Sam's world. As it is, Wain works in an office, Reggie works in a hotel and Kate works in an arcade. They could all give up their jobs and work for Sam. Now they have a reason to be there and and a reason to care.
You should also look at some of the challenges of owning a theatre to guide the plot. We don't have a sense of how much the theatre needs to make to break even. We don't meet anyone else working there. Who manages it? Who builds the sets? Who directs the productions? We also don't see Sam decide on a show and start production. He needs to cast the show and advertise it. On the first night the place has sold out without any trouble.
I'm sure you're aware of the term “kill your darlings”. You've got great characters but I think you need to be disciplined with your story.
Taking your basic elements you could bring them together in the following way.
1. Sam wins $1,000,000 on the lottery. He gives Lucy half and she immediately breaks up with him. (I read that couples who win the lottery are much more likely to break up). 2. Sam meets Kate. Kate is working for a failed Theatre and dreams of being on stage. Sam naively buys it. The owner is more than happy to get rid of it. 3. Sam has a meeting with the accounts manager. The theatre needs to make $$$ in it's next production to stay open. The weight of what he has done crashes down on him. 4. Sam hires his friends to help him. 5. With no knowledge or interest in the theatre, Sam now has to put on a show. All while trying to impress Kate and ignore Lucy, haunting him in his dreams.
The series builds to that show in the last episode. Now you have all your characters invested in your premise. You have a ticking clock with a real threat of failure and you have your protagonist who's biggest fear is failure in a premise that forces him to confront that fear.
That's just me playing with elements and characters you've created. All I did was straighten them out into following the premise.
It's frustrating since I've already done a complete rewrite, but then again I suppose it might take at least a couple more until it's at least nearly there.
You've got some really good ideas on how to merge the worlds of the different characters. I had it as an idea for the episode 3 subplot that Wain is becoming more and more frustrated in his lucrative but stressful day job so has to choose between his acting career and his day job. That should probably happen in the second episode to show that despite being successful, he chooses his well being first (Which could cause personal conflict with Sam later if the theatre becomes too mad for him)
Sam doesn't work in the bar himself because they don't have the money to hire Kate, so he gets a job to pay for Kate to have a job. which would be really in character if he buys the theatre just to help Kate out.
I also thought it would be funny to subvert the resetting to status quo sitcom trope by having Sam keep the job and not get fired or quit. I wanted to make it a running theme that something happens knowingly or not in each episode that helps add structure or quality to Sam's life to contribute towards him getting better (Which whether he knows it or not) is what he needs.
I like your idea for a first episode and might toy with it. The first episode was always going to be them struggling to promote the first show they put on, but somehow got lost in the tangent of writing.
I was also toying with the idea of having Sam try to start a new relationship be the focus of the first episode, culminating in him meeting Kate and impulsively buying the bowling alley / arcade. However, I do really like the original premise and think that your suggestion for a pilot episode works to its strengths as well as the strengths of the characters, their relationships and the comedy.
I don't think the Sam dating plot would work in the pilot anymore as the conclusion of that plot is Sam meeting Kate, which would now happen in the first few pages. That's no big deal as that could be an episode in itself later in the series.
But yeah, I'm glad you enjoyed the second episode and I have a few burning questions
1: What did you think of Kate meeting Wain and their interactions? Since Kate is fairly sensible and helpful and Wain is the organised, competent one of the group I thought they'd naturally gel well. 2: Was the Sam wanting to improve his acting subplot any good? 3: How about the Reggie - Sam working together plot? 4: Did I handle the scene on the roof with Aladdin well? It's also going to be a running gag that Reggie is unwittingly the cause of a lot of the tragedy through the course of the show 5: Where do you see this show going? I have a lot of ideas for later episodes, following the 6 episode series format that seems to be the standard for UK sitcoms. I'm just interested in your thoughts on where you'd like to see it go
Please bear in mind that these are solely my thoughts and I could have completely missed what you were going for. I don't want to tell you what to do. I hope my ideas give you food for thought but they are just one persons opinion.
The reason I tried to play around with your idea was because I think you have some great ingredients but maybe you don't need all of them and the order could be tweaked.
1. I liked that scene. I could be wrong but I was expecting a love triangle thing happening? A will they, won't they during the show. 2. Sam as an actor didn't work. It didn't feel like it was important to him. He owns a theatre, his an owner not an actor. 3. I like their chemistry together but I don't like leaving the theatre to go to the hotel. It's an unwanted diversion. 4. My issue with this scene is that there's no consequence to his death. It's a shame because you CAN tie this in. What if this guy is an actor from TV and is going to bring in an audience but then Sam kills him? Now the show's in trouble. That's a cheesy example but it's a good example of something you can expand on. Don't be afraid to be mean to your main character. Make him suffer. It's funny.
Can I ask? What made you want to write about a guy who owns a theatre? Is it a world you know or have an interest in? Situations in comedies don't really matter on the surface. It can be an Office, an IT department, a bookshop or a school. What's special about comedies is when the writer has a unique, interesting take on the situation. It's special when it feels like it was written by an insider and I'm entering a world I didn't know existed.
What made me want to write about a guy who owns a theatre? I think it's a few things. I know a lot of people who either do acting recreationally or professionally, and get invited to lots of shows. Reggie and Wain are both based on people I know to varying degrees, and I thought it would make for a funny setting and let me lampoon shows if I felt like it. I also like the idea of writing about someone whose job is ultimately to provide entertainment for people and lead a motley crew in doing so. Like a millennial Brian Potter
By the way, I've done a rewrite of the first episode. I like the new opening, because I feel it gets to the point much quicker. Only thing I'm not sure about is the Dmitri subplot (50% in there to set up for future episodes, 50% in there because I thought it was funny). Also, I don't know if the ending is too weak or not. Who knows? I feel like it’s an improvement nonetheless.
It'd be cool to get your feedback. Also, how do I get an updated version on this site?
Also, how do I get an updated version on this site?
If you submit the script using the same link as before, at the top of the form there is a tick box that says "This is an update to a script, logline, genre, or title already on the site." - check that and submit as normal
I finally got round to reading your rewrite. It isn't as funny as your original draft but that's probably because it just needs a few rewrites. From the speed you wrote it I'm guessing its a first draft which is impressive.
I like the fact that it takes place in the theatre and you get right to it. One thing that really stood out though was the lack of conflict. Apart from Sam and Lucy every character gets on with each other and obstacles are solved easily and quickly. I can't actually think of one thing that went wrong for Sam and the characters just breeze through unchallenged. Sam buys a theatre and is told about it's debt but he isn't worried. He isn't forced into making difficult decisions. As a result the episode felt flat. It doesn't build or descend. Things just happen.
I know you do create problems like the roof falling in and selling out a show but these things just happen without challenging the characters.
There were bits which I thought were hard to buy. Sam hires prostitutes to sell out the theatre? And it happens off screen so we don't see the funny situations he would get in to make that happen. What's wrong with Sam failing? It's interesting.
Also, Sam's reason for buying the theatre came out of nowhere.
The intro is all exposition. It just offloads information.
Why does wain know how the theatre is doing? Why did he cast the show?
You also have a lot of scenes of people just talking. There's one at end which is pretty long. It slows the read down and it's just more fun when the plot doesn't stop.
Man, I'm such a negative bastard! It's been a tough week lol.
These are only one persons thoughts remember. I still like the dialogue. I think the lack of conflict really hurts the comedy and the characters.
Just wondering, what version did you read? I did a partial rewrite after the complete rewrite. Did you read the version where Dmitri tries to fix the roof? If so, that’s an older version. When I upload a new version in Dropbox it replaces the old version which is why I didn’t ask you which version you had. I probably should have in hindsight. If you have the newer version without Dmitri I’m surprised you think there’s a lack of conflict,
I basically moved that to a future episode as it didn’t fit in as much in this one and replaced it with a more beefed up subplot where Reggie is auditioning for a role but Wain won’t let him have it because he’s snobby towards Reggie’s lack of experience.
I read the most up to date version. I think it just felt a bit too easy for Sam. His character doesn't really have any flaws. I know he drinks but he looks cool doing it. Everyone likes him, he's good with girls and he buys a failing theatre but that doesn't faze him. Maybe it's a style choice and I'm projecting my own expectations on it.