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Girls Will Be Girls by James Wierzbicki - Short, Thriller - An estranged mother struggles to survive a sadistic girls' night after it's revealed to the group that they all currently share the same boyfriend. 17 pages - pdf format
Rightio, so a cross between Machete and Kill Bill.
I'm not convinced your opening visual of the 'ring' works. Is it a wedding ring?
And then what looks like a Fast Forward still shot and then a Flashback?
I guess you’re experimenting with timeline and formatting here but I'm wondering if it could be written clearer. I’ll let others weigh in on that. I did get what you’re envisaging.
Horror methinks, not Thriller. And, definitely some lurid exploitation stuff going on.
William Fucking? Shakespeare
So, reading through this I feel no real presence of D. Is he dead already? Nope, seems not. He can’t scream, granted, but he could groan and make a bit more noise, kick, flail about, move that office chair with his weight etc.
Not until he nods his head on page 15. did I realise he was still alive on first read.
Okay, second read and he was a little more noticeable. The camera doesn’t stay on him long enough though, imho. When all the other action is happening he appears as more of an after thought.
This appears to be a revenge film on D but quickly detours to the girls turning on each other. Their motivation is a little slim imh, and their actions a bit misguided. The object of their venom should be him, unless the pure fact of it is that these girls are exactly how D paints them (crazy bitches). And that’s all there is to it.
The ‘torture party’ consists of: MOMENTS LATER Fern sets up a camera in the corner. TIME-LAPSE VIDEO FOOTAGE The girls perform numerous unspeakable acts on D. MOMENTS LATER D’s body is covered in an assortment of slashes and holes that shouldn’t be there. The girls clean up. ... What you’ve written there seems to be so you can get a quick jump on the girls turning on each other.
Btw: who’s entrails should be: whose entrails. That one stuck out. Not sure on any other typos.
Speaking of, the intestines has to be a nod to Machete, right?
This wrylie: (Mickey Mouse) Huh? Can she do a Mickey Mouse voice?
The line with the D and the hair analogy doesn’t really work for me.
A pile of old tools. (list them maybe?) I would have liked to have seen the scary grizzly arsenal.
Juliet should be described as being pregnant at the top imho. How pregnant btw? Big belly? Or not even noticeable? That would make a difference visually, and considering what happens to her.
foot-long GASH?! She’d have to be dead, surely, or bleeding profusely.
At this point they decide to sew her up instead of calling an ambulance?!
And then Myah confesses her past to Simone in the bedroom? Why? That transition was a bit iffy for me.
Interesting ending. I think you made the right choice with Myah at the end as she’s one tough cookie.
I'm probably not your target audience btw, but I could clearly visualise what you were going for. Bit of outrageousness exploitation fun I suppose, but I was looking forward to it cleverly being aimed at him. Oh well...
Disclaimer: I am an unproduced amateur, so the following is just my inexperienced thoughts and feelings as I was reading through.
How old are these people? I ask because there are no ages and you use the noun "girl" instead of "woman" - I get the vibe they are young (late teens/early twenties)
TIME-LAPSE VIDEO FOOTAGE The girls perform numerous unspeakable acts on D.
Is this a bit of a cop-out? can we not see what these unspeakable acts are?
Sorry if this sounds rude - but is this meant to be leaning on the comedic side? The cheesy taunting lines they have practiced, the pink curtains, the slight idiocy of Juliet - most of the dialogue is quite light-hearted as well - This isn't a criticism BTW, just curious if I am meant to be seeing all the dark comedy in this.
Myah's confession seems to come out of the blue - Doesn't sit well. She also delivers it a bit coldly - if this is a true confession, of something she regrets - it doesn't feel like it, was a bit "matter of fact" - I get why she is doing it, to stop Simone from killing Mickey - but I think it would be more powerful, and more legitimate to have the confession spill out in a more heated way - IE, Simone has the gun to Mickeys head, trembling, about to pull the trigger. Then, Myah bursts out with the confession in a last-ditch "Don't do it, not worth it, way" - just my 2p
OK, now I am getting the feeling these women are much older than I originally thought.
Oh no! A random character suddenly appearing in the end game... I don't like that, takes away from the story - Personally, I would have kept it at the characters you already have established.
New Girl - she just shoots two people for her love - he then gets shot and she just runs off into the desert? doesn't feel legit to me.
The last page feels really rushed - doesn't keep good pacing IMHO.
The action is also a bit inconsistent - For example "Myah drags herself to D..." a few lines later "Myah jumps into the car..." - she recovered quickly lol
These women, from the outset, seem very cold - Yes they have been scorned and are hell-bent on revenge, but this is a story about pre-meditated murder - Now I'm going to assume you haven't killed anyone, but that weighs heavy. It's all good fantasizing about doing it, carrying it out is something different altogether - I didn't get a sense of reality from these characters, no inner moral battle, no humanity - does this make sense? - am I overthinking it? probably.
Fern stands. FERN Mickey. Thatï¿½s my boyfriendï¿½s name.
Confused about this action at the beginning - Why did Fern think she was there if not to get revenge on Mickey? why would she be surprised that Myah is Mickey's girlfriend... I thought that was the whole point of them all getting together.
The comedy element certainly dissipates as the story goes on.
At the moment - I find it to be a whole lot of gore with not much substance. Does it need substance? I dunno, people will probably like it for the gore alone. Guess I would like to see more humanity/feelings/moral battles in the characters.
Take whatever I say with a pinch of salt - You only have to look at my thriller to know I don't really know what I am doing lol
You can certainly write, that's for sure. I definitely picked up a unique style
Fade to PINK - I kinda liked your break from tradition here
Hey, LC! Thanks for the read and the great review! There's a lot of great stuff in there. I'm actually directing this short in July, so the feedback is really helpful.
The ring is the barrel view of the gun. It is going to be blurry, then when it focuses in the end, we'll see that it's actually the gun. I sort of bookended that image. I thought it might be a nice little confusing teaser for the flick.
The opening with the dead bodies is a quick flashforward to the end of the movie. While Myah is on the ground, she spots the gun that the New Girl dropped. Again, part of the bookends. I was going for a Breaking Bad season-opener vibe, similar to when we see the teddy bear in the pool or the carnage from the trunk gun. A quick snippet that will mean something more at the end.
I definitely think it fits more with the Horror genre, but the directorial vision I have is more tuned to a Thriller. I've always been a fan of movies like Goodfellas, Fight Club, Reservoir Dogs, etc. The only problem is that there aren't enough roles like that for women. So I originally pitched it as Reservoir Dogs meets Mean Girls. I got a few producers interested in making it, but I remained adamant that even though it might resemble something along the lines of The Babysitter on the surface, my directing style is more in the vain of PTA, Scorsese or Fincher.
Being a fan of Robert Rodriguez, I definitely wanted to have a shocking moment in the script, but I didn't want to dip into Saw territory. The stapler scene is meant to be more of a tense moment than gore or horror. And when we get to the entrails scene, I was hoping to have a quick over-the-top moment that progressed from the stapler scene -- which I hope is what audiences will suspect is the pinnacle of gore in the movie.
I definitely hide D's presence. My intention was to make a movie for the females. D might be their reason for gathering, but I really wanted it to be about the girls. I assumed that people would expect a straight torture film, and that that torture would be aimed toward D. I was hoping to subvert expectations by doing the exact opposite -- he's so irrelevant that he barely factors into the plot once the girls are really let loose. The idea for the script was based on stories female friends had shared with me about abusive and violent men in their lives. Ultimately, I decided to completely strip the power from D by having him as nothing more than a background accessory.
I've actually only seen Machete once in theatres, so I don't even recall that scene lol! But I'm definitely heading to YouTube right now to watch it!
My girlfriend actually told me to put the "fucking" in the opening quote. I was on the fence, but she pitched it to the actresses of the film and everybody loved it. I thought it might be a little much, but she says it sets my style and tone. We'll see if it makes the final shooting script.
The pile of tools was originally described in detail, but the producer asked me not to be as specific. Apparently it's for the Production Designer. Idk. lol
Juliet won't be noticeably pregnant. I'm thinking she's approximately 2 months here, but that has been an issue from the jump. I have to make sure I tighten the timelines.
As far as the gash is concerned, I'll be honest, I'm not sure how deep a person can cut themselves with a wine key. You're not the first person to bring this concern up. I'm going to talk to the SFX person and try to sort out exactly how it should be. I purposefully didn't write any emotion from Juliet after the cutting scene, as I didn't know exactly how bad she would be hurting. I've also discussed this with the actress, as we want to be as real in the final product as possible.
With Myah's confession, she clashes with Simone about killing D, then heads to the bathroom. She debates calling the police. It's not shown, but I believe Myah realizes she needs to talk Simone down, so she decides not to call the cops, rather tell Simone her own tragic story in hopes of changing her mind. When she exits, she finds Juliet with the wine key, and doesn't have time to talk to Simone. When Simone asks Myah to the bedroom, she goes willingly, because she has the speech locked and loaded. Since Simone is the "leader", Myah knows she has to get the first strike in, so she goes right for it. Not sure if it's clear or makes sense in the script. If not, it's definitely something I'm gonna need to work on!
Glad you liked the ending. That's another thing I'm still fighting to keep. You and I are in the minority there. The producers and even the camera operator thinks Myah should die. But I'm fighting for it. It's my homage to Tarantino and Rodriguez again -- as that's how Clooney left at the end of From Dusk Till Dawn.
I really appreciate you taking the time to type that whole thing! Any time you need a read, I'm your Huckleberry!
Hey, Matthew! Thanks for the read and the review, buddy!
I originally had specific ages for the girls, but once we moved into pre-production, the producers asked me to remove them because the actresses. But it used to be Myah (25), Simone (36), Juliet (21), Fern (33).
The time-lapse footage was my "clever" fix because I learned the torture scene would add an extra day of filming and ultimately cost over a thousand bucks. I thought when it happens in the movie, it might be a unique stylistic choice, but I agree, that as far as the script goes, it's definitely a cop out. It sucks that once budgets get involved, sometimes you have to axe your little darlings, but as long as it gets made, I'll be happy!
My dialogue is heightened and maybe a little cheesy, sure, but I hope that it's fun and entertaining. My first goal is just to entertain the audience (and myself). I know it's not the average way to go, but I'm hoping people will at least never get bored with it. Working with actors, I've found they love to say cool shit. And even more-so, they love monologues. I originally only had Myah give a speech, but once the actors became attached, they requested to all have one, which added an extra page to the script.
As far as Myah's confession goes, I addressed it in more detail in the other comment to LC. But, I completely agree with you. That has always been a concern to me. It feels very quick. The script was originally 24 pages, and after having to trim it to 16, it's been very difficulty to have room to maneuver the way I'd like within the script. Hopefully I can figure a way out to fix that problem, because it appears as a giant, glaring hole to me too.
The new character at the end is for sure a little cliche, but I hoped with the foreshadowing of Juliet having the Pookie-bear wine and inquiring about it, then having the girl call D "Pookie-bear" would work. Guess not lol.
With New Girl running into the desert, I was going for a Coen Bros. type deal. Something darkly comedic. I originally had her screaming, but I was advised against it. I came up with the running thing because I thought that at least ONE girl in the script should do the right thing and just leave! Lol. Hopefully it's funny. Most likely, it'll be cheesy. I'm hoping I can film it in a way that it works for me rather than against me.
Myah is hurt when she comes to D at the end, then she jumps in the car. I see what you mean. I'll chock that up to my writing style overshadowing practicality. Honestly, I just liked the way it looked on the page. But she definitely won't be jumping. I just wanted to imply she does it quickly. I'll search for a better word.
As for the girls being cold -- that's something that I was actually trying to show. Myah is the only one with a firm grip on reality. The other women act quickly and irrationally, and Myah should be the voice of reason against what basically equates to three antagonists. Maybe I should dial them back a bit though. I want it to be fun and heightened, but I don't want them to seem unbelievable. That's why I leaned on comedy a lot in the first two acts to help the girls' likability and keep the audience satisfied until they get to the horror elements in the final two acts.
Fern tells Myah that Mickey is her boyfriend as well, in an attempt to keep her from leaving, as she's actually the mastermind behind the whole shebang. But to keep her incognito persona, she fakes being coy, and uses Simone's weakness against her to have her lead the event. This prevents Myah from seeing through Fern's deception -- because Simone will be the center of attention, leaving Fern to blend into the background and subtly pull strings. She does this a few more times with lines like "can we just get this over with", which stops a fight and directs the girls' attention once more to D's torture, and when Fern looks to Myah and then Myah concedes and joins the group against her better judgement.
I really appreciate all the constructive criticism and maybe even blushed a bit when you said you picked up on a unique style. I really strive to leave my mark on a story. I don't want to give the audience something generic and I sure as hell don't want anyone to be able to guess what will happen on the next page. I try to keep it fast, fun, surprising, and exciting.
Again, the feedback you provided is going to help me immensely and if you ever need a read or a favor, all you gotta do is ask!
You’ll have seen from by page by page notes what I thought of this as I read.
In general, I struggled with this. Primarily for two reasons.
Firstly, the tone. Now this could be just my issue as the reader since I was expecting a straight thriller. I’m always wary of taking into account what a film/script is trying to achieve rather than it meeting my specific expectations. That being said, the tonal shifts here are jarring to the extent that I could never really fully engage or embrace it. It’s very violent and nasty yet there are numerous attempts at rather broad, silly humour, quips are shrugged off in a casual manner that is totally incompatible with what is going on. The dichotomy between the characters’ actions and their attitudes never coalesced for me...and perhaps that’s the point. It just meant I would stop reading and scratch my head wondering; why/what/how a lot of the time.
I sense an arch, irreverent sense of humour here and that’s ok, that’s what you chose, and that can work, maybe it will gel better on screen, maybe it’s not supposed to, maybe it’s your intention to constantly subvert the gruesome action with the most flippant of remarks. I could just never fully get a grasp on it. I felt it undermined the drama, the tension and overall believability of the characters and the situation.
I experienced a similar thing in Jordan Peele’s “Us” recently where the attempts at humour worked sometimes while during other moments they went too far and punctuated the supposed peril and sheer craziness that was unfolding on screen.
Anyway, my second issue was the premise/plotting and by association the choices the characters make along the way, their motivations. We don’t really know how these girls have got together. Yes, we know it’s a teaming up of Mickey’s exes but the impression is they have never met before, there was no preplanning. It seems to have all be done on the fly, improvised. Simone presents the already captured Mickey as a surprise and bam, the rest of the woman just immediately decide (bar some quickly brushed asides doubts) that yes, lets torture and mutilate this guy. It just doesn’t seem plausible even within this heightened and exaggerated situation. I feel like we need some sort of prologue to give us a basis as to how these girls are here and now, collaborating (sometimes) on this endeavour.
Some nice visual and shocking moments are in here too and you have a twisted streak that will serve you well in other scripts but right now this one feels like it hasn’t been fully thought through (much like the girl’s plan) and needs more consideration.
I've got mixed feelings on this. I like the concept behind this, a group of scorned girlfriends exact their revenge on their cheating boyfriend. I dig it. But the execution is messy.
No need for the opening flash forward. It just spoils the surprise. Why does Micky's name change to D? I think you should still refer to him as Micky, even if the girls don't. And you should also let him talk a little bit. Maybe try to talk his way out of it?
If Juliet is pregnant, you really need to push that. I mean really go there. Have her be about to burst. That would make the disembowelment sequence absolutely crazy.
Writing for the most part is good, though you seem to skimp on some important details. And kind of weird that this randomly take place in a desert.
I think Micky should escape at the end and fight Myah. Myah should definitely still kill him and drive off victoriously. But I'd cut out the New Girl.
Love the fade to pink.
Despite it's flaws, I actually really like this. Just needs a few more drafts. Let me know what you decide to do with this.