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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Thriller Scripts  ›  The Avondale Park Killer - 7WC Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Avondale Park Killer - 7WC  (currently 4681 views)
Don
Posted: September 5th, 2010, 3:17pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Avondale Park Killer - 7WC by Brian McCluskey - Thriller - When a horrific car crash on a young bride's wedding day leaves her with severe amnesia, she begins to suspect her new husband, who she has no recollection of whatsoever, may be responsible for a handful of recent murders in town. 94 pages - pdf, format


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bert  -  September 7th, 2010, 5:19pm
fixed typo with best guess
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c m hall
Posted: September 5th, 2010, 5:27pm Report to Moderator
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SPOILERS, of course.

Quick notes:

The twists and turns in the story work, I think -- you mix predictable and unpredictable elements so that I followed along, maintained interest.

It felt like you had to fight the story back into shape a few times (that poor woman gets hit in the head every dozen pages, it seemed).

The ending was energetic and pulled a lot of the story into place in a good way.

I'd recommend you re-think everything about the baby -- Mel's complete lack of memories (even physical memory) about Dylan seem to me to be a forced element -- even when her memory starts to return, Mel seems distant from the baby, (even though she goes to extreme measures to take Dylan away from Tom, it just seems like a sign that Mel is unstable).

All of your characters, especially Tom and Mel, have complexity.  I think you've done a terrific job on this, especially considering the frantic pace of 7 weeks.  

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c m hall  -  September 5th, 2010, 11:33pm
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Brian M
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Thanks to Don for posting this and allowing this challenge to go ahead!

Hi Catherine,

Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and post your thoughts.

I have to agree with you about the baby, I had a feeling I was making her look more and more unstable and you've confirmed my suspicions. I also didn't realize how much she is hit over the head... OOPS... I should fix that!

Again, thanks for reading! I'll hopefully get round to your script soon enough.

Brian

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Brian M  -  September 6th, 2010, 2:19pm
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seamus19382
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First, congratulations on finishing.  That's a real acomplishment and you should be proud of yourself.  

Second, I think you're a real good writer.  Your descriptons are clear and concise.  I never had any question as to who was doing hat and where they were when they were doing it.

Having said that, this one doesn't really work for me.  

Adams toast needs work.  It's too long, it's not funny, and it doesn't tell us anything about any of the characters.

How does Carrie know Tom for five years, know Melissa since they were kids, but Tom and Mellisa meet each other at a diner?  

I find it strange that Melissa has had this tragic accident, and her little surprise, and no one from her family is there.  Maybe Carrie should be her sister?

Melissa should discover the locked door on her own, instead of Tom telling her about it.

The flashbacks don't work for me.  You keep flashing back to stuff we alrady know.  We see them get married, then you flash back to how they met.  After we find out about Dylan, you flash back to her finding out she's pregnant.  (In fact, if that flashback had happened beforehand, then we'd have some suspense!)

I also don't like he way she does all this stuff while Tom's in the house.  If you're living with someone you suspct is a killer, would you really investigate under his nose?

Try to get your characters out more.  Most of this takes place inside the house, which wouldn't be a problem if you used it to establish a sense of claustrapobia, but i never really get that feeling.

In general, I understand you want to keep us guessing as to who the killer is.  My problem is, you don't really give us any clues as to it actually is.  The killer only shows up in two short scenes before he revealself, and does nothing to make us suspect him.  No Fair!!!

Sorry if that seems a bit harsh.  But this is a really solid effort for seven weeks.  
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Brian M
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Hey seamus19382,

SPOILERS AND SUCH...

Thanks a bunch for reading and posting your thoughts. I can't believe I left out the explanation for Carrie knowing Tom for longer than Melissa. I actually had this down in my notes at the last minute and have forgot to add it in there. I'm kicking myself.

In the toast, I really only wanted to get two things across about the characters. Tom's love of golf and Melissa's bad driving. Both come into play later on. I can see how it's too long though, and it could definitely do with a joke or two.

I had a line in there somewhere about Mel's parents living in Europe... but to be honest, that's a bit of a cop out on my part. Carrie being her sister is an excellent idea and one I will definitely think about.

The flashbacks, I would probably have done differently if I had the time. I tried to hint at a baby with the sickness at Tom's father's funeral (a VERY small hint, I'll admit).

Hinting towards Adam is a tough one as he's only responsible for the one murder, Carrie's. I'm not sure where to start to fix this, as Tom is still the man behind the murders in the park, like Melissa suspected. I actually wanted people to suspect Kevin, and I'm not sure if that worked. I think I missed the mark somewhere here.

Again, thanks for reading. It's very much appreciated. Do you have anything you'd like me to read? Thanks again!

Brian
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grademan
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Brian,

Good entry for the 7WC!

I liked the story and the double tap on the twist at the end. Your story telling was straightforward which made it a page turner.

There were a handful of phrasing issues in the narrative re: unneeded words but nothing I care to detail.

The dialogue was okay – nothing stood out as noteworthy. Nothing wrong with that.  I agree with a prior comment that the best man’s speech can be made a tad more exciting or interesting. Tantalize us. “I’d do anything to help my brother.”

Use of quick flashes was a strong point, a nice change from the longer flashes.

The opening scene was not compelling but essential to the script. How many times has a movie started with the wedding vows? The scene with the 18 wheeler was memorable.

Character work was definitely improved compared to Publicity Whore.

A little more foreshadowing re: Adam and maybe a look at how the mother could forget her baby even while they were at the wedding.  A mother looking for her baby with teaser flashbacks would be compelling viewing.

Gary
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Brian M
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Gary,

Thanks so much for the read and review. Dialogue is on a long list of things I'm desperately trying to improve on, I do struggle with that at times.

Nice to see you liked the quick flashes.

I agree about the opening scene. I couldn't think of any other way to start it otherwise, and I had a feeling when I was writing that people may be turned off by this. I couldn't wait to get that 18 wheeler skidding towards them!

Very relieved you thought the character's were better. That's right at the top of the list next to dialogue!

Nice suggestion about the baby teaser flashbacks. It's something I'll definitely look into.

Again, many thanks for reading. It's much appreciated. Do you have anything new up that you'd like me to take a look at?

Brian
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Coding Herman
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Hey Brian,

I'm returning the read here. But first, congratulation on completing the challenge. We all deserve a pat on our backs.

I read up to what I presumably think is the end of Act I -- Kevin arrives at the house. It was a breeze to read through it. Your writing is crisp and concise, and at the same time, gives a visual image in my head. I think yours is actually better than mine. You're the one who has no trouble looking for the right word. I envy you.

I'm not good at catching typos and grammar mistakes. Or maybe you just didn't have any for the first 30 pages.

But I notice on page 8, I think it's the Nurse asking Melissa, not the News Reporter.

Here are some of my thoughts:

The pace is very good. Everything keeps moving in a logical order without any dull spot. The car crash happens at the right time as well.

I think the first quick flash occurs a little too fast in the script. It was too easy for Melissa to remember who Tom is. Just by kissing her hand? But I guess you need her to remember to have Melissa stay at Tom home.

Loved the descriptions of the house. Very vivid. I wanna live in one of those.

I'm okay with Melissa overhearing Tom's phone conversation. I know it's a little bit contrived, but it's in the beginning and you have to get things started now, eh? Maybe you can work harder on delivering the same info without using this plot device? Just a suggestion.

Loved the flashback in the restaurant. Sounds so real.

Good conflict between Melissa and Tom during their breakfast.

I didn't get the relationship between Melissa, Tom, and Carrie. So Melissa and Carrie were grade school friends. And Melissa met Tom a year ago through coincidence. But Carrie and Tom know each other for over five years? Unless Carrie never told Melissa about Tom, this doesn't seem to make sense.

The appearance of Kevin is intriguing. A contrast to the rich neighborhood.

I'll keep reading it.


Herman


FEATURE:

Memwipe
- Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller (114 pages) - In a world where memories can be erased by request, a Memory Erasing Specialist desperately searches for the culprit when his wife becomes a target for erasure -- with his former colleagues hot on his trail.
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Coding Herman
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Hey Brian, my review - Part II.

I think you missed a great thrilling scene when Tom comes back from home. He could be suspicious that someone had visited Melissa. Maybe dirt on the floor or something. And Tom nonchalantly searches around the house.

Page 35, seems like you had Claudia first before you changed her name to Jennifer.

I'm no expert on this, but I think the News Broadcast on the radio should be (V.O.)

I didn't understand how Melissa came to the conclusion that the latest victim, Claire Jackson, but not the previous victims, has anything to do with Kevin. Furthermore, why would Melissa call Carrie when Melissa knew Carrie will not listen to her? Okay, never mind, you explained that Melissa panicked.

Loved the sight that Andrea spotted Melissa with Kevin together. Good foreshadowing of tension.

I thought Carrie is married already. She has a baby boy, didn't she? Or is that someone else's? Just feel weird that Carrie is talking about dating and flirting with Adam.

Ooohhhh.....So that was Melissa's baby. BUT that is a bit impossible because Dylan would have been crying, so Melissa should have known about this on the first or second day. Unless there is some good soundproof walls, which I doubt because Tom and Andreas need to know what Dylan's up to, then this is a plot hole.

Another thing, it's still a stretch about Tom's explanation how he doesn't want Melissa to know about the baby. I didn't think it was a big deal.

I'll finish this later tonight or tomorrow. It's interesting so far.

Herman


FEATURE:

Memwipe
- Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller (114 pages) - In a world where memories can be erased by request, a Memory Erasing Specialist desperately searches for the culprit when his wife becomes a target for erasure -- with his former colleagues hot on his trail.
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Dreamscale
Posted: September 7th, 2010, 3:54pm Report to Moderator
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OK, Brian, you're up, bud!  First things first, though...

Congrats on completing this script in 7 weeks.  That's quite an accomplishment.  You can and should be proud.

Before I even start though, there's a glaring error in your logline, which I'd recommend you fix immediately.

It reads, "When a horror car crash..." - Obviously, I'm sure you meant, "horrible". As I always say, when you see errors in the log, it sends up red flags, and nobody wants that before a single word of the actual script has been read.

[bert's edit:  Fixed logline, but I would choose horrific over horrible.  Brian can weigh in on this later]

OK, I'm going to read it now.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.

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bert  -  September 7th, 2010, 5:20pm
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Dreamscale
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Brian, I’m going to post my page by pages notes first and then come back later with my comments and take on everything, as I want to get this in, and it's dinner time here.

Page 1 – I think you could do without the vows from both…maybe start with the 2nd set, just to move things along.

Page 2/3 – I think Adam’s speech is a bit long, but for me, it is funny and shows character traits for all involved.  I don’t think you want to use 2 whole pages for it, though.

GENERAL NOTE – Although I definitely like this intro, it is slow, and a bit long winded.  It’s full of cliché stuff that probably doesn’t need to be here.  No major complaints though.

Page 5 – Flying to the Caribbean requires a 2 hour advance check in usually.  If they’re just leaving the reception, they’re going to be late.

Page 6 – “overtake” – “pass”

The crash is well done, IMO.  Only complaint would be the word “BLACKNESS” – I’d suggest either putting it on its own line or using a transition like “SMASH TO BLACK” – I rarely if ever recommend such things, but here it would work perfectly.

Same thing with the 2nd use of “BLACKNESS” – here, its own line would be perfect, IMO.

Page 7 – Good transition to the reporter on TV.  Well done!

“barley” – “barely”

Page 8 – Incorrect dialogue box – states “news reporter” – should be “nurse”

The more I see “BLACKNESS”, the more I think you need to make a choice how best to show this. I think it at least has to be on its own line.

Page 9 – First passage is awkward and confusingly written.

I would recommend that a doctor talks with Tom, not this same nurse.  I don’t think it’s her place to be telling him the situation with her.

Is this “HUGE SCAR” supposed to be from the accident?  It would not b a scar yet, I’d rethink the description.

Page 10 – “her face” – “his face”

Page 11 – “SHE HAS QUICK FLASHES” – Personally, I don’t like how this reads.  “QUICK FLASHES” would look much better.

GENERAL NOTE – I’m liking this!  Well set up, well written, clean.  I’m impressed.

GENERAL NOTE – This “NURSE” has a lot of screen time and dialogue.  I think you need to name her, but I also think you need a doctor involved, as it would be the doctor that does many of the things she is doing.

Page 14 – “…in the street” – “…on the street”

Page 18 – “what she done wrong” – “what she did wrong”

Page 19 – This is Tom’s Flashback, right?  If so, I don’t think it quite works based on the fact you end the prior scene on Melissa’s open eyes.  If it’s Mel’s Flashback, it doesn’t work either because it starts out with Tom and Andrew, and Mel wasn’t privy to their conversation.  IMO, the scene is too long for what it offers.  Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but for your first BIG Flashback, it’s a bit slow, long, and not interesting enough – I’d also question why Tom would be remotely interested in her, being a waitress and all, when he can most likely have the pick of the litter.

Page 20 – “Tom’s” – “Tom”

Page 24 – “conversion” – “conversation”

GENERAL NOTE – There are an awful lot of “orphans” running around.  I know it’s first draft, but I’d concentrate on them when you look to rewrite it.

Page 26 – “He’s not been…” – “He hasn’t been…”

Page 28 – “…there’s nothing weird about him…” – “…there’s anything weird about him…” – I know this is dialogue and your characters can speak anyway you want them to, but these last examples make Mel out to be an idiot.

“…several bags of shopping.” – An orphan and a perfect example of how to correct them – just drop the “of shopping” – reads better, and saves a line.

Page 29 – get rid of “of shopping” again.  Sounds really odd.  If anything, it would be “shopping bags”.

GENERAL NOTE involving Kevin – We don’t know who he is, but Mel sure seems to remember him, which is odd to me.  Also, the entire scene with them searching for clues seems very strange.  Why would she tell him anything?  Why would they immediately do this?  It’s bad timing anyway you look at it, and doesn’t compute for me – let’s see where it goes from here.

Page 34 – It’s also weird that this super rich dude, who has his own maid, brings chicken home.  The maid should be cooking them gourmet meals.

“A girl turns her head, walks towards him. Her name is JENNIFER (2, with the good looks of a Playboy model.” – Really awkward intro.  How about, “JENNIFER (2, good looks of a Playboy model, turns her head, walks towards him.”

Another issue with the Flashback – who is having this Flashback?  It can’t be Mel again, because she wasn’t involved in the beginning of it, so I have to assume it’s Tom’s, but Mel is the one with amnesia and should be the one having the Flashbacks.  Also, like before, it’s not staged properly, as in, it doesn’t fit where you have it.

Page 35 – Who is Claudia?

Page 36 – “You’re memories…” – “Your memories…”

“Every little helps” – “Every little bit helps”

Page 39 – “peak” – “peek”

Page 41 – “too” – “to”

“trials” – “trails”

Page 47 – A baby’s been in that locked room all along?  C’mon now…that’s not working for me.  Let’s see where it goes…wait a minute…the baby is only a few months old?  Mel would still be showing, and in a filmed version, we’d know this.  DECEPTION…unfair deception!

Page 50 – Adam says “Don’t wait 3 months before you call again”, meaning it’s been at least 3 months since the wedding?  This doesn’t make sense.

Same issues with this Flashback again.  It’s written from Tom’s POV, or memory, and I have to assume it’s actually Mel remembering the stuff.  You have to be very careful in what you show in these Flashbacks for them to make sense from her standpoint.

Page 56 – Tom’s sudden change in demeanor doesn’t come off as believable.  His dialogue doesn’t work here, IMO.

Page 59 – I’m not following the dialogue here about Claire, the girl who married Tom’s father, or the sudden reference to Jennifer – and this Kevin guy is still a complete mystery.

Page 62 – Possible time problem – Mel cut her hand (not her arm, I thought) and it seems like it was quite awhile ago, the way time seems to be passing…or am I wrong?

Page 63 – “retraining” – “restraining”

Page 65-67 – Some issues with this scene – apparently, you’re saying there is a staircase that leads into the garage…not a door, since Tom can see her in the garage from the staircase.  This doesn’t make sense.  Also, the garage door would be closed and Mel didn’t open it.  We also have to assume that of all these cars in the garage, the Porsche is in front, with nothing blocking it in.  I think some more attention to detail is needed here, or earlier, so we have a better picture of this garage.

GENERAL NOTE – I doubt Mel would be calling her son, “boy”.  She’s done it at least twice now.

Page 67 – Here’s a serious problem.  Mel did not strap Dylan into any car seat, so he’s just laying there in the front seat of a Porsche.  With the collision of a street lamp, this kid’s dead, or in really bad shape and Mel is in deep shit now!

Another problem with the Flashback – it says 1 month ago. Adam said earlier that 3 months had passed since Tom called him, meaning it was after the wedding, and now we’re talking about the wedding being 1 month ago.  Either I’m really missing something, confused, or there are time problems going on here.  And, once again, the Flashback contains things Mel was not privy to, meaning she can’t have the Flashback cause she never knew or saw this stuff.

Page 71 – Again, I don’t buy it.  This was a major car crash.  People would have seen it, the police would be involved, Mel would be in deep shit.  How’d they get the car back?  It had to of been wrecked?  Too many things don’ add up here at all.

Page 72 – OK, you tried to explain it but it still doesn’t really fly, IMO.  I’d rethink the scene.

Page 75 – Any woman would not abandon her baby and run. She would take him with her and fight anything to the death.

“peak” – “peek’

Page 76 – “stagger” – “staggers”

Page 77 – “As she nears, the house the police are outside is familiar.” – Awkward and something’s wrong with it.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to be saying.

Page 83 – “her” – “his” – but again, this Flashback seems like it’s coming from Tom’s perspective, which doesn’t make sense.  I think you need to rethink and rewrite each and every Flashback.  Also, I’m questioning the “3 weeks ago” SUPER.  Either I’m way off on the time line here or there are major issues with your time line.

Page 86 – OK, another logic flaw here.  How’d she get to the church?  She’s not allowed to drive, doesn’t seem to have her own car, and just got knocked out.  Based on the fact they live in an extravagant mansion, I’m sure the church is far from walking distance.

Page 87 – So you’re saying Adam somehow got a hold of Tom’s phone and sent this message?  Like Tom just left Mel lying somewhere after he knocked her out?  Adam lives really close by as well…and the church is really close too?  Lots of things aren’t working for me logically, Brian, and I hope you take them into account when you rewrite the next draft.

Uh oh, the old James Bond villain speech, explaining why he did what he did.

The church is open, but no one’s around?

Page 88 – And he’s going to rape her in the church in broad daylight?  Reality check…reality check in aisle 14!!!

Page 89 – And he’s a complete psycho freak all of a sudden!

Page 90 – An iron bar?  Huh?  Where’d she get that from?

“iron bar still in hand” – used twice almost back to back – unless you tell us she drops it, we understand it’s still there.

Page 91 – Of all the possible first things Mel would say to Tom, this is definitely not one of them.

“he was my best man” – he was his brother, wasn’t he?  Who cares about being a best man?

“meet you” – “met you”

In jail for attempted rape?  HUH?  Mel didn’t know jackshit about anything…which is an ongoing problem in this script, which I’ll discuss later.

No time given in the SUV SLUG.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Dreamscale
Posted: September 7th, 2010, 11:26pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Brian, I’m back.  So, I wanted to go into some more detail on your script, cause I really think it deserves it.

I bet it’s difficult to tell whether or not I liked the script.  I did. I really did.  And for a 7 weeks effort, I think you did an outstanding job.

IMO, things definitely went downhill in the 2nd half, there were many logic issues/problems, as well as time line issues, and as noted, I feel like all your Flashbacks are seriously flawed, but fuck, this is a first draft, written and conceived in a mere 7 weeks…that stuff can easily be fixed.

You did a really good job in putting this together.  I can tell there was a lot of thought and planning.  It’s got a good flow and feel to it, things move along at a decent clip, there’s action, mystery, suspense, and intrigue.   It has a definite thriller vibe and feel, and it easily passes with a PG13 rating, so a bigger audience.

Other than what I brought up as I read, I do feel there are many, many issues that should be addressed, fixed up, changed, etc, but in terms of movies of this nature, I bet most of the issues are things most won’t even see or think about, and most of these films get away with far more.  So, if I were you, I’d be damn proud of what you’ve put together…not just in terms of 7 weeks, but any time period for a strong first draft.

OK, what didn’t work and why?  Well, the biggest issue I think is a simple question, Why?  Why?  Why?  And, why?  There are so many things to pose that question to, starting simply with, why would Tom suddenly go on a killing spree like this?  Why would Adam attempt to do what he did to Mel, in a church, in broad daylight, for God’s sake?  Why would Adam kill Carrie?  Why would Tom want to be with Mel?  Why didn’t Mel have a single friend or family member at her side once during the entire script, and based on everything that happened to her, why wouldn’t she let someone in on what was going on?

OK, there’re a lot more, but I think you get my drift.

So, without going into more detail (I will if you want and we get some back and forth going here), I did like this and think it’s tremendous for a 7 week effort.  I liked it a lot more in the lead up though. Things definitely started falling apart for me, the further it went, and I was less than thrilled with the way things turned out in the last 20-30 pages.  But all these little quips I have can easily be fixed, or you can clean it up and maybe it’s still good to go.

Let’s make a point to discuss the Flashback scenes.  I’m curious what your responses will be to what I brought up about them in the notes.  Also, wondering WTF was up with Kevin, and what happened to him, as he had no “ending” did he?

Great effort here, Brian!  Nice work!


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Brian M
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Thanks to everyone for reading and posting! I've got a long day ahead at work but I will reply to everyone's comments in as much detail as I can when I get home.
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Brian M
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Hey Herman and Jeff,

Thanks to both of you for reading and posting some very detailed notes. They will be a great help when I get to the rewrite. I'll try and go through all the comments and answer them to the best of my ability. To start...


Quoted from Dreamscale
Before I even start though, there's a glaring error in your logline, which I'd recommend you fix immediately.

It reads, "When a horror car crash..." - Obviously, I'm sure you meant, "horrible". As I always say, when you see errors in the log, it sends up red flags, and nobody wants that before a single word of the actual script has been read.

[bert's edit:  Fixed logline, but I would choose horrific over horrible.  Brian can weigh in on this later]


Thanks for the edit, Bert, horrific sounds good to me! I don't know if it's a British/American thing, but the phrase "a horror car crash" or "a horror accident" and the like are used quite often over here. I'm looking at a daily newspaper right now and they are also using that exact phrase. I still struggle with British/American spellings and such. This story is set in America so if it reads awkward to American readers, then it's best changed. Horrible and horrific are better, anyway.


Quoted from Coding Herman
But I notice on page 8, I think it's the Nurse asking Melissa, not the News Reporter.


Damn Final Draft smart type thing... It's always so useful when you're not in a rush! Thanks for pointing that out.


Quoted from Coding Herman
I think the first quick flash occurs a little too fast in the script. It was too easy for Melissa to remember who Tom is. Just by kissing her hand? But I guess you need her to remember to have Melissa stay at Tom home.


I think you have a point here. But it's true, I need her to remember something, just something small, so she will go home with him. I'm 50/50 on what to do, to be honest.


Quoted from Coding Herman
I'm okay with Melissa overhearing Tom's phone conversation. I know it's a little bit contrived, but it's in the beginning and you have to get things started now, eh? Maybe you can work harder on delivering the same info without using this plot device? Just a suggestion.


And a good suggestion. I'll try and think of something that could work.


Quoted from Coding Herman
I didn't get the relationship between Melissa, Tom, and Carrie. So Melissa and Carrie were grade school friends. And Melissa met Tom a year ago through coincidence. But Carrie and Tom know each other for over five years? Unless Carrie never told Melissa about Tom, this doesn't seem to make sense.


I can't believe the mess I made here. I should have made it so Melissa met Tom through Carrie, or that Carrie has lived in the same neighborhood as Tom for a few years and was friends with Melissa at school. I'll need to fix this for sure as it's confusing me too, and that's not a good sign!


Quoted from Coding Herman
I think you missed a great thrilling scene when Tom comes back from home. He could be suspicious that someone had visited Melissa. Maybe dirt on the floor or something. And Tom nonchalantly searches around the house.


Great suggestion. I'll definitely look to add something like this in the rewrite.


Quoted from Coding Herman
Page 35, seems like you had Claudia first before you changed her name to Jennifer.

I'm no expert on this, but I think the News Broadcast on the radio should be (V.O.)


Correct and correct. Damn, seems like I should really have given this another quick read over before submitting.


Quoted from Coding Herman
Ooohhhh.....So that was Melissa's baby. BUT that is a bit impossible because Dylan would have been crying, so Melissa should have known about this on the first or second day. Unless there is some good soundproof walls, which I doubt because Tom and Andreas need to know what Dylan's up to, then this is a plot hole.


I meant to add that the Carrie was taking care of the baby while Mel was in hospital and for the first few days when she returned home. That's why the door was locked, to stop Mel entering the room and looking at all the baby stuff. The baby would not be locked in the room at any point. I should have made that clear. Another thing I'll need to fix ASAP.

Thank you for your comments so far. They've been very helpful.

Hey Jeff,


Quoted from Dreamscale
Page 1 – I think you could do without the vows from both…maybe start with the 2nd set, just to move things along.

Page 2/3 – I think Adam’s speech is a bit long, but for me, it is funny and shows character traits for all involved.  I don’t think you want to use 2 whole pages for it, though.

GENERAL NOTE – Although I definitely like this intro, it is slow, and a bit long winded.  It’s full of cliché stuff that probably doesn’t need to be here.  No major complaints though.


It's definitely cliché, and maybe a bit long. I'll have to agree. I don't think it would feel right with only one set of vows, though. I think, on screen, we're talking about an extra 30 seconds or so to do both sets and I can't see many finding a problem with that. It does read boring on paper, though, which is a bit of a problem. I'm not sure.


Quoted from Dreamscale
Page 5 – Flying to the Caribbean requires a 2 hour advance check in usually.  If they’re just leaving the reception, they’re going to be late.

Page 6 – “overtake” – “pass”

The crash is well done, IMO.  Only complaint would be the word “BLACKNESS” – I’d suggest either putting it on its own line or using a transition like “SMASH TO BLACK” – I rarely if ever recommend such things, but here it would work perfectly.


True about the 2 hour advance check in. He is a millionaire, though. Maybe they'll let him away with it.

British/American spellings again! Damn!

I like the idea of BLACKNESS on its own line. Thanks.


Quoted from Dreamscale
I would recommend that a doctor talks with Tom, not this same nurse.  I don’t think it’s her place to be telling him the situation with her.

Is this “HUGE SCAR” supposed to be from the accident?  It would not b a scar yet, I’d rethink the description.


A doctor would work much better. I'll change that.

I'm not sure about how long it takes for a scar to form. Ideally, I wanted Melissa to be unconscious in the hospital for a few days before she wakes up. I don't know if that's enough time. I can change this.


Quoted from Dreamscale
Page 18 – “what she done wrong” – “what she did wrong”

Page 19 – This is Tom’s Flashback, right?  If so, I don’t think it quite works based on the fact you end the prior scene on Melissa’s open eyes.  If it’s Mel’s Flashback, it doesn’t work either because it starts out with Tom and Andrew, and Mel wasn’t privy to their conversation.  IMO, the scene is too long for what it offers.  Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but for your first BIG Flashback, it’s a bit slow, long, and not interesting enough – I’d also question why Tom would be remotely interested in her, being a waitress and all, when he can most likely have the pick of the litter.


Damn it! Did...Done... I do that all the time! Thanks for pointing that out.

Ah, the flashbacks. I didn't really do them from Melissa's point of view, and I know I probably should have. I wanted to show the audience what they were like before the accident, and although Melissa remembers some of the stuff we see later on in the script, I didn't write it from her point of view. Maybe it would work better if I do them from her point of view. In fact, it probably would work better if I did that.


Quoted from Dreamscale
Page 26 – “He’s not been…” – “He hasn’t been…”

Page 28 – “…there’s nothing weird about him…” – “…there’s anything weird about him…” – I know this is dialogue and your characters can speak anyway you want them to, but these last examples make Mel out to be an idiot.


Haha... I fall into the same traps every time. Lots of people over here talk like that and I pick up some very bad habits. I've got friends who don't know what 'grammer' means. Seriously.

I've got to go to a quick kicking match/game of football, but I'll get to the rest of your comments as soon as I get home. I'm enjoying reading them so far.

Thanks to both of you.
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Coding Herman
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Hey, Brian, I just finished reading it, so this is the last part of my review.

SPOILERS

Page 55-57, Tom's reaction seems too sudden, he was nice and understanding a few minutes ago, and now he sounds like a bad guy to me. He should plead Melissa to give up Dylan first, when that doesn't work, then he can threaten her.

Page 58-62, I wasn't gonna question about who Kevin is in the beginning because I thought you're gonna explain it later on. But then he keeps popping up all the time and now I became frustrated. Like what does he do? Why would Melissa trust him? Why does he believe Melissa that Tom's a killer right away? I just wanna know where he came from so it'll feel less out of the blue.

Page 82 now, I'm getting a little tired of Melissa trying to run away now, this is like the fourth time she's been doing that. And the third time with Dylan. Maybe you should take her somewhere else to spice things up a little. I couldn't tell apart how each escape is different from another.

Page 86, Tom didn't put her back in her room but just left her on the floor bleeding? And instead of just carrying her to the church, Tom messaged her to go to the church by herself?! What if she's not going?

Okay, so it's Adam. But still....that makes Adam not so bright. And does that mean Adam stole Tom's cell phone to message Melissa?

I don't know, it's not that it doesn't make sense because that could definitely happen. But it's just seems you're trying too hard to deceive the audience as Adam's plan is kinda wacky.

Page 91, wasn't Adam Tom's brother? Not just his best man.


Okay, here are my general impressions and thoughts of the entire script.

I really liked the setup and the first half of your script. They're clean, thrilling, easily relatable, makes us want to know more about the murders, etc. But things start to fall apart in the second half after Dylan is discovered.

Let's talk about the flashbacks and the quick flashes. I don't have any problems with the flashbacks not originated from any of the characters but from a omniscient perspective. What I have problem with is the content of the flashbacks.

I thought flashbacks are used because we want to show the audience, instead of telling, about a past event that is crucial in revealing characters and/or moving the story forward.

Here is a list of flashbacks that don't do that: Tom meeting Melissa for the first time a year ago, Melissa discovers that she's pregnant nine months ago, and Tom arguing with Melissa about not going to Jennifer's funeral three weeks ago. We already know about these events from the dialogue and the effects they have on present times.

But I know what you're trying to do. You're showing the flashbacks in chronological order that represent crucial events that happen between Tom and Melissa. Unfortunately, some of these crucial events have been alluded to more than once.

And now the ending. When I found out it's Adam, I was only like, "Oh, okay." I wasn't surprised because it kinda came out of nowhere. You haven't really allude us to any suspect other than Tom.

Furthermore, you're telling us that Tom is the real killer. But why?

And Kevin, where's he after he got hit in the head?

So my overall suggestions are: trim some of the flashbacks, give us more info on Kevin, allude us to more suspects other than Tom (but then that'll change your story), be more creative with Melissa's escape because they get tiring after she failed to escape twice, and provide us a reason why Tom needs to kill those girls.

Don't get me wrong. I think you did a pretty good job for a 7WC. You did what thriller scripts have do to, and that's entertaining.

I have read two scripts only, but this is the best one so far.


Herman


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Brian M
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Quoted from Dreamscale
GENERAL NOTE involving Kevin – We don’t know who he is, but Mel sure seems to remember him, which is odd to me.  Also, the entire scene with them searching for clues seems very strange.  Why would she tell him anything?  Why would they immediately do this?  It’s bad timing anyway you look at it, and doesn’t compute for me – let’s see where it goes from here.

Page 34 – It’s also weird that this super rich dude, who has his own maid, brings chicken home.  The maid should be cooking them gourmet meals.


Re: Kevin. I wanted him to be the violent, junkie ex-boyfriend, who uses Melissa at every opportunity. That's why he steals the Rolex from the room, while Mel actually thinks he does want to help her. Melissa can remember Kevin as she dated him before Tom, but she can't remember how clingy, almost stalker-like and violent since she left him. I need to find a better way of getting this across.

Ah, the chicken. Surely super rich dude's love some takeaway chicken once in a while, too? I do, but I'm broke.


Quoted from Dreamscale
A girl turns her head, walks towards him. Her name is JENNIFER (2, with the good looks of a Playboy model.” – Really awkward intro.  How about, “JENNIFER (28, good looks of a Playboy model, turns her head, walks towards him.”

Another issue with the Flashback – who is having this Flashback?  It can’t be Mel again, because she wasn’t involved in the beginning of it, so I have to assume it’s Tom’s, but Mel is the one with amnesia and should be the one having the Flashbacks.  Also, like before, it’s not staged properly, as in, it doesn’t fit where you have it.

Page 35 – Who is Claudia?

Page 36 – “You’re memories…” – “Your memories…”


That's a much better intro. Thanks.

Looks like my flashbacks are not working in any way and it's something I'll need to seriously look at. Do you think that doing them from Mel's POV is the way to go? To begin with, I just wanted to show their past, not from any particular point of view, but I'm not having some serious second thoughts.

Claudia's name was changed to Jennifer at the last minute. There's always one instance that slips through!  


Quoted from Dreamscale
“Every little helps” – “Every little bit helps”


Stupid Tesco adverts! Consider it fixed.  


Quoted from Dreamscale
Page 47 – A baby’s been in that locked room all along?  C’mon now…that’s not working for me.  Let’s see where it goes…wait a minute…the baby is only a few months old?  Mel would still be showing, and in a filmed version, we’d know this.  DECEPTION…unfair deception!

Page 50 – Adam says “Don’t wait 3 months before you call again”, meaning it’s been at least 3 months since the wedding?  This doesn’t make sense.


I've made a mess of this. Carrie was taking care of the baby for the first few days and the door was locked so Mel couldn't enter and find all the baby stuff. I completely missed the part where I was supposed to explain that. Thanks for pointing that out.

Adam, yeah, that doesn't make sense. I forgot to cut that part, too.


Quoted from Dreamscale
Page 65-67 – Some issues with this scene – apparently, you’re saying there is a staircase that leads into the garage…not a door, since Tom can see her in the garage from the staircase.  This doesn’t make sense.  Also, the garage door would be closed and Mel didn’t open it.  We also have to assume that of all these cars in the garage, the Porsche is in front, with nothing blocking it in.  I think some more attention to detail is needed here, or earlier, so we have a better picture of this garage.

Page 67 – Here’s a serious problem.  Mel did not strap Dylan into any car seat, so he’s just laying there in the front seat of a Porsche.  With the collision of a street lamp, this kid’s dead, or in really bad shape and Mel is in deep s*** now!


I wanted to have the elevator lead down to the garage but also a staircase which also leads to the main house. Tom can't see Mel down there, but he hears the crowbar dropping, and goes down to check it out. I need to describe this better.

You're right. That baby would fly right through that windshield in the real world. Car seat it is, I'll fix that.


Quoted from Dreamscale
Page 71 – Again, I don’t buy it.  This was a major car crash.  People would have seen it, the police would be involved, Mel would be in deep s***.  How’d they get the car back?  It had to of been wrecked?  Too many things don’ add up here at all.

Page 72 – OK, you tried to explain it but it still doesn’t really fly, IMO.  I’d rethink the scene.


I didn't think it would fly. This was the major problem for me, and it's something that I'll need to find a fix for.


Quoted from Dreamscale
Page 86 – OK, another logic flaw here.  How’d she get to the church?  She’s not allowed to drive, doesn’t seem to have her own car, and just got knocked out.  Based on the fact they live in an extravagant mansion, I’m sure the church is far from walking distance.

Page 87 – So you’re saying Adam somehow got a hold of Tom’s phone and sent this message?  Like Tom just left Mel lying somewhere after he knocked her out?  Adam lives really close by as well…and the church is really close too?  Lots of things aren’t working for me logically, Brian, and I hope you take them into account when you rewrite the next draft.


I was aiming for a small neighborhood, but a very rich neighborhood. I thought most towns had a church in walking distance? Maybe I'm way off the mark here.

Adam did get a hold of Tom's phone and sent the message, I'm hoping that sounds believable. I don't like the scene where Tom knocks Mel out and leaves her there and I'll be changing that. I want him to show his angry side so maybe he can just hurt her and leave with the baby, I don't know. I'll need to find a way to correct this.


Quoted from Dreamscale
I bet it’s difficult to tell whether or not I liked the script.  I did. I really did.  And for a 7 weeks effort, I think you did an outstanding job.

IMO, things definitely went downhill in the 2nd half, there were many logic issues/problems, as well as time line issues, and as noted, I feel like all your Flashbacks are seriously flawed, but f***, this is a first draft, written and conceived in a mere 7 weeks…that stuff can easily be fixed.

You did a really good job in putting this together.  I can tell there was a lot of thought and planning.  It’s got a good flow and feel to it, things move along at a decent clip, there’s action, mystery, suspense, and intrigue.   It has a definite thriller vibe and feel, and it easily passes with a PG13 rating, so a bigger audience.


I'll take any compliments I can get! Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.


Quoted from Dreamscale
OK, what didn’t work and why?  Well, the biggest issue I think is a simple question, Why?  Why?  Why?  And, why?  There are so many things to pose that question to, starting simply with, why would Tom suddenly go on a killing spree like this?  Why would Adam attempt to do what he did to Mel, in a church, in broad daylight, for God’s sake?  Why would Adam kill Carrie?  Why would Tom want to be with Mel?  Why didn’t Mel have a single friend or family member at her side once during the entire script, and based on everything that happened to her, why wouldn’t she let someone in on what was going on?


I agree with you. I had concerns with some scenes, and you've confirmed my suspicions. I won't start a rewrite until I have clear answers to all those questions. I admit to being lazy with parts of this!


Quoted from Dreamscale
Let’s make a point to discuss the Flashback scenes.  I’m curious what your responses will be to what I brought up about them in the notes.  Also, wondering WTF was up with Kevin, and what happened to him, as he had no “ending” did he?


I'll definitely have another look at those flashbacks. I'm thinking Mel's POV might be the way to go. Kevin, I forgot all about, to be honest. I'm kicking myself.

Anyway, thanks a bunch for the detailed notes. They will help me greatly. I should be ready for your entry this weekend, if not a little earlier. Thanks again!
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Brian M
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Hi again, Herman.

I've answered some of the questions in my reply to Jeff above, but I'll get to the rest.


Quoted from Coding Herman
Page 55-57, Tom's reaction seems too sudden, he was nice and understanding a few minutes ago, and now he sounds like a bad guy to me. He should plead Melissa to give up Dylan first, when that doesn't work, then he can threaten her.


Page 82 now, I'm getting a little tired of Melissa trying to run away now, this is like the fourth time she's been doing that. And the third time with Dylan. Maybe you should take her somewhere else to spice things up a little. I couldn't tell apart how each escape is different from another.


You're right. That would work much better.

True. I'll think of something else to make things interesting here.

Flashbacks were a big part of the downfall here, by the looks of things. I've got a lot of thinking to do on them, for sure.

I really wanted Melissa to suspect Tom, the reader to suspect Kevin, and the Adam part to come as a real WTF moment. The problem there, is that the reader will feel cheated when Adam is revealed, for a few pages at least, until we find out Mel was right after all. I need to make Kevin more of a suspect, that's a priority.

Why does Tom kill girls? Again, it's something I need to make clearer in the flashbacks. I didn't want to do the thing so many movies do - he kills because he's rich and he can... I didn't want that. I wanted him to have a reason, and I'm not sure if the reason I gave is strong enough. He blames the "golddigger" Jennifer for the death of his father and was obsessed with her, trying to prove that she poisoned him to make it look like a heart attack. Being a millionaire, he has girls throw themselves at him everywhere he goes (Claire at the restaraunt) and he doesn't like it. He hates these types that only marry for money and add that with the death of his father by one of those exact types, it drives him to kill. I don't know if that actually makes sense in anyway, but that's what I was going for.

Again, thanks for the very detailed notes. I appreciate the time you've taken to do this and I will use them in the rewrite for sure.

Brian
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Coding Herman
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Quoted from Brian M
Tom hates these types that only marry for money and add that with the death of his father by one of those exact types, it drives him to kill. I don't know if that actually makes sense in anyway, but that's what I was going for.


It makes sense to me, but you have to show us that those previous victims were all gold diggers. I think that's the missing link.


FEATURE:

Memwipe
- Sci-Fi, Action, Thriller (114 pages) - In a world where memories can be erased by request, a Memory Erasing Specialist desperately searches for the culprit when his wife becomes a target for erasure -- with his former colleagues hot on his trail.
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khamanna
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Hi Brian,

I'll get straight to the page notes - I think this way I'd be of help best.

p1 - I'd rephrase "and he does, with passion".
p2 - Exposition in Tom's "in a few hours we'll be thousands of feet in the air on route to the Carribbean"
I'm on page 3 and I think in you rewrite you could tweak your opening to give the script the thriller feel. (maybe?)
p4 - passing the baby to Tom for the bouquet - this is nice touch.
p9 - Tom says "her memories" maybe "her memory"? Otherwise looks like he keeps in mind some important memories.
The Nurses answer is a bit long, I think. I think you could cut straight to "answer any questions she has. Tell her stories and we'll see".
p11 - this is a bit bland fo rme - him breakin gthe memories to her plain and simple.
The sentence "she has quick flashes" - I wonder if there's a way to get around it but still show that those are her quick flashes.
p12 - Nurses lines - sounds a bit stilted to me.
I'm on page 17 and I really like the steady flow of it though it reads very slow. I don't think it's a bad thing, besides you keep true to the flow which is good (and a hard thing to do).
I also feel like it's not a big screen movie but one of those TV movies, which is not a bad thing either - I mean we should only pray for it to happen one day (and TV is as good for me)
p18 - this is a nice turn. I think in the end we ought to learn that Tom is not a killer and Tom is going to prove it to us himself.
Melissa running into Andrea is a nice touch too.
I'm beginning to get strong Agatha Christie vibe (Mel for a detective)

This is more of a crime I think, but the genres overlap of course...

p23 - I wish Tom was less unlikable. "you'll get a free dinner" - he's awful.
p25 - Turned off the TV - like he owns her.
p26 - Carrie is funny and alive.
p31 - I think Melissa jumped to conclusions a bit too fast. As a reader I think Tom is innocent. Plus she goes around telling people without any evidence on her hands. I wish she saw something suspicious, heard more...
Kevin probably appears in a script a bit too late.
p35 you have "Claudia walks away" - think you mean Jennifer.
p36 "You're memories" - typo
p40 - "to stop it FROM swaying" perhaps.
p42 - when Tom earlier admitted he "is a killer" - he was probably referring to the death of his dad.
"you're using again" - using what? she remembers?
p57 Sounds like Tome doesn't love her one little bit - too harsh.
Why Carrie's sudden change of heart - "I'll help you to take Dylan away from him"?
p59 - I like Mel's reasoning - I wish you could show it to us earlier. Show Tom's hatred for gold diggers, maybe?
p 81 - She's a sick person and he decides to let her go?
p91 - "when first mEt you"

The thing I didn't like - Mel's got hit by a car has nothing to do with the killings. It's a bit too convenient and too simultaneous. Why Adam went on a killing spree, they knew him for a long time and he started now?

Other than that it's an easy read. Straight Forward I think. Good job!
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Brian M
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Hey Khamanna,

Thanks for taking a look and this and posting your notes. They will help a lot.


Quoted from khamanna

The thing I didn't like - Mel's got hit by a car has nothing to do with the killings. It's a bit too convenient and too simultaneous. Why Adam went on a killing spree, they knew him for a long time and he started now?

Other than that it's an easy read. Straight Forward I think. Good job!


I think you missed a bit right at the end, there. Adam only killed Carrie, accidently after he tried to rape her and she fought back. He was prepared to kill Melissa because if she went to the police with evidence about Tom, they would most likely find out he murdered Carrie and it's game over. Mel was right in the end, and Tom was responsible for the other murders.

I'll have to disagree about the crash. I think it has everything to do with the killings. Before the crash, Mel was madly in love with Tom, had a baby and married him, all in a very short time frame (just over a year, I think). She would never think he could kill anyone, or she would never have married him. After the crash, she has to get to know him again. If the crash never happened, she wouldn't have been suspicious of him and there would have been no story. In the flashbacks (which don't work as they should), she remembers good things and bad things about their time together. Bad things like his obsession with Jennifer and his father's death, which lead her to believe that she's right and Tom is a killer.

It's been a great exercise for everyone involved and I'm sure everyone will be happy with their finished product once the rewrite's are out of the way. Thanks again for reading, it's much appreciated.

Brian

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khamanna
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Yeah, Brian, I just checked. Thanks for letting me know. I really like that angle.
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Grandma Bear
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Brian,

just noticed you commented on my script! Thanks!

I think you did pretty good here for  a first draft. Congrats!! Now to the nitty gritty...

I didn't read the other comments on your script, but I did notice several people including Jeff provided page by page notes so I skipped that and just read this while lounging by the pool today.  My favorite thing to do.    

The only thing I'm going to suggest about the writing is that you have a LOT of orphans. Probably adds a whole extra page to the script with those extra lines. For example, on page 2 you could replace the words "laughs nervously" with the word titter and the sentence would be short enough to fit on a single line eliminating that orphan. A lot of the times the easiest way is to simply get rid of the word "and".

I would also suggest writing END FLASHBACK. There were a few times when I had to reread something just to figure out if we were still in the flashback or not.

Adam's toast in the beginning is a perfect place to hint at some of the things to come. Not to give him away, but something so when we find out he is the killer it doesn't come out of left field so much. It's a tad long. Nothing wrong with that if you make it count�

In the hospital  when Melissa wakes up. The nurse asks if there's someone she wants them to call, but they already know who she is and who her husband is and Carrie, seems to me they would either automatically contact her parents or have Tom handle that part.

It should also be a doctor that tells Tom and Melissa about her status and what to do and not to do.

One big question before I forget. Were Mel and Tom really going to go off on a honeymoon in the caribbean and leave a 3 month old baby at home? That lowers my opinion on both of them.

Don't get why they keep the baby a secret. Doesn't make sense.

They drive on in a really nice area with fancy houses. Their's is the biggest, yet later in the story it seems that a lot of things are within walking distance�like Carries house for example.

You use the word "smirk" at least 3 times in this script. This is the definition of smirk according to the dictionary "to smile in an affected, smug, or offensively familiar way". I don't think that's what you meant when you wrote that.

Would Tom really have a fat woman with stringy hair and rotten teeth as his maid? I wouldn't if I was him. Everything has to fit. She doesn't fit in as a maid to someone living large like that. At least not to me. If I was rich like that I wouldn't pay to have someone repulsive to look at. Not to mention take care of my baby.

There's a lot of dialogue...

I don't get that Carrie and Melissa have known each other since 7th grade and Carrie has known Tom for 5 and they met by chance in a restaurant.

Seems to me Melissa goes from angry and suspicious to being totally neutral a little too easily. Like she's afraid of Tom, but in the next scene she's back at the house and things are back the way they were.

Why is Kevin trying to pick the lock to the house? What's his plan? Burglary? Does he know Melissa or the maid are at home? If so, why not knock on the door?

Characters:

Melissa. She's not bad, but she does a few things I don't like. Those things need to be taken care of IMHO since it's crucial that we like our "hero". When Tom first takes her back to the mansion she does seem like a golddigger. Not good! She says to Tom in the restaurant that she's not that kind of girl that can be bought. Please keep her that way.

I also thought she was very distant from the baby. Even when Tom, Melissa and Andrea are all in the kitchen. It's Andrea who's feeding the baby. She should show more motherly instinctive behavior. Right now she seems very cold.

I thought she jump way too quick to the conclusion that Tom was the killer. Sure she hears him saying so on the phone, but if he really was the killer, would he really tell someone that on the phone? There need to be other stronger clues for her to so persistently accuse him.

IMO, her amnesia doesn't come across as being that big a deal. If I was her I would ask a million questions. Who's in this picture? How did we meet? Where are my parents? I would be looking at things, touching things. Trying to remember. Melissa just seems to accept everything too easily and is even excited at being so rich. Next day she spends all day shopping?????  Doesn't make her a great character. Makes her shallow if you ask me. The memories seem to come back very randomly as well.

Tom. I'm having a little bit of a problem with Tom falling for Mel. She's not gorgeous. She's not too bright. Not highly educated or funny. Not even that charming. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, just seems that Tom is at least 2nd generation wealth and as such would be highly educated and used to a certain class of people. I think you need to show us something about her that we can believe he fell hard for.

Why is he out late at night being fried chicken? I don't know about things in the UK, but if this was in the US, I would say that would be out of character for a man of his social status. Not that I know that many mega wealthy people, but they tend to like "fine foods" not a bucket of fried chicken if you know what I mean?

Kevin. Not sure what to think about him. I guess he was there to be a possible suspect? I got the feeling they had been together in the past, but he had beat the hell out of Melissa? If so, why is she even talking to him? She seems to remember him. Wouldn't she remember the beating too?

Adam. Just an annoying guy. I would have liked to see him a little more menacing or "sick" or something. Doesn't mean he has to act like a real whacko, but he is the killer�  He could be the opposite of a sicko. Like Hannibal Lector,  cold, calculating. Very polite, charming� You need to set him up better for the reveal and we have to be able to believe it is him. Also would like to know a little back story on him so we can better understand why he became a rapist to begin with.

I'm not really finished yet, but I have to serve dinner now and reply to Blackout!  Any questions, just fire away.  


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Brian M
Posted: September 14th, 2010, 11:04am Report to Moderator
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Hi Pia,

Thanks for checking this out. I appreciate your comments. I'll try to answer a few the best I can.


Quoted from Grandma Bear
I don't get that Carrie and Melissa have known each other since 7th grade and Carrie has known Tom for 5 and they met by chance in a restaurant.


My mistake. I left this in by accident and have some explaining to do in the second draft!


Quoted from Grandma Bear
Melissa. She's not bad, but she does a few things I don't like. Those things need to be taken care of IMHO since it's crucial that we like our "hero". When Tom first takes her back to the mansion she does seem like a golddigger. Not good! She says to Tom in the restaurant that she's not that kind of girl that can be bought. Please keep her that way.

Tom. I'm having a little bit of a problem with Tom falling for Mel. She's not gorgeous. She's not too bright. Not highly educated or funny. Not even that charming. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, just seems that Tom is at least 2nd generation wealth and as such would be highly educated and used to a certain class of people. I think you need to show us something about her that we can believe he fell hard for.

I also thought she was very distant from the baby. Even when Tom, Melissa and Andrea are all in the kitchen. It's Andrea who's feeding the baby. She should show more motherly instinctive behavior. Right now she seems very cold.


Ah, it appears she does come across as a bit of a gold digger in a few scenes. I'll see to that. Tom's reasons for falling for her are that she's not like those other girls who throw themselves at anyone with a big wallet, so I can see how this is a problem. A major problem, actually. I think she could be a pretty cool character if I can keep her the way I intended throughout the entire script. Hell, maybe people will even root for her and that will be a first for a lead character in my feature scripts! I will improve my character skills eventually, I know I will!

I agree with you about the baby. If a baby looks at me, they start crying! Maybe that's why I write them like they're a toy and nobody cares about them. I'll fix this.


Quoted from Grandma Bear
IMO, her amnesia doesn't come across as being that big a deal. If I was her I would ask a million questions. Who's in this picture? How did we meet? Where are my parents? I would be looking at things, touching things. Trying to remember. Melissa just seems to accept everything too easily and is even excited at being so rich. Next day she spends all day shopping?????  Doesn't make her a great character. Makes her shallow if you ask me. The memories seem to come back very randomly as well.


I actually cut a few questions out in the last quick edit because I felt she was asking too much! Oops. I'm not sure, on one hand, it would seem more realistic to have her asking a question every minute. On the other hand, it could make her extremely annoying , and I don't want that. I'll have to find a way to balance this. As for the shopping, it was Tom who suggested to Carrie to take her because he felt she acted strange at breakfast in the morning.


Quoted from Grandma Bear
Kevin. Not sure what to think about him. I guess he was there to be a possible suspect? I got the feeling they had been together in the past, but he had beat the hell out of Melissa? If so, why is she even talking to him? She seems to remember him. Wouldn't she remember the beating too?


Kevin did date Melissa in the past, but when she ended it because he was using drugs, he became almost a stalker type. He only hit Melissa after she left him, and just before she met Tom. Because she has lost the last year of memories, she can only remember the drugs and not the violence. I should work to get this across better, as it's not really clear at all. Thanks.

Again, thanks for your thoughts. I've already got a whole lot of ideas that will improve this, but I just need the time to start a rewrite... and I hate rewriting!

Brian
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George Willson
Posted: September 16th, 2010, 8:30am Report to Moderator
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First up on my reading list is this one. Knowing a little about basic story I was just waiting for something to happen in the first few pages, and you set it up very well. Great event to open with.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems a bit weird for the nurse to be the authority they're leaning on for the information. The nurse told him what was wrong, and he referenced the nurse later. I would think a doctor would be a more natural source.

On 36... Uh, Claudia? Maybe that's supposed to be Jennifer. I'm sure if I look over the previous reviews, I'll find that comment in spades.

Ok, on 65 here's where you pull a pet peeve of mine. A character is asked a direct question where the answer would undoubtedly destroy the conflict if only they answered. The character withholds the answer and the conflict continues. I always think that if it were me and I'm in that situation, I would answer to diffuse the situation rather than hold on to whatever. If Tom just answered the question, your story would end. You shouldn't place characters into that situation. It has always felt artificial to me. When he finally talked, it was significant, sure, but also had no reason why he wouldn't say something earlier, especially the first time she brought it up pages ago.

So I reached the end of it, and this is quite good. I was initially concerned when your amnesiac seemed to be only temporary, but it worked out very well through the whole story. I thought the flashbacks were well placed and told just what they needed to. I think the twists at the end were also well done. As I was reading, I had both alternatives in my head and pondered which I would prefer it ended with. In the end, you actually managed to deliver both, so I was quite happy with that.

There were some points that annoyed me, though I'm not sure how fixable they really are. Melissa was at times very, very over the top irrational. I can see using the condition as an excuse for that, but some of her moves were just nuts. In addition, Tom seemed quite over the top at times in dealing with her. Whether he's a good husband or not, he loses a lot of credibility by smashing her head into a door. Ok, so she smashed a mirror over his head, but remember that she gets a handicap for her amnesia. What's his excuse?

Overall, this was very well done, though. I enjoyed the read. It definitely has a lot of potential. Good job.


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Brian M
Posted: September 16th, 2010, 12:47pm Report to Moderator
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Hi George,


Quoted from George Willson
Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems a bit weird for the nurse to be the authority they're leaning on for the information. The nurse told him what was wrong, and he referenced the nurse later. I would think a doctor would be a more natural source.

On 36... Uh, Claudia? Maybe that's supposed to be Jennifer. I'm sure if I look over the previous reviews, I'll find that comment in spades.


You're right. It should be a doctor. I'm not sure why I didn't go back and fix this before I sent it in.

I'm beating myself up about the Jennifer/Claudia mistake. During a last minute name change, there's always one instance that slips past. Always! I can't believe I missed that.


Quoted from George Willson
Ok, on 65 here's where you pull a pet peeve of mine. A character is asked a direct question where the answer would undoubtedly destroy the conflict if only they answered. The character withholds the answer and the conflict continues. I always think that if it were me and I'm in that situation, I would answer to diffuse the situation rather than hold on to whatever. If Tom just answered the question, your story would end. You shouldn't place characters into that situation. It has always felt artificial to me. When he finally talked, it was significant, sure, but also had no reason why he wouldn't say something earlier, especially the first time she brought it up pages ago.

So I reached the end of it, and this is quite good. I was initially concerned when your amnesiac seemed to be only temporary, but it worked out very well through the whole story. I thought the flashbacks were well placed and told just what they needed to. I think the twists at the end were also well done. As I was reading, I had both alternatives in my head and pondered which I would prefer it ended with. In the end, you actually managed to deliver both, so I was quite happy with that.


I hear you. It's probably a situation I'd be best avoiding. I'll see what I can do in the next draft.

Delighted you liked the ending. I wasn't sure the double twist would work but no one has complained about it so far, so I'm quite happy.


Quoted from George Willson
There were some points that annoyed me, though I'm not sure how fixable they really are. Melissa was at times very, very over the top irrational. I can see using the condition as an excuse for that, but some of her moves were just nuts. In addition, Tom seemed quite over the top at times in dealing with her. Whether he's a good husband or not, he loses a lot of credibility by smashing her head into a door. Ok, so she smashed a mirror over his head, but remember that she gets a handicap for her amnesia. What's his excuse?

Overall, this was very well done, though. I enjoyed the read. It definitely has a lot of potential. Good job.


I will need to work hard with Melissa's character, as a lot of problems have been pointed out to me. Tom, too. I'm really stuck over him smashing her head off a door. I wanted the reader to think when he does this, Melissa might actually be right and Tom does have it in him to be a killer, but it does make him come across as over the top. I'll be thinking over this scene before I do the rewrite.

Thanks a lot for reading, George. It's very much appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've loved taking part in this challenge and it's something I'll definitely be trying again. I'll be starting yours tonight, so I should have something up by tomorrow. Thanks again!

Brian
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Grandma Bear
Posted: September 19th, 2010, 9:51pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Brian M
Tom's reasons for falling for her are that she's not like those other girls who throw themselves at anyone with a big wallet, so I can see how this is a problem. A major problem, actually. I think she could be a pretty cool character if I can keep her the way I intended throughout the entire script. Hell, maybe people will even root for her and that will be a first for a lead character in my feature scripts! I will improve my character skills eventually, I know I will!
Your intensions are good. Her reactions when she first get to the mansion is total "golddigger" attitude.


Quoted from Brian M
I agree with you about the baby. If a baby looks at me, they start crying! Maybe that's why I write them like they're a toy and nobody cares about them. I'll fix this.
Mother instincts are stronger than any other instincts. How many times have you heard about not coming between a mother "bear", a mother "moose" or whatever? It's very strong and the instinct is to protect the baby at all cost.


Quoted from Brian M
As for the shopping, it was Tom who suggested to Carrie to take her because he felt she acted strange at breakfast in the morning.
I understand. I just don't think it fits in this situation. If I couldn't remember anything...husband...mansion...whatever. The last thing I'd want to do would be go shopping. I'd be all obsessed about remembering.  Hope that helps.  





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Brian M
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Thanks for coming back to this, Pia. Everything you have said has helped a lot!
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Murphy
Posted: September 22nd, 2010, 6:30pm Report to Moderator
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Brian, first off, well done for knocking out a feature in 7 weeks, not easy and while probably not the best way to have a fully fledged feature written it seems a good exercise and think overall you did a pretty good job of it.

The biggest thing I got from this is that it is clear you know how to write a screenplay, I liked your action, the dialogue was great and think you did a great job on giving the two main characters something real. Though also think secondary characters, especially the brother given how important he turns out to be, needed some more development. But the writing is good and it certainly helped get through this.

What I liked:

The introduction, great scene to start with, and while yes you could have dropped the vows and started with them leaving the church, it is still a good way to introduce us to everyone at once. It was not out of place as it forms a major part of the story and served its purpose rather well.

The dialogue was decent, nothing too much wrong here. Along with your well defined characters the fact that they talk to each other in real voices really helped me get through the script.

The initial car crash scene, decently written there.

What I hated:

The end! Sorry but the double twist was not needed and really was the final nail in a story I had great trouble believing.

The plot. I never bought it for a minute, despite the fact I bought into the people. The whole story is so full of holes I am amazed it stays together at all. It relies so much on people not asking the right questions, not saying the obvious, an overheard telephone conversation that is not followed up and quite frankly a ridiculous farce. In fact despite my dislike of the ending I guess it fits because the only way I could possibly believe Tom's behaviour during this script would be if he was actually the killer. Which even if that was the case it still should not be, as the final reveal should be a surprise.

The Baby. Yes by all means have Maria or Carrie look after the baby, but keeping him locked up in the house???

The killer. Knew pretty much straight away it would be him, you had no other characters introduced, and you certainly tried a bit hard to give Kevin the Red Herring role.

Every single scene had either Tom or Mel in it, you never left them for a minute, giving the brother and maybe even Kevin a small sub-plot of their own would have gone a long way towards the development of their own characters.


I could go on, but I have to think that for a 7 week script then this is not too bad, the major plot problems can be forgiven when putting the idea of the challenge into context. You certainly passed the challenge.

But I am pointing this out because I have read you mentioning that this is a a first draft and you tend to write another. I would advise that you don't. Be pleased with what you have accomplished in 7 weeks, be pleased you managed to pass the test and be proud of what you came up with. But I don't see how another 5 drafts and a few months could turn this story into anything else.

You clearly can write well, I think you would be much better served by locking this down and starting something new, something you can take the time to plot out and make sure it works on all levels.

Hope I have not been too harsh!

Cheers.

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RayW
Posted: September 23rd, 2010, 4:59am Report to Moderator
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Part 1 of 2

Wooo-Who! Last one for me!
Hi five, Brian.

Zippy good story you gots here.
Now let's butcher it!
BAH-HA-HA!


Crib sheet:
MELISSA KING (24), naturally beautiful, her cheeks glow
TOM HOWARD (39), ruggedly handsome and self-assured with a neatly trimmed moustache
ADAM HOWARD (35), a little tipsy with an air of confidence about him, Tom’s younger brother

KEVIN SCOTT (23), tall, skinny, scruffy, bags under his eyes, not the usual type of resident in this neighborhood
MOLLY (23), a beautiful blonde
CARRIE (24), talks too fast for her own good
ANDREA (50), the house maid, overweight with stringy hair
(Keep Andrea just the way she is. No wife wants pretty maids in the house any more than
moms want pretty high school teachers for their boys. Just common sense.)
EDWARD (42), cares more about his hair than anything else
(You can probably ditch Ed and substitute Adam.)
JENNIFER (28 ), with the good looks of a Playboy model


PDG pg 6
MELISSA
God, I can’t even breathe in this
dress.
TOM
Flight’s not for another two
hours. There’s lots of time to
change.
He holds her hand.
TOM (CONT’D)
For the record, I don’t think
there’s any need.
I think you
look beautiful in your dress.

A$$. Between the gold clubs, the Porsche and this you've done a fine job suggesting Tom's a control freak. Already.

PDF pg 7 That was  nice opening sequence.

PDF pg 8
Large trees line up alongside a glistening lake. Crime
scene tape corners off an area of the woodland. POLICE
OFFICERS and FORENSIC TEAMS roam around inside the area.

exchange corners for cordons
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cordon

PDF pg 9
Melissa struggles as the nurse grips her arm. She injects
the syringe
into her IV line.

The nurse walks towards a GROUP OF DOCTORS in the corner of
the room.

Whoa! When did they magically appear in the room?

Insert a reference back up on PDF 8...
A heart monitor beeps steadily. Melissa, in a hospital
gown, lies on the bed unconscious, an oxygen mask pulled
over her face.

... RIGHT ABOUT HERE that Drs and a nurse quietly converse in the corner.
Her eyes flicker slightly, then gradually open. Confused,
she takes in her surroundings. Barely able to move, she
stares at the TV.


Or, since the very next scene cuts to Tom, LATER, just delete the reference to doctors in the
room and have the nurse simply walk out the door.

PDF pg 10
NURSE
We have to run some more tests,
but I think I’ve got a good idea
of what’s going on. Your wife is
suffering from retrograde
amnesia.

Yeah, others have also commented and I concur that is definitely a first conversation with a doctor rather than a nurse.

Pg 12
TOM
I proposed to you two months ago.
You made me the happiest man in
the world.

Two months ago. Met a year ago. Nice. In a hurry, Tom?
As the story moves along Tom's neurotic detailing wanes.
On the rewrite be sure to maintain that consistently throughout the story.
He can be innocent and annoying simultaneously.

Pg 13 Yeah. More doctor rather than nurse conversation.
Now, the part where Tom asks if anyone else has been to visit would definitely be a nurse question.
Either have Tom ask the doctor and he direct Tom to the nurses or just have Tom thank the doctor and know to go ask the nurses himself.

Pg 17
TOM
Then you wouldn’t have seen your
pictures.

That was a sweet touch.

Pg 20
TOM (CONT’D)
I’m going out for some chicken.
Do you want some?

A man in a mansion does not go out for "some chicken"
Figure something exotic, like mango chicken at SuchNSuch. Something.
I'm cool with him not wanting the maid to prepare everything.

Here's the deal: As writers we're all fussin' and fittin' over every little word or sentence or sequence or whatever just to pad or thin the screenplay to some magical page count - which, to varying degrees, is legit/reasonable.
What would a director do when he goes to shoot this?
Toss in a two second sequence of Andrea the maid putting on her evening jacket as she's walking out the back door as Tom enters the kitchen. "Good night, mister Howard." "Good night, Andrea. See, you in the morning."
Ta da.
Done.
Now... do you really wanna suck up... six or eight lines spoon feeding the director to suggest the maid isn't a live in?
Or can we leave that little smidge of a tid bit for the director to figure out on the set?

Tom switches the light off, exits the room.
Was the light already on and he thoughtfully turned it off while she pretended to sleep.
Or did the a$$ flip it on as soon as he entered?

Exchange Adam for Edward for the "Mel meets Tom" flashback.
No need in adding extra cast when you don't need to.

Pg 24
MELISSA
If I say yes, will you let me get
back to work?

Tom smiles.

INT. HOWARD MANSION - KITCHEN - MORNING

Melissa enters the kitchen to that same unmistakable smile
as Tom pours two mugs of coffee.

This transition from a year ago flashback to current needs a END FLASHBACK or something.
However, I see from other comments and your own replies that there will be some big re-write clarifications.

As a general suggestion, I'd try to limit those as being those from a single character rather than from multiple charchters.
This FB clearly has information only Tom knows, so we know it's his not hers.
I'd figure in the "How we first met" information into a brief conversation with another character, either Tom to someone or Mel to someone.

No answer from Melissa. He proceeds anyway.
A$$

Pg 26
TOM
I wasn’t anywhere near the park.

"SuchNSuch is in the other direction."

Pg 27
MELISSA
I’m not listening to this.

She's being a bit too excited over this.
Either tone down her outbursts or predicate with a little more justification.
She did just get home yesterday, after all, and she really doesn't know WTH is going on with much of anything.

Instead of them doing something frivolous like burning plastic at the shops have Carrie spend the day driving Mel around town to familiar places to jog her memory. Maybe they go to Carrie's home to look at her memory/scrap books.

Pg 29
CARRIE
Listen, honey I’ve known Tom for
over five years. Whatever is
making you unsure about him,
forget it. He’s a great guy.
You’ve got everything you could
ever want. You’ve married an
insanely successful and handsome
man. Everything you have now, you
deserve it all.

From other comments I see other people are having trouble with this. I don't know why.
Not all of my friends know each other, but maybe I travel in pretty wide and diverse circles.
It's easily plausible.
But monkey with the dates if you you feel so compelled.

Pg 30
She looks at the main door. Another BANG from outside. She
walks closer to it.
The sound of someone trying to pick a lock. She puts her
hand on the door handle, takes a deep breath. She pulls the
door open.

The banging on the door and "lock picking" are not explained.
Explain or change.
Any particular reason he can't use the doorbell?

Pg 31 Gotta ditch Kevin calling Mel "Baby", twice. It's weird, considering.
Also we need some back story on him IN the story pronto, otherwise her selective amnesia is starting to look pretty weird.
Maybe Carrie can ask about him on the way out the door.

Pg 32
MELISSA
I was gonna tell Carrie but she
would never believe me over him.
KEVIN
You can’t trust her. Just keep
this between me and you, okay?
She nods.

Need to establish why she trusts Kevin so much over Carrie.

KEVIN (CONT’D)
I know that I’m probably not your
favorite person right now, and
you have every reason to be
pissed with me. You might be with
him now but your still my baby.
Do you hear me?
31.
Melissa nods her head.
Yeah. We need back story, pronto.

I'm wondering if when Tom kisses her hand in the hospital if her first flashback could actually be of Kevin RATHER than Tom?
Or maybe some innocuous item in the house can be a visual trigger of Kevin.

Pg 33
KEVIN (CONT’D)
We need to find something
concrete that says he’s involved.

Strange dude beats on the front door a couple of times, at night, while Mel's husband is either out at work still or killing victim #4 and ol' Kev is just ready to throw him under the bus.
Mel's right there with him.
Needs re-work.

KEVIN
It could be anything. Clothes.
Jewelry. Anything that’s for a
girl and not yours.

Is she going to remember "what's hers"?

Pg 34
MELISSA
You’ve gotta go. Now.

D'ja think?

Pg 35
Melissa makes her way down the last few steps of the
staircase. Tom awaits, a bucket of fried chicken in his
hands.

Goodness. I stand corrected. Maybe 39yo men who live in mansions do go out for "some chicken".


Need to mention how Kevin slinks out the back door or something.
Make it exciting.

The Burial of Tom's Father flashback sequence needs a END FLASHBACK

Pg 37
MELISSA
Just small stuff, bits at a time,
you know?

Have the doctor talk to both of them at the same time about her memory returning bits at a time.
She can throw in there at this time "Just like the doctor said."

NEWS BROADCAST (V.O.)
Police have confirmed another
girl has been reported missing.
Claire Jackson, nineteen--

Nineteen year old gold digger? Was she in like Digger Scouts? Gold Brownies?

Since this the third or fourth killing in A.Park surely the cops and media would have picked up on a pattern and given the murderer a nickname such as the "Avondale Park Strangler" or "High Society Killer" or "Upper Crust Killer".
Something.
Later, when she's spilling her beans to Carrie she can state she thinks Tom is the "Blah Blah Blah".

Pg 38
BACK TO SCENE
There you go! Whatever works for you, put those in to end all flashbacks.

TOM
My watch. It was in our room but
I can’t find it.

For obvious reasons, they're not sleeping in the same bet together, yet.
Go back to after she's been brought home and had the grand tour to put some flirty dialog of Mel's that Tom is just going to have to date her all over again before they sleep together.
However, she will allow him a kiss - and that brings the Kevin flashback - NOT Tom, and it freaks her out a little.

Pg 39
MELISSA
Yeah.

No. She needs something smart alecky here.
"Getting there."
"Not just yet."
"When the squirrels bring back the rest of my nuts."
Something.
Make her smart.
Give the actress that will play your leading lady something that will get her an Oscar in her jewelery cabinet.

MELISSA
Carrie! Call me when you get
this. The missing girl, I think
Tom has something to do with it.
You’ve gotta call me.

Okay. Maybe Missy isn't the brightest star in the sky.
What if suspicious Tom had left the kitchen but was eavesdropping just outside in the hall?

She sets the phone down, rushes out of the room.
And Tom is there.
BUSTED!
C'mon, Mel! Wise up, Buttercup!
(See what I'm saying?)

Pg 40 Using the crowbar to bust open the SUV back door needs to be reworked.
Maybe she just knocks over his prized golf clubs when she scoots around to open the drivers-side door to simply pop the back door catch.
Or when it opens the golf club bag can roll onto the garage floor with a large clatter.
She quickly darts down to grab them back up and bangs her forehead on the bumper enough to make a mark.
She stuffs the bag back in but Tom-the-neurotic-control-freak notices one of the head socks/mitten/whatever is knocked off or remains on the garage floor.
On her jog shortly, Kevin will remark on either the scratch or a band-aid in her forehead.
When he's finished appreciating her sweaty boobs, of course.

I mean... hey! Priorities.



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RayW
Posted: September 23rd, 2010, 5:02am Report to Moderator
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Part 2 of 3

Pg 41
TOM
Are you okay?
MELISSA
Yeah... I’m fine.

Have the doctor back at the bedside conference with the two of them include that as Mel's memories come back in disjointed pieces that she may experience some mild anxiety attacks.
She can then plausibly attribute her weird behavior here to that and Tom can reluctantly buy it.
Get rid of the blood elements. That just complicates the story too much.
No one sees dripped blood from a spouse or loved one and NOT aggressively follow up on it.

Pg 42
MELISSA
I called Carrie and left her a
message hours ago. She’s gonna think I’m
crazy!


Pg 44
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET, Andrea stands outside a
shop, watches on open-mouthed.

It will be interesting to see what Andrea saw that was so mouth agape-able about what looks like Mel and Kev briefly arguing in the street.

TOM
Touché.

No! "Guilty as charged."
LOL! Gotta throw those teasers when you can.

CARRIE
Did you see how far I hit that
frickin’ ball?

Where the h3ll is she hitting golf balls outside?
I thought this was in Manhattan?
Where the h3ll IS Avondale Park, anyway?

Pg 45 Need to establish during the wedding that Adam and Carrie are a new or recent couple.

Pg 46
MELISSA
I know what I heard!
That catches Tom’s attention. He turns to see what all the
fuss is about.

Slick, Mel. Regular Jane Bond you are, eh?

Pg 47
CARRIE
Just a minute! Girl talk over here!

On re-write make her more of clever, sweet jet setter.
Bumpkin girl next door types just can't socially compete.

CARRIE (CONT’D)
But if you keep pursuing this,
I’m gonna have to tell Tom, for
your own safety. Believe me when
I say I only want what’s best for
you, sweetie. I always have.

I like how you've set up this veneered friendship between Carrie and Mel.
Now that Carrie's feeling her opportunity to "land a big one" is being threatened her true colors are biting through. Nice.

Carrie laughs and wiggles her a$$ more than necessary.

Pg 48
SNAP! She pulls the key out, looks at it. It’s broken in
the lock.

Don't try that at home. It takes a great deal of effort.
You'll likely to just bend the steel key.
I'd ditch that entire break/throw/slumpNcry/door-magically-opens-anyway bit.
On the fourth key (because the audience is pre wired for the magical third anything to work), just as she hears Tom, Adam and Carrie calling after her, with concern, entering the house or approaching the bottom of the steps, she opens the door!

Um... I've read the comments others have made about the implausibility of this baby scenario and agree with them.
If the plot doesn't absolutely depend upon this later, I'd figure a completely different shocking twist of the room's contents.
I know the subject material adds a great deal of emotional charge to the story and to delete it would also delete a great number of pages/minutes, so... I dunno.
I'm pulling a Billy from Predator: I know something out there. I just can't see it.


Pg 49
TOM (CONT’D)
Carrie was going to take care of...
... Andrea keep an eye on him since
the accident.

I'm surprised there wasn't a wedding video and pictures scene.

Pg 50
TOM
It was my decision to keep this...
... This could have done more harm
than good.

Worm in there that the doctor had suggested it.
Could be a big fat lie, doesn't matter.

TOM (CONT’D)
I know you’ve been having a hard
time the past few days. I understand
why your anxiety attacks are
happening.
I just want to say that
I’m here for you.


Pg 51
ADAM (CONT’D)
And don’t wait three months
before you call again.

I don't know why people reading this have been thinking it's been three months since the accident.
No.
Dylan was BORN three months ago and Adam hasn't been INVITED OVER in three months.
The wedding and accident have been only a week ago: several days in the hospital + several days at home.

She’s not convinced.
ARGH!!
It's an UNHOLY UNFILMABLE!!!
Stab it with a wooden steak!
(That was a joke. I know it's s'posed to be stake.)
"She gives him a long, uncomfortable stare."
"She stares at him,  judging."

Pg 52
MELISSA
I’m pregnant.

"I'm a flunky."
Something a smarta$$y waitress would say.

BACK TO SCENE needed at end of "Pregnant Barf" flashback.
(Assuming the entire baby-thing remains.)

Pg 53
Melissa stares at Tom, waits for an answer.
TOM
That’ll be Carrie. Pull yourself
together.

He really is a d!ck.

Pg 54
Carrie grabs Melissa, gives her a comforting hug.
B!tch! You're half as guilty as Tom for not telling Mel, miss "Shop til night time the first morning home".

Get the killer's nickname in on that newspaper headline.

Whatever happened to "mouth agape Andrea" viewing Mel and Kev arguing on the street?

Pg 55
MELISSA
I thought I could trust you to
listen to me at the very least.

Other readers were wringing hands over Mel's paucity of friends.
Honestly, people are so cliquish that it's certainly likely Mel's rags-to-riches rise to station has not gone over well with the jet-set peer group.
Perhaps Mel's old waitress buddies feel pretty uncomfortable taking a cab to posh Avondale.
Prior mention of such could be made and explains why it seems only Carrie comes calling to check out Mel.

Pg 56
TOM (CONT’D)
Carrie’s told me everything.
She draws daggers at Carrie, betrayed.
CARRIE
I had to, babes.

See?! Here you've done an excellent job of Carrie playing "the Game".
She probably doesn't give a sh!t about Dylan, but she does want to suck up to the people that could butter her bread: Tom and Adam.
So she circumvents/betrays the wife by playing the "It's in your best interests, Babes." card.
On the rewrite make her a junior play-yah!

Tom can’t muster an answer.
His refusal to explain or question is odd.
I know you have to string out a proper answer to as late as possible, but...

Pg 57
TOM
Look at you, you’re a mess. They
will make you look even more
crazy and unstable, if that’s
possible. You will never get to
see Dylan again. Believe me, I
will make that happen
.

strike Believe me, I will make that happen
"Don't make that happen. Please."

Tom turns to Carrie, snaps.
TOM
It’s none of your damn business!

She's overstepped her girlfriend-of-brother bounds.

What happened to the poor and unfortunate Andrea in this scene?

Pg 58
MELISSA
I’m sorry... I can’t trust you
anymore.

No sh!t. Carrie, WTH were you thinking?
Can't play both sides of the court, sweetie.

Pg 59
Melissa, in her full running gear,  jogs down the walkway by
the shops.

She's really stressed out so have her running this time.

As she comes to an abrupt stop have Kevin exclaim "Hold up, Sea biscuit!"
She can dismiss it and pick up with the charming "What do you have?"

Pg 61
KEVIN
Why not just kill this Jennifer
girl Why the other girls?

Kevin's background and involvement really needs to be worked out.

MELISSA
They won’t take anything I say
seriously. Not after the
accident.
Kevin looks confused.
KEVIN
Why?

A: Cause you ain't got sh!t for evidence.
B: Kevin? WTH is wrong with you? You know Mel ain't got sh!t, too. "Why?"! Idiot.

KEVIN
This Claire girl. They haven’t
found any body. For all we know,
she might be alive and well and
just ran away to be with some
asshole boyfriend
or something.

strike might be alive and well and just ran away to be with some asshole boyfriend
may have found her goldmine and their off to Aruba
Claire could be Kevin's replacement after he was fired.

Pg 62
KEVIN (CONT’D)
It means the world that you’ve
found it in your heart to forgive
me and give me another chance--

Yeah, you big wanker!
You didn't tell Mel she just popped a bun three months ago, either.
Didja?

Pg 63
MELISSA
It was him, wasn’t it? Is he
trying to scare you?
KEVIN
Listen to me--

There's a WHOLE story here we're not seeing. Bring it in.
If you're not doing anything else with Kevin, he can be Melissa's co-worker/lover from back in their restaurant days and they could've just been coming off a spat when Mel accepted Tom's request to go out.
And he's been pining away since.

Pg 64
TOM
He’s not allowed to be within
five hundred feet of you.

I guess than answers the agape jawed Andrea response!

Pg 65
Tom grabs her arm tightly.
That poor girl's arms! LOL! What is that? About the fourth time someone has grabbed them?

Pg 66
Out of breath, Tom stumbles to the top of the staircase,
looks down the hallway.

Killer shouldn't be that winded from running a single flight of stairs.
He might be breathing a little hard, but not out of breath.
In fact, you should have "Killer" Tom be eerily healthier than cardio-Mel.

SMASH! Melissa cracks Tom over the head with the large
mirror from the wall.

GD, Mel! That was crazy. I think you just signed your name to the nut-house lease with that action.
Otherwise, I'd have Mel whack Tom in the head with a large book of nursery rhymes.

MELISSA
Come on, boy.

You need to show Mel spending more time with Dylan, since discovery, to demonstrate the re-establishment of mother-baby bond taking place.

Pg 68
Mmm... not that I have a magical solution, but this half-cocked grab-the-baby-and-run plan of Mel's is pretty bonkers.
Best suggestion I can come up with is grab a random something out of the fridge and say "It's important that I run away with this!"
Then plan it as your walk to your garage and sit behind the wheel of your car.
Then complicate it.
Pretend you're going to take your cat/dog/goldfish.
Now, what do you do?
You don't want your audience rhetorically yelling at your protagonist "You stupid c^nt! WTH kinda plan was that?!"

If you insist on keeping the baby and you do have Mel pop him in a car seat then even still - don't have her crash the car.
It has to be a guiltless accident so that your audience wont disapprove of your protagonist, even if she is just nuttin' out a little.
Cursed bike courier could dart out between cars forcing her to side smash a parked car or a driver parked on the side of the road could open his door into oncoming traffic and she knocks off his door.
Something.

Pg 69
MELISSA
Well, I’m gonna go to the toilet
real quick, but when I come back,
I expect a clue!

ladies room

Pg 70
A hand GRABS Melissa as she exits.
Gooooood heavens! Again?!
She's just got "Squeeze me" in a glowing bubble over her head, right?

Pg 71
TOM
That’s right... Anybody who beats up a woman
doesn’t deserve to breathe the
same air as the rest of us.

Audience won't forgive a woman beater, even a "reformed" one.
Just keep Kevin a coke head.
Anybody that can't keep his rent money out of his nose doesn't deserve her.

Tom lets loose his grip on Kevin’s throat. He falls to the
floor, breathes heavily.

Tom escorts a shaken Melissa back to their table.

Between these two lines the audience needs to see Kevin leave the restaurant, defeated.

Pg 72
TOM (CONT’D)
What I can’t live with is you
putting my son, our child's, life in danger
with such reckless actions.



Pg 74
TOM
How’s the headache?

After an accident like that she's going to be aching from head to toe .

Pg 76
MELISSA
Andrea! You have to take Dylan
and run from this place as fast
as you can. Go to the police.

Okay. That was just plain crazy.

She rushes down the street. Someone walks towards her. She
waves her hands, tries to get his attention...
She gets closer. It’s Kevin. She slows down. Kevin walks
towards her.

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world...
Kevin really DOES need a restraining order.

Pg 77
Melissa tries to walk past Kevin but he puts his arm out,
stops her.

She ought to be grateful he didn't grab her arm!
Aw, c'mon Kev. For old time's sake: Grab her arm!

Already out of breath, she struggles on down the street.
The h3ll she is! She's the jogging marathon woman - with an answering machine!


Pg 82
Melissa makes a break for it with the baby. Tom pursues.
Alright. Your protag belongs in the nut house.
Gotta work on that sympathy angle.
Gotta get the audience to feel more sorry for her than the evasive husband.



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RayW
Posted: September 23rd, 2010, 5:03am Report to Moderator
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Part 3 of 3 (This went on wee longer than intended!)

Pg 84
He SMASHES her head against the door. She crumbles to the
floor in a heap. Her eyes close. BLACKNESS.

Sh!t, Tom.

Pg 86
TOM
Why is it so hard to believe?
She’s a murderer!

Odd having to see this same scenario played out again with him in Jennifer's position.
Shoe's on the other foot, now, Tom!

Pg 87
Melissa’s eyes flicker open. Dazed, she reaches into her
pocket, pulls out her cell phone. She looks at the screen.

When did she get a cell phone?
And how come she didn't have a bunch of baby pictures and video on that?

ON THE SCREEN, the message reads: “MEET ME AT THE PLACE
WHERE WE VOWED TO STAND BY EACH OTHER FOREVER... TOM”

Dude. You just smashed your wife's head into a door.
And it ain't one of those cheapo hollow doors I'll wager.
Girl's got blood trickling and you're asking her to meet you "AT THE PLACE WHERE WE VOWED TO STAND BY EACH OTHER FOREVER".
Okey doke.  
We know it's a twist coming here, so you need to have Mel respond appropriately.
Which for Mel, lately, has been pretty whack.
But still...
She needs to be p!ssed and motivated. Not Humpty Dumpty "Oh. Okay."

Pg 92
MELISSA
I didn’t get the chance to make
things right. She was my best
friend and I told her I couldn’t
trust her anymore!
Tom consoles her as her eyes fill up again.
TOM
I don’t know what to say... he
was my best man... I didn’t think
he would...

Gotta rework this.
His confession of complicity comes too easily.


Okey doke!
All done.

That's a great story.
I don't know if you're familiar with Lifetime Movies
http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/
This is right up their alley - UNLESS - you can get a heavy to attach, so GL with that!
Two thumbs up! I'll be rooting for ya!

I'm reconsidering the baby hassle.
Maybe go ahead and keep Dylan, just have Melissa discover him over at Carrie's home.
Somewhere, just not in the mansion.
In fact, if the Howard mansion is big enough to have a garden big enough to golf in maybe there could be a small guest house or cottage on the premises. Keep Dylan and a temp nanny out there.
Close - just not IN the house.

Flesh out Kevin's relationship with Mel.
Make Mel a smidge smarter and funnier.
Carrie more of a tease player.
Don't have Carrie and Mel go shopping. Have then out memory lane-ing.
Don't break into the car with a crowbar.
Work on putting babies in car seats.
Adam needs to be involved a great deal more.
Maybe Carrie has been hinting and suggesting Mel's whack accusations to Adam and he's starting to ferret info out of Mel.
I dunno.

Definitely a PG-13, but a pretty light one at that.
So, if you were holding back any you can let it out some.
You only get to use the F-word once in a PG-13, but your language is pretty clean, anyway.
I really don't see the need to add any violence or gun play, but it's there as an option.
Sex it up a smidge - although I don't know where
It has a very budget conscious design. Nice.
Audiences always like the luxury settings. Can't go wrong there.
I think the characters are ubiquitous enough to be played by anyone CSA picks.

Bravo!
Can't wait to see round two!



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Brian M
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Hi Murphy,

Thanks for reading! I don't think you're being too harsh. All feedback is good feedback to me.


Quoted from Murphy
The plot. I never bought it for a minute, despite the fact I bought into the people. The whole story is so full of holes I am amazed it stays together at all. It relies so much on people not asking the right questions, not saying the obvious, an overheard telephone conversation that is not followed up and quite frankly a ridiculous farce. In fact despite my dislike of the ending I guess it fits because the only way I could possibly believe Tom's behaviour during this script would be if he was actually the killer. Which even if that was the case it still should not be, as the final reveal should be a surprise.

The Baby. Yes by all means have Maria or Carrie look after the baby, but keeping him locked up in the house???


I'm not even going to blame the 7 week time limit for many of the problems here. Although I finished on the last day, I still had the time to read through before I submitted so it's my fault. The baby is a great example. He's never locked in the room at any time. There's supposed to be an explanation from Tom that Carrie had been looking after her at her place, with Andrea taking her turn, too. The day Melissa finds the baby, Tom was preparing to tell her that night. That problem, and a few others, could have been sorted before I submitted this if I gave it a good read through instead of trying to rush. I did have several hours to spare so I only have myself to blame.  

There are other major problems that would take a lot more time and effort to fix, and I see several scenes that may need to be rewritten from scratch mainly due to the crazy actions of the characters involved, but I think they are fixable.


Quoted from Murphy
The killer. Knew pretty much straight away it would be him, you had no other characters introduced, and you certainly tried a bit hard to give Kevin the Red Herring role.

Every single scene had either Tom or Mel in it, you never left them for a minute, giving the brother and maybe even Kevin a small sub-plot of their own would have gone a long way towards the development of their own characters.


Kevin needs a lot of work. I tried to make him a suspect, but a lot of people missed it.

Leaving Tom and Mel for a few scenes is a good idea. Thanks!


Quoted from Murphy
But I am pointing this out because I have read you mentioning that this is a a first draft and you tend to write another. I would advise that you don't. Be pleased with what you have accomplished in 7 weeks, be pleased you managed to pass the test and be proud of what you came up with. But I don't see how another 5 drafts and a few months could turn this story into anything else.


I'm definitely going to be writing another draft at some point. Sorry! I know there are a lot of issues, but they are definitely fixable. I've got a huge list of things to improve on, and new ideas that will work. It would only take 3-4 weeks to finish another draft, so if it still sucks, then I'll lay it to rest. I do think there is something there, though I'm more than a little biased!

Thanks again for reading and posting your thoughts. It means a lot to me. Do you have anything that you'd like me to read?

Brian
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Brian M
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Hey Ray,

I've enjoyed reading through your comments. There's a lot of great suggestions there, I'll definitely be taking note of them when I rewrite. I'll try and answer as many of your questions as possible, though there are too many to use the quote-thingy on

Everyone is in agreement about Tom going for chicken. I'll change it.

Also guilty of not writing END FLASHBACK. I normally pull other people up about this! Damn.

Correct about the lock picking. To start with, I wanted Kevin to be there with the intention of robbing the house for money for drugs and be surprised when he sees Mel, but it changed somewhere along the line. I'll need to sort that.

I was actually thinking about a cool serial killer name on the last day but couldn't come up with anything. I like your suggestions, it's something that will feature in the next draft.

Kevin is a problem. I wanted Mel's amnesia to cover the last year or so of her life, so she can't remember Tom at all, but she can remember Kevin, who she dumped because he was using drugs. She can't remember the stalking and violent turns which happened after she dumped him. This need to be much clearer.

Good suggestion about the anxiety attacks. Although I will be toning back a lot of Mel's crazy behaviour, this would be a good line to have in there just in case!

I've thought long and hard about the baby, and I think I can fix it. I'm thinking if she finds a baby toy or something in the house to set her off. I'll be using the quick flashes for her to remember small things about the baby before she discovers it. I'll be thinking of a concrete way to deal with this before I start a rewrite anyway.

I like the idea of a wedding video and pictures.

Haha, her arms! Damn! She gets hit over the head a fair bit, too. Poor girl... I'll need to mix it up a bit.

Mel's constant running with the baby will be cut back, I promise. There will be more investigating and less running.

I wanted to make Kevin a woman beater to throw some suspicion on him as a possible killer. It's something I'll need to work MUCH harder on.

The flashback scene when the shoe is on the other foot is actually my favorite. I thought it was refreshing to see Tom as the crazy one and Mel the voice of reason, even if it's only for a few pages.

It's funny you should mention Lifetime movies as you are the 2nd or maybe 3rd to point that out (1st from this site though, 10 points!). I've never been to America, so I had to Google it, but I have been told they show things like this all the time.

There is more of Kevin's story in my head than there is on paper. I'll make sure I fix this.

Again, thanks for reading. I've enjoyed reading through your comments, all with a smile on my face. If you have anything else you want me to read, send me a PM.

Brian    
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: September 24th, 2010, 2:27pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Brian,

Thanks for the read! Its an excellent first draft!
The story is cleanly told and easy to understand, which is important.

I breezed through the script pretty well until baby Dylan comes along.
The little tyke kinda derails a decent thriller.
He must be the Baby of Steel to survive that crash without a car seat!

Every note I planned to adress has already been done by others here.
Your elements are present but they need a logic stream to bind them.
How in the heck do no one here that baby in a locked room?!?

Thanks so much for the post, its quite a set up for a first draft, congrats!


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Brian M
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Hi Electric Dreamer,

Thanks so much for reading and posting. Baby Dylan is a major problem for most people but I'm sure I can fix it. I don't know how I missed the car seat problem!

I'm glad you think it's good first draft material. It needs work, but I will come back to it sometime and start again.

Do you have anything you'd like me to read over? I leave tonight for sunny Majorca for one week, but I'll have plenty of time to read when I get home. Just send me a PM with the name of your script. Thanks again!

Brian
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: September 25th, 2010, 7:10pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Brian M


Do you have anything you'd like me to read over? I leave tonight for sunny Majorca for one week, but I'll have plenty of time to read when I get home. Just send me a PM with the name of your script. Thanks again!

Brian


Hey Brian!

I am currently polishing up an apple I plan to submit soonish!
It's just a multi genre writing sample, but you gotta start somewhere!
Thanks for the kind words and have safe and fun travels!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Brian M
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Thanks, man! I had a great time.

Just send me a PM when your script is up and I'll get to it.  
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stevie
Posted: October 8th, 2010, 6:21pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Brian! Have finished reading as promised.

I've read a few of the previous comments and they've pretty much covered what I was gonna say.
Great effort to do this in 7 weeks; the same to everyone else.

This was a pretty quick read which is always a good thing - it had a nice flow to it.

i think with a fairly extensive re-write this would be a neat little thriller. You have all the ingredients there, but i guess the deadline pressure forced you to maybe rush towards the line a bit.
Some of the characters, dialogue and situations are a tad cliched - you need to give them some of your own 'hook' to make it stand out more.

I'm impressed at your ability to do a good comedy like Publicity Whore, and then follow it up with a another genre so quickly.
I sometimes have trouble breaking away from the comedy niche - with the upcoming Halloween challenge, I hope to do this, depending on the theme.

Cheers mate and well done again.

stevie



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Brian M
Posted: October 10th, 2010, 5:22am Report to Moderator
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Hey Stevie,

Thanks a lot for reading, man. I've actually outlined the rewrite from first page till last and I think it will work much better. I've started yesterday, so hopefully I can finish it soon, then rewrite Publicity Whore.

Now I have one horror, thriller and comedy. It's funny, because I want to do another horror, but I have two great ideas for comedy scripts. I want to do a drama but the comedy just needs to be written, if you know what I mean.

I still haven't had the chance to read the opening of your zombie infested script as I owe someone a read on another site, but I'll get to it very soon. Thanks again!

Brian
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