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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Thriller Scripts  ›  Prayer of the Headless Mantis Moderators: bert
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  Author    Prayer of the Headless Mantis  (currently 1557 views)
Don
Posted: April 26th, 2011, 10:46pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Prayer of the Headless Mantis by Jose L. Villanueva - Thriller - A college professor sits down with his wife for a normal Friday night dinner at their beautiful sea side home. Later in the evening, a married couple is coming over for drinks and maybe a friendly game. During their dinner conversation, the professor's wife reveals something from her past, an evil thing she did years ago and her husband refuses to believe her. The secret she reveals ignites a chain of events that soon spiral out of control. Before the night ends, not everyone will leave their house alive. (92 pages) - pdf, format

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Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  July 14th, 2017, 3:39pm
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DarrenJamesSeeley
Posted: April 27th, 2011, 1:37pm Report to Moderator
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First things first, Jose. Let's get this bad stuff out of the way before we get into the juicy stuff- the Matheson 43 scotch kind of stuff:

A college professor sits down with his wife for a normal Friday night dinner at their beautiful sea side home. Later in the evening, a married couple is coming over for drinks and maybe a friendly game. During their dinner conversation, the professor's wife reveals something from her past, an evil thing she did years ago and her husband refuses to believe her. The secret she reveals ignites a chain of events that soon spiral out of control. Before the night ends, not everyone will leave their house alive

I decided to read your sp not on the basis of the above, but rather, just something to read- and I like the title. Normally, with a logline like that, interest in the sp would be minimal at best. It is way too long. But what you want is still there. Here's how to find it:

A professor's wife reveals a secret which ignites a chain of events that spiral out of control.

It's not the best, but it it is more to the point. Makes a huge difference.Some folks might even cut the latter half of that and put 'evil' back in:  

A professor's wife reveals an evil secret.

Again, short, sweet, to the point. Plot details aren't needed in loglines. You don't have to get too specific with details. You just need enough to spark curiousity.

Better yet:

"Dinner. Drinks. Murder."


Yep, Jose. I visited your site. There's a reason for that. The PDF won't open for some reason for me. Luckily, you mention that your sp was a TriggerStreet top ten script. That gets my interest a little bit, but I still wonder how that massive logline summary was overlooked (might have been the infamous 250 character-word minimum in TS reviews, and your assigned readers didn't bother with this important, yet minor detail regarding the overall work, who knows) still, if it wasn't for the TS note, I would have given up right here.

Because I did the search, I managed to open Mantis online with Google docs.

For my SS peers: It is worth the trouble.. I might even encouage a few who I don't always see eye to eye with to read your script. If I were a pro reader, I'd have to do something like that, send this to the next person down the line. That's how highly I think of this read. I even recommended this as a script of the month.


In fact, I would hope you stop by on these boards, and maybe even pitch Babs. I'm almost positive you have coverage on this. Your work on this shows, it looks really polished. That summary/logline that I dissected above does not do you any favors. Maybe that's intentional to throw people off, thinking if the logline is that messy, maybe the script is. They open it and jaws drop. They (as I am doing) grab themselves a sandwich and read the whole damn thing.

Only once was I brought out, and that was late in the script. I was kind of iffy on Eliana's dialog on p42 -43 where she goes on about the analogy of the female mantis killing the male mantis, but given the circumstances regarding Theo and Olivia (liked the twists with Olivia on p49 then on p.54-57; how Hitchcockian of you!) maybe she's flipped  so some off the cuff rambling could slide. It is a minor nitpick at best. (Note: you are going to have to change the Oprah line; maybe change it to Dr. Phil, given that Oprah's talk show days are closing shop -and it is recalling the Tom Cruise couch jump "repeat"- unless you want to date the script)

The only other troublesome area I can see is Weston's fate, and the flashbacks on p79-80. You really didn't *need* them, it's...okay...but this is where I was slightly brought out of the script. Not that anything is overtly wrong with it The FLASHBACKS are short and sweet overall, not too bad, but I do take some issue with them here. By this time I'm well with the story, I'm used to double/triple/quaduple (?) crosses.

++++===SPOLIERS R US====++++

When Weston takes the drink, and gets a bit hot under the collar (so to speak) you drag out the scene more than is needed, and then nearly kill the pace with the FLASHBACK. I was somewhat okay with the previous FLASHBACKS but by this time, I'm with you. What happens here is that other readers are with you by this time as well. They "know" Weston's time is short. What happens here is that you let an audience get ahead of you. A possible solution could be have the scene of the FLASHBACK take place where it does in the timeline; my reccomendation is that we don't see it at all. Maybe not even have Eliana babble on about spiking the Scotch. The bottle's been built up from the start of the script pretty much. For awhile I almost considered it a
MacGuffin. (Like I said, you're trying to go Hitchcockian; might as well pull out the stops, right?)

The dream bit on p82=83 isn't needed all that much either. It's literally overkill.

But those minor gripes aside, this is by far one of the best sp's I read on this -or any other- site. Again, I'm nominating this for sp of the month and will give an overall thumbs up to this.

Excellent work.
Keep it up, and don't be a phantom.







"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: April 30th, 2011, 10:28am Report to Moderator
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Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

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Hello Jose,

Based upon Darren's post, I decided to open this script.
If you're a contributing member, I'll gladly go into a detailed critique.
Your pages flow well, I read the first 35 this morning.
I keep waiting for your story to reveal itself, nothing so far.
The infidelity is telegraphed early on and the high society angle feels a tad artificial.
I'm intrigued but there's some fairly repetitive dialog that doesn't jibe.
I like the puzzle analogy and if you're around I'll see this script through.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: May 2nd, 2011, 10:10am Report to Moderator
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Taking a long vacation from the holidays.

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No word from the author.

Your pages read pretty well, no format issues hampered my read. So, kudos there.
I read the first half and I'm putting the script down without author participation.
Your dialog feels stilted when tempers flare and tensions rise.
I understand these folks are supposed to be rich, but it sounds artificial.
You telegraphed your midpoint reveal on page 16, so I was pretty far ahead of you.

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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