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Scarecrow and The Snowman by Eric Dickson - Thriller - A Texas skip tracer heads to the Pacific Northwest to nab a fugitive cyber criminal before he's taken out by an aging hitman. 128 pages - pdf, format
Some nit picks on the first few pages, my own opinions.
* Page1: I would change the 1st slug and add a SUPER. * Pages: Avoid unfilmables (ex: "lost in thought"). There are more of unfilmables throughout the first few pages. Show us what's going on. * Page1: I like to put phone text within quatation marks in action (lines). Interesting the way you put in dialogue. * Page1: "Narrow road" might be better than "thin road." * Pages: CAPS in action distract more than they attract. I know it's use for emphasis, but too much distracts the read and defeats the purpose, keep it to a minimum. * Pages: Also, to write the sound a gun makes when fired is unnecessay, why not keep it simple. A shot rings out. * Page2/3/4: Good to mix up the beginning of action lines, not always starting with character names or he/she. * Pages: Usually "is/are/doesn't/has/have" in action tends to tell more than show. get rid of it. * Page2: Also get rid of CONT'D in dialogue, not used that much anymore (software setting). * Page4: Not sure if CUT TO: is necessary. A new slug would do the trick. * Page5: Instead of "stool -- steps up --", maybe just "stool, step up", comma instead of dashes. * Page5/Pages:: What's in the slug is repeated in action, ex: dining room. There are more of these throughout the first few pages. Page5: Why not introduce the young man as Chris Weissman, no need for "this is --", make it more lean. * Pagees: Verbs like walk and go. Put some attitude into these words. * Pages: Some clunky action lines that could be streamlined. (ex: Page9: "A shower curtain hides the identity of the person running the hot shower. ", instead something like "A shower runs behind a dark shower curtain". We don't really know if there's a person behind the curtain.
Overall, I liked the first 10. At times, some snappy writing. Curious to know what happens next.
If you're around, I'll try to plough through the rest, focus more on story/plot/characters.
Awesome notes. Yes, in the next draft I'm cutting out most of the caps and gun shots for sure. I've actually done a couple drafts since this upload gut you've shed some light on other things I need to work on. I sort of binge wrote this first draft in 20 days and rushed it online to get feedback on the story.
Much appreciated and I'm taking your notes very seriously. I'll be giving this one a serious rewrite and working to get it contest ready.
Okay, I've been obsessing over this thing for awhile now. This is my umpteenth draft and I'm leaving it alone for now. I sure could use some feedback on the this one since no one's actually read the entire script yet.
I just got an email from Inktip about Scarecrow and The Snowman's logline being featured in the weekly industry newsletter. Is this a legit thing or am I being pushed to renew my script's listing on their site? It's funny how I haven't had a bite in literally two months and all of the sudden my logline, synopsis and script got a download two days before my script's renew date.
Just got an email that this has made Quarter Finals at Page Awards. God willing if this advances to semi finals I will be able to submit a rewrite. This is my first time entering PAGE and was one of 100 thriller scripts that advanced. I def need to do a serious rewrite on the current draft before going further.
Some of the points that I posted in my earlier review repeats throughout the story.
GENERAL and Nitpicks: * I would try to get the script on a diet, 127pages is quite a long script. * Turn off the CONT'D on your software, not being used that much anymore. * In phone conversations/microphone, use (V.O.) instead of (O.S.). the person tou're talking to is (V.O.) not (O.S.). * P.11: typing error, should be "I got vitamins." * P14: On the previous page, Hutchins didn't know Wargarten, but now he does? * P19: "The stolen government issue Suburban", how do we know it's stolen? * I would reduce the CAPS throughout. * P21: Be consistent with the sluglines, GREYHOUND BUS DEPOT VS. BUS DEPOT * Emphasis in dialogue, I believe should be underlined, not CAPPED. * P.46: No age on the POLICE CAPTAIN. * I wonder if you need MATCH CUT TO: at all. A new slug would do.
ACTIOn: Sometimes after an action line, you tell us what's going to happen or what it means. I think a few of those are ok, but keep it to a minimum. Ex p31: " Chief Koch watches them disappear up the stairs. Headed for booking and then lock-up.". We don't really know where they are heading. Ex p33:"Chief Koch huffs as he sips his coffee and leans on the counter. Too tired to argue."
I believe numbers should be written out, P37: fity thousand instead of $50000. * P.75: "We now see", remove or change that.
Some redundancy, cause you're telling us, adding to the action.
DIALOGUE: I really liked your dialogie. It feels very natural and flows very well even with so many characters to keep track with. some good subtext. I got something to learn.
Maybe Intercut between Chris and Kristen, might cut back on some of the dialoguie.
Who's Eddie Snowden, Chris? I didn't get that.
STORY: I also liked the story/concept. A nice opening/ build up, twists and, well, I wasn't too crazy about the ending. The ending kind of fizzled after all the build up, you know, a simple goodbye at a gas station. maybe that's what's you wanted, but story works for me.
Being such a high priority case, having Carol the nurse lead them to the house was a little too easy.
Well written Georgia, but she demanded quite a bit of air time. so did Doctor farmer. Is that needed?
First half of the story we have a set of characters, 2nd half of the story we're having a different set of characters with a few core leftovers, Dalton andf Gunther amongs them.
Dalton was really fun to follow, could feel him.
Dalton flashes the black and white images of Chris and Kristen to the DESK CLERK. , maybe a little too easy to get a hold of people.
When Dalton watched the TV/News about the top hotel suite and camera panned to the neighboring apartment building, he noticed the one window/apartment with blinds closed, it must be Gunther, hmm, pretty smart guy?
Feds and cops in the alley at the end with Chris snickering at them from a roof top/window, too easy maybe to fool the feds and cops.
Reducing the number of characters might be a good idea. Quite a cast here.
The bottom line, I liked your script. Give it a diet, it's a little too dialogue heavy, cut some scenes, reduce the number of characters. The story works for me. Very interesting and also a fast read.
Thanks, Frank. Good call on being consistent with loglines. I see a few instances where I call the same location two different things, i.e. HILLSIDE CABIN becomes LOG CABIN, LA CONNER, WA and BAYSIDE INN becomes CHRIS'S HOTEL ROOM. I also noticed in the draft I submitted to Page Awards that I mistakenly call ROOM TWO FIFTEEN ROOM TWO THIRTY THREE as they are two different locations. Stupid mistakes like this throughout due to a rushed draft to make the contest deadline.
Yes, there are a lot of characters here and I wanted the multiple deaths of the Spring Lake Police to be a surprise and a real shock to the audience. And this is where Dalton (Scarecrow) takes control of the investigation and becomes a one man army. I never intended for Chief Koch and his crew to be the main focus of this story but their murder investigation dominates the first thirty pages or so. After trimming and trimming pages I still couldn't introduce Scarecrow until page 34. Introducing him earlier just didn't make sense.
I am a big fan of going against the norm and doing things outside of the box and this is def the case with the Dalton character. He really takes a backseat during the first half of the script then gets his chance to shine in the second. In the end, it all comes down to just him and Gunther. One final showdown and one man left standing.
It's gonna be hard trimming this thing down after doing almost fifteen drafts since November. Not without losing several key scenes. I'll let it rest for now and see if it stands a chance for advancing in August.
Good call on taking out CONT'D. This should reduce page count by at least five pages. As far as V.O. versus O.S., this is an old argument. I've seen it done both ways. I always thought V.O. was mainly for narration and not phone conversations. I could be wrong.