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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Thriller Scripts  ›  Dancer - Michael Kospiah looking for thoughts Moderators: bert
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  Author    Dancer - Michael Kospiah looking for thoughts  (currently 634 views)
Don
Posted: March 6th, 2021, 12:08pm Report to Moderator
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Dancer by Michael J Kospiah - Thriller, Action - His pregnant wife murdered while in prison, Richard has one thing on his mind upon his release seven years later: revenge. He has nothing to lose... until he meets a street smart exotic dancer with connections to the people responsible for his wife's murder.  110 pages

This is a project that is in development with a director (Johnny Balazs, 'Rage' & 'Immovable Ninja Heart') and producer (Prima Lux Films) attached. Just looking for thoughts outside of coverage (Script Reader Pro) and in-house notes. - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Don  -  April 3rd, 2021, 8:29am
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spesh2k
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Thanks for posting this, Don.

So, me and the director of my second feature "Rage" (mixed reviews but I'll take the 60% on Rotten Tomatoes) have been working on our next project together. He's more of an action director, so this one is definitely in his wheelhouse. It's based on his short film of the same title, but the script I put together is closer to the style of another "short" action film he did called "Night Shift".

DANCER (short film trailer): https://youtu.be/aUrcgMLuV_g

NIGHT SHIFT (full film): https://youtu.be/prHG-Y8c5i4

Any thoughts are appreciated.

-- Michael


THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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eldave1
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Hey, Michael – I read this. Not quite sure what you are looking for since this is already on it’s way. Anyway, just wrote notes as they hit me.  Do keep in mind that there were a ton of things that I really liked and didn’t take the time to write them down – only wrote down stuff where I thought you might think about a change – so, I liked most of this – just didn’t write those parts down.

Macro-level observations:

It does not feel like a present-day script. Little use of smartphones and despite the fact that everyone was looking for everyone – not a single person opened a computer and did a Google search.  So, it just felt to me like a 1980 ish type time frame.

The world felt too compressed – by that I mean everyone seemed tangentially connected to everyone. From something simple as Nikki using Oscar as the emergency to Dallas being the daughter in-law iof Nikki – (note, I think the story works without that element).

For my taste (others will disagree) – 20% less killing replaced by 20% more character development would be better – but again – I am always a minority view in this area.

SPOILERS

First 4 pages – action/set-up – pretty riveting stuff.  Too many “Richard – Richard!”  lines. I know you have an objective here – I .e., the past becomes the present – it just got a bit repetitive.  I think half the dialogue blocks start with Richard. Shake it up a little.

Officer Hayden and the pic  – the biggest issue for me here is that this is one of those delicious scenes that you should really milk  – not rush through it.   Let it build.  Richard is about to get the worst news he possibly could from this evil prick of an Officer – let us linger here a bit.  For example:

The Officer comes in – I got some news for you.  About your wife?
Richard looks up – My wife?
Office – Seems her water broke.
Richard – is she all –
Officer – Oh, I’m afraid not. They found her on the floor. Seems her husband fucked with the wrong man.

Then the photo – and not the above exactly – the point being, spend a little more time in this scene, let the reveal unwind.

Richard shows up at Oz’s place - Somehow since Oz seems wise to what’s going on – he needs to offer up something along the lines of – do you need a crew or are you going solo? They seem to be old friends so that would be a natural ask.  And given where this goes later with the Officer grinding – you may make a reference to Rich going to need Oscar’s help later.

Page 18 – so…. Nikki is Dallas’ mother or mother-in-law??? I am a bit confused here. OKAY – clarity provided later – I’d provide it sooner – here.

Page 28 – not a fan of Rich using the shotgun to put Bud out of his misery.   Instead, have him take a seat on the ground (Bud screaming) – light a cigarette with the same zippo (screaming) – close his eyes and take in every bit of every scream until it whimpers away – he would not put him out of his misery given all that he did to put him in his misery in the first place.

Page 30

I would not make this continuous (i.e., cops finding the corpse the same night) – this had to be a remote enough place for the murder to take place – have a hiker or something discover the smoldering or the smell the next morning.

35-45 – Many will love this sequence, I’m not one of them. To me, it moves from our Protag cleverly tracking and capturing the individual villians to a Rambo style invasion killing everything that moves. IMO, your protag loses empathy here is the distinction between the type of people he was pursuing and the type of man he is – blurs.  Just me maybe.

Okay – read on. Hmmm. Okay – they were running a human trafficking ring –  looks like they all deserved their fate. Perhaps I was wrong about the above.

I don’t like the fact that Oz is going to be the Doc for Clay. Actually, I really dislike it  – this is way too much movie logic here. It’s a one in a million shot.  I’d go a different route. Also – was Clay really in any  condition to drive himself there????

Page 56 – so Clay meets his demise at Oz’s place – you are going to have to be clever going forward since Nikki knows that was the last place Clay visited – I’ll hold my opinion for now…

Note: read on – yeah, I really don’t buy that Nikki wouldn’t have made Oscar pay the price right then.

Page 71

As Oz hands a hundred-dollar bill to JUNKYARD EMPLOYEE, Nikki sees a RED MARK drawn along the edge of the bill. Okay, that is now twice with the same clue – same thing with Clay – not a fan of using this twice.

Page 76

Staring at the pile of cash stuffed inside of it, RED MARKER lining the edges of the green stacks.

Okay – Rich is a smart, clever guy – you’d think he would have converted this cash by now.

Struck me as odd that the Doctor wouldn't notice that his bullet hit a metal plate rather than Richard’s skull.

Page 98 – This:

MARGARET and the TWINS act like nothing is wrong about this.

Is odd – maybe Margaret doesn’t react – but the twin girls don’t?

The ending is a bit abrupt for me.  AND – what happened to the police investigation??? If you are going to start that  you need to end it somehow – it as if it became irrelevant.

Having completed it - not sure you got the right logline or title for that matter - this story is far more about Richard than Dallas. It really is an ex-con seeks vengeance story -

Best of luck, mate – looking forward to seeing this one.





My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts

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Grandma Bear
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I read up to page 20 last week and then I got busy with life stuff and have not been back to the script yet. I will, but I might be slow.  


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spesh2k
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Quoted from Grandma Bear
I read up to page 20 last week and then I got busy with life stuff and have not been back to the script yet. I will, but I might be slow.  


I completely rewrote the version I sent you anyway, Pia. Been working fast, there's some deadlines for tax incentives down in Australia or some shit.


THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2


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spesh2k  -  March 6th, 2021, 8:04pm
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Quoted Text
Hey, Michael – I read this. Not quite sure what you are looking for since this is already on it’s way. Anyway, just wrote notes as they hit me.  Do keep in mind that there were a ton of things that I really liked and didn’t take the time to write them down – only wrote down stuff where I thought you might think about a change – so, I liked most of this – just didn’t write those parts down.


Just looking for feedback outside of in-house observations and coverage. One thing about coverage is that they're kinda, I dunno, lazy sometimes. It feels like a pat on the back and that's pretty much it. They go kinda soft. The best notes I've received have been from my fellow peers such as yourself.


Quoted Text
Macro-level observations:

It does not feel like a present-day script. Little use of smartphones and despite the fact that everyone was looking for everyone – not a single person opened a computer and did a Google search.  So, it just felt to me like a 1980 ish type time frame.


Yeah, that wasn't a conscious decision. Something about google and modern technology doesn't feel very cinematic and visually pleasing, at least IMO. Was kinda going for a "Drive" or like Tarantino kinda world-building -- type of film where the reality that is built isn't quite fantasy, but there's something surreal about it.


Quoted Text
The world felt too compressed – by that I mean everyone seemed tangentially connected to everyone. From something simple as Nikki using Oscar as the emergency to Dallas being the daughter in-law iof Nikki – (note, I think the story works without that element).


Yeah, I get that. This was supposed to take place in LA at first in earlier drafts, but we decided to go for like a grittier, smaller kinda city type setting where people know each other, etc.


Quoted Text
For my taste (others will disagree) – 20% less killing replaced by 20% more character development would be better – but again – I am always a minority view in this area.


I think the filmmaker wants to go a different direction from "Rage" -- though, I definitely see room for character building, I just don't want the filmmakers to think that we have to go super deep into backstory to make that happen. I'd like to be a little more subtle, way less melodramatic.

SPOILERS


Quoted Text
First 4 pages – action/set-up – pretty riveting stuff.  Too many “Richard – Richard!”  lines. I know you have an objective here – I .e., the past becomes the present – it just got a bit repetitive.  I think half the dialogue blocks start with Richard. Shake it up a little.


Agreed.


Quoted Text
Officer Hayden and the pic  – the biggest issue for me here is that this is one of those delicious scenes that you should really milk  – not rush through it.   Let it build.  Richard is about to get the worst news he possibly could from this evil prick of an Officer – let us linger here a bit.  For example:

The Officer comes in – I got some news for you.  About your wife?
Richard looks up – My wife?
Office – Seems her water broke.
Richard – is she all –
Officer – Oh, I’m afraid not. They found her on the floor. Seems her husband fucked with the wrong man.

Then the photo – and not the above exactly – the point being, spend a little more time in this scene, let the reveal unwind.


Nice suggestion! Don't sue if I use it lol.


Quoted Text
Page 28 – not a fan of Rich using the shotgun to put Bud out of his misery.   Instead, have him take a seat on the ground (Bud screaming) – light a cigarette with the same zippo (screaming) – close his eyes and take in every bit of every scream until it whimpers away – he would not put him out of his misery given all that he did to put him in his misery in the first place.


Another good suggestion -- I wanted to somewhat show that Richard isn't completely merciless, but I think you may be right about this.


Quoted Text
Page 30

I would not make this continuous (i.e., cops finding the corpse the same night) – this had to be a remote enough place for the murder to take place – have a hiker or something discover the smoldering or the smell the next morning.


Yeah, it was meant to be remote. But at the same time, Richard was trying to send a message (hence the fire) so that the body would be discovered. In the 2nd draft, I do have the cops talking to hikers who stumbled upon the body, maybe I'll put that back in.


Quoted Text
35-45 – Many will love this sequence, I’m not one of them. To me, it moves from our Protag cleverly tracking and capturing the individual villians to a Rambo style invasion killing everything that moves. IMO, your protag loses empathy here is the distinction between the type of people he was pursuing and the type of man he is – blurs.  Just me maybe.


I love the sequence lol. Fuck finesse haha, I didn't want to make Richard terribly clever, more just brute force, not giving a fuck. But I'll consider any suggestions, though I think the director is set with this scene.


Quoted Text
I don’t like the fact that Oz is going to be the Doc for Clay. Actually, I really dislike it  – this is way too much movie logic here. It’s a one in a million shot.  I’d go a different route. Also – was Clay really in any  condition to drive himself there????


Again, was supposed to take place in a smaller, urban town. Not necessarily a one in a million shot, at least I don't think. It's a town where criminals know each other, etc. But I'll rethink it a little bit. As for Clay driving there, yeah, why not lol. He drove himself to Nikki's. Didn't think it was too much of a noticeable logic gap. I think it's arguable that he could drive there.


Quoted Text
Page 71

As Oz hands a hundred-dollar bill to JUNKYARD EMPLOYEE, Nikki sees a RED MARK drawn along the edge of the bill. Okay, that is now twice with the same clue – same thing with Clay – not a fan of using this twice.

Page 76

Staring at the pile of cash stuffed inside of it, RED MARKER lining the edges of the green stacks.

Okay – Rich is a smart, clever guy – you’d think he would have converted this cash by now.


Yeah, I could definitely use this less.


Quoted Text
Struck me as odd that the Doctor wouldn't notice that his bullet hit a metal plate rather than Richard’s skull.


Valid point, but I don't think it's irrefutable. I think it could be just as easy to not notice, though I've never shot a gun at something metal before.


Quoted Text
Page 98 – This:

MARGARET and the TWINS act like nothing is wrong about this.

Is odd – maybe Margaret doesn’t react – but the twin girls don’t?


Just meant to be a quirky, off-kilter element to the scene. Especially when they know what kinda guy Daddy is.


Quoted Text
The ending is a bit abrupt for me.  AND – what happened to the police investigation??? If you are going to start that  you need to end it somehow – it as if it became irrelevant.


Yeah, you may be right. But I didn't think it was vey interesting -- the reason it's introduced is so that Detective Foster can gather his information and relay to Nikki.


Quoted Text
Having completed it - not sure you got the right logline or title for that matter - this story is far more about Richard than Dallas. It really is an ex-con seeks vengeance story -


Yeah, I definitely need to rework the log line, didn't really put any time into it.


Quoted Text
Best of luck, mate – looking forward to seeing this one.


Thanks, man, we're going for a bloody, popcorn R film. The premise isn't original of course, but can't go wrong w/ a good old revenge film as long the characters are interesting enough and there's enough twists in the plot. A lot will go into the look and tone of the film, I hope I at least showed a little bit of that. Just enough to make it different enough.

Thanks for taking out the time to read it, Dave, I always look forward to your notes!

-- Michael


THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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eldave1
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Quoted Text
Thanks for taking out the time to read it, Dave, I always look forward to your notes!


My pleasure


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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LC
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Hang on...

Michael, your character just put a bullet between the eyes of a nine-month pregnant woman just as she's showing the first signs of Labor?

Whew!

Is this like The Punisher?

P.S. I'm pulled every which way with Richard's description too.

In his mid 20s. Perpetually stoic and emotionally ambiguous.
Deceivingly docile. A handsome, kind face.

Deceptively docile?  I dunno. There are a lot of adverbs there too that I'm not sure you need.

Deceit suggests malevolence, or, more simply, a negative intent. Deception is more neutral. Though deception in general is often connected to negative activities it does not, on its own, suggest wickedness. There is deception involved in magic tricks, for example.

https://englishlessonsbrighton.co.uk/difference-deception-deceit/

Anyway, that's by the by.


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spesh2k
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Quoted from LC
Hang on...

Michael, your character just put a bullet between the eyes of a nine-month pregnant woman just as she's showing the first signs of Labor?

Whew!

Is this like The Punisher?

P.S. I'm pulled every which way with Richard's description too.

In his mid 20s. Perpetually stoic and emotionally ambiguous.
Deceivingly docile. A handsome, kind face.

Deceptively docile?  I dunno. There are a lot of adverbs there too that I'm not sure you need.

Deceit suggests malevolence, or, more simply, a negative intent. Deception is more neutral. Though deception in general is often connected to negative activities it does not, on its own, suggest wickedness. There is deception involved in magic tricks, for example.

https://englishlessonsbrighton.co.uk/difference-deception-deceit/

Anyway, that's by the by.


Lol, yeah, I'm probably going to have to take that out before we send it off to XYZ, but I'm going to keep two different versions, one like this and the other where we don't see that she's in labor-- maybe the director can sneak in that footage.

RE: deceptive vs deceiving... I meant that though he seems docile, he is not. Deceptive wouldn't work. I hear it in sports all the time and heard it even more when I was a sports columnist...  I always hear "deceptively fast" when they're describing an athlete, which means "sneaky fast", or you don't realize how fast they are. Might be a little overboard on the adverbs anyway, but I'm focusing more on the story for this rather than choice of adverbs -- as long as it doesn't hinder or slow the read, at least. Regardless, I'll go over it again when I polish it up once we have the story the way we want. Won't have to go through any college intern gatekeepers/script Nazis on this one.


THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2


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spesh2k  -  March 6th, 2021, 10:41pm
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Haha! Right, gotcha.


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spesh2k
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This is the latest draft of the script. I worked on the character development a bit more with this latest version. If anybody wants to exchange reads/notes, let me know, my notes are usually pretty good.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RE7_tcgdq0A__kOb0wzrLgBbvl6jr3jJ/view?usp=sharing

-- Michael


THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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eldave1
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Michael - getting back to this in fits and starts. Thought I would share what I see as I go.


Quoted Text
BUD
(a beat)
Fuck, man... I didn’t know she was
pregnant.


She's nine months. He'd would have obviously known given that she was just beaten. He dwells on this later in the scene too. I think you need to make a change here, Maybe he didn't know she was about ready to give birth,  Just something other than he didn't know she was pregnant.

Page 8 - we meet the Fritzingers.

I would be tempted to start the character intros with Tommy since we already know them. e.g, Tommy, now catonic - blah, blah at the head of the table, blah . blah

To his right. his father blah, blah, blah

etc.

To me, when going into a new scene with a bunch of new characters to intro - I think it's effective to anchor them off a character we already know.



My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Quoted from eldave1
Michael - getting back to this in fits and starts. Thought I would share what I see as I go.



She's nine months. He'd would have obviously known given that she was just beaten. He dwells on this later in the scene too. I think you need to make a change here, Maybe he didn't know she was about ready to give birth,  Just something other than he didn't know she was pregnant.

Page 8 - we meet the Fritzingers.

I would be tempted to start the character intros with Tommy since we already know them. e.g, Tommy, now catonic - blah, blah at the head of the table, blah . blah

To his right. his father blah, blah, blah

etc.

To me, when going into a new scene with a bunch of new characters to intro - I think it's effective to anchor them off a character we already know.



Good point w/ the Fritzinger intros. As for Bud, he didn't know she was pregnant before they arrived. The Doctor was doing the roughing up. Bud is only saying this now because The Doctor is about to kill her and he's expressing his doubts. It's like if I broke into someone's house w/ another person, the pregnant owner woke up and my cohort just beat the shit outta her in front of me and then was about to kill her, I'd probably say "Shit... I didn't know she was pregnant." Obviously, I could see she's pregnant as he's kicking her ass, but that realization sets in right before he's about to smoke her. Maybe I'm wrong, but it made sense to me. I'll definitely rethink it, though. Maybe just have him saying "this isn't right" or some shit.


THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2


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eldave1
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Quoted from spesh2k


Good point w/ the Fritzinger intros. As for Bud, he didn't know she was pregnant before they arrived. The Doctor was doing the roughing up. Bud is only saying this now because The Doctor is about to kill her and he's expressing his doubts. It's like if I broke into someone's house w/ another person, the pregnant owner woke up and my cohort just beat the shit outta her in front of me and then was about to kill her, I'd probably say "Shit... I didn't know she was pregnant." Obviously, I could see she's pregnant as he's kicking her ass, but that realization sets in right before he's about to smoke her. Maybe I'm wrong, but it made sense to me. I'll definitely rethink it, though. Maybe just have him saying "this isn't right" or some shit.


If he is just arriving that makes perfect sense. BUT - the way it is written (or perhaps the way I misread it) - seems that Bud was there for the pummeling. Perhaps it would be clearer if before Bud ever says a word - she is looking up at the Doctor pleading.

Then a door opens

DOCTOR
Did you get the final approval?

Bud nears, looks at the scene - blah, blah

BUD
Christ, I didn't know she was pregnant.

DOCTOR
I find it odd that it would make a difference to you.
Now, is their final approval or not?

etc.

Something like that - to make clearer that Bud wasn't there. IMO - that is not clear now


BUD



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Quoted from eldave1


If he is just arriving that makes perfect sense. BUT - the way it is written (or perhaps the way I misread it) - seems that Bud was there for the pummeling. Perhaps it would be clearer if before Bud ever says a word - she is looking up at the Doctor pleading.

Then a door opens

DOCTOR
Did you get the final approval?

Bud nears, looks at the scene - blah, blah

BUD
Christ, I didn't know she was pregnant.

DOCTOR
I find it odd that it would make a difference to you.
Now, is their final approval or not?

etc.

Something like that - to make clearer that Bud wasn't there. IMO - that is not clear now


BUD



A little too much talking, exposition. I just changed it to BUD: (staring down at her) This isn't right, man.

The Doctor points his gun down at her.

BUD: She's fucking pregnant. (as if trying to talk him out of it, trying to remind him that this isn't right).




THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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