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A Million Reasons by Kevin Loughnane - Comedy - Death comes to us all but if you happen to be carrying a million dollars in cash on you at the time then who knows what might happen? 108 pages - pdf, format
I made it to about page 18. That is a lot further than I get with most scripts on this site, so it's good news.
The story starts out pretty sharp. I liked the heart attack scene. I praise your name. You avoid the biggest mistake that a lot of posters here fall into which is OVER DESCRIBING. Hey, guy has a heart attack in a locker room. That's it. Film it however you want, I don't care. Very nice.
And bam, I'm right into the story. Cool so far. Then it sort of falls apart.
A note on the title page. Isn't there a bigger font you could use like 48, or 64. If it was a little bigger you could make it two pages. Joke here. Just use regular 12 pitch. Makes it look very amateurish. One step away from having cover art, gasp!
Guy says, "No Jesus, not here." Really? If he's some kind of Cassanova type dude, I think he'd hang with it. "Wow baby, your crazy. Why'nt you come over here a minute." Or something, to give us the idea that this is strange but not totally without precedent.
He's "oblivious" of the body. Really? Sort of unclear. If he doesn't see it, write "he doesn't see it." If he sees it and ignores it, write, "He sees it and ignores it." I'm not sure what's going on.
Format error. When somebody reads something it is set off in all caps, "MAKE BRUNCH, I'LL BE HOME LATER." Like that.
Steve Tyler? Like from Aerosmith? Cool. I thought it was just a regular guy. Take the time to make the names a little more unique please.
Really started to lose me when there is a dead guy in the locker room but people still take the time to joke around, make expository statements, make jokes, and generally act all cool when it's really a very very serious situation. Lost some ground with me here. If somebody is really nonchalant that would be funny. I pick Clive. But everybody else should be outta their minds with worry, concern, not sure what to do, whatever. I would think big fancy gyms would have policies about this. Does anybody think to call 911 or did I miss it. I lose a lot of empathy for characters when they act this weird.
Office to locker room, should have it's own slug line.
Open plan apartment? Are you moonlighting as a realtor? It should look like this.
INT - APARTMENT - DAY
Luxury apartment. Liz is busy whipping up brunch.
Her cell rings.
Something like that. Nice and tight. We can fill in the blanks on our own.
Split screen? Totally lost me here. You were so nice with the heart attack. Let the actors, director, and stunt people make the decisions. But here you take it all back. Why direct the scene. Telephone scenes are tricky to write, and a drag to edit. Let people who know more than you, do the editing, directing, and whatever.
Just tell me who is calling, where they are, and what they say.
Oh, so now I find out it's called Trinity Gym. Why not earlier. Like in the opening scene.
George is talking to Teo on the phone, and now you give me LESS information than you did before. Where is he? What is he DOING? Who is the guy he hits with the phone? Just some dude walking by? Walking by where? The beach? A motorcycle shop? I don't know. And why is he trying so hard to get his attention that he intentionally would wreck his phone? Don't know. I don't know a lot here, because the writer didn't tell me. Get my drift?
And then I find out too late, that there are actually TWO dudes standing there.
Translating Spanish is tricky too. I think it would be better to just let him say it in Spanish. Will the movie be subtitled? I don't think that's your intention. So just have him say what he says and let the chips fall where they may. Will the reader get the translation. Maybe not. I said it was tricky. But the viewer may or may not either so you have to ignore it. Ditch the translations, or have him say it in English and let the actors and director decide how much spanish they're comfortable filming.
Bag of Cocaine. Too much info. How does she know? Does it have a big sign on it like a cartoon that says "cocaine"? For the viewer it's just a baggie with white powder in it. Heroine? Coke? Flour? Who knows? If it must be coke, she needs to sample it, or say something like, "Oh so this is where you hide the coke."
Lots of "coz." This is short for "because" right? Okay, here we go again with the idioms. Actors can usually decide how to slang up the lingo. When you do it, it slows down my read. Plus, I think it's cuz. Your choice.
Big finish. This is where I stopped reading. So we're at Trinity right? Here's a list of all the people standing around talking: Frank, Joe, Bill, Receptionist, Ben, and George. Whew. Take a minute to think about what that looks like on film. How would you shoot a scene like this. "Okay, everybody stand around a big circle, like this." Plus, these names sort of suck. In my head I see robotic cops in black and white from Dragnet. Hey, weren't their names Frank and Joe? Yes, they were.
Oh yeah. The blowjob. I think this is one word. Sex scenes are tricky too. "She is giving him a blow job"? Really? How do we know that? Do we actually see the penis in her mouth? Probably not. Is her head just bobbing up and down over his lap? Fine. Write that. We get the rest. Well, not often but sometimes.
A lot more sophisticated if we see them just starting or just finishing, not in the middle. Chance for a little nipple here and there if the director / producer think it fits the story. Not your choice.
Your comments welcome on: GOD GETS FIRED. Comedy, 89 pages. Humans are such a failure that God loses his job. Worse, his ex-wife is appointed to oversee Earth’s destruction. Luckily, God has a plan…but it’s not about saving us. It’s about winning her back.
Thanks again for your feedback! I'm new to this site so as you know I initially replied to your feedback by a private message but I have since realised that the proper way to do this is by posting a reply here.
Re your comment on the names I have changed the ones you pointed out so thanks for that! And I am also going to remove the scene where everyone is standing around at the reception because I agree with you that it is confusing!!
Great feedback and exactly what I need to improve my script!!
It's great to see that A Single Bound is now up as a pdf! I'm looking forward to reading it later on today!
Thanks again for taking the time to both read some of my work and to post your comments! I really appreciate it.
Hey Kevin, I think you’re story has the potential of becoming a very intriguing tale. First thoughts, it’s very complicated. I don’t think that’s bad at all. In fact, it reminded me of a Guy Ritchie movie. However, keeping up with all the characters was rather difficult. You might want to cut down on the characters a bit or maybe just give the less important characters names like TOUGH GUY or BALD GUY.
I thought Ben was missing a great desire of some sort. What would make him steal money from a dead guy? I mean, yeah, of course a lot of people would want a million dollars, but most people would be pressed hard to steal it from a dead guy. Maybe put Ben in a situation in which he needs money badly.
As for the story, Trojan gave me some good advice. He said to clearly define what your logline is and what the main goal will be. Then break this up into 3 Acts. As it is, there’s a lot of jumping around and a lot of different characters which make it hard to follow.
Keep working at it. There’s a lot of dry-humor that can pay off. I especially liked the print t-shirts the guys wore on their raids. Below are some notes that I took while reading.
Best of luck, JP
P.1 – I would reword the first description block to say: Alone, STEVE (40s)….As it is, I don’t know that he’s alone until I read the entire description. •I think the scene headings should read: LA GYM – LOCKER ROOM - DAY and LA GYM – MAIN FLOOR. In this way, you have the main setting broken down into sub-settings. •I would like an age for Ben. •P. 3 – the scene heading here needs a time, I think. I’d use DAY. I only leave out times when it’s obvious that the scene is continuous, like someone walking from one room to another. •P. 4 – You might want to give Ben some clothes. You say he’s naked from the waist down and he’s massaging his groin. There’s no way they’ll a guy massage his naked groin in a movie…an R-rated movie at least. •P. 4 – I don’t think Ben would defend his shorts before telling George about the dead guy. •P. 4 – Need a new slug line for when Ben enters the office. •P. 5 – Need a new slug line for when they exit the office and enter the locker room. •P. 5 – Stealing the dead guy’s shorts is a pretty good set-up for jokes. What you have is good. I thought, “So, you took the shorts off a dead, naked guy?” “What were you guys doing that has you wearing his shorts and him dying naked?” •P. 5 – The killer ants tube is a little too out there. I’m not sure if it’s actually ants or a cream of some kind. I’d use an icy-hot cream or something. •P. 10 – Brad Pitt, not Pit. •P. 18 – OK, now I see that the Killer Ants are insects… •P. 26 – I’ve never heard of the term muse swings. Maybe it’s supposed to be mood swings. •P. 29 – need a question mark to help reader. “What? The one who’s fucking Amelio’s old man?” •P. 39 – how old is Brad? •P. 41 – Be specific with color chart. I thought it was a pie chart. Say “a color chart for paint shades” or something like that. •P. 47 – It probably isn’t a big deal, but Americans say gas or gasoline instead of petrol. •P. 57 – Another Americanism; we say mom instead of mum. For what it’s worth… •P. 74 – Teo: You’re right. Now, let’s torch the place… •P. 99 – I love the playing-ball-with-Obama joke.
On Page 2 capitalize "attractive woman". It's a character with dialog. The first time we meet a character, especially one who talks or is important, they should be capitalized.
Also, you gave the Attractive Woman an age but not BEN. I don't know if he's in his 20's, 30's or 80's. I figure he's got to be important if he has a name.
Also their conversation drags. Cut it down.
"and oblivious of the dead body he heads for the showers." this is a disaster. Bad grammer and bad screen writing. Only write what we can see and hear not what "might" be there or what a person "can't see yet"
INT. APARTMENT BEDROOM <-- is it day or night?
How old is Liz? You gotta give me something to imagine here. Try it like this...
INT. APARTMENT BEDROOM - DAY
The BUZZING sound of an alarm clock wakes LIZ (20s). She's barely functional but finds a way to slam down the snooze button. She reads a POST-IT --
"Get up and make brunch. Be back by noon "
Liz rolls the note into a ball and flicks it away. Lays back down.
Sorry If I sound overly picky but I learned from an instructor who would dissect every sentence I wrote. Keep at it. Read other scripts amd as many "how-to" books as you can.