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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Sci Fi and Fantasy Scripts  ›  APU Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: August 27th, 2011, 4:18pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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APU by Jackx - Sci Fi - In a city where heroes are murderers and villains walk through walls, the Anti Power Unit is assigned to take down those who have special powers. However the secret of the Powereds runs deeper than anyone expects… 80 pages - pdf, format


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jackx
Posted: August 27th, 2011, 7:01pm Report to Moderator
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This is a feature based on the series 'unpowered' I had on here a bit ago.  I'm happy to return any reads I get...


Mine:
HARD CASE
            (65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...

APU
            (80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
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bert
Posted: August 28th, 2011, 1:17pm Report to Moderator
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You do not get enough reads, Jack.  Holed up with a hurricane outside, I decided to give this a look.  The premise is intriguing, though I did not read the series upon which it was based.  I also think the title could use a bit more punch.

I have a problem with your opening scene, which would not play out right as written.  You have Guy getting dressed -- you even state "slowly" -- all the way from nude to tying a lopsided knot in his tie.  How long would that take?  Five minutes, ten if he were doing it slowly?  I get what you mean, but it would probably be better if you insert a cut there -- go from Guy pulling out the suit to him tying the tie, or something similar.  No need to show the whole, drawn-out  process -- and no director would do that anyway.

Things pick up significantly once we reach the bank, and the Banker is a good character.  Though you seem to leave this scene too early.  I had hoped we would come back to it, but that did not happen.

For a technical niggle, the break in dialogue from page 8 to 9 is unacceptable.  I am surprised how often I encounter this problem.  Either do it correctly (look it up), or simply space it down a bit and carry all of it to the next page, which is an even better option, IMO.   Nobody will ever complain about a little extra white space at the bottom of the page.

And on page 39 you commit my all-time worst pet peeve.  It is DUCT tape, not duck tape.  Some company has even created a brand called Duck Tape now, but that it not what you mean.  If you fix nothing else, please fix that.

On page 43, I have decided that G-boy is another good character, and it is here with Darwin that I think you have crafted the most compelling situation thus far in the script.  What I mean by that is, I cannot predict the outcome here, and I am compelled to read further.  You need more of that, where you kind of stretch out and move away from the "traditional" conventions of the genre, and the story proceeds in ways that we cannot anticipate. I would stop short of saying this piece is predictable, but compared to this exchange, the other scenes carry fewer surprises.  

I am wondering what was the point of the whole Landlady scene on pages 63-64, which did nothing to move the story.

On page 65, I am finally electing to comment on something you do throughout.  Have you noticed that you do not use apostrophes in your sluglines?  It is Guy's apartment -- not Guys apartment -- and you do this a whole bunch of times in the script, but only in the sluglines, which is weird, but enough times that I need to mention it.

Upon reaching the end, I assume this is intended more as a pilot episode -- and given that, I found the final scene with General Kelvin a little pat, wrapping up all the loose ends with an explanation that was all too casual. It would be nice if the motives behind this were a little more complex, and if some of the reasons were held back and retained as a mystery for later episodes.  Let General Kelvin hold on to a few of his secrets, maybe.

The last-second reveal with Mr. Lee also lacks impact.  If he has a power, or poses some sort of threat, you should at least hint at what that is.

And having sprung from a series, I have to say this feels more episodic than something that stands alone as a whole.  Both Darwin and The Banker are great characters -- as is G-boy -- the only real problem being that they far outshine any of the personalities pursuing them, which is not uncommon in superhero-type stories.  Your "hero" seems bland by comparison.

All told, however, this has a good deal of action, introduces several well-drawn characters, and the pace is appropriate. It seldom lags, and sports a "grittier" feel that helps to separate it from similar stories in the genre.

In my opinion, the weakest link here is Archer.

For my money, he needs a power.  A power that he keeps secreted from others and that he uses only sparingly.  Perhaps he is only dimly aware of this power himself, and is surprised when he discovers it.  Something like that would make him both more interesting and more conflicted, which I think would benefit the story. But again, just my thoughts on that for you to take or leave.

Nice work on the whole, however, and let me know if you have specific questions that I failed to address.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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jackx
Posted: September 1st, 2011, 9:17pm Report to Moderator
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Hey thanks for checking it out, sorry to take awhile to get back.

The opening scene I was picturing as a credit sequence, which I know isn't my job, haha.  I'll abbreviate it, and see about expanding the heist.  That's pretty much straight from the series, so I was going for brevity and it never occurred to me to expand it later.

I'm sure you see the dialogue break often for the same reason you see it here, after all that proofreading and whatnot I finally hit typeset and don't want to look at the effin thing until it's posted, haha.  But I'll work on it.

Kinda embarassed about the duck tape, that's the kinda thing id pick out in someone elses script, but manage to miss in my own.

Glad you enjoyed the characters, and yea the bad guys are so much more fun to write, it's hard for archer to compete, but ill work on it.  I resisted giving him a power because I wanted the sense of an ordinary person competing against these super people, and occasionally winning, though generally losing.  The same with lee at the end, he's supposed to be a simple powerful (in the old fashioned sense) man that wants to use this formula to his advantage.  So for all their powers those people are not immune ffrom manipulation.  But I understand I'm falling short of that.

I'd consider him having a power, particularly something that could be used against or to find the others.  That'd set up for some nice conflicts if he has to decide who to rat out and what not.  Regardless he needs to be a bit more colorful and live up to the bad guys.

As for still being episodic, i was trying to the point where it just set up for a sequel, yet still felt complete.  That was a bit hard with the ending, just cuz of who gets caught, killed or escapes.  The idea was the peak
of the action hits with the warehouse scene, then after wraps up and has a teaser about the future.  Definitely still needs work.  

And I feel bad about ditching gboy, but jamming him into the final scene woulda been a bit much.

Anyways, I really appreciate the criticism, hope you got through the hurricane alright.  A lot of what you said confirmed issues I thought about and just havent resolved sufficiently yet.
Thanks and let me know if there's anything specific i can return the favor on



Mine:
HARD CASE
            (65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...

APU
            (80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: September 2nd, 2011, 11:03am Report to Moderator
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Hey Jack,

You are due some reads, so I'm cracking this one open.
I"m glad to have the opportunity to return the read.

I'll give you the first ten pages producer style notes.  

First impression, I haven't read a word yet, and there's already red flags.
Get that copyright off your page one and onto your title page.
Also your left justified FADE IN:, should be all caps.
Industry folk are looking for reasons to put down your script.
Show them reading your work is better than playing Angry Birds.

Some awkward wording, focus your present tense descriptions better.
However, I like the imagery of the gun held by a junkie's pregnant girl.

No credit rolls in specs, unless you're shooting this yourself.
Or it's absolutely critical to the story for some reason.

A lack of present tense sticks out even more in action sequences:
Guy vaults the counter, shoving the CUTE TELLER against a
wall. He pistol whips a BANK MANAGER trying for an alarm button.


If written with more immediacy, I would get more involved, for example:
A BANK MANAGER reaches under his desk.
Guy leaps and vaults the counter, like a parkour freak.
He pistol whips the would be hero with a Glock.


Showing the manager first, gives us some tension and logic thread for the action.
Something like this engages the reader and yanks them down the page, IMO.

P. 4 Bummed we didn't complete the heist with the charismatic Banker.
      I like him already and want to see him rob the city schmucks.

P. 5 DETECTIVE DRAKE
       We’re been after this crew for
       eight months.


       I think you mean, "We've been after..."

P. 7 I don't know what a "muster room" is.

P. 9 You can tighten up Melissa's queries, give her more zing. Mmm, sassy women.

P. 10 Oh my, she is sassy. I hope she lives for a while.
        And with one word, that secures a PG-13. So long as you only use it once.

Despite the aforementioned misgivings, I like this so far.
After the protracted dress up opener, things move pretty fast.
Perhaps a few less familiar tropes will help, but this moves pretty darn well.

I'll continue with the read as my schedule allows.
Hope this helps. Keep writing and rewriting.

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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B.C.
Posted: September 2nd, 2011, 1:06pm Report to Moderator
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Hi, Jackx. Gave this the once over this week, and glad I did.  

On the whole, an entertaining read. Short scenes and and action descriptions make for a fast read and an intriguing build up. 80 pages is my fave number for a script, and the pace never lags. I think this could be a nice little low to mid budget sci-fi movie – the gritty and ‘real’ world employed works nicely.

You strength here is the well constructed action sequences. Also the dialogue is pretty good and all the characters are individual because of it. Not once did I have to double check which character was which due inane talk, a thing I often find when reading spec scripts.

Well done. Now, here’s some things I noted and maybe might help for future improvements:

P.5 – A character called Detective Mills makes me think about one of my fave movies: Se7en. You might not have even thought about this or seen that movie for all I know, but…it’s a thing I see a lot . Any nod or wink to other movies almost always makes me think about said movie and takes me out of the story at hand. A personal problem of mine but one worth mentioning.

There’s some sentence structure problems in the script, this one I had to re-read before I got the image:

P.8 – “On the bandana is printed the lower jaw of a skull, so it looks like his”.

P.12 – the invisible Gates is introduced. I was shocked at his power due to the reality of the characters and the tone of the script thus far. This is a strength, but I feel that maybe before this the audience could be shown a little more of the ‘powereds’. The only sight of it beforehand is the Bankers cane. Just my opinion – maybe an opening scene with a powered rather than Guy could improve the story. Just a suggestion.

P.13 – I love the floating gun scene, well written. But then I think we end up in the KITCHEN without a new slug? Confused the read slightly.  

P21 – A cute cashier. Like the cute bank babe? Are all behind the counter workers cute?  

P.21 – Maybe we need an INSERT for the footage on the monitors? A lack of it leads to this line which reads a bit funny - “ On a security TV next to the other the Biker is visible parking in front of the gas station”.

P.21 – The robber kicks some ass -- again, nicely written action. We later find out it’s Darwin. I’m not sure why he’s not called Darwin in this scene?

P31 - Guy says ‘There money there’. Typo?

(Just a note on G-BOY. I like this kid, but I’m not sure tone-wise it works. I loved the reveal that he is a powered, and enjoyed the fights with Darwin. However, as he leaves on P.51 and never returns, I couldn’t help but wonder what the overall point of him is to the overall plot. Also – on page 51 his name is CAPPED like you are introducing him for the first time. Was this scene earlier in the script at one point?)

P.56 – I’m not a format genius but I’m not sure I would do FLASHBACKS in this manner. I’d probably have them with a (V.O.) of the talking characters. I’m sure other people will chip in on this.

P.60 – found it a bit odd that Melissa is casually reading the files after breaking into the military building. Wouldn’t the female soldier have twigged and raised the alarm?

P.62 “They are dressed in civilain clothes, but their cop look is obvious.” Do we need this line?

P.63 – LANDLURD. Or LANDLORD?

P.70 – 71. Jackx, as I mentioned I feel you write really nice action. I’m dissapointed with “the gun fight lasts for minutes”. Tut Tut. You are better than that, dude! Make me feel that gunfight.  

P.80 – Ahh, we have a sequel forthcoming.

I look forward to reading it.

Cheers for the read. Well done. I have just finished so may pop back in the thread when the overall story has time to settle in my brain.

Revision History (1 edits)
B.C.  -  September 2nd, 2011, 3:10pm
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: September 3rd, 2011, 12:02pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Jack,

Picking up from page ten this morning

P. 11 Archer catches up the the Captain in his office, just as
he’s getting off the phone.


An extra "the" is in there.

P. 13 If they knew Gates could dematerialize, why not incapacitate him right away?
        Shoot tranquilizers first and ask questions later.

Stopping at page 20 this morning.
I like the overall flow and the supporting characters have some life.
However, Archer is a bit of a stiff board for me.
I would've expected some exposition by the Captain about him or something.
Perhaps a glimpse into Archer's past showing why he's obsessed with his job, etc.

The apostrophe thing in the slugs is distracting, as mentioned by others.
Looking forward to seeing where you take this story.

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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jackx
Posted: September 5th, 2011, 9:10pm Report to Moderator
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Hey E d.  Thanks for checking it out.  
I swear I added the copyright on the first page after being told to do so by someone on ss.  And if it's on the Internet it must be true, right?  But I'll fix that.

I appreciate the ideas of improving the writing style wise.  I tend to be a bit over dry in scripts, plus the whole present tense issue.

P. 4 Bummed we didn't complete the heist with the charismatic Banker.
      I like him already and want to see him rob the city schmucks.
This was mentioned before, and I'll remedy it.

A muster room is where a police force would muster at the beginning of shift or an op.  I can change it to meeting room with no problem.
Yea I was definitely thinking pg13 at the least.  

The slugs issue was just making the mistake once or twice, then just using the auto populate for the rest.  So at least I'm efficient with my typos.

Archer is def the weak point, I'll be thinking about more backstory and a bit more personality.

Thanks for checking it out so far, definitely a lot of good suggestions.  I probably won't get a revised version up for a bit, but this is def helping.


Mine:
HARD CASE
            (65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...

APU
            (80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: September 6th, 2011, 1:07pm Report to Moderator
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Jack,

Picking up from page 20 this morning.

P. 23 The biker scene. Two and half pages with nameless characters.
        It was a tough read with strangers without names.

P. 24 Typo. AGENT ARCHER, CAPTAIN ELLIS, and the rest of the APU Agents
         sit in in muster room.
An extra "in" in there.

P. 26 More typos. MELLISA, well-dressed in a business skirt, strides onto the
        main office floor. COWORKERS glance up
Melissa & co-workers.

P. 30 No Banker since the opener, feels weird he's absent.

P. 36 Archer and Melissa info exchange felt long on unneeded dialogue.

P. 39 It's "duct tape".

P. 40 Fake male nurse thing could be streamlined IMO.

Stopping here for now, this section felt a lot tamer than your start.
Melissa and Archer settled, a little Banker, some bits of Archer.
The G-Boy mystery is intriguing, I'll pick this up tomorrow.

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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Electric Dreamer
Posted: September 8th, 2011, 11:43am Report to Moderator
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Hey Jack,

I'll pick it up from the halfway point today.

P. 41  Henchman Bob, great character name.

P. 46  I like the dramatic turn with G-Boy and Darwin.
         I continue to be intrigued with Guy, seems a decent junkie bloke.
         Tweaking formula enough to keep me reading. Kudos.

P. 49  AGENT ARCHER sits at his desk, rips a fresh page out of a
         binder of forms, wads it up.

         Why is Archer in caps here?

P. 56  Little stuff like this needles the read:
         INT. POLICE STATION - SMALL OFFICE
        
         Agent Archer sits in an office across from OFFICER FRANKS,
         (40).

        
         The slug tells us it's an office. So save yourself a line and an orphan:
         Archer sits across from OFFICER FRANKS (40).

P. 57  Gangs wouldn’t let anyone in that wasn’t all tatted up
          just to prove themselves.

          This line makes me wonder about Guy, a little bit.

Stopping at page 60 today.
Lot of interesting plot threads to try and wrap up in twenty pages.
Pages 40 - 60 were more in line with the first twenty's pacing.
If you cleaned this up, it would be a pretty solid writing sample.
Sy-fy just renewed "Alphas" for a second season.
This could land you a writing gig if you get it in the right hands.

I'll try and wrap this up tomorrow.

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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Electric Dreamer
Posted: September 9th, 2011, 11:54am Report to Moderator
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Jack,

I swear I'm gonna finish your script today.
I've been multitasking my rear off lately, sorry for breaking this up.

P. 71  As the gunfight continues, the Banker continues grabbing his
          things, keeping his head down.

          Try to avoid word repetition like this in your descriptions.
          I've seen several examples of this in the script that trip up the read.

P. 74  Gunfight felt pretty stale until Darwin showed up.
         May want to consider spicing up that warehouse business.

P. 77  Nice reversal with Kelvin.

Pretty stout read, all in all.
I can see this being a pilot for television.
OR...edited down and extended into a feature film with a third act.
G-Boy needed a wrap up at the end of this, figure him into it somehow.

Good work. What else ya got?

Keep writing and rewriting.
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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jackx
Posted: September 10th, 2011, 10:46am Report to Moderator
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Hey basket case thanks for checking it out.  Glad you mostly liked it, and some great suggestions.  
It definitely needs some work, but I figured I had taken it as far as I could without some outside input.

Sevens a great movie, but I had no idea the character was mills.  I. Bad with names, but it wasn't an intentional refererence.

– “On the bandana is printed the lower jaw of a skull, so it looks like his.  I'll work on that.  It's a pretty common design, at least out here, and looks cool, just hard to describe.

Ima rework that whole first scene o hopefully that'll fix the issues of seeing power Nd a tad less of guy.

Yea I had trouble with the invisible guy.  In my head it was like a wide open loft, making it easy for gates to move around without doors.  So it's just a kitchen area rather than a whole separate room.  Other wise they just have to block the bedroom dor and the scenes over.  But I get that its confusing, I'll workonit.

– A cute cashier. Like the cute bank babe? Are all behind the counter workers cute?  Haha, in my movies the answer is yes. In real life, sadly no.  Maybe I'll mix it up though.

The idea with the tv is that it's just a casual view of him walking in.  Honestly doesn't make a difference in the story, just thought it was a nice visual.  I'll try to clarify or reword it.

P31 - Guy says ‘There money there’. No typo, just poorly written dialogue.  Haha.

Yea gboy was an issue.  I feel like I needed a character that as actually  trying to be good in the old fashioned way.  But jamming him into the final scene would have been a bit much.  I'm still thinking on how to at least bring him back for a bit near the end.

An the messed up caps are because I wrote this as a series first, then missed on the editing.  Good catch though.

P.60 – found it a bit odd that Melissa is casually reading the files after breaking into the military building. Wouldn’t the female soldier have twigged and raised the alarm?
The idea was for at least a bit the soldier would be assuming she lost it.  This is an administrative military building, so pretty lax security.  But I'll work on clarifying that.

P.80
Yea that gunfight was about the last thing I wrote, was just trying to wrap things up.  I'll work on it in the revisions.

All good ideas, I appreciate the help.  I didn't see any of your stuff on the new page, there something specific I could return the favor on?


Mine:
HARD CASE
            (65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...

APU
            (80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
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irish eyes
Posted: October 18th, 2011, 10:24pm Report to Moderator
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Jack,

So far im upto page 26 and my eyes are closing,, By no means because of your script, just because im freaking tired.
The only reason im I made it this far is because your script is really good....
Besides the credits and the copyright on the 1st page, the script just took off for me and it never slowed down. Im intrigued to find out more about Darwin. Archie is probably the weakest character so far, but you enough of a great cast,  that I barely notice..I like Melissa banging her way to a story( to put it politely)
I can see it`s more of a R rated movie, a few curses, drugs, tits and point blank shootings... Overall looking forward to the rest of it

Mark


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irish eyes
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Very well written.

Just a few little points, that might not have been mentioned.

I think way too many characters for a screenplay. That`s more for t.v... maybe combine some of them if not delete them.

TYPO Pg 57 officer Franks Mailed to THE HIS family

pg 72 Archer makes eye contact with Archer across the warehouse... now I know he doesn`t have super fast powers

Nice twist ending.... which sets it up for a sequel.

Overall i thought your descriptions were great,  especially your gunfight scenes and your characters were very well developed.

The whole movie was well thought out..

Well done Jack.
look forward the sequel






I though I was gonna see G-boy again before the end...


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dbailey
Posted: January 23rd, 2012, 7:22am Report to Moderator
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Being rather new at this myself, I can't really offer much in the way of formatting tips or story structure.  That being said, here's my humble critique:

This was really good.  As others have said, the action really flows very well - I particularly liked the gun fight between Archer, Banker and Darwin which I found clear and evocative.

I myself liked the fact that Archer was unpowered and saw what you were going for with regards.  I don't think he needs to be powered, but he needs more conflict, more of an arc.  His story is pretty straightforward, so I think you need to do something to spice it up.  Personally I probably wouldn't go with giving him a power yet...

G-boy definitely needs to be fleshed out or trimmed.  Since he's such an intriguing character, I'd prefer the former.

My biggest problem is with the raid on Gates.  I don't understand why that scene went down the way it did if they knew he was the invisible man.  If they didn't know, that needs to be made more clear.  Because right now the cops all look like chumps.  They went to arrest an invisible guy; he turns invisible, and then they were like, "now what?"

So this scene works better for me if they had no idea he could go invisible, or they have a plan to counter invisibility and Gates is just one step ahead of them.

I also agree that the scene where Melissa sneaks into the military building needs to be clarified a bit.  I too wondered why she would be leisurely doing research when it seemed as if the military lady had figured out that she was the culprit.

This is the first unproduced script that I've looked at on this site and I think it sets a high bar.  Well written, interesting characters, great action.

Good luck!

:Duan

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