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Edgers by Darren Tomalin (darrenjames) - Series, Cyberpunky, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-fi, Action thing. - 2050, ten years after a catastrophic environmental disaster that has left a scorched Earth, a group of mismatched mercenaries, "Edgers", try to carve a living through any means they can while avoiding the government, corporations, gangs, any number of enemies... and each other. The team embark on, what should be a simple data extraction but are there ulterior motives at play? 55 pages - pdf, format
Edgers Episode 2 - "GIving & Taking" by Darren Tomalin (darrenjames) - Series, Cyberpunky, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-fi, Action thing. - Brook and Meadow attempt an audacious rescue mission to save Winter from Carver Global. Gale comes to terms with the unforseen consequences of her actions. - pdf, format
Edgers Episode 3 - "Truth & Lies" by Darren Tomalin (darrenjames) - Series, Cyberpunky, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-fi, Action thing. - While the team take drastic steps to deal with the stolen data and the threat of Carver, the pressure proves too much for Lake. Meadow makes the only decision she feels she can. - pdf, format
Edgers Episode 4 - "Hide & Seek" by Darren Tomalin (darrenjames) - Series, Cyberpunky, Post Apocalyptic, Sci-fi, Action thing. - Meadow's fate after the crash is revealed and Alanis shows her true colours. In the meantime, Lake struggles with his dark past. 63 pages - pdf, format
This was a really solid pilot, lots of action and good characters introduced.
I liked the futuristic world you've created, I felt it was easy to visualize which isn't easy in sci-fi writing.
Obviously we didn't get to know all the characters, some were under used but that's expected in a pilot so it didn't bother me. This is something that will be explored later on I'm guessing.
I didn't have any problems with the read, thought you did a great job with this. Blue-ray, it's actually without a E, blu-ray is how it is known. There was one typo on page 4 "Gale, 40, sits neat the cockpit door" think you meant near.
I liked most of your action sequences, thought the elevator scene between Meadow and Freya was really engaging. The one that I think could be tidied up is in the jet, when they fight the Nomads I had to read this section a couple of times to understand certain bits, but maybe that's just me being stupid. That's known to have happened on many occasions!
The ending was also good and made me want to jump straight into the second episode to find out what is going on?
Overall this a fantastic pilot, I am looking forward to reading future episodes of this.
There is a second draft on my .webs site, below (episode 2 is on there too and pending on here). Thanks for the typo, now fixed.
I was worried about the action scenes, as I'm new to writing I still have a lot to learn and that whole sequence (especially because I cut it back and forth a few times and the group sort of got split up) was hard work and hopefully the new draft has given it a bit of a nip and tuck.
Hope I can keep some uniform level of quality, I'm being quite amibtious! Thanks again.
Great to see some new content from you. Always a pleasure to see new members contributing content. I'll crack this open today and continue as my work allows.
P. 5 I'm down with the teaser set up and all. But there's too little info spread out over the five pages. I recommend either giving up more background on those pages. Which shouldn't be too hard, there's small talk that can be excised. OR, shorten it up and save the background for post teaser. And SHOW US a hint of what we're actually looking at. Don't extend the mystery by simply not showing us, that's a cheat. Extend and enhance the mystery by showing us something. Whatever it is, it should get us even more curious, IMO.
P. 8 Again I feel like you're playing hide and seek with your story. Pages of science babble and people congratulating each other. We're close to ten minutes in and you haven't told us a thing. Other than it's Earth in the near future.
P. 10 I like nano-repair of the atmosphere. Good concept. Easy to understand, no much gobblety gook behind it.
P. 14 Winter and Meadow dialogue. Way too on the nose for my liking. The guy conveniently explains Meadow to the reader. Dunno if you've seen "Firefly" or not. But... Meadow, as written, is a dead ringer for a character on that show called, River. Right down to how she dresses. Reminds me of the actress, Summer Glau.
P. 18 I like the Lake/Sammo bit. Is that a nod to Sammo Hung, per chance?
P. 21 Too much whining and ignoring imminent danger here for my tastes. Pare it down and I think it will work better.
I'm stopping at the end of act two today. I'll pick this up as my schedule allows.
I'm still waiting for the actual story to begin, feels like all backstory right now. Which can be fine, especially if it's being used to establish character dynamics. But I'm not getting that much of it from the page. The Meadow/Forest dynamic is expository, but it is something. Craft's speech thing is pretty cool. But that's about it in the character department. The rest feels like banter and set up for twenty plus pages.
I think you have a good idea here, but I don't know enough about it. And we're almost halfway through an episode. And the fabricated mystery of the box really irked me in hindsight.
If the crew knew that guy was in the box, why don't they talk about it on the jet? Doesn't make much sense they wouldn't talk about their trapped comrade. But...if they did, then your planned surprise fails. That kind of manipulation alienates audiences and readers. It's a fairly cheap tactic to keep the reader in the dark, IMO.
I think you can do better than that. I've seen as much in your other work.
Hope this helps. Looking forward to continuing. Keep writing and rewriting.
LATEST NEWS CineVita Films is producing a short based on my new feature!
Good points well made as usual E.D. It's my first series and it's really tricky to get a balance of what to tell the reader and what not to. I wanted Brook's reveal to be typical of the sort of scrapes he gets in, and mroe like that later. Do you think I should move the reveal to start of act 1? or not bother with a reveal and nip the "jack in the box" in the bud? ah, got it - move the line "Hello Brook" to the end of the teaser!
I wanted the start of act1 in every episode to ahve the same - a flashback to before the disaster showing us life before for each of the main characters - in this case our main antag - Carver.
I disagree with what you say about Winter and Meadow's dialogue, sounds natural to me, an older man giving a life lesson to a naive young girl. However, it might work better later in the script perhaps?
ALso, because I wanted a few main characters it is hard to know how much focus to give them without spreading too little butter over too much bread. I plan to make each episode rotate around two through lines and two main characters so, of this week its a Lake episode or a Meadow episode etc (very much like trek does) Whether I accomplish this or not is the kicker - I'm having fun writing it though so hopefully you can appreciate the good bits lol.
(the firefly thing is spot on as is the River comparison though episode 2 is up and Meadow does go in a slightly different direction which you'll see in act 3 hopefully, (it was the combat boots and summer dress that did it? hmm, might change that) I've worked out some long term arcs for the characters so know where they'll end up.
Taking your advice and picking the script up on your website. Seems to be about the same page count. So, I'll just start with act three from that draft.
P. 29 I'm five pages into act three and I'm unsure what's going on. We went from the pass acquisition to the meet with Carver. But it's all stuff you really don't need much of it seems. Getting the pass, traveling to Carver's, then bluffing with the guy. Why did we need all that set up? Couldn't we just cut to the elevator ride right before the doors open. All it takes is a couple lines to set up the ruse, not several pages.
P. 30 Nomads driven by a "savage madness". I'm not sure what that means. Kinda sounds like the Reavers from "Firefly". Seems you're trying to allude to more there. Their origins could be an interesting story. But as written, it comes off as a bit of overwriting your descriptions.
P. 33 Four page escape scene for the ship is way too long. That's a long time just for a ship to shake off the Nomads. Almost 10% of your pilot episode just for that one action beat. The page count would be fine for a big climax though.
P. 37 Typo. The "soul of her shoe".
P. 40 I like the Winter/Freya exchange.
P. 47 I dig the elevator fight scene. Meadow bolted pretty quick, with barely a concern for Winter. Seems out of character since they've been inseparable the entire episode.
P. 51 I'm going to use this example of your dialogue to make a point. She just got here, things went South. Rain, sheís hurt pretty bad, needs some repair work, I did what I could.
IMO, all you need here is, "She's hurt pretty bad, I did what I could." The script would really benefit from strip mining most of the dialogue. There's padding in a lot of the scenes you really don't need. Less is more, my friend.
P. 54 I like the wrap up with the reveal of Gale's deception. And Winter with Carver is a good hook as well.
I felt as though the first half didn't do a good job setting up the second half. Lot of set up and pages burned for a BluRay joke too. Even if it is chuckle worthy, that's a lot of special effects for a punchline, IMO.
But once the story started to unfold, I got interested. I wish there was a way you could differentiate this from its predecessors better. This still feels like too many other shows smooshed together.
Find that "thing" that makes your premise stand out. Then, I think this would be the kind of thing that SyFy would eat up.
Hope this helps.
LATEST NEWS CineVita Films is producing a short based on my new feature!
Great feedback as usual, I will keep stripping it back until it feels "just right" The only thing I will kindly disagree on is the set up to get to Carver's party, the premise is that it's hard to get in the "Fox District" which is where all the rich people live, it needed establishing that passes in are hard to come by, particulary for a bunch of mercenaries living on the poor side of town. Ivory Towers and that. "Savage Madness" = Rarrrr! Bleurgh! Yaaaah! Aaaargh! gonna eat ya! savage! mad! aaargh! I do over describe things sometimes, the fault lies with me being an RPGer! The Jet chase needs some more tinkering. I'm gonna leave that episode as it is for now, find some more feet with the next eps and go back when more comfortable, once I "get into a groove" with it. Thanks again. Daz
First, your writing and talent are impressive on many levels! And I'm not a smoke blower. The dialogue needs much tweaking, to be expected considering this is an early draft and you are a relatively new writer. But on the whole, it holds up and is a strength. In general I would say what I see here indicates you have a real future in this field. On to my comments.
1) I have never reviewed TV scripts, and in fact I have watched very little TV in the last 25 years other than sports and news. I worked and lived in bars, never home. So keep this in mind, I really know shit about this stuff. I'll do my best.
2) You need to do 3 things with a script like this: world building; character introduction and development; and story creation. Tough to find the right blend. This is sci fi, so extra effort is needed for world building. And you have a lot of characters, really a lot. That leaves little room for story building, which I think is the Achilles heal here that you will have to work on.
3) two other elements work against each other in stories like this and you have to find the right balance. On the one hand, you want to create intrigue, questions the audience wants answered. On the the other hand, you need lay things out with enough clarity so we have some sense of who to root for and what the issues are. You succeeded in the former very well, but struggled in the latter.
Who are the good guys? What do they want? Why are we rooting for them? To be honest, this is what I got: the team we see at the beginning are the good guys. How do we know? Only because they are the first people we meet, they are somewhat likable, and have some physical courage. Beyond that, we know nothing about them. Are they mercenaries? There's a lot of talk about getting paid. Plus, strangely, their big score was a Lord of the Rings blue ray. For this, they almost died and Brooks got shot. Now, I am betting there is more to it, that this blue ray really is something else. But in this first episode, we don't know that. So we either don't know what they are fighting for, or they are mercenaries, or they are obsessed with a blue ray film trilogy. Whichever the case, there is no reason to identify with their cause and therefore they are hard to root for.
Furthermore, they are led by Gale, who at best is cold, but also seems to be connected to the sabotage of the project that led to the destruction of the world and the death of billions.
Let's take a deeper look at who the good guys are, the bad guys, and therefore the stakes. Carver was trying to make the world a better place. The sabotage of his work destroyed the world. So is he a good guy or a bad guy? He is currently trying to fix the world. Should he be stopped? I mean, easy to blame him for the mistake 10 years ago, but with the world all F'd up now, isn't it worth taking a chance on his fixing it? And if he is the good guy, are the people in Fox World(Fox News?) good or bad?
Again, this comes down to story building vs world building. Creating complicated scenarios as to what the politics of the land is, who the players are, what they want is more about world building. Much easier to do that in novels or fantasy series. Creating story means sacrificing some of that world's complexity in order to have clear sides so we know who to root for.
Do you watch the HBO series Game of Thrones? That is a world that is overly complex. The only people we know for sure are the "good guys" are the northern lords's family. Everything else is complicated, which is cool, but bad theater. They get away with it for two reasons. First, like I said, at least we have the family to root for. That anchors it a little. Second, this was based on a very successful fantasy series, and would never have been picked up otherwise.
I'm not sure what the solution is for your story, but IMO, we need some kind of hero or group of heros to anchor the story better. Yes, you have some likable and heroic characters, but since we don't know much about them or what their goals are we don't have enough reason to root for them. You have the characters, so maybe it's simply a matter of making it more clear why they are the good guys. You might have to sacrifice some story complexity in order to do that, but I think it's worth it.
If someone reads this, or watches it, you want them to be able to explain after one episode what the basic story is about. I've read this twice and I'm not sure I can do that. It's in the future, post apocalyptic...but after that I draw a blank. Are the good guys trying to stop Carver from fixing the world? Did Gale, the good guys leader, have a hand in destroying the world? I can't figure out what they want, who they work for, etc.
4) you've created a cool world. But keep in mind that you want to bring something unique to the table. Is that the case here? You have the world divided into mutant-like survivors and the wealthy few. That's not new. You have a world destroyed by nano tech; that's new, but it's done in the story. And as even you mentioned, the Nomads are the same as in all of these films, most famously Mad Max, but many more. And we have cyborgs, of course. Been there, done that.
Don't misunderstand me. This is all good still. What I'm suggesting is try to find something, some element, that stands out as really unique. And try to introduce that element as early in the script as possible. Make it a signature part of this.
5) you are using a technique somewhat effectively that I am a fan of, and that is creating questions we need answered. For example the big announcement by Carver.
6) CGI; reminds me of computer generated graphics
7) Carver's last speech is rather long; maybe shorten it. You did a good job of mixing some behind the scene action images in.
Conclusion: good stuff, Darren. A lot of potential, and well delivered. The world you created is effective and intriguing. I think if you can address the main issue, which is who the good guys are, why they are the good guys, why we should root for them...you'll be in good shape!
Thanks mate, good advice from everyone so far. I want to develop the characters over the episodes, think of any running show and you learn more as time goes by rather than put all the cards on the table, the ambiguity of who the bad guys and good guys are, becomes clearer over time - rather like Lost or Heroes, you're never sure about a few of them. (Gale in particular, she's the leader and later, her and Brook come to blows) The shades of grey are deliberate but I'm hoping that as I get better, the characters develop, I have their arcs planned out and how they grow so that should be fun with quite a few surprises (episodes will be certain character centric so we learn more about each of them as we go, I jsut need to nail the dialogue) Like I said to E.D. i'll keep polishing it until it's all lovely and shiny, but might move on to the next episodes and go back as I find a rhythm and groove. Carver isn't trying to repair the world, this is a cover to his real plan - the erradication of the world outside of their utopia, Meadow saw the truth in the data she hacked, in the next ep, she tries to come to terms with it, wonders what to do as she realises she might endanger the group. Daz
Aw, darn it, you revealed the Carver secret to me!
Just kidding. I do understand what you're saying Darren, and I understood this when reading. My concern is that there is so much ambiguity that the audience doesn't bond with anyone, and they need to do that in order to turn back to the next episode. That's what I was trying to say about the difference between world building and story. Part of the story arc process means giving the audience a sense of place early on where they have some sense of where things are.
Sci fi and fantasy definitely gives you more leeway because people watch it largely in order to explore new worlds. But I still think you're taking a big risk in making the plot too sophisticated early on. Plot is usually seen as a device for the story of the characters to play out in.
The old westerns had good guys in white hats and bad guys in black. I don't think it was because they could not write sophisticated stories. I'm not suggesting you go that far, I like the sophistication, and sci fi audiences have a much higher appreciation for that. I'm just saying the stakes need to be clearer earlier so we know who the good guys are and what they're up to.
I like it, though, and I think as you rewrite things based on everyone's feedback this will really round into good shape. You know if I tell you I like it I'm being honest because I was pretty hard on the recent short you posted, if I recall. It's good stuff cheap, as a local furniture goes.
I would look for a signature sci fi aspect too. I don't know what. Maybe the Nomads have nano infested faces, which are distorted and look like they're crawling with living bits, as though they are constantly trying to form a face but can't.
Maybe the land runs with rivers of gray goo, nano particles that are eating the land and devour anything that touches them.
Maybe it rains gray goo, so it's fatal to get caught in the rain.
Congrats on finishing this pilot. Although I've never done one, I would think Sci-Fi would be one of the harder genres to write because of the world-building. I think you did a good job creating this post-Apocalyptic world.
The technical aspect of the script was very polished. Enough info to get a sense of characters and the scene/world. There were a lot of characters and I had to do double takes, but I think that's because you're aiming for a mish-mash of "Lost" with a Mad Max world.
First, the opening scenes where you flashback to the "Catastrophe". I'm not sure if you necessarily need to put this here. I say this because near the end Carver has this long speech detailing this event. Either you cut/short the flashback or cut down on Carter's speech.
I would rather cut the flashback in the beginning. One, the flashback slows down the action in the present time.
Second, this will free up space to develop/show your characters, which I think is more important so that the audience can start having a better feel for them early. Also, when Carver makes his speech, it provides the exposition anyway and you can save the "Catastrophe" scenes in the next episode. Make the audience anticipate/wait for the big explosions.
Another alternative: I assume you'll have an episode somewhere where Carver will be the "A" or "B" story that delves deeper into his character. Here you can insert that catastrophe scene. The episodes that are character-centric are usually the best places to insert flashbacks.
I like the "destroy the shanty" town for the good of the mega-city angle. This provides the audience something to relate to as this sounds very much like the OWS movement.
Lastly, I think you need one last "oomph" factor. The thing with Sci-Fi is you need something unique. The Nomads do feel too much like Mad Max. With your use of the plane and multiple characters, "Lost" comes to mind. You need your own "light saber." I'm not sure what this would be for you, but I think as you keep writing/rewriting this series you'll have an "aha!" moment.
Good comments Kingcooky. I'm going to think on some more, my "lightsaber" was going to possibly be the Nomads, I've took a suggestion to make the nanites that ravaged the world a key ingredient so hopefully that's where I can work my Oomph factor from.
The flashbacks were going to be a regular thing in each episode, each character was going to have a moment where we get to see life before the cataclysm, and how they've changed/had to change. The series was going to be similiar to Lost in that the individual episodes focus on one or two characters and their involvement in the "A" story while dealing with their own "B" stories.
Agreed - the speach is too long and expository so going to get snipped to make room for more character development!
It will be a little while before I get more work done on this, been approached about some collaborative work so going to concentrate on that for now, give me a break from this so i can get some fresh eyes for later!
Saw the second episode up so thought I would give a read, I enjoyed the pilot so was expecting good read.
The action is again fast paced and the story moves along nicely just like the first episode.
After now reading the two episodes it feels like there are too many characters and I struggled to follow who everyone was. No character seemed to have their individual arc which I felt harmed this episode; too many characters gave it a disjointed feel IMO.
There was a lot of POV action in this one which harmed the read, Iím not sure on this technique personally but I felt it was overused.
You introduced every character again in this one, even the age. I wanted to ask if this is necessary in a series because you have already done this in the previous episode. Iím not sure myself and thatís why I ask? Also you failed to give ages to Freya, Winter and Carver on their intro, it didnít bother me but I think itís always good to be consistent because every other character intro had an age. Just a thought.
The writing again was good but I did feel you overused commaís a lot in the action but if you have looked at my script youíre know Iím hardly any better so who am I to criticise.
I did notice and couple of grammar errors, misspellings but it wasnít a lot and Iíve been drinking so my senses are off and I might have misread it to be fair.
Overall I enjoyed it but I feel you need to start establishing the characters individually in future episodes. In a series I understand you donít always need a main protagonist but with how many main characters you have it seems you need to make one shine out from the rest. If you look at a series like Lost for example, there were tons of characters and they all had a part no doubt but we always ended back with Jack, Kate and Sawyer most of the time, they were the main players and I feel you establish that here.
Good work again Darren, look forward to episode 3.