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Lychanthrope by Will Jonassen - Horror - Revitalizing the werewolf with a new take on a classic genre, and pushing the norm from their current archetypes to something darker and more abstract, this is a story that returns to the metaphor of the dark side of man's soul. While true to the subgenre's rules, it turns, and takes us down the hole by examining the dangers inherent when people fail to communicate and find some harmony in the face of their problems - in the face of a monster. Through the eyes of this small town and a force of nature, insanity, we see the werewolf reborn. 120 pages - pdf, format
Hello, I've read up to page 16 of your script that's got my attention. I love a good horror story regarding werewolves. What time frame is this story from? it feels like the 80's or earlier. but I love your description in your action lines which to me is on point. Solid writing skills so far. I though there should of been a bit more blood shed in the description of the beast killing its victims, but I'm a gore fan. I will read more of you script later today.
First thing that caught my eye was the length, but according to your logline I'm sure you're aware of it.
The logline, by the way, is not good at all. I like the idea of "werewolves are reborn", but other than that you didn't give us anything about a story. Not to mention "to be edited" is not something you want to see on a script. For the most part, don't post your work until it's as perfect as you can make it.
Don't use the giant font on your title page. Apparently this belongs to a production company, but it's tentative? What?
So the script's overall presentation raised some red flags. I've written three paragraphs and I haven't even gotten to the actual script. Make sure your script's presentation is perfect, since script readers are looking for any excuse to stop reading (or not read at all).
So onto the actual script... Like I said, I like the concept, but I was disappointed when I saw all the italics, the right-aligned FADE IN:, CONTINUED at the top and bottom of each page, and all the BOLD headings/character names (which some people like, others don't).
But, on the bright side, the writing is better than I originally thought.
It could use tightening, though. A lotta unfilmables here. How do we know they're local teenagers? How do we know they're on their third date? Only write what we see on film. (And it doesn't seem like an awkward date, IMO.)
"Some of them chat or fool around. The rest are drunk, rowdy, and making a mess. They break bottles and shout at the trees." Could be shortened. Are we paying attention to individual teens chatting, and watching others throw beer bottles, or are we seeing the blur of a noisy crowd around a fire?
And again... "Janey takes in the night before returning. She feels the cold chill of the air and shivers. Behind her beckons the warm, dancing light of the fire, which is obscured by dark trees." You could remove this paragraph altogether. All we see on film is a girl looking over her shoulder. We have no way of seeing her "take in the night" or the warm "beckoning to her."
"Janey turns to him, ready now, and they kiss. Tommy places soft kisses all over, and she closes her eyes."
What purpose does the second paragraph serve? And how do we know she's "ready now?" Make her grin or something, because otherwise you're telling instead of showing.
Some of the parentheticals are redundant, not to mention they annoy some people. I'd leave out obvious things like "(shocked)" and "(piggishly)". You also used (beat) a lot, which also bugs people. I think it has its uses, but a lot of times it's redundant.
"After a thought, he lets her go to have a look around." You're telling and not showing. Cut this line altogether.
"Something's watching us. I can feel it." A bit on the corny side. Same for ""Letís get out of here. Iím sorry! We should really just go now."
"In charge, Janey takes off without waiting for his response. Tommy takes a few hesitant steps, then follows once more." Cut. Instead, something like "Tommy takes a few steps, then follows."
So, like I expected, this 139-page script is overwritten and redundant a lot of times. Not that it's a bad script...I like the concept, and your writing is good-- but it needs to be tightened. Only write what we see on screen; Show, don't tell.
So, I'd like to read another, tightened non-italic draft of this, since I dig real werewolves. It's about time someone brings back a wolfman who doesn't hang out with a sparkling emo.
Good job completing 139 pages, though. Longer than anything I've written. Now, just tighten it.
^^^ What they said. You really need to nail down proper spec script format and language and give this puppy another go. It's a bitch, I know, but you must be dogged in your application of format or your script will be the runt of the litter. Don't put yourself in the doghouse; bone up on format.
Hello again; I've completed your script which I have to give you a thumbs up on the effort it took in completing a script of 139 pages. With that said, I love the story. Now I'm not the type who's going to point out every error that's made. I'm more into the story and characters. But after reading the script, it felt like I was reading a novel instead. My opinion, you should turn it into a book. Youíre going to find on this form that the well-established critics are going to slice your script with a fine knife. Some arenít going to be nice about it.
A couple of things;
1) You need to cut down the pages of your script. The first two scenes is about 16 pages long together which fine if youíre writing a book.
2) There are pages that have action or description lines with no dialog. If this was an action move like Indiana Jones cool, but in horror your dialog has to be as good as the action, they go hand in hand.
2) Your action lines need to be written where the audience can see it what youíre talking about. Most of your lines are descriptive to what the character is either thinking, believes, or their intensions. Those are the type of lines a producer reading your script can't see and most likely place your script in that unwanted pile .
But like I said I love the story. You should think about turning it into a novel.
This could be completely useless information but in a 139 page script I expected a lot of dialogue which would actually mean a shorter running time on film but having quickly checked this out there seems to be minimal dialogue throughout the entire script. This could actually mean the script is even longer than the 2 hour 20 minutes it appears to be. There are times when you have 5- 6 pages without a single word spoken. I'm not saying this is wrong but it could indicate that you may be able to trim some pages by working on your action scenes. At its present length you may struggle for reads. Just my opinion.
Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.
Sorry it took so long to reply, but I just completed the registration for the board, today.
First, wow you guys. I think all of this is the perfect advice, and I'm in agreement with almost all of it, with few gray areas. You all are exactly the kinds of hard-nosed, well-informed, sticklers for format that I was hoping to hear from. I couldn't have asked for a better frame of reference in getting the gears turning again on perfecting what is a new craft for me. Actually, I did ask (sort of), but I received. For sure, I will be looking at other's scripts to help with critique and discussion, as that should help with learning a lot more, making it solid, and for what I'm sure will be great inspiration. I'm actually an animation student, not a film student, trained in a wide range of concepts regarding 2D and 3D animation crossing many applications, with foundations in design, photography, storyboarding, and some screenwriting. Much of how I present characters and action in something geared for film, like this, may be influenced by this background. It definitely is, I'm sure, where I'm considering more squash and stretch type ideas, and probably disconnected from the idea of working with a living actor in some ways. Having exposure to your critiques, and all the work on this site, can do nothing but help, I think.
Let me address the first steps to setting it right, and then I would like to share a little about where this whole thing came from. I have all ready begun making changes along the lines presented above, in all of your posts. I hope to have a highly revised version updated and posted very soon, and have made huge strides so far. I use finaldraft pro ver.8, and actually, the big font and format changes are as easy as a few clicks of a button. I'm all over this one, I promise. In fact, just changing the font from italics to regular reduced the length by almost two pages somehow, just like that. The other changes are - and will continue, I'm sure - to shorten the length even further. There are multiple reasons why it came out so long, and with the format it did, but I will try to address you one at a time.
Dethmyke. Thanks man! I almost think you are too kind, but I'm glad I was able to reach you through the story. So far, you are the only person who has recommended "more gore," where the typical response has been something like, "holy crap, that's really violent." Ha! You may have noticed, I gave to the gore fans a little bit more as the story went on, with things like the wolf's tendency to pretty much want to be dead before he transforms, as for him, these are painful and violent. What's great about your posts, for me, is that you went beyond the first act to take in the narrative as a whole, which is where my real contribution to the thing really lies. I've always been interested in writing something in a novel format, and do think in those terms, often. That said, it doesn't do to have anyone feeling like they should put this script down in the first few pages due to some format issues, and so I need to address Dreamscale and Crookedowl, too. They're right on the money with those concerns.
Dreamscale, Crookedowl, the two of you have single (or double) handedly settled debates that have raged on this screenplay for months, between myself, the concept creator, concept artists, and fellow students. Working my way through the Animation program at school, I came to an impass, and began searching for ways expand my portfolio and prepare for graduation. At the same time, my mom entered into a crisis with cancer, and in the process of dealing with that, losing much, I have been put in a position where I have actually had to initiate a lawsuit against the school. It is for many, many reasons, lost money and negligence, but also a sub-standard education provided, all-around, that does not meet the industry standards of any department. They graduate game-art students who have never heard of texture baking, interior designers who can't get licenses to practice, graphics designers who owe up to ninety thousand dollars passed off to tattoo shops and then written up as having gotten into their career fields, and screenwriters who have never been shown the truest industry standard format for a script. It has turned class-action, as a result, with other students able to make claims as they need to. Still, I began storyboarding for a senior student film, from which I was promoted to Assistant Director. I then became AD on a second senior film, which won awards for writing and best visual effects in the Tampa Film Festival and student showcases. From this, my roommate and I were handed a 90-page werewolf script to edit and play with as we saw fit. My friend and would-be co-writer was so discouraged by the poor quality of this thing, that he stepped down. He has since moved out of state. The concept came from a guy who was sold to us as being a close personal friend of Tom Savini (of dawn of the dead, dusk til dawn fame, currently working with Tarantino, and the reason why the direction of this goes almost to that style at some points. It was originally almost pure girndhouse, and while that's not really my style, I still wanted to reach out to them and blend it where I could), however, that did not to turn out to mean any actual experience or knowledge of this industry on his part, but more of a hard-line insistence that he does. The italics in all of the action lines are a relic of his original, for example, as are many of the format errors. One of my biggest focuses then, so far, has been on totally re-creating the narrative, and clearing up the pretty massive continuity errors, which I still worry could be present in some subconscious way where his original ideas still remain. All along, there has been much about these things that did not "feel" right, and were even gone at points (some old drafts), but remained, ultimately, both to satisfy his wishes for his "baby," and find a middle-ground on these debates, where the opinion was along the lines of, "yeah, it's not standard, but it's my style and I think it could help a speed reader see the important parts better." I do have terrible eyesight, myself, and enjoyed just a few of the bolds where you guys did not, but found the italics to actually be a real hindrance on getting this edited properly. It really messed with the flow in a way that stands out a whole lot, now that I've just put my foot down and am going all the way with trying it how you all have described, here.
Let me discuss the original, quickly. Ninety pages... a good, solid, effort of passion. Generally, the first thing that stood out to me, is that it objectified the female characters in a way terrible to my values for good film-making, bordering on soft-core pornography. It did not have a three act structure. At all. He had not heard of the three act structure. It had absolutely no conflict whatsoever. He had a general sense that he liked the idea of a sheriff character (originally named "Kelley"), because he saw something like that on True Blood, and he liked the idea that the werewolf also be a crazy killer as a man, because he liked the Joker from Batman. The "twist" of the story, is that even though the sheriff and the reporter characters were always snippy with each other, they were actually married, and around the middle of the movie, we go to their white-picket fence house, with dog and pick-up truck (no joke), and then in the last half, the big conflict is the arrival of some reality tv/monster hunter show from out of town who kind of gets in the way of the reporter's story. The wolfman wants on the show, actually, and makes some deal with the mayor and police chief (yes, the sheriff answered to a police chief... think about that), gets on it, bites a guy, and transforms on national television, but luckily, in the last ten pages, some upstanding citizens decided to reward the sheriff for all his fine service with a gift - sent in the mail - of six silver bullets. Boom, boom, the wolves are all dead. All characters got along wonderfully the entire time, flirting and joking, and everything ended up fine. It was this basic cheesiness that became the hardest thing to cleanse from it, especially in the dialogue, which you have all picked up on, naturally. I did it through visuals inspired by things way outside of the classic werewolf genre and horror pacing, like Wes Anderson's style, the Cohen Brother's type of character depth, and Nicolas Winding Refn (of Bronson, Drive, and Valhalla Rising notoriety) visuals, but it did not always lead to great dialogue, still, as there were some parts that he was adamant about remaining true to. I found I could appreciate that, and tried to give it a pace where the audience might believe they are receiving the norm, and then either just not give it to them, or give it my own take based on my personal life experiences. One example is my choice to get rid of silver bullets all-together, and go with an IED made from silver. Another, is a massive expansion on his scene where he had the wolfman eating ice cream for some reason, and meeting with the reporter to taunt her with all this information he has about the "lychanthrope killer," so he could get close to her. I wrote that as almost a mushroom trip, instead, where he's barely even connected with reality, and their meeting is only in passing... their contact, only creepy and bizarre. Speaking of "Lychanthroops" I can barely even pronounce it. Nevermind the title page, I can hardly even stand the title. It's... indicative of the ultimate problem with this... starting at a fairly low point, and reaching very high with it, where not all of its concepts have attained their full height at this point. I think they can, though.
I should finish with my own thoughts on my most current version, and direct answers to your other questions.... tbc...
Hey Will good to see you chime in...and in great detail, as well. Nice.
Hey, listen, first things first...are you writing this as an R or PG13 rated script? If you're going the R route, which I always advise, you will definitely want your readers and viewers to know that right away, meaning, you want some gore, you want some explicit language, and you'll also want some nudity and sex sprinkled throughout.
Not sure if you're aware or not, but the general rule of thumb, which you definitely want to try and adhere to, is that 1 page of text equals 1 minute of film. It doesn't work on a page by page basis, but overall, if your writing is good, it will ring true. So, with that in mind, that's why your page length is a major issue currently. A 100 page script plays out to an hour and 40 minute flick. In this genre, you really shouldn't be over 110 pages, and most will tell you to shoot for around 90. But, you need to see this in your head and come up with an idea of how long it should run.
I haven't read it, so I don't know what actual scenes need cutting, but I can tell you just from reading your opening, you're probably writing at about 140% of what you should. And that really means the way you're writing, the choices you make in deciding to give detail about things, orphans, passage length, etc.
It all takes awhile to get a handle on but for writers who already know how to write, it shouldn't take you too long to figure it out.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
Also, Dethmyke.... it's not the 80's, but maybe a town trapped in the 80's.
It's pretty neat you touched on that, though. Because I had "Drive," and "Bronson" by Nicholas Winding Refn playing in the background fairly often during some of the deeper parts of this writing, and how heavily influenced by the 80's both of those films are, I wonder if on some level that feeling might have come through? Something subconscious?
It's based on a real town here in Florida, though. Sanford, or maybe some other north-Florida area. It was the original idea-guy, Rick, who wanted it to be in Florida. The other writer wanted Colorado. I ended up actually steering it towards some parts of North Florida as a sort of compromise, and I know the areas well. There really are places like this, cut off from the world, sort of, and just weird. I don't want to give the town a name, though. I don't want to even give the main characters names.
I've seen that pulled off well, before... and I like it. It's intentional, and based on a trend in some more artsy films to just leave it open. In any version of this, there will always be, necessarily, many questions that will not always be answered, unless someone is just in the know of a thing. There are a lot of little easter-eggs as well... lots of little fight-club-esque easter eggs that a viewer might not find for the first few watches, or reader find on a first read through. Others are for security, and others, still, are for the ideas proposed regarding sequel, prequel, and graphic novel concepts. I hope that answers your questions. Thanks a lot for completing the whole thing! I know that was a marathon read... a ton. I really appreciate that.
Dreamscale: I would have to say this would be an R script, by the way... and that's some good stuff to think about. It's currently full of cussing and violence to a pretty extreme extent in places, that I have actually worried/expected, and even set up to be cut, possibly. The Southpark writers, Tray Parker and Matt Stone, gave the great advice that when dealing with the ratings people, overdo it at first. Go over the top with it, and what they cut for taste, will actually be closer to what you probably really wanted all along. Just a nugget of wisdom for all to think about.
I do know of the 1 to 1 ratio on pages versus time, and have been wrestling with that mentally... it's almost like I've been working on the shindler's list of werewolf movies, and that's... just no good. No fun, even... (kind of fun, but nonsense, ultimately) I totally agree.... Still, your first tip with the italics, and my tendencey to overuse wrylies as you called them, pushed me over on that ratio, alone, all along. I think in the form you see, it's more like 2 or 3 to 1, and your advice has helped me get it back towards the proper 1 to 1 all ready. I'm going to see where that takes it, push it a little further, and aim to have an update of this match with that better formatting... to "bone up on it," as Lon put it.
Hello again. I reason why I asked if the script takes place in the 80's is because I'm currently writing a horror / werewolf script called "The Blood Thirsty Winter." That takes place in the 80's. For some strange reason the 80's song "Waiting For a Girl Like You" by Foreigner is suck in my head whenever I'm working on the script. I think werewolf movies that's made in the 80's genre are the best like "Wolfen," "The Howling," or "American Werewolf in London." I hope you write a squeal to this script.
Hey, from reading your script you're a talented writing. Take a look at my script titled Gingerbread. I need to make some improvement on it but you'll be able to see what I'm referring to rtegarding action lines.
Another piece of advise is to read other people's scripts. You'll find some really good scripts that help me out to be a better writer.
I guess parts of the site were down there for a bit (or was it just me?), but I'm just about finished revising this script thanks to the great advice given by all of you.
I remember having a great English teacher who really left an impression on me that drives me this day, so I would have her to thank if something like this ever goes anywhere. When it comes to perfecting things, I've found that not only being educated, but turning around and trying to re-educate, or teach, is the best way to learn. I know that goes with an old cliche, but it's true. I will be going down as many of the listings of unproduced scripts I find, trying to provide as much thoughtful feedback as I can, just as soon as I can.
It's funny, but some of the professional, high-level scripts posted on here, like Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," can be quite a mess by the hard standards given in most critiques. I realize those are probably early and not final drafts, but it's interesting to see they were all at certain level of "needing work," at some point. Even the best aren't perfect, in other words, but I think that's what gets them pushing on the razor's edge of creativity and originality, that some people confined to rigid formula, only, may not grasp as fully. We can only hope...
Gingerbread, as a title, is certainly fitting for this time of year, and it will be a priority on my reading list, probably in just a couple of hours when I have finsished submitting my new lychanthrope pdf to the admins. Take care, dood!