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4 Letters and a Tale by Dan Mimis - Action, Adventure, Scaredy - After opening the wrong letters, eight strangers end up in a deadly maze where they struggle to find their only way out -- the right letter. 110 pages - pdf, format
Sure, Jordan, I'd like to hear your input. Things will make perfect sense not in the very beginning but, like in all good movies, will gloriously add up later on.
As for the (number of) characters: this is about 8 people challenged in a very sophisticated life and death game; 4 con artists/criminals and a mastermind are also needed in the economy of the game, and some secondary characters (like two cops trying to solve the crime) ...
There are many great movies with an ensemble cast (http://www.imdb.com/list/v_d5zU69iJU/ ) and the latest box office, "Hunger Games: Catching Fire," has 3 times more characters than my script.
Logline. Your logline states that this is a story about 8 strangers, yet I don't meet the strangers until after I've been introduced to, MIDGET, OFFICER, CAPTAIN MORRISON, RED HAIR, HARD HAT, BRUNETTE, BLONDE, VLAD, BLUE SKULL, and the chauffeur. By this time I'm wondering who is who and what they have to do with anything.
Pg. 2 The dialogue makes this sound like a comedy more than an action/adventure. "Captain Morgan", "David", "Iliad".
Pg. 3 You don't give ages to anyone. You say that the Blonde and Brunette are women but you don't say that Red Hair and Hard Hat are men. Why not? That's confusing. I'm sure you know exactly what Red Hair looks like in your head, but the way you wrote it, I was picturing Connie Nielsen from Devil's Advocate.
Pg. 4 The dialogue about Blue Skull is on-the-nose.
Pg. 6 Why is Blue Skull being taken to a police station for a mental evaluation? Why wouldn't they do that at the prison he's in? Why a police station? Why not a hospital? You're just making a reason to get Blue Skull out of the prison and it doesn't make sense.
Pg. 6 How does a green bus with tires like a demolition truck drive aimlessly on a roof without destroying the building? You really need to work on the description of the bus too. The way you have it written now, it reads as though there's a real elephant, who's bored, painted like a cow from a defunct computer brand, wearing dark sunglasses and has silver arms. Confusing.
Pg. 7 So these 8 people get some junk mail stating that they get a 44% discount on a car, they get into a strange limo with strange people, and nobody questions the validity of it all? Unbelievable. You need to explain the 44% discount more.
Pg. 9 The limo picks everyone up at a subway stop in New York City, and then suddenly it's making a left turn into the Rocky River Forest. I'm no geography expert but I'm pretty sure there aren't any forests in New York City.
Pg. 9 Bran, Transylvania doesn't exist. Bran, Romania does. You wouldn't say "Florence, Tuscany" would you? No. You'd say "Florence, Italy."
Pg. 10 What does "a strange kind of Satanic music" sound like? Does it sound like the Osmonds? How about the Carpenters? That's what I imagine strange Satanic music sounds like.
Pg 10 Maria goes over to the wall of signs and signs the signs that are shaped like brains. Confusing.
Pg. 12 Diana and Bill just met approximately 30 minutes ago and he already has his hands down her pants and she's okay with it until she has to get out of the limo? What? Confusing.
Pg. 12 I'm really glad you pointed out that Andy has a signature line. I was sooooooo hoping that he did. And it's so catchy too.
Pg. 12 Why does anyone introduce a character as being "in his forties"? Just say "OWNER, 45", that's all any reader needs.
Pg. 12 The Owner's big introduction is a little more than Mr. Miyagi says to Daniel when he gives him a car. "Choose". I need more. I'm doing my best to suspend disbelief right now, but I can only suspend it for so long.
Pg. 12 Everyone gets lost in a parking lot? How big are these cars? Is everyone a little person and you forgot to mention that detail? I'm over 6 feet tall. I can see over most cars. Unbelievable.
Pg. 13-16 Horrible dialogue, ridiculous dogs, and nonsense. That's it. I can no longer suspend this disbelief. It's too heavy. I have to set my disbelief down. It's hurting my brain.
I got to page 4. I did laugh once, but that was only at the mention of a midget in a clown costume. I dare anyone, aside from a depressed midget in a clown costume, not to find that funny.
What took me out of the script is the blatant OTN dialogue.
I found the initial scene with the police station burning enough to hold my interest though. I don't agree on the characters thing. It isn't really a concern. Readers find it more difficult than viewers to hold information in their minds. I don't think you have too many characters.
In regards to 1 million dollars in 3 months on casino's and hookers (even though I didn't get that far), I can easily see that happen. People can lose that in one night.
Well, as mentioned on my blog http://www.dan.mimis.com, “Paraphrasing Poe's "a dream within a dream", this script is a puzzle within a puzzle.” So I spill the pieces of the puzzle first and then I put them together to reveal (A) the perfect story, (B) the smartest puzzle script ever and (C) the most intelligent/sophisticated/tense life-and-death game challenge (the crocodile scene and its twist are unmatched) in movie history.
Only to notice that the commenters here shyly opened the box, had a glimpse at the puzzle pieces and run away. Yup, it’s not a character driven movie in which a married dude meets a hot chick and his pregnant wife will see them kissing in some hotel’s parking lot.
There are plenty of infantile comments here (I’ll only mention very few, since only very few of my script pages were eyed):
Nomad: “Logline. Your logline states that this is a story about 8 strangers, yet I don't meet the strangers until after I've been introduced to, MIDGET, OFFICER, CAPTAIN MORRISON, RED HAIR, HARD HAT, BRUNETTE, BLONDE, VLAD, BLUE SKULL, and the chauffeur. By this time I'm wondering who is who and what they have to do with anything.”
Well, Pulp Fiction (Metascore: 94/100), starts with the dinner bandits (and then continues with a dissertation –between 2 mob hit men -- about fast food in Amsterdam). Interestingly enough, the very first scene (with the dinner bandits) will make sense only at the end of the movie, AND NOT, as Nomad requires, in the first 16 pages, so he’d have given up on this masterpiece since it’s so painful for him to be “wondering who is who and what they have to do with anything.”
What got levy incensed: “One million in 3 months with "casinos and exotic dancers"? What's this guy doing, laying $200,000 bets and F**king $50,000 a night hookers?”
One million or more can be lost in one pot at the poker table and it happened (documented) countless times. Fortunes change hands every night in casinos. How long ago did you land on this planet (it can’t be more than one week … )?
And my very few end here, since I have no more time to waste on worthless so-called-inputs. Happy Holidays!
As a point of etiquette, the proper response to feedback -- even if you vehemently disagree -- is "thank you for looking at my script."
Most of those who read as far as they did told you where they stopped, and why you "lost" them. That is actually valuable feedback -- the sort you hate to hear is often the most valuable -- and you received it for free.
Lashing out at reviewers always comes off as unseemly, even when carefully composed, as you have done here.
Just saying. Happy holidays, and welcome to the boards.
I feel a little bad that you felt my input was worthless. If you took the time to do a rewrite then I may be better able to see your story.
I can get past a little bit of OTN dialogue, but yours is too heavy.
You may believe right now that your script is the greatest thing ever, but nobody will get to read it all the way through with how badly it is written right now. Not that you are a bad writer, there's just a learning curve you have to go through to write well for the screen. Once you've mastered that, then we can get to your story.
Dustin: I didn't call your comments worthless, note that I only mentioned Nomad and levy in my response. About that OTN: it's not easy to define/name the characters when there are plenty of them (like in a movie with an ensemble cast) and apparently I didn't do a good job trying to quickly get rid of that task and start the story ...
Hey Dan - what you're getting is feedback - it's opinion; it's not evidence in a court of law. I don't think I've ever come across a feature that's 100% perfect from its first draft. No doubt you, like most writers, are going to have to re-write some of your stuff.
Plus what you got here is pretty obscure -- no harm in giving an explanation on the boards so that people can see what you're doing - especially with something like this which is going to throw people off. Elephants & buses and the like....
James Bond: I agree. Anyway the bus and the elephant have their role in 2 (excellent and funny, I'd hope) twists.
Before posting on simplyscripts I've been criticized mainly for the Reverend, by people who knew that I'm an atheist and just figured that I had to be nasty and bring a Rev. Dick in the story; it's just that them people read it to THE END ..
Okay - I'm going to go and make this my Christmas read - some of what you've said has intrigued me a little - I just hope that you get positive with some of the feedback - I really don't think you can make a script better on your own