I know it’s a common maxim but was the title inspired in any way by the Oracle in The Matrix Reloaded who makes a direct reference to it?
- Should be “eerie”
“A flash of lightning briefly exposes a lifeless MALE body,
white suit, floating on the surface above.”
- Nice, instantly reminded me of Sunset Blvd. Having read the script, I wondered why the guy had a white suit on? Is this representative of his narcissism?
“...they blink. Blood shot.”
- Cool transition.
Good first page in setting up the character of Mike primarily through visual means; his body language, dishevelment and photos. I just hope we’re not headed into familiar “washed-up-cop’s-last-chance-at redemption” territory, gone off the rails because he didn’t prevent a loved one from getting killed or something
…Anyway, reading on...
“Mike glances at it ... away ... back. It bothers him.”
- Another well observed moment to indicate his fastidiousness.
“Opposite is SUSAN, 60, counsellor, grey hair, wise soul, file
in hand. At the top of the page it reads;”
- I’ve just been re-watching the Lethal Weapon films so this situation reminds me of the female police psychologist whose always trying to collar Riggs to “talk” about and confront his issues. Although, there it’s done for laughs, here is more serious.
“Pronounced symptoms are normal.”
- What kind of pronounced symptoms? Is she referring to his OCD.
Hidden?! They blew his fucking head
off. He bled to death in my arms.
What's not to know?
- Uh oh, here’s the loved-one-he-should’ve-saved revelation.
Your first partner was also shot,
badly injured. Yet, you didn't have
any of your current symptoms.
Mike’s twitching calms down. He reflects.
I don’t know. Be nice to know why.
I mean, why do we feel what we
- Uh, wouldn’t it be because the old partner got badly injured while the new one got his head blown off? Surely that goes some way to answering the symptoms question.
Look, Jimmy's death was a great
shock. I know you feel responsible,
but he wasn’t to know about the
gunmen. To me you're a hero for
going in after him. Lucky you
didn't die. Hell, enough of the
- I wonder do you need “the gunman” part, it reads a little like exposition, filling in the blanks for the reader. If the Chief just trails off after “about” we’ll be able to join the dots with what’s already been told through Mike’s prior conversation with Susan.
“KNOW THYSELF CLINIC, Lake Mirror”
- I presume you made these up, which is fine. It’s just they’re not half subtle, are they?
I mean, all arrows point to Mike facing himself, his inner demons, inner turmoil, etc, on this particular case.
I like the opening impression of this clinic and Honey’s Gray’s character, a benign yet sinister figure of authority among vulnerable people.
It almost has me thinking that the Chief has intentionally sent Mike up for some healing under the pretence of working on a case. I’m also entertaining the notion of all this being in Mike’s head, a figment of his post traumatic, fractured psyche a la Shutter Island.
Why did he stay out on the lake
alone at night?
Chief grins - pleased.
- It’s hardly a Sherlock Holmes moment of incisive sleuthing is it? Surely someone else would’ve already asked this question if it were an odd thing for this guy to do.
His desperate wife pretended to
book it for herself.
- The phrasing here reads slightly off. How about:
“His wife was desperate, pretended to book it for herself”
It breached our rules. I offered
him a refund. He refused, wanted to
prove to his wife that he didn't
- How? By not taking the refund in order to go through with the Clinic’s treatment? Am I interpreting that right? Doesn’t he want the refund so he wouldn’t have to attend, thus prove his point?
What makes you qualified to this?
- Missing “do” after “to”
By page 13 Honey has become so antsy and suspicious that I can only presume she is innocent. Everything so far suggests she is untrustworthy so it must mean, if playing to genre, that’s she’s clean, or at least a lesser evil within the bigger picture.
You may not like me, but I'm
- This jarred for me, would it be something she’d say? Mike hasn’t accused her of anything but these are strong, pointed, defiant words. Having said it, I thought Mike would take her up on such a wild assumption. He should take offense, question those choice of words.
“Stroke after stroke, the boat slices through the water. The
only sounds being the wind and occasional birdsong. Peaceful.”
- I appreciate that it’s hard to convey on the page but this is a good opportunity to insert some unnerving silences. The veneer of pastoral idyll with undertoneS of foreboding, isolation.
“As he knocks back some water, Mike scratches his head. Seems unsure.”
- I thought he was going to take it back for sampling, see if it’s spiked or something. I guess he didn’t figure on sweating so much.
Although it slips into the realm of the supernatural or fantastical on page 16 it does fit in with the otherwise worldly events of the script so far. I could see something like this developing given the fictional placenames, the clinic’s vibe, Mike’s unstable mind. It does feel like we have drifted into an alternate dream-like world and it works because the context, characterisation and environs compliment that.
Also, I’m thinking there is something in Gemma’s water which is causing this.
Careful. It's interesting, isn’t
it? You know, what would you say if
you met yourself? It's not exactly
- After “careful” is a good example where I would use the dreaded ellipses (…) since he jumps from commenting on Mike’s unbalance to remarking on his own ghostly presence. Ellipses are useful dividers in cases like this…Just a thought.
“Mike claws at his head trying to rid himself of the dilemma.”
- “Dilemma” feels like an ill-fitting term for what he’s experiencing. How about something that refers more directly to his unwanted “guest” or “company” or friend”. Yes, in this regard, inverted commas will be compulsory for whatever word you use.
“Mike shakes his head, trying to rid himself of the moment.”
- Again, I see you are (understandably) struggling to find the right term. I don’t think “moment” is appropriate either. How about; delusion, psychosis, hallucination.
“Mike doesn't feel the joy.”
- How about “Michael does get it” or “Michael doesn’t find it funny” or “Michael doesn’t see the humour”
That's just talking out loud.
- Why so angry? We all talk to ourselves, nothing wrong with it. The people who don’t are the ones you should watch out for
I would try to avoid having a slugline on its own at the bottom of the page like on page 18.
Remember, if you don't know, I
don't know. But, when it comes to
what things mean, then bingo, I can
help. I lurk within, until now. I
like the fresh air.
- Another example where ellipses could be used effectively. After “until now” he makes a somewhat frivolous comment about why he is appearing here of all places. It’s a separate train of thought interjecting on his musings about his own place within Mike’s subconscious.
For as along...
- Remove the “a” in “along”
“Mike Two looks on, compassionate. They share a moment of
silence, an understanding.”
- Get where you’re going with this and predict these enlightening scenes to be the centrepiece of the script but it does seem like rather simplistic psycho-analysing. The son-I never-had complex and projecting those teachings onto a surrogate, in this case, his young partner. I find it hard to believe this revelation is only dawning on Mike One now and how Susan, a trained shrink, wouldn’t have scratched this particular surface during their sessions.
OK, let's get this straight. They
don't call you Third Eye just
because of this case, do they?
(off Mike agreeing)
And you earnt that respect?
(off Mike agreeing)
Yeah, we deserve that name. I'm
proud of what we've done, together.
- I’m a little confused by this dialogue. What case is Mike Two referring to? He says “this case” but Mike One hasn’t done anything in the way of an investigation yet so it doesn’t make sense…or is this a Memento type scenario where Mike is destined to be stuck on the same case indefinitely, repeatedly going through the procedures? This ties into my earlier comparison to Shutter Island.
Then you risked your career to make
help his wife and child.
- Omit “make”
I had never had
that. Now it's gone.
- Omit the first “had”
Nobody else was
involved, that seems clear.
- How is he so sure?
“Still dripping wet, he gets out the boat, bottle in hand.”
- Missing “of” between “out” and “the”
Does the lack of food make it work better?
- Since Gemma is the only patient we meet I thought she was anorexic or bulimic and this was the demon she was facing. On the basis of this line, are we to believe that all the patients undergo some sort of fasting for the reasons Mike mentions here? Is that part of the program?
“The penny drops, Honey slumps back in her seat.”
- I’m a little confused here. Are we to interpret Honey’s body language as her knowing what she was actually doing to her patients or was drowning man an inadvertent side effect she hadn’t anticipated? From this exchange it reads as if Honey wasn't totally aware of what she was doing, yet the “slumping” in her seat suggests “Ok, you've caught me”.
So my question is what is Honey getting out of this? Why put her patients under such risk like that? What’s in it for her? Does she actually want to help them but made a honest misjudgment in prescribing her “medicine” or is she just fu?king with them, taking a perverse pleasure in seeing damaged people literally face themselves?
Teaches you to live in
the present, whatever that means.
- Oh come on, Chief, think now. It’s pretty self explanatory!
While I like the narcissistic angle concerning the drowned man, borrowing from the Greek myth, looking into the water, etc and how it linked to the overall theme of looking inward, I primarily wondered about Honey Gray’s motivations as I’ve already mentioned. Why would she use such unconventional techniques? I know she’s is described as having become disillusioned with orthodox remedies, the rat race and all that but why take a risk like that? As I said, while I was reading, Honey seemed so disingenuous and duplicitous that I thought there must be something deeper going on here, another malevolent force at work, and in a way there is, in the mind but basically she does turn out to be the villain in the end which was a little disappointing. I hoped there would be a twist or two in regards her true role in what had transpired.
I was also curious to know what drug exactly she was using, seems like pretty potent stuff. Where can I get me some!
I think you spend too long with Mike Two, its near 9 pages which is nearly a third of the script. I know I have a ghostly, sub-conscious character in Broadcast but I keep her interactions minimal and elliptical, to give that ghostly, projected feel, reflecting the protagonist’s warped mind set. Here, I felt there was too much emphasis on it, too much “explaining”, what it all means and what it takes to emerge from it, you know. I didn’t quite buy the transformation in Mike One when he’s apparently shown the error in his ways, where he is going wrong, recognizing what he was expecting from his late partner, the need to put in behind him, etc.
I think it comes down to what we were discussing on the Broadcast discussion board about sticking to your vision and the desire to tell a certain story your way. It’s clear that the internalizing of Mike, fighting his demons, his inner self is at the fore front of what you wanted to explore here and that’s why he spends so much time with himself. And that’s cool, I recognize that this will resonate with some people more than others.
I was hoping we would get back to the case at hand a bit sooner and see where that took us, what surprises that had in store. Naturally as the story drew to a close I realised you were leaving yourself very few pages to create more drama from that and as a result it wrapped up quickly once Mike got back to the clinic.
Also, the final scene of the Chief deciding to quit came across as an afterthought, just to bookend the story and tie in thematically with the arc Mike’s character experiences. Especially with the mention of the Chief having this moment of clarity before the mirror. I get why you did it, to illustrate the motifs at work here but it felt heavy handed and obvious. A rather abrupt decision to make on the Chief’s part which didn’t ring true for me.
Overall, I think this has great potential, I enjoyed the nods to other films in Mike’s character, his predicament, mind frame, etc and being called out to the unnervingly calm and supposedly tranquil clinic to investigate a case, all the ingredients are there. It’s a great set up that we’ve all seen before but it suitable creepy, a fantastical situation to put your beleaguered protagonist into. However, I don’t think the pay off comes anywhere near to doing justice to this intriguing premise. Once we get there Mike spends most of his time in a boat with his alter ego before solving the case and seemingly well on the way to recovery, I was left unsatisfied. Again, it comes down to what you wanted to focus the story on and where I was wanting it to go.
I do appreciate the sentiments of the piece as a whole, it’s a positive message of personal development and self empowerment but it’s also a deep and complex one that requires the same level of exploration. For me, 30 pages simply don’t cover it, especially if you want a catharsis by the closing credits.
You’ve probably been asked this already but do you have plans to expand it?