Tom Cynova’s Review of:
“Fountain of Youth”
By Richard F. Russell
Drama*What I enjoyed about the script:
- Written concisely, clean, and focused.
- While their descriptions are basic, the characters are easy to imagine and the Mann’s in particular are very solid characters knowing who they are and what they want.
- Unpredictable and original in subject matter, would like to see this storyline developed into something larger.
- Although the script is presented primarily through dialogue, there is a small amount of visual cues and focuses that visually tell the story, such as Mr. Rhodes smiles and expressions and David taking Heidi’s hand as they await Mr. Rhodes‘ decision.*Personal notes, criticisms, and suggestions:
- Descriptions are flat and generic. They could be more interesting and expressive simply by changing single words to something more specific to the character, location, setting, ect.
- The dialogue is little plain and unoriginal. Crafting it to be just a bit more expressive of our characters and their state if mind would help to lift it beyond the usual back-and-forth of this expected type of meeting scene.
- Much of the dialogue is reconfirming information of things that are obvious and already known.
- The line “In ten years, we will be over seventy.” may work better as “We”ll be in our seventies soon.” As the first line is more or less a given to Mr. Rhodes knowledge. Altogether I would remove most other indications from the Mann’s dialogue of their age as they mention and repeat it several times.
- The script seems to be missing various punctuation throughout. Such as in the first slug-line where a period is needed after “INT” and a dash between the location and time, and the plural form of “60” would better describe the age range of Heidi and David.
- The story is incomplete. We have a setup and potential dilemma, but by the end it’s confirmed that the story wasn’t meant to be developed or paid-off, but simply to present an idea as if it was a commercial advertising this adoption agency.
The only potential dilemma or conflict presented was with the adoption agency head, Mr. Rhodes and the possibility of his reluctance to help the Mann’s achieve their goal. While he is given hints and potential moments where he may emerge as the lead protagonist, he ends up being both an unclear and incomplete character as well as on the same level as the other characters he would have been in conflict with. There seemed to be a clear foundation of Mr. Rhodes at the beginning, but he quickly becomes lost after a few unclear exchanges with Heidi and David. He’s not okay with a child adoption meant for organ harvesting, but he’s okay with them adopting a child only to pro-long their lives in an objective and physical sense.
Their first reason for adopting wasn’t because they wanted to provide a child with a home or to love a child, which is the bare-minimum basis for adopting a child in most cases, yet their focus was only on benefiting themselves and in-turn they will benefit the child only because of what the child can involuntarily do for them. If the first reason they mentioned to Mr. Rhodes wasn’t about providing a child with a home of people who would try to love and care for the child, that should have been a major red flag for the head of the agency, yet he somehow feels it’s still okay to give a child to these people?
- Where is our protagonist in all of this? How do any of these character change from beginning to end? Where is the dilemma or obstacle for either of these characters to face and to be truly challenged from? This makes a great public service announcement for any adoption agencies that this script may reflect, but as a story it fails.
- There is too much left undeveloped and not enough well-hinted at. While the script remains concise and in the understanding that much may have been left for interpretation, there is not enough development within what is presented to have a complete story. There is an attempt to make a statement and contrast ethics and morality with this agency and the characters here who have a sense of normalcy within their ways, yet we don’t have enough provided to us to be able to discern the real meaning or intentions.
We are not sure if Mr. Rhodes wants to help these people achieve their goal or is simply humoring them only to present them with something else in disgust of their plan. Maybe the intention here is that they all really believe they are doing something good with this adoption, and the meaning of this is in the irony and callousness of their morality. To come to an adoption agency not with the purpose of adopting a child to love, but primarily to aid them speaks mounds when reflected upon certain organizations, but then again, there isn’t enough here to really ground or connect this idea to anything specific.
- This is a story that is focused internally among the agency, its visitors, and the author. It remains one-sided with the potential to have a strong lead character, yet becomes no different than the other characters. Externally it has nothing to place it any clear understanding. The writing is clean and flows well enough, yet lacks originality in technique and craft. The opportunity for visual storytelling and images is pushed aside for a dialogue-dominated script. This is a large piece of a story that is not fully realized, and laid out with enough information and material for viewers to be interested, but not truly invested or satisfied.*My Overall Rating: 3/10