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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  Anna Phallactic Moderators: bert
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  Author    Anna Phallactic  (currently 2382 views)
Don
Posted: January 30th, 2015, 6:19pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Anna Phallactic by Jon Poland - Comedy - Smart, sexy, sociopath.  Can this Senator get past family, checkered history, doubters, and a growing conscience to maneuver for the highest office? 102 pages - pdf, format


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  March 8th, 2015, 11:39am
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c m hall
Posted: February 1st, 2015, 3:11pm Report to Moderator
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SPOILERS

This is a fast moving story, easy and enjoyable to read.  If this is made into a Daria style cartoon it could be very entertaining and successful.  

It's a terrifically clever screenplay, the energy never fails and the ending is surprisingly satisfying.  

Anna's family interactions are the most interesting parts, I think.  

On page 36 "it's exile" should read as "its exile", I'm almost sure.

An observation... when Tim says that he refused to sign up for Obamacare because it was Socialized medicine -- I was confused, since whether or not one signs up for Obamacare, we, in the USA, all participate in it, like or not -- and, although the death of his wife might be a result of a ruined healthcare system, it's not because Tim didn't sign up for it.  I'm just saying.
That moment in the text was a distraction for me, which was unfortunate since it's so near the pivotal moment in Anna's decisions.

Anyway, congratulations on writing a screenplay that has the makings of a very successful production.

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c m hall  -  February 1st, 2015, 4:47pm
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JonP
Posted: February 2nd, 2015, 5:01am Report to Moderator
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Thanks CM for your input!

I never considered the cartoon angle, interesting.  It could take a film that might otherwise slip into an R-rating and pull it back to PG-13.

The parts about it being terrifically clever, having never-failing energy, and being surprisingly satisfying are my favorites.  

Yeah, I had a lot of fun with the family.

Good catch on the typo.

I'll need to revisit Tim.  My aim was to present someone who was fed an ideology by Anna that persuaded him to act against his own interests, and now he's experiencing the fallout.  He's one in a series of catalysts for Anna to get in touch with her conscience so she can complete her character arc from sociopath to having compassion.  That, along with a few other drivers, pushes her over the edge to set-up the climax.  Regarding ACA/Obamacare, my understanding is that you don't automatically have health coverage unless you sign-up for it and you pay a penalty if you don't, but I'm far from an authority on the law.  If anyone has thoughts about Tim or the other catalysts, I'd most welcome it because making sure Anna convincingly completes her character arc is one of my principle concerns.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read my screenplay and provide constructive input.  It means a lot to me.



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JonP  -  February 2nd, 2015, 5:50am
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eldave1
Posted: February 2nd, 2015, 9:17pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Jon. First congratulations on writing a feature. That in itself is a challenge. As I read, I noted that there were several script writing rules that you need to pay attention to. Here are some examples:


Quoted Text
What can be heard and occasionally seen in the crazy footage is Emcee cracking jokes in front of his fraternity brothers.  Everyone appears to be enjoying the routine with good cheer and occasional laughter.


Don't describe the scene in this manner (i.e., cracking jokes, everyone appears to be enjoying, etc.) . A Director wouldn't know what to do with it. You should be limited to either dialogue or specific action by someone or something. The dialogue and action that follows (i.e., starting with the EMCEE talking) either does the trick or it doesn't. I happened to think it does so you could just delete the above and go right into where the EMCEE starts his jokes.


Quoted Text
The crowd goes nuts.


Again, what does this mean? Do they applaud - laugh - hoot and holler?  


Quoted Text
The camera quickly wheels around and the image freezes on a smirking Reaganesque-looking man.  


Assuming this is Ligget, introduce him here. e.g.,

....the image freezes on GORDON LIGGETT (5, black hair with grey streaks....


Quoted Text
The frozen image goes split-screen with RACHEL MADDOW (or a reasonable facsimile).  Maddow (or facsimile) is clearly savoring the moment.  After a pause for effect...


Again, what does "clearly savoring the moment" look like?
You need to describe what that is. For example,

MADDOW rubs her palms together.

                      MADDOW
           This is simply delicious.

                              
Quoted Text
RACHEL MADDOW
Yes folks, thatís right.  The smirking man in the room full of jocular elitist woman bashers is none other than presumptive Republican nominee, Gordon Liggett.  But before I delve into the oh-so juicy ramifications of that, I would just like to take the opportunity to welcome Ed into the fold.  Ed, I know this must be a confusing time for you, but understand that you are not alone.  And thereís a support group to guide you through your transformation.  We meet on Tuesdays and contrary to popular belief, we appreciate it if you shave your legs.  Weíll be right back


I got lost in the dialogue when it came to Ed. If she is talking to him, where is he in the scene?
  

Quoted Text
GORDON LIGGETTíS VOICE
Turn that crap off.

We zoom out into a war-room.  


Describe what the war room is rather than just calling it a war room. Also - whenever possible, stay away from camera directions (i.e., ZOOM). That's the Director's job. If you Google "camera directions in a screenplay" you will find out it is frowned upon.


Quoted Text
By the looks of the people in it, the war is not going well.


Again, you job is to describe this. What does "the war is not going well" look like? For example,

MAN 1 has his face buried in his hands.
MAN 2 says "we all need to be looking for jobs."

Or whatever. Long winded way of saying you need to write something that tells the reader that the war is not going well - not just telling them that the war is not going well. e.g.,

Don't write something like "Dave is sad"
Write something like "a tear trickles down Dave's face OR Dave says "this is the worst day of my life.  


Quoted Text
GORDON LIGGETT (5 is furious.  His son, college-age BRADLEY (BRAD) LIGGETT, is shocked by his fatherís swearing.


Same point. What is Gordon specifically doing (e.g., slamming the table) or saying (e.g., you all fucked up!) to let us know he is furious. What is Brad doing (raises his eyebrows) or saying (e.g., Dad, you don't swear) that lets us know he is shocked.

Go through the script and look for all the instances where you may have described something in a Novel fashion rather than a script fashion and replace what you told us what someone was feeling with specific actions or dialogue that would allows us to conclude what they are feeling.

Minor note: Give Brad and age (20s) rather than "college age"


Quoted Text
BENJAMIN (BEN) FREEDMAN (52) chimes in.  Ben is Gordonís fixer.  Ben is a short heavy-set slouching hardscrabble quickthinking fast-talking disheveled perpetual motion machine who couldnít be more different in appearance and manner than the patrician Protestant he manages.


Again, you are writing in Novel style rather than script style. There is not going to be a SUPER on the screen telling the audience that Ben is Gordon's fixer. You need to have action or dialogue that shows that. e.g.,

                       LIGGET
     Damn it, Ben. You're supposed to be my fixer.

All you can really write about Ben in script style is something akin to:

BEN (AGE), short, heavy, wears a wrinkled, over sized suit.  

i.e., you can't tell us he is fast talking. You need to demonstrate that in his dialogue.

Jon: someone sent me this link fairly soon after I joined this site:

http://la-screenwriter.com/2012/08/02/50-dead-giveaways-that-youre-an-amateur-writer/

It was very helpful to me - you should check it out.

The bad news is that you violate many screen writing conventions. That needs to be fixed if you want folks in the industry to consider your script (s).  There are two points of good news.

1. You can fix the bad news relatively easy - just takes some practice.

2. You write very clever dialogue, develop compelling characters and tell a good story. That is the hardest part of screen-writing. Fix number 1 and you are on your way.

Hope this helps.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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JonP
Posted: February 2nd, 2015, 10:41pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you, that's exactly what I needed to hear, and thanks for the link.  What's so ego-damaging is that this is my 3rd screenplay.  You'd think I'd learn by now.


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eldave1
Posted: February 3rd, 2015, 12:21am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JonP
Thank you, that's exactly what I needed to hear, and thanks for the link.  What's so ego-damaging is that this is my 3rd screenplay.  You'd think I'd learn by now.


Been through the millmyself - stick around - you have  a talent


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Colkurtz8
Posted: March 30th, 2015, 9:39am Report to Moderator
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Jon

I just sent you on my page by page notes which will give you a good idea of what I think works and what I think needs work with the script.

The premise is strong, the central character is interesting and has a somewhat original arc. You are clearly a smart and well read guy which is why when you get into the more substantial issues and take satirical jabs at the political circus you seem to be at your most comfortable. The read flows and the dialogue crackles.

However, I think story-wise it lacks in some departments such as direction, consistency, development and overall conception. The structure feels spotty at times and there are continuity issues, scenes that I think would make great dramatic fodder and serve your character's evolution and motivation are skipped over and instead referred to in dialogue after they have occurred. Thus, at vital times its hard to get on board or relate to the changes characters goes through, particularly Anna. Its like we are only shown part of her story, it feels disjointed. This is especially evident in the flashback and concerning Anna's promiscuity in particular. I mean, outside of her flirtations with Digger, we never actually see her have "relations" of any kind with a guy.

There is a disparity between showing Anna in her job (or I should I say: not showing) and her domestic dramas. The mother/daughter relationship is a clearly a vital component to the story but there is an imbalance. Too much of one, not enough of the other. The blackmailing sub plot is misguided and largely contrived (of course by its nature it is since it was an inside job, I'm more referring to the consequences of it, how it affects the characters and story) much like the conflicts between both Pete and Debbie with his parents and then Anna's estranged relationship with Pete and Debbie. The parallel is just a little too on the nose while the mechanics of the story that lead to these meetings (Anna finding out Pete's parents are actually alive/Hannah suddenly wanting to see her grandparents for the first time in ten years) feels too convenient and set up to facilitate the correlation. You can almost hear the narrative gears grinding in order to bring these people together for the scenes to play out.

Also there is the lack of context and set up regarding certain characters being introduced that extends to the creation of Anna herself which I probably mentioned too many times in my notes This goes back to what I feel is lacking in the script's overall development and realization.

Anyway, I won't ramble on too much. As I said, my notes hopefully speak for themselves but are only my opinions too at the end of the day, nothing more.

I'm open to a back and forth if you want while its still fresh in my head.

Col.


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JonP
Posted: June 22nd, 2015, 11:26pm Report to Moderator
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An early draft of Anna Phallactic made the semi-finals of StoryPros! I just up-loaded the latest version. Thanks again to everyone who provided feedback. The feedback emailed to me from colkurtz8 was especially extensive and helpful to chew on.


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JonP
Posted: December 14th, 2015, 8:29am Report to Moderator
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My screenplay made the finals of StoryPros International! I just finished/uploaded a major rewrite based on everyone's feedback (including StoryPros). I'd been resisting killing off a 30-page flashback, but most people said it was slowing-down the story, so I finally pulled the trigger. That allowed me to further develop the mother-daughter relationship, which was people's favorite aspect of the story. I also added a fun twist. So much better now. Thanks everyone for your support!


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eldave1
Posted: December 14th, 2015, 12:56pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JonP
My screenplay made the finals of StoryPros International! I just finished/uploaded a major rewrite based on everyone's feedback (including StoryPros). I'd been resisting killing off a 30-page flashback, but most people said it was slowing-down the story, so I finally pulled the trigger. That allowed me to further develop the mother-daughter relationship, which was people's favorite aspect of the story. I also added a fun twist. So much better now. Thanks everyone for your support!


Wow - great news Jon - congrats and best of luck


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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