Include a possessive apostrophe in the title. It should be: “The Making of Prisoner’s Dilemma” After reading the script though it might be worth considering dropping the “s” altogether to have “The Making of Prisoner Dilemma”. Just to reflect how Macular would say it.
You don’t need the logline in the title page, No big deal but it’ll save you having to endure this type of comment every time someone reads it. Maybe you could put it on screen as superimposed text after the title just to set up the tone of the piece.
I see you’re in Chiang Mai. I made the obligatory stop there when doing the obligatory backpacking excursion through South East Asia back in 2011.
I’m sure others will tell you but try to keep your blocks of prose to four lines or less.
“We are in the great hall of a medieval castle.”
- You don’t need to preface every scene with this line, that’s what the sluglines are for.
I liked the different methods of portrait capturing from oil painting to selfie to indicate how long the Count and his ancestors have been around. The shadow is a good visual gag too.
You can imagine
horror of arithmetic class.
- Good line.
A solidly written opening piece of dialogue, funny too, sets the scene. Its considered a sin to have your first page essentially a block of speech but if it’s well written I don’t mind. It’s like one of those old horror TV shows where a Vincent Price-like presenter introduces the story of the episode.
“As we learn later, about the only thing Jon and David share in common are a Y-chromosome, the English language, and the same generation.”
- You really don’t need to tell us this because if your characters are drawn properly we will get this impression from their interactions together. It’s that old filmmaking adage of “show, don’t tell”
And to your credit, from their opening scenes its clear they don’t see eye to eye, there is friction there. These are polar opposites with their partnership being more out of convenience than a friendship.
Great back and forth between Jon and David on page 2, loved the interjections from David.
Hey, I’m paying them a fair wage!
- Good line.
I like the intercuts between Jon and David parsing the footage while Macular comments on it, putting his own spin on their interpretations.
You gonna do what you gonna do.
You gonna do what you gonna do.
- I don’t get why she keeps repeating this line. Is it a reference to a vampire film or something?
The Moldavian insult were amusing, especially “Horse thief” Would she say “humper” though? I reckon “fu?ker” would be a more common word for them to have heard given English isn’t their first language? Or are you aiming for a 12s rating;)
Mom would never approve.
- This line feels like something Macular might say, not David. Even if he’s that much of a pussy would he say something this chicken sh?t in front of Jon who he knows will roast him over it?
There is precedent.
- Like the “humper” usage from Mom, would Macular use the word “precedent”?
But neither make movie. Macular
make movie. This is Macular movie.
Mine mine mine.
Macular hire these bozo to assist
Macular. Bozo turn on Macular;
treat Macular like clown. But
Macular get last laugh.
- I understand that Macular is acting as narrator but I would consider withholding this dialogue as it essentially gives away some of the story about to unfold. Maybe include it in tandem with the events as they happen on screen.
I appreciate why you have David tell us about his research in regards the mysterious deaths and locating Macular’s castle while the dilettante Jon only half listens but I’m surprised the latter let David go in front of the camera. Would he grant him that moment of exposure?
I would definitely retain the scene but could it take place off camera? Or to maintain the found footage technique, set it up as if they don’t know the camera is switched on and are just having a normal conversation.
“Macular is back to his original pose, but forgot to change
back to his original shadow.”
- Ha, good use of that running visual gag.
It skew data.
- Again, would he use “skew”? Try something a little more common.
This is normalize Romanian behavior.
- Here I like that he says “normalize” as it’s a call back to David using it.
I’m wondering how Jon and David were able to fund their first trip to Romania to film a short and now to fly back to investigate Macular. Who’s putting up the cash here?!
I enjoyed the MacGyver-like practical ingenuity of David compared with the useless Jon simply going to the market to by all the things we’re told repels them. Well observed and humorous to highlight their different approaches and sensibilities.
I expect our target to
- I know he’s vain and clueless but why is Jon so confident of Macular’s cooperation? Don’t they believe he’s a blood sucker responsible for many killings?
Ha, I enjoyed Jon’s philosophizing on the “trifecta of humanoid motivation”, pretty much answered my previous note.
“He is dressed in POKEMON PAJAMAS.”
- How old is this guy? The watch was one thing, I could see a nerd wearing that but matching pajamas! Can you even get them in adult sizes?
Having said that I did get a chuckle out of his last will and testament, good writing. Macular’s defense of the other Pokemon worked great too.
“Taxi Driver #1 peels off and spits.”
- A small thing but I would have the cab driver spit first before driving off.
Suck it up buttercup; we’re on the march.
The exercise and fresh air will do you good.
- Although he’s your classic, self centered douchbag I’m starting to admire his fearlessness even if it’s driven by ignorance.
Oh come on. You got that trust
fund money. Buy new tickets.
- Ah, I guess that explain the funding note I had. Nicely dropped in there without it feeling expository.
“David turns scary-intense and gets into David’s face”
- It should be “Jon’s face”
I love the implication that he screwed the Pikachu toy via piecing together the bits of information we’ve already been given at different points in the script. Good job with that.
Rolling and streaming. We’re
tapped into a strong hot spot.
- Well, given the compromised security of data clouds, I would be steering the conversation away from his doll fu?king exploits. Who knows who might be watching.
I was prepared to scale the castle with nothing more
than a rope, grappling hook and raw
determination, but to my surprise I
find the door to be ajar.
- Ha, good lines.
Okay, I’ll try to act more like an
entitled trust fund baby.
- “Baby”? Says the guy with the Pokemon jammies!
Like I said, although Jon is meant to be the di?ckhead and we’re supposed to be sympathizing with David, I’ve become rather endeared to the foolhardy idiot.
Really, it drafty old castle. Door
blow open. Door blow close. Door stick.
Pikachu-butt weak and no can open. No trap.
- Ha, nice play on the door-slamming-shut-behind-our-heroes cliché.
“a CAT races by and screeches, startling Jon and David.”
- Another knowing nod to a horror trope; the errant cat! All that’s missing are the dustbins.
The farting bit didn’t work for me though. The script’s tone is silly but self aware and clever, this joke feels below that, a lame aside.
Good changing of positions with Jon becoming frightened and David showing some steel. The former’s desperate offer of money and the latter’s threat that it’s all been uploaded were amusing too when Macular makes his presence felt.
Kinky bastard, those Moldavian.
- Sorry to be nitpicky with this but I don’t think she would say “kinky” either.
Oh come on, that was good one!
- I’m with Macular on this one, I thought that was funny too. Very tough crowd indeed1
The climax felt a little flat. As you can see from my notes, I dug the script up this point. I loved the dialogue and tongue-in-cheek humor mixed with the faux documentary style but the ending sort of comes and goes before you know it. The two are basically scared witless by Macular’s “boo” and flee leaving behind their camera for Macular to take up the baton, so to speak…according to Macular that is since it’s through his perspective...I’m not so sure. Did Macular feed on them and dispose of the bodies? Although, he continually denies being a vampire, everything points to it actually being true.
Macular claims Jon and David were talking about going to Moldavia but we don’t hear that first hand and get no closure on what happened to them. This is all just speculation on my part because Macular’s innocence (as claimed by him throughout the piece) is maintained until the end without any hint to suggest otherwise. He portrays himself as harmless, good natured and very very misunderstood
However, with the abrupt way in which we last see Jon and David and the emergence of the angry mob, I wondered was there something more going on, something implied in those final scenes that what we are led to believe happened from the perspective of Macular, didn’t transpire.
Just to be clear, this ambiguity isn’t a criticism, just my interpretation on what may or may not have happened.
Either way, I still think it concludes in a rather rushed, unsatisfactory manner which is a backhanded compliment because it illustrates how much I was digging the script up to that point.
The credits and song feel like filler at the end, I mean it takes up 3 pages of a 23 page script but there is real craft in the song and shows your obvious passion for the script. You could probably lose the outtakes part though.
Anyway, overall I liked this, lots of good stuff in here. Unfortunately, I can see a lot of readers dismissing it within the first few pages because of the overwritten prose and wordy dialogue but the prose, although baggy, is well written (it’s just not suitable for a screenplay) and the verbose dialogue is where the script’s real strength lies.
I don’t know how long you have been writing scripts for but this certainly shows you have a flair for character and story which are the most important things, the formatting can come later through reading other scripts and absorbing/applying what you learn from them. Take on board what works for you, discard the rest.