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Alpha Dogs by John Balazs - Action, Adventure - A mild-mannered tech expert estranged from his wife and son is forced into action when an injured assassin takes his family hostage and forces him to complete her assignment. 117 pages - pdf, format
40 pages in so far and we have no plot. All we have is an assassin with 3 hostages. It's a bunch of random scenes with no direction. You need to get to the plot much quicker.
A few thoughts on what was written:
I don't like how you write the stutter in Gavin's dialogue. At one point you wrote an action line where Tala notices Calvin's hands shaking. I like that a lot better than putting it in the actual dialogue. If the dialogue is strong enough, your actor will know to deliver it (nervously).
Sarah says she has to be at the hospital in ten minutes after the car chase, and later says "always cutting it close" when Gavin and Tala arrive. It's as if they teleported to her house. Maybe don't give a time frame or have her say she's already late.
Also, how does an assassin like Tala, who has wear and tear all over her body with years of experience, not know "how long" she has to get to a hospital to properly tend to a bullet wound? It doesnt fit her character you portrayed in the earlier pages.
* FADE IN: -- left * Page1: A young girl, TALA, 12, -- TALA (12) is sufficient, we know she's young.. * Pages: Watches intently -- why not just "stares". Go easy on -ly ending words. * Pages: In action you write "through the trees" -- I know what you mean, but maybe through the woods or something might be better. * Pages: In action, stay in present tense (freeze) instead of present progressive/passive (freezing), a few of these throughout the first few pages. * Pages: Some CAPS in action I find unnecessary. * Page1: Why not introduce MERCENARY as ERIK HAGLUND, saves you a couple lines. * Pages: Unfilmables throughout (ex: Page7:" That dangerous age where he's a man only in his own mind.) " -- show us, don't tell. In character descriptions some telling is okay, but you have unfilmables throughout. * Pages: Get rid of CONT'D in dialogue and continued on every page -- isn't really used anymore. * Page1: I don't think you need EXT: FOREST - MOMENTS LATER and CONTINUOUS -- remove it, we're still in the FOREST. * Pages: In action, get rid of words like does/doesn't/has/is/are/we hear/start/begin -- some of these tend to tell more than show, and some of these are not necessary. Page6: "Her accent is hard to place: Eastern European with an American overtone. " -- all telling us, put it as part of dialogue (parenthetical). Paage7: "You're mistakes reflect on me... " -- should be your mistakes .... Page7: SEDAN is not dialogue. Pages 7,8,9: You got three different slugs for Gavin's apartment, be consistent. Page7: If Gavin is looking through a window, then write it that way or you could switch to the outside with a new slug EXT: (THUGS) and back to Gavin's place. As it stands, confusing. Page8: EXT. STREET OUTSIDE APARTMENT - MOMENTS LATER -- EXT means outside. Pages: Verbs like goes and walks are lame, put some attitude/personality into the verbs.
I was thinking, what if you start the script at the training camp (page4) with Tala as an adult. You could quick flash or flash to what happened on the first few pages. We don't really need a lot of details in the first few pages. I know flash backs aren't liked by a lot of writers/readers, but in this case it might work okay, still driving the story forward.
Another thing I noticed is the flip flop of mood or action. Page5: "Her focus - straight ahead - a "FUCK OFF" attitude. Tala approaches the vehicle." -- with that attitude and she approaches the car, maybe she sneaks/prowls/alert or something like that. Her action doesn't match her attitude. Page7: Here's is another one. "Tala guns the engine and drives away" -- if she guns the engine, I would think the car would spit gravel or roars away, drive sounds very lame.