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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Comedy Scripts  /  A Dead Good Idea
Posted by: Don, September 10th, 2013, 5:35am
A Dead Good Idea by Anthony Hudson (alffy) - Comedy - When money's tight, a young man will do anything for cash, even if it means digging up the past. 98 pages - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: irish eyes, September 10th, 2013, 9:18pm; Reply: 1
I'll get a read of this over the weekend bro

Mark
Posted by: irish eyes, September 10th, 2013, 10:37pm; Reply: 2
ok I lied

I started reading it.

logline
When money's tight, a young man will do anything for money, even if IT means digging up things he shouldn't.... missing the IT

Page 1

grabs the grave digger
form behind..... should be "from"

page 9

AGATHA
Agatha, love.... I think you mean Billy

page 10

BILLY
Yes, Degsey, but I didn’t buy
anything. I’m skint aren’t I.... missing a ?

page 12

JASON
God, he does my head in. He’s
twenty one and acts like he’s
twelve. He thinks about no one
but himself. He needs to grow up
and...   Use the dashes -- when a character interrupts another

page 16

Billy smirks and makes a crosses over his heart.... Cross

page 17

DEGSEY
What you saying, I is ripping
you? This is new, been tested on
monkey’s and shit, ain’t it... lose the apostrophe in monkey's

ok I'm upto page 30... i'll comment on the story when I finish

so far so good

Mark
Posted by: alffy, September 11th, 2013, 9:08am; Reply: 3
Cheers Mark.  I read over this and thought I'd caught all the mistakes...bugger lol.

Actually the 'Agatha, love' said by Agatha isn't a typo, it's Agatha reminding Billy her name.
Posted by: irish eyes, September 11th, 2013, 7:25pm; Reply: 4
page 67

MELVIN
Melvin Drew, pleased to me you.
So how can I help you?... meet

page 80

BILLY
Yeah, sorry. Did you get your
slippers clean.... needs a ?

78-81  Where did Jason go? he was with Bill before that... ahhh found him :)

page 91

JASON
Go on then. It’s what we do
best, isn’t it. Drink tea in a
crises.... Crisis

Finished

I have to say that this flowed very easily.

Each one of your characters stood out and were very well defined.

The relationship that Billy had with each one was very warming and very funny in parts... Especially with the pothead Degsey.

XXX SPOILER XXX

The story itself was not as strong as your last feature, I realise some of the tension that was set up between Billy and his brother and Billy and Tony, but I was kinda hoping Henry would be dead again after smoking the pot, when Tony found him. That way, it would have opened up and Tony would have been enraged at Billy.

But in the end it just flowed very safely, Tony said he was sorry to his dad and everyone lived happily ever after... I think it's just missing that little kick... maybe Henry wanders off stoned and Degsey knows nothing as he fell asleep and so now there is a hunt for him, all why Tony feels he's been taken for a ride and he's gonna kill Billy.

Just my thoughts though.

Good job overall Anthony

Mark


Posted by: Alex_212, September 12th, 2013, 3:12am; Reply: 5

Hey Alffy,

I just dumped your feature into Adobe on my IPAD and will get into it over the next few days.

Regards Alex
Posted by: Alex_212, September 12th, 2013, 3:21am; Reply: 6

Alffy,

Just noticed your logline !!!

When money's tight, a young man will do anything for money, even if means digging up things he shouldn't.

Bit repetitive using Money twice.

I would tighten it up:-
A young man will do anything for money, even if it means digging up things he shouldn't.

I'll get the notes for the rest through in the next few days.

Regards Alex
Posted by: Alex_212, September 13th, 2013, 2:46am; Reply: 7
Hey Anthony,

Enjoyed the read and just shot you an email with my notes.

Let me know if it's all clear.

Regards Alex
Posted by: alffy, September 13th, 2013, 12:17pm; Reply: 8
Cheers guys.  I got your notes, Alex and they're great.

Mark, cheers for the notes and the read.  I started writing this as a comedy/horror and through changes it kind of came out as a drama/comedy.  I tried to make Degsey sound like he was trying to fake a gangster accent, hope that came off okay?

I thought you might have picked up on Vicar Melvin Drew's name...no, maybe you didn't watch that show about a grumpy old man?
Posted by: irish eyes, September 13th, 2013, 10:11pm; Reply: 9
Yeah I saw " one foot in the grave".... I don't believe it :D

As  I say your characters are well defined including Degsey, you just need to create more challenges. As it was all too easy of an ending.

Still enjoyable

Mark
Posted by: Mr.Ripley, October 29th, 2013, 1:57pm; Reply: 10
Got to read this but forgot to post a review so now I'm going to re-read it again. However, I'm leaving notes for each 15 pg I read so I don't forget. lol.

pg. 1 like the opening with the zombie flick. That was very funny.  The line that gets me is: "We’ll have none of this tom foolery round here. Now get back in your hole." lol.  

pg. 3 How does Agatha know Billy by first name while Billy doesn't?

For some odd reason I'm imagining Ricky Gervais as Billy.

You can add the black and white in the slug like:

INT. GRAVE - NIGHT (BLACK AND WHITE)

Don't need to put the BLACK AND WHITE as a note.

Degesy is a memorable character. lol. His speech is along will make actors recognize him. lol.

I like Debs. And her relationship with Billy later on but, I'll leave it for later.  

Stopped at pg. 20. Will continue this.

Hope this helps,
Gabe
Posted by: alffy, October 30th, 2013, 12:23pm; Reply: 11
Cheers Gabe, I look forward to your future comments.

Thanks for the heads up about 'black and white' in slugs.

I tried to give the characters very different personalities, hence Degsey being a bit over the top lol.

As for Agatha knowing Billy; his mum use to help her out and so she knows the family and Billy but more when he was a wee tot.

Cheers again, bud.
Posted by: RodriguezFruitbat, November 2nd, 2013, 7:10am; Reply: 12
Hey Anthony,

I read your script last night, or was a fun read, thanks! Aside from Amal details that others mentioned the writing was pretty tight. I didn't make any specific notes so ill have to let it sit and I'll shoot you an email with any now general impressions I have.

-Richard
Posted by: alffy, November 2nd, 2013, 5:08pm; Reply: 13
Hey Richard, thanks for the read and glad you found it a fun read.  Yeah, send me an email, I'd be happy to know what you think after you've digested it for a couple of days.
Posted by: Mr.Ripley, November 3rd, 2013, 12:14am; Reply: 14
Sorry about this. lol

Read to pg. 40. here are my notes:

Why does Rasheed accept the change? I think you can set more urgency to Billy's situation if Rasheed doesn't accept the change. lol.

I think it should be Debs who should be snapping at billy's crotch. This dream seqeunce represents Billy's failures I guess. Jason not happy with him and Debs who he hasn't had the courage to ask. lol.

How is he listening to Agatha's tale if he was dreaming? lol.

I would like Debs to get revenge on Degsey

You should include a scene where Billy makes the connection to getting money from digging up dead people. Prob change the dream sequence?

Gabe
Posted by: alffy, November 3rd, 2013, 7:30am; Reply: 15
Cheers for your thoughts Gabe.  You've made some good points and I've had some more off others too.  I'm waiting for a few more before I tackle a rewrite.  Thanks, bud.
Posted by: Mr.Ripley, November 6th, 2013, 4:58pm; Reply: 16
Ended at pg. 60.

SPOILERS!

Do something with the grave robbing angle from Melvin? He can push the stakes higher. Maybe Melvin or cops find the homeless man with the coffin?

I like that homeless man steals the coffin. lol.

Billy and Tony scene is funny.

Billy and Debs is funny. I don't know about the sixteen thing (studio might say to remove it) but I find it funny.

Hate to say this, but your going to get called out on Henry coming back. It works as a twist but the explanation doesn't. lol.

Gabe
Posted by: alffy, November 9th, 2013, 11:07am; Reply: 17
Thanks for continuing Gabe, I hope you get it finished?
Posted by: Toby_E, November 10th, 2013, 3:34pm; Reply: 18
Alffy,

Apologies for taking so long to get round to reading this. I got a temporary job soon after I posted up the thread asking for people to send me scripts to read, so I suddenly had a lot less time for reading than initially anticipated.

But here are my notes anyway, so I hope you find some of my comments helpful :)

First off, I would suggest maybe changing the genre from straight comedy to dramedy/ crime caper? Not that I'm saying that this wasn't funny - on the contrary, I did chuckle a few times, which is a rare occurrence for me regardless of the genre - but here you had as many, if not more, scenes which were played straight versus those played for comedic effect (especially at the start of the script). I just felt that by labeling the script more accurately would allow the reader straight away to know what to expect, without entering the script expecting to be rolling on the floor with laughter.

But anyway, I enjoyed this script. It was a fast, easy read, and more importantly, it was entertaining. The characters you introduced were well defined, with each having their own distinct characteristics and personalities. I was especially fond of Agatha. I thought that she was a great character. However, I wasn't a huge fan of Degsey's character, as the 'white-guy-pretending-that-he's-from-the-hood' is a little cliched now, in my opinion, and he just reeked of a Ali G rip off. But I thought that the rest of the characters were great.

Despite this, unfortunately I did have a few issues with the script.

The main issues I had with it were related to the story itself. Firstly, I wasn't exactly sure what it was that Billy was trying to achieve with digging up the body. I mean, I know Agatha said about her dad digging up the body and then charging people money to "to search out their undead loved ones and help return them to sacred ground" (which I'm not exactly sure what that means), but once Billy has dug up the body, he doesn't really try to do anything with it? I know he goes to visit Tony pretending that he is Henry and then tells Chloe about the witch, but I really couldn't for the live of me work out how he thought that this would help his money issues (which seemed to be his main motivation throughout the story). I would personally consider having Billy construct a more specific plan in regards to how digging up Henry's corpse will allow him to earn some money, and then relay this explicitly to the audience. Not only will this clarify Billy's motivations and actions, but it could also address my next point... :)

The second issue I had with this was regarding the structure, as I felt that Henry's alive corpse was introduced far too late in the story. I can't remember specifically when he was introduced, but it was nearing the end of the second act, when I felt that the majority of the second act should have been dedicated to Billy dealing with Henry coming back to life. So how is this linked to the last point I made about Billy's plan? Well, I think the structure would be much tighter if Billy steals Henry's corpse at the end of the first act, then spends the first half of the second act trying to implement his money making scheme, only to have the major complication arise at the midpoint of Henry coming back to life. I think the story would work a lot better if Billy then spends the rest of the act trying to still use Henry's corpse to make money, only to realise at the end of the act that he should actually do the right thing and reunite Henry with Tony. But regardless, I would seriously consider introducing Henry's alive corpse earlier, because at the minute, you've got this brilliant idea, which I just didn't feel was executed to the fullest. Because what happens after Billy realises that Henry is alive? Not much. He phones up Degsey and his brother and then they visit Tony, who comes to visit his father. I just felt that it would work better if Billy still continued trying to use to missing corpse to earn money, even after the corpse had come back to life, as the dramatic irony of the situation would lead to some great scenes (ie, police/ Chloe interviewing Billy with Henry in the next room, etc.).

I also think that more time needs to be spent explaining how Henry's corpse (and only Henry's corpse) came back alive...?


Below are some notes I made whilst reading:

Page 1- Not a fan of the opener.

Page 12- This line by Billy reads awkward: “Yeah, don’t be a dickhead, Donovan”. I don’t understand the Donovan part?

Page 36- Kylie: “Jealousy not attractive, honey.” Should read “jealousy IS not attractive.”

Page 40- “The Homeless man retreats the scene. He jig-zags between the graves...” Jig-zags?

Page 46- Kylie: “Tonight, Why the rush?” Unnecessary capital letter.

The scene with Billy visiting Tony, dressed as his father made me chuckle.

Page 50- I wasn’t a fan of this line by Jason: “Degsey’s sister perhaps? And I  thought it was bullshit.” I thought that it read too unnatural/ on the nose.

Page 55- Billy: “I’m not surprised, how many times  have you boiled the kettle since  you arrived?” Great line.

Page 59- I thought that this line of Billy’s was too long and a bit awkwardly written: “Must be the fucking weed? God, I hope it’s the fucking weed?” Could convey the same meaning with something as simple as: “what the fuck is in that weed?” Or alternatively, I don’t even think this scene is needed because in the following scene, Billy phones up Degsey to complain about the weed.

Page 62- Billy: “Jez, that was quick.” Should that be “Jeez”?

Page 69- Everyone is reacting too normal, in my opinion. They are acting like the only thing which has happened is that Billy stole a body, not that he stole a body which has now come alive...? Same thing when Billy visits Tony and Sally, who instead of dealing with the situation at hand begin to argue with each other over who gets to hate Henry...?

Page 70- I would have Billy go into more detail about his plan and his motivations when he is telling the others what he did.

Page 72- I’ve never been a fan of toilet, so I didn’t really like Henry’s fart line. The humour just seemed a little out of place with what has been set up prior.

Page 78- “Tony grimaces with anger and slowly removes.” Need to say what it is that he removes.

Page 92- Billy’s sudden change (“I’m sorry I dug you up, for money though, honest. I’m going to make a real effort to change, I promise.”) felt too forced, in my opinion.


Conclusion

Overall, this was an entertaining read. However, the few issues that I had with it did stop me from enjoying it as much as I could have. As I said, I really liked the idea, but I just felt that it wasn't executed to its maximum potential. However, if you tighten up the structure and the story itself, you'll have a decent little script on your hands.

All the best man, and sorry once again that it took me so long to get around to this.

Toby.
Posted by: Ledbetter (Guest), November 10th, 2013, 10:06pm; Reply: 19
Hey Alffy,

Sorry for not getting to your script yet...

This was a pretty busy weekend for me and I didn't get around to the reads I wanted to.

Give me a couple of days to get in the saddle and I'll get your script read.

Take care bro-

Shawn.....><
Posted by: alffy, November 11th, 2013, 7:06am; Reply: 20
Toby, cheers for the notes and you've made some great points.

I did want to introduce Henry earlier but I got a bit bogged down and before I knew it, I was at the end of third act.  I'll make sure I introduce him earlier, which will give me some scope for some funny/awkward scenes with him and Billy.

The back story, oh the back story.  I had the idea but couldn't seem to put it down to make sense, without taking about five minutes to do so.  I'll try and rework it though.  The gist is the witches curse and meaning any body in the ground is not actually dead, so when Billy digs Henry up he is actually undead/alive.  I have an idea of having Billy write some plan down while drunk and then stumble upon the next day, leading to him discovering Henry sat in the shed.  What do you think?

You're right about the reactions to Henry being alive.  I need to make them more shocked/scared/surprised.

The Donovan/Minogue thing hasn't really worked so I might ditch it?  I realised while writing that I had put a Jason and Kylie together so thought it might be funny to have Billy pick up on this and refer to his brother as Donovan.

As for the comedy genre, I wanted to tag this is a comedy/drama but then I guess I forgot to include the drama in the logline.  oops.

I've got a lot to work on now for the re-write which I'm going to try and tackle this week.  Cheers again for your feedback.
Posted by: alffy, November 11th, 2013, 7:07am; Reply: 21
Shawn, I'm hoping to get a re-write done this week, if you want to wait and give the revision a read?  I have some good notes and some ideas for improvement so your thoughts on a new draft would be welcome.
Posted by: Mr.Ripley, November 11th, 2013, 12:00pm; Reply: 22
Finished it.  Sorry for the wait.

pg 65  I don't think you need dual dialogue. Action is better. Billy could hold Degsey back.

pg. 79 Tony should kick Billy's ass.

I think Chloe should be a main character trying to find a story.  Establish her early on. Or even better combine Chloe and Debs.

There has to be more punishment for Degsey. Maybe send him to a asylum? lol

Hope this helps,
Gabe
Posted by: Ledbetter (Guest), November 11th, 2013, 12:26pm; Reply: 23

Quoted from alffy
Shawn, I'm hoping to get a re-write done this week, if you want to wait and give the revision a read?  I have some good notes and some ideas for improvement so your thoughts on a new draft would be welcome.


I can hold off bro-

let me know when the new version is up.

This will give me a chance to finish Michael's script without trying to do 2 at once.

Take care

Shawn.....><
Posted by: alffy, November 11th, 2013, 12:59pm; Reply: 24
Gabe, thanks for finishing.  I'm currently tackling a re-write and I'm doing my best to get Chloe into the story earlier.  Henry has been introduced earlier and now plays a bigger role.  My problem is with the page count.  

Do you think there are any scenes I could cut without losing too much story?

Shawn, I'll drop you a pm when the new draft is up.  Hopefully I'll get it finished this week but I could have a major stumbling block in the form of a baby arriving lol.
Posted by: Mr.Ripley, November 11th, 2013, 1:04pm; Reply: 25
If combine Chloe and Debs, that could handle some pages. Prob delete those scenes at the end with Henry and Degesy. Have it as a surprise for Tony and the reader when Henry and Degesy are smoking. lol

I'll see what else I can come up with.

Congrats on the baby!

Gabe
Posted by: Toby_E, November 11th, 2013, 1:05pm; Reply: 26
Alffy,

If you send me the draft I read, but with scene numbers, I'll let you know what scenes I feel could be cut out.

And also congrats on the soon to be born baby!
Posted by: alffy, November 11th, 2013, 1:54pm; Reply: 27
Gabe, I was thinking of cutting out or at least down the scene's with Henry and Degsey but it'll have to wait for now as I've introduced Henry much earlier and so some later scenes will change.

Will do Toby, but it might be a day or two as I've started the re-write and want to get that sorted first.  I've already cut a few, shorten others but then added a few more with Henry. lol

The baby will be here by the weekend at the latest as the wife will be induced if it doesn't arrive naturally before then.
Posted by: Ledbetter (Guest), November 11th, 2013, 2:01pm; Reply: 28

Quoted from alffy
...but I could have a major stumbling block in the form of a baby arriving lol.


Babies can wait.

Get the script done!  ;D

Shawn.....><
Posted by: Toby_E, November 11th, 2013, 2:45pm; Reply: 29
No worries mate! Give me a shout whenever and I'll happy to help :)
Posted by: alffy, November 11th, 2013, 4:34pm; Reply: 30

Quoted from Ledbetter


Babies can wait.

Get the script done!  ;D

Shawn.....><


Ha, I've been at the re-write most of the day now and I'm not far from done.  I'm actually quite pleased with myself...I hate re-writes!
Posted by: irish eyes, November 11th, 2013, 9:46pm; Reply: 31
Anthony

Let me know when you're finished with the re-write.

Mark
Posted by: Mr.Ripley, November 12th, 2013, 10:47am; Reply: 32
Me too. I'll read the revised version. That'll be my baby shower gift. :)

Gabe
Posted by: alffy, November 12th, 2013, 12:31pm; Reply: 33
Cheers guys.  I'm done with the re-write but as I blitz it yesterday I want to let it settle and read through it again tomorrow.  No major big changes just a few tweaks and a few scene changes.  Oh and Henry appears earlier now as this was suggested by a few readers.
Posted by: alffy, December 14th, 2013, 7:09am; Reply: 34
New draft is up.
Posted by: irish eyes, December 14th, 2013, 8:45pm; Reply: 35
Hey Anthony

Finished with the redraft.

I didn't notice too many significant changes from the original. You cleaned up the grammar and typos.

As far as the story

I see Henry involved a lot more and entered the script a little earlier than before. Still page 41 for me, is still not early enough as he is basically the catalyst for the story.

I would also like to see his son Tony walking him to his grave along with Billy, a last chance to say goodbye.

My previous post:


Quoted Text
The story itself was not as strong as your last feature, I realise some of the tension that was set up between Billy and his brother and Billy and Tony, but I was kinda hoping Henry would be dead again after smoking the pot, when Tony found him. That way, it would have opened up and Tony would have been enraged at Billy.

But in the end it just flowed very safely, Tony said he was sorry to his dad and everyone lived happily ever after... I think it's just missing that little kick... maybe Henry wanders off stoned and Degsey knows nothing as he fell asleep and so now there is a hunt for him, all why Tony feels he's been taken for a ride and he's gonna kill Billy.


As this hasn't changed, my opinion is still the same and of course it's only my opinion. I just feel there isn't a great challenge, there's no twist. The audience knows Tony is going over to Billy's house to see if he is bullshitting him... and behold there's his father and an apology later everything is fine... just kinda cheesy, but that's my opinion.

You have a lot of funny lines in there and some standout characters... Degsey and Agatha

I still enjoyed it

good job

Mark
Posted by: alffy, December 16th, 2013, 1:33pm; Reply: 36
Cheers Mark.  I still haven't finished with this and I like your idea of having Tony walk with Billy and Henry at the end.  I'm finding it very hard to sit down and do any writing at the moment, which is why I thought I'd submit this draft for a few more pointers.

Having Henry introduced earlier helped with a few more funny situations but I'm struggling to get him in earlier still.  My main problem was running time as I could have easily added another 20 pages but over 100 isn't great for a comedy in my mind.

Thanks again Mark and I will get back to this at some point.  Is there anything I can 'try' and read for you?
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