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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Sci Fi and Fantasy Scripts  /  Space Fish & The Homeless Crusader
Posted by: Don, August 16th, 2020, 2:01pm
Space Fish & The Homeless Crusader by Hank Biro - Sci Fi, Fantasy - A one-armed young man discusses traveling the universe with his girlfriend moments before she dies, and to honour her his only option is to use ill-gotten money to afford a working arm. 88 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Posted by: Sam, August 16th, 2020, 2:42pm; Reply: 1
Hey, the start is set in 1969 but you have them listening to a Walkman and CDs and then it jumps to 1976 and he's using a laptop. Am I missing something? You do have it down as a sci fi so maybe it's on purpose.
Posted by: Hank (Guest), August 16th, 2020, 2:43pm; Reply: 2
Yes, itís on purpose. The supers list the years as: Ď69 and Ď76, as in 2069 and 2076. The dates are shown this way to misdirect audience expectations.
Posted by: Sam, August 16th, 2020, 2:50pm; Reply: 3
To be fair it's a pretty effective way to keep someone reading. I want to know how they have this technology. It's still 1976 and they're talking about Mario and Zelda computer games.

If you're around I'll let you know what I think of the script.
Posted by: Sam, August 16th, 2020, 2:55pm; Reply: 4
Arghh I commented too soon!
So... does everything  in 2068 look like 1968 accept for a few bits of technology that from the 80s?

This works as a literary device but would it work in a film?

You know what? I'm just going to keep reading because I'm sure its all in there and I don't want you to give anything away in the comments for any other readers.
Posted by: Hank (Guest), August 16th, 2020, 3:04pm; Reply: 5
Thanks for reading :) I imagine these dates in time look a lot like the way things are now, excluding minor advancements in technology. The characters enjoy old school media because itís much more entertaining than their current media.
Posted by: Sam, August 16th, 2020, 3:55pm; Reply: 6
As mentioned above, when I first started reading I was really confused by the inconsistent time line. But then you said this was on purpose which I thought was really exciting. I kept reading (page 40ish) because I expected a big ďBlack MirrorĒ reveal where theyíre plugged into a computer in the future or something but it now looks very unlikely thatís the case.

I think you need to build your world more. If you hadnít have commented I would have thought this was written by a teenager that didnít do their research because theyíre talking about Mario games in the 70s. Itís okay to have misdirection but it shouldnít look like a mistake.

I think my point about it being a literary device and not a film one is valid. Itís going to be obvious this isnít set in the 60s or 80s in the first scene and it doesnít make sense that these kids are talking about these old technologies. Even their grandparents werenít alive at this time.

NowÖ there are scripts that are over written and then thereís this script. It reads like an outline or a long list. Every action line is Donny and Tracey areÖ Donny and Tracy go toÖ
This is the reason I stopped reading because itís not terribly interesting to read in that style. This also feeds into the world building as well.

You also have scenes that arenít written properly such as the ones below.

INT. LAUREN'S APARTMENT Ė DAY Lauren shows Donny her idea for a video game. Donny shows lots of interest.

INT. LAUREN'S APARTMENT - DAY Donny and Lauren play video games and chat all day.

You canít just say they chat in the action line, you need to write the dialogue.
As for the story. I think youíve got something and the logline did draw me in. I wrote something similar. The trouble is Lauren doesnít mention she wants to go into space until page 27. Even then she only mentions it in passing. I donít know if itís a strong enough motive for Donny to go into space. The seeds to this story need to be planted a lot sooner. The fact that he only has one arm hasnít been an issue for him yet. It doesnít seem important.

I like your dialogue and apart from it being a bit sparse i never got lost with the action lines. I like the characters and they seem to have very real interactions and relationships with each other. In my opinion the story youíve told up until page 36 should be condensed into 10 pages or less. The important things to get across are his one arm, the fact that Lauren likes space and that itís set in the future. I donít think we need to see them as kids. You can find a more concise way of illustrating those points. Every scene is set in a different location and most of them arenít needed.

You tell us what happens in a scene in a very cold, matter of fact way instead of using film language to show us. For exampleÖ

INT. HOSPITAL - NIGHT Donny wakes up in the hospital. He looks around, then calls for a doctor. A nurse enters and gives him the news. Donny cries.

Thereís no suspense or structure to that very important scene.

This reads like an early draft so I hope you find this useful and not discouraging.
Posted by: Hank (Guest), August 16th, 2020, 5:34pm; Reply: 7
Thanks for reading and the tips!
Posted by: Sam, August 16th, 2020, 5:44pm; Reply: 8
Sorry, I just read your logline again and realized he doesn't want to go into space he wants to have a working arm.  I don't think the logline makes sense because  them talking about traveling the universe before she dies and him having an arm aren't related.

It's like "Johnny's dad always dreamed of him scoring the winning goal for England so after he dies, Johnny finally decides to get his degree in physics".

The two events are unrelated.
Posted by: Hank (Guest), August 16th, 2020, 5:50pm; Reply: 9
The logline was recently revised to: A one-armed young man discusses traveling the universe with his girlfriend moments before she dies, and eager to honour her he robs banks to afford a replacement limb.

It's supposed to imply he was restricted from going to space for having only one arm.

Also, his goal is to become an astronaut to honour Lauren because it's the final thing they discussed. Their words plants an insidious seed, like in Inception. If Donny had a choice in his career, he would of followed in his father's footsteps. The space fish mentioned in the title refers to Donny.
Posted by: Sam, August 17th, 2020, 5:58pm; Reply: 10
I read a bit more but Iím going to stop now. There are a lot of plot holes and inconsistencies. For example, you have Donny just head off to astronaut training one day and excel in the class. The only reason he doesnít get in is because he has one arm but then why did they let him take the class?
Thereís a great book called Spaceman about this guys journey to becoming an astronaut and itís incredible. He had like 4 PHDs before getting into NASA and itís a long journey that demands incredible focus and passion. Itís not a casual thing. The trouble is Donny has no interest in becoming an astronaut and he isnít shown to be especially clever. Your set up leads to a dead end because youíve created a character with a life that canít physically achieve what you want him to do in act 2.

I think the set up needs to focus more on where you want him to be in act 2. I great example of this is the very start when heís a kid and fantasies about being on a pirate ship while at school. Why doesnít he fantasies about being an astronaut??? That would surely make more sense.
I donít know how useful story suggestions are but I want to use it as example of the kind of story that would incorporate your story elements in a more consistent way.

Your story starts with Donny as a kid who befriends a girl. They become best friends at school and enjoy the same old fashioned toys and music. They go to the school dance but the girl has a new boyfriend. Donny then meets another girl in his teens. His Dad dies, the girl almost leaves him but he buys her a ring and one night they briefly discuss how cool it would be to be an astronaut.

On the drive home another driver causes a crash and the girl dies. Thereís a court case and the driver is sent away while Donny receives a big cheque while crying. (up to page 30)

He then gets into the Canadian astronaut space program and finishes top of his class but he is told he will never get into space because he only has one arm. He goes to the doctors for a new arm and is told it will be very expensive so heíll need to find the money. BTW I thought Canada and free health care?

Now if we were to change the story to better tie in your themes then I would start the story while Donny is in Astronaut training. There he meets Lauren and they fall in love. Thatísí 10 pages.

The inciting incident occurs when the two of them are in a training accident and Laura loses her one arm. Heartbroken that sheíll never become an astronaut, Donny falls into a depression and becomes reckless. He tries to raise the money for her to have a new arm by planning to rob a bank but she talks him out of it.

He then decides to carry on and become an astronaut for the both of them. He could learn some shit about being less selfish or something.

By starting the story later we donít have to spend time justifying how he got into the program. In your story you want the motivation to be Lauren's death but by taking her out of the story it could be a little hard to keep that momentum. But by keeping her alive, giving her Donnyís one arm but making him responsible for it you have that motivation at the forefront of the story.

Iím not writing this as a real suggestion but Iím just trying to show you that your story elements can be aligned in a way the connects to the themes.
Posted by: Hank (Guest), August 17th, 2020, 7:19pm; Reply: 11
Interesting suggestions, thanks!
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