Bound by Blood Feature

By Esemsamuels

When her mother's diagnosed with terminal cancer, a strong-willed teenager watches her life fall apart and must battle to put the pieces back together before her mom's time runs out.

Rating

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Genre: Drama
Downloads: 1
No. Reviews: 0 | Length: 114 pages

Published: 4 weeks ago

Pitch

Lots of films glorify cancer, such as the much-adored "The Fault in Our Stars." However, the reality of cancer is much starker, and what it can do to a family is devastating. One particular challenge occurs when that cancer is hereditary and related to a genetic mutation. An example is the BRCA mutation which greatly increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women, especially the Ashkenazi Jewish population, which this film focuses on.

Bound by Blood follows the story of a mother and a daughter, the former discovering she has terminal cancer, and the latter discovering she has the BRCA mutation and is a high cancer risk. In order to stay united, they must overcome the biology driving them apart.

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100%

By AlCielo2

FIRST 15 LOGLINE: A thirty-something mother struggles with a fragmented family and a fatal disease.

FIRST 15 

The premise is promising--an uncompromising look at the effects of hereditary cancer on a family. The downbeat storyline means that you're facing an uphill battle when engaging the reader in the first 15 pages. Here are a general discussion of engagement and some specific suggestions for making the opening more compelling. What keeps moviegoers in their seats for a two-hour film is the desire to see how the protagonist's quest turns out. Doesn't matter if the movie is a Marvel superhero adventure or a surreal David Lynch fantasy. In classic Hollywood 3-act structure, the protagonist doesn't commit to a quest until the end of Act 1 (around p. 30). But by the end of the first 15 pages (usually the first 5) in a Hollywood script, the reader knows at least who the protagonist is and what sort of challenge the protagonist will face for the duration of the story. I read through p. 37, and it looks as if you're avoiding a traditional structure with clear-cut beats. Whether or not you should do so depends on your intended audience and your goal for the script. Many peer reviewers will tell you to play it safe, but the ultimate decision is yours. In any case, whether a given plot is formulaic or not, without a concern / curiosity for how things will turn out, a reader (and even more so a viewer) will find little motivation for persevering to the conclusion --particularly if the subject is terminal cancer. The problem I believe is two-fold: First, it's not clear from the first 15 who the protagonist is (Jenny or Mia or both). (A side note: it wasn't clear to me, even after a second reading of the first 15, if the young woman in the cemetery was Jenny or Mia, or even Jenny's mother. I know you save the answer for the reveal on p. 114--I skipped to the end--but I'm not sure that the payoff justifies for the reader the initial vagueness / confusion.) Second, the protagonist (Jenny, Mia, or both) doesn't face any resistance. There's lots of frustration and bitter, snappy dialog, but nothing is keeping Jenny or Mia from getting what she wants, because there's no sense (except in the vaguest way) that she wants to achieve some particular goal ("living" or "surviving" don't count). There's antagonism but no antagonist (the antagonist doesn't have to be a Marvel super villain--just someone or something that opposes the protagonist's achieving the goal), no pushback, no fear of failure. I get the fact that each of the characters is in defense mode, and that they all have some vague fear of intimacy and fear of death, but I'm not sure what anyone wants (even the supporting characters). Film is a visual medium--even if the story focuses on internal states of mind, and goals are almost always external and definable (Mulholland Drive, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, et al.). I noticed Mia and Richie mentioned "likability." You seem to be deliberately creating characters who aren't likable (in the sense that "likable" refers to "nice" Tom Hanks types), as if unlikable characters are more realistic. But no matter how "realistic" characters are, they aren't real people. No one would want to live next door to Aileen Wuoronos as portrayed in "Monster," but the audience wants to know if she will succeed in finding and maintaining a truly intimate relationship, given her somewhat limited social skills. Your readers don't have to like Jenny or Mia, but they should care about what happens to these characters. And for the readers to care, they should have a more definite sense of what the characters want.