A famous author experiences a terrifying past-life Auschwitz memory that launches her on a life-altering journey into the unknown, and discovers the man she just met is anything but ordinary when she unearths a long hidden secret, evidence so profound that it will change everything.
This is an elaborate and thoroughly conceived story. I can tell you did a lot of research and worked out the multiple past lives but the plot of this script is discovery. Discovery is about people and their quest to understand themselves, a search to understand something fundamental about themselves. When your characters find out about past lives, how does that fundamentally change them? It’s knowledge. But nothing about their lives change. Think about Indiana Jones. He learns about the Arc of the Covenant and witnesses supernatural events. But he is still the same person even with this new knowledge (he doesn’t become religious, etc).
Now if you made this movie from the perspective of HOME and the souls, then we could appreciate their goals and struggles (rather than reveal them near the end of the script). In the movie Defending Your Life, we are sent back if we haven’t shown that we have overcome our fears. In your script your souls go to HOME and then hang out and learn and choose to go back and experience something. But that is like choosing which item on the menu you want to eat. It’s an experience but there isn’t a fundamental change that transforms them. And in every movie we expect our protagonist to go through some kind of transformation. Otherwise it’s just a day/year in their lives. And we live that kind of life already. So we expect a vicarious experience when we watch a characters transformation or discovery. Do you think you delivered that vicarious experience? It sounds like it in your pitch. But there are some key things missing in your script.
There is no tension or conflict in this script! There is harrowing experiences but they are avoidable. We don’t need to have regression therapy. If you don’t have tension then it will never be interesting to anyone. We want to see Helen overcome a major problem and have something block her success and then discover the key. You know after reading that line Helen doesn’t go through any of that. For example she doesn’t fear the knowledge that the memories might reveal. Imagine if she feared them but they haunt her so much that she is compelled to confront them. There has to be a sense of proportion between the degree of the revelation and the struggle she had to get it. In this story no one is struggling mightily so the audience does not appreciate the “holy shit twist at the end”. It’s like stumbling into Heaven. Good for you but you can’t tell us how you got there! What a terrible story that would be to tell everyone! Wow, how did you find Heaven again? “I don’t know, I just ran into the pearly gates”. Ho hum. There is no struggle for the journey thus no reward in the discovery! You have to up the stakes for us to be invested in their discovery. It’s that simple. The melodramatic montages at the end is not felt by us because the stakes were… information. Not loss of life or the inability to function in society. Just revealing there is a connection, but no wisdom from those past lives.
If feels like the plot took over your character’s story arc. Once that happens you lose proportion. Meaning this type of script, with the discovery plot, is all about the characters and their journey. If the story feels mechanically driven by the plot, then the audience will not feel emotionally invested in their discovery.
I have a lot of experience with this subject matter as my family were Spiritualists. So I was really looking forward to see what you did with it. I hope you'll see I was really into your script thus my long review and notes. You’ll read that there is some key things missing but I think you can really make this into a compelling script. Keep at it!