Three 12 year-old boys get lost while camping in the woods and must put aside their differences to find their way home the hard way while also learning about friendship, survival, and growing up.
Summary"What We Did That Summer" is a coming-of-age adventure drama set in the early-1990's that tells the story of three 12 year-old boys who, during a week long camping trip in the woods near their home, get lost in the wilderness and must put aside their differences and rely on each other to get home. Along the way, they learn about friendship, survival, and growing up.
Inspired by coming-of-age classics like "Stand By Me" and the films of John Hughes, "What We Did That Summer" is an emotional, humorous, and all around feel good story that people of any age can enjoy and relate to. Additionally, it can potentially fall in line with more recent childhood adventure tales such as "Stranger Things" and "IT".
Keep in mind I'm no professional at coverage. But I was really impressed with this script. Best one I’ve read so far on here. This is a solid amateur script. It has the potential to do something great in screenwriting competitions (the Nicholl fellowship) in my opinion, but first it must address a few issues, that I’ll return to. Overall, there’s no doubt this writer will have a future in the biz, as long as he continues to build his craft. There’s just a wealth of character in this script. The dialogue is very natural and pleasant. You can really feel the moment the children live in. There’s a solid structure that felt effortless. It felt very natural and organic. It was a pleasure to read compared to scripts that feel like you’re weaving through tangled branches. I see what this script was attempting to do, which is tell a coming of age story about childhood friends who lost their father’s and are struggling with becoming young men. It does accomplish this. And from a character perspective, it does it quite well. A good thing about this script, IT HAS SO MUCH POTENTIAL to be produced by the writer and directed by the writer and entered into film festivals (which could blossom a career), BUT there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. The STAKES need to be higher. That’s my only complaint. I kept waiting for something BIG to happen. Like one of the children accidentally getting killed, kidnapped, or something. We need to intensify the story. I like how the children get lost, and how they’re resourceful, but SOMETHING needs to happen to them that just completely changes their world, and ours. Like discovering a dead body, or discovering a murder in progress, something should happen that makes the ending (the children making it out alive, and back home) more satisfying.
There are some grammatical/punctuation errors I found on a few pages. Pg 66 and pg 71. Go back and read over those pages and fix the errors, they were in the dialogue. Also, have someone proofread this script a few times. When I proofread a script/edit, I go over the script about a hundred times over a week or two, and I still miss things. Don’t worry though, pros do it all the time as well.
The formatting needs reworked and the writer needs to go back and really learn everything he can about formatting. You want to strive for basically what you have, simple, clean formatting, but you can’t have DISSOLVE TO: , every five pages, that’s meant for emphasis on scenes that require it and is typically used very infrequently. The only other issue I found was SLUGLINES that repeat themselves, so if we have EXT. FOREST CLEARING – DAY and then we have the same SLUGLINE right after it a few pages later, we don’t need it. We haven’t moved the action to a different location. Now if they’re in a different part of the woods or a large clearing, you could use EXT. FOREST CLEARING – DAY then, EXT. ANOTHER PART OF FOREST – CLEARING – DAY. Do you see where I’m getting at? If you want to send the script over to me I can help you with formatting for free. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Additionally, you need to take out the SUPERIMPOSIE TITLE: -- slugs out of the first page of the script. Readers hate scripty formatting, but they also hate it when it’s not used properly. SUPER or SUPERIMPOISE is used for overlays. And TITLE OR TILE CARD is used for the title which you never want to add into a script when you’re trying to break in. Overall, this script was the best script I’ve read on this site so far.
Hope these notes help.
My biggest issue with this script was the pacing. Not much happens the first `15 pages. The amount of back-story at the beginning isn't necessary. I would recommend revealing some of these elements throughout the story instead of including it all in the beginning; I would suggest doing this through dialogue, or even a couple more flashbacks. In addition, I felt that there was not a clear peak point in the story. The boys continuously mention the loss of their fathers, which raises a lot of questions for the reader. Did the same accident kill all of their fathers? and how did they die? I felt like a lot more could have been done with this, as it raised a lot of intrigue. I think it might be interesting to try include the death of their dad's as a driving force in the story; this would allow you to tie up loose ends and really connect all the characters story into one. For example, what if Zach, Mike, and Jimmy came across the dug-up graves/bodies of their dead fathers while on the trek through the wilderness and the boys had to solve the mystery- just a thought. A more defined conflict at the beginning of this script would really benefit it. Also, it isn't entirely clear what the boys are talking about in the beginning. The camping expedition Is only referred to as "the trip", which was a little confusing at first. On the other hand, the character development is excellent. I love the authenticity and introspective nature of the dialogue. All of your characters are very unique with well defined voices. Well done. The beginning and ending almost remind me a little of the breakfast club, but I kind of liked that element. The imagery of each scene is really well done in my opinion. I could picture everything happening. I especially like the imagery of the very last scene. Overall, I feel this has potential, but could be so much more if you develop a slightly more complex plot to complement the complexity of the characters.