Steven Hale

Aspiring Screenwriter

Reviewer Rating:
Screenplays: 0
Reviews: 1
Enjoys:

Short Bio

My reviews focus on how well the script provides a satisfying emotional experience for the reader and moviegoer. This is not the only requirement for a successful story, but I believe it is the primary goal. I don't normally comment on marketability, formatting, grammar, and other non-story level issues, but in some circumstances, these conditions may be important as well. Reviewees should use many peer reviews to get a complete consensus of how they're progressing. I submitted reviews (300+) and scripts (12+) to a now-defunct peer review site. I'm working on a book about how screenwriters can maximize audience involvement, and hope to improve my own writing from these insights.

Recent Activity

Steven Hale just claimed a review for a short script
7 months ago
Jé Rouge short
Genre: Horror
An older sister cries wolf to terrify her younger brother, but she quickly comes to realize that there may actually be something to be afraid of.
7 months ago
8 reviews
7 pages
Steven Hale completed a review for
7 months ago
Lily (2nd Draft) short
Genre: Drama
Review Rating:
A young woman finds out that the biological father she's never known is terminally ill. One of his final requests is to see her before he passes.

(NOTE: I'm using the ScriptMother guidelines here to organize the review. I believe a few adjustments should be made in discussing a short script, but the principles of good storytelling are in general the same.) CONCEPT "Lily" focuses on a universally appealing human moment. The story stays anchored to the concept without any extraneous details. LOGLINE / FIRST 10% Your logline presents the basic set-up, but I don't believe that it's as inviting as it could be because there is no indication of conflict. What keeps a reader / viewer motivated throughout a script / film is the desire to know how the protagonist will handle the conflict. A logline should use conflict and curiosity to attract a reader. The first page of a 9-page script is roughly the equivalent of the first 10-12 pages of a feature. Your first page and a half present the basic conflict (between the desire of Tim to see Lily and the desire of Lily to keep Tim at a distance). I'd recommend working that conflict in even earlier than page 2 if possible. A short script is like a haiku--everything has to count. There's a lot of detail on page 1 that doesn't really contribute to the story. SCENES After page 1, every detail in each scene is purposeful, but I believe scene structure is the primary weakness of the story. Almost half of your script consists of Tim explaining why he was absent and how he sought to stay in contact with Lily. That's relevant exposition, but it's exposition nonetheless, and has little inherent conflict to keep the audience wondering (see the next three sections). PROTAGONIST / ANTAGONIST The protagonist has a goal; the antagonist has a secondary goal of preventing the protagonist from accomplishing that goal. Tim and Lily have conflicting goals, but which one is the protagonist and which is the antagonist? I believe that's an open question, and how you handle the exposition problem I mentioned above may help you decide the issue. If Tim is the protagonist, his goal is to reconcile with Lily. In this case, Lily is the antagonist because she opposes his desire to bond with her. If Lily is the protagonist, her goal is to punish Tim for what she perceives are years of neglect. Tim opposes this goal by providing her with the true account of his supposed betrayal. I believe the first version (Tim as protagonist) is more dynamic than the second one. While the emotional change in the story takes place within Lily, she doesn't change as the result of any decision she makes; she makes a rather reactive protagonist. If you decide on Tim as the protagonist, you may want to reconsider your logline ("A dying man sends for....") and possibly opening with Tim rather than Lily. The audience has very little time to imprint on the protagonist in a short script. DIALOG Your dialog is strongest when Tim and Lily are in conflict (you've even managed to introduce a little conflict in Lily's conversation with Roland, which is a good thing). There is a fair amount of subtext, though I believe that even more subtext would make the scenes more compelling. But the bulk of your story is a monologue. I don't want to tell you how to write your story, but here's an example of how to transform exposition and monologue into a more dramatic situation: Suppose that as Tim begins his story / flashback, Lily opposes him (looks at her watch, argues with him, or whatever sort of conflict you think will keep the reader / viewer guessing. Then you have an active protagonist and an active antagonist. CONFLICT (STAKES) The external conflict (stakes) are compelling--life and death so to speak. There isn't a lot of internal conflict. In a story like this, the internal conflict will tend to be between the character's desire to protect him/herself and the desire to take a risk that exposes him/her to danger but possibly provides healing and closure. This is where your subtext comes in. PACING Pacing is tricky in a short script--you don't want a constant ping-pong match--there should be moments of calm or reflection--but you can't let conflict lapse. Again I think the lengthy, uninterrupted flashback is too much of a pause. If you add in more conflict, try making the bursts / beats shorter but more intense as the story escalates. CONFLICT / RESOLUTION See above notes about conflict. The emotionally satisfying resolution is beautifully handled. READABILITY The script reads well. Even the lengthy monologue / flashback is broken up into vivid visual moments.

7 months ago
2 reviews
9 pages
Steven Hale just claimed a review for a short script
7 months ago
Lily (2nd Draft) short
Genre: Drama
A young woman finds out that the biological father she's never known is terminally ill. One of his final requests is to see her before he passes.
7 months ago
2 reviews
9 pages
Steven Hale just joined ScriptMother!
7 months ago

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7 months ago | 2 reviews | 9 pages
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Steven Hale

Aspiring Screenwriter

Reviewer Rating:
Screenplays: 0
Reviews: 1
Enjoys:

Short Bio

My reviews focus on how well the script provides a satisfying emotional experience for the reader and moviegoer. This is not the only requirement for a successful story, but I believe it is the primary goal. I don't normally comment on marketability, formatting, grammar, and other non-story level issues, but in some circumstances, these conditions may be important as well. Reviewees should use many peer reviews to get a complete consensus of how they're progressing. I submitted reviews (300+) and scripts (12+) to a now-defunct peer review site. I'm working on a book about how screenwriters can maximize audience involvement, and hope to improve my own writing from these insights.

Screenplays

No screenplays have been uploaded. Add a screenplay.

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Reviews

Rating is only available to members
7 months ago | 2 reviews | 9 pages
SHOW MORE
Rating is only available to members
7 months ago | 2 reviews | 9 pages
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Recent Activity

Steven Hale just claimed a review for a short script
7 months ago
Jé Rouge short
Genre: Horror
An older sister cries wolf to terrify her younger brother, but she quickly comes to realize that there may actually be something to be afraid of.
7 months ago
8 reviews
7 pages
Steven Hale completed a review for
7 months ago
Lily (2nd Draft) short
Genre: Drama
Review Rating:
A young woman finds out that the biological father she's never known is terminally ill. One of his final requests is to see her before he passes.

(NOTE: I'm using the ScriptMother guidelines here to organize the review. I believe a few adjustments should be made in discussing a short script, but the principles of good storytelling are in general the same.) CONCEPT "Lily" focuses on a universally appealing human moment. The story stays anchored to the concept without any extraneous details. LOGLINE / FIRST 10% Your logline presents the basic set-up, but I don't believe that it's as inviting as it could be because there is no indication of conflict. What keeps a reader / viewer motivated throughout a script / film is the desire to know how the protagonist will handle the conflict. A logline should use conflict and curiosity to attract a reader. The first page of a 9-page script is roughly the equivalent of the first 10-12 pages of a feature. Your first page and a half present the basic conflict (between the desire of Tim to see Lily and the desire of Lily to keep Tim at a distance). I'd recommend working that conflict in even earlier than page 2 if possible. A short script is like a haiku--everything has to count. There's a lot of detail on page 1 that doesn't really contribute to the story. SCENES After page 1, every detail in each scene is purposeful, but I believe scene structure is the primary weakness of the story. Almost half of your script consists of Tim explaining why he was absent and how he sought to stay in contact with Lily. That's relevant exposition, but it's exposition nonetheless, and has little inherent conflict to keep the audience wondering (see the next three sections). PROTAGONIST / ANTAGONIST The protagonist has a goal; the antagonist has a secondary goal of preventing the protagonist from accomplishing that goal. Tim and Lily have conflicting goals, but which one is the protagonist and which is the antagonist? I believe that's an open question, and how you handle the exposition problem I mentioned above may help you decide the issue. If Tim is the protagonist, his goal is to reconcile with Lily. In this case, Lily is the antagonist because she opposes his desire to bond with her. If Lily is the protagonist, her goal is to punish Tim for what she perceives are years of neglect. Tim opposes this goal by providing her with the true account of his supposed betrayal. I believe the first version (Tim as protagonist) is more dynamic than the second one. While the emotional change in the story takes place within Lily, she doesn't change as the result of any decision she makes; she makes a rather reactive protagonist. If you decide on Tim as the protagonist, you may want to reconsider your logline ("A dying man sends for....") and possibly opening with Tim rather than Lily. The audience has very little time to imprint on the protagonist in a short script. DIALOG Your dialog is strongest when Tim and Lily are in conflict (you've even managed to introduce a little conflict in Lily's conversation with Roland, which is a good thing). There is a fair amount of subtext, though I believe that even more subtext would make the scenes more compelling. But the bulk of your story is a monologue. I don't want to tell you how to write your story, but here's an example of how to transform exposition and monologue into a more dramatic situation: Suppose that as Tim begins his story / flashback, Lily opposes him (looks at her watch, argues with him, or whatever sort of conflict you think will keep the reader / viewer guessing. Then you have an active protagonist and an active antagonist. CONFLICT (STAKES) The external conflict (stakes) are compelling--life and death so to speak. There isn't a lot of internal conflict. In a story like this, the internal conflict will tend to be between the character's desire to protect him/herself and the desire to take a risk that exposes him/her to danger but possibly provides healing and closure. This is where your subtext comes in. PACING Pacing is tricky in a short script--you don't want a constant ping-pong match--there should be moments of calm or reflection--but you can't let conflict lapse. Again I think the lengthy, uninterrupted flashback is too much of a pause. If you add in more conflict, try making the bursts / beats shorter but more intense as the story escalates. CONFLICT / RESOLUTION See above notes about conflict. The emotionally satisfying resolution is beautifully handled. READABILITY The script reads well. Even the lengthy monologue / flashback is broken up into vivid visual moments.

7 months ago
2 reviews
9 pages
Steven Hale just claimed a review for a short script
7 months ago
Lily (2nd Draft) short
Genre: Drama
A young woman finds out that the biological father she's never known is terminally ill. One of his final requests is to see her before he passes.
7 months ago
2 reviews
9 pages
Steven Hale just joined ScriptMother!
7 months ago