Hey! My name is Owen! I am a college student who has been messing around with screenwriting. I have no background in writing or film, but I love television. Especially dramedy and sitcoms. I would love to be a part of the teams that work on shows like that, and practicing screenwriting seems like a reasonable place to start! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about my work or yours!
I expected this to be the opening scenes to a horror movie perhaps, but I guess it's a short. First of all, I would like to point out that this type of writing can be harmful to people who suffer from schizophrenia. Associating murder with people who suffer mental disorders is unfair. I don't know enough about your background to discredit your knowledge on schizophrenia, but I would advise doing some serious research on the condition before writing about it if you haven't already. The concept of a talent show really reminds me of an episode of Black Mirror. Not sure if you've seen it, but you definitely should if you are serious about a talent show gone wrong story. Also reminds of Split in that it uses mental illness as a plot device. Overall, it was unremarkable. The story wasn't packed with enough symbolism to justify it's short length. It came across as lazy. I hate to be so critical, but I think this need a lot of work. You clearly had something in mind you wanted to say, but they way it was said was strange (and not in a good way). One of the issues is the seemingly magic guitar that shoots light. There was no explanation and no foreshadowing. It made no sense. If it was meant to symbolize something, it was just too out of place for an audience to give it any weight. Were the guitar riffs actually good? Why would Jeff play the guitar before killing them? I also feel like it would be important to establish what the talent show is. Is it a national thing? Local? Is there an audience in the theater? And why does Jeff die? I have trouble finding an intention in your piece. Your character development is abysmal. Of course this is largely due to your short format. The characters aren't given time to change naturally. The quick mood changes almost make this feel like a comedy sketch without the jokes. The main character's emotional instability is lazily attributed to a mysterious mental illness rather than realistic incidents. The judges show no development, which is fine for a short, but I thought Sebastian's outburst was strange and unwelcome. Your dialogue was unremarkable. Since you have so few speaking lines, I think you should choose dialogue very carefully. I feel bad for being so critical, but I feel like it is important to be honest. In my opinion, your piece has little potential to be made into a real film at this time. You need to include a lot more details and reconsider character motives. Especially try to think about alternatives to mental illness for Jeff. Decide why he acts the way he does and make him realistic.
The concept for this work may not be the most original, but that takes nothing away from the masterfully crafted story and characters. Reading this script, it feels very much like a final draft. There was one type on page 72 where it said “draw” instead of “drawn”, but otherwise the formatting was perfect as far as I can tell. One suggestion would be to describe more clearly what goes down when the gunshots start when John and Martha go to town. I found the shootout to be a bit confusing to follow. This era in American history is so important to today, especially with regard to the Black Lives Matter movement. It was this period that really established how Black Americans would be treated for the following century and beyond. The effects of the Reconstruction are still clearly visible today in the killings of black men and the racial wealth gap. Telling this story is so important, and I think you’ve done a stand-out job. The stories of David and Martha especially stand out to me as incredibly important. To this day, whites label blacks as criminals just as Clyde and the raiders did to David in calling him a thief to justify the way they treated him. Martha’s story demonstrates that black women owe nothing to society. Whites have historically treated black women as part of their family, but black women deserve their own family. I am glad Martha decided to strike out on her own. I also think the stereotype of the strong black woman is both sufficiently recognized and dismissed in Martha’s character. You made her strong enough to leave, but not so strong that she could hold back her tears. She’s human, which is so important. The stories you tell are engaging and blended together seamlessly. Your structure is beautiful. I assume the story of Conkling and Blow will develop in future episodes, but for now it is unclear what it adds to the overall picture you are trying to paint. I imagine their purpose is to juxtapose the South with the happenings in Washington D.C. and the political atmosphere at the time. I assume their story will become more important in future episodes. Finally, the story of Amos, Sam, the Beauforts, and the freed slaves is interesting. I assume their story line is designed to demonstrate how the process of freeing slaves went. I expect that Thomas and Sarah’s story will give the audience insight into what making a life might have been like for black family during this time. One idea is for these two to end up in a sharecropping situation. I’m no expert on American history, but I have heard that sharecropping had a large negative impact on blacks following emancipation. I trust that this work is historically accurate, as you seem to know what you’re talking about. I have very few critiques, as I saw this to be a wonderfully constructed web of stories that tell a bigger story about America. If you really want to have this show produced (I can easily imagine it on the History channel or even as a Netflix series), I think you should lean heavily into how this period affected black lives and shaped the racial inequality that still exists today. Systemic racism is at the forefront of America’s problems, and there is always a need for further understanding of the systems that created the racial atmosphere we live in today. Overall, GREAT job. This is fantastic, and you should be very proud. You are obviously very talented and knowledgeable, and I think you are ready to move on to future episodes. Your one challenge is going to be pitching and marketing your work. The title is very plain, and the concept won’t get a lot of people fired up. So just think about how you plan to go about getting this work produced. Otherwise, it really is great. Good luck! P.S. Thank you for the review on I Regret to Inform You. Your feedback was super helpful and lead me to make some important changes that I think really improved my work.
Great concept! The villain is sufficiently mysterious, the way he kills is bizarre and terrifying. Killing theses attractive teens is always scarier than other kinds of people. It isn't the most creative concept, but it's very good. I think there needs to be a huge twist at some point in the story to make it really memorable. (maybe the psych patient is really dead and the current Chain Link is someone who the previous Chain Link failed to kill. and maybe he has no face?) Your story is great so far. I was very engaged. Stakes are established early in that Jen will probably be killed if the killer isn't stopped. I think we could use more reason to root for her though. An early scene establishing her a really good person could make the hunting of her even more heart-wrenching. I also think Rylie's death could have been scarier. I think Chain Link could try to scare her more befire revealing himself. Perhaps emailing her pictures of victims, and offering her a second chance to forward the emails to a friend. Structure seems good too. Strong hook at the beginning, and a nice pace so far. No suggestions here yet as it's an early draft. Character development was good as far as I can tell. Of course most of the development happens later, but it seems like Rylie and Jennifer are kind of troublemakers. I would prefer that Jen was a girl that avoided trouble. I think that make is scarier because good people don't deserve bad things. Maybe cut out the flirty scene with Jackson, I'm not entirely sure what it adds to the work. The cops seem to have a good arc in store, and I'm sure Jackson plays a role. The dialogue was good too. It could be made to feel a little more natural, but I wouldn't worry about it. It accomplishes what it needs to. For a draft, there is a lot of potential here. I think you have an opportunity to subvert some expectations of the viewer at the climax of the story. Otherwise this story turns into another horror movie where all the characters have to do is stop the killer. I feel like there needs to be something bigger. Overall, it's a great start and I'd be very interested to see how it turns out.
Valedictorian and politically active atheist Lucy Bailey has her life turned upside down when she is rejected from every college she applies to. She leaves her Chicago private school to navigate a new life at a small, Christian college in rural Minnesota.