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The script is a fun read, and echoes a lot of the same story elements as Jeepers Creepers. I like the fact that you keep the audience on a violent chase throughout the last half of the script, and the energy and pace never slows from that point on. The high-level action and violence is the strongest part of your script. Unfortunately, a lot of the theme and character development gets lost in this non-stop action. For instance, you introduce Massay as a troubled teen obsessed with dark lore, but he doesn't really get into this fascination when the Devil appears and terrorizes him. It isn't until the very end that he connects all the dots and kills the Janet and all of the Devil's offspring. Usually in these stories, there's a slow uncovering or unraveling of the mystery that surrounds a villain. Maybe the protagonist finds a weak point or discovers something that can help defeat the villain. Instead, you have the Jersey Devil terrorizing and killing off each character, one-by-one, until the climax when the tables suddenly turn. As a result, the Jersey Devil's demise seems unrealistic because we spent so much time watching him annihilate everyone in his path without showing Massay develop a plan or evolve in his strategy to defeat him. The biggest issue is the repetitive and unnecessary dialogue, which seems to plague a lot of the scenes. For instance, on page 39: BRIAN You could have killed that kid. ROBERT He wouldn’t be missed anyway. BRIAN Maybe not by you, but I’m not ruining my future for a faggot -- Robert sucks his teeth. BRIAN (CONT’D) -- or a girl who doesn’t want you. ROBERT She wants me. I know she does. HOWARD Then how come she’s always rejecting you? ROBERT She’s playing hard to get. HOWARD Well, she’s good at it. ROBERT She’ll come around. This exchange doesn't seem to serve a real purpose for the story, except to feed the audience's hatred for Robert and his bullying friends. The point of this scene is to show Robert and his friends going their separate ways in the Pine Barrens, but the dialogue goes on longer than it needs to and seems to repeat itself, especially when Brian and Howard keep mentioning that Robert would have lost a fight to Massay and that Angelica isn't interested in him. There seems to be some holes in the dialogue as well, which can lead to holes in the story. For instance when Sean is telling Angelica about Massay's brother's suicide, she asks Massay about this. This seems to trouble Massay and he doesn't want to talk about it, which is fine. But the issue is that it ends there. We never hear about Massay's brother again. This ends up confusing the audience. If you're going to mention a traumatic event like a sibling's suicide, it needs to have some sort of resolution and explanation that sheds light into the overall story. Is there some connection or symbolism? If so, it needs to be brought out more in the story of Massay and his family life. Another problem with the dialogue is the overuse of obscenities by each character. For instance, the f-word is used constantly throughout the script by almost every character, which is unnecessary and takes away from what could otherwise be more compelling and engaging dialogue. A lot of times, it's hard to distinguish between humor and intensity in the script. The way to fix this would be to rework the dialogue and create more of a flow between the characters. This might seem like a lot, but all of these are natural problems most screenplays face. Screenwriting is not about writing, it's about re-writing. But the script is in a great starting place to make these type of improvements on. Hope this helps!
The concept is excellent, especially as it ties in with the current state of society. Simon's struggle is intriguing, as he attempts to juggle single-fatherhood and an odd new career path at the same time. This sets the stage for an abundance of plot points and storylines the TV series can take in the future, which gives it promise in the industry. You also introduce a healthy range of side characters with different situations and circumstances that surround their lives, which is one of the signs of a healthy tseries. This being said, the script suffers mainly from overlong/redundant dialogue and lack of drama throughout the story itself. With regard to story, I felt as though a ton of drama was left out. In other words, you have your inciting incidents put in place very well. You have Simon losing his job in the beginning, then his co worker's untimely death, and so on. But the scenes that depict these incidents lack an overall dynamic that would otherwise make a significant impact on the audience. For instance, the scene where Simon finds out hes fired is a bit uneventful. He walks into his office, sees his coworker crying, then finds a severance package on his desk. After reading this scene, I found myself wanting to know more about Simon's career and reputation as an engineer. Was he passionate about his job? Was he well-respected? Was he a genius at his job? I didn't see much devastation or outrage on Simon's end, as opposed to Tonia's. In other words, scene seems one-dimensional, and it felt like Simon was just going through the motions of being fired. I would rework this scene to signify Simon's identity as an engineer, and make it hit the audience in a way that makes his transition into writing softcore adult film more dramatic. This may require a reworking of Simon as a character altogether. Another incident is Tonia's death and how it ties into Simon's career change. There isn't enough build-up between the Simon Tonia's relationship to make me believe Simon would take a leap from engineer to porn writer. What's more is that the relationship between Tonia and her Uncle was too vague and questionable for me to believe Simon would be so quick to take the job offer. The reason for Tonia's death was also out of the blue and sort of random. I imagined her death would have been more caused by the pandemic, or her being laid off. Or perhaps Tonia and Simon could have been romantic interests, which would give his transition more reason and meaning. Either way, the reasoning and lead-up to Simon's entrance in the adult film industry doesn't seem as believable and dramatic as it could be. A question I would try to answer is simply, who is Simon? What drives him? Why should we be compelled by his leap from engineering to the adult film industry? What does that transition symbolize? Also, we never get to see Simon's writing skills in the episode. It's talked about and you have characters that believe in him, but what instance or scene can the audience see that would make us believe he's a great writer? Perhaps there's some clever way you can tie in engineering and writing for adult film together. It's challenging, but it's possible to do this. Either way, this show deals with adult film, and the audience never gets a real taste of it. The pilot is also missing a significant and clear climax. Where does the storyline of this episode culminate? Things have to come together at some point. They seem to at Simon's daughter's concert, but I didn't get a strong sense of climax from the events that unfolded. Another main issue is dialogue. It can get repetitive and wordy at times. For instance, on page 28: LONNIE Something you boys don’t know about me... I made a few porn videos before I became a teacher. I was just out of secondary school, high school, and a bit confused about my path in life so I did... deviate from the normal path a bit. Just a few times. Alistar picks up his phone. ALISTAR What was your name? LONNIE You can fuck right off, Al. Even if I told you, you wouldn’t find anything. It helps that daddy is a high-powered barrister, sorry, lawyer. College, fellas, nothing but a drug-induced orgy. Those were the days. Lonnie pulls out a joint and lights up. She passes it around. ALISTAR I’m so happy you’re teaching our nation’s future generations. LONNIE Anyway, Simon, those actors are banging. Like really banging. There’s nothing like a good bang, bang, banging, to get the blood going, you know? SIMON I just realized how little we know about each other, Lonnie. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to have you around my girls unsupervised. LONNIE Oh fuck off. Those angels in there are like my own kids. I’d kill for them and I’d wring their little fragile necks if they did even half the shite I did. One of the redundancies I noticed is the phrase, "F**k off*, twice here. You also have a lot of lines that begin with "well," and "it's". This sort of habit is a little difficult to break, but what I like to do rewrite an entirely new version of my scene, but beforehand, outline the conversation from beginning to end and establish what you want to accomplish for your audience. There's a lot in here. First you show Simon's friends reaction to his new job, then Lonnie going into her own experience in the adult film industry, then you have her asking them to observe her online class, and it ends with bringing up the issue of Simon's daughter's birthday, which seems to establish a sub plot that will take place later. Hope this helps!
Despite the inherent difficulty of filling almost 80 pages of script with hallucination sequences, you did a very impressive job of keeping things interesting and driving the story forward. One of the aspects I enjoyed the most is how you allowed your characters to break the fourth wall while keeping your audience in the main story. What's more is that you build your characters throughout these hallucinations by having them interact with Jonna. For instance, her mother is long-dead and lives only as a figment in Jonna's psychedelic trip, but she carries Jonna through it and we see their relationship develop. A few things are holding the script back from being competition-ready. One is a lack of character exposition and setup in the beginning. I love the voice-over intro and the fast pace as Jonna introduces her miserable circle of friends, as well as her depressing home life with her father. However, it seems to rushed and could be much much stronger. For example: She takes out a cell phone, change from her pockets, places them on the table. FATHER What did I tell you about your drinking? JONNA You gotta be kidding me? FATHER I’m not going to have you drinking in my home. JONNA I was at a bar. What are you talking about? FATHER You know what I’m talking about. Jonna heads for the kitchen. JONNA That does it. I’m eating your buffalo chicken. The Father rushes over to her. FATHER Don’t try to change the subject. Aside from letting the audience know that Jonna's father doesn't approve of her alcohol-filled lifestyle, this doesn't make much of an impact. In other words, in this scene you provide the bones of what you want the audience to know, but it can be far more compelling. Instead of a stale exchange between Jonna and her father, you can add dynamic by having a scene where she throws up in her fathers houseplant (which would tie in perfectly with the fact that he told her to water them). Just something to add humor or drama to the main point of the scene. The next issue is your dialogue. At times, it can be repetitive and on-the-nose. In other words, the dialogue can be more immersive in certain places. Take this line, for instance: JONNA They’re horrible people. They talk about this boy I’ll nickname, Poison, that swears they are the greatest people. They do nothing but talk about him behind his back, and tell people how pathetic he is. They do the same to me too, except, they’re right about him. Me? I don’t need them. The word "they" is here a total of five times, but it's also a little heavy-handed and sort of confusing. Why is she mentioning a boy and nicknaming him "Poison"? One suggestion I would make is to approach this bit of dialogue without the desire to explain things in detail to the audience. The audience can infer the details on their own. Instead, approach this with a bit of nuance. EXAMPLE REWRITE: JONNA They’re horrible people. I remember when Poison was in our group for only a minute. All they did was talk shit about him. The only reason he was allowed to hang was cuz we needed needed a better weed connect. Something like this is a little shorter and less repetitive. Also, you tend to recycle the same language throughout, particularly the curses thrown between characters. For example, on page 41 and 42: JONNA You fugly looking, goddamn bitch. THE WORM Language. JONNA Eat my bile. THE WORM Say it. JONNA Die. THE WORM You need to say it. JONNA Go away. THE WORM Look, bitch. You’re a fucking poor ass chick with a ghetto booty. You’re losing everything here, including your ass. JONNA I don’t care. THE WORM Obviously. Your parents are gonna be proud. Jonna grabs the bottle. JONNA Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you! I’m tired of your shit! The scene you created is strong enough, and shows a rising tension between Jonna and the Worm, but it could be much stronger if you reduced the redundant name-calling and replaced it with a more complex back-and-forth. Otherwise, the script is very strong and most of all, pertinent to today's society and young culture. Hope this helps!