Writer in the last century
This is a very talented writer, lean, sharp, lively dialogue and action, obviously experienced and confident and definitely going somewhere in the industry. This is an ambitious, daring and hilarious piece of writing that walks the jagged edge between inappropriate and inadmissible. Brendan who ultimately sells the story and takes the audience with him on his journey is a real triumph. You've balanced him perfectly and that's so hard to do with this kind of material. Big shoes to fill though for someone taking on the role. The uncle is great too, i love these characters and we've all met them in real life. I'd like to see you pull Autumn out more, ground Brendan's high-tempo character a little and give the story another aspect, conventional aspects to contrast against. I think a little work to draw out more of a consolidated theme to Brendan's journey/quest could help to make it a little more high-concept because, as entertaining as his journey is, he's lacking a purpose beyond the need to get a job. There is so much here, so much gold, you know you have to pair it back but it's hard to do. His foray into comedy, though wonderful may take the character out of the trajectory you establish in the first act and there's a danger of crossing the fourth wall, perhaps. I think you should tone down the intro scenes, the prostitute is passable but the flesh-lights is a step too far. It's a difficult sell because you need someone who is going to pick this up and have the balls to run with it, if you push them too far too soon... I don't really know what else I can offer. I don't write comedy and wouldn't profess to know the tricks of the genre, additionally, this piece is very much a modern phenomenon, post-modern generation z, a new type of language and dialogue for a generation i'm a step behind. My sense is that this writer has a strong talent and i look forward to reading further works in the future. Good luck and thank you for making me laugh out loud for the first time in a while.
Okay, the positives: There is a strong emotive story in here, if you can work to bring it out and that is the story of a man who abandons his wife and child due to pressures but also to personal weakness/ambition (he has to be responsible) and this leads to an estranged relationship and to his daughter lacking a father figure and going off the rails (need to work on this section - erosion of the mother (drink, bad surrogate husband choices) and the decline of the home environment for the daughter) by a twist of fate and via poetic retribution, the daughter ends up being embroiled in a crime and being incarcerated at her father's prison. He does not recognise her at first but then does and tries to make amends (whether he succeeds or not will define the story). I think the escaped cons aspect complicates this story (though I like the way you write the parallel tale). Much easier to have the daughter's crimes be born out of her environment and her circle. I think you need to make Mario more real, more selfish, he goes to California because it's tough being a father, he takes the easy road out. You need to create an Ashley to rival Mario because this is essentially a tale about Mario and Ashley. Now for the bad, unless you're writing a true story, you do not need to list the passage of time and you certainly need to confine this tale to two time frames, the initial break-up of the family and the period in which Mario is a settled corrections officer and Ashley is going off the rails and seduced into committing a crime. Your current version has 40 pages at the beginning in which nothing really happens. This could be told in one scene. You're setting up the back ground way too much, telling way too much through exposition in the dialogue throughout. Everything needs to be lean, not a word more than necessary to convey the story. Moving forward, you need to sit down and beat out this story - just the story beats - 12 pages from start to finish, not description, not dialogue, pure story. Start with the breakdown of the family, right in the thick of it. Mario needs motive and purpose - did he want a child after all, is he half-way out of the marriage by the time the baby comes? Make him human but flawed and set the story in motion. The first 30 pages of the script will be Mario, his break-up and his new life in California. Act 2 will take us back to Ashley and her relationship with her mother, the down-slide - we have to like her, pity her, hate her but see her as a child who has been a victim of circumstances, an absent father, a mother who flipped out. Act 2 ends with Mario's realisation that Ashley is his daughter. Act 3 is reconciliation or failed reconciliation.
The writer has a passion for writing and a good grasp of emotive dialogue and description but has allowed himself to be drawn into the dialogue and description at the expense of the story. I struggled to write a synopsis of this script because for the large part, there is a great deal of talk and a great deal of description but very little moves in this story and this is where we need to focus our energy. A story cannot be description and dialogue led, a story must take us on a journey and that journey must be definitive, dramatic and transformative and this journey leads and guides us. Description and dialogue support this but cannot replace this. When we take out 90% of the dialogue (which we need to) and slim down the description by 90% (which we need to), we are left with a sequence of events that does not take us beyond a first act movement and that is a problem for a feature which should feel as lean as a prize-fighter starved to make weight. I would advise the writer to begin with a logline that summarises the dramatic irony of the tale, then to move to a one page synopsis and then a 12 page story beat version (not description, pure story) and only then to think about what minimal description and dialogue will give the leanest and slickest version of that. We need to know who this story is actually about because there are far too many characters fighting for ownership and none of these characters do take ownership, we need to understand why this character's tale absolutely needs to be told and why that story is best told in the context of this period and this place and then we need to make this character active, to challenge him and throw hellfire at him to test his resolve to achieve his overriding goal. Additionally, in terms of story message and context - if we want to tell a tale about men in war, we need to justify why we're going to tell in a 16th century setting because that equates to huge expense in production. Better to tell a tale of men at war in a context we can do without the expense unless that particular war is very representative or close to the psyche, e.g. the way Vietnam was. I would suggest that, if we're writing against the backdrop of an historical battle, the film, by definition needs to be driven by action and adventure or needs to focus on the significance of that event - either look for a true event you can borrow from that has meaning and context for the modern age (e.g. La Reine Margot, Waterloo, Cromwell) or create a strong motive and adventurous quest for your characters that utilises the constraints of the period to draw out a unique story that couldn't really fit in another era (e.g. Last of the Mohicans, Three Musketeers, Kelly's Heroes).
A surly fighter tries to shake-off a headstrong dancer he rescues from the street but in a twist of fortune, comes to depend upon her for survival.