Award-winning writer of critically acclaimed indie-thriller, "The Suicide Theory" (79% Rotten Tomato score, Austin Film Festival Award Winner, available on Amazon Prime, Itunes, Google Play, Youtube, etc) and 2020's upcoming Aussie thriller, "Rage". My horror feature, "They Never Left" is in development.
This was pretty well-written, though it kinda reads like a shooting script, though not quite. But the way the specific shots were written (the frames per second thing might go over some readers' head) made it easy to visualize, so I won't dock points for that. I went in blind, not knowing the genre, so the ending came pretty unexpectedly... which I liked a lot. It reminded me of a short called, "Spider" by Noah Edgerton (check it out). The characters had distinct traits and I was especially able to relate to Seth -- Ken was the typical, superficial meathead trainer. It played out like tortoise and the hair a little bit as they raced up the trail and Ken kept stopping to take selfies. I liked the irony of him falling off the cliff -- after he almost falls the first time, I thought that would be the end of that. But, sure enough, he falls and, ironically impales himself on his selfie stick. What won me over was that he stayed in character and gave Seth a thumbs up with the selfie stick poking out of him. The bird that he didn't notice landing on the selfie stick , though, might've been a bit too much in the irony department. I liked the intent of it, but unless this is a good sized bird, I'm not sure if its weight would cause the selfie stick to go in further. But I really enjoyed the message here. Nice work.
So, the premise is ridiculous. Yet, somehow, the writer was able to take a very dumb premise and make it interesting with fun dialogue and by raising the stakes, thus somehow making the otherwise silly premise seem important. The characters, although not entirely unique with their own distinctive voices, do have goals -- specifically Geena and Mark. And those goals evolve and somehow hinge on this silly "little" bet about whether or not one of them can piss over their own heads. Which was actually kinda impressive -- making something as dumb as peeing over your head seem suspenseful with so much on the line and the stream coming so close -- it felt like watching instant replay during a football game, seeing if the ball crossed the endzone hashmarks. The first payoff/punchline, though humorous, didn't pay off that well. It was still a funny sight gag. But what made the script and made me go from on-the-fence to approving it completely was the last punchline, cutting to Mark speaking to his son 7 years later. The ending made this IMO. As for the writing, I was a little worried at first -- it's nice to have a character breakdown, but that usually isn't in the script. You kinda have it like a play where character descriptions are listed before the actual scene. In screenplays, character descriptions should accompany the character as we're introduced to them. And we get a sense of their character through the way they're perceived on screen, as we see it and read it. So, right away, I thought this was gonna be a hassle to read. But it's actually decently well written, though the wrylies in the dialogue are a little long and should have their own action lines. Or they should be shortened to one-three words. Also, when you write a beat in the action, there's no need to put it in parenthesis. All in all, a nice read.
The chemistry between your two very endearing characters, Rosh and Sal, really carries this. The tone of the story is sweet and innocent. But I feel like more needs to happen, especially since the dilemmas they run into are pretty mundane. I'd also amp up the conflict just a little more. For instance, when Sal struggles to ask Lira out, something more embarrassing needs to happen to capture the attention of the whole cafeteria. In that situation, the only people who would be paying attention are the people sitting by Lira. Unless the school is really small (like Bayside High). Also, why is this being told in flashback? It doesn't seem to have a purpose really, unless there's some sort of payoff later in the series. But as of now, it doesn't really seem to serve a purpose. And the "cliffhanger" at the end, Lira showing up at Tracy's, doesn't seem all that shocking. Maybe to Sal it would be, but why is Rosh upset? All in all, this was a nice effort. I think I read an earlier version of this script (I'd recommend a different, catchier title -- the title reads more like the title of an episode). And the writing has improved, but it still needs much work. The plot doesn't feel important enough. Try to amp up the scenarios and throw as many obstacles at your characters at possible. It's just a little too simple at the moment, if that makes sense. Here are some notes I made as I read: The presentation of the page would benefit from breaking up your action blocks by focus of action. Improved sentence structure in active voice would also make the action read better. Rather than saying “is” all the time to describe what’s happening – just by writing it, you’re already implying that it “is” happening. So, instead of of: “The heroic music is getting louder, the person is stretching his legs. He starts too run, but he suddenly trips on his shoe laces and falls face flat on the ground, the music abruptly stops when this happens. ROSH, the one who's currently lying on the ground in defeat, is a tall, dark skinned, Indian sophomore in high school. He has a messy bush of black hair. Rosh is wearing a red Spider-man print t-shirt with some black shorts. While lying on the ground, he notices that his shoes were untied. Rosh tries to talk while he spits out some gravel.” It should read more like: “The HEROIC MUSIC grows louder, building in intensity as he stretches his legs, getting ready for a run… And he takes off – But immediately trips, falling face first to the ground, the HEROIC MUSIC stopping. Meet ROSH (age), tall, dark-skinned, messy black hair, wearing a Spider-Man T-shirt and black shorts. While on his hands and knees, he looks to his feet to see his shoelaces untied. Getting to his feet, he spits out some gravel.” Also, your description is a bit repetitive – every action block is “Rosh does this. Sal does that. Rosh then does this. Sal then does that”. Mix it up a little, reads very robotic, kinda lulls us to sleep a bit. PAGE 5: “There's some text on the screen: "A few months ago..." Should be formatted like: SUPER: A Few Months Ago… PAGE 7: “LIRA (CONT'D) ... How are you guys doi-- Lira gets interrupted, midway through her sentence, by a nervous Sal. SAL Great! Just great! Have I mentioned how great I'm doi- I gotta- Ummm... I gotta get to lunch, see ya...” You don’t need to say Lira’s interrupted in the action. That’s already implied by the – at the end of her dialogue. “Lira starts talking to Rosh. LIRA (Awkwardly) Hey, I should probably get going.” Again, the action line is unnecessary and redundant. We see Lira’s dialogue, we already know that she’s talking to Rosh, he’s the only character left with her. “Lira starts to walk away from Rosh. LIRA I'll see you guys at lunch!” You’re using “Someone starts...” way too much. It’s like every other sentence, it slows down the read, comes across amateurish. Either they’re walking or they aren’t. Keep it as active voice as possible and economize your words better. And try to mix up your vocab a little, too. Instead of words like “walks”, describe the way they’re walking. As Lira shuffles off… LIRA See you guys at lunch! PAGE 8: “The color grading is warmer in color during the flashbacks.” You only need to mention this once, the first time we see it. PAGE 15: Hmm, I don’t really get why Rosh would purposely trip on his shoelaces – how is Sal benefiting? To draw attention away from himself? I thought he was trying to ask out Lira? And now she’s gone. PAGE 17: Your scene headings need to be shorter. No need to say “A HALLWAY” or a “PARK BENCH”. Should be INT. HORIZON HIGH – HALLWAY – AFTERNOON (FLASHBACK) And, again, no need to keep telling us about the color grading every time we go back and forth between flashbacks. It’s really, really repetitive. Also, I feel like your characters are laughing way too much at things that aren’t necessarily funny. PAGE 22: “Rosh looks defeated when he hears that nickname, but then he looks at the piece of paper Tracy handed him. Tracy's number was on that piece of paper. After seeing this, Rosh looks happy. Sal glances at the piece of paper Rosh was holding.” Again, economizing your words would make this action block so much easier to read. Like so: Defeated at first upon hearing “Rocket”, Rosh’s eyes light up as he looks to the piece of paper – Tracy’s phone number is written on it! PAGE 26: Not sure why Lira being the friend that shows up at Tracy’s house is such a shock to Rosh and Sal. Maybe for Sal it would be a big deal, but why is Rosh upset about this? Doesn’t really make much sense.
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