I've been a film buff all my life. The onset of the dvd era brought major insights into the whole process via commentary tracks (I recommend listening to as many as you can). I purchased Final Draft about five years ago along with The Complete Screenwriter's Manual by Bowles, Mangravite and Zorn. I strongly recommend both. I am finding that format discipline is sorely lacking with most aspiring writers. This is a shame because an otherwise good story is torture to read without it.
The title is very clever. So this is a half-hour sitcom along the lines of Superstore? I assume the vending machine is going to be a running gag! You’re still a little short. For a half hour of television, you need about 23 pages minimum. Your cold open act is perfect length, though. Your third act is only six pages, so maybe longer there. It would help to utilize other types of sluglines to indicate visual elements: ESTABLISHING to show where we are (mall exterior, ice cream shop exterior, etc). Character sluglines to show who the attention should be on within the scene. CUTAWAYs and P.O.V.s to show action happening elsewhere or from one character’s perspective (these can both be used to great comic effect). Whenever you want to show what is on a phone or screen, use an INSERT. I think you’ve got the right way to have a character who only speaks a foreign language. Just to be extra clear, use (in Italian with subtitles) in the parentheses. Does he understand English? That wasn’t clear to me. Lot of comedy potential with that as a device. It reminds me of the Portuguese segment of Love Actually. On the story: It would make more sense to have the need to fire someone arise from business being so bad. If the mall is dying, the business would be reticent to invest in surveillance equipment, especially in response to the milkshake incident. The cameras are fine as a subplot element, but have them installed for a more straightforward reason: i.e. they’re suspicious of the employees/customers. Don’t conflate the ice cream chain management with the mall management. Keep them both, but separate. I’m confused by the woman with the bag on her head. A little more explanation there. Does she have any lines? My main issue is that there aren’t any sympathetic characters. Lydia, the most innocent of the bunch, fairs the worst and nobody else gets any comeuppance. Nice job setting up the final gag with the romantic rival’s yoga. Keep in mind that the reader doesn’t know where you’re going with story and character arcs. A pilot has to work as a stand-alone story as much as a set-up for future episodes.
Format issues first: when you introduce each alter ego, describe what she looks like so that the reader has a visual to latch onto. Obviously they both are her, but give them each an identifying characteristic (different hair color, costume, whatever). You might want to consider not calling them GOOD and BAD. Let the audience figure that out for themselves. Maybe DARK and LIGHT. Or BLONDE and BRUNETTE. That way, you can play against expectations the way you do when we realize that they both are looking out for her and that neither is bad. Characters that only the protagonist can see need to be depicted clearly as such. Usually you include them in a P.O.V shot and then return to the master shot, in which they are not visible. CUT TO: as a transition is no longer really used. If you’re indicating a new scene, it is understood that it’s a cut. If you want to indicate the passage of time at the same location, use DISSOLVE TO: I noticed a few places where you indicate what is in the character’s mind, ie.“She remembers.” The audience can’t see her remembering or know anything about what she’s thinking, so you can’t describe it that way. Rather, show us with visual clues: a facial expression, an insert of a clock, a line of dialogue: “Oh, no!” Anything that the audience can’t know from seeing or hearing can’t be in the script. How do we know it’s a very steamy book? You have to show us or have a character tell us. All of the phone stuff needs to be in INSERT shots. Close ups where you describe exactly what is visible on the screen. Feel free to read any of my scripts to see how this is done. As for the story itself. At ten pages, this isn’t a story as much as a vignette. In my opinion, the minimum is a half hour of television, which needs to be at least 23 pages or so. There are plenty of directions to take this if you choose to. Obviously, your protagonist is troubled, but maybe these two become the source of her strength.
At seven pages, this is more a vignette than a fleshed-out story. This actually would fit well into The ABCs of Death, a collection of 26 short films, each depicting a different way to die. There isn’t much else you can do with a script this brief. It would need to be part of a collection or larger story. The good news is that it doesn’t have to stay this short. This suggests a bigger story. Show us way more of the judges and their agendas. I assume you want the audience to cheer at their exploding heads? Take us through the qualifying process. How did he get this audition? Is this on TV? Show us how he turned his guitar into a weapon. Is he a tech savant? Set up more of the relationship with the inner alter-ego. I agree with the other reviewer that calling him schizophrenic is a problem. Consider having the climax as all one scene instead of having him leave and come back. Don’t use an image from another film as your cover art. Find something more generic.
Two women do what is necessary to survive a pandemic.