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.
I would definitely watch this show. Gods and Titans in a modern context. You’ll probably get comparisons to American Gods, but yours isn’t really like it at all except perhaps for the tone. My biggest complaint is that I want more. To be an hour TV episode, you’ll need around 44 pages, usually broken into a teaser act, three or four regular acts and a coda act. The teaser and coda are both short. Look at On Our Merry to see how this is done. You just need one more act. This is how I see it breaking down: TEASER ACT The appearance of the Blight (capitalize your main antagonist, looks better on the page). This should only be about 3 pages. OPENING CREDITS ACT TWO The re-enlisting of Gunther, his battle with the Blight and sudden death. I say the other Champions should be introduced here. Maybe they witness Gunther’s battle? I almost think a couple of them could take the place of the priest and priestess as the Goddess’s lackeys. (Unless you have future story lines for priest/priestess.) ACT THREE We see Marshall’s family and home life. Goldmine of comedy potential there. The new Champion is chosen, the new regime formed (I assume the others will be his team?). ACT FOUR Yet to be written. I suggest the threat returns on steroids. I wasn’t clear on the Blight. Is there only the one? With Gunther’s victory, are they good for another 20 years? Maybe they think so, only to have many more Blight appear. Or maybe it’s a whole different threat? You get the idea. Set up the situation for future episodes. Think long-term on story and character arcs. ACT FIVE Whatever the resolution, leave it very tenuous. Leave something major unresolved. END CREDITS I wouldn’t be so quick to lose Gunther as a character. The washed up mentor to Marshall who ends up being very useful later on. Maybe he’s in a Valhalla-like fantasy realm? Maybe he’s just in forced retirement? Come up with something better than “bite marks” for how the Blight causes harm. Make what they do to people really scary or horrifying.
Unfortunately, there aren't many places for a script this short. I had told another writer about an anthology film called The ABCs of Death, made up of 26 micro movies. This might fit into something like that. The early seventies horror anthology Night Gallery also featured vignettes of similar length between the longer stories. Most of the backstory and relationship between the mother and daughter is left unexplained. This is very effective because the reader must fill all of that in. It is truly horrifying. That said, I do want to know more about these two. You might consider new artwork. This is way too on-the-nose. Let the reader experience the horror without any warning. I feel this would be even more horrifying as the third act of a longer (but still short) piece. The first act as an introduction to a seemingly mundane relationship. Somewhere along the way a reference to something that has to be "dealt with". Perhaps we are led to believe it's a sports injury. Then this as the gut punch at the end.
I’m going to focus on format here as if this were a first 15 review. The biggest thing you’re not doing is separating elements/characters within a scene or shot using sluglines. These tell the reader where the focus should be. For example, in a scene on the basketball court, you start with a wide shot of a team or perhaps the whole venue, but as the game happens, you separate each person or element as we see it. Start with: ESTABLISHING – THE GYMNASIUM Describe, the venue, the crowd, the two teams on the court (what color each team wears, etc.) As you introduce players in a block of action, only the important ones need ALL CAPS, but each player that participates in the action should be described enough to be differentiated in the reader’s mind. (like you did with Earl) Use basic stuff like hair, the number on their jersey, a head band or mouth guard, etc. Assume the reader doesn’t know basketball positions. Just describe the players and what they do. THE SCOREBOARD - RAIDERS: 59 VISITORS: 65 EARL - passes to NUMBER 21 - stringy but muscular and wearing goggles. He quickly cuts past his defender into the paint. (and if your action involves this player again, you can mention the goggles or jersey number again to remind the reader) When you have an action that needs a close up shot, use INSERT – EARL’S FINGER The ball just barely grazes his middle finger, pushing it back. THE BALL - falls short of the net and into the hands of the Raiders’ center. THE SCOREBOARD - RAIDERS:61 VISITORS: 65 The court scenes will tend to be mostly sluglines, only occasionally reverting to a wider shot (a team celebrating, the crowd rising to their feet) Anyway, you get the idea. I can’t stress enough how much everyone needs to have a hard copy format manual to refer to as you write. The internet is is a poor substitute.
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.
Two women do what is necessary to survive a pandemic.