I am a writer from the UK and a student of the craft for many years. Until now I've never wanted to put my work out there but I love the craft so much and enjoy the process that I feel maybe now us the time to share; knowledge and work.
There is a genuine sense of reality to this story, an extraordinary imagination of systematic racism that is happening in the world today. Reading the visual scenes of the white supremist actions are a reminder of this, albeit, these scenes are overexaggerated for the sake of drama, But it's there. Lest not forget the circumstances currently happening in Afghanistan where trapped British and US citizens are trying to flee the country from the new Taliban regime. Hitler and his crimes against humanity due to his hatred of the Jewish community, Current affairs makes this story relevant. I'm not well versed in race politics so I can't sit back and criticize the correctness of the content matter. Of course, if the writer is comfortable with the subject matter, then is story is definitely one worth telling. If it were me, I'd make it more of a faction war, create my own world and my own politics, but hey, that's probably the easy way out. So kudos. From what I can gather, the story begins amidst the insurgence of a new white supremist government and focuses on the Jaeger family's attempt to flee the country and seek refuge, from it all, in Canada. The teenage children being the obstacle, wanting to party one last time, not truly fathoming the seriousness of what's happening in their world, until it's too late. Although, I got to know this family very well, I did get the sense that the scenes were dragging with idle and unnecessary dialogue and action and it did begin to feel like the writing was pushing for pages. In reality, all we do is talk idly with pointless actions, but in story, I just want to know what I need to know and get moving. Homing in on one family is likely not going to hold my interest for 8 to 10 episodes. Seasonal stories focus on more than one vantage point and are normally introduced in the pilot episode, the episode that makes or breaks the show. Known writers may dedicate an episode to each vantage point and begin to converge them from from episode 3-4 onwards. But can the unknown aspiring writer afford this? What I was hoping for, as well as being introduced to the Jaegers, was to be introduced to the new government, the people behind it and how they managed to overthrow democracy, all the while focusing on the renegade of defectors planning a coup. And what about the refugee camp, in Canada, and their struggles so save the victims of this new regime? I marked up the story elements as good but would have checked excellent had these vantage points been written into the pilot episode. Just my view though. Another of our peers may see it differently. I do feel like the party has to have some significant importance about it to convince these kids that it means more than the life of death scenario they are about to face, especially after they witnessed a massacre on a live social media stream in class. That still would shake up a teenager, wouldn't it? Structure seemed a little wishy-washy due to the pacing and extended scenes, due to the page count I looked for the signposts based on the structure of a feature, really hard to pin down. To be honest, 86 pages maybe looked upon as overkill for a pilot episode of a tv show. Loved the characters, especially the Jaeger's, their relationships came across as genuine, overplayed somewhat but good all the same. Same with dialogue, it felt natural, but again overplayed and took me out of the moment at times. The scene where Jacq struggled with Lukas and her resolve to save a neighbour from certain death was really tense. Great scene but the dialogue kind of, I wouldn't say ruined it, but dampened its spirit. If I was to put myself in that situation then I would be thinking I don't have time explain why Jacq shouldn't save her, I'd just be stamping my authority and deal with explaining it later. I think short stabbing dialogue would have served that scene better. Again, just my view. Overall, I like the idea, the story, it's has good potential and was an enjoyable read. Thankyou😀
Anticitizen 1 is a catchy title. Add that to the brief synopsis of a story journeying through a dystopian world; there's a pull for someone like me who enjoys interpreting the perks and complexities surrounding the characters living in these worlds. The Robin Hood theme was a nice idea but lacked the execution to live up the infamous fable. A fable that can be construed in different ways. One of which, if you look at it sideways, is that maybe it wasn't Robin Hood stealing from the rich to give to the poor, but in fact, the rich stealing from the poor so that Prince John and Nottingham can finance an insurrection to overthrow the thrown while King Richard was away with the crusades. Robin Hood was just the man which the valour to steal it back and prevent the coup. He could be looked upon as a patriate, a hero, and took lead of his merry men because the poor couldn't fight back. In 'Prince of Thieves', vengeance was written in to bolster Robin Hood's motivation alongside needing to clear his family name as his father was accused of devil worship. I write all that to write this; Robin Hood's motivations were clear, as were Prince John's and Nottingham's. They had goals, which is something I could not interpret within the Resistance or the British Democratic Republic government in the Anticitizen. The Prime Minister was teased on page 5 but was never introduced until page 104, and after giving a few lines of dialogue was inexplicably killed off. It left me with a huge question unanswered, why would a world leader of a democratic government lead their country into tyranny where rule breaking is a capital offence? I felt the same way about Cesare. What are his deep seeded roots that spur him on his crusade? Why does he fight and not flight? If I'm going to root for this guy, I need to connect with him (I don't even know how old he is). The story is linear, a straight line from point A to point B. And despite the diversion attempts with Satoshi's unexplained betrayal, Emilia's murder, and Mikhail's unforeseen counterspy reveal, it all still seemed to fall onto that line conveniently to get Cesare and the good guys to the end without a hitch. I say unexplained betrayal and unforeseen reveal because they just came out of the blue. These elements still need to be set up even if it's subtle and unwitting to the audience, so that when it does happen, the audience are watching on thinking 'why didn't I see that coming?'. Brings back all those memories of '24', knowing at start of each season that there's always a mole in CTU, and the reveal is always an outward shock; but not to the subconscious. Play it back; look for the quirks and nuances and it's like 'Yes, I see it now'. 🔥 DILEMMA 🔥 Was the only emoji I could find to blow up this word. For me it's a powerful storytelling tool. It's definition: "A situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially ones that are equally undesirable." Choices that defy the protagonists flaw. Choices that challenge their weaknesses. Choices that are absent from Anticitizen. I was hoping and praying that this story would come good with Taki being kidnapped by the government and used as a trade chip to get back the schematic Emilia stole. Putting Cesare into a situation where he would have to choose between his pregnant girlfriend or his freedom fighting ideals; two equally undesirable alternatives. Of course, being a moralistic man (?), he would choose Taki, ultimately turning against the resistance; another undesirable alternative. Instead, Taki get put on a plane, flies out of harms way and falls onto that very same line that made Cesare's life, to the end of the story, a breeze. I'm sure this, or an idea like this will make it into the next draft. If Cesare is the protagonist of this story, craft his flaw, his strengths and his weaknesses, then contest them using dilemma and have fun playing with his reactions and the consequences of his choices, whilst sticking to the themes of the story and his motivations. If characters are not making these tough choices then they are passive, and passive characters are frowned upon. To decipher it, a passive character is pulled through a story for the ride; things happen and the character reacts to it. Whereas an active character takes charge of the story by doing something to get his/her goal; makes things happen and the story react to it. This screenplay is a staggering ocean of words that would strain even the most apt of readers. It took me almost four hours to get through what can only be described as a 'Barrier of Telling'. Good advise would be to get your action lines down to ones and twos, three at the most. I had no need to visually interpret or problem solve any action/dialogue in this story because it literally told me everything that was happening or what was about to happen. The script is in dire need of a show don't tell overhaul; there's an ebook called 'The Emotions Thesaurus' on the kindle app. Costs about four quid. It will help a writer find visual ways of describing emotion, instead of using 'He is pensive' , which was a crutch word in the script. I know what pensive means, I just don't know what it looks like. Yes, it's called story telling, but in a visual medium it's ultimately story showing. Of course, this is my view, doesn't mean it's gospel. For example: A tell = He is pensive.❌ A show = He shies to one side, eyes flit aimless.✅ A Show and Tell = He shies to one side, eyes flit aimless, pensive.❌ The show does not directly tell the reader that he's thinking, reflecting or brooding. But what it is doing, is allowing the reader to interact with said character and, as problem solvers, in the context of the scene, the reader will interpret the show as pensive. The more the reader can engage with a character, the more the reader will connect with him/her. The third line in the example is a show that adds a tell to interpret the show. I see this a lot in action lines. Add the tell, you disengage the reader. You are telling the reader that your are not confident in them to comprehend the show, Let the reader figure it out. Of course, this is part of my writing style and you may not see it the same way. Good advise would be to get rid of all adverbs in your action lines. Words that end in -ly. Like - Freely / Slightly / Eventually / Clearly / Respectively. The script is riddled with adverbs. I've imprinted to mind, 'If I have to use adverbs to heighten my sentences, then I'm not using the right verbs'. Sounds trivial but to turn a head in a contest where thousands of scripts are competing, it might just be the trivial elements that get a script over the line. Characters do come across like cardboard cut outs. What I mean by that is, let's say I open a clothes catalogue, all I see it attractive men and women modelling nice clothes, but I don't know these people. I could watch a talk show on TV where the host is interviewing a celebrity, sharing stories, having a laugh and play games etc.. But it doesn't mean I suddenly know that celebrity. What people wear, how fat or thin they are, or what colour hair is not as important as their demeanour in the moment. There was way too much objectifying the beauty of the female characters, mainly described by the length and colour of their hair. Having said that, there was a small scene where Taki seemed to be trying to convince Cesare to retire from his ideals and focus on becoming a father, but it wasn't strong enough to truly interpret it that way. On a final note, it's customary to disclose the ages of characters in a story. These are just my views, feel free to ignore. I can imagine that this feedback will come across as negative but I only hope you take the positives from it. I'm going out on a limb to assume that this is a first draft and the goal was just to get it on the page. So kudos. Rewrite time 👍.
A well written piece with explicit images of horror by a writer who has an apt grasp of the written word. There is a real sense of the intended emotional journey albeit as an impression as opposed to getting it off the page. I think it's more down to the actual approach to creating these scenes, on the page, contrary to the writers creative ability; which I think is exemplary. Suffice to say the tell itself loses its way as the horror elements are introduced into the story. The first act is a good attempt at tackling the theme of emotional neglect: The first impression of Dom is that of a ten year old boy who, seemingly, has a high IQ, which is believable. The upturned sketchpad displaying the 'God is good' message could be a symbol of Dom' demeanour at this point in his life; an upturn of personality subsequent of a tragedy, which is soon revealed as his mother death. To a response of anger, rebellion and violence. It's a nice sub-theme about how drastic and sudden change is not necessarily as good thing in children. Children need to be nurtured, by their parents. All he has now is his father, Paul. A drinker, setup as neglectful, a man struggling to adjust, to the loss, himself and can't cope with the changes in his son. Their relationship going forward does not bode well without the intervention of exceptional circumstances. I'm not sure of the significance of the spirit/imagination of Dom's mother, Penny, has on reconciling this change unless another sub-theme is introduced about letting go. The kitchen scene introducing Paul and Kassie feels too long and took me out of the moment. I get the point of the scene, just need to get there quicker; nothing a little imagination can't fix. Paul helping Dom read seems a little contradictory considering the smarts Dom has been set up with; how does he read and absorb the knowledge of all those books on theology if he can't read and understand the words? The scene would serve the story better if Paul displayed more signs of emotional neglect. Maybe he's really not interested in listening to all that bible stuff, masking the fact that he's actually not interested in listening to his son read. The passage Dom reads here is interesting as it relates to change and truth which ties in well. At the end of that scene, Paul shows some air of care, which seems out of character at this point; it's still the first act and it's better if we get the feeling that fatherhood, not necessarily Dom, is a burden on him. The atonement and ransom theory I find a little weird uttered by the kid, okay he's a little genius but he's still only ten years old, meaning his social skills and EQ are not likely to be as well developed. Why does Dom's mother egg him on to help the Homeless Man? Then later on, she says 'Don't'? Confused by that. If she is indeed a spirit, surely she must sense the evil lurking there. If she is a figment of his imagination, is there some schizophrenia issues going on that I haven't picked up on? The Homeless Man character as a whole felt arbitrary to the story, integrated for two reasons. So Paul bring his gun on the camping trip, which didn't payoff. And to reinforce how Dom is feeling about his mothers death which would eventually act as the herald for said camping trip, but it didn't feel strong enough for me. A better approach may have better emotional impact. So at the church, Dom attends Sunday service, and I get the impression Paul is working on the building being constructed next door. Why is Paul working on a Sunday? Is he on a deadline he is struggling to meet? If so, set it up, in fact I'd recommend it, to help the dynamics when crossing the first threshold. In this church scene, I sensed something off about Dom's poise. I associate ten year olds as being inquisitive, imitative and full of tantrum through play. Here Dom is in debate, teaching and forming opinion, showing the social EQ of an adult. Came across as odd, I have to keep reminding myself that Dom is just ten years old. I don't know, maybe I only see it this way from my own experience. Socking the Elder's nose is fitting of a troubled kid who gone through such tragedy, but it would be a lot more convincing if it was in Sunday school, in a fight with another child. Would spark that first lecture on parenthood between Paul and the Sunday school teacher. Non plus, Paul is just proud that he's taught his son how to punch, not much of a role model. Back onto the Homeless Man, I don't understand the act of violence to Dom's kindness other than the aforementioned tool to goad the camping trip. An after thought begs the question, why would a traumatised kid, like Dom, care about the homeless man anyway? I'm assuming his mother has died recently, so kindness would be the last thing on a ten year olds mind, right? I think anyone who is in the anger stage of grief would be bitter and resentful, guilty and blameful, loss of faith etc.. Dom's no different, he's still a human being. Asking why? Why does that Homeless man gets to live, and his mother gets to die? Anyway, that's how I see it and I'm only speculating on Dom's stage of grief. I could be wrong. The story has been set up well, I understand there is an emotional foothold here, no pun intended, but I do feel that the scenes need a fresh approach to tackle the subject matter, in a visual sense, with a view of pacing to give room for an opening scene, maybe, that will set the tone of the story in the horror genre. There is elements of the heroes journey called 'The Call to Adventure' and 'Refusal of the Call'. Some may argue that it's not necessary, but from my point of view, I see it as a reason to display the natural human instinct to resist change/fear the unknown. Just up and going camping just to get away from it all, and conveniently at the church no less, comes across as a bit wayward. A call is needed to get them both out there somehow. This is the reason why I suggested work deadline set up. If Paul receives a phone call demanding work to be finished by the morning otherwise he doesn't get paid, he would have no choice but to go to work, at night. It poses a dilemma, a major story telling tool. Paul would resist but has to comply. Of course, after that lecture he received from the Sunday school teacher about parenting, he can't leave his son at home alone. Being shanghaied into an adventure works just as well, so long as that fear of the unknown is established. The first threshold would then be the doors of the church which Dom would pass through. But not before receiving a call of his own, a supernatural call, luring him into the church whilst his dad is over-engrossed in his work. After that the story gets way too confusing. I couldn't piece together what was going on in relation to what was set up; which is why I can't give a detailed analysis like with act one. In fact, the story became more about the Nothing, and its purpose, than it did about Paul and Dom's relationship. There's a lot of really well written scenes, very explicit and fitting for a horror story, that were not enhancing the emotional story moving forward. Paul's fatherly instinct doesn't take centre stage in his life; no visual way of representing how he is now sacrificing everything for his son moment. Kassie merely serves as a device to the story and is void of any character development that would magnify the themes in place. And Dom doesn't go through the bargaining, depression and acceptance stages of grief which would return his demeanour back to love. I believe this is because the Nothing's purpose does not test the strength of the protagonists current personalities in order for them to see the light. All they got was a time-line of horrifying events of which they were separated for longs periods. Subsequently, the theme of emotional neglect faded into the background along with the sub-themes of change and truth. Of course, the writer knows this story and I may be way off with my interpretation.
Great title for a movie. The brief synopsis was enticing. I was drawn to the script thinking this could be an interesting chase story in the vain of The Island, The Fugitive, Sixth Day, Paycheck and the like. I love these films. I didn't completely get what I was hoping for. The story is categorized as an Action/Adventure/Thriller but the tone wasn't setup that way. It came across as more light hearted and comedic; throughout the script the one liners, and I hate to say it, are somewhat cringe-worthy and untimely. The story idea seems okay, there is enough foundation laid to rebuild on. From my point of view it would need to be a complete rebuild. I can only assume that the story was not outlined, prior to hitting the page, because I can't identify any kind of road map to suggest Michael's emotional journey, I mean what does he learn from this ordeal? I can't empathise with someone I can't relate to. What the story shows us of Michael contradicted what is told; the first impression of this ex-military man in his 40s, now a committed, stubborn LA cop, is that of someone breaking the law, stealing a water bottle from a dog walker. Then he arrests a man who he thinks is a paedophile only to later find out he collared the wrong man. He becomes childlike when assigned to, what he calls, a babysitting task. These are not the actions I would associate with a committed copper. Add all that to the lack of exposition regarding his military background, this visage of Rambo-esque combat at the end, I didn't buy it. Other notes concerning the story is that everything happens conveniently to serve as an easy path to the end for Michael. There's no significant setups/payoffs. No foreshadowing. The initial 'The girl or your wife' dilemma was excellent but was never really engaged to tighten the drama; in fact, once he had the girl, Robertson let the wife go, ridding himself of any leverage he may have needed later on. The courtroom scene didn't feel real. The coroner scene didn't feel real. I interpreted every character as a cardboard cut out of the archetypes instead of original creations. Actually, I tell a lie, I liked Robertson character; I understood that from his mind he was doing good albeit in a very immoral way. All for the greater good in defiance of the bad that precedes it. The thugs on the train is a massive cliché and that scene really serves no purpose other than to show us how macho Michael is; scene needs a rework. Ortega's betrayal comes out of the blue, there's nothing written to foreshadow his greed that leads to it. The last place you would want to go to lay low when wanted by Mercs and the law, is home. Place would be staked out and then some. But that's where Ortega finds Michael and the Emily. The micro-management of characters is off putting; he does this, then that, then this, then that. Need to manage the characters more creatively. I doubt exposing this young girl Emma, and her gifts, to the world, would be condoned by the WHO or any medical advisor around the world, for her own safety. Scrap the post credit scene regarding COVID and the pandemic, it might be looked upon as conjecture which may offend without facts. The FBI stopping the LAPD from enforcing the law, by clearing out the precinct, would never happen without serious paperwork signed from above; active inquiries are in progress and preventing this would be considered obstruction of justice. There was also no ambiguity regarding FBI agent Colin. Him being a mole was predictable. Innocent until proven guilty is the saying, and he rubber stamped Michael as guilty from the get go. Out of character for a agent of the law. The bad guy gets away in the end? You sure that's the ending you want to give to your audience after they have invest so much time to the story? The action lines are clunky. The dialogue is disjointed. There is some kind of beginning, middle and end here but it moves in one straight line and lacked real emotional conflict to empathise with. And without that conflict, it's really difficult to root for the protagonist. Loved the chase scene, though, despite the state of the action lines and dialogue. There is a substantial amount of screenwriting 101 issues throughout this script, repeated issues as well. Pinpointing them all would be jarring. I'm gathering that this is just a rough first draft to collaborate and get some views and these are only my views. Apologies if it doesn't come across as constructive as intended, sometimes words on their own can mislead. All written with good intentions. Good luck with your next draft.
Yes, I really liked the idea. A well written and thought out tell with believable dialogue. This concept has been walked over and walked over so many times it's worn away a crater, so when I began reading, I was wondering would this story it fall smack bang into that crater as well. To my surprise, no it doesn't. I was actually quite staggered by the intriguing purpose of this murderous cult. They celebrate their own history to form a new ideology, fathomed from the ongoing virus pandemic, by using the immune, in their rituals, as a means of survival. At least that's how I interpret it. And that's great, a perfect concept to set a tale around. Wearing other peoples faces as mask?! Nice horror element but gross as hell. The trio of protagonists were well rounded but could have more depth to their personalities, sometimes it was a little difficult to differentiate them and I felt like Mac and Izzy's relationship with Dev turned quite suddenly, in ACT2b, without gradually getting their. But, having said that, all three were still very interesting and I was rooting for them throughout. The setups and payoffs were good, especially the Christa scar set up as that was quite integral to the fracturing of the Cult's seduction of Mac and Izzy. The nine page opener, although it is a good opener, seemed a little over paced. Six pages would settle better for me. The general pacing of ACT2a and ACT2b did also come across a little slow; the suspense sequence when Jack first appears to the trio and Jenn's death, were the only really gripping moments of action, everything else serves as exposition or a means to move forward. Don't get me wrong that's all good, it would have been nice to have seen a little more action; the seduction elements especially as they may come across as cliche in some eyes. The ending was a bit cheesy but I enjoyed all the same. But on the whole this script is workable. I liked the writing style, I liked the story, I liked the screenplay.