This, in general, is quite a nice script. I like the opening and character descriptions, these are really thorough without being over-written and really enhance the dialogue. I get a good sense of who these characters are through their dialogue. For me, however, it is very dialoguey (but that's personal preference) - there are also long stretches with barely any action text, which implies this could be extremely static on-screen (which, if you ask Aaron Sorkin, is a big no, no). Maybe try to drop some dialogue and replace it with gesture (particularly on Lubu's side, who is trying not to engage Sammy - the character should only speak at first when he is absolutely compelled to by Sammy's nonsensical wittering). Although, the dialogue you have written is really good. It feels natural and reveals character rather than just delivering exposition. You could do with breaking up your action text into different lines - each sentence should only be 1 line, where possible. Plus, you should always break up the actions of different characters (unless they are actions towards each other) as this is easier for readers, actors, etc. to skim and digest more quickly. You'd be surprised how much more quickly you read when text is broken up into separate lines. Some on the nose dialogue, e.g. bottom of pg. 6: LUBU: I don't like the sound of that. Could just be Lubu face-palming with an exasperated sigh, which Sammy breezes over and continues waffling on. The ending I'm not sure about. It's definitely shocking, I 100% didn't see it coming - which is both a good and a bad thing. I was literally writing - 'this is a very funny and charming script with good characters...' and then I was like HOLY CRAP!! What just happened? Surprise twists can piss people off as much as they can thrill them, particularly without any sense of foreshadowing. Might be worth trying to subtly insinuate Sammy is more of a creep early on, as he just comes across like a zany weirdo (a la Jason Segal in 'I Love You, Man') who I thought might teach Lubu about not being such an uptight prick - not what actually happens. Kind of the manic pixie dream girl in Hobo form. I found it a little disorientating that you didn't give ages for the characters, but the more I thought about it I guess it doesn't matter all that much - but might be distracting for other readers. In my head, I just put them as middle-aged so I don't see why someone else couldn't do this. Just wanted to bring it up as it did throw me off slightly. You're a good writer, I enjoyed this very much. Thank you for letting me read it.
While this is an interesting and novel idea, this doesn't really have a satisfying narrative because nothing really plot-like happens and no-one learns anything. John doesn't deserve his fate because he's done what almost any parent would do. Such a horrible death is usually only dished out on morally reprehensible characters (outside of slashers and torture porn). It needs to be earned by John being more of a bastard, or compromising his morals (which he kind of does, but not in a visceral enough way). I don't want to suggest how you write your story, but here is an example of how you could take this piece from situation (no plot) to a story (plotted): - A town meeting, where they are discussing what they should do about the witch and how they can get her to stop afflicting their children. When someone suggests they ask the witch to stop, John's like 'Hell no! She's an evil, scabby witch! A good christian would just let their kid die!'. - John returns home to find - uh oh - Kyle's been cursed too - well, that changes everything. I'll have to go to the witch and get her to stop her cursing. He makes his blood oath. - John returns home, Kyle is fine - but now the Villagers are PISSED! John backpedals ferociously and convinces the villagers to go and see the witch. They stab her up - John gets his comeuppance for being a hypocrite. The End. There is a lot of potential for interesting plot here, but it's bogged down with too much dialogue and lack of action description. You've fallen into the trap of having your characters tell the story, instead of you showing us the story through their actions. For example, the witch saying 'Come to see me haven't you? Left me here to die, you and the others.' is extremely on-the-nose. A less direct version of this might be: WITCH: Come alone? Not so scary now I'm tied up. Or did you hope I'd be dead already? JOHN: If you were, would my son be afflicted? The witch grins WITCH: Come to threaten me? Also, when she conjures the apple and says: 'Magic keeps me alive, you'll have to do better than that'. Could just be - 'You'll have to do better than that' - as the first phrase is already implied by the apple. (side note: if she has this kind of magic, why can't she escape?) This might be personal preference, but I'm not a lover of dialogue heavy scripts - if what's said is redundant or can be communicated with gesture, drop it. The things people don't say are far more compelling. You're extremely heavy-handed with trying to be vague at the start, and too expositional at the same time. People who are stressed struggle to express themselves coherently, mothers lash out - it would be more interesting and intense if Mary was bollocking John (i.e. 'If you'd just convinced them to kill her she wouldn't have done this to us!' (which would nicely foreshadow what happens later)). You don't really set the scene at all, it would be helpful for you to give a brief line at the start of each scene explaining the setting. I can assume this is set c.1600s, but you don't actually suggest this anywhere in the script. If you said they live in a wood shack and are wearing puritan costume, I'd have context. I really like the ending of this script, although I think it's a little bit abrupt. This script could do with being longer, with more action text and scene description - more focus on subtext - and less on expositional dialogue. Keep going. This script has potential. It's just not quite there yet.
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