At first I liked your detailed and illustrative descriptions. But too often you use them to convey information that the viewer would have no way of knowing without you telling us (such as Silvani’s family is estranged; he arrives at home at a decent hour; “A family man, he doesn't intend to roam beyond the state and wishes to retire there”). I think you can get away with some cheating like that but from my perspective you take it too far. Your introduction to the Foreign Technology Division building in intriguing and well developed. Needing an escort adds to the intrigue. Showing floorplans instead of the actual rooms deflates the momentum, having him tell us about it instead of showing us. Silvani’s lecture could be more of a grabber. You’re passing up an opportunity to flex some storytelling there, to get people into it. Why does this guy draw an audience? Why is he dangerous? The audience seems too bothered about Silvana not having been to these sites himself, and Silvana feels too rattled by their skepticism. These exchanges feel forced. It’s unclear to me while Silvani is so standoffish with Mary Ellen when he first meets her. It’s unclear to me why Mary Ellen even really wants Silvani to come along with her. What’s so special about this guy? You’ve told us that he knows things, but you haven’t really shown that to us. You rotate from calling him “Captain Silvani” to “Silvani” to “Louis”. I would pick one and stick with it, to err on the side of clarity for your readers. The men in black are kind of interesting when we first meet them. I’m curious about what’s going to happen with them. The idea of people coming along to shut him down is a good beat, though I’m still not sure why this guy is any real threat. The men in black slowing to notice Mary Ellen is a cool moment. Your hero sets off on his adventure at the end of act 1. That’s good. Your logline and the way you’ve framed the story makes it seem that Silvani is the lead character. But there a long stretches where he doesn’t do much. He is mostly pulled along, he doesn’t ever really exert much agency. Also, too frequently instead of earning solutions they are handed to him. I find Mary Ellen to be a much more dynamic character. She also does a lot more to move things forward. Is she really the lead? Overall, I think your storytelling needs to improve. Too many long stretches of people sitting in rooms talking about doing something instead of really doing anything. Lots of monologues. Silvani making his travel arrangements isn’t that compelling. Reading messages on a computer screen isn’t visual or interesting. The visions may play out in a visually interesting way on screen, but how do they to propel the story forward? You frequently have characters talk about what we just saw. (Silvana overhearing Anne and Mary Ellen, and then talking about overhearing them; Silvana dreams about going through a wormhole, then talks about going through a wormhole). This deflates momentum. Deborah and Mary Ellen sharing that their children were taken from them advances the plot, because now we know why they’re going to Dulce. But it takes many, many pages to tell that story, Silvana isn’t involved, and the reveal feels forced, inorganic. Katrina says no to the adventure and then has a dream and that changes her mind - this whole sequence takes too many pages and too much discussion. The title doesn’t do much for me. Also, I don’t think you’ve accomplished enough in this story for it to be Part 1 of a series. I generally try to be more positive with my notes. The layout and the engineering of the reptilian side of the structure is creative and smart. Agent 2A and 2B’s reveal is a decent twist. But I generally had a hard time hooking into this story and staying interested.
Trippy. Irreverent. The magic is fun. Nice fake out with throwing the soda cup against the wall and at first it doesn’t work, then does. Good intro for Outlander. Lots of creativity: DR ARIZONA Q reveals herself and MOLLY MACAW by removing a large winter coat with camouflage print. The comedy is a little slow to start, got better as it went along. “Not all of us can be born with a plastic spoon in our mouth.” The absurdist dialogue was the best part. “Night ducks.” But overall, it could be funnier. Also, clunkers persist throughout: “Shanty man take me away”, “Nice to sweep you.” The characters are creative but could be more compelling. Their motivations are cloudy. What does Outlander want? Why does Cancan Tom and the rest of them want Outlander to be a part of their group? What do they want? Dr. Arizona Q has a great catchphrase: Stand back. I have no idea what I'm doing. Julia Jefferies doesn’t work for me. She keeps getting attacked and never seems to do anything in response to that, or to avoid it. Her joining in with the hobos at the end falls flat. Utah Phillips – are in intentionally using a real person’s name here? I’m not interested in the whole hobohemian corporate structure. Their monthly gathering doesn’t do much for me, I don’t care what district the sorting pants assigns to Outlander. You spend a lot of pages not doing much with that. I’m not quite sure why, but it feels a little playlike? Numerous scenes with characters standing around getting off one-liners, I guess? The plot could use more momentum/forward thrust. I spent the first half wondering: What’s driving the story forward? What are the stakes? What’s Outlander’s goal? Then it kind of turns into Robocop. Page 64: Going out to find Cancan Tom, with the shimmering noodle, is the first time Outlander has something to do that moves the story forward. The twist that Cancan Tom is Jeff Jefferies feels more flailing around for plot than an organic reveal. But at least the story is starting to take shape now, though very late into this. The underbaked plot and characters results in a climatic battle that doesn’t provoke much reaction from me. No real payoff. I’m not sure who the audience for this is. Seems niche but you also seem to be going for a big budget.
I like that you get right into the action on page 1. Jesse is a likeable character. An underdog with a sick kid and a dream. The NHL not wanting meat wagons anymore makes him all the more sympathetic. The characters and setting evoke The Wrestler, Bull Durham, North Dallas Forty. This is an interesting look into a world I’m not familiar with. An enforcer actually rubs Vaseline onto his face, like a boxer? Wow. I like your writing style. You do particularly well the action on the ice: Jesse returns fire with a looping right hand, knocking off Jone’s HELMET and unleashing his nest of dreadlocks. Good line: I sure hurt his right hand pretty bad. Picking nits: Surprising to see that level of hockey be on tv screens across the country (2 countries, in fact). Clicking heels together doesn’t feel in character. It’s surprising that Sarah would need Black aces explained to her, having been around the game and invested in it for so long. It doesn’t really feel like the Jesse/Joey duel would be getting big time media coverage. The bounty on Jesse is a bit much; it doesn’t feel like you’ve established him as enough of a threat for that. Sarah’s a bit predictable, a bit flat. You understand where she’s coming but all she really provides to the story is annoyance with Jesse. The nagging wife is a sports movie trope I think you should avoid. Similarly, if you’re going to have a sick daughter in there you could do more with her. She seems to get lost in there for a while. Page 25: seems like we keep seeing variations of the same beat. We see Joey with the cheap shot on Jesse. Jesse and Derek talk about it. Jesse watches a clip of it. Jesse has basically the same conversation with Sarah that he had with Derek. You sometimes tell more than you show. You show us what Joey does to Jesse but you feel the need to them tell us about it, multiple times. You tell us about Jesse’s fighting helping the team, but I’m not sure that ever show it, in an impactful way. Also, the fighting seems to be more about helping out the fighters, giving themselves opportunities to prove themselves, rather than helping the team/impacting the game. I understand that the fights have an influence the game, because the characters say it, but I don’t really see it. Page 37: so far, the story seems to be happening to Jesse rather than Jesse taking steps to achieve his goal. Page 55: The story takes a big leap forward with Jesse’s signing with the Voodoo. You do a good job establishing a lot of hurdles/reasons why an NHL won’t sign him (age, injuries, diminishing skill, drug/alcohol issues, problems with the law). I think you could do a better job with how he overcomes the hurdles. He wins one fight against a guy with a bad wing, after what appears to be a string of losing fights, and he’s suddenly the NHL might be interested in him again? I like the idea of him retiring at the end, it feels like the right finish to the story. But the execution and how you get us there leaves the climax a little unsatisfying. It’s tricky because I think you want the audience to gradually transition from pulling for him to make it over to understanding why he needs to hang it up. But there are stretches where Jesse forcing his dream makes him unlikeable. He eventually becomes a bad husband, a bad father, an unreliable teammate. It feels like you have to go there, to deliver the real view of what an athlete like him goes through, but I think you have him go through all of that but at the same time we don’t lose empathy for him. Also, it kind of feels like it’s his choice to retire but it’s also kind of not. Because, again, what he has going against him doesn’t really feel balanced with any real hope of him surviving a stretch in the NHL. So it feels like he has less agency that you’d want from a character at this moment in the story. I like the story you’re trying to tell, and I like the world it’s set in. I think the characters have not fully realized potential. I think if you could trigger more emotional release from the ending you could have something with this.
When struggling single mother has her baby abducted, she teams up with another woman to figure out how to get their children back from an illegal adoption ring.