In a future where uploading one's consciousness is legally tantamount to suicide, a man must help find his ex-wife's mind before the authorities find out what has happened to her and she loses everything she has worked so hard for.
How It Works
Email Rob the first ten pages of your feature length screenplay (in pdf. format) along with a logline and title. Every Friday one of us (or a guest reviewer) posts one writer's work along with notes and a:
Trash It (Start over.)
Take Another Pass (You're onto something, but it needs more work.)
More Please (I'm hooked. What happens next?)
Somebody Shoot This!
Readers then vote and comment on your work.
I picked this submission out of the stack because the logline intrigued me. Uploading consciousness? A treasure hunt for somebody's mind? Sounds like a movie. I'm in!
The story begins in a futuristic "loading void" where we hear a heartbeat. A female voice greets a mysterious Bridgette, and a fiery serpent appears as the voice tells us "Loading, please wait." A fleshy orb travels across cities with strange names as it turns into human form. It is "Brie's Avatar."
Cut to: a riotous Washington D.C. that is up and arms over a virtual reality system named Barbelo, where people's avatars live. The Hive, which is Facebook's predecessor, appears to stream status updates and news feeds into this virtual world.
First of all, the world building in this script is top-notch. The writer knows how to create fantastic cinematic imagery, and I have no doubt that should these first few pages be filmed, they would be spectacular.
However, the exposition dump via the news is cliche and boring. When it comes to dialog, less is more, because dialog takes much more screen time than action lines do. Brie's monologue is equally arduous, and I found myself skimming and mentally checking out because I didn't care for this character and I didn't understand the implication of her words. What are pneumatics and why should I care about their enfranchisement?
Another change I would make is naming Friends #1-3. I have no mental image of them. Are they men? Women? Young? Old? These characters have a page worth of lines. Even something like, "Stout Man" or "Loud Redneck" would be better than no description at all. It might even inform their dialog and help give the characters a distinct voice. Right now, they sound identical.
I get that the writer is trying to get across a political message with this script. The problem is that it's too obvious. We have characters talking about government and philosophy every two pages. I think Samael's monologue -- although eloquent -- is too wordy and doesn't serve an immediate purpose. Political undertones are fine, but entertainment should always come first. Even political thrillers like Ides of March put the 'thrills' before the politics.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about these pages. All of the scenes feel so disjointed and unrelated that I don't have time to become invested in the plot or the characters. Just as I'm about to see why Brie wants to talk to this wise prophet-like man, we get pulled elsewhere. It's disorienting and tough to follow.
However, I do think the concept is interesting and there are some compelling mysteries being set up! I'm intrigued, and I think another pass could help make the story stronger and more cohesive.