Friday, July 13, 2012

THE GIFT OF FIRE by Reginald Beltran

Forbidden from continuing her life's work in the U.S., a linguistics professor accepts an invitation from a Nigerian dictator to continue her research with apes.

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.

This week's review, of Reginald Beltran's 1st 10 pages is brought to you by the Cranky Intern.

We open on a sniper keeping his eye on a mansion.  Various targets cross his eye, a gorilla, Patty.  We’re then thrust into a protest taking place outside the U.N. were the President of the United States addresses the General Assembly.  In the back, Samuel Taylor carefully listens.  Soon after, the President and Samuel meet, where it’s revealed the President backs whatever endeavor Samuel’s pursuing.  
We’re then back at the Mansion, surrounded by law enforcement.  Detective Stephen Walsh quickly arrives and tries to take control over the situation, but instead butts heads with an FBI Agent.  Peter Walsh, Stephen’s & Patty’s father, arrives.  Stephen and Peter make it past the police barricade and enter Patty’s mansion, hoping to resolve the issue.

It appears that Patty stole the primates  from somewhere and is holding them unlawfully.    Why’s the FBI involved in something like this?  The FBI Agent says they’re involved because Patty demanded to speak with the President of the United States and declared she had a bomb.  Conceptually, I don’t see that as a plausible reason.  Even so, why not just bust in the mansion and do what must be done, they’re the FBI.  I doubt they care if monkeys  are involved or killed.  
The descriptions are okay, the world in “The Gift of Fire” needs to come to life when I read it.  I want to feel like I’m in the mansion with Patty, in the U.N. with the President and Samuel Taylor.  Describe the surroundings in detail, dig deeper.
Who is Samuel Taylor?  Only important people get into the U.N., why is he there?  A lot of writers feel that this builds a type of climax, but it really doesn’t.  It just leaves the reader wondering, who is this guy & why is he in the story.
I don’t really get a sense for these characters.  Nothing draws me to them.  I should feel sympathetic for Patty, I’m guessing she’s trying to save the monkeys.  The same holds true for her brother.  Show the readers that Stephen loves his sister, but can’t help her.  He should be more torn.
My rating: 

(*)Trash It 
( )Take Another Pass 
( )More Please 
( )Somebody Shoot This!

What did you think of Reginald's 1st 10 pages?
Next week Dan gives feedback on the 1st 10 pages of Peter Kissick's ANACHRONISM.

Please comment below on Reginald Beltran's 1st 10 pages.


  1. This is an interesting concept, and the stand off is a great way to open the movie on a suspenseful note. Some of the writing was confusing and unclear, especially what was going on with all the UN stuff, the FBI, etc. Also, a lot of the dialogue could be trimmed and redone. The exchanges were too long, and didn't feel realistic at points. Read and act your stuff out loud, it'll help you notice that kind of stuff. Work on making your characters stand out. I would think Pat would have some interesting habits or ways of carrying herself after working with gorillas for so long, but I didn't get to see any of that in the first 10 pages. Give her a personality too.

    But, like last week, I just think the premise is too darn interesting, so keep at it!

  2. The opening for me was interesting but by page 6 I was really confused. I think for me, you introduce too many characters to follow. Also, I didn't really get why she had to speak to the president. I guess I would have found out if I kept reading.  She also repeats it in the dialogue that she needs to speak to the president which I don't think was necessary.

    I too feel like the characters were a little stiff. I didn't get a sense of who they were or what was going on by that point.


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