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 our reviewers (or guests) 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 comment on your work.
This week Bob took a look at the 1st 10 pages of Derek Anderson's
THE OMEGA FILES.
THE OMEGA FILES.
Review of “The Omega Files”
Reviewed by Bob Schultz
(Screenplay / Action, Sci-Fi? First 10 Pages)
Original Logline: Entrenched in a century long covert war, two opposing forces fight for a talented young girl with a mysterious past who holds the key to ending the conflict. One side seeks to kill her, the other seeks to save her, but accepting her past will mean letting go of everything she’s ever known.
Derek, one thing is for sure: THE OMEGA FILES starts with a bang.
We have an innocent protagonist facing an assassin committed to ending her life, a near- superhuman hero assigned to save her, and everyone’s motivations are shrouded in mystery. Is there a time-travel element to the mystery (“something not from this century”)? What does this all mean? How did Mary come to write such a brilliant piece of literature? She seems to be just another all-American girl. I wanted to learn more.
The brutality of the attack on Mary was effective (though it might be difficult to watch for audiences). I think the risk of alienating audiences with the violence is one worth taking. It immediately does the following:
- Sets the stakes as life-or-death.
- Establishes the antagonist organization is a genuine threat that will stop at nothing.
- Drives the audience to empathize with Mary.
Having said that, I think the scene could use some tightening. Franklin falls victim to classic “Movie Bad Guy” syndrome of stopping to talk when he could kill the hero. Clearly this assignment (killing Mary) has implications wide and far-reaching, and he pauses to gloat “You really don’t know, do you?”
This hesitation gives Sphinx time to swoop in, save Mary, and kill Franklin.
The level of mystery and intrigue will be raised even further if Franklin doesn’t hesitate. He should stride into the award ceremony and go right for the kill. This will allow you to introduce Sphinx earlier. In fact, I would establish her presence very early. On Page 32, after we’ve moved past the MATCH CUT, maybe a moment of Sphinx watching the proceedings from a hidden location (the eaves of the building, some dark shadow, in disguise among the paparazzi, something like that). I think if Sphinx knew the value of Mary as a target, she wouldn’t let Franklin get the drop on her.
If Franklin is ready to kill Mary immediately (instead of beating her), the fight between Sphinx and Franklin can last a bit longer, and we can see the reactions of Mary’s boyfriend and parents too.
From a story perspective, I want to know more about what happens in this adventure, for certain.
Aside from a slight tendency to overwrite (see the annotated pages with comments about redundancy), your writing style is sleek and direct, critical to an action script. I would consider truncating some of your complete sentences. Doing so helps the script read faster. Instead of:
THE CROWD ERUPTS IN DEAFENING APPLAUSE. CAMERAS FLASH EVERY SPLIT SECOND.
… you can write:
DEAFENING APPLAUSE. CAMERAS FLASH.
Edits like this will have the reader’s eye careening down the page, searching for your next exciting set piece.
RATING:MORE PLEASE. I need to know what happens next and why everyone is after Mary. Good job, Derek.