Faced with the systematic slaughter of his former team, a retired American Martial Arts assassin must uncover the truth before it's too late.
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.
On the first Friday of every month, we'll feature some short films and visual pitches in lieu of posting pages.
This week Eric looked at the 1st 10 pages of Corey Swim's ONE BY ONE.
Logline: Faced with the systematic slaughter of his former team, a retired American Martial Arts assassin must uncover the truth before it's too late.
Cory! Thank you for allowing me to enter into the world you've imagined. You are clearly a fan of the action genre, and your passion bleeds through these pages as if it were blood flowing from the bodies of the assassins cut down by the bullets of your heroes. :)
That said, the biggest improvement you can make right now to the script is in the writing. There are action scenes, but they can be described in much, much, MUCH greater detail. Instead of pulling out a "gun," can he pull out a Glock 9mm? When someone is shot, tell us where they are hit, if they go down, crashing into the grandfather clock, shards of glass digging into their skull...get dirty with those deets!
Especially in that opening sequence, man. This is the opening of your script! This is where you demonstrate how bad ass of a writer you are! It's also the one spot where the general reader will give you a little leeway to play around. You don't have to launch the story, but the action has to be some of the coolest, most well-described action out there, if you want to get our attention.
Because your story, well, it is not the most original in the bag. But heh, I wouldn't worry because in your genre - action - the story of MOST action films isn't what sells it. As we all know, we come for the ass kicking and we stay for the ass kicking.
With that in mind, my biggest advice is to READ action screenplays. Right now. Three scripts a week. Go read what right now and come back and finish this review. (I'm serious - when you're done, email what you learned from that script to firstname.lastname@example.org - and THEN keep reading.)
Because if we were going to create the plans to build a house, we wouldn't just look at completed houses and think we knew how they were constructed, would we? Heck no! We'd examine blueprints, build models, study everything that architects do to design the thing...after all, in a way, we're writing a blueprint. (I know it's not a perfect analogy, but hey, it works in a way.)
For example, have you read THE MATRIX? Some of the best action description is in that script. Quentin Tarantino's scripts are fun, and you can probably borrow a few structural tricks from him, but be careful with the writer-directors - they often play by their own rules.
So read, read, read, and then work on your writing. I highly recommend BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott, ON WRITING by Stephen King, and ON WRITING WELL by William Zinsser. They're not for screenwriting specifically, but they're on the craft of writing in general, which is technically, half of screenwriting...and I'd argue, more like 75%.
Well, that's it for comments. The notes should be posted by Bob either before or after this review...
Hope the notes on the script help. Those are they type of detailed, page-by-page notes I write for my clients who order my Ultimate Service. You'll see that I gave a lot of alternative ways to write certain lines. I know you didn't order the notes, so perhaps you weren't expecting them - I hope you don't feel as if I'm stepping on your toes. To me, a note of "this is wrong" isn't that helpful - I like to have some examples of potentially better ways to write it.
I hope the notes at least give you a concrete starting point on the areas that need the most attention, and fast ways to improve your writing. Again, your passion really flows out of this script, and so I don't doubt that you have the potential to create something great in the future. If I had read this script for an agent, I would have told them, "Let's wait and see where this writer is in 6 months," which, believe me, is a helluva lot better than a "No thanks."
So keep on writing and kicking ass, man. And please contact me with any questions over these notes, your script, or anything else.
Rating: TAKE ANOTHER PASS
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If you're a screenwriter out there whose work I don't ever get the pleasure of reading, I hope you take advantage of fun screenwriting events like "Feedback Friday," and for goodness sakes, don't ever stop writing and creating.