Friday, January 25, 2013

RRH by Marc Johnson

As a biochemist dives into a secret project she’s forced to confront the family legacy and a werewolf’s desire for supremacy over mankind.

Marc W. Johnson's RRH
Review of the first 10 pages


First, thank you for giving me the privilege to explore the unique world you have created.  Every screenplay is a personal and intimate creating, and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to experience so many as a script reader and consultant.

The title is the first impression a reader has with a script.  What is "RRH?"  A biological term?  An acronym of some sort?  It creates a bit of mystery - as I'm wondering what it is - but you may risk confusing the reader, and missing the opportunity to hook them with a title that fits the kind of script they are looking for.  

If "RRH" is actually a bit scary, then you're probably better off writing out the full name of whatever it is.  Or choose another name the gives us the genre of the script by the title, such as "Werewolf Killers" or "Monster Hunters" or something better than those names I just came up with off the top of my head.

The script starts of strong, with a violent, exciting opening scene.  Entrails!  Werewolf!  Katana?  Yes, a katana!  Nice.  I can't wait to see what happens...

But then...we're in a mansion...and it's after a party?  There's some talk of some project...but I'm not really sure how that's related to the opening scene.  

They just shot a werewolf!  All the talk should be about how they are going to go out an hunt this sucker down!  Maybe Rose wants to go, but they don't want her to.  Or Alex is planning the next stage, and needs Rose's help?  Whatever it is, keep the monster hunting story going, (with conflict!  verbal sparring!  opposing interests!) even when they're not out in the wilderness hunting monsters.

The other large note I had was, by this time, it should be clear who our protagonist(s) is.  But I'm not sure.  I thought it was John and Alex, but when we begin to follow Rose, now I'm thinking it could be Rose.  The script will vastly improve if you pick ONE main character, and really make it about their quest.  I'd choose Rose - she seems the most interesting.  But get her in the script faster (maybe she's in the car while Alex and John fight the werewolf?).

Also, a few writing choices pulled me out of the script while reading.  One is the lack of description or age when a character is first introduced.  If we don't know an approximate age, or what they look like, it is going to be tough to picture them as the story goes along.  It's an easy fix.

Lastly, and this is big... there is a huge overuse of semicolons.  That's a punctuation mark you rarely see, and for good reason - it's difficult to use correctly.  I'd consult Strunk & White's Element's of Style pronto.  (I don't get any money for recommending them...but I should!)

Also pay attention to comma usage.  And a few punctuation choices.  And some awkward grammar.

Because in the end, half of screenwriting is writing.  

In fact, it's probably more like 75%.  

Good start!  Keep it going!

Seriously, and...




Notes on the first 10 pages of Marc's screenplay
by Script Doctor Eric
(Known as "SDEric" in this document)


  1. Eric, thank you so very much for taking your valuable time in reviewing my 1st ten. I submitted this several month's ago, and have since revamped it, cutting 20 pages and correcting many of your suggestions already. I resubmitted it a few days ago and was hoping that would be the one to be reviewed, but many of your notes are still very valid, and will help me tremendously, although I they are a bit hard to follow on the sight because they don't seem to line up, anyway.

    Yeah, semicolon use is off the charts. ;o)

    The title of RRH has a meaning, and becomes prevalent as the story unfolds. Rose is the main character, even though her name is Rebecca Rose Healy (RRH) everyone calls her Rose. The title also ties in with who she becomes.

    The mountain is a real mountain in the Appalachians, I picked it as an innuendo, but not married to it.

    In regards to the campsite, in the story there is another incident at another site, hence campsite one, but again, not married to it. There just scene names and can be changed.

    Thanks again man for your time, and energy in going through this. Having someone in the industry who has experience look at stuff like this, is invaluable to someone like myself, and thank you Rob for putting up a site and finding people willing to donate their time. It's wicker cool!!



  2. No problem, Marc. Hope the notes helped!

    Will work with Rob to make sure the latest draft is reviewed and that notes line up better on posted docs.

    Best of luck with this script and all the rest!


  3. Eric, they helped tremendously. I don't wish to take advantage of this helpful service. I know all of you who do reviews are extremely busy, but the one I sent rob was before your notes. So if you choose, please keep that in mind. Also, not sure if you are interested, but I created a website for my work although I haven't sent it out yet to anyone because the only one I have up there at the moment is RRH. If you feel like it, the revision is up there. I kept the mountain name, just for fun, but if you feel absolutely strong about it I will give it more thought, and if there might some sort of "rights" issue I am probably unaware of, I hope you will let me know. It's just that I like it so darn much! ;o) Anyway, here's the site, if not I totally understand, and know that I don't expect anymore from you, or Rob, than you have already given. Thank you very much.



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  5. Eric, they helped tremendously. The draft I sent Rob didn't include your changes, so please keep that in mind, if you choose to re-evaluate it. Also, I think it is my browser, and how it is handling the frames that make your comments all skewed, not you. I don't think there is much you can do about that ;)

    I have posted my changes with your suggestion onto my website that I created for my work. It only displays the first ten pages, and I only have one up there right now and I haven't sent it out to anyone yet.

    But thank you to you, Rob for you kindness and time.



Please make constructive comments. Anything mean spirited or malicious will be removed.