Friday, February 22, 2013


How Feedback Friday 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.

by Paul Knauer

Reviewed by Script Doctor Eric

Logline: A street bum, determined to be the world's greatest banjo player, blows his big break, but gets a second chance when an aging legend trains him for a showdown with his ruthless nemesis.

General comments from Script Doctor Eric


Thanks so much for allowing me to read your work.  It looks like you're having a lot of fun with this comedy, and really pushing the limits of the fish-out-of-water structure.

As I stated in the notes on your script, I think a real challenge is going to be nailing the tone of this thing.  Right now, it's a bit wild and fantasy-like, which CAN work, but most of the time does not, especially in scripts from unproven writers.  There are a few reasons for this:

1.  If insane, absurd things are happening, and no one is REALLY getting hurt, then there's no suspense left for us as an audience.  If anything nutty or silly can just swoop in and save the day, why should I invest myself in the character?

2. Even in a fantasy-type situation, if the characters don't react the way normal humans would react, it will be difficult for the reader to empathize with them.  The characters feel less real, and it doesn't seem as if we're watching a movie, but instead just something silly.

3. This type of comedy is very, very difficult to pull off.  You really need joke after joke after joke.  While ZOOLANDER and THE NAKED GUN make it look easy, I assure you, I've read hundreds of scripts that have missed the mark and are "passed" on, immediately.

And so, I really fee like you can be a bit more realistic with the script, and get many more laughs by taking an honest look at the same, strange situation.  What if the

Apologies if there are errors in this post.  Robert is making me do all the technical stuff myself this week (called ya out, Rob!) so things are getting a bit complicated.

Oh, one last thing that I often tell my clients when they order a SCREENPLAY CONSULTATION from me...It helps tremendously to have your script read aloud, in what some people call a "Table Read."  Consider getting together with a group of actors/friends (buy them food!) and have a reading of your work.  That way, you can see - in person - what works and what gets a laugh, and also what still needs a bit of revising.

Plus, it's fun!

Well, I hope those notes helped.  You've got some good energy going, and if you love writing comedy, then definitely keep going with it.  But consider making it more realistic and definitely have that table read!  :)

Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  Best of luck on this script and the others.






RATING - Somewhere between "Trash It" and "Take Another Pass" 


  1. Eric,

    (Posted a comment, but it disappeared, so hopefully this won't show as a double post.)

    Thank you for taking the time to read and evaluate my work. Your notes are very appreciated.

    Based on your notes, and notes I recently received, I will be starting a major rewrite on this script. Since the beginning of this project, I have been stuck between two competing ideas. I know now how important it is to resolve those issues BEFORE starting the script, as my indecision shows in my storyline, tone and characters. Thanks for affirming what I have suspected.

    Also, your notes on character descriptions are very helpful. This is my first feature-length script and to prepare, I studied multiple screenwriting books. It appears I have gone too far with the "keep descriptions simple" advice. I will expand character descriptions (but not too much) in my rewrite.

    Thanks again.

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  3. No problem, Paul. Hope those notes helped!

    I'm sure you get the hang of it. The more screenplays you write (and read) the better you'll be.



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