Friday, February 1, 2013


Hi folks,

There's no review this week, but your thoughts on the following are welcome in the comments.

The 1st 10 pages of WANTED: SUGAR DADDY by Monique Mata (Romantic Comedy)

Soon after being dumped, a gold-digger returns to her small town and sets her sights on a local bachelor. But her plans are derailed when she locks horns with his conniving girlfriend and his charming younger brother.

The 1st 10+ pages of CHEMICAL by Joshua Roach

In a Dystopian future, a young bounty hunter must track down a band of outlaws with supernatural powers who are responsible for the death of his father.

The 1st 12 pages of FOR RENT by Corey Swim (Psychological Horror)

A couple rents a New England home that seems too good to be true- during the worst winter storm in recent memory, they find out why.

I'd also like to share two upcoming independent films that I'm excited about:

One is called The Unconventional Death Of Josie Wells. I read the screenplay for it and think it's going to make one hell of a film. 

I can't say much about it without giving away the hook, but it's about a young girl who is "precocious, dresses like death and has porn producing parents."

If you have a second please give it a like on Facebook: …

I haven't read the screenplay for the next one, but am excited to see it some day. It was written by the writer of Jonah Hex, William Farmer.

Arbor Avenue Film's Kickstarter campaign for STAR AND THE SNOWMAN 

A mob enforcer attempts to piece together his mysterious past while trying to figure out whom he can trust and why someone wants him dead.

"Think Luc Besson's The Professional meets No Country For Old Men meets a Shakspearan tragedy."
- Phil Garrett (Produecer)

Director: John Whitney
Screenwriter: William Farmer


  1. In regards to FOR RENT, I think the strength of this script was the dialogue between Greg and Callie. Reading it aloud, it definitely flowed in a natural manner. I do think the writer gets a little sound-effect happy in the opening few pages and that could probably be done more efficiently. I felt that the tour of the house was informational, but could be superfluous if those rooms do not factor heavily into the overall narrative moving forward. If there is a way to tighten those pages up, or only hit the high-points/most critical rooms with description it could be an easier read. The only other thing I would focus on is Trevor's dialogue. He kind of serves as an exposition machine in his scene. Based on how well the writer crafted the Greg/Callie dynamic - I think this can be tightened up significantly.

  2. The premise of CHEMICAL is cool, and the scene work in terms of the action and beats is pretty solid. For me there are two issues that stand out. The first is the initial scene which sets up the movie via an expository super-over. Is there any way the writer can show us the events via a montage or quick grouping of scenes that will help the viewer understand why Chems are bad? Why does his dad have a telepathy-repelling medallion? I am sure the latter question is answered elsewhere in the story, but I think there needs to be some better scene work towards understanding why we should want Charlie to pursue the Chems. The second issue is the overall dialogue. The exchange between Charlie and his father doesn't feel real and some of the phrasing ("come here, my boy") is a little hokey. I think the writer has an interesting concept here.

  3. Thanks Dustin! This actually happened to me, so (at first) I tried to stay close to what happened. "Trevor" threw so much at me, I didn't know how to respond... I am definitely going to refine his rant though. And will clean up the house description, some is definitely pointless (how I didn't see that, I'll never know) :-)

  4. Congrats Joshua, on getting your first 10 up on the blog.

    The premise does sound interesting!

    I'll just comment on the scenes as written.

    As Dustin puts it below - instead of an "expository super-over", your first 10 should probably be scenes showing a government chemical test gone wrong and / or the emergence of those "chems" so the reader can see why those "chems" are so bad, what their powers are like, what their crimes are, etc...

    If you don't and chose to keep the structure as-is, perhaps you could revise the dialogue as has been suggested. Personally, I thought the pages of expository banter between Charlie and the Waitress were just that - exposition. It feels unnatural.

    Don't know why greetings / banana pancakes / the diversity of the menu are important and the rest is exposition.

    I would cut it all (4 pages!) and have the Waitress and Charlie acknowledge each other with a look or have just a line or two of dialogue to show that he's a regular and that he already knows she's a "chem".

    Or you could have her serve him a cup of hot coffee with some weird look / tension between them that would foreshadow the reveal that she's a "chem".

    The rest of the info in that dialogue (bounty hunter / telepath / mind reading), I would convey through action in later scenes.

    Cut to the Suit breaking in and confronting Charlie / the Cook / the Waitress. Cut and revise some of that dialogue ("You'd best stay in my eye line, sir." "Now, you miss are gonna walk your little derriere over to the register.")

    That long Charlie monologue is unnecessary. A couple of line should be enough.

    I know you're trying to avoid a flashback, but I would move that scene between Charlie and his father to later in the script or cut it all together or find another way to convey the information.

    The most problematic for me was the fact that you didn't paint a clearer picture of the situation as it is now. Life post-government tests.

    You describe a town surrounded by grassland, dead grass and highway. Are we in THE ROAD territory where the land has been devastated and the infrastructure has crumbled or are we not? It's not clear.

    In your first 10, we're thrust in an office and then a diner where people eat as if nothing had happened.

    If you don't go for the government test scenes and chem scenes, you should at least have some scenes that show us how life goes on. Anchor us in your world and show us what life is like post-government tests.

    As it is, we're lost.


  5. Totally thought i replied to this weeks ago. I agree with you, i was never really satisfied with the opening two scenes. My initial gut instinct was to start outside the dinner, and then follow Charlie and discover the world through his eyes, but i thought the audience may need a little more exposition early. I feel that in this situation, less is more and that discovering the world through following Charlie is the best way to get exposition across in a visual and interesting way. I'm not a huge fan of big montages to establish a world, nor i am a fan of what I tried with the Super-Over but i thought i'd give it a shot.

  6. Again, as below with Dustin, i thought i replied to this. I like the idea of trimming the pre-robbery dialogue and cutting right to it. I'm going to cut the opening and start with the dinner. I like what you said about showing the audience whats it's day to day life is like in this world. Need to figure out a way to establish that without doing some overly expository super or flashback.

    Thanks for the feedback.


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