Friday, March 1, 2013

Birthday Bonanza

I started this blog a year ago in the hopes of helping screenwriters get feedback on (and maybe even a little exposure for) their work. I've considered abandoning it at times, due to a few snafus and the time it takes to maintain it, but thanks to the generous contributions of my reviewers (whose info you'll find in the sidebar) as well as Amy Suto, Dan Dollar and the many guest reviewers - we've been able to keep it going.

I'd like to thank everyone who has  taken the time to submit pages and share their thoughts. We'll be back next week with a review, but today we're celebrating our first year with the 1st 10 pages from 10 different writers below.

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 us (or a guest reviewer) 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 vote and comment on your work.

Click here to > READ THEM ALL

ALUMNI NIGHT by Matthew Kane

A 19-year-old movie star ditches an important Hollywood Christmas party to play in the "Alumni Night" game of her high school comedy improv team — but she gets one crazy night from hell — chased by paparazzi and juggling three guys: the pop-star boyfriend who kicked her out but wants her back, her high school sweetheart who still wants them to be college sweethearts, and that adorable little 10th-grader who's now a senior … and super hot!

AMAZON CON by Jeff Thomas (Title Page)
A two-bit hustler who gets himself hired as translator on a jungle medical mission learns that the missionaries want to poison the villagers.

BEFORE A FALL by Joshua Lee Andrew Jones

Seduced, set up, ruined by a sex tape, the new minister’s son dared to pursue a girl above his station and was rewarded with humiliation so now he must turn the tables on the person who destroyed his reputation.

DOGBITE by Paul Holbrook

Looking for a fresh start, a man with a violent past moves his family to Small Town, New Mexico. When they are tormented and abused by a sick and twisted psychopath, he is forced back down the path of vengeance.

EPOCH by Cillian Daly

The crew of an interstellar ship, on an eighty year mission, return to the solar system to face a devastating mystery.

KATE by Eric N. Jones

How much is love worth? In this darker modern take on Henry James's WASHINGTON SQUARE, shy billionaire heiress KATE SLOPER finds out when she defies her tyrannical father, Senator and high-powered businessman AUSTIN SLOPER, and engages in a passionate relationship with the handsome, but rootless MORRIS TOWNSEND.

LITTLE BANDITS by Michael DiMartino

A group of orphans steal priceless works of art to keep them from falling into the hands of the Germans and to save their orphanage.

SNIPER by Geoff Breedwell

A high school student must evade the Sniper's cross-hairs during class, without telling anyone, or everyone in his family dies.


A group of scientists and marines must travel back in time to stop a cataclysmic event that could destroy the galaxy.

THE BUTTON MAN by Robert Dillon

A hitman faces a tough choice when he learns that the boss of a rival outfit, whom he's been ordered to whack, is also the brother of the woman he loves.


If you're a fan of Looper, 12 Monkeys, Source Code, Deja Vu type of films - then you might see what I'm trying to do with this.


  1. I'm commenting on these as I read them, and I'll skip my own. I am interested to see what you guys have to honestly say about it.

    ALUMNI NIGHT -- Give it another go...character intros need some work. My suggestion is to limit it strictly to the numerical age the characters are instead of how many months they are older/younger in relation to the characters. It gets to be confusing. Also, you had some good overall introductions for the characters, but I feel like I'm missing the overall theme of the movie. I can see it playing out, but I'm interested to see how this will all go wrong and introduce the problem to Hunter and Annie.

    AMAZON CON -- I had a hard time getting into the script for the first page or two, and that can be devastating. Personally, I liked it. After the last page, I found myself looking at the logline seeing where this was going to go next. I only have two things so far: 1) on the characters, less what they're wearing and more of who they are. Let wardrobe figure that out, and let your words give breath to the snapshot of who the characters are when we meet them. 2) Some of the one line actions could definitely be combined for paragraphs, making it a bit easier to read and group things together. Overall: I'm torn on what to give this. I want to say Give It Another Go, but those things I have are easily taken care of in the notes. I'll give it a....MORE PLEASE. Great job, Jeff.

    BEFORE A FALL -- I found this script really hard to get invested in. I'll just get right in with what I saw: 1) Joe's introduction. I get that his name is Joseph. That's usually understood. Just call him "Joe." Character introductions are huge as they give us an instant, quip of who a person is. All of your introductions were super long. Recommend shortening them. 2) Right off the top, you need an "EXT. NORTHPORT, CT -- DAY" before you get into the description of the town. Without it, it just seems like it just starts flying around like crazy. 3) WAY too much description. I found myself skimming over parts of it. Shorten them, please. 4) This is something minor, but something you can use. You can get away with the whole "555" number thing by just saying: "CLOVER: 'Here, give me your phone.' He does, and she puts her number in his phone. CLOVER (CONT'D): 'Just text me when you want a tour, and I'll show you around.'" Or something like that. Make use of today's technology. 5) Shorten your dialogue. Use subtext. If something is saying the same thing, take it out. Usually this falls to all of your no's, yeah's, etc. Take those out, and find out the shortest way to say the same thing. Watch your dialogue improve. 6) Avoid the standard "hi's" and what not. Those are unneeded and take up much needed space for your script. 7) When the Rev slapped his kid, that came out of no where, in my opinion. Personally, I'd say GIVE IT ANOTHER GO because I think this script could be powerful if you shortened it, and cleaned it up a bit. The logline itself seems a bit muddled. You can do it. Give it Another Go.

    That's it for right now. I'll read the rest in a minute.

  2. EPOCH - Premise/Hook was great. Talk about stakes getting raised right from the get go. Great work there.

    Characters seem a bit typical, but that should be fine for now. We'll get to know them more in later pages. But careful to avoid typical ship/crew cliche's.

    My only real beef was you how you open. I'm pretty sure every movie that is set on a spaceship since Alien has opened with some variation of the vastness of space and then a ship floating into frame. It works, it would just be nice to see something different. (i'm also a guilty of doing this).

    Genuinely interested in what is to come.

    THE BUTTON MAN - I love me a good crime film. You do a good job of making me interested in Gio early on. Really like the opening scene. I feel the scene is a little rushed/short. You could really stretch the tension here.

    I like how we cut right to the funeral. Keeping us surrounded by death, not letting us breath yet is a good way to get a feel to the world. The fact that Lou is Gio's right hand and is acting the way he is really helps establish that Paul was close to the family, thus establishing how cold Gio is.

    Like the Albania's as enemies. Sets up the forbidden love Romeo and Juliette deal.

    One thing that stuck out is how Ilana and Gio know each other/ had some kind of relationship in the past. Gio has already killed a guy close he knew, which makes him kind of a bad guy, now he's getting socked in the nose from a girl he obviously mistreated? Seems like you're making him out to be too big of an asshole. Unless of course the reason he's an "asshole" to Ilana is justified later.

    I'd also cut down on a bit of description. It sounds great but it is sometimes a bit clunky.

    Again, would read more.

    TIMEKEEPERS - Killer opening. The heist is great and the time travel button really works. Really interested in the mystery man and Ruby.

    You hit the "something is wrong" beat with Ellen a lot. We get it, James gets it, it was a tad repetitive. Besides that there wasn't too much that stood out.

    With no real idea where the plot is going, i'm interested in seeing what happens.

    For the others, i will try and get to them over the weekend. Great work everyone.

  3. And I just looked and saw you're not a member.

  4. That's because when i think "mob," i think "mafia."

  5. Alright, here's more...

    DOGBITE -- This one i liked. It reminded me of what would happen after the Son's of Anarchy or Hell's Angels creators wanted a re-do on life. It started a little slow, but this is a genre that I'm not really that involved with. Once it got going, it got going. I liked it over all, and my only note just would to be to start it with something more exciting, and illustrating Gale's past life a bit more instead of just telling us through flashbacks. Maybe doing a save the cat style of scene of him pulling his son out of a drug den, or saving him from a drug dealer (maybe his old boss) gone bad. I'm just shooting ideas, but it's up to you ultimately. I'm giving you a MORE PLEASE based on where it went after. But the intro needs to be picked up.

    EPOCH -- Cillian. Dude. I sincerely thank you for posting this. Great read. For a sci-fi/mystery/thriller it seems like a well placed fit. I absolutely loved every bit, and it was a burning page turner. My wife is even mad at me for reading it and avoiding her talking! Great Job! I got no tips, if anything, you could give all of us some. Unless it has some fatal flaws later on, shoot that thing to the Black List, and list that sucker on inktip. Really dude. Sell that sucker!!

    KATE -- Descriptions were very good, although, I hated the italics throughout in the description. They seemed unnatural and out of place. Good set up, but it didn't really hook me. Definitely got the drama that was in there, but it just wasn't my thing. It was smart and sad, which I believe was what you were going for. But it just wasn't for me. I don't want to give you a "GIVE IT ANOTHER GO" because it was good for what it was, but I don't want any more of it. If someone is looking for something like that, go for it.

    LITTLE BANDITS -- The story was light, and probably could have been shortened by two things: 1) paragraphs not lines of descriptions. 2) short, concise character descriptions that tell WHO the character is and not what they look like. It felt muddled. Period pieces are VERY hard to get right and even harder to sell. You could probably set the story in today's world and get more help doing so. I say Trash it. I don't want to, but yeah. Save the basics and move onto something a bit more tangible. I HATE giving the trash it, as I severely want people to stick with stories they like and want to sell. But with some stories, you just can't do it right out of the gate. If anything, save it. Get in the buisness a bit more, then go for it.

    There we go. A little bit of both, and I've got 3 left before everything is read.

  6. I'm going to get to read everyone's scripts this w/end, but just to reply to Joshua, thanks for reading Epoch. Really appreciate the comments. I guess I'm thinking the usual suspects as far as ship based sci-fi goes, hence the mildly cliched characters to begin with. I hope they develop a little bit more as it progresses!

    Clearly I'm going for the Alien feel, that waking up, happy, home, then bang! Here's some shit to ruin your day!

    Agree with you on the opening, it's a staple, typical sci-fi opener. If it works overall ill stick with it, but I have toyed with playing with it a bit. Also my other script has a similar opener, but is Earth based. Forgive me!

    Cheers again.

    I'll hopefully have my own feedback soon!

  7. ...And just saw your post Geoff, thanks a mil! I dunno if it's there yet, still in vomit pass territory. And always listen to your wife, that's my top tip!

    Thanks though. Man I've some reading to do!

  8. And now, the final three....

    TERRA INCOGNITA -- Cillian, what happened? This must be an earlier example of your writing. This one was not as strong as EPOCH, but it definitely had some interesting facts that were coming through as set up for the events. Something that bothered me though was the military dialogue. Being a current member of the US Navy, I find it a bit irritating when big budget movies don't get things right. Given as this movie is set at least 100 years in the future, I can tell you this: the way we talk to one other properly, (repeat backs, proper communications, alarms, etc), has been around for over 100 years now. if you need help with the proper communication on board actual Navy ships, let me know. I'd be happy to help, free of charge. That goes for everyone on here too. Free info. I'll answer as long as it's unclassified. :) Personally, that took me out a bit, but other than that, I'd say give it another go. It's got a bit to get up to the level EPOCH was sitting.

    THE BUTTON MAN -- A little slow on the get up, but the introduction of the rival gangs was good. A bit stagnant for a little bit. Love the agent's line on page 9. When the villian gang is speaking in jail, they're speaking Albanian. Are we supposed to understand Albanian? Is it subtitled? There's no indication for that. Also, having "same age" as a descriptor only works if it's two characters one after another, like you did on the first page. I never got the bold scene line headings, but that's just me. I'v e never seen that done. Personally, I'd say "Give me More" with just a bit of side notes seeing it from the first ten. Good job, Robert!

    TIMEKEEPER -- interesting. I got NO idea where you were going with this, and I think that was your point. Definitely interested in Ruby and the Mystery Figure. Like it a lot. Definitely want more, and I definitely want a log line so I at least know what we're in for. Good to go there.

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  10. Yeah, Geoff, it's my second spec attempt. Just thought I'd throw it on here and get some honest feedback. It's still quite a childish script and I'm tinkering with the ending. May just let it sleep for a year or 10! Appreciate your comments about the navy dialogue, and I my take you up on your kind offer. You'd be rather annoyed at some later scenes, I can assure you!

  11. Thanks for reading TIMEKEEPER. Really appreciate your time and comments.

  12. EPOCH - Solid concept and interesting opening. The pacing and tone was just right ... really pulled me into the world you've created. Good work!

    I liked how you describe each character in the pros. Really distinctive!

    There were a few typos which you may or may not have spotted.

    P5 - "eachother" - each other
    P8 - "a a" - at a
    P9 - "Be there is a minute..." - be there in a minute

    So overall - solid work. Definitely want to READ MORE of this! :)

    THE BUTTON MAN - Great opening scene with Gio and Paul but it felt a little rushed. You have a really good opportunity here Rob to show us the audience/reader just how much of a badass Gio can be. I like your action lines and how you set conflict around scenes. Really cool stuff. But I personally feel this premise is better suited for TV than feature. You have so many characters and sub plots - I don't think it'll translate well on the big screen but then again I'm only going by the 1st ten pages. So who knows?

    A minor note: When the same character talks after a action line or a previous scene. Always insert a (CONT"D) next to her name.

    Overall. This script is definitely dark and intriguing so far. I'm really curious to know where you'll take these characters ! Solid work, sir! :)

  13. EPOCH - Solid concept and interesting opening. The pacing and tone was just right ... really pulled me into the world you've created. Good work!

    I liked how you describe each character in the pros. Really distinctive!

    There were a few typos which you may or may not have spotted.

    P5 - "eachother" - each other
    P8 - "a a" - at a
    P9 - "Be there is a minute..." - be there in a minute

    So overall - solid work. Definitely want to READ MORE of this! :)

    THE BUTTON MAN - Great opening scene with Gio and Paul but it felt a little rushed. You have a really good opportunity here Rob to show us the audience/reader just how much of a badass Gio can be. I like your action lines and how you set conflict around scenes. Really cool stuff. But I personally feel this premise is better suited for TV than feature. You have so many characters and sub plots - I don't think it'll translate well on the big screen but then again I'm only going by the 1st ten pages. So who knows?

    A minor note: When the same character talks after a action line or a previous scene. Always insert a (CONT"D) next to the name.

    Overall. This script is definitely dark and intriguing so far. I'm really curious to know where you'll take these characters ! Solid work, sir! :)

  14. Thanks for reading and for your comments. You're right. I do want the mystery touch to the beginning and I guess that's why I opted to keep the logline under wraps. Maybe I'll reveal it soon though. :)

  15. I'll go through all of the scripts today (barring my own!) but I'll start with Sniper. Geoff, you could easily cut this down to 6-7 pages. There's a lot of redundant lines, and descriptions, and some of it is overly long. We only see the sniper once in the 10 pages, and that's it. There's also no sign of what's mentioned in your longline happening. You need to get to that faster, I'd go so far as to suggest a shot being fired by page 10-12, someone dying infront of Alex to "motivate" him. As it is there's no ticking clock. No pressure on your lead, just him enduring a 7 page dream and then an argument with his mom. I admit I'm curious to see where it goes from there, but you need to get there faster. Dialogue too, is a little on the nose. Too direct, and also too much of it. If Alex is shy, bullied, he shouldn't speak that often, so that when he does, it's more powerful. The bathroom bullying scene could lose most of the dialogue, let Alex's actions speak instead.

    Hope some of that's useful?

  16. The problem with Epoch is the premise. Two scripts are bouncing around Hollywood with the same premise (based off epoch's first 10 pages.) "The God Particle" which is over at paramount, produced by Bad Robot and another script, "3022" which got picked up off the Black List. I haven't read either, but a buddy did. They said God Particle is to Saving Private Ryan (straight forward blockbuster) as 3022 is to The Thin Red Line (character driven with complex characters). Keep working on Epoch, but it's good to know there's competition right now. Make you work harder.

  17. That could be a problem, alright. Thanks for the heads up.

  18. Like Geoff, I'll take them in alphabetical order, skipping mine.

    AMAZON CON - First, I agree with Geoff, so I won't repeat but I'll add. The opening is quite humorous. Is this comedy? The logline sounds like a thriller. If it's a mashup of these two genres that's a good thing these days. But if it is, there should be more of a sense of danger in these first pages to set the correct tone.

  19. BEFORE A FALL - Less. Please, a lot less. It's not a novel. It's hard to get through all that description. Much fewer words would mean much more story in these pages. Just the essence. Just set up clearly what Joe wants here. The only want I could find is to go to public school but that's not anything strong. He obviously wishes his mother were still alive, but that's not a want. He obviously has a terrible relationship with his dad, but we don't see anything he wants to do about that. This is too long to wait before understanding what is going to drive him to become a hero. Based on the logline, I fear that your protagonist is going to be passive until the midpoint.

  20. Rocky 8 thanks for the typo finds, will sort those out. Still have a ways to go with it. Appreciate you reading.

  21. DOGBITE - Great ear for dialog. Description is rich and vivid but could be done in fewer words. Too many early scenes without enough conflict. Bring the conflict earlier. Especially in this genre, every single moment should have somebody wanting something with an obstacle to getting it.

  22. EPOCH - You may fire when ready, Ridley. Take that pun as a compliment. Would love to read the rest.

  23. KATE - It had me until all the shoe leather of her going from the clinic back home. Once we know that she's going back to the clinic, there's nothing interesting here for us until she gets back home. And the conflict between Austin and Helen over her going to the clinic goes nowhere because he just ignores her. Perhaps after saying he's going to send her back to the clinic, straight to her getting back from the clinic, in not too good shape, and then Helen using Kate's condition to argue with Austin that he shouldn't have sent her back there. Just one opinion. But the first six pages really had me.

  24. ALUMNI NIGHT by Mathew Kane

    - Random thoughts:

    . Fairly low stakes.
    . Not sure how the story is developing with dialogue
    scenes that don't really move the plot forward / lack of apparent direction (ex.
    exchange bet. SKYLER / AMANDA / BEN on p.9)
    . TOO MANY characters introduced. Makes it hard to remember who's who. Descriptions could use some tweaking.
    . Tone. Is it broad comedy?
    . Some formatting quirks.

    - Things that took me out of the read:

    . PAPARAZZI (dialogue formatting.)

    . His barely-accented English is the product of the best
    Mexico City private schools and the top American
    universities. (not visual)

    . The windshield is filled with paparazzi. (wording)

    When you offered me a place to
    stay, I didn’t know it came with a
    free heart attack.
    I hope the reason you’re here, live
    and in person, is you have good
    news about the movie.


    . ANNIE
    Ha! I told you I can drive! I lost
    all of them except one. And I’ve
    got a classic move for him! I’m
    right around the corner from
    Bennett’s house.

    SKYLER (V.O.)
    The tear-down?

    That’s the one.

    (why tell us again what we already saw? You could cut the
    exchange and pick up with "Did you lose him?")

    ." ALUMNI NIGHT " (formatting)

    - Overall impression:

    I personally find it difficult to assess the viability of a script in 10 pages, but I assume there's an audience for this script. Apart from the few formatting quirks, it looks professional. The only thing - and some would say, the most important thing - is the story, and given what we have here, it doesn't quite come into focus, impeded by what I thought was unnecessary dialogue and too many characters. Not quite sure what their relationships are to each other just yet and since the stakes appear to be fairly low, there's no real impetus for me to keep on reading. I say TAKE ANOTHER GO and see if you can improve the tone of the piece, cut down some characters, and give the story more direction.


  25. AMAZON CON by Jeff Thomas

    Overall ImpressionA lot.

    Always like the character of the loserish con man. Even better if this con man is a down-on-his-luck American (?) stranded abroad. This set me back to the films of John Huston and as I read, I kept thinking of THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE and a middle-aged Humphrey Bogart trying to make money any way he could in that "godforsaken place". Also thought of Elliott Gould in THE LONG GOODBYE or Ward Bond in BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA or any other Peckinpah movie. Thought of a young Jack Nicholson too.

    Which prompts me to ask: When is this set? Since there is no clear indication, I assume it's present day, but it could also be the 70s, 80s, or 90s. Having someone answer a cell phone or something. References to Gunga Din and Eisenhower don't help.

    No problems with formatting. Looks professional. Scenes flow. Dialogue is lean and mean, although -- and that's my only reservation -- at times, said dialogue seems a bit too theatrical (the histrionics between Means and Ronaldo) - which, I guess is what others meant when they said they were unsure about the tone of the piece. That kind of banter would have been par for the course in the 40s and 50s though.

    At the end of the day, I want to know how Eddie Ripslap ended up where he is and I want to find out why the missionaries want to poison the natives.



  26. BEFORE A FALL by Joshua Lee Andrew Jones

    Starting to read. Looking at the logline which contains elements I like. A minister's son pursuing a girl "above his station." Religion. Sex scandal. Social class. I'm in.

    Random thoughts:

    - Too much actor business/directions between dialogue lines ("Rev. Fields stands, puts his hands behind his back, and steps to window. He turns his back on his son." (...) "She shifts her weight from one leg to the other.", etc...)

    - Too early too soon. Drama between Reverend and Joe doesn't build. Feels melodramatic.

    - Exposition. Too much exposition in general. There may be a better way to reveal that Joe's mother killed herself, that they had to move, that Joe killed someone and went to military school, etc.... the characters themselves would know this since they lived it.

    Things that took me out of the read

    - The town of Northport, CT is a shining bastion of wealth only a 45 minute commute to NYC. The houses are large, the lawns are exquisite, and underneath the preppy facade of success secrets hide.

    - REVEREND FIELDS, 45, is a handsome man of neat angles who uses his collar as a shield. His charisma is that of an Broadway actor and he knows how to use it at the pulpit.

    (All the above descriptions could be shorter and more dynamic:

    - Northport, CT. Large houses. Exquisite lawns. Hidden secrets behind shiny facades.

    - REVEREND FIELDS, 45, a Broadway actor in a frock.)

    - He is 17 almost 18 and prefers to be called Joe. Joe is a dutiful son who carries the weight of his mother’s death on his shoulders and his roguish good looks conceal a temper behind his eyes.

    (Same as above. 17 or 18 is not much of a difference. How do we know he likes to be called Joe?)

    - "Her family is richer than Donald Trump could dream and with her great wealth comes great boredom."

    - "(...)who likes to be called Cali,"

    (Same as above.)

    - Austin Martin (Aston Martin)

    - "(...) passes by palatial estates on the coast that sit like temples in the worship of avarice, vast and proper." (?) (wording)

    - "(...) a raggedy Kola bear doll." (Koala?)(At 15, she's clutching a doll?)

    - "A tears"

    Overall Impression:

    There's a lot of good here in that it's an ambitious story with strong themes and a lot of potential.

    One thing that surprised me is the age of the protagonists, something I struggled with myself in my script. Joe is fairly young at 17, 18, to have gone through an affair, killed a man, and gone to military school. Just wondering if an 18-year-old man's tarnished reputation is stakes enough. Now, a 45-year-old man of influence, like his father, that would be a reputation worth salvaging.

    Making Joe older, say -- 25, 30 with more life experience, a job, etc... would heighten the stakes IMO and make the conflict with his 55-60 year-old father more biting.

    Beyond the story, the main problems are the descriptions (too detailed) and the building of your scenes. Maybe they should be more organic, with more naturalistic dialogue.

    TAKE ANOTHER GO and you could have something great!


  27. Thanks for the read Matthew!

    Reworking that phone call and clinic scenes.


  28. re: KATE.

    Your reaction is on par with other feedback I got. Well-written but.... heavy. It is about greed, opportunism, and cruelty, so it's not for everyone. There's a silver-lining though and bringing a character as fundamentally evil as Austin to life was strangely... exhilarating.

    Thanks for the read, Geoff.


  29. Thanks Matthew, appreciate that. Still have a lot to do on it.

  30. Thanks for taking the time and being so kind with your words, buddy. I've been away for a long weekend (stag do) and am in an extremely fragile state at the moment so will return the favour as soon as my liver recovers. :)


    Hey Paul,

    Straight up intrigued by this, quite like one of my earlier scripts in tone! Modern westerns can be great playgrounds.

    Couple of notes, but not much else except to say good work, want to read more.

    Firstly, a 2 year old is NOT a baby! they're active little creatures who do not stay in your arms for long. I know, I have one!

    secondly, it reads a bit over-written in places, there's just too much information in some descriptions. Maybe try to cut the odd line or two, speed up the pace?

    thirdly, the scene in the general store is too long without dialogue, but this may be more to do with what I mentioned above? I feel like someone should talk in the middle somewhere, even just one line each or something? And on that scene too, Billy's lines feel a bit off, but maybe that's a character trait?

    A few format issues (going from inside the general store to outside, you don't really need the "- DAY" for the external scene as it goes directly to it, but that's just my thing.) that are really only personal preferences.

    Good work!

  32. KATE

    Very well written drama, a lot happens in those ten pages! No CONT'D after some of the characters is a little weird when so used to reading scripts that way, but other than that, my only thought is that the Townsend guy from your logline doesn't show up but in these pages, but as far as it goes with character pieces, I don't have much issue with this. It's a slow burn, I'm guessing and that's cool.

    Good job sir.

  33. EPOCH by Cillian Daly

    Some of my fave movies take place in outer space. Most recently EVENT HORIZON and SUNSHINE, so I'm looking forward to reading this.

    Random thoughts:

    - "(...) a mere backdrop to vomit inducing emptiness." (beyond the "vomit" part, great, visual and vivid description.)"

    - There's no getting around introducing a lot of characters at once. Typical for these kinds of films. Good job at making them stand out.

    - That banter between the crew is running a little long. They're not saying much, but we do learn more about each crew member so that counterbalances that.

    Things that took me out of the read

    - "Morin’, gorgeous." (Mornin')

    - "Who’s birthday is it?" (Whose)"

    - "genius’s" (geniuses)

    - "a dashed WHITE CIRCLE moves across the surface of Jupiter..." (A)

    Overall Impression:

    Barring some typos, there's no real point in talking formatting, description, or dialogue here as it's all very confident -- totally pro. So that leaves characters and story.

    As another reviewer pointed out, there's nothing radically different in these pages from the countless other lost in space movies we've seen before. Some may even say that the ship itself, the stock characters, and the banter are cliches.

    It doesn't really matter here because the hook is that strong. The prospect that there's no earth to come back to opens up a lot of questions and makes the reader want to find out what's next. What happened to the whole of humanity and what are the implications for the crew?

    So, obviously it's a MORE PLEASE. The one thing these first pages don't do is hint at what the cause may be, so we're not sure what kind of film this is - if we're dealing with natural causes (a la SUNSHINE - minus Pinbacker) or alien forces bent on destroying mankind.

    Anyway, if the rest of the script holds water and is as good as the opening, SOMEBODY SHOOT THIS!


  34. LITTLE BANDITS by Michael DiMartino

    The logline tells us that it's a period piece set during the war. I have nothing against period pieces personally. In fact, I like them and applaud writers who take a chance on what doesn't seem to be really marketable these days.

    We've had quite a lot of movies set during that time and some readers may suffer from Nazis-in-movies exertion. Then again, two WWII specs just sold. Two action pics though.

    Starting to read.

    Random thoughts:

    - Writing is lean. Lots of white on the page. Reads well.

    Things that took me out of the read

    - "His mother is ANGELINE, in her mid-thirties she is thin with striking features..." (punctuation)

    - "Six Italian soldiers and ITALIAN OFFICER rush in." (and an ITALIAN OFFICER...)

    - FADE IN / FADE OUT - probably overkill IMO. A CUT TO could have been enough.

    Overall Impression:

    I like this. Reminds me of films by ROSSELLINI, DE SICA, and the TAVIANI brothers (PADRE PADRONE, THE NIGHT OF THE SHOOTING STARS). Also thinking of Louis Malle's AU REVOIR LES ENFANTS and LACOMBE LUCIEN -- films in which people (often youngsters) try to make a life for themselves in a new world, a world torn asunder by the ravages of war.

    The writing is sparse and easy to read. Description is visual and anchors us in 1940s Italy. Dialogue is short and to the point.

    We are introduced to the main protagonists - Michael, Rocco, and the Monsignor and we feel for the kids and their difficult lives and see that the Monsignor is a decent man with a good heart.

    This definitely could find its audience, the type of prestige, Oscar-bait films geared at older crowds Miramax made in the 90s. Seems like fewer of those films are being made these days, but if the recent success of films like THE KING'S SPEECH is any indication, they will continue to be made, albeit in smaller numbers.

    Hope the action picks up in the following pages, that the stakes and danger keeps rising and that the boys devise increasingly clever schemes to outdo the Germans, save their orphanage, and ultimately survive.



  35. Thanks E, appreciate the feedback. I'm an awful man for typing real fast and not checking carefully enough for typo's. It's sloppy to be sure. The way I've approached this story is for the crew to figure out what the hell has happened, and we're along for the ride. I can't guarantee every single question is answered completely, I will state that it does not pull a Prometheus. :)
    Something I want to look at in a rewrite is the dialogue exchanges, even in the first 10, they could do with being a few lines less.


  36. Shocking thing is, I actually liked Prometheus, messy as it was. I like the ALIENS series, but not a diehard hardcore fan. That may be the reason why.

    Well, it's good so we can overlook the typos and if the rest matches the opening, it should be great.

    Thanks for the read!


  37. No problem, Paul.

    Looking forward to your feedback once you've recovered!


  38. Thanks for such an in depth review, pal.

    I can assure you Billy only gets odder and if it's fearsome you're looking for then he ticks that box for sure. There is no sicker individual commited to page.

    I agree the description needs cutting back, it all thins out as the script goes on as you would expect, but as this is a setting that is totally alien to me (and my characters) I think I've been guilty of going overboard and over selling it to appease myself rather than the reader.

    Thanks for the editing pointers too - will impliment those straight away.

    The full script is finished and nearing the end of it's latest rewrite, so if you would indeed like 'More please' then just shout and I'd be happy to get it to you....and prove just how fearsome Billy can be. :)

  39. Thanks Cillian, yeah Billy's dialogue is very much a trait, he is a very complex character and you'll get to explore those complexities as the script goes on.

    I'll get the full thing over to you once I've finished this current rewrite.

    Thanks again. :)

  40. Do, would love to read it. I think you had it on the writers lab a while ago, is that right? I started to read then got distracted by my life and all the joys parenthood brings! Apologies if I was late with my thoughts.

  41. Little Bandits

    Hi Michael,

    I don't think I can add much that hasn't been said already, but it's good work, if a bit flat, as New E suggested. I can understand where that's coming from as so far, in these pages, there isn't much urgency. The orphanage is mentioned, but that's all from the logline that makes it's way into the first. It might b worth your while peppering the earlier scenes with some tiny references to art, or show the soldiers looking at art work in the homes they go to, just because it's on their mind? Just a thought.
    Though, as a historical piece, it's naturally a bit of a slow burn, so building the world of war time is important. Personally I'd like to see things move faster, maybe combine somehow the scenes with the priests (franco etc) so that there's no need to have 2 separate scenes. That kind of thing could help.

    Other than that, it's a more please, as I'd like to read more, see the orphans do their best impression of Oceans War time Eleven!!!

    Good work.

  42. The Button Man

    Rob, I'd typed a load of stuff here, rambling things mainly, and then I accidentally closed the tab. I'm a clown. But,suffice it to say, i'll just say again the main points --

    Bottom page 1, you may need to cull a line somewhere above to pull Paul's line up since you don't like using CONT'D's!!!

    Other than that, no issues, it's well written, really well written in fact, and really hooked me. You put your money where your mouth is with this! I really want to read the rest, I can see the movie, see it played out, no problems with descriptions, all on the money.

    There's a lot in there, and while you don't hit much from your logline in these pages, I can see this as a slow burn, The Departed vein, a flick you need to think about while watching. Which I endorse wholeheartedly!

    Also, kudos for mentioning actual guns by name, it brings an air of reality to the description, a sense of certainty from the writer that shouts research, knowledge.

    Well done sir, more please, and soon. :)

  43. Want to do a script swap? Exchange notes?


  44. Yeah, man. Hit me up at


    Hi Ari,

    Sorry for taking so long to get to this.

    From the opening, it's intriguing. It works, in that we've no idea what's going on in a grand scale, but SOMETHING is going on. I'm a sucker for anything time-travel. The possibilities are pretty much endless, so I'd love to know where you go with the rest of the story.

    I think some of the descriptions could be tighter -- pg 10 "Ellen enters and crosses toward the elevators. She casually smiles over to a BLONDE RECEPTIONIST (30s) and Ruby who also works here as a receptionist" -- is a little clunky, to point at just one instance.

    Generally though, It's good, you've set up a premise, and offered us a couple of mysteries we want to explore.

    Can't really give you more than that without reading more, but potentially, seems really good.



  46. Hi Cillian,

    Thanks for reading the script and for your feedback man. Glad you enjoyed the opening pages! Always helpful and encouraging to hear from other writers. I'm currently polishing the script.

    Hope you're also revising EPOCH? Great concept like I've said. Good luck with it. :)

  47. No worries at all. Happy to help any way I can!

    Yes working on Epoch, trying I get the end right. You never really finish scripts, do you? :)


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