Welcome to this week's Feedback Friday. Email Robert Dillon the first 10 pages of your script and one of our reviewers will gladly comment on your work and provide notes. There is a rating system that goes accordingly:
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!
by Francesca Gajo
Reviewed by Erman Baradi
Jenny comes back to her home town from college for her sister's wedding. As soon as she arrives, she finds out a mortgage on their family house.
to put aside her hate for the little town to save the estate rediscovering,
with great surprise, the perks of living there and the
warmth of a big family.
Thank you for being brave enough to allow your screenplay to
be read and commented on. Screenplays are a writer’s pride and joy so big kudos
Regardless of if the story’s premise is one personal to you,
you have a pretty good hold on the world you have placed your characters in. We
are in a “small town drama” and so far you’ve nailed the characteristics we
associate with small towns. Jenny comes back from college and bumps into
Martin, a local shop owner who knew her growing up. It’s a small town! Who
doesn’t know each other! Plus, the Marshall family appears to have a business
of their own.
I enjoyed the dynamics between the characters this early
into the script. Although we only get a glimpse of Jenny’s college sweetheart,
Scott, their interaction feels genuine, albeit a bit dry. Unless he decides to
head east for Beth’s wedding the couple won’t be seeing each other for a while,
so I would like to see more passion between them before they part ways. As the
logline entails, Jenny will hate the small town life but warm up to living
there with her big family. So already we understand an obstacle she must
overcome to achieving goals: the household must learn to get along! So far, we
see issues arise between Jenny and her soon-to-be brother-in-law Josh at the
dinner table. What I find interesting here is that the person to blow up in her
face is not an immediate member of the Marshall family! I wonder why it was him
to argue with her and not, say, Beth or her mother? Here, I wish the heated
discussion between Jenny and Josh intensified first before they reach their
boiling points. It feels a little rushed. We can definitely draw it out more to
a more emotional, authentic climax.
Even though this is not a comedy I suggest sharpening the
dialogue. What if Jenny is the witty one in the family, especially when
describing her time in Chicago and in her comebacks at Josh. Right now the
dialogue relies on simple “Hello,” “Welcome back,” “I love you,” “I miss you,” “Don’t
call me that…,” etc. Also, the logline indicates Jenny’s dislike of this town.
We should see it more as she walks back into town for the first time in years.
Maybe we can show her looking at landmarks with disdain. So far she has had
happy reunions with all the characters.
Finally, we reach the moment that will change the course of
Jenny’s life. Two men come and break the news of the Marshall family’s risk of
losing their home! Hmm, perhaps it will affect the wedding as well! Here, I
would like to know who these two men are and exactly who sent them? That way, we
feel more of an opposing force preventing the Marshalls from reaching their
goals. As of right now we don’t sense a main villain (if there is one) that may
test the unity of Jenny and her family. This moment takes me back to the
conversation Beth and Jenny had where Beth wouldn’t quite expose the family’s
financial qualms. It was the right move not to reveal that until the next
I would like you to take another pass at this script
considering the timeliness of this topic. I think many potential viewers would
find these small town characters vying to save their home relateable in today's
world. By the way, do you have an exact east coast town in mind? What time
period does this story take place in? Am I correct in assuming they are a
hardworking middle-class family? Also, I am interested in seeing more of the
dynamics between the different characters as the story progresses - who has
grudges, resentments towards one another, etc. That's where drama can really
take off and hook the viewer. Go back and fix spelling errors, ensure the
character descriptions stay consistent throughout, and try to condense your
logline to two sentences! Keep writing! I cannot wait to see how the planning
of the wedding is impacted now with the impending loss of the home.