Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MEET THE MURPHYS by Tony de Freitas

When a Two year old Caucasian boy is left at a doorstep of an African American's home and thirty years later discovers that he was never abandoned.

Hi Tony.

Thank you for the opportunity to read MEET THE MURPHYS. Based on your logline, the story will be jumping ahead 30 years at some point, so your first 10 pages need to packed to the gills with set-up. In light of that fact, a little bit of clunkiness in the exposition might be tolerable. Look at a film like "Heart & Souls." In order to fully embrace and empathize with the goals of the four ghosts, we needed to get to know them quickly, and some type of awkwardness often comes as part and parcel of that need to get the information out there quickly.

But MEET THE MURPHYS falls down on a number of other fronts, making it really challenging for a reader to reach the time jump when the main plot of the story can commence.

First of all, it's extremely important to proofread your script. I don't mean to be too abrupt, Tony, so please take this with all due respect, from one writer to another. There is craft and technique to writing. And no matter how much talent you have, your road to a writing career is going to be very difficult to navigate without the ability to proofread your work.

We are only talking about ten pages of script here, and there were numerous errors.

On page two, Kevin is "dressed in rages."
Page two (and others): "Who could of left left him?" (Instead of "could have.")
Page two again: "He's name is Michael."
Page two again: Action line: "Trisha enters Michael." This had me wondering if you were going for an NC-17 rating.

There were more errors through the rest of the fist 10. I can only imagine how difficult it is to navigate the other 80.

It's entirely possible to write a script with strong story/character/theme, and bad spelling/grammar. But the task of making the script easy for a reader is part of your job as a writer, Tony. And the disregard for the fundamental tools will raise a big red flag for anybody who reads the script.

Another giant red flag is that the entirety of the first ten pages contains no action. It is just talking heads in the living room, then talking heads in the car.

I assume that there is a supernatural element in play here which hasn't been revealed in this first ten pages. Kevin reacts to the boy's written note even though he is in another room. Trisha instantaneously decides to adopt Michael without discussing it or even considering it for more than a few minutes. Kevin's brother appears out of the clear blue to take care of kids in Africa instead of taking care of his own. And, by the way, he's dying.

Lastly, read your dialogue out loud and ask yourself whether it sounds like the way people talk. The brothers telling stories that both of them know, for example (the Watchalot conversation). That exposition is clearly there to inform the audience, since both characters already know all the details. The bit about the father mistaking Michael for a dog repeats too much and goes on too long.

I recommend a thorough proofread and rewrite. Pay attention to verisimilitude in dialogue, consistency in tone, and proper spelling and grammar.

Good Luck!


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  2. Thanks Bob. I understand what I have to do now.


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