Friday, April 5, 2013

Flesh and Blood by Jeffrey Nieves

Welcome to the April 5th edition of Feedback Friday.

Email Robert Dillon the first 10 pages of your script and one of our reviewers will be more than happy to provide you 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!

Flesh and Blood
by Jeffrey Nieves
Reviewed by Erman Baradi

Logline: A dark serial following the life of a teenager, who happens to be a shapeshifter.

Check out this Google Doc if you would like to read Jeffrey's script!

Hello, Jeffrey.

Thank you very much for allowing me to read your first ten pages. As a fellow a writer I learn a lot from reviewing others' works, so I appreciate your reaching out to FF.

Before we begin I have a very minor note. Correct me if I am wrong (hey! I'm no established professional myself!) but I know most readers don't want to see that you're sending them a "draft 1" of your script. They want to think you have sent them your very best version possible. I suggest removing it from submissions.

What I noticed just a few pages in is you have a very ENGAGING writing style! The action is short and vivid - not too wordy but enough detail to understand the world you set the characters in. May I add that the dialogue and action are never dully written either?

On page 1 we get the dynamics of the two protagonists: younger, lanky brother Liam and older brother Adam. Adam is giving Liam a pep talk, and what I like here is Adam is not speaking "on the nose." As the conversation picks up we realize that Adam is really pep talking Liam about women. When Liam is ready to confront his fear, he suddenly SHAPE SHIFTS into a better looking muscular man! Whoa! That came out of left fiend. What I love here is you broke expectations. It did not take too long for us to be thrusted into this supernatural world and now I am hooked. Questions arise that I want to see answered, like how, where, what, when, how. Great start. By the way, kudos to your description of the shift: "Dude looks like he's having a Richter scale 5 Ashtma attack."

Just a small, nit-picky thing though. I suggest keeping your sluglines consistent on these first 2 pages (EXT. DINGY STRIP CLUB PARKING LOT vs. INT. STRIP CLUB). Or are you suggesting just the outside of it is dingy?

The end of the teaser comes half way through page 3. Good. It's not too far into the story. Page 4 or 5 would have been cutting it. The introduction of the masked and seductive Miss Misery and her dialogue with Liam further proves your ear for dialogue and description. Sentences like her mask was "a delicate porcelain shroud - feminine perfection" allow me to visualize her appearance in my head. Just another note though: you hyphenated the words each other twice and I don't believe they need to be, and Liam's first line on page 4 should be "I want to see you" instead of "I want see you." Also, I prefer the "100%" line from Liam on page five to be written out. Small stuff. When Miss Misery exposes Shift-Liam's bodily scars it intrigues me to learn more of his back story. Or maybe the scars are a direct effect of the shift? We will see. Finally, Miss Misery removes her mask, a juxtaposition of beauty and horror as she, too, is scarred. Now I am starting to really be interested invested in these characters. Also, according to Snyder's beat sheet, by page 5 we should have a theme stated. I could not quite find one.

The next morning we see the affect of Liam's transformation from the night before. When he shifts he is a better version of himself, but at what cost? We see the consequences in the morning. Maybe this will be a constant challenge throughout the story?

By page 6 the boys' father comes into play and we see a nice change in relationship dynamic. He talks to Adam like he is the golden child and Liam appears jealous. We have seen the younger brother envious of the older brother many times before, but here I think it works considering it is a stark contrast to how we saw them the night before. It is like a tug and pull battle. 

Soon enough we find out two things that really amp the story up! First, a video projection in a high school class reveals that shape shifting is more commonplace than we originally imagined. Liam is not the only shape shifter in this world, further solidifying the type of world you have structured for the reader. Also, Miss Misery happens to be a teacher...Liam's teacher! 

The tenth page ends with the introduction of two more teen characters. I don't know yet their roles in Liam's lives but their dialogue and character description make them interesting so far. I am curious as to their purposes. 

More Please

I am definitely hooked! You have written a compelling story that has more territory to be treaded. We don't see too many stories on shape shifters so this is a nice breath of fresh air. So far, with a glimpse into Liam's world we understand the travails of being a teenager (they have enough problems) who is also a shape shifter. Your logline is concise but I would like to know more about what he is facing for the remainder of the series. I would love to see more!


1 comment:

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