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Thursday, November 26, 2015

No BullScript Consulting – Danny Manus Script Review (Red Light) - posted by wonkavite

Recently, we reviewed Chris Shamburger’s horrific new slasher, Red Light. As readers of Shootin’ the Shorts are aware, our goal at STS is to find new and promising writers, and provide them with the platform they need to get their work seen (then hopefully optioned, and produced!)

One of our not-so-secret weapons in this quest is Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting. Having worked as a development executive in Hollywood, Danny is an in-demand script consultant, named by Creative Screenwriting Magazine at one of the “Top 15” consultants in their “Cream of the Crop” list.   Partnered with STS, Danny provides wonderfully detailed and helpful notes for the monthly STS feature script.  This coverage is provided free to the writer, and can be posted our site or kept confidential – at the writer’s discretion. But wait – there’s more!  Any script that gets a coveted “recommend” from tough but eminently fair Danny will be featured in his monthly newsletter and may also receive further exposure to his production contacts…

Below – for your Thanksgiving-reading pleasure – please find Danny’s scoresheet for Red Light. (Please note: for this posting, we’ve broken with tradition and redacted the actual coverage notes.) TRUST US: Danny’s notes – as always – were insightful and detailed; an invaluable read.  But we’re allergic to spoilers here at STS. So we’re keeping THAT under our Turkey table today!

But a Strong Consider from No Bullscript?  You better damned well grab this gem while you can! 🙂 Contact writer Chris at cshamburger “AT” live dot com for a copy of the script!

**To submit a script, please visit STS at the page listed HERE. Danny can also be contacted directly via the No BullScript Consulting website at http://www.nobullscript.net/contact/. Or on Twitter @DannyManus.

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NO BULLSCRIPT ANALYSIS

 Title: Red Light

Type of Material: Screenplay

Author:  Chris Shamburger

Number of Pages: 102

Circa:  Present

Location:  Arizona

Genre:  Slasher/Horror

Coverage Date:   11/19/15

Budget Range: Low

LOGLINE: When three teens challenge a local ghost story by running a red light, they find themselves the next targets of a seemingly supernatural entity bent on revenge but the truth behind the legend may be even more deadly.

NO BULLSCRIPT 20 POINT GRADING SHEET AND RECOMMENDATION:

PROJECT: STRONG CONSIDER 

Elements Excellent Solid Needs Work Poor
Concept/

Premise

  X    
Story   X    
Structure   X    
Conflict/Drama   X    
Consistent Tone X      
Pacing   X    
Stakes   X    
Climax   X    
Resolution/

Ending

  X    
Overall Characters   X    
Protagonist   X    
Antagonist     X  
Dialogue   X    
Transitions   X    
Format, Spelling, Grammar, Pg Count   X    
Well Defined Theme   X    
Commercial Appeal/Hook   X    
Overall Originality   X    
Production Value X      
International Appeal   X    

About the writer: Chris Shamburger was a finalist (Top 10) in the 2013 Shriekfest Film Festival for his recently-produced script, Hiccups. He has been a semi-finalist twice and has also been published in Twisted Dreams Magazineand Horror in Words. Chris lives in Marietta, GA with his partner and their Chow-mix rescue, Walter. Aside from writing, Chris has been teaching pre-kindergarten for the past six years. You can find him on IMDb here:  | Comments Off on No BullScript Consulting – Danny Manus Script Review (Red Light)

Monday, December 15, 2014

No BullScript Consulting – Danny Manus Script Review (Lowlife) - posted by wonkavite

In November, we reviewed Kosta Kondilopoulos’ Lowlife. As readers of Shootin’ the Shorts are aware, our goal at STS is to find new and promising writers, and provide them with the platform they need to get their work seen (then hopefully optioned, and produced!)

One of our not-so-secret weapons in this quest is Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting. Having worked as a development executive in Hollywood, Danny is an in-demand script consultant, named by Creative Screenwriting Magazine at one of the “Top 15” consultants in their “Cream of the Crop” list.   Partnered with STS, Danny provides wonderfully detailed and helpful notes for the monthly STS feature script.  This coverage is provided free to the writer, and can be posted our site or kept confidential – at the writer’s discretion. But wait – there’s more!  Any script that gets a coveted “recommend” from tough but eminently fair Danny will be featured in his monthly newsletter and may also receive further exposure to his production contacts…

Below, please find Danny’s notes/coverage for Lowlife. Read, learn, comment…. and don’t forget to submit your best work for possible review!

**To submit a script, please visit STS at the page listed HERE. Danny can also be contacted directly via the No BullScript Consulting website at http://www.nobullscript.net/contact/. Or on Twitter @DannyManus.

******

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NO BULLSCRIPT ANALYSIS

 

Title:  Lowlife

Type of Material: Screenplay

Author:  Kosta K.

Number of Pages:  94

Submitted To:  Simply Scripts

Circa:  Present

Location:  Any City, USA

Genre: Thriller/Noir

Coverage Date:  12/1/14

Budget Range: Low-Medium

________________________________________________________________________

LOGLINE: Trying to protect his friend, a criminal is forced back into bed with a dirty cop and the Russian Mob after a job gone wrong but this time he may lose everything he has left.

COMMENTS:  Kosta, thank you for submitting your script, “Lowlife” to Simply Scripts. The following notes and comments will go through what works well and what still needs to be worked on or changed in order to make this a more viable and commercial script.

Overall, this is a solid script and story, and a pretty fast and easy read. There are a couple strong action scenes, nice visuals, and you’ve crafted a likeable anti-hero that we root for even though we’re not sure why. The killer with a conscience story has worked many times before, and can certainly work again, but the story and tone needs to feel really original to stand out. And while this is a nice read, I think the biggest issue is the originality and making it truly stand out. Right now, I’m not sure what really makes Lowlife, and Ritchie’s character, seem much different than Ray Donovan on Showtime or films like Jack Reacher or Drive. In fact a couple scenes feel very similar to those films.

The script could use a stronger specific hook to it. I like the noir feel, but I would suggest going even more noir with it and that would make the voice seem even stronger. The writing is strong, but I think it could feel a bit more mysterious and suspenseful – a bit sleeker or sexier – and perhaps the scope of the story could feel a bit bigger. For me, the porn angle seems a bit comedic and it doesn’t seem important enough or dark enough for these mobsters, dirty cops, and killers to all turn on each other. One mobster gets the hotter girls for their videos, so the dirty cop wants him dead? It sounds a bit too petty for stone-cold killers and “business” men. It’s more original than drugs or weapons, but it adds a more comedic slant to the danger instead of a noir or action feel.

The twist or reveal that Pete is a Detective and the dirty cop they’ve been talking about, is unclear. We are never told when we meet him in Trent’s office that he is a cop, and we don’t even know it for sure when he is at Dimitri’s house after Gwen’s murder. We’re actually not told this until later in the second act, and I think this could be revealed and made clear much earlier in the script. On page 45, Nikki and Ritchie talk about “that cop” and on pg 46 Ritchie asks if she knows who “HE” is and she says “some dirty cop,” but we still don’t know for sure it’s PETE they are talking about until Pete says it on page 61. And Pete is never around any other cops, he’s never dressed as a cop, he’s never seen as a cop. I think it could be even creepier to see that character in his police uniform at some point, and it could make for a visual and more shocking reveal of whom he is.

Structurally, I think you have some wonderful turning points in the second act that keep the story going, first with Nikki killing Gwen and it being Pete who finds her phone and calls them; and then on page 71 when they get double-crossed at the party. Your midpoint is exciting, but the action scene with Mike, Franky and Rocco isn’t really connected to the story – it’s just a random fight sequence. But as far as “filler” scenes go, it’s a fun and exciting one.

I’m not sure where the first act actually ends though and the opening scene seems a bit muted and I’m not sure it’s totally necessary. You could start the script in the rain in the dark alley as the car pulls up. Without dialogue or interaction, I’m not sure what the opening scene with the sleeping girlfriend really gets you, or what it tells us. The threat Sammy makes against her only means something if we really feel a connection between them, and from the opening scene the blonde could be a wife, girlfriend, or just some one night stand he’s watching in the morning. The relationship could be defined a bit better in that first scene to show how important the girlfriend character is to Ritchie.

It’s unclear if the girlfriend is pregnant in the opening scene. Perhaps if you’re going to open with the girlfriend, showing her as pregnant and maybe seeing Richie touch her stomach or just look at it, without any dialogue in the scene still, would set up a much deeper and clearer connection. It would also set up a bit more of a clear time frame as we don’t know how long ago she gave birth, was killed, or when he killed Sammy. Plus setting up that she’s pregnant will make us wonder if it’s the baby in the hospital, or the girlfriend or someone totally different and make us wonder what happened to her. Then perhaps the dialogue in the hospital scene could be even stronger on page 4. Something like “Any update?” “Still fighting.”

We learn that the girlfriend died by being run over by a car – seemingly on purpose. Who was this blast from the past and was it the guy Ritchie killed? Hard to believe that Ritchie didn’t get vengeance for this “accident.” Or if there could be some greater connection between her death, the man responsible, and all the mob guys and killers he’s working for/with?

After the double-cross when Dimitri takes Ritchie and Nikki, the third act brings us plenty of fun action and revenge and is pretty non-stop to the end. I love how Nikki’s death seems to reignite the killer in Ritchie and make him realize that being a nice guy wasn’t getting him anywhere and everyone must die, save one – Heather the innocent porn star – to prove he only kills guilty people. And I really like your last beat where we think Ritchie might be leaving the bag of money in the Church but then last second realizes that’s not who he is and goes back and takes the bag back. I think that’s a great moment that nicely defines that Ritchie knows he has nothing left to live for, so he might as well be the person he has always been.

The one bit I didn’t quite understand or believe is why Ritchie would go to such lengths to destroy all the evidence and not get caught, but then wear bloody dirty clothes with evidence all over them to the hospital. As a professional killer who has cleaned up crime scenes before, this doesn’t sound like something he would do. He would probably throw his shirt into the fire at the cabin. I like that the cops let him go because they all hated the dirty Pete, though perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch since Ritchie did kill like 6 people. But if the cop told him that the reason is because exposing Pete and everything he was into would reverse dozens of cases, put criminals back on the street, and destroy the reputation of the police force – then there’s more of a rational reason to let Ritchie go.

Projects like these usually get made when a big enough actor wants to play the lead role. Anti-heroes have been a growing trend in TV and film, and those types of protagonists usually are attractive to actors because it allows them to play different layers and emotions. And Ritchie feels like he has SO much churning inside of him right under the surface, but very seldom does any of it come out. I like that Ritchie has something innocent driving him as motivation – his dying baby – and I like that he has a rough backstory that he’s been to prison for 5 years and refuses to go back. It gives him a bit more of a moral compass and shows that he has compassion and a fear, but I’m not sure what Ritchie’s goal is in the story.

He goes on these little jobs given to him by other people and he wants to clean up after Nikki to clear her from Gwen’s murder, but there’s no clear case or goal or THING that Ritchie needs to accomplish by the end except survive. I would think that with his deeper need of getting redemption or vengeance for what happened to his girlfriend and Sammy, and with everything that’s happened to him, he’d have his own personal mission but there isn’t one set up. And then that goal or mission would be ruined by what he has to do to save Nikki and by working with Pete again.

Ritchie’s connection with Nikki is likable and they have a nice chemistry, but we never get much depth or backstory about them. There is a line that intimates they possibly used to sleep together or date, but we never get any real information about them or their connection. She’s a likable character who brings energy and levity to the script, and her death is definitely the emotional strong point of the story – perhaps the one true emotional moment in the script for the audience. I kept waiting for her to pop up and still be alive.

However, she does sometimes feel like this little neurotic Chihuahua constantly yapping in Ritchie’s ear. She tells other people she’s not his girlfriend, she’s not his friend, and she’s not his partner. So what is she? Where did he find her? Why does he keep her around? I actually think it’s pretty funny that after being told by Mike that she’s about to get beaten and raped in front of her boyfriend, her only response is “he’s not my boyfriend.” It makes her seem like a tough girl, but we already know she’s not really because of what happened with Gwen and how freaked out she is.

It’s clear Ritchie has this history with Pete and this anger or guilt over what he did to Sammy in the opening scene because of Pete, but other than knowing they “used to run together,” we don’t know anything about Ritchie’s relationship with Sammy or why this affected him so greatly. Did he have to shoot his best friend? After Sammy, has Ritchie been searching for some sort of redemption? Because he’s still doing the same things he was doing when he killed Sammy, so I’m not sure exactly how he’s trying to change.

Overall, the dialogue is pretty strong. You have nice moments of levity, the description is sparse and clear and easy to visualize, and your characters do have personality that comes through their dialogue. I think the biggest note in terms of dialogue is that it doesn’t always feel as NOIR-ish as it could, especially in Ritchie’s voice. His cadence and the speed of his dialogue and his delivery should basically set the tone of the script. It’s a solid thriller, but to make it stand out, I think giving it more of a noir slant could help.

Just a few specific page notes –

Pg 36 – Typo – It should be BOBBY who says the line, “He doesn’t get through that door again” instead of Richie.

Pg 40 – Can cut the scene heading at bottom as it’s the same location she’s already in.

Pg 43 – We don’t know immediately that Dimitri is the husband, as we’ve never seen him before.

Pg 54 – This scene with the 3 against one (and even Ritchie’s line about it) is pretty reminiscent of the Jack Reacher scene outside the diner.

Pg 55 – “I’m the one who got the fucking brain facial” is a great line.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable and fast read with a castable lead character. It’s a perfectly serviceable script. I think the biggest issue is just making the story and tone stand out against so many other thrillers about killers with a conscience. Stick with it! Keep writing! And best of luck! Thanks again Kosta for submitting your script Lowlife” to Simply Scripts, and congratulations on being the featured script of the month.

NO BULLSCRIPT 20 POINT GRADING SHEET AND RECOMMENDATION:

PROJECT: CONSIDER

Elements Excellent Solid Needs Work Poor
Concept/Premise            X    
Story                X    
Structure          X    
Conflict/Drama            X    
Consistent Tone                      X    
Pacing        X    
Stakes                  X    
Climax   X    
Resolution                           X    
Overall Characters             X    
Protagonist         X    
Antagonist                X            
Dialogue                                 X    
Transitions                                 X    
Format, Spelling,   Grammar, Pg Count                      X    
Well Defined Theme                      X    
Commercial Appeal/Hook           X           
Overall Originality                                           X  
Production Value              X     
International Appeal              X    

         

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

No BullScript Consulting – Danny Manus Introduction and Script Review - posted by wonkavite

And lo, a new era at Shootin’ the Shorts begins….

 

One month ago, we at STS began Stage 2 of the site’s development: reviewing features. On June 1st, we showcased the first of many future feature length scripts, Based on a True Story by Matthew Dressel. Today, we are thrilled to announce that we have finalized plans with a partnership that we strongly feel will enhance both the feature showcase, and provide our writers with a double-helping of what they need and want – and what we aim to provide, i.e., assistance with making their scripts the best they can be, and getting those scripts exposure when they reach that oh-so-blessed point.

To that end, please welcome Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting. Having worked as a development executive in Hollywood, Danny is an in-demand script consultant, named by Creative Screenwriting Magazine as one of the “Top 15” consultants in their “Cream of the Crop” list. As part of the new partnership, Danny will be providing wonderfully detailed notes once a month for the chosen STS showcased feature length script. These notes will be provided free to the writer, and can be posted on STS or kept confidential – at the writer’s discretion. Oh – and did we mention? Any script that gets a coveted “recommend” from tough but eminently fair Danny will be featured in his monthly newsletter and may also receive further exposure to his production contacts.

Below, please find Danny’s notes/coverage for Based on a True Story. But first… a few words from the man himself.

******

From Danny:

Welcome, writers, to the new ‘Simply No Bull’ Zone. Getting notes and professional feedback is a vital part of the writing and development process, and Simply Scripts and No BullScript Consulting is now bringing this part of the process to YOU for free. Every month, from YOUR feature film script submissions to Simply Scripts, a Featured Script of the Month will be chosen and that script will get the No Bull treatment from me. With each set of notes, I will go through what works wonderfully about the script, but also what still needs work or more development for it to become a stronger, more commercially viable project.

Not only will the project get notes, but also a 20-Point Grading Sheet and Recommendation. Any script that gets a ‘Recommend’ from me will also be featured in my monthly newsletter and may be sent out through my No Bull Hollywood Connection, where scripts that are truly ready get their logline and query letter sent to over 65 production companies, managers and agents by way of personal email from me.

Submit your script today HERE and it may be the next feature project chosen. Don’t forget to read and comment on the scripts yourself. If you wish to contact me directly, I can be reached via the No BullScript Consulting website at http://www.nobullscript.net/contact/. Or on Twitter @DannyManus. Now, without further interruption, here’s a sample of what to expect:

NO BULLSCRIPT ANALYSIS

 

Title: Based on a True Story

Type of Material: Screenplay

Author: Matthew Dressel

Number of Pages: 112

Submitted To: Simply Scripts

Circa: Present

Location: Los Angeles

Genre: Comedy/Heist

Coverage Date: 6/18/14

Budget Range: Low

________________________________________________________________________

COMMENTS: Matthew, thank you for submitting your script, “Based on a True Story”to Simply Scripts. The following notes and comments will go through what works well and what still needs to be worked on or changed in order to make this a more viable and commercial script.

The old adage “write what you know” usually hurts more writers than it helps. This is for the very simple reason that most writers don’t know what that actually means. However, this script takes that adage and gives it a strong, elevated kick to the nuts. The single most cliché setup/concept/goal I have read in scripts (other than saving the world) is where the main character is a writer trying to break into Hollywood and sell their script. It is what far too many new writers choose to write about, because it’s “what they know” and this always leads me to ask the question – “Is that ALL you know?” Because 99.8% of the time, these stories are cliché, boring, unoriginal, and not very visual or compelling.

However, your script seems to be an exception. It takes the very cliché character motivation and set up and takes it into an original, over the top, funny, and well-written direction. It takes the question “What could possibly go wrong?” and repeatedly shows us exactly what the answer is to nice comedic effect. There is a thin line between over the top farce and spoof, and your script stays just on the right side of that and the writing shows off a level of skill and voice I think would appeal to many managers and producers. It feels in the vein of films like Trapped in Paradise and 30 Minutes or Less.

While I do think the concept itself might work even better as a short film than a feature (or it feels like perhaps the concept started as a short), you do a great job at every plot turn of increasing the stakes and finding new directions for the story to go in that elicit even more comedy. It’s hard in a comedy of errors to constantly find more errors that create comedy, but you use all the tenets of strong comedy to do so and advance the plot – miscommunication, mistaken identity, misdirection, miss-timing – and of course Nazis.

It’s likewise difficult to make characters with pretty superficial goals and little forethought into consequences feel likeable and castable, but Bill and Tim both become quite likeable.

Tim has a nice arc in his shyness and when he finally overcomes it, it is to hilarious results with the Nazi supporters. But what I really like about Tim is that he’s gay but you never ever play up that fact. It’s an off-the-cuff comment on one page thatclues us in, but it’s never made a big deal of. He just happens to be gay, and that’s something I don’t see often enough in scripts.

My biggest issue with Bill and Tim is that they are actually willing to go to jail for this plan. They know it’s a possibility and they are OK with that. I don’t quite buy this from two guys who are NOT criminals and are just trying to become famous. There would need to be a better reasoning for them to just accept this, like if they got convinced that going to jail would give them street cred or more experiences to write about. They could list all the movies/TV shows about jail or writers and actors who have been to jail who went on to become mega stars. It has to play into their motivation instead of just being dismissed like it’s no big deal.

At some points, Bill seems genuinely delusional about what they are doing and what it will get them, especially once the robbery is already going on (and going badly). It becomes unclear what Bill thinks their actual endgame is once the cops show up. How does he THINK this will actually end and how did he plan on giving himself up?

Terry is a questionable character for me because when they ask in the audition montage if he’s ever been convicted of a felony, he seems lost and quite innocent, but then on page 33 he seems like a totally different character, drinking, gun-toting and starting a crime spree. He becomes this violent psychopath, but it’s not clear where this comes from. On page 34, I’d suggest changing his line at the top to “A little dress rehearsal.” Likewise, the series of shots of his crime spree are a bit unclear as we don’t know what establishment he’s holding up. It’s not clear why they hire Terry in the first place and why they don’t fire him. Perhaps Tim could want to, but they are both too scared to do it and they can comment on how “I think we broke Terry.”

The audition montage is funny, but I think some of the characters they meet in that audition need to be the ones we see later on in the “roles” involved in their heist plot. Otherwise, it’s just a meaningless montage gag. Yes, they find Nancy, but she seems to be the only one they hire from a two page montage.

The structure is quite strong and your opening scene blends both comedy and action nicely and sets up an interesting glimpse into the tone and madness that is going to come in the story.

Your subplots, each seemingly more over the top than the last, connect well with your main storyline and help elevate the general concept and theme. If you had told me that Nazis, David Bowie, Rick Moranis, bank heists, fake detectives, and Hollywood could all come together cohesively, I would have bet against you. But you make it work.

However, there are a number of characters or parts of Bill’s plan that aren’t set up or explained enough. Bill says that they will hire actors and script it all out, but it’s not really clear which parts he’s hiring actors for and if THEY are still going to be the ones actually robbing the bank. As I said, maybe some of the actors playing “roles” inthe heist – like Carl and Vic – should be seen in the audition montage because right now, they are just random people.

The robbery before the robbery with Vin and Lonny, for me, is quite confusing. While it’s hilarious in the opening scene, it becomes unclear as they are leaving the bank and Bill and Tim are entering, if that was part of their plan. Were Vin and Lonny in on it with Bill? If not, their brief interaction as Vin leaves doesn’t make much sense. Bill’s dialogue on page 45 confirming that the bank is already being robbed makes it seem like both groups are in it together, especially since he acknowledges that Sam will be asked to leave. In the bank, Vin says “who the fuck is Bill?” But then as they cross paths, Vin says “thanks for the clean get away” so this sequence created a “HUH?” moment for me where I was no longer sure how/if these two were connected. Page 52 with Bill’s seemingly forced questioning that the bank had already been robbed furthered this confusion, especially since he just saw them leave with bags of money. He seems to know it’s already being robbed, but not sure by whom. This was the biggest sticking point in the plot for me. I think you need to make this plot point clear, and perhaps show a scene of Vin and Lonny later on in the script to see what happened to them. Are they watching this craziness unfold on TV? I think there needs to be a button scene with a bit more payoff and explanation for this other robbery.

Also, the initial robber is named VIN. The fake cop that is part of Bill’s plan is named VIC. I actually thought the whole time that they were the same person and that VIN had come back to play the “role” of the cop, which confused me greatly. You should never have two names of two different characters that similar as many readers may not turn back to make sure it’s not the SAME name. I kept wondering why the bank robber would come back to the scene of the crime and chance being caught, and also how the first robbery was connected to them.

While I love the Nazi bit in the script and how it pays off, the leader TERRENCE needs a bit more set up as I didn’t remember seeing him earlier in the script before page 90. We only get the incredibly brief background mention that Neo-Nazis are planning a rally on page 20, and I’m not sure this is enough set up for that. Also, again, you already have a TERRY character, so now having a TERRENCE character makes it very confusing on the page. Terry/Terrence, Vin/Vic – these little things confuse your story where there need not be any confusion if you just used different names.

Rick Moranis’ cameo is hilarious, and he could be switched out with any other actor, which is smart. You have a great set up and pay off for this, but there’s a line on page 28 about “How is he supposed to get into the bank?” that I didn’t quite understand until later when Moranis shows up and tries to get in. I didn’t get why Moranis wouldn’t already be IN the bank for his role. Why he’dhave to come in half way through if he was playing one of the bad guys. This little logistic issue was a “HUH?” moment for me on page 28.

One thing that impressed me throughout your script are your wonderful transitions. This shows a visual eye and a finessed voice that many scripts are lacking. Strong, seamless transitions between scenes is one of the signs of a writer at the “next” level.

Similarly, strong writers know how to craft strong reveals in their script. Whether it’s a hidden plot reveal or a comedic reveal of a visual or gag, it takes a talented hand to craft strong trailer moment-worthy reveals, and you have a number of them. One such example is the reveal that Bill works as a 911 phone operator. Great build up, great reveal, and it’s unexpected, which creates great comedy.

There are a number of great set ups which are almost throw-away lines or actions, that come back to pay off in big ways later on in the script, including mentioning the CAMEO by a big actor and Tim stealing the props from the set. And I really enjoy the irony that Tim (and Bill) become famous and the footage goes viral for all the wrong reasons. Creating strong irony in your story is also a sign of a mature writer.

That being said, perhaps my biggest issue with the script is the logistic and time jump issues in your third act, as well as tying up some more of the loose ends and plotlines. To jump 20 years later after your climax is a huge jump that causes some logistic issues. For instance, no one WOULD care about this “true story” 20 years later, and Rick Moranis would be almost 80 years old. I didn’t BUY the conversation Bill has with the producer on page 110 because it’s just been too long since the robbery happened. I would suggest re-examining the last couple of pages, perhaps making the time jump only 5-8 years? And include a bit of dialogue that ties up some of the other characters and storylines – Nancy, Terry, Vic, Sam, Cardigan, Vin, etc. And I think Bill’s last line of the script could also be a bit stronger. I wouldn’t end the movie on a fading show of tem driving away arguing – I think it has to be an exact beat and a sharper last moment.

I still wanted to know a bit more about what happened to Nancy, their female accomplice, in their story. I thought she might have been used more in the plot, either as a romantic interest or as a pivotal plot device. Terry approaches her and tells her she’s going to have to make a choice, which would create a great moral dilemma for Nancy – but that moment never really arises and is never used.

The dialogue is sharp and funny, and you know how to create big comedic moments as well as quirky subversive moments. After reading this script, I’m not SURE that it is an easy sell given the goal of the characters. Most people in the broad viewing audience don’t really give a crap if someone sells a script or not – it’s not a goal they can relate with enough (which is why more stories about breaking into Hollywood don’t get made). But I think this makes for a great writing sample and I would absolutely be interested in seeing what you could do with a different concept and story.

Stick with it! Keep writing! And best of luck! Thanks again Matthew for submitting your script “Based on a True Story” to Simply Scripts, and congratulations on being the featured script of the month.

NO BULLSCRIPT 20 POINT GRADING SHEET AND RECOMMENDATION:

PROJECT: STRONG CONSIDER

Elements Excellent Solid Needs Work Poor
Concept/Premise X
Story X
Structure X
Conflict/Drama X
Consistent Tone X
Pacing X
Stakes X
Climax X
Resolution X
Overall Characters X
Protagonist X
Antagonist X
Dialogue X
Transitions X
Format, Spelling, Grammar, Pg Count X
Well Defined Theme X
Commercial Appeal/Hook X
Overall Originality X
Production Value X
International Appeal X

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Script of the Day
May 29, 2017

    The Tenderest Cuts by Alexander Brauck (PrussianMosby ) writing as Anonymous

    When a couple rebuffs their sex-obsessed roommate, they set free her inherited psychological craftsmanship.
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    *Randomizer code provided by Cornetto.

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