Why Script Critique & Analysis Is Useful
99.9% of all screenplays submitted to Production Companies / Producers / Actors / Agents / etc. are so poorly written that within a dozen pages, the reader will be compelled to send them directly to the trash.
Why? Poor formatting, typos, clunky dialogue, bland characters, confusing story logic, slow story development, and just plain boring – that is the norm. And if your script falls into the 99.9%, you will have alienated your potential client from ever looking at any of your works again.
There is no need for an experienced reader to slog through a hundred pages of amateur writing to reject a script.
Sending in your script without it first being critiqued & analyzed by a professional is probably a waste of you and your potential client's time.
The question is how do you know who to send your script to. Below I have a link to an actual critique and analysis of a script which I analyzed and what you can expect from my services. Also, is the rewritten script taking into account my recommendations and corrections?
I PERSONALLY OFFER TO CRITIQUE & ANALYZE
THE FIRST 10 PAGES OF YOUR SCRIPT FOR FREE
Sample 10 Page Critique & Analysis
In`1 America's deepest coal mine, EPA inspectors, intent on shutting down the coal industry, face death as nature and a
malevolent being slaughter using mankind's deepest fears.
(Download File To View PDF Notes)
You can decide if my comments were useful and if your script wouldn't benefit from a complete examination.
At a minimum, you will have confirmation of the quality of your opening pages or a cautionary warning that you may need to reexamine your script before sending it out to the world.
Our 10 page free critique will focus on these areas:
'It's All About Story! The Art Of The Screenplay'
What couldn't be done in 10 pages is to suggest:
Critique & Analysis
Finally there's interest in your script!
Sign up for 'The Script Savant' 'Pitch Package'
Our 'Pitch Package' will teach you to give a compelling presentation on your script. But we go a step further and teach you the techniques of how to continue to engage your audience.
You Learn to improve your pitch in just 3 sessions through: 'The Craft of Presentation'
We focus on your vocal delivery, emotional resonance, and narrative organization.
Sign up for the Script Savant 'Pitch Package'
Luck Favors the Prepared
For this pitching exercise, i'll use one of my scripts, 'The Shadows,' with its link: The Shadows
Here's a possible scenario between 'You' and your 'Interviewer'.
subtext: what have you done? why are you interesting?
1-You: My name is Dallas Jones, and I'm originally a software developer and an athlete? I ran track in the Marine Corps. I recently wrote the remake of Stephen King's CUJO for the original distributor of Cujo, Sunn Classic Pictures. And I have a website that is dedicated to screenwriting - The Script Savant
1-Why: Give the interviewer a hook into who you are, which hopefully will make a personal connection, and lead to a positive exchange of dialogue.
2-Interviewer: What inspired your story?
2-You: Late at night I often listen to 'Coast to Coast'. The ultimate in conspiracies: Alien Invasions, The Hollow Earth, UFO's, Vampires and Monsters, and behind each, an expert who professes the dark secrets of each. I wanted to create a radio show, 'The Abyss' that searches out conspiracies and attracts believers. Our main characters uncover a real truth, the destruction of life on this planet by a new life form that moves through time. The problem is the leaders of the world don't believe them.
2-Why: Create an interesting story about what inspired this. It gives you a chance to show off your creativity, passion, and knowledge on the story you are talking about.
For this exercise let's have fun and take a well-established producer as the Interviewer: JJ Abrams
3-Interviewer: Nice meeting you Dallas. I'm JJ Abrams and I HOPE to produce your story.
3-You: I see you also enjoy Sci-Fi. One of my favorite shows was the 'Person of Interest' series starring Jim Caviezel. The show sounds like it explored the first steps of the Singularity (the merging of humans with superhuman intelligence, changing the nature of man - I believe it will be the next step in evolution on this planet).
3-Why: If possible find out about your interviewer and what they might be interested in - connect with the interviewer on a personal level - they'll show a greater interest in you and your story - if you know who will be interviewing you, look them up on the internet or IMDBPro.com. I typed in JJ Abrams in google and found he was the Executive Producer on one of my favorite series, 'Person of Interest' and was soon coming out with a Sci-Fi series called Contraband. Both are innovative Sci-Fi series. Sci-Fi being something I believe he's interested in.
4-Interviewer: Tell me a little about the title of your story.
4-You: 'The Shadows' - involves multi-dimensional creatures moving through the shadows of time.
4-Why: Connect the title to the story - so the interviewer makes a connection - always give enough information to help the interviewer connect.
5-Interviewer: This story's genre? Sci-Fi?
5-You: It's firmly a Sci-Fi/Horror story with an emphasis on Suspense and Drama because of character interaction.
5-Why: Different producers specialize in different genres or combination of genres.
6-High-Concept: is a unique original idea with mass appeal.
6-Interviewer: Does your story have a High-Concept?
6-You: What lies in shadows have always scared people - shadows conjure fears brought up by one's imagination when facing the unknown. - 'The Shadows' threatens ALL life on Earth - because of this it will appeal to hardcore Sci-Fi/Horror fans while personal conflicts between characters grappling with beliefs of who we are as a unique person will appeal to those that love Suspense and Drama.
6-Why: The larger the potential audience, the more people will be inclined to invest in your story. Also, people are looking for a breakout story that captures an audience's imagination.
7-Interviewer: You envision this in the theaters or streaming series?
7-You: 'The Shadows' was originally written as a feature film with the idea of creating a brand for future installments but it has the flexibility to be written as a series.
7-Why: Some investors/producers are looking for a film series while other's are looking only for feature films. The more flexible you've structured your story the greater chance you will match up with possible investors.
8-Interviewer: what' your logline?
8-You: Humanities' fate depends on one’s willingness to risk all to unravel the deadly secrets of an alien malevolence which hunts from the shadows of time.
8-Why: Well written logline helps the interviewer visualize the entire picture in a single statement.
9-Interviewer: What's the Theme of your story?
9-You:Commitment - how a person must sometimes step into the fearful unknown to reach their dreams - the words of Robert Browning resonates - "a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what are dreams for? "Any dream worthwhile often requires a one-hundred percent commitment. The different characters represent various aspects of commitment.
9-Why: Theme - is what you hope the story conveys - the thread that runs through your story - the hidden meaning behind the dialogue and action - if conveyed well, the theme should be figured out by the audience and not shoved down their throat by the writer.
10-Interviewer: What's unique about your story?
10-You: The Universe is complicated. I believe life exists that's utterly alien to our biological existence. And I've always been interested in the interaction between the PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE. My story gives a fresh look at what non-biological life might be like in the universe and what dangers await its discovery if this life could move through time.
10-Why: If your story resonates with you emotionally, it has a good chance it will with your interviewer - your job is to make it resonate with the interviewer through your passion for your story.
11-Interviewer: You thought of a tagline?
11-You: Stay Out Of The Shadows!
11-Why: Taglines - they are usually 3-10+ words - catchy phrases that captures the imagination.
12-Interviewer: I'm intrigued, tell me more - you have a synopsis?
12-You: Our story begins when a shower of deadly crystal meteors strikes remote areas across the world. Soon, mysterious deaths from stepping into projected shadows raise tensions between superpowers mistaking the incidents as hostile acts with a new weapon created by global enemies.
At California-s Griffith Park Observatory, mixed race Caucasian/Native American, Phoenix Cota (26), discovers a bizarre crystal fragment dangling from a sundial and a haunting note in a child's handwriting - 'We Are Alive!' At this time, he meets Emma (10), a bright and endearing girl on the autism spectrum who sees the future through visions she doesn't understand.
Phoenix agrees to appear on his half-brother Tuc's (28), radio show,'The Abyss', a program dedicated to the supernatural. Tuc has the gift of prophecy but cursed in not believing in his own predictions. On the show, Phoenix expounds on an outlandish theory about the quantum emergence of non-biological life, which endangers all life on Earth. His talk jeopardizes his degree program and his work at the observatory. Mentoring as a Big Brother, he brings a young student to a children's book reading being given by Olympic cyclist Piper Spencer (24), unknowingly, Emma's older sister.
Sparks fly. But under pressure from his Doctoral board to drop his outlandish theory or face being cut from the program, he ends their affair without explanation. He resumes his studies in astrophysics at the University of Hawaii.
A year later, he returns to California and takes a troop of young boy scouts on a camping excursion into the Santa Monica mountains, where he runs into Emma and an angry Piper.
Piper manages a troop of girl scouts at a nearby campsite. The two camping troops quickly clash.
While rescuing Emma and Piper in the mountains, Phoenix discovers an ancient Indian ancestral cave with cryptic pictographs of crystal travelers.
That evening around the campfire, a second wave of meteorites strike, giving Phoenix firsthand support of his theory. The world again misinterprets them as hostile acts from global superpowers.
The world teeters on the edge of nuclear annihilation as world leaders escalate threats and accusations of weaponizing space.
Phoenix logs into ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial Impact Last Alert System) out of Hawaii to analyze possible global meteor strikes.
His non-biological life's theory strikes home when Emma and Piper are attacked and vanish in the shadows.
The meaning of the child's note, 'We Are Alive!' along with the mysterious ancient Indian pictographs strike home.
Phoenix takes a leap of faith that Piper and Emma are still alive, and he risks everything to enter the crystal world. Inside, he reunites with the two women as they struggle to avoid the terrible creatures that roam the passages of time.
Piper loses her life helping Phoenix and Emma escape a time shifting guardian that can't be destroyed.
They find themselves in Earth's desolate near future, a world destroyed in a nuclear conflagration.
Videos taken by Emma inside the crystal brings forth the knowledge to escape their fate by re-entering the crystal world and rescuing Piper before she was killed.
The trio returns to the day the meteorites first struck Earth to help unite the world against 'The Shadows.'
Why:Your synopsis for a pitch should be 2 to 5 minutes unfolding the story from beginning to end - it shows you can tell a story that resonates with people and that makes sense - point out interesting twists in the story - this would usually translate to about 1 to 2 pages of writing.
13-Interviewer: Who do you envision as the lead characters?
13-You: I see a young Tom Cruise would be perfect as the protagonist. His portrayal of Jack Harper in 'Oblivion' captures the concept of total commitment when he sacrifices himself after he gives his great speech ata the end, 'And how can man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his Gods?' The very essence of commitment.
13-Why: The producer will visualize the person in the part and may know someone that comes to mind.
14-Interviewer: How far alone are you with all the aspects of your story?
14-You: I've created a pilot script, logline, taglines, theme and put together the first half dozen story lines of a possible series.
15-Interviewer: What Film Budget Do You Envision?
15-You: I see a SHOOTING BUDGET of around that of 'A Quiet Place' which made about 60 million at the boxoffice.What keeps the cost down is there is really only a few shooting locations:
15-Why: Often the interviewer is trying to get a ball park figure on the movies cost and is it in their budget. By bringing up other movies with a similar cost and excellent profits they can gage if they can afford to invest in your movie.
Note: Most movies are made for under 5 million dollars. As example 'Blum House Pictures' normally only invests a maximum of 5 million dollars, of their own money, on a new film. Many of their box office hits return in excess of 100 million. (i.e. The Purge, Halloween, Get Out, Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Happy Death Day, Truth or Dare, Whiplash, and over a hundred more, many franchise movies they have produced)
16-Interviewer: What's other stories do you have?
You:I've got over a dozen other story scripts that range from horror to comedy, from Bollywood to English drama and everything in-between.
Why:Often the interviewer is looking for something other than what you are putting forward. Here's where 'luck favors the prepared' really means something. When given the opportunity don't waste it. If you say you don't, then like Keyser Söze the interview will end, your connection will vanish - never to return - an opportunity wasted.
Above, I covered everything from a 30 second elevator pitch (title & logline) to a 15-30 minute grilling.
A final comment - practice answering these questions and others that you think an interviewer might come up with - have passion for your project - passion helps convince people your project is worth producing.
Have A Great Story
|Newsletter 001||How To Pitch Your Screenplay|
|Newsletter 002||Mastering Creativity in Storytelling|
|Newsletter 003||The Art of Project Collaboration|
|Newsletter 004||Your First Dozen Pages Isn't Awesome|
|Newsletter 005||Your First Page Isn't Awesome|