TITLE: xxx (title removed for privacy)
Analyst: Barry John Terblanche
The subject matter is living with social depression and wanting to commit
suicide over it. Here, xxx, the writer has done a great job in taking a comedic
approach on the subject. The theme and plot are well set from the beginning – living with social depression and suicidal intentions. Whilst the concept and theme is nothing new, the writer's story hereto however is unique... Steve can’t die.
The writer has done well in delivering a well-written comedy off the back of what would otherwise be a soppy drama.
The story is well structured throughout, in which the pacing is constant. Scenes flowed well one into the next, and they always meaningful to the story. The use of a narrative to give exposition was well utilized. No faults in this department.
The plot was introduced early and clearly understood, Steven is suicidal, and can not die. A great hook... Why? How? What will happen? In which the writer does well to tell us the why? by the end of act. .1, How? by the end of act .2, and the what will happen?mid 3rd act. Whilst the plot is understood, it does not deliver as advertised... giving for a somewhat confusing and dull ending. (See comments in storyline/theme)
xxx, tells the story of Steven, a socially depressed suicide who for the love of wanting to die... is not able to. His first failed attempt has him committed to a psychiatric ward that soon releases him to the care of his estranged father who had left him and his mother when he was a young boy. Stevens release is subject to him completing a seven-day program in which he has to complete each daily task... not that he gives a darn, as he keeps trying to kill himself, in vain. This amidst God that keeps telling him to stop his shit and get a life. Steven nevertheless successfully completes the seven-day tasks just to get away from the custody court order of having to live with his father, who turns out to be the FATHER, God himself. The story concludes where it started with Steven leaping off a 7-story building. His POV as the pavement closes in on him... we FADE OUT to BLACK. End.
Whilst the story was entertaining from the beginning to the end, with a clear plot, the writer could have given more detail as to why God chose to save him, and did he in fact save him? This is what the audience will be left with asking themselves. The writer will do well to give thought to an alternatively ending, one that was a satisfying, conclusive ending... a comedic ending, It is after all the genre of the story. Overall an entertaining story that reads well and delivers good comic relief.
Overall the format is according to standards. Just a few issues to be addressed... Pg-18, STEVEN (O.S) yet he is in the car with Bob. Pg-43, new characters Liam, and the dog are not CAPPED. The dog is a character... and you must insert (V.O) when he “talks”, dogs can’t talk. Pg-88, Bob’s parenthetical (twitching his fingers behind his back with a confused look). You can't indicate an action in a parenthetical, for all one that's not seen “fingers behind back”. BOB (frowns). No need to type --the interrupting speaking character, just end the interrupted character with--
Characters are well defined with good arcs to which they play their role well. Being a character-driven, emotional story, the writer has done well to ensure his characters played their role accordingly... Steven being depressed, Ben, a hard ass, yet a caring father, and Elizabeth being loving and soft-hearted. These three main characters different arcs played off well against each other to create strong conflict and emotional scenes. Minor characters seemed to be just that... and didn’t play their role too well. For example, the two drunk men in the bar did not act and or speak as drunk people would, yet drunk Ben did. There is also the hospital scene where nurse Mary’s actions, dialogue, and tone overpowered the doctor. Yet, Mary is introduced as a 19-year old intern. She's too young "19", and an intern would never speak to a 50-year old doctor like that. The writer will do well in looking into those scenes, and also the one where the cat chases the Pit-bull down the road... that one is going to be tricky to film.
Overall the dialogue is well written, meaningful, informative, and always moved the story forward. Steven's dialogue and tone are noticeably always sharp and to the point as to how a depressed suicidal person would speak. Elizabeth's role as the soft-hearted X-girlfriend with mixed emotions did not always match her tone accordingly, e.g., when she comforted Steven in the car park of the shopping mall, and in the hotel scene where she is arguing with him for getting drunk, she acts angry but does not speak/sound angry even though her parenthetical indicates (shouting) it. The Pitbull's actions and dialogue (V.O) are very well written and extremely funny. Across the board, tone according to action and or emotions is generally well written, but as I had made mention... the two drunk men and Elizabeth's tone in dialogue need to be addressed. For all impressive, are the comedic scenes and dialogue that were well thought up and written, for all when Steven got exhausted from continually stabbing himself, and God saying to him... Steven, what the fuck are you doing? There are a good many of these comedy “snap” scenes that does well to keep the laughs flowing.
A well thought up and written story in which the writer has done well in delivering a comedic take to a suicidal person. The plot and theme are set up early to a story with a strong premise that delivers throughout. We have seen these drama/action "can't die" movies before, in the likes of the classic – The Highlander. Giving it a comedic take (movie), for all this one, is highly marketable and will appeal to a large global audience across all race, gender, and age. As I'd mentioned... concerning the ending, the writer should consider my comments in the storyline.
Comedy always attracts an audience. The better the story and laughs, the better the take at the box office - xxx, will be one such movie. Investors and producers alike are sure to take an interest in this script (the polished rewrite, that is).
Genre is always a production cost factor, action is expensive while character-driven is less expensive, xxx being a character-driven story that has one main actor (Steven) and two supporting actors (Ben and Elizabeth), and a hand full of minor speaking characters and a couple of extras... let's not forget the Pit-bull.
There are only a few light action scenes of which the only real high cost would be Steven falling down the seven-story building, which would most likely be done with a green screen? The exploding house and plane crash would most likely be stock-shots. Locations are simple as they playoff in one city where most scenes take place in the psychiatric ward, and Bill's house.
What would be costly is Steven's obsession with Madonna... all those songs will be costly royalties. I'm saying would be, as the executives would most likely replace Madonna with a cheaper artist that has similar meaningful songs and or simply does away with the music? That’s their call... the writer need not worry about rewriting the artist and or removing it.
The premise, plot, and story could be told/written across other genres and still have the same outcome, not just as good as a comedy... the writer done well in his choice. An original take in presenting a comedic story to what would otherwise be a morbid drama story of a depressed suicidal person.
A great plot and theme story of Steven that keeps trying to kill himself but can't die. xxx is a well-written (fix the format problems) script that gives a pleasant read to an entertaining story that will please a large global audience across all walks of life.
xxx, ticks all the boxes, and if it does not make for an A movie, it's sure to be a B or at least a TV feature... not before the writer gives this one a solid rewrite in addressing the issues I made mention too.
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Thank you very much for sharing your story, xxx. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your script for its characters and plot, and I’d love to help you elevate the story. I have a few ideas on how to improve the storyline/telling concerning the main character Steven, and I can give input on how the story can be structurally altered to give a much better ending. We offer a 1-hour one-to-one online consultation service where we can discuss these issues. I can answer any specific questions you may have and address the other strengths and weaknesses in your script. This can be done via Skype or Zoom at your earliest convenience.
All the best, Barry Terblanche.
TITLE: XXX (title removed for privacy)
Analyst: Barry John Terblanche
xxx takes a subtle comedic take on the much-debated topic of environmentalist and vegans versus the fast-food outlets. Here the writer takes this debate between a married couple... the wife being the vegan, and the husband a fast-food outlet manager. The concept is nothing new, yet the story of xxx gives it a new, and enlightening comedic approach.
The story is well structured to a well-written story that flows well scene-into-scene, never leaving us behind and always moving the story forward. An easy and pleasant read to a great story, a real page-turner. The opening incitement in act .1 carried the story well into act .2 and smoothed out nicely in the resolution of act .3. Excellent pacing.
xxx tells the story of a happily married couple, Kyle, an executive at a fast-food chain, and Jade, a publishing editor for P.L.A.E. (People for the liberation of animals and the environment). Jade is taken by the beliefs of the P.L.A.E and becomes a strong activist amongst the group, also becoming a vegan herself. This causes problems for Kyle and the company he works for, Yum Burgers.
Yet never their marriage that’s cast in stone. The story is strong and carries
itself well in delivering on the topic of P.L.A.E and being a vegan. However, the introduction of Paul, the nature environmentalist, did not offer much to the story as a whole... if anything it added confusion to the general topic of the story, and the writer will do well to look into removing this character together with those sub-plot scenes. The mention (slandering) of trademark companies like KFC, and McDonald's will need to be removed.
A much-debated topic of environmentalist and vegans versus the fast-food outlets. The story plays off well by telling (theme) it across a married couple, one a vegan activist, the other a meat-loving fast-food manager. Again, Paul and his views clash with the overall theme.
Characters are well presented with strong arcs to which they play their role accordingly. Jade is particularly strong in how her arc changes from being a passive, loving woman to becoming a militant vegan activist. Kyle’s approach too, in having to deal with his now-estranged wife, is well executed. Sally May portrayed her role well as the sex craving rich Texan.
The excellent writing gives for a story that reads well... smooth, comprehensive, and relateable with strong dialogue that is crisp, clear, and to the point - it never wanders off to been jargon, or on the nose. Characters had a strong tone in which they expressed their emotions well. Dialogue always carried the story forward in a meaningful and informative way, in particular those of Kyle and Jade.
The writer clearly had the production value in mind when he wrote this story. Following on from my comments in concept... a well written great story that will give for a satisfied audience. A heartfelt drama story with a mix of love and comedy always fits well with the audience and is sure to attract investors and producers to this low/medium production cost that will have a high reaching global audience.
A well-executed idea to script/story, that is well laid-out to give a pleasant and entertaining read to a good story. The reader believes it will be even better after the writer addresses the Paul issues made mention too.
Overall rating: Recommend