Wednesday, October 08, 2008

More Union Feedback - Writers On The Storm

I entered my script, Union, into Writers On The Storm and didn't get far. Ok, I got nowhere. They did provide feedback. Here it goes..........

Recommendation: Pass

Strengths/Weaknesses:

There are a lot of fun moments in this script, and a great family dynamic, but the story doesn't quite come together as it should. Characters are so quirky that they have a tendency to feel like caricatures instead of fleshed out people. The pacing of the story drags as a result of the flashbacks and changes in perspective. A good start, but a ways to go.


Reader suggestions:

One of the major concerns of the script is that we're never quite sure who the protagonist is, Hoyt or Barnaby. Barnaby's narrator status makes us lean toward him - the audience is seeing the story from his perspective.

However, the majority of the story centers on Hoyt. This slows the story down. Strengthen pacing by giving the script a stronger conflict, and making sure it sticks to a classic three-act structure, which works well with comedies. Consider eliminating some or all of the flashbacks - we don't need them to understand the family, and they interrupt the narrative.

Work on fleshing out the whole family - give them more flaws, more motivated personality, and more active goals throughout the script.

***At the end of the notes they gave it some scores, it boiled down to Structure, Major & Minor Characters, Title, Premise & Execution being labeled as SO-SO and Dialogue, Style/Voice, Originality, and Commerciality labeled as GOOD.

"So-So." That's a funny critique. They should have a "Neat" or "It was aiight" or "Kinda sucked."

Oh well, onto the next contest/script/query/who knows.

10 comments:

deepstructure said...

so do you agree with the coverage? do you think you have a weakness when it comes to plot/story/narrative? if so, how are you going to address those?

The Moviequill said...

hmmm, I thought you were staying away from contests...

deepstructure said...

apparently he's also staying away from answering comments... ;)

Pat said...

I was actually staying away from checking my blog for a few days, I'm busy and have 2 kids (one with a stomach virus) so my blog isn't first thing on my mind. It's like 14th.

MQ, you're right but I always like to send out to 1 or 2. I certainly don't send out to like 5+ like I used to. They are a waste of time for the most part.

And DeepStruct - I don't have a weakness in my scripts in plot/story/narrative but for this script I thought it might be an issue.

I don't always keep to a basic 3-Act structure (mostly, yes, but I like to play around sometimes in some of my indie-minded scripts). I have written 40+, so they're not all boilerplate 3-Act type of stuff.

I did spend time with both characters (while the kid narrates, we see a lot of the Dad's POV) so I can see the reader's point, and the best way to fix will be to focus on either the kid or Dad more, which isn't that tough of a fix.

E.C. Henry said...

Patrick, if the coverage can't tell who the protagonist is either, a) you totally wrote it f'd up (which I doubt), or b) the person giving the coverage is inept or is purposely dissing you. My point: that's a PITTIFUL comment.

The last set of comments, that your voice, originality, and commerciality are good, is a VERY good sign. Take solace in that. These days with ALL those scripts out there being RECOGNIZED as being original is one of the highest praises you can get. So let me be the lattest to say, congradualtions!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Pat said...

Thanks EC, and you may be right, but I thought it MIGHT be a problem, although I've been thinking about it and came up with another opinion: Fuck it, so what.

Why can't we see a movie from different perspectives? 'Cause McKee says we shouldn't? Fuck that, ya know? It's not at all confusing, we are seeing it unfold through a father and son.

deepstructure said...

ah, so it IS a problem.

Pat said...

Deep - Nope. It's not a problem.

Depends how you look at it. I could edit it to focus more on the kid (and likely will do an alternative draft), but it's not something I call a "problem."

I also know that there have been movies that have more than 1 protagonist. so while, it may be different, it doesn't make it wrong. Or a problem.

BUT, I also want my stuff to get made, right? So, yeah, I'll take a swing at a new draft and tryo to change focus a bit.

deepstructure said...

i was having fun with you, but i was serious. your answer (the previous "fuck it" one), was very much of the type of attack-the-messenger-not-the-message. the aluding to mckee as if he had anything really to do with this.

but i'm glad you're going to re-look at it. having no knowledge of you, the script or the expertise of the analyst, i'd still say that this:

"This slows the story down. Strengthen pacing by giving the script a stronger conflict, and making sure it sticks to a classic three-act structure, which works well with comedies. Consider eliminating some or all of the flashbacks - we don't need them to understand the family, and they interrupt the narrative.

Work on fleshing out the whole family - give them more flaws, more motivated personality, and more active goals throughout the script."

sounds like intelligent and basically relevant criticism. nothing i'm sure you can't improve on, and certainly not something that's answered by saying "fuck mckee".

Pat said...

Deep - I know you were joshing, and I didn't really mean to "fuck McKee" but some of that old school thinking can always be modified. But, obviously, the structure McKee teaches obviously works, so I don't mean to say ignore all that, not at all. But I also think it's ok to not always follow it. sometimes, maybe it works, maybe it doesn't.

And I didn't think the notes were bad, or even far off. I mean, I do like what I had with my draft, but have no problem taking another crack with the reader's opinions in mind.