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View Full Version : Writer's Block by Zach Janky



Zach Janky
05-01-2008, 09:12 PM
Logline: A troubled writer comes across unique inspiration.

mentatDUKE
05-04-2008, 04:31 PM
Hi Zach. I felt that this story has been done too much before. That's fine if it's a new take on an old idea, but the story didn't really defy expectations or zag when we expected a zig.

Everthing seems to end a bit too neatly. The bad guys are easily dispatched, the main character doesn't behave believably enough (having just witnessed a murder), and they steal the money in the end with no consequences or fear of reprisal. It all seems a bit too simple.

I would suggest introducing some hardrer problems for the protagonists to solve. The problem of how to defeat the bad guys is solved too easily. The problem of how the writer can end his story is solved by him simply quitting, etc. These simple solutions lead to a bit of an anti-climactic ending. Don't make it too easy for your characters. Force them to struggle. Keep it exciting.

Interesting premise that could have been more cleverly executed.

Looking forward to more from you.

Isaac_Brody
05-04-2008, 05:47 PM
Hey Zach, I thought your script was well executed, but I agree with some of mentatDuke's comments that things fit very neatly and expectedly. I think you were going for a comedic tone, but it might be nice to raise the stakes for Gary. He gets through this relatively unscathed. Maybe that'll change the direction you want to take it, but if you expand this a little and make the details more rough, maybe try making Victor and Dwayne less rent-a-thug and more dangerous. I tend to think that a kid just out of college with a creative writing degree might lose it and piss his pants if two armed thugs threatened to kill him. What if he actually begs for his life before Ernie bails him out?

Also, what is Gary doing when Victor threatens Ernie early on? Is he just standing there? Or does Victor interact and threaten Gary too?

Another thought, Gary fresh out of college doesn't seem that desperate. Have you thought about changing his age? Is he a washed up pulp writer? Just some ideas.

I think there's some good possibilities in this piece, especially because the concept has been done before and that gives you room to play against stereotype and expectation.

alex whitmer
05-09-2008, 11:06 AM
Writer’s block – review

Opening page dialogue feels really natural. Nice exchange. The envelope get us into the story right away.

This …

Victor’s right hand man

*Show this via action. It means little in a screenplay.

Page 3

Gary sits at his desk, watching his computer’s cursor
blink.

*Gary already sat a line before. Maybe try …

**Gary watches his computer’s cursor blink.

This …

Gary flicks on his desk lamp.

*How can he flick on the light if they blacked out?

Page 6

The phone CLICKS off again. He slams it down again.

*I’d use Gary’s name here instead of a pronoun.

This …

The pistol discharges a muffled shot, which ricochets off of the handrail, before coming loose from Dwayne’s hands, along with the briefcase.

*The way this is written sounds like the handrail comes loose, not the pistol.

Page 8

He checks his watch and puts it down before springing
his hand up again and glancing at it, wide eyed.

*This is weird. It sounds like he puts the watch down, like a pocket watch or something. I’d try …

**He checks his watch, then does a quick double take, his eyes wide.

This …

Gary sprints towards the stairs

*But he is already at the railing. Aren’t the railing and the stairs connected?

Page 10

This …

ERNIE
Millionaires.

*I am assuming you mean both got a million since you use the plural I will also assume it’s one million each. That said …

*Can two million fit in a briefcase? One million in $100.00 bills weighs about 22 pounds.

*I did a quick check …

‘’’The size in volume of a standard $100 bill is .069 cubic inches (source www.mathforum.org) 10,000 of these would be 690 cubic inches. My briefcase is 16 x 14 x 4 or 832 cubic inches. The answer would be yes, it would fit.’’’

So two million would be roughly 44 pounds and would not fit in a standard briefcase.

I like the story.

I would like to see Gary finish the ending of his story just for his own amusement. Add something about ‘happily ever after’ to keep pace with the real events. Then, make some comment about a publisher who will be paid a visit, like maybe him and Ernie decide this was – fun. Leave the door open.

As it is, it finished just a tad too clean.

alex

www.alexwhitmer.wordpress.com (http://www.alexwhitmer.wordpress.com)

Michael Anthony Horrigan
05-09-2008, 11:33 AM
*I am assuming you mean both got a million since you use the plural I will also assume it’s one million each. That said …

*Can two million fit in a briefcase? One million in $100.00 bills weighs about 22 pounds.

*I did a quick check …

‘’’The size in volume of a standard $100 bill is .069 cubic inches (source www.mathforum.org (http://www.mathforum.org)) 10,000 of these would be 690 cubic inches. My briefcase is 16 x 14 x 4 or 832 cubic inches. The answer would be yes, it would fit.’’’

So two million would be roughly 44 pounds and would not fit in a standard briefcase.
Maybe the case also had a few bearer bonds underneath the bills. :)

Pretty good story. I liked how you made it about the writer. Interesting take on the theme as well. Nothing really to say that hasn't been mentioned.

Good script.

Cheers,

Mike

Zach Janky
05-09-2008, 09:40 PM
Folks, sorry for not getting back to this, but I'd like to thank everyone so far for their comments. As long as it's constructive, I take it into consideration, and so far, everything has been.

As for having the protagonist not get through unscathed, I did want to try and make him bleed a little bit for the rewards that he benefitted from, so it wouldn't be such a clean getaway at the end. Especially because Ernie arrives at the end in the deus-ex-machina-mobile to save the day. At this point, I feel that if this is to be the case with Ernie's role, then yes, the main character needs to be maimed in some mental or physical form so it doesn't all tidy up in a neat bow tie. I've had a few ideas come to me after submitting this, which, combined with everyone's comments so far, will end up going into the next revision of this. I had other things in mind before submitting it, but alas, that would have pushed it past the 10 page limit.

Again, thanks to everyone for the comments so far.

Captain Pierce
05-10-2008, 08:07 PM
As a writer, I'm completely prepared to ignore any inconsistencies in this script as long as it explains to me how to get a million cash for myself every time I have writer's block. :D

Seriously, though, it seems that by the time that Gary could have written everything down, and Fred could've read it, that Victor and his crew would've been long gone.

mjjason
05-13-2008, 09:43 AM
I really liked this story. The script was well paced with good exchanges between characters. Hi had a pretty good connection with Ernie and Gary's character. They were likeable and the comrodarie between them was easy to see.

Also, even though the ending was very clean with everything wrapped up nicely I really had no problem with that. For some reason I read this as more light-hearted than heavy. Kind of like "Throw Momma from the Train" rather than Misery. So the ending worked in that sense.

The one thing I would correct is some of the early dialog as that was a bit confusing. I think it would be hard to show that Gary is a writer fresh out of college on film like you do here in the script.

krestofre
05-14-2008, 11:17 AM
A good light read. I think Isaac put it best when he said that with material that's been done before you have a great opportunity to play with stereotypes. That would certainly make the script stronger. As it is, it goes exactly where we expect it to go, and while entertaining, doesn't really stand out from the crowd as it were.