Thread: Writer's Corner
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:25 AM   #302
Krutch
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Got my first critique on Undertow. It's not as bad as I was dreading but I was still hoping for a little bit better. This is my baby, after all I'll post it below to anyone curious.

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Strengths
This is an incredibly unique world and premise for a pilot, and Astrid is a layered, young female protagonist. One of the coolest things going for the script is how we see Astrid go from a thieving vagabond in the beginning to a more humbled and good-willed young woman. Obviously she also gains some very interesting superpowers, but the parallel arc surrounding her emotional growth is tracked very well. The relationship that Astrid has with Sam is endearing. It's a perfect set up, for Sam's character, that we know he lost a daughter (because we saw it happen). Astrid fills a void that is missing in his life, and their interactions always feel organic and full of tension, yet containing some mutual respect. The plot takes a thoughtful turn when we see Odell swoop into Sam's life as well. This idea of having both Sam and Odell influencing this orphaned, now special, young girl is an exciting bit of drama to add to the premise. The sci-fi/fantasy aspects to this project don't come off as derivative within the genre whatsoever. Travis is a creepy antagonist, and definitely keeps the audience on their toes, across each act, as it's never that predictable that he would ever be able to be defeated. The little twist with Emma, when we get the hint of the parasite entering her, is an impactful subplot/cliff hanger to open up.

Weaknesses
The teaser is pretty heavy handed right now, and could use for some shortening. As it is, this is a bit of a slow paced pilot, and adjusting the long teaser, and cutting back on some of the overwritten conversations will speed up the story, and make it come off as more suspenseful and polished. Cutting a few pages in length shouldn't be too difficult as there is room to trim from the teaser, in particular. Consider showing less of these characters, in the past, before the tsunami, and looking for a more efficient way to develop their characters early on. All of the opening in the past, and then the entire addition of the Travis versus Chad and Vikki sequence, takes too long to get through. It would be interesting to get a more substantiated subplot out of Sam. His relationship to Astrid opens up some great potential for the series, but getting to know his character a little more, and what some of his motivations and personality traits are, would give the audience more to engage with. The twists at the end with Odell knowing more than we thought works, but his character is also coming off as pretty one noted. Try to go in and show him interacting with more characters (than there already are) in this world, to improve his subplot and set up for the finale even better.

Prospects
This is an impressive pilot, due to the unique premise and the overall natural screenwriting ability when it comes to character development and dialogue. The plot, in the 1st-final acts is paced pretty well, but the teaser is tedious in its current state. It would be interesting to see even more of the setting shown in this pilot. Having the characters interact with more people in the town, outside of their group, to show the overall state of the town, would be interesting to see. The town is such a major mystery and like the bible notes, also works as a character in itself. With that in mind, dive further into the development of the setting to give an even clearer understanding for how this place looks and feels. The budget would need to be pretty big to pull this off, but it does a great job of combining the superhero, drama, and sci-fi genres. At the very least, with some tweaks to the weaknesses, this script should prove to be a strong writing sample.

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I still have another review coming at some point, so when I get that back, I'll post it here as well.

Thinking about the weaknesses listed here... I kind of agree. I always knew the Teaser was a bit overstuffed; I just thought I managed it as well as I could have. Maybe getting rid of Gavin's scenes would help pick up the pace. I could get rid of Odell's as well but I feel like he's too important to the story to just make it about Sam exclusively. I also wanted the time-jump to the present to establish the teen tone of the story since there's none of that going on in the pre-tsunami scenes.

Still... they make some good points. Hmm.

Fingers crossed for a better review next time.
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Last edited by Krutch; 02-28-2017 at 09:24 AM.
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