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Old 02-21-2017, 02:02 PM   #301
Krutch
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I submitted my pilot "Undertow" to Black List. I'll post the results when they come back. I'm a little torn about this one. I have a feeling they're going to tear it a new one but on the other hand, Undertow is exactly the kind of show I feel like I'm designed to write for. It's in the same vein as Buffy and Smallville with more of an X-Files vibe on the horror.

So, we'll have to see how it goes. Fingers crossed for good feedback.

(I also submitted to an agency. Hoping that goes well, too)
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:25 AM   #302
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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.

=====

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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Old 02-28-2017, 05:56 PM   #303
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Small update: An anonymous industry reader decided to read and rate Undertow, putting it in the top ten screenplays of the month, which lands it on the front page. Huzzah me...!

The other paid reading just downloaded it today, so I should probably get my next review within the week.
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:36 PM   #304
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Aaaand my second review is in, which doesn't help me, since it pretty much the exact opposite review of the last one. Great

=====


Strengths
The pilot introduces a stimulating concept centered around the experience of a young outsider as she acclimates to a strange, coastal community and the mysteries that seem to be drawn to the shore. The cast is diverse and large, providing ample narrative potential for future episodes and deeper exploration into the pilot's offbeat location. The world itself is original and strikingly unafraid of combining genres in an interesting, surprising way: from mystery to fantasy, from horror to superpowers, the premise prides itself on an expansive world capable of supporting numerous realities.

Weaknesses
The pilot is off to a solid start but requires further development before it will jump off the page as a successful product. Most notably, the script is overwritten and struggles to maintain momentum under the weight of unnecessary descriptive sections and scenes that carry on long past their usefulness. Taking a pass to streamline the pilot, focusing on maintaining only that which clearly establishes the world, characters, or central plot, will better help distill the writer's intention. Overall, the characters are underdeveloped. Because of the large ensemble and the mysterious nature of the plot, an editing pass to ensure characters are memorable and compelling will help sustain audience interest.

Prospects
This project has much potential after a few creative tweaks are ironed out. As mentioned above, the writer consciously creates a diverse world led by a strong, young female protagonist. The budget needed to produce this show could be expected to hover high above average, taking into account the various special effects demanded by the premise. This project would do well to target Streaming Platforms like Netflix.


=====

This feedback doesn't help me at all. Now I'm frustrated.

Awesome kick off to a Friday night
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:50 PM   #305
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So I FINALLY finished up the new chapter of Love Is Shell, which was a monster to write. Climaxes are always tough, and fight scenes are hard enough even when it's NOT the "ultimate showdown" of the story. Hopefully I managed to make it exciting enough and threw in enough surprises that it won't be too predictable or bland.

Here's a link for those interested:

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9377718/32/Love-Is-Shell
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Old 03-14-2017, 03:34 PM   #306
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I'm starting to read the latest chapter and it's awesome so far, Duckie, though I haven't even finished it yet and it may take me some time to do so. But it's good so far.

I FINALLY have Game of Lies fully outlined so all I have to do is type chapters up and post them. I have seven up so far and hope to get more up as time and other stories permit as I have others I want to work on as well. I am also in the process of doing a fourth story in the series called After the Lies that takes place five years after Game of Lies ends so I can't wait to get that up and running. Still working on it though.
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