A bit late today, and I apologize, but our youngest is entering that stage where she wakes up regularly at 2am. The wife keeps getting up with her, which I think is only prolonging the problem, but she’s the boss. Then she puts her back in bed an hour later where she screams from 3 to 5am.
Anyway, today we’re taking a look at a world filled with demons.
Flood by Will Griffith
Logline: Maria is brought back from the dead to help a man named Ghost protect the greatest secret in human history: Demons are real. And they are everywhere.
A young woman named Maria finds herself in the passenger seat of a stolen sedan. This isn’t what she had expected, especially since she’d just died a moment before.
Behind the wheel is Ghost. Ghost isn’t human. He is faster, stronger, and more durable than anything Maria has ever seen. So, as it turns out, is she. Maria has been resurrected to be a Monk, a secret society that hides the existence of demons from the world. Which is a good thing, because demons are everywhere: Hidden underground and in the alleys and basements and places where no one bothers to look, they live amongst us.
A demon named Allie explains to her that demons are actually machines made by men thousands of years ago. They are made of words, written in blood on parchment in a long-lost language. The parchment was bound into books that contain the names of every demon in the world.
Demons look alive, but they lack the soul and the free will to truly live. Which is why it was so easy for men, suddenly afraid of what they’d made, to nearly wipe them out.
There was a sorcerer who defended the demons, who gave them the tools to hide. Tools like the Monks and another, the River Man. When a demon dies, the River Man takes their bodies away. The River Man also protects the books that contain the parchments that make the demons live.
But the books have been stolen. A vampire named Daniel has taken them with a plan to kill the Monks, expose the demons to humanity, and ignite a war between them.
Maria discovers that she alone can see the River Man. She is something special: Part Monk, part River Man. He begs her to find the missing books. But Maria has other problems as dead Monks pile up all over Chicago. Soon she and Ghost are on the run from demons of all sizes out for Ghost’s head.
When Ghost is captured, the River Man offers Maria a deal: He’ll find Ghost is if she helps him recover his books. Maria blasts her way into Daniel’s hideout and takes on a small army of demons while the River Man takes back his books. True to his word, The River Man shows Maria where Daniel is keeping Ghost. Maria rushes to help Ghost but is too late; Daniel has mortally wounded him. Maria kills Daniel, and, realizing that she is more than a Monk, draws on the part of her that is the River Man to free Ghost’s soul and give him the choice to die or to live again as something different. In the end, he chooses a new life.
Let’s get started.
1.) Can we visualize the description?
Not going to spend a lot on this, but the description was okay.
Other than some action sequences, I understood it, but nothing struck me as AWESOME.
A few quick examples of places I think could be better:
A man faces the front doors of an abandoned hotel in the predawn light. The building is black with soot and covered with graffiti. The windows are covered with weathered plywood.
GHOST (50), close cropped grey hair, stands alone in front of a dilapidated hotel.
The building mocks him, with hanging plywood boards and an exterior covered in graffiti. The strong heartbeat of bass music hums within.
Snow swirls past on a sharp wind as Ghost walks to the door.
Ghost unzips the bag at his feet revealing two cans of
gasoline bound with wires to two bricks of C-4 explosive. He
flips a switch then twists a cheap kitchen timer. A red light pops on.
Ghost nudges the unzipped bag at his feet.
Bird demon looks down and sees a crude homemade bomb rigged to a kitchen timer.
Bird demon’s eyes go wide with realization.
Ghost climbs stairs to the top floor. The wallpaper has
peeled away. The carpet is worn and moldy. A single dim
fluorescent bulb lights the passage.
Ghost enters a hallway from another era.
Wallpaper curls like morbid decorations. The mold on the carpet exhales a musty smell. One naked bulb flickers at the end of the hall.
But again, make it better than what I’ve done.
The overall goal is to dress up the description. Don’t just give us what we need, give us pointed adjectives so we form an exact picture without it taking several sentences.
6 out of 10 points.
2.) Does the author use an acceptable format?
Page 13 had a few directions which I think should be left out.
Character introductions need some work. Generally its CHARACTER (age), brief description.
Lastly there were A LOT of typos, which most of the points were lost to.
THAT seemed to be missing entirely, especially at the beginning of dialogue. (Still actually a lot of ‘s from that’s still left in the script.)
Also just basic grammar stuff like of, matching nouns to verbs, etc. A good proofread is required.
4 out 10 points.
3.) Is the dialogue free of exposition and rich in subtext? Does each character have a unique voice?
Dialogue is a good main area to focus in the next rewrite.
Some of you might have noticed A.M. and I going back and forth on the topic of dialogue in her review.
The same argument applies here.
If you have great dialogue, I’m not going to take off points for having two and three sentence dialogue entries. In fact I’ll probably congratulate you for writing great dialogue.
If your dialogue isn’t great, stick to one line for most bits.
Like Roy admitted to me, dialogue is his weak point, so the reason he sticks to one sentence is because he doesn’t want to give the reader more reasons to hate his script than he has to.
I’m the same way.
This script had quite a bit of dialogue that could easily be edited simply for saying the same thing twice.
Also, a lot of Ghost’s lines should be shorter merely for the fact that it’d add some character depth and subtext.
You know me. I’m not here for all
of you. Just one. And you all know
why. Six little girls. Five little
boys. And two teachers.
Ghost gently sets the duffel bag on the ground.
If you want to get in my way, ’s
fine. Form a line.
You know why I’m here. Six little girls, five little boys, and two teachers.
Ghost unzips the duffel bag and sets it down.
Some of you will feel the need to stop me.
Scene unfolds after the above line and then on page 3:
Okay then. The line forms behind
him. Any other takers?
Line forms behind that guy.
We’re past clan law, Darren. You
broke the cardinal rule: Don’t let
the humans see you. Your own boys
gave you up. One of them cried. ’s
how fucked up you are. You made a
Clan law? Who do you think gave you up?
(Can easily work how Darren broke the rules into an earlier part. “He broke the rules. Humans saw him.”)
You could have warned me.
Wow. That really hurt.
I didn’t want to warn the dog
You could have warned me.
Rule 1. Don’t hesitate.
Then other spots need more subtext and should be shorter.
Page 6 – Ghost and Betsy bit was good, but use more incluing for added oomph, and cut it down.
Page 34 – Bar exposition is “meh.” Remember, characters should never sit around talking. Same thing goes for the scene at Betsy’s house. Show us, don’t tell us.
I’m a sixteen year-old girl. It’s a
phone. We share a bond.
This was GOOD, and an example of what I think the rest of the dialogue should feel like, especially if you want to go over one sentence.
2 out of 10 points.
4.) Does the writer understand the challenges and rewards posed by the medium chosen in which to tell his/her story? Shorthand version of this is: Is it a movie and not a play?
The scenes in the script were definitely scenes for a movie.
10 out of 10 points.
5.) Is there anything unique in what the writer presents? Are the writer’s ideas, based on this sample, likely to continue to be original?
Will did a great job creating the world for his demons and also how the monks functioned in that world.
What I especially liked is he took a type of demon, like vampires, and made them his own. They don’t NEED to kill to survive, but they CRAVE killing.
The idea behind humans creating demons was also cool in that they all served a function, similar to droids or robots.
10 out of 10 points.
6.) Does the script have a hook?
Yes. Ghost goes right in and gets the job done.
The bar scene is a great way to establish both the world and one of our main character’s in it.
15 out of 15 points.
7.) Is that hook effective?
The good stuff does continue.
We’re led on with the fellas stealing the books, wondering why, which is good.
We also get to see Ghost kill a demon for the first time, cementing what it is he does.
Lastly, we are introduced to our main character. I like the Maria scene as she seems upset she’s dying, but not really scared.
I’ll talk about this more in the next section, but the only problem I had here was the overexposition between Ghost and Betsy, and then Ghost and Darren. I think some of the fat needs trimmed there.
12 out of 15 points.
8.) Is there enough to maintain the hook? Reveals, conflict, etc.?
As I mentioned, Maria’s introduced in a great “no nonsense” way, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to carry through to her character for the rest of the script.
To put it in Roy terms, it’s almost like we have a Maria A and a Maria B, who aren’t linked in any way. Maria A should continue into the new world, and apply that no nonsense attitude to protecting the secret.
Another problem is the sitting and talking.
Will’s done a wonderful job creating a world filled with demons, now it’s time he used it. All of the details they talk about while sitting around are either unnecessary or could be shown in a much cooler way. Whether it’s fighting demons, going to a monk training ground, SOMETHING that isn’t the inside of a bar, a house, or anything normal situations we see in real life.
These replacement exposition scenes should add to the plot. The general structure of the story is there, but it feels a bit episodic, so work on new scenes that dive deeper into your story.
The fight scene with Todd was a good example of exposition while doing. The minor problem i had with it was Todd should have been a demon from an earlier scene. Too many minor characters kept being introduced. (Remember to tie characters to each other in as many ways possible.)
The last problem I had with the end of the script was Maria finding out “protecting the secret” meant killing innocent humans too.
That was a GREAT dark moment, but nothing was really done with it. Ghost has been her mentor throughout this script, and suddenly she finds out that he’s killing more than demons. Being new to the monk life, she should try and save the woman Ghost shot, while also fighting with him.
This makes BOTH characters more three dimensional, which is never a bad thing.
4 out of 10 points.
9.) Does the story play to a target audience, and have the elements demanded by that audience?
It’s a sci-fi action adventure with a lot of potential. I think the audience will enjoy it once it’s cleaned up.
The one audience problem that’s currently in the script is just how easy Maria kills a lot of these demons.
At the end she seems to take down an entire room without breaking a sweat. Earlier, she’s fighting with the sentinel demons, but then realizes she has a gun and BLAM, BLAM, both die. Can’t one of them keep rushing here despite the bullets?
Action scenes need to add suspense, so keep that in mind as you rewrite. Have us on the edge of our seats as we read this.
7 out of 10 points.
Will did a fantastic job of creating a unique and interesting world filled with demons.
The order that polices them and protects us is the icing on the cake.
The time’s due for a decent rewrite though, where a bit more plot is added taking away that episodic feel, while also tightening the dialogue, and making the description paint a picture instead of reading like an instruction manual.
Total 70 out of 100 points.