non-stop-script-reviewAn excerpt from our guest script review for Non-Stop which will be available 01/11/15:

Plot/Structure

Bill Marks is a former cop and aging federal air marshal on a flight from Hawaii to San Francisco. He’s made this trip multiple times and it has become a mere routine. That is until he receives a text message from a passenger threatening to kill a person every 20 until his/her demand is met: Bill must kill himself.

The script’s implementation of a ticking clock is spot-on; I always felt like things were moving, moving, moving. Every time the clock reached zero, it restarted for another countdown. It reminded me a lot of Source Code, one of my favorite scripts in recent memory, which itself was largely contained on a train and had a clock constantly ticking and resetting, forcing its main character to screen passengers to find the culprit.

The unique thing about contained thrillers is they tend to do away with the classic “scenes shouldn’t be more than 2 and a half to 3 minutes long” saying, and instead implement a more sequence-built approach. Non-Stop is built on several sequences of Bill making various attempts to oust the killer. Each sequence adds a new layer to keep things fresh, like the way in which victims die or [spoilers] the reveal of another cop onboard.

[End of Spoilers]

My issue was the plot itself didn’t have much to reveal, so it ended up feeling as though there was a lack of development. The ultimate reveal just simply felt like withheld information that wasn’t earned, instead of a big revelation that turns everything on its head.

Pacing

As mentioned above, the use of a constantly ticking clock helped keep things moving forward– it’s amazing how well this simple element works to speed up a piece of writing. However, I actually think the pacing might have been TOO fast. We were only given one true character scene where things slowed down, but this lasted only a couple paragraphs of dialogue and came in too late by page 72. Immediately following this moment, we are treated to an epic succession of events leading to the final showdown and then the resolution, which itself isn’t given much time at all before the FADE OUT.

Want the full review? Follow this link to djf1001’s Non-Stop Script Review.

And be sure to check out our Notes Service, where I give my detailed thoughts and suggestions on your script.

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