Today’s script is going to be a tricky one to review. It’s one of those stories that a lot of people are going to not like, but has a smaller group that will absolutely love it. (Jump to question #9 to see what I mean.)
BEAR CHICKA WOW-WOW: Deep Inside The Nites & Days of an Average Sexpot Danger Bear by Dosch Dgravenszein.
A retro exploitation/Alice in Wonderland-like journey of an everyday straight man finding his chicka chicka wow-wow in the offbeat world of gay bear beauty pageants.
Now for some reason, and apparently Roy knew but didn’t correct me, I read the title and really thought this was going to be about an Austin Powers type teddy bear.
It is not.
(I might have realized that before I read the script if I’d have read the logline a bit closer.)
Although the long title is funny, I’d simply drop it to “Bear Chicka Wow Wow” which got quite a few laughs when I told friends about the script I was reading.
Having said that, let’s begin. If you have little kiddies at home, cover their eyes. This script was for MATURE audiences only.
1.) Can we visualize the description?
Yes, but it starts out as too much initially.
AGAINST ANIMATION – OVERTURE
Jack Nitzsche’s MUSIC from Cruising is eerily heard on the
soundtrack as the opening disclaimer from that film emerges
from the darkness.
TITLE CARD: “This film is not intended as an indictment of
the homosexual world. It is set in one small segment of
that world which is not meant to be representative of the
The soundtrack switches gears and THUMPS with the intro to
the BEAR BATTLE ANTHEM. It’s a rally cry that starts off
with a GODZILLA-LIKE RUMBLE that explodes into RHYTHMIC
STOMPING and HEAVY PERCUSSION.
The screen is flooded with an array of animated stars, polka dots, entwining plaid stripes and paw prints.
The commonplace GROWLS and “WOOFS!” of the bear community
join in. It’s not unlike something you would hear at a
stadium sporting event. The song climaxes with an
Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!
TITLE CARD: “The Following Film is Based On Actual
Events. Viewer Discretion Is Advised.”
This whole sequence should be dropped. Then there’s character description.
Same page as above:
A night stand lamp, with a teddy bear hugging it, is turned on revealing JOSEPH MALONE, a man, in his early 40’s, of a certain stocky build. He sports a braided beard with razor sideburns, a nose ring, a fauxhawk and tattoo sleeves.
The only important facts about Joe that come up later in the story are that he’s somewhat pudgy and he has a nose ring. The rest we don’t need.
As I said it gets better though, (as I didn’t notice substantial problems the further I read), but go back and double check.
8 out of 10 points.
2.) Does the author use an acceptable format?
Yes, other than the first example above, but I’ll be covering that more under “hook” so I’ll leave it alone here. Was an extremely fast read, clocking in just over an hour for 114 pages.
There’s a lot of “we sees” or “we follow” too which was distracting and unnecessary. Taking off a point for that. (Use this one or twice tops.)
A word of caution though, there were a few scenes that were intended to be viewed split screen. It was done properly, but the scenes didn’t necessarily need to be side by side. It was almost as if the author was saying, “Hey, look what I can do!” That might turn off some readers.
9 out of 10 points.
3.) Is the dialogue free of exposition and rich in subtext? Does each character have a unique voice?
I couldn’t wait to get here. Most of the dialogue was absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately it didn’t always make sense, or fit into the overall story, but I must say, I’ve never read dialogue like it before.
Page 2 (a long one, but I think it demonstrates the point):
What is that?
No answer. Joe pushes Jessica with a solid shove.
Hey, what is that?
Is that a cat?
Again a low MUMBLE from Jessica.
Do you have a cat?
A faint MEOW is heard.
Son of a bitch.
He shoves Jessica again.
(with a thick foreign accent)
Yes. Yes, Joe. I have a fucking
You have a cat? What’s its name?
Its name. The cat. You’re hiding a
cat from me you bitch!
Excuse me? What did you just call
I want to know the cat’s name.
Joe gets out of bed and starts putting on his clothes.
Then I’m going home.
You don’t need to know the cat’s
Where is it? Is it in the bathroom?
You’ve been hiding a cat in the
bathroom? For how long?
What do you want, Joe? You want a
No, I don’t want a blow job.
Christ! I want to know the cat’s
Again the cat MEOWS.
It is in the bathroom.
He heads to the bathroom and flings open the door.
Where the Hell do you get off? This
isn’t your house. I didn’t say you
could go in there!
Joe emerges from the bathroom with the cat.
At first glance this is about more than just a cat. Joe wants to have a relationship with Jessica, but she wants to keep his as a sex toy.
There are more good examples, but literally they are throughout the entire script. Read it.
Again, although most of it was good, even good dialogue isn’t always needed. Here’s one spot especially where the dialogue was witty, but the story didn’t go anywhere.
As it’s another long entry, so I’ll just explain it here. Joe just got done talking to his boss, Boris. Joe has problems at work.
We then get to see him talking to his manager, Gieger, who doesn’t exactly work appropriately with others, and we see again that Joe has problems at work.
It’s all too much. We know Joe has problems at work and that his coworker, Chuck, (who’s also his roommate) is crazy. That’s fine, now get out and move forward with the story.
Other than that first encounter with Gieger, she doesn’t show up again, other than to smack his ass in a later scene, which doesn’t add anything to the plot.
Lastly, there were a few musical numbers, and the lyrics just felt like fluff, going on for a page or more.
6 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?
I’d argue the story definitely might be a better fit for off-off-off-off-Broadway, but there’s no escaping the fact that this script is intended for the big screen. Especially with the wild and crazy scenes.
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?
Are we seriously asking this question? You know the old saying about a room full of monkeys eventually typing Shakespeare? Well even if those monkeys were on acid, and typed the rest of their lives they’d never come close to this.
DD is the only one for the job here.
10 out of 10 points.
6.) Does the script have a hook?
Okay, here’s where we start getting into the technical stuff.
I’ve mentioned before, get rid of the intro.
This doesn’t add anything to the actual story it’s just meant to look nice in our minds. Until you have the millions of dollars to shoot this script yourself, cut it out and take us right to Joe and Jessica.
I’ve basically showed you the first two pages above in dialogue, so the hook is there. I won’t try and lie, saying I wasn’t wondering what the big deal was about this cat, but again I should have gotten there sooner. (Two thirds of the first page was wasted on the into.)
8 out of 15 points.
7.) Is that hook effective?
After the cat scene, Joe then walks into a room where there’s a crazy sex party going on. Hello!
We’re there for the briefest of moments before Jessica storms out, and now Joe’s clinging to her truck wanting to have a real relationship with her, as she’s swerving around curbs.
After crashing into a pole, Jessica leaves her cell phone and truck, and tell Joe to handle it while she roller skates away (she’s a roller derby girl, btw).
Joe hoofs it back to Jessica’s where he then gets in another fight with her and knocks her out with a baseball bat.
After that he takes his peepee out, in a bizarre “boing” scene, while a nice family across the street calls the cops.
Joe’s thrown in jail, but Jessica doesn’t press charges so he’s free to go.
A note here. Although it’s all mostly interesting, Joe doesn’t get out of jail until page 20, which is too late. This is the closest thing I could find to your inciting incident, where not pressing charges proves to Joe that Jessica cares, so he should keep after her. As odd as their relationship might be.
DD needs to get to this sooner, and cut out some of the jail bits.
10 out of 15 points.
8.) Is there enough to maintain the hook? Reveals, conflict, etc.?
Another problem this script has is there are scenes that are so outlandish they’re funny, but they don’t all necessarily tie in together as an overall story. Filmed separately I’m sure they would make funny YouTube videos that go viral, but that doesn’t work for a film.
I gave one example on page 28, which doesn’t need to be in there, but another is on page 56.
INT. FEMALE LOCKER ROOM – NIGHT
FEMALE DERBY BROADS in various stages of undress suit up for an evening of hard hitting practice.
Jessica enters the locker room, emerging from a cloud of
steam. She scans the locker room sizing up her younger,
She adjusts her breasts with a snarl.
Do we need scenes like this? In the next scene Joe steals Jessica’s cat, but can’t the lights being off be enough to tell us she’s not home?
Page 81 – Bart falls to his death from the water tower he and Joe always sit on. This caught me totally off guard, wasn’t really funny, and I didn’t understand why Bart was mad at Joe all of a sudden being there were no earlier discussions about Joe doing the whole bear thing.
Page 41 – At this point I asked myself, “Is this a musical?” Musical numbers can be funny, but unless you’re writing an episode of Glee I’d argue you keep it to one, if you need any at all.
Page 72 – Joe spends the entire script saying he’s not gay, even though he likes Jessica taking him from behind. All of a sudden he’s now hooking up with Bearfly? I was confused by this both arriving there, and then afterward. Seems like he didn’t want it up until the beach scene beforehand, and after he never does it again but doesn’t seem too upset by it.
I mentioned a cloudy inciting incident in the script. A better fit would be to have Joe run and hide out in the bear club initially. This is where he truly enters a new world, and it should be bumped up earlier in the script.
The problem is you need to find a way to show Jessica “sort of” cares to make Joe want to keep after her, thus losing the jail bit, and getting us into the Bear bar.
Essentially you need to go back through your story and check each scene asking, “Is it funny AND does it advance my story?” If it only agrees with the first part of that question you need to either drop it or revise it so it shows Joe dealing with his newfound fame in the bear community while also struggling to make Jessica love him.
1 out of 10 points.
9.) Does the story play to a target audience, and have the elements demanded by that audience?
Initially I mentioned the target audience that will like this is small. It is.
Unfortunately, this script is also stereotypical, so unless DD is himself gay, there might be problems there.
A reason why most people won’t like it, summed up in a scene? (Seriously cover up your children’s eyes.)
Thunder quickly leans in, grabbing the thug by the nape of the neck and kisses him deeply.
BLUE BOLTS of electricity shoot from their bodies. The omega thugs are blown back by the force. They get up and charge back with great difficulty.
The thug struggles at first but gives in. His arms falling to his sides, the tension released from his fists.
The fellow thugs look on horrified and confused. They try to pull Thunder off their leader but with no luck.
The Cashier comes out and breaks out the water hose.
The ground cracks and a giant phallic monolith lifts Thunder and the thug off the ground.
Thunder slowly dips the thug.
The omega thugs claw at the growing rock as Joe stares up in amazement. Veiny neon lighting snakes around the rock.
The two men briefly pull back for air…the thug gasps…Thunder lunges back in to finish what he started.
The monolith erupts, like a volcano, and shoots fluid over the crowd.
Three other SHOPKEEPERS break out their water hoses and spray at Thunder and the thug. The whole things looks like a Busby Berkley number.
Slowly the monolith collapses back to the ground. The neon lighting shattering and exploding sparks.
The kiss ends.
Thunder grabs the thug by the crotch.
You’re wet. Slut.
He releases his grip, sniffs his hand, wipes it on the thugs shirt and lets out a roar.
The thug falls to his knees. His buddies come to his aid.
Thunder turns toward Joe.
Beware of the bear, Joe. Beware of
The two proudly walk away.
That scene sums up a lot of the craziness in the script. Will people sit through it, I’m not sure. This was the a point in the script where I scratched my head thinking, “What the hell just happened?”
Will that small minority of people like it? Maybe, if this and the rest of the story ties together better.
I’ve mentioned it in other scripts, but here it came off as too clever. For instance, Joe names his private part “Gerald McBoing Boing.” For those of you who don’t know, it’s an old cartoon where a boy can only speak in sound effects. (I had to google it.) Several characters reference “boing boing” after hearing “Gerald” and unless you know what that is it won’t make sense. And when you find out, you’ll understand it’s nothing more than an inside joke.
Another thing is all the song references. They don’t actually need to be in the story, so leave them out. If a reader has to look up a song while reading your script, that’s a problem because you’ve just taken them out of your story, and given them an excuse to use the internet.
And please folks, stop mentioning the names of TV shows and movies in your scripts. It’s just lame.
I thought Bart lived with Jessica, but then he’s in Joe’s house. Sure it’s with a plastic sheep, and kind of funny, but I thought DD had confused Bart with Chuck for a second.
In the opening scene there’s a party for the film Joe shot, so I assumed he was some sort of B movie or porn director, then he goes to a day job. That needs clearing up.
Joe just got his peepee pierced, and then goes over to have some broad paint with it? Shouldn’t this hurt more?
Mr. Bear USA.
This scene added nothing to the plot, and I’d argue wasn’t even that funny. It had a bear room brawl, sure, but that was pretty much it.
No happy ending.
Fine if you want to end it this way, but once you develop that story with Jessica more, know that even the crowd that likes your story is going to be mad when the guy doesn’t get the girl. Especially the US market, we’re suckers for a happy ending. (I did like the cat ending up happy though.)
2 out of 10 points.
Crazy and outlandish, that’s all I can say. A good writing sample for the dialogue and some of the scenes, but can that overcome the “WTF” feeling one gets when reading it?
Total 64 out of 100 points.