An excerpt from my script review for The Hollars which will be available 11/07/16:
2.) Plot Stability
Okay, what really sold me on reading this script? Watching the trailer.
It’s cute, funny, and has a decent cast that I’ve enjoyed in other things.
(Margo Martindale playing Mags Bennett is still probably my favorite season of Justified.)
The important lesson to take away here is, you need to have “good” in between the trailer bits too.
And this isn’t something new, getting all the best parts of the movie in the trailer, but we must judge our own writing, ensuring the audience has a string of entertaining plot points that connect it too.
They can’t just be sitting around waiting for the things from the trailer to happen.
Unfortunately for this story, that’s what I did, was wait. Everything I needed to know about the story I was given in the trailer, whether flat out or subtext, and DAMN was there a lack of subtext in this script.
Again, I wanted it to be good and heartfelt, but instead it was a generic story we’ve seen countless times before, and comedy that felt more Red Skelton Variety Show, than modern scripts.
“Can I get you anything?” “Sure, a bag of Doritos.” “I was talking to mom.”
That’s one step short of a courtroom scene where the judge calls for order and somebody shouts out, “I’ll have a corned beef on rye!”
(Okay, Ron peeing in a juice container at the beginning was kind of funny.)
Man and girlfriend are pregnant, leaving man contemplating the relationship.
Man gets call to action by going home, where his mother is sick.
Home wasn’t great growing up, but he slowly finds himself being there, with sick mother reuniting the family.
Man also sees old girlfriend, has awkward sexy scene with her, and realizes pregnant girlfriend is who he loves.
Everyone happy, sick mom dies, momentary sad, but then back to happy because of a simple sentence she told man.
To me, nothing really new here, but maybe I’m just a cold-hearted asshole.
(That’s probably the case.)
But do this…visualize your script’s trailer in your mind. How many scenes would you include? Is it good? Are there parts you’ll be forced to leave out? Are they good too?
It’s an arbitrary exercise, requiring you to be truthful with yourself.
No proving it to me, a producer, your writing group, etc.
It’s you asking these questions in front of a mirror and knowing your reflection can tell when you’re lying.
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