An excerpt from my script review for Wonder which will be available 02/19/18:
Watch the name dropping.
I just discussed with my children, two of whom saw the movie on a field trip, and they confirmed that the Star Wars icons mentioned in the script were indeed in the film.
So was the Minecraft scene with Jack Will.
Disney must have either backed the movie, or was paid a pretty penny to have Chewbacca show up, which is good for the writers.
Bad for us though…
I’ll skip the legal lecture on “obtaining franchise rights” because you can read that advice on any beginner screenwriting site, but what I will mention is this…
My kids enjoyed the Star Wars and Minecraft references because those things are good, and they enjoy watching or playing the things related to them.
As writers, and adults, we can see it for the cheap ploy that it is, relying on successful pop culture to hold up the story.
Take all of these references out, and can the plot stand on its own two feet? Still be compelling?
Second point, and similar to not telling the audience what to feel via description, by citing these cultural icons you not only jarred your reader out of the story, you accidentally made a comparison between your project and another enjoyable one.
If you’re not doing your job, which I feel the writers of this script did not, your reader (and audience) will be thinking about how they’d rather be watching Star Wars or playing games like Minecraft.
(Hell, even watching Episode III.)
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