An excerpt from Reals’ script review for Dolly Dearest which will be available 04/17/20:
Glad to be checking back in with everyone – hope you all are staying safe and healthy during this crazy Corona-Crisis. Things are nuts here, but in my spare time I’ve been doing a lot of writing and reading several of the great scripts that have been posted on the site!
As Hank said previously, make the most of a bad situation and use this time as effectively as you can to work out some of the kinks in your stories, or start that screenplay that you’ve had in the back of your mind for ages. There’s no time like the present, and writing is a healthy (and productive) way to pass the time in quarantine!
Enough with the lecture, though, as I know many creatives are struggling to find the energy or motivation to sit down and start writing. Just be sure, no matter what you are doing during this time, that you take care of yourself and your loved ones – your health (both mental and physical) is the most important thing and should come first always.
So, if you can write, definitely get to your masterpieces – can’t wait to read them! – but if you are having trouble writing, do not worry – read scripts, watch movies, just do something involving storytelling and you can certainly count that as a productive use of this time.
And, to help give you something to pass the time and to take your mind off of the current situation, let’s talk about a killer doll script: Dolly Dearest!
This script follows an American family in Mexico who must fight to survive when the toys in their factory (that happens to be next to a Sanzian grave) become possessed by an old, malicious spirit.
Just from reading the description, I thought that this would likely be a horror-comedy in the vein of Child’s Play, which is a good direction for taking a concept like this, as you automatically bypass many of the potential criticisms by leaning into the absurdity of the story.
In addition, if anyone read my Best of 2019 List, you might have noticed that last year’s remake/reboot of Child’s Play was one of my favorite films of last year and was a wonderful surprise. So I was hyped to take a look at this one to see what new twist the author brought to the genre!
What Needed Work
Pg. 1 – There are huge walls of description text – I will cut this script some slack, as the script is dated 4/30/90, but this is not something we should look to emulate in our own writing.
Pg. 1 – Also a lot of Camera Shot directions – again, I will not count off due to the age of this script, but I wanted to make a note that we should not do this.
Pg. 6 – A good reminder of how quickly scripts can get dated: Jessica is writing letters to all of her friends on the plane instead of texting them.
Pg. 11 – Be very careful when writing characters from countries different from your own – Emilio Estrella (or Estrella as he is referred to throughout the script) seems to take on what the writer assumes is a Hispanic dialect whenever the writer feels like it, which is poor writing at best, and very offensive at worst.
Also, Estrella seems to speak perfectly accurate English when the script needs him to, and then falls back into a stereotype for the rest of his dialogue.
For example – Page 8:
These are your final documents and all your permits. Your escrow closed this morning at nine AM. And this is a letter from the city of Hapala…
(pointing to each word)
… officially welcoming you and wishing you prosperity in the opening of The Dolly Dearest Manufacturing Co.
And then there is also this on Page 11:
Senora Deluga make the finest dolls in the world. She win many awards.
Also, Camilla’s dialogue is written in the same way, which just came off as offensive.
For example, on Page 18:
All this come from my brother’s garden. I get you good price, of course.
Don’t do this when writing characters from other countries (that are not America, specifically) – enough said.
Pg. 25 – 27 – I really did not need the Professor and Student giving us exposition and searching for “The Tomb” – it just cut away from our main family and gave me a B-story that I did not want or ask for and characters that I did not care about.
Pg. 45 – I am not sure what Dolly’s powers are. She seems to be able to do whatever the script needs her to, even unlocking a parking brake from across a cemetery. It would have been nice if we could have gotten a defined set of powers, or at least an idea of what the limits of her abilities are.
Pg. 87 – We introduce Sister Alva way too late in this story. It might be cliché to have an authoritative religious figure in stories like these, but if you are going to include that trope then you needed to bring her in earlier, around the time of Camilla’s death.
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