An excerpt from Reals’ script review for Moonfall which will be available 02/15/22:
What Needed Work
Lots of “We See”, “We Do”, etc. – Even in just the first page I counted four instances of a “WE BLANK” or “BLANK US TO” usage.
On Page 1 they were: We follow, SLAMS US TO, WE RISE UP, and We fly through, in that order.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again – try to avoid this method of directing the camera if at all possible. There are certainly far better ways to do this and, when used too often, it is a telling sign of an amateur writer.
Sonny – I didn’t need this character. The world is ending, isn’t that enough drama? Aren’t those big enough stakes? Did we have to shoehorn in a family drama as well?
Also, I really didn’t buy the whole scenario in which Sonny is locked away in prison (for being an idiot), so Bryan has to stay and try to figure out how to save the planet because his burn-out son can’t leave with him.
Sonny / Michelle / Jimmy – Talk about the worst team-up in movie history. These three are the most useless, unnecessary characters and we freaking intercut their boring, bogus journey with our heroes on the Moon trying to save the planet at the end! Why??
Also, the Sonny/Michelle forced romance was awful. Michelle is, in every sense of the word, an unnecessary character, and I don’t understand why we spent a whole Page (Page 76) giving her a backstory and setting up a romance with Sonny (the worst character in the script).
EDIT – My apologies. I said Sonny was the worst character in the script when I meant to say that Sonny is the worst character in history.
The Character Descriptions – No, this is not me harping on the writers describing female characters as beautiful (But don’t do that, by the way!), this is a note about how poorly written these character descriptions were.
For example, Erin Fowler’s (who, I assume, is Halle Berry, listed on IMDB as playing a Jocinda ‘Jo’ Fowler) introduction description is below:
ERIN FOWLER, 40’s, stirs in bed. Her face holds a sense of strength and incredible drive not common in most people. Instantly we know she’s in charge.
I want to share a recent note I got on one of my character descriptions. The reader said: Show us that information, don’t tell us!
Basically, don’t tell us Erin (or Jo) is in charge, show us she’s in charge! The writers should show this through the character’s actions, through her dialogue, and through her interactions with other characters.
Show, Don’t Tell – This is sort of an addendum to the above note, it is just that this doesn’t involve describing characters.
Basically, this script is full of descriptions of how characters are feeling, instead of showing us. Remember, film is a visual medium and it is your job as a screenwriter to convey to the director, producers, and actors how a character is feeling by the way they speak, what they say, what they don’t say, and how they act.
Here is just one (of many) examples of the writers telling us how a character is feeling, instead of showing us:
Bryan exhales. Feeling like the world’s biggest failure.
The writers could (and should) have ended that scene with Sonny slamming the phone down and Bryan watching him go and remaining in his seat long after Sonny is gone.
Something like that conveys that Bryan is hurt, and keeps the script and story moving without cheating by telling us how he is feeling.
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