An excerpt from Reals’ script review for Shadow Company by Black & Dekker which will be available 04/20/18:
Today is a very special day for me because I get to review a work by one of my favorite screenwriters whose work inspired me to start writing: the wonderful Mr. Shane Black. Now, I realize that oftentimes Mr. Black uses tropes (like Voice-Over, Breaking the 4th Wall, etc.) that most of us shouldn’t use in our writing because, well, to quote Hank, “We’re not Shane Black.”
What Mr. Black does so well is that he has a very unique style and voice and that is something that I want to talk about because finding your own, individual creative voice will set you apart from thousands of other writers who, though they may be telling an interesting story, are telling it in an unimaginative or paint-by-numbers type of way.
That is not to say don’t follow the screenwriting rules or ignore structure in your script, but as you continue to write, you may find yourself trying new fonts, messing with timelines, reworking your character introductions in a way that you haven’t seen before – all of these are great! You can’t learn if you don’t try new things (and occasionally fail), so I would invite you all to try to make structure, formatting and your writing work for your story!
Now, on to Shadow Company!
I didn’t notice at first, but this is “John Carpenter’s Shadow Company” which is pretty cool – to see a horror-take on an action story.
Pg. 1 – A street choked with smoke, garbage and human souls.
That’s a nice description and, in one sentence, I can picture what the street looks like!
Pg. 3 – Dropping a life-insurance policy onto the poker chips is a cool visual image!
Pg. 4 – Okay, admit it: if this was you or me, we’d hit the road. But not this guy. HE pulls out ANOTHER wad of cash.
I like this line – yes, it breaks the fourth wall; yes, it addresses your reader BUT it sets the tone for how badass Nikko is and it doesn’t slow the read at all.
Pg. 9 – One of the classic Shane Black touches: the story is set at Christmas.
Pg. 11 – The temperature drops twenty degrees.
This is a good description because it tells us (and the actors/director) that the entire place tenses up.
Pg. 35 – I like this exchange between the Sheriff (step-dad) and Heather. It is nice that he is genuinely trying – that is a nice touch and makes us care.
Pg. 42 – This is some gruesome The Thing-like body horror and is effective.
If they wanted to make this today, they could pretty easily: just update the Vietnam War with the War in Afghanistan similar to what The Punisher Netflix series did.
Pg. 69 – 72 – This isn’t the way I would have written this scene, but it is powerful and could be really moving in the film.
I don’t know, kid… I’m fresh out of miracles…
He COCKS the Mossberg.
But I got a big fucking gun.
This is probably a cheesy tough-guy line, but I like it.
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