Comments Made During the Contest
Andrew Allen (Level 3)
I hate screenwriting 'rules' that don't hinge on structure. I hate pontification on the single use of 'we see' in a script, or that chunks of action should not be longer than 4 or 5 lines. I understand the rationale, and I totally agree they aid the reading, but I hate judging a script solely on items that can be fixed. Now, I am going to be a total hypocrite, and state your dialogue is far too long. It was a bind to read it 'cos it just went on too long. That's a shame 'cos it detracted from the story you are telling.Your writing style was good, and it's a shame that the overly long dialogue just made me want to finish this one up ASAP.I don't mean that to sound like a completely negative review, but I just feel that Mean became boring, and his catharsis could have been better displayed with less said.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
This was written very well and the story was very touching. There are massive chunks of dialogue that should be trimmed down or broken apart, but the story is heartfelt and real. There were no typos I noticed. Overall, I thought this was very good and if the dialogue were broken up a bit in to smaller portions, could have probably snagged an Excellent. Nice job on this one. It starts with a bit of a comedic setup and then takes an unexpected dramatic and emotional turn towards the depressing. I thought the dilaogue was very natural and I could more or less here this guy's voice in my head as I read. (In case you're curious, he sounded like Sam Elliot's character in The Big Lewbowski.)
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Phenomenal! And that's all I have to say about it. Completely brilliant.
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
Oh no you didn't.- Please lose all camera directions. Please. It does nothing for your story. Just write what we are seeing.- You need to write and curtly as possible. It's not a novel, so lavish flower just throws the scripts timing off.- Were we out of the present?This really is a good short story, but not a screenplay. It was hardly visual where it needs to be. No one wants to watch some dude talk forever. You do set a good mood though, so keep at it.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
Great story.I love the setting, a late night DJ telling a story. Marley in the control room is brilliant. There are so many levels here and you move effortlessly between comedy and tragedy. Great dialogue - full of details.Simply wonderful.
Christopher Castle (Level 4)
Strange title. A male chauvinist DJ called MEAN confesses on air about the time a Mexican woman told him she had cancer. Script was good and very easy to understand. The short intercuts back to the Mexican woman were a little off putting and did not help the flow. The story was good I would have liked the encounter to have changed MEAN in some way but I did not feel it did. He was however a good interesting character helped by the sparky dialogue. MARLEY helped to reinforce his character. You handled a difficult topic well and with comedy at times which can be hard to pull off but you succeeded. I felt a little left in the dark about the Mexican woman, maybe more backstory would help.
David Birch (Level 5)
i don't know what it is this month, but everyone wants to stick a song title in their screenplay which is a huge NO NO!!!...unless you own the rights to the particular song you can't use it in your production...so, to do so is one of the first signs of an amateur, and will get your screenplay rejected...
Dom Kullander (Level 3)
I wasn't sure initially whether the use of constant cuts to the lost angel would be effective, though it turned out to be a masterstroke. Couldn't shake the image of Seymour-Hoffman in The Boat That Rocked for Mean, which also worked in his favour! The use of the Marley character was very witty indeed. I loved the way Mean approached the sensitive topic of cancer in his own unique way, as his bravado was reduced if not totally extinguished. The 'And I cried' line was beautiful. Great job.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
I was mesmerized by this screenplay. A very brave story, told in an excellent manner. Bravo!"So I put on Tom Petty's Wildflowers cd." CD should be capitalized.
Felice Bassuk (Level 4)
Very nice job. Really quite moving, and surprising. Wonderful use of dialogue that is evocative without being maudlin. A few technical things... When you introduce the Mexican woman, give her age. Not sure how "she tries to smile. She tries..." would be acted. You might say she starts to smile or she's too sad to smile or she covers her quivering lip... or some such thing. Also, instead of saying "He pours a cup of rancid coffee," you could show him grimacing after drinking or dumping it in the sink. But these are minor things to clean up. I really enjoyed your story.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
Mean is an excellent example of a shady character who is still very likable. He's selfish and doesn't always think before he speaks but he's got great dialogue that pulls the audience in and makes us want to hear more. One time you had an extra "you" in there.
Jeff Ferry (Level 4)
One of the best ones I've read this month. It starts off sounding like the story of an asshole disc jockey and becomes an excellent read. I think the story also works, and may work better, without any cuts to the mexican woman. It's powerful enought without even seeing her.
Joel Davis (Level 5)
This was a something different. I like the way you told the story in dialogue, and found a way to add more to it than if you had just shown it directly. The story really is more about Mean coming to terms with this experience than about the experience itself. Nice job, and great dialogue and characters. I'd like to know more about the woman, perhaps see more about her experience and reaction to the night than just the glimpses we get of her.
John Brooke (Level 5)
Using a hard boiled talk radio host telling his audience in monologue about his petty animal cravings is a brilliant stroke. It is written clearly and technically formatted almost perfectly but visually bland for long stretches. Your title did not encourage my imagination nor did it hook me into reading this script.Some points: I don’t know what ‘FLASH’ means, as presented here in seems to mean different things. I shall return. I'm back, and in retrospect this actually a pretty good chunk of life. Your dramatic enactment of talk radio was cleverly vacuous and therefore right on. I was wrong about the title, it is perfect when one considers the hosts name is Mr. Mean and is he ever. Damn good.
Jose Batista (Level 5)
I enjoyed mean's monologue. He told a good story and felt like one of those talk radio show hosts that just gets you enthralled with what he's saying. The whole beginning was cool, but then the flashbacks became sort of confusing. By script's end I honestly had no idea about exactly what happened in the flashbacks and its connection to Mean's story. I feel you did a great job in writing this piece in terms of technicality and monologue, but if I was to get something from the flashbacks then it may have been a bit too subtle. All in all, I give it a Good for monologue and a Good for writing.
Kenneth Hurd (Level 4)
I like your story. I felt that you developed your characters well. One thing that I would recommend is more scenes with the Mexican woman and Mean. The quick flashes to the Mexican woman felt a bit confusing. Perhaps you could have described the scenery around the woman, where she's at, what she's doing, etc.? I also felt that there needed to be more of a connection between the two characters. There's an early line where Mean says "I didn't really even know her." That had me wondering what made him care for her as much as he did.I felt that your dialogue was good and believable. My only recommendation is to use it to establish the visuals and then let the visuals show us what Mean is saying.
Kevin Carty (Level 4)
I had a hard time reading this script not because of subject matter, your monologue is too fat trim it. I felt like you probably just thought about something and just threw it in there and it does nothing for me just makes it unreadable. Decent description but try and leave some to imagination or use the description a liltle to show or help to spllit up dialogue it is not good in that way.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Character development of Mr Mean good; no doubt this guy has some issues. Marley serves her purpose -- he is using her because she is in front of him.Several of Mr Means speeches quite long; for five-page story with single speaker, probably necessary, but trimming might accomplish same purpose.Reread the FLASH entries, and liked the structure. The change of direction demands focusing on the secondary story and keeps the main story from rambling. Also like the proportion; the Mexican Woman's involvement kept to a minimum, making references to her compelling.She may be, though, at beginning and end a bit too ethereal. Better developed in middle, where there is more concrete info.Talk show premise was interesting. Good job with the prompt and intertwining three characters with three distinct purposes.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
You have a very sensitive story here. I'm impressed with your treatment of it. Marley's reactions were spot-on. Very Good.Just a superficial point: do folks in Los Angeles consider themselves Yankees? They're a lot farther south and west than the territory that I'd consider "Yankee", which would be mainly New England.I'm unfamiliar with Tom Petty's album and song that you reference continuously. I think that the script wouldn't suffer at all if you took out the specific music references. Your story needs to stand on its own, without relying on a particular soundtrack to carry it. And I think it does. But I was taken out of the story every time something I was unfamiliar with was referenced.
Laureen Muller (Level 4)
Love the title, I look forward to seeing the logline. The story was very unique and well developed. The format was smooth and well done. It was very easy to visualize the complete story and each of the characters and scenes. I would work on the dialogue just a little, in the beginning. I know you were trying to have him be "Mr. Mean", but you don't have to have him sound like an uneducated tough guy to bring this story to life. Yes, I like how you made him unkempt and uncaring but some of the dialogue came off not as crass but as uneducated, even some of the shock jocks sound more educated. You did bring that to life towards the end it was only the beginning that needed some work. IMO a smooth talking confirmed conquest driven bachelor DJ, would get the attention of your female audience even more, messy or not (the radio allows for our imagination to decide what we want). I enjoyed the read, well done...Good Luck.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
I like your title. I wasn't sure about it at first, but it really fits the feel of the story.I think the formatting of your opening is okay. Most of the formatting is okay, in fact. You did go long on one of the first action sections, and some of the dialogue needs to be broken up with action of some sort. I didn't notice any spelling or punctuation mistakes... "Jebus..." in dialogue, but I'm taking that as an on purpose miss-spelling. The dialogue needs work. It's forced in places, and very theatrical. Maybe that's what you were going for, though.I'm not crazy about some of your descriptives and word choices. I'm a word junky, though, and I lean toward the less is better side of writing physical descriptions. An example of what I'm getting at here is when he "smooshes" out his cigarette. Is that the mental image you want to give the reader, or do you want something stronger like "crushes?" You tell us the coffee is rancid. It's enough to show it on his face when he takes the first drink. I did like that you have him continue drinking it even though it's bad. That's a strong statement about his current mood and general personality.I really like the premise, too.Good work.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
I liked how you incorporated the contest rules, making it a conceit of your movie. It fit perfectly with Mr. Mean's character. It took quite an unexpectedly tender turn when it was revealed that Marley had cancer. It was quite touching at the end, even if the last line is open to a lot of interpretation. I take it you meant that he cried for himself, for his life of lost opportunities and relationships, but it could come off as him not caring for Marley and being as self-centered as he was before the story happened. It really depends on reader, actor and director interpretation. Overall it was good.
Michael Cuculich (Level 3)
I thought this was a really good, maybe great, entry for this month. So far it's the best one I've read. You display a really great handle on atmosphere, which is so important to make a story like this effective. So many pieces here lack any semblence of that, and I think it's really the first thing you need to have a story being emotionally compelling. I think the pacing of the piece, with the sharp stabs of flashback, work brilliantly in painting this picture of a guy haunted by this recent memory- despite the fact that he's at work, certain images and gestures continue to pierce his mind. Your whole sense of pacing works great here, and i think it's the strong point of your writing. I'm not positive your formatting for the flashbacks is standard "correct", but I followed it all very easily and frankly that's all that really matters. I think the Mean character was a good one, a sort of Tom Lykis type who has a brush-up with his sympathy, maybe for the first time in a while. I immediately understood who he was and what he was about, and I *loved* all the punctuation with gesture- the smoking, the exhaling, the pausing. This type of nuance not only builds atmosphere, but is a sort of silent dialogue with the audience. It builds a certain cadence within the spoken dialogue, and often says more than what you hear. I liked the ending- it was ambiguous, but also helped illustrate the character ark of Mean- he was truly affected by this. I also thought the handling of the contest rules was brilliant- not for one moment did the one-person-speaking aspect of the rules seem forced. If there is anything I would say to do it would be to watch your dialogue. I don't think it was nearly as nuanced as the atmosphere, and often came across as a bit cheesy. I know that he is a cheesy radio DJ, of course, so that's a big reason why. That makes it difficult to judge. But still, I think it could be improved upon. Would a Spanish speaking person say "babies machine"? It sounds a bit forced. So I do think that's something to watch, and I think if it was tightened a bit this could be even better. But as is, I really think you did a fantastic job.
Michael Hoffman (Level 4)
Overall this was a simple little script with just enough gritty realism and heart to be effective.It's hard to avoid falling into cliche with a sleazy disc jockey character but Mean had a distinct rambling voice and spirited dialogue. I thought some of his speeches were a bit unfocused but that is the nature of that profession so I think it worked okay. I liked the Marley character too. I think it was smart to have her behind the glass. It added another dimension to the narrative without the need for another speaking character. Good touch.I'm not sure about the flashback scenes with the mexican girl. I understood it but the way it was jammed in just seemed awkward as I read. Also, other than just physically seeing her character, her appearances didn't add much or progress the story.I liked the ending a lot. It came off as a deep and reflective moment for Mean that I didn't really see coming.On the formatting side, there were a few issues that I think you should try to clean up."He pours the rancid coffee, sips. It's disgusting." -- I think you can do without the 'its disgusting'. Or at least show a visual reaction from Mean to show us it's disgusting. Dont just tell us.I think you erred on the introduction of Marley. Should read, "MARLEY, a pretty assistant in her twenties..." For some reason you emphasized the pretty assistant, not her name.Also, on page 5. "Marley doesn't know quite what to do." -- Again, 'show don't tell'. What does she do physically that indicates this.Just be careful about showing us the action, not telling us. Fixing these things will do wonders for the script.I think you have a good little 'slice of life' story here. With some polish, it definitely could become excellent.
Miriam Goldman (Level 3)
Your writing style is very terse, very allusive, and generally good at maintaining a defined voice for the character speaking and for the other characters in the directions. Oddly enough, though, I felt that there just wasn't a terrible amount to make the reader sympathize with or understand Mean. I thought that Marley was much better defined, and she was actually my favorite character. Still, correct me if I am wrong, but I'm fairly certain that disc jockeys are not allowed to speak in such a vulgar way as Mean does on public radio.2/5
MJ Hermanny (Level 5)
Wonderful dialogue, heavy subject matter and big chunks of it but extremely natural and, because you introduced Mean so dmaned well, very readable.Great title too.Felt a little overplayed, a bit too much, could have done with a smidgeon of humour like your opening hinted at with Mean's description. Would also have liked some more visuals; would work very well for a short radio play but lacked the essential visual elements for a screenplay.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
A sad, sentimental story of love and loss.You do a good job of humanizing Mr. Mean, showing us he's more than the obnoxious radio personality, but I have to say that I still didn't really relate to him and found it hard to feel for him in this situation.A common motif in this month's scripts is to have the protagonist set in one location, literally giving a monologue. The problem is this isn't very visually stimulating and relies too much on dialogue to tell the story.Another bi-product of this is there becomes a lot of dialogue. Mr. Mean's dialogue boxes are very, very long. This works the same as narrative paragraphs, they can appear too daunting to a potential reader/reviwer.Format overall appears in order. Didn't detect any typos.
Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)
You have gone for something very difficult and it is not quite there yet. This is a genuine monologue and it becomes very challenging to keep the story moving along. For me I struggled to stay with the big blocks of dialogue on pages 2 and 3 because at that point he seems to be telling an unremarkable story. It is only later on that he gets into the compelling part. I'd suggest having some entrance into the meaningful element of the story earlier on and also thinning out some of the dialogue blocks.
Rustom Irani (Moderator)
I think a radio jockey is the perfect choice for the theme this month.The set-up did take a few liberties away from the script norm a bit and was a bit slow to take off.Personally, I'm not a big fan of "WTF" looks, "Gimme a break looks" and "Oh my god" looks, but I know what you mean and it's kinda hard with just one guy doing the talking.But the execution and dialog is top notch.I wish you had more visuals to go along rather than those brief flashes but hey, plenty of actors will wanna play Mr. Mean and I predict this script will be shot within the month.It's that good and that feasible as a short.Great start to my reviews.Keep 'em coming.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
My first impression was that this was going to be another talky talk monologue with not much going on. Was I ever wrong! This was an excellent piece of work. You had me completely sucked in.Love the line 'But not for her'Wonderfully poignant and just wrapped up the story in a perfect way. Beautiful.You did an excellent job with this, and I really felt something as I read it. Good work, I gave it an excellent and I hope it does well in the competition.
Seth Koberg (Level 1)
Something about the relationship between Mr. Mean and Marley didn't sit well with me. Also, a lot of Mr. Mean's actions seemed either a bit too dramatic, or as if they were thrown in for filler. Also, when introducing Marley, I would have put: Mean's assistant, MARLEY, an attractive early twenty-something, makes adjustments...
Shane Shearer (Level 4)
"he's a handsome charming son of a bitch."~how do you know his mother's a bitch? She could be a saint for all you know. I mean, after all, you did come up with the character, but still, there's not reason that his mother has to be called names. Just kidding. Anyways, for some reason I envision Tom Waits doing this veejay job and telling this story in that rough, gruff voice of his. This script kicks serious ass. S-E-R-I-O-U-S ASS!Excellent work. Winner of this month's contest, and all around radical fucking person, whomever you are.
Tim Westland (Moderator)
Well, so far you win in terms of amount of dialogue. Whew! (GRIN).I think naming your main character "Mr. Mean" was kind of a bad move. I know you're trying to characterize, but I think you should have relied on your dialogue and description. For me, it was very distracting.Mr. Mean seems to be channeling either Tom Leykus or Howard Stern and seemed kind of cookie cutter.I liked how you had the female character worked into the story in a realistic way.Opening with a CLOSE ON: isn't exactly kosher. Further, you kind of flip around with FLASH and BACK TO PRESENT a lot. I understand why, but there seems to be too much. Makes reading it kind of jarring.The dialogue needs to be tightened up... and broken up by some sort of description. Otherwise, it's looooong clumps of dialogue and you don't know what's happening around him enough. Static, I guess. That's the problem with a Radio Station setting.What you could have done is break away and show people listening to his show in a car, in a garage... they'd have reactions, which would make this richer.Radio personalities, generally speaking, have a fine command of the English language. But there were some odd word choices. For example, ".. I thought his bones was hollow...". There are a lot of other examples. Good luck.
Comments Made After the Contest
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 5/1/2009 12:19 AM
Well done! I really enjoyed the story, this was one of my excellents this month.
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 5/1/2009 12:23 AM
I'm not surprised this was yours. I love the way you write. This was one of my favorites and I'm glad you got an honorable mention.
Rustom Irani (Moderator) ~ 5/1/2009 1:53 AM
Kirk this was in my top three. Excellent script. Shoot it!
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 5/1/2009 3:33 AM
Kirk - I thought this was the best script I've read on MoviePoet bar none, and why it didn't romp home to First Place, I'll never know!
Shane Shearer (Level 4) ~ 5/1/2009 7:06 AM
One of my favorites from one of my new favorite writers. This is phenomenal work.
Erich VonHeeder (Level 4) ~ 5/1/2009 11:29 AM
Absolutely great. No joke.It's got this Ray Carver thing going on that makes you want to cry and drink scotch and I love that.If I could add this to my favorites list TWICE, I would.
Nicky Muddle (Level 3) ~ 5/3/2009 11:08 AM
I didn't review this during the contest but would have given it an excellent. I particularly loved the interaction between Marley and Mean. In fact Marley was almost the best thing about this script. Give her her own story. Great choice of situation for a monologue competition. Ignore the nitpicking about the big blocks of dialogue. They are a problem when they don't work. Yours do.