Comments Made During the Contest
Adam Grage (Level 4)
I like your idea and it works for the most part but I think you could have ramped it up more.I think the setting would have more of a twist if the courtroom was realistic as possible with an actual jury, judge etc but instead of a usual trial it is the trial of Erica. Just having the two people makes it seem too obvious that it is a battle between Good and Evil for Erica.I was also confused at times betwen the ghost Erica and the real Erica. You might want to find a better way to differentiate between the two of them.
Aralis Bloise (Level 4)
It's a good concept. The dialogue is good and the descriptions are very vivid and create a proper sense of uneasy and just general creepyness. However, I wish we would get to hear a little more about the client that Erica is being critisized for defending. What exactly did he do? He would pretty much have to be in par with Manson to have that justfify her going to hell, we should hear about it. What he did, just how much money she got for getting him off. She would have also gotten some fame from that trial, I would mention that too.
Bill Delehanty (Level 4)
I enjoyed the heaven theme, and watching oneself is always interesting. Try adding something more "heavy" as the whole judgment thing is relatively one tone. I liked it!
Brian Wind (Level 5)
This was the script I've been waiting for! Very cool, dark, well written. Nothing wrong with it, nothing to improve, no problems at all. My first Excellent of the month and I am close to two thirds of the way through the reviews. Very, very cool script. Nice job!
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
To me it's like deja vu - a Matias Caruso clone script! (Take that as a compliment)Faint and forever away.The horn rises, threatening...clever, so clever I can't understand what you mean.I'm not sure I understood this entirely, and it WAS a case I think, in places, of style over substance, possibly, maybe, but it was also excellent.I LIKE the staccato style - a style for which I have oft-times been criticised. And I'd LMAO if the same person that criticised me for that was the author of this.
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
I think this was an interesting tale. I liked the twisted distorted view of what was going on. I understood what was happening with the words, but it was hard to visualize what you were writing. So work on those visual descriptions. The only content issue I have is the bashing of defense attorney's, sure they are an easy target, but they are important role to play in our legal system. Hopefully you never need to find out first hand. This of course doesn't change my opinion of your piece, which was good. I just thought I would point that out.Notes:- Thanks for the flower,but 'like something from another world' I don't know what that looks like, since I have never seen something from another world.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
I love the visuals here. But even more, I love the way your work with sound. I could hear it all and it was very powerful.I thought the story was okay. I never really connected with anyone and I wish Erica hadn't crumbled and had provided a better defense of her own noble profession (IMHO). Still, your craft is excellent and made this an enjoyable read.
David Birch (Level 5)
some things to like...the imagery was done well...most of the dialog felt real-enough...i suppose i had my biggest issue with the story, itself...seemed lacking on the "imagination" side of things...a little cliche...a lawyer being a lawyer for the money...we all get that angle..."a horn suddenly blares."...might re-do to just - A horn BLARES. - ..."suddenly" is unnecessary...
Erin Arbogast (Level 3)
Wow! What a creative take on this month's challenge! I loved the way you incorporated the sounds of Erica's accident into the court room scene. I hope this one gets produced - it would be such a fun project!
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
I did not understand the plot but that is probaby me. Good writing.The word IS really slows down a read. Example: "MR. PETERS (60’s) stands before her. He is stately and dignified in a crisp, dark suit." Consider the following instead: "MR. PETERS (60’s) stands before her, stately and dignified in a crisp, dark suit."When you have two males or two females in the same scene be careful with pronouns. Just because you know who you are writing about ... it may not be clear to the reader. For example: ERICA Who are you? She notices MR. MINOS (20). Just a kid, but dressed in an immaculate white suit. He sits at a long table covered in paperwork and folders.PETERS I am your attorney. Who is HE? Mr. Minos or Peters? It is not clear, to me.Only write what you can film. Example: "Small chunks of shattered glass fall from thin air." I am not sure how one would film THIN AIR.In many places the dialogue did not feel realistic to me. Too "on the nose". Listen to how people really talk ... in phrases, utterances, etc.Always look for ways to same the same thing with less words. For example: "Blood trickles out from Erica’s nostrils and ears." Consider cutting the word OUT.
Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)
An intriguing storyline. Very clever having the character as a ghostly apparition defending herself - inadequately. I'm not sure you drained all the possibilities by having this character without a voice. The potential for conflict was all there and witnessing it all in a silent pantamine nipped it in the bud. I'm also wondering if there isn't some way to make the vulture-like man come across as even more evil. Sweeping in at the end to collect her seems like a too ordinarily horrific ending. On a whole, your screenplay struck me as an enjoyable, well written read.
Geoff Willis (Level 3)
Cool! A money loving lawyer must defend herself against the ultimate court. Nice dark approach to the courtroom scenario. However, it isn't an easy read. Also the scene description was lacking. Trying to keep up with the sound effects while trying to imagine the scene was a little difficult. I also think that there should have been a better reason for her to die besides defending a horrible person "for the money". That's a pretty common practice for lawyers. Are you saying every lawyer deserves to die?
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
Might want to make the ending clearer. Perhaps at the end have Peters suit transform into a heavenly gown, something like that.
Jeffrey Slocum (Level 4)
I thought this flowed really well. Started off confusing but if paid attention to, reads really well. Definitely fits the title well. I like the irony of the attorney being judged. Good job.
Joel Davis (Level 5)
Synopsis: In a supernatural courtroom, a criminal defense attorney is judged, presumably deciding her path in the afterlife.Interesting story. Well told, and I especially liked the slightly surreal descriptions of the afterlife courtroom. However, this is too obvious of a setup for a fantasy court, the story feels too familiar and so I wasn't engaged or curious about the outcome. I would have liked to see something a more unexpected scenario. However, the writing was strong and the characters were interesting. I especially liked the names you chose.
John Brooke (Level 5)
You have painted a surrealistic nightmare vision here and have executed it very well. The dreamy delivery and vague symbolisms flowed menacing and detached. The sudden return to actuality was wrenching, blood pours from her mouth and the deafening blast of the car horn creatively captured the confusion that Erika was experiencing.Blood weeps from Erika’s eyes is dramatic and effective with Death in the form of Mr. Minos reaching for her.Very effective and imaginative approach to this months encapsulated prompt. Very good.
Jonah Yarden (Level 4)
ah! Very chilling and well delivered. Your pacing was tight and the building of scales of sound and texture was really nice. At the centre though lay a quite generic idea of a lawyer being money driven which kind of robbed the mis en scene Of it's oppurtunity to resonate.still, great job!
Jose Batista (Level 5)
Great Title. Simple and clean, yet straight to the point. You did a Very Good job of presenting a person who has twisted the truth for a living and then entering a situation in which she is poised to reflect on her actions and judge herself deserving of the circumstances that claim her life.I think the script is a little too subtle with what's happening here and it would not have hurt to clear it all a bit more. The writing itself is crisp and clear and the last scene with Minos reaching to take her away was a good touch to end with.
Kevin Carty (Level 4)
Not bad considering all the other scripts but all the noises and taking you to another place stuff confuses me it is alot of dsecription to get through. I'm impressed by the writing but the story gets lost in itself. Almost as if you were saying that you had to start with that blank screen cause you couldn't stay in the room and trust me there are ways. Also your story was very predictable I saw it coming a mile away.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
Reads like poetry. Truly horrific (in a good way). Well written and paced. All in one room, one continuous scene - I like that. Seems like most lines should belong to Minos on page 3 as opposed to Peters? Otherwise it's strange that her attorney is so terrible to her. Or maybe it's intentional, which would be perfect for the theme?I never was a fan of "voices" and "murmurs" but this grabbed me. It doesn't feel suitable for a court (or so I think) but I like it very much and putting very good for it.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Good visual beginning.A contradiction when description mentions twice that courtroom "devoid" and Erica "alone," when next line Mr. Peters clears his throat. Would be enough that she is apparently collecting herself.Might move Peters' response about being her attorney prior to Erica noticing Mr. Minos. Initial read it seems she is addressing the question to Minos.Looking for the purpose of the singing bird and the horn. Peters hears it...Like Peters' subtext about Erica being her "only defense." Her mention of the familiar song immediately after, plus the description of "blood" and "trembling," confuses the intent of the defense comment. Got it on a second read, but maybe move the elaboration by Peters up. There's a car accident and the trial is for her conduct as an attorney. Minos represents the devil, Erica's soon-to-be host; she's being condemned for doing her job for "the money." Interesting.Unclear what the singing bird means though.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
Your opening feels goofy. EYES. Okay, we're looking at eyes. The next line: "closed". Okay, so we were never actually looking at eyes. We were looking at eyelids. I already feel misled, so be careful on your precise use of format and language.Don't tell me it's a typical courtroom with usual trimmings. Describe them if you wish. You can do that quickly. It's your job. Or, just don't mention it at all, but stay far away from vague descriptors like that.You say that Erica's completely alone. No, she's not. There's two dudes right behind her. Again, a misleading use of language. You can get the same idea of solitariness across without misleading. Or, wait, are they behind her? You say Erica turns and a guy stands before her. Why'd she turn? Where'd she turn from? She's at the witness stand, so there's nothing behind her. Perhaps the word "turn" is also misleading.What's the purpose of the glass falling in mid-air?An intriguing story of judgment day, and a powerful indictment of unscrupulous lawyers. Beyond the first page, there's a lot to like. Very Good.
Leigh Smith (Level 4)
The fact that she didn't know who her attorney was seemed odd. Did she fire her attorney? This would likely have been worked out before she was sitting on the witness stand. Unless, she having some sort of mental break down? I think that Erica is dead or dying in the scene.A lot of time is used to set up the beginning. This was to make it seem like she was in court. It had me confused a bit and I had go back and read the script again. I think a good place to start and keep all of the mystery and build up is with Erica's line.ERICAHow did I get here? I was...and then...PETERSLet’s talk about your work.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
I was actually watching a case on COURT TV this morning and wondering how the defense attorney could seriously want to get an acquittal for his client. This would benefit from using a 'FADE IN:' Then go to the 'Closed eyes. Rapid movement beneath the lids.' End the segment with the eyes jerking open, and then put in the scene heading.This story has a Twilight Zone feel to it. Amp that up. You're a little vague on what the audience is seeing at times. Be more specific. For instance, have Erica looking at something - maybe the clock with the minutes ticking slowly away - when Peters clears his throat. Focus the audience's attention. I'm not a fan of 'like..' or 'seems..' in scripts. Write what the audience is seeing. I think you could edit down the descriptives. You're using a few more words than you need to. Good work.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
The was written VERY well and with a piece like this, that's not easy. Your dialog was spot on as well. I had no problem picturing the whole thing. The only thing that confused my was....did she commit suicide? I think she did. Anyway, you get an excellent from me because I loved the idea and the writing is expert.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
There's some good dialog and character work here. You spelt "judgement" in the title wrong. The story and concept felt very familiar, but I liked how you put the judgement into a courtroom setting. It was very well written, but just didn't do anything unexpected, and I felt that I couldn't really care about Erica and so wasn't invested in what would be judged to be her fate.
Micah Ricke (Level 4)
I expected someone to write this and knew this was it when I read the name Mr. Peters.Well written and well paced. Very Good.I think it's interesting that Peters wears dark and Minos wears white. A nice twist on an old cliche`. And today, I'm feeling wierd. I chuckle every time I read "sits in the stand". Why do we sit in the stand?Overall, very well crafted, but it didn't quite grip enough to get the coveted "Excellent" rating. Beyond that, my only complaint is minor, "god" should be "God" as she is essentially pleaing directly to Him.
Michael Hoffman (Level 4)
I really liked this one. I caught onto the twist very early but it was so well written and entertaining that I enjoyed the entire journey to the end.The opening is a great hook to suck you into the story. Your imagery is very beautiful and haunting. Although it has a supernatural feel, the setting and characters still feel very grounded and real.I loved that Minos never talks (besides 'Case Closed') but your description of his glares and 'marble' eyes makes him such a presence in the room without any words needed.All the characters were well thought out and I enjoyed their brief yet effective dialogue. There was enough detail in their speech with still a hint of mystery. Never felt that the dialogue got in the way.I think the use of the 2nd Erica was also an excellent visual addition that added another dimension to the story. A lesser writer would not have used this approach and probably suffocated us with extra dialogue to explain the backstory.The shattered glass was another nice hint to unify and reinforce the underlying story.Really excellent work. If anything, I would say, maybe change Minos' name. I like it but I think the connotation gives away his role too early. Either way, it was still a great read and a wonderful exercise in screenwriting.
MJ Hermanny (Level 5)
Very surreal. For some reason reminded me of Steven Berkoff - perhaps a one man show he once did.The opening action is very confusing and rather flowery. You use no Fade in: ANd the music from within? Within where?She is alone in the courtroom but there is a man beside her and Minos opposite her? This really stuck with me and made the script less credible. A few typos scattered throughout and feels as though it's trying to be too clever by half; I didn't really connect to this, there doesn't seem to be much of a story, more of a lawyer's nightmare.Erica is not sympathetic and so I didn't really care what happened to her.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
This was very "Twilight Zone," with the greedy defense attorney now having the tables turned on her in the afterlife; and she's now required to defend herself, to no avail.These themes always interest me greatly, but there are numerous other stories before that have touched on the same subjects.I don't think it was your intention to keep the fact that we're in the afterlife hidden until the end, but in case it was, it became obvious very early on.Your screenwriting is very good; it's descriptive, but not overly so and your narrative paragraphs aren't too long. Format appears in order. No major typos detected.I don't know if Travis DeStein entered this month, but this has all the hallmarks of his writing.Who knows, maybe this is his?
Razvan Badea (Level 3)
Overall, I enjoyed it. The descriptions were nice, emphasizing both sights and sounds and the pacing seemed right. Alhough I found it a bit predictable and I knew where it was heading after reading less than the first page, I didn't know exactly how it would go there, so you kept me interested.Now the things I didn't like:I'm not a big fan of the title. It doesn't make me interested in reading the script because it's too generic, too bland. Sure, it is suggestive of what's really about - the final judgment, but it isn't captivating enough.I was also disappointed with the useless paranthetical near the end. We know she's repeating, you drawing attention to it is redundant.Also, as a reader, I was a bit confused by the behaviour of Mr Peters. There were a few lines where he acted more like the prosecution, not a defense attorney. His questions were kind of accusatory or leading to answers which would put his client in a bad light. Now either he was senile or a bad lawyer or he wanted her to fail. The latter is the conclusion I reached after he said she was her only defense (Like he was saying "I wasn't trying to defend you, that was your job"). Sure, if that's what you wanted to achieve, then this is a good thing. But I have the feeling it's not.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
This is a favorite of mine this month. Very well written. Spooky and gruesome at the end. I really thought you took the challenge and crafted something very compelling.The characters are well written and the story has a good structure, beginning, middle and end.I was drawn in to the spooky surreal atmosphere that you created.
Scott Merrow (Level 5)
Pretty cool! Very well written and a nice Twilight Zone-like story. But maybe a little too simple. Very early in the story it became apparent that she was dead and Peters and Minos were St. Peter and Satan-type characters, and they were putting her soul on trial. That's not the problem, though, because when you only have five pages to work with, sometimes you have to show your cards early. The actual problem is that after all that was established (along with the fact that she probably died in a car accident on the way to work) it just proceeds to the obvious conclusion -- she was a nasty lawyer, and all nasty lawyers go to hell. It would have been really great if there was a shocking twist waiting for us at the end. Like, maybe she uses her lawyer skills to talk her way out of it. Or something like that. Anyway, it was an enjoyable read, but a nice twist would have really improved it.
Shaun Bragg (Level 4)
This was a very cold and dark story.It didn't grab my attention right off the bat and the obscure things that occur I think could be left out and the story would be more affective, I know it was a dream but... I was impressed with the brief and detailed descriptions, making this read a easy on to get through. I was thrown off by things showing up out of nowhere without much meaning to them. Keep up the good work.
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
Good job, visual and entertaining. I knew early on this was St Peter & the judgement day. I would suggest making it a little more sinister, both the punishment and the crime. I need to feel Erica gets what she deserves.
Thomas W. Brown (Level 4)
I thought this was cool take on the contest. The representations were excellent, Minos in particular. It's the eyes. The imagery before she dies in also great. I do think that during the trial, the visual representations of the accident should have been completely left out in favour of the sounds. Great entry and best of luck!
William Dunbar (Level 5)
I thought this was good. I like the idea, and I think you execute it pretty well. In terms of small quibbles, you need to introduce your characters by name at some point, otherwise there's no point in them having names. I'd recommend you use "I'm your attorney, Mr. Peters," and "Mr. Minos is the prosecutions..." That way the viewers would get the same biblical references the readers do. Good job.
Comments Made After the Contest
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2009 12:02 AM
This was the only Excellent I gave this month. Another great script Travis!
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 8/1/2009 12:17 AM
Excellent for me too. BUT - see my review - I am LMAO :)
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2009 12:19 AM
Loved it...great job Travis!!