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"Yes, but is it art?" by Caroline Coxon ~ Honorable Mention

Logline: Two very different girls discover something about themselves when their portraits are painted by an abstract artist.

Genre: Comedy - Drama

Cast Size: 6

Production Status: Available (Please contact the author to negotiate the rights)

Contest: A Thousand Words (May. 2010)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
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Comments Made During the Contest

Amanda Sidorowicz (Level 4)

Interesting, cute, different. Quick read. I enjoyed it.

Character-wise, this story is great. I think SJ and Camilla are well written characters. They're dialogue is good. It kept me interested throughout. I also like how Camilla takes a stab at modern-day art. It feels very realistic.

However, why was Camilla in the art gallery in the first place? She clearly doesn't have any interest in it. I was expecting some kind of class assignment mention or something, but it just seems like Camilla went in to simply criticize art without a reason. I might be missing something, though...

Also, not sure how well this would play on screen, as not much really happens visually, but I still think the story was cute and different.

Finally, I think the title could be stronger -- maybe something abstract, representing their friendship.

Overall, though, I really like it and have very minor complaints. Good job!

Aralis Bloise (Level 4)

It's a cute story, but I have to say Camilla annoyed me. Also, I would think someone that showy would either like art or at least pretend to, specially a teenager.
It seems Sarah Jane knows too dead on what guy's intentions were with the painting since her definition goes exactly with the painting of her as a puncture repair kit. I think we need to see another example of Camila being hurt easily and SJ comforting her, in the begining of the story so that the ending doesn't seem like it's coming out of nowhere. Guy doesnt really know them, so there has to be a reason for him to see them that way.

Bill Clar (Level 5)

I like the title. It relates to the subject matter and it tells me that opinions will differ amongst the characters.

Camilla and Sarah Jane are a great pair. They contrast both visually and personally. Camilla is annoying but not so annoying that we don't sympathize with her at the end.

One thing at feels out of place is their motivation for attending an art gallery. They don't understand art and don't fit in, so why are they present? A plausible scenario is they need to do research for a college course.

The second thing that doesn't quite work is the pair's decision to locate the artist, Guy. They don't fit in at an art museum, yet they have the passion and desire to learn from the artist? Again, a requisite for a college class or project would make it flow better.

Brian Howell (Level 5)

I loved it! Camilla was so distinct and vibrant, what a character. I know a lady or two with similar dispositions and I must say you nailed it.

This was fun and entertaining. There is a message in there, but it's not beating me over the head, which is good. I'm voting EXCELLENT, and a lot of that comes from Camilla. I know when I've written really distinct and quirky characters, I've had a lot of fun. I got the feeling that you had fun writing her. It certainly was fun to read.

Brian Mark Churchill (Level 3)

Oh Lovely, friend! It is lovely! You must be the most interesting person to know. Remarkable indeed! Loved your writing. I don't know what else to write- except keeping on praising your craft.. Congratulations!

Brian Wind (Level 5)

This was written and formatted very well. No punctuation or typing errors that I noticed.

The characters were very vivid and easily imagined. Nice job painting a good mental image of them.

The story was interesting and well written, but it was all a set up to a punchline that I'm not even sure was supposed to be funny. Like good art, it did make me stop and think about it though to try to determine what the artist/writer's intention was. I certainly didn't dislike this piece, but I'm not entirely sure if I liked it either. It was well done for sure, but it didn't make me laugh, cry, scared or anything else... I read it and kind of went... Hmm. So while it didn't evoke any real strong emotions, it did make me think so if that was the goal, you secceeded.

Overall, I thought you did a good job. Nice work.

Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)

This was fun. I often feel like Camilla when looking at some of this stuff, so the reveals of your paintings were quite interesting.

Laughed out loud at "Just tell me one thing, where the hell is the pigeon?" on page two. In a very short time you had set Camilla in my mind so well that when she says this I totally get it within the context of Camilla.

Although the writing is good, I do not find the overall story overwhelmingly compelling. Wish that you had continued with the humor rather than the art lesson, think you could have the audience rolling in the aisles rather than watching Camilla discover something about art and herself.

Best of luck.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

This is a very fun character study.

I love the bit in the museum. The dialogue is wonderful. It's fresh and full of energy. I love all the tension between these two friends as they create their own scene in the museum.

However, once the go to the artist and he invites them in, it starts to feel a bit false to me. Especially when he paints them. It doesn't feel natural any more.

Still, your craft is good and I was definitely intrigued throughout, dying to know just what he painted.

Dan Delgado (Level 5)

Quick and lively to read and funny. Nice visual writing. I can see these two like they're standing next to me. The dialogue was a blast and realistic. I've been around people having this discussion. Take the character names off the top of the dialogue and I still know who's talking.

You can even tell from the action lines that this is a comedy. I don't have anything to criticize. I think I'll keep a copy and try to learn from it instead. This is the best script I've read on MoviePoet.

I'd watch this -- I'd even buy the DVD. I gave it a rating of "Excellent".

Thank you.

David Birch (Level 5)

a couple things i feel i should mention...watch the run-on sentences like (pg. 1) "sarah-jane cringes at the mutters AND tuts from fellow visitors AND from the guard."...secondly, if you slug SARAH-JANE for dialog...then you should be consistent and write Sarah-Jane in the action/description (not S-J)...this smacks of self-awareness and does nothing to improve you're story...in fact, it might be misconstrued as an attempt to save lines to get under a hard page-count...anyway...a cool little story, done pretty well...good luck with the vote

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

I loved the title and I loved the story. This entry earned an “Excellent” from me.

Only one comment… The CONTD’S for dialogue are not needed in a spec script. If you use Final Draft, you can turn this feature off.

Herman Chow (Level 5)

I was smiling the entire time reading the script, and left me with a good feeling.

The contrast between Camilla and Sarah-Jane was well illustrated with their action, dialogue, and the montage. The montage worked.

Guy seemed to be too inviting letting two strangers into his studio right away.

The script is more about friendship, the art part was used to demonstrate that.

Writing was good.

VERY GOOD.

Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)

When I read it through the second time I liked it more than I did the first time around.

I think the first time I was immediately turned off by Camilla and because I didn't like her character much, a part of me decided that I didn't like the piece.

Then after finding out the ending, I read through again and found some nice details I had missed.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

That was a sweet ending. I didn't get the tone though. Was it supossed to be a comedy or a drama? I liked the artists character. He was so laid back. He seemed genuine.

I don't really know what else to say. The story just didn't feel complete. Just a stand on art.

I'll give this a good.

Jon Hill (Level 4)

I liked your story, I found it witty and entertaining. :) I particularly liked the "Puncture kit" ending. (there's something you don't hear everyday!)

One criticisms: the use of "S-J". Her name appears as "Sarah Jane" in dialogue but "S-J" in the action. A minor complaint but a feature that I found jarring the first time it happened.

Other than that, very good. :)

Jordan Birch (Level 2)

Be definite in the description of your characters and scenes that setup action. In your script it's hard to understand the physical traits with descriptions: mouse-like, or roly-poly. Instead, give your best concrete characterization. Be active in their flaws and demeanor.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

You packed a lot in your short!

It's very funny. Couple of suggestions (which may not work for you but I thought I'd mention anyway):
You could have them in the gallery hissing at the pictures from the very beginning. The way you have it "in slam Camilla" and starts all the bickering, makes me think she was ready to and almost planned all that.

Then you could read the series of shots. I think he could see through her right away, no need to show us her behavior. But maybe it's just me...

Though out of this world this is somehow very believable.

It's well written. It's straight forward. Not very complicated and I like that very much. Very Good I think!

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Yes, it's art! And a terrific story. Absolutely love Camilla and S-J's adventure. Three visual, interesting and contrasting characters with unique voices. Four, counting the Security Guard who gets to exhibit a "face like thunder." Not a wasted line of dialog. Actually chuckled out loud when "The girls...Squint through eyes closed into slits. Step back. Move closer. Tilt heads." And then Camilla says, "Where the hell is the pigeon?" Pretty hilarious. Some wonderful description. Love the unusual locations, an art gallery and an artist's studio. Lots of color. The ending is a hoot. Love a surprise and never saw this one coming. This movie would be lots of fun to watch. Excellent.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

It's just a small point, but I actually said "ssssssh" out loud and I sounded like an angry snake. I think the normal "Sh" sound, when silencing someone, has more H than S sound: "Shhhhhh". Just saying.

A puncture repair kit? I'm wondering what that would look like. The point at the end regarding art interpretation and friendship is gentle and humorous, but I wonder how effective the gag is going to be.

Lee Carlisle (Level 4)

Your craft was good on this, but I found the script to require a large suspension of disbelief. It seemed odd to me that the security guard didn't intervene sooner at the museum, and then as a larger issue, that not only did the artist live in their city, but they knew where he was and knew his address when neither of them seemed to care about art.

I think the biggest problem for me, though, was that the piece lacked forward momentum. Camille is loud and vibrant, but I never learn what she (or SJ) are trying to accomplish. Why did they come to the museum in the first place, especially if Camille, the ringleader, has such a contempt for art? Why do they care enough to go on an adventure to track down the painter? Are they that bored, or is there something larger at work?

That said, you do have a strong tone, and the dialogue felt fresh even if a bit grating (though I'm sure that was inteded). The only other note I had was that I wasn't sure if Camille would take the artists criticism so hard - she doesn't care the whole time, so why does she care here. I think letting us into these characters more may solve this though.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

This was so much fun to read. It's well-written and thoroughly entertaining.

Best of luck on placing.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

I like how these crazy eccentric characters just burst in and cause chaos in this very serious art exhibition. It's a fun juxtaposition to make.

I also like how you present these two opposing opinions about abstract art and both seem equally worthwhile and equally ridiculous. It's funny satire.

I really liked it, but it felt slightly rushed or edited-down, so the speed with which the events of the story happened was hard to believe. Very good.

Matias Caruso (Level 5)

Nice character study. Felt a bit thin on plot, though. Not much conflict.

But I enjoyed it nonetheless. Just like the painter in the story, you drew these characters pretty well.

Very Good.

Michael Cornetto (Level 5)

I thought you did a very nice job with the writing. I got a smile out of the script but the story felt too contrived to me so ultimately I didn't really think it worked.

As far as how you can improve it, well... First I think it was improbable that the girls were at the Gallery on their own would have been much better if they were on a field trip. Second, I think it was unlikely that the girls would know the artist was still alive and where he lived and that he was nearby. Third, I think they wouldn't go and visit him unannounced just to tell him they didn't like the painting. And fourth, the whole agreeing to do a portrait thing was pretty unbelievable and the fact that he painted something realistic for them even more so.

Narrative ***
Dialogue ***
Character ***
Story **

3 * out of 5 *

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

I really like the characters, I just don't really like the story you placed them in. Seems pretty samey to me and I expected perhaps a bitter arc.

I do like the visuals and the sweet tone, but nothing daring is done with your characters and I wish you did. They don't even get knocked out from the museum. Present them some challenges ASAP!

I do like the types and locations, the dialogue and the pacing is good. It's just the overall concept is lacking, a guy drawing how he 'metaphors' people just isn't that great if it's just two obvious metaphors.

I just think you didn't really hit the right angle with your story.

Paul Williams (Level 5)

This was fun, but there's an awful lot of set-up and I don't think the reveal of Sarah-Jane's painting pays-off enough. I think comedies even need an ounce of conflict and that is also lacking here.

I might try to get to the heart of the story a lot quicker. We spend too much time in the art gallery, for example.

How or why would Sarah-Jane know who and where Guy Anderson is and lived? It felt a little too easy.

Your screenwriting is good, but maybe just a little too bulky in spots. I think you could convey the same information to us with much less less words.

Formatting overall appears in order. Didn't detect any major typos.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

I really enjoyed your script, love your characters and this little slice of life story of them trying to figure out what true art is. I like the ending, Sarah being the one that supports and fixes Camilla when she needs it.

I love what you've done with this, it's really a wonderful story. I don't think that most people will know what a puncture repair kit is. I did, because I'm from England, but maybe a tire repair kit of flat tire kit would work better there.

Nicely done, some great characters in Camilla and Sarah Jame. Good title, and good work weaving the assignment into the story.

Very nice.

Scott Merrow (Level 5)

Great! Extremely well written, great characters, a fun and easy page-turner. And a nice pay-off. I really enjoyed it.

You did an especially good job creating the three main characters. They're all easy to visualize, they play their roles perfectly, and they're a lot of fun.

To me, this script is a great example of how it's possible to tell a satisfying story without a lot of gut-wrenching tension. The tension is there, the conflict is there (thanks to Camilla's over-the-top personality contrasted with the shy, mousy Sarah-Jane), but it's clearly all in fun from beginning to end. Great!

I really enjoyed this a lot.

My score: EXCELLENT.

Sean Chipman (Level 4)

Well, this one I really enjoyed. The characters were realistic and enjoyable and the story actually had something going for it. There were, I think, two grammatical errors I found and zero spelling errors, so congrats on that. And, in the end, the paintings were actually perfect because the characters interpret them, as do we. This one was really good and definitely the best I've read thus far.

Stephen Brown (Level 5)

This was well-written but it felt a little disjointed. The question at the start that the girls want to find out is 'What does the pigeon painting mean?' The answer at the end is about them and what their painting means.

I don't understand why Camilla would be at an art gallery in the first place. She seems like she has no interest in art, so why is she there? Maybe if you ahd them a little younger and made it so they were on a school trip that would help that out.

Overall, quite good but a few small issues that could be fixed with a rewrite.

Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)

This was fun, I enjoyed the characters and nice use of the theme. I suggest losing the montage & spending more time with the characters, and lose the direction (parens) in the dialog.

Teo Gonzalez (Level 4)

I'm sorry to say that I am not very take by your story. This is not to say that it is bad -I just think it needs more work to be good.

The good news is that you have the essentials. You have a good structure and solid characters. I think you just need to develope them more.

It seems to me that you touch on the art subject in a very light way. I understand that this is the way it is perceived by your characters, Camilla in particular. But I am of the opninion that there's more to it than what you have represented even at the end of the story, when the girls appear to find some use for it.

I certainly don't know if the story reflects in any way what you thinkof art. To some degree, it maybe that it does -by not knowing what to make of it. Probably my only suggestion, I think that if that is the case, you would do well with some serious reseach into what you get out of it, if anything (some people don't get anything, so no worries about the outcome). But I think that it would make for a more interesting story because you then could be an advocate for the two sides: The people who find meaning, and the people who don't -for both are certainly right.

I don't know if this makes any sense or if it is of help, but I hope so.

Good luck.

Tim Ratcliffe (Level 4)

This was okay, but maybe a bit far fetched. I wasn't really sure who Camilla and SJ were or what their relationship to each other was. I found it highly unlikely they would go to an artist's home to get an explanation of a painting they didn't understand, and that he would then offer to pain them. Also not entirely sure how clear it would be in the last painting that it's a puncture repair kit, not the most instantly recognizable image.

But the writing itself was pretty good and the characters were distinct and different so good job with that. Overall a solid effort.

Wes Worthing (Level 5)

Very fun contrasting characters. Their energy and joy of life was contagious upon meeting them. The writing was strong. If my family wasn't sleeping I would have laughed out loud on certain parts.
Traveling to Guy's home made them even more adventurous and the premise of them having their own paintings was clever and not expected.
The montage would enhance this film with it's playful quick shots.
You made such likeable characters that I too excitedly wanted to see what their paintings looked like.
I want to see Camilla and Sarah Jane in a feature, or in a book. Very fun.


Comments Made After the Contest

Dan Delgado (Level 5) ~ 7/1/2010 12:24 AM

I didn't review many this month, but I think this one would have still come out on top for me.

Great script.

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 7/1/2010 12:32 AM

Congratulations on the Honorable Mention. Your stories always feel so fresh and original.

Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 7/1/2010 12:46 AM

Congrats Caroline. I really liked this a lot!!

Wes Worthing (Level 5) ~ 7/1/2010 1:28 AM

Gave this one an excellent!

KP Mackie (Level 5) ~ 7/1/2010 1:38 AM

Absolutely loved this story!

Brian Howell (Level 5) ~ 7/1/2010 1:55 AM

Once again Caroline you impress me. This was fabulous. Congrats on the well deserved honorable mention.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 7/1/2010 5:31 AM

Thank you all. It means a lot :)

Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 7/1/2010 11:28 AM

Congrats on the honorable mention. Rusty must be green with envy. This piece was very well written and I'm glad to see it got some recognition.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus) ~ 7/1/2010 11:56 AM

Thanks Matias. Even if Argentina is still in the World Cup!

I think Rusty will be green with nausea not envy after his op today! :(

Wes Worthing (Level 5) ~ 7/1/2010 6:51 PM

Just wondering if you've begun the Camilla and Sarah Jane book series yet?!


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Dan Delgado ~ Wes Worthing ~ KP Mackie ~ Faith Friese Nelson ~ Bryony Quigly