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"First Person Shooter" by Lewayne White

Logline: A call center employee, and a wily street punk with her own agenda, struggle to evade professional hunters in order to win the televised real-life version of a popular video game.

Genre: Action - SciFi

Cast Size: 10+

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

Contest: Feature ~ Round 2 of 3: Ten Pages (Apr. 2012)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
6%12%47%32%3%

Comments Made During the Contest

Alex Hollister (Level 4)

Well, I wasn't a fan of this logline to begin with. I was somewhat surprised when it went through. I imagine this progressed more on the 'may-be-fun-to-read' than the fact it was marketable or that it could viably be made into a movie.

Here's one of a few fundamental problems. Gamer already got made. And it approached the subject matter better than this. And was stylistically much more effective.

Before I go any further, I want to prefix this by saying there are skills here with this writer. The action description is well written. The dialogue is a little OTN, but it flowed and felt somewhat natural. I prefix that, because it's all downhill from here, but I wanted to stress it's the script. So nothing personal. Writer has potential.

But this suffers from one thing that buries it..... It's boring. You've taken everything that could be interesting with this concept and distilled it into tedium.

It starts off well. A one page action opener. Nice move. From then on in it's all downhill. Since there's so much wrong here, I'm gonna bullet-point the critique-

1) In setting up a universe like this, particularly one that suggests not-too-distant future, you have to establish the rules. Your rules. It's important in those opening pages to show how the tech works. How does TRACKERZ work? How does dying in the virtual world connect to death in reality (which is suggested by the 'heir' reference)? You spend so much time setting up the prize money situation (through blatantly expositional dialogue... although I can allow that since it's cheesy TV show banter) that we don't really get an idea of how it works. Now compare that to maybe, at the moment BLANK dies, we cut to the studio. To the machine the real Blank is inserted into. And we see a life monitor flatline. Imagine the flatline next to the prize money accrued. What a cool image. we'd now have an idea of how this show works. SET UP YOUR UNIVERSE EFFECTIVELY!

2) The call center scene is dull. Apart from conveying Mcavoy's addiction to the game and disregard for customers and career, it does nothing to really establish anything. It doesn't push the story forward. It simply exists. And goes on far too long.

3) The virtual decor? Done to death. If you have to use it, come up with something else to give it a bit of life. For instance, did you know they're working on mood-sensor activated environment. Basically, if your sad the walls will react and project fields and meadows or potentially whatever you program to go to the happy place. This is real!

4) The exchange between Helene and Mcavoy is a little lifeless. Yes, they banter but it's sort of dull. That said, the man slipping out the door was a nice touch.

5) We're back in a sterile office for the second time when this should be the most important scene so far. This is the connection. It's a mini-catalyst. Mcavoy has been contacted by what is obviously the show's producers. This is Trinity contacting Neo. And... again... it's boring. In fact, in these opening pages we flick back between the same locations over and over again. Matrix is a good example. Neo is in dark bedroom hooked up to net....BORING! Text on screen... BORING... but then it begins to twist. Follow the white rabbit! Eventually, by the time Trinity meets Neo they're in a club. Pumping base. Laser lights. It's audio visual. Stimulating. And not one man with a headset in an office. Think OUTSIDE THE BOX. He could be pursued. Or maybe realizes a car is following him. Just something to get us out of that office.

And, to sum up, it's for all these reasons this gets a fair. Because this is by no means the worst script I've read in this contest. But sometimes what is much more criminal than a bad script is wasted opportunity. And this screams of it- FAIR

Bill Clar (Level 5)

Pg 1: "Blank" is an uninteresting name. I like "Taggart".

Pg 1: Good opening. The action held my interest. It ended quickly without delay.

Pg 2: Spell out numbers in your dialogue. "$15,000" can be pronounced several different ways.

Pg 2: You may need to establish that Trackers are human. They sound like drones.

Pg 3-4: I like how McAvoy handles the customers. Wish I could do that sometime.

Pg 8: When do we meet the wily street punk?

I like McAvoy and his slick attitude. He can multitask and knows how to deal with people.

No introduction for the street punk. I was hoping to meet her as she can provide a break from McAvoy and Helene.

I don't see any motivation for McAvoy to risk his life other than new furniture. That's not high stakes. I hope your inciting incident involves McAvoy being thrust into the game against his will.

Byron Matthews (Level 5)

I still don't know what to make of this story because it feels it's another version of Running Man/Gamer/The Condemned/The Hunger Games/ETC.

Things I liked:

I like the imagination.
The story starts off with some decent action.

Things I'm unclear:

What exactly is the game? I get that people are killing other people, but are they felons, poor people, being punished, volunteers, etc?
How does the game work?

Things I don't like:

I sense we're in the future, but when in the future.
You don't set-up your subject -- this game -- clearly.
I'm not really too fond of the protagonist.
Grammar mistakes such as blank fires pistols.
Story feels like it wonders around a bit.
There's no real driving force in the first ten pages.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

Do you know what? I'd rather you didn't try smart title pages. It doesn't work for me. It may not work for others. It means I'm starting off with a sigh rather than a blank slate. Don't risk it.

Great opening page though! Great opening couple of pages - such a good recreation of a game show.

Loved the call centre scenes - made me laugh out loud.

Don't understand what a decorator is.

I thought this was great, very well-written, pacey and witty - however, I'm not sure what this will be about, what's the theme, what's the story?

Should I, by the end of p 10? I don't know. I think maybe I should. I also think that there should be some event/occurrence foreshadowed to pull me in and compel me to want more.

Slightly...style over substance? Or rather, style over plot?

Chris Messineo (Founder)

I think this is well-written. It was easy to follow and you did a good job with all of the action.

My issue here is that I feel like we've seen this movie a dozen times before and I wish there was something about it that felt more unique. We've seen this dystopian future before. What makes this story rise above those others?

Your story and craft are good, but I think you need to come up with some compelling twist to really make this shine.

Chris Setten (Level 4)

This is a cool world that is being introduced and you seem to have an excellent command of it. The writing is superb, everything clear. You do a good job of introducing the characters although I'm not quite sure from these first 10 pages where the story is going. Not meant to be a criticism really, the logline tells me what I need to know. I think I like it, at least I would continue to read it. Good luck.

Chris Westfield (Level 3)

The writing is good. The scenes between Helen and McAvoy seemed redundant. I could quite follow where this was going. I have to assume plays the real life version because he doesn't have a choice or he needs the money. Based on the first ten pages he really doesn't need the money. Seemed like too much setup on McAvoy without it really going anywhere. I would turn to page 11 though, so that's good.

Christina Anderson (Level 4)

Where's the wiley street punk, and the FIRST PERSON game?

These ten pages lag behind the story that's been pitched.

The first five pages were tight, but then we stay with the monitor-monkey too long and the script lost it's way. This is a mayhem movie-- own it.

David Birch (Level 5)

STORY: All the mindless video game action doesn't really cover for the vacuous nature of the story. Showing MCAVOY monitor "gamers" and having him answer the phone doesn't reveal enough about the nature of his relationship with HELENE. First of all, as an employee of the company, I doubt he'd be eligible to participate in any of the "live simulation." Thus, making him disqualified to receive any prize money. Now, if you were to intro an accomplice where they were going to circumvent this stipulation in order to "strike it rich" by "gaming the system", well then you have a story. Add to that that something goes wrong, and now your protag's in deep "s", there's your story. As is, just a nerdy dude loser playing video games. I can see that anywhere.

WRITING: Here's what I don't get. As empty as the story was, the writing was that strong! Clear, crisp images. Hardly an annoying adverb. Active voice. All seemed to be formatted within the acceptable norms. The only "head scratcher" was on page 10. I didn't get was HELENE's voice. Was MCAVOY hearing her voice through his headset? Because the way it's written she's in the scene with him. I don't get it. A big reason for that is that YOU'RE ALWAYS SUPPOSED TO HAVE SOME DESCRIPTION AFTER A SCENE HEADING. ALWAYS! So, INT. HOME OFFICE - DAY without any description immediately after is the source of the confusion. Here's my guess (and the reader should never have to guess):

INT. HOME OFFICE - DAY

McAvoy sits in front of a huge flat screen monitor. His thumbs
working the controller. Through his headset:

++++++++++++++++++++HELENE (V.O.)
+++++++++++++++++(filtered)
++++++++++Hey, Monitor-Monkey, open up. I
++++++++++need your signature ON a package.

This way, we know whether or not she's actually in the room with him.

Or, you can have the character slugline look like this: HELENE'S VOICE (filtered)

OVERALL: While the writing was very impressive, "First Person Shooter" didn't have enough of a storyline to stand on its own merit. The use of the video game images camouflaged characters that were one dimensional and thin.

David M Troop (Level 5)

page 1
Excellent action sequences. Reveal that this is a reality game show - very nice.
page 2
Banter between TV Host and Jackie is good. Explains the concept of the show and we realize we are watching the future of television.
page 3
Your formatting is excellent so far. "Senior Citizen Shoot-Out" - very funny.
page 4
Angry Customer's dialogue should have (V.O.) next to name
page 5
Love the decorator feature in the apartment.
Your office is on 16 (sixteen) hours a day.
(stroking his headset cord) should be an action line.
page 6
Would you like (to) order this month’s -
FEMALE VOICE should be (V.O.)
page 7
RASPY VOICE should be (V.O.)
page 10
(OVER HIS HEADSET) should be under HELENE to the left.

Very good start. Your view of television and reality shows in the future reminds me of The Running Man and Network.

Your formatting and action lines are very good.

Your characters are okay. McAvoy seems like a typical geek. Helene is up to something.

If you can keep this from getting too much like The Running Man or The Hungar Games, it should be pretty good.

Denise Jewell (Level 5)

Good introduction of characters and setup. You've captured the digital world excellently - I can imagine this world full of screens and reality shows about screens. Your protagonist is very likeable, although I'm not sure about Helene yet. I wanted to turn the page after ten which is a good sign. I hope to read more in the next round.

Derek Anderson (Level 4)

Reading the first couple of pages, the Gerard Butler movie "Gamer" is all I could think about. But as we get to the scene with our call center employee protag, your story started separating itself from that notion.

I like this idea, and to be honest, I'm intrigued.

However, "the wily street punk" from the logline doesn't appear in the first 10 (unless she is Helene, and if so, then that's a little confusing).

My biggest complaint is that the inciting incident, which is obviously going to be McAvoy and this wily street punk getting pulled into this game, never happens. Your first 10 just establishes characters and the game show. It doesn't draw the reader, nor does it beg them to read further.

The writing is good, and your goofy title page made me laugh.

The only other suggestions I have:
1. rewrite that first action scene with Blank and Taggert. I had to re-read it several times. It didn't flow smoothly.

2. Helene... we first meet her and some mysterious figure sneaks out the bathroom, pointing at her infidelity. Yet, a few pages later she's pleading with him "I'd rather have you than money." That line didn't seem to mesh well with the character you already established. I was pegging her as a cheating hot gold-digger eager to expend his life for the potential of fortunes.

Good luck with this. The intriguing concept pushes this to a Good for me.

Derek Collins (Level 4)

Well, its different (except for the few other movies out there that have done it already)... I dig the whole "Ideas in my head influenced by a pop culture-saturated life" and I mean I think I get what your trying to do, but you don't starve the beast by feeding it more... Overall I'm sorry to say but there was just nothing here that did anything for me.

Elias Farnum (Level 5)

That's an odd title page. Let the first ten pages capture the reader, the title page stands out, but in a self aggrandizing way. Keep the title page clean and professional.

"Like rats on speed." Nice description, I hope I am in for much more.

This is pretty unique, ala Death Race, and I was drawn in as a result. Yet, I'm having to force myself to buy into the whole geek guy has hot erotic babe, but having a humorous edge, it's okay. And that makes the expositional, somewhat flat dialogue between Mcavoy and Helene unneeded. If they've been together for a while, shouldn't they have had this conversation already? Beefy guys are overrated? Obviously trying to sell the relationship, but this dialogue is forcing it. You could just "show" this bond throughout.

It really doesn't matter now. I'm buying it already. VG with a possible upgrade. (Yeah, I'd def watch this if it got made.. thus far.)

Erich VonHeeder (Level 4)

Here are my thoughts as I was reading through your pages:

You are going for it here. That logline…oh boy…the bad news is that your script is starting in the deep, dark shadow of The Hunger Games. The good news is that I’ve never read or seen The Hunger Games. But I have seen The Running Man and a couple other “eerily violent future gameshow” type concepts. All that to say: this is not a unique concept for a story, so you’re going to have to blow it UP!! Onward!!

(Just a side note: I didn’t write the paragraph above to be mean or condescending. I just wanted to share the thoughts that went through my head when I read your logline. I think they’re pertinent, and I don’t think I’m the only one that thought those things. I’m cheering for you to knock this out of the park. Okay let’s go…)

Pretty groovy first sequence. Nice.

I like the gameshow feel. I am picturing Richard Dawson as the gameshow host (that’s a Running Man reference…if you haven’t watched it, you really need to. Be sure you’re not accidentally stepping into things that have already been done).

“How the hell am I gonna kill the Target if customers keep calling?” That’s a little on the nose I think. Can you find a more creative way for Mcavoy to display his frustration instead of just telling us “I am frustrated and here is exactly why.”

I dig the decorator / holodeck concept. Can see that coming into play later.

“A couple minutes is all you need.” Hilarious bedroom “compliment.”

Like the sneaking out of the CHEATER!

I like what you’re setting up here, but I think the key is to show us why McAvoy really NEEDS to be on one of these shows. You should either force him onto a show when he really, really doesn’t want to…or he should be straight OBSESSED with going on a show and has to pass over a bunch of obstacles to make it a reality. Right now, you have him sitting somewhere in the middle where it’s like “yeah, I want to go on the show but you know whatever so I’ll sit and watch it on TV.” I feel like he’s a more interesting character if he’s out TRAINING like crazy, or out on a street corner trying to recruit a team…OBSESSED. Or, have him reading a book like “hell, those shows are for the jackass demographic…it pays my bills but I’m a little too evolved for that.” Make an EXTREME choice…don’t chill in the middle.

Nice work! I won’t lie and say you’ve shown me something drastically outside my expectations. But I think you do have some promising things in there. Just keep making drastic choices! Go nuts!

Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)

An intelligent, well written screenplay that reminds of THE HUNGER GAMES and TRON.

I'm sorry that I can't offer much in the way of criticism. It strikes me as
having little room for improvement. Continued good success.

Gary Rademan (Level 5)

OPENING IMAGE:
The intro of an in-process game is familiar but solid. The killshot made it clear to the audience the game will only get as far as the company wants you to get.

PROMISE OF THE PREMISE:
So far, everything is on track. We will meet the punk shortly.

OTHER:
Did you notice your character slugs use a man's last name and a woman's first name? How did Helene wind up with the monitor monkey? The call-in scene was noteworthy for showing us his job, not telling us.

GOOD.

Javier Ordonez (Level 2)

This is a decent start. It seems to go for careful world-building, which is good when you've got a fictional world with different operating rules than our own. The following scenes are good in terms of similarly introducing themes and elements. All of these are Good, but what could make it Great would be dual-purpose: have the TV running while McAvoy is working to compress the exposition; have the couple argue and make up while watching the show (or during his work to emphasize how it interferes with their personal life); emphasize media saturation in their lives by saturating exposition. All of this will quicken the pace considerably and build toward the inevitable arena entrance.

It was a good decision to include the inciting incident (phone call) early in the script, even if it was a tad obvious. Perhaps it could be a bit more dynamic: he accidentally publishes his criticism online or brags to his superiors. Who knows, maybe later on there's something more dynamic, this criticism is limited to the ten pages available.

The characters are... standard. The draw is the story at this point, which is not bad, but it would be nice to see some immediate characterization to invest the reader in the plot. In The Matrix, Neo is similarly a monitor monkey, but his introduction is ensnaring and we can't help wanting to follow him until the action picks up. McAvoy's backseat quarterbacking is a decent start; combining that with some other sympathizing characteristics (other than having an "exotic" wife is similarly somewhat bland) would be key to establishing him as a strong protag.

If this seems like a lot of criticism, it's because there is a lot of potential in the story and it's got great room for growth. Best wishes on future writing.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

I know GAMER comes to mind while reading this logline. Hope it takes a completely different direction.

Hm, this is interesting. It kept my attention. I never stopped and felt the need to write anything.

I can definitely see where it was going. I'm mad that you only had ten pages to set up your world, cause I'm sure with another 5, u would have told us a lot more.

Where is this "wily street punk"? I really wish she was introduced.

I thought his wife was a robot of some sort. Just the way she happened to be naked and ready to have sex with him at a drop of a -- towel. She seemed so typical, BUT I guess you're going to introduce a strong female lead later so it makes up for it. Just really wish you mentioned her in the first 10.

Really liked the Mysterious call.

I don't really have anything constructive to say. This was really good.

Kirk White (Level 5)

I see some solid potential in this…but as it’s written now, I’m not really feeling like I’m reading a cohesive start to a story. Right now it feels like a hodgepodge of Wanted, Running Man and Gamer and I’m not seeing anything unique about this world. What is McAvoy lacking that will be fulfilled with this journey? The setup feels rushed and we jump really quickly into getting him ready to have to compete…I think you could stand to take a bit more time developing the character and the struggle.

Having said all that…I’m always a sucker for dystopian killer game shows and will happily read more…

Giving a good.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Riveting opening. Without reading the logline, it could have been the beginning of a war movie.
Matthew Michael McAvoy is an interesting geek-dude. Not sure why a woman like Helene is with him, but maybe the figure slipping undetected from the bathroom "and out the bedroom door" is an indication that Helene is not what she appears to be.
Read and reread the tv studio scene and, perhaps, it's too early in the story to provide so many numbers. Grant mentions the million dollar prize, but what's the relevance of "two minutes and twenty seconds"; before Blank is blown to bits, he mentions three minutes. Jackie's lengthy explanation that follows has too much math. She discusses "Trackers, Civilians, and Cops," none of which were not in that first scene with Blank and Taggart.
Only when Grant signs off, "YOU can be the next contestant on Trackerz," is it clear that the action is actually a life-and-death game show. Maybe the description in the first scene should tell a reader/audience that the two guys are participating in a reality show of some sort.
Conversely, the scenes at McAvoy's home office where he fields phone calls is well done. Nice variety of callers -- even though what they're calling about hasn't been revealed -- and perfectly clear that he's a slacker working in a call center.
"Satchel charge" and "a multi-tool on an electronic board" are not familiar terms.
Good action scenes and curious about what could be going on with Helene.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

I am liking this.

Great writing style. Tight and terse without being anywhere near boring. Format's good. You crossed the Ts and dotted the Is.

The story is great. I really want to know more.

The dialogue is individual to the characters and reads natural...

Nice work.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

As I'm sure a lot of reviewers said in the logline round, this concept (a dystopian future where people fight each other to the death in a game) has been done many times before, with reality TV and video-game angles. I liked what you've done by combining both.

The characters are good. McAvoy may be obnoxious and privileged, but I'm guessing the "wily street punk" will balance that out and McAvoy will have a satisfying character arc.

I'm not sure what is happening on the second half of page 10, but I guess it's the first part of the next scene.

I get that the survey is significant (it's probably a precursor to him joining the game), but I don't think we need to see three other phone calls where he's following the same script each time. Just one is enough to imply what a soul-crushing job his is.

Good.

Matthew Fettig (Level 5)

Does it grab me - I have to admit I was more intrigued by the first 10 pages than I was by the logline.

Are the characters well defined, strong, and engaging - If the two main characters are McAvoy and Helene, we have a little glimpse of who they are. I'm not sure if a scrawny, pasty, 30-something who watches TV all day is really going to be able to pull off the challenge that's being presented. Is there something else unique about him that we don't yet know? Helene seems more interested in sex than anything else, and unless that is her "tool", I'm not sure what skill she'll rely on to stay alive. The fact that McAvoy is unaware of her deception seems to be due more to his preoccupation with the TV than any skill on her part.

Writing style - This was a surprisingly fast read. There wasn't a lot of description but that didn't bother me. I was able to envision what you were describing. However, there was a good bit of repetition. We saw McAvoy doing his call-center work in his first scene, and then we got more of the same later on. I would use these early pages to give us as many story hooks as you can. The full page call with the "hacker" wasn't necessary. Get us into the story.

Craft - As fast as the read was, I got the sense that this was written quickly as well. There are several areas where I think you omitted a word or letter. I can't tell if it was intentional (to minimize the word count) or simply overlooked. For such a heavy action-oriented story, there is surprisingly little in the way of action lines. I didn't notice it so much on the first read as I did looking over the entire entry after reading it.

Also, your opening scene with Blank and Taggert confused me at the end -

"Shrapnel peppers Blank as Taggart’s rounds shred his scrap
shelter. Blank ducks, rolls, leaves blood splatter.

Taggart lies on the ground, stunned, with multiple gunshots
to his body armor. His gun lies nearby. He reaches...

Blank steps on Taggart’s hand, aims one pistol at Taggart’s
head. Blank sweeps the other gun around, seeking targets."

Somehow that transition from Blank rolling on the ground leaving blood splatter to Taggert being on the ground was too choppy. I had to read it several times to see if the names had been transposed. I think I understand it correctly - both got shot - but it doesn't read smoothly the first time through. You have the image in your head so it's clear to you. Try to make that transition more clear to the reader.

Do I want to read more - I'm a little torn on this. Nothing about McAvoy makes me think that he has a real ability to win this game. For him to succeed, I think it will take a gimmick, and I don't get the feeling that I've seen a set-up for that in these pages. If you have a good hook to make his potential success believable, get that in this early part of the script.

Michael Cornetto (Level 5)

I liked this. There's something about futuristic game shows that turns me on. I thought you did a good job introducing the story. The writing itself was fine, no real problems with dialogue or action. I had a bit of confusion when you first mentioned the decorator but I soon sorted it out.

If there were anything I would suggest as a change to make this better, it would be to reduce the amount of dialogue. The phone calls seem a bit repetitive so that would be as good a place as any to start. It seems too chatty so reduce it to what is necessary. You only need to give us a sense of character at the start because you can develop the characters while the action is happening. This is an action movie, I want to see more action.

Nicely done. Good luck with advancing.

MJ Hermanny (Level 5)

You've set up a believable futuristic world here, not too far off from the one we're already in!

I think you get the central question in there - will McAvoy play Trackerz and survive?

The hook is that his wife is cheating on him and wants him dead - maybe - not sure - that piqued my interest.

It began to drag around page 6/7 as nothing new was happening. I didn't get what was going on with the wife and McAvoy over his headphones and with the package - it just seemed like filler which I'm sure it's not but it needs to be clearer to hook us in more.

I'm not really digging any of the characters yet. Helene's dislikeable because she's cheating on her hubby - i assume she is, that's what the guy coming out of the bathroom led me to believe anyway.

McAvoy is ok, just a bit of a gaming geek at the mo who doesn't do his job properly, not really digging him too much either, not enough to want to spend 90 minutes with him, not yet anyway.

So I'm not into it enough to want to read further. It's a bit muddy, clear it up, tighten it make it clear what's going to happen - we should be getting into the extraordinary world, or at least the call to adventure/inciting incident by page 10.

Olga Tremaine (Level 5)

Ideas in my head influenced by a pop culture-saturated life - I don't think this is necessary.
The opening is cool, at the bottom of p.1 we find out it is a game.
I don't think you can use numbers/digits in a dialog, all numbers have to be spelled out in words.
p.7 - I got aN outage! , not "I got a outage!"
Not sure what is the inciting incident here - is an arrival of a package? That's the only thing that caught my attention on p.10.

I think you've got a really cool concept here. You have some typos throughout. You probably wrote it in a rush. I got a good feeling for the characters. Very Good.

Pete Barry (Level 5)

The strength of this is clearly McAvoy. He's likable, sassy, smart, and funny. You can already see the dollar bills floating in his eyes. The language is appropriately brutal, and the things we see on the screen paint a good picture of this bloodthirsty dystopia. Sometimes, especially on that first page, the language gets almost too choppily poetic, lots of short glottal stuff, and reading it made my eyes glaze over a little. I love my blow-by-blow action scenes, but I know from experience that it's hard for other people to read them sometimes.

It's following in the footsteps of many classics like Running Man or Gamer, but I don't see enough difference to really separate it for its predecessors. The Old Lady Who Wants To See Blood character was funny once upon a time when Richard Dawson had to deal with her ("Bullshit!") but she's basically entered cliche territory now. I do like that McAvoy is a call center guy for the company, which also pardons the fact that everything around him is part of the video game bloodbath culture. Still, while I do want to read more, something's going to have to really grab me to make this pull away from the pack.

Overall, a good job.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

I’ll make notes as I go:

Pg 1 - The first page is a good action opening for this premise.

Pg 2 - The guy was two minutes from winning a never before won, life or death one million dollars. It seems like the first page would have been much more exciting if I had known that at the time.

As a nit-pick, the bonus prize numbers seem too small relative to the time prize.

Pg 4 - It’s a good character intro.

Pg 10 - This is off to a good start. All the different reality TV shows are amusing.

Reginald Beltran (Level 4)

It's a mish-mash of "Hunger Games" and "Running Man." Unfortunately for me, it doesn't get to the good parts quick enough or at least an inclination that they will join the games by page 15. By page 8, the Mccoy thinks about it through a suggestion by Helene. There's really no great urgency, other than he thinks he can do better than the other competitors. Mccoy doesn't have a compelling urgency to pursue his goal of participating in the games.

I understand the writer wants to create a world, where reality TV violence has taken over the airwaves. However, the name dropping of specific shows in the first three pages is too obvious. Maybe, subtly and slowly introduce how reality TV violence has taken over Television.

Lastly, if it wasn't for the logline, I don't get a sense of the character's goal. In fact, he seems to be living a decent life. A job where he answers calls, plays video games all day and a good relationship. His only complaint is that "he can do better than the competitors" and his wife "spends too much of their money." I still think these characters need a stronger goal and the urgency to pursue it.

Reginald McGhee (Level 0)

I know some people might complain about this, but you might want to remove the template on the title page. It looks like amateurs’ work. I won’t take points off template screenplays thugh.

You have a significant amount of white space in the screenplay, which makes this an easy read. The opening scene where Bank and Taggart play gunfights makes this an interesting read. The reveal where we are watching this through TV is a cool effect, though I knew this was coming already.

Page four is funny. I see the concept that is reflected on the logline you have. Two street punks, Jackie and McAvoy, are addicted to a popular video game.

I’m going to guess that the female voice is Jackie. I also feel that the talking heads can be tiresome at times. You may want to eliminate some of that and get on with the action. This might throw some people off, even though you have a cool concept in the first ten pages. The dialogue is real and natural. And the screenplay looks well structured.

We find out that the inciting incident on page nine takes place when McAVOY overhears the contest on Demolition game.

Due to the excessive dialogue and less action, I don’ t know what to rate this as. The dialogue has subtext and all.

Rustom Irani (Moderator)

While I like the futuristic dystopian sci-fi setting of this script, there are elements that seem a bit out of place and at times I see an effort to explain things (quite well explained actually) which get repetitive and don't gel with the main plot.

I LOVE the opening, though the jargon in this scene and the latter ones is a bit disconnecting, sometimes funny.

And once you introduce Mcavoy, we pretty much stay with him for seven whole minutes without the plot actually moving forward. It's essentially character development, a sub-plot about his cheating girlfriend who's using him and him thinking he'd be great at the game show.

I would have loved to see him out of this setting of the apartment. Maybe have a scene with the wily street punk you mention in the logline. Introduce her, perhaps?

I know you need the exposition for setting up your world and getting us familiar with the premise, but yet the pace feels a bit slow, coz' essentially he's a nerd dreaming of taking part in a game where the players were trained bad-ass beef-cakes.

If you show, tell, hint some aspect of how he feels he's ready physically as well, or perhaps a reason for his reluctance despite his knowledge, then I could've been pulled into the story all the way.

Right now, it's around 50-50.

Still a good job, though I'm not a big fan of the title.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

This is very good. Part of it reminded me of the Hunger Games, with the Trackers and the television show.

I liked your protag. I like the concept. The pace is good.

I am not too fond of the title.

But I like these ten pages and I'd like to read more. I gave you a very good.

Scott Merrow (Level 5)

This is a pretty good idea for a story -- a future where reality games include the possibility (even likelihood, it seems) of death in order to win the big prize. Not a new idea by any means -- Roller Ball, Death Race 2000, The Running Man, and (of course) Hunger Games are among many movies that feature "sports" with an element of death to satisfy a bloodthirsty futuristic audience.

But I don't think you fed us enough of your story in the first ten pages. I should be hooked by now, but I'm not. Part of the problem is that I'm not a gamer, and I really don't understand the fascination so many people have for video games where characters run around and shoot monsters and things that pop out at them.

It seems that after ten pages, you've done the absolute minimum to set-up your story. I'm pretty sure McAvoy is going to join the game to earn the big money so his gorgeous wife can live the high-class lifestyle she desires. And, of course, the "figure" that snuck out the bedroom door let us know that she's unfaithful and probably hopes that McAvoy loses the game, killing two birds with one stone for her. Decent plot elements, but here's what's missing: why we should care about any of this? We've learned a little about the world of your story, and we've had a glimpse of what's (probably) coming, but we're still not invested. (At least, I'm not.) This looks like it's gonna be a thriller -- we should be on the edge of our seats by now.

Anyway, I think it's a good idea for a story, and I enjoyed reading the first ten pages, but I think you need to bump up the excitement level a bit.

My score: Good.


Comments Made After the Contest

Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 6/1/2012 12:06 AM

I gave this a VERY GOOD, and I meant it. Sorry you didn't go on to round three.

Denise Jewell (Level 5) ~ 6/1/2012 10:59 AM

I gave this a VERY GOOD, as well. Pretty surprised it didn't move on.


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