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Bop Short
Reviewed by: Sam Kerr

First, the structure of the story is on point. There is a clear three-act structure, several challenges Bruce, the protagonist, must overcome, and even a twist at the end. The pace is steady and it never bores the reader. The ending image mirrors the opening image and leaves the reader feeling warm. Bruce's character is developed nicely, most of it during one-sided conversations with BOP, a Bop clown, his protégé. The reader is given a glimpse into Bruce’s past, and how he wishes he could still jump in the ring. This was a difficult feat to pull-off, as BOP cannot participate in the conversations. Props to the writer for this! The dialogue is appropriately succinct. The writer avoided the newbie pitfall of including in the dialogue exactly what they are thinking and what they are doing; the whole, “Show don’t tell,” philosophy is well-utilized here. It reveals enough of the backstory, characters’ thoughts, and their intentions without being too wordy and drawn-out. This is a massive struggle for most writers in the short script realm. The pace of this script is steady and even. Some may think that maintaining a steady and even pace is easy in a short script, but you would be surprised! It isn’t always easy. I’ve read and written plenty of shorts that suffer in this department, largely because I didn’t know where I wanted the story to go. However, this was not a problem for this writer. They knew exactly where they were going with this story and wasted no time getting there. Now, for this script’s sole downfall. BOP. For me, this was an unusual choice for a main character. Perhaps BOP is a reflection of Bruce; BOP consistently bounces back when he is struck, whereas Bruce does not. This would explain the guilt at the end of the script expressed by Bruce. Or maybe I am way off track. Anyways, the choice of a Bop Clown was too unusual for me to really feel anything towards that character. At the end, I did feel sorry for Bruce, but felt indifferent towards BOP. It is imperative that for whatever audience you’re targeting, ALL of your characters evoke some kind of feeling for the reader. The best way to do this is the method made popular in the book, “Save the Cat.” Make the character save a cat, a dog, a baby, anything that would garner support from the audience and reader! Even a villain who does this earns points in the empathy department, which creates a multi-dimensional villain. In BOP’s case, seeing as he is pretty much an inanimate object, I’m not sure how the writer would accomplish this feat. But the fact the writer was able to utilize BOP in a boxing ring makes me think it is possible! Despite this downfall, the writer definitely has potential. The talent is evident, the formatting is appropriate, and the technique is there. Keep up the good writing and good luck in your future endeavors! I look forward to reading more of your work.

The Excalibur Feature
Reviewed by: Esem Samuels

Reminiscent of The Dark Tower, and certainly Kingesque in its bones, The Excalibur does an extraordinary job of blending the medieval romanticism of King Arthur and the modern grittiness of a cops and robbers thriller. The story is quite local and simple for such an ethereal premise, which allows for an easy read and quick grasp of the world. The bulk of the plot moves along nicely, keeping the reader entertained and engaged through and through. There are also some nice "talkie" scenes laced between the action-packed sequences which add a modern twist to the traditionally elegant of sword-fights. Furthermore, the mystery which is thread throughout the pages keeps up the tensions, beckoning the reader to flip each page to find out more. However, the plot takes a while to get going, spending the first twenty pages on Andy’s loss and how she’s dealing with it five years later. In a way, this first part is a story in and of itself, only loosely connected to the rest of the script. There are frequent callbacks, in the way of nightmares and visions, but they add little value. It appeared as if they were going to set up a twist as to the Knight’s identity, but that never came. Instead, they simply punctuate and reiterate an already tired beat. Perhaps this storyline would stand to be more impactful if it was drawn throughout the story, so that in vanquishing the knight it allows Andy to get over her husband’s loss, instead of that just being background to the main story. On the back end, the climax comes way too early. The final showdown between Andy and the Black Knight ends with twenty four pages left in the movie (that’s essentially an entire act). This leads to a very soft ending which only ramps up again with the return of the sword in the second climax which serves as the script’s final scene, a tactic which feigns the illusion of suspense. Traditionally, the denouement is short because the tension has mostly elapsed, meaning the reader/viewer’s attention span is much shorter. Use it to wrap up loose ends, not create a whole new plotline. Yet what this script suffers the most from is poor writing. A thriller needs its action to be uptempo and exciting, matching to its tone. Action which drags, repeats, and is not particularly descriptive does not make for a good thriller script. This is particularly evident in the fight scenes where not only is it hard to follow, but a lack of descriptive words make them drag. The worst offence is the use of Present Continuous tense instead of Present Simple which takes the reader out of the fight. Be terse. Use fun words. Keep it lively. However, the bones of this script are very good. The concept is good, the story breaks well and the characters are interesting (particularly Jake, though Julian’s kind of a drag). Given a good second edit, there is certainly potential for a stellar script, but at the moment it is not quite up to par.

Reviewed by: Damian Rzymski

The concept is very original which is a breath of fresh air and the story was okay, although the narrative was left to interpretation and not actually taken off the page. Some of my written summary was improvised in order to make sense of the story which might not be the interpretation of the writer. There were a lot of elements left to question that doesn't really sit well, for example, why were the children left to fend for themselves after their mother was killed? The narrative completely abandoned them, the oldest child is eight years old, and I don't think they would make it in this run down world on their own. What happened to the other 2 partners that were selected for this mission? The narrative abandoned them too. If Boyd's tech could easily find Ivanovitch DNA signature, why send Kane and Kip to apprehend him? Wouldn't Johnson just send someone more loyal to the cause? Why didn't the Special Unit just take everyone in at the time when they took Kip? Because at that moment none of them, but Boyd, knew of Johnson's true plans, so why would they refuse to give Ivanovitch up when it is there job to bring him in? Why does Ivanovitch have the key? Who is this man? I found myself asking questions like this throughout the entire story. When it comes to structure, I have to assume that the story wasn't outlined because structurally the story wasn't hitting the beats properly, if at all. It was very wishy washy because nothing was happening at crucial signposts of a screenplay, which usually introduces a new dilemma for the protagonist. A dilemma is where a person has a choice between two or more circumstances where the consequences are equal. Damned if you do, damned if you don't type of choices. This story lacked in that department. Also, I got lost in the logistics from time to time, not knowing when the story is on Earth and when on the Moon. Aside from Johnson, all characters can across as passive because I didn't know what they wanted so it made it difficult for me to root for them. It felt like they got on a rollercoast ride, went through the loops and turns, then got off the rollercoast feeling no different; simply because they had no reason to go on the rollercoater in the first place. Also is Kane's name an alias? There's a biblical reference to his name as a Cain and Abel. Thing is, all people are born innocent to the world so I find it hard to believe that his parents name their child after these people, predicting that he would grow up and become a man in conflict with himself. Doesn't make sense to me. Finally dialogue. It lacks subtext from start to finish. The character were just saying what they were thinking and every exchange in conversation came across as unnatural. There's a lot of formatting issues, I don't know what software you use but I would recommend final draft if you can afford the licence or FadeIn which you can write your screenplay for free, only costs when you want to publish out from the software. I know this comes across as extremely objective but I'm sure that's why you've put this story up for review.