An award-winning writer/director, DAN PATRICK KERRY was recognized for his storytelling abilities at the age of 15, earning admission into the prestigious ArtQuest digital filmmaking program. His horror-comedy short INHUMAN went on to win awards at two state youth film festivals. After college, Dan co-founded the sketch comedy group 3EXCLAMATIONPOINT, amassing 21K+ YouTube subscribers and 3M+ views in just two years. In 2017, Dan optioned a pilot to the largest animation studio in Japan, Production I.G., landing him pitches at AMC, WME, and Netflix. At the start of 2020, Dan wrote an animated comedic pilot for a pitch to Disney Animation. Most recently he wrote a horror feature SCARE US and a comedy pilot about the glorious, no-holds-barred world of high school BADMINTON.
I liked the concept of the story - a couple unable to have kids suddenly get a kid who just appears magically from a peach. Seemed like a fun and whimsical idea for an animated film, and to that end, the script delivers on its promise. Where it could use some work is in plotting, pacing, and character. At the moment, the script is very repetitive in every facet and scenes have no narrative tension binding them together. Characters go to the river, they go home, they go to the river again the next day, they go back home, etc, etc. Of course, they go to other locations throughout the script, but whether going to river or somewhere else, nothing of consequence happens. When Sabishi goes with Sapoto to work, she gets in a conversation merely to provide the exposition to the audience that she has never been able to have children. Largely, the plotting feels very much like, "this scene happens and then this scene happens and then this scene happens" which lacks a sense of narrative discovery to keep the reader engaged. I give this note a lot, but you need to think about stories not in terms of "and this" but in terms of "but, therefore." A minor example that applies directly to your script which I'm not suggesting you use, but just doing to illustrate my point: Sabishi is asked by her husband to go to work with him. BUT Sabishi is socially anxious and doesn't want to meet new people THEREFORE When she goes with Sapoto and starts meeting new people she panics and flees the situation THEREFORE She flees to what is familiar to her - nature BUT Now she is confronted with the thing she fears more than people - being alone. This isn't what she wants and she doesn't know how to get what she wants BUT Enter the peach. The peach is huge and different and attracts her curiosity. She goes into the water to get it -- BUT The peach opens up and out pops a boy. Further, the boy is acting like she is his mother. THEREFORE Sabishi is conflicted about now having a strange child calling her mother but she can't leave the child out in the forest alone so she takes him home with her. THEREFORE When Sapoto comes home, angry that she ran off and he couldn't find her, he's thrown off guard when he sees the boy there. Weirder still, the boy says something a little too intimate like, "I guess you're my dad!" Just an example and again I'm not telling you to make this your story, but I'm just showing how but and therefore between story beats naturally creates narrative tension. Now we can imagine how Sapoto and Sabishi will have some interesting or comical conflict between them because of this new addition to their family. Also, the choices characters make when having to face conflict tell us who they are without them having to explain through exposition who they are. In terms of formatting, having all the action on the right side of the page is incorrect and should be corrected before submitting anywhere else. Most readers at production companies or talent agencies won't read past the first page with such a glaring formatting error.
My first note is, if your main character's name changes after just two pages of dialogue (Zhang to Shang) it implies you haven't read through your script enough to catch such a glaring mistake. Spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, though expected to some degree in any form of writing, shouldn't be on every single page of the script and the abundant presence of them here suggests you haven't run a spellcheck at all prior to submitting to Script Mother. It is valuable to treat every reader of your script as though they were someone who plans to give you money to produce it. If you want their money, you need to hand them the most polished version you are capable of producing. The bare minimum requirement for which is at least consistent character names, and a lack of spelling errors. There are also pages where character lines and action are completely missing. All of that said, there's a ton of interesting stuff in your script. It's very high-concept, and with a little refinement and practice, I think you have a cool idea. My notes from this point will simply address some things I think could use some work. STRUCTURE - This script could really benefit from some pacing and structure overhalls. You start out showing multiple scenes that convey the same information in a slightly different way: babies being born around the world with odd appearances. Cool, but this could be done a little more efficiently. It gets to the point where it's happening so much it feels bloated and tedious. Trim it down a little bit. Your use of detail for some of the scenes was great and painted a picture of the kind of danger the new mothers were now facing as a consequence of their abnormally visaged children. When we get into the real story, there is a total lack of stakes. Shang is given her assignment but it is so incredibly vague as to what she is looking for and why. Just that she is looking for people who are trying not to be found that everyone is looking for - yet she finds her first mark instantaneously and without any obstacles. After watching a display of incredible power, she just leaves and reports back to Wu (who I assume is her superior though that isn't really clear) and he sends her off immediately again. Storytelling is about obstacles and what your characters do to overcome those obstacles show us who they are. What obstacles does Shang face at any point in this script? The awkward dialogue with her ex doesn't count. She seems to find everyone she's looking for with complete ease, so there's nothing for the audience to care about or get invested in. Also, quickly jumping from a crazy battle sequence to multiple pages of dialogue between ex-lovers is really jarring and there isn't any clear narrative flow. This story is built on 'thing happening, other thing happening, other thing happening,' so on and so forth. Try to really internalize narrative tension by making beats flow together with consequence. Matt Stone and Trey Parker's 'buts and therefores' method works great for this and I recommend looking into it and using it. The story also ends very abruptly with no resolution. So much page space is given to women giving birth, and then two ex-lovers talking about their past relationship. This isn't terribly economical and you need to consider what the engine of your story is and focus more on that. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT - As stated before, Shang never really experienced a single obstacle in this entire script, therefore she was left undeveloped. We learned new information about her through dialogue, and through expository action slugs, but this isn't development and by the end of the script we don't know anything about who she is inside. Also, explaining how a person feels in action slugs is the opposite of "show don't tell." Telling us how a character feels shows us nothing about them and leaves very little to be discovered. DIALOGUE - Zero subtext present in the dialogue. There was so much dialogue just espousing platitudes and virtues that could have been used to connote how Shang and other characters were changing emotionally over the course of their conversations. Remeber that dialogue is a tactic characters use not to convey information to the audience but to get something they want from the other person. Which tactics they choose lets us know something about their characters. Give this a solid rewrite and I'm sure it will be a fun read. Feel free to reach out if you have any follow up questions.
I really enjoyed this read and the writer clearly knows what they are doing. I had the pleasure of getting to read the first fifteen for this and was happy to see it posted for full feedback and finish what I started. Good Morning Texas dives into the competitive world of local access news with the deftness and surefootedness of someone who has clearly lived in this world for a good measure of time. Abby is immediately sympathetic as a character given the demanding, punishing nature of her job and the writer balances the cringe moments with excellent comedic timing. The story is well-structured and well-balanced. It's not quite a dark comedy, nor is it a drama but occupies both spaces in a unique way that lets the writer's voice shine. The dialogue was great, the action was economical, and the story never felt like it was lulling for a second. The twist at the end was a great cliffhanger as well and gave the story that binge quality where I want to immediately know what happens next. My only notes for the story are that it feels like the engine of the show isn't fully assembled just yet. Abby is a great character and it's great to see her succeed by the end of the story, though because she succeeds through circumstances outside of her control, there isn't a clear arc present for her. There is never a point that feels like a clear win for her personally. It's fine because we like her, so when she gets a break from the less-than-stellar first day on the job, it's cause for celebration. But then there's a full other act in the script where she gets schooled by her producer and is back to square one. Meanwhile, is the engine of the show going to be her rise to the top of the local access cable world, go back to the LA station at which she interned, or uncover the mystery of the murders after the audience reveal at the end of the show? Is this going to be like Dexter, except instead of serial killer hunting serial killer, it's reporter hunting reporter (who just so happens to be a serial killer.) Also, it's unclear if Tom killed the mutilated person Abby found or if he just did it at the end as an act of desperation to create the facade of a serial killer with a specific MO. As written, it feels like it could go either way. If it's the latter, then I feel like it doesn't come across that Tom would be so desperate to resort to that. He works for the most successful news channel and is always getting the first scoop on things. If Abby beat him to the punch just one time, it doesn't feel like he would think he was so down on his luck that he would take such a drastic action to get out of local news. If it's the former, that needs to be made clearer somehow.
When a group of freelance performers is hired to play horror characters at a Halloween party, the night turns deadly when they find themselves in a life or death game with the very people they were hired to scare.