Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Confused about "The Alice '65" screenplay

I got some interesting feedback on The Alice '65 from the Austin Film Festival. It made it to the second round, where it got this response:

--> Reader #3 (Second Round reader) 

Concept: This is a comedy feature script. The descriptives and tone immediately put us into the world that is being created. It is quite lyrical and whimsical. The characterizations on both sides of the pond feel extreme and underdeveloped. And ultimately the script feels heightened in a way that makes it hard to fully engage with the narrative.

Plot: There are elements about this that are probable but not always plausible which does take it into a different realm that is not always consistent with the genre. It's hard to tell with the opening scene who the lead character's really going to be. Refining that will help a lot. 

Structure: There is a beginning, middle, and ending. The beginning gets a little muddled. It introduces quite a few characters at once with them all in need of more definition as to not come across is the same person. Giving the overall narrative more dynamics throughout will really help with the flow of this script.

Characters: Adam is our lead character. Even though in the opening scenes there are so many characters it's kind of hard to tell he's going to take charge and be the protagonist. There definitely needs to be more distinction/development of the characters on the page because they don't stand out from one another until we get to America. 

Dialogue: The opening scenes dialogue are with the British characters and it feels quite British. Once we get to America the Americans feel a bit textbook. They're in Los Angeles but two of the main characters place us more in Texas. And that feels more like using archetypes rather than something with intention. There is also a 'spinning-around-the-subject' element to it. It could be used to move the plot forward a lot better.

Overall: The story and the characters are definitely unique. This was quite a fun read. The descriptives and tone immediately put us into the world that is being created. And the narrative is quite lyrical and whimsical with a brisk pace. The physical comedy elements are also strong. One of the things that comes through very solidly is the British underpinning of the story. The America characterizations however, could use development to come across as more authentic. Patricia and Casey sound more like they're in Texas vs L. A. What will also help the American ear is to really distinguish more between the characters within the dialogue to give them dimension in the first few scenes. As it is now, without the names above the dialogue there is little to no distinction except for a few. Adam being a prime example. This is a unique story with a fresh perspective. With more development on the overall flow of the narrative and character, it will be a very solid script.

I understand some of the critique; in shifting the story to novel format, I saw places that could use a lot more focus, and I did strip some of the dialogue down a bit too where it's almost too on the nose. But I do not even begin to understand why this person thinks Casey's and Patricia's dialogue makes them sound like they're from Texas. I've looked through the script and there is nothing in it I would call Texas-talk. No ya'lls or Sugar or Hon. I don't even clip off the G at the end of words, with either of them. I've asked for clarification and have yet to receive an answer.

Maybe there is none. 

No comments: