Sample Script Notes from Script Doctor Eric
Every set of notes is specific to the script. However, to give you a sense of what you get when you order the Single Shot, here are the notes on a screenplay by a recent client; posted with his permission. -Eric
by Client X
[Please Note: The writer is welcome to use all ideas, comments, and suggestions to his fancy. The writer is also welcome to disregard all ideas, comments, and suggestions he does not fancy. –Eric]
Great setup and premise: a kid who lacks coordination dreams of becoming a baseball player. Reminds me of MAJOR LEAGUE meets WATERBOY.
Love it when the blind girl gets picked instead of Rod – first laugh of the script. Can this be the opening scene? Then it makes more sense when the teacher is skeptical of Rod becoming a ball player.
Great montage to pass the time – Rod swings and misses, a year passes. But if he is so bad, how does he make the high school team? Some ideas: maybe Rod is from a small school that didn’t have enough players? Or there was a flu going around during tryouts, and guys couldn’t show up. Or what if Rod never did make the team – he was the equipment manager instead, who always dreamed of getting on the field. It seems to need explanation.
The scenes of Rod in college are humorous, but I’m not sure they move the story forward. You might think about cutting them, and just have Rod go straight to the minor leagues. If you want to keep the professor, how about making it a high school teacher who encourages Rod to follow his dream? Maybe Rod misinterprets what his teacher is saying – his teacher intends to inspire him to go to college, but instead Rod takes it as “forget college.”
Why does Cindy fall for Rod? The love story confused me a bit. Can Rod win her over a bit more? Maybe Derek says a lot of stupid things around her, and she’s looking for better conversation? Maybe Derek doesn’t believe she can be a journalist, but Rod does?
Derek poisons Rod, and doesn’t help with the drug tests, but then decides to help get Rod playing time? When does Derek change his mind and decide he wants to help? Show that moment – it could be strong. Maybe Derek helps Cindy clear Rod of the charges? Maybe instead of Kevin getting in Donaldson’s face, it’s Junior – he confronts his father, standing up to him at last.
The script is a solid draft, but Rod’s journey can be clearer. Build up the significance of having that one at bat, so that it really pays off in the end. Maybe this is Rod’s way of becoming significant? What if the Baseball Almanac is the last present he got from his dad before he died, and this is Rod’s way of making his dad happy? (Where is his dad, by the way? Can he come into play?)
The script right now seems to build to Rod becoming a coach, realizing that he’s better at coaching than playing. (Side note: can the players resist his advice at first, so that it’s a bit more challenging / more conflict?) In the end, what if Bernstein hands the team over to Rod, because Rod has basically been coaching them anyway, and Bernstein has seen this happen?
Another direction you might wish to pursue is giving Rod a hidden talent (ie: WATERBOY, MAJOR LEAGUE). Maybe through helping the other players, they start to point out what Rod is doing wrong – they teach him how to play. Then the ending might pay off even more – Rod steps to the plate with new found skills. Although I like Rod drawing a walk, what if he gets a hit – maybe back to the pitcher who can’t field grounders (because Rod has seen tape of him not fielding very well), and Rod has to beat the throw?
Additional Notes and Suggestions
When Kevin is introduced, can he be described in more detail – especially since he plays a large role in the script?
Right now you’ve got a lot of long names that begin with the letter D: “Donaldson” “Davies,” “Coach Dinburg.” To avoid reader confusion, perhaps vary the names a bit more.
Vance and Bernstein are my favorite characters, though Bernstein’s speech in the end is bit long.
Don has some good spots, but can be even sleazier. Maybe Don asks Rod if he can hook him up with Abby? “No experience? What do you know about 16 year old girls?”
Donaldson is funny in moments, but generally comes across as just plain mean. Maybe he can berate every one on the team individually with on or two word insults? Right now his tirades are a bit long, and more general than personal. Can he do more name-calling and not coach at all? The first exchange between Donaldson and Meat is great, though a little long. Keep that tone through all of Donaldson’s interactions.
Also, Donaldson should blow off Rod’s suggestions in the beginning, but then get pressure from Bernstein, and so listens and later claims those suggestions as his own.
Zach and Timmy are also great side characters with a lot of comic potential. What if Timmy ALWAYS says something more crass than his dad, and his dad give him a high-five each time? Zach: “You know it, lady.” Timmy: “Tits or sit the hell down!” Dad gives him a high-five. “That’s my boy.”
Lastly, I know this is an early draft, but really look to keep the humorous tone through the entire script, if that’s what you’re going for. It seems to get a little serious in the middle, but you might throw some jokes in there to keep it light.
Hope that helps. Thanks for letting me read your work. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.