Comments Made During the Contest
Aralis Bloise (Level 4)
This was really good. It does a great job of telling a complicated story concisely in 5 pages. I already thought that about the script before I read the last paragraph but that is a great twist you have there! Good job all around. there are a couple of typos, but those are easily fixed.
Bill Delehanty (Level 4)
Well written, the end kinda through me off. I'm taking a guess you don't like George Bush that much...?I think the use of the semicolon could be interchanged with just a comma. Not problem, but its a persona preference. Usually a comma (to me) means something separate happening, not a continuation like a list or series of actions. But thats just me.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
This was written and paced well, but formatted very strangely. There were way too many lines that were all caps and only contained a word or two. My guess would be that you did this to stress the importance of those capped items, but it was overused and distracting and I do not believe it to be proper formatting. The story was very well crafted, but I didn't really care for the ending (and I am not even slightly a Republican.) Bush bashing has already become a cliche and in this specific case, it's not even clear what Bush would be on trial for. I don't know... This was going well but the ending did not work for me.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Why the underlined title?I'm not one who generally like capitalisation. It annoys me, it seems self-indulgent and unnecessary for the story, which is what is important in a spec script - but the way you've spaced out your opening scene makes it work better than usual.You do, however, overuse parentheticals - try to make things obvious by your characters' actions and dialogue.'peek used once, peak used once'I think this is a very good story!
Charles Bonet (Level 3)
I liked this script. I don't know that I was completely involved in the story but it certainly held my attention with it's effective dialogue and strong pacing. The writer seemed to have a good knowledge of courtroom proceedings and that definitely showed in the location and characters. Although highly improbable, I enjoyed the twist ending. It did exactly what a twist ending should do; it made me rethink everything I had just read. At points the script was a bit too dialogue driven, but overall, I found it well constructed and interesting.
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
Ok, sure it is hard to get a complete story done in 5 pages. Because of this we tend to take snippets from a larger work or scenes. This felt like a really good setup for a larger piece. But honestly with the twist at the end I really don't feel I need more, so good job. I did enjoy the pacing. I hope your vilification of W doesn't hurt your score.Notes:- Sure the use of all those semi-colons might be correct, they look like crap. Just stick with periods and commas. This screenwriting not novel writing, so you can take some liberties when it comes to punctuation.- Don't bold, underling, or italicize anything.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
A political script - I'm sure this will bring out strong opinions. I thought it was great (and not because of politics).You do a fantastic job of creating suspense and tension. We don't know what's going on, but we are pulled through the story, by three very real and believable characters who are dealing with some major court case. Even though this is mostly a talking head script you do a great job with the visuals as well. I love the vest.The ending is one hell of a twist and while I imagine it will cause a debate, I think that is probably a good thing.Your craft is excellent and so was this script.
Erin Arbogast (Level 3)
I have never thought about what this situation would be like for the people who work at the court house, I like that you decided to tell their story. I found all three characters interesting and engaging.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
"The CLINK of porcelain interrupts the STACCATO BEAT of an vintage wall clock." Should be A vintage clock.The ending surprised me. Didn't see it coming.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
Very Good!!!Loved the surprise ending.Also love your use of descriptions - biceps stretching short sleeves. Their dialogue was great - intelligent but still down to earth.
Jeffrey Slocum (Level 4)
I thought it could have been really good if it continued on, but given the five page maximum, I thought it fell short. Like creating a build up, but then ending after an introduction. Knowing at the end that bush was on trial, I thought actually showing the case would have been better.
Joel Davis (Level 5)
Synopsis: A judge and his file clerk confer about a high-profile media case. It's very politically charged. A law enforcement officer comes in with a Kevlar vest for the judge. He doesn't like the idea but ultimately wears it. At the end of the piece, the case is revealed to be a trial for George W. Bush, presumably for war crimes.Great character study and nice twist. This would have been a pretty empty, one-note gag if the Judge's character wasn't so strong and interesting, very nice work there. The strongest point of this piece is that it does a great job of building up tension, by the end of the piece I was at the edge of my seat -- and then the resolution is unexpected. Great work and a good way to sneak in a political point with subtly. The weak point of this script is that in what we see... nothing happens, plot-wise. You create a very charged situation but there really isn't a dramatic goal for the Judge. The disagreement about whether he should wear the vest provides a bit of conflict but not enough to sustain the story.
John Brooke (Level 5)
Wonderfully paced building up increasing suspense. Masterfully scripted with a delicious twist at the end. Very well done, as a matter of fact I think this is really excellent and makes gigantic dramatic use of a mere five pages. Magnificent.
Jose Batista (Level 5)
Good Title. The ending was a surprise; I knew it was a big case being presided over by Gibbons, even thought of Bin Laden, but Bush?...LOL!!! You got me... got me good!This script was completely flawless and perfectly executed. The dialogue fit the characters well enough and the judge's chamber was a perfect location for this to take place in. Excellent as it may be, I do feel that the script appears to be a little scene in a big movie. Because of this I almost gave it a Very Good and, although it is an excellent ending, it simply leaves you wanting more and does not fully satisfy.The concept is a great one and, if you do feel inclined, I would suggest taking it up as a full-length project. Bush on trial would make for great courtroom drama. Cheers on your great writing, keep it up. Excellent!
Kevin Carty (Level 4)
I'm gonna have to say "no" on this. Time to stop blaming George W. in the form of an extensive satire. This is really not funny to me. This issue has been covered far too much. Now your technical issues readability is a problem. Your dialogue is long winded and has been sucked dry of any real charm and replaced with a procedural voice that does nothing to get your reader to the end in a creative way. Lets talk about what's happening now and move on from old news. Fade in please.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
It's so nice that you have so few characters. Your script is easy to follow at first but then it's a large chunks of dialogue (large is fine) which is not very clear to me. I must tell you that what the hearing is gonna be about is over my head. I know you build up to it, but looks like something I'm supposed to have general knowledge of and I don't know a thing about it. Am I right? Or maybe you intentionally touched on the case so lightly? I guess it's my fault so I have to go with good.Few nitpicks: your ";" look intentional and I'm sure that commas would work better in every instance. Stuff in the parenthesis like "spoons sugar as", "turning to.." would work better for me if you had them in description.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Wow. Another excellent. Two in a row.Riveting dialogue. Clear and concise. Interesting, and daring.The visual aspect of the opening scene is terrific.Fascinating that there is virtually no action in this story. Success hangs on the words of the three well-developed characters.A real pleasure to read this script.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
A snapshot of a pre-trial political case.Perhaps it's the cynic in me, but I have a really hard time swallowing this line from a Washington judge: "We’re not here to further anyone’s political agenda." I have the feeling that everyone in Washington, and I mean EVERYONE, has a political agenda: their own. As if Gibbons really doesn't want to advance himself and his political friends? I so, so wish that this were true, that judges were the impartial, apolitical beings they are supposed to be. But Gibbons appears to be operating in reality, and I don't think reality works that way.What is the real story here? Because if the story is simply Gibbon's acquiescence to wear a flak jacket, it's awfully thin and starts too late. If it's a character study, it's odd because the characters spend more time talking about outside political environments than they do giving insights into themselves (political statements don't equal self-insightfulness, of course).
Leigh Smith (Level 4)
Great character development. Thr pacing of the script is fine. The title had me thinking I was going to see a part of the trial. This is an interesting start for a feature. I want to see how this case will play out.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
I really hate political stuff, but this was very good. There's tension. There seems to be some knowledge of behind the scenes courtroom processes. I didn't see the end coming. Political as it was, it was in no way tired or trite. The writing is very good. The formatting is very good. It's just very good work.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
Oh the controversy! This makes for a good story, but I would be careful not to give the impression that you the writer thinks there was a government conspiracy. You could still have a script about the ex-President being tried for war crimes without that element being there. It might even work better slightly fictionalised. However, it's very good that you've taken such a risk, and all the dialog right up until the twist was great.
Michael Hoffman (Level 4)
Certainly a powerful topic to undertake. I applaud the boldness and I think you handled the subject with fairly unbiased stance, save for Joshua's poignant comments but he is just a single character. It could have been easy to spew an agenda and disrupt the entire piece.That being said, I thought it was a well written script with very few problems. The ending did hit me as a shocker. As the pages were wearing down, I expected something similar but not exactly the twist you offered. I think the ending really made the script worthwhile because it was a bit meandering. The buildup was a tad slow so it took a big finish to make it work. You did deliver that.The format and narrative was crisp and clean and the characters are presented with care. Good light, airy pages. A little bit talky but there was enough movement to carry me through. A few tiny things to consider. I found it sort of strange that the security and circus was so built up yet two separate people were able to sneak things into the judge. Also, the newspapers that Joshua was quoting made it seem like the trial was underway, yet this story seemed to be taking place on the first day of trial.These are minor things but something you might want revisit.Politics aside, I think you have a very good short here. Well written and a pretty good realistic sort of view about an interesting topic.
MJ Hermanny (Level 5)
ooh that last line sent shivers up my spine. I knew you had to pull a biggie out of the bag and I was pretty satisfied with it being Bin Laden but Bush was fantastic, great punch and worth wading through all the previously weighty stuff.Your craft is good but some of your choices are very distracting, the way you leave half sentences hanging:'THE GARMENT BAGhangs. Sans vest.' - that kind of thing, I'm sure it's modish but it's very jerky.You do it with all the characters too, not my cup of tea, it reminds me I'm reading a screenplay instead of letting the images play out in my mind.Other wise a good job.
Neal Barringer (Level 0)
It is hard for me to give an accurate review of this piece. I feel it is written by someone with an extensive academic background. me, I'm just an amateur screenwriting so am really only qualified to comment on format, structure, personal appeal.I'm having a hard time visually where this piece would play = it seems too small for the big screen; yet, too sophisticated for YouTube.The directions to the performers slowed the pace for me, also.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
It's unfortunate, you have a typo in your opening slugline: "JUDGES'S" should be "JUDGE'S." I'm not trying to be the typo police, I'm just talking about first impressions.It's a fun twist at the end, it caught me off guard, I didn't see it coming. We love to crucify the Bush Administration here at MoviePoet, a little wishful thinking I suppose.Your entire story is hinged to that twist and there is a lot of set-up, especially dialogue, but I understand you were limited due to the contest parameters.Your screenwriting is very good, it's descriptive, yet to the point and easy to follow. No long narrative paragraphs. Format appears in order.
Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)
This is a strong idea and you have given it depth. I wonder if the big reveal at the end shouldn't come earlier or if perhaps the script could be shortened of some of the earlier meandering. I say this because some of the earlier stuff felt like it was treading water. It might have been more interesting and packed more punch if you had got the reveal on the table earlier so you could work with it.As a side point, this is one of many MoviePoet scripts on which I find it odd that they happen to end up exactly five pages long. For this story with the structure you have given it I'd be thinking a film maker would probably not want to go longer than two, perhaps three minutes with it, so maybe it could have been written with a shorter script. Obviously each of us will have a different idea what the natural length of a given story is, but for me this story plays shorter than five pages.
Ryan McNeily (Level 2)
Really sharp. I'd love to see this script expanded. As a point of clarity, is this script, in its final lines, implicating GW Bush as a terrorist? It refers to "them", ostensibly a group of terrorists, so if this is GW standing for trial, it fuddles the nice touch of the kevlar vest...Otherwise, the dialogue is good. Characters were established quickly. I would have liked to see more of the Judge's personal struggle with the events at hand, not just the implication that he wants to be the stonewall for the trial. If not, what does this judge stand to lose, for example... Though the first page is very strong with imagery, under the 5 page limit perhaps it would be better utilized establishing the Judge's real apprehensions about the case?Well done.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
I thought this was an interesting story. The writing was good. I wasn't sure I really connected to the characters as much as I'd like to. But I think it's probably because of the setting. I didn't see the ending coming, that was a surprise. Nice work.
Scott Merrow (Level 5)
Nice twist. All the Bush-bashers will love this one. Other than that, there's not too much to it. It's not really a story -- it's 4.9 pages of waiting to see what we're waiting for. Then the shocker. The end. But, aside from that, it's well written, it flows well, and the dialogue seems genuine and believable. One REALLY minor question -- in the very beginning, what's the clink of porcelain that interrupts the sound of the clock?
Shane Shearer (Level 4)
Well written. Good fluid dialogue and on a subject matter that was quite interesting. Everything was well thought out and seemed to flow uninterrupted, making for a damn fine read. The only thing I can really find is that you'll need to use some "CONT'D" when you start a dialogue, have the person do something, then have them continue talking.That's it!
Shaun Bragg (Level 4)
I might have to make an argument as this as being one of script's with the best dialouge, it might come in second to another script I read earlier today. Not to take anything away from this. I enjoyed every second. The opening scene was excellent. The descriptions were very good then the story.On point. No mistakes. A very good effort.Keep up the good work.
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
I enjoyed this, great story & unexpected ending. Good character development and snappy dialog. I found the highly visual style a little jarring at first, but then went with it. I suggest a little more foreshadowing to suggest who is on trial, and lose the parens (direction) in the dialog detracted from the flow of the story.
Thomas W. Brown (Level 4)
Thought this was an alright script with an interesting narrative. The portrayal of the judge was excellent. You really did good job of presenting him as the stoic judicator, unmoved by the maelstrom surrounding the trial. I was a little annoyed by the CAPITALIZATION and segmentation of objects and people. I feel it disrupted the flow of the narrative. The ending was a surprise, but I'm not sure how I felt about it. Either way a fine entry, good luck!
Travis DeStein (Level 5)
I think the first eight lines of your script, with all the ellipses, were all one big long sentence. I dunno what the big deal was with that opening, it was just a hand/sleeve/cuff. You got me with that ending though, definitely surprised me. Unfortunately, it seems a little unbelievable for me. I really liked this script, but I just think the formatting could use some work. I think it's over-written (if that's a word). Great job, regardless.
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
Loved the opening images -- well written and vivid.Loved the script. Excellent work and one of my favorites to date. While I was guessing at who the case was against, the gentle way you pushed the reader towards a certain way of thinking was superb.Fantastic work, both dialogue and action lines were crisp and exact.Congratulations, easily my favorite this month.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 8/1/2009 12:05 AM
Congratulations! I loved this script. Brilliant.
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2009 12:06 AM
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2009 12:12 AM
Congratulations! It takes a lot to impress me with politics!
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus) ~ 8/1/2009 12:25 AM
Congratulations, David. One of my all-time-favorites here. Loved it in every way.
David Birch (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2009 1:08 AM
thanks to everyone who read and reviewed my submission...i'll take all your suggestions "to heart" and try to use them to improve my writing...i appreciate the time and effort that each of you devote to your reviews...thanks again...
Michael Hoffman (Level 4) ~ 8/1/2009 3:00 AM
Congrats David! Pretty tight voting among the top three. I'm proud to place with another first timer.
MJ Hermanny (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2009 5:06 AM
Well done David, congrats!!
Jose Batista (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2009 1:51 PM
David, this was a great script indeed. I favor it because of it's potential to be such a dramatically charged courtroom drama that is sure to draw lots of commentary and attract much attention. Great work!
Paul Williams (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2009 6:21 PM
Hi David, Congratulations on your 2nd place finish!I'm generally not a fan of politically themed scripts, but this was nicely done and written excellently. It was one of my favorites of the month.I watched a documentary a while back about the "war on terror" and, I forget the specifics, but it referenced Bush pre-emptively self-pardoning himself some years back, or at least trying to.I'm curious, does Case #66214 have any significance?Also, I thought that was a typo in the opening slug-line, but I don't think anyone else mentioned it, leading me to believe I might be wrong.Anyway, congrats again.