Comments Made During the Contest
Ammar Salmi (Level 5)
That was a nice cup of action. A small one, but tasty. The twist was good. However, the lack of originality is the big problem in this short. The long dialogue is also a big a problem. Films are about actions. I don't say that I didn't enjoyed the dailogue, but I needed to see more action. By the way, you've done great job shape up you characters.
Audrey Webb (Level 5)
I like the characters and how they interact. You've developed strong dialogue and action to help distinguish these two men.Just one line I would cut: "I'm here to kill you." I think the line is unnecessary because it's stating what should be quite clear from the action. Although this has a beginning, middle, and end, it feels to me like this is just a scene, not an entire movie. Probably because the relationship between Sonny's dad and Billy seems to be quite strong, even though they aren't seen together. We want to have that explained. There are so many questions we want answered. Where is he really going? How has his finding religion affected him (yes, you SAY what has transpired, but I'd really like to see that put into action.) Think in terms of how this could fit in a larger work. You've created an interesting character and situation that warrants further development.
Brett Lovell (Level 2)
Sonny takes a sip of his drink "Fantastic nutty taste" was the only line that I didn't like. The rest was excellent, nice speed and dialogue, Maybe he could have at least had some knowledge of the kid, think that might have made the hit more interesting. Very well writen, Good job. Did remind me of "The Mechanic," 1972 With Charles Bronson, Jan-Michael Vincent. I wonder if you have seen that? I would have given it an excellent other than my love for that film.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
Cool story, solid script, nice writing. It was a little too obvious from the start that Sonny was there to kill him so I was glad to see that was not the twist. I felt like they were using each other's names in the dialogue a little too frequently. In general, people don't call each other by their first names in conversation once they are already acquainted. I think the title could be improved. It's appropriate, but gives a little too much away, in my opinion. Some of the dialogue could be improved to give this a more gangster feel.This is a pretty cool story and a very filmable script. In fact, I'd be interested in potentially filming this some time if you don't already have someone else lined up to shoot it. I can't make any promises with a new baby at home, but feel free to contact me after the contest if that's something you might be interested in and we'll see if anything can be worked out.Overall, nice job. I liked this one.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
A KNOCK at the door halts Billy --this is unexpected. - if the knock halts him, then it was unexpected.aspiring wise-guy - how can we see this, know this?You build up good tension in this. I want to know what Sonny's up to.Wha- Whad's boing on? Id's ha- - not necessary to do this. Makes it silly.An old recipe taking affect. - Effect not Affect.Sonny lay paralyzed, - liesVery good, this. I like it a lot At the end, I wondered if Billy would turn the gun on himself rather than shoot Sonny.Incidentally, you went into quite a lot of detail about the decor, so I was waiting for it to become significant. It didn't! Not necessary. Wastes valuable space.
Chris Burdette (Level 2)
I'm a sucker for a good hitman story. Hell, I'm a sucker for a bad one. I've watched Assasins more times than I care to admit. I really wanted to like this one, and I found some stuff that I really enjoyed.Billy's line - My memory is a crypt. A man can only swallow so much death. I'm saturated.WOW! Wonderful stuff. I just wish there was more of it. Unfortunately, Billy never utters anything near this lofty or instrospective anywhere else. That makes this great bit almost seem out of place. Sonny is kind of a mystery to me. He's almost too green, and I had a hard time believing his father would have made this his first job. A newbie takes out an old gristled veteran. Almost seems like a suicide mission.For me, this script had believability issues after the knock at the door. If Billy's the wiley old hitman he seems to be, 100 times out of 100 he takes his gun to the door with him. Based on the awkward way Sonny behaves, and the crap reasons he gives Billy for his visit, I knew he was there to off him by the end of page one. So, I want to believe that Billy knew as well, and I have a hard time believing that a guy that's "swallowed so much death" would let this situation go on for so long that the "old recipe" would have to save him at the last second. I think the Billy you've created, would've popped a cap in Sonny by page two. The only technical issue that pulled me out of the story was on page 3. Billy and Sonny are talking in one room and next thing I know, Billy's clinking ice in glasses in the kitchen. I had to read it a couple of times to make sure I hadn't missed something.Overall, a fair effort. Thanks for the read.
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
Notes:- You need to add some more space before your scene heading.Hah, you were going to get my second excellent vote, before the twist ending, but now you cemented it. Great job.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
Great characters. Excellent dialogue - I especially love the moments in between the words, the pauses are perfect.Your craft is excellent. This was a really pleasure to read. The story doesn't feel entirely unique, but it still sings none-the-less.I really enjoyed this. Well done.
David Birch (Level 5)
"this is unexpected" that sort of subtext is rarely used...especially since you tell us that by having him "halt"...and "tuck his pistol"...if you feel the need to cap sound cues, then cap the sound plus the item making the sound...i.e. cap WHISTLE and TEA KETTLE...you don't have to cap the source of the sound if it is one of the characters making the sound...love the dialog...some of it was a bit starchy "bourbon will do. no ice."...might be better as "bourbon. straight"...but, overall really well crafted and an easy read...thanks..
Dev Woods (Level 2)
I think over all this was a good write. I dug the descriptions and could see things clearly in my mind. I personally like tales of self redemption.My only problem was the predictability. I guess when Sonny came, my mind did a "2+2" kind of things with him and the title of the script, and I said '10-1 Billy is too smart for this clown'. With that said I also like tales of the under estimated guy.Good work.
DW Pollard (Level 4)
Very good story, though a little predictable. I didn't like Sonny, but then I don't think he was supposed to be very likeable - glad he got whacked. I thought he was a little too sure of himself, a little too cocky, especially in the presence of an old time hit man; I would think he'd be a little more cautious or nervous.A discrepancy found: Sonny is sitting in the chair and drinks the poisoned burbon. When the poison takes effect, Sonny juts out an arm and braces against the chair before collapsing, makine me think at some point he must have stood up, but that wasn't written in the script. Overall, good job.
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
This is pretty authentic sounding story, an easy read, crisp writing and format. But it's ultimately a been there done that wiseguy formula. Maybe I've watched too many of that type film.It does feels like it could be the end of a feature. Good job, clear visuals.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
VERY GOOD. I really enjoyed this story. My only suggestion would be to eliminate all the dialogue CONT'Ds. They are not needed. If you use Final Draft, you can turn this feature off.
Herman Chow (Level 5)
It's pretty good for me, but I feel it takes a bit too long to get to the punchline.The story is fine, I didn't sense any plotholes. What bogs this down a bit is the lengthy dialogue and chit-chat before getting to the meat of the story where Sonny admits he's a first-time hitman.Although you telegraphed the ending for me on page three, luckily there are only two pages left so I was still interested in knowing the actual ending. When Sonny says he has a job tonight, I kinda guessed it's killing Billy because Sonny sounded so nosy in the beginning. And then Billy, begin the more experienced, should have an upper hand.This really reminded me of my last script called "8", which has a similar setup and theme. It's evident that bright minds think alike....LOLVERY GOOD.
James Hughes (Level 5)
This was the best script I read in the contest.It moved, was easy to understand, interesting, created a vivid image, etc.The two had different, distinct voices in their dialogue.You knew what was going to happen but didn't know exactly how it would happen. The unfolding of it was interesting and surprising.In this script, the backstory was built in and explained sufficiently in the 5 page format. I commented on another script that the best 5 page scripts seemed to be the ones where the story didn't rely upon any backstory. However, this one has it, depends on it, and is successful in creating it in short space.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
Very very good!Although I figured just moments after Sonny's arrival that he was a hitman, I did not see the poisoned drink ahead of time. Dialogue was great! Actions were fitting. Good descriptions. No format problems that I noticed.One question though: the second heading reads EXT. APT, but then we read that Sonny's in the hall. So, if he's in the hall, it isn't really ext, right? I mean it's ext apt, but doesn't ext just apply to truly being outdoors?I love the drink choices that Billy had. I think it told a lot about his personality.I also like when Sonny thumbed the shirt with the gun underneath. It gave an added tension.The fact that Sonny had a mouth on him at his entrance, cursing about the airlines, was a nice subtle way of letting us know that this was not just the nice neighbor's good boy.
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)
Wow, Another amazing script. My third script and second excellent. I sort of predicted Sonny came to kill Billy once they established their jobs and That Billy was going to prevail, but the way you executed this was on point. The fact that you made them brothers but didn't shove it down our throats, was a nice touch. Lastly, the dialogue... I can't wait to favorite this and refer back to it, because the dialogue was so crisp. I will inspire to write like this one day. It was that good.
Joel Davis (Level 5)
Nice. Great setup and characters, and eminently filmable. The plot is a bit predictable but the characters are interesting and pull it off well. This was wholly amusing and entertaining, and the life experience of the older killer really shines through. I think this is great work, I can't point to any specifics to improve, but if I had to suggest something I'd say the theme feels a little muddled. Also, minor point, the teapot whistling is a cliche, but a good one, and it's well-used here. Don't lose it, but if you can find some way to make it your own it will be that much stronger.
Jose Batista (Level 5)
Excellent. Completely drew me in from beginning to end with your awesome visuals and powerful dialogue. I'm sure this has been done before, but your vision of the retiring assassin and the usual "you can't leave us" circumstance is magnificent. An apt title and fitting names, plus a bit o' blood and lead, rounds this off as a clear winner and my fav for the month. Cheers!!!P.S.: You should certainly consider making this into a full feature. This script makes for a great introductory scene and sets the basics of the story and what is to follow.
Kevin Carty (Level 4)
If this isn't the same writer from the deadly is the female contest, I will be shocked. This seems like an episode of the sopranos but the last scene of an episode of the sopranos. What did he do? I know he betrayed the mob but this seems like a scene that I've seen a hundred times before. The dialogue is nice but it seems a bit clunky in parts. I just think that as a story that this doesn't do it's job. I don't know why but the ending was so expected. The action also seems a bit unnecessary, but like I said this feels like just an ending to a crime/mobster movie. Also I don't think that him ratting on the mob makes him a likeable character for me. No layers there for me to explore because, I've seen alot of Billy in these kinds of films.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
The writing is good. It's a bit much of expositional dialogue, the plot unfolds through dialog. I missed the visuals. What if Billy prays at the beginning of the movie and then tucks rolls of money, etc..? - just a thought. Sonny says "is that why you turning on us, Billy?" - on who? Maybe I'm missing something, actually I don't think I missed anything, I just couldn't understand what kind of bad they are in. It's a good idea though. Just thinking this much dialog may hurt the script.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Terrific setup. An attention-getter, especially when the old guy "tucks the pistol" before he answers an "unexpected" caller.Love the execution of a visual single scene. Details like "1930s art deco," the likely sound of the "dead bolt locks" after Sonny enters, a whistling tea-kettle, a Bible, and the pistol across Sonny's knee appear naturally and add tremendous interest.Contrast between Billy and Sonny is well done. Their voices are distinct. Especially like Billy's reflection, "My memory is a crypt. A man can only swallow so much death." The reason why the ending worked so well; obviously Billy had "room for one more." Great writing. Figured out immediately the purpose of Sonny's visit, but did not expect Billy to turn the gun on Sonny. Really thought the ending would be Billy's demise. Good job.May not need the detailed descriptions of the guns; not a gun-aficionado, so will grant that "forty-fives" and "nine-millimeters" are equally dastardly.The subject matter aside, an enjoyable example of terrific writing.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
I don't understand the whole "airlines make too much money" bit. It didn't appear to relate to the rest of the story. I'd advise cutting it."I'm here to kill you." Really on-the-nose. I figured as much when he came through the door, since the title gave it away.The timing of the drug taking effect is way too coincidental. Sonny preaches away, delays the ending until just the right moment. It felt contrived when it happened.Why does Billy need to shoot him right there? The kid's paralyzed. Couldn't he kill him in a much less messy way, like drag him to a car and dump him in some woods somewhere, then shoot him?By the way, I love Wisconsin. I'm struggling to not give you a lower score on that account. :)
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
I don't know what else to say but Excellent. I love everything about this script. The dialogue is exceptional. The mood is thick. The writing is excellent...Easy review.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
Excellent. Top notch dialog, great atmosphere and two great chaacters. I visualized the whole thing. This will be filmed for sure.My only excellent of the month. :)
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
Great ending. I love the tension through the whole script, where Billy remains calm and we're not sure whether he's going to accept his death or not. "Is that why your turnin' on us, Billy?" Should be "you're". I really like the generational undercurrent to the whole story, Sonny having contempt for Billy but Billy being more competent. Very good.
Matthew Fettig (Level 5)
I really liked this one. I thought the dialog worked very well. It was easy to visualize, had a good tempo. I could feel the anxiety of Sonny and the old, calm maturity of Billy. I was picturing a vintage sort of scene though I don't know if you were going for that since you mention the 9mm. Seemed like it should be a hot summer day in a sepia tone.A couple of word choices I didn't like: "the real deal" in the opening action line seemed weak and not well thought out; the third line I think could have worked simply as "An unexpected KNOCK at the door halts Billy".Two strong characters, a simple location. This should be a fun one to shoot. Good luck!
MJ Hermanny (Level 5)
EXT. APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS - you're actually still inside so this slug should beINT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUSNothing too original here. You write well. The characters are well drawn and the dialogue lively just lacks a zingy punch for me - it's an old tale with nothing to refresh it.
Nicholas Ziolkowski (Level 4)
It's predictable, but overall, I like Billy's character. Though I must admit, that with your title, I was almost hoping it would have ended the other way around, with Sonny not being overly talkative, bragging about his job for the day. Don't get me wrong, I don't find anything wrong with your story at all, it's just a little too cliche. Though you do paint a good example to not be so trusting when someone hands you a drink...especially in this line of work.
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)
"I gathered that much" - yeah me too.Still, love the set-up, it's a classic scene and you build up the tension nicely.Felt like this would be a great introduction scene into a fullfeature. In fact, the character of Old Billy I'd love to see his escape from the mob.The 'surprises' are a little worn out I'm afraid. When he poured the drinks I was already calling out the poison, but you delivered a good cliché.And that's the only thing that kind of waters this down. It's a good script, but also something we've seen before, just not in this specific way.You do close on a high though, good dialog, although the mob slang becomes another cliché again.Best Moment: The soundeffect on which you end. I saw it in my head.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
This is excellently written with excellent dialogue, but I must confess, I knew Billy was gonna spike Sonny's drink when he offered him some tea, which occurs on the bottom of page two. So, the ending felt a little anticlimactic, but the following three pages were still tense and engaging to read. Limiting this to two characters set in one location makes it very produce-able, but I would've liked some of the plot and character development to be more visualized in lieu of relying on dialogue to expose it. It makes it feel more like a stage-play rather than a screenplay, which is actually the motif so far this month.A very small note: Any assassin is gonna already have a round in the chamber of his gun, but I understand racking a round into it is very cinematic.This has similarities to Melissa Mitchell's "The Interview," which was shown in last month's Short Film Contest: two characters, one location, a mafia-esque hitman, and the double-cross murder-twist. I'm not saying you stole it, it's just an observation.Your screenwriting is very, very good; it's descriptive, but not too much so and it read fast and easy. Format overall appears in order. Didn't detect any typos.
Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)
This is a solid character piece with some tension and drama. For me it felt a little aimless at first and then became a bit predictable."It's gotta exotic, nutty taste." - I guessed poison immediately when I read this, so perhaps it could be better disguised.
Rob Dianora (Level 4)
I think this could have potential. It's not all there yet, but it's close. It's a bit predictable, so I'd focus on making it as unique as possible. I do like the Billy and Sonny characters. They really make this story. Very good.
Rob Ross (Level 1)
Good writing with nice visuals, but not very original. New, young hitman comes to kill older, retiring hitman only to be poisoned? This is at best a mash-up of a couple different tv plots. If it had a different shocking ending I would have raised my score to a very good.I would add another character into the mix. Give Billy a tween daughter that watches the scene unfold or has a part in Sonny's death.
Rustom Irani (Moderator)
I'm afraid I saw the twist coming a mile away, especially with the title and as soon as he was offered the drink.What is left to go on with, then?Well for starters, this is the best written dialog so far amongst the entries I've read in this contest. Each of the characters has a unique and distinct voice and tone.The actions are vividly written and choreographed to a Tee.I just wish the premise wasn't something that has been done plenty of times before. This will make a decent short and actors would love to read those lines.But filmmakers might be a bit wary, what with mob films, the Sopranos and a zillion other references all having dealt with similar situations in the past.A great effort this, mired in re-used formula.
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
Good script with a good twist. I sort of guessed it about page three, that Sonny was there to off Billy. There's nothing really original about the story, but you did do a great job on the dialogue and pacing of the story. Your slug line is wrong, if he's in the apartment, its INT. even if he's outside in the hall.I gave this a good, despite it being a little predictable, I liked that it was well written and flowed very well.
Scott Merrow (Level 5)
This is a very well-written and enjoyable script with one kinda big problem -- it's very predictable. The ending is sorta telegraphed.When Sonny shows up, we know almost immediately that something sinister is going on. (Actually, you did a very good job making him seem sinister -- unfortunately, it was too good a job. It was a dead giveaway of the rest of the story.) So, when Old Billy is preparing the drinks, we suspect that there may be more than bourbon in the glass. And when Sonny says, "It's gotta exotic, nutty taste," that seals the deal -- Old Billy poisoned him. So when we find out that's what happened, the surprise is gone.It's still a really enjoyable story, but it could have had a lot more impact if we didn't see the end coming a mile away.My score: VERY GOOD.
Shane Shearer (Level 4)
Pretty good, though it's like anything else we've seen when it comes to this genre. I think you need to attempt a little more creativity in order to really capture the audience and get them to want more. I knew immediately that Sonny was there to kill. It was solidified when he said it was his first job that day.So basically that is my only lament, spruce up the piece with something wayward and out of the ordinary. It's a pretty routine set up and we know the players, your title also gives it away. Perhaps if Sonny wasn't greeted so hesitantly at the door, and was welcomed as though it was his own son. Then we'd see how drastic the turn of events was.
Suzanne Smith (Level 4)
Hi there. I really enjoyed the read and thought the script was well written - perfect format, awesome pace - enjoyed the character development, plot build. My fav line, made me smile - Want some tea, Sonny? lol - great setup. Dialogue was spot on for mob characters, the seasoned vet vs the young alpha - a little on the cliche side, but what else can you expect from these characters other than bad ass attitudes. It makes me wonder though, why would the boss send his son to kill an experienced killer? Not unless the son was a pain in the ass and the boss knew the consequences, but the title suggests otherwise - it seems unbelievable that a boss would do that, especially when the mob hold family with such high regard. Awesome writing, very professional!
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
I liked the idea of an old assassin (or hit man) wanting to retire, and of course there would be some blowback. Billy was an interesting character, but Sonny was a cliche. The story itself was slow moving "talking heads" and predictable. I'm not feeling it.I suggest some editing. Exposition is overly detailed & loaded with editorial (the real deal, this is unexpected - show don't tell). Lose the direction (parens) in the dialog, this belongs in the action.I also suggest finding a better way of telling this tale to make it more interesting, or at least exciting. Like instead of sipping tea, maybe Sonny gets the upper hand at first, but decides to keep Billy alive a little longer so he can steal his cash & stuff, then Billy turns the tables.
Thomas W. Brown (Level 4)
This is a pretty decent little script. The mob always makes for good stories. I like the attitude on Billy. He's stone cold, a real pro. Sonny, I'm not such a fan of. His dialogue seems a little weak, although I think you do a good job of portraying him as the spoiled, overconfident Boss' son. I would have liked to know more about Billy's motivation besides 'finding religion'. That was the one weak point in my opinion. Still, you've done a good job with this piece. Good luck!
Tim Westland (Moderator)
You're my first excellent and I have to say, this was very well written.We all know why Sonny was there, no way of hiding it. But this was so danged well written that I didn't care. I focused on HOW you got us there (the trip, not the destination) and was in no way disappointed.I look forward to finding out who wrote this.Excellent!
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
I think this could be Excellent -- first off, I would change the title. I love titles like, "Road to Perdition". Your title not only is obvious, but there is no double-meaning, something to really show the old and the new -- something along the lines of, "The Silencer" or something to that effect.And Pop would know that Sonny is in over his head, Billy, the sage, making it past sixty as a hitman would give Pop pause. I can disregard that fact, however due to the solid writing -- Sonny was brash, cocksure and Billy, though done well, can even be better, more aloof. His retorts should be kept short, and not as divulging.Billy knows exactly why Sonny is there before Sonny was even given the job, so some more aloofness would really add to the tone and mood.Bible -- should be tossed into the suitcase as Sonny notices it, an action / reaction rather than having Billy brush his hand by it."My memory is a crypt. A man can only swallow so much death. I'm saturated." The best line in the script, but should end at "...so much death." "I'm saturated" is redundant and walks all over that wonderful line.Again, I enjoyed this -- make it Excellent with some slight changes and a bit more nuance.Well done.
Comments Made After the Contest
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2010 12:03 AM
Congratulations Micah! This was a very cool script in 1 of my favorite genres. Well done!!!
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 2/1/2010 12:15 AM
Great script. I love your writing style. It's always a joy to read. Congratulations.
Thomas W. Brown (Level 4) ~ 2/1/2010 12:20 AM
Congrats on another placement Micah!
Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2010 12:20 AM
Go Micah! Well done and congrats!
Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2010 12:26 AM
Congrats! Finally one of my Excellents actually made it into the top three.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2010 12:32 AM
I'm officially a Micah fan. This is my third time picking your work as a favorite. :)
Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2010 12:33 AM
Ok, Ok... Chris Keaton DOES have taste...
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2010 12:46 AM
Congrats Micah. Very well done!!
Jose Batista (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2010 12:48 AM
Thoroughly enjoyed your script. Congratulations on placing.
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2010 12:58 AM
Man, I loved this one.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 2/1/2010 1:04 AM
Congratulations, honey. You make your mother proud. :D
Tim Westland (Moderator) ~ 2/1/2010 1:10 AM
Micah Ricke (Level 4) ~ 2/1/2010 1:18 AM
Thanks everyone! This is actually the first script I ever wrote. I've been hanging on to it for quite a few years, and I'm embarrassed to say, I only submitted it because I didn't finish what I really wanted to enter.Old Billy is actually a central character to a feature length script I wrote in college and this was an offspring of that. Well, actually, the feature length is the offspring of this. Regrettably, that script was erased (not by me) but this survived.Thank you to all. I appreciate the criticism and advice. Congratulations to everyone.Micah