"The Leyster" by Ayal Pinkus

Rewrite: 5/23/2011 12:00 AM

Logline: A retired art thief has to do one more heist to get his daughter back.

Genre: Action - Crime - Thriller

Cast Size: 7

Production Status: Unavailable

Contest: Deja Vu (Mar. 2011)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
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Comments Made During the Contest

Audrey Webb (Level 5)

I liked the line about "old friends" -- you conveyed a rich history between these two men in a single phrase.

I got very confused in the scene with Rick. It was unclear to me who he was in relationship to anyone else. Two robbers just happened to plan the same heist at the exact same moment? If they were there for the painting, I didn't think Rick would be concerned about an old lady's wallet.

Given that the old lady was wearing the trench coat, the "surprise" of who she really was had already been spoiled.

Nice sense of irony with the final line.

Bob Johnson (Level 4)

Very well written, formatted well, didn't spot any grammatical errors or typos.

Locations described fine, characters believable, dialogue flowed freely and I thought mostly relevant to the plot.

I got the beginning and the end but was kind of lost with confrontation between Rick and Lady/Johnnie. How and why did this come about, just seemed to be a random event.

Otherwise a good effort.

Brian Howell (Level 5)

It has some good action to it. Very clean and crisp writing style. I like it. I kind of want to know more about Mr. Green and Johnny's relationship... are they former friends? Did Johnny work for Mr. Green before, that kind of stuff. And why does Mr. Green have Johnny's daughter, is it only so that Johnny will procure the painting? A little more into these will add a more depth to the characters and make the story feel bigger. As it is, the story is rather simple and wraps up a little too nicely.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

This was written, formatted and paced well.

I liked the story for the most part. What I didn't really get was the architecture of the house they were in? It seems there was a window between two adjacent rooms, but that doesn't really make any sense. Who has a window indoors? The ending was a little bland. No real twist or climax to it. Other than that, I didn't have any problems here.

Nice job. This was a pretty well done script.

Cecilia Potenza (Level 3)

I found it to be predictable, but I still enjoyed it. I would have liked to see a bit more physical descriptions of the characters, though. I liked your use of this month's theme.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

This is pretty good. It's a nice little crime drama.

I never been a big fan of the "fake face that you can peel off" movie conceit - I don't think it's really possible.

Still, this was a fun read, I just wish it broke some new ground.

Ed Jones (Level 4)

Your basic idea of kidnap to coerce a father to steal a painting is a good one but a confused plot and unconvincing action spoil the script.

Johnny's disguise is unconvincing and seems unnecessary. Johnny 'strides into the hallway' with no mention of the front door. Presumably the lock has been broken like the 'heavy wooden door' leading to the apartment but Johnny is not alerted by this.

He is confronted by Rick who is after the keys. The purse is confusing because it does not seem to have any purpose other than simply being there. Rick is also puzzled by it, for having asked for it he says; 'What the fuck is this?' Johnny's response is also puzzling for he says; 'A friend needed to borrow tools.'

When action happens that is unclear and characters say things that have no apparent meaning then it becomes difficult to maintain interest.

There is a story here but you need to tell it better.

As it is a painting at the center of the plot I think 'The Leyster Painting' would be a better title.

Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)

An apt title but one that doesn't reveal what the story is about until you've already read your script.

Well written and agood use of your first and repeated last line.

Your imagery to visually propel the story forward strikes me as strong. The foam lady
mask is a sclever touch that tweaks the story and adds interest.

My only real criticism is the logic in having Mr. Green turn around to shoot Tmara
when Johnny is also shooting at him. This doesn't make sense to me - since this
clearly puts Mr. Green's life at risk - and for why? - to get a sense of vengeance
against Johnny?

Hope these thoughts are helpful.

Gary Rademan (Level 5)

summary: a man forced to steal a painting *

deja vu: "Nothing personal, you do understand?"

comments: mission impossible feel * awkward wording "wires come out" * gun is weak descriptive term for a weapon, even pistol is more threatening sounding * story title could be better - i had to google the name * dialogue read like the characters were over enunciating * the structure of the story did flow from set-up to theft to rescue.

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

The title worked for me as I instantly thought of Judith Leyster. Your craft is very good. One suggestion would be to group a few of the action lines together. I'm not suggesting that you lump them all together but you could have fit "Mr. Green opens it." and "He sees the painting" together on one line. You didn't need it on this script but this may give you some valuable room on another script. I also would have liked to have seen a little more emotion from the characters. What did Mr. Green's face look like when he saw the painting? The characters seem a little "matter of fact" considering the situation. This seems like it could be the climatic scene of a larger heist script so if that is your plan, go for it!

Herman Chow (Level 5)

A very simple, yet effective story. A thief is forced to steal a painting in order to save his daughter.

The only thing that kinda stood out is the character Rick. I didn't really get why he's in the story except for adding some obstacles for Johnny to steal the painting. What I meant is that his character is not organic to the story. If Rick is tied to Mr. Green, that might be make the story more well-rounded. An extra layer added in. As of now, Rick seems like an expendable character.

Nothing much else to add. I liked the story. Just some punctuation hiccups. Many commas instead of question marks.

VERY GOOD.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

He sits straight up from where? Was he lying in a bed? On the floor? Is he in the room where the little girl is or in the room the camera is in, behind the window?

The beginning needs to be written more clear. You need to establish that Johnny and Tamara are both in trouble, and Mr Green is the villain. This can all be told by the way you set up the scene.

I don't think a 70 year old lady could knock out a guy with a flashlight.

Oh, She's johnny.

Of course it was personal. Mr. Green stole his daughter.

An old partner asks the guy to do one more job, and then there is a shootout after he gets it. I mean, I get it, but there isn't much story here.

Ricky's character is irrelevant.

Jeffrey Slocum (Level 4)

I thought it would be really good, and that's why I kept reading. Knew right away that Johnny would be saying the words to Mr. Green. I thoguht it would have been better if his daughter said it. Too predictable for my taste.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

I liked it - it was simple but fun. Action packed and reads smoothly.
I think the title "nothing personal" would fit it more. The Leyster could be Whistler's mother or any other painting so the name of hte painting is kind of not very relevant I think.
Small logic problem for me - why would he need to get the painting and then fight Mr. Green if he could fight Mr. Green as soon as he got untied - but all movies like that come with this kind of problems, I think. Or maybe It's me who thinks these are problems.
good Job.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Johnny masquerading in a wig and mask as a woman "in her 70s" is a terrific twist.
Might need some stronger tension in the first scene to instill that five-year-old Tamara is in real danger. Had the feeling almost to the end that the "retired" Johnny was in on the heist, especially considering Mr. Green's comment regarding "old friends" and "The syndicate."
Johnny's agreement to steal "The Leyster" reads a bit too amicable, "Okay, I'll do it..." Wasn't clear until after a couple reads that the marble hallway location is outside the apartment. Might use the apartment building as an exterior location and then jump to exterior of the apartment.
Am still unsure who Rick is. He's got a gun, flashlight, and he's wearing a ski mask inside the apartment. Has Johnny as the old lady stumbled on Rick snatching the picture? The alarm is disabled and Rick demands, "Now throw me your purse!" Johnny hits Rick with the flashlight, places the painting in his briefcase, takes Rick's gun and, it appears flippant, says "Thanks!" Seems odd to say considering his young daughter is tied up and in danger of being killed.
The title is unique and interesting, but the painting seems secondary to Johnny's forced compliance to retrieve the picture and rescue his daughter.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

The reveal on page four that the lady was really Johnny was given away much earlier by the trench coat (good scene transition there, by the way) and the coolness and activity level of the lady in the previous scene.

The heist just seemed so easy. Johnny hardly had to do any work. Knock out one guy and take the painting off the wall. No more henchmen, no alarm system, no Rottweilers... the heist would be a lot more satisfying if Johnny had to overcome some real adversity, especially after he thinks he's already won.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

This is okay. It's pretty well-written and technically good.

It just seems to be lacking something for me. I think you need to put more into the little girl... Maybe a reaction when she sees Johnny. As it is, there's nothing visual that establishes the relationship between Johnny and the girl.

This could be so edge of your seat exciting. Instead it's a bit ho-hum.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

I liked the plot, especially how you never reveal why this painting is so valuable.

However, I did think the tone fluctuated a bit. It's hard to take someone dressing as an old woman seriously. Also I wasn't sure why Mr. Green shot at him at the end, or his motivations overall actually.

Paolo Tinari (Level 3)

Fair sreenwriting technique but the charachters and the story lack of any depth. I don't know any thing about the characters, not even a personal detail: care for them = zero, it's just plain action. Nothing personal.

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

I really like some elements here. Like how specific you were with the leyster, i also think opening with the heist would be stronger. Rethreading scenes is never a good idea.

Paul Williams (Level 5)

I love this genre, but I'm afraid, for me, this story didn't add anything new to it. The plot is very straight-forward; there aren't any surprises, twists, reversals, reveals, etc. and everybody gets what they deserve.

We don't really get to know any of these characters, as well. Yes, Tamara is five years-old, and most people don't want to see a child harmed, but who is Johnny and why should I care about him? Hard to do in five pages, I concur.

Your screewnwriting is very good and vertical, great job with that. Format overall all is in order. There are a few minor typos.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

I like the fact that you set a very clear objective and have chosen a specific genre. Your story hits the beats of this kind of story well.

I wonder if you could make it so that there is a clearer sense of Johnny taking actions that enable him to overcome Mr. Green, instead of it being luck in a shootout that wins the day.

“Mr. Green fires at Tamara but he misses.” – I know it’s an action movie staple, but him missing twice for no good reason at close range feels like a bit of a stretch.

“What do you want#?#”

Richard Buckley (Level 4)

I like your opening line, it instantly tells me your gonna turn the tables. Your writing style could do with a touch of flair here and there, although it was easy enough to follow which is good. Storywise I wasn't keen on the latex mask unveiling, seemed a little gimmicky.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

The story starts off well, you've got drama right at the beginning, the little girl ups the ante and it's got off to a good start. However, the bad thing is that after that, the story takes on a page by page sort of just the facts kind of feel.

Johnny dresses up as a woman? I don't buy that.. why would he do that? And how easy is it for him to get a latex mask that would be so good that Rick would not suspect that it's a man dressed as a woman.

What's the backstory? How did Mr. Green get hold of Tamara? What is the relationship between Johnny and Mr. Green?

The end falls flat and is too easy for Johnny. I think you've got a good idea, but you need to add more surprises and some more layers to make it work.

Scott Strosahl (Level 2)

I liked your use of the repeated line. It actually fit quite well, Johnny using Mr. Green's words against him. It made sense even if that hadn't been the requirement.

I was confused at the beginning as to how things were laid out in the room. I think there was a large window looking into the other room, is that right? At first I thought maybe they were seeing the girl through the doorway and she was illuminated by light through a window in that room, or something.

And was there another thief trying to take the painting already? What are the odds of two thieves hitting the same place at the same time?

Stephen Brown (Level 5)

This felt pretty generic. The daughter held hostage, forcing her dad to come out of retirement as some sort of spy or general hard-case - seen it a thousand times.

I don't fully understand what's going on in the scene with the lady and Rick. I know the lady is really Johnny and he's disguised in order to steal the painting. I just don't understand Rick or why he's there. Why does he want the lady/Johnny's keys?

The ending - why would Johnny wait until he's there before taking off his disguise? I don't like the way Mr Green goes to shoot Johnny - felt very obvious and without any real basis.

On a positive front, the formatting was good and it was mostly well written.

Fair.

Tim Ratcliffe (Level 4)

I can't say this really did too much for me. It felt very much like a paint by numbers approach to screenwriting. A lot of 'he did this', 'then he does that' sort of thing. There really isn't much soul here in the writing, like you aren't using your own voice as a writer. I mean you describe the action in a very bare-bones way but it is bland and lacking heart. Anybody could depict the action in a functional way such as this, but where is your own personal style and take on this story?

Sorry to sound harsh, I think the problem is maybe this was rushed, as there are a number of mistakes throughout. Learn when to use a quetion mark instead of a period. Some of your writing is a little awkward in places, the first scene could be described better I think. I couldn't picture exactly how she was in another room and what we were supposed to be seeing. I wasn't sure if the room was connected or across the street or what exactly. How far away is she if Green is pointing a gun at her, why not just have her in the same room or have someone else guarding her? Came across a bit strange.

A nice effort anyway.

Travis DeStein (Level 5)

I like how you had a villain - not very common in these contests. I thought the heist scenes were a bit confusing/hard to figure, but otherwise this was an essentially complete story. Maybe some more characterization to Johnny? Instead of just being a generic father-saving-his-daughter and all.


Comments Made After the Contest

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5) ~ 5/13/2011 9:27 AM

Any one willing to give my rewrite a read? It would by appreciated a lot!

Gary Rademan (Level 5) ~ 5/20/2011 8:38 PM

Ayal,

A complete rewrite in 15 days. It’s nice to see you let things simmer a bit before reposting. I liked the new title and straight ahead story telling. The narrative was a little rough around the edges.

I chuckled at “huge” explosion, is there any other kind in Hollywood?

I’d think that Mr. Green should’ve watched Rick closer since he got away before. Mr. Green was a tough SOB hitting a girl and kicking a man while he’s down. None of the characters seemed like a must be character to me.

Dialogue was better. A little clunky in places but much better.

I’d rate it a strong good.

Gary

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5) ~ 5/21/2011 3:59 AM

Gary, thank you so much!!!

You're right, there's no one to root for now. I need to make Rick a likable fellow. I had voice-over initially but that resulted in too much unnecessary exposition... A story problem to solve.

I plan on actually doing something with this script, so your feedback was very valuable to me. Thank you again.

If you ever need something read, need a fresh pair of eyes, please don't hesitate to ask!


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