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"The Morning After The Day Before Tomorrow" by Matthew Belanger

Logline: With a super storm approaching and budget cuts looming large, an often ridiculed, family-run agency restores and cleans up New York in the aftermath of blockbuster action movies that plague the city.

Genre: Action - Comedy - SciFi

Cast Size: 9

Production Status: Available (Please contact the author to negotiate the rights)

Contest: Feature ~ Round 2 of 3: Ten Pages (Apr. 2011)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent

Comments Made During the Contest

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

Not a problem for me personally, but a few things are non-standard. In your slugline you should supposedly only mention DAY and NIGHT, not "EARLY MORNING" and "3 HOURS LATER". And above the dialogue should be the name of a person, not a part of the action; "MAN YELLING OUTSIDE (O.C)" What does O.C mean by the way? I only know O.S. for off-screen and V.O. for voice-over... Also, "FADE IN:" should be left-aligned, not right-aligned.

If you do things non-standardly, you give readers an excuse to skip your screenplay. They'll assume you are a novice.

The action paragraphs tend to be a bit on the long side. More white on the page means it reads faster, making it easier for people to decide to keep on reading.

End of page one, you describe what the characters look like. That is probably best left to the director. Rather, write down a paragraph selling the characters to the actors, so they will want to play that part. Explain why these characters are exciting to play.

You show everything but the action! A man is screaming on page 1, then all sorts of tape 3 hours later. Then on page 2, apparently two guys fled a funeral, but you don't show us, you let the two characters tell us in expositionary dialogue, talking heads. Better to show it visually.

I have a hard time following the story. A man is screaming. A scene is taped up. Some one cannot pay his rent. Some guys are cleaning up some mess. Then there is radioactivity. A big spider web (real?).

I would start at page 4 and scrap everything before it. Show us Pat and Keegan ignoring Harold who is bleeding in the sedan (I am assuming? Your screenplay doesn't say where he is). That is where you have some interesting/funny action.

Page 4: "Robbers mask" should be "ski mask".

You're delivering a lot of the story through dialogue. This is called exposition, and it audiences tend to lose interest. It is better to show, dramatize (act out, activity), so the audience sees on screen, or hears.

There doesn't seem to be a protagonist in your story; a single person this story is about.

I can see you are going for comedy, but you do it in a rather understated way. I think this subject would lend itself well to slapstick.

Rose tells Roger she is his granddaughter and he responds in a hostile way, which makes him a terrible man...

Basil Sunshine (Level 4)

I think the logline is very catchy, especially the idea of a city being ravaged by action flicks. That's very original. But without the logline, I don't think I would have figured out what exactly is happening in this story.

There are a lot of characters which is confusing. That might be unavoidable for this type of movie. Let me suggest if they aren't central to the story, maybe don't name them. Just call them Old Man #2 or etc. But maybe all of these characters are hugely important recurring characters, it's hard to tell at this point.

Sometimes it was hard to follow because not enough info is given. Example: "EXT. CEMETERY- NIGHT Roger opens his eyes feeling the rain drops caress his cheeks. He smiles. ROSE GOSSEN, 25, dressed in a long black raincoat and cherry red rain boots, peers in at Roger." What is Roger doing? Just standing there? Rose is peering "in" at him... what is he inside of? After some dialogue we find out Rose was in an open grave? I never quite figured out what Roger was doing or why Rose was in a grave, for that matter. Remember to put enough description that we can picture what is happening.

S.H.A.T. was funny. Keep working, hope to see another draft.

Bill Clar (Level 5)

It's difficult to visualize the alley scenes and the placement of each character.

"HAROLD: You knee he wasn't safe Keegan." What does this mean? How is Harold referring to?

Why does the Spider hero give Keegan the finger?

I like your logline, but the opening feels lackluster. I was hoping for the car to crash through the wall right into Voj's apartment. It would be easier to film and place the actors.

Roger is an interesting character. Great introduction with him lying in a shallow grave.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

I don't think the title is doing you any favors. It instantly conjures memories of films like Meet the Spartans and Scream If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th. Not good.

The writing is pretty good here. Some of this could be tightened up a bit. There was 1 omitted word I noticed as well as a spacing error, but aside from those, no major issues.

I don't think you need to number you scenes on a spec script.

The story seems interesting. It has potential. I'll be interested to see how much material you can mine from this concept before it starts to get stale. I'm thinking there's enough here to fill the pages of a compelling feature.

Overall, I liked the concept. Very fresh and original. The writing is pretty good, but could be tightened up.

Nice work and good luck!

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

Like the title. Like the premise.

You have strange use of commas in your logline...none are necessary but definitely not the one after ridiculed. 'an often ridiculed' - is NOT a subordinate clause.

darkness envelops - envelopes is the plural of envelope

Like the opening.

It's not usual to number scenes in a spec script. That's for a shooting script.

The stairwell door is covered with three safety signs."In
case of a Medical Emergency, call 911." "In case of fire,
call the NYFD." "In case of Severe Hazard or Other, Call the
Severe Hazard Agency, S.H.A. at 999." A "T" is written after
"S.H.A." in permanent marker, making it "S.H.A.T."

Is this level of detail about a door REALLY necessary?

Please get rid of the CONTINUEDs

The crackles like popcorn in a microwave? The what?

(now more subdued and hoarse) (Yelling into the walkie talkie)(to Pat, ignoring Harold)(yelling over the noise)(taunting)- you overuse parentheses - use action lines or make it clear in the dialogue. It's an actor or director who should decide how a line is spoken.

cupler - coupler?

heros - heroes


much like the vociferous and firm George Steinbrenner? Who is this man? I have no idea.

vaccuum - vacuum

There are rather too many typos in this work. Please get it checked.

I like the way you write, I like the characters. It's lively and engaging and I want to read more - however, by the end of the ten pages you hadn't revealed the storyline - foretelling what this film will be about...I have no idea but it was a fun read.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

Fun and twisty title.

I love your logline and the idea of this story.

However, I found the first ten pages more than a little confusing. I think you need to find a simpler way to introduce us to this world. Perhaps a character who, like us, is not sure what is going on and can learn as we do. Or maybe start smaller.

As it is now, I felt a bit lost, but that can be fixed easily. This story has a lot of promise.

Best of luck with it.

Claire Fishman (Level 3)

So, uh... Today? haha. The title's a bit of a mindwarp. I kind of like it for that reason, though.

Love the opening scene, how he's just kind of "eh" to the guy (I guess he got stabbed or something...?), and the added T to make SHAT. hahah. Perfect New York descriptions. Maybe not 100% true, but good enough.

Ahh, but now I'm reading on a bit more and I see it's not a stabbing. Very interesting. I don't know what they're all talking about, but I am liking this whole spider-web thing going on. The dialogue's feeling a little expositiony, but it's not bad.

Okay, the truth is, I'm not really sure what's going on here. Judging from the title, I feel like this is a satire or something, which is totally cool on its own, but it's not totally clear. I like your writing, but I'm not really sure what's going on in this story.

David Birch (Level 5)

wasn't enthused about the premise of the movie and the script didn't really do anything to change that view...just seemed like a glossed over rip-off of Spiderman and Ghostbusters...with nothing new to add to the stories...lots of redundancies in the writing..."expression of annoyance" and "stares angrily" are too similar (besides angrily being an un-needed adverb)..."bald with long, salt and pepper-colored braidable goatee" doesn't need "like a biker Santa Claus" or the other...try not to use numbers (and never use $ in your dialog)...just write it out "I only got seventeen dollars now.."

David Patterson (Level 3) was very confusing to me. It was bogged down by way too much detail and I was lost. I found myself wanting to skip pages to get to the end. I like the character of the Chek landowner but he got lost too. Maybe I'm too impatient...but I wanted to know what happened and felt I had to wait too long to find out. Keep writing!

Denise Jewell (Level 5)

LOVE the title. I can tell right away the tone of the movie. But, it took me a while to figure it out. I had to read through a second time to try to follow the action. You do good with dialogue - it's natural and funny - but I need some more cohesiveness to get the overall feel.

Gary Rademan (Level 5)

Summary: The quirky family members of a quirky business responsible for clean up after a movie production in NYC feel the pinch of budget cuts.

Fair. The first 10 pages interest me enough to see how this one pans out

A few thoughts:

* An agency that cleans up after movies. Clever.
* I kind of followed this but was confused by what these guys do.
* I didn’t find much to laugh at - yet.
* Let the audience see what the man sees when he opens the curtains. It might help the story get going quicker and clearer.

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

So far, I don't think the title works very well. It is too long and seems to imply that this is a comedy or a spoof of other movies with similar names and it may be (in which case the title would be fine) but I'm not getting that from these first ten pages. Your craft is good but the dialogue does not seem natural to me. Examples: when using the walkie talkie, Keegan calls Janice. It would seem more realistic to be something like "Unit ___ to base". If you listen to a scanner, you'll almost never hear someone called by name and on the few occasions that you do, it will have their title and last name like Officer Jones. I also found "Please respond" unnatural. I would expect "___ to ___, come in". On page eight, in an action line, you say "He may have something to do with it." You should show us, not tell us. How would a director show that?

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

Your title is tomorrow morning. Took me about 30 seconds to figure it out. Am I right?

The SHAT comment made me laugh.

That crackles like pop corn in the microwave. - The crackle's like OR the crackle is like. But just mentioning crackle is confusing. I had no idea what you were talking about until I read it a couple of times.

Heros - Heroes.

"You'll catch cold in the there" Typo.

Oh, so this is based on the super natural heroes and villains that we already know? That's pretty cool, but the story needs to be tremendously tightened up. It reads way too cluttered and unfocused. Who is our protagonist here? We need a defined character to go along the ride with.

I think the actual writing needs to be tightened as well. It's just too much unnecessary descriptions with actions where I don't really understand what you're trying to convey.

I love the idea of it all, and if you need some help I'm all for jumping on this, cause it's right up my alley, but for what you have written already... I'm just not really feeling it.

Jeffrey Apostol (Level 1)

Utilizes too many generic "coined" terms (ie. "super storm", "blockbuster"). No sense of story is shown only vague references to... generalities? Who is the main character and what does he/she/it/they do/look like? Why are blockbuster action movies plagueing the city? It rambles with no sense of direction. Vague descriptions with no story references equal confusion.

Jem Rowe (Level 4)

I realy want to give this an Excellent, it's easily my favourite one I've read so far, but I also think I can see plenty of ways in which it could be improved.

Firstly, I wish you hadn't changed this from a mockumentry (like it was in the logline stage) into a normal film. I just think this story and the way you're writing it really lends itself to the mockumentry form, the realism juxtaposing the absurdity of it all would be hillarious in itself. Perhaps you could do it like district 9, where it starts out like a documentry and becomes more and more cinematic as the film goes on.

Also, I think I preffered the first logline and title, this logline wouldn't be clear to someone without some explaination of how action movies can plague a city, but the original was very immediate and easy to understand.

Another thing I think you could improve is Rodger's development, I wish it were more radual and less obvious, he doesn't seem to be grieving like a normal person would either. He just kind of pulled me out of the realism a bit.

But like I said before, there's even more I love about this. The begining is great. I just love Pat (actually I wish he were the main character, Keegan seems a bit ordinary and conventional so far). The concept itself is gold. The spidermanish superhero provided the funniest gag I've seen on this site for a log time.

I can't wait to read more of this and I'm sure I will in the full length competition :) Well Done!

Oh screw it, I've changed my mind, have your bloody "Excellent" then :)

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

You opened on Vojtec but he's not your main character, right? It's Keegan and Pat. I think you better open up on them to catch our attention and not make us think later. Also vojtec is a captivating character and you don't want our attention on him, I think.
I think you could trim it a bit. And most of your parenthesized stuff could be in the description - it's more visual this way at least for me.

I struggled kind of to understand what was going on. A lot of info is being conveyed through dialog. Other than that you introduce people but don't stick with them, which is fine if it was just a few... - So far I know very little of your story and about your characters.

But I liked the visuals and the overall idea.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Unique story idea with some distinctive characters. Vojtech, the snippy Czech immigrant, has some colorful dialogue. Pat and Keegan are contrasted well by their different ages and their physical descriptions. Particularly fond of the mental image of Roger laying in the grave with his wife and son and his snappy dialogue. He says, in response to Keegan's remark about the lack of words, "Devastating. Life-changing. Heart-breaking...Plenty of words."
Am a bit confused by the addition of the "T" to the name SHA. Is it supposed to look like SHIT? Without reading the original logline explanation, may not be entirely clear that the "Severe Hazard Agency" is responsible for cleaning up the messes created by blockbuster filmmakers. Might need to spell out the premise before getting too far into the narrative.
The dialogue between Pat and Keegan is terrific. Side-tracked by the Geiger counter reading (deliberately or not, it's funny), no doubt they're ignoring Harold's pleas for help. Is the "Model 2" and "Model 8" reference to the crane?
The title is catchy and memorable.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

Turn off the MOREs & CONTINUED feature on your writing program. Turn off the scene numbering, too. This is a spec script.

I'm not sure you need the physical descriptions for Pat and Keegan. I've read this several times and still couldn't tell you anymore than one of them looks like a biker Santa.

I think you could cut most of your descriptions a lot. You give more detail than I can keep track of, and not that much of it is important. Edit this with an eye to increasing the white space. The story's a little hard to see.

Okay, I've read this through several times and I'm not doing well with it... It's really hard for me to follow and understand. There's too much is happening to too many people at once... I'm not sure who the protagonist is... There are more unnecessary details than I can keep track of... There are more characters than I can keep track of...

You even use names that are really long or really hard to figure out phonetically... It's like you're trying to put things in the way of my understanding and enjoyment...

I really, really like the part with the guy in the grave...

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

You don't need to number your scenes, that's more commonly used for shooting scripts. The "(CONTINUED)" and "CONTINUED:" on every page can also be dropped.

I like how you've set up this world where all these other movies co-exist. New York is the perfect setting, being victim to so many disasters.

These ten pages are pretty dense. There are a lot of characters and subplots being set up that I think would benefit from some extra time and attention, not to mention the opening action sequence.

Michael Berg (Level 4)

First off, unless you were commissioned to write this for someone, keep the script in a spec format. You don't need Scene numbers, or even Continueds at the top/bottom of pages.

I think it's a unique idea you have. You put in some good, believable dialogue, but a lot of it could be removed. For everyone one line of good subtext dialogue, there are two overwritten lines could be eliminated. Work on cutting out unneeded speech or having your characters say the obvious -- like a character speaking his emotion over conveying it in action.

Michael Cornetto (Level 5)

I don't know about this one. While I guess it covered the bases as far as introducing characters, starting us on the story and establishing genre, it did it in a confusing matter. I couldn't even figure out what was going on until the middle.

I think you need to really think about how you're going to convey this up front to ease people into this different world you've created. You approach it too bluntly and it's difficult to absorb a new world when you're thrust into it. And while what you're doing might possibly work in a film, it's really hard to read.

Also, please do not use scene numbers in a spec script. And do not CAP dialogue, even if they are screaming - just say they are screaming if you don't think it's clear enough. From these two things I figure you haven't written many screenplays. Keep writing.

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

Loads of good ideas, swarming with it in fact, but the characters, it's so messy. Too many of them and I don't know who gets the main part. It's a little too much like an ensemble, which could be good in its total run, but now it feels really messy.

Might be able to get it together in the long run, but the first ten pages need a little more focus. I don't know the goals, or the main arc from this, and although that's not necessary, it would feel more cohesive in such a case.

Pete Barry (Level 5)

I was very psyched to read this one, although I'll admit, the title and logline seem to have changed for the worse. The title was pithy before, now it seems tangled and goofy. And while I understand the changes made to the logline - now you've got stakes and a better description of your protagonist group - it feels more standard than the really fresh idea your old logline conjured up.

The script itself feels sort of the same: some really good ideas, but the comedy is weighted down by a funeral. I was hoping for a mockumentary; this is going for straight narrative. That's fine, but I'm not sure yet who I'm supposed to focus on - Roger, Keegan, or Pat (or Rose). It's an ensemble piece, sure, but I feel a little scattered - maybe because each character's defining characteristics aren't coming out strong enough. They're all embattled, hard-boiled city servants with bottled emotions. I need something to seperate them out beside facial hair.

There are good and fresh bits. Roger lying in the grave is an intriguing visual, at least, and it's funny that he's there all day. Harold makes for an annoying and effective antagonist. The harkening back to the 80s with the Marshmallow Man was good stuff, and the trashing of the Armageddon crew gets a laugh.

I almost wish there were more references thrown at me - in 10 pages we've got Spiderman, Armageddon and Ghostbusters. Pile 'em on! Cloverfield, Godzilla, Die Hard 3, Mimic, Date Night, hell, Night at the Museum. Spiderman is a slightly tricky one to start with (yes, it's The Bug) because the superhero genre opens up a whole other can of worms than the action genre - superheroes already exist in a changed world where dozens of caped crusaders roam the town every day. Your idea is unique because ACTION movies exist in independant worlds of their own, and smashing them all together would cause such utter chaos. But dig in right at the start - don't make me wait four pages for one reference.

This movie has huge potential, and your writing is good enough to grab for it. I hate to say go for the gag and scale back the emotional characters, but you should be able to have your cake and eat it, too.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

My notes as I read:

Pg 1 – “EARLY MORNING” – Consider sticking to DAY or NIGHT.

“May 26, 2004, NEW YORK CITY” – Capitalize May or lower case New York?

“MAN YELLING OUTSIDE” – For me you could drop the “YELLING” since it feels like overkill when combined with the dialogue.

“The curtain now rippling.” – This is an example of language that can be made more active, “The curtain ripples.”

“MANHATTAN APARTMENT STAIRWELL” – If these were worded consistently it would make it clear if this is in the same building or not.

Page one has got the story moving.

Pg 5 – At the moment I’m finding this a bit dialogue heavy and the story seems to have taken a while to move along.

Pg 10 – I like the quirkiness of Roger. I’m not sure if the family story works all that well for me.

Overall, I think this is an example of being disadvantaged by this competition. Your logline got me excited, it’s a really cool idea. But because I’m excited about the idea I guess I’m harder to please with the script.

Your concept is quite a hard one to write the beginning of, because the beginning needs to set up a fairly complicated concept in order for the story to play out. Given that you have that problem already, I’m not sure about also immediately setting up the family tragedy side of it.

Being honest with you I’d suggest seeing if there is a different way into the story. As a specific suggestion you could consider looking at the way "Men In Black" tackles its introduction of a special government agency that has a special and bizarre purpose. For your story I'd guess that Rose wants a job and will join the agency, so you could consider telling the whole story from her point of view, so that she learns things as we do.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

Great title, even if it does trip up the tongue a little bit. I like this and I gave it a very good. There's tons of good stuff packed in ten pages. I like the action, the dialog and the storyline.

I hope this moves on with the ten pagers so I can read more.

Shawn Cottrill (Level 4)

I should probably start out bysaying that I really wanted to read this script. I thought the name was clever and the logline was very clear on what kind of a script this was gonna be. However a regret to say that after reading your first ten I am left confused and disapointed. The first few pages set the tone and I wass following it easily, but after they bagan saving the yelling man I just got lost. When harald came into play it all got really confusing and Scooby-doo esk. I don't know What kind of advise to give you other than to make it make since.

Shawn Davis (Level 2)

This was a pretty fast read for me. It really had a MIB kind of twang going on with the “oh, it’s just a massive spider” kind of take. Could have been a poodle the way they were talking. I wanted to see it though. We see the web and its massive construction, show us the spider. Oh and I think you created a great character in VOJTECH. You should think about incorporating him into a deeper role as your script continues.
The funeral seems a bit planted to me. Like to is more of a back drop rather than a catalyst for a change of events. Maybe have them at the funeral when they get the call to go rescue the asshole from the web.
Your dialog is very engaging especially between Pat and Keegan. You created a good set up for a deeper relationship for them as your story unfolds. Also, what’s the deal with the radiation? I wasn’t sure of the significance of it and why it was present.
After re-reading it, I need some help on something. Was the car suspended by the Spider Man like figure to begin with, or was it a spider and then the figure saved him from falling?
That might be where a weak spot is occurring in the opening set up. I know he is there, I know there is radiation, and then out pops this figure with no setup. Maybe mention the spider figure ahead of time so we know what put the car there to begin with.
In some cases, you tend to over describe things and that can slow down the read a bit but all in all, it read clean and was fun.

Tim Westland (Moderator)

Title: Sorry, don't like it at all. Seems like you're trying to hard to be funny.

Logline: Doesn't work for me. You throw so many disjointed issues and none of them seem to relate. Nor are they compelling. Also, it seems as if the logline is written in reverse, but without real stakes.

10 pages: Yikes. There is so much going on, so many characters, yet I couldn't once tell where the story was going, what was happening, who the main character is, what the story is about, anything. I felt lost the entire time. The one thing I do recognize is that you're trying too hard with the dialogue. It's sort of like reading Diablo Cody's stuff. Not that it's the same as hers, but the characters in your 10 pages seem like they are never at a loss for words, etc. Overall, though, my inability to understand/keep track of the story kills this for me.

Lastly, you've gotta get rid of the CONTINUEDs.

William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)

Very interesting script and well-written. I enjoyed reading the first ten pages and look forward to reading the rest of the script.

I do wonder how you will keep this storyline going, but I enjoyed the of-beat sense of humor the script projects as well as the characters you've created.

My only two niggles (and they don't amount to much): George Steinbrenner and "Ghostbusters" references assumes that folks are familiar with both. Again, nothing really, but I noticed them so I thought I'd mention it.

Great work and good luck.

Comments Made After the Contest

Jem Rowe (Level 4) ~ 6/1/2011 4:00 AM

My absolute favourite, sure it had the odd imperfection but I thought this was the most imaginative, hillarious script of the lot and I'm shocked that it didn't make it :( Well done anyhow :) Please PLEASE PLEAAASE keep writing!

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