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"Zero Times Anything" by Chris Messineo ~ Honorable Mention

Logline: Lisa's first kiss means everything and nothing.

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 6

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

Contest: Even More of Less is More (Jun. 2011)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent
0%8%43%35%14%

Comments Made During the Contest

Andre Kruithof (Level 1)

Zero Times anything gives a good discrition of both scenery and state of mind of the head caracter the use of v.o. versus outspoken lines is a little of becouse Ian has to wait quit long before the response of lisa is given the vo gives good reasons for not liking to kiss with Ian what gives Lisa symapthy. This good bey a an acceptable scenne in a teen movie

Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)

I think you can do away with a lot of the voice-overs. The story will be clear without them, if they are acted out properly. "It started as a dare" is subsequently shown in the next scene. "I hated Ian" can be shown through acting. And the last long-ish voice-over, where she said for example, "he was cruel", "he was a bully", "his kiss was gross", are all things you can show through acting.

I like the ending, as she dresses him down for not kissing well. That must hurt him. The bully brought to his knees.

Basil Sunshine (Level 4)

Well, I don't know what to make of this.

Young girl gets peer-pressured into kissing a bully but decides she doesn't have to feel bad about it.

I guess the message that she doesn't have to feel bad about it is good... but it would be better if there were a message about the whole peer pressure thing to begin with.

How about something that says she didn't have to go in the closet with him if she didn't want to? That would have been something I could've cheered on.

[2]

Bob Johnson (Level 4)

Neatly written, no formatting issues, spelling and grammar was good.

Nice story, told well with some well written action sequences and dialogue.

I hope my first kiss isn't remembered like that.

Very good.

Brian Howell (Level 5)

Awesome! I absolutely love her response. This is excellent. I can't think of anything to change or improve.

This stands by itself as a one-pager, but it would make for a fascinating opening scene for a feature. Lisa's character is so good, I love her. She's spunky and feisty. This is one of my favorites this month (and I'm saying this after having read them all)!

Brian Wind (Level 5)

This was written and formatted pretty well. It could be tightened up a bit. Try to keep action and dialogue paragraphs to 3 lines, 4 at the most. Anything longer looks amateur in a screenplay.

The story here was all a build up to a punchline that I didn't find particularly funny. Girl gets kissed by a boy she doesn't like, acts unimpressed, deflates his ego, the end. I don't know... I felt like the story needed more and the punchline needed to be funnier.

Nice work and good luck!

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

use numerals for ages to save space!

How do we know Lisa is shy except for the fact you tell us?

Cute tale. Good use of VO. Am I being dim because I didn't quite understand the zero times anything line (or title)

Like dthe last image of Lisa 'seeing the light'

This would be easy to film :)

Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)

Nice short, like the equation. Not exactly a full story, but well done, none the less.

Chris Keaton (Level 5)

This was a cute one. The V.O. obviously necessary and useful. Gotta be written by a girl. :P You get a VG from me.

Dan Delgado (Level 5)

One of my favorites this month. It really flowed well, clear concise and a zinger at the end. Not much else to say other than, I liked this one a lot.

Good luck. Thanks for entering.

(Added: If it was up to me this would be a solid number two this month. My number one is the best script I ever read on MoviePoet. This one was one of my two "Excellents" this month. Nice work.)

David Serra (Level 4)

What a strange script you have here. Although I peronally wanted something exciting to happen in the end, you did do a good job at maintaining the mood. Also, I liked the way you linked math into this sort of situation.

Overall, Good.

Dawn Calvin (Level 5)

Cute story of first kiss. I am not a big fan of VO but it worked pretty good.

I got hung up on the question.. How was that? Her answer, even though it is the answer to Anything times zero, NOTHING just didn't work with his questionn for me.

But that was minor.

Good luck.

Denise Jewell (Level 5)

Cute. Good visuals - I can imagine being Lisa, so this has a lot of honesty to it. I like the story, but don't love the ending. Maybe a different thought - something. But, still very enjoyable.

Derek Anderson (Level 4)

I was hooked by your title right off the bat. Your story flows smoothly, and I think your use of the voice over was perfect. I know a lot of people aren't fans of it, but it was essential to your story.

I got a little confused on your slugs when you went back in time to the basement when Ian and Lisa were heading into the closet.

You used a lot of -ly words, but that might be essential for these one pagers. Like "Ian rises triumphantly and Lisa follows him reluctantly"... maybe instead, try "Ian rises. Head held high, chest bowed out. Lisa lingers behind. Her eyes fixated on the floor." Something along those lines... but you still did a very good job! Good luck!

Ed Jones (Level 4)

An amusing, original little story with an almost fully satisfactory finish. As Ian twice asks 'How was that?', thus reinforcing the play on numbers, it would have been neat if that could have been incorporated into Lisa's answer: Twice nothing?
I like it. Very good.

Elias Farnum (Level 5)

I'm not sure I follow this very well. There seems to be no problem with formatting. It is visually clear as to what is going on. The writing is okay. Good job then. I just don't feel anything that strong where I feel I should.

It's tough to do a serious, profound, deep story on one page. Er, I wish people would stop. heheh

Erich VonHeeder (Level 4)

I like the vibe of this one. Unlike most here on MP, I love me some good editorial VO.
The biggest problem I had is that the ending felt odd. The big title line: "Zero times anything..." just felt manufactured to me...like you weren't sure how to finish the script, then came up with this great line while thinking about something unrelated, and decided to shoe-horn the end of your script into that line.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the "zero times anything" concept, especially when applied to a kiss. It just didn't seem to fit. I don't know, maybe it's me. If you get that comment from others, pay attention to it. Otherwise just shrug at me and move on.

The best line in this script? "His kiss was gross."
It's just perfect. Perfect. That's all.

Fred Koszewnik (Level 5)

A clever, intelligenet "slice of life" screenplay. Good set up. Excellent development and use of voice overs. Nice final punch line. My only criticism, and this is a small one, is that it lacks any high drama and could use a kick up in tension and conflict.
Hope this criticism is helpful.

Gary Rademan (Level 5)

A girl and a boy kiss in a closet

Good start. The zero times anything didn't resonate with me. Our understanding of zero times anything was based on dialog. I did like the way she didn't tell the boy.

Greg Tonnon (Level 5)

That is a great title, perfect for this story. Your craft is flawless. The dialogue is realistic and completely natural for these characters. Your action lines are very good, everything is clear and concise and the story is wonderful! I was so glad that Lisa did not end up liking Ian which is where I thought this story was going. So you managed to get a full story, with emotion, in a one page without killing anyone! That is a great accomplishment. This is excellent and should place.

Heidtmann Oppong (Level 4)

Nice script heading.

Tallies with content too. Good job!

James Hughes (Level 5)

This was a good story. One thing is that while her response of "nothing" fits in with her voice over thought, it doesn't seem to fit as an answer to his question. I wish it would fit as both so that it would be more seamless. It is almost unsettling as written.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

I get it, but it's not all the way there. The zero thing just kinda came out of nowhere. You should set it up more.

Also, you should describe Ian as a bully when we first see him because I was surprised when you said so.

Jem Rowe (Level 4)

Ooh, that was interesting. I'm not sure if you intended it to be, but I thought it just a tad dark, a little girls first kiss being stolen, I think the darkness is absolutely a good thing. It's brilliant to see kids being treated as proper characters rather than tools for cuteness and emotional manipulation. This is definately a "Very Good", the only problem I had was that I think the story had to be crushed a bit to fit into one page, it would have been better with more room to breathe, for example there was a little exposition from Lisa which seems to stand out more than it should because of the short length of the script. Anyhow, like I said "Very Good", I'd be happy to see this place :)

Screw it, revisiting this I say that it scrapes an "Excellent", well done :)

Jo Gates (Level 4)

Hmmm. I like the title. The story is covered in one page, and the writing is clear. The reliance on the voiceover to describe Ian as a cruel bully left it a bit flat. His actions and words in the script don't endear him, but also don't make him come across as a truly awful boy. Even in one page, that could be shown more clearly, giving Lisa a reason to hate him before the kiss.

Josh Gonzalez (Level 3)

Was there someone else at the party Lisa would have rather kissed besides Ian? How did this experience shape her life? Is Lisa a defensive person? If so is she able to use her ability to 'blank out' an experience on more than just something trivial? Could she blank out whole years from her life? Isn't it more constructive to figure things out rather than pretend they didn't happen?

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

This is smart and witty and just great. I loved it. I have nothing to add - I loved the VO. ANd the script.
It's interestingly written - you start your action from a closet. We don't see the girl wipe her mouth. Then we move into a living room. And then back to the closet, to the girl wiping off the kiss - that's really inspired! I'm sure a filmmaker wrote it. Either that or someone who wants to start shooting movies.
I'll try to learn from you.

Kisha King (Level 4)

It is such a cute teen story. It took me a good second or two to realize we are going back in time. I think it should have been written somewhere in the story.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Love this snippet of adolescence. Two twelve-year-olds acting their ages. Particularly like "Lisa's eyes go wide in disgust." Ahhh, peer pressure...
Real, real picky suggestions -- Might omit "And now he had me." Seems to be a similar assessment of Ian in the previous line "Always getting what he wanted." Might also tighten "And then" and simply start Lisa's revelation with "Then." May be a tad stronger.
The title is perfect. Excellent short short.

Kristen Alario (Level 2)

Cute story. She put the boy in his place. Scene description was excellent. Could really visualize the story. Having Lisa speak in narration gave the story a realistic, personal touch. Very good story.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

This was cute. I would have liked to see Ian left alone in the closet, and shown him a bit more defeated after the kiss though. You spent a lot of time bulding it up and for me it just ended too abruptly and I wasn't completely satisfied that Lisa prevailed over the bully Ian.

I did like it though, nice writing too. :)

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

I like the title.

This is a charming story. I'm not sure why the kiss reminds her of what her math teacher said, or how the "zero times everything" enables her to forget it.

Good.

Michael Alberstadt (Level 4)

This is a great, simple idea that is well done. Could you have done it without the voice over? I always enjoy films more when I have to think about them, rather than having everything told to me. Something to consider. The idea is sound and I love the punchline. Nice work.

Michael Hughes (Level 4)

I liked the title when I read it. After reading the story, I am not sure it works that well as part of the girls V.O. (because I don't think it fits with the revelation she has)
That being said, I really liked the story too! I love the idea that she has a mature realization that gives her confidence and allows her to move past her dislike of Ian and see she has control of her own life. Very complex character arc for a one page script. I gave you a very good.
I was thinking about the visuals for the film. I think it would be interesting if you heard the heavy breathing before the first shot. I also think that it would be interesting if the shot opened very tight on Lisa in a tight dark space but you didn't know it was a closet. Not sure how to convey this in the script since the logline describes the location before you want the reader to know it. Perhaps INT. DARK ENCLOSED SPACE would be acceptable to the powers that be. Then you start with Lisa's V.O. " My first kiss".
The description then reveals her location and the situation. I think the added mystery of exactly what is going on would make the scene more dramatic. It would also book-end nicely with the light pouring in when she leaves the closet "enlightened"
These may all be things you decide to do as Director, but I think if it is in the script, it helps the interest level even more as it is read.
Again, nice story, good luck.

Mike Senkpiel (Level 4)

I liked this up until the end.

It kept me engaged and I liked how it jumped around in time a bit. The imagery was good and put me in the mind of my childhood.

I just didn't think the payoff was quite good enough. It was set up so nicely that I guess I was expecting a more significant ending.

Nicholas Ziolkowski (Level 4)

I definitely like the idea behind your screenplay. The voice over really works for me. I think hearing the thoughts of Lisa helps strengthen her general loathing of the situation she's in.

Really, the only thing I think feels a bit forced is the inclusion of the math teacher in the voice over, which ultimately leads to Lisa's first and only spoken word to another character. There's a part of me that believes if she disliked Ian to begin with, she wouldn't need to recall anything else a teacher had said to shut down Ian's ego. I feel like she would have some sort of comment worked out in her head as she was walking to the closet with him.

Also, I think that to make the blow really hurt, Lisa should have waited until she opened the door to join the rest of the kids. That would help take Ian down a few pegs so to say. And while I like the fact that Lisa only says one word aloud, I think the term, "nothing" in this sense sounds a bit awkward. Maybe something along the lines of, "What? The kiss. It was nothing." With that said, I'm not saying you have to use what I've written, I just think there has to be a little more said than just, "nothing".

Good job overall.

Olga Tremaine (Level 5)

The writing is good. If Lisa hates all this why does she sit in a circle and obeys when other girl points at her? Ian is a bully but he doesn't do anything that indicates him as such. How is he a bully? Maybe I missed something here? I'd play it out differently if we just talk here about bullying and "rape", it needs different exposition (just my opinion).

Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)

I don't see who she would be talking to. If it was a psychiatrist, she seems to have solved this thing quite well on her own, so why go to a therapy-session?
And I dont see the relevance of the quote. Zero times anything, is nothing. But what has been done zero times here? Surely the kiss is one time? Quite odd. Don't see the connection. Math teacher feels out of place too.

Weird, because you set the mood so well.

Paul Williams (Level 5)

I'm not quite sure of the tone you're aiming for. Is this a light, preteen, kissing in the closet story, or more of a dark comment on our society? It's probably just me.

For clarity, the second scene should be formatted as a flashback.

Good.

Pete Barry (Level 5)

Well, the math geek in me loved the title, and the opening didn't disappoint. You even pay attention to subtle filmmaker details like the light through the slats of a door, and really paint the picture of this iconic moment in a pre-teen's life.

It was beautiful in its setup, and even went where it needed to go. I have to say, I've really though about the "Nothing" and the "zero times anything" and I honestly have to say I can't figure it out. I think she's calling Ian a nothing, or maybe the kiss felt like nothing. But his question doesn't match her answer, so he can't feel too put off by her response. Besides, the logic of how she gets from hating Ian to "zero times nothing" doesn't jive to me. I don't get the analogy, although I guess it's something like she's something, he's nothing, so nothing happened. It's vaguely comprehensible, but it's not a sharp aha! moment, not crisp like the rest of the script is.

It's a very well painted picture, I just wish the payoff had been a little more focused.

Pia Cook (Level 5)

I thought this one was cute. I think a lot of people can relate. I wouldn't change a thing to this story,

Sorry I don't have much more to say about it. It works great. I might come back and give it an excellent when I go over my comments.

Great work. :)

Rick Hansberry (Moderator)

Nice. I loved Lisa's monologue. Heartfelt and honest. Sounded real. I know that zero times anything is zero but I kept trying to place that line in the script. I get the message but I don't know about the 'zero.' I took it as the pretend it never happened part but I would have preferred that she repeat that phrase to Ian as she left the closet. Still, this one resonated with me. I could picture it and it could easily be made and enjoyed by a variety of age groups. Everyone can relate. Nice work.

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

Wow, so far I've read three great scripts in a row! Nice work. I liked this, it was too the point, not in your face and the story had a good beginning, middle and end!

I thought your way of writing was good, the lines were descriptive. I totally bought into the story.

Way to deflate Ian ...

The only thing that might need a little tweaking is the voice over of Lisa, where she tells all about Ian. I don't know how you can get around it, but it came off a little bit expositional.

Maybe a quick flashback of Ian and Lisa in the playground? You probably couldn't put it in a one page story, but now the competition is over, you could embellish a bit. Give us some backstory etc.

Very good. I thought this was strong and I think it will do well.

Sean Chipman (Level 4)

I'm not quite sure what the point of this story actually was. It wasn't bad, I just don't know what purpose it served. He kissed her and she didn't like it, but... I don't know. Maybe the moral was that she thought he was a bully and got everything he wanted so she brought him down a peg by saying it was no good, while at the same time being honest?

Nothing wrong with this one as I did enjoy it but I wish I knew exactly what the story's purpose was.

Good.

Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)

Good story. Who among us does not remember their first kiss? This might have been more emotionally impactful without the VO and more character interaction. As written, I felt detached and maybe that's what was intended; but I would have preferred more of a connection to Lisa and might have if the story unfolded differently.

T. James DeStein (Level 5)

Lisa's point at the end felt awkwardly interrupted by Ian's line of dialogue. Shouldn't that last line be V.O. too? The pacing here was great.

Tim Westland (Moderator)

I like your writing style and the story is handled very well... except that the last line "Nothing" doesn't sound right to me. I understand what you're going for, but that word doesn't work.

This is Very Good.

William D. Prystauk (Level 5)

Very good indeed. Just let us know from the get-go that they're facing each other in the closet.

Great pacing, action and dialogue.

You truly know the craft of screenwriting.

Killer title to boot.

Thank you for this!

Zach Jansen (Level 4)

Interesting piece -- maybe a bit cerebral for a 12-year-old to be thinking is such an abstract way, but I think it works.

Overall, this really didn't do much for me. Well written, but I think it's too much for one page -- or maybe it's not enough for one page. Something just isn't clicking for me emotional, but I can't put my finger it.


Comments Made After the Contest

KP Mackie (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2011 1:01 AM

Hey Chief, congratulations. Thought for sure this story would place even higher.

Dan Delgado (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2011 1:19 AM

I read this one the first time and didn't think a lot of it. When I read it the second time it really clicked for me. This was my second Excellent this month.

Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 8/1/2011 3:14 AM

I really liked this one. Congrats on the HM Chris!!

Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2011 8:31 AM

Hey, you've earned a VG from me! Your life is now complete. :)

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2011 10:45 AM

I thought that was the best of them. I'm sure you're planning to film it!

Brian Howell (Level 5) ~ 8/1/2011 11:41 AM

I'm always impressed by your writing. This was my favorite of the month. Excellent writing!

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 8/1/2011 3:56 PM

Thank you all so much for the wonderful reviews and for the "favorites".

My wife loved this and my daughter hated it - so I knew I was going to get a wide variety of opinions on MP.

My favorite comment came from Keaton: "Gotta be written by a girl." :)

I have no plans to shoot this, but you never know.

William D. Prystauk (Level 5) ~ 8/2/2011 5:14 PM

Excellent work! Congratulations!

Robert L McBride (Level 2) ~ 9/14/2011 7:08 PM

I didn't really get the ending but it was something that i've never heard of. In other words it was pretty original. May not be a script i understand until it's acted out

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 9/16/2011 7:27 AM

Thanks for giving it a read.

I'm not sure why, but the phrase "zero times anything is nothing" has always stuck and resonated with me. I guess I'm just strange that way. :)


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