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"Depth Perception" by Don Riemer

Logline: A woman sets high hopes on her designer dress, for making an art gallery opening an evening of romance. Things don't go quite as planned.

Genre: Drama

Cast Size: 6

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

Contest: It's Not as Bad as It Looks (May. 2007)

Contest Scores
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Comments Made During the Contest

Aaron Kassander (Level 2)

I rather enjoyed this one of the few scripts I've read thus far. Your character development is fabulous and having Sandy come in as she did at the beginning sets up the tone and mystery for the rest of the script. I really did believe that she got mugged or raped or something until the art gallery, which added a very nice twist to the ending. A very good job on the storytelling and sets used for the scenes.

Adam Grage (Level 4)

I liked this one alot. There was a little mystery to the eye patch for Sandy, but it was a good mystery. Briana could have had some more characterization since she just seemed a foil for Sandy however. The only other thing I wondered is why would she let herself get her dress ripped? Why not start laying into the toughs before it gets to that situation. If she likes to get into bad situations so she can use her skills maybe show something that shows she is a daredevil as a part of her personality. Otherwise really liked it--did not expect the ending and like the great use of the punchline throughout the script.

Aimee Parrott (Level 4)

Fun -- I like the multiple uses of "It's not as bad as it looks" and the reveal at the end. Nice work.

Antonio Gangemi (Level 3)

I would be careful with the intercutting on scripts of this length; they have a way of pulling the reader out of the story. Otherwise, I really liked the karate twist.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

There are a few scripts I've read that have used 'the phrase' more than once - and I don't think any of them have worked that well, I'm afraid. To get the phrase in ONCE and for it to sound realistic and natural and part of the script is hard enough - but to try to do it more is suicide!

It's a shame, because the groans that 'the phrase' caused me got in the way of an interesting script. It was a neat idea that she was a karate master and the subject of the exhibition.

Shame that the ending was a bit predictable but I do know how quickly we have to wrap things up to keep in the page limit.

Charlie Hebert (Mod Emeritus)

I liked this one.
Well written and interesting, but confusing in some places.

Couple of questions:

I guess I should, but I don't know what this means, "Briana looks a question at her." but I don't.

"Sandy’s eyes scan the Toughs" - should it be Sandy's eye?

Would she really have gotten out of the cab? She has one eye, not half a brain. I guess the fact that she's a karate champ might account for it, just seemed a bit much (what if they had guns?)

In a five page script you use "it's not as bad as it looks" way too many times. If you don't know the assignment and are reading it, you're thinking, "can't this writer think of something else for these people to say? everybody keeps saying the same thing."

I really liked the ending, and by far your best use of the phrase - think this should be the only place it appears in the script (has meaning on several levels there, though by this point it's so over-used that it has much less impact).

Loved the Julia Roberts joke - Ha!

With the title I thought she had probably tripped out of the cab and messed herself up. Perhaps you could put some "depth perception" in there for comedy? Not sure.

Anyway, I liked this one, thought it was very good and with a little work could be great.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

I thought this was great. I didn't see the end coming at all and yet it made perfect sense when it happened. Very well done.

Elisabeth Dubois (Level 4)

Good story. Well written and a pleasure to read.

Jane Beckwith (Level 4)

I really liked this. The "reveal" was very well-played and well-timed. If there were a weakness...hmm. Perhaps the dialogue could have been more distinctive.

Jeanette Miller (Level 3)

I liked the idea in this one. Especially the art gallery pics.

I don't think a women wearing flats and having short nails is necessarily a sign of a karate grand master. Although I haven't checked my belt rack lately... :-)

Jordan Entin (Level 3)

I liked the twist how Sandy was a master at karate but I didn't think the dialogue was realistic. Brianna's conversations with Sandy were very superficial. I don't think someone who is 40 or was just assaulted would be worried about how she was supposed to meet cute guys. I think "it's not as bad as it looks" sometimes didn't fit where it was used.

Katie Morton (Level 1)

First of all, the dialogue was amazing-- it flowed and seemed very natural. However, I felt that the "It's Not as Bad as It Looks" theme was a little forced throughout. Nice touch with the ending, too. It felt very Chuck Palahniuk.

Kirsten Bischoff (Level 3)

Good. Cute idea. I liked the reveal about her doing the karate - I didn't expect that. Good visuals - I saw everything you were describing. Her time in the store was very real - including the dialogue. You packed a lot into 5 pages.
You should make sure that when we jump from the bathroom opening scene to the dress shop day that it is clear that we are seeing a flashback (which is what I think you are doing). As it reads now - you are jumping into a shop with her wearing the same dress in the future. It makes it a bit confusing until I realized what you were doing.

Larry Basch (Level 3)

Good visual scripting but I'm uncertain about the character of Sandy. Would she let the punks go as far as she did without reacting? Would her first move have been to scream, "Fire!"?
Do karate masters wear thousand dollar dresses? Maybe the answers to all these questions could be yes, but they leave me wondering.

Lee Carlisle (Level 4)

Entertaining script - you did a good job of keeping the audience from the truth until the end. There were a few typos, notably "Briana looks a question at her." but overall it was very tight.

For some reason it failed to fully grab me though. Also, wasnt crazy about the repeated use of the criteria, seemed forced in more than one occaision.

Liz Messineo (Level 4)

This was truly terrific. I liked the characters, the use of the phrase, the twist. Not over the top or cliched. Really good.

Martin Lancaster (Level 4)

The story didn't really go anywhere and the repetition of the line became annoying after a while. Nice twist with the karate aspect but not fully developed.

Matthew Phillips (Level 4)

This is well written. However, I'm not sure if the main character was sexually assaulted or not. This is what seemed to be happening during the attack scene. But, she still attends the gallery opening. So that makes me think she just got mugged. I'm confused about that. If she was assaulted she would probably be at the hospital or a police station. This script would improve if that was made more clear. I like the plot though, especially that she gets beat up and she's the model in the pictures. That is what makes this interesting.

Michael Cornetto (Level 5)

You wanted to make certain you used the line, didn't you. Not taking any chances, eh? It was pretty good. You worked hard on the character and story and painted a good picture. I wonder about the eye patch though, I looked through the script more than once and couldn't figure out why she wears it. I think you should clear that up.

Michael Thede (Level 4)

In a strange way, this reminds me of a scene from NORTH COUNTRY, where the women from the mine are sitting around having a Avon party and we're reminded that even though they work at a mine, they're still women and that, moreover, there is no contradiction between mining and make-up (so to speak). In the same way, I like how Sandy's interest in things like make-up and dresses doesn't mean that she can't kick ass (even if our assumption would be that she's helpless on her own). I would've liked it more if she was a superhero, though!

Pia Cook (Level 5)

I enjoyed this one.

I liked how Sandy obviously can take care of herself but does not act cocky or too confident, she's still very feminine, eye patch and all.

Maybe a little too much time spent on the dress, but no biggie.

Good job.

Rick Hansberry (Moderator)

Nice work. Love the title. Well crafted and neatly drawn. I could picture it very vividly. I loved the twist with exposing the karate photographs at the end. Really satisfying. If anything, a few of the "it's not as bad it looks" could be omitted or changed but this was a joy to read and would be a great short film. Well done. One of top contenders for sure.

Rustom Irani (Moderator)

The designer eye patch was distracting to me because you mention it quite a few times and I realized that it offered a clue that maybe she hurt herself while practicing karate and had to wear a designer eye patch because she had to go to the photo exhibition.

The monologue was not necessary and seemed a tad too much exposition, I would have instead loved to see her kick ass inter-cut with the shots of the photos. You gave enough clues to us and don't need the monologue.

Loved the use of the theme in different situations and the best one was by the tough guy who wants duct tape. Now if she lands a punch after this dialog and we start the inter-cutting with the photos I think it would be just awesome.

You have a lovely arc and excellent pacing with believable characters.

Technically I did not feel lost with a FLASHBACK in the slug and I think more and more good writers are getting rid of it and you are one of them.

Great title.

All the best.

Stan Tjaden (Level 3)

Good scenes, not much of a story.

Wes Worthing (Level 5)

And she gets the man too? I like her kicking some butt, and then we find out about her talent. I also like how she uses the catch phrase to her benefit after it's been her enemy throughout the day. Nice story.

William Coleman (Level 5)

It pays to read a piece more than once, and more than twice. I like this one better than my first impression. My main qualification is the repetition of the assigned line. It draws away from your main story. It's a little like putting a title line into a movie or play. It makes us conscious of the presence of the writer. Once was enough. It would have more punch. The dialog is natural and fits ecah character, and the piece is visual - i.e. cinematic.

Comments Made After the Contest

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 7/1/2007 9:29 AM

I never would have guess this was your story. I want to know where you got the idea for this one.

Very well done and one of the most satisfying endings in the bunch.

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