Editing the Laser Sloth

May 9, 2016

In our edit, we read over one of our twitch follower's awesome children's screenplays and comment on how to make an animal sidekick story work.

 

What we learned: 

  • The animal has to relate to the hero's need: Whatever kind of animal you choose (sloth / 3 legged puppy) you must ensure it can directly speak to the hero's moral need -- how is he interacting with the world WRONG?

  • Get to the danger (stakes): First drafts sometimes take a while to ramp up, but hurry through that exposition to when the heroes are struggling with their first trials.

  • Give your supporting characters a defining characteristic: Even if they're not going to be a main character, use props like Dungeons and Dragons capes or first lines to define characters early.

Here's the video of the edit!

 

And here are the line by line notes: 

 

Lazer Sloth 

P1 - Front entrance - add ancient wroght iron 
P1 - Sad creatures - use this as an opportunity to REALLY
make us FEEL their plight - caked in mud and Poo
P2 - tone is on point for children's movie
P2 - A BEAT - this can sometimes be an opportunity for more 
P3 - title card ususally not used in Spec screenplays 
P3 - well done character intro!!!
P3 - trees / trees - beware repeat words too close 
P4 - once you establish "into the walkie" you don't need to repeat
unless something different might be implied 
P4 - Great job showing Logan's loss 
P5 - clarify really gross on food -- is she a bad cook / mom
and just struggling to make ends meet? 
P6 - he doesn't appreciate his mother / family over his 
fun adventures -- FLAW 
P7 - you do a great job with character intro / it's ok to add more
details around posture look etc. 
P8 - a good moral flaw hurts others -- seeing his sad g-pa is a 
good area for the character to grow 
P9 - good friend interaction, but seems still in the SETUP realm 
P9 - a little bit of fat is couching the great character points you have 
making them a bit hard to seeing
P9 - We get his loss when it's communicated first, trust your writing and
develop forward into the plot 
P11 - good dialogue with winston and cute setup of the antagonist 
P12 - spent a lot of time on setup and there's not story conflict, there
is a lot of banter, but I never enter a scene unsure of its outcome.
P12 - Logan would KNOW about lizard tails 
P14 - I'd consider a PROP for characters -- a BOOK of information - thenerd 
P15 - there are a lot of chars, and you're handling it well, but it's JUUUST 
on the borderline and you do a great job to make them unique!
P15 - I'd want to know what makes THIS SLOTH special (lazers) earlier 
P16 - we've not gotten into REAL trouble or STAKES yet -- everything has 
been pretty light, and there's minimal suspense 
P17 - how did they earn the sloth?  I want a HINT of how it 
will CHANGE THEM 
P17 - strong dialogue = well done :)
P17 - SPCA is a one line mention -- I'd use it to frame goose's house 
as a stop where they can look up SPCA 
P19 - cute otters != evil bad guy maybe caged??? or tortured?? he
drinks their cute otter tears? !#@Odf022
P19 - title may need some rethinking if it's just named laser 
P20 - the bad guys are dumb, so I don't see them as too scary which is ok

OVERALL 

GOOD:
--Great dialogue - strong characters that are unique 
--Great vision of kids stuff and keeping it fun 
--like the flaw with his dad and his ignoring family, but don't see much
of it influcencing his interactions with friends - that would make their 
conflict hit harder 

IMPROVE: 
--give us some real stakes -- these seem really light so the conflict 
doens't drive me to turn the page as much 
--intro seems a little heavy -- trimming can probably get you to the sloth sooner
--WHAT is DIFFICULT about finding the SLOTH - what makes this different from
finding a puppy an evil guy wants -- what about a slow moving sloth 
makes their adventures harder / more likely to heal Logan's loss of his 
father
 

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