Editing the Laser Sloth

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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