Please critique my opening pages

Hey guys, currently working on a comedy script, it's very early stages so please ignore any formatting, misplacements or character descriptions that are missing, i'll be sorting all that asap. Really want some opinions on the characters, flow and the dialogue on the opening 13 pages, what I have so far is in the link provided. Thanks in advance to anybody who takes the time to read!
http://www.docdroid.net/slzt/untitled.pdf.html
 
First scene has a problem. "every minute one guys loss is another man's gain". In a script, within the context of this scene, this doesn't belong.

Second scene makes no sense. I don't see this happening in the real world. A power lawyer wasting their time on an unsuccessful applicant? On top of that, the lawyer characters is unbelievable. Dialogue is flat, passive, dull. "I'm afraid you didn't make the cut." Just because you're establishing that even his own father won't accept his son as an employee, you've got a boring scene. On top of that, you've establishing that your straight A student is also a loser. Is that really what you want?

I couldn't continue.

I would have been more interested in the story if you started in the same environment. Made Vince and Cedric with more balls. Rejecting, followed by a very spirited, less than professional argument, swearing on both sides, lots of emotion, ending with a "It's Bullshit. You're letting our personal history shade your judgement." "Get out before I call security.... Hey.... Son, dinner tonight?"

At least with that you've shown A). A more interesting, more original first scene, shown conflict to get interest, shown more interesting characters and a thread within those characters. You've also established flaws in character and you also show that Cecil can stand up for himself. Maybe you don't want to establish that. I wouldn't establish with a boring opening.

Good luck.
 
The formatting and spelling are off which makes it rough reading. The descriptions try to come off as cute but are really rather annoying. As a reader, I hate when writers try to pull off Blackisms--"with an unfortunate nose and social skills that Sheldon Cooper would be proud of", "A glamorous London building that wouldn't be out of place on an episode of Suits", etc. It comes off as both unoriginal and casts you as a writer incapable of adequately describing a scene. You also risk becoming dated when the reader wonders, "Who's Sheldon Cooper or what's 'Suits'?" down the road. Don't list who appears in the scenes in parentheses.

I seem to always repeat this but new writers don't listen. Don't start off with a negative for your protagonist. If you start sapping energy from your audience too soon, they stop caring early on. Do something with Cedric that makes him likeable and/or interesting. As Sweetie mentioned, the conversation between Vince and Cedric is pretty on the nose and rambles. It could be tightened.
Code:
INT. LAW FIRM, PRIVATE OFFICE - DAY

CEDRIC (20) a short, average looking young man, surveys 
his surroundings.  He walks past the bookcase of law books
to look at the awards and framed degrees.

He turns back to look at the solid desk with its tidy order and
chest of cigars.  He glances nervously about and slips behind
the desk to slide his hand over the chair before sitting.

A smiles forms on his lips.  There's a rustling on the other
side of the door and he anxiously slips back around.

He glances up awkwardly as VINCE (51) enters.  Self-assured, 
in his Armani suit and rolex.  His face is relaxed, silver 
features well framed.  He smiles and gestures to sit.

Cedric takes a seat opposite him.

                              VINCE
         The competition for an internship
         at the firm is fierce.  And ...

There is an expectant pause.

                              VINCE
         I'm afraid you didn't make the cut.

                              CEDRIC
         Straight A's all through my school
         years, head boy ...

Vince leans in.

                              VINCE
         All impressive. Truth be told, you lack
         involvement in social activities.  No
         clubs, societies, outside interests. 

Cedric stares ahead.  Vince remains calm.

                              VINCE
         It was felt that P.S. Mebbitt may not be 
         the right fit for you at this time.  You 
         can always re-app...

Cedric smacks his hand down and stands.  He turns his head
to conceal his frustration.

                              CEDRIC
         Your promised my mother, Vince!

                              VINCE
         I'm happy to recommend you.  Other
         firms need legal interns.  You're smart.
                   (a beat)
         I thought it would be best if I told you.
         I'll see you tonight at dinner, Ced.

Vince gestures towards the door. A desolate Cedric obliges.
I personally would start off minimizing the negative by building Cedric's character as positive by showing who he is through his actions. Since we find out Vince is dating his mom, there's no need to keep it a secret that they know each other. By having him explore the office it conveys some of what you simply described. Remember the script should convey what the viewer sees. Then as he gets the bad news, we see how he deals with it. Reading through your script I can't get a sense if this is supposed to be a comedy or drama. It lacks the humor one expects of a comedy and is to blah for a drama. I suggest choosing a genre and developing it more fully.
 
Your scene descriptions are too ambiguous. You're referencing concepts that not everyone is going to understand. It's better to be dry and direct so that we get a clear understanding of what the scenes look like.

Also, your dialogue is pretty off. I understand the points that you're trying to convey but it sounds so unnatural, I couldn't finish reading it. For instance, when he's talking to that one guy who got the job, there's no way someone would be that overtly mean. It would sound more natural if he was trying to be nice but was being subtly smug about the fact that he got the job.

Sorry. That's just my honest opinion. Good luck.
 
Potentially DISASTEROUS.

FIrstly and DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY... you are using a PDF format that does nto work properly. Many agents, writers etc use their own pet Final Draft and such software which may be out of date. I used Final Draft 6 on a computer that stopped production about 10 years ago. So, the web site would not open the PDF. I had great difficulty downloading it. Try that with a low budget film studio who have not had the cash to upgrade over the last few years or don't want to upgrade their "pet" software that they are so familiar witih and YOUR SCRIPT WILL BE TOSSED BEFORE A SINGLE WORD IS READ.

Secondly... WTF is "SUITS"??? No idea. Furhtermore, be referring to fiction, you dilute the suspension of belief and take people out of your alternative world before they have even entered it. Besides which it looks really, REALLY sloppy to have to use someone else's work to describe what you should be able to do yourself.

Thirdly, RULE 101 of screenwriting...FUCK is NEVER used outside of dialogue with the sole exception of giving the wording on a sign or notice. To do so SCREAMS poor to non-existent diction.

Fourth, why EXACTLY 20 and 51? Would you really fight the studio to reject a 52 year old actor. THis is way too specific.

FIfth, why Armani? Would you really fight a studio if their wardrobe dept kitted someone out in Hacketts? Again, this is WAY too specific and SCREAMS needless cost to a studio.

Sixth - Takes inthe news is an ACTION not an adverbial style of speech. This is seriously amateurish.

Seventh - Why is the dude earing a silver fox fur? Why so specifically that type of fur? Don't understand.

Eighth - (REASSURING) paranthetical is OBVIOUS. Dump it.

Ninth - The long winded exchange that opens it will have the script shut by a reader before he gets any futher. It is CLICHE, stale and ON-THE-NOSE. You need something more imaginative to convey it. Even opening with, "What do you mean I haven't made the cut? I had straight A at school" as a first line is better.

Tenth - Dialogue should NOT generally exceed 4 lines WITHOUT good reason.

Eleventh - In natural speech, people interrup;t each other, certainly in these circumstances. Here, they do not. It is unrealistic and timewasting for the reader and viewer.

Twelveth - GET should NEVER be used outside dialogue. It is LOUSY diction.

THirteenth - Shit should NEVER be used outside of dialogue. It is way worse than lousy diction.

Fourteenth - He's and It's are contractions that should NEVER be used outside dialogue.

Fifteenth - A wry smile and his style parentheticals are all ACTION not adverbial style of speech.

Sixteenth - Indian Accent will FORCE a studio to dump your screenplay as it could be taken as being racist.

Seventeenth - Guys is slang and should NEVER be used outside of dialogue... unless you are referring to stuffed dummies, put on the top of bonfires on November 5th in the UK.

Eighteenth - JACK - No description and no separate declaration.

Nineteenth - Pair enter is an action and the apartment description is a General. THey should NOT be in the same paragraph, let alone on the same line.

Twentieth - PIECE OF SHIT - THis should be in UNDERLINE not capitals to stress.

Twenty-first - (beat) ONLY goes in the midst of one person's speech. if it is between characters, it is stated from margin as a moment that is described such as A pregnant or difficult pause.

Twenty-Second - Aren't you guys getting sick of this? line absolutely BEGS for the audience to anser YES and walk out.

Twenty- Third - What is motorboating?

Twenty-Fourth - shooting your load in your old girl just had Disney and 95% of all other studios toss your script. Maybe you'd be happy with that if you ahve a target audience in mind but there is little to draw in those who might still be interested.

Twenty-Fifth - DIALOGUE RULE 101 - Never, NEVER, NEVER EVER use the word BORING. It puts the idea straight into the audience and reader's mind.

Twenty-Sixth - Alfie's monolgues is TWENTY LINES LONG - Are you INSANE!

Twenty-Seventh - The whole story's pretty fucked up - puts the idea into the audience's mind - and, to be honest, I'm forced to agree!

Twenty-Eighth - First yawn before the end of page 7.!

Twenty-Ninth - (20, cute, bookish) is to describe WHO? THe girl or the friends? And this way of describing is seriously WRONG!

Thirtieth - Putting 9,00 to watch paint dry in the description would be Oscar worthy if an actor could work out haow to convey that. What is he supposed to do? Sign language out of charades? This is LUDICROUS and stupid specific.

Thirty-First - gets YET AGAIN USED OUTSIDE OF DIALOGUE. THis is bordering on CRIMINALLY BAD DICTION!

Thirty-Second - No description of the Accountancy Office.

Thirty-Third - No descrition of MISS HARTLEY

Thirty-Fourth - I am literally, and I am not kidding you, yawning really, really badly. THis is utterly terse drivel.

Thirty-Fifth - wasn't is a sloppy contraction that should NEVER be used outside of dialogue.

Thirty-Sixth - An interruption is NOT a .... but a hyphen. This give the impression that your character suffers from severe alkzheimers and forgot what hsi was saying in the middle of a word.

Thirty-Eighth - YET MORE MONOLOGUES! Arghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

THirty-Ninth - Page 11 and I have to say, any reader who is still reading should be DISMISSED WITHOUT NOTICE for wasting his studios precious time.

Fortieth - Before Steve Breaks the silence ....That's OBVIOUS as he is the one who speaks first!

Summary...THis is UTTERLY talentless, turgid tripe about dirty, stupid, average and uninteresting people doing boring, humdrum average things. THere is nothing WHATSOEVER interesting about them nor their actions. Making this would be an obscene waste of celluloid. THere is NO WAY that this could ever, ever score even one out of a hundred. After all that reading, I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what the story is about nor an interest in the peole in any way. I yearn for a bunch of terrorists to run in and mow down all the characters with automatic weapons. In short, a pathetic and utterly amateur attempt by someone with primative diction and zero imagination for it wouldn't sparkle with WOW-factor even if someone put 6 trillion volts through it.

(Please forgive me, but to try not to hurt you feelings, I have seriously toned down my comments fromwhat I actually feel about it)

Thirty-Seventh -
 
Page 11 and I have to say, any reader who is still reading should be DISMISSED WITHOUT NOTICE for wasting his studios precious time.
Best review ever.

I asked my reader to take a look. Hey. She pissed me off that day. She made it to page 7. I was surprised she got that far. She's going to thoroughly enjoy the ending of your review. Bravo.
 
Look, why do you think "cut to the chase" comes straight from the world of screenwriting? You need to sledgehammer the reader with someone or something WOW in the first page, not have a chat about dismal failure... unless of course its with some guy like the one out of No Country For Old Men who's about to blow your brains out at the bottom of the page.
 
Editor & Sweetie: Can either of you post a script of your own, so we can judge the standard or perch from which you are critiquing sm95? It would put your reviews in context. As I don't think Editor even understood what he was reading, you know, since it was the best review ever and everything.

For instance, nobody is wearing a silver fox. He IS a silver fox. I think, Editor, you might have spent more time writing your review than reading his script.

sm95, I have to go and I couldn't finish reading your script, but to me it seems like normal banter between college aged kids. I did that shit, talked like that, and made fun of my friends' moms and sisters. I partially identify with those characters, although they seem pretty British.

Yeah not everything is realistic. For instance, when you don't get hired, you don't get told that at the interview, or at the office of your employer. Those things happen over the phone or through official letters of rejection. But who cares. Maybe you want to show an awkward situation, for some other purpose. There are so many reasons for a scene to exist.

Jesus Christ!! Sometimes I wonder if I have the right constitution to be a filmmaker.
 
Actually, you would be surprised what happens in a job interview. Here are some of the lunatic things that HAVE ACTUALLY happened to me:-

ONE - In the 1980's, I went for an interview with Liberty of London, a department tore - it was in the manager's office by a busy street. he had the window open. The interview was oing fine and the n a truck went by and I did not hear something that he said.

I replied, "Er, what?"

And he picked up the phone and replied, "Didn't you hear what I said? I said either you get out of here now or I'm phoning the Police right now!"

I still have no clue what that was all about.

TWO - Also in the 1980's, I went for an interview with Fortnum & Mason, another department store in London. They insisted that I must write every qualification down on their form and leave none off. Well, I have a lot of certificates so I carefully squeezed them in. At the end of filling in the form, the managerdidn't even glance at it, he just screwed it up and threw it in the trash bin and commented, "Look, we've never set a time limit, but whatever it was, you must have exceeded it by now, GET OUT!:

THREE - I went for an interview with an engineering company and I was told to go into an office and sit downa dn wait for the manager. There were two identical chairs, so I sat inone of them. Seconds later the manager appeared and told me, "Nope, sorry, you've sat in the wrong chair - Failed interview! Get out."

FOUR - I was sent to and interview by a job agency. I was running very close on time, so I raced into the building, up the stairs and raced into the appropriate door... only to find LITERALLY NOTHING THEREBetween being booked and the interview, not only had the company moved which the agency had forgotten to tell me, but the entire building was being demolished! EVERYTHING EVEN THE FLOORS AND WALLS BEYOND THE DOOR HAD GONE. - I was hanging from the door handle with a vertical FOUR STOREY DROP BELOW ME! Christ knows how I managed to scramble back from near death. I kid you not, I was literally hanging there FOUR STOREYS about rubble, twisted metal and debris.

FIVE - I was one of two people who had gone for an interview as systems manager at a company running poperies and was interviewed by the Company Secretary. I explained how I kew all the software, back to front and had even acted as an unoffical advisor t the company who were supposed to be actin g as support engineers to our company. A the end of it, he said that was a problem, I just knew too damn much and so he instead hired the other guy, a totla novice to the world of computing. I kid you now... 3 months later, I read in the newspaper of mass redundancies at that company who had filed for bankruptcy. Guess why? Yes, they had had a collossal systems failure that had resulted in the loss of their entire acounting suytems and all accounting records 60 days earlier. In short, the new, total novie guy had f**ked up so badly, it had bankrupted them. So much for choosing the idiot over the knowledgeable,and talented professional.
 
Actually, you would be surprised what happens in a job interview. Here are some of the lunatic things that HAVE ACTUALLY happened to me:-

ONE - In the 1980's, I went for an interview with Liberty of London, a department tore - it was in the manager's office by a busy street. he had the window open. The interview was oing fine and the n a truck went by and I did not hear something that he said.

I replied, "Er, what?"

And he picked up the phone and replied, "Didn't you hear what I said? I said either you get out of here now or I'm phoning the Police right now!"

I still have no clue what that was all about.

TWO - Also in the 1980's, I went for an interview with Fortnum & Mason, another department store in London. They insisted that I must write every qualification down on their form and leave none off. Well, I have a lot of certificates so I carefully squeezed them in. At the end of filling in the form, the managerdidn't even glance at it, he just screwed it up and threw it in the trash bin and commented, "Look, we've never set a time limit, but whatever it was, you must have exceeded it by now, GET OUT!:

THREE - I went for an interview with an engineering company and I was told to go into an office and sit downa dn wait for the manager. There were two identical chairs, so I sat inone of them. Seconds later the manager appeared and told me, "Nope, sorry, you've sat in the wrong chair - Failed interview! Get out."

FOUR - I was sent to and interview by a job agency. I was running very close on time, so I raced into the building, up the stairs and raced into the appropriate door... only to find LITERALLY NOTHING THEREBetween being booked and the interview, not only had the company moved which the agency had forgotten to tell me, but the entire building was being demolished! EVERYTHING EVEN THE FLOORS AND WALLS BEYOND THE DOOR HAD GONE. - I was hanging from the door handle with a vertical FOUR STOREY DROP BELOW ME! Christ knows how I managed to scramble back from near death. I kid you not, I was literally hanging there FOUR STOREYS about rubble, twisted metal and debris.

FIVE - I was one of two people who had gone for an interview as systems manager at a company running poperies and was interviewed by the Company Secretary. I explained how I kew all the software, back to front and had even acted as an unoffical advisor t the company who were supposed to be actin g as support engineers to our company. A the end of it, he said that was a problem, I just knew too damn much and so he instead hired the other guy, a totla novice to the world of computing. I kid you now... 3 months later, I read in the newspaper of mass redundancies at that company who had filed for bankruptcy. Guess why? Yes, they had had a collossal systems failure that had resulted in the loss of their entire acounting suytems and all accounting records 60 days earlier. In short, the new, total novie guy had f**ked up so badly, it had bankrupted them. So much for choosing the idiot over the knowledgeable,and talented professional.
Yes, those are surprising to me. Because I've had job interviews also, and none like that. Most of the time people were extremely polite, and their behaviors were a reflection of how they wanted to project their firm they represented to the potential hires, and they even paid for my plane tickets to their offices, whether they hired me or not.
 
Sometimes I wonder if I have the right constitution to be a filmmaker.
I think you do, but it's not my opinion that matters.

As for the rest of your comments. Do you think what I wrote was incorrect? Taking into consideration that the OP said to ignore only the "formatting, misplacements or character descriptions that are missing", the error in the first scene "every minute one guys loss is another man's gain" doesn't belong in a script as you cannot really show it.

As for the second scene, do you disagree that it's a boring scene?

I personally believe it's a boring scene. I've made the mistake of shooting too many boring scenes myself so I'm learning as fast as I can so I can see the tell tale signs. I really wish those who I trusted to review the scripts before I shot the films had been a lot less forgiving with what was wrong with the stories. Who knows, maybe they just didn't know or didn't care enough.

One more thing. Those are just my opinions and current opinions as that. It doesn't mean they're correct. It doesn't mean that I think I know it all. It doesn't mean that I'm putting myself on a high perch. It doesn't even mean that I won't change my opinion down the track as I mature as a writer. Hell, I don't even consider myself a writer. I only just went to my first writers guild meeting last week.
 
SIX - in another interview for th epost of Computer Manager, the interviewer first wuestion was to ask me to take my shirt off to take a look at me. I refused. So he, there and then, told me that I was "no use to him" and told me to leave.

SEVEN - In another company, I was asked to be there by 12 noon. I arrived then and was left in reception until 5pm where i waited quietly and patiently. At the end of it, I was called in and, after looking at me resume/CV, the interviewer woman said "I see you were born in Croydon". I said "Yes, thats correct". She responded, "No, where were you born?" I said"In Croydon" She replied, "Look, I know that's not right, where were you born?" I said "In Croydon". She said, "Why are you lying to me? I know you weren't born in Corydon. Where were you actually born?" I said, "But I was born in Croydon". So then she said, "Well, look, if you are going to just tell lies, there;'s no point in continuing with this interview." Then she said, "You can see your own way out now. I'm not going to show you" and pointed to the door. As I headed for the elevator, I was stopped by security who said, "Oi! You! I know you don't work here. What are you doing here" I said, "I just came for a job interview" He said, No you haven't, you're just wandering around the place". Then he added, "I've half a mind to have you arrested. Get out right now." So I left. When I got back to the agency who had sent me they were very angry before I stepped through the door. My agent angrily told me that they had had a complain from the woman who had interviewed me and she had demanded that I be struck off their books or they cancel the contract with them after my behaviour in the interview and for lying to her, so the woman at the agency said that she had cancelled my other job interviews with other companies and to get out, I was finished with them.

By the way, just for the record, I was born in Croydon in England and I even have a birth certificate to prove it.
 
ONE - In the 1980's, I went for an interview with Liberty of London, a department tore - it was in the manager's office by a busy street. he had the window open. The interview was oing fine and the n a truck went by and I did not hear something that he said.

I replied, "Er, what?"

And he picked up the phone and replied, "Didn't you hear what I said? I said either you get out of here now or I'm phoning the Police right now!"

I still have no clue what that was all about.

TWO - Also in the 1980's, I went for an interview with Fortnum & Mason, another department store in London. They insisted that I must write every qualification down on their form and leave none off. Well, I have a lot of certificates so I carefully squeezed them in. At the end of filling in the form, the managerdidn't even glance at it, he just screwed it up and threw it in the trash bin and commented, "Look, we've never set a time limit, but whatever it was, you must have exceeded it by now, GET OUT!:

THREE - I went for an interview with an engineering company and I was told to go into an office and sit downa dn wait for the manager. There were two identical chairs, so I sat inone of them. Seconds later the manager appeared and told me, "Nope, sorry, you've sat in the wrong chair - Failed interview! Get out."

FOUR - I was sent to and interview by a job agency. I was running very close on time, so I raced into the building, up the stairs and raced into the appropriate door... only to find LITERALLY NOTHING THEREBetween being booked and the interview, not only had the company moved which the agency had forgotten to tell me, but the entire building was being demolished! EVERYTHING EVEN THE FLOORS AND WALLS BEYOND THE DOOR HAD GONE. - I was hanging from the door handle with a vertical FOUR STOREY DROP BELOW ME! Christ knows how I managed to scramble back from near death. I kid you not, I was literally hanging there FOUR STOREYS about rubble, twisted metal and debris.
HERE!

There's the first 4 scenes (assuming Editor allows). They're funny, interesting, set a tone for a story of a intelligent guy getting the shitty deal everywhere he turns. Audiences love it if you make them laugh (if you can get it from the main character, all the better), they can relate to a character who is being treated unfairly.

Hell, if the OP doesn't want it, I'd love to use it if Editor allows.
 
HERE!

There's the first 4 scenes (assuming Editor allows). They're funny, interesting, set a tone for a story of a intelligent guy getting the shitty deal everywhere he turns. Audiences love it if you make them laugh (if you can get it from the main character, all the better), they can relate to a character who is being treated unfairly.

Hell, if the OP doesn't want it, I'd love to use it if Editor allows.
Tell you what... Having suffered near death in at least one of thsoe, as well and all the accumulated giref... suppose I agree to that with you putting my name as a co-writer and I'll even supply more such stories and redraft and write part of it?

(I can email you a pdf of my current US CONGRESS REGISTERED latest one if you like! to prove that I can write!)
 
Top