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I have to echo some of Jack's points - mainly, the character introductions and the description. I'll reverberate what he said and say that Angeline's was actually really well done, Mags' as well. Nate's was probably the least successful.
Also, I'm really glad you guys brought up the vampire mythology, because that was an issue I noticed in this new draft. So, my concerns have been lifted with you saying that you're going to be exploring it more in the next few episodes. I think that's what I want most from this series, since there have been several vampire adaptions. I want to know what makes this one unique and fresh, you know? You've got that with the Duchy, so that's probably what I'm most intrigued about.
Are you working on a new draft, as of now, MJ? I think Jack had a ton of great points, but I thought I'd go ahead and ask you.
First up- yes, I'm working on a new draft. For the most part it's going to be the same, I can't see myself making any huge changes as I don't think any of the critique called for it, but I'll be tidying up a couple of the technical things Jack mentioned and then also trying to just smooth out some of the stuff- like the introduction of Nate- that people have mentioned.
Now the mythology. I completely get your worries, with the past few years being the time of the vampire so to speak (all the books, movies, tv shows, etc.) it can be a bit 'oh, another vampire series'. With that and there also being another vampire series on the VPN already I did make sure to think through how my vampires were going to work- what traditional vampire lore was I going to use, what was I going to modify, what was I not going to use at all, and what I was going to do that was my own thing. As I mentioned to Jack though, I didn't want it to be a case of constant exposition about the mythology for the sake of the reader, especially since all the characters have been vampires for a least one hundred years and really wouldn't have need or want to explain it all. Instead things concerning the mythology will pop up when they're relevant so over time you'll slowly learn about these vampires, how they survive, and why they do certain things the way they do
Got 15 pages of Eventide ep2 done today because my students were really quiet and working well, which meant I had the opportunity to write for most of the day. Pretty proud of myself, there was a time when 2 pages in one day was a good effort for me but i'm trying to get myself into some good writing habits and it looks like it's working.
I'm not too versed in introducing characters with different names as they're said in the script, so I could be completely wrong here, but it doesn't sit right with me that we are introduced to the main character as "MAN" then "SAM" and later his true name, "NATE." I think introducing him to us on paper in a similar way you did everyone else -- as his true self -- would add to the mysterious vibe of the teaser and be far more efficient as it allows the audience to latch onto the main character from the get-go. Again, I don't know too much about it, but that's just how I would do it and that's all I can offer in my review of how you introduced him as that first scene is a whole lot of "MAN" and "WOMAN" interacting which is an approach that doesn't really rope me in.
I was a bit conflicted on this initial introduction of Nate. Partly because if you were watching this as a show you wouldn't actually know this guy was actually called Nate until the scene with Mags later on. I was kind of trying to emulate that with not revealing his name right away (because this is, of course, only to be consumed by readers and not watchers). I don't know if that makes the decision better or not? With knowing my intention for the scene do you have any different suggestions on how to better but keep that 'reveal' of Nate a surprise until later? Or do you still think it's best just to introduce him has Nate straight up?
In mentioning that, I don't like the fact there are nameless "WOMAN 1" and "WOMAN 2" with as many lines as they have, and the fact that they're introduced as a group based on their gender of just "YOUNG WOMEN." I think giving these women names is more important than knowing every little detail about the club they're in, considering they're the ones that lead us straight into meeting the main character. If you don't want to give them names -- as they are minor characters -- then a drive behind them that distinguishes them is better, for example, "DRESSED UP WOMAN," "DRUNK WOMAN," "FLIRTY WOMAN," "SHY WOMAN", or something along those lines as it says more to us as an audience than just a character of a gender, "1" and "2."
Yeah, I was playing with the idea of giving them names but I wasn't sure. Since you're a bit more across script writing technique than I am, is there a general rule of thumb on when to give characters proper names? When to give them the names like you suggested (eg. Dressed Up Woman), and if you should ever just call them things like 'woman #1, woman #2' etc.?
I'm also a little uncomfortable with how the first three female characters we're introduced to are basically shown to be not the brightest, mange to send their friend out with some strange, shady dude, and within at least an hour (probably), Isabel is seen making out with him in an alleyway. I would think if there was at least some hesitancy from Isable, then it would be more acceptable and the jump in time would allow for us to see into this really dumb move on her part. I mean, it's not her fault she got killed -- I'm not playing into that argument because that's just silly -- I'm just saying that it seems unrealistic that these three women are meant to be friends and they're eager to let their friend walk off with some random dude that has "serial killer" written all over. A joke one of my female friends always says is "don't trust a man in a fedora," haha, and I thought that was relevant to say here in regards to Nate and his choice of attire out on the prowl.
I wouldn't call them not bright. They're young women, out having a good time, and have drunk a little too much which is impairing what would probably be pretty good judgement. I'm not going to lie, it is a dumb decision and occasionally people make them. This time it resulted in the death of a young woman just trying to have fun, maybe find a random hook up in the aftermath of a bad break up- I don't know. You know, there are a lot of serial killers who manage to lure women in because those woman make what might simply be a small lapse of judgement at the time. That's what predators do, they exploit weakness, and in this case Nate picked well. As far as the girls were concerned he was a hot mysterious guy eyeing their friend, they thought it would be funny for her to go speak to him, and as far as they're concerned he turns out to be a nice guy. He buys Isabel drinks, he charms her, makes her laugh, all while her friends keep an eye on her. When eventually Isabel and Nate start getting a bit hands on, her friends just think she's found a good hook-up. When they start heading towards the back her friends figure they're heading for a quickie in the bathroom or something. The first hint Isabel gets that Nate is not a nice guy is when she knocks his hat off. The only reason we know he's a bad guy is because I'm playing the trope straight- it's exactly the same kind of scene you'd see in numerous crime shows, only this time the killer is the protagonist, not the cops.
There were a lot of great character introductions, though -- something I would have liked for Nate. For example, the description for Mags and Angeline was honestly flawless, and creative but to the point. The line, "wrapped in beauty and grace" was incredible and really captured her in a way that helps distinguish all these characters from one another. The only part I'd remove from it is the fact that you told us Angeline is much older than the other vampires, but that no one is sure by how much. Action shouldn't give us insight into characters' thoughts as much as dialogue does; the fact that we are introducing Angeline here means we keep it to Angeline. It's not relevant that the audience knows about other characters' doubts about how old she truly is, if that makes sense.
Yeah, I'll definitely think about incorporating an introduction for Nate that's similar to the other characters, I don't think I did originally because of his sort of drawn out introduction over the teaser. I'll probably cut the line out about Angeline's age too. That's another bit I was a bit iffy about and wasn't sure if I should keep it or not but left it in because up until now no one else had commented on it. Thanks for the positive comments about the rest of the introductory stuff- I'm never to sure how I should introduce my characters because everyone tends to do it differently, but to hear I'm doing something right with some of them means that I can focus on continuing in that trend, which is cool.
Moving on, I wanted to touch on the discussion of descriptions that others have brought up, and I hope it can offer some help and not just be someone beating a dead horse. There's a lot of description in here that is extremely prose-y. I've been taught that you need to keep to what's important, what's necessary for the scene to maintain its purpose. The action should be relevant to the purpose. So writing "his mouth is still tight over the wound on her neck but there is so much blood he can't drink it all" doesn't give us any new information from when he clamps his mouth over the wound and feeds from her. Some parts are repetitive, as I mentioned before. We see that Mags is licking blood off a blade, and then there's a three line paragraph describing in explicit detail how she is licking the blood off the blade when we already know that is what she's doing. I think with exterior shots, you're describing way too much. If you think about how it works on television, you'll see an establishing exterior shot for a fragment of a second, three seconds maximum, and so if you take into account that one pages equals a minute, we're essentially focusing on "Sunrise Slumber Bar and Apartments" for fifteen to twenty seconds. Lastly, you go as far as to describe the shelves being covered in liquor bottles, and follow that line with "but they are mostly for show should someone unsuspecting wander in." I think an audience would know what is behind a bar, but the most important thing is, unless someone is walking in that second to get a drink, then discussing the idea that someone could walk in and be offered a drink is redundant because -- again -- it isn't actually something that is happening right now therefore it shouldn't be included in the action.
That's actually super helpful and I'll totally work on implementing that. To be honest I do treat VS scripts a little bit differently than I would an actual script intended for filming. Because VS is entirely a written medium I do tend to add those extra little descriptions to help set the scene. I know it's not to everyone's taste, but I do sometimes like to add that little bit of extra description because there's no picture to do it for me in a couple of seconds and a lot of my extra descriptions do world build and add little tidbits that are likely to come into play later. That said, if it seriously ruins the script I'll leave them out. I just feel like sometime by sticking to just the bare minimum or currently relevant info doesn't allow me to set up some little things the way I'd like to- like foreshadowing through something that seems arbitrary in a scene but comes back to be important in a later episode.
Some other notes I had jotted down were:
-- Some of the swearing seemed a bit forced, in my opinion. I'm not big on swearing unless it adds something to the dialogue, to the scene, or to the purpose of what's happening, and there are instances where you nail it. But there are others where it seems out of place, for instance, "don't be fucking greedy" didn't flow organically to me, and "he's so fucked" was another where it didn't sit right.
Ah, well you're actually going to hate me here because the swearing for the sake of swearing is going to be sticking around, especially for Mags who is quite vulgar in that regard. The swearing isn't supposed to have a point, it's there because these vampires are rude, crude, and don't give a shit about it to be honest. I did warn for language because I knew it might upset some people but I think four times in a 29 page script is hardly excessive and, bar a few characters for whom it is a bit of a trait or habit, there's usually a good reason for it.
-- You don't have to re-introduce Nate as "NATHANIEL NATE VOSS" in the second act. We already know who he is, and he was literally in the scene before this one (despite the act break).
Oops, that's actually a mistake, left over from when it was two episodes and not one. Told you I hadn't had my editor check through it at this point XD
-- The "morning" thing went over my head. It was actually a little annoying for me because I had to message my friend and ask what they think it meant, and while I felt a bit dumb after having to ask, I think it fell flat in terms of humour (if it was meant to be a humorous element of the pilot). I mean, it sounds like something that could be a running gag, and I'm worried it will be because it seems a bit silly in retrospect of the show itself. That said, there is humour in Angeline, and witty lines from Nate that work really well and are refreshing. This was just a nit picky element that I had to bring up because it did make me stop reading and have to ask someone about it.
It's actually not meant to be funny at all. Vampire's live during the night and sleep (the little they do sleep) during the day. For me it made sense for them to say 'morning' when bidding someone goodbye in the morning, and 'evening' when they're saying hello at the start of the night. It's just a little vampire quirk, like how Angeline is Mags' 'vamp mom' and rather than 'digging your own grave' a vampire would 'sharpen you own stake'. It's to show that as a community they live differently to humans and have their own way of talking about things and their own references and so on. Sorry it confused you!
-- I thought it was a bit odd that Nate is her errand boy, but has no way of contacting Angeline.
That's mostly just Angeline being funny. She has an odd sense of humour but hey, that's what happens when you live to be as old as Angeline is. She's also just testing his initiative- Angeline doesn't do much of anything without reason.
Also, why does he send photos to an email, when Angeline had a phone. I know that she uses the phone at the end to make a phone call to someone unknown, but it felt strange that he was attaching photos to an email, and Angeline was just chilling with a laptop opened in front of her and then starts using the phone to the other side of her. I thought maybe if she was already on the phone, got the message, saw it, then said that to the person on the other end of the line, or if it was just as simple as seeing the messages, and then making the call.
(oops, forgot to respond to this bit for some reason originally, probably because I was writing at like, 12am) I think Angeline actually asks him to email them to her- oh, wait, that's in my current edit not the one that you read, i just checked- so yeah, she actually asks him to email it to her because she'd prefer to have them on the computer rather than her tiny phone screen, also so she can file them away with other relevant information. As for the laptop being open next to her- she's just multitasking and using it for information while she writes her letter.
-- Using "Continuous" is something I haven't really studied, so I'm not too sure about its uses. But I don't think you can write APARTMENT CONTINUOUS and then have your characters in a bedroom and a kitchen, and other rooms without specific scene headers. Again, I might be wrong and could learn something here, haha.
As far as I know continuous is used when you have a new slug but on a timeline that scene it happening directly after the previous one? Like if you end one scene and have continuous on the next slug it mean that the literal point in time the last scene left off is where the current one picks up. I don't know, I'm not expert but that's what I picked up from somewhere. I probably do need a new slug for Mags in the bedroom/bathroom though, but the kitchen is actually part of the main living area- it's open plan- so that one wouldn't.
-- You wrote "SMASH CUT TO" when it should be a "JUMP CUT TO" if its a shift in time.
Oh, okay, cool, did not know that. So is is jump cut if your with the same characters but jumping ahead with them, but smash cut if you have an abrupt cut between scenes? Just want to make sure I get this right because I looked it up but obviously missed something important there, haha!
-- Lastly, there were a few SPAG errors as early as the first few pages, and peppered throughout that a quite edit should fix!
That's not a problem! Like I said earlier I hadn't had this edited when I put it up because my editor (by which i mean my sister) said she couldn't be bothered doing it right then but I really wanted to put it up anyway XD She usually manages to catch 99% of my mistakes so normally there's not that many SPAG problems.
Finally, I wanted to end this review with all the stuff that really connected with me and that I enjoyed one hundred and ten percent. I liked the suspense that built up from the beginning half of the episode around the "Duchess" character. It added a real sense of fear that these characters have for her, and/or that they were controlled/lead by her and turns out its very true. It also aided us in the introduction of Angeline, and really revved us up for an important character. You gave us - the audience - the hype, and then had the pay-off which is always appreciated in any situation hype or suspense is involved, so props for that! Also, the twist with Nate ending up as the errand boy was one of my favourite parts. I already like that development and I think it's what has me most excited for the show.
Thank you so much! Angeline is both easy and hard to write because she's always so many steps ahead of everyone I need to make sure I'm thinking like that too so I can pull her off. I'm glad it's working though- that and trying to portray just how powerful she is without having to give a literal demonstration of it, but from what you and others have said I'm doing okay with that too. So yes, that's good to hear. Oh, and of course if you have any inkling about the Duchess you know there's no way Nate is just and errand boy. He thinks he got off easy but he really hasn't XD
We got some insight into the mythology of the vampires, little references here and there, but mostly about how they're ran, and I liked that. I do wish there was more, but again, this is a pilot, and I'm assuming as the show grows, so will the mythology and the explanation for how these vampires are different to other vampires from the plethora of vampire shows and movies.
Oh yeah, I've tried to do some original stuff with the mythology but also stick with most of the more standard vampire lore too. There will definitely be more on that but I didn't want to do the whole 'bombard people with all the myth and lore straight up' and am attempting to weave it into the story in a way that feels organic. In episode two you get a little bit of explanation of how they get their blood supplied to them, and episode three will deal a bit with vampire politics, so the lore is there, i'm just finding the right times to work it in
The introduction of the hunters makes me excited. The strange thing about this show is that the protagonists don't seem to be very nice people, and so with the introduction of hunters there's a risk of the audience connecting with them as opposed to these vampires. I'm a little nervous about it actually, because there aren't any real redeeming qualities about any of the main characters, especially when these vampires are written as strong, and powerful, and intimidating and confident, and the three human girls we got a glimpse into at the beginning of the episode were unintelligent, and lacked common sense. I wonder if the hunters will have the same treatment and its a statement on mankind, or if redeeming qualities about the vampires will surface as the show progresses and we will sympathise with them and see the hunters as antagonists. I hope this point makes sense. Either way, I'm excited about it and I wasn't expecting it. In fact, the whole case that Angeline sends Nate on in this episode is where I really started to become invested.
Ah, yes, I couldn't possibly do a vampire series without hunters, let's be honest, haha! It is a really fine line I'm treading with the main characters because you're right, they're not really the best kind of people, and that is the point, so continuing to showcase them that way but also making them the people you become invested in and want to see them succeed is going to be hard. I guess the only way to see if that pans out or not is seeing how people react to future episodes because things get pretty dark and violent. And to alleviate your fears the hunters are in no way going to be incompetent, they're disrupting things left right and center in this first season and are going to be causing a lot of trouble come episode three.
Lastly, I had to talk about the relationship between Mags and Nate. For me, I get a real sense of buddy cop dynamic from the two of them, and I like that, but I feel the push for them to become something romantic and it makes me uncomfortable. The compliments are really forced, and the moments to create some level of awareness that one is attracted to the other are peppered into moments where Nate is snapping his fingers at Mags like she's a dog, or tied into the murder of a woman who looks like her. I don't really see a chemistry between the two other than being partners, and co-workers or what have you, but it does look as though there is an intent to have these two fall into each other's orbit, romantically, and as early as the pilot, I'm not a huge fan of that direction. That said, it is just the pilot, so there's plenty of time for development and progression.
Actually, I am 100% against the idea of Mags and Nate being romantically involved, so we're totally on the same page here (sorry for anyone who was hoping it would go this way!). I see Mags and Nate being amazing friends and a great partnership but I don't think their personalities, especially at the moment, would make them a good romantic couple. Let's be honest, Mags would rip Nate apart after too long of them trying to commit to a romantic relationship so it's not on the cards and i'm 99% sure it never will be. The complements are mostly Nate just being Nate, he's hardly serious and Mags knows that. They have an odd dynamic, sure, and some people may read that as romantic but I don't want to run that tired old gauntlet of the two partners who 'will they won't they' for who knows how long before ending up in the 'will they' category. Anyway, long answer is long but it all boils down to no romance- at least between these two anyway.
Anyway, those were my thoughts on Eventide. I know I have very mixed feelings about it, and it probably shows in my review, but I hope all my points made sense and there's something to take away from this. This does just reflect my exposure to the pilot, and that's all I can really offer. But yeah, I hope this helped in some way, if not, it was an interesting read.
It was mixed, as you've pointed out, but it was also super helpful actually. I just wish you had been able to review it sooner, haha! You're constructive criticism had some really good points and technical tips that will help me refine this episode even more (and hopefully I remember them for future scripts) so all in all there was definitely some things for me to take away from it. I hope some of my explanations helped clear up some of my creative choices with you too (the scene with the girls at the start and the swearing come to mind).
I like the focus on the girls this episode, I alway love things that highlight strong female friendships/relationships though so I may be a bit biased in liking this episode XD I love how Judy and Rose were there for Paula and Alisha respectively (even if I wasn't such a big fan of the 'girl ends a relationship with a guy and spends her time crying and eating chocolate/ice-cream' cliche) and how they went about helping them.
The scene with David and Alex was good too. I really like seeing their friendship explored too, and how Alex is juggling that friendship with David compared to his friendship with Alisha. I mean, he obviously cares about them both and it's nice to see him be there for both of them like a mature adult, rather than picking a side or something. I think that's done really well. Nice to see David's mums make an appearance too, though I had a big problem with David referring to them as 'guys'. I don't know if that's a David characterisation quirk or if you were just not sure how to have him address two parent's that are both 'mum', but it just felt really awkward to me. It makes their relationship seem kinda distant, or like David doesn't want them there, because 'guys' sounds quite impersonal. It is a small thing in the overall episode but something I found really jarring nonetheless.
The final drinking scene was kinda cute, though I am a bit worried about Judy's comment of 'I drink to much'. I wasn't sure if it was just meant to be funny or hint at an actual serious problem she has with alcohol. If it's the former it's a really funny line! But if it's the latter it comes off as quite dark, which may not necessarily be out of place considering the more dramatic turn Audition has taken in some of the past few episodes.
Omg, sorry Brady but I hate the title on this, because I have to hear my younger teenage sister say 'baes' constantly and it just drives me up the wall to be honest, haha! But anyway, on to this episode. The drunk scene at the start was amusing, poor Michael just so used to everyone's antics by now he doesn't even care, just goes to bed, lol.
While I liked David's mums in the previous episode I feel like this episode kinda just turned them into a joke, what with their constant making out. I mean, it's nice to see that they're so into each other as a couple but come on, time and place people, time. and. place. In your son's hospital room after he was shot and now may have some kind of spinal damage just seems so... wrong, I guess, even for laughs. That's just my personal opinion though, maybe others do find that funny, I don't know. I feel like it was just a little out of place considering how serious the whole shooting storyline has been. Oh, and while I love that you're promoting the fact that same-sex couples can have children and it totally shouldn't be thought of as strange or anything else negative that less open-minded people tend to think, I wasn't cheering for Shannon when she 'slayed' that doctor. I think it would have been perfect if you had included one more line or a sign from the doctor that he disliked the idea of two women having a child- instead it looked like the doctor asked a very legitimate question 'who are you?' (because David's parents haven't been there for long, maybe he hadn't seen them yet) and then Shannon jumped down his throat, assuming he was questioning their ability to be parents as two women. Like I said, just one more line making the doctors opinions clear would have made that a great scene, but instead I'm left not really liking Shannon and Mei's attitudes. I have a number of friends and some family members who are gay or bi women, and I know that they wouldn't be overly happy with Shannon and Mei's characterisation in this for a number of reasons. That's all I'll say on the matter here, but I am more than happy to discuss this further with you if you're interested to hear about why it might be seen as problematic for some people.
It was nice to see Mia owning up to the fact that she's been a bit of a bitch, even if it was in her own kinda gruff way. I kinda hope she maybe mellows out a little, stops being so nasty and competitive because it looks she would be able to make friends with some of the 'audition' gang. That said, her actions may have already made that unlikely, but here's hoping for some cool character development for her.
I'm also kinda liking the Rose/Robbie dynamic, even though it was small, and I'm hoping we get so see more of them together And omg this one is getting long so I'll just sign it off by saying that the Alex and Alisha scene was really nice too- it's nice to see how close they are and just how strong their friendship is!
4.04 The First Date(s)
Okay, last one, here we go! I always think my reviews for Audition will be short but then they always ended up long, haha! But yes, 'The First Dates'.
It's super cute how everyone is so supportive of Alex asking Rose out, but I also think they all know she's totally going to say yes, haha! And filming it for David is a nice gesture, poor guy is stuck in hospital so it's probably some of the only entertainment he'll get.
Oh, and the scene with Alisha and Robbie just reminded me of something I wanted to say. *puts on rant hat* I feel so freakin' sorry for Alisha! Like, okay, she kissed another guy while in a relationship which shouldn't have happened and it's completely fair for David to end the relationship, but what's with everyone demonising her, including herself?? It was literally one kiss- not sex, not even a make-out session, and it's not like she'd been flirting with him or anything. In fact, Robbie was totally pushing her, and Mia was manipulating Robbie, and it just rubs me so wrong that Alisha is copping all the flack for it! I really hope something is going to happen in later episodes that puts this right because it's so unfair. *rant over*
Anyway, where was I? Oh, the 'dates' our title promised. First of all, so cliche that they ended up at the same restaurant- you think Michael would have checked or something but apparently not, lol. I can't believe they didn't notice each other until that late in the meal either, but at least they were across the room from each other so they did get some privacy despite the awkwardness. I don't know how I feel about Rose and Alex as a couple (I was kinda feeling the Rose/Robbie vibe from last episode) but I'm happy to see how it pans out.
So that sums up my reviews for the latest episodes. Pretty solid Audition episodes and I'm interested to see how things are going forward in the rest of sequence 4
UPDATE: Half hour version of the script is up! There may still be a couple of SPAG errors because I've yet to have my editor read it but i'd say it's pretty much as complete as it's going to get story wise
I'm actually really intrigued by the change of format on this, MJ! I definitely feel like it could be a lot stronger by having longer episodes. That being said, I feel like the new "two part" pilot works as a whole. I'm glad we get to see Nate actually conducting one of Angeline's assignments, because I felt like that was lacking in the previous draft. A lot of the stuff I like in the original draft, I still really enjoyed here, especially the relationship between Mags and Nate because we got to see more interaction between them. I do worry, though, with the pilot, if Nate is going to fall into the trope of a stereotypical, arrogant vampire. Hopefully that's not the case.
Yeah, I think half an hour is going to suit the show better and allow me to include all the good story elements in one episode, rather than having to have some duller episodes as set up, like I was going to need if I stuck with the traditional webisode style. As for Nate, I do have plans for him to be more than the one-dimentional asshole he comes across as in the beginning, but don't expect him to suddenly lose all those terrible personality traits, he's pretty much a douchebag through and through, even though he will get some more dimensions, haha!
We also got a little more into Charity and Salvador and his blood supply, which I liked. Hopefully they grow to become more than characters Nate and Mags just talk to though.
I can say that, yes, we will see more of Charity and Salvador and they will develop their own story lines and so on. Episodes two and three get Salvador and Charity out and about respectively, but they will come in secondary to Nate and Mags at least for the first season or two.
The extended scene with the Angeline worked a lot better as well. Her intentions, because of the extension, became somewhat clearer. I think I would have liked to see more conversation as a build up to her telling him he's going to be her errand boy, but I think that's more of a personal preference more than anything.
Yeah, the Duchess is pretty to the point but that's just her character. Nate probably should have asked more questions about what he was getting into but since he didn't the Duchess was happy to leave details to a minimum because that worked better for her bigger plan.
Despite that, the actual assignment of Nate and Mags searching through the apartment was a lot of fun; however, I feel like we missed a scene between them going to sleep and them showing up at the apartment. I would have liked some clarification on what was inside the folder Angeline gave Nate, because I feel like it would have made for a better flow. This very much felt like two separate webisodes, but I feel like combining the two scripts would clear that up easily
With the extension into a half hour episode I probably will include a scene like that. It's a good idea actually, haha!
I'm still not keen on a lot of the description though, particularly when describing certain locations. I understand that you wanted to go ahead and give a description of the entire location so that you wouldn't have to do it again once you revisit it, but if I'm being quite honest I had already forgot how you described the bar once we returned to it, so I just started using my own imagination. I find most of it unnecessary. I think that's why I didn't mind the description of the apartment Nat and Mags went to, because it was very simply and left most of it up to my imagination. I just think a lot more story and character interactions could go in place of them.
I addressed this in Chris' review also but pretty much I've decided to see what I can do about trimming the biggest chucks of description down, since it seems to be a really sticking point for readers at this point- make them more like the descriptions of the apartment.
Overall, I still really like this idea and enjoyed getting to know these characters more. They're all really fun to read, and the entire concept is super intriguing. My main issue is just the description, because it becomes distracting after a while. But other than that, good work, MJ!
If your only issue at this point is the description I can honestly say I'm pretty happy with that, lol! So yes, once I make the change to the half hour script and implement the feedback I'm hoping it will be a stellar read Thanks for the second review Brady!
Just read the two-part pilot and I think I definitely enjoyed the 2nd part more. I know you're planning on putting these two episodes together and making it one, half-hour episode. I think the series would work well in that format.
(omg, I accidentally hit back on my browser and deleted half my responses so this is round two) Yes, I think half an hour will work better too. The story I'm crafting is turning out to be more complex than even I thought so I think the half hour is best, if only for pacing purposes and such. I think to do it as a webisode with only ten pages each week would frustrate people if anything is to be gathered from the reviews so far XD
But onto the episodes themselves, most of my thoughts on part one remain the same from the first draft, although the extension of the final scene between Nate and Angeline helped in giving the reader more plot. I am interested to know why after Angeline tells Nate that there are strict rules against killing humans for good reason, she goes on to allow and approve of Nate's killings. I think he might have come out of that meeting a little too unscathed and I'm not sure why. Does she have ulterior motives or is she just indecisive? She really doesn't strike me as the latter.
For this I'm just going to say you're actually on the ball with your feelings and questions. Angeline is always a dozen steps ahead and never does anything without good reason but at the same time holds her cards very close to her chest. She definitely has plans for Nate, he hasn't gotten off as easy as he thinks he has, but as a reader you're unfortunately not going to get the full story of what the Duchess is planning until characters like Nate and Mags do. But yes, assume everything she does has a reason behind it, lol.
The parts of the episode I really enjoyed was when Nate and Mags are investigating the apartment. I probably would have even liked more of that. Maybe them finding another clue at his apartment, and doing a little more digging. But the mission was the find the previous 'errand boy', and that's what they did. I would have liked to see more being set up for the mystery we're probably getting ready to get thrown into. Or maybe there was set up, that just hasn't made itself apparent yet. Either way, I'm interesting in delving deeper into this story.
This scene will be one I'm going to expand on again with the change to half hour but unfortunately there won't be any more clues or revelations. The main thing to take away from this scene, without giving too much away, is that the 'previous guy' wasn't randomly killed and his body being left the way it was, nice and easy for them to find, was deliberate. Angeline picks it up when Nate shows her the picture and it will definitely play into the bigger storyline.
The character of Nate wasn't someone I was very interested during my first read. I read him as the very typical, arrogant vampire who cares about and believes in nothing but himself. I'm not usually drawn to those characters. But I found myself warming up to him a little more in episode two. Hopefully after time he'll get more solid development and, not necessarily become more likable, because I don't think he's meant to be likable and he doesn't need to be. But just grow into a more interesting, 3-dimensional character.
Yeah, Nate's not supposed to be likeable in the traditional sense. He will have character development but he'll definitely retain those less than stella personality characteristics, haha! Angeline did hint at it but Nate (and Mags to some extent) are going through a kind of vampire adolescence. They've hit the age where pretty much everyone they knew growing up is dead and they're still young, and alive, and strong, and they get this sense of 'i'm immortal and can do anything' which leads to some reckless behaviour and self-centredness. Needless to say this is why a lot of vampires die during their early hundreds.
Something stood out to me about Mags, in the scene where Nate snaps at her to turn on the lights, she makes a disapproving quip but turns the lights on anyway. I really wanted her to put Nate in his place and make him turn the damn lights on himself, but now I realize that may have been childish of her since they were there to do a job. So I understand why she did, it just made me poke my lips out because I'm already in love with Mags. haha! So, good job with that, I guess.
Mags and Nate have a weird relationship, and this scene is pretty much them just having fun with each other. And you're kinda spot on with Mags, she turned the light on because 1. they'd waste time arguing about it, 2. she was closer to it, and 3. she was about to turn it on anyway XD Mags, because of her connection with the Duchess, is actually quite a bit higher than Nate on the vampire 'food chain' so if he ever actually did something to really piss her off you can be sure she'd put him in his place pretty easily. In fact, I think she pulls rank on him in episode 3 so look out for that if you're a fan of Mags!
We haven't gotten that much from Charity and Salvador yet. I like them being in the story, to provide Mags and Nate with someone to converse with other than themselves. I'm looking forward to seeing them possibly going off into their own storylines, either connected to or separate from the main plot.
Charity and Salvador are a nice contrast to Nate and Mags. They're little older, a little more chill, and help put some balance into the cast. Salvador should be getting some screen time in ep 2 and Charity in ep 3 to help flesh out their characters a bit too.
And then Angeline - I'm very intrigued by her. I usually love those powerful, vampire leader characters; especially if they're women. So, I'm digging her so far and hope we get even more from her in future episodes.
Angeline will probably be appearing in almost every episode, though her purpose/storyline will probably stay a little bit shrouded in mystery for the first season or two. Angeline play a long game and that will be reflected in how her story unfolds during the series.
Overall, I enjoyed the pilot. The description got a little heavy at times, with information and details that I had forgotten shortly after reading it because I was too focused on dialogue and the progression of the plot. I think in scriptwriting, most readers only comprehend the most crucial details and subconsciously fill in most gaps on their own. Sometimes having everything laid out to them on a silver plater can cause a scene to drag, and take the reader's attention away. So, while I do appreciate well written action and description, be mindful in the future to not overdo it. Especially details that might take a reader out of the script, or things they're not likely to remember after moving onto the next page.
Yeah, with this critique popping up pretty frequently I'm going to cut down on the biggest description (the vampire bar). It's the only real area with a lot of description but it's obviously sticking in people's heads as being a bit wordy, so I'll look into trimming it up and making it a bit more concise.
I'm interested in seeing how the plot moves forward; wondering if hunters will play a role in this series after their mention by Angeline near the end. I'm purposefully not reading the episode guide so I don't spoil myself. Nice, solid read MJ. Keep at it!
Thanks for another review Chris! I think the series is gonna work a lot better with the change to half-hour and I'm keeping my fingers crossed hoping for a pick-up!
Not gonna bother quoting everything again but thanks for the more detailed feedback! It really helped me figured out exactly what parts you as a reader thought could go a different way or needed improvement which allowed me to really evaluate if I should look into editing them some. I def think now that I'll go with a two part pilot again, you've convinced me on that front, haha! As for the action element if the second episode, only finding the one body in the first place they looked was a deliberate story telling choice on my part, along with Angeline choosing to not have Nate do any further investigating. Should the show get picked up the explanation for that would start to come in about episode four but I don't want to give too much away. But yes, the body they found wasn't a random vampire killing and Angeline knows that, which is why she's going to do some of her own research before acting and why we the episode feels like it doesn't really impact on much. It will, just later.
Okay first off, I want this series. I'm a fan of all things supernatural, so this unique take on vampires has me very intrigued. I'm happy you took Chris' advice and made this a two part pilot, because that first episode just didn't seem quite enough and as Chris mentioned before, it felt more like a prologue. The second episode fixed that problem rather well, we got to see Nate on his first case.
Haha, you know, I'm honestly considering not making it two part anymore. Originally the scene at the end of the first episode in Angeline's office was very short and ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. I changed that so the entire scene in Angeline's office (which was to pick up in episode two) is now in script one. I don't really get where the idea that episode one isn't quite enough is coming from, especially now that it's been changed to be longer and include a bit more story. I feel like it does the job that was intended which was to introduce characters and introduce one of the main plot points- Nate now works for the Duchess. So yeah, at this point I'm still leaning towards a one episode pilot instead of two (since changing the structure of the episodes) but I'll see what other people say on the matter. Perhaps I'm just telling a slow-burn story and everyone is expecting it to be fast paced, I don't know XD
I didn't actually mind the long-ish descriptions of the club and bar, I quite enjoyed knowing the lay out and how this regular hangout of theirs really looks. I think your right its best to do it when its first introduced so you don't have to describe it in depth in the future. Everything in the script comes off the page well, from your descriptions to your characters.
Thanks man! Like I mentioned in my reply to Brady I really didn't feel description length was a problem. There are plenty of scripts on the VPN that have longer and wordier pieces of description than what I've included in this and, like you mentioned, it is to help set up these places in the readers minds so when I say a few episodes down the track 'the characters are watching the tv' or 'the character sit on one of the couches' you know those things are there already and no extra description is required
Mags, who I expect to be a fan favourite, has me intrigued. There isn't a character I dislike yet. But Mags and Nate are my top two of the moment, most likely because thats who we've seen most of. But from Mags over the top cursing and sarcasm to Nate's utter douch-like behaviour, It makes for a good read. I love when he said, "Say cheese" to the dead body, it made me giggle. Lol. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the relationship between Nate and Angeline progresses. Angeline seems hard as nails and quite an emotionally drawn character which is always fun to read. Her coldness and bluntness is great.
Glad to hear there isn't a character you dislike yet, though I would understand if you didn't like Nate all that much, haha! 'Douch-like behaviour' pretty much sums up Nate's character at the moment but I'm glad you enjoy it and it isn't a turn off, which I was worried it might be. The whole point of this is that vampires aren't nice people. Not so much amongst themselves but definitely when it comes to humans, and you'll see all of the character's dark sides at one point or another. Angeline is an interesting character to write and she does have reasons for acting the way she does and doing the things she does but to explain it would probably start giving away too much of her story.
One thing I must mention is the endings though, I feel like both episodes ended quite abruptly and just left me like "oh, is that it." in the first episode it didn't bother me as much because 1. it was the series set up and 2. I knew there was a second part to follow onto. But in episode 2 I just I needed a bit more, even a short cliffhanger of sorts or a scene with the gang at the bar to wrap things up.
This bit of feedback it a little bit.. hmm. I don't really want to turn around and be like 'well you're wrong, and here's why' but I feel like now would be a great time for me to point out that Eventide will be very serial in nature. There won't be a nice little wrap up to the end of every episode or even an obvious cliffhanger. I feel like to do as you suggested (have a scene in the bar) would be bordering on a genre I don't feel Eventide is. I considered it, after I read your review, but I just couldn't find a reason for the characters to just be sitting and chilling at the end of either of those episodes- not to mention episode two did end on a bit of a cliffhanger, not so much in terms of action but in Angeline's last words in the script warning that things are going to get worse from here on out. Anyway, I hope that makes sense, and maybe the type of endings I chose make more sense in that context but hey, if you had some more detailed feedback on that front or even a suggestion of what you would have done i'd love to hear it- I could just be looking at this the completely wrong way in not seeing it working
Overall I really like the first two episode, I enjoyed the most part minus the lack of ending but I really do look forward to see where this is going, MJ.
Please note when I say random I mean random as in I haven't reviewed any episodes for a long while, not that I haven't read them. I must admit that while Audition isn't necessarily the genre of VS I'd usually read, the webisode format makes it really easy to read episodes whenever you have a little free time on your hands. So yes, I actually read the sequence three final not that long ago so it was fresh in my memory for this episode.
One of the main things that stood out in this episode for me was the real shift in tone away from the comedy that is pretty prevalent in most the other episodes, but I guess that's why the series is a dramedy and not just a straight comedy- it allows for you to mix it up like this every now and again. So yeah, kinda an intense episode to start the sequence, a lot of serious emotions flying around from everyone which, as a reader, really makes you sit up and take notice because you get the sense that things are super serious and there may not be a happy outcome. Thankfully there was, or, well, kinda was. It's nice to see David survived (though I honestly thought you were leading us towards a 'he's alive! but the bullet damaged his spine and now he's paralysed' thing) but the episode really didn't end on a happy note so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the next few episodes.
Now, this will probably surprise you, but for the first time ever I actually really enjoyed Paula's role in the episode. I've made no secret that I'm not a fan of the slap-sticky over the top kind of character that Paula is, but when you take a lot of that out of the equation I actually like how genuine and kind she is. Probably my favourite part of the episode was when she went to speak with Alisha. Rather than just listening to everyone else telling her to leave it be, she goes straight to where Alisha is hiding and, without infringing on her space and her need to be alone at that point, just lets her know that there are people who care about her and who'll be there for her once she's ready. It was just a really nice part of the script and, like I said, probably my favourite part.
Now just a few constructive criticism things. Sorry! You know it wouldn't be a proper MJ review if I didn't suggest some things I thought could be improved on XD First thing would just be to maybe do a little research on certain topics, in this case hospital procedures and news reporting. While most of the hospital stuff was plenty believable and well written, I should point out that when the doctor came out to speak with them I was kinda going 'huh?' because doctors really shouldn't be disclosing the details of a patient to anyone other than the emergency contact or immediate family, especially immediately after surgery. Just a little thing, and because we didn't actually see the scene it's probably not a huge deal but just something I thought you should watch out for.
The second major thing was the news report on the television. I noticed that the anchor actually named David, and since this was while David was in surgery I assume it must have been not long after the shooting occurred. Now unless your news station was incredibly dodgy they generally don't release names of people who have been seriously injured or have died in situations like this- at least not right away. This is because the last thing anyone wants is for someone's family to find out via television. Generally the family is contacted by the police and informed that way, after which the media will then release the name. Sometimes they still don't release the name at all because the family would prefer it not to be disclosed, so the fact that it was disclosed by the news anchor so soon is a little unrealistic. In a similar vein to this, saying "Jace Riordan, a casting producer for the film, has been taken into custody and identified by the authorities as the shooter." is seriously bad form for the news anchor and probably the police if they gave him the information. Generally news stations stick to the more ambiguous "a suspect has been taken into custody" or "the man believed to be responsible has been arrested by police". If they do use a name it is 99.9% of the time preceded by 'alleged' due to the whole 'innocent until proven guilty' fair trail thing. You couldn't just outright say he is the shooter unless he's been convicted of it. I know this might seem like trivial stuff to you but trust me, just a little bit of research and making things like this sound as believable as possible can go a long way in making your script that much better.
The one other thing that bugged me, and this is potentially more personal than technical, was the ending scene. Partially for the reasons Jack mentioned (feeling like it was a little tacked on) but also because it just seemed really over the top dramatic. It felt like a bit of a dick move for David to call Alisha in, like, a doctor literally went and fetched her for him (not even a nurse, a doctor), just for David to tell her he never wanted to see her again. I felt it would have been more realistic for him to perhaps talk to Alex and get him to pass the message along, or if he was insistent on talking to her himself to not be so melodramatic (I sometimes forget these guys aren't in their mid-teens based on the way they act) and maybe just be a little more mature about the situation. But hey, that's just how I would approached it and maybe something to consider if you want to.
Besides that it was a solid episode: some good stuff, some really good stuff, and perhaps some questionable things. Congrats on making it to sequence 4 Brady, I'm sure fans are in for an interesting journey on this one
FINAL UPDATE: So i've re-uploaded the first two episodes after some adjustments and edits (my sis thinks they're both much better now) so I think this pitch is a polished off as it's going to get. So yeah, any feedback/reviews would be great