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Cellmate

Cellmate is a character study about a teenager named Aaron who is arrested for graffiti and taken to a holding cell, where, after a lot of confrontational dialogue, he eventually opens up to his cellmate (an older ‘wise-man’ character) about his life, his troubles, and his art.

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  1. Profile photo of diyerswanny
    March 2, 2015, 6:36 pm
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    Pretty decent script. You seem have good control of the language and the dialogue feels natural and realistic between Aaron and John. Simplicity is the key and focusing on these 2 characters in a minimalistic environment further compounds stronger character study. The main character’s arc and how he got to where he is today draws a lot of references to Shawshank Redemption, Slumdog Millionaire and 25th Hour.

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  2. Profile photo of leeoconnor
    leeoconnor says
    February 16, 2015, 4:08 am
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    Hi Sasha,

    I read the first ten pages, these are my thoughts on that.

    I would recommend losing the numbered scenes, that the job for the producer.
    I would also lose the parentheticals as well as they are not needed here. It’s a character driven piece so let the character who would be casted for these roles create their own characters and perception of the characters you have written.

    Some of your tenses are wrong but that is no buggy, I’m sure you will pick them up.

    Things that you don’t need in the script, lose the ‘continued’ at the top of each page, don’t have things like we see, we hear or a long pause, it’s not needed (yes you would have seen these on other scripts but that is because they are shooting scripts for the director)

    I’m not so sure on the very short flashback of the house is needed on page 9 or 10, yes we see Aarons house but that is it, make the flashback longer or get rid, in my opinion.

    I hope this helps, good luck.

    P.S i’m all about minimal locations and character driven pieces, keep at this one and someone will pick it up.

    All the best

    Lee O’Connor

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  3. DevilDog says
    January 8, 2015, 2:51 pm
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    Sasha, where to begin?

    Let’s start with what I liked: I enjoyed the motivation behind the story more than anything. I think the message that was portrayed in the ‘artwork’ and the family matters were very realistic in problem. I also enjoyed the attempts through ‘Flashbacks’ to explain the (present) attitude of Aaron.

    What stood out most from me as a reader?

    Unfortunately, I’m going to paraphrase (grossmusic) when I say that the [On The Nose] dialogue was hard to read from the get go. There was way too much dialogue and explanation of feelings through it that it made it difficult to read at times. Again, I think that sadly, that took away from the progression of the story for the reader to continue, let alone, be hooked. The description was very thick when describing looks on faces, and describing how John or Aaron, (and even Aaron’s mom) feel based on facial expressions that it made it frustrating to be (told) how the character feels as a member of the audience. We can pick that stuff up just by what the other characters (do) in response…

    I think that your idea is original, however; your delivery is not as creative. The message that you intend to send should be received by the reader through events. (In my humble opinion).
    I was hoping that some point in the script would surprise me with an additional dramatic twist, and I came to the end of the story unsatisfied because I felt that I could have filled in the blank with what Aaron was going to say, and how John would also reply.

    (Foreshadowing). This is something that was lacking almost entirely. You can say more with your characters by having them speak less. I truly believe this story has the ability to be 5 times more exciting by giving the protagonist (Aaron), a reason to be different that isn’t a stereotypical disgruntled teenager. (anger/aggressive/bad language)…. to me, that just sounds like 80% of all kids today living in a broken home. (What can Aaron SHOW that will make him stand out among the 20% of 17 year olds’ that have something to prove)? Perhaps a secret? One that’s hinted at throughout the screenplay through foreshadowing? Just a thought.

    I don’t want to have (my opinion) be so negatively perceived. I want to get straight that I enjoyed your creativity. I think your concept is really good and that it’s original; I only wish that the creativity continued with the style in which you told the story. All in all; I believe that if you spend some time thinking about adding some ‘white’ in the script, and removing some ‘ink’, you might find your screenplay being able to deliver the same message to the reader/audience while enhancing the impact.
    Thanks for the opportunity to read your work. I think you have talent.

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  4. grossmusic says
    December 21, 2014, 8:55 pm
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    Great, emotional piece. As a character study, it definitely does its job…very well. We really KNOW Aaron pretty early into it, & feel for him. John on the other hand is a handicap…until he’s revealed. It would play better if John weren’t so very OTN (on the nose) all the time…let the story speak for itself in a few instances. His OTN remarks stand out enough to actually telegraph that he isn’t what he supposes to be. If he were a little more clever in “letting” Aaron speak rather than “telling” him to, it would play more naturally & we’d be more absorbed by Aaron’s story than wondering “what’s up” with this busybody cell mate.

    John’s name is an unforced error. John McIntyre is a famous movie/TV character (Trapper John from M*A*S*H). Spelling it differently makes no difference to a viewing audience who hears it & is brought out of the story immediately with the distraction.

    Too many formatting issues to name them all. Also a lot of typos right out of the gates. And grammar/spelling issues. Screenwriting’s a craft. The technical is important, not just the creative. But it definitely helps when the creative is so well done!

    It also “beats” the reader to death with “beat” – lose them all. Readers HATE “beat” – especially when it’s literally more than a half page of it (p.10).

    Creative = A-
    Technical = C+

    Even if you plan to direct this yourself (all indications are that you do), it needs to read more smoothly & professionally to attract top-notch talent to the project. Get it proofed by a pro who knows spec formatting, maybe tweak John’s character (& name), & this an indie winner!

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    • Profile photo of Sibz
      Sibz says
      December 21, 2014, 9:23 pm

      Wow, thanks for the advice! Did not realize John McIntyre was a character from M*A*S*H, so thanks for that. I’ll definitely change the last name in the next iteration. Thanks for bringing my attention to some of those technical details too. I’m glad you liked it overall. I am hoping to direct Cellmate some day.

      – Sasha

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