Zero Day
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Rating: 3.7/5 (20 votes cast)

Zero Day

A former computer hacker who’s running from his past tries to figure out the truth behind the brutal murder of his brother and becomes embroiled in a clandestine CIA attack on Iran.

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  1. mikeyz says
    June 19, 2013, 11:59 am
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    Finally got around to finishing your story Simon.
    As I kept reading this I thought how I’ve seen this similar, formulaic approach many times before…and there was certainly nothing terribly original or inspiring here whatsoever, sorry to say.
    The idea of a conspiracy-laden, U.S. cover-up plot involving a computer generated virus to attack Iranian uranium-enrichment interests was intriguing, but the execution of your premise was most disappointing I must say. And I had a real tough time deciphering between characters (and far too many in my opinion) especially in the end; particularly with respect to who worked with whom; how the Israeli government was involved; whether or not the cyber “infection” to other nations was planned and how it was all co-ordinated; and what the true underlying motives really were. I also had a real tough time with Ryan and his way of bringing closure to his issues with his dad.
    The ending had some twists of course — none really were unexpected though and any seasoned viewer/reader could totally see them coming. To be honest, the only thing that kept me reading on here was to see exactly what sort of revelations were to come.
    When they finally did come, I was left simply shaking my head in disbelief (mainly to make sure I understood it properly), and not really in any kind of pleasant fulfillment.
    Your set-up and slug line info was way too wordy and I think you were really trying too hard to set the scenes up only to confuse me in the process with a lot of unnecessary detail (particularly with camera angles and such.)
    The characters were very cardboard in their demeanor and were unappealing. The dialogue was extremely dry and un-inventive and fraught with the standard rhetoric that is really cliché of this type of done-to-death genre. If you plan on creating something in this all to familiar territory, you really have to make things stand out from an uniqueness perspective. I don’t think you have done that here by any stretch.

    Best of luck to you Simon!

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    June 7, 2013, 8:43 am
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    The dialogue didn’t really sound American, which was weird becaus of the setting. I also found some of the situations hard to imagine.

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  3. admin says
    May 29, 2013, 5:28 pm
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    FROM MICHAEL SCOTT:

    Zero Day

    Overall – 3

    Concept – 3

    Story Structure – 3

    Dialogue – 2

    Character – 4

    Grammar – 3

    Budget – 2

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  4. May 26, 2013, 11:31 am
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    Zero Day reminded me of cold war movies like “The Fourth Protocol” and “The Mackintosh Man”, also the Stuxnet virus story from 2010.

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    mscottesq says
    May 8, 2013, 5:22 pm

    The concept, while perhaps exciting to uninitiated, is really the story of the Stuxnet virus employed several years ago (allegedly) by U.S. intelligence attempting to interfere with the operation of uranium-enrichment centrifuges being used by the Iranians. That operation may or may not have been blown by the Israelis. But, it is well known. There have been subsequent hacks of comparable severity, and I would encourage the author to look at the current “cutting-edge” of hacking and come up with something that hackers would like to do, but haven’t yet done, to make the story more original. The screenplay is hampered by numerous formatting problems, particularly directions that provide information that the audience can neither see nor hear.

    The story structure is reasonably good, but the police and FBI are lost fairly early in the story. The protagonist is a convicted hacker who has just recently been released from prison. This story develops quickly – the father is abducted and the brother murdered – yet, except for some brief questioning by the police three weeks after the event, there is not a substantial law enforcement presence. In fact, the FBI would have been all over the protagonist throughout. Along the same lines, the author needs to research police/FBI/intelligence agency interrogation and surveillance techniques (and I provide some references in the detailed comments I will send to the author).

    There are several continuity problems, and the script needs a good review by someone to resolve them. None are serious, but they are distracting and confusing.
    Finally, a problem with a potential solution: the author is British, and the script is written in idiomatic and colloquial British, not U.S., English. If the story is going to remain the same, this has to be corrected. One suggestion that addresses the overall “dated-concept” and many of the “story structure” issues (that are too numerous to discuss in detail here) would be to set this in the U.K. and have the U.K. government attempt to forestall war by both the U.S. and Israel over the Iranian nuclear program with a cyber-attack on the Iranian enrichment centrifuges. That would be a more unique concept. There are many movies about covert action by U.S. C.I.A., N.S.A., F.B.I, etc. But, the U.K. – since the formation of the S.O.E. – has always led the way in covert operations.

    Brodie, the antagonist, is portrayed as some sort of super-powerful official, with vast powers to summon SWAT teams, direct intelligence operations, etc. In fact, he’s just the – not very nice (to put it mildly) – CEO of a government I.T. contracting firm engaged to create this virus. In that sense, he’s not necessarily “bad;” he’s just doing what he’s paid to do (although he seems to have an inflated ego that causes him to do, or acquiesce in, bad acts of others). This is, to some extent, a story point as much of what Brodie does towards the end would be done by law enforcement.

    The Ryan character is all over the place. At times, he is an immature young man who makes stupid, impulsive decisions. At other times, he’s much wiser. And, while generally sympathetic, he is at times cruel, such as when he abandons Elliot in the parking lot without a car at night when they are both under suspicion by the security personnel. The other characters are well done.

    This work needs review by a good grammarian, whether it remains a U.S. or a U.K. based story. If it remains a U.S. based story, as mentioned above, the author needs to engage someone with knowledge of contemporary, American idiomatic and colloquial English. Currently, the work is written in U.K. idiomatic English, and a good deal of the dialogue doesn’t really work.

    I hereby waive all rights under U.S. and international law to original works of authorship contained in my comments on the script contained in the electronic file “05052013 13-1008_Zero Day by Simon Birhenhead.pdf” that I sent to the author. It is my intent that the author may use, without compensation or attribution, any of the material in the annotated version of his screenplay that I sent to him.

    /s/Michael D. Scott

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    PhilJ says
    April 22, 2013, 5:39 am
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    Nice idea – and well written. Hooks you in from the first page.

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  7. T-Bone says
    April 17, 2013, 10:51 am
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    Hate to be the lone voice in the wilderness – but this didn’t excite me in the way it clearly did the other reviewers. For me it’s fairly summed up by the fact that Homeland is tagged (in the ‘film references’) and the family name in the movie is Brodie. I found this distracting throughout and it made the whole experience feel derivitive and boxed in. I wouldn’t expect a new female sci-fi hero to be called Ripley for the same reason.

    Having read the three top rated screenplays in the comtest, this was a surprise. But again, very happy to agree that I clearly appear to be alone in this view.

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    sarahH says
    April 16, 2013, 1:07 pm
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    Loved it!! A script that you can really picture each scene as your reading it and that keeps you guessing throughout. I very much enjoyed reading.

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    StoffelMac says
    April 15, 2013, 1:20 pm
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    I was very impressed by this script. I like the fact that it deals with issues that are so current. It is very easy to visualise it on the big screen and I hope that it gets made into a movie. I think Ryan’s father could do with being made more three dimensional. However, overall I really enjoyed reading this.

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    Nanga says
    April 14, 2013, 3:49 pm
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    I really enjoyed reading this! I was intrigued to find out how it would end , what had really happened and who would survive. It’d make an entertaining thriller on screen!

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    alisonmb says
    April 14, 2013, 2:09 pm
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    I really enjoyed this, I’m sure it would be even better on screen. Not sure how the intruders at the beginning see what’s going on without any light but the rest is well written with lots of surprising twists.

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    April 13, 2013, 4:35 pm
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    enjoyed the script, still not sure what zero day actually is, never mind four of them.

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    Harperj says
    April 12, 2013, 11:20 am
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    Really enjoyed it, could not put it down. Love a storyline where you cannot predict the ending and this one kept me guessing

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    kwearmouth says
    April 11, 2013, 8:15 am
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    Fast paced, action packed and keeps you guessing until the end. Really like the fact this is based on real life events and could certainly happen again

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    bookgarden says
    April 10, 2013, 11:34 am
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    Just would love to know more about the main character past

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    nickh says
    April 8, 2013, 1:30 pm
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    I really liked it Simon. Fast paced and action packed! A couple of very minor typos, but no other criticism.

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  17. Pearse-N says
    April 5, 2013, 4:53 pm
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    If the dialogue was as strong as the story this would be AAA+

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  18. March 31, 2013, 6:18 pm
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    I really enjoyed this script. there are a few errors here and there but not too too many. With the write director i could see this being a very good/enjoyable movie.

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  19. March 26, 2013, 8:02 pm
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    Not bad. Decent blend of action and story line. It doesn’t stand out totally as an awesome work, but it definitely has the potential.

    In my opinion, I would strengthen up a few characters such as Knox, Ryan’s father, and son. But other than that, good job!

    Ron

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    March 16, 2013, 9:38 pm
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    Forgot to rate the script. Sorry.

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  21. Profile photo of johnnymiller
    March 16, 2013, 9:35 pm

    The script is very well thought out. It is enticing and entertaining. I enjoyed your use of character references of Jack Reacher and Han Solo. Some words that you chose to use such as comiserations, balanclava, zero day, saloon, and neo-con need to be changed or defined better. The Knox conversation on page 78 is much to long. Never should exceed 5 lines. To fix you need to add more conversation between Ryan and Knox. There were a couple of typos that I saw but overall it a good plot line.

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