Zero Day
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Rating: 3.3/5 (8 votes cast)

Zero Day

When his brother is murdered for exposing a computer virus attack on Iran, a rebellious hacker is torn between revenge and preventing a possible Middle East war.

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  1. Vapit says
    September 6, 2014, 11:44 am
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    I have to agree on twenty4play99 for a alot of reasons.
    It sounds great but the grounds of cyber war is not new.

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  2. February 13, 2014, 7:04 pm
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    This is a good story. The concept is great. Contrary to many of these comments the threat of cyber warfare on this level is relatively new. I think where you fall short of capturing the READING audience is most people (including myself) are ignorant of the intricacies computer programming and software, And it’s kind of a catch 22 because it’s in those tech filled dialogues that the intrigue of your story lies. I just happen to be a bit more cerebral than most so what I don’t know or can’t follow, I looked up online as i read.

    Problem is, no producer is going to do that. The slow pacing of the beginning is why I gave the 3 star in story structure. I don’t think you should dumb down the tech lingo, as that is what sets this apart in telling a story in this genre. But my man, if this wasn’t assigned reading, I wouldn’t have gotten past page 15, and that is well into the house getting raided and Conor’s homicide. It is a heavily saturated genre, and my hat goes off to you for daring to put another out there. But you HAVE to get the hook in there way sooner. By the time Conor gets popped, I was like “who cares?” I want to reiterate, THIS IS A GOOD STORY. Ignore what some of these comments are saying, because I doubt anyone could name 3 top tier movies in the genre off the top of their heads that have done it like this. It’s a big budget film that centers around the realism of cyber warfare and most of these kind of movies dabble in it, as a plot motive and then jump head long into explosions and shootings, or they tend to drift into fiction and theory because of a lack of detailed knowledge in general about these things by the viewing public as well as the writers. The fact is THIS is how much of international intelligence operates,, and I can tell from your writing and from a little of my own research you know what you are talking about in those details. The problem is getting the average Joe hooked before page 35, around where the story STARTS to take off.

    This kind of story is not my forte but a suggestion: As much as people are knocking you for beating a dead horse in a genre that’s over done, I say the answer to your hook problem might be as simple as looking at the hacker/spy movies that have had major success (good artists imitate; great artists steal). 007 is the biggest franchise of them all, and probably the oldest of the highly successful ones, and the formula for the opening of these films drops you RIGHT into the espionage from the beginning, teasing and revealing a bit here and there, and then filling in the gaps later. We don’t have to care about every character (and you have some good ones – the Russian spy/love interest is old but it works and its good because it’s grounded in realism given our intelligence relations with Russisa historically – so anyone who knocks that can also go wave a finger at about half the 007 catalog because the Russian spies, especially the hot ones, just keep coming back…and 007 keeps making money in the box office) from the beginning, so long as there is a burning question that begs to be answered about them immediately. THAT will make people turn the page. Maybe make the reader a fly on the wall as CONOR takes the cell phone pics of the interactions between his father and the other players, and then makes a phone call to Udi. Or open on the two men in bed as Udi spills the beans after they’ve made love, and then jump to Conor taking the pics and realizing its his father. The whole time the question is who are all these people and what’s going on? But The action starts right from the beginning with a little sexuality, some espionage, etc…the kind of shit that nosey people hunger for and will keep watching because they already need answers on top of being in for a ride; THEN introduce RYAN. Maybe start where he’s getting his ass kicked or just got his ass kicked and he’s being released from jail. In this genre we care more about a criminal being paroled from page one than we do about a man in the car with his mother who we come to realize by page 5, has daddy issues.

    The only other grip is that your dialogue, though very smart in many ways, is a bit on the nose between all the tech talk, for a story of this type. These people are all spies, hackers, agents, etc, not to mention the heat that is innately between some of them just because of their relationships to each other. There were a few spelling/grammar slips but nothign that derailed the story.

    Get that Hook in the first 5 pages or so, and I think you will get a lot more positive feed back no matter how many spy/hacker movies your readers have seen. Best of luck.

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  3. fgross2006 says
    February 3, 2014, 8:42 pm
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    I had a hard time finishing reading this script. The characters were not interesting to me. The story seemed like a rehashed spy drama from the 80’s.

    As I was a computer techie once upon a time I was mildly interested in the Zero Day concept but it just didn’t hold my attention. As others have said, the spy thriller thing has been done to death and this really doesn’t have any new angle to it.

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  4. mikeyz says
    September 5, 2013, 8:31 am
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    As I re-read this piece after being assigned to it, I see some promising revisions have been made from your first draft but overall, my initial analysis still stands with some slight change to my overall scoring:

    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.

    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.

    Good luck to you!

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  5. Mark_Butt says
    August 27, 2013, 11:02 am
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    I really enjoyed this. Personally, I need to be hooked by a story very quickly and this did it. The location descriptions and character build early on was good and made me want to know more. I can imagine this as a big budget film and would like to see it on the big screen.
    The overall concept and story build was good and I did not have a problem with the subject matter and actually thought the twists and sub plots did make it fresh.
    I agree with a previous comment that Elliot did not really make it as a character and therefore for me the last few pages with Elliot as a finale could be stronger. That being said, overall I liked it and wish this work well.

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  6. ssabatino says
    August 14, 2013, 7:10 pm
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    Here’s the problem with espionage/action pieces: It’s difficult to find a fresh angle on an overdone theme. Your story is not new, and you present it in an old way. You had all the stock parts: down-on-his-luck protagonist, dead brother, computers/viruses, even the female Russian “spy.” The dialogue could have been taken from any number of like-films. I was a step ahead of you all the way through the reading because you followed a perfectly straight line from beginning to end. Once you trim down all those unnecessary narrative sections, you’ll have plenty of pages left to create the depth of your story. The audience doesn’t care about countries and politics and computers. It cares about the character’s journey. The audience roots for the hero to save the day. You have yet to create him. Tebelle is your interesting character. Place her somewhere at the beginning, and weave her throughout. Elliot is expendable. Delete him. Let Ryan figure things out his own way – and don’t make it so easy. Also, you need to remember Ryan’s angst. He lost that characterization you gave him at the start. There’s nothing wrong with revisiting a worn-out story. You just have to be a good storyteller.

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  7. August 12, 2013, 5:27 am
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    I found the story to be compelling, and the script written in such a punchy way to enable you to really feel the tension as the plot progresses. The script was well written, bar a few minor typos. The character development is well dealt with and the final twist was excellent.

    Great script!

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  8. aweiss says
    August 7, 2013, 4:30 pm
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    I found this much fun to read, the characters and dialog are solid, the concept is compelling, and the structure is a visible three act structure. Dramatizing an issue such as Iran’s nuclear program, and the efforts by Israel and the US to stop it is a good one, as is having a hacker hold the programs fate in his hands, after his brother is murdered.

    But I found it hard to suspend my disbelief. The Stuxnet worm did extensive damage to Iran’s program, but they never stopped it. Israel would never attack the US, for all the pressure their government has put on the US to either invade Iran itself, or give Israel the green light to attack Iran. And the anti-Israel tone here is annoying. And Iran and the US are making noises about talking to each other about the program. This movie reminds me of Zero Dark Thirty for that reason. I think a re-write with the Israel bias toned down, and with a what might be a neat twist that for all of Ryan’s efforts, Iran never stopped their program would make this more believable and sellable.

    Beyond that, there are grammar issues such as missing words and letter here, and many formatting issue, such as parentheticals being used to convey directions to the actors, and spec scripts don’t use camera angles, or terms like Match Cuts. But that’s easy enough to fix.

    Overall, a really good start that can get better. this movie has potential, and i hope someday that it will be made into a film.

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    • August 8, 2013, 4:58 am

      Thanks for the feedback, appreciate you reading my screenplay and I’m pleased you enjoyed it. It would be very helpful if you could please let me know which words/letters you spotted were missing – my email address is on the front cover of the screenplay.

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