Hard to believe that we've reached the end of January. Time flies. As 2021 came to a close, I accomplished a major goal. Completing my feature film script "The Legend of El Chupacabra." I may have actually still been typing on New Year's Eve to reach that goal. No matter. Never been much of a "New Year's guy" anyway.
The result of some feverish writing was an 88-page sci-fi monster-thriller. At the start of this journey to make a feature film, I told myself "I'm going to do things right. Try not to cut corners. Don't rush." Initially my goal was to shot the film this spring, but logic told me that was rushing. There's so much to do on the pre-production side. FIlm in the fall, I decided.
Another thing I committed to was getting feedback on the script. In the past with my short films, it wasn't something I'd done. A feature is a different animal though. Complex. Requires meticulous structure. It's easy to get lost inside of it. I had doubts and I need more eyes on the script to help me understand what worked and what didn't.
That's when I discovered CoverFlyX .
No affiliation here. coverFlyX is a peer review sponsored by the professional reader service CoverFly. You earn tokens by reviewing other writer's scripts and can use those tokens to bid to have your script reviewed.
The quality of the reviews I received were exceptional. I was pleasantly surprised and all my nagging doubts about things that I suspected didn't work in the script were confirmed. Amplified. I was given a lot of great ideas to improve the script. The stuff I thought was good, was proven to be just that. But one reviewer threw me for a loop.
His final statement:
It definitely falls into the camp of Stanger Things & ET. However, your strength is in your comedy. Your comedy is the most clever part of all your writing and if you add a lot more in you will get a really good result.
Wait? What? I wrote a brilliant sci-fi script. Who is this reviewer to tell me to turn my tense monster-thriller into a comedy? I mean sure, there was comedy in the script but that was just my genius nod to Spielberg and J.J. Abrams. Comedy, drama, thrills. I can do it all.
His words stuck with me though. And it didn't take long for me to look at the short films I'd already produced and draw a pretty easy conclusion. I write comedies.
"The Tuckering," a horror-comedy about a homicidal killer too out of shape to catch his prey. "Summer of '82," a raunchy 80s comedy. "Legion of Terror HR," an eight-episode web series about the HR director for a third-rate super villain council. "The Walking Duds," a zombie parody.
It wasn't an easy pill to swallow, but it brought some serious clarity. I'm self-producing an independent film. What's likely to have a higher budget? A straight sci-fi monster-thriller? Or a monster-thriller comedy that's more "Werewolves Within" than "Jurassic Park." They were' right. Comedy was the way to go.
So I bit the bullet and did a page one rewrite. Same characters for sure. That was something that seemed to resonate with readers. They liked the characters. Same basic plot, but simpler. The original was complicated and hard to follow sometimes. But this time the focus was on comedy. Jokes. I wont' pretend it was easy to rewrite a script from page 1. But it was necessary. In the end, I finished with a better screenplay that is far more "filmable."
I wrote a 70-page script in a month. I can celebrate that. That was the goal. Keep this thing on track. Fall will be here before I know it. Script needs to be ready.
Now that script goes back into the pool for more reviews. And I'll keep working to refine it and make it the best script it can be. So I can make the best movie possible.
Stay tuned for what happens next.