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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy  ›  Fight Belle Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: May 27th, 2007, 6:50pm Report to Moderator
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Fight Belle by Antonio Gangemi (Tony G) - Comedy - When a sassy Southern belle is stood up at the altar by her boxer fiancé, she dons the gloves hoping to salvage her pride by hooking up with her ex one last time – in the ring. 108 pages - pdf, format


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Posted: May 31st, 2007, 9:10pm Report to Moderator
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Hello,

I always write "you" in my reviews, so just know that you=both of yous in this case.  And Aimee, you should ask Don to add your name to the thread...he will usually make the necessary changes if you give him a dollar or two.

Okay, the following are some of the random things that I picked up on while reading and my full review is below:

Real quick, you should probably put another space or two between scene headings.  It'll help unclog some of the text and make things look neater.
*13: I know this will come up later, but I just thought I'd note that it seems evil and awkwardly untimely that Marney is here consoling her friend when, in fact, she just had sex with the runaway groom just minutes before and is the main reason the wedding just got destroyed.  Considering all this, it all seems too soon for her to start bullshitting.  
*15: I like the images of time passing with Delilah bunked in her room. Cool.
*18-19: Tandy asks "So, what brings a girl like you to boxing?"  Delilah starts telling her life story, then Tandy asks again "what brings a girl like you to boxing?" Since there's no sarcastic jeer from Tandy or description of her tone, this seemed redundant.
*22: She misunderstood what Bumpy said and punches him? That's very uncharacteristic for her thus far and, actually, kind of unrealistic overall. If she misinterpreted it as "I'm gonna kill you" or something, then yeah, I can see that, but a slam? ehh
*30: I hate the little pictures that some women wear on their fingernails. Moons, poke-a-dots...I find them ugly.  Not that I'm complaining about the story, just a side note haha
*32: I think you'll notice in my script that "capeesh" comes up a few times as well.  I have seen so many different ways to spell it that I don't know which is correct!
*36: 110 pounds? Geez.  He really is a flyweight.
*38: You describe Dr. Nate as widowed, but there's no way to show that on film.  Drop the widow part, keep the description, have him TELL US he's a widow.
*44: This is where it should first be learned that he's a widow.  Just drop that earlier description word.
*48: The Peter Jackson joke doesn't come off clear.  I know what you're going for since Kelvin is small like a hobbitt or Gollum or whatever, but it seems like there's a sentence missing to make the joke ha-ha funny.
*63: The problem I have with the way that this news deal is set up is that this reporter just kind of saw Delilah in the park randomly and asks for her to be on the show, and all of a sudden this program is ALL ABOUT her boxing.  Unless this woman has been stalking Delilah for the past few months, it wouldn't make sense for a studio to pursue someone and invite them on TV without any story.
*87: Is Tandy a lesbian?...it just seems like there's all these hints.
*93: I think the Best Man appears enough to be given a name...maybe even change some characters around and give him Mr. Naddle's lines.  Gives him more purpose and more stature.  Right now Mr. Naddle is the fun guy and the Best Man is just kind of there.  If you combine the two, you could really have something bigger IMO.
*94: I thought about bringing up the hospital hallway thing earlier, as I'm kind of torn on it. I understand that the hospital is small and doesn't have enough space to meet the folks' needs, but would they really treat people in the hallway?  That risks infection to both the patient and other people, not to mention the disturbing bloody images that non-patient folks will witness.
*99: Nerf football! Yes! Man, I haven't heard from Nerf in ages.  They made some awesome stuff!
*One thing I don't see in many scripts that you've done is to give all of your characters names or titles.  Rather than MAN or WOMAN you give them titles like BUMPY, SNAGGLETOOTH, etc. Big kudos
*102: Kelvin put on some weight, ha.
*104: "This guy takes it in the A**, Delilah.  Believe me." Definitely the best line in the story

I found this to be a very pleasing read to say the least.  You establish Delilah as a weak, fragile, damaged figure in the beginning of the story and mold her into someone with a real backbone.  She was an incredibly fun character, too.  Very quirky, witty, funny, and all-together very sweet.  One thing I would have liked to see with her growing relationship with Nate is that we learn just a little more about his past relationship.  How and when did Isabel die? How did he get past that point in his life?  Nate is a respectable guy right now with a sort of deadpan sense of humor to him, but maybe just squeezing in that little extra point could build him up some more.

The other characters in here were all around well rounded.  There are a good number of regulars in this script, but I was able to keep track of them relatively easily.  I stated before that something more should be done with the Best Man and I stand by that.  It's actually kind of weird reading what Best Man is saying 100 pages and 4 months after the wedding.  And he's just kind of there when he could be so much more very easily, in fact.

Story-wise I think it's very complete.  Delilah wants to beat the cr** out of her ex but also grow as a person at the same time.  Having her seemingly bait him into fighting at his wedding there was a nice touch.  It could have gone sour real quick, but you guys kept it modest, so kudos on that.

Through the first 50 pages or so I was thinking about how something like this could be marketed.  At that time the only "offensive" thing(offensive to producers, MPAA, etc.) was a few F bombs from Tandy.  By the end, however, there was enough "offensive" material to make this a fun, kind of raunchy comedy.  I think adding in another dirty gag or two in the first 50 pages will help balance things out.  That way, it's a fun comedy with some raunchiness and that'll help it not fall into the hell of other recent boxing films such as "Against the Ropes," "Undisputed," and "Annapolis." Of course, those stories also sucked, this one didn't.

The proposal at the end didn't really do much for me.  In a way it kind of felt forced to me.  They had a steady relationship building and all, but it was just recently that Abby had warmed up to her.  It was just recently that Delilah had finally stood up to her past and healed some old wounds.  Having Nate come up to her at the end to propose just felt blah.  A hug, a kiss, a clever piece of dialogue---all those would have done the trick.  It also shows that she doesn't need another marriage right now to be happy and she can be her own woman on her own.

Overall I thought this was a very well written piece by the two of yous.  The relationships between the characters had strong build-ups and very authentic feels to them.  Dialogue is a strong point in this script, be proud.  I believed the things that each character was saying and found it easy to like them---even team Kelvin because they're molded in such a way that you like them because you don't like them.  Very well done the both of you, it was a pleasure to read!


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Tony G
Posted: May 31st, 2007, 9:54pm Report to Moderator
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Greg,

Thank you for the comprehensive review.  We've started your script, and we're enjoying it thus far.  We'll post our commentary on The Scorsese Club in the next few days.

Tony & Aimee


Feature thrillers: First Down, Peephole

Feature comedies: Elf-Analysis, Whack Job, Fight Belle

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JD_OK
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Since my homie, read the script, I looked it over.

First thing I'm seeing that is off you have action line in ( ). There is no action in ( )
example
                      Delilah
        We're ging to fix you up, good as new
                   (hands tissues)
        Here you go, sweetie.

Is wrong... should read

                       Delilah
         We're ging to fix you up, good as new

She hands him tissues.

                       Delilah (cont'd)
          Here yu go sweetie.



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bert
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That's not writing -- that's just typing.

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That's not true, J.D.  Your method doubles his line count.

This succinct style, for very short actions, is perfectly fine.


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Quoted from bert
That's not true, J.D.  Your method doubles his line count.

This succinct style, for very short actions, is perfectly fine.


That was an example, he has action going 2 lines in other ( )

That it is suppose to add time, this is performing action, camera follows this action, then back to see the character talking.
No action in dialog

But, just my own opinion... food for thought


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to start, you should only show us what is important/pushing ur plot forward. Your 1st two scenes, are nothing more then setting a mood, which a director would do and not the story teller.

You do telling in descriptions, instead of showing us, audience wont know  
"the heavier set, MARNEY is fetching and shallow" but just seeing her. SHOW  US in action and or tell us in dialogue to convey these things. I would remove all story book telling from ur descriptions.

My previous comments about action in ( ) still stand, IMHO

I think ur spacing is off when u start new scene, should be double place, but u only have one.  Also
Your top margins arent standard one inch. looks more like .5" . So it shorten ur script when actually is longer.

pg 11 best " another tko" lol

pg 16 I dunno might be just me but its alil TOO early to end act one this defining moment for the old world to end for our protag and start a new one, should happen between 25-30

good job on characters individualism so far, each unique

pg 22 king kong accident, lol

at pg 25, Story is good and holding my attention so far. More to come!

I would avoid the use of words: now, begins,still, suddenly, again, finally... action occurs in the order you place it

the WWF line doesnt work cuz it been changed to WWE for a long time now

I really dont see her going to the hospital for a busted lip/ small cut that doesnt require stitches. Seems really forced.

pg 50. Hitting ur mark with structure, but raising the stakes by Her finding out about marny is that crucial

Dialog is still strong, but maybe too much of it at places

pg 53 good end of scene

round one goes to Nate, etc.." Things like this have NO place in descriptions. I would remove them.

I would loose alot of ur mindless chatter, the things that dont play a part in pushing ur plot forward. the lost couple looking for directions for example. If it doesnt play a part into the story later,cut it.

pg 69, hitting all is lost mark, but to me why tandy is leaving isnt to clear/muddled

pg 74 I certainly wouldnt use curse (bulls*** ) words in description, but then again the line telling and not showing.

pg 84, i like what u did with abby, predictable tho.. so nice executed

pg 85 Things like this " delihah's too spent to reply" Goes without saying since she doesnt speak dialog right in response to tandy.
There are alot of ones like this one in ur descriptions that can be removed

pg86 show us uncomfortable silence. Do they stare at each other? look away? Play with their hair?? All the telling hurts ur script

pg 89,"MR. NADDLE, 40s, is a slippery f****r - no really, he is - his pomade starts just above his eyebrows and ends somewhere around the back of his collar. His smile reveals an assortment of unhealthy colors. His suit is circa Seventies."

This action line  takes the cake for worst thing I could say is wrong with the script.

tandy end scene line scenes forced and one liner'ish. I would just have her getting to to leave and making almost throw up gags and saying You can get back tome on that... something along those lines

side note: I dont think u ever explained clearly what "slipping" a punch is. U mention it on page 36, maybe could be made more clear/cut and dry. U first use it on page 10 I would go with "dodges" here since we havent been showed what slips is yet.

pg 104, lol romeo

any Flashbacks should require new scene INT or EXT and End flashback

page 107, ur dark humor is spiked here and there and it really doesnt seem it flows with the majority tune of the story. I would amp it out more in the beginning or loose it totally. Cuz really I felt like pg-13 movie for the most part of it.

I felt from page 104 to 109 was rushed. And doesnt sit to well for the rest of the tone laid b4 it. I think something totally unpredictable should happen with his fight since have boxing match with girl vs girl is VERY out of the ordinary.

Characters we all good and , some 3dem, but most 1. You could cut some of chucks buddies out at least one. They would just there for most piece/one liners

Kelvin didnt change and I wanted more closure with the mom accepting her daughter boxing more since u showed ALOT of her disapproval.
And something is just odd about Tandy character, I dont know how to put it. I would do some adjusting with her and her motives.

Dialog was good thru out, but as I mentioned b4 alot was mindless chatter that doesnt push the plot forward.

3rd act needs more to it.

Format - I pointed out the issues with flash backs and all the telling in description. You telling is a major drawback from the script being more solid.

Appeal is there, Im surprised u only have 1 review here.

Over all good job if it is ur 1st draft. I like the basic plot of the story, it was different, and enjoyable... had some good laughs (at least for me) here and there.


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aurorawriter
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Thanks for your notes, JD.  A lot of professional writers use character descriptions that give an idea as to who the character is, as opposed to what they look like.  It's the one place in a script where you can get away with that, in fact.  My favorite is from the High Fidelity screenplay:  "BARRY, an acid-tongued post-punk rock misanthrope without quite enough intelligence to conceptualize his own rebellion..."  That doesn't tell you what Barry looks like, but it gives a really clear idea of the kind of person he is, and how his dialogue might be delivered.  That's important.

However, that said, I think you're right about Mr. Naddle's description -- maybe if he were a major character, it'd be okay; but when we rewrite we will probably trim it.

Also, re: the parentheticals.  I think we did overuse them in this script.  Again, as Mike pointed out above, it is acceptable to put small actions in a wryly, and we tried to use them in the fight scenes here to give an idea of the rhythm of the dialogue.  But I do think you're right that there are too many of them, and we will address that in the rewrite.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and review.  I will get to your script as soon as I can!

Aimee


Feature thrillers: First Down, Peephole

Feature comedies: Elf-Analysis, Whack Job, Fight Belle

Short scripts: Gourdy, Au Jus, Scorned, Frankenscribe, Attorney Chasers, Chum...
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JD_OK
Posted: August 15th, 2007, 4:04pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from aurorawriter
Thanks for your notes, JD.  A lot of professional writers use character descriptions that give an idea as to who the character is, as opposed to what they look like.


Professionals can Do what they WANT, cuz they are already paid to write it. They can get away with it.


Quoted from aurorawriter

It's the one place in a script where you can get away with that, in fact.  My favorite is from the High Fidelity screenplay:  "BARRY, an acid-tongued post-punk rock misanthrope without quite enough intelligence to conceptualize his own rebellion..."  That doesn't tell you what Barry looks like, but it gives a really clear idea of the kind of person he is, and how his dialogue might be delivered.  That's important.


R u referring to a shooting draft rather then a spec script?



Quoted from aurorawriter

Thanks again for taking the time to read and review.  I will get to your script as soon as I can!

Aimee


Welcome! If u have any questions feel free to ask


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aurorawriter
Posted: August 15th, 2007, 4:21pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JD_OK

Professionals can Do what they WANT, cuz they are already paid to write it. They can get away with it.


We might have to agree to disagree on this one.  Nobody ever got to be a professional by NOT writing like one.  Max Adams, who won both the Austin Film Festival and the Nicholl Fellowship, says in her book that you must write like a professional in order to be taken seriously.  That's what we're trying to do.

Thanks again, JD.  I'll have your review up by this weekend.




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JD_OK
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Quoted from aurorawriter


Max Adams, who won both the Austin Film Festival and the Nicholl Fellowship, says in her book that you must write like a professional in order to be taken seriously.  That's what we're trying to do.

Thanks again, JD.  I'll have your review up by this weekend.




welcome! Im not tryn to cut it down at all. Just my humble suggestion.

But " must write like a professional in order to be taken seriously" can be interpreted in many ways

Side note: i think the story has great chances of being made


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aurorawriter
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Hey JD,

Don't worry -- we didn't interpret it as you trying to knock us down in any way.  There's room for a respectful difference of opinion, and that's all this is.  An important part of the critical process is taking the criticism that you get, and deciding which advice you're going to take, and which advice you're not.  Ultimately, only you, as the writer, can decide how to write your story -- because it's *your* story.  So we are very appreciative of the time and effort you took to read the script, and many of your comments will factor in to our rewrite.

Thanks again,

Aimee


Feature thrillers: First Down, Peephole

Feature comedies: Elf-Analysis, Whack Job, Fight Belle

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Hey

This is all new to me - you guys have the dubious pleasure of being on the receiving end of my first posting so please make allowances... Apologies if this is too long but I did it as an exercise for myself anyway so thought I might as well give you all my notes

Overall I liked it - it kept me reading, you have a nice central plot and protagonist and plenty of gags.

I agree with pretty much everything the other two reviews mention so will try to avoid duplicating their points too much

My main gripe is that I don’t see any development arc for Delilah. At the start she decides to beat up Kelvin… at the end, she beats up Kelvin. It'd like to see her realise that her initial decision was wrong, which would mean at the last minute she doesn’t best Kelvin in the ring but at some other, higher level (but then again I’m a bit of a pacifist). I guess this might be a bit of major change but I think it would add extra depth and...

I think you could tie it in with the love story, which is kind of lacking any real conflict at present. Yeah, Nate is opposed to Delilah boxing but she’s and adult and can make her own decisions and he respects that.

As a (rather cheesy but the first thing I thought of) example - what if Delilah has an unintentionally subversive influence on Abby. After humiliating Tommy, Abby decides she’s not taking any cr** from anyone and gets physical at the slightest provocation. Obviously this leads to conflict at school and Nate’s disapproval, straining his relationship with Delilah to the limit and testing her determination to go through with her plan. At the climax it looks like things are over between Delilah and Nate. He refuses to go to the fight, she refuses to back down. She stuns Kelvin with a flurry of punches and he struggles to recover under the count. She’ll finish him with the next attack… but then she sees Abby (who sneaked in) in the front row, going crazy and baying for blood – it’s horrible. Delilah realises she’s been wrong all along, this isn’t the answer. She climbs out of the ring (forfeiting the fight), grabs Abby and heads off to find Nate. She explains that she’s “seen the light”, he’s overjoyed and they all live happily ever after. If you really need to stick it to Kelvin you can have people at his next fight commenting on how he got whooped by a girl, his next opponent turning up in a wedding dress to mock him etc. OR maybe have Marney climb in the ring after Delilah has left and flatten him.

Some of the other subplots could also be deepened;

What’s the impact of the Slice – Delilah subplot? Delilah making peace with Slice should have a beneficial impact on Delilah – is there some way Slice can help her achieve her goal?

The Tandy – Delilah subplot is a bit confusing for me. Does Tandy have a crush on Deliah?  But she has a male ex. - sounds like he abused her… so she’s turned lesbian? Why does Tandy quit then go back to helping Delilah? Does Delilah’s situation resonate with something in Tandy’s backstory? I think it could be a bit clearer and also have an impact each character’s development – can Delilah’s actions ultimately lead to Tandy developing and finding happiness?

Some other comments from reading through;

The whole Kelvin – Marney thing kind of comes out of nowhere. Is there any history between these two? Why would Marney jump on her best friend’s fiancé on her wedding day just because he says she’s “eye-grabbing”? Especially as she seems so hostile towards him at the start of the scene. Maybe it doesn’t matter but I’d like to see a bit more motivation on Marney’s part

I think you could find a stronger Inciting Incident than Delilah simply seeing a picture of Kelvin. Maybe she turns up to one of Kelvin’s fights hoping he’ll get whaled on but he wins, claiming his ex-girlfriends gave him more trouble that his opponent… which sets Delilah thinking

p.18 – 19 – some of the dialogue is a bit on the nose. Might be better to have Tandy say “Why the hell do you want to box? You look like you’ve come straight from a beauty pageant” to lead into the exposition, rather than Delilah coming straight out with it

p.26 – 36 I think you could lose some of the time spent showing how to throw a punch – for me it kind of slows down the story

p.62  Seems a bit of a coincidence that Sheila would just run into Delilah and ask her to be on the show. Maybe she could turn up at the gym specifically looking for Delilah after hearing rumours (could be tied in to the running gag about the whole community finding out about the wedding)

Do you really need the Charlene character? I don’t think she adds anything to the story

Why would Kelvin get married a few months after basically saying he wasn’t ready to settle down yet (and as we see later he’s still playing around)?

I think you could play up the running gag of the whole community knowing about what happened at Delilah’s wedding a bit more – have random people coming out with comments about it, maybe exaggerating what happened so that the tales get more and more farfetched each time we hear them.

Lastly for me 108 pages is a little long for a RomCom. I think you could quite easily cut it back to 100

Highlights for me were;

p.77 – “That’s what’s next”. I’m ashamed that I found this so funny. Absolutely classic, sums him up completely

Mr Naddles is great – please get more of him into the story!

Love the way the showdown is decked out like a wedding – nice one


Hope you find this useful. Reading it back it sounds kind of negative but I'm guessing you'd rather hear about what I think could be improved than all the bits that are good (there are a lot). If not, apologies

Cheers

Adam
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Tony G
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Adam,

Thank you for your comprehensive feedback.  Lots of excellent points.  Fight Belle represents our kickoff into comedy, and the most crucial aspect of the rewrite would be Delilah's arc.  We introduce the theme fairly early - the idea of living well being the best revenge.  While I think it's OK for Delilah to fight Kelvin at the end, the story would benefit by her first achieving a stage that's in keeping with the theme.

More conflict with Nate would only up the stakes.  Having Delilah reach a stage where she must decide between revenge vs. Kelvin or her love for Nate makes perfect sense.  Tandy's backstory needs to be rethought.  Removing the past abuse keeps it more comedic and her attraction to Delilah would be less convoluted.  

Your idea for Abby turning into a hothead was spot-on.  It brings Delilah face-to-face with her own vanity and that's hardly a bad thing.  Giving Marney a motive for betraying her at the outset - but revealed later in the story - would compel Delilah to reexamine her life and her shortcomings.  What more could a protagonist ask for?

Thanks again for taking the time.

Best,

Tony


Feature thrillers: First Down, Peephole

Feature comedies: Elf-Analysis, Whack Job, Fight Belle

Short scripts: Gourdy, Au Jus, Light Mist Forming, Three-Dollar Bill (episode of The Office), Scorned, Frankenscribe, Attorney Chasers, Chum...
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