Download the Team Chynna version of the script here
Max Bowen (p. 62-71): My assignment was pages 61-70. As I read the first 60 I noticed a couple of things bumped me logically, and I had some story concerns given that we were heading into the homestretch.
1) There was a passage where a couple of journos were suddenly pulling "service revolvers." It seemed like the writer got confused about which characters he/she was working with, and nobody carries a revolver anymore.
2) There were a shitload of characters and it was difficult to keep them straight, especially when there were shifting loyalties and undercover types. There were also FBI and LAPD, which was muddying the water for me.
3) When the police station blew Trenton and the Russian were allegedly in there and Jackson was walking in to interrogate them when the building blew. This seemed like a bit of logic that the previous writer missed.
4) There were allusions to a bombing plan, but no one had spelled it out, and we were about to be 70 pages in.
5) The homeless guy had been dropped.
The first thing I did was copy the entire script and paste it into a text file. Then I trimmed out all the dialogue and synopsized each scene to give me an outline of the story to date. Because there were so many characters, I listed the major players to help me keep them straight.
[Note: he included these, but I’m not reprinting them due to space constraints – Bitter]
As I thought about the issues the main goal I set for myself in outlining my 10 pages was to set Trenton's plan in stone. So I decided that he was going really big with this and was going to blackmail the entire world. Big stakes. Big box office. right?
I also wanted to prune back the dramatis personae and make sure that the three different teams were now clearly defined (FBI/cops, Trenton/badguys, and journos). Since this was going to be a world wide plot I figured that the FBI would be a better counterpoint to an international terrorist, so I decided on a reveal that the intern and Agent Jude were actually working for the feds, sort of, since Jude was actually with Trenton and I decided to trim Viper. I also wanted to get out some pipe that explained how Trenton wasn't killed in the police station blast in case anyone else was wondering besides me. There was also the Russian to consider. His character had been dropped, so he had the pleasure of dying in the explosion. I also wanted to use the ringing cell phone as the reveal, because that seemed to be what the previous writer was aiming for, and it's always a fun device (possibly overused, but fun). I realized that my best shot at getting the homeless guy back in was after Jude whacked Jackson, and I wanted something dramatic for her so why not call in a chopper to pick her up after she'd gotten far enough away from Jackson.
I added the following four scene outline to the previous outline:
[Note: not reprinting this either – Bitter again]
Then I scripted it, did a quick polish and emailed it back to Bitter.
Nicole Hill (p. 72-87): When I first read the script, I saw a lot of intrigue, and action. I usually write more character-based relationship heavy scripts, so, I wanted to use my pages, not only to sort of tie up some loose ends, but to bring the motivations of the characters to light.
I wanted to bring reason behind the madness and slow it down a tad bit to enter some back story. Yes, there's a lot of killing and explosions, and double-crossing, but why? I also wanted to bring some closure to some of the early beats, like the dead guy in the trunk. I also wanted to show that Agent Jude had a method behind her madness. Yes, she screwed around, but, all the sex was really just to get to her end goal of paying homage to her father's legacy. I also wanted to create a situation where you had some sympathy for Agent Jude. She did lose her father, and her brother is crazy. I wanted Rogers to feel this sympathy also, and ultimately, that's why he allows himself to land in bed with her. Since we were heading towards the finish line, also wanted the reporter, Doug to start to be suspicious of Jude. She's always around when there's trouble, so, there must be a reason.
[Note: I gave the final writers some leeway in the length of their final pages. I let them know if they needed more than ten pages to wrap things up that was fine. I didn't expect that Philip would go above and beyond and produce 24 pages of writing!]
Philip Prince (p. 88-112): Being as I was the last 10 pages of the screenplay, one of my key issues to combat would be somehow putting my personal twist in, how others had done it before me. And believe me, I tried. I wrote the way I wanted the story to go, while still taking into account a beat sheet mentality.
Basically speaking, I had to wrap the story up, and couldn't go wasting pages forever. Unfortunately, while I did successfully add in the kind of story I wanted to tell, I actually did a disservice to the work that was done before me. It wasn't that I refuted the plot points that were brought up before me. But in some cases I out and out ignored them to do the ending I wanted to do. And not only was that a disservice to the writers, but it was a disservice to the characters. They had been grown into three dimensional people over the course of 87 pages, who was I to make decisions for them because I had wanted them to be somewhat different than what others interpreted them as.
So, I went back to page 1. Not page 1 of my part but page 1 of the entire script. I sat with a pad in hand and marked every character tick I saw in each character to reveal more about their inner thoughts, actions, desires and emotions. I also had to look for themes that resonate with every character and what happened to them over the course of the story. Whether it was from their action, their inaction, or the actions of other, and what did that mean when it came to the theme for the story.
The last thing that I wanted to make sure to include, as I believe it is in all proper endings, were callbacks. One of my favorite screenplays ever written is "Back to the Future". It is a callback bible for how to include them in your screenplay. It also also makes the movie more watchable as you notice the tiny things about the plot that later come back in funny or dramatic ways(see: Twin Pines Mall changed to One Pine Mall). So I sat back, read, and found what callbacks I could use to wrap up the story in a neat bow. Or as neat a bow as I could wrap it.
With all that together, I wrote down a scene-by-scene breakdown of where the groups are when I received my portion, who was with each group of characters, why where they there, and what were they ultimately hoping to accomplish in terms of plot and inner resolution. And what you will read is the culmination of that. There are some things that I might have missed to hit on, and some of you may not like the theme I ended the story on. But these are the things that stuck with me as the essence of the characters and story every subsequent read I had, and I did read over it alot.
So enjoy, and I think this was a great experiment and hopefully can get annually done. Although, next time someone else can deal with the stress of not making a sucky ending with such great writing before you. LOL. Enjoy!
3 weeks ago