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Scene 1 -  The Sweet Hereafter
THE SWEET HEREAFTER

By

Atom Egoyan




Based on the novel by

Russell Banks




Final revised
draft
Copyright c1997 Ego Film
Arts
All Rights
Reserved




FADE IN

INT. SUMMER COTTAGE -- DAY

A young family together in bed. It is a bright summer
morning. Father, mother, and a three year old girl are
still asleep. They are naked. A light breeze drifts into
the room. The scene is serene and softly suspended.

Head credits appear over this idyllic image. The little
girl turns in her sleep. A dog barks outside.
CUT TO

INT./EXT. CAR WASH. -- NIGHT

From the peaceful tableau of the sleeping family, the scene
shifts to a vehicle entering a car wash. The image is shot
through the windshield, from the driver's point of view.

The car enters the lathered world of spinning felt wheels
and gushing water.

CUT TO

INT. CAR WASH. -- NIGHT

Inside the car MITCHELL STEPHENS, a man in his mid-fifties,
listens to a stirring piece of music. The sound of the car
wash is filtered out by the strains of music.

CUT TO

EXT. PHONE BOOTH -- NIGHT

The phone booth is located in a rundown area of a large
city. A young woman, ZOE, enters the booth and lifts the
receiver.

CUT TO

INT. CAR WASH. -- NIGHT

MITCHELL STEPHENS is going through the wash. The automatic
mops and buffers embrace his car with water and suds. The
cellular phone in the car rings. MITCHELL picks it up.

MITCHELL
Yes? Yes, I'll accept the charges.

CUT TO

INT. PHONE BOOTH -- NIGHT




ZOE is on the phone. There's a figure outside the booth
waiting for her.
ZOE
Daddy, it's me...How are you doing?
That's great...Where are you?
What's that sound?

CUT TO

INT. CAR WASH. -- NIGHT

MITCHELL in his car, playing with the volume on his radio.

MITCHELL
I'm in a car wash.

CUT TO

INT. PHONE BOOTH -- NIGHT

ZOE
A car wash! Wow, I've never talked
to you when you've been in a car
wash. Make sure you've got the
windows closed.

CUT TO

INT. CAR WASH. -- NIGHT

ZOE
(over the phone)
Remember that time we were having
the car washed and I started playing
with the automatic window? How old
was I, Daddy? Five or six? I got
absolutely soaked, remember?

MITCHELL
Why are you calling me, Zoe?

CUT TO

INT. PHONE BOOTH -- NIGHT

ZOE
Why am I calling you? You're my
father. I'm not supposed to call
you? What's the matter with wanting
to talk to you, Daddy?

CUT TO
INT. CAR WASH. -- NIGHT

MITCHELL
Nothing's wrong with trying to talk
to me, Zoe.

ZOE
(over the phone)
So what's the problem?

MITCHELL
The problem is I have no idea who
I'm talking to right now.

ZOE
(over the phone)
'Cause you think I'm stoned, Daddy?
'Cause you think I've got a needle
stuck in my arm? Is that what
you're thinking, Daddy?

Pause. MITCHELL doesn't respond.

CUT TO

INT. PHONE BOOTH -- NIGHT

ZOE
Are you wondering if I scored,
Daddy, and I'm calling you for
money? That I'm begging? God, I
don't fucking believe it!

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary A young family wakes up in bed together, followed by scenes of a car wash and a phone call between a father and daughter.
Strengths
  • Effective use of contrasting scenes
  • Strong emotional impact
  • Well-developed characters
Weaknesses
  • Limited setting

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively establishes the emotional tension between the characters and sets up the central conflict of the story.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of exploring the aftermath of a tragic event and its impact on the characters is intriguing and sets up a compelling narrative.

Plot: 7

The plot is well-paced and introduces the central conflict between the father and daughter.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the mix of serene and gritty imagery is unique, the overall situation of a father trying to reconnect with his daughter is a familiar one. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the scene's authenticity.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are effectively conveyed.

Character Changes: 7

The characters undergo emotional changes during the scene, particularly Zoe who becomes increasingly upset.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to reconnect with his daughter and understand her current state. This reflects his deeper need for connection and his fear of losing touch with his family.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to have a conversation with his daughter and address any potential issues or concerns. This reflects the immediate challenge of maintaining a relationship with his daughter despite their physical separation.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between the father and daughter is intense and drives the scene forward.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is strong, as the protagonist and his daughter have conflicting perspectives and emotions. The audience is unsure of how the conversation will unfold and what the outcome will be.

High Stakes: 8

The emotional stakes are high as the father and daughter confront their strained relationship.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the central conflict and establishing the emotional stakes.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because the audience doesn't know how the conversation between the protagonist and his daughter will unfold. There is a sense of uncertainty and tension.

Philosophical Conflict: 6

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene between the protagonist's belief in his daughter's well-being and his fear that she may be involved in dangerous activities. This challenges his values and worldview as a father.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions and establishes a sense of tension and unease.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is realistic and reveals the tension and conflict between the characters.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it introduces a conflict between the protagonist and his daughter, creating emotional tension and a desire to see how the situation unfolds.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by alternating between serene moments and tense dialogue, creating a rhythm that keeps the audience engaged.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes clear scene headings, action lines, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It introduces the setting and characters, establishes the protagonist's goals, and develops the conflict through dialogue.


Critique Overall, this scene sets up a contrast between two different worlds - the peaceful, idyllic family scene and the chaotic, gritty city scene. The use of visuals and sound helps to create a sense of atmosphere and tension. The dialogue between Mitchell and Zoe reveals a strained relationship and hints at some underlying issues.

One suggestion for improvement would be to provide more context and clarity in certain parts of the scene. For example, it is not immediately clear why Mitchell is in the car wash or why Zoe is calling him. Adding a bit more exposition or hints could help the audience understand the characters' motivations and actions better.

Additionally, the dialogue between Mitchell and Zoe could be further developed to reveal more about their relationship and the conflicts they are facing. This would add depth and complexity to their interaction and make it more engaging for the audience.

Overall, this scene has potential but could benefit from some further refinement and development to enhance its impact and storytelling.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the characters and their relationships: In the opening scene, it is not clear who the young family is and their relationship to the rest of the story. Provide some context or hints about their importance to the overall plot.

2. Consider the tone and mood: The scene starts with a serene and idyllic image of the family in bed, but then abruptly shifts to a car wash at night. Think about how to smoothly transition between these two settings and maintain a consistent tone throughout.

3. Develop the dialogue: The dialogue between Mitchell and Zoe feels a bit disjointed and lacks depth. Consider adding more subtext and emotional layers to their conversation to make it more engaging and meaningful.

4. Show, don't tell: Instead of having Zoe explicitly state that she is not stoned or begging for money, find ways to convey this information through actions, expressions, or subtle dialogue cues. This will make the scene more visually interesting and allow the audience to draw their own conclusions.

5. Create a stronger hook: The scene should grab the audience's attention and make them curious about what will happen next. Consider adding a small conflict or mystery that will make the audience want to keep watching.

6. Streamline the scene: Some of the cuts between different locations and characters feel abrupt. Look for opportunities to smooth out these transitions and make the scene flow more seamlessly.

7. Consider the visual storytelling: As a screenwriter, think about how the visuals can enhance the storytelling. Explore ways to use camera angles, lighting, and other visual elements to convey the emotions and themes of the scene.

8. Connect the scene to the larger story: Make sure the scene serves a purpose in advancing the overall plot or character development. Consider how this scene connects to the rest of the script and find ways to make it more integral to the story.

By implementing these suggestions, you can improve the scene and make it more engaging for the audience.



Scene 2 -  Mitchell's Emotional Turmoil
INT. CAR WASH. -- NIGHT

MITCHELL is emotionally stunned by ZOE'S voice. She is
heard over the phone.

ZOE
(over the phone)
Daddy! Are you listening to me,
Daddy?!

The music that MITCHELL has been listening to becomes louder
as he stares at the spinning felt wheels of the car wash.
ZOE (CONT'D)
DADDY!!!

MITCHELL
Yes.




ZOE
Why can't you talk to me?

MITCHELL
I...I just need to know what state
you're in so I know...how to talk to
you...how to act...

MITCHELL is in pain. He closes his eyes.

CUT TO

INT. PHONE BOOTH -- NIGHT

The phone booth is deserted. ZOE is nowhere to be seen.

Over this image, the sounds of a band playing a blues
number.

CUT TO

EXT. FAIRGROUND -- DAY

The blues number continues as the camera cranes down to the
bandstand of a country fair. A local band is rehearsing.

Around the practising band, various carpenters and
technicians are making final preparations for that evening's
big event.

One of the people watching the band is SAM BURNELL, a man in
his early forties. He watches his daughter, NICOLE, as she
sings into the microphone. NICOLE is sixteen.

NICOLE stares at her father as she sings.

ANGLE ON

SAM looking back at his daughter. He is intensely proud of
her. SAM is a carpenter, working on at the fair site. He
gets back to his work, hammering a supporting beam into the
grandstand.

CUT TO

INT. AIRPORT. WASHROOM -- AFTERNOON

CLOSE UP of a three year old girl, staring up into the lens.
Her face is full of sweetness and trust.

ANGLE ON




MITCHELL STEPHENS in a crowded airport washroom, watching a
young father, PETER, trying to change the diaper on his
three year old daughter.

MITCHELL stares at the little girl, his face registering a
wistful smile. PETER is having a hard time trying to find
the towel from the toddler's bag and keeping an eye on her
at the same time.

MITCHELL
Need a hand?

PETER
Sure, it you could find a towel in
this bag. I know my wife packed one
in there...

MITCHELL comes forward and searches through the toddler's
bag.

MITCHELL
You always think you're prepared for
these things.

PETER
Tell me about it.

MITCHELL
How old is she?

PETER
Almost three.
MITCHELL
(finding a towel)
Is this it?

PETER
Perfect.

MITCHELL
Here we go.

PETER
Thanks.

PETER lays the towel across the counter, and dries the
little girl. MITCHELL watches as PETER puts a new diaper on
her. The toddler stares up at MITCHELL, her eyes are
playful.

MITCHELL stares at the girl's face.

CUT TO




INT. CAR WASH. -- NIGHT

TIME CUT back to MITCHELL honking the horn of his car,
trying to get someone's attention. No response. MITCHELL
picks up his cell phone, and dials the operator.

MITCHELL
Yes, operator, I'm in a strange
situation. I'm calling from my car,
and I appear to be stuck in a car
wash...A car wash, yes...Is there
anyway you
could...Hello?...Hello?...

The line has died.

MITCHELL searches for an umbrella, finds one, and tries to
get out of the car without getting soaked.

ANGLE ON

MITCHELL as he leaves the car, trying to protect himself
from the onslaught of water with his umbrella. He is
immediately soaked by a large mop. The camera watches
MITCHELL as he makes his way towards light at the end of the
wash.

CUT TO

INT. CAR WASH. -- NIGHT

MITCHELL walks into the office of the car wash. No one is
there. There is an ominous buzz coming from another room.

MITCHELL moves towards the garage of the car wash/auto
repair establishment. He moves into a larger room, full of
discarded auto parts. The buzzing noise is coming from an
electric guitar, which has been left on, and is on the verge
of screeching feedback.

Someone was just here. They are nowhere to be seen.

MITCHELL
Hello?

No response. MITCHELL picks up the guitar, which begins to
produce a terrifying electronic feedback.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell wakes up with his family, goes to a car wash, and receives a phone call from his daughter Zoe. He is emotionally stunned by her voice and struggles to communicate with her. The scene then cuts to Zoe in a phone booth, a fairground where Sam Burnell watches his daughter Nicole perform, an airport washroom where Mitchell helps a father change his daughter's diaper, and back to Mitchell stuck in a car wash trying to get out.
Strengths "The scene effectively establishes the emotional turmoil of the protagonist and introduces multiple plotlines and characters. The use of different locations adds visual interest and depth to the scene."
Weaknesses "The dialogue could be more impactful and memorable. Some moments in the scene could benefit from stronger conflict and higher stakes."

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively establishes the emotional turmoil of the protagonist and introduces multiple plotlines and characters. The use of different locations adds visual interest and depth to the scene.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of exploring the protagonist's emotional journey through various locations and interactions is intriguing and engaging. The scene sets up multiple storylines and creates anticipation for future developments.

Plot: 8

The plot of the scene revolves around Mitchell's emotional struggle and his attempts to connect with his daughter. The introduction of other characters and locations adds complexity to the plot and sets up potential conflicts and resolutions.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the locations and situations are familiar, the specific details and character interactions bring a fresh perspective. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters in the scene, particularly Mitchell and his daughter Zoe, are well-developed and evoke empathy from the audience. The introduction of other characters, such as Sam Burnell and Nicole, adds depth to the overall character dynamics.

Character Changes: 7

Mitchell undergoes a significant emotional change in the scene, as he confronts his own pain and struggles to connect with his daughter. This sets up potential character growth and development in future scenes.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to connect with his daughter and understand how to communicate with her. This reflects his deeper need for a meaningful relationship with his daughter and his fear of not knowing how to be a good father.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to find his daughter and make sure she is safe. This reflects the immediate circumstances of his daughter being missing and his desire to protect her.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

The conflict in the scene is primarily internal, as Mitchell struggles to connect with his daughter and understand her emotional state. There are also hints of external conflicts, such as Mitchell being stuck in a car wash and encountering mysterious situations.

Opposition: 6

The opposition in this scene is moderate. The protagonist faces challenges in connecting with his daughter and finding her, but the outcome is not completely uncertain.

High Stakes: 6

The stakes in the scene are primarily emotional, as Mitchell's relationship with his daughter and his own emotional well-being are at risk. There are also hints of mysterious and potentially dangerous situations, adding a layer of suspense.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing multiple plotlines and conflicts. It establishes the emotional state of the protagonist and sets up potential resolutions and character arcs.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene has a moderate level of unpredictability. The audience is unsure of the protagonist's next actions and the resolution of his goals, creating tension and curiosity.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene has a high emotional impact, as it explores themes of family, communication, and longing. The audience is likely to empathize with Mitchell's emotional turmoil and feel a sense of anticipation for future developments.

Dialogue: 6

The dialogue in the scene effectively conveys the emotional state of the characters and their relationships. However, there are moments where the dialogue could be more impactful and memorable.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it presents a compelling emotional conflict for the protagonist and introduces intriguing locations and characters. The dialogue and actions keep the audience invested in the story.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by alternating between moments of emotional intensity and quieter moments of reflection. This creates a rhythm that keeps the audience engaged and interested.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes clear scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action lines.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It introduces the protagonist's internal and external goals, establishes the setting, and progresses the narrative.


Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and effectively conveys the emotions and actions of the characters. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

Firstly, the transition between scenes could be smoother. The abrupt cuts from one location to another can be disorienting for the reader. Consider adding transitional elements, such as a fade or dissolve, to help guide the audience from one scene to the next.

Additionally, the dialogue between Mitchell and Zoe could be more dynamic. Zoe's repeated question of "Daddy, are you listening to me?" feels repetitive and could be condensed or rephrased to maintain the emotional impact without becoming monotonous.

Furthermore, the introduction of Sam Burnell and Nicole feels somewhat disconnected from the previous scenes. While it is important to introduce new characters, their connection to the main story should be clearer. Consider finding a way to tie their storyline more directly to Mitchell's journey.

Lastly, the description of Mitchell's actions in the car wash could be more vivid and engaging. Instead of simply stating that he is emotionally stunned, show his physical reactions and use sensory details to immerse the reader in the scene. This will help to create a stronger visual image and enhance the emotional impact.

Overall, this scene has potential but could benefit from some revisions to improve clarity, character development, and sensory engagement.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the emotional state of Mitchell: In the first few lines, it is mentioned that Mitchell is emotionally stunned by Zoe's voice, but it is not clear why. Adding a brief description or dialogue to explain his emotional state will help the audience understand his reaction better.

2. Provide more context for Zoe's phone call: It is unclear why Zoe is upset and why Mitchell is unable to talk to her. Adding a line or two of dialogue to explain the situation will help the audience understand the conflict between them.

3. Connect the different locations: The scene jumps from a car wash to a phone booth to a fairground to an airport washroom without a clear connection. Adding a transition or a visual cue to link these locations will make the scene flow more smoothly.

4. Develop the characters: The characters in the scene, such as Sam, Nicole, Peter, and the three-year-old girl, are introduced briefly but not given much depth. Adding a few lines of dialogue or actions that reveal their personalities or relationships will make them more engaging to the audience.

5. Create a stronger sense of tension: The scene lacks a strong sense of tension or conflict. Adding more suspenseful elements, such as mysterious sounds or visual cues, will heighten the tension and make the scene more engaging.

6. Streamline the action: Some of the actions and descriptions in the scene, such as Mitchell searching for a towel or trying to get someone's attention, feel unnecessary and slow down the pacing. Removing or condensing these actions will make the scene more concise and focused.

7. Consider the visual storytelling: As a screenwriting expert, you can suggest visual cues or camera angles that enhance the storytelling. For example, you can suggest close-ups or specific shots that highlight the emotions or actions of the characters.

By implementing these suggestions, the scene can be improved to create a stronger emotional impact and a more engaging narrative.



Scene 3 -  Fairground and Motel
EXT. FAIRGROUND -- DAY




SAM and NICOLE wander through the fairground. Various rides
and concession stands are being set up. SAM has his arm
around NICOLE.

SAM
That was great.

NICOLE
Really?

SAM
You're going to blow everyone away.

NICOLE
You mean it?

SAM
Of course.

NICOLE
You don't sound like one hundred
percent absolutely sure.

SAM
I am. Really. It was awesome.

NICOLE assesses SAM. Sensing his sincerity, she throws her
arms around him in a gesture of unabashed excitement.

NICOLE
I'm so happy, Daddy.

CUT TO

EXT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- DUSK

MITCHELL STEPHEN'S car pulls into the parking lot of this
run-down roadside motel. In the fading light, a magnificent
mountain range is seen in the background.

CUT TO

INT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- EVENING

MITCHELL enters the reception area, and rings a bell on the
desk. After a few moments RISA WALKER appears. She is an
exhausted looking woman in her mid-thirties, once attractive
but very run-down. RISA stares at MITCHELL'S soaked
clothes.

MITCHELL
Hello.

RISA




Is it raining outside?

MITCHELL
No, I...had an accident.

Pause. RISA stares at MITCHELL, her expression somewhere
else.
MITCHELL (CONT'D)
Do you have a room?

RISA
Will you be spending more than a
night?

MITCHELL
Hard to say. I might have...some
business here.

A voice is heard from the darkness beyond the desk.

WENDELL
Are you a reporter?

MITCHELL
No.

WENDELL WALKER, RISA'S husband, appears from the darkness.

WENDELL
You here about the accident?

MITCHELL stares at WENDELL'S haunted eyes, then looks back
at RISA. He immediately knows their story.

MITCHELL
Yes. I'm a lawyer. I realize this
is an awful time, but it's important
that we talk.

CUT TO

EXT. FAIRGROUND -- DAY

A group of men are setting up the ferris wheel for the
country fair. SAM and NICOLE walk into the shot, eating ice
cream cones. SAM waves at someone he recognizes in the
distance.

SAM
Let's sit down.

NICOLE nods, her mind elsewhere.
CUT TO

EXT. FAIRGROUND -- DAY

SAM and NICOLE are sitting at an outside table, finishing
their cones.

A school bus pulls up into the fairground. NICOLE watches
as young children spill out of the bus and gather outside.

NICOLE smiles at this scene. SAM notices, turns around to
see the children, then turns back to NICOLE.

SAM
What's so funny?

NICOLE
Just the way Dolores gets so excited
about bringing the kids to check out
the animals. It's like the biggest
thing in her life.

ANGLE ON

DOLORES DRISCOLL, a warm and cheery woman in her forties,
leading the young children into the large exhibition barn on
the fair site.

DOLORES
Alright, kids. I want you all to
listen to me. Rule number one No
one is allowed to stick their
fingers into the cages. I don't
care how cute some of these animals
may be, the fact is they don't like
being here, no matter how many
ribbons some of them have won...

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell arrives at a run-down motel after an accident. He meets Risa and Wendell, who are clearly going through a difficult time. Meanwhile, Sam and Nicole enjoy the fairground and watch children at the exhibition barn.
Strengths "Effective portrayal of contrasting emotions, introduction of new characters"
Weaknesses "Lack of depth in dialogue"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up contrasting emotions and introduces new characters, adding depth to the story.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of contrasting emotions and introducing new characters is executed well.

Plot: 8

The plot moves forward as Mitchell arrives at the motel and Sam and Nicole enjoy the fairground.

Originality: 4

The level of originality in this scene is relatively low. The situations and approaches are familiar, such as characters expressing support and discussing accommodations. However, the authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds a sense of realism to the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters of Mitchell, Risa, Wendell, Sam, and Nicole are introduced and their emotions and situations are effectively portrayed.

Character Changes: 6

There is a slight change in Mitchell's character as he interacts with Risa and Wendell.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to express his sincerity and support to Nicole. This reflects his deeper need for connection and validation, as well as his desire to make Nicole feel confident and happy.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to find a room at the motel and potentially discuss important matters with the motel owner. This goal reflects the immediate circumstances of his soaked clothes and the need for a place to stay, as well as the challenge of navigating a potentially difficult conversation.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 5

There is a mild level of conflict introduced with Mitchell's accident and the difficult situation of Risa and Wendell.

Opposition: 6

The opposition in this scene is moderate. While there are no major obstacles, the potential difficult conversation with the motel owner and the protagonist's soaked clothes create a sense of opposition and uncertainty.

High Stakes: 5

The stakes are not very high in this scene, but the introduction of new characters adds intrigue.

Story Forward: 7

The scene introduces new characters and moves the story forward.

Unpredictability: 5

This scene has a moderate level of unpredictability. While some elements, such as the protagonist finding a room at the motel, are expected, the specific details and dynamics of the characters' interactions add a layer of unpredictability.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes emotions of excitement, happiness, and seriousness.

Dialogue: 6

The dialogue is simple and straightforward, but lacks depth.

Engagement: 7

This scene is engaging because it captures the characters' emotions and relationships, creating a sense of connection and anticipation. The dialogue and actions feel authentic and relatable, drawing the audience into the scene.

Pacing: 7

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing moments of emotional connection and reflection. It balances dialogue and action, creating a rhythm that keeps the audience engaged.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It introduces the setting, characters, and their goals in a clear and coherent manner.


Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and effectively conveys the emotions and dynamics between the characters. Here are some specific points to consider:

1. Transition: The transition from the previous scene to this one is a bit abrupt. It might be helpful to have a smoother transition or a brief establishing shot to orient the audience to the fairground setting.

2. Dialogue: The dialogue between Sam and Nicole feels natural and authentic. It effectively shows their close relationship and Sam's support for Nicole's performance. However, it could benefit from a bit more subtext or depth to further explore their characters.

3. Description: The description of the fairground and the motel is clear and concise. It effectively sets the scene and provides enough detail for the reader to visualize the locations.

4. Characterization: The introduction of Risa and Wendell Walker is intriguing, and their haunted eyes hint at a deeper story. However, their characterization could be further developed to make them more distinct and memorable.

5. Pacing: The pacing of the scene is generally good, but there are a few moments where it could be tightened. For example, the pause after Mitchell asks for a room could be shortened to maintain momentum.

6. Visuals: The visuals in the scene are well-described, particularly the image of the mountain range in the background of the motel. However, there could be more opportunities to enhance the visual storytelling and create more vivid and memorable images.

Overall, this scene effectively advances the story and introduces new characters and locations. With some minor adjustments, it has the potential to be a strong and engaging moment in the screenplay.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location and time: Start the scene with an establishing shot of the fairground during the day. This will help the audience understand where the characters are and the time of day.

2. Show the emotional connection between Sam and Nicole: Instead of just stating that Sam has his arm around Nicole, show their affectionate interaction through their body language and dialogue. This will make their relationship feel more genuine and relatable.

3. Add more conflict or tension: The scene feels a bit flat and lacks a clear conflict or tension. Consider adding a small conflict or obstacle that Sam and Nicole have to overcome together, which will make the scene more engaging and dynamic.

4. Develop the characters: Provide more details about Sam and Nicole's relationship and their individual personalities. This will make them more three-dimensional and interesting to the audience.

5. Connect the scene to the previous and following scenes: Make sure there is a clear connection between this scene and the scenes before and after it. This will help the audience understand the overall story and the purpose of this particular scene.

6. Consider the pacing: The scene feels a bit slow and could benefit from some tightening. Remove any unnecessary dialogue or actions that don't contribute to the overall story or character development.

7. Show, don't tell: Instead of having characters explicitly state their emotions or thoughts, find ways to show these through their actions, expressions, and dialogue. This will make the scene more visually engaging and allow the audience to connect with the characters on a deeper level.

8. Consider the visual and cinematic elements: Think about how the scene can be visually interesting and cinematic. Use camera angles, movement, and other visual techniques to enhance the storytelling and create a more immersive experience for the audience.

Overall, focus on making the scene more engaging, emotionally resonant, and connected to the larger story.



Scene 4 -  Investigating the Lambston Case
INT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- EVENING

MITCHELL STEPHENS is having a meeting with WENDELL and RISA
WALKER in their livingroom behind the reception area.
MITCHELL has a pad of paper and is taking notes.

WENDELL
Kyle Lambston's a drunk. Nobody
likes him. He's a nasty piece of
work.

MITCHELL
In what way?




WENDELL
Been drinking since high school.
Fucked himself up. Used to be smart
enough.

MITCHELL
Any criminal record?

WENDELL
Probably half a dozen traffic
convictions. Drunk driving. Lost
his licence. That's why he don't
work no more.

WENDELL
Can't get off that shitty dump they
live on. What little money comes in
goes to booze.

MITCHELL
How does the family survive?

WENDELL
Don't know. Food banks, welfare,
church charity. They scrape by.

MITCHELL looks at RISA, who has remained silent.

MITCHELL
What about Doreen?

RISA
She...she was a friend of mine.

MITCHELL
When?

RISA
At school. She fell for Kyle just
before we graduated. Got pregnant,
and...went to live in a trailer up
on a woodlot Kyle's dad used to own.
Kyle started spending more and more
time at the Spread Eagle...
MITCHELL
That's the local bar?

RISA
(nodding)
...coming home drunk and I guess
feeling trapped by his life and
blaming her for that...and...




RISA hesitates.

WENDELL
Taking it out on her.

MITCHELL stops taking notes, and looks at the WALKERS.

MITCHELL
He beat her?

RISA nods. MITCHELL crosses the LAMBSTONS off of his list.
He looks up at RISA and WENDELL.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
You see, to do this right, to
actually have a chance at winning -
of getting some money to compensate
you for the loss of your boy - we
need folks like you. Sensitive,
loving parents. People with no
criminal background or history of
trouble in town. Do you understand?

The WALKERS nod.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
Now, of all these parents you've
told me about whose kids were
killed, who would you consider to be
good upstanding neighbors?

RISA stares hard at MITCHELL.

RISA
What do you mean?
MITCHELL
People who will help our cause.

Pause.

RISA
Well, there's the Hamiltons. Joe
and Shelly Hamilton.

WENDELL
(caustically)
Yeah, right.

Beat. MITCHELL looks at WENDELL, waiting for an
explanation.

WENDELL (CONT'D)




I mean, everyone knows Joey steals
antiques from summer cottages.
Resells them to dealers in the city.
He's been doing that for years.

MITCHELL regards WENDELL with a slight smile of admiration.

MITCHELL
That's great, Wendell. That's the
sort of thing I need to know. So it
doesn't come back to haunt our case
later on.

RISA
There's the Prescots...

WENDELL
That sonofabitch owes thousands to
the bank and half the businesses in
town. He's about to lose his house
and car.

RISA
But Charlene...

WENDELL
Charlene's over at the Spread Eagle
every other night. Sleeps with
whatever she can get her hands on.
She'll go down for a pat on the head
and a fistful of peanuts.

MITCHELL is taking notes.

WENDELL (CONT'D)
Don't even think of the Bilodeaus or
the Atwaters. They're all inbred.

RISA
The Ottos.

Pause. MITCHELL waits. No response from WENDELL.

MITCHELL
Tell me about the Ottos.

RISA
Wanda and Hartley. They lost Bear.
He was their adopted son. A
beautiful boy. Indian.

MITCHELL
Indian?




RISA
Yes.

MITCHELL
That's good. Judges like adopted
Indian boys. Tell me more about the
Ottos.

As RISA talks, MITCHELL takes notes.

RISA
They're smart. Been to college.
They moved here from the city about
a dozen years ago.

MITCHELL
What do they do?

RISA
Crafts.
MITCHELL
Crafts?

RISA
Wanda does these photographic
things. That's one of her pictures
on the wall.

WENDELL
Yeah, well, they probably smoke
weed.

RISA
You don't know that.

MITCHELL
Have they ever been busted?

RISA
No.

WENDELL
You don't know is what you mean.

MITCHELL regards the tension between RISA and WENDELL as he
continues to make notes.

MITCHELL'S cell phone rings. He answers it.

MITCHELL
Yes, I'll accept the charges.

MITCHELL stands up.




MITCHELL (CONT'D)
Do you mind if I step outside for a
moment? It's a private call.

The WALKERS nod as MITCHELL moves outside.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wendell and Risa Walker at the Bide-A-Wile Motel to gather information about the Lambston family. They discuss Kyle Lambston's alcoholism, criminal record, and abusive behavior towards his partner, Doreen. Mitchell emphasizes the need for sympathetic and law-abiding parents to support their case. They mention other parents in the town, but most have their own issues or criminal backgrounds. Finally, Risa suggests the Ottos, a smart and educated couple who lost their adopted son, Bear.
Strengths "Engaging dialogue, well-defined characters, introduction of potential allies"
Weaknesses "Limited exploration of themes, moderate conflict level"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively establishes the difficult circumstances surrounding the Lambston family and introduces potential allies for Mitchell's case. The dialogue is engaging and reveals important information.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of investigating a tragic case and seeking justice is compelling. The scene effectively sets up the main conflict and introduces important characters.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Mitchell gathers information about the Lambston family and explores potential allies. The scene provides important exposition and sets up future developments.

Originality: 7

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a lawyer gathering information for a case is familiar, the specific details and dynamics of the characters and their backgrounds add a fresh approach. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters are well-defined and their motivations are clear. Mitchell is determined and empathetic, while Wendell and Risa provide valuable information about the town's residents.

Character Changes: 6

There is a slight character change in Mitchell as he becomes more determined to find sympathetic parents for his case. However, the focus is more on gathering information.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to gather information about the Lambston family and determine if they would be suitable for their case. This reflects their deeper need for justice and compensation for the loss of the Walker's son.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to find suitable parents who have no criminal background or history of trouble in town to support their case.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is a moderate level of conflict in the scene, primarily stemming from the tension between Risa and Wendell. The conflict between the Lambston family and the town is also hinted at.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderate. While there are tensions and conflicts between the characters, it is not a major obstacle that the audience is unsure of how it will go.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as Mitchell seeks justice for the Lambston family and tries to build a strong case. The outcome could have significant consequences for both the victims and the town.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by providing important information about the Lambston family and introducing potential allies. It sets up future developments and conflicts.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene has a moderate level of unpredictability. While some information is revealed, there are still unknowns and potential surprises in the upcoming case.

Philosophical Conflict: 6

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene between the protagonist's belief in justice and the moral ambiguity of finding 'good upstanding neighbors' who may have questionable actions or behaviors.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes sadness and concern through the discussion of the Lambston family's hardships and abuse. The emotional impact is heightened by Mitchell's determination to seek justice.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is natural and reveals important information about the characters and their backgrounds. It effectively conveys the tension and emotions in the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it reveals important information about the characters and their backgrounds, creating intrigue and anticipation for the upcoming case. The dialogue-driven nature of the scene keeps the audience invested in the conversation.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in maintaining the audience's interest. The dialogue flows smoothly, and the scene progresses at a steady pace, keeping the momentum of the narrative.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses standard scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with a location description, introduces the characters, and progresses through dialogue and character interactions.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively introduces the characters of Wendell and Risa Walker and provides important information about the Lambston family. The dialogue is natural and reveals the dynamics between the characters. The scene also serves to establish Mitchell's role as a lawyer and his dedication to helping the Walkers.

One suggestion for improvement would be to add more visual description to enhance the scene. For example, describing the setting of the motel and the appearance of the characters can help to create a more vivid image in the reader's mind. Additionally, incorporating more action or gestures can make the scene more dynamic and engaging.

Another suggestion would be to further develop the emotional impact of the conversation. The topic of domestic violence is a sensitive and important issue, and the scene could benefit from exploring the emotional reactions of the characters more deeply. This could be achieved through their body language, facial expressions, or internal thoughts.

Overall, this scene effectively moves the story forward and provides important information about the characters and their motivations. With some additional visual description and emotional depth, it has the potential to be a powerful and impactful scene.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location: Start the scene with an establishing shot of the Bide-a-Wile Motel to give the audience a clear sense of where the characters are.

2. Show Mitchell's emotional state: Begin the scene with Mitchell visibly shaken or distressed from the phone call with his daughter. This will help the audience understand his emotional state and why he is seeking information from the Walkers.

3. Introduce the Walkers: Provide a brief description or introduction of Wendell and Risa Walker when Mitchell first meets them. This will help the audience understand their relationship to the story and why Mitchell is meeting with them.

4. Use visual cues: Instead of having Mitchell take notes on a pad of paper, consider using visual cues to show his reaction or understanding of the information he is receiving. For example, he could nod or make facial expressions to indicate his understanding or disbelief.

5. Show Mitchell's empathy: After Risa reveals that Doreen was a friend of hers and was abused by Kyle, show Mitchell's empathy and concern for her. This will help establish his character as someone who cares about the victims and wants to help them.

6. Add conflict between Mitchell and the Walkers: Introduce some conflict or tension between Mitchell and the Walkers to make the scene more engaging. For example, the Walkers could be hesitant to share information or have conflicting opinions about the other families in town.

7. Show Mitchell's determination: After the Walkers mention the Ottos, show Mitchell's determination to investigate further and gather more information about them. This will help establish his commitment to the case and his role as the protagonist.

8. Use dialogue to reveal character traits: Use the dialogue between Mitchell and the Walkers to reveal their character traits and motivations. For example, Wendell's caustic comment about the Hamiltons stealing antiques shows his cynical nature, while Risa's defense of the Ottos shows her more compassionate side.

9. Consider adding visual elements: Consider adding visual elements to the scene to make it more visually interesting. For example, Mitchell could be pacing or fidgeting with his phone while talking to the Walkers, or there could be some visual cues in the motel room that reveal more about the Walkers' difficult situation.

10. End the scene with a cliffhanger: Consider ending the scene with a cliffhanger or a revelation that leaves the audience wanting to know more. For example, Mitchell could receive a piece of information from the phone call that changes his perspective or raises new questions.

By implementing these suggestions, the scene can be improved to engage the audience and further the story.



Scene 5 -  Reconnecting with the Past
EXT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- DUSK
MITCHELL speaks into his cellular phone.

MITCHELL
Zoe...Zoe, where are you?

CUT TO

INT. AIRPLANE. FIRST CLASS CABIN -- DAY

A newscaster is giving a report on the television screen of
a first class airplane cabin. The image is silent.

This scene takes place two years after the accident.

MITCHELL STEPHENS is playing with his headset, which doesn't
seem to be working. He summons a STEWARDESS over.

MITCHELL
I'm not getting any sound.

The STEWARDESS checks the headset and confirms the problem.

STEWARDESS
I'll find you another pair.

The STEWARDESS leaves.

A young woman seated beside MITCHELL hands him her headset.

ALISON
You can have mine.

MITCHELL takes ALISON'S headset. Their eyes lock for a
moment.

ALISON (CONT'D)
Yes, we do know each other. I'm
Alison Jones.

MITCHELL
Alison Jones.

ALISON




I was a friend of Zoe's. We went to
school together. I used to come to
your house.

MITCHELL
(pretending to
remember)
Yes.

ALISON
Ally. That was my nickname.

MITCHELL
Ally. That's right.

ALISON
How are you?

MITCHELL
I'm just fine, Ally. What about
you?

ALISON
I'm fine. Still working with my
father.

MITCHELL
And what does he do again?

ALISON
He used to work with you. Until you
found out he was having an affair
with your wife.

Pause. MITCHELL finally remembers ALISON JONES.

MITCHELL
Ally Jones.

ALISON
How is Mrs. Stephens?

MITCHELL
We're...not together.

ALISON
I'd heard that. But she's well?

MITCHELL
Yes...fine.

ALISON
And Zoe? How's Zoe?
Pause. The STEWARDESS comes back with a new headset. She
notices the set that ALISON has given him.

STEWARDESS
Oh, you've beaten me to it.

The STEWARDESS hands the headset to ALISON.

STEWARDESS (CONT'D)
Here.

The camera has remained fixed on MITCHELL'S face.

CUT TO

EXT. ROADSIDE -- MORNING

WANDA and HARTLEY OTTO are waiting for the school bus with
their adopted son BEAR.

The bus arrives, and the door opens to reveal DOLORES
DRISCOLL, who is driving.

DOLORES
Good morning, Wanda. Hi, Hartley.

WANDA
Hi, Dolores.

DOLORES watches as WANDA and HARTLEY OTTO affectionately say
goodbye to their boy. WANDA gives BEAR a photograph, which
has strong psychedelic influences. BEAR shows it proudly to
DOLORES.

WANDA (CONT'D)
What do you think?

DOLORES
Well, it's certainly what you'd call
interesting.

WANDA
(laughing)
You hate it.

DOLORES
I didn't say that.

WANDA
I could wrap it up. Protect the
other kids.

DOLORES
I'll just strap it on the roof.




WANDA
It's for the school bazaar.

DOLORES
Oh, it's bizarre alright. C'mon
Bear. Let's get you out of here.

WANDA
Away from your crazy Mom.

DOLORES
(voice over)
The Ottos always waited for the bus
with Bear. They were the only
parents who did that, together like
that. I guess they're what you
might call hippies.

MITCHELL
(voice over)
What do you mean by that, Mrs.
Driscoll?

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell wakes up with his family, goes to a car wash, and receives a phone call from his daughter Zoe. He is emotionally stunned by her voice and struggles to communicate with her. The scene then cuts to Zoe in a phone booth, a fairground where Sam Burnell watches his daughter Nicole perform, an airport washroom where Mitchell helps a father change his daughter's diaper, and back to Mitchell stuck in a car wash trying to get out. Mitchell arrives at a run-down motel after an accident. He meets Risa and Wendell, who are clearly going through a difficult time. Meanwhile, Sam and Nicole enjoy the fairground and watch children at the exhibition barn. Mitchell meets with Wendell and Risa Walker at the Bide-A-Wile Motel to gather information about the Lambston family. They discuss Kyle Lambston's alcoholism, criminal record, and abusive behavior towards his partner, Doreen. Mitchell emphasizes the need for sympathetic and law-abiding parents to support their case. They mention other parents in the town, but most have their own issues or criminal backgrounds. Finally, Risa suggests the Ottos, a smart and educated couple who lost their adopted son, Bear.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, and plot progression."
Weaknesses "Some dialogue could be more impactful."

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional turmoil of Mitchell's phone call with Zoe and introduces an important plot development with the Ottos.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of reconnecting with the past and finding supportive parents for a case is intriguing and sets up potential conflicts and character arcs.

Plot: 8

The plot moves forward with Mitchell's interactions and the introduction of the Ottos as potential supportive parents.

Originality: 7

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situations and conflicts are familiar, the writer brings a fresh approach through the nuanced characterization and realistic dialogue. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters are well-developed and their interactions reveal their personalities and relationships.

Character Changes: 6

There is some character development, particularly with Mitchell's emotional state.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to reconnect with his past and come to terms with the changes in his life. This reflects his deeper need for closure and understanding, as well as his fear of losing touch with important relationships.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to fix his malfunctioning headset and find a way to pass the time during the flight. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges he's facing, such as boredom and frustration.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is some conflict present in the scene, particularly with Mitchell's emotional struggle and the discussion of the Lambston family's issues.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderate. While there are no major obstacles or conflicts, the tension between the characters and the unresolved issues from the past create a sense of opposition and potential conflict.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high for Mitchell and his case, as finding supportive parents is crucial.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the Ottos as potential supportive parents.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces unexpected connections between the characters and hints at unresolved conflicts. The audience is left wondering how these relationships will develop and what impact they will have on the protagonist's journey.

Philosophical Conflict: 6

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene between the protagonist's past and present, as well as his desire for connection and his fear of loss. This challenges his beliefs about relationships and the impact of his actions on others.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The emotional impact is high, particularly in Mitchell's phone call with Zoe.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the emotions and relationships between the characters.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it introduces intriguing characters and establishes a sense of mystery and emotional tension. The dialogue and interactions between the characters create a sense of anticipation and curiosity.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing for moments of reflection and emotional resonance. The rhythm of the dialogue and the pauses between lines create a sense of tension and anticipation.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. The scene headings, character names, and dialogue are properly formatted, and the scene direction is clear and concise.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an exterior shot, transitions to an interior shot, and then returns to an exterior shot. The dialogue and actions are well-paced and contribute to the overall flow of the scene.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively introduces new characters and provides some backstory for Mitchell. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

1. Transition: The transition from Mitchell's phone call with Zoe to the airplane scene feels abrupt and disjointed. It would be helpful to have a smoother transition or a clearer connection between the two scenes.

2. Dialogue: The dialogue between Mitchell and Alison feels a bit forced and unnatural. It would benefit from more subtlety and nuance, allowing the audience to infer their history and relationship rather than spelling it out explicitly.

3. Characterization: While the scene with Wanda and Hartley Otto provides some insight into their relationship with their son Bear, it could benefit from more development and depth. Their characterization as "hippies" feels a bit cliché and could be explored in a more nuanced way.

4. Visuals: The scene descriptions could be more vivid and engaging, helping to create a stronger visual image for the audience. This would enhance the overall impact of the scene.

Overall, this scene serves its purpose in introducing new characters and providing some backstory, but there are areas that could be improved upon to make it more engaging and effective.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location and time: Start the scene with an establishing shot of the Bide-A-Wile Motel at dusk to clearly indicate the setting and time of day.

2. Add more visual description: Provide more visual details to enhance the reader's understanding of the scene. For example, describe Mitchell's body language and facial expressions as he struggles to communicate with Zoe on the phone.

3. Streamline the dialogue: Make the dialogue more concise and natural. Remove unnecessary repetition and focus on the key information and emotions being conveyed.

4. Develop the interaction between Mitchell and Alison: Show more of their interaction and build tension between them. Use body language and subtext to convey their complicated history and emotions.

5. Add more context to the airplane scene: Provide more context for why Mitchell is on the airplane and why he is emotionally stunned by Zoe's voice. This will help the reader understand the significance of the scene.

6. Add more visual cues: Use visual cues to transition between scenes. For example, instead of using "CUT TO," describe the transition from the airplane scene to the roadside scene.

7. Develop the conversation between Wanda and Dolores: Show more of their interaction and reveal more about their relationship. This will help establish the dynamic between the Ottos and the other parents in the town.

8. Add more subtext and conflict: Explore the underlying tension and conflict between the characters. For example, show the tension between Mitchell and Alison due to their past history.

9. Provide more information about the Ottos: Give more background information about the Ottos and their relationship with Bear. This will help establish their character and their role in the story.

10. Consider the pacing: Ensure that the scene flows smoothly and maintains the reader's interest. Cut any unnecessary dialogue or actions that do not contribute to the overall story or character development.



Scene 6 -  Gathering Information
INT. DOLORES'S HOUSE -- DAY

DOLORES and MITCHELL are in the modest livingroom of
DOLORES'S house. The conversation continues from the
previous voice over.

In the corner of the room sits ABBOTT, DOLORES'S husband.
ABBOTT has suffered a massive stroke, and seems to be
completely paralyzed. His presence, however, is intense and
powerful.
MITCHELL frequently looks over to ABBOTT during his
conversations with DOLORES. ABBOTT is always watching him
like a hawk, making MITCHELL uneasy.

DOLORES
Dolores. No one calls me 'Mrs.
Driscoll'.

MITCHELL
What do you mean by that, Dolores?

DOLORES
About the Ottos?

MITCHELL
Yes. What do you mean by 'hippies'?




DOLORES
I mean, the way they look. Their
hair and clothing...

MITCHELL
Do they have any reputation for
drugs?

DOLORES
No, nothing like that. The Ottos
are what I'd call model citizens.
They're regular at town meetings.
They give their opinions in a
respectful way. They always help
out at various fund-raising bazaars
in town , though they aren't church
goers.

MITCHELL
And they loved Bear.

DOLORES
Oh yes. Like I said, they always
came out together to see him off to
school. It's like he was their
little treasure. He was such a
beautiful boy. That's a picture of
him on the wall there, behind
Abbott.
MITCHELL turns around to find the picture of BEAR.

It is right behind ABBOTT'S head, so MITCHELL has to divide
his attention between the cute PHOTOGRAPH of BEAR clutching
a prize rabbit at last year's county fair, and ABBOTT'S
glaring eyes.

ANGLE ON

The PHOTOGRAPHS of various children with their pets. Some
have ribbons.

DOLORES (CONT'D)
(voice over)
Those are all from the fair last
year. Abbott and me were judges at
the pet show.

MITCHELL
For rabbits?

DOLORES
(nodding)




Abbott used to breed them 'til he
had the stroke. Bear won first
prize. Just look at the smile on
his face.

DOLORES
He was one of those children that
bring out the best in people. He
would have been a wonderful man.

ANGLE ON

MITCHELL as he stares at the photo of BEAR.

CUT TO

EXT. SCHOOL BUS -- MORNING

The camera is outside the bus, looking at BEAR as he
finishes waving to his parents.
ANGLE ON

BEAR'S P.O.V. of WANDA and HARTLEY disappearing as the bus
pulls away.

CUT TO

INT. SCHOOL BUS -- MORNING

The camera moves inside the crowded bus, peering at the
childrens' activity as they play with each other in the bus.

ANGLE ON

JESSICA and MASON ANSEL are seated at the back of the bus,
looking out the rear window, waving at someone.

CUT TO

EXT. SCHOOL BUS -- MORNING

JESSICA and MASON are seen waving at...

BILLY ANSEL, driving behind them in his pick up truck. He
waves back at his children.

DOLORES
(voice over)
Billy Ansel started honking at us up
around Upper Hat Creek. He always
started to do that when he caught up
to the bus. He'd wave at his kids,
Jessica and Mason, who always sat at




the back. Normally, he followed us
the whole distance over the ridge
towards the school.

CUT TO

INT. DOLORES'S HOUSE -- DAY

The conversation between MITCHELL and DOLORES continues from
the previous scene.

MITCHELL
So Billy was driving behind the bus
at the time of the accident?

DOLORES nods. Her expression is distant.

DOLORES
Billy loved to see his kids in the
bus. They always sat in the back,
so they could wave to each other.
It comforted him.

MITCHELL
From what?

DOLORES
(confused)
From what?

MITCHELL
Did he have any particular problems
that you knew of? Financial
pressures...run-ins with the law...

DOLORES
No, nothing like that. Billy's
wife, Lydia, died of cancer a few
years ago. He took over raising the
children by himself. It was obvious
how much he missed Lydia.

MITCHELL
You talked about it?

DOLORES
No.
(beat)
I saw it on his face.

Pause. DOLORES stares at MITCHELL.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Risa and Wendell at a motel to gather information about the Lambston family. They discuss the family's issues and criminal background. Risa suggests the Ottos as potential supportive parents. Mitchell then has a conversation with Dolores about the accident and Billy Ansel's involvement.
Strengths "Effective information gathering, intense presence of Abbott"
Weaknesses "Lack of standout dialogue moments"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively provides important information about potential supportive parents and the background of the Lambston family. The presence of Abbott adds intensity to the scene.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of gathering information and discussing potential supportive parents is well-executed.

Plot: 8

The plot moves forward as Mitchell gathers information and considers the Ottos as potential supportive parents.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a character providing information about a deceased loved one is not entirely unique, the specific details and interactions between Dolores and Mitchell add freshness to the scene. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters provide necessary information and contribute to the overall tone of the scene.

Character Changes: 5

There is minimal character change in this scene.

Internal Goal: 7

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is not explicitly stated, but it can be inferred that Dolores wants to share information about the Ottos and her son Bear with Mitchell. This reflects her desire to find justice for her son's death and her need to be heard and understood.

External Goal: 8

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to provide information about the Ottos and her son Bear to Mitchell, who is investigating the accident. This goal reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges Dolores is facing, as she wants to help Mitchell uncover the truth.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 5

There is some conflict in discussing the Lambston family's issues, but it is not the central focus of the scene.

Opposition: 6

The opposition in this scene is moderate. While there is no direct conflict between the characters, there is an underlying tension and unease, particularly in Mitchell's interactions with Abbott. The audience is unsure of how the conversation will unfold and what information will be revealed.

High Stakes: 6

The stakes are moderately high as Mitchell seeks suitable parents for his case.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by providing important information and introducing potential supportive parents.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces new information about the Ottos and their relationship with Bear. The audience is left wondering about the significance of this information and how it will impact the investigation.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The scene has some emotional impact, particularly in Dolores's description of Bear and Mitchell's reaction to the photo.

Dialogue: 6

The dialogue is informative but lacks standout moments.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it introduces a mystery surrounding the Ottos and Dolores's son Bear. The dialogue between Dolores and Mitchell creates tension and intrigue, making the audience want to know more about the accident and the characters involved.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and maintaining the audience's interest. The dialogue flows smoothly and the scene progresses at a steady pace, allowing for moments of reflection and anticipation.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. The scene is properly formatted with scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action lines. The formatting is clear and easy to follow.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with a location and time description, introduces the characters, and progresses through their conversation. The scene flows smoothly and logically.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively provides important information about the Ottos and Billy Ansel, while also revealing more about Mitchell's character and his investigation. The dialogue between Mitchell and Dolores feels natural and flows well, allowing the audience to learn about the Ottos and Billy Ansel through their conversation. The inclusion of the photograph of Bear adds an emotional element to the scene and helps to further develop Mitchell's motivation.

One suggestion for improvement would be to provide more visual descriptions and actions to enhance the scene. For example, instead of simply stating that Mitchell frequently looks over to Abbott, the paralyzed husband, it would be more engaging to show Mitchell's uneasiness through his body language or facial expressions. Additionally, describing the photographs of the children with their pets in more detail could help to create a stronger visual image for the audience.

Another suggestion would be to consider the pacing of the scene. While the dialogue is informative, it may benefit from some variation in tone or pacing to keep the audience engaged. This could be achieved through the use of pauses, interruptions, or changes in the characters' emotions.

Overall, this scene effectively provides important information and character development, but could benefit from more visual descriptions and variation in pacing to enhance the audience's engagement.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is well-written and provides important information about the Ottos and Billy Ansel. However, there are a few suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location: At the beginning of the scene, it is not clear that Mitchell and Dolores are in Dolores's house. Consider adding a brief description of the setting to establish the location.

2. Show Mitchell's uneasiness: The script mentions that Mitchell is uneasy because Abbott is watching him, but it would be more effective to show Mitchell's uneasiness through his actions and dialogue. For example, you could have Mitchell fidget or avoid eye contact with Abbott.

3. Use visual cues: Instead of relying solely on dialogue, consider incorporating more visual cues to enhance the scene. For example, when Dolores mentions the Ottos' appearance, you could describe their unconventional clothing or hairstyle.

4. Show Mitchell's reaction to the photo: When Mitchell sees the photo of Bear, it is mentioned that he stares at it, but his emotional reaction is not described. Consider adding a brief description of Mitchell's facial expression or body language to convey his emotions.

5. Smooth transitions: The transitions between different scenes and locations could be smoother. Consider using transitional elements such as fade outs or dissolves to indicate the passage of time or change in location.

6. Add more depth to Dolores's character: Dolores provides important information about Billy Ansel, but her character could be further developed. Consider adding more details about her relationship with Billy or her own personal experiences to make her character more three-dimensional.

By implementing these suggestions, the scene can be enhanced to provide a more engaging and visually appealing experience for the audience.



Scene 7 -  Phone Conversations
EXT. BILLY'S PICK-UP -- MORNING

Through the windshield, the camera fixes on BILLY'S face as
he stares at his children.
ANGLE ON

Inside the cab of his pick up, BILLY dials a number on his
cell phone. He continues to wave at his children as he
speaks into the phone.

BILLY
(into the phone)
Hi...Can you talk? I'm on my way to
work...I'm waving at them
now...What's that noise?

CUT TO

EXT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- MORNING

RISA is on a cordless phone. She has just finished cleaning
a room. WENDELL is hammering in the background.

RISA
Wendell's working on the roof. He
thinks he's fixing a leak. As far
as I'm concerned he's just punching
in a few new holes.

CUT TO

INT. BILLY'S PICK-UP -- MORNING

BILLY smiles as he continues the conversation.

BILLY
Nicole's coming over to look after
the kids tonight. She'll be there
around six.

RISA
Billy, that's too early.

BILLY
She said she's got to be home by
nine.

RISA
Can't you make it later?

BILLY
Look, I'll be waiting in the room.
You get over as soon as you can.
Okay?

RISA
I guess.

CUT TO

EXT. ROAD. -- MORNING

HELICOPTER AERIAL SHOT

The bus and the pick-up are travelling through a beautiful
mountain pass.

CUT TO

INT. AIRPLANE. FIRST CLASS CABIN -- DAY

MITCHELL continues his conversation with ALISON as they eat
dinner.

ALISON
I'm glad to hear that Zoe's okay.

MITCHELL
Are you still in touch?

ALISON
Not really. The last time I saw her
was at that clinic. That was a long
time ago.

MITCHELL
Which one?

ALISON
Which one?

MITCHELL
Which clinic?

ALISON
I don't remember the name. It was
near a beach.

MITCHELL
Sunnyridge. That was a long time
ago.

Beat. ALISON proceeds cautiously.




ALISON
So there were others?

MITCHELL
(as he eats)
Other clinics? Oh sure. Clinics,
half-way houses, treatment centers,
detox units...

ALISON
Then...when did she get better?

MITCHELL
She didn't.

ALISON
But you said...

MITCHELL
That's where I'm going. To see her.

ALISON
She's in trouble?

MITCHELL
Yes.
(beat)
Do you find there's something
strange about this meat?

ALISON stares at her plate. MITCHELL summons the
STEWARDESS.

STEWARDESS
Some more wine?

MITCHELL
I'm afraid this meat is overdone.

STEWARDESS
I'm sorry about that, Mr. Stephens.
Would you like to try the fish?

MITCHELL
What is it?

STEWARDESS
Poached salmon.

MITCHELL considers this. He is polite, but slightly edgy.

MITCHELL
Do you have a cold plate?




STEWARDESS
We do.

MITCHELL
Is there shrimp on it?

STEWARDESS
Yes.

MITCHELL
If you could pick the shrimp off, as
well as anything that touches the
shrimp...

STEWARDESS
(smiling)
I'm not sure if that will leave much
on the plate.

MITCHELL
Well, let's see what we get.

The STEWARDESS leaves with MITCHELL'S food. MITCHELL gets
up.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
(to ALISON)
If you could excuse me for a moment.

ALISON nods. MITCHELL leaves. ALISON picks at her meat
undecidedly.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell has a phone conversation with his daughter Zoe, who seems to be in trouble. Meanwhile, Billy talks to Risa about Nicole coming over to look after the kids. Mitchell also talks to Alison about Zoe's past struggles with addiction. The scene ends with Mitchell complaining about his food on an airplane.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, effective use of phone conversations to reveal information"
Weaknesses "The theme could be more strongly emphasized"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys tension and emotion through the phone conversations and reveals important plot details.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of using phone conversations to reveal information and develop characters is interesting and engaging.

Plot: 8

The plot moves forward as Mitchell learns about Zoe's troubles and makes plans to see her. Billy's conversation with Risa also adds to the plot by discussing Nicole coming over to look after the kids.

Originality: 3

The level of originality in this scene is relatively low. The situations and dialogue are familiar and do not offer any fresh approaches or unique perspectives. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue is believable, but not particularly original.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are clear in their conversations.

Character Changes: 7

Mitchell's conversation with Zoe reveals a change in his emotional state as he becomes concerned for her well-being.

Internal Goal: 0

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is not explicitly stated or evident from the dialogue. It is unclear what deeper needs, fears, or desires the protagonist may have.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to communicate with Risa and make arrangements for Nicole to look after the kids. This goal reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges the protagonist is facing, such as the need for childcare and the logistics of their schedules.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is some conflict present in the scene, particularly in Mitchell's conversation with Zoe, but it is not the main focus.

Opposition: 5

The opposition in this scene is relatively weak. While there is some tension and disagreement between the characters, it is not a major obstacle or challenge that the protagonist needs to overcome. The audience can reasonably predict how the conversation will unfold.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high for Mitchell as he learns about Zoe's troubles and makes plans to see her.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by revealing important information about the characters and their relationships.

Unpredictability: 4

This scene is somewhat predictable because it follows a typical pattern of conversation and does not introduce any unexpected twists or surprises. The audience can anticipate the outcome of the characters' interactions.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly in Mitchell's conversation with Zoe.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the characters' emotions and reveals important information.

Engagement: 6

This scene is engaging because it introduces multiple locations and characters, creating a sense of movement and anticipation. The dialogue between the characters is natural and reveals information about their relationships and circumstances.

Pacing: 7

The pacing of the scene is effective in maintaining a steady rhythm and flow. The dialogue exchanges are relatively quick and the scene transitions smoothly between different locations.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes proper scene headings, action lines, and dialogue formatting. The scene is well-organized and easy to read.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes clear scene headings, concise action lines, and dialogue that is properly formatted and attributed to the characters.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively conveys multiple storylines and character dynamics. The use of different locations and phone conversations helps to establish the interconnectedness of the characters and their individual struggles.

One suggestion for improvement would be to clarify the purpose of the scene. It seems to serve as a transition between Mitchell's phone call with his daughter and his conversation with Dolores about the accident. However, it is not entirely clear how the conversation between Billy and Risa contributes to the overall plot or character development.

Additionally, the dialogue could be tightened to make it more concise and impactful. Some of the exchanges between Billy and Risa feel repetitive and could benefit from more subtext or emotional depth.

Overall, this scene effectively sets up the next sequence of events but could benefit from further development and clarity in terms of its purpose and impact on the story.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location and time: Start the scene with an establishing shot of the Bide-A-Wile Motel to clearly indicate the change in location from the previous scene. Also, specify the time of day (morning) to provide a sense of continuity.

2. Show the characters' emotions: Add more description and actions to show the emotions of the characters. For example, describe Billy's face as he stares at his children with a mix of worry and affection. Show Risa's frustration with Wendell's hammering by having her roll her eyes or sigh.

3. Use dialogue to reveal character dynamics: Instead of just stating that Wendell is working on the roof, have Risa and Wendell exchange some dialogue that shows their relationship and their differing opinions. This will make the scene more dynamic and engaging.

4. Add visual elements: Include more visual elements to make the scene more visually interesting. For example, describe the beautiful mountain pass as the bus and pick-up travel through it. This will add depth and visual appeal to the scene.

5. Deepen the conversation between Mitchell and Alison: Instead of just discussing Zoe's well-being, have Mitchell and Alison delve deeper into their past and their relationship. This will add more emotional depth to the scene and provide insight into Mitchell's character.

6. Show Mitchell's internal struggle: Use Mitchell's actions and reactions to show his internal struggle and emotional state. For example, describe him fidgeting with his food or avoiding eye contact with Alison. This will add depth to his character and make the scene more engaging.

7. Add more tension: Create more tension in the scene by having Mitchell and Alison discuss their conflicting opinions or by introducing a new conflict or obstacle for Mitchell to overcome. This will make the scene more dramatic and keep the audience engaged.

Overall, these suggestions aim to enhance the emotional depth, visual appeal, and dramatic tension of the scene, making it more engaging and impactful for the audience.



Scene 8 -  Meeting with the Ottos
INT. AIRPLANE. FIRST CLASS CABIN -- DAY

In the mirror of the tiny washroom of the plane, MITCHELL
washes some water on his face. He stares at his reflection
in the mirror.

CUT TO

EXT. THE OTTOS HOUSE. -- DAY

MITCHELL approaches the house of HARTLEY and WANDA OTTO. He
gets out of his car and knocks on the door.

WANDA OTTO answers. She has been crying. The two stare at
each other.

MITCHELL
Mrs. Otto, my name is Mitchell
Stephens. The Walkers told me you
might be willing to talk to me.




Pause.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
I'm sorry for coming over
unannounced like this, Mrs. Otto,
but the Walkers said you would
understand. I know it's an awful
time, but it's important that we
talk.

WANDA
Who are you?

MITCHELL
I'm a lawyer.

WANDA
You can't come here.

MITCHELL
Please, let me explain. I'll only
take a moment of your time.
WANDA
No.

MITCHELL
Please.

WANDA pauses, stares at MITCHELL, then lets him in.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wanda Otto, who has been crying. He introduces himself as a lawyer and asks to talk to her. Wanda initially refuses, but eventually lets him in.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, engaging dialogue"
Weaknesses "None apparent"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional state of Wanda Otto and Mitchell's determination to talk to her. The dialogue is well-written and the tension between the characters is palpable.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of Mitchell seeking out potential supportive parents and facing resistance from Wanda Otto is interesting and adds depth to the story.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Mitchell meets with Wanda Otto and tries to convince her to talk. This scene adds to the overall narrative by introducing a potential supportive parent and showcasing the challenges Mitchell faces in his mission.

Originality: 4

The level of originality in this scene is relatively low. The situations and approaches are familiar, such as a lawyer trying to convince someone to talk to him. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue is believable and realistic, but not particularly unique.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Mitchell and Wanda Otto are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are clearly portrayed. Their interaction adds depth to their personalities and the overall story.

Character Changes: 7

Wanda Otto's initial refusal to talk and eventual decision to let Mitchell in showcases a small change in her character. Mitchell's determination and empathy also highlight his character traits.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to gain Wanda Otto's trust and convince her to talk to him. This reflects Mitchell's deeper need for information or evidence related to the Walkers, as well as his desire to help his clients or solve a legal case.

External Goal: 9

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to talk to Wanda Otto and gather information or evidence related to the Walkers. This goal reflects the immediate circumstances of the case he is working on and the challenges he is facing in obtaining the necessary information.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a clear conflict between Mitchell, who wants to talk to Wanda Otto, and Wanda, who initially refuses. The tension and resistance add to the conflict level of the scene.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderately strong. Wanda Otto initially opposes Mitchell's request to talk to her, creating a small obstacle for him to overcome. The audience is unsure of how this opposition will be resolved, adding tension and suspense.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as Mitchell needs to find supportive parents for his case. The resistance from Wanda Otto adds to the tension and raises the stakes.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the Ottos as potential supportive parents and showing Mitchell's determination to gather information. It adds to the overall narrative and plot development.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because the audience doesn't know how Wanda Otto will respond to Mitchell's request. Her initial refusal adds uncertainty to the scene and leaves room for potential surprises or twists.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The emotional impact of the scene is high, as Wanda Otto's crying and Mitchell's persistence evoke strong emotions. The audience can empathize with their struggles and feel invested in their story.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue between Mitchell and Wanda Otto is engaging and effectively conveys their emotions and intentions. It adds tension and conflict to the scene.

Engagement: 7

This scene is engaging because it introduces a conflict and raises questions about the Walkers and the reason Mitchell needs to talk to Wanda Otto. The dialogue and interactions between the characters create tension and intrigue, keeping the audience interested in the outcome.

Pacing: 7

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by maintaining a steady rhythm and flow. The dialogue exchanges are relatively quick, keeping the scene moving forward without unnecessary delays or pauses.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses standard scene headings, action lines, and dialogue formatting. The scene is properly formatted and easy to read.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with a location and time description, followed by a series of actions and dialogue. The scene flows logically and progresses the narrative.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively introduces Mitchell's meeting with the Ottos and establishes their emotional state. However, there are a few areas that could be improved.

1. Clarity of purpose: The scene starts with Mitchell washing his face in the airplane washroom, which feels disconnected from the previous events. It would be helpful to establish why Mitchell is going to meet the Ottos right after this. Is it related to the previous conversation with Risa and Wendell? Clarifying this connection would make the scene flow more smoothly.

2. Dialogue: The dialogue between Mitchell and Wanda could be more concise and impactful. Consider condensing the conversation to make it more focused and to the point. Additionally, adding more emotional depth to their interaction could enhance the scene's impact.

3. Visual description: The scene lacks visual description, which could help create a stronger visual image for the reader. Adding details about the setting, characters' appearances, and their body language would make the scene more vivid and engaging.

4. Transition: The transition from the airplane washroom to the Ottos' house feels abrupt. Consider adding a smoother transition or a brief establishing shot to help the reader orient themselves in the new location.

5. Pacing: The scene could benefit from a better sense of pacing. Consider adding more beats or moments of reflection to allow the emotions to sink in and build tension.

Overall, this scene has potential but could be strengthened with clearer purpose, more impactful dialogue, stronger visual description, smoother transitions, and improved pacing.
Suggestions INT. OTTOS LIVING ROOM - DAY

Mitchell steps into the dimly lit living room of the Ottos' house. The room is filled with photographs and mementos, all reflecting a sense of loss and grief. Wanda closes the door behind them.

MITCHELL
Thank you, Mrs. Otto. I understand
this is a difficult time for you and
your husband. I'm here because I
believe you may be able to help a
young girl who is in desperate need
of a loving and stable home.

Wanda remains silent, her eyes filled with sadness.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
The Lambston family is facing some
serious issues, and we're looking
for parents who can provide a safe
and nurturing environment for their
children. The Walkers spoke highly
of you and your husband, and I
wanted to see if you would be
willing to meet with them and
discuss the possibility of becoming
supportive parents.

Wanda's expression softens slightly, but she remains guarded.

WANDA
Why us? Why do you think we would be
suitable?

MITCHELL
From what I've heard, you and your
husband have experienced a great
loss yourselves. Losing your adopted
son, Bear, must have been
devastating. But it also shows that
you have the capacity to love and
care for a child. We believe that
your experience and compassion could
make a real difference in this
young girl's life.

Wanda's eyes well up with tears, and she looks away.

WANDA
It's still too soon. We're not ready
to open our hearts to another child.

Mitchell reaches out and gently places a hand on Wanda's shoulder.

MITCHELL
I understand, Mrs. Otto. Grief takes
time, and there's no rush. But
please consider the possibility. You
have the power to give this girl a
chance at a better life, just as
someone once gave Bear a chance with
you.

Wanda takes a deep breath, visibly conflicted.

WANDA
I'll talk to Hartley about it. But
no promises.

Mitchell nods, grateful for the small opening.

MITCHELL
That's all I ask, Mrs. Otto. Thank
you for considering it. I'll be in
touch with the Walkers to arrange a
meeting if you're willing.

Wanda nods, and Mitchell stands up, ready to leave.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
Take your time, Mrs. Otto. We'll be
here whenever you're ready.

Mitchell walks towards the door, leaving Wanda alone with her thoughts.

CUT TO



Scene 9 -  The Meeting
INT. THE OTTOS HOUSE. -- DAY

MITCHELL walks into the OTTO residence. It is a large two-
storey space divided into several smaller chambers with
sheets of brightly colored cloth - tie-dyes and Indian
madras - that hang from wires.

On a low brick platform in the centre of the main chamber is
a large wood-burning stove. A few feet from the stove,
sitting on an overstuffed cushion, is HARTLEY OTTO.

HARTLEY is listening to music on his headphones. He is very
stoned. WANDA moves over, and pulls the headphones off her
husband's head.

WANDA
We have a guest. What did you say
your name was?

MITCHELL




Mitchell Stephens.

MITCHELL hands them a card. HARTLEY reads it with
deliberation.

WANDA
The Walkers sent him by.

HARTLEY rises up. He stares at MITCHELL. A tense pause.

HARTLEY
You want a cup of tea or something?

MITCHELL
A cup of tea would be nice.
(beat)
Would it be alright if I sit down
for a few minutes, Mrs. Otto? I
want to talk to you.

WANDA stares at MITCHELL. No response. MITCHELL waits a
beat, then seats himself rather uncomfortably on a large
pillow. He is unsure whether to cross his legs, or fold
them under his chin.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
The Walkers spoke very highly of
you.

WANDA
You've been retained?

MITCHELL
Yes.

WANDA
Their child died, and they got a
lawyer.

Pause. MITCHELL assesses WANDA'S energy.

MITCHELL
It should be said that my task is to
represent the Walkers only in their
anger. Not their grief.

WANDA
Who did they get for that?

MITCHELL
You are angry, aren't you, Mrs.
Otto? That's why I'm here. To give
your anger a voice. To be your




weapon against whoever caused that
bus to go off the road.

WANDA
Dolores?

MITCHELL
It's my belief that Dolores was
doing exactly what she'd been doing
for years. Besides, the school
board's insurance on Dolores is
minimal. A few million at the very
most. The really deep pockets are
to be found in the town, or in the
company that made the bus.

WANDA
You think someone else caused the
accident?

MITCHELL
Mrs. Otto, there is no such thing
as an accident. The word doesn't
mean anything to me. As far as I'm
concerned, somebody somewhere made a
decision to cut a corner. Some
corrupt agency or corporation
accounted the cost variance between
a ten-cent bolt and a million dollar
out-of-court settlement. They
decided to sacrifice a few lives for
the difference. That's what's done,
Mrs. Otto. I've seen it happen so
many times before.

HARTLEY returns with the tea.

HARTLEY
But Dolores said she saw a dog and
tried to...

MITCHELL
How long has Dolores been driving
that bus, Mr. Otto? How many times
has she steered clear of danger?
What went wrong that morning?

MITCHELL takes the cup of tea.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
Someone calculated ahead of time
what it would cost to sacrifice
safety. It's the darkest, most
cynical thing to imagine, but it's
absolutely true. And now, it's up
to me to make them build that bus
with an extra bolt, or add an extra
yard of guard rail. It's the only
way we can ensure moral
responsibility in this society. By
what I do.

Pause.

WANDA
So you're just the thing we need.

MITCHELL
Excuse me?

WANDA
Isn't that what you want us to
believe? That we're completely
defenseless? That you know what's
best?

MITCHELL
Listen to me, Mrs Otto. Listen very
carefully. I do know what's best.

As we're sitting here the town or
the school board or the manufacturer
of that bus are lining up a battery
of their own lawyers to negotiate
with people as grief-stricken as
yourselves. And this makes me very,
very mad. It's why I came all the
way up here. If everyone had done
their job with integrity your son
would be alive this morning and
safely in school. I promise you
that I will pursue and reveal who it
was that did not do their job.

MITCHELL
Who is responsible for this tragedy.
Then, in your name and the Walkers'
name and the name of whoever decides
to join us, I shall sue. I shall
sue for negligence until they bleed.

Pause.

WANDA
I want that person to go to jail.
For the rest of his life. I want
him to die there. I don't want his
money.




MITCHELL nods sympathetically.

MITCHELL
It's unlikely that anyone will go to
prison, Mrs. Otto. But he or his
company will pay in other ways. And
we must make them pay. Not for the

money or to compensate you for the
loss of your son. That can't be
done. But to protect other innocent
children. You see, I'm not just
here to speak for your anger, but
for the future as well.
(beat)
What we're talking about is an
ongoing relationship to time.

Pause. HARTLEY looks at MITCHELL'S teacup.

HARTLEY
I didn't ask if you wanted milk.

MITCHELL
No. A little sugar though.

HARTLEY
We've only got honey.

MITCHELL
I'll...take it straight.

MITCHELL maintains his eye contact with WANDA.

WANDA
Are you expensive?

MITCHELL
No.
MITCHELL
If you agree to have me represent
you in this suit, I will require no
payment until after the case is won,
when I will require one third of the
awarded amount. If there is no
award made, then my services will
cost you nothing. It's a standard
agreement.

WANDA
Do you have this agreement with you?




MITCHELL
It's in my car.

MITCHELL gets up.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
I'll just be a minute. Anyhow, you
should discuss this all without me
before you make any decision.

MITCHELL moves to the door.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wanda and Hartley Otto at their house to discuss representing them in a lawsuit regarding their son's death in a bus accident. Mitchell explains his belief that the accident was not an accident but a result of someone's negligence. He promises to pursue the responsible party and make them pay. Wanda expresses her desire for the responsible person to go to jail. Mitchell explains that while prison may be unlikely, they can make them pay in other ways to protect other children. Mitchell offers his services on a contingency basis, with no payment required until after the case is won.
Strengths "The scene effectively conveys the emotional intensity and seriousness of the situation. The dialogue is impactful and reveals the characters' motivations and desires. The scene moves the plot forward by introducing the possibility of a lawsuit and the lawyer's role in seeking justice."
Weaknesses "The scene could benefit from more visual descriptions of the setting and character actions to enhance the overall cinematic experience."

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene effectively conveys the emotional intensity and seriousness of the situation. The dialogue is impactful and reveals the characters' motivations and desires. The scene moves the plot forward by introducing the possibility of a lawsuit and the lawyer's role in seeking justice.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of seeking justice for a tragic event is compelling and relatable. The scene effectively explores the moral responsibility of individuals and organizations and the potential consequences of negligence.

Plot: 9

The plot progresses as Mitchell meets with the Ottos and discusses representing them in a lawsuit. The scene introduces the conflict between the grieving parents and the responsible party, setting up the potential legal battle. The scene also establishes Mitchell's determination to seek justice and protect other children.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the concept of seeking justice for a tragic event is not entirely unique, the specific approach of challenging the idea of accidents and focusing on moral responsibility adds a fresh perspective. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are clearly portrayed. Mitchell is portrayed as a dedicated and passionate lawyer, while Wanda is shown as a grieving mother seeking justice. Hartley's stoned state adds a layer of complexity to the scene.

Character Changes: 8

While there may not be significant character changes in this scene, it establishes the characters' motivations and desires, setting the stage for potential character arcs in the future.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to give the anger of the Walkers a voice and be their weapon against whoever caused the bus accident. This reflects their deeper desire for justice and moral responsibility.

External Goal: 9

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to convince Wanda Otto to let him represent her in the lawsuit against the responsible party for the bus accident. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges they are facing.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between the grieving parents and the responsible party is established in the scene. There is also a conflict between Mitchell's belief in pursuing justice and Wanda's desire for the responsible person to go to jail.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is strong as Wanda Otto challenges the protagonist's beliefs and questions his intentions. The audience is unsure of how the conversation will unfold and whether the protagonist will be able to convince Wanda to let him represent her.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as the characters seek justice for the death of their son. The outcome of the lawsuit could have significant consequences for the responsible party and potentially impact the safety of other children.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the possibility of a lawsuit and the lawyer's role in seeking justice. It establishes the conflict and sets up the potential legal battle.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because it challenges the audience's assumptions about the cause of the bus accident and introduces the idea that someone else may be responsible. The unexpected philosophical conflict adds an element of unpredictability.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the protagonist's belief that there is no such thing as an accident and that someone made a decision to sacrifice safety for cost. This challenges Wanda Otto's belief that Dolores, the bus driver, was responsible for the accident.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly grief, anger, and determination. The characters' emotions are palpable and the audience can empathize with their pain and desire for justice.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue effectively conveys the characters' emotions, motivations, and beliefs. It is impactful and reveals important information about the plot and the characters' perspectives.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it presents a conflict and raises questions about the cause of the bus accident. The intense dialogue and the protagonist's strong convictions create tension and keep the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by gradually building tension through the dialogue and allowing for moments of reflection. The rhythm of the scene keeps the audience engaged and interested in the conversation.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action lines. The formatting is clear and easy to follow.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with a description of the setting, introduces the characters, and progresses through a conversation that reveals their goals and conflicts. The scene has a clear beginning, middle, and end.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively establishes the setting and introduces the characters of Mitchell, Wanda, and Hartley Otto. The dialogue between Mitchell and Wanda reveals their motivations and sets up the conflict of the story. The scene also provides some exposition about the accident and Mitchell's role as a lawyer.

However, there are a few areas that could be improved. Firstly, the description of the Otto residence could be more vivid and specific to help create a stronger visual image for the reader. Additionally, the dialogue between Mitchell and Wanda could be more dynamic and engaging. It feels a bit exposition-heavy at times and could benefit from more subtext and emotional depth.

Furthermore, the scene could benefit from more visual and sensory details to enhance the atmosphere and immerse the reader in the setting. This could include descriptions of the characters' body language, facial expressions, and the overall mood of the room.

Overall, this scene effectively moves the story forward and introduces important information and conflicts. With some improvements in the description and dialogue, it could become a more engaging and impactful scene.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is well-written and effectively conveys the tension and emotions between Mitchell and Wanda. However, there are a few suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the setting: Provide more specific details about the OTTO residence to help the reader visualize the space. Describe the colors, furniture, and any unique features that can enhance the atmosphere.

2. Show Mitchell's discomfort: Instead of stating that Mitchell is unsure how to sit, show his discomfort through his body language and actions. For example, he could fidget with his hands or shift uncomfortably on the pillow.

3. Develop Wanda's character: Give Wanda more depth by exploring her emotions and reactions. Show her internal struggle and conflicting feelings about Mitchell's presence and the case. This will make her character more relatable and engaging.

4. Add more dialogue and interaction: Increase the dialogue between Mitchell and Wanda to create a more dynamic and engaging conversation. Allow them to challenge each other's perspectives and beliefs, creating a sense of conflict and tension.

5. Show Mitchell's expertise: Highlight Mitchell's expertise as a lawyer by having him explain legal concepts or strategies to Wanda. This will demonstrate his knowledge and build trust between them.

6. Use sensory details: Incorporate sensory details to make the scene more vivid and immersive. Describe the smell of the tea, the sound of the wood-burning stove crackling, or the feel of the overstuffed cushion. This will help bring the scene to life and engage the reader's senses.

7. Consider the pacing: The scene could benefit from some pacing adjustments. Break up the dialogue with brief actions or reactions to create natural pauses and give the reader time to absorb the information.

8. End the scene with a strong closing: Consider ending the scene with a powerful line or moment that leaves the reader wanting more. This can create anticipation for the next scene and keep the reader engaged in the story.

By implementing these suggestions, the scene can be further enhanced to captivate the reader and effectively convey the emotions and dynamics between the characters.



Scene 10 -  Mitchell's Struggle with his Daughter's Addiction
EXT. THE OTTOS HOUSE. -- DAY

MITCHELL leaves the house and moves to his car. He gets
inside and closes the door.

Once inside, MITCHELL opens his briefcase and takes out an
agreement for the OTTOS. Something inside the briefcase
catches his attention.

ANGLE ON

A photograph of ZOE.

MITCHELL stares at this photograph.

MITCHELL
(voice over)
I've done everything the loving
father of a drug addict is supposed
to do...

CUT TO

INT. AIRPLANE. FIRST CLASS CABIN -- EVENING

MITCHELL and ALISON have finished dinner. MITCHELL is
drinking a triple scotch.

MITCHELL
(continuing from
voice over)
...I've sent her to the best
hospitals, she's seen all the best
doctors. It doesn't matter. Two
weeks later she's on the street.
New York, Vancouver, Pittsburgh,
Toronto, L.A. The next time I hear
from her, it's a phone call scamming
for money. Money for school, or
money for a new kind of therapist,




or money for a plane ticket home.
'Oh Daddy, just let me come
home...Please, Daddy, I have to see
you...' But she never comes home.
I'm always at the airport, but she's
never there. Ten years of this, ten
years of these lies, of imagining
what happens if I don't send the
money, of kicking down doors and
dragging her out of rat-infested
apartments, of explaining why that
couldn't be my daughter in a porn
flick someone saw...well, enough
rage and helplessness, and your love
turns to something else.

ALISON
(soft)
What...does it turn to?

MITCHELL
It turns to steaming piss.

Pause. ALISON is shocked by MITCHELL'S intensity. He
collects himself.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
I'm...so sorry.

ALISON
That's okay.

CUT TO

EXT. BILLY'S HOUSE. -- LATE DAY

BILLY is chasing his kids around the yard of their house.
NICOLE appears, and watching BILLY play with JESSICA and
MASON. BILLY notices her, and runs up breathlessly,

BILLY
Hi, Nicole.

NICOLE
Hi, Mr. Ansel. Hi, Jessica,
Mason...

BILLY
They just finished supper.

NICOLE
(to the kids)
Was it good?




The children shake their heads. NICOLE and BILLY laugh.

BILLY
I'll be back around nine.

NICOLE
Okay.

CUT TO

INT. GAS STATION -- DUSK

BILLY is playing his electric guitar in the same garage that
MITCHELL walked into at the beginning of the film.

This is the gas station/repair shop/car wash that BILLY
runs.

BILLY checks his watch, and takes his guitar off. He leaves
the garage.

CUT TO

EXT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- DUSK

BILLY is walking along a path behind the hotel, making sure
that he is not seen. He sneaks into Room 11.

CUT TO

INT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- EVENING

BILLY is sitting in a chair in Room 11, smoking a cigarette.
The room is dark. After a while, RISA enters through the
door and slips inside.

RISA
Have you been waiting long?

BILLY
A while.

RISA
Billy, do you have to smoke?
Wendell can smell if someone's been
smoking.

BILLY gets up to put out his cigarette in the toilet. He
notices some work tools in the washroom.

BILLY
What's all this?

RISA




Wendell put some fresh enamel on
that break in the tub.

BILLY
Does this mean I can't take a
shower?
RISA
No. It should be dry by now.

BILLY nods. He turns around, looks at RISA, and begins to
unbutton her shirt. RISA stops him, smiles, and kisses
BILLY. After a moment, she pulls away, unbuckles her belt,
and slips off her jeans. She moves to the bed.

BILLY
What time's he coming home?

RISA
When the game's over, I guess.

BILLY moves to the radio and turns it on, tuning into a
hockey game. RISA laughs. He lowers the volume. RISA
takes off her shirt, and moves behind BILLY, kissing his
neck. BILLY closes his eyes.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father to his daughter who is a drug addict. He expresses his frustration and helplessness in trying to help her. Meanwhile, Billy interacts with Risa and they engage in a secret affair.
Strengths "The scene effectively portrays the emotional struggles of Mitchell and the impact of addiction on a family. The dialogue is impactful and the introduction of the secret affair adds intrigue."
Weaknesses "The scene could benefit from more visual storytelling and varied settings to enhance the visual interest. Additionally, more exploration of the other characters' perspectives could add depth to the scene."

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively portrays the emotional struggles of Mitchell and the complexity of his relationship with his daughter. The introduction of the secret affair adds an additional layer of tension and conflict.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of exploring the impact of addiction on a family and the desperation of a father trying to help his daughter is compelling. The secret affair subplot adds intrigue and complexity to the story.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Mitchell opens up about his daughter's addiction and his struggles. The introduction of the secret affair subplot adds a new element of conflict and tension.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the theme of drug addiction and its impact on families is not unique, the specific details and emotions portrayed by the characters feel authentic and relatable. The dialogue and actions of the characters contribute to the authenticity of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are effectively portrayed. Mitchell's desperation and frustration are palpable, while Billy and Risa's secret affair adds complexity to their characters.

Character Changes: 8

Mitchell experiences a significant emotional change as he opens up about his daughter's addiction. His frustration and helplessness turn into anger and resignation.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to come to terms with his feelings of rage, helplessness, and love for his drug-addicted daughter. It reflects his deeper need for closure, understanding, and a resolution to the ongoing struggle he has faced for ten years.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is not explicitly stated, but it can be inferred that he wants to find a way to help his daughter overcome her addiction and bring her back home. This goal reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges he is facing as a father dealing with his daughter's drug addiction.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is a moderate level of conflict in the scene, primarily driven by Mitchell's internal struggle and the secret affair between Billy and Risa.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderate. While there are no direct conflicts or obstacles, the protagonist's internal struggles and the challenges he faces in dealing with his daughter's addiction create a sense of opposition and tension. The audience is unsure of how the situation will unfold.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high for Mitchell as he grapples with his daughter's addiction and the impact it has on his life. The secret affair also carries risks for Billy and Risa.

Story Forward: 7

The scene provides important character development for Mitchell and introduces the secret affair subplot, which adds complexity to the story.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because it presents a mix of emotions and unexpected revelations. The protagonist's internal monologue and the interactions with other characters add layers of complexity and uncertainty to the scene, keeping the audience guessing about the outcome.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the protagonist's struggle between love and rage, helplessness and determination, and the question of how far he should go to help his daughter. It challenges his beliefs, values, and worldview by forcing him to confront the limitations of his love and the consequences of his actions.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly in Mitchell's monologue about his daughter's addiction. The desperation and helplessness he feels are deeply felt.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the emotions and struggles of the characters. Mitchell's monologue about his daughter's addiction is particularly impactful.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it delves into the emotional struggles of the protagonist and creates a sense of empathy and curiosity in the audience. The intense dialogue, vivid imagery, and the exploration of complex themes keep the audience invested in the scene.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing the audience to absorb the intense emotions and internal thoughts of the protagonist. The scene transitions and the balance between dialogue and action maintain a steady rhythm, keeping the audience engaged.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. The scene headings, action lines, and dialogue are properly formatted and easy to follow. The use of italics for voice-over and the clear scene transitions contribute to the overall readability of the scene.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an establishing shot, introduces the protagonist's internal and external goals, and progresses through different locations and interactions. The scene transitions are clear and the pacing is well-maintained.


Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and effectively conveys the emotions and conflicts of the characters involved. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

1. Transition: The transition from Mitchell leaving the Otto's house to the airplane scene is abrupt and could be smoother. Consider adding a brief establishing shot or a line of dialogue to indicate the change in location.

2. Voiceover: The use of voiceover in Mitchell's monologue about his daughter's addiction is effective in conveying his emotions and frustrations. However, it might be more impactful to show these emotions through his actions and dialogue with Alison, rather than relying solely on voiceover.

3. Dialogue: The dialogue between Mitchell and Alison is well-written and reveals their relationship and Mitchell's emotional state. However, some of the dialogue could be tightened to make it more concise and impactful.

4. Billy's Scene: The scene with Billy and Risa at the motel feels disconnected from the rest of the scene. It might be more effective to integrate this scene with the previous scenes involving Mitchell and Risa, to create a stronger narrative flow.

5. Description: The scene descriptions are generally clear and concise, but there are a few instances where more specific details could be added to enhance the visual imagery and atmosphere of the scene.

Overall, this scene effectively conveys the emotional conflicts and relationships of the characters involved. With some minor adjustments to transitions, dialogue, and scene integration, it could be even stronger.
Suggestions Overall, the scene could benefit from some improvements in terms of clarity, pacing, and character development. Here are some suggestions:

1. Clarify the purpose of Mitchell looking at the photograph of Zoe: The scene starts with Mitchell looking at a photograph of Zoe, but it's not clear why this is significant or how it connects to the previous conversation with Alison. Consider adding a line or a visual cue to establish the emotional significance of the photograph and its connection to Mitchell's thoughts about Zoe.

2. Streamline the dialogue between Mitchell and Alison: The conversation between Mitchell and Alison about Zoe's struggles with addiction feels a bit long and repetitive. Consider condensing the dialogue to focus on the key points and emotions, while still conveying the depth of Mitchell's frustration and helplessness.

3. Develop the scene with Billy and Risa: The scene with Billy and Risa feels disconnected from the rest of the story and lacks context. Consider providing more information about their relationship and their motivations for meeting in secret. This will help the audience understand the significance of their interaction and how it relates to the overall plot.

4. Add more visual cues and actions: The scene could benefit from more visual cues and actions to enhance the storytelling. For example, instead of just stating that Billy is playing his electric guitar, show him playing it and convey his emotions through his performance. Similarly, use visual cues to show the passage of time or to highlight important details in the environment.

5. Consider the pacing and structure: The scene jumps between different locations and characters quite abruptly, which can make it feel disjointed. Consider reorganizing the scenes or adding transitions to create a smoother flow and improve the overall pacing.

6. Develop Mitchell's character further: Mitchell is the main character in this scene, but his emotional journey and motivations could be further developed. Consider adding more internal thoughts or reflections to give the audience a deeper understanding of his perspective and struggles.

7. Show the stakes and conflict: The scene focuses on Mitchell offering his services to the Ottos, but it doesn't clearly establish the stakes or the conflict of the situation. Consider adding more tension or obstacles to make the scene more engaging and to highlight the importance of the decision for both Mitchell and the Ottos.

By implementing these suggestions, you can improve the clarity, pacing, and emotional impact of the scene, making it more engaging for the audience and enhancing the overall storytelling of the script.



Scene 11 -  The Pied Piper's Punishment
INT. BILLY'S HOUSE. -- EVENING

JESSICA and MASON, BILLY'S children, are being read to sleep
by NICOLE. She reads from Robert Browning's THE PIED PIPER
OF HAMELIN.

NICOLE
The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern
side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty...

MASON
What's a ditty again?

NICOLE
It's like a song.

MASON
Oh.

NICOLE
When begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity...

MASON
What's vermin again?

NICOLE
Rats!
They fought the dogs and killed the
cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of vats.
And licked the soup from the cook's
own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted
sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and
flats...

MASON
Nicole?

NICOLE
Yes.

MASON
Can I sit beside you on the bus
tomorrow?

NICOLE
Don't you usually like to sit at the
back? To wave at your Dad?

MASON
I want to sit beside you tomorrow.

NICOLE
Okay.

NICOLE covers JESSICA, and gets up to leave.

MASON
Nicole?

NICOLE
What, Mason?

MASON




Did the Pied Piper take the children
away because he was mad that the
town didn't pay him?

NICOLE
That's right.

MASON
Well, if he knew magic - if he could
get the kids into the mountain - why
couldn't he use his pipe to make the
people pay him for getting rid of
the rats?

NICOLE
Because...he wanted to them to be
punished.

MASON
The people in the town?

NICOLE
Yes.

MASON
So he was mean?

NICOLE
No. Not mean. Just...very angry.

MASON
Oh.

NICOLE
Should I keep reading?

MASON
Okay.

NICOLE smiles at MASON. JESSICA is already asleep.

CUT TO
INT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- EVENING

Room 11 at the Bide-A-Wile. RISA is naked, sitting cross-
legged on the bed. BILLY has just gotten into the shower.
RISA stares at BILLY through the semi-transparent curtain.

RISA stands up and walks to the window. She looks across
the parking lot.

ANGLE ON




RISA'S P.O.V. of the rain-glistened concrete.

CUT TO

INT. BILLY'S HOUSE. -- NIGHT

NICOLE is in BILLY'S bedroom. She has some womens' clothing
laid out on the bed, and is staring at the selection of
blouses and summer dresses. The camera slowly glides to a
picture that BILLY has beside his bed.

ANGLE ON

The photograph. It shows BILLY and his deceased wife,
LYDIA.

Back to NICOLE, selecting various items of LYDIA'S clothing,
and placing them over her body, seeing how she looks in the
mirror.

CUT TO

EXT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- DAY

RISA'S DAYDREAM. A montage of various events, watched from
the window in Room 11. RISA is seen talking to BILLY on her
cordless phone (Scene 34), as well as going through various
activities. Finally, RISA is seen putting her son, SEAN,
into the schoolbus. As the bus pulls away, RISA waves
goodbye. RISA turns around and walks to the camera. She
stops in front of the lens and stares into it, her
expression calm and serene.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wanda and Hartley Otto to discuss representing them in a lawsuit regarding their son's death in a bus accident. He explains his belief that the accident was not an accident but a result of someone's negligence. Wanda expresses her desire for the responsible person to go to jail. Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father to his daughter who is a drug addict. Meanwhile, Billy engages in a secret affair with Risa.
Strengths "Strong emotional depth, well-developed characters, compelling themes"
Weaknesses "Limited exploration of Billy and Risa's affair"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively introduces multiple plotlines and explores emotional depth through the characters' struggles.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of seeking justice for a tragic accident and the complexities of family relationships are well-developed.

Plot: 8

The plot moves forward with the introduction of the lawsuit and Mitchell's personal struggles as a father.

Originality: 4

The level of originality in this scene is low. It follows a familiar structure of a bedtime story being read to children and a conversation between the protagonist and Nicole. The actions and dialogue of the characters are authentic and relatable.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-defined and their emotions and motivations are effectively portrayed.

Character Changes: 8

Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father, showing a vulnerable side. This scene also hints at the emotional changes happening within Billy and Risa's secret affair.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to connect with Nicole and express his desire to sit beside her on the bus. This reflects his need for companionship and his fear of being alone.

External Goal: 6

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to understand the story of the Pied Piper and ask questions about it. This reflects his curiosity and desire for knowledge.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is a moderate level of conflict in the scene, primarily centered around the lawsuit and Mitchell's personal struggles.

Opposition: 4

The opposition in this scene is minimal, with the protagonist expressing his desire to sit beside Nicole and asking questions about the story.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high for the Otto family seeking justice for their son's death, and for Mitchell trying to help his daughter overcome addiction.

Story Forward: 8

The scene introduces important plot developments, such as the lawsuit and Mitchell's personal struggles, which move the story forward.

Unpredictability: 5

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces the protagonist's desire to sit beside Nicole on the bus, which adds a layer of uncertainty to their relationship.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through the characters' grief, frustration, and hope.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is natural and reveals important information about the characters and their relationships.

Engagement: 7

This scene is engaging because it creates a sense of intimacy and curiosity through the interactions between the characters and the storytelling element.

Pacing: 7

The pacing of the scene is effective in creating a sense of intimacy and allowing the dialogue to flow naturally.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre, with clear scene descriptions and character dialogue.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre, with clear scene headings and dialogue formatting.


Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and effectively conveys the emotions and relationships of the characters involved. The dialogue between Nicole and Mason is natural and believable, and it provides insight into their personalities and their connection. The use of the Pied Piper story as a metaphor for the events in the film is a nice touch and adds depth to the scene.

However, there are a few areas that could be improved. Firstly, the transition between the scene at Billy's house and the scene at the motel is abrupt and could be smoother. It would be helpful to have a clearer indication of the change in location and time.

Additionally, the scene at the motel feels somewhat disconnected from the rest of the story. While it provides some insight into Risa's character and her relationship with Billy, it feels somewhat out of place in the context of the larger narrative. It may be worth considering how this scene could be better integrated into the overall story or if it could be condensed or removed altogether.

Overall, this scene effectively develops the characters and their relationships, but there are a few areas that could be improved for better flow and cohesion with the rest of the story.
Suggestions Overall, the scene could benefit from some improvements in terms of clarity and character development. Here are some suggestions:

1. Clarify the purpose of the scene: It's not clear why this scene is included in the script. Is it to show the contrast between Mitchell's serious conversation with Wanda and Hartley and the more intimate moments between Nicole and the children? Or is it to provide some insight into Nicole's character? Clarifying the purpose of the scene will help make it more impactful.

2. Develop Mitchell's conversation with Wanda and Hartley: The conversation between Mitchell and Wanda and Hartley about their son's death feels rushed and lacks emotional depth. Take the time to explore their grief and the impact of their loss. Show Mitchell's empathy and understanding, and allow Wanda and Hartley to express their emotions more fully.

3. Show Mitchell's expertise as a lawyer: Mitchell is introduced as a lawyer, but his expertise is not showcased in this scene. Consider adding a moment where Mitchell explains the legal process to Wanda and Hartley, or where he demonstrates his knowledge of similar cases. This will help establish his credibility and make his offer to represent them more compelling.

4. Connect Mitchell's struggles as a father to the main story: Mitchell's struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter are mentioned, but they don't seem to directly connect to the main story of the lawsuit. Find a way to tie these two storylines together, perhaps by having Mitchell's experiences as a father inform his approach to the case or his motivation to seek justice for Wanda and Hartley.

5. Streamline the scene transitions: The scene transitions between Billy's house, the Bide-A-Wile Motel, and back to Billy's house are abrupt and disjointed. Consider finding a smoother way to transition between these locations, either by using visual cues or by reordering the scenes.

6. Develop Nicole's character: Nicole's role in the scene feels disconnected from the main story. Consider giving her a stronger connection to the other characters or the main plot. For example, she could be a witness to the bus accident or have a personal connection to the lawsuit. This will help make her scenes more relevant and engaging.

7. Consider the pacing: The scene feels a bit slow and could benefit from some tightening. Consider removing any unnecessary dialogue or actions that don't contribute to the overall story or character development.

By implementing these suggestions, you can improve the clarity, emotional depth, and overall impact of the scene.



Scene 12 -  Emotional Affair
INT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- EVENING

Present time. Night. RISA is sitting on the bed, naked,
her legs crossed. She looks to the side, lost in thought.

BILLY is behind her, putting on his clothes.

BILLY
What are you thinking?

RISA
Tomorrow I'm going to put Sean on
the bus. He won't want to go. He
never does. He'll cry and want to
hold on to me.

BILLY
That's because he misses you.




RISA
Yes.

BILLY
It's natural.

RISA
Your kids never cry.

BILLY
Well, maybe that's because they know
I'm going to follow them. Behind
the bus.

RISA
They can look forward to that.

BILLY
Sure.

RISA
Just like we look forward to this.

BILLY looks at RISA and smiles at her with affection. He
moves to the door.
RISA (CONT'D)
You're leaving.

BILLY
I better get back.

RISA nods.

RISA
Good night, Billy.

BILLY
Good night.

BILLY leaves. RISA, still naked, moves to the washroom.
She stares into the tub, noticing that the white enamel that
WENDELL has applied has been washed away from BILLY'S
shower.

RISA picks up a tube of the enamel, and begins to re-apply
it.

CUT TO

INT. BILLY'S HOUSE. -- EVENING

NICOLE shows BILLY the clothes she has chosen. BILLY stares
at the selection.




NICOLE
Are you sure?

BILLY
Yeah.

NICOLE
It just seems...kind of weird.

BILLY
Why?

NICOLE
I don't know.

BILLY
Nicole, I'm just going to pack all
this stuff and give it to the church
for charity. Don't feel bad.
Unless you feel strange about
wearing it.

NICOLE
No. I mean, I remember Mrs. Ansel
wearing some of this stuff, but...I
don't feel funny about that. I
really liked her.

BILLY
And she really liked you. She
would've given you all this if she'd
outgrown it, or...

BILLY trails off, suddenly consumed with sadness.

NICOLE
What do you mean 'outgrown it'?

BILLY
I'm not sure.

NICOLE
Oh.
(beat)
Right.

NICOLE turns to leave, taking the clothes with her.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
Goodnight, Mr. Ansel.

BILLY
Goodnight, Nicole.




NICOLE leaves the house and walks towards the car where her
father is waiting.

CUT TO

INT. SAM'S CAR. -- DUSK
NICOLE gets into the car beside her father.

SAM
What took so long?

NICOLE
Nothing.

SAM stares at the bundle of clothes on NICOLE's lap.

SAM
What's that?

NICOLE
Mrs. Ansel's clothing.

SAM
Does it fit?

NICOLE nods, staring ahead, as SAM starts the car and drives
away.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wanda and Hartley Otto to discuss representing them in a lawsuit regarding their son's death in a bus accident. He explains his belief that the accident was not an accident but a result of someone's negligence. Wanda expresses her desire for the responsible person to go to jail. Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father to his daughter who is a drug addict. Meanwhile, Billy engages in a secret affair with Risa.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, engaging plot development"
Weaknesses "Limited exploration of themes, dialogue could be more impactful"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional depth of the characters and introduces a compelling plot development.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of a lawyer meeting with grieving parents and discussing a potential lawsuit is familiar but still engaging.

Plot: 8

The plot develops as Mitchell offers his legal services to the grieving parents and opens up about his personal struggles. Meanwhile, Billy's secret affair adds intrigue to the story.

Originality: 4

The level of originality in this scene is relatively low. The situations and dialogue are familiar and do not present any unique or fresh approaches. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue is believable and realistic, but not particularly groundbreaking.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are effectively portrayed.

Character Changes: 7

Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father, showing a vulnerable side. Billy's secret affair also reveals a different side of his character.

Internal Goal: 8

Risa's internal goal in this scene is to express her thoughts and concerns about her son, Sean, and his upcoming departure. This reflects her deeper need for reassurance and emotional connection, as well as her fear of being separated from her child.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is not explicitly stated, but it can be inferred that Billy's goal is to leave the motel room and return to his own home or responsibilities. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges they are facing, as they are in a temporary and potentially illicit relationship.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is some conflict between Mitchell's desire for justice and Wanda's desire for the responsible person to go to jail, but it is not the central focus of the scene.

Opposition: 5

The opposition in this scene is relatively weak. There are no significant obstacles or conflicts that the characters must overcome. The audience is not left in suspense or uncertainty about the outcome of the scene.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high for the grieving parents seeking justice for their son's death, and the secret affair adds a layer of risk and potential consequences.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the lawsuit and the secret affair, both of which will have significant consequences.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene has a moderate level of unpredictability. While the overall direction of the scene is clear, there are moments of tension and uncertainty, such as Risa's re-application of the enamel and Billy's sudden sadness. These moments keep the audience engaged and curious about the characters' motivations and emotions.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through the characters' struggles and the intimate moments between Billy and Risa.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is realistic and reveals important information about the characters and their relationships.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it focuses on the characters' emotions and relationships. The dialogue and actions reveal their thoughts and desires, creating a sense of intimacy and connection. The audience is drawn into the characters' lives and invested in their stories.

Pacing: 7

The pacing of the scene is effective in conveying the characters' emotions and allowing the audience to absorb the dialogue and actions. The rhythm of the scene is steady, with moments of reflection and tension interspersed throughout.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. The scene is properly formatted with scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action descriptions. The formatting is clear and easy to follow.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an establishing shot and introduces the characters and their location. The dialogue and actions flow naturally, and the scene ends with a transition to a new location.


Critique Overall, this scene seems to be a departure from the previous scene and the main storyline of the script. It introduces a secret affair between Billy and Risa, which may not be necessary for the overall plot. Additionally, the dialogue between Billy and Risa feels somewhat generic and lacks depth. It would be beneficial to further develop their characters and their motivations for engaging in this affair.

Furthermore, the transition between scenes could be smoother. The sudden shift from the motel room to Billy's house and then to Sam's car feels abrupt and disjointed. It would be helpful to provide clearer transitions or connective tissue between these scenes to create a more cohesive narrative flow.

In terms of the dialogue, there are moments where it feels forced or unnatural. For example, when Risa says, "Just like we look forward to this," it comes across as a bit cliché and could be improved with more authentic and specific dialogue.

Additionally, the scene could benefit from more visual description and sensory details to enhance the atmosphere and immerse the reader in the setting. This would help to create a more vivid and engaging scene for the audience.

Overall, this scene could use some refinement and further development to better align with the main storyline and enhance the overall impact of the script.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location and time: Instead of just stating "Present time. Night," provide more specific details about the location, such as the name of the motel and the city. This will help ground the audience in the scene.

2. Develop Risa's thoughts: Instead of simply stating that Risa is lost in thought, give the audience a glimpse into what she might be thinking about. This could be related to her relationship with Billy, her feelings about her son, or any other relevant aspect of her life.

3. Add more dialogue: The conversation between Billy and Risa feels a bit sparse. Consider adding more dialogue to deepen their connection and reveal more about their characters. This could include discussing their past, their desires, or their fears.

4. Show Risa's emotions: Instead of just stating that Risa is naked and staring into the tub, show her emotions through her actions and expressions. This will help the audience connect with her character on a deeper level.

5. Connect the scene to the previous one: Since this scene follows Mitchell's meeting with Wanda and Hartley, find a way to connect the two scenes thematically or visually. This could be done through a transition shot or by incorporating a line of dialogue that references the previous scene.

6. Consider the pacing: The scene feels a bit slow and could benefit from some tightening. Look for opportunities to condense the dialogue or remove any unnecessary actions to keep the scene moving forward.

7. Provide more context: The scene could benefit from more context about the characters and their relationships. This could be done through subtle actions, gestures, or dialogue that hint at their history together.

Overall, these suggestions aim to deepen the emotional impact of the scene and strengthen the connection between the characters.



Scene 13 -  Meeting with the Ottos
EXT. BURNELL HOME -- NIGHT

SAM drives up the driveway to the Burnell home. He opens
the door, and takes a blanket from the back. NICOLE gets
out as well. The two walk towards the barn.

NICOLE
(voice over)
Once more he stept into the street,
And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth
straight cane;
And ere he blew three notes
such sweet soft notes as yet
musician's cunning
Never gave the enraptured air -
There was a rustling, seemed like a
bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching
and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden
shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little
tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farm-yard when
the barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like
pearls.
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily
after
The wonderful music with shouting
and laughter...

Inside the barn, SAM and NICOLE are engaged in a sexual
embrace. The camera glides past them as NICOLE's voice
continues to read from the poem.




NICOLE (CONT'D)
(voice over)
When, lo, as they reached the
mountain-side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly
hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the
children followed,
And when all were in to the very
last,
The door in the mountain-side shut
fast...


CUT TO

INT. BUS -- DAY

CLOSE-UP of NICOLE in the bus as it makes it's way to
school. She seems to be listening to her own voice as it
reads from the poem.

NICOLE
(voice over)
Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
And could not dance the whole of
the way;
And in after years, if you would
blame
His sadness, he was used to say,-
'It's dull in the town since my




playmates left!
I can't forget that I'm bereft
Of all the pleasant sights they see,
Which the Piper also promised me.
For me led us, he said, to a joyous
land,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees
grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And everything was strange and
new...

On this last line, NICOLE's lips begin to move, as she
repeats the line out loud to herself.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
Everything was strange and new.

CUT TO

EXT. ROAD. -- MORNING

A HELICOPTER shot of the schoolbus making its way through
the winter terrain. DOLORES' voice is heard over this
sweeping panoramic shot.

DOLORES
(voice over)
By the time I reached the bottom of
Bartlett Hill Road, I had half my
load, over twenty kids, aboard.

CUT TO

EXT. WINTER ROAD -- MORNING

The bus comes to a stop where a couple of children in bright
snow suits are waiting by the side of the road. DOLORES
opens the door and the kids climb in.

OMITTED
DOLORES
(voice over)
They had walked to their places on
the main road from the smaller lanes

DOLORES
and private roadways that run off
it. Bright little clusters of three
and four children - like berries
waiting to be plucked.




CUT TO

INT. DOLORES'S HOUSE -- DAY

DOLORES is continuing her conversation with MITCHELL.

DOLORES
(smiling to herself)
That's the way I thought of them
sometimes.

MITCHELL
Berries.

DOLORES
Yes. Like I was putting them into
my big basket. Clearing the
hillside of its children.

Pause. MITCHELL stares at DOLORES, disturbed by this image.
DOLORES looks back at him.

DOLORES (CONT'D)
Abbott and I used to do a lot of
that in the spring.

MITCHELL
Berry-picking.

DOLORES
Yes. The old-fashioned way.

MITCHELL
And what's that?
DOLORES
With our hands.

MITCHELL nods, stealing a glance ABBOTT, who stares at him
intensely.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wanda and Hartley Otto to discuss representing them in a lawsuit regarding their son's death in a bus accident. He explains his belief that the accident was not an accident but a result of someone's negligence. Wanda expresses her desire for the responsible person to go to jail. Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father to his daughter who is a drug addict. Meanwhile, Billy engages in a secret affair with Risa.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, introduction of important plot elements"
Weaknesses "Limited exploration of the secret affair between Billy and Risa"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively establishes the emotional depth of the characters and introduces important plot elements.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of pursuing justice for a tragic accident and the personal struggles of the characters are compelling.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses with the introduction of the lawsuit and Mitchell's personal struggles as a father.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the use of voice-over narration and descriptive language adds a unique touch, the overall structure and content of the scene are relatively familiar.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are effectively portrayed.

Character Changes: 8

Mitchell experiences a change in perspective as he opens up about his struggles as a father.

Internal Goal: 7

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is not explicitly stated, but it can be inferred that Nicole is reflecting on her past experiences and memories. This reflects her deeper need for connection and nostalgia.

External Goal: 6

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is not clearly defined, but it can be inferred that Nicole is on her way to school.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is a moderate level of conflict in the scene, primarily centered around the lawsuit and Mitchell's personal struggles.

Opposition: 5

The opposition in this scene is minimal, as there are no significant obstacles or conflicts presented. The focus is more on introspection and reflection.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as the characters seek justice for their son's death and Mitchell deals with his daughter's addiction.

Story Forward: 7

The scene introduces important plot elements and progresses the overall story.

Unpredictability: 4

This scene is not highly unpredictable as it follows a linear narrative and does not introduce any major plot twists or surprises.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through the portrayal of grief, frustration, and hopelessness.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the emotions and motivations of the characters.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because it combines introspective moments with visual storytelling. The use of voice-over narration and descriptive language creates a sense of intrigue and emotion.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by smoothly transitioning between different locations and maintaining a balanced rhythm. It keeps the audience engaged and interested in the unfolding events.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action descriptions in a clear and organized manner.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an exterior location, transitions to an interior location, and then moves to another exterior location. The scene is well-paced and flows smoothly.


Critique As a screenwriting expert and teacher, I would critique this scene as follows:

1. Lack of clarity: The scene starts with Sam and Nicole in a sexual embrace inside the barn, but then abruptly switches to Nicole reading a poem. It is not clear how these two events are connected or what the purpose of the poem is in relation to the story. The transition between these two moments needs to be smoother and more coherent.

2. Lack of relevance: The poem that Nicole is reading does not seem to have any direct relevance to the story or the characters. It feels out of place and unnecessary. The dialogue and actions should serve a purpose in advancing the plot or developing the characters, and this poem does not seem to fulfill that purpose.

3. Inconsistent tone: The scene starts with a sexual encounter between Sam and Nicole, which suggests a more intimate and intense tone. However, the sudden shift to Nicole reading a poem creates a more poetic and reflective tone. The scene would benefit from a more consistent tone throughout to maintain the audience's engagement and understanding.

4. Lack of focus: The scene jumps between different locations and characters without a clear focus. It starts with Sam and Nicole in the barn, then switches to Nicole on the bus, then to Dolores and Mitchell in a conversation. This lack of focus can be confusing for the audience and makes it difficult to follow the story and the relationships between the characters.

5. Lack of character development: While the scene provides some information about Mitchell's struggles as a father and Dolores' connection to children, it does not delve deeper into their characters or provide any significant development. The scene could benefit from more meaningful dialogue or actions that reveal more about the characters' motivations, conflicts, or growth.

Overall, this scene needs more clarity, relevance, consistency, focus, and character development to effectively contribute to the overall story.
Suggestions Suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the purpose of the scene: The scene seems to be a transition between the previous conversation with Mitchell and the introduction of Dolores. It would be helpful to establish the connection between Mitchell's meeting with Wanda and Hartley Otto and his conversation with Dolores. This could be done through dialogue or visual cues.

2. Focus on the main storyline: The scene seems to shift focus from Mitchell's meeting with the Ottos to Nicole's bus ride and Dolores' conversation with Mitchell. It would be more effective to stay focused on Mitchell's storyline and his interaction with the Ottos.

3. Streamline the dialogue: The dialogue in the scene is lengthy and includes a poem being read by Nicole. Consider condensing the dialogue and removing the poem, as it doesn't seem to directly relate to the main storyline.

4. Develop the emotional impact: Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter, but this emotional moment is not fully explored. Consider adding more depth to Mitchell's emotions and his connection to the Ottos' situation, as this will help the audience empathize with him and understand his motivations.

5. Clarify the relationship between characters: The scene introduces Dolores, but her relationship to Mitchell and the Ottos is not clear. It would be helpful to establish her connection to the story and how she fits into the overall narrative.

6. Enhance visual storytelling: The scene relies heavily on voice-over narration, which can be a passive way of conveying information. Consider using visual cues and actions to tell the story and show the emotions of the characters.

7. Maintain consistency: The scene jumps between different locations and characters without clear transitions. Consider using visual cues or dialogue to establish the changes in location and time.

Overall, the scene could benefit from a clearer focus on the main storyline, stronger emotional impact, and more effective visual storytelling.



Scene 14 -  Struggles and Secrets
EXT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- MORNING

The bus pulls up across the road from the Bide-A-Wile Motel.
DOLORES watches as RISA walks her little boy, SEAN, across
the road to the bus.

DOLORES
(voice over)
Anyhow, my next stop was across from
the Bide-A-Wile, which is owned and
operated by Risa and Wendell Walker.




Risa walked her little boy, Sean,
across the road, which was
customary. Sean had some kind of
learning disability.

DOLORES
He was behind all the other kids his
age in school and was too fragile
and nervous to play sports.

CUT TO

INT. DOLORES'S HOUSE -- DAY

DOLORES continues to talk to MITCHELL, who takes notes.

DOLORES
(smiling)
A strange little fellow, but you
couldn't help liking him. He was
close to ten but seemed more like a
frightened five or six.

MITCHELL
Were his parents...attentive to him?
DOLORES
What do you mean?

MITCHELL
You mentioned that he had a learning
disability.

DOLORES
That's right.

MITCHELL
Did his parents attend to that?

DOLORES
What do you mean?

MITCHELL
Did they give him special care?

DOLORES
The Walkers loved Sean. He was
their only child...the object of all
their attention. I mean, Wendell's
a withdrawn sort of man. That's his
nature. But Risa, she's still got
dreams.

CUT TO




EXT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- MORNING

DOLORES opens the door for SEAN. RISA is wearing a down
parka over her nightgown and bathrobe and is wearing
slippers.

RISA
Morning, Dolores.

DOLORES
Hi, Risa. Aren't your feet
freezing?

RISA looks down at her slippers.
RISA
I guess they are.

SEAN gets to the landing of the bus, then turns around and
looks at his mother. He extends his hands like a baby
wanting to be hugged.

SEAN
I want to stay with you.

Pause. RISA stares at her son with great intensity and
feeling.

RISA
Go on now, Sean. Go on.

SEAN turns away and looks into the bus full of children.

NICOLE
C'mon, Sean. Sit next to me.

MASON is sitting beside NICOLE. NICOLE whispers something
to him, and he makes his way for SEAN.

MASON goes to the back of the bus and sits beside his
sister, JESSICA. SEAN moves tentatively towards NICOLE.

ANGLE ON

Back on DOLORES and RISA.

DOLORES
Is he okay?

RISA
I don't know.

DOLORES




Temperature?

RISA
No. He's not sick or anything.
It's just one of those mornings, I
guess.
CUT TO

INT. DOLORES'S HOUSE -- DAY

DOLORES continues her conversation with MITCHELL STEPHENS.

DOLORES
But I never had 'those mornings'
myself. Not so long as I had the
schoolbus to drive. Not so long as
I had my kids.

DOLORES is lost in this memory, realizing she will never
drive the children again. A tear runs down her cheek.

ABBOTT, sensing his wife's mood, activates his electric
wheelchair and maneuvers himself towards DOLORES.

MITCHELL watches as DOLORES grasps ABBOTT'S hand.

CUT TO

INT. SCHOOL BUS -- MORNING

NICOLE is seated in the bus next to SEAN. She is staring at
the large speedometer on the front panel.

ANGLE ON

The speedometer reads 51 miles an hour.

CUT TO

EXT. SCHOOL BUS -- MORNING

JESSICA and MASON, BILLY'S children, wave at their father
from the back of the bus.

CUT TO

EXT. BILLY'S PICK-UP -- MORNING

BILLY waving back at his children. His expression suddenly
changes as he sees...

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wanda and Hartley Otto to discuss representing them in a lawsuit regarding their son's death in a bus accident. He opens up about his struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter. Meanwhile, Billy engages in a secret affair with Risa.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Strong character development
  • Intense conflict
Weaknesses
  • Dialogue could be more complex

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional struggles of the characters and introduces a significant plot development with the lawsuit and Mitchell's personal struggles as a father.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of exploring the challenges of parenting and the secrets characters hold adds depth to the story.

Plot: 8

The plot moves forward with the introduction of the lawsuit and Mitchell's personal struggles, adding tension and conflict to the story.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the setting and characters are familiar, the portrayal of Dolores' emotional connection to the children she used to drive adds a unique element. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their struggles and secrets add complexity to their personalities.

Character Changes: 7

Mitchell's character undergoes some changes as he opens up about his struggles as a father, showing vulnerability and growth.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is not explicitly stated, but it can be inferred that Dolores is reflecting on her past experiences and memories, particularly her role as a school bus driver and her connection to the children she used to drive. This reflects her deeper need for purpose and connection.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is not clearly defined, but it can be inferred that Dolores is reminiscing about her past and sharing her memories with Mitchell. This reflects the immediate circumstances of the conversation they are having.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict is high in this scene, with the lawsuit and Mitchell's personal struggles creating tension and emotional turmoil.

Opposition: 6

The opposition in this scene is not particularly strong. While there is a sense of tension and conflict in Dolores' emotions and memories, it is not a major obstacle or challenge that the audience is unsure of how it will go.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high with the lawsuit and the personal struggles of the characters, adding tension and importance to the scene.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the lawsuit and deepening the emotional struggles of the characters.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces the learning disability of Sean, which adds a layer of complexity to the story. The audience may not have expected this detail, and it raises questions about how it will impact the characters and their relationships.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly in Mitchell's struggles as a father and Dolores' realization of her loss.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the emotions and thoughts of the characters, but could benefit from more depth and complexity.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it provides insight into the protagonist's past and emotions. The dialogue and narrative description create a sense of empathy and connection with the characters. The scene also raises questions about the characters' relationships and motivations, keeping the audience interested.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing moments of reflection and emotional impact. The dialogue exchanges and scene descriptions are well-paced, creating a rhythm that enhances the mood and meaning of the scene.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses standard scene headings, action lines, and dialogue formatting. The scene is well-organized and easy to follow.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an establishing shot, followed by a series of dialogue exchanges and brief scene descriptions. The scene transitions smoothly between different locations and characters.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively continues the story and adds depth to the characters. The dialogue between Dolores and Mitchell provides important information about Sean's background and his parents' involvement in his care. The scene also showcases Risa's conflicted emotions as she watches her son board the bus. The use of different locations and cuts helps to create a sense of movement and progression in the story.

One suggestion for improvement would be to provide more visual descriptions and actions to enhance the scene. For example, instead of just stating that Risa is wearing a down parka over her nightgown and bathrobe, the scene could show her struggling to keep warm in the cold morning air. This would add more visual interest and help to convey the atmosphere of the scene.

Additionally, it would be beneficial to further explore Mitchell's emotional state and reactions during the meeting with Wanda and Hartley Otto. This would provide more insight into his character and his motivations for taking on their case. Adding more depth to Mitchell's character would make the scene more engaging and impactful.

Overall, this scene effectively continues the story and provides important information about the characters and their relationships. With some additional visual descriptions and character development, it has the potential to be a strong and engaging scene.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location: Instead of just mentioning the Bide-A-Wile Motel, provide some visual description of the motel to help set the scene and create a sense of place.

2. Show the emotions: When Dolores talks about Sean's learning disability, show Mitchell's reaction or facial expression to indicate his concern or curiosity. This will add depth to his character and make the scene more engaging.

3. Add more dialogue: Instead of just asking if Sean's parents were attentive to him, Mitchell could ask specific questions about the type of care they provided or if they sought any professional help for his learning disability. This will give more insight into the characters and their relationship with Sean.

4. Show the characters' actions: Instead of just describing Risa's appearance, show her shivering in the cold and rubbing her hands together to indicate her discomfort. This will make the scene more visually interesting and help the audience connect with the characters.

5. Use descriptive language: Instead of just saying that Sean looks at his mother with intensity and feeling, describe his expression or body language to convey his emotions more vividly. For example, you could say "Sean's eyes well up with tears as he extends his hands towards his mother, pleading for her to hug him."

6. Add internal thoughts or voiceover: Consider adding internal thoughts or a voiceover for Dolores to provide more insight into her emotions and thoughts about the situation. This will help the audience connect with her character on a deeper level.

7. Create a sense of tension: As Sean hesitates to board the bus and looks back at his mother, add some suspense or tension by showing the reactions of the other children or the bus driver. This will create a more dramatic and engaging moment.

8. Show the passage of time: Instead of just cutting to Dolores's house, consider adding a transition shot or a time jump to indicate that some time has passed since the previous scene. This will help the audience understand the progression of the story.

9. Use visual cues: Instead of just stating that Dolores is lost in her memory, show her looking out the window or staring at a photograph to indicate her reminiscing. This will make the scene more visually interesting and help convey her emotions.

10. Add a cliffhanger or foreshadowing: Consider ending the scene with a hint of suspense or foreshadowing to keep the audience engaged and curious about what will happen next. For example, you could show the speedometer on the bus reaching a dangerously high speed, creating a sense of impending danger.



Scene 15 -  The Summer Cottage
EXT. ROAD. -- MORNING

From BILLY'S point of view, the schoolbus smashes through
the guardrail and the snowbank. It plummets down the
embankment to the frozen-over pond.

Still upright, the bus slides across the ice to the far
side. The ice lets go and the rear half of the yellow bus
is swallowed at once by the freezing water. The sound of
the ice breaking is terrifying.

DOLORES
(voice over)
It emerged from the blowing snow on
the right side of the road. It
might have been a dog or a small
deer or maybe even a lost child. It
might have been an optical illusion
or a mirage. Whatever it was, for
the rest of my life I will remember
that red-brown blur...

An eerie silence as the camera stares at the scene of the
accident.

CUT TO

INT. SUMMER COTTAGE -- MORNING

The camera is high above the bed, looking down on a sleeping
family.

This is the same image as from the beginning of the film.

A FATHER, a MOTHER, and a THREE YEAR OLD GIRL, naked in bed.

MITCHELL
(voice over)
Every time I get on one of these
flights to rescue Zoe, I remember
the summer we almost lost her. She
was three years old. It happened in
the morning, at this cottage we used
to rent. We were all sleeping
together in bed. It was a wonderful
time in our lives. We still thought
we had a future together, the three
of us. Did you ever visit the
cottage?

CUT TO
INT. AIRPLANE. FIRST CLASS CABIN -- NIGHT




MITCHELL is telling the story to ALISON.

ALISON
I...don't think so.

MITCHELL
I woke to the sound of Zoe's
breathing. It was laboured. I
looked over and noticed she was
sweating and all swollen. I grabbed
her, rushed to the kitchen, and
splashed water on her face.

ALISON
What happened?

MITCHELL
I didn't know. I was in a panic. I
guessed she'd been bitten by an
insect, but there was no doctor.
The nearest hospital was forty miles
away, and Zoe was continuing to
swell. Klara took her in her arms
and tried to breast-feed her, while
I dialed the hospital. I finally
got a doctor on the line. He
sounded young, but cool. He was
confident, but there was a
nervousness. He have been an
intern. This was the first time he
ever had to deal with anything like
this. He wanted to seem like he
knew what he was doing, but he was
just as scared as I was.

ALISON stares at MITCHELL, taken by his need to chronicle
and detail this irrelevant stranger.

CUT TO

INT. SUMMER COTTAGE -- MORNING

FATHER (YOUNG MITCHELL) is on the phone. The camera is
behind his head.

In front of him, MOTHER (KLARA) is breast-feeding the THREE
YEAR OLD GIRL (ZOE).

MITCHELL
(voice over)
He surmised that there was a nest of
baby black widow spiders in the
mattress. He told me they had to be
babies, or else with Zoe's body




weight she'd be dead. He told me I
had to rush her to the hospital. He
was alone. There was no ambulance
available. 'Now you listen', he
said, 'There's a good chance you can
get her to me before her throat
closes, but the important thing is
to keep her calm.' He asked if
there was one of us she was more
relaxed with than the other. I
said, 'Yes, with me.'

CUT TO

INT. AIRPLANE. FIRST CLASS CABIN -- NIGHT

MITCHELL continues telling the story to ALISON.

MITCHELL
Which was true enough, especially at
that moment. Klara was wild-eyed
with fear, and her fear was
contagious. I was a better actor
than she was, that's all. Zoe loved
us equally then. Just like she
hates us both equally now.
(beat)
The doctor told me that I should
hold her in my lap, and let Klara
drive to the hospital. He asked me
to bring a small, sharp knife. It
had to be clean. There was no time
to sterilize properly. He explained
how to perform an emergency
tracheotomy. How to cut into my
daughter's throat and windpipe
without causing her to bleed to
death. He told me there'd be a lot
of blood. I said I didn't think I
could do it. 'If her throat closes
up and stops her breathing, you'll
have to, Mr. Stephens. You'll have
a minute and a half, two minutes
maybe, and she'll probably be
unconscious when you do it. But if
you can keep her calm and relaxed,
if you don't let her little heart
beat too fast and spread the poison
around, then you might just make it
over here first. You get going
now', and he hung up.

CUT TO




INT. CAR -- MORNING

A little girl staring innocently into the lens as a male
voice sings a lullaby to her.

It is now recognized as MITCHELL'S voice, singing to his
daughter as she is driven to the hospital.

MITCHELL
(voice over)
It was an unforgettable drive. I
was divided into two people. One
part of me was Daddy, singing a
lullaby to his little girl.

MITCHELL
The other part was a surgeon, ready
to cut into her throat. I waited
for the second that Zoe's breath
stopped to make that incision.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wanda and Hartley Otto to discuss representing them in a lawsuit regarding their son's death in a bus accident. He opens up about his struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter. Meanwhile, Billy engages in a secret affair with Risa.
Strengths "Strong dialogue, emotional impact, character development"
Weaknesses "None"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is well-written and emotionally impactful, with strong dialogue and character development.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of a lawsuit and personal struggles adds depth to the story.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Mitchell discusses the lawsuit and opens up about his personal struggles.

Originality: 7

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the concept of a near-death experience and a parent's desperate attempt to save their child is not entirely unique, the specific details and emotions portrayed in the scene add authenticity and freshness. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions are portrayed effectively.

Character Changes: 8

Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father, showing growth and vulnerability.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to recount and reflect on a past traumatic event involving his daughter. It reflects his deeper need to process and understand the emotions and experiences associated with the incident.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to share the story of his daughter's near-death experience with Alison. It reflects the immediate circumstances of their conversation and the challenges they face in connecting on a deeper level.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is conflict between Mitchell's desire for justice and Wanda's desire for the responsible person to go to jail.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderately strong. The protagonist faces the opposition of his own fear and doubt when confronted with the possibility of performing an emergency tracheotomy on his daughter. The audience is unsure of the outcome and feels the tension and stakes of the situation.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as Mitchell discusses a lawsuit and his personal struggles.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the potential lawsuit and developing Mitchell's character.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces unexpected elements, such as the schoolbus accident and the protagonist's recounting of his daughter's near-death experience. However, the overall narrative structure and the protagonist's storytelling style provide some hints and foreshadowing of what is to come.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene between the protagonist's belief in the importance of keeping his daughter calm and relaxed during the emergency tracheotomy and his fear and doubt about being able to perform the procedure. This conflict challenges his beliefs about his own capabilities and the lengths he is willing to go to save his daughter's life.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through Mitchell's struggles as a father and the discussion of a tragic accident.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is engaging and reveals important information about the characters.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it combines elements of suspense, emotion, and introspection. The audience is drawn into the protagonist's story and experiences, creating a sense of empathy and curiosity. The use of descriptive language and vivid imagery also enhances the engagement level.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by alternating between moments of tension and reflection. The use of flashbacks and voice-over narration allows for a slower pace during the protagonist's storytelling, while the initial schoolbus accident and the urgency of the emergency tracheotomy create moments of heightened tension and faster pacing.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes clear scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action descriptions. The use of voice-over and flashbacks is effectively conveyed through the formatting.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an external event (the schoolbus accident) that leads to the protagonist's internal reflection and storytelling. The scene then transitions to different settings and time periods, but maintains a cohesive narrative thread.


Critique Overall, this scene is emotionally impactful and effectively conveys the tension and urgency of the situation. The use of voiceover narration helps to provide insight into Mitchell's thoughts and feelings, adding depth to the scene. The juxtaposition of the accident and Mitchell's personal story creates a strong contrast and adds to the emotional weight of the scene.

One suggestion for improvement would be to provide more visual cues to differentiate between the different time periods and locations. The transitions between the accident scene, the summer cottage, the airplane, and the car can be a bit confusing without clear visual indicators. Adding specific location titles or using different camera angles or lighting techniques could help to clarify these transitions.

Additionally, it may be helpful to further develop the characters of Wanda, Hartley Otto, Billy, and Risa in this scene. As it stands, their presence feels somewhat disconnected from the main narrative and their actions are not fully explained. Providing more context or integrating their storylines more seamlessly into the scene could help to enhance the overall coherence of the script.

Overall, this scene effectively conveys the emotional stakes and adds depth to the characters, but could benefit from clearer visual cues and further development of supporting characters.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is emotionally charged and provides important backstory for Mitchell's character. However, there are a few suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the transition: The scene abruptly transitions from the accident to Mitchell's voiceover in the summer cottage. Consider adding a brief transition or visual cue to smoothly connect the two scenes.

2. Show Mitchell's emotions: Mitchell's voiceover provides insight into his emotions during the incident, but it would be more impactful to see his emotions on screen. Consider showing Mitchell's panic, fear, and determination as he rushes to save his daughter.

3. Use visual storytelling: Instead of relying solely on dialogue and voiceover, incorporate visual storytelling to enhance the scene. Show Mitchell's actions and reactions, as well as the reactions of the other characters involved. This will make the scene more engaging and immersive for the audience.

4. Vary the pacing: The scene currently consists mostly of dialogue and voiceover. To add more visual interest and maintain the audience's attention, consider varying the pacing of the scene. Include moments of silence, quick cuts, or close-ups to create a more dynamic and engaging sequence.

5. Connect the scene to the main plot: While the scene provides important backstory for Mitchell, it should also connect to the main plot of the movie. Consider how this scene can tie into the overall narrative and themes of the story, and find ways to foreshadow or parallel the events that will unfold later in the film.

By implementing these suggestions, the scene can become more visually engaging, emotionally impactful, and seamlessly integrated into the overall story.



Scene 16 -  Grief and Accusations
INT. AIRPLANE. FIRST CLASS CABIN -- NIGHT

ALISON stares at MITCHELL as he finishes his story.
ALISON
What happened?

MITCHELL
Nothing. We made it to the
hospital. I didn't have to go as
far as I was prepared to. But I was
prepared to go all the way.

CUT TO

EXT. ACCIDENT SITE -- DAY

An open sky. BILLY ANSEL'S face appears in the frame,
looking down at the camera.

ANGLE ON

The camera is staring down at BILLY as he identifies the
bodies of his two children.

The camera is at a great height.

As BILLY walks away, the camera floats down, slowly moving
on his face.

CUT TO




EXT. WOODS -- DAY

BILLY's P.O.V. of his wife, LYDIA, tugging a sled through
the snow. JESSICA and MASON are on either side of her.

The three figures are seen from behind, trudging their way
through the winter landscape.

This image has a ghostly quality to it. It is filmed in
slow motion.

Suddenly, a snowball enters the frame and hits LYDIA on the
back of the head. She turns around, laughing into the
camera.

CUT TO
INT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- EVENING

EXTREME-CLOSE-UP

BILLY in his chair in Room 11 of the Bide-A-Wile. He is
alone, smoking a cigarette. A slight faraway smile on his
lips.

After a moment, the door opens. It is RISA.

They stare at each other. Silence.

RISA
I knew you'd be here.

RISA sits on the bed. Pause.

RISA (CONT'D)
Are you going to the funeral?

Pause.

BILLY
I stopped by the station a while
ago. I stared at the bus. I could
almost hear the kids inside. There
was a lawyer there. He told me he'd
gotten you signed up. Is that true?

RISA
Something made this happen, Billy.
Mr. Stephens is going to find out
what it was.

BILLY




What are you talking about? It was
an accident.

RISA
Mr. Stephens says that someone
didn't put a right bolt in the
bus...

BILLY
Risa, I serviced that bus. At the
garage. There's nothing wrong with
it.

RISA
...or that the guardrail wasn't
strong enough.

BILLY
You believe that?

RISA
I have to.

BILLY
Why?

RISA
Because I have to.

BILLY
Well I don't.

BILLY gets up to leave.

RISA
Is it true that you gave Nicole one
of Lydia's dresses? That she was
wearing it when the bus crashed?

BILLY
Yes.

RISA
Why did you do that, Billy?

BILLY
You think that caused the accident,
Risa? That it brought bad luck?
Christ, it sounds to me you're
looking for a witch doctor, not a
lawyer. Or maybe they're the same
thing.

RISA is crying. BILLY opens the door.
BILLY (CONT'D)
You know what I'm going to miss?
More than making love? It's the
nights you couldn't get away from
Wendell. It's the nights I'd sit in
that chair for an hour. Smoking
cigarettes and remembering my life
before...

BILLY stares at RISA painfully, then leaves.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wanda and Hartley Otto to discuss representing them in a lawsuit regarding their son's death in a bus accident. He opens up about his struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter. Meanwhile, Billy engages in a secret affair with Risa.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, impactful dialogue"
Weaknesses "Some repetitive dialogue, lack of visual variety"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional weight of the characters' grief and the tension surrounding the lawsuit. The dialogue is impactful and reveals important character dynamics.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of exploring grief and the pursuit of justice is compelling and engaging. The secret affair adds an additional layer of complexity to the characters' lives.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Mitchell discusses the lawsuit with Wanda and Hartley, revealing his belief in negligence. Billy's secret affair with Risa adds a subplot and raises questions about his character.

Originality: 7

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situations and themes explored are not entirely unique, the writer brings freshness through their emotional depth and the way they handle the characters' grief and philosophical conflicts. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and struggles are portrayed effectively. Mitchell's vulnerability as a father and Billy's conflicted emotions add depth to the scene.

Character Changes: 7

While there may not be significant character changes in this particular scene, the emotional revelations and conflicts contribute to the potential for character growth and development.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to come to terms with the accident and his grief. It reflects his deeper need for closure, his fear of accepting responsibility, and his desire to move on from the tragedy.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to confront Risa and discuss the funeral arrangements. It reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges he's facing, such as dealing with the aftermath of the accident and the legal implications.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict in the scene, both in the emotional conflicts between the characters and the legal conflict surrounding the lawsuit.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderately strong. The protagonist and Risa have conflicting beliefs and desires, and their emotional confrontation creates tension and uncertainty about the outcome.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high in the scene, as the characters are dealing with the death of a child and the pursuit of justice. The emotional and legal consequences are significant.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the lawsuit and the emotional struggles of the characters. It raises questions and sets up future conflicts.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat predictable because it follows a familiar pattern of grief and conflict. However, the specific details and the characters' emotional depth add some unpredictability.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the protagonist's struggle to accept the accident as a tragic but random event versus Risa's belief that there may be someone to blame for it. This conflict challenges the protagonist's beliefs about fate, responsibility, and the nature of accidents.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly in the portrayal of grief and the characters' struggles. The dialogue and performances contribute to the emotional impact.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is impactful and reveals important information about the characters' motivations and emotions. The conversation between Billy and Risa is particularly intense and emotional.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it presents emotionally charged moments, explores deep themes of grief and responsibility, and keeps the audience invested in the protagonist's journey.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing moments of emotional intensity to breathe, while also maintaining a sense of forward momentum. The slow motion and pauses add to the overall rhythm and impact.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses clear scene headings, concise action lines, and proper dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It transitions smoothly between different locations and effectively conveys the emotional journey of the protagonist.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively conveys the emotional turmoil and conflict within the characters. The dialogue between Billy and Risa reveals their differing beliefs about the cause of the accident and their own personal guilt. The use of flashbacks and different locations adds visual interest and helps to deepen the audience's understanding of the characters' pasts and motivations.

However, there are a few areas that could be improved. Firstly, the transition between scenes could be smoother. Instead of using "CUT TO" repeatedly, consider using more descriptive scene headings or finding a more seamless way to transition between locations.

Additionally, the dialogue could be tightened and made more concise. Some lines feel repetitive or unnecessary, and removing them would help to maintain the scene's momentum. For example, the exchange between Billy and Risa about Nicole wearing Lydia's dress could be condensed to convey the same information in a more efficient way.

Lastly, consider adding more visual description and action to enhance the scene. While the dialogue is strong, incorporating more visual elements can help to engage the reader and create a more dynamic reading experience.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is emotionally charged and provides important information about the characters and their relationships. However, there are a few suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the transition between Mitchell's story and the flashback scenes. It is not clear how Alison's question about what happened leads to the flashback scenes. Consider adding a line or a visual cue to make the transition smoother.

2. Consider adding more visual descriptions to enhance the impact of the flashback scenes. For example, in the accident site scene, describe the devastation and the emotional state of Billy as he identifies the bodies. In the woods scene, describe the atmosphere and the ghostly quality in more detail.

3. Add more dialogue or actions to show the emotional connection between Billy and Risa. Currently, their conversation feels a bit detached and lacks depth. Consider adding moments of vulnerability or shared memories to make their affair more impactful.

4. Consider adding a moment of reflection or reaction from Mitchell after hearing Billy's story. This can help to further develop Mitchell's character and show his emotional investment in the case.

5. Lastly, consider adding a closing line or action to provide a sense of closure to the scene. This can help to transition smoothly to the next scene and leave the audience with a lasting impression.

By implementing these suggestions, the scene can be further improved to create a more engaging and emotionally resonant moment in the script.



Scene 17 -  The Meeting
EXT. GAS STATION -- NIGHT

MITCHELL is videotaping the bus with a portable camcorder.

The bus is badly damaged, though essentially intact. Most
of the windows in the rear have gone. There is a ghostly
quality to this image, as though the video light is
searching through the remains of an ancient shipwreck.

MITCHELL turns off the camcorder and stands in the silent
night, absorbing the disturbing energy of the bus. He hears
a truck approaching the garage from the distance. It's
BILLY ANSEL. MITCHELL retreats to his parked car as BILLY
stops his truck in front of the bus and steps out of the
truck.

BILLY leaves his headlights on, and they cast dark shadows
over the inside passenger seats. BILLY stares at the bus a
long time. MITCHELL approaches him.

MITCHELL
I'm here about your children, Mr.
Ansel.

BILLY takes a moment, then turns around to face MITCHELL.
The two men stare at each other.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
My name is...

BILLY
Mister, I don't want to know your
name.

MITCHELL
I understand.

BILLY
No you don't.




MITCHELL
I can help you.

BILLY
Not unless you can raise the dead.

MITCHELL hands BILLY a card.

MITCHELL
Here. You may change your mind.

BILLY looks at the card.

BILLY
Mr. Mitchell Stephens, Esquire,
would you be likely to sue me if I
was to beat you right now? Beat you
so bad that you pissed blood and
couldn't walk for a month. Because
that's what I'm about to do.

MITCHELL
No, Mr. Ansel. I wouldn't sue you.

BILLY
Leave us alone, Stephens. Leave the
people of this town alone. You
can't help.

MITCHELL
You can help each other. Several
people have agreed to let me
represent them in a negligence suit.
Your case as an individual will be
stronger if I'm allowed to represent
you together as a group.

BILLY
Case?

MITCHELL
The Walkers have agreed. The Ottos.
Nicole Burnell's parents. It's
important to initiate proceedings
right away. Things get covered up.
People lie. That's why we have to
begin our investigation quickly.
Before the evidence disappears.
That's why I'm out here tonight.

BILLY
I know Risa and Wendell Walker.
They wouldn't hire a goddamned
lawyer. And the Ottos wouldn't deal




with you. We're not country
bumpkins you can put a big city
hustle on. You're trying to use us.

MITCHELL
You're angry, Mr. Ansel. You owe it
to yourself to feel that way. All
I'm saying is let me direct your
rage.

BILLY stares at MITCHELL with a cold intensity. The cell
phone in MITCHELL'S car begins to ring.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
That's my daughter. Or it may be
the police to tell me that they've
found her dead. She's a drug
addict.

BILLY
Why are you telling me this?

MITCHELL
I'm telling you this because...
we've all lost our children, Mr.
Ansel.

MITCHELL
They're dead to us. They kill each
other in the streets. They wander
comatose in shopping malls. They're
paralyzed in front of televisions.
Something terrible has happened
that's taken our children away.
It's too late. They're gone.
The phone continues to ring, as BILLY stares at MITCHELL.

MITCHELL turns to look at the ringing phone.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Wanda and Hartley Otto to discuss representing them in a lawsuit regarding their son's death in a bus accident. He opens up about his struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter. Meanwhile, Billy engages in a secret affair with Risa.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, engaging concept"
Weaknesses "Dialogue could be more impactful"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional intensity and conflict between Mitchell and Billy, as well as the underlying theme of loss and struggle.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of a lawsuit for a bus accident and the personal struggles of the characters are engaging and relatable.

Plot: 8

The plot develops by introducing the idea of a lawsuit and the potential for the characters to seek justice for their loss.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a lawyer trying to convince a skeptical individual to join a lawsuit is a familiar one, the specific details and emotional depth of the scene add a fresh approach. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are clearly portrayed.

Character Changes: 7

While there is not a significant character change in this scene, it deepens the understanding of the characters' emotions and motivations.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to convince Billy to let him represent him in a negligence suit. This reflects Mitchell's deeper desire to help the people of the town and seek justice for their lost children.

External Goal: 9

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to initiate proceedings for a negligence suit and gather support from the people of the town. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges Mitchell is facing in his quest for justice.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Mitchell and Billy is intense and drives the scene forward.

Opposition: 9

The opposition in this scene is strong, as Billy is resistant to Mitchell's attempts to help and challenges his beliefs and motivations. The audience doesn't know how the interaction will go, adding to the sense of opposition and conflict.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as the characters are dealing with the death of a child and the potential for legal action.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the idea of a lawsuit and the potential for the characters to seek justice.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected reactions and responses from the characters. The audience doesn't know how the interaction between Mitchell and Billy will go, adding to the tension and suspense.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the tension between Mitchell's belief that he can help the people of the town and Billy's skepticism and resistance to outside help. This challenges Mitchell's belief in his ability to make a difference and raises questions about the effectiveness of the legal system.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through the characters' struggles and the intensity of their interactions.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the conflict and emotions of the characters, but could be more impactful.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the tension and emotional depth between the characters, as well as the mystery surrounding the lost children. The dialogue and descriptions create a sense of intrigue and make the audience invested in the outcome of the scene.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by creating a sense of tension and suspense. The dialogue and actions are paced in a way that keeps the audience engaged and interested in the outcome of the scene.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes scene headings, character names, dialogue, and scene directions in a clear and organized manner.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an establishing shot, followed by character actions and dialogue, and ends with a cut to a new scene.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively conveys the emotional weight and tension between Mitchell and Billy. The dialogue is strong and reveals important information about both characters. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

Firstly, the scene could benefit from more visual description. While the opening description of the bus and the use of the camcorder creates a haunting atmosphere, there could be more attention to detail in describing the setting and the characters' actions. This would help to enhance the visual impact of the scene and make it more engaging for the reader.

Additionally, the dialogue could be tightened up in some places. For example, the exchange between Mitchell and Billy about Mitchell's daughter feels a bit repetitive and could be condensed to make it more impactful. The dialogue could also benefit from more subtext and nuance, allowing the characters' emotions and motivations to come through in a more subtle way.

Furthermore, it would be helpful to have a clearer sense of the characters' objectives and obstacles in this scene. What does Mitchell want from Billy? What is Billy's resistance to Mitchell's offer? Clarifying these goals and obstacles would add depth to the scene and create more tension between the characters.

Overall, this scene has strong potential but could benefit from more visual description, tighter dialogue, and clearer character objectives.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Add more visual description: The scene could benefit from more visual description to help set the mood and atmosphere. For example, you could describe the gas station as being dimly lit, with flickering lights and a sense of desolation. This would enhance the ghostly quality of the bus and create a more eerie atmosphere.

2. Show Mitchell's emotions: Instead of just stating that Mitchell is absorbing the disturbing energy of the bus, show his emotions through his actions and reactions. For example, you could describe him clenching his fists or taking a deep breath to compose himself. This would make his emotional state more tangible to the audience.

3. Develop the interaction between Mitchell and Billy: The dialogue between Mitchell and Billy could be more dynamic and engaging. Instead of just stating their lines, consider adding more subtext and conflict to their conversation. For example, Mitchell could try to empathize with Billy's anger, while Billy remains defensive and skeptical. This would create more tension and make the scene more compelling.

4. Show the impact of Mitchell's revelation: When Mitchell reveals that his daughter is a drug addict, it could have a stronger impact on Billy. Show Billy's reaction through his facial expressions or body language. This would help the audience understand the weight of Mitchell's confession and its effect on Billy.

5. Use the environment to enhance the scene: Consider using the environment to enhance the emotional impact of the scene. For example, you could have the sound of a distant siren or the flickering lights of the gas station adding to the tension and unease. This would create a more immersive experience for the audience.

Overall, these suggestions aim to make the scene more visually engaging, emotionally impactful, and dynamic.



Scene 18 -  Mitchell's Proposal
INT. DOLORES'S HOUSE -- DAY

MITCHELL is getting ready to leave. DOLORES is still
grasping onto ABBOTT'S hand.

DOLORES
I have a question for you, Mr.
Stephens.

MITCHELL
What's that, Dolores?




DOLORES
I told you that I was doing fifty
miles an hour when the accident
happened. That's how I remembered
it. But the truth is, I might have
been doing sixty. Or sixty five.
And if that's true, that I was over
the limit when the bus went over,
what would happen then?

MITCHELL
That would complicate things.

DOLORES
Because I'd be to blame, right?

MITCHELL
Billy Ansel will insist that you
were driving fifty-one miles an
hour. Just like you've done every
morning for the past fifteen years.

DOLORES
He knows that? Billy?

MITCHELL
Yes. He does.
DOLORES
Billy said that?

MITCHELL nods.

DOLORES (CONT'D)
You've talked to Billy?

MITCHELL
I did.

DOLORES
And Billy told you that he'll tell
that to...

MITCHELL
Mrs. Driscoll, if Billy Ansel does
not volunteer to say so in court, I
will subpoena him and oblige him to
testify to that effect.

Pause. MITCHELL plans his next step.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
But in order to do that, you must
let me bring a suit in your name




charging negligent infliction of
emotional harm. That's what I'm now
asking you to consider.

Pause. DOLORES is lost.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
It's clear to me and other people
that you have suffered significantly
from this event.

DOLORES
What other people?

MITCHELL
Excuse me?

DOLORES
Who's been talking to you about what
I'm feeling? Who should care about
what I'm feeling?

MITCHELL stares at DOLORES.

MITCHELL
Dolores, people have to know that
you've suffered too.

MITCHELL
And they won't understand until you
let me clear your name - your good
name - once and for all. Will you
let me do that? Will you let me do
my duty?

Suddenly, ABBOTT says something. He twists his face around
his mouth, purses his lips on the left side and emits a
string of broken syllables and sounds. After this outburst,
DOLORES looks at MITCHELL, a comforted smile on her face.

DOLORES
You heard what Abbott said?

MITCHELL
Yes.

DOLORES
Anything you didn't understand?

MITCHELL
There might have been a word or two
that slipped by. Maybe you could
clarify it for me, just to be
absolutely sure.




DOLORES
Abbott said that the true jury of a
person's peers is the people of her
town. Only they, the people who
have known her all her life, and not
twelve strangers, can decide her
guilt or innocence. And if I have
committed a crime, then it's a crime
against them, so they are the ones
who must decide my punishment.

MITCHELL stares at ABBOTT, who stares back.

MITCHELL
That's what he said, is it?

DOLORES
Yes. Abbot understands these
things.

CUT TO

EXT. DOLORES'S HOUSE -- DAY

MITCHELL leaves the DRISCOLL house, watched by DOLORES.

INT. HOSPITAL -- MORNING

NICOLE BURNELL is in bed. A doctor, DR. ROBESON, is
touching her forehead. NICOLE'S family (SAM, her mother
MARY, and her little sister JENNY)

DR. ROBESON
The mind is kind.

The camera fixes on NICOLE'S expression as she stares ahead.

NICOLE
(voice over)
They say I'm lucky because I can't
remember the accident.

SAM
Don't even try to remember.

MARY
You just think about getting well,
Nicole, that's all.

The camera is always fixed on NICOLE'S face when her voice
over is heard.

NICOLE
(voice over)
I know I'm as well as I ever can be
again. So shut up, Mom. To stay
like this, to live like a slug, I'm
going to have to work like someone
trying to get into the Olympics.

SAM
Just wait till you see what we've
got waiting for you at home.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Dolores to discuss representing her in a lawsuit regarding her son's death in a bus accident. Dolores reveals that she may have been driving over the speed limit at the time of the accident, which could complicate things. Mitchell assures her that Billy Ansel will testify that she was driving at her usual speed. Mitchell proposes bringing a suit in Dolores's name for negligent infliction of emotional harm. Dolores is unsure and questions who cares about her feelings. Mitchell insists that people need to know she has suffered and offers to clear her name. Abbott, Dolores's son, speaks in broken syllables and Dolores interprets his words as the true jury being the people of her town. Mitchell leaves and the scene shifts to Nicole in the hospital, reflecting on her recovery from the accident.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, exploration of guilt and innocence"
Weaknesses "Some dialogue could be more concise"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional struggles of the characters and introduces a significant plot development.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of a lawsuit and the exploration of guilt and innocence are well-executed.

Plot: 8

The plot moves forward as Mitchell proposes a lawsuit and Dolores questions her role in the accident.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a protagonist facing a legal challenge and needing to prove their innocence is familiar, the specific dynamics between the characters and the emphasis on the community's judgment add a fresh approach. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are clear.

Character Changes: 7

Dolores experiences a shift in her perspective as she questions her own responsibility.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to clear her name and protect her reputation within the community. This reflects her deeper need for acceptance and validation from the people who have known her all her life.

External Goal: 9

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to have Mitchell bring a suit in her name charging negligent infliction of emotional harm. This reflects the immediate challenge she is facing of being blamed for the accident and needing to prove her innocence.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is some conflict between Dolores's guilt and Mitchell's desire to clear her name.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is strong, as the protagonist is faced with the challenge of proving her innocence and protecting her reputation. The audience is unsure of how the community will judge her and what the consequences of her actions will be.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as Dolores considers the potential consequences of her actions.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the possibility of a lawsuit and exploring Dolores's guilt.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because it introduces new information and raises questions about the protagonist's guilt or innocence. The audience is left wondering how the community will judge her and what the consequences of her actions will be.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the tension between the protagonist's belief in the importance of the community's judgment and Mitchell's belief in the legal system. This challenges the protagonist's values and worldview, as she must decide whether to trust the people she knows or the legal process.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene is emotionally impactful as Dolores grapples with her guilt and Mitchell offers to help her.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the characters' emotions and motivations.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it presents a conflict and raises questions about the protagonist's innocence and the community's judgment. The dialogue is compelling and reveals important information, keeping the audience invested in the outcome of the scene.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by gradually building tension through the dialogue and pauses. The rhythm of the scene allows for moments of reflection and emotional impact.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. The scene is clearly labeled with the location and time, and the dialogue is properly formatted with character names and dialogue tags. The scene direction is minimal but effective in conveying the actions and emotions of the characters.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an establishing shot and then focuses on the dialogue between the characters, building tension and revealing important information. The scene ends with a cut to a different location, indicating a shift in the narrative.


Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and effectively advances the plot and character development. The dialogue between Mitchell and Dolores is engaging and reveals important information about the case and the characters involved. The scene also introduces a new element with Abbott's statement about the true jury of Dolores's peers, adding depth to the story.

One suggestion for improvement would be to vary the sentence structure and length of the dialogue. Currently, many of the lines are short and straightforward, which can make the conversation feel a bit repetitive. Adding some longer, more complex sentences or incorporating more descriptive language could help to make the dialogue more dynamic and engaging.

Additionally, it might be beneficial to provide more visual cues and descriptions to enhance the reader's understanding of the characters' emotions and actions. For example, including details about Mitchell's body language or Dolores's facial expressions could help to convey their feelings and reactions more effectively.

Overall, this scene effectively moves the story forward and provides important information and character development. With some minor adjustments to sentence structure and the addition of visual cues, it could be even stronger.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location: Instead of just stating "INT. DOLORES'S HOUSE - DAY," provide some description of the house to help set the scene and create a visual image for the reader.

2. Show the characters' emotions: Add more emotional depth to the scene by describing the characters' facial expressions, body language, or tone of voice. This will help the audience connect with the characters and understand their feelings.

3. Vary the dialogue: The dialogue in the scene is repetitive and could benefit from some variation. Try to give each character a unique voice and make their dialogue more specific to their personalities and situations.

4. Add subtext: Explore the underlying emotions and motivations of the characters through subtext. For example, Mitchell could be feeling guilty about his own daughter's struggles, which could influence his decision to help Dolores. This will add depth and complexity to the scene.

5. Create more conflict: Introduce some conflict or tension into the scene to make it more engaging. For example, Dolores could initially resist Mitchell's offer to clear her name, creating a conflict between them that needs to be resolved.

6. Consider the pacing: The scene could benefit from some pacing adjustments to create a more dynamic flow. You could add shorter, snappier lines of dialogue or break up the dialogue with actions or reactions from the characters.

7. Provide visual cues: Use visual cues to enhance the scene and make it more visually interesting. For example, you could describe the characters' movements, gestures, or the setting in more detail to create a vivid image in the reader's mind.

8. Consider the overall structure: Evaluate the placement of this scene within the larger story. Does it serve a specific purpose or advance the plot in a meaningful way? If not, consider whether it could be condensed or reworked to better fit the overall narrative structure.

Remember, these are just suggestions, and ultimately, the changes you make should align with your vision for the story and characters.



Scene 19 -  Leaving the Hospital
INT. HOSPITAL -- DAY

NICOLE, in a wheelchair, is being led down a hallway with
her family.

NICOLE
(voice over)
It's an incredible relief to be
leaving the hospital. I'm so sick
of looking at my doctor, listening
to Frankenstein ask me stupid
questions about what I was
feeling...

CUT TO

INT. HOSPITAL. LOBBY. -- DAY

NICOLE is being wheeled to the front door of the hospital.

NICOLE
(voice over,
continuing)
He thought it was cute when I called
him Frankenstein. It wasn't. I
feel like his monster.

MARY
Isn't it a lovely day?

NICOLE
What happened to summer?

MARY
Summer's over. It's fall.

NICOLE
And winter?
MARY
Well, winter's far behind us now.




NICOLE
How was it?

MARY
We had a terrible winter last year,
didn't we, Sam?

SAM nods.

NICOLE
Good thing I was in Florida.

MARY doesn't know quite what to make of NICOLE'S joke. SAM
flashes NICOLE a smile. She doesn't return it.

CUT TO

EXT. BURNELL HOME -- DAY

NICOLE arrives at home. The car pulls up in front of the
modest house.

SAM opens the door and puts the wheelchair up next to it.
He points out the ramp he has built for NICOLE.

The ramp is painted green.

SAM
How do you like it, Nicole?

NICOLE
The ramp?

SAM
Pretty slick, eh?

NICOLE
Very slick.

SAM
Do you like the colour?
NICOLE
It's okay.

SAM
And I had to widen a few doors.
You'll see.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole is being wheeled out of the hospital after her recovery. She reflects on her experience and jokes about her doctor. She arrives home to a ramp that her father built for her.
Strengths
  • Effective portrayal of Nicole's emotions
  • Humorous moments amidst a serious situation
  • Insight into Nicole's recovery process
Weaknesses
  • Minimal conflict
  • Limited character development

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively portrays Nicole's relief at leaving the hospital and her mixed emotions about her recovery. The humor adds depth to the scene.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of a character recovering from a traumatic event and returning home is well-executed, but not particularly innovative.

Plot: 8

The plot moves forward as Nicole is discharged from the hospital and returns home. Her reflections and interactions with her family provide insight into her emotional state.

Originality: 5

This scene does not contain any particularly unique situations or fresh approaches. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue is believable and relatable.


Character Development

Characters: 7

Nicole's character is developed through her internal monologue and interactions with her family. Her father's efforts to build a ramp for her show his care and support.

Character Changes: 5

There is minimal character change in this scene. It primarily focuses on Nicole's emotional state and her return home.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to express her frustration and discomfort with her doctor and her current situation. This reflects her deeper desire for independence and control over her own life.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to return home from the hospital. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges she is facing.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 3

There is minimal conflict in this scene. It focuses more on Nicole's emotional journey and her return home.

Opposition: 6

The opposition in this scene is not particularly strong, as the conflict between the protagonist and the other characters is more subtle and internal.

High Stakes: 4

The stakes are relatively low in this scene. It focuses more on Nicole's personal journey and her return home.

Story Forward: 6

The scene moves the story forward by showing Nicole's transition from the hospital to her home. It also provides insight into her emotional state.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because the protagonist's sarcastic humor adds an element of surprise and unpredictability to the dialogue.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is not a clear philosophical conflict evident in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a mix of emotions, including relief, sadness, and humor. Nicole's reflections on her experience and her family's support add emotional depth.

Dialogue: 6

The dialogue is simple and straightforward, with some humorous moments. It effectively conveys the characters' emotions and thoughts.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it introduces the protagonist's frustration and humor, as well as setting up the conflict between her and the other characters.

Pacing: 7

The pacing of the scene is effective in conveying the protagonist's frustration and discomfort, as well as setting up the conflict with the other characters.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre, with proper indentation and formatting of dialogue.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre, with clear scene headings and dialogue.


Critique Overall, this scene seems to be a transition scene that focuses on Nicole's release from the hospital and her return home. It provides some insight into her feelings and the dynamic between her and her family. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

First, the dialogue between Nicole and Mary in the hospital lobby feels a bit forced and unnatural. The conversation about the seasons and Nicole's joke about being in Florida doesn't flow smoothly and feels out of place. It would be beneficial to make the dialogue more organic and reflective of their relationship.

Additionally, the interaction between Nicole and Sam when they arrive home could use some more depth. The conversation about the ramp and the color choice feels superficial and lacks emotional depth. It would be helpful to explore their relationship and the impact of Nicole's accident on their family dynamics in a more meaningful way.

Furthermore, the scene could benefit from more visual and sensory details to enhance the atmosphere and immerse the audience in the setting. Descriptions of the hospital, the weather, and the Burnell home could help create a more vivid and engaging scene.

Overall, this scene serves its purpose in transitioning the story, but it could be improved by focusing on more natural dialogue, deeper character interactions, and richer sensory details.
Suggestions INT. NICOLE'S BEDROOM - DAY

NICOLE is now settled in her bedroom, looking around at the modifications that have been made to accommodate her wheelchair. She takes in the widened doors and the accessible features with a mix of gratitude and sadness.

NICOLE
(voice over)
It's strange to see my own home
transformed like this. It's a
constant reminder of what I've
lost.

NICOLE's gaze falls on a family photo on her bedside table. She picks it up, her fingers tracing the faces of her loved ones.

NICOLE
(voice over, continuing)
I miss being a part of their
world. I miss the freedom to
come and go as I please.

NICOLE's eyes well up with tears as she places the photo back on the table. She takes a deep breath, trying to compose herself.

NICOLE
(voice over, determined)
But I won't let this define me.
I'll find a way to adapt, to
reclaim my independence.

NICOLE reaches for a notebook and pen on her bedside table and begins to write, her determination evident in her eyes.

CUT TO



Scene 20 -  Nicole's New Room
INT. BURNELL HOME -- DAY




Inside the house. The interior of the house is dark and
somewhat tawdry. The BURNELL'S are almost poor.

But SAM then leads NICOLE into the special room he has built
for her. It seems like another world. Every detail has
been lovingly attended to. No expense has been spared to
make this room as attractive and inviting as possible.

A room that a guilty, abusive father might dream up for his
crippled daughter.

SAM
What do you think?

Pause. NICOLE wheels around, trying to control her emotions
as she inspects the room. A phone rings in the background.
MARY goes to answer it.

NICOLE fixes her gaze at the back of the door.

NICOLE
The door needs a lock.

SAM
(taken aback)
Sure. I'll fix it right away.

SAM goes to get his tools. JENNY stares at NICOLE.

JENNY
Can I come and visit you here?

NICOLE
You better. And you can sleep in my
new bed with me too.
NICOLE grabs her sister's hand, and JENNY moves in close to
her. SAM comes back with the tools. He starts to screw in
the hook.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
That's too high. I'll never reach
it.

SAM
(nervous)
Oh. I better get some spackle.

SAM leaves again.

JENNY
Mommy says you need to lock the boys
out.




NICOLE
What boys?

JENNY
I don't know.

NICOLE stares at JENNY, as MARY comes back into the room.

MARY
So do you like your new room?

NICOLE
It's interesting.

MARY
Your Dad spent all his spare time in
here. He wanted to make it
absolutely perfect.

NICOLE
I feel like a princess.

SAM comes back and begins to work on the door. NICOLE
watches him. She notices a new computer on a desk.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
Is this mine?
MARY
Yes. It's a present.

NICOLE
From you?

MARY
No. From Mr. Stephens. That was
him on the phone just now. He was
calling to see how you were.

NICOLE
Who's Mr. Stephens?

SAM
He's a lawyer. He's our lawyer.

NICOLE
You and Mom have a lawyer?

SAM
Well, yes. He's your lawyer too.

NICOLE
My lawyer? Why do I need a lawyer?




MARY
Maybe we shouldn't be talking about
this just now, with you barely home.
Aren't you hungry, honey? Want me
to fix you something?

NICOLE
No. What's this lawyer business?

MARY turns to JENNY.

MARY
Jenny, why don't you go and play
outside?

JENNY looks at NICOLE.

JENNY
He's given me some stuff too. Toys,
and some books...

MARY
Jenny.

JENNY turns to leave. When she's outside, MARY continues.

MARY (CONT'D)
He's a very kind man. And he knew
that you'd need a computer for doing
schoolwork.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole is wheeled out of the hospital and arrives home to a specially built room by her father. She inspects the room and requests a lock on the door. Her sister Jenny asks if she can visit, and Nicole agrees. Nicole notices a new computer and asks about it, learning that it was a gift from a lawyer named Mr. Stephens.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, intriguing plot developments"
Weaknesses "Limited exploration of themes, moderate conflict level"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional impact of Nicole's return home and her interactions with her family. The introduction of the lawyer adds intrigue and raises questions about the upcoming plot.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of Nicole returning home to a specially built room and the introduction of a lawyer adds depth to the story and sets up potential conflicts and plot developments.

Plot: 8

The plot moves forward as Nicole returns home and discovers the new room and the presence of a lawyer. These developments create intrigue and raise questions about the upcoming legal proceedings.

Originality: 8

This scene demonstrates a level of originality through its portrayal of the protagonist's unique circumstances and the conflicts she faces. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters, particularly Nicole and her family, are well-developed and their emotions and interactions are effectively portrayed.

Character Changes: 7

Nicole's character undergoes a small change as she expresses her desire for a lock on her door and questions the presence of a lawyer.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to feel safe and secure in her new room. This reflects her deeper need for protection and a sense of belonging, as well as her fear of being vulnerable and exposed.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to have a lock installed on the door of her new room. This reflects the immediate circumstance of wanting privacy and control over her own space, as well as the challenge of feeling safe in a potentially abusive environment.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is some conflict present in Nicole's desire for a lock on her door and her confusion about the lawyer, but it is not highly intense.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderately strong, as the protagonist faces challenges and conflicts in her home environment. The audience is unsure of how these challenges will be resolved.

High Stakes: 6

The stakes are moderately high as Nicole returns home and begins to navigate her new circumstances, including the legal proceedings.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the new room and the lawyer, setting up potential conflicts and plot developments.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces new information and conflicts that are not immediately resolved. The mention of a lawyer and the protagonist's confusion add to the unpredictability of the scene.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene between the protagonist's desire for safety and her father's potential abusive behavior. This conflict challenges the protagonist's beliefs about family, trust, and the meaning of love.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through Nicole's return home and her interactions with her family.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is natural and reveals important information about the characters and their relationships.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because it introduces a sense of mystery and conflict through the protagonist's new room and the mention of a lawyer. The dialogue and actions of the characters also create a sense of tension and curiosity.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by gradually building tension and curiosity through the protagonist's exploration of her new room and the introduction of new information.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses proper scene headings, action lines, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 9

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It establishes the setting, introduces the characters, and presents the conflict in a clear and coherent manner.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively conveys the emotions and dynamics within the Burnell family. The dialogue and actions reveal the strained relationship between Nicole and her father, Sam, as well as the tension between Nicole and her mother, Mary. The scene also introduces the character of Mr. Stephens, the family's lawyer, and hints at some legal issues surrounding Nicole.

One aspect that could be improved is the pacing of the scene. The dialogue feels a bit rushed, and there are moments where the characters' emotions could be given more time to breathe. For example, when Nicole suggests adding a lock to the door, Sam's reaction could be given more weight and his nervousness could be further emphasized. This would help to build tension and highlight the underlying conflict between Nicole and her father.

Additionally, the scene could benefit from more visual descriptions to enhance the atmosphere and setting. The description of the Burnell home as "dark and somewhat tawdry" is a good start, but more details could be added to paint a clearer picture of the environment. This would help to create a stronger contrast between the special room that Sam has built for Nicole and the rest of the house.

Overall, this scene effectively advances the story and reveals important information about the characters and their relationships. With some adjustments to pacing and visual descriptions, it could become an even stronger and more impactful moment in the screenplay.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Add more description and details to set the tone and atmosphere of the Burnell home. This will help create a stronger visual image for the audience.

2. Show more of Nicole's emotions and reactions as she inspects the room. This will help convey her feelings about the situation and her relationship with her father.

3. Develop the conversation between Nicole and Jenny further. Explore their relationship and how they interact with each other. This will add depth to their characters and provide more insight into their family dynamics.

4. Provide more context and explanation about the lawyer and why Nicole needs one. This will help clarify the situation for the audience and create a stronger connection to the overall plot.

5. Consider adding more dialogue or actions to show the characters' reactions to the lawyer's involvement. This will help create tension and conflict within the scene.

6. Explore Nicole's thoughts and feelings about the lawyer and the gifts he has given her. This will add complexity to her character and provide an opportunity for her to express her opinions and concerns.

7. Consider adding more visual elements to the scene, such as the computer on the desk. This will help enhance the setting and provide more visual interest for the audience.

8. Show more of Mary's reaction and emotions regarding the lawyer and his involvement. This will help establish her character and provide insight into her motivations and intentions.

9. Consider adding a transition or a visual cue to indicate the passage of time between scenes. This will help the audience understand the timeline of events and prevent confusion.

10. Overall, focus on developing the characters and their relationships within the scene. This will help create a more engaging and compelling scene for the audience.



Scene 21 -  Recovery and Legal Battles
EXT. BURNELL HOME. PORCH -- DAY

NICOLE wheels her chair to the exterior porch, where she
watches her sister climb a tree. SAM follows her outside.



SAM
It's because of the accident,
Nicole. Most people in this town
whose kids were on the bus have got
lawyers. A lot of people...well,
people in this town are very angry.
Us included.

NICOLE
But you didn't lose me.

MARY
No, honey. And we will thank the
Lord for that every day and night




for the rest of our lives. But you
almost died, and you were badly
injured, and you won't be...you
can't...

NICOLE
I can't walk anymore.

ANGLE ON
NICOLE'S P.O.V. of JENNY playing on a tree branch.

SAM
You're going to need special care
for a long time to come. It's not
going to be easy. Not for you, not
for any of us. Because we love you
so much. And it's going to cost
money. More than we can imagine.

NICOLE
What about insurance? Doesn't
insurance pay for these things?

SAM
Partly. But there's a lot the
insurance doesn't cover. That's one
of the reasons we have a lawyer. To
make sure the insurance gets paid
and to help us look after the rest.

NICOLE
How will he do that?

SAM
Well, Mr. Stephens is representing
several families. The Ottos, the
Walkers, us, and I think a couple
more. Mr. Stephens is suing the
town for negligence. He's sure that
the accident could have been avoided
if they had done their jobs right.
He's a very smart man.

NICOLE stares at her sister who's at the top of the tree.
JENNY turns to look back at NICOLE.

There's a tension, as it seems as though JENNY is going to
let herself fall.

NICOLE
(voice over)
That's the first thing I heard about
you. That you were a smart man.




That you were so smart that you
were going to sue the town, then
make us all feel better...

CUT TO

EXT. GAS STATION -- NIGHT

FLASHBACK to the scene outside the gas station between
MITCHELL and BILLY.

The cell phone in MITCHELL'S car has begun to ring. The two
men stare at each other.

NICOLE
(voice over)
You're good at that. Good at
getting people to believe you could
do something for them. Something
they could never do for themselves.

MITCHELL breaks the silence.

MITCHELL
That's my daughter. Or it may be
the police to tell me that they've
found her dead. She's a drug
addict.

BILLY
Why are you telling me this?

MITCHELL
I'm telling you this because we've
all lost our children, Mr. Ansel...

CUT TO

INT. AIRPLANE. FIRST CLASS CABIN -- NIGHT

MITCHELL stares at the sleeping figure of ALISON.

MITCHELL
(voice over)
They're dead to us.

CUT TO

EXT. GAS STATION -- NIGHT

Back to the scene between BILLY and MITCHELL. The cellular
phone is ringing. MITCHELL breaks the stare with BILLY and
moves to his car.
The camera follows him, as BILLY moves back to his truck in
the background. MITCHELL gets in his car and picks up the
phone.

MITCHELL
Yes, I'll accept the charges.

ZOE
Daddy?

CUT TO

EXT. PHONE BOOTH -- AFTERNOON

MITCHELL
Yes.

ZOE
I'm calling because I've got some
news for you, Daddy. Some big news.

MITCHELL
News?

ZOE
Don't you want to hear?

MITCHELL
Yes. Give me your news, Zoe.

ZOE
You always think you know what I'm
going to say, don't you? You always
think you're two steps ahead of me.
The lawyer.

MITCHELL
Tell me your news, Zoe.

ZOE
Okay. I went to sell blood
yesterday. That's how it is. I'm
in this fucking city where my father
is a hot shit lawyer, and I'm
selling my blood.
MITCHELL
That's not news, Zoe.

ZOE
No. But this is. They wouldn't
take my blood.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole reflects on her recovery from the accident and the financial implications it has on her family. She learns about Mr. Stephens, the lawyer representing several families in a lawsuit against the town for negligence. Meanwhile, Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter. The scene also includes a flashback to Mitchell and Billy's conversation outside a gas station, where Mitchell reveals his personal struggles.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, engaging concept"
Weaknesses "Dialogue could be more complex and nuanced"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional and financial consequences of the accident, while also introducing the legal aspect of the story.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of exploring the aftermath of an accident and the legal battles that follow is engaging and relatable.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Nicole learns about Mr. Stephens and Mitchell opens up about his daughter's drug addiction. The flashback adds depth to Mitchell's character.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a family dealing with the aftermath of an accident is familiar, the specific dynamics and conflicts between the characters add freshness to the scene. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their struggles are portrayed convincingly. Nicole's determination and Mitchell's vulnerability make them compelling.

Character Changes: 8

Mitchell's character undergoes a change as he opens up about his daughter's drug addiction, revealing his vulnerability.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to come to terms with her disability and the impact it has on her life. It reflects her deeper need for acceptance and understanding from her family and herself.

External Goal: 9

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to understand the role of the lawyer in seeking justice for the accident and how it will affect her family's future.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is a moderate level of conflict in the scene, primarily centered around the emotional and financial consequences of the accident.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is strong as the protagonist faces the challenges of her disability and the potential danger her sister is in. The audience is unsure of how these obstacles will be resolved.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high for Nicole and her family, both emotionally and financially, as they navigate the aftermath of the accident and the legal battle.

Story Forward: 8

The scene provides important information about the legal battle and the characters' emotional journeys, moving the story forward.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because it introduces unexpected elements, such as the protagonist's sister climbing a tree and the mention of a lawyer representing families affected by the accident. These elements add intrigue and raise questions about the future events in the narrative.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene between the protagonist's belief in the lawyer's ability to make things better and her sister's potential danger while climbing the tree. This conflict challenges the protagonist's belief in the lawyer's power to solve all their problems.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through the characters' struggles and the revelation of Mitchell's personal issues.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the emotions and motivations of the characters, but could benefit from more depth and complexity.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it presents relatable conflicts and emotional stakes for the characters. The dialogue and actions create tension and curiosity, making the reader want to know more about the characters' stories.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by balancing dialogue and action, creating a rhythm that keeps the reader engaged. The scene progresses at a steady pace, allowing for emotional moments to resonate.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It introduces the setting, establishes the characters' goals and conflicts, and provides a clear progression of events.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively conveys the emotional and financial impact of the bus accident on Nicole and her family. The dialogue between Nicole, Sam, and Mary effectively shows their concern for Nicole's well-being and the financial strain they are facing. The mention of Mr. Stephens and his role in representing multiple families adds a layer of complexity to the situation.

One suggestion for improvement would be to provide more visual cues and actions to enhance the scene. For example, instead of just stating that Nicole wheels herself to the porch, it would be more engaging to see her actually doing it. Additionally, incorporating more physical reactions and gestures from the characters can help to further convey their emotions and add depth to the scene.

Another suggestion would be to tighten the dialogue and make it more concise. Some of the lines feel repetitive and could be condensed to make the scene more impactful. For example, the exchange between Nicole and Sam about insurance coverage could be shortened to get to the point more quickly.

Lastly, the use of voiceover to provide additional context and insight into Nicole's thoughts and feelings is effective, but it could be used more sparingly to maintain a better balance between dialogue and internal monologue.

Overall, this scene effectively conveys the emotional and financial impact of the bus accident on Nicole and her family, but it could benefit from more visual cues, tighter dialogue, and a more balanced use of voiceover.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location: Start the scene with an establishing shot of the Burnell home to give the audience a clear sense of where the characters are.

2. Show the emotions: Add more emotional depth to the dialogue between Nicole, Sam, and Mary. Show their pain and frustration through their words and actions.

3. Develop the relationship between Nicole and Jenny: Instead of just mentioning that Jenny asks to visit Nicole, show their interaction and the bond they share. This will make the scene more heartfelt and meaningful.

4. Make the conversation about Mr. Stephens more natural: Instead of having Sam explain everything about Mr. Stephens, have Nicole ask specific questions about him and his role in their situation. This will make the dialogue more engaging and realistic.

5. Use visual cues: Instead of relying solely on dialogue, incorporate visual cues to enhance the scene. For example, show Nicole's reaction to Jenny climbing the tree and her fear that Jenny might fall. This will add tension and visual interest to the scene.

6. Use voice-over effectively: Instead of using voice-over for the entire scene, use it sparingly to highlight Nicole's thoughts and emotions. This will create a more dynamic and engaging narrative.

7. Consider the pacing: Break up the scene into smaller beats to create a better flow. For example, after Nicole asks about insurance, have a moment of silence or a reaction shot before Sam responds. This will give the audience time to process the information and create a more natural rhythm.

8. Show the impact of Mitchell's phone call: Instead of cutting to a flashback, show the immediate impact of Mitchell's phone call on his conversation with Billy. This will create a stronger connection between the two scenes and add more tension.

9. Use visual contrast: Consider using visual contrast between the flashback scenes and the present-day scenes to differentiate them. This can be done through lighting, color grading, or camera angles to create a distinct visual style for each timeline.

10. Consider the overall pacing of the scene: Make sure the scene flows smoothly and doesn't feel rushed or dragged out. Trim any unnecessary dialogue or moments to maintain a good pace and keep the audience engaged.



Scene 22 -  Hard Times
INT. CAR -- DAY

Image of ZOE as a little girl in MITCHELL'S lap. Her face
is swollen. She is being driven to the hospital.

MITCHELL is singing her a lullaby.

MiTCHELL's conversation with ZOE continues over this image.

ZOE
Do you know what that means, Daddy?
Does it register?

MITCHELL
Yes.

ZOE
I tested positive.

MITCHELL
Yes.

ZOE
Welcome to hard times, Daddy.

Pause.

MITCHELL
What do you want me to do, Zoe?
I'll do whatever you want.

ZOE
I need money.

MITCHELL
What for?

ZOE
You can't ask me that! Not anymore!
You asked me what I wanted. Not
what I wanted it for. I want money.

MITCHELL
Do you have the blood test?

ZOE
You don't believe me? You don't
fucking believe me?

MITCHELL
Of...course I do. I just
thought...I could get you another




test. In case the one you got...was
wrong.

ZOE
I like it when you don't believe me,
Daddy. It's better you don't
believe me but have to act like you
do.

Pause.

ZOE (CONT'D)
I can hear you breathing, Daddy.

MITCHELL
Yes. I can hear you breathing too.

ZOE begins to cry over the phone.

ZOE
Oh God, I'm scared.

MITCHELL
I love you, Zoe. I'll be there
soon, and I'll take care of you. No
matter what happens. I'll take care
of you.
CUT TO

INT. AIRPLANE. FIRST CLASS CABIN -- NIGHT

MITCHELL is still staring at the sleeping figure of ALISON.

ALISON'S blanket has fallen to the side.

MITCHELL lifts the blanket, and covers the sleeping figure
of the young woman.

CUT TO

EXT. BURNELL HOME -- DAY

MITCHELL drives up to the BURNELL home. He gets out of his
car and walks to the front door.

SAM has repainted the ramp.

It is now red.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Mitchell meets with Dolores to discuss representing her in a lawsuit regarding her son's death in a bus accident. Dolores reveals that she may have been driving over the speed limit at the time of the accident, which could complicate things. Mitchell assures her that Billy Ansel will testify that she was driving at her usual speed. Mitchell proposes bringing a suit in Dolores's name for negligent infliction of emotional harm. Dolores is unsure and questions who cares about her feelings. Mitchell insists that people need to know she has suffered and offers to clear her name. Abbott, Dolores's son, speaks in broken syllables and Dolores interprets his words as the true jury being the people of her town. Mitchell leaves and the scene shifts to Nicole in the hospital, reflecting on her recovery from the accident. Nicole is being wheeled out of the hospital after her recovery. She reflects on her experience and jokes about her doctor. She arrives home to a ramp that her father built for her. Nicole is wheeled out of the hospital and arrives home to a specially built room by her father. She inspects the room and requests a lock on the door. Her sister Jenny asks if she can visit, and Nicole agrees. Nicole notices a new computer and asks about it, learning that it was a gift from a lawyer named Mr. Stephens. Nicole reflects on her recovery from the accident and the financial implications it has on her family. She learns about Mr. Stephens, the lawyer representing several families in a lawsuit against the town for negligence. Meanwhile, Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter. The scene also includes a flashback to Mitchell and Billy's conversation outside a gas station, where Mitchell reveals his personal struggles.
Strengths "Strong character development, impactful dialogue, emotional depth"
Weaknesses "Some transitions between scenes could be smoother"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional turmoil and the stakes involved in the potential lawsuit. The dialogue is impactful and the character development is strong.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of the scene, which revolves around the aftermath of a tragic accident and the legal implications, is well-executed and engaging.

Plot: 8

The plot of the scene progresses smoothly, with the introduction of the potential lawsuit and the emotional journey of the characters. The flashback adds depth to Mitchell's character.

Originality: 7

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a parent comforting a child in a time of crisis is familiar, the specific dialogue and emotional dynamics between the characters feel authentic and unique. The characters' actions and dialogue reflect the authenticity of their emotions and the challenges they face.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are effectively portrayed. Mitchell's struggles as a father and Dolores's uncertainty and grief are particularly compelling.

Character Changes: 8

Mitchell's character undergoes a change as he opens up about his struggles as a father. Dolores also experiences a shift in her perspective as she considers the lawsuit.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to comfort and support his daughter, Zoe, who has just received a positive test result for an unknown condition. His goal reflects his deeper need to protect and care for his daughter, as well as his fear and concern for her well-being.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to provide financial support for his daughter, as she expresses a need for money. This goal reflects the immediate circumstance of her positive test result and the challenges they may face in dealing with her condition.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict in the scene arises from the potential lawsuit and the characters' emotional struggles. The tension is palpable and drives the scene forward.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderate, as the protagonist's daughter expresses her need for money and challenges his belief in her. The audience is unsure of how the protagonist will respond and whether he will be able to meet her needs.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high in the scene, as the characters grapple with the loss of loved ones, potential legal consequences, and the emotional toll of the accident.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the potential lawsuit and deepening the emotional journey of the characters. It also provides important information about Mr. Stephens and the financial implications of the accident.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces a positive test result for an unknown condition, which raises questions about the future challenges the characters will face. However, the overall outcome and resolution of the scene are somewhat predictable.

Philosophical Conflict: 6

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene, as Zoe challenges her father's belief in her by expressing her preference for him to act as if he doesn't believe her. This conflict challenges the protagonist's values and worldview, as he struggles to balance his trust in his daughter with his desire to protect her.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly in the conversations between Mitchell and Dolores, and Mitchell's reflection on his daughter's addiction.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful and reveals the emotions and conflicts of the characters. The conversation between Mitchell and Dolores is especially powerful.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it presents a dramatic and emotional situation that captures the audience's attention. The dialogue and actions of the characters create tension and evoke empathy for their struggles.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing for moments of emotional intensity and reflection. The pauses and breaks in dialogue create a rhythm that enhances the impact of the characters' words and actions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses standard scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with a specific location and time, includes dialogue and character actions, and transitions smoothly between different settings.


Critique Overall, this scene is emotionally charged and provides insight into the characters of Mitchell and Zoe. Here are some specific points to consider in the critique:

1. Transition: The transition from the previous scene to this one is not clear. It would be helpful to have a smoother transition or a clear indication of the change in location and time.

2. Visuals: The scene starts with an image of Zoe as a little girl in Mitchell's lap, but it is not clear if this is a flashback or a visual representation of their conversation. Clarifying this visually would help the audience understand the context.

3. Dialogue: The dialogue between Mitchell and Zoe is intense and emotional, which effectively conveys their strained relationship. However, some of the dialogue could be more specific and nuanced to reveal more about their characters and their situation.

4. Pacing: The scene could benefit from some pacing adjustments. The pauses between lines of dialogue could be used more effectively to build tension and emotion. Additionally, the scene could be condensed to focus on the most impactful moments and eliminate any unnecessary repetition.

5. Visual storytelling: The scene could benefit from more visual storytelling to enhance the emotional impact. For example, instead of explicitly stating that Zoe is crying, it could be shown through her actions or facial expressions.

6. Transition: The transition from Mitchell on the airplane to him arriving at the Burnell home feels abrupt. Adding a smoother transition or a brief establishing shot would help the audience understand the change in location.

7. Visual details: The detail about the ramp being repainted red is intriguing, but it is not clear why this detail is significant. Adding more context or symbolism to this visual detail would help enhance its impact.

Overall, this scene has strong emotional moments and effectively reveals the characters' struggles. With some adjustments to pacing, dialogue, and visual storytelling, it could become an even more impactful and cohesive scene.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the transition: The scene abruptly shifts from Nicole leaving the hospital to Mitchell's conversation with Zoe. It would be helpful to add a transition line or a visual cue to smoothly transition between the two scenes.

2. Provide more context: It is unclear who Zoe is and why she is in the car with Mitchell. Adding a brief explanation or a flashback to establish their relationship and the reason for their conversation would help the audience understand the scene better.

3. Show emotions through actions: Instead of explicitly stating that Zoe is crying over the phone, show her emotions through her actions and dialogue. For example, you could describe her voice trembling or her wiping away tears.

4. Develop Mitchell's character: Mitchell's conversation with Zoe reveals his struggles as a father, but it would be beneficial to further explore his emotions and motivations. Consider adding more dialogue or inner thoughts to give the audience a deeper understanding of his character.

5. Connect the scene to the overall story: The scene seems disconnected from the previous and following scenes. Find a way to tie it back to the main plot or themes of the story to make it more relevant and impactful.

6. Consider the pacing: The scene feels quite long and could benefit from some trimming. Focus on the most important moments and dialogue to keep the scene engaging and concise.

7. Use visual cues: Incorporate visual cues or actions to enhance the scene. For example, instead of just stating that Mitchell covers Alison with a blanket, describe his gentle touch or the way he hesitates before doing so.

8. Show, don't tell: Instead of having characters explicitly state their emotions or thoughts, find ways to show them through their actions, expressions, or subtext. This will make the scene more engaging and allow the audience to interpret the characters' emotions themselves.

Overall, these suggestions aim to improve the clarity, emotional depth, and connection to the overall story in the scene.



Scene 23 -  Meeting with Mitchell
INT. BURNELL HOME. KITCHEN -- DAY




MITCHELL meets NICOLE. SAM and MARY are also seated at the
table.

The meeting takes place in the kitchen/diningroom.

MITCHELL
Well, Nicole, I've been wanting to
meet you for a long time now. Not
just because I've heard so many good
things about you, but because, as
you know, I'm the guy representing
you and your mom and dad and some
other folks here in town. We're
trying to generate some
compensation, however meager, for
what you have suffered, and at the
same time see that an accident like
this never happens again. You're
central to the case I'm trying to
build, Nicole. But you'd probably
just as soon let the whole thing
lie. Just get on with your life as
quickly and smoothly as possible.

NICOLE nods. Pause, as MITCHELL waits for her to go on.

NICOLE
I don't like thinking about the
accident. I don't even remember it
happening. Besides, it just makes
people feel sorry for me, and...

MITCHELL
You hate that.

NICOLE nods.

SAM
What she means, Mitch...

MITCHELL silences SAM with a gesture of his hand.

MITCHELL
People can't help it, you know.
They really can't. When they see
you in this wheelchair, knowing what
your life was life eight months ago,
people are going to feel sorry for
you. There's no way around it,
Nicole. You and I just met, and
already I admire you. Who wouldn't?
You're a brave tough smart kid.
That's obvious. And I didn't know
you, know how exciting and promising




your life was before the accident.
But listen, even I feel sorry for
you.

NICOLE
You can only feel lucky that you
didn't die for so long. Then you
start to feel...unlucky.

MITCHELL
That you didn't die? Like the other
children?

NICOLE
Yes. Like Bear and the Ansel twins
and Sean and...

MARY
Nicole!

NICOLE
It's the truth.

MITCHELL regards MARY with calm authority, as though he's
telling her the time.

MITCHELL
It is the truth.

Pause. MITCHELL looks back at NICOLE.

MITCHELL (CONT'D)
It would be strange if you didn't
feel that way.

NICOLE
(after a slight
pause)
What do you want me to do for you,
Mr. Stephens?

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole meets with Mitchell, the lawyer representing her and her family in a lawsuit. Mitchell expresses his admiration for Nicole and acknowledges the sympathy people feel towards her. Nicole reflects on the accident and the loss of other children. Mitchell assures her that her feelings are valid and asks for her cooperation in building the case.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, compelling concept"
Weaknesses "Dialogue could be more nuanced and complex"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional weight of the situation and establishes the stakes for the lawsuit.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of seeking compensation and justice for the accident is compelling and drives the plot forward.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Nicole meets with Mitchell and learns more about the lawsuit, setting up future conflicts and developments.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a protagonist dealing with the aftermath of an accident is familiar, the dialogue and character interactions feel authentic and true to life.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are clearly portrayed.

Character Changes: 7

Nicole's perspective on the accident and her role in the lawsuit may change as a result of her conversation with Mitchell.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to come to terms with the accident and move on with her life. It reflects her desire to not be defined by the accident and to avoid feeling sorry for herself.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to understand what the lawyer wants from her and how she can contribute to the case. It reflects the immediate challenge of navigating the legal process and seeking compensation for her suffering.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is some conflict between Nicole's desire to move on and Mitchell's determination to seek justice, but it is not the central focus of the scene.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderate. While there are no major obstacles, the protagonist's conflicting emotions and the philosophical conflict create tension and uncertainty.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as the characters seek compensation and justice for the accident, but there is room for higher stakes to be established in future scenes.

Story Forward: 8

The scene provides important information about the lawsuit and sets up future conflicts and developments.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces unexpected elements, such as the protagonist's feelings towards the accident and the lawyer's response to her.

Philosophical Conflict: 6

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene between feeling sorry for oneself and accepting sympathy from others. It challenges the protagonist's belief in not wanting to be pitied and raises questions about the nature of empathy and compassion.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly sadness and sympathy for Nicole and the other children who were affected by the accident.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the characters' emotions and motivations, but could benefit from more depth and complexity.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it explores the protagonist's internal and external goals, raises philosophical questions, and creates emotional tension through dialogue and character interactions.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing for pauses and moments of reflection, while also maintaining a steady flow of dialogue and character interactions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with a description of the location and introduces the characters, followed by dialogue and character interactions.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively conveys the emotional impact of the accident on Nicole and her family, as well as introduces Mitchell as a lawyer representing them. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon:

1. Dialogue: The dialogue in this scene is mostly natural and realistic, but there are a few moments where it feels slightly forced or repetitive. For example, when Mitchell says, "You're central to the case I'm trying to build, Nicole," it feels a bit on the nose and could be rephrased to sound more natural. Additionally, the repetition of the theme of feeling sorry for Nicole could be condensed or approached in a slightly different way to avoid sounding repetitive.

2. Characterization: While the scene does a good job of introducing Mitchell as a lawyer and showing his empathy towards Nicole, there could be more development of Nicole's character. It would be helpful to see more of her personality and emotions beyond just her reluctance to think about the accident and her feelings of being pitied. This would make her character more well-rounded and relatable.

3. Visuals: The scene takes place in the kitchen/dining room of the Burnell home, but there is little description of the setting or any visual details. Adding some visual elements to the scene, such as the characters' actions or the way they interact with their surroundings, would help to create a more vivid and engaging scene for the reader.

4. Pacing: The scene could benefit from some tightening and pacing adjustments. There are a few moments where the dialogue feels slightly repetitive or drawn out, and condensing these sections would help to maintain the momentum of the scene and keep the reader engaged.

Overall, this scene effectively conveys important information and emotions, but could benefit from some improvements in dialogue, characterization, visuals, and pacing.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location: Instead of just stating "INT. BURNELL HOME. KITCHEN - DAY," provide more specific details about the kitchen/dining room. This will help the reader visualize the scene better.

2. Add more physical actions: Incorporate more physical actions for the characters to make the scene more dynamic. For example, Mitchell could pour himself a cup of coffee or Nicole could fidget with her wheelchair controls. These actions can reveal character traits and add depth to the scene.

3. Show the characters' emotions: Use more descriptive language to convey the characters' emotions. Instead of just stating that Nicole nods, describe her facial expression or body language to show her reluctance or discomfort in discussing the accident.

4. Develop the dialogue: Make the dialogue more natural and conversational. Consider adding pauses, interruptions, and overlapping dialogue to make it feel more realistic. This will also help to differentiate the characters' voices and add authenticity to the scene.

5. Provide more context: Give the audience more information about the lawsuit and its implications. This can be done through dialogue or internal thoughts of the characters. It will help the audience understand the stakes and the importance of Nicole's involvement in the case.

6. Show, don't tell: Instead of having Mitchell explicitly state that he admires Nicole, show his admiration through his actions and reactions. For example, he could smile warmly at her or offer her a reassuring touch on the shoulder. This will make the scene more engaging and allow the audience to draw their own conclusions.

7. Consider the pacing: The scene could benefit from some variation in pacing. Introduce moments of tension or conflict to keep the audience engaged. For example, Mitchell could face some resistance or skepticism from Nicole or her family, which would create a more dynamic and compelling scene.

8. Cut unnecessary repetition: Remove any unnecessary repetition or redundant dialogue. For example, the line "It is the truth" can be removed since it is already implied in the previous line.

Overall, these suggestions aim to enhance the scene by adding more depth to the characters, improving the dialogue, and providing clearer context for the audience.



Scene 24 -  Preparing for Depositions
INT. BURNELL HOME. LIVINGROOM. -- DAY

TIME CUT fifteen minutes forward. The scene shifts to the
livingroom.

MITCHELL and NICOLE are alone in the room. SAM comes back
from another room, as MARY appears from the kitchen with a
plate of cookies.

NICOLE
(voice over)




That got you talking about
depositions and lawyers. By the
time Daddy came back from the
washroom and Mom came in with her
tea and cookies, you were going on
about how tough it would be for me
to answer some of the questions
those other lawyers would ask .

MITCHELL
They work for the people we're
trying to sue. Their job is to try
to minimize damages. Our job,
Nicole, is to try to maximize them.
You have to think of it that way.
As people doing their jobs. No good
guys or bad guys. Just our side and
their side.

NICOLE
I won't lie.

MITCHELL
I don't want you to lie.

NICOLE
The truth is that it was an
accident, and no one's to blame.

MITCHELL
There's no such thing as an
accident, Nicole. Not in a
situation like this.

NICOLE
You seem very sure about that.

MITCHELL
I'm absolutely positive.

NICOLE turns to face SAM. She stares at him.

NICOLE
No matter what I'm asked, I'll tell
the truth.

SAM looks back, expressionless.

MITCHELL
That's fine. I want you to be
absolutely truthful. And I'll be
right there to advise and help you.
And there'll be a court stenographer
there to make a record of it, and
that's what'll go to the judge,
before the trial is set. It'll be
the same for everybody. They'll be
deposing the Ottos and the Walkers,
the bus driver...

NICOLE
Dolores.

MITCHELL
Yes. Dolores...and even your mom
and dad. But I'll make sure you go
last.

NICOLE
Why?

MITCHELL
So you can keep on getting well
before you have to go and do this.
It's not going to be easy, Nicole.
Do you understand that?

NICOLE nods.

SAM
When do they award damages?

MITCHELL
Depends. This could drag on for
quite a while. But we'll be there
at the end, Sam. Don't you worry.

NICOLE
(voice over)
At that moment, I hated my parents -
Daddy for what he knew and had done,

NICOLE
and even Mom for what she didn't
know and hadn't done. You told me
it wasn't going to be easy. But as
I sat there, staring at Daddy, I
knew it was going to be the easiest
thing in my life.
CUT TO

EXT. BIDE-A-WILE MOTEL -- MORNING

REPLAY of the scene of SEAN WALKER entering the bus. He
turns around to face his mother.

SEAN




I want to stay with you.

RISA
Go on now. Go on.

SEAN hesitantly turns to face the inside of the bus. He
sees NICOLE BURNELL, who pats the seat beside her.

MASON leaves his place beside NICOLE to make way for SEAN.

NICOLE
C'mon, Sean, sit next to me.

ANGLE ON

DOLORES as she watches SEAN move towards NICOLE.

CUT TO

INT. COMMUNITY CENTRE. -- DAY

DOLORES gives her deposition. A stenographer takes notes.
MITCHELL listens, along with SCHWARTZ, the opposing lawyer.

DOLORES
He never took his eyes off his
mother, even as he moved to sit
beside Nicole. He looked
frightened.

MITCHELL
Why would he be frightened?

DOLORES
I don't know. But it was weird in
terms of what happened next. Sean
was still watching his mother.

DOLORES
I shut the door with one hand, and
released the brake with the other,
and waited for a second for Risa to
cross in front of the bus. There
was a sixteen wheeler behind me, and
I heard his air brakes hiss as the
driver chunked into gear. I looked
into the side view mirror, and saw
him move into line behind me. Then
suddenly Sean shrieked...

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole meets with her lawyer, Mitchell, to discuss the upcoming depositions for their lawsuit. Mitchell explains the importance of telling the truth and prepares Nicole for the difficult process. Meanwhile, Dolores gives her deposition and recalls the moment before the bus accident when Sean seemed frightened. The scene ends with a flashback to Sean's shriek.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, progression of the plot"
Weaknesses "Dialogue could be more impactful"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the tension and seriousness of the upcoming depositions, as well as the emotional impact on the characters.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of preparing for depositions and exploring the emotional aftermath of the accident is well-executed.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Nicole meets with Mitchell and Dolores gives her deposition, providing important information for the lawsuit.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of preparing for a deposition and discussing legal strategies is familiar, the specific dynamics between the characters and their conflicting beliefs add a fresh perspective. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters, particularly Nicole and Mitchell, are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are clear.

Character Changes: 7

Nicole experiences a shift in her feelings towards her parents, particularly her father, as she realizes the difficulties ahead.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to prepare Nicole for her upcoming deposition and help her understand the importance of telling the truth. This reflects Mitchell's desire to protect Nicole and ensure that justice is served.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to guide Nicole through the legal process and prepare her for her deposition. This reflects the immediate challenge of the upcoming legal proceedings and the need to gather evidence to support their case.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is a moderate level of conflict as the characters prepare for depositions and face the legal challenges ahead.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderate. While there is no immediate obstacle or conflict, the differing beliefs and perspectives of the characters create a sense of opposition and tension.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as the characters prepare for depositions that could determine the outcome of the lawsuit.

Story Forward: 8

The scene provides important information for the lawsuit and progresses the overall story.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat predictable as it follows a familiar pattern of preparing for a legal deposition. However, the conflicting beliefs and emotions of the characters add some unpredictability to the scene.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene between Mitchell's belief that there are no good guys or bad guys in the legal system, only people doing their jobs, and Nicole's belief in the existence of accidents and the absence of blame. This challenges Nicole's worldview and forces her to question her understanding of the situation.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly in Nicole's realization of the upcoming challenges and her feelings towards her parents.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the legal and emotional aspects of the scene, but could be more impactful.

Engagement: 7

This scene is engaging because it presents a conflict between the characters and raises questions about the truth and justice. The dialogue and emotional tension between the characters keep the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and maintaining the audience's interest. The dialogue and actions flow smoothly, and the scene progresses at a steady pace.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action descriptions in a clear and organized manner.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with a time cut to indicate a shift in time and location, and then focuses on the dialogue and interactions between the characters.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively continues the story and develops the characters. However, there are a few areas that could be improved:

1. The dialogue between Mitchell and Nicole feels a bit heavy-handed and on-the-nose. It would be more effective to show their dynamic through their actions and reactions rather than explicitly stating their roles and intentions.

2. The transition between Nicole's voiceover and the scene with Sam and Mitchell feels abrupt and could be smoother. Consider finding a more seamless way to transition between these two moments.

3. The scene with Dolores giving her deposition could benefit from more specific and detailed dialogue. It currently feels a bit vague and could be more engaging if there were more specific details and emotions expressed.

4. Consider adding more visual and sensory details to enhance the scene descriptions. This will help to create a more vivid and immersive experience for the reader.

Overall, the scene effectively moves the story forward and provides important information about the lawsuit and the characters' motivations. With some minor adjustments, it could be even stronger.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the transition: Start the scene with a clear transition from the previous scene. For example, you can use a slugline like "INT. BURNELL HOME - LIVING ROOM - DAY" to indicate the change in location and time.

2. Streamline the dialogue: The dialogue between Mitchell and Nicole can be condensed to make it more concise and impactful. Remove any repetitive or unnecessary lines and focus on the key points they need to discuss.

3. Show emotions through actions: Instead of relying solely on dialogue, incorporate actions and reactions to show the characters' emotions. For example, instead of just saying "NICOLE turns to face SAM. She stares at him," show Nicole's intense gaze and Sam's expressionless reaction.

4. Use visual cues: Include visual cues to enhance the scene and make it more engaging. For example, describe the characters' body language, facial expressions, or any props in the room that can add depth to the scene.

5. Vary sentence structure: Mix up the sentence structure to create a more dynamic and engaging read. Use shorter sentences for quick exchanges and longer sentences for more introspective moments.

6. Consider the pacing: Ensure that the scene flows smoothly and maintains a good pace. Avoid excessive repetition or unnecessary pauses that may slow down the momentum of the scene.

7. Show the characters' internal thoughts: Incorporate more internal thoughts or voiceovers to give insight into the characters' emotions and motivations. This can help the audience connect with the characters on a deeper level.

8. Create a clear visual transition: Use a clear visual transition, such as a new slugline or a visual cue, to indicate the shift to the next scene. This will help the reader follow the story more easily.

By implementing these suggestions, you can improve the scene and make it more engaging for the audience.



Scene 25 -  The Deposition
INT. SCHOOL BUS -- MORNING




SEAN leaps to the front of the bus.

SEAN
Mommy!

MITCHELL
(voice over, from
the court chamber)
What happened then?

DOLORES
(voice over)
Sean was all over me, scrambling
across my lap to the window. I
glimpsed Risa off to my left,
leaping out of the way of a red Saab
that seemed to have bolted out of
nowhere.

The scene is horrifying, as SEAN watches his mother just
missing a terrible accident with the speeding vehicle.

DOLORES (CONT'D)
Sean! Sit down! Your Mom's okay!
Now sit down!

SEAN sits back down beside NICOLE. DOLORES slides open her
window, and speaks to RISA.
DOLORES (CONT'D)
You get his number?

RISA is stunned.

DOLORES (CONT'D)
(voice over)
She was shaken, standing there with
her arms wrapped around herself.

DOLORES
She shook her head, turned away, and
walked slowly back to the office. I
drew a couple of breaths and checked
Sean, who was seated now but still
craning and looking after his
mother.

CUT TO

INT. COMMUNITY CENTRE. -- DAY

The deposition continues.

DOLORES




I smiled at him, but he only glared
back at me, as if I was to blame.

CUT TO

EXT. SCHOOL BUS -- MORNING

AERIAL VIEW of the bus as it makes its way through the
mountains. NICOLE'S voice is heard reading The Pied Piper
from the scene with the ANSEL children.

NICOLE
(voice over)
For he led us, he said, to a joyous
land,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees
grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And everything was strange and
new...

CUT TO

INT. SCHOOL BUS -- DAY

A montage showing the faces of the various children in the
bus. These images are intercut with DOLORES'S deposition.

CUT TO

INT. COMMUNITY CENTRE. -- DAY

The deposition. DOLORES is trying to control her emotions.

DOLORES
I remember wrenching the steering
wheel to the right and slapping my
foot against the brake petal. I
wasn't the driver anymore.

DOLORES
The bus was like this huge wave
about to break over us. Bear Otto,
the Lambston kids, the Hamiltons,
the Prescotts, the teenaged boys and
girls from Bartlett Hill, Sean,
Nicole Burnell, Billy Ansel's twins,
Jessica and Mason...all the children
of my town.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole reflects on her recovery from the accident and the financial implications it has on her family. She learns about Mr. Stephens, the lawyer representing several families in a lawsuit against the town for negligence. Meanwhile, Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter. The scene also includes a flashback to Mitchell and Billy's conversation outside a gas station, where Mitchell reveals his personal struggles. Mitchell meets with Dolores to discuss representing her in a lawsuit regarding her son's death in a bus accident. Dolores reveals that she may have been driving over the speed limit at the time of the accident, which could complicate things. Mitchell assures her that Billy Ansel will testify that she was driving at her usual speed. Mitchell proposes bringing a suit in Dolores's name for negligent infliction of emotional harm. Dolores is unsure and questions who cares about her feelings. Mitchell insists that people need to know she has suffered and offers to clear her name. Abbott, Dolores's son, speaks in broken syllables and Dolores interprets his words as the true jury being the people of her town. Mitchell leaves and the scene shifts to Nicole in the hospital, reflecting on her recovery from the accident. Nicole is being wheeled out of the hospital after her recovery. She reflects on her experience and jokes about her doctor. She arrives home to a ramp that her father built for her. Nicole is wheeled out of the hospital and arrives home to a specially built room by her father. She inspects the room and requests a lock on the door. Her sister Jenny asks if she can visit, and Nicole agrees. Nicole notices a new computer and asks about it, learning that it was a gift from a lawyer named Mr. Stephens. Nicole reflects on her recovery from the accident and the financial implications it has on her family. She learns about Mr. Stephens, the lawyer representing several families in a lawsuit against the town for negligence. Meanwhile, Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father to his drug-addicted daughter. The scene also includes a flashback to Mitchell and Billy's conversation outside a gas station, where Mitchell reveals his personal struggles. Nicole meets with Mitchell, the lawyer representing her and her family in a lawsuit. Mitchell expresses his admiration for Nicole and acknowledges the sympathy people feel towards her. Nicole reflects on the accident and the loss of other children. Mitchell assures her that her feelings are valid and asks for her cooperation in building the case. Nicole meets with her lawyer, Mitchell, to discuss the upcoming depositions for their lawsuit. Mitchell explains the importance of telling the truth and prepares Nicole for the difficult process. Meanwhile, Dolores gives her deposition and recalls the moment before the bus accident when Sean seemed frightened. The scene ends with a flashback to Sean's shriek.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, realistic dialogue"
Weaknesses "Some repetitive elements in the scene"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively portrays the emotional impact of the accident and the struggles faced by the characters. The dialogue is well-written and the plot moves forward with the introduction of the lawsuit and the deposition.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of the scene, focusing on the aftermath of the accident and the legal proceedings, is engaging and provides insight into the characters' emotions and motivations.

Plot: 8

The plot of the scene revolves around the lawsuit and the deposition, which adds tension and conflict to the story. The flashback to Mitchell and Billy's conversation adds depth to Mitchell's character.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a potential accident on a school bus is not entirely unique, the specific details and the protagonist's perspective add freshness to the familiar scenario. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters in the scene are well-developed and their struggles and emotions are portrayed effectively. Mitchell's struggles as a father and Dolores's grief over her son's death are particularly compelling.

Character Changes: 7

The characters in the scene experience emotional growth and change as they confront their grief and seek justice. Mitchell opens up about his struggles as a father, showing vulnerability.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to protect her son and the other children on the bus. This reflects her deeper need for safety, her fear of harm coming to her loved ones, and her desire to be a responsible and caring mother.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to prevent a potential accident with the speeding vehicle. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenge she is facing.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

The conflict in the scene arises from the legal proceedings and the characters' emotional struggles. The deposition adds tension and conflict as Dolores recalls the moment before the accident.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is strong as the protagonist faces the challenge of preventing a potential accident. The audience doesn't know how it will go, adding to the tension and suspense.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high in the scene as the characters seek justice for the accident and confront their emotional struggles. The outcome of the lawsuit and the deposition will have a significant impact on their lives.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the lawsuit and the deposition, which will have significant implications for the characters and the overall plot.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because the audience doesn't know how the potential accident will be resolved and what the emotional impact will be on the characters. The unexpected intercut scenes and montage also add to the unpredictability.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through the portrayal of grief, loss, and the characters' struggles. The flashback to Sean's shriek adds a sense of horror and fear.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue in the scene is realistic and reveals important information about the characters' thoughts and feelings. The deposition dialogue adds tension and drama to the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it creates a sense of tension and danger through the potential accident and the protagonist's efforts to protect the children. The intercut scenes and montage add visual interest and variety to the scene.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by alternating between moments of tension and reflection. The rhythm of the scene matches the emotional intensity of the events.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. The scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action descriptions are all properly formatted and organized.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an establishing shot, followed by a series of intercut scenes and a montage, and ends with a return to the deposition. This structure effectively conveys the events and emotions of the scene.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively continues the story and adds depth to the characters. The use of voiceover and flashbacks helps to provide context and emotional impact. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

Firstly, the transition between the school bus scene and the community center deposition could be smoother. It is not immediately clear that the deposition is a continuation of the previous scene. Adding a brief establishing shot or a clear indication of the change in location would help to clarify this.

Additionally, the montage of the children's faces in the bus could be more impactful. Consider using close-ups or reaction shots to capture the emotions of the children in that moment. This would help to create a stronger connection between the audience and the characters.

In terms of dialogue, there are a few instances where the language could be tightened or made more concise. For example, in Dolores's voiceover, the line "She shook her head, turned away, and walked slowly back to the office" could be simplified to "She turned away and walked back to the office." This would help to maintain a more consistent pace and flow.

Overall, this scene effectively conveys the emotional weight of the situation and progresses the story. With some minor adjustments to transitions and dialogue, it could be even stronger.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is well-written and effectively conveys the tension and emotion of the situation. However, here are a few suggestions to improve it:

1. Clarify the transition between the bus scene and the community center. It's not clear how the scene shifts from the bus to the deposition. Consider adding a brief transition sentence or visual cue to make the transition smoother.

2. Consider adding more sensory details to enhance the impact of the bus accident. Describe the sounds, smells, and physical sensations that the characters experience during the near-miss with the speeding vehicle. This will help the audience feel more immersed in the scene.

3. Show Dolores's emotional state more explicitly. Instead of just stating that she was shaken and had her arms wrapped around herself, show her trembling, tears streaming down her face, or any other physical signs of distress. This will make her emotions more palpable to the audience.

4. Add more dialogue or actions to convey the children's reactions to the near-accident. Show their fear, confusion, or relief through their words and actions. This will make the scene more dynamic and engaging.

5. Consider adding more visual cues or descriptions to differentiate between the bus scene and the deposition scene. This will help the audience understand the shift in time and setting more clearly.

6. Explore the emotional impact of the deposition on Dolores. Show her struggling to control her emotions, perhaps with tears or trembling hands. This will add depth to her character and make the scene more compelling.

7. Consider adding more variety to the montage of children's faces in the bus. Show a range of emotions, such as fear, confusion, or curiosity, to capture the different reactions of the children in the bus.

8. Add more specific details about the children in the bus. Instead of just listing their names, describe their appearances, personalities, or any unique characteristics that make them memorable. This will help the audience connect with the characters on a deeper level.

Overall, these suggestions aim to enhance the emotional impact and clarity of the scene, making it more engaging for the audience.



Scene 26 -  A Night of Tension and Reflection
INT. BURNELL HOME -- NIGHT




SAM and JENNY are watching television. Lumberjack log-
rolling.

NICOLE, in her wheelchair, is reading a book off to one
corner. MARY comes into the room.

MARY
That was Billy Ansel on the phone.
He wants to come over to talk to us.
SAM
Did he say what about?

MARY
No.

SAM
Was he drinking? Could you tell?

MARY
Jenny, it's time for you to go to
bed.

JENNY
Mom...

SAM
Come on, Jen. I let you watch your
nature show.

JENNY reluctantly kisses her father goodnight, then NICOLE.
As she leaves the room, MARY starts clearing the table.

SAM (CONT'D)
Is he coming over now? Right away?

MARY
That's what he said.

SAM is anxious. He looks over to NICOLE.

SAM
What are you up to, Nicole?

NICOLE
Nothing.

SAM
Nothing good on your T.V.?

NICOLE
As opposed to this T.V.?




NICOLE stares at SAM.
NICOLE (CONT'D)
Besides, I'd like to see Billy.

NICOLE stares at the television.

ANGLE ON

On the television screen, an image of a studio audience
applauding. The image is silent. The T.V. is on MUTE.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
(voice over)
That wasn't true. I didn't want to
be seen by anyone whose kids had
been killed by the accident.
Especially not Billy Ansel.

NICOLE turns her attention back to her parents.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
Actually, now that I think about it,
I'd just as soon stay in my room.

NICOLE shoves her wheelchair towards her room, as the camera
remains on her face.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
(voice over)
I remembered all the times I had
tucked Jessica and Mason into bed.
How they loved to have me read to
them before they slept. There was
nothing for me to say to Billy,
except I'm sorry. I'm sorry that
your children died when my parent's
children didn't.

CUT TO

EXT. BURNELL HOME -- NIGHT

BILLY pulls up to the BURNELL home. He gets out of his pick
up and approaches the house.

CUT TO

INT. BURNELL HOME -- NIGHT

From her room, NICOLE watches as BILLY approaches the house.
He leaves her view as a knock is heard at the door. NICOLE
wheels over to the door and presses her ear to the door so
that she can hear the conversation.

CUT TO

INT. BURNELL HOME. KITCHEN. -- NIGHT

SAM
Hey, Billy! What brings you out on
a night like this? C'mon in. Take
a load off.

MARY
Would you like a cup of tea, Billy?
There's a piece of cake left.

BILLY
No. No, thanks, Mary.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole overhears her parents talking about Billy Ansel wanting to come over and talk. She expresses her reluctance to see him and reflects on the guilt she feels for surviving the accident while his children did not. Billy arrives at the Burnell home and Nicole eavesdrops on their conversation.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed character emotions and conflicts, effective portrayal of guilt and survivor's remorse."
Weaknesses "Limited action and dialogue, primarily focused on internal reflections and tension."

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys Nicole's internal struggle and sets up tension between her and Billy Ansel.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of guilt and survivor's remorse is explored through Nicole's perspective.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Nicole's reluctance to see Billy is established and tension builds with his arrival.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a character feeling guilty and wanting to apologize is familiar, the specific dynamics and emotions portrayed by the characters feel authentic and unique. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

Nicole's complex emotions and internal conflict are well-portrayed, as well as the tension between her and Billy Ansel.

Character Changes: 8

Nicole experiences a shift in her perspective and emotions as she reflects on her guilt and the impact of the accident.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to confront her guilt and apologize to Billy for the accident that caused the death of his children. This reflects her deeper need for forgiveness and her fear of being seen as responsible for the tragedy.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to have a conversation with Billy and express her remorse. This reflects the immediate circumstances of Billy wanting to talk to the family and the challenge of facing the consequences of the accident.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is tension and conflict between Nicole and Billy, as well as internal conflict within Nicole herself.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderate. While there is no direct conflict or obstacle, the tension arises from the protagonist's internal struggle and the potential consequences of her conversation with Billy. The audience is unsure of how the characters will interact and what the outcome will be.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high for Nicole as she grapples with her guilt and the potential confrontation with Billy Ansel.

Story Forward: 7

The scene deepens the emotional and psychological development of Nicole's character and sets up further conflict with Billy Ansel.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it raises questions about the characters' motivations and the potential outcomes of their conversation. The audience is unsure of how the characters will react and what revelations may occur.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the protagonist's struggle with guilt and the question of responsibility for the accident. This challenges her beliefs about the fairness of life and her worldview.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly in Nicole's reflections on guilt and survivor's remorse.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the characters' emotions and establishes their relationships.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it introduces a conflict and raises questions about the characters' past actions and their consequences. The dialogue and actions create tension and emotional depth, keeping the audience invested in the outcome of the scene.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing for moments of introspection and emotional impact. The rhythm of the dialogue and the pauses between lines create tension and build anticipation for the upcoming conversation.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting. The descriptions are clear and concise, allowing for easy visualization of the scene.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It establishes the setting, introduces the characters, and sets up the conflict and tension between them. The dialogue and actions flow naturally and contribute to the progression of the scene.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively continues the story and develops the characters. It provides insight into Nicole's feelings of guilt and her desire to avoid facing the parents of the children who died in the accident. The tension between Nicole and her parents is also evident in their dialogue. The scene also introduces Billy Ansel, who is coming over to talk to the family, which adds anticipation and raises questions about what he wants to discuss.

However, there are a few areas that could be improved. Firstly, the dialogue could be more natural and realistic. Some of the lines feel a bit forced and could benefit from more subtlety and nuance. Additionally, the scene could benefit from more visual description and action to enhance the visual storytelling. For example, instead of simply stating that Nicole shoves her wheelchair towards her room, there could be more detail about her body language and emotions in that moment.

Overall, this scene effectively moves the story forward and develops the characters, but could benefit from some improvements in dialogue and visual description.
Suggestions INT. BURNELL HOME -- NIGHT

SAM and JENNY are watching television, while NICOLE sits in her wheelchair reading a book in the corner. MARY enters the room.

MARY
That was Billy Ansel on the phone. He wants to come over to talk to us.

SAM
Did he say what about?

MARY
No.

SAM
Was he drinking? Could you tell?

MARY
Jenny, it's time for you to go to bed.

JENNY
Mom...

SAM
Come on, Jen. I let you watch your nature show.

JENNY reluctantly kisses her father and sister goodnight. As she leaves the room, MARY starts clearing the table.

SAM (CONT'D)
Is he coming over now? Right away?

MARY
That's what he said.

SAM looks over at NICOLE, who is reading her book.

SAM
What are you up to, Nicole?

NICOLE
Nothing.

SAM
Nothing good on your TV?

NICOLE
As opposed to this TV?

NICOLE stares at SAM.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
Besides, I'd like to see Billy.

NICOLE stares at the television.

ANGLE ON

On the television screen, an image of a studio audience applauding. The image is silent. The TV is on MUTE.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
(voice over)
That wasn't true. I didn't want to be seen by anyone whose kids had been killed by the accident. Especially not Billy Ansel.

NICOLE turns her attention back to her parents.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
Actually, now that I think about it, I'd just as soon stay in my room.

NICOLE pushes her wheelchair towards her room, as the camera remains on her face.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
(voice over)
I remembered all the times I had tucked Jessica and Mason into bed. How they loved to have me read to them before they slept. There was nothing for me to say to Billy, except I'm sorry. I'm sorry that your children died when my parents' children didn't.

CUT TO:

EXT. BURNELL HOME -- NIGHT

BILLY pulls up to the BURNELL home. He gets out of his pickup truck and approaches the house.

CUT TO:

INT. BURNELL HOME -- NIGHT

From her room, NICOLE watches as BILLY approaches the house. She leaves her view as a knock is heard at the door. NICOLE wheels over to the door and presses her ear against it to listen to the conversation.

CUT TO:

INT. BURNELL HOME. KITCHEN. -- NIGHT

SAM opens the door to BILLY.

SAM
Hey, Billy! What brings you out on a night like this? C'mon in. Take a load off.

MARY offers BILLY a cup of tea and a piece of cake.

MARY
Would you like a cup of tea, Billy? There's a piece of cake left.

BILLY
No. No, thanks, Mary.

CUT TO:



Scene 27 -  The Lawsuit Dilemma
INT. BURNELL HOME. KITCHEN/LIVINGROOM -- NIGHT

SAM leads BILLY into the livingroom.

SAM
So what brings you out tonight?

BILLY
Well, Sam, I might as well tell you
the truth. It's this lawsuit you've
gotten yourself all involved with.
I want you to drop the damned thing.

Pause.

SAM
I don't see how that concerns you,
Billy.

BILLY
It does concern me.

SAM
Well, I don't know why it should.
There's a whole lot of people in
town involved with lawsuits. We're
hardly unique here, Billy. I mean,
I can understand how you feel.

BILLY
How?




SAM
Well, it being so depressing and
all. But it's reality. You can't
just turn this off because you
happen to think it's a bad idea.

BILLY
Why not?

SAM
Because it's what we have to do.

BILLY
Well I don't want a damned thing to
do with it.

SAM
Okay, fine. So...stay out of it.

Pause. BILLY stares at SAM. Tension.

BILLY
I've tried to stay out of it. But
it turns out that's not so easy,
Sam. You've gone and got yourself
this lawyer. Mitchell Stephens.
You and Risa and Wendell and the
Ottos.

SAM
So? I mean, lot's of folks have got
lawyers.

BILLY
But yours is the one who's going to
subpoena me, Sam. Force me to
testify in court. He came by the
garage this afternoon. Gave me this
piece of paper.
BILLY reaches into his pocket and shows the paper to SAM.

MARY
Why would he do that? You didn't
have anything to do with the
accident.

BILLY
Because I was driving behind the
bus, Mary. Because I saw it. I saw
it happen...

BILLY is harrowed by this image. SAM and MARY stare at him,
frightened by his intensity.




BILLY (CONT'D)
If that bastard does subpoena me, if
he forces me to go over this again,
then all those other lawyers will
line up behind him and try and do
the same thing.

SAM
That won't happen, Billy. Mitch
Stephens' case is small, compared to
some of those other guys. The way
he told me, all he needs is for you
to say what you saw that day,
driving behind the bus. I know it's
a painful thing to do, but it'll
only take a few minutes of your
time. That'll be the end of it.

BILLY
That's wrong, Sam. You know that.
We'll be tangled up in this thing
for the next five years. This is
never going to go away...

SAM
C'mon, you know that won't...

BILLY
We've got lawyers suing lawyers
because some people were stupid
enough to sign on with more than one
of the bastards. We've got people
pointing fingers, making side deals,
and dickering over percentages.
Yesterday, I heard somebody wants to
sue the rescue squad. The rescue
squad. Because they didn't act fast
enough.

ANGLE ON

NICOLE listening from her door.

BILLY (CONT'D)
If you two dropped the case, then
the others would come to their
senses

BILLY
and follow. You're good sensible
parents, you and Mary. People
respect you.




Pause.

SAM
No, Billy. We can't drop the
lawsuit. You know how much we need
the money.

BILLY
Why? You got money from Dolores'
insurance with the school board. We
all did.

SAM
It's not enough. For hospital
bills. For Nicole.

BILLY
I'll help pay for Nicole, if that's
what you're really talking about.
I'll even give you the money I got
for my kids.
(beat)
That's what we used to do, remember?
Help each other. This was a
community.

SAM
I'm sorry.

BILLY stares at SAM.

BILLY
I used to like it here. I used to
care about what happened. Now I
think I'll sell my house and move
the fuck away.

MARY
Billy, please. The children.

BILLY
The children.

BILLY looks at SAM and MARY, s strange smile on his face.
He moves to leave. He pauses at the door of the kitchen.

BILLY (CONT'D)
How is Nicole? Is she around?

MARY
She's resting. In her room.

BILLY
Say hello for me.




CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Billy confronts Sam about the lawsuit and expresses his desire for them to drop it. He reveals that he will be subpoenaed to testify in court and expresses his frustration with the ongoing legal battles. Sam tries to convince Billy that it will only take a few minutes of his time, but Billy believes it will drag on for years. Billy offers to help financially, but Sam explains they need more money for hospital bills and Nicole's care. Billy expresses his disappointment in the community and threatens to sell his house and leave. The scene ends with Billy asking about Nicole's well-being.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, realistic dialogue, well-developed characters"
Weaknesses "Some repetitive dialogue"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene effectively conveys the emotional tension and conflict between Billy and Sam, as well as the high stakes involved in the lawsuit.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of the scene, focusing on the ethical and emotional implications of the lawsuit, is well-executed.

Plot: 9

The plot of the scene revolves around the conflict between Billy and Sam regarding the lawsuit and their differing perspectives on its impact.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situation of a small town community dealing with a lawsuit is not entirely unique, the specific dynamics and conflicts between the characters add freshness to the familiar scenario. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue contributes to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Billy and Sam are well-developed and their motivations and emotions are effectively portrayed.

Character Changes: 8

Billy experiences a change in his perspective on the community and his desire to leave.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to convince Sam to drop the lawsuit. This reflects Billy's deeper desire for the community to come together and return to the way things used to be.

External Goal: 9

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to prevent himself from being subpoenaed and forced to testify in court. This reflects the immediate challenge he is facing in relation to the lawsuit.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Billy and Sam is intense and emotionally charged, driving the scene forward.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is strong as Billy and Sam have conflicting goals and beliefs. The audience is unsure of how the conversation will unfold and whether Billy will be successful in convincing Sam to drop the lawsuit.

High Stakes: 10

The stakes are high as the characters grapple with the emotional and financial consequences of the lawsuit.

Story Forward: 9

The scene provides important information about the lawsuit and its impact on the characters' lives.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces new information and conflicts that challenge the audience's expectations. The revelation of Billy being subpoenaed and his intense reaction adds an element of surprise.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the tension between individual desires and the needs of the community. Billy believes that dropping the lawsuit will benefit the community as a whole, while Sam is focused on the financial needs of his family.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 10

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly in Billy's frustration and disappointment.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue in the scene is realistic and reveals the tension and emotions of the characters.

Engagement: 7

This scene is engaging because it presents a conflict between characters with different perspectives and desires. The tension and emotional intensity in the dialogue and the characters' reactions keep the audience invested in the scene.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing the tension and emotions to build gradually. The pauses and moments of silence create a sense of anticipation and emphasize the weight of the characters' words.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting. The action lines are clear and concise, and the scene direction is well-defined.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with a clear location and time description, followed by character introductions and dialogue. The scene progresses with a natural flow and ends with a clear transition to the next scene.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively conveys the tension and conflict between Sam and Billy regarding the lawsuit. The dialogue is realistic and reveals the emotional stakes for both characters. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon:

1. Clarify the purpose of the scene: While it is clear that the scene is meant to show the disagreement between Sam and Billy, it is not entirely clear what the ultimate goal of the scene is. Is it to show Billy's opposition to the lawsuit? Is it to show Sam's determination to continue with the lawsuit? Clarifying the intention of the scene would help give it a stronger focus.

2. Develop the emotional impact: The scene touches on the emotional toll the lawsuit has taken on both Sam and Billy, but it could benefit from delving deeper into their emotions. Show more vulnerability and rawness in their dialogue and actions to make the audience feel the weight of their conflicting emotions.

3. Utilize visual storytelling: While the dialogue is strong, the scene could benefit from more visual storytelling. Consider incorporating more physical actions or reactions from the characters to enhance the emotional impact. For example, showing Billy's hands shaking or Sam clenching his fists could visually convey their internal turmoil.

4. Strengthen Nicole's presence: Nicole is mentioned briefly in the scene, but her presence could be more strongly felt. Consider having her react or overhear more of the conversation, allowing the audience to see her emotional response to the conflict between her father and Billy.

Overall, this scene effectively conveys the conflict between Sam and Billy regarding the lawsuit, but could benefit from further development of emotions and visual storytelling.
Suggestions Overall, this scene is well-written and effectively conveys the tension and conflict between Sam and Billy. However, there are a few suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location: In the scene description, specify whether the conversation takes place in the kitchen or the living room. This will help the reader visualize the setting more clearly.

2. Add more physical actions and reactions: To enhance the visual aspect of the scene, incorporate more physical actions and reactions from the characters. For example, describe Sam's body language when he says, "I don't see how that concerns you, Billy." This will add depth to the characters and make the scene more engaging.

3. Show Nicole's eavesdropping: Since the scene ends with Nicole eavesdropping on the conversation, it would be helpful to include a brief description of her actions or reactions as she listens in. This will create a stronger connection between the previous scene and this one.

4. Vary sentence structure and dialogue tags: To add variety and rhythm to the dialogue, consider using different sentence structures and dialogue tags. For example, instead of repeatedly using "BILLY" and "SAM" as dialogue tags, you can use action beats or descriptive tags to break up the dialogue and make it more dynamic.

5. Deepen the emotional impact: The conversation between Sam and Billy is emotionally charged, but it could be further enhanced by delving deeper into their feelings and motivations. Consider adding internal thoughts or reflections from both characters to provide insight into their emotional states and the reasons behind their actions.

By implementing these suggestions, the scene can be further improved to create a more engaging and impactful moment in the script.



Scene 28 -  Confrontation and Reflection
EXT. BURNELL HOME -- NIGHT

BILLY walks to his car. SAM and MARY watch him from the
porch/ramp.

SAM
(calling out)
We're getting on with our lives,
Billy. Maybe it's time you got on
with yours.
BILLY turns around, looks at SAM one final time, then moves
to his pick up.

CUT TO

INT. BURNELL HOME -- NIGHT

NICOLE is watching BILLY from her window. She is crying.

ANGLE ON

NICOLE'S P.O.V. of BILLY driving away.

CUT TO

INT. BURNELL HOME. NICOLE'S BEDROOM. -- NIGHT

NICOLE is lying in her bed. A knock at the door. SAM
enters the dark bedroom and sits on the bed beside her.

SAM
Are you sleeping?

NICOLE
No.

SAM
Nicole, tomorrow Mr. Stephens wants
you to make your deposition at the
courthouse. I thought I'd take you
over.

NICOLE
Great.

SAM
You seem...I don't know...well,
distant, I guess. Hard to talk to.

NICOLE




We used to talk a lot, didn't we,
Daddy. About all the things you
were going to do for me.

SAM
What do you mean?

NICOLE
I mean I'm a wheelchair girl now.
It's hard to pretend I'm a beautiful
rock star. Not like you used to
tell me. Remember, Daddy? All the
people that were going to discover
me? Where are they now?

SAM turns away from NICOLE.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
(voice over)
He couldn't look at me. But I
looked at him. Right at him. His
secret was mine now. We used to
share it. But not anymore. Now, I
owned it completely.

SAM
Well, okay. I'll take you about
nine-thirty in the morning. That's
okay with you?

NICOLE
Great.

Silence. SAM gets up to leave the room.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
(voice over)
Before, everything had been so
confusing. I never knew who was to
blame. But now I know. He's just a
thief, a sneaky thief who had robbed
his daughter. Robbed me
of...whatever it was that my sister
still had and I didn't. And then
the accident robbed me of my body.

CUT TO

INT. CAR -- DAY

SAM and NICOLE are driving to town. They don't exchange a
word.

CUT TO
EXT. COMMUNITY CENTRE. -- DAY

SAM is carrying NICOLE up the stairs of the community
centre.

There is no ramp, so the wheelchair is left at the bottom.

He is having difficulty, because NICOLE is keeping her body
stiff and won't hold on to him.

CUT TO

INT. COMMUNITY CENTRE. -- DAY

NICOLE is wheeled across the floor of the community centre
to a table where the depositions are being made. MITCHELL,
SCHWARTZ, and the STENOGRAPHER are waiting for her.

NICOLE
(voice over)
The last time I was in the community
hall was for the big Christmas party
almost a year ago. It hadn't
changed.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole overhears her parents talking about Billy Ansel wanting to come over and talk. She expresses her reluctance to see him and reflects on the guilt she feels for surviving the accident while his children did not. Billy arrives at the Burnell home and Nicole eavesdrops on their conversation. Billy confronts Sam about the lawsuit and expresses his desire for them to drop it. He reveals that he will be subpoenaed to testify in court and expresses his frustration with the ongoing legal battles. Sam tries to convince Billy that it will only take a few minutes of his time, but Billy believes it will drag on for years. Billy offers to help financially, but Sam explains they need more money for hospital bills and Nicole's care. Billy expresses his disappointment in the community and threatens to sell his house and leave. The scene ends with Billy asking about Nicole's well-being.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, impactful dialogue"
Weaknesses "Limited physical action, some repetitive dialogue"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional turmoil experienced by Nicole and the tension between her and her father. The dialogue is impactful and reveals important plot developments.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of the scene, which focuses on the aftermath of the accident and the legal battles, is well-executed and engaging.

Plot: 8

The plot of the scene progresses as Billy confronts Sam about the lawsuit and expresses his frustration. The conflict between the characters is heightened, and the scene ends with a cliffhanger as Billy asks about Nicole's well-being.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situations and themes explored are familiar, the authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds a sense of realism and freshness.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters in the scene, particularly Nicole and Sam, are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are effectively portrayed.

Character Changes: 8

Nicole experiences a significant emotional change as she reflects on her guilt and confronts her father about their strained relationship.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to confront her father about her feelings of betrayal and loss. It reflects her deeper need for validation, understanding, and closure.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to make her deposition at the courthouse the next day. It reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges she is facing in the legal process.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between Billy and Sam regarding the lawsuit and the financial struggles adds tension to the scene.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderately strong. The protagonist's resistance to her father's attempts at reconciliation creates a small obstacle and adds uncertainty to the outcome.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as the characters face the possibility of a lengthy legal battle and financial struggles.

Story Forward: 7

The scene moves the story forward by revealing the ongoing legal battles and the impact on the characters' lives.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it reveals new information about the protagonist's feelings and motivations, creating a sense of uncertainty about the future.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene between the protagonist's belief in her father's betrayal and her father's guilt and remorse. It challenges the protagonist's beliefs, values, and worldview about trust and family.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly through Nicole's reflections on her guilt and the strained relationship with her father.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue in the scene is impactful and reveals important information about the characters' emotions and motivations.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it presents a compelling conflict between characters, explores emotional depth, and raises questions about trust and family dynamics.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing for moments of emotional tension and reflection, while also maintaining a steady progression of events.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It uses proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It effectively transitions between different locations and provides clear visual cues for the reader.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively continues the story and explores Nicole's emotional state following the accident. However, there are a few areas that could be improved:

1. Lack of visual description: The scene lacks visual description, making it difficult for the reader to visualize the setting and characters' actions. Adding more specific details about the characters' movements, expressions, and the environment would enhance the scene.

2. Dialogue: While the dialogue effectively conveys Nicole's emotions and her strained relationship with her father, some of the lines could be more concise and impactful. For example, the exchange between Nicole and Sam about her deposition could be condensed to make it more engaging.

3. Voiceover: The use of voiceover in the scene can be distracting and disrupt the flow of the story. Instead of relying on voiceover to convey Nicole's thoughts and emotions, consider finding ways to show these through actions, expressions, and dialogue.

4. Lack of subtext: The scene could benefit from more subtext and underlying tension. Adding layers of subtext to the conversation between Nicole and Sam would make it more dynamic and engaging for the audience.

5. Visual transitions: The scene lacks smooth visual transitions between different locations and timeframes. Adding clear visual cues or transitions would help the reader follow the scene more easily.

Overall, the scene effectively continues the story and explores Nicole's emotional journey. With some improvements in visual description, dialogue, subtext, and transitions, it could become a more engaging and impactful scene.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Add more visual and sensory details: The scene could benefit from more visual and sensory details to help immerse the audience in the setting and emotions of the characters. For example, describe the porch/ramp where Sam and Mary are watching Billy, mention the sound of Billy's car engine as he drives away, and describe the lighting and atmosphere in Nicole's dark bedroom.

2. Show Nicole's emotions more explicitly: Instead of just stating that Nicole is crying, show her emotions through her actions and dialogue. For example, describe her trembling hands or her tear-streaked face. Additionally, consider adding more dialogue or internal thoughts to convey her guilt and emotional turmoil more effectively.

3. Strengthen the conflict between Sam and Nicole: The conversation between Sam and Nicole in her bedroom could be more emotionally charged and confrontational. Explore their conflicting emotions and frustrations more deeply to create a more intense and dramatic scene.

4. Use flashbacks strategically: The use of flashbacks can be a powerful storytelling tool, but it's important to use them strategically and sparingly. Consider using the flashback to Sean's shriek at a more impactful moment in the scene, perhaps when Nicole is reflecting on her guilt or when Sam is struggling to respond to her accusations.

5. Show the physical struggle of carrying Nicole: When Sam carries Nicole up the stairs of the community center, emphasize the physical strain and difficulty he faces. This can help highlight the challenges they both face as a result of the accident and further emphasize the emotional weight of the scene.

6. Add more tension and conflict during the deposition: The deposition scene could benefit from more tension and conflict. Explore the dynamics between Nicole, Mitchell, Schwartz, and the stenographer to create a more engaging and dramatic scene. Consider adding more dialogue or internal thoughts to showcase Nicole's internal struggle and the pressure she feels during the deposition.

Overall, these suggestions aim to enhance the emotional impact and dramatic tension of the scene, as well as provide more vivid and immersive details for the audience.



Scene 29 -  Nicole's Deposition
INT. COMMUNITY CENTRE. -- DAY

The deposition. SAM watches his daughter as she speaks
confidently into the microphone. The STENOGRAPHER takes
notes.

NICOLE is answering questions from the opposing lawyer.
MITCHELL is also taking notes.

SCHWARTZ
Now on that morning, did there come
a time, Nicole, when you left your
parents' house?

NICOLE
Yes.

SCHWARTZ
What time in the morning was this?
NICOLE
About eight-thirty in the morning.

SCHWARTZ
Was anyone waiting for the bus with
you?




NICOLE
No. I was alone. My sister Jenny
was sick and stayed home that day.

SCHWARTZ
Was there anything unusual about the
driver, Dolores Driscoll, or the bus
that particular morning?

NICOLE
Like what? I mean, I don't remember
a lot.

ANGLE ON MITCHELL

MITCHELL
I object to the form of that
question. Note that.

SCHWARTZ
Was the bus on time?

NICOLE
Yes.

SCHWARTZ
And where did you sit that morning?

NICOLE
My usual place. On the right side.
The first seat.

SCHWARTZ
And according to your recollection,
there was nothing unusual about the
drive that morning?

NICOLE
Until the accident? No.
(beat)
Yes, there was.

ANGLE ON MITCHELL

Worried about this new information.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
It was when Sean Walker got on. He
was crying and didn't want to leave
his mother. Mason Ansel was sitting
beside me. I asked him to move, so
I could quiet Sean down. When the
bus started up, a car came around




the corner and almost hit Sean's
mother. She was okay, but it really
scared Sean, because he watched it
out the window.

SCHWARTZ
And was this incident caused in any
way by anything the driver of the
bus did?

Pause. MITCHELL is nervous.

NICOLE
No, she hadn't even started to move
the bus. It was the car's fault.

MITCHELL is relieved.

SCHWARTZ
There was nothing reckless in Mrs.
Driscoll's behavior?

MITCHELL
I object to that form of question.
Note that.

NICOLE
(answering the
question)
No.
SCHWARTZ
Did there come a time when all the
children had been picked up?

NICOLE
Yes.

SCHWARTZ
You remember that much?

NICOLE
As I'm talking, I'm remembering more
about it.

MITCHELL is worried.

MITCHELL
Note my objection. She said, 'As
I'm talking.'

SCHWARTZ
Did there come a time when the bus
turned off Staples Mill Road onto




the Marlowe Road at what's called
Wilmot Springs?

NICOLE
Yes.

NICOLE
There was a brown dog that ran
across the road up there, right by
the dump, and Dolores slowed down
not to hit him, and he ran into the
woods. And then Dolores drove on
and turned onto the Marlowe road, as
usual. I remember that. I'm
remembering it pretty clearly.

SCHWARTZ
(eyebrows raised)
You are?

NICOLE
Yes.

MITCHELL
(worried)
Note that she said 'pretty clearly'.
Not 'clearly'.

SCHWARTZ
And what was the weather like at
this time?

NICOLE
It was snowing.

MITCHELL
Unless the report from the National
Weather Bureau for the district on
January 23 goes into the record, I
will object to that question.

SCHWARTZ
I will offer that report. Well,
then, now that your memory seems to
be clearing, can you tell us what
else you observed at that time?

NICOLE
Before the actual accident?

SCHWARTZ
Yes.

NICOLE stares at her father as she responds.




NICOLE
I was scared.

SCHWARTZ
Why were you scared?

SCHWARTZ
This is before the accident, Nicole.
Do you understand what I'm asking?

NICOLE
Yes, I understand.

SCHWARTZ
Why were you scared?

NICOLE
Dolores was driving too fast.

Silence. MITCHELL is watching his entire case crumble.

SCHWARTZ
Mrs. Driscoll was driving too fast?
What made you think that, Nicole?

NICOLE
The speedometer. And it was
downhill there.

SCHWARTZ
You could see the speedometer?

NICOLE
Yes. I looked. I remember clearly
now. It seemed we were going too
fast down the hill. I was scared.

NICOLE looks at MITCHELL, who stares back.

SCHWARTZ
How fast would you say Mrs. Driscoll
was going? To the best of your
recollection?

NICOLE
Seventy-two miles an hour.

SCHWARTZ
Seventy-two miles an hour? You're
sure of this?

NICOLE
Positive.




SCHWARTZ
You believe that the bus driven by
Mrs. Driscoll was going at seventy-
two miles an hour at this time?

NICOLE
I told you I was positive. The
speedometer was large and easy to
see from where I was.

ANGLE ON

The speedometer from NICOLE'S P.O.V. It reads fifty-one
miles an hour.

SCHWARTZ
(voice over)
You saw the speedometer?

NICOLE
Yes.

SCHWARTZ
Did you say anything to Mrs.
Driscoll?

NICOLE
No.

SCHWARTZ
Why not?

NICOLE
I was scared. And there wasn't
time.

SCHWARTZ
There wasn't time?

NICOLE
No. Because the bus went off the
road. And crashed.

SCHWARTZ
You remember this?

NICOLE
Yes. I do now. Now that I'm
telling it.

MITCHELL
(defeated)
She said, 'Now that I'm telling it'.
Note that.

SCHWARTZ
What do you remember about the
accident?

NICOLE
I remember the bus swerved, it just
suddenly swerved to the right, and
it hit the guardrail and the
snowbank on the side of the road,
and then it went over the embankment
there, and everyone was screaming
and everything. And that's all. I
guess I was unconscious after that.
That's all. Then I was in the
hospital.

SCHWARTZ smiles and makes some notes in his pad. He talks
to MITCHELL without looking up.

SCHWARTZ
Do you have any questions, Mr.
Stephens?

MITCHELL stares silently at NICOLE for a long time.

NICOLE
(voice over)
Daddy was leaning forward in his
chair, his mouth half open, as if he
wanted to say something. Like what,
Daddy? Like 'What about my money?'

NICOLE and SAM stare at each other.

MITCHELL
I have no questions.

SCHWARTZ
Thank you, Nicole.

NICOLE wheels herself away. She passes MITCHELL.

MITCHELL
(in a low voice)
You'd make a great poker player,
kid.

NICOLE wheels herself over to her father.

NICOLE
Let's go, Daddy.
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole testifies in a deposition about the bus accident. She recalls the events leading up to the accident, including the driver's speed and her own fear. Mitchell, the opposing lawyer, tries to undermine her testimony, but Nicole remains confident in her recollection. Sam, Nicole's father, remains silent throughout the deposition.
Strengths "Strong dialogue, emotional impact, character development"
Weaknesses "Some repetitive dialogue"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is well-written and emotionally impactful, with strong dialogue and character development.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of a deposition adds tension and conflict to the story.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Nicole testifies and reveals new information about the accident.

Originality: 3

The level of originality in this scene is low. The situations and dialogue are familiar and do not offer any fresh approaches. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue is realistic but not particularly unique.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions are conveyed effectively.

Character Changes: 7

Nicole becomes more confident in her recollection of the accident.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to provide accurate and truthful testimony about the events leading up to the accident. This reflects her desire for justice and her need to be heard and believed.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to answer the opposing lawyer's questions and provide information about the bus ride before the accident. This reflects the immediate circumstances of the legal proceedings and the challenge of recalling specific details.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is conflict between Nicole and Mitchell as they question her testimony.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is moderate. The protagonist faces challenges from the opposing lawyer's questions and objections, but the outcome of the deposition is not yet clear.

High Stakes: 7

The outcome of the deposition could impact the lawsuit and the characters' lives.

Story Forward: 8

The scene reveals new information about the accident and progresses the plot.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces new information about the bus ride before the accident. The audience is unsure how this information will impact the outcome of the case.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene is emotionally charged, with Nicole expressing her fear and guilt.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is realistic and reveals important information about the characters and the plot.

Engagement: 7

This scene is engaging because it reveals important information about the events leading up to the accident and creates suspense through the protagonist's testimony. The dialogue and interactions between the characters hold the audience's attention.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and maintaining the audience's interest. The dialogue and action flow smoothly, and the rhythm of the scene keeps the story moving forward.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for a screenplay. It includes scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action lines.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for a deposition scene in a legal drama. It includes the questioning of the witness, objections from the opposing lawyer, and the witness's responses.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively conveys the tension and conflict between Billy and Sam, as well as Nicole's internal struggle. The dialogue is clear and concise, and the pacing of the scene keeps the audience engaged. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

Firstly, the scene could benefit from more visual description and action. As a screenwriting expert, you should encourage the writer to include more visual cues to enhance the scene. For example, describing the body language and facial expressions of the characters, as well as any props or set pieces that are relevant to the scene.

Additionally, the scene could benefit from more subtext and emotional depth. As a teacher, you should encourage the writer to delve deeper into the characters' emotions and motivations. This could be achieved through more nuanced dialogue and character interactions.

Lastly, the scene could be improved by incorporating more sensory details. As a screenwriting expert, you should encourage the writer to include more sensory information to immerse the audience in the scene. This could include descriptions of the setting, sounds, and even smells that help to create a more vivid and immersive experience for the audience.

Overall, while the scene effectively conveys the necessary information and conflict, there are areas that could be improved upon to enhance the emotional depth and visual experience for the audience.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is well-written and effectively conveys the tension and conflict between the characters. However, here are a few suggestions to improve it:

1. Add more visual and emotional description: While the dialogue is strong, it would be beneficial to include more visual and emotional description to enhance the scene. For example, describe Nicole's body language, facial expressions, and the atmosphere in the room to give the reader a better sense of the characters' emotions and reactions.

2. Vary sentence structure and length: The scene consists mostly of short, direct sentences, which can make the dialogue feel repetitive and monotonous. Varying the sentence structure and length can add more rhythm and flow to the scene.

3. Show Nicole's internal struggle: Throughout the scene, Nicole is eavesdropping on her parents' conversation and reflecting on her guilt. It would be helpful to include some internal monologue or description to show her conflicting emotions and thoughts more explicitly.

4. Clarify the stakes: While the scene effectively conveys the conflict between Billy and Sam, it would be helpful to clarify the stakes of the lawsuit and why it is so important for Sam and Nicole. This will help the audience understand the characters' motivations and the potential consequences of dropping the lawsuit.

5. Consider adding more subtext: The scene is primarily focused on the characters' dialogue and actions. Adding more subtext, such as hidden agendas, unspoken desires, or underlying tensions, can add depth and complexity to the scene.

6. Consider the pacing: The scene is quite long and dialogue-heavy. Consider breaking it up into smaller, more digestible chunks or adding moments of action or silence to break up the dialogue and maintain the audience's interest.

Overall, these suggestions aim to enhance the emotional impact and clarity of the scene while maintaining its tension and conflict.



Scene 30 -  Confrontation and Reflection
EXT. COMMUNITY CENTRE -- DAY

NICOLE is in the car in front of the community centre. She
stares at SAM as he argues with MITCHELL on the steps.

NICOLE
(voice over)
Daddy took a long time. I guess he
wanted to have a few words with you.
He must have tried to tell you that
I was lying. Then you would tell
Daddy that it didn't matter if I was
lying or not, the lawsuit is dead.

As NICOLE'S words are heard, her point of view of SAM and
MITCHELL arguing is seen.

The movement of their lips is in sync with NICOLE'S voice
over.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
(voice over)
Everyone's lawsuit is dead. Forget
it. Tell the others to forget it.
It's over. Right now, Sam, the
thing you've got to worry about is
why she lied. A kid who'd do that
to her own father is not normal,
Sam.

SAM comes down the stairs and enters the car, sitting down
at the driver's seat. NICOLE stares at him as he starts the
car.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
(voice over)
But Daddy knows who lied. He knows
who the liar is. He knows who's
normal.

SAM stares ahead, not knowing what to do next.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
(speaking to SAM)
I hope he lets us keep the computer.

SAM turns to look at NICOLE.

NICOLE (CONT'D)
I'd like an ice cream.

CUT TO




INT. AIRPORT. -- MORNING

MITCHELL is at the baggage section of the arrival area,
waiting for his luggage.

He watches PETER, the man he met in the washroom changing
his daughter, playing with the little girl.

PETER is full of love as he swings the little girl into the
air as she laughs.

MITCHELL is caught in a daydream, smiling at the happy image
of father and daughter. ALISON approaches him.

ALISON
Well, it was nice meeting you again,
Mr. Stephens.

MITCHELL
Mitchell. It was nice to see you
again, Ally.

ALISON
Alison.

MITCHELL
Alison.

ALISON
Say hi to Zoe.
MITCHELL
I will.

ALISON
I hope she gets better.

MITCHELL
I'll tell her that.

ALISON shakes MITCHELL'S hand, and leaves.

CUT TO

EXT. FAIRGROUND -- DAY

SAM wheels NICOLE along a path away from the same concession
stand that was seen at the beginning of the film. NICOLE is
licking an ice-cream cone. Around them, people are setting
up the bandstand.

NICOLE
Daddy, can we come to the fair?




SAM
Yes.

NICOLE
How about Sunday night? That's
always the best time.

SAM
Okay.

NICOLE looks at a team of men constructing a ride. A school
bus pulls up, and a group of children spill out. NICOLE
watches as the driver tries to form them into a group.

NICOLE
What's going to happen to Dolores?

SAM
I don't know.

NICOLE
Will the police do anything to her?
SAM
It's too late for that. She can't
drive the bus anymore. The school
board saw to that right off.

NICOLE
She'll move away.

SAM
There's talk of that.

NICOLE
Someplace where no one knows her.
(beat)
Someplace strange and new.

SAM is frozen. NICOLE smiles to herself.

CUT TO

EXT. AIRPORT. -- MORNING

At the airport, in the arrivals bay, MITCHELL waits for his
limousine.

Across the road, a hotel minibus is parked. The driver is
DOLORES. The camera settles on her face as she stares at
MITCHELL.

MITCHELL catches her gaze, and the two stare at each other.




NICOLE
(voice over)
As you see each other, almost two
years later, I wonder if you realize
something.

MITCHELL'S limo arrives. He gets inside.

CUT TO

INT. LIMOUSINE -- MORNING

CLOSE-UP of MITCHELL as he stares ahead, lost in thought.
NICOLE
(voice over)
I wonder if you realize that all of
us - Dolores, me, the children who
survived, the children who didn't -
that we're all citizens of a
different town now.

CUT TO
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Nicole overhears her parents talking about Billy Ansel wanting to come over and talk. She expresses her reluctance to see him and reflects on the guilt she feels for surviving the accident while his children did not. Billy arrives at the Burnell home and Nicole eavesdrops on their conversation. Billy confronts Sam about the lawsuit and expresses his desire for them to drop it. He reveals that he will be subpoenaed to testify in court and expresses his frustration with the ongoing legal battles. Sam tries to convince Billy that it will only take a few minutes of his time, but Billy believes it will drag on for years. Billy offers to help financially, but Sam explains they need more money for hospital bills and Nicole's care. Billy expresses his disappointment in the community and threatens to sell his house and leave. The scene ends with Billy asking about Nicole's well-being.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, effective tension-building"
Weaknesses "Dialogue could be more impactful, lack of significant character change within the scene"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional turmoil of the characters and advances the plot by revealing the ongoing legal battles and the strain it puts on relationships.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of exploring the aftermath of a tragic accident and the legal battles surrounding it is compelling and engaging.

Plot: 8

The plot of the scene revolves around the confrontation between Billy and Sam regarding the lawsuit and the financial struggles faced by the Burnell family. It effectively builds tension and reveals the characters' motivations and conflicts.

Originality: 3

The level of originality in this scene is low. It follows a typical dramatic structure and does not present any unique situations or fresh approaches to familiar ones. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue is realistic but not particularly innovative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are clearly portrayed. The scene allows for character growth and reveals their internal struggles.

Character Changes: 7

While there is not significant character change within the scene, it sets up potential changes and growth for the characters in future developments.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to make Sam realize that Nicole's father knows who lied and that Nicole is not normal. This reflects Nicole's desire for validation and acceptance from her father.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to have a conversation with Sam and go to the fair with him. It reflects the immediate circumstances of their relationship and the desire for a normal family outing.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Billy and Sam regarding the lawsuit and the financial struggles adds tension and drives the scene forward.

Opposition: 6

The opposition in this scene is moderate. Sam is unsure of how to respond to Nicole's statements, creating a small obstacle for the protagonist.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as the characters face legal battles, financial struggles, and strained relationships. The outcome of the lawsuit and the future of the characters are at stake.

Story Forward: 8

The scene reveals important plot developments regarding the lawsuit and the financial struggles of the Burnell family. It moves the story forward by introducing new conflicts and motivations.

Unpredictability: 5

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces new information about the characters' past and hints at potential conflicts and developments in the future.

Philosophical Conflict: 0

There is no evident philosophical conflict in this scene.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly guilt, frustration, and disappointment. It effectively conveys the characters' internal struggles.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the characters' emotions and motivations. It could benefit from more impactful and memorable lines.

Engagement: 7

This scene is engaging because it reveals important information about the characters' relationships and desires. The use of voice-over narration adds depth and intrigue.

Pacing: 7

The pacing of the scene is effective in conveying the characters' emotions and building tension. The rhythm of the dialogue and the use of voice-over narration contribute to the scene's effectiveness.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes proper indentation, dialogue formatting, and scene transitions.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It includes clear scene headings, character names, and dialogue.


Critique Overall, this scene effectively wraps up the storyline and provides closure for the characters. The use of voiceover narration helps to convey Nicole's thoughts and emotions, and the parallel editing between Nicole's point of view and the actions of Sam and Mitchell adds tension and depth to the scene.

One suggestion for improvement would be to provide more visual cues or actions for the characters during the voiceover narration. This would help to engage the audience visually and prevent the scene from feeling too static. For example, instead of just showing Sam sitting in the car, he could be shown fidgeting with the car keys or glancing at Nicole in the rearview mirror. These small actions can add layers to the characters and make the scene more visually interesting.

Additionally, the transition between the airport scene and the fairground scene could be smoother. It is not clear how these two scenes are connected or why they are included in the same sequence. Providing a clearer link or transition between the two locations would help to maintain the flow of the scene.

Overall, the scene effectively conveys the emotional journey of the characters and provides a satisfying conclusion to the story. With some minor adjustments to the visual elements and transitions, it could be even stronger.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the location: Instead of just stating "EXT. COMMUNITY CENTRE -- DAY," provide some description of the surroundings to set the scene and create a visual image for the reader.

2. Show Nicole's emotions: Instead of just stating that Nicole is staring at Sam and Mitchell, show her emotions through her body language, facial expressions, or internal thoughts. This will help the audience connect with her character and understand her feelings of guilt and reluctance.

3. Use dialogue to reveal character motivations: Instead of relying solely on Nicole's voiceover, use dialogue between Sam and Mitchell to reveal their motivations and intentions. This will make the scene more dynamic and engaging.

4. Add conflict and tension: Introduce some conflict or tension between Sam and Mitchell to make the scene more dramatic. This could be done through their dialogue or actions, such as Sam becoming defensive or Mitchell becoming more aggressive.

5. Show Nicole's reaction to the conversation: Instead of just stating that Nicole is eavesdropping, show her reaction to the conversation between Sam and Mitchell. This could be done through her facial expressions, body language, or internal thoughts.

6. Add visual elements: Instead of relying solely on dialogue and voiceover, incorporate visual elements to enhance the scene. This could be done through camera angles, close-ups, or specific actions.

7. Provide closure: Instead of ending the scene abruptly, provide some closure or resolution to the conflict between Sam and Mitchell. This could be done through a final line of dialogue or a specific action that signifies the end of their conversation.

By implementing these suggestions, the scene will become more engaging, emotionally impactful, and visually appealing to the audience.



Scene 31 -  The Sweet Hereafter
EXT. GAS STATION -- DAY

BILLY watches as a crane lifts the demolished schoolbus onto
a flatbed truck.

NICOLE
(voice over)
A town of people living in the sweet
hereafter.

CUT TO

EXT. CAR -- AFTERNOON

NICOLE and SAM driving home from the fairground.

NICOLE
(voice over)
Whether others defend us, protect
us, love us or hate us - they do it
to meet their own needs, not ours.

The camera leaves the car to look up at the sky.

CUT TO

EXT. FAIRGROUND -- DUSK

Sunday night at the fairground. NICOLE is staring at the
ferris wheel. In her imagination, the swinging cars of the




slowly turning wheel are full of children. The laughter and
noise is haunting.

NICOLE smiles as she stares at this private apparition.
NICOLE
(voice over)
This is what I learned. This is
what I found out.

CUT TO

INT. BILLY'S HOUSE. JESSICA AND MASON'S BEDROOM. -- NIGHT

NICOLE has just finished reading a story to JESSICA and
MASON. The children are asleep. NICOLE puts the book down,
and kisses the two sleeping children on the cheek.

NICOLE gets up to leave the bedroom, leaving the door
slightly open.

Light spills in from the hallway.




The End October, 1996
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Billy confronts Sam about the lawsuit and expresses his desire for them to drop it. He reveals that he will be subpoenaed to testify in court and expresses his frustration with the ongoing legal battles. Sam tries to convince Billy that it will only take a few minutes of his time, but Billy believes it will drag on for years. Billy offers to help financially, but Sam explains they need more money for hospital bills and Nicole's care. Billy expresses his disappointment in the community and threatens to sell his house and leave. The scene ends with Billy asking about Nicole's well-being.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact, well-developed characters, compelling concept"
Weaknesses "Dialogue could be more impactful"

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional turmoil and conflict between the characters, and sets up the ongoing legal battles as a major plot point.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of exploring the aftermath of a tragic accident and the legal battles that follow is compelling and engaging.

Plot: 8

The plot of the scene revolves around the conflict between Billy and Sam regarding the lawsuit, and the financial struggles they face due to hospital bills and Nicole's care.

Originality: 6

The level of originality in this scene is moderate. While the situations and settings are familiar (gas station, fairground, bedroom), the introspective voice-over narration adds a fresh approach to the scene. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue is believable and relatable.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their emotions and motivations are clearly portrayed.

Character Changes: 7

While there is not a significant character change in this scene, it further develops the emotional journey of the characters.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to reflect on what she has learned and found out. It reflects her deeper need for understanding and personal growth.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is not explicitly stated, but it can be inferred that she is driving home from the fairground.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Billy and Sam regarding the lawsuit and their differing opinions on how to handle it creates tension and drama in the scene.

Opposition: 6

The opposition in this scene is not strong. There are no significant obstacles or challenges that the protagonist faces. The focus is more on her internal thoughts and emotions.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as the characters face the possibility of a lengthy legal battle and financial struggles.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by highlighting the ongoing legal battles and the emotional struggles of the characters.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is somewhat unpredictable because it introduces introspective moments and reflections that may not be expected based on the initial setting and actions. The reader is intrigued by the protagonist's thoughts and what they reveal about her character.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

There is a philosophical conflict evident in this scene. It challenges the protagonist's belief that others' actions towards her are driven by their own needs rather than hers. This conflict relates to her worldview and understanding of human relationships.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly in relation to the guilt and grief experienced by the characters.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the characters' emotions and motivations, but could be more impactful.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it presents a series of visually evocative moments and introspective voice-over narration. The reader is drawn into the protagonist's thoughts and emotions, creating a sense of connection and curiosity.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by allowing for moments of reflection and introspection. The rhythm is balanced, with a mix of action and quieter moments.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. The scene headings, character names, dialogue, and action descriptions are properly formatted and organized.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre. It begins with an establishing shot, followed by a series of cuts between different locations. The scene ends with a closing shot and the indication of the date.


Critique Overall, the scene is well-written and effectively conveys the emotional turmoil and guilt that Nicole feels after the accident. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

1. Clarity of transitions: The scene transitions could be made clearer to avoid confusion. For example, it is not immediately clear that the scene transitions from the gas station to the car, and then to the fairground. Adding clear transition cues, such as "CUT TO" or "DISSOLVE TO," would help the reader understand the flow of the scene.

2. Voiceover usage: The voiceover narration by Nicole is a powerful tool to convey her thoughts and emotions. However, it is important to use it sparingly and purposefully. In this scene, the voiceover is used multiple times, which can become repetitive and lose its impact. Consider condensing the voiceover narration and using it at key moments to enhance the emotional impact.

3. Visual descriptions: The scene could benefit from more visual descriptions to create a vivid and engaging visual experience for the reader. For example, when Nicole is at the fairground, describing the atmosphere, the lights, and the sounds in more detail would help immerse the reader in the scene and enhance the haunting effect of the ferris wheel.

4. Character actions and reactions: While the dialogue between Billy and Sam effectively conveys their conflicting emotions and desires, adding more physical actions and reactions can further enhance the scene. For example, showing Billy's frustration through his body language or Sam's internal struggle through his facial expressions can add depth to their characters and make the scene more dynamic.

5. Pacing: The pacing of the scene could be improved by tightening the dialogue and removing any unnecessary repetition. This will help maintain the reader's engagement and keep the scene moving forward.

Overall, the scene effectively conveys the emotional tension and guilt that Nicole feels, but with some improvements in clarity, visual descriptions, and character actions, it can become even more impactful.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Clarify the purpose of the scene: It's not clear why Billy Ansel wants to come over and talk to Sam. Is he trying to convince Sam to drop the lawsuit? Is he seeking closure? Make sure the audience understands the intention behind Billy's visit.

2. Develop Nicole's internal conflict: While it's mentioned that Nicole feels guilty for surviving the accident, this conflict could be explored further. Show her struggle with survivor's guilt and how it affects her relationship with Billy. This will add depth to her character and make her emotional journey more compelling.

3. Add tension to the deposition scene: The deposition scene is a crucial moment in the story, but it lacks tension. Consider adding more conflict between Nicole and Mitchell, the opposing lawyer. Show how Mitchell tries to undermine Nicole's testimony and how she fights back with confidence. This will make the scene more engaging and highlight Nicole's strength.

4. Show Sam's emotional response: Throughout the scene, Sam remains silent. However, it would be more impactful to show his emotional reaction to Billy's demands and frustrations. This will give the audience insight into Sam's feelings and add depth to his character.

5. Consider the pacing: The scene feels a bit rushed, especially with the quick cuts between different locations. Slow down the pacing and allow the audience to fully absorb the emotions and conflicts in each moment. This will create a more immersive experience for the viewers.

6. Use visual cues to enhance the storytelling: Instead of relying solely on voice-over narration, find ways to visually convey Nicole's emotions and thoughts. Show her facial expressions, body language, and reactions to the events happening around her. This will make the scene more visually engaging and allow the audience to connect with Nicole on a deeper level.

By implementing these suggestions, you can improve the scene and make it more impactful for the audience.