Read House of cards pilot with its analysis


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Scene 1 -  A Necessary Act
EXT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - NIGHT

SLOWLY PULL IN on the front door of a fashionable DC
townhouse.

Off-screen, we hear the SOUND OF SCREECHING TIRES followed by
a LOUD COLLISION. A CAR ALARM blares.

After a moment, the door to the townhouse opens and A MAN
emerges, curious to see what the commotion is outside.

As the Man comes into the light we see he’s dressed in a
crisp TUXEDO with the collar unfastened, no tie. This is
FRANCIS UNDERWOOD - Richard III, Iago and Hannibal Lecter all
rolled into one. He has intelligent eyes, mischievous lips
and a deep baritone dripping with Southern charm.

Francis glances down the street. He see a CAR backing up
then PEELING AWAY from the parked car that it just hit. It
disappears around the block.

As Francis heads purposefully toward the scene of the
accident, we begin to hear a DOG WHIMPERING IN PAIN. Francis
looks down at the ground. Francis’ security detail guy STEVE
(40s) appears beside him.

FRANCIS
Did you get a good look?

STEVE
Blue Toyota Camry. First two
letters of the plate.

Francis and Steve gaze down at the suffering animal.

FRANCIS
The Warton’s dog.

STEVE
Looks like a broken back.

FRANCIS
It’s not gonna make it.
(to Steve)
Go next door and see if they’re
home.

Steve heads towards the neighbors’ townhouse.

Francis kneels down beside the dog. It’s in awful shape. He
tenderly strokes the dog’s head.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Shhhh. It’s okay...
2.


Francis looks up at us. The sound of CAR ALARM FADES.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
(to the camera)
There are two kinds of pain. Good
pain - the sort of pain that
motivates, that makes you strong.
Then there’s bad pain - useless
pain, the sort of pain that’s only
suffering. I welcome the former.
I have no patience for the latter.

With cool-headed deliberateness, Francis calmly places a hand
around the dog’s neck and begins to put it out of its misery.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
(to the camera)
Moments like this require someone
like me. Someone who will act.
Who will do what no one else has
the courage to do. The unpleasant
thing. The necessary thing.

The Dog’s muffled whimpers cease. Francis looks down.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
(to the dog)
There. No more pain.

He lets go. The sound of the CAR ALARM RISES again.

Francis stands as Steve approaches. The shook-up neighbors,
JACK and BARBARA WARTON, follow several yards behind.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
(aside, to Steve)
We need to leave in ten minutes.

STEVE
Car’s ready.

Francis turns his attention to the couple. He gently
approaches them with endless sympathy in his eyes.

FRANCIS
It was a hit and run.

JACK
(to his wife)
He must’ve jumped over the gate
again...

Barbara wells up. Francis lays a hand on her shoulder.
3.


FRANCIS
I’m so sorry. I’ll have Steve file
a report. We’ll track them down.
Genres: ["Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Witnessing a hit-and-run accident, Francis Underwood euthanizes an injured dog, highlighting his philosophy on pain and decisive action. After instructing his aide to track down the driver, he offers condolences to the dog's distraught owners.
Strengths
  • Complex characters
  • Emotional depth
  • Intriguing dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Potential for controversy due to the protagonist's actions

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, emotionally impactful, and sets up a compelling conflict that drives the story forward.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of a morally ambiguous protagonist facing a difficult decision is executed with depth and complexity.

Plot: 8

The plot is well-structured, introducing a hit-and-run incident that sets up a mystery and conflict.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh take on the protagonist's moral complexity and the theme of power and control. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and add depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, especially Francis Underwood, who is portrayed as a complex and intriguing figure.

Character Changes: 8

Francis Underwood undergoes a significant character change by making a difficult decision that reveals his complex nature.

Internal Goal: 9

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to assert his control and authority in a difficult situation. It reflects his need for power and his desire to be seen as a decisive and strong leader.

External Goal: 8

The protagonist's external goal is to handle the hit and run incident with the neighbors' dog and maintain his reputation as a capable and empathetic leader.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between doing what is morally right and what is necessary for the greater good creates tension and intrigue.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the protagonist facing moral dilemmas and conflicting values. The audience is left wondering how he will navigate the situation.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as the protagonist is faced with a moral dilemma that could have serious consequences.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward by introducing a key conflict and setting up future events.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected actions of the protagonist and the moral dilemmas he faces. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the situation will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the protagonist's belief in taking decisive action and the moral implications of his actions. It challenges his values of power and control against compassion and empathy.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions of sadness, empathy, and admiration for the protagonist's actions.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful, revealing the protagonist's inner thoughts and motivations effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the moral complexity, tension, and the protagonist's internal struggles. The dialogue and actions keep the audience invested in the story.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension and suspense. The rhythm of the dialogue and actions keeps the audience engaged and invested in the story.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene descriptions and character actions. The dialogue is well-written and adds to the overall atmosphere.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm contribute to its effectiveness.


Critique
  • The scene sets up Francis Underwood as a cold, calculated, and decisive character, but the transition from the hit-and-run incident to euthanizing the dog feels abrupt and lacks emotional depth.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Steve is functional but could be more engaging and reveal more about their relationship.
  • The inner monologue delivered to the camera about pain and decisive action feels forced and could be integrated more naturally into the scene.
  • The interaction with the Warton couple lacks depth and emotional resonance, making it difficult for the audience to connect with the characters' emotions.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual storytelling to enhance the impact of the euthanization of the dog and Francis' philosophy on pain.
  • The pacing of the scene could be improved to create a more gradual build-up of tension and emotion.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief flashback or visual cue to establish the relationship between Francis and the dog, creating a stronger emotional connection for the audience.
  • Explore ways to make the dialogue between Francis and Steve more dynamic and revealing of their characters.
  • Integrate the inner monologue about pain and decisive action more organically into the scene, perhaps through actions or interactions with the dog.
  • Enhance the interaction with the Warton couple by adding more emotional depth and complexity to their reactions and Francis' responses.
  • Utilize visual cues, sound design, and pacing to create a more impactful and engaging scene that resonates with the audience.



Scene 2 -  Ambition and Power
INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - BATHROOM - A FEW MINUTES LATER

Francis stands at his sink, methodically washing his hands.


INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

CLOSE ON FRANCIS’ HANDS zipping up the back of a woman’s
elegant evening gown.

We PULL BACK to see that the gown belongs to Francis’ wife -
CLAIRE UNDERWOOD. She’s the epitome of elegance and poise.

FRANCIS
(taking her in)
Stunning.

CLAIRE
(straightening his tie)
You too.

Francis looks composed, dignified. If we hadn’t known, we
never would have guessed what he was up to just moments
before. He offers his arm to Claire.

FRANCIS
Ready?


INT. GRAND BALLROOM - SECONDS UNTIL MIDNIGHT

A loud, raucous count-down. DC's Democratic Party elite are
watching the Times Square ball drop on massive monitors.

Three! Two! One! Noisemakers. Applause. People kiss and
hug. The sound fades as one face in the crowd, Francis, turns
to the camera.

We PAN to the stage to reveal a beaming GARRETT WALKER (late
40s), the apotheosis of leadership. He’s flanked by his
family - wife PATRICIA and two teenage sons. They lead the
crowd in “Auld Lang Syne.”

FRANCIS (V.O.)
President-Elect Garrett Walker. I
might not like him, I might not
believe in him, but it doesn’t
matter...
4.


The camera finds Francis in the adoring crowd.

FRANCIS
(staring up at Walker)
Anyone who can get 70 million
Americans to vote for him deserves
my respect.
(to the camera)
I helped get him elected. After
twenty-five years in Congress I can
tell which way the wind is blowing.

We CUT TO to Walker’s soon-to-be V.P. JIM MATTHEWS (early
60s) and his large gaggle of a family.

FRANCIS (V.O.)
Jim Matthews - his Vice President.
Former Governor of Pennsylvania.
He did his duty delivering the
Keystone State. Now they’ll put
him pasture. He has four years of
obscurity and impotence ahead of
him.

CUT TO Walker’s recently appointed Chief of Staff LINDA
VASQUEZ. She’s in the back of the ballroom, being prepped
with make-up for a TV stand-up interview.

FRANCIS (V.O.)
Linda Vasquez - Walker’s Chief of
Staff. I like her even less than
Walker, but she’s the gate keeper
to the White House. If you don’t
want to be left standing out in the
cold, you can’t ignore the person
holding the keys.

The lights from the TV cam flip on, bathing her face in a
bright glow. She instantly flashes a toothy smile.

We CUT BACK TO Francis standing in the crowd, his arm around
Claire’s waist. She’s singing along with the crowd.

FRANCIS
As for me - I’m the House Majority
Whip. In other words - I get things
done. When it comes to legislation
I make the magic happen. I
transform the impossible into the
probable.

We ZOOM IN SLOWLY on Francis.
5.


FRANCIS (CONT’D)
But it’s time to move up a rung.
I’ve paid my dues. I’ve backed the
right man. And now that he’s won
I’ll get my just reward. Give and
take, give and take, and so the
world spins.

TIGHT on Francis’ face, filling the frame.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Welcome to Washington.


TITLE AND CREDITS

Iconic shots of D.C. - the Capitol, the Washington Monument,
Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, etc. But we see them from
odd angles, cast in dark shadows or beneath moody skies. The
feeling should be ominous.

We shift to interiors - dark hallways and restaurant booths
where slow-motion, silhouetted figures conspire with one
another.

Interlaced with all of this are recurring shots of dextrous
hands expertly shuffling a deck of cards and dealing them
out. The FINAL IMAGE should be of the dealer unveiling his
hand to the camera: not four, but FIVE one-eyed jacks.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Francis Underwood, Majority Whip, prepares for a party with his wife Claire. As they get ready, Francis reflects on his position and the other politicians present. He is confident in his power and believes he is destined for greater things.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Intriguing characters
  • Establishing political intrigue
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Lack of character growth in this specific scene

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively establishes the main character's motivations, introduces key players, and sets up the central conflict of the story. The dialogue is sharp and engaging, and the overall tone is intriguing.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of political maneuvering and ambition in Washington D.C. is well-executed. The scene introduces the power dynamics and sets the stage for future conflicts and alliances.

Plot: 8

The plot is engaging and sets up multiple storylines that will unfold throughout the screenplay. It effectively establishes the main character's goals and the obstacles he will face.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh perspective on political drama, with complex characters and intricate plot developments. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-defined and intriguing, each with their own motivations and agendas. The main character, Francis Underwood, is particularly compelling with his manipulative nature and ambition.

Character Changes: 6

While there are subtle hints at character growth and transformation, the scene primarily focuses on introducing the characters and their motivations. Future scenes may explore deeper character development.

Internal Goal: 9

Francis' internal goal in this scene is to move up the political ladder and secure his place in the power structure of Washington D.C. He is ambitious and determined to advance his career.

External Goal: 8

Francis' external goal is to navigate the political landscape and establish his influence within the new administration. He is strategic and calculating in his interactions with key figures.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is an underlying tension and conflict present in the scene, as characters navigate their ambitions and relationships in the political landscape. The conflict sets the stage for future confrontations and power struggles.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with characters facing internal and external conflicts that challenge their goals and motivations. The uncertainty adds depth to the narrative.

High Stakes: 8

The high stakes of political power and ambition are evident throughout the scene, as characters jockey for position and influence. The outcome of their actions will have far-reaching consequences.

Story Forward: 9

The scene effectively moves the story forward by introducing key plot points, conflicts, and character dynamics. It sets up the narrative trajectory and hints at future developments.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the characters' complex motivations and the shifting power dynamics. The audience is kept on their toes, unsure of what will happen next.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the themes of power, ambition, and morality. Francis is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals, even if it means compromising his values.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The scene is more focused on establishing the political intrigue and character dynamics than evoking strong emotional responses. However, there is a sense of foreboding and tension that adds depth to the narrative.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, witty, and reveals the characters' personalities and relationships. It drives the plot forward and adds depth to the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its compelling characters, sharp dialogue, and high stakes. The tension and intrigue keep the audience invested in the story.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, building tension and suspense as the story unfolds. The rhythm of the dialogue and action sequences enhances the effectiveness of the scene.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, adhering to the expected format for a screenplay. The scene transitions are smooth and the action is easy to follow.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a well-defined structure, moving seamlessly between different locations and characters. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the effectiveness of the scene.


Critique
  • The transition from Francis washing his hands to zipping up Claire's gown feels a bit abrupt and disconnected. It doesn't flow smoothly and lacks a clear transition.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Claire is a bit generic and lacks depth. It doesn't reveal much about their characters or the dynamics of their relationship.
  • The scene focuses more on exposition and setting up the political landscape rather than character development or advancing the plot.
  • The voice-over narration by Francis feels heavy-handed and on-the-nose, spelling out information that could be shown through actions and interactions.
  • The scene lacks emotional depth and fails to engage the audience on a personal level.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more subtle and nuanced interactions between Francis and Claire to reveal their relationship dynamics.
  • Integrate the exposition about the political landscape more organically into the scene, perhaps through visual cues or character actions.
  • Explore ways to show rather than tell, allowing the audience to infer information through character behavior and dialogue.
  • Add layers of complexity to the characters and their motivations to create a more engaging and compelling scene.
  • Focus on creating a more emotionally resonant moment that connects with the audience on a deeper level.



Scene 3 -  Intimate Car Ride
INT. FRANCIS’S CAR - NIGHT

Francis and Claire ride in the back the SUV. Steve drives.

CLAIRE
(she runs her hand through
his hair)
You should get a hair cut.

FRANCIS
You think?

CLAIRE
Just a little trim maybe. What
suit are you going to wear?

FRANCIS
For the meeting, or for the -

CLAIRE
For the announcement.
6.


FRANCIS
My navy blue one, with the pin
stripes.

CLAIRE
Good. You look handsome in that
suit.

She leans into him, slips her hand between his thighs. She
starts to kiss his neck.

FRANCIS
(in a whisper)
We’re only five minutes from the
house.

CLARIE
You’re going to make me wait?

FRANCIS
(with a sly smile)
Patience is a virtue.

CLAIRE
I’m not feeling very virtuous
tonight.

He smiles, leans in and kisses her.
Genres: ["Drama","Romance"]

Summary Francis and Claire are in the back of an SUV, discussing Francis's hair and outfit for an upcoming meeting. Claire becomes flirtatious and they share a moment of intimacy. The scene takes place inside Francis's car at night, with a tone that is intimate and flirtatious. The dialogue between them includes Claire suggesting Francis get a haircut and complimenting his suit. The scene ends with Francis and Claire sharing a kiss as they are five minutes away from their destination.
Strengths
  • Intimate dialogue
  • Chemistry between characters
  • Foreshadowing of future conflicts
Weaknesses
  • Lack of plot progression
  • Limited external conflict

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively establishes the chemistry between Francis and Claire, hinting at their complex relationship dynamics and foreshadowing potential conflicts.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of exploring the personal relationship of the main characters adds depth to the overall narrative and enhances the audience's understanding of their motivations.

Plot: 6

While the plot does not significantly advance in this scene, it sets the stage for future developments by establishing the emotional connection between Francis and Claire.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the classic theme of balancing personal and professional life. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and nuanced, adding depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The scene delves into the personalities of Francis and Claire, showcasing their intimate moments and hinting at their individual desires and vulnerabilities.

Character Changes: 6

While there are no significant character changes in this scene, it deepens the audience's understanding of Francis and Claire's relationship dynamics.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to maintain a sense of control and composure, despite the intimate moment with Claire. This reflects his need to balance his personal desires with his professional responsibilities.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to prepare for a meeting or announcement, as indicated by the discussion of suits. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges he is facing in his professional life.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 4

The conflict in this scene is primarily internal, focusing on the desires and frustrations of the main characters rather than external obstacles.

Opposition: 6

The opposition in the scene is subtle, primarily revolving around the characters' internal conflicts and desires. The audience is left wondering how they will navigate the boundaries between personal and professional relationships.

High Stakes: 3

The stakes in this scene are primarily emotional, focusing on the desires and vulnerabilities of the main characters rather than external threats.

Story Forward: 5

The scene does not significantly move the main plot forward, but it sets the stage for future developments by establishing the emotional stakes for the characters.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat predictable in terms of the romantic tension between the characters. However, the subtle nuances in their interactions add an element of unpredictability to their relationship dynamics.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the tension between personal desires and professional responsibilities. The characters must navigate the boundaries between intimacy and professionalism.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from passion to anticipation, drawing the audience into the intimate world of Francis and Claire.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue between Francis and Claire is engaging, revealing their playful banter and underlying tension, adding depth to their characters.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the intimate and sensual interactions between the characters. The dialogue is filled with tension and subtext, keeping the audience invested in the unfolding drama.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a gradual build-up of tension and emotion. The rhythm of the dialogue enhances the effectiveness of the scene, keeping the audience engaged.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, following the expected format for its genre. The dialogue is well-paced and engaging, driving the narrative forward.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with clear character dynamics and a well-defined setting. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the effectiveness of the scene.


Critique
  • The scene lacks depth and substance, focusing primarily on superficial dialogue and physical intimacy between Francis and Claire.
  • There is a lack of tension or conflict in the scene, making it feel flat and unengaging.
  • The dialogue feels cliched and lacks nuance, failing to reveal anything meaningful about the characters or advance the plot.
  • The physical intimacy between Francis and Claire feels forced and out of place, detracting from the overall tone of the screenplay.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and layers to add complexity and intrigue.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more depth to the conversation between Francis and Claire, revealing their inner thoughts and motivations.
  • Introduce a subtle conflict or tension between Francis and Claire to make the scene more engaging.
  • Focus on dialogue that is more meaningful and revealing of the characters' personalities and relationships.
  • Avoid relying on physical intimacy as a shortcut to convey emotion or connection between characters.
  • Explore ways to add subtext and layers to the scene to make it more compelling and thought-provoking.



Scene 4 -  Clash of Vision
INT. WASHINGTON HERALD - NEWSROOM - MORNING

A bustling bull-pen of writers, editors and assistants.
Mounted TVs blare with 24 hour news channels. The steady
clacking of keyboards wafts from a sea of cubicles.

ZOE BARNES (mid 20s) - a strong and hungry young reporter -
weaves through the cubicles toward a corner office.

Inside LUCAS GOODWIN (mid to late 30s) - the Deputy Editor -
is talking to BOB HAMMERSCHMIDT (early 50s) - the paper’s
grizzled Editor-in-Chief.

Zoe waits by the open door and listens in.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
...Only a nine vote majority in the
House. Every bill that hits the
floor will be a cock-fight.

LUCAS
Yeah it’ll be ugly.
7.


HAMMERSCHMIDT
Any guess what’s on the legislative
agenda?

LUCAS
No idea. All my regular sources
won’t say a word.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
Keep digging.

Hammerschmidt gives him a slap on the back and exits,
brushing past Zoe, whom he barely notices.

ZOE
Morning Mr. Hammerschmidt.

He tries to place a name to the face.

ZOE (CONT’D)
Zoe Barnes.

HAMMERSHMIDT
Metro.

ZOE
That’s right.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
Keep up the good work.

He’s gone. Zoe leans against the doorway a tad provocatively.

ZOE
Did it take him over a year to
remember your name?

LUCAS
What can I do for you Zoe?

ZOE
I’m sick of the City Council.

LUCAS
I know you are. You tell me
everyday.

ZOE
Move me online.

LUCAS
You want to schlep for the twitter
feed? Be my guest.
8.


ZOE
No. My own blog. Five hundred
words. First person. Subjective.

LUCAS
Not gonna happen.

ZOE
Give me some freedom. I’ll go
underground. Win over staff members
on the Hill. Give them an outlet to
vent anonymously.

LUCAS
A glorified gossip column.

ZOE
A forum for the underpaid and
overworked. We’ll lift the veil.
Tap into what’s really going in.

LUCAS
This is the Washington Herald Zoe,
it’s not TMZ.

ZOE
You know how many people watch TMZ?

LUCAS
I couldn’t care less.

ZOE
Which is why print journalism is
dying.

LUCAS
If it’s gonna die, it’ll die with
dignity. At least at this paper.

ZOE
You’re stuck in the 20th century
Lucas. You lack imagination.

LUCAS
Maybe so, but right now I’m not
interested in imagination, I’m
interested in copy.

ZOE
You’re telling me to get back to
work.

LUCAS
I am.
9.


ZOE
But what you’re really telling me
is to fuck off.

LUCAS
I’m telling you both.

Zoe is brimming with frustration but she’s too cool of a
cucumber to let it show. She turns on her heels and departs
as quickly as she came.
Genres: ["Drama","Political"]

Summary In the newsroom, ambitious reporter Zoe Barnes proposes an anonymous blog for Hill staffers to vent. However, Deputy Editor Lucas Goodwin rejects her idea, upholding traditional journalism standards. Frustrated, Zoe accuses Lucas of being unimaginative and stuck in the past.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Character dynamics
  • Conflict setup
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Predictable power struggle dynamics

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up the conflict and tension between the characters, providing insight into their motivations and goals.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of traditional journalism versus modern media practices is well-executed and drives the conflict in the scene.

Plot: 7

The plot focuses on the power struggle between the characters and sets up potential future conflicts.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces a fresh take on the clash between traditional and modern journalism values, presenting it in a realistic and engaging way. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and contribute to the scene's originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-defined and their contrasting personalities create engaging dialogue and conflict.

Character Changes: 7

Zoe's frustration and determination to push boundaries show a potential character arc of growth and rebellion.

Internal Goal: 8

Zoe's internal goal is to break free from the constraints of traditional journalism and establish her own voice and platform. This reflects her desire for independence, recognition, and the opportunity to pursue stories that matter to her.

External Goal: 7

Zoe's external goal is to convince Lucas to give her the opportunity to start her own blog and have more freedom in her reporting. This reflects her immediate challenge of breaking away from the City Council beat and making a name for herself in a different way.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between the characters is palpable and drives the scene forward.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and values between Zoe and Lucas creating tension and conflict. Zoe's desire for freedom and recognition opposes Lucas's commitment to traditional journalism values, leading to a compelling dynamic.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high for Zoe as she seeks to break free from traditional journalism and make a name for herself.

Story Forward: 8

The scene sets up potential storylines and conflicts that will drive the narrative forward.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics between Zoe and Lucas, the unexpected twists in their conversation, and the unresolved conflict at the end of the scene.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between traditional journalism values of integrity and dignity, represented by Lucas, and the modern approach of sensationalism and immediacy, represented by Zoe. This challenges Lucas's beliefs in upholding the standards of journalism while pushing Zoe to question the relevance of traditional methods in a changing media landscape.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

While there is tension and frustration, the emotional impact is not the primary focus of the scene.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, confrontational, and reveals the characters' motivations and frustrations.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the intense dialogue exchanges, the power dynamics between the characters, and the underlying tension that drives the conflict forward. The audience is drawn into the characters' motivations and goals.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and momentum, with quick exchanges of dialogue and moments of conflict that keep the audience engaged. The rhythm of the scene enhances the emotional impact of the characters' interactions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay set in a newsroom, with clear scene descriptions and character actions. The dialogue is formatted correctly and enhances the flow of the scene.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a dialogue-heavy, character-driven scene in a newsroom setting. The pacing and rhythm of the dialogue contribute to the effectiveness of the scene.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or stakes, making it feel somewhat flat and unengaging.
  • The dialogue between Zoe and Lucas feels a bit on-the-nose and expository, lacking subtlety and nuance.
  • The conflict between Zoe's desire for a blog and Lucas's resistance could be more dynamic and layered to create more tension.
  • The character interactions could be more dynamic and engaging to draw the audience in and make the scene more compelling.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual elements or actions to break up the dialogue-heavy nature of the interaction.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more subtext and depth to the dialogue to make it more engaging and realistic.
  • Introduce a more compelling conflict or obstacle for Zoe to overcome in her quest for a blog, to create more tension and interest.
  • Explore ways to make the character interactions more dynamic and layered, adding depth to the scene.
  • Incorporate visual elements or actions to complement the dialogue and enhance the overall impact of the scene.
  • Consider tightening the dialogue and focusing on the most essential exchanges to keep the scene moving at a brisk pace.



Scene 5 -  Lobbying for Zoning Laws
INT. RUSSO’S OFFICE - MORNING

CHRISTINA MALONE (late 20s) - sexy and headstrong - ushers a
humorless looking LOBBYIST into Rep. Peter Russo’s office.
Christina is Russo’s Executive Assistant. Russo is smart and
amiable, but a bit of rascal.

CHRISTINA
Mr. Chapman, from Horizon Trust...

RUSSO
Henry. Great to see you. Thanks
Christina.

She leaves, closing the door behind her. The two men sit.

RUSSO (CONT’D)
How long are you in town for?
Staying for the Inauguration? I
can hook you up if you -

CHAPMAN
I’m not interested in parties. I’m
interested in the zoning laws you
promised to get changed in your
district. We’ve got 12 million
sitting in escrow for an empty lot
we can’t build on.

RUSSO
Yes, I know. And believe me, I’m
on it. But you gotta understand,
that’s a local municipal issue. I
can’t just pick up the phone and -

CHAPMAN
You can’t? That’s not what you led
us to believe when you begged for
fifty grand in donations.
10.


RUSSO
(realizes what he’s up
against)
Right. Well...

The phone rings. Russo looks sympathetically to Chapman.

RUSSO (CONT’D)
One sec.
(picks up the phone)
Christina I told you - no calls.
Not while I’m meeting with Mr.
Chapman.
(pause)
The President-Elect?

Chapman’s eyes widen.

RUSSO (CONT’D)
Put him through Christina.
(short beat)
Mr. President-Elect...Thank you, we
were pleased to win by double
digits...Absolutely, anything you
need...

CUT TO Christina at her desk outside the office. She’s
whispering into a receiver.

CHRISTINA
I need you to put that long, wet,
talented tongue of yours between my
thighs and make me squeal like
Monica Lewinsky.

CUT BACK TO Russo on his phone. Laughs boisterously.

RUSSO
Me too, me too...Okay, thanks again
Mr. President-Elect.

And he hangs up. Chapman is impressed.

RUSSO (CONT’D)
I’m sorry - what were we
discussing?
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Russo, a politician, promises Chapman, a lobbyist, that he will change zoning laws in exchange for a $50,000 donation. Chapman reminds Russo of the promise, and Russo apologizes and asks Chapman what they were discussing, indicating that the conversation will continue.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Complex characters
  • Intriguing power dynamics
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Some cliched political tropes

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up the power dynamics and conflicts within the political world, keeping the audience engaged with its intense and manipulative tone.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of power play and manipulation in politics is well-executed, drawing the audience into the world of backroom deals and hidden agendas.

Plot: 7

The plot advances as we see the characters navigate through political challenges and personal ambitions, adding layers to the overall story.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on political drama, blending humor with tension and exploring the complexities of power and influence. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and engaging.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with distinct personalities and motivations that drive the narrative forward.

Character Changes: 7

Characters undergo subtle changes in their demeanor and strategies as they navigate through the power dynamics, showcasing their adaptability.

Internal Goal: 8

Russo's internal goal in this scene is to maintain his facade of charm and influence while dealing with a difficult situation. He wants to appear in control and capable of handling the lobbyist's demands.

External Goal: 7

Russo's external goal is to navigate the demands of the lobbyist and maintain his political standing. He needs to address the zoning laws issue and keep the lobbyist satisfied.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict present, both internal and external, as characters juggle personal desires with political obligations.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and power dynamics creating obstacles for the protagonist. The audience is left uncertain about the outcome, adding suspense to the scene.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as characters vie for power and influence, risking their reputations and relationships in the process.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by introducing new conflicts and deepening existing ones, setting the stage for future developments.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and unexpected twists in the characters' interactions. The audience is kept on their toes, unsure of how the situation will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between political power and personal integrity. Russo is faced with the choice of compromising his values for the sake of political gain.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

While the scene is more focused on political maneuvering, there are moments of emotional tension and manipulation that resonate with the audience.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp and engaging, revealing the characters' intentions and adding depth to their interactions.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its sharp dialogue, tense atmosphere, and complex character dynamics. The power struggles and moral dilemmas 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 rhythm of the dialogue and actions keeps the scene dynamic and engaging.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with clear scene descriptions, character actions, and dialogue. The formatting enhances the readability and impact of the scene.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a political drama, with clear character motivations, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and dialogue flow smoothly, keeping the audience engaged.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of purpose or direction. It starts with the introduction of two characters, but their interaction feels superficial and lacks depth.
  • The dialogue between Russo and Chapman feels forced and lacks subtlety. The conflict over the zoning laws and donations is presented in a very straightforward manner without any nuance or complexity.
  • The transition from Russo receiving a call from the President-Elect to Christina's explicit phone conversation is jarring and tonally inconsistent. It feels out of place and disrupts the flow of the scene.
  • The character of Christina is portrayed in a stereotypical and objectifying manner, which undermines her professionalism and agency as an Executive Assistant.
  • The scene lacks emotional depth and fails to engage the audience on a deeper level. There is a missed opportunity to explore the power dynamics between Russo, Chapman, and Christina in a more nuanced way.
Suggestions
  • Develop the characters of Russo, Chapman, and Christina more fully to create a more engaging and dynamic interaction.
  • Add layers to the conflict over the zoning laws by introducing more subtle motivations and tensions between the characters.
  • Consider revising the phone call between Russo and the President-Elect to better fit the tone and style of the scene.
  • Avoid objectifying or stereotyping characters like Christina, and instead focus on portraying them as multidimensional and complex individuals.
  • Enhance the emotional depth of the scene by exploring the power dynamics and relationships between the characters in a more nuanced way.



Scene 6 -  Dashed Ambition
INT. BLAIR HOUSE - OFFICE - DAY

As the Aide lets Francis into the office, we see that it’s
Vasquez, not Walker, who is behind the desk. Francis
registers a whiff of surprise.
11.


VASQUEZ
Thanks for coming Frank.
(gestures at a chair)
Please...

FRANCIS
(as he sits)
Will the President-Elect be joining
us?

VASQUEZ
No. He told me to apologize on his
behalf. I’ll brief him though.

Francis has no other choice but to roll with the punches. He
hands Vasquez a manila folder.

FRANCIS
This is a memo I drafted on the
Middle East policy we’ve been
developing. I think we need a more
direct way to frame our approach.
We’ll steal from Reagan - trickle-
down diplomacy. If we tackle -

VASQUEZ
Frank - I’m going to stop you right
there.
(half beat)
We’re not nominating you for
Secretary of State.

A huge blow. Francis stares at Vasquez in stunned silence.

VASQUEZ (CONT’D)
I’m sorry, I know he made you a
promise, but circumstances have
changed.

FRANCIS
The nature of promises, Linda, is
that they remain immune to changing
circumstances.

VASQUEZ
Garrett has thought long and hard
about this, and he’s decided we
need you to stay in Congress.

FRANCIS
I built the campaign’s foreign
policy platform from the ground up.
(MORE)
12.

FRANCIS (CONT'D)
I briefed him, I prepped him for
debates. And the deal we agreed
upon was -

VASQUEZ
I’m sorry Frank. If it had been up
to me I would’ve handled this
differently. I wouldn’t have
waited this long to tell you.

FRANCIS
So you knew this was what you were
going to do.

VASQUEZ
It’s been an evolving discussion.

FRANCIS
(slowly)
An evolving discussion...

VASQUEZ
Frank...

FRANCIS
I got fourteen conservative
Democrats in key states to endorse
him. I was personally responsible
for raising over six million
dollars in contributions to the
campaign, seven million for House
races to keep hold of our majority
in -

VASQUEZ
You’re right. We wouldn’t have won
without your help. But now we have
to lead, and that means making
tough choices.
(half beat, now she has
the initiative)
Our first order of business is
Education Reform. A complete
federal overhaul. We want you in
the House, doing what you do best -
counting votes and delivering
legislation.

FRANCIS
I’ve paid my dues Linda. I deserve
this.
13.


VASQUEZ
There are lots of deserving people
Frank. We can’t nominate them all.

FRANCIS
I’d like to speak with Walker
personally.

VASQUEZ
The decision is made.

The two stare each other down like gunslingers.

VASQUEZ (CONT’D)
We need you Frank. Desperately.
Just not in the cabinet. I’m asking
for your help here. Are you going
to stand beside us?

It takes every ounce of will to swallow his pride.

FRANCIS
Yes. I will.

VASQUEZ
I’m very glad to hear that.

FRANCIS
May I ask - if not me, then who?

VASQUEZ
(hesitates, then...)
Michael Kern.

He says the following with a smile, but underneath the table
we can see Francis cracking his knuckles with rage.

FRANCIS
Michael Kern...That’s an excellent
choice.
Genres: ["Political Drama"]

Summary After being promised the Secretary of State position, Francis Underwood is informed by Linda Vasquez that he will not be nominated. Walker has decided to keep Francis in Congress to lead education reform efforts. Francis is disappointed but agrees to support the decision. Vasquez reveals that Michael Kern will be nominated instead.
Strengths
  • Intense dialogue
  • Powerful character dynamics
  • Reveals political intrigue
Weaknesses
  • Some repetitive dialogue
  • Lack of visual action

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is intense, emotionally charged, and pivotal in the character's development. It sets up a major conflict and reveals the harsh reality of politics.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of betrayal, power struggle, and ambition is effectively portrayed through the dialogue and actions of the characters.

Plot: 8

The plot advances significantly as Francis faces a major setback and is forced to make a tough decision, setting the stage for future conflicts and developments.

Originality: 9

The scene is original in its portrayal of political power struggles and personal ambition. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and true to life, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with Francis showcasing his ambition, pride, and ruthlessness, while Vasquez demonstrates her loyalty to the President-Elect.

Character Changes: 8

Francis undergoes a significant change as he is forced to swallow his pride and accept a new role, showcasing his adaptability and ambition.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to secure a position in the cabinet, reflecting his desire for recognition, power, and validation of his hard work and contributions.

External Goal: 7.5

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to navigate the political landscape and secure a position of influence in the government, reflecting the immediate challenge of maintaining his political standing and influence.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Francis and Vasquez is intense and drives the scene, showcasing the power struggle and betrayal at play.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and motivations driving the conflict between the characters. The audience is left unsure of how the protagonist will navigate the challenges he faces.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Francis must make a tough decision that will impact his future in politics, showcasing the ruthless nature of the political world.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward significantly by setting up a major conflict and revealing the harsh realities of politics.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists and turns in the dialogue and character interactions. The audience is kept on their toes, unsure of how the conflict will be resolved.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the clash between loyalty and ambition. The protagonist must choose between standing by his principles and seeking personal advancement, challenging his beliefs about loyalty and integrity.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes strong emotions of frustration, betrayal, and resentment, especially as Francis faces a major setback.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, intense, and reveals the power dynamics and conflicting motivations of the characters effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its high-stakes conflict, sharp dialogue, and complex character dynamics. The tension and suspense keep the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, with a gradual escalation of conflict and resolution. The rhythm of the dialogue adds to the scene's intensity.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, following the expected format for a screenplay in this genre.

Structure: 8

The structure of the scene follows the expected format for a political drama, with clear character motivations and conflicts driving the narrative forward.


Critique
  • The scene effectively conveys the shock and disappointment Francis feels upon learning he will not be nominated for Secretary of State.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Vasquez is tense and confrontational, highlighting the power dynamics at play.
  • There is a strong sense of betrayal and manipulation in the scene, adding depth to the characters and their relationships.
  • The scene effectively showcases Francis's struggle to maintain his composure and swallow his pride in the face of adversity.
  • The use of body language, such as Francis cracking his knuckles with rage, adds a layer of intensity to the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more internal monologue for Francis to provide insight into his thoughts and emotions.
  • Explore the possibility of incorporating flashbacks or visual cues to enhance the impact of Francis's past contributions and the betrayal he feels.
  • Introduce more subtext and nuance in the dialogue to further highlight the complex power dynamics and emotional turmoil between the characters.
  • Experiment with different camera angles and lighting techniques to visually emphasize the tension and conflict in the scene.
  • Consider incorporating subtle foreshadowing or hints about future plot developments to keep the audience engaged and intrigued.



Scene 7 -  Staff Reorganization Discussion
INT. CLEAN WATER FOR AMERICA (CWA) OFFICES - DAY

TO ESTABLISH: A large polished steel sign above a reception
desk that reads:

CLEAN WATER FOR AMERICA

We TRACK an older woman (50s) - EVELYN - carrying a folder
past side offices to CLAIRE’S OFFICE. She knocks on the
door, which is slightly ajar.
14.


CLAIRE (O.S.)
Come in.


INT. CWA OFFICES - CLAIRE’S OFFICE - DAY

Claire is behind her desk. Evelyn sits across from her.

EVELYN
Maybe we should do this in steps.
A couple people at first - see how
that goes, then if we decide --

CLAIRE
This isn’t about operational
efficiency, Eveyln. This is about
freeing up money. It’s a new year.
It’s time to clean house a little.
Spring cleaning, right?

EVELYN
It’s not spring - it’s January.

Claire just stares at her. That was a stupid thing to say.

EVELYN (CONT’D)
I just want to make sure we don’t
cripple our ability to function
properly in the process.

CLAIRE
I hear you, but if I thought that
was going to be an issue, I
wouldn’t be asking for this list in
the first place.

EVELYN
(shifts in her chair)
Okay...

Claire feels the needs to address Evelyn’s discomfort. She
leans forward, sympathetically.

CLAIRE
We went over this before the
holidays.

EVELYN
I know...

CLAIRE
You didn’t mention anything then.
15.


EVELYN
I know...

CLAIRE
We want CWA to maximize it’s
potential, don’t we?

EVELYN
Of course.

CLAIRE
So can we agree it’s time to
reorganize? To raise the bar?

EVELYN
Yes.

CLAIRE
Good. Put a proposal together.

Evelyn stands and exits, closing the door behind her. Claire
glances at her watch. Picks up her phone. Dials. Waits.
No answer. Leaves a message.

CLAIRE (CONT’D)
(into the phone)
It’s me. I feel like an idiot
leaving messages like this. Call
me back.

She hangs up. We linger on her for a moment. An expression
of frustration and concern.
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Evelyn and Claire meet to discuss staffing reorganization and cost-cutting measures to bolster the organization's growth. Evelyn initially hesitates due to concerns about staff impact, but agrees to prepare a proposal. Claire's frustration with unresponsive communication is evident as she leaves a message for an unknown individual.
Strengths
  • Strong dialogue
  • Tension-filled conflict
  • Emotional depth
Weaknesses
  • Limited character development
  • Lack of external action

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys tension and conflict through the dialogue between Claire and Evelyn, setting up a significant change in the organization. The emotional impact is strong, especially in Claire's frustration and concern, driving the plot forward.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of reorganizing the office for efficiency and financial reasons is clear and drives the scene's conflict. It sets up a significant change in the organization's structure, adding depth to the overall story.

Plot: 8

The plot revolves around Claire's decision to reorganize the office, leading to conflict with Evelyn. It sets up a significant development in the organization's dynamics and Claire's character arc.

Originality: 7

The scene presents a familiar workplace setting but introduces original conflict and character dynamics through the dialogue and actions of the characters.


Character Development

Characters: 7

Claire is assertive and determined, while Evelyn is cautious and concerned. Their dynamic creates tension and drives the scene forward, showcasing their differing perspectives on the reorganization.

Character Changes: 6

Claire's determination to reorganize the office showcases her assertiveness and willingness to make tough decisions. It sets the stage for potential character growth and development.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to reorganize and raise the bar for CWA, reflecting her desire for progress and improvement.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to create a proposal for reorganization, reflecting the immediate challenge of addressing operational efficiency.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between Claire and Evelyn over the reorganization adds tension and drama to the scene. It highlights the stakes involved in making significant changes to the organization.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong enough to create conflict and drive the narrative forward, keeping the audience invested in the outcome.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as Claire pushes for reorganization to maximize potential and free up money. The outcome of this decision could have significant implications for the organization and its members.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing a significant change in the organization's structure. It sets up future plot developments and adds depth to the overall narrative.

Unpredictability: 6

This scene is somewhat predictable in its workplace conflict and resolution, but the character dynamics add a layer of unpredictability.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

There is a philosophical conflict between operational efficiency and maintaining proper functioning, challenging the protagonist's beliefs about the balance between progress and stability.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene's emotional impact is strong, particularly in Claire's frustration and concern. It engages the audience and adds depth to Claire's character, setting up future emotional developments.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue effectively conveys the conflict between Claire and Evelyn, highlighting their opposing views on the reorganization. It drives the scene's tension and sets up future developments.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because of the tension between the characters and the clear progression towards a resolution.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and keeps the audience engaged in the conflict between the characters.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with clear scene descriptions and character actions.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a workplace drama, with clear character motivations and conflict driving the narrative forward.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering the high stakes and emotional turmoil established in the previous scenes.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat flat and lacks depth, especially in the interaction between Claire and Evelyn.
  • There is a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the emotional impact of the staffing reorganization on the employees and the organization as a whole.
  • The scene could benefit from more dynamic character interactions and conflict to keep the audience engaged.
  • The pacing of the scene is slow and could be improved to maintain the momentum of the overall story.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more subtext and layers to the dialogue between Claire and Evelyn to reveal underlying tensions or motivations.
  • Introduce a subplot or additional conflict within the scene to heighten the stakes and create a more engaging dynamic.
  • Explore the emotional repercussions of the staffing reorganization on the characters involved to add depth and complexity to the scene.
  • Enhance the pacing by tightening the dialogue and focusing on key moments of conflict or revelation.
  • Consider incorporating visual elements or actions to convey the characters' emotions and internal struggles more effectively.



Scene 8 -  A Cold Rejection
INT. WASHINGTON HERALD - NEWSROOM - NIGHT

JANINE SKORSKY (late 30s) - hard-edged and ruthless - is
punching away at her computer. Zoe leans over her cubicle
partition, lingers for a moment.

JANINE
(not looking up)
What is it Zoe?

ZOE
I know you’re going to have your
hands full at the White House, with
the new administration and
everything, so if you need somebody
to do research, punch out
background -

JANINE
I think I’ll be fine.
16.


ZOE
But if things get hectic, if you
need any help or -

JANINE
So you can blog about rubbing
shoulders with the big boys?

ZOE
Lucas told you.

JANINE
No offense, Zoe, but I don’t have
time to ween you off your training
wheels.

Wham - a slap in the face. Zoe eats it.

ZOE
Okay. Just thought I’d ask.

She walks off, humiliated, fuming.
Genres: ["Drama","Political"]

Summary Janine rejects Zoe’s offer to help with work, leaving her humiliated.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Well-developed characters
  • Power dynamics
Weaknesses
  • Lack of deep emotional impact

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up conflicts and power struggles among the characters, keeping the audience engaged and intrigued.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of power dynamics and ambition in a political newsroom is well-executed, providing depth to the characters and driving the plot forward.

Plot: 8

The plot advances through the interactions between characters, revealing their motivations and setting up future conflicts.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces a fresh approach to the competitive newsroom setting, with well-defined characters and authentic dialogue that adds authenticity to the conflict.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with distinct personalities and clear goals, driving the narrative forward with their actions and dialogue.

Character Changes: 7

Zoe experiences humiliation and frustration, potentially leading to character growth and development in future scenes.

Internal Goal: 8

Janine's internal goal in this scene is to assert her dominance and maintain control over her domain. This reflects her deeper need for power and respect in a competitive environment.

External Goal: 7

Janine's external goal in this scene is to dismiss Zoe's offer of help and assert her superiority in the newsroom. This reflects the immediate challenge of maintaining her authority and reputation.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between Zoe and Janine, as well as the underlying power struggles among the characters, creates tension and drives the scene forward.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Janine asserting her dominance over Zoe and creating a challenging dynamic for the protagonist.

High Stakes: 7

The high stakes involve power, ambition, and reputation in a political newsroom setting, driving the characters to make strategic decisions.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing conflicts, setting up future plot points, and revealing character motivations.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable due to the unexpected slap in the face, adding a shocking twist to the interaction.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between Janine's belief in ruthless competition and Zoe's desire for mentorship and guidance. This challenges Janine's values of individualism and self-reliance.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The scene elicits negative emotions such as frustration and humiliation, but lacks a deep emotional impact due to the focus on power dynamics.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp and impactful, revealing the power dynamics and conflicts between the characters effectively.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging due to the intense conflict and power dynamics between the characters, keeping the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and maintains the audience's interest through quick dialogue exchanges and dramatic moments.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting adheres to industry standards for a screenplay, effectively conveying the dialogue and action in a clear and concise manner.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a dialogue-driven interaction in a newsroom setting, effectively building tension and conflict.


Critique
  • The scene lacks depth and fails to engage the audience in a meaningful way. The dialogue feels forced and lacks authenticity, making it difficult for viewers to connect with the characters.
  • The interaction between Janine and Zoe feels one-dimensional and lacks nuance. Janine's dismissive attitude towards Zoe comes across as cliche and predictable, diminishing the impact of the scene.
  • There is a missed opportunity to explore the power dynamics between Janine and Zoe in a more subtle and intriguing manner. The scene could benefit from more subtext and layers to create a more compelling dynamic between the characters.
  • The dialogue exchange between Janine and Zoe feels stilted and lacks natural flow. It would be beneficial to inject more realism and authenticity into their conversation to make it more engaging for the audience.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual cues and actions to enhance the storytelling. Adding physical gestures or movements could help convey the characters' emotions and intentions more effectively.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more depth to the characters of Janine and Zoe to make their interaction more compelling. Develop their personalities, motivations, and conflicts to create a more engaging dynamic.
  • Focus on creating more natural and authentic dialogue that reflects the characters' personalities and relationships. Avoid cliches and predictable interactions to keep the audience intrigued.
  • Explore the power dynamics between Janine and Zoe in a more nuanced way. Add layers of complexity to their relationship to create tension and intrigue in the scene.
  • Introduce more visual elements and actions to enhance the storytelling. Use body language, facial expressions, and movements to convey the characters' emotions and intentions effectively.
  • Consider revising the scene to include more subtext and subtle cues that add depth to the characters' interactions. Allow for moments of silence or non-verbal communication to create a more engaging and realistic exchange.



Scene 9 -  Confrontation
INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

TIGHT on Claire sitting alone, stock still, face grim.

We hear the front door open. In the background we see Francis
enter the room. He looks weary, spent.

He comes into the foreground, sits down across from her.
Shame in his eyes. Disappointment in hers.

FRANCIS
Claire --

CLAIRE
You didn’t call me.

FRANCIS
I was --

CLAIRE
(harder this time)
You didn’t call me, Francis.

Before Francis can defend himself she’s on her feet, all the
pent-up energy from waiting bursting forth. She’s furious.

CLAIRE (CONT’D)
When you didn’t call me right after
I wondered. When I called and you
didn’t call back I knew.
(MORE)
17.

CLAIRE (CONT’D)
You don’t not call me. Not when
it’s this big.

FRANCIS
You’re right.

CLAIRE
When have we ever avoided each
other?

FRANCIS
I wanted to figure out a solution
first.

CLAIRE
Did you?

FRANCIS
No.

A long beat.

CLAIRE
So they lied to your face.

FRANCIS
For months.

CLAIRE
And you didn’t see it coming?

FRANCIS
It was always a possibility. My
mistake wasn’t in failing to
consider this scenario; it was in
miscalculating the risk. I thought
it was almost impossible.

CLAIRE
You’re usually good at sussing out
liars.

FRANCIS
I am. But this time...
(shakes his head)
Hubris. Ambition.

CLAIRE
Those aren’t bad things.

FRANCIS
They are when they blind you.
18.


CLAIRE
Aren’t you angry?

FRANCIS
Of course I am.

CLAIRE
Then where’s your anger?

FRANCIS
You want to me lash out at Walker?
At Vasquez? You want me to go to
the press and make mess of
something I can’t change?

CLAIRE
I want more than what I’m seeing.

FRANCIS
How kind of you.

CLAIRE
I’m not doling out sympathy.

FRANCIS
I didn’t ask for it.

CLAIRE
You’re better than this, Francis.

FRANCIS
(genuinely)
I’m sorry, Claire.

CLAIRE
No. That I won’t accept.

FRANCIS
What?

CLAIRE
Apologies.

Claire looks hard at him. A typical wife might smother him
with sympathy, but not Claire. She knows that’s the worst
thing she could do for a man like Francis.

CLAIRE (CONT’D)
My husband doesn’t apologize, even
to me.

Claire walks out of the room toward the stairs. We follow
her.
19.


As she ascend the stairs we hear a CRASH in the living room,
something SHATTERING. She pauses without turning, just a
fraction of a moment, then continues up the stairs.

BACK ON Francis in the living room. Rage in his eyes. We see
an overturned coffee table. Shards from a broken vase on the
floor. He rights the table. Bends down, picks up the larger
shards and places them on top.

He walks over to the side window. There’s a pack of
cigarettes and a lighter neatly placed on the sill. He
raises the window. Opens the pack. It’s nearly full. He
pulls out one of the cigarettes. Perches himself on the sill.

He turns to us, cooled down by now.

FRANCIS
(to the camera)
My wife and I don’t smoke. Once a
week maybe. Together at this
window. It’s our time to escape.
To be ourselves.

Lights the cigarette. Takes a long drag.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
(looks out the window)
But I’m alone now.
(back to us)
She’s left me this way. To myself.
To my thoughts. It’s not a
punishment; it’s a challenge.

He looks back out the window. Takes another drag.
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Claire confronts Francis for neglecting to update her during a crisis. Francis apologizes, blaming his ambition, but Claire is disappointed in his lack of transparency and emotional response. Francis remains withdrawn, leading to a tense standoff as Claire departs, leaving Francis alone to ponder the consequences of his actions.
Strengths
  • Intense emotional confrontation
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Symbolism
Weaknesses
  • Potential lack of clarity on the exact nature of the betrayal

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is emotionally charged, well-written, and effectively conveys the inner turmoil of the characters. The dialogue is sharp and impactful, and the use of symbolism enhances the storytelling.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of exploring the aftermath of a betrayal and the breakdown of communication in a marriage is compelling and well-executed. The scene delves deep into the characters' emotions and motivations.

Plot: 8

The plot advances through the revelation of Francis not being nominated for Secretary of State and the subsequent fallout with Claire. The scene sets up important conflicts and character dynamics for future developments.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the familiar themes of power, betrayal, and redemption. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and true to their motivations, adding a layer of originality to the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Francis and Claire are well-developed and their interactions feel authentic and layered. The scene showcases their strengths, vulnerabilities, and the complexities of their relationship.

Character Changes: 8

Both Francis and Claire undergo emotional changes in the scene, revealing new layers of their characters and setting up potential growth and conflict in future developments.

Internal Goal: 9

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to maintain his composure and control in the face of personal and professional setbacks. This reflects his need for power and influence, as well as his fear of losing his carefully constructed image.

External Goal: 8

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to navigate the fallout of a political scandal and salvage his reputation. This reflects the immediate challenge he is facing in maintaining his position of power and authority.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between Francis and Claire is intense and palpable, adding tension to the scene. The internal conflict within Francis also adds depth to the narrative.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting desires and motivations driving the characters' actions. The audience is left uncertain of how the conflict will be resolved, adding to the scene's dramatic tension.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high for Francis and Claire's relationship, as well as Francis' political ambitions. The scene sets up significant challenges and obstacles for the characters to overcome.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by revealing important plot developments, character dynamics, and setting up future conflicts and resolutions. It deepens the narrative and builds anticipation for what's to come.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and emotional revelations between the characters. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the conflict will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is between ambition and humility, as well as between power and vulnerability. The protagonist struggles with the consequences of his own hubris and the need to confront his mistakes.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions from the audience, particularly through the raw and honest portrayal of Francis and Claire's relationship struggles. The use of silence and symbolism enhances the emotional impact.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, emotionally charged, and reveals a lot about the characters' inner thoughts and feelings. It drives the scene forward and adds depth to the character dynamics.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the intense emotional conflict between the characters, as well as the high stakes and dramatic tension. The dialogue is sharp and impactful, drawing the audience into the characters' world.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a gradual build-up of tension and emotional intensity. The rhythm of the dialogue and character interactions adds to the scene's effectiveness in conveying the characters' inner turmoil.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene follows the expected format for its genre, with clear scene descriptions and character actions. The dialogue is well-crafted and adds depth to the characters' motivations.

Structure: 9

The structure of the scene follows the expected format for its genre, with a clear progression of conflict and resolution. The pacing and rhythm of the scene contribute to its effectiveness in building tension and drama.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or high stakes, given the gravity of the situation between Francis and Claire.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat repetitive and could benefit from more subtext and nuance to deepen the emotional impact.
  • The pacing of the scene could be improved to build tension and maintain the audience's interest.
  • There is a lack of visual variety and dynamic action in the scene, which could make it feel static and less engaging.
  • The emotional beats and character motivations could be more clearly defined to enhance the conflict and resolution.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more layers to the dialogue to convey the complex emotions and power dynamics between Francis and Claire.
  • Introduce more physical actions or gestures to break up the dialogue and add visual interest to the scene.
  • Explore different ways to escalate the conflict and raise the stakes to create a more compelling and impactful confrontation.
  • Focus on enhancing the non-verbal communication and body language between the characters to convey their inner turmoil and tension.
  • Experiment with different structural elements, such as flashbacks or internal monologues, to deepen the emotional resonance of the scene.



Scene 10 -  Morning Aftermath
INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - BEDROOM - DAWN

Claire is in bed as morning light seeps in through the
window. The bed is empty beside her. Her eyes are open.
She stares at the ceiling. The alarm beeps. She reaches
over, turns it off.


INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - STAIRS - MORNING

Claire descends the stairs in her bathrobe, freshly showered.
When she gets to the bottom of the stairs she sees Francis
sitting beside the window just as he was when she left him
the night before. He doesn’t turn to her. She pauses for a
moment, taking in the tableau, then walks to the kitchen
without a word.
20.


INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - KITCHEN - MORNING

TIGHT on two cups in an espresso machine filling with
steaming coffee.


INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - MORNING

CLOSE ON Francis, taking a cigarette out of the pack. It’s
nearly empty now. He lights it. Inhales. Claire enters
with the espressos. Sits down beside him, places one of the
cups at his side. A moment. He turns to her.

FRANCIS
Did you sleep?

CLAIRE
No.

Claire waits for more. Francis takes a drag.

FRANCIS
I know what I have to do.

CLAIRE
Of course you do.

FRANCIS
We’ll have a lot of nights like
this.

CLAIRE
That doesn’t worry me.

FRANCIS
I’m not sure how yet.

CLAIRE
But you will.

Francis hands her the cigarette. Picks up the espresso and
downs it with one gulp.

FRANCIS
I should get to work.

CLAIRE
I laid a suit out for you upstairs.
The navy blue one.

He gives her a kiss on the forehead. Heads for the stairs.
We FOLLOW HIM as he ascends. He turns to us.
21.


FRANCIS
(to the camera)
I love that woman. I love her more
than sharks love the smell of
blood.
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Claire wakes up and sees Francis by the window. She offers him coffee, and they silently acknowledge the previous night's events. Francis expresses his remorse and determination, while Claire provides support. He finishes his coffee and goes upstairs to prepare for work, leaving Claire alone with her thoughts.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Character development
  • Introspective dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Limited external conflict
  • Slow pacing

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional depth of the characters and sets up further development in their relationship. The dialogue is poignant and reveals important insights into their personalities.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of exploring the aftermath of a conflict between Francis and Claire is compelling and adds depth to their characters. The scene sets up future conflicts and resolutions.

Plot: 7

The plot focuses on the aftermath of a disagreement between Francis and Claire, setting up potential resolutions and character growth. It moves the story forward by highlighting the challenges they face.

Originality: 9

The scene demonstrates a high level of originality through its focus on emotional complexity, subtle character dynamics, and philosophical conflicts. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds depth and realism to the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Francis and Claire are well-developed and their emotions are portrayed effectively. The scene delves into their relationship dynamics and inner struggles.

Character Changes: 7

Both Francis and Claire experience internal changes in the scene, as they confront their emotions and the challenges in their relationship. It sets the stage for potential character growth.

Internal Goal: 9

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to understand and support her partner, Francis, as he grapples with a difficult decision. This reflects her deeper need for emotional connection and stability in their relationship.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to provide support and comfort to Francis as he prepares to face a challenging situation. This reflects the immediate circumstances of their relationship and the need for mutual understanding and solidarity.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

The conflict in the scene is internal, as Francis and Claire grapple with their emotions and the aftermath of their disagreement. It sets the stage for potential external conflicts.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is strong, with the characters facing internal and external conflicts that challenge their beliefs, values, and desires. The unresolved tension and emotional depth add complexity to the scene and keep the audience engaged.

High Stakes: 6

The stakes are moderate in the scene, as Francis and Claire navigate their emotions and relationship dynamics. The outcome of their interactions could have significant implications for their future.

Story Forward: 7

The scene moves the story forward by setting up potential resolutions to the conflict between Francis and Claire. It hints at future developments in their relationship and personal growth.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the characters' conflicting emotions and desires, the subtle shifts in power dynamics, and the unresolved tension between the protagonists. The audience is left wondering about the future of their relationship and the choices they will make.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the tension between personal sacrifice and ambition. Francis is torn between his desire for power and his love for Claire, while Claire grapples with her own feelings of loyalty and understanding.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene has a high emotional impact, as it delves into the complex emotions of Francis and Claire. The audience is drawn into their struggles and vulnerabilities.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is introspective and reveals the characters' inner thoughts and emotions. It adds depth to the scene and enhances the audience's understanding of Francis and Claire.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its focus on emotional depth, subtle character interactions, and underlying tension. The dialogue and actions of the characters draw the audience in and create a sense of intimacy and emotional connection.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by creating a sense of tension and emotional depth, allowing the audience to connect with the characters and their struggles. The rhythm of the scene enhances the impact of the dialogue and character interactions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of this scene follows the expected format for its genre, with clear scene descriptions, character actions, and dialogue cues that enhance the emotional impact of the scene.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for its genre, with clear scene transitions, character interactions, and a focus on emotional depth and conflict.


Critique
  • The scene lacks clear emotional depth and intensity considering the context of the previous scenes. There is a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the complex emotions between Claire and Francis after the revelation of his disappointment and the impact on their relationship.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat superficial and lacks the raw emotion that would be expected in a moment of crisis for the characters. There is a need for more impactful and meaningful exchanges between Claire and Francis to convey the weight of the situation.
  • The visual descriptions are minimal and do not effectively capture the mood or atmosphere of the scene. More attention to detail in setting the tone through visuals could enhance the overall impact of the scene.
  • The pacing of the scene feels rushed, with transitions between locations happening quickly without allowing for moments of reflection or contemplation. Slowing down the pace could help build tension and create a more engaging dynamic between the characters.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and nuance in the interactions between Claire and Francis. Adding layers of complexity to their dialogue and actions could deepen the audience's understanding of their relationship and the challenges they are facing.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more emotional depth to the dialogue and interactions between Claire and Francis to convey the gravity of the situation and the impact on their relationship.
  • Enhance the visual descriptions to create a more immersive and atmospheric setting that reflects the emotional turmoil of the characters.
  • Slow down the pacing of the scene to allow for moments of reflection and tension to build, creating a more impactful and engaging dynamic between the characters.
  • Incorporate more subtext and nuance in the interactions between Claire and Francis to add complexity and depth to their relationship and the challenges they are facing.
  • Explore opportunities for non-verbal communication and gestures to convey the unspoken emotions and tensions between Claire and Francis, adding layers of complexity to their interactions.



Scene 11 -  Unexpected Interruption
INT. UNDERWOOD’S OFFICE - KAUFBERGER’S OFFICE - DAY

TIGHT on screen. MICHAEL KERN (50s) - clean-cut and handsome
- is speaking at a lectern, flanked by Walker and Vasquez.
The ticker-tape reads: KERN NOMINATED FOR SEC. OF STATE.

CUT TO DOUG STAMPER (early 40s) - Francis’s well-connected,
amoral and loyal Chief-of-Staff - with NANCY KAUFBERGER (50s)
- Francis’s Exec. Assistant. They’re watching the news on a
flat screen in Nancy’s Office.

NANCY
He’s had work done. A chin tuck.
Probably botox. He definitely dyes
his hair.
(after a beat)
Maybe the GOP won’t confirm him.

STAMPER
Oh no, they’ll confirm him. Walker
is riding high. It’s not worth the
political capital. They’ll save
the big guns for legislative
battles.

NANCY
Hey Doug...

He looks up to see Francis striding in from the main door.
Stamper grabs a folder. The boss is here. It’s work time.
Stamper and Nancy head out to intercept him.

STAMPER
(opening the folder)
At 9:30 you’re sitting down with -

FRANCIS
(in stride)
Cancel everything. Stamper, you’re
with me.

Stamper tosses a glance to Nancy. She’s on it. Francis
makes for his office. Stamper follows.
22.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary While watching Kern's nomination on TV, Nancy and Stamper speculate about his surgeries. Francis arrives and abruptly cancels his appointments, asking Stamper to join him.
Strengths
  • Strong character interactions
  • Tension-building dialogue
  • Plot advancement
Weaknesses
  • Limited visual description
  • Some dialogue may be too expository

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively builds tension and sets up future conflicts within the narrative, with strong character interactions and political intrigue.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of political maneuvering and ambition is well-executed, with the scene focusing on the consequences of a significant decision.

Plot: 8

The plot advances significantly with the revelation of the Secretary of State nomination, leading to potential power shifts and conflicts.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces fresh situations and approaches to familiar political drama tropes. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds depth and complexity to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their interactions reveal their motivations and ambitions, adding depth to the scene.

Character Changes: 7

The characters undergo subtle changes in their dynamics and motivations, setting the stage for future character development.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to maintain control and stay ahead of the political game. This reflects his need for power, influence, and success in his career.

External Goal: 7.5

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to cancel all appointments and focus on a specific task with his Chief-of-Staff. This reflects the immediate challenge of navigating political alliances and making strategic decisions.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between personal ambitions and political decisions drives the scene, creating a sense of urgency and tension.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with characters facing challenges in maintaining control, making strategic decisions, and navigating political alliances. The audience is kept guessing about the characters' next moves.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as the characters navigate political ambitions and personal relationships in the aftermath of a crucial decision.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward by introducing a major plot development and setting up future conflicts and power struggles.

Unpredictability: 7.5

This scene is unpredictable because of the characters' strategic decisions and the shifting power dynamics. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the political maneuvering will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the tension between maintaining appearances and making strategic decisions for political gain. This challenges the protagonist's values of loyalty, ambition, and pragmatism.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The emotional impact is driven by the characters' reactions to the nomination decision, adding depth to their relationships and motivations.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp and reflects the tension and power dynamics between the characters, enhancing the dramatic impact of the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its fast-paced action, sharp dialogue, and high-stakes conflict. The tension and intrigue keep the audience invested in the characters' decisions and outcomes.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, with quick transitions between characters and clear progression of events. The rhythm enhances the scene's impact and engagement.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with clear scene descriptions, character actions, and dialogue. The formatting enhances the readability and flow of the scene.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a political drama genre, with clear character motivations, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the effectiveness of the scene.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear transition from the previous scene, leaving the audience slightly disoriented as to the context of Michael Kern's nomination for Secretary of State.
  • The dialogue between Nancy and Stamper feels a bit forced and expository, with their discussion about Kern's appearance and potential confirmation coming across as unnatural.
  • The introduction of Doug Stamper and Nancy Kaufberger feels abrupt and could benefit from a smoother integration into the scene.
  • There is a lack of emotional depth or character development in this scene, making it feel more like a functional plot device rather than a moment that adds depth to the story or characters.
  • The pacing of the scene is a bit rushed, with Francis's sudden decision to cancel everything and have Stamper accompany him feeling somewhat contrived.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief establishing shot or transition to set up the context of Michael Kern's nomination before cutting to Doug Stamper and Nancy Kaufberger watching the news.
  • Work on making the dialogue between Nancy and Stamper more natural and less expository, perhaps by integrating it more seamlessly into their actions or reactions.
  • Try to introduce Doug Stamper and Nancy Kaufberger in a way that feels more organic to the flow of the scene, rather than having them abruptly enter the narrative.
  • Explore opportunities to infuse the scene with more emotional depth or character development, perhaps by revealing more about the relationships or motivations of the characters involved.
  • Consider pacing the scene in a way that allows for a more gradual buildup to Francis's decision to cancel everything, creating a more natural progression of events.



Scene 12 -  Strategic Planning Session
INT. FRANCIS’S (INNER) OFFICE - DAY

Francis and Stamper behind closed doors. Stamper is trying to
process it all.

STAMPER
How do we get there...?

FRANCIS
We’ll seize opportunities. We’ll
make opportunities. React.
Respond. This is a time for broad
strokes.

STAMPER
I just don’t understand how’re
we’re going to -

FRANCIS
For now we keep focused on what’s
right in front of us.

STAMPER
Kern.

FRANCIS
Yes. And the Education Bill.

STAMPER
Who’s drafting it?

FRANCIS
Vasquez hasn’t told me yet. But
I’m guessing it’ll be Harry Blythe.

STAMPER
He’ll need to be handled.

FRANCIS
Which is exactly why she wants me
here instead of the State
Department.

STAMPER
I can start digging on Kern.

FRANCIS
Get me names first. Let’s have
somebody to give them once Kern is
gone. And we should have a front
man for that. In case we need to
distance ourselves.
23.


STAMPER
Who do you want?

FRANCIS
A lost child. Somebody we can save
from himself.

STAMPER
I’ll keep my ear to the ground.

FRANCIS
Okay, I’m going to get a bite to
eat. I haven’t eaten in two days.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Francis sets forth a plan to capitalize on opportunities in the present, emphasizing the Education Bill and handling Harry Blythe. He delegates tasks to Stamper, who inquires about logistics and potential buffers. Their discussion reflects a sense of urgency and ambition.
Strengths
  • Intense dialogue
  • Complex character dynamics
  • Intriguing plot development
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Lack of external action

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, filled with tension and intrigue as Francis and Stamper strategize their next moves.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of seizing opportunities and manipulating situations for political gain is central to the scene and executed effectively.

Plot: 9

The plot is advanced significantly as Francis and Stamper discuss their plans and set the stage for future actions.

Originality: 8

The scene presents a fresh take on political maneuvering and power dynamics, with authentic dialogue and complex character interactions. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Francis and Stamper are well-developed and their interactions reveal their complex personalities and motivations.

Character Changes: 7

While there are no significant character changes in this scene, it sets the stage for potential developments in the future.

Internal Goal: 9

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to maintain control and power in the political landscape. This reflects their deeper desire for influence and success in their career.

External Goal: 8

The protagonist's external goal is to handle the Education Bill and ensure their influence over the drafting process. This reflects the immediate challenge they are facing in the political arena.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict as Francis and Stamper navigate political challenges and internal power struggles.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with characters facing challenges and obstacles that test their abilities and motivations. The audience is left wondering how the characters will overcome these obstacles.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as Francis and Stamper strategize their next moves in the political arena, where power and influence are at play.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward by setting up new conflicts, plans, and power dynamics.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the characters' shifting alliances and hidden agendas. The audience is left unsure of the characters' true motivations and intentions.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the characters' willingness to manipulate and use others for their own gain. This challenges the protagonist's values and morals, as they must decide how far they are willing to go to achieve their goals.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes tension and intrigue, but the emotional impact is more subtle compared to the strategic elements.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp and strategic, reflecting the calculated nature of the characters and their political maneuvering.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because of the high stakes, political intrigue, and complex character dynamics. The tension and subtext keep the audience invested in the characters' actions and motivations.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, with a balance of dialogue and action that keeps the audience engaged.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with clear scene descriptions and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a political drama, with clear character motivations and conflict driving the narrative forward.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering the high stakes and the need for immediate action.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Stamper feels a bit vague and lacks specificity in terms of the actions they need to take.
  • There is a lack of emotional depth or character development in this scene, making it feel flat and unengaging.
  • The scene could benefit from more dynamic interactions between Francis and Stamper to create a sense of conflict or urgency.
  • The scene could be more visually engaging by incorporating actions or movements that reflect the characters' emotions or intentions.
Suggestions
  • Add more specific details about the opportunities Francis plans to seize and the actions they need to take to achieve their goals.
  • Increase the sense of urgency by highlighting the immediate consequences of not taking decisive action.
  • Enhance the dialogue to reveal more about the characters' motivations, fears, and conflicts.
  • Consider adding a twist or unexpected turn of events to keep the audience engaged and create suspense.
  • Introduce more visual elements or actions to complement the dialogue and enhance the overall impact of the scene.



Scene 13 -  Francis's Dark Ambition
INT. CAPITOL MESS HALL - LATER

Francis waits at the checkout. Junk food heaped on his tray.

We hear some commotion. Entering the mess hall is Michael
Kern followed by a couple of AIDES. People are
congratulating him. He’s smiling like a pig in shit.

Francis makes eye contact with Kern. Smiles. Gives him a
big thumbs up. Kern nods with appreciation. Gets
intercepted by another well-wisher.

Francis picks up his tray and turns to us, the smile on his
face instantly gone.

FRANCIS
(to the camera)
A wink, a nod, a little warmth and
grace - and with that one wraps
oneself in a cloak of civility.
Kern’s not the sharpest knife in
the rack, but he’s not dull either.
He knows I was up for the
nomination. He knows I must be
jealous. But he doesn’t need to
know the danger he’s in. Let him
bask in the limelight for now. I’ll
sharpen my blade in the dark. He’ll
still be smiling when I slit his
throat.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary At the mess hall, Francis smiles and congratulates Kern on his nomination. However, behind this facade, Francis harbors jealousy and plots to use the opportunity to undermine Kern's position in the dark.
Strengths
  • Intense character dynamics
  • Strategic plotting
  • Engaging dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Lack of resolution in the scene

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, filled with tension, and sets up a significant conflict that will drive the plot forward.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of political manipulation and power dynamics is executed effectively, setting up a compelling narrative.

Plot: 9

The plot is advanced significantly as Francis begins to strategize against Michael Kern, adding layers of intrigue and suspense.

Originality: 8.5

The scene introduces a fresh take on political intrigue and power dynamics, with complex characters and morally ambiguous actions. The authenticity of the characters' dialogue and actions adds depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Francis Underwood, are well-developed and their motivations drive the scene forward with intensity.

Character Changes: 8

Francis Underwood's character undergoes a subtle shift as he reveals his ruthless nature and strategic mindset.

Internal Goal: 8

Francis's internal goal in this scene is to conceal his true feelings of jealousy and resentment towards Kern while strategizing his next move to undermine him. This reflects Francis's deeper desire for power and recognition.

External Goal: 7.5

Francis's external goal is to maintain a facade of civility and congeniality towards Kern while plotting his downfall. This goal reflects the immediate challenge of navigating political dynamics and maintaining appearances.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Francis and Michael Kern is palpable, creating a sense of impending confrontation.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Francis facing internal and external challenges that test his moral compass and strategic acumen.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Francis plots against Michael Kern, risking his reputation and political standing.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by introducing a new conflict and setting up future events.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable in its portrayal of characters' hidden agendas and shifting alliances, keeping the audience guessing about the outcome of the power struggle.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the themes of power, manipulation, and morality. Francis's willingness to deceive and betray Kern for his own gain challenges traditional notions of ethics and integrity.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from tension to anticipation, keeping the audience engaged.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp and impactful, revealing the characters' intentions and setting up future conflicts.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging due to its blend of suspense, intrigue, and character dynamics. The dialogue and actions keep the audience invested in the unfolding political drama.

Pacing: 8.5

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, with strategic pauses and character introspection enhancing the emotional impact of the dialogue and actions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene adheres to the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings, dialogue, and action descriptions that enhance readability and visual storytelling.

Structure: 8

The scene follows a structured format that effectively conveys the characters' motivations and conflicts. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the tension and suspense of the scene.


Critique
  • The scene lacks subtlety in its portrayal of Francis's intentions towards Kern. The dialogue is overly dramatic and on-the-nose, spelling out Francis's plan in a very direct manner.
  • The transition from Francis's friendly interaction with Kern to his sinister monologue feels abrupt and forced. There is a lack of nuance in the character's behavior and motivations.
  • The scene relies heavily on exposition through Francis's direct address to the camera, which can come off as heavy-handed and disrupt the flow of the narrative.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat cliched and melodramatic, with Francis's speech about sharpening his blade and slitting Kern's throat coming across as overly theatrical.
  • There is a missed opportunity to show more subtle and nuanced interactions between Francis and Kern, building tension and intrigue without resorting to overt threats.
Suggestions
  • Consider toning down the dialogue and actions to create a more nuanced and layered portrayal of Francis's intentions towards Kern. Show, don't tell.
  • Explore ways to build suspense and tension through subtle cues and interactions between the characters, rather than relying on explicit threats and monologues.
  • Introduce more complexity to Francis's character by showcasing his strategic thinking and manipulation in a more subtle and understated manner.
  • Consider incorporating more visual storytelling techniques to convey Francis's true intentions towards Kern, rather than relying solely on dialogue.
  • Focus on creating a sense of unease and anticipation in the scene, leaving the audience intrigued about Francis's next move without explicitly stating it.



Scene 14 -  The Dangers of Pride
INT. EPISCOPAL CHURCH - MORNING

The service is chock full of DC’s political heavyweights,
including Francis and Claire seated near the back. A
MINISTER is in the midst of delivering a sermon.
24.


MINISTER
(reads from scripture)
“And whosoever shall exalt himself
shall be abased; and he that shall
humble himself shall be exalted.“
Matthew 23:12.
(looks up)
I’d like to speak today on the
subject of Humility. A lot of you
just won re-election. If you
hadn’t, you wouldn’t be sitting
here.

A smattering of chuckles among the congregation. CLOSE on
Francis as the minister continues.

MINISTER (O.S.) (CONT’D)
Of course you should be enjoy your
success, and be grateful for it.
But never let your gratitude sour
into pride. You’ll have many
challenges ahead over the next
couple of years. And a person’s
character is not determined by how
he or she enjoys victory, but
rather how he or she endures
defeat...
Genres: ["Political Drama"]

Summary Francis Underwood attends a church service where the minister delivers a sermon on the subject of humility. The sermon warns against the dangers of pride and encourages the congregation to be grateful for their success but not to let it turn into arrogance. Francis is shown listening intently to the sermon, his face revealing his determination to succeed despite the challenges ahead.
Strengths
  • Deep thematic exploration
  • Character introspection
  • Emotional resonance
Weaknesses
  • Lack of plot progression
  • Low conflict level

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys a deep message about humility and character, setting a reflective tone for the characters and the audience.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of humility in the midst of political power struggles is a compelling and thought-provoking theme that adds depth to the characters and the overall story.

Plot: 7

While the plot doesn't advance significantly in this scene, it provides a crucial moment of introspection and character development for the main characters.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces a fresh perspective on the intersection of politics and religion, exploring themes of humility and success in a unique setting.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The scene allows for a deeper exploration of the characters' inner thoughts and motivations, showcasing their vulnerabilities and complexities.

Character Changes: 6

The scene prompts the characters to reflect on their actions and motivations, potentially leading to personal growth and change.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to reflect on the concept of humility and its relevance to his own life and career. This reflects his deeper need for self-awareness and moral integrity.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to maintain his public image and navigate the challenges of his political career. This reflects the immediate circumstances of being in a public setting surrounded by influential figures.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 3

While there is no overt conflict in the scene, the internal struggles and tensions of the characters add depth and complexity to the narrative.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is subtle but present in the conflicting values of humility and pride.

High Stakes: 4

The stakes are not particularly high in this scene, but the internal struggles and moral dilemmas faced by the characters add complexity to the narrative.

Story Forward: 5

While the scene doesn't significantly advance the plot, it provides important character development and thematic depth.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable in its exploration of moral values and the protagonist's response to the sermon.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the values of humility and pride. The minister's sermon challenges the protagonist's beliefs about success and character.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of introspection and contemplation, resonating with the audience on a deeper emotional level.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is impactful and thought-provoking, conveying the theme of humility effectively through the minister's sermon.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because it presents a thought-provoking dialogue and explores the protagonist's internal struggles.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and emphasizing key moments of reflection.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting adheres to the expected format for a screenplay scene, with clear character actions and dialogue cues.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a traditional structure for a religious setting, with a clear introduction, conflict, and resolution.


Critique
  • The scene at the Episcopal Church lacks depth and fails to engage the audience in a meaningful way.
  • The sermon on humility feels cliched and lacks originality, coming across as a generic message rather than a thought-provoking moment.
  • There is a missed opportunity to delve deeper into Francis and Claire's reactions to the sermon, which could have added layers to their characters.
  • The dialogue from the minister feels forced and does not contribute significantly to the overall narrative or character development.
  • The scene does not advance the plot or provide any new insights into the characters' motivations or conflicts.
Suggestions
  • Consider rewriting the sermon to make it more impactful and relevant to the characters' current situations and internal struggles.
  • Add more subtext to Francis and Claire's reactions to the sermon, showing how it resonates with their personal dilemmas and ambitions.
  • Introduce a conflict or tension within the church scene to create a more dynamic and engaging interaction between the characters.
  • Explore the theme of humility in a more nuanced and original way, avoiding cliches and predictable dialogue.
  • Use the church setting as an opportunity to reveal hidden depths of the characters and move the story forward in a meaningful way.



Scene 15 -  An Uncomfortable Encounter
EXT. EPISCOPAL CHURCH - LATER

We’re following Francis and Claire as everyone files out.

FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
Claire...

They’re approached by another power couple: the longtime
Senator CHARLES HOLBURN and his socialite wife FELICITY, both
immaculately groomed, styled and outfitted.

CLAIRE
Hello Felicity.

Holburn gravitates toward Claire, Holburn toward Francis.

HOLBURN
Frank.

FRANCIS
(shaking his head)
Morning Charles.

We track Claire and Felicity, a few paces ahead of the men.
25.


FELICITY
(to Claire,
sympathetically)
How are you?

CLAIRE
Terrific.

FELCITY
I’m sorry about the...you know.
(nods back toward Francis)

CLAIRE
Oh, you mean the...

FELCITY
Just awful. Charles and I were so
upset when we heard.

CLAIRE
(smiling)
It’s nothing. Really. Between you
and me, I think Francis is
relieved. He feels much more at
home in Congress.

We JUMP OVER to Francis and Holburn.

HOLBURN
I would’ve bet a million dollars
Walker was going to choose you.

FRANCIS
(laughs it off)
Good thing you have a million
dollars to spare.

HOLBURN
But Kern - come on. That’s a real
insult, isn’t it? He’s got half
the experience you do, and less
than half the brain.

FRANCIS
He must’ve had his reasons.

HOLBURN
This is bad for business. We
needed a strong-man in the State
Department, not a straw man.

FRANCIS
We’ll make do.
26.


HOLBURN
You’re a bigger man than me. I’d
be pissed as hell.

Francis and Claire catch each other’s eyes. They appreciate
the sympathy of the Holburns, but they abhor sympathy as a
concept. It feels humiliating.
Genres: ["Drama","Political"]

Summary After a church service, Francis and Claire encounter Charles and Felicity Holburn. Charles expresses disappointment over Francis not being appointed Secretary of State, while Felicity offers sympathy for his recent political defeat. Francis remains diplomatic, but is clearly bothered by Holburn's assessment.
Strengths
  • Complex character dynamics
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Subtle power plays
Weaknesses
  • Lack of overt character development
  • Some dialogue may be too subtle for viewers to fully grasp

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively delves into the complex emotions and power dynamics of the characters, setting up potential conflicts and character development.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of showcasing the public facade versus private vulnerabilities of powerful political figures is intriguing and well-executed.

Plot: 7

The plot advances through character interactions and subtle revelations, setting up potential conflicts and power struggles.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on political drama, focusing on the characters' internal struggles and social dynamics. The dialogue feels authentic and nuanced.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with layers of ambition, vulnerability, and hidden agendas, making them intriguing and multi-dimensional.

Character Changes: 6

While there are hints of potential character growth and change, it is more subtle in this scene.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal is to maintain composure and control in the face of sympathy and potential humiliation. This reflects their desire to appear strong and unaffected by external circumstances.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to navigate political relationships and maintain appearances in the aftermath of a public event.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There are subtle conflicts and power struggles brewing beneath the surface, adding tension to the scene.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong in terms of social expectations and power dynamics, adding complexity to the characters' interactions.

High Stakes: 7

The high stakes of political power and personal relationships are subtly hinted at, adding tension and intrigue to the scene.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by setting up new conflicts, alliances, and power dynamics that will impact future events.

Unpredictability: 7

The scene is somewhat predictable in terms of character interactions and dialogue, but the underlying tensions add an element of unpredictability.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict is between maintaining a facade of strength and vulnerability to maintain political power and social standing.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a mix of emotions, from sympathy to resentment, as the characters navigate their personal and political challenges.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, revealing underlying tensions and power plays between the characters, adding depth to the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging due to its sharp dialogue, subtle power dynamics, and the characters' internal conflicts.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and highlighting the characters' internal conflicts.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with clear scene descriptions and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a political drama, with clear character interactions and dialogue.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of purpose or direction, as the conversation between the characters feels aimless and lacks a strong narrative drive.
  • The dialogue between the characters, especially Francis and Holburn, comes across as forced and unnatural, lacking depth and authenticity.
  • The interaction between Claire and Felicity feels superficial and lacks emotional depth, failing to engage the audience or add meaningful substance to the scene.
  • The scene fails to effectively convey the internal conflicts and emotions of the characters, resulting in a lack of tension or intrigue.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and nuance in the interactions between the characters, adding layers of complexity and depth to their relationships.
Suggestions
  • Consider revising the dialogue to make it more engaging and authentic, reflecting the true emotions and conflicts of the characters.
  • Focus on developing a clear objective or conflict within the scene to drive the narrative forward and engage the audience.
  • Explore adding subtext and nuance to the interactions between the characters, allowing for deeper emotional resonance and complexity.
  • Consider incorporating more visual elements or actions to enhance the scene and create a more dynamic and visually engaging experience for the audience.
  • Work on strengthening the emotional depth and authenticity of the characters' interactions to create a more compelling and impactful scene.



Scene 16 -  Intimate Confessions
INT. RUSSO’S BEDROOM - NIGHT

A cluttered high-rise apartment. Russo and his secretary
Christina are having wild, wall-pounding sex.

As soon as Russo climaxes with a primal yawp, he rolls over
and pours himself a drink from the night stand. Takes a sip.
He hands her the glass. Grabs the bottle for himself. Takes
a swig. Regards the bottle.

RUSSO
This is nice, where’d you get it?

CHRISTINA
The Speaker’s holiday party. I
snuck into the V.I.P. room and
stole it.

RUSSO
‘92. Wow. Twenty years old.

CHRISTINA
Seems about right for you.

RUSSO
Funny.

CHRISTINA
(starts to dress)
I’m almost thirty. That’s ancient
in your book.

RUSSO
I don’t discriminate when it comes
to age.

CHRISTINA
When’s the last time you hired a
forty year old assistant?

RUSSO
That doesn’t mean I haven’t, or
that I wouldn’t.
27.


CHRISTINA
As long as they’re good in bed.

RUSSO
Oh come on.

CHRISTINA
You do have a reputation, Peter.

RUSSO
For being a good lover?

CHRISTINA
For fucking the help.

RUSSO
Where’s this coming from?

CHRISTINA
You’re not just gonna get your
kicks, then toss me aside for some
slut straight out of college?

RUSSO
I can’t. You’d sue me for sexual
harassment.

CHRISTINA
I’m serious.

RUSSO
So we’re having that conversation
now?

CHRISTINA
It’s been six months. This isn’t
just a little office fling anymore.

RUSSO
You want me to say the three magic
words, don’t you? One of which
starts with an L. Okay, I’ll say
them.

Christina turns to him longingly. He takes her hand.

RUSSO (CONT’D)
Lick my balls.

She slaps him playfully. He wrestles her to the bed.
They’re both laughing. Now he’s sincere.
28.


RUSSO (CONT’D)
I love you. I do. I love you
Christina.

She smiles, rolls on top, kisses him.

CHRISTINA
I love you too.

A beat.

RUSSO
So will you lick my balls now?

She pushes him down for round two.
Genres: ["Drama","Romance"]

Summary Russo and Christina have a playful and intimate conversation in Russo's cluttered high-rise apartment at night. They discuss their relationship and feelings for each other, with Russo eventually confessing his love for Christina. The scene ends with Christina pushing Russo down for round two of their intimate moment.
Strengths
  • Authentic character interactions
  • Emotional depth
  • Sharp dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Limited plot progression
  • Relatively low external conflict

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively balances intimacy, humor, and emotional depth, offering a nuanced portrayal of the characters' relationship dynamics.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of exploring the personal relationship between a politician and his secretary in a candid and intimate manner is engaging and adds depth to the characters.

Plot: 7

While the scene doesn't directly advance the main plot, it provides insight into the characters' motivations and relationships, contributing to their development.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh approach to the trope of workplace romance by delving into the characters' emotional complexities and vulnerabilities. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds depth to the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with complex emotions and conflicting desires. Their interactions feel authentic and reveal layers of their personalities.

Character Changes: 7

Both characters experience moments of vulnerability and honesty, deepening their connection and revealing new facets of their personalities.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to navigate his feelings for his secretary and address her concerns about their relationship. This reflects his deeper desire for connection and intimacy, as well as his fear of commitment and vulnerability.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to maintain a casual and non-committal relationship with his secretary while also satisfying her emotional needs. This reflects the immediate challenge of balancing personal and professional boundaries.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

The scene contains internal conflicts within the characters' relationship, but the overall conflict is relatively low-key.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the characters facing internal and external conflicts that challenge their beliefs and values.

High Stakes: 5

The stakes in the scene are primarily emotional and personal, focusing on the characters' relationship dynamics rather than external conflicts.

Story Forward: 6

While the scene doesn't significantly move the main plot forward, it provides crucial insights into the characters' motivations and relationships.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected shifts between playful banter and serious conversations, keeping the audience on their toes.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the clash between casual sexual relationships and emotional intimacy. This challenges the protagonist's beliefs about love and commitment.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from intimacy and humor to vulnerability and tension, creating a compelling emotional arc.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, witty, and emotionally charged, capturing the characters' dynamics and inner conflicts effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its blend of humor, emotion, and tension, keeping the audience invested in the characters' relationship dynamics.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by balancing moments of tension and release, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the characters' emotional journey.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene adheres to the expected format for its genre, with clear scene headings, dialogue, and action descriptions that enhance readability.

Structure: 8

The structure of the scene follows the expected format for its genre, with a clear progression of dialogue and action that advances the plot and develops the characters.


Critique
  • The scene starts with a graphic depiction of Russo and Christina having sex, which may be unnecessary and off-putting for some viewers.
  • The dialogue between Russo and Christina is somewhat cliched and lacks subtlety, relying heavily on sexual innuendos and banter.
  • The dynamic between Russo and Christina feels one-dimensional, with Christina being portrayed as solely focused on their sexual relationship and Russo as dismissive and flippant.
  • The transition from playful banter to a serious conversation about their relationship feels abrupt and forced, lacking a natural progression.
  • The resolution of the scene with Russo joking about 'lick my balls' undermines the sincerity of his declaration of love, making the emotional moment feel insincere.
Suggestions
  • Consider toning down the graphic nature of the opening scene to focus more on the characters' emotions and dynamics.
  • Work on developing a more nuanced and realistic dialogue between Russo and Christina that goes beyond sexual innuendos.
  • Explore deeper layers to the relationship between Russo and Christina to add complexity and depth to their interactions.
  • Ensure a smoother transition between the playful banter and the serious conversation about their relationship to make the emotional beats more impactful.
  • Reconsider the resolution of the scene to maintain the sincerity of Russo's declaration of love and avoid undermining the emotional moment with humor.



Scene 17 -  Francis' Discomfort at the Kennedy Center
INT. KENNEDY CENTER - LOBBY - NIGHT

A full lobby. OPERA-GOERS dressed to the hilt. A decidedly
middle-aged crowd. Gray haired men, matronly women.

We ZERO in on Francis and Claire. People seem to be parting
subtly around them - a wide berth. Francis got snubbed for
the nomination and everyone knows it.

And OLDER MAN and his wife pass by. The Older Man gives
Francis a little double-pat on the shoulder - a consolation.
As Francis turns the Older Man and his wife have already
moved on. The Older Man gives Francis a slight piteous nod.

From Francis’ POV we see the Older Man whisper into his
wife’s ear. She looks back at Francis and Claire. Francis’
gaze shifts to small GROUPING of couples, all stealing
glances his way and speaking in hushed tones to one another.
The gossip is palpable.

FRANCIS
I need some air.

Claire picks up immediately on his discomfort.

CLAIRE
I’ll see you at the seats.

She disappears through the doors to the auditorium as we
follow Francis toward the door.
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Francis and Claire attend the Kennedy Center surrounded by opera-goers. Francis is uncomfortable after being snubbed for a nomination. Claire notices his discomfort and offers to meet him at their seats.
Strengths
  • Strong character development
  • Effective portrayal of emotions
  • Tension-filled atmosphere
Weaknesses
  • Limited external conflict
  • Lack of action

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional turmoil Francis is experiencing after the nomination snub, creating a tense and uncomfortable atmosphere that keeps the audience engaged.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of showcasing Francis' struggle to maintain composure in the face of public pity and discomfort is well-executed, adding depth to his character.

Plot: 7

The plot focuses on Francis' reaction to the nomination snub and his interactions with others at the event, moving the story forward by highlighting his internal conflict.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh approach to the theme of public perception and personal identity, exploring the complexities of success and failure in a high society setting. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and nuanced, adding depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Francis, Claire, and the supporting figures, are well-developed and their reactions to the situation feel authentic, adding layers to the narrative.

Character Changes: 7

Francis undergoes a subtle change in demeanor as he tries to maintain his composure in the face of public scrutiny, showcasing his ability to adapt to challenging situations.

Internal Goal: 8

Francis's internal goal in this scene is to cope with the humiliation and disappointment of being snubbed for the nomination. This reflects his deeper need for validation and recognition, as well as his fear of being seen as a failure.

External Goal: 7

Francis's external goal in this scene is to escape the judgmental gaze of the other opera-goers and find some relief from the gossip and whispers surrounding him.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

The conflict in the scene is primarily internal, as Francis grapples with his emotions and public perception after the nomination snub, adding depth to the narrative.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in this scene is strong, as Francis faces social ostracism and personal humiliation, creating obstacles that challenge his sense of self-worth and identity.

High Stakes: 6

While the stakes are not overtly high in this scene, the emotional and reputational consequences for Francis add a layer of importance to the events unfolding.

Story Forward: 7

The scene moves the story forward by highlighting Francis' internal struggle and setting the stage for future conflicts and developments in the narrative.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because it keeps the audience guessing about how Francis will navigate the challenges he faces and whether he will be able to overcome the obstacles in his path.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the clash between public perception and personal identity. Francis is forced to confront how others see him and how he sees himself, leading to a challenge to his beliefs about success and failure.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from tension and discomfort to pity and diplomacy, creating a strong emotional impact on the audience.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the tension and discomfort in the scene, showcasing the characters' emotions and motivations through their interactions.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it creates a sense of intrigue and suspense, drawing the audience into the protagonist's emotional turmoil and the social dynamics at play in the high society setting.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, with a gradual escalation of conflict and emotional stakes that keep the audience engaged and invested in the outcome.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of this scene adheres to the expected format for a screenplay, with clear scene headings and descriptive action lines that enhance the visual storytelling.

Structure: 8

The structure of this scene follows the expected format for a character-driven drama, with a clear focus on the protagonist's internal and external goals. The pacing and rhythm of the scene contribute to its effectiveness in building tension and suspense.


Critique
  • The scene effectively sets up the atmosphere of the Kennedy Center lobby with detailed descriptions of the opera-goers and their reactions to Francis and Claire.
  • The physical reactions of the characters, such as the Older Man's consolation pat on the shoulder and the subtle gossip among the couples, add depth to the scene.
  • The tension and discomfort felt by Francis are well conveyed through the reactions of the other characters and his need for air.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Claire is minimal but effective in showing their dynamic and understanding of each other's needs.
  • The scene effectively builds anticipation for what will happen next in the story.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more internal thoughts or emotions for Francis to further explore his feelings of being snubbed and the impact on his ambitions.
  • Introduce a subtle interaction or exchange between Francis and another character to add depth to his emotional state.
  • Explore Claire's reaction to the situation further to show her support for Francis or any internal conflict she may be experiencing.
  • Consider incorporating more visual cues or actions to enhance the tension and discomfort in the scene.
  • Add a subtle hint or foreshadowing of future events to keep the audience engaged and intrigued.



Scene 18 -  A Cold Night at the Kennedy Center
EXT. KENNEDY CENTER - NIGHT.

Franics stands outside, scrolling through his blackberry,
more to look like he’s busy than because he is.
29.


A cab pulls up. Zoe emerges. She’s in a strapless black dress
that hugs every curve. It isn’t very fancy, but it sure gets
the job done.

It’s cold. She’s not dressed for the weather. Her
headlights are FULLY ON. She turns to her date, BRIAN, early
30s - a typical Capitol Hill climber. He’s getting out of
the cab behind her.

ZOE
Gimme your jacket.

He pulls off his jacket and hands it to her. She drapes it
over the front of her dress and starts hurrying to main
doors. She’s not going to be late for this.

As she climbs the steps Francis notices her - more out of
instinct than interest. He glances at her ass ever so
briefly as she passes. And it’s an exceptional ass. We can
tell from the form-fitting fabric that she’s wearing a thong.

Once Zoe has passed, Francis turns to his attention back to
the blackberry.
Genres: ["Drama","Political","Thriller"]

Summary Francis watches as Zoe arrives at the Kennedy Center in a dress that is not appropriate for the cold weather. She asks her date, Brian, for his jacket before rushing inside.
Strengths
  • Nuanced character interactions
  • Emotional depth
  • Tension-building
Weaknesses
  • Some cliched elements
  • Predictable character reactions

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional turmoil and ambition of the characters, setting up future conflicts and developments.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of ambition, power struggles, and personal relationships is well-executed, providing depth to the characters and the overall narrative.

Plot: 7

The plot progresses with key revelations and character dynamics, setting the stage for future conflicts and developments.

Originality: 7

The scene introduces familiar elements of social status and romantic tension but adds a fresh perspective through the characters' actions and dialogue. The authenticity of the characters' behavior enhances the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with nuanced motivations and interactions that drive the scene forward.

Character Changes: 7

Characters, especially Francis, undergo internal changes and realizations, setting the stage for future character arcs.

Internal Goal: 8

Francis's internal goal in this scene is to appear busy and disinterested, possibly masking his true feelings or desires. This reflects his need to maintain a facade or protect himself emotionally.

External Goal: 7

Zoe's external goal is to arrive on time for the event, as indicated by her hurried movements and request for a jacket. This goal reflects the immediate challenge of the cold weather and her desire to make a good impression.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The scene is filled with internal and external conflicts, driving the characters' decisions and actions.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is moderate, with Zoe facing challenges related to the weather and time constraints. The audience is left wondering how she will overcome these obstacles.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high, with characters facing personal and professional challenges that could have significant consequences.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing key developments, conflicts, and character dynamics.

Unpredictability: 7

The scene is unpredictable due to the characters' conflicting goals and the potential for unexpected developments.

Philosophical Conflict: 6

There is a subtle philosophical conflict between Francis's apparent disinterest and Zoe's determination and resourcefulness. This challenges Francis's values of detachment and aloofness.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The emotional impact is high, with characters experiencing frustration, disappointment, determination, and ambition.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp and reflective of the characters' personalities and conflicts, adding depth to the scene.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because of the dynamic interactions between the characters and the sense of mystery surrounding their motivations.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene builds tension and maintains the audience's interest through concise dialogue and character movements.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting adheres to standard screenplay conventions, with clear scene headings and character actions. It effectively conveys the visual and emotional elements of the scene.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a clear structure with distinct character actions and dialogue. It effectively sets up the location and introduces the characters' motivations.


Critique
  • The scene lacks depth and purpose, as it mainly focuses on Francis standing outside the Kennedy Center and Zoe arriving in a black dress.
  • There is a missed opportunity to delve into the characters' emotions and motivations, especially considering the intense conflicts and tensions established in the previous scenes.
  • The scene feels superficial and lacks meaningful interaction or development between the characters.
  • The focus on Zoe's appearance and Francis's brief glance at her ass detracts from the potential for more substantial storytelling.
  • The scene could benefit from more dialogue or interaction between Francis and Zoe to add depth and intrigue.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding dialogue or a meaningful interaction between Francis and Zoe to reveal more about their characters or advance the plot.
  • Explore the emotional turmoil Francis is experiencing after being snubbed for a nomination and how Zoe's arrival may impact him.
  • Focus on building tension or conflict between Francis and Zoe to create a more engaging and dynamic scene.
  • Consider incorporating elements from the previous scenes, such as Francis's ambition and Zoe's journalistic pursuits, to add depth and continuity to the story.
  • Avoid objectifying Zoe's appearance and instead focus on developing her character and relationship with Francis.



Scene 19 -  Francis's Gaming Obsession
INT. KENNEDY CENTER - OPERA - NIGHT.

Francis slips into the booth and takes his seat next to
Claire. She doesn’t even look at him, but she reaches out and
takes his hand.

The SOUND of an orchestra tuning. The LIGHTS begin to fade.
PUSH INTO Francis’ face as the first subtle strands of MUSIC
begin to play and we CUT TO:


INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - BASEMENT - NIGHT.

Still TIGHT on Francis’ face, the MUSIC carrying us into the
scene, we PULL BACK to reveal that he’s wearing a headset
with a microphone. It’s dim. Blue light flickers in his eyes.

As we PULL BACK MORE we see that he’s slumped in a chair,
still in his tuxedo (sans tie) with an Xbox controller in his
hands. His thumbs and fingers deftly fly back and forth, but
the rest of his body is totally motionless - the calm and
focus of a true gamer.

A silhouette enters the frame. It’s Claire. She places her
hand gently on Francis’s shoulder. He pulls the headset off.
The MUSIC cuts out abruptly. From the headphones, we HEAR the
distant, tinny SOUND of other online gamers.
30.


Things like a 12 year-old kid taunting: “Imma cap your ass
muthafucka” and some redneck retorting: “Suck it dickless”
The lowest of low culture, if you can even call it culture.

FRANCIS
Going to bed?

CLAIRE
Are you coming?

FRANCIS
I’ll be there in a bit.

CLAIRE
Don’t stay up all night.

Claire leans down and kisses him on the forehead. Leaves.
Francis puts his headset back on. The online TAUNTS and
EXCLAMATIONS resume, full-force.

CUT TO the flat-screen TV. It’s Grand Theft Auto - a
complete bloodbath. Francis’ avatar starts blowing people
away. Death. Carnage. Glorious vulgarity.
Genres: ["Drama","Political Thriller"]

Summary While at the Kennedy Center with Claire, Francis escapes to the basement to play video games. Claire confronts him about staying up late, but Francis ignores her and continues gaming. This disconnect highlights the tension between their priorities and interests.
Strengths
  • Complex character development
  • Intriguing juxtaposition of political and personal life
  • Emotional depth
Weaknesses
  • Limited interaction between characters
  • Lack of external conflict

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively showcases the inner conflict and complexity of Francis Underwood, setting up future plot developments and character dynamics.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of Francis using gaming as an escape from his high-pressure political life is intriguing and adds depth to his character.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as we see Francis grappling with disappointment and frustration while also hinting at his strategic mindset and determination.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh perspective on the theme of duality in human nature, exploring the protagonist's complex identity through the juxtaposition of high and low culture. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds depth and originality to the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The scene delves into Francis Underwood's complex character, revealing his vulnerabilities, coping mechanisms, and inner turmoil.

Character Changes: 7

Francis undergoes a subtle shift as he confronts his disappointment and begins to strategize his next moves.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to find a sense of escape and release through online gaming. This reflects his deeper need for control, excitement, and a break from the pressures of his public persona.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to balance his personal life with his gaming hobby. He wants to maintain a connection with his wife while indulging in his passion for gaming.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is internal conflict within Francis as he grapples with disappointment and the need to maintain a facade of strength.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, presenting a challenge for the protagonist to balance his personal life with his gaming hobby. The audience is left uncertain about how he will navigate this conflict, adding suspense and intrigue.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high for Francis as he navigates political setbacks and personal challenges.

Story Forward: 7

The scene sets up future plot developments and hints at Francis's upcoming actions and decisions.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because it subverts expectations by blending contrasting elements and themes, keeping the audience on their toes. The unexpected shifts in tone and setting add depth and complexity to the narrative.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the clash between high culture and low culture, sophistication and vulgarity. This challenges the protagonist's beliefs about identity and the different facets of his personality.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from empathy for Francis's vulnerability to tension in his strained relationship with Claire.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the tension and emotional undercurrents between Francis and Claire.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it immerses the audience in the protagonist's internal struggles and external conflicts, creating tension and intrigue. The vivid descriptions and sharp dialogue maintain a high level of interest.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, using the rhythm of the dialogue and action to create a sense of urgency and momentum. It contributes to the overall effectiveness of the scene by maintaining a dynamic flow.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, with effective use of visual and auditory cues to enhance the storytelling. It follows the expected format for its genre while incorporating creative elements.

Structure: 8

The structure of the scene effectively transitions between different settings and moods, maintaining a cohesive narrative flow. It follows the expected format for its genre while incorporating unique elements.


Critique
  • The transition from the opera scene at the Kennedy Center to Francis playing video games in the basement feels abrupt and disjointed. There is a lack of smooth transition between the two settings, which can be confusing for the audience.
  • The scene lacks depth and emotional resonance. While it shows Francis escaping into gaming as a coping mechanism, it doesn't delve into the underlying emotions or motivations behind his actions.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Claire is minimal and lacks depth. It doesn't effectively convey the tension or dynamics of their relationship in this moment.
  • The use of online gaming culture and vulgar taunts feels out of place and detracts from the overall tone of the scene. It comes across as forced and unnecessary.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual cues and subtle gestures to convey the characters' emotions and inner turmoil, especially in a moment of vulnerability like this.
Suggestions
  • Consider revising the transition between the opera scene and the basement gaming scene to make it more seamless and coherent.
  • Explore Francis's emotional state more deeply and provide context for his actions to make them more relatable and impactful.
  • Enhance the dialogue between Francis and Claire to add layers to their relationship and highlight the tension between them.
  • Reconsider the use of online gaming culture and vulgar language, opting for more nuanced ways to depict Francis's escape and coping mechanisms.
  • Incorporate more visual storytelling elements to convey the characters' emotions and inner struggles effectively.



Scene 20 -  A Bittersweet Goodbye
INT. CAB - NIGHT.

The cab pulls up in front of Zoe’s apartment. Zoe and Brian
are in the back seat. Zoe’s got Brian’s jacket draped over
her. She hands it to Brian.

ZOE
Thanks so much. I’ll call you.

She gives him a platonic peck on the cheek. Opens the door.

BRIAN
Wait...

She turns back.

BRIAN (CONT’D)
I thought you had a good time.

ZOE
I did. I’ve never been to the
opera before. I loved it.

BRIAN
So...can I come up?

She just looks at him patiently.
31.


BRIAN (CONT’D)
I guess that’s a no.

ZOE
You’re really sweet, Brian. I’m
sorry if I gave you the wrong idea.

He looks dejected. She’s not going to let this turn into a
conversation.

ZOE (CONT’D)
Thanks again for inviting me. It
was wonderful.
(squeezes his hand)
Have a good night.

And she’s out of the cab. She throws one last glance back at
Brian, a pity glance. Then she’s off. Quick, clean,
relatively painless.
Genres: ["Drama","Romance"]

Summary Zoe and Brian return to Zoe's apartment in a cab after a night out. Zoe politely declines Brian's advances, stating she's not interested in pursuing anything romantic. Brian accepts her decision with disappointment. The scene ends with Zoe leaving the cab and Brian looking dejected.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Subtle character interactions
  • Realistic dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Lack of external conflict
  • Limited plot progression

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the bittersweet nature of unrequited feelings and the polite yet clear rejection of romantic advances.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of unrequited love and the complexities of romantic interactions are well-executed in this scene.

Plot: 7

The plot focuses on the aftermath of a date and the emotional dynamics between the characters, providing depth to their relationship.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the classic romantic encounter, focusing on the complexities of human interaction and communication. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with clear motivations and emotions that drive the scene forward.

Character Changes: 6

One character experiences a subtle shift in their understanding of the situation, leading to a moment of acceptance and growth.

Internal Goal: 8

Zoe's internal goal in this scene is to politely but firmly reject Brian's advances while maintaining a sense of kindness and gratitude. This reflects her desire to avoid confrontation and hurt feelings, as well as her need to assert her boundaries.

External Goal: 7

Brian's external goal in this scene is to try to continue the evening with Zoe by asking to come up to her apartment. This reflects his immediate desire for further connection and intimacy with her.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

The conflict in the scene is primarily internal, as one character grapples with unrequited feelings while the other navigates a delicate social situation.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong enough to create conflict and tension between the characters, adding depth to their interactions and driving the narrative forward.

High Stakes: 5

The stakes are relatively low in this scene, focusing more on emotional dynamics than external conflicts.

Story Forward: 6

While the scene does not significantly move the main plot forward, it deepens the emotional connection between the characters.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected turn of events when Zoe politely rejects Brian's advances, subverting the audience's expectations.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between Zoe's desire to be polite and maintain boundaries, and Brian's desire for further connection and intimacy. This challenges Zoe's values of kindness and respect for others, while also highlighting Brian's persistence and potential lack of awareness of social cues.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes a sense of bittersweet emotion and empathy for the characters' vulnerabilities.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is polite yet emotionally charged, effectively conveying the characters' feelings and intentions.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because of the subtle emotional tension between the characters and the unspoken desires that drive their interactions.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the characters' emotional journey.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene adheres to the expected format for a dialogue-heavy, character-driven scene, allowing the dialogue to flow naturally and drive the narrative.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a clear structure with a beginning, middle, and end, effectively building tension and resolving the conflict between the characters.


Critique
  • The scene lacks depth and emotional complexity, as it primarily focuses on Zoe politely declining Brian's advances.
  • There is a missed opportunity to explore Zoe's internal thoughts and feelings about the evening and her interactions with Brian.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat cliched and lacks nuance, making the scene feel predictable and unengaging.
  • The interaction between Zoe and Brian could be more dynamic and revealing of their characters, adding layers to the scene.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and tension to create a more compelling and memorable moment.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more depth to Zoe's character by exploring her internal conflict and emotions regarding the evening and her relationship with Brian.
  • Enhance the dialogue to be more authentic and reflective of the characters' personalities and motivations.
  • Introduce subtext and tension to create a more engaging and dynamic interaction between Zoe and Brian.
  • Explore the possibility of adding a twist or unexpected turn in the scene to keep the audience intrigued and invested.
  • Consider incorporating visual elements or actions that convey the characters' emotions and thoughts, adding layers to the scene.



Scene 21 -  Zoe's Witty Response
INT. ZOE’S APARTMENT - NIGHT.

The sound of keys, the bolt unlocking. The door opens and
Zoe enters. Tosses her purse on the bed (just a mattress on
the floor, no bed frame) and slips off her heels.

Goes to the fridge. It’s pretty empty - just yogurt, some old
take-out containers, an empty Britta. She grabs a yogurt.
Fishes a power bar out of a drawer. Heads over to her
computer - a laptop amidst of a sea of papers and notes. Her
desk is just a plywood board perched on cinder blocks.

She dips the power bar directly into the yogurt (no spoon) as
the computer screen jumps to life. Her fingers fly over the
keyboard. New window. Email. Password. Inbox. Mostly
work stuff. But there’s a new message at the very top:

FROM: Photogangsta@WashingtonHerald.com SUBJECT: Frank
Underwood ASS-WHIPPED.

She clicks on the message. A photo fills the screen: Francis
checking out Zoe’s ass when she passed him on the steps of
the Kennedy Center.

There’s text beneath the photo: If you want em to take you
seriously, maybe wear more than G-string?

Command N. New window. Keys punched at lightning speed.
Google Search. “Frank Underwood.” Wikipedia comes up.
Click. The words “House Majority Whip” stick out. Zoe
considers this for a moment. Clicks back to the other
screen. Looks at the photo. Hits reply. Types quickly:
32.


He looks pretty serious to me.

Send. Boom. Done.
Genres: ["Drama","Political","Thriller"]

Summary Zoe returns to her messy apartment, grabs a yogurt and power bar, and checks her email. She receives a message with a photo of Frank Underwood checking out her ass, implying she needs to be taken more seriously. Zoe responds with a witty comment, 'He looks pretty serious to me,' before sending her reply and ending the scene.
Strengths
  • Intense character interactions
  • Emotional depth
  • Sharp dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Limited physical action
  • Heavy dialogue-driven

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is intense, emotionally charged, and reveals crucial aspects of the characters' personalities and motivations.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of power struggles, personal relationships, and ambition is effectively portrayed through the interactions and revelations of the characters.

Plot: 7

The plot advances through the characters' interactions and reveals key developments in their personal and professional lives.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh take on the theme of gender dynamics in the workplace, presenting Zoe as a strong, independent character who challenges stereotypes and asserts her agency.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are complex, multi-dimensional, and their interactions drive the emotional and narrative depth of the scene.

Character Changes: 8

The characters undergo emotional turmoil, confrontations, and revelations that lead to personal growth and change.

Internal Goal: 8

Zoe's internal goal in this scene is to assert her independence and intelligence in response to the demeaning message she received. This reflects her need for respect and recognition in a male-dominated profession.

External Goal: 7

Zoe's external goal is to respond to the message she received in a clever and assertive manner, showcasing her wit and confidence.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The scene is filled with internal and external conflicts, driving the tension and emotional intensity.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene comes from the demeaning message Zoe receives, creating a small but significant obstacle for her to overcome.

High Stakes: 8

The high stakes involve personal and professional ambitions, power struggles, and the characters' relationships, adding tension and urgency to the scene.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by revealing key character motivations, conflicts, and setting up future plot developments.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of Zoe's unexpected and clever response to the message she receives, keeping the audience on their toes.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is the clash between traditional gender roles and Zoe's desire to challenge and subvert them. The message she receives reinforces stereotypes about women's appearance and behavior, prompting her to push back against these expectations.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, empathy, and tension through the characters' struggles and revelations.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, confrontational, and reveals the characters' inner thoughts and emotions effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its relatable themes, sharp dialogue, and the protagonist's strong, assertive response to a challenging situation.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a gradual build-up of tension and a satisfying resolution that keeps the audience engaged.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, following the expected format for a dialogue-heavy, character-driven scene.

Structure: 8

The scene follows a clear structure that effectively conveys Zoe's actions and emotions, leading to a satisfying resolution.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear transition from the previous scenes, making it feel disconnected from the overall narrative flow.
  • There is a lack of emotional depth and character development in this scene, which could make it feel flat and unengaging for the audience.
  • The setting and visual descriptions are detailed, but they do not add much to the scene or contribute to the character's development or the plot.
  • The dialogue feels functional but could be more engaging and reflective of the characters' personalities and motivations.
  • The email exchange between Zoe and the mysterious sender lacks tension and intrigue, which could make it less compelling for the audience.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief transition or connection to the previous scenes to maintain continuity and coherence in the screenplay.
  • Focus on adding depth to Zoe's character by exploring her emotions, motivations, and relationships in more detail.
  • Enhance the dialogue to reflect the unique voices and personalities of the characters, making it more engaging and memorable.
  • Introduce more conflict or tension in the email exchange between Zoe and the mysterious sender to create intrigue and suspense for the audience.
  • Consider revising the visual and setting descriptions to better serve the scene's purpose and contribute to the overall tone and atmosphere of the screenplay.



Scene 22 -  The President's Meeting
INT. UNDERWOOD’S (INNER) OFFICE - MORNING

Underwood is working at his desk. Stamper knocks and peeks
his head in the door.

STAMPER
She’s here.

FRANCIS
Show her in.

Stamper disappears. Francis turns to the camera.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Quite rare for a President’s Chief-
of-Staff to climb up the Hill. A
gesture of respect, no doubt -
which I appreciate, even if it
comes at a cost. Let’s see if I
was right about Harold Blythe.

He cranes his head to see her approaching down the hall.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Here she comes - my lesser but
necessary half.

Vasquez enters carrying a folder. Francis stands.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Good morning Linda. I appreciate
you making the trip over.

VASQUEZ
Of course. My pleasure.

FRANCIS
I assume we’re discussing
Education?

VASQUEZ
First things first...

She places the folder on his desk and opens it.

VASQUEZ (CONT’D)
The seating chart for the
Inauguration.
(MORE)
33.

VASQUEZ (CONT’D)
(points)
Do these work for you and Claire?

FRANCIS
Wow.

VASQUEZ
Which comes with a complimentary
set of tickets to the Red and White
Ball.

FRANCIS
Claire will be over the moon.

VASQUEZ
Good, I’m glad.
(closes the folder)
So - Education. We have Harry
Blythe drafting the legislation.

Francis tosses us a quick glance. His guess was correct.

VASQUEZ (CONT’D)
You can imagine the bind that puts
us in.

FRANCIS
The bill’s going to be too be two
steps to the left of Karl Marx.

VASQUEZ
Education’s been his baby for
twenty years. We have to let him
take the lead.

FRANCIS
It’ll be hard to drum up much
confidence.

VASQUEZ
Which is why I’m here.

FRANCIS
You want me to advise him. Bring
him toward the middle.

VASQUEZ
(relieved he gets it)
We need to this bill to pass
smoothly.

FRANCIS
Consider it done, Linda.
34.


VASQUEZ
I know it’s a lot to put on your
plate...

FRANCIS
You’ve got 100 days before the
honeymoon is over. Anything you
want to put on my plate, feel free.
Genres: ["Political Drama"]

Summary In the aftermath of the election, President Underwood meets with Linda Vasquez, the new Chief of Staff for the House Majority Whip. They discuss the seating chart for the Inauguration and the Education bill that is being drafted by Representative Harry Blythe. Underwood agrees to advise Blythe on the bill, and Vasquez leaves confident that Underwood can bring it more in line with the President's agenda.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Political intrigue
  • Professionalism in character interactions
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Lack of overt character development

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up the political stakes and strategic challenges faced by the characters, maintaining a tense and serious tone throughout.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of navigating political alliances and compromising for the greater good is well-executed, driving the plot forward and establishing key character dynamics.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as the characters strategize and plan their approach to the Education Bill, setting up future conflicts and developments.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh perspective on political drama, with unique character dynamics and a focus on the intricacies of legislative processes. The dialogue feels authentic and engaging.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters display professionalism and strategic thinking, with subtle hints of personal motivations and tensions adding depth to their interactions.

Character Changes: 6

While there are no significant character changes in this scene, there are hints of personal growth and strategic adaptation as the characters navigate the challenges ahead.

Internal Goal: 8

Francis's internal goal is to maintain control and influence over the legislative process, showcasing his political prowess and ability to navigate complex situations.

External Goal: 7.5

Francis's external goal is to ensure the smooth passage of the education bill, despite potential challenges and opposition.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

The conflict is primarily internal and strategic, with tensions simmering beneath the surface as the characters navigate political alliances and personal ambitions.

Opposition: 7.5

The opposition in the scene adds complexity and challenges for the protagonist, driving the conflict forward.

High Stakes: 8

The high stakes of passing the Education Bill and navigating political alliances add tension and urgency to the scene, highlighting the importance of strategic decision-making.

Story Forward: 8

The scene effectively moves the story forward by setting up key plot points, conflicts, and character dynamics that will drive future developments.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable due to the shifting power dynamics and the uncertainty of the legislative process.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the balance between idealism and pragmatism in politics. Francis must navigate between his own beliefs and the practicalities of passing legislation.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The emotional impact is subtle but present, hinting at the personal stakes and pressures faced by the characters in their political endeavors.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, diplomatic, and focused on the task at hand, effectively conveying the characters' intentions and strategies.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging due to its tense atmosphere, sharp dialogue, and complex character dynamics.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and maintaining the audience's interest.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with clear scene descriptions and character dialogue.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a political drama, with clear character motivations and a focus on advancing the plot.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering the importance of the topics being discussed such as the Education bill and the Inauguration seating chart.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat expository and lacks depth, missing an opportunity to delve into the complex dynamics between Francis and Vasquez.
  • The characterization of Linda Vasquez as Francis's 'lesser but necessary half' comes off as dismissive and undermines her role as the President's Chief of Staff.
  • There is a missed opportunity to explore the power dynamics and political maneuvering between Francis and Vasquez, which could add layers to their relationship and the overall narrative.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and nuance in the interactions between the characters, adding depth and complexity to their motivations and actions.
Suggestions
  • Introduce more conflict or tension in the scene to heighten the stakes and engage the audience.
  • Develop the dialogue to reveal more about the characters' motivations, goals, and relationships, creating a more compelling and dynamic exchange.
  • Consider reworking the characterization of Linda Vasquez to give her more agency and depth, moving away from stereotypes or cliches.
  • Explore the power dynamics between Francis and Vasquez through subtle gestures, non-verbal cues, and layered dialogue to add complexity to their interactions.
  • Enhance the scene by incorporating subtext, hidden agendas, and strategic maneuvering to create a more engaging and suspenseful atmosphere.



Scene 23 -  Francis's Strategic Approach
INT. UNDERWOOD’S (OUTER) OFFICE - FRONT DOOR - DAY

Francis opens the door for Vasquez. As she’s leaving --

VASQUEZ
Keep me posted?

FRANCIS
Let me talk to Blythe. I’ll check
in with you later this week.

VASQUEZ
Terrific.

Vasquez leaves. Francis watches her go. He speaks to us --

FRANCIS
She’s wary. I can see it in her
eyes.
(and now to the camera)
Walker’s political capital rises or
falls with the success of this
Bill. And I need to be at the
center of it.

He closes the door, walks back toward his inner office.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Vasquez might not trust me as far
as she can throw me. But she
doesn’t have to. If I prove myself
indispensable, she can’t afford to
throw me very far.

He pops his head into Nancy Kaufberger’s office.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Nancy, set up a call with Harold
Blythe.

Continues toward his office.
35.


FRANCIS (CONT’D)
(calls out)
Doug?

Stamper pops out from his.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
You have a list for me?

STAMPER
Just finished.

FRANCIS
My office.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Francis bids farewell to Vasquez and observes her wariness towards him. Recognizing the political significance of the Bill, he aims to prove indispensable to Vasquez, ensuring she cannot disregard him. He contacts Blythe and requests Stamper to gather a list of names, strategizing to establish his worth and gain her trust.
Strengths
  • Intriguing plot developments
  • Complex character dynamics
  • Sharp dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Lack of overt emotional depth in some interactions

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up the power dynamics and conflicts within the narrative, keeping the audience engaged and intrigued.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of political manipulation and ambition is well-executed, driving the plot forward and establishing the stakes for the characters.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as characters make strategic decisions and alliances, setting the stage for future conflicts and developments.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh perspective on political maneuvering, with authentic character actions and dialogue that feel true to the world of politics.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters are complex and multi-dimensional, with conflicting motivations and desires that drive their actions.

Character Changes: 7

The characters undergo subtle shifts in their motivations and relationships, setting the stage for future developments.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal is to position himself as indispensable in the political landscape, reflecting his desire for power and influence.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to secure a call with Harold Blythe, indicating his immediate focus on advancing his political agenda.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The scene is filled with internal and external conflicts, driving the tension and drama forward.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with characters facing challenges and obstacles that add complexity to the political maneuvering.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as characters navigate political intrigue, power struggles, and personal ambitions that could have far-reaching consequences.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by establishing new alliances, conflicts, and plot threads that will drive the narrative forward.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable due to the shifting power dynamics and the protagonist's strategic maneuvers, keeping the audience on edge.

Philosophical Conflict: 6

The philosophical conflict revolves around the protagonist's belief in the importance of personal power and influence versus the ethical considerations of trust and loyalty in politics.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of intrigue and tension, keeping the audience emotionally invested in the characters' fates.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is sharp and strategic, revealing the characters' intentions and relationships in a subtle yet impactful way.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging due to its tense atmosphere, strategic dialogue, and character dynamics that keep the audience invested in the unfolding political drama.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and maintains the audience's interest in the unfolding political drama.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with clear scene descriptions and character actions.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a political drama, effectively building tension and advancing the plot.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering the importance of the Education Bill and Francis's desire to be at the center of it.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Vasquez feels somewhat flat and lacks depth, especially given the high stakes involved.
  • There is a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the power dynamics between Francis and Vasquez, as well as Francis's strategic thinking to position himself favorably.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual cues or actions to enhance the storytelling and engage the audience further.
  • The transition between Francis watching Vasquez leave and then speaking to the camera feels abrupt and could be smoother.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more subtext and layers to the dialogue between Francis and Vasquez to convey their underlying motivations and conflicts.
  • Introduce more visual elements or actions to show Francis's determination and strategic thinking in a more dynamic way.
  • Explore the relationship dynamics between Francis and Vasquez further to create a more compelling and engaging interaction.
  • Enhance the pacing of the scene by building up the tension and stakes surrounding the Education Bill and Francis's ambitions.
  • Work on the transition between Francis's interactions with Vasquez and addressing his team to ensure a seamless flow of the narrative.



Scene 24 -  Personnel and Budget
INT. FRANCIS’S OFFICE - AFTERNOON

Francis and Stamper are having a brainstorming session.

STAMPER
Ferguson?

FRANCIS
Too old.

STAMPER
Willis?

FRANCIS
Too stupid.

STAMPER
Boyd?

FRANCIS
Queer.

STAMPER
Really?

Francis gives him a look.

STAMPER (CONT’D)
He’s married with two kids.

FRANCIS
Come on.

STAMPER
What about Catherine Durant?

A beat. Francis leans back in his chair.
36.


FRANCIS
Interesting. Catherine Durant.


INT. CWA OFFICE - CLAIRE’S OFFICE - DAY

Claire at her desk. Evelyn sits across from her. Claire
peruses a document.

CLAIRE
Can we do any better?

EVELYN
Not without totally crippling our
day to day. And we might have to
pull out of some of our impact
studies.

CLAIRE
(hands back the document)
Okay, we’ll go with this.

EVELYN
We’re losing some very good people.
Folks who have been with us from
the beginning...

CLAIRE
This is a charity, but not for our
employees. I can’t keep people on
just because they’ve been with us a
long time.

EVELYN
Do you mind if I ask what we’re
going to use the money for?

CLAIRE
An organization I want to bring in -
World Water Initiative. They’ve
done nice work overseas - Big
projects. Very little budget.

EVELYN
Do we need to bring in a new
organization? If you want to
expand overseas can’t we just -

CLAIRE
Evelyn - you’re the office manager.

EVELYN
I know.
37.


CLAIRE
And you’re an excellent one. But I
need you trust that I know what I’m
doing here.

EVELYN
I do. I think.

CLAIRE
You have friends - I understand.
People you’ve spent years working
with. It’s hard to see them go.

Evelyn nods.

CLAIRE (CONT’D)
Should I bring somebody else in
handle this?

EVELYN
No. I’m good. I can do it.

Evelyn offers a resigned smile.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Character Study"]

Summary Francis and Stamper discuss potential candidates for the position of director. Claire and Evelyn discuss layoffs at the CWA office and Claire's plans to bring in World Water Initiative.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Strategic plotting
  • Character dynamics
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Lack of overt conflict

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is well-written, engaging, and provides insight into the characters' motivations and actions. It sets up important plot points and establishes the tone for future developments.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of political maneuvering and strategic planning is effectively portrayed, adding depth to the narrative and setting the stage for future conflicts and resolutions.

Plot: 8

The plot advances through the characters' discussions and decisions, laying the groundwork for upcoming events and conflicts. It keeps the audience engaged and invested in the story.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh perspective on corporate decision-making and organizational dynamics, blending personal and professional conflicts in a compelling way. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters' personalities, motivations, and relationships are well-developed and drive the scene forward. Their interactions reveal their strategic thinking and political acumen.

Character Changes: 6

While there are no significant character transformations in this scene, there are hints of internal conflicts and evolving dynamics that may lead to future changes.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to assert her authority and decision-making power, while also dealing with the emotional impact of letting go of long-time employees. This reflects her need for control and her struggle with balancing personal relationships with professional responsibilities.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to make strategic decisions for the organization, including bringing in a new organization and managing budget constraints. This reflects the immediate challenges she faces in expanding the organization's impact and managing resources effectively.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is an underlying tension and conflict in the scene as the characters navigate political challenges and make strategic decisions. The conflicting interests and ambitions add depth to the narrative.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting viewpoints and emotional stakes driving the conflict between the characters.

High Stakes: 8

The high stakes of political power and influence drive the characters' actions and decisions in the scene, adding tension and urgency to their interactions.

Story Forward: 8

The scene propels the story forward by introducing new plot elements, setting up future conflicts, and deepening the audience's understanding of the characters' motivations and goals.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected emotional revelations and the complex interplay between personal and professional conflicts.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

There is a philosophical conflict between the protagonist's focus on organizational growth and efficiency, and the emotional impact of letting go of loyal employees. This challenges her beliefs about leadership and the balance between business goals and personal relationships.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The scene focuses more on intellectual and strategic aspects rather than emotional depth. However, there are subtle hints of emotional complexity in the characters' interactions.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, insightful, and reflective of the characters' personalities and objectives. It effectively conveys the tension and dynamics of the political landscape.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the tension between the characters, the high stakes of the decisions being made, and the emotional depth of the protagonist's internal struggles.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, keeping the audience engaged and moving the story forward at a compelling pace.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

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

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with clear character motivations and conflict driving the narrative forward.


Critique
  • The dialogue between Francis and Stamper feels a bit rushed and lacks depth. It would benefit from more nuanced exchanges that reveal their characters and relationship.
  • The character descriptions through dialogue seem a bit stereotypical and could be more subtly conveyed through actions and interactions.
  • The transition between the two locations, Francis's office and Claire's office, feels abrupt and disjointed. It would be helpful to have a smoother transition to connect the scenes more cohesively.
  • The conflict between Claire and Evelyn regarding layoffs and financial constraints could be further developed to add more tension and emotional depth to the scene.
  • The dialogue between Claire and Evelyn could be more dynamic and engaging, with more subtext and layers to their conversation.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more layers to the dialogue between Francis and Stamper, allowing for pauses, subtext, and deeper insights into their characters.
  • Instead of relying on dialogue to describe the characters, show their traits through actions, reactions, and interactions with each other.
  • Work on creating a smoother transition between the two locations by adding a connecting element or visual cue to bridge the scenes.
  • Explore the emotional conflict between Claire and Evelyn further, delving into their personal stakes and motivations to make the scene more compelling.
  • Enhance the dialogue between Claire and Evelyn by adding subtext, conflicting emotions, and deeper layers to their conversation.



Scene 25 -  Mutual Appreciation Club
EXT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - FRONT DOOR

TIGHT on a finger pushing the door bell. A moment later the
door opens, revealing Francis. We CUT TO Zoe standing
opposite, Steve right beside her.

STEVE
Sir, I’m sorry to bother you. This
woman said you were expecting her.

FRANCIS
Who are you?

ZOE
My name is Zoe Barnes. I’m a
reporter at the Washington Herald.

FRANCIS
It’s almost ten at night. This is
my home. I don’t -

ZOE
We’re part of a mutual appreciation
club.

She holds out her phone. We can’t see what’s on it, but
Francis can. He smiles.
38.


FRANCIS
You’re a fan of the opera.

ZOE
More for the people watching than
the music. Same as you.

Francis is impressed by her brassiness.

FRANCIS
(opens the door wider)
Come in, Ms. Barnes.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Zoe Barnes and Steve visit Francis Underwood's house late at night, claiming to be part of a mutual appreciation club. Zoe shows Francis something on her phone that intrigues him, and he invites them in.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Intriguing character dynamics
  • Effective introduction of new character
Weaknesses
  • Limited physical action
  • Lack of visual variety

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively introduces a new character, advances the plot, and sets up potential conflicts. It also showcases the complex dynamics between characters and hints at future developments.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of unexpected visitors disrupting Francis Underwood's life and the introduction of a bold reporter adds depth to the narrative. It sets the stage for future interactions and power plays.

Plot: 8

The plot advances with the introduction of Zoe Barnes and the potential implications of her presence in Francis Underwood's life. It adds layers to the existing storyline and sets up future conflicts.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh take on the journalist-source dynamic, focusing on the power struggle between the characters and the ethical implications of their actions. The dialogue feels authentic and engaging, adding depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with Francis Underwood displaying his manipulative charm and Zoe Barnes showcasing her bold and ambitious nature. The interaction between them sets the stage for intriguing dynamics.

Character Changes: 6

While there are no significant character changes in this scene, it sets the stage for potential transformations in Francis Underwood and Zoe Barnes' dynamic. Their initial interaction hints at future growth and evolution.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to gain access to Francis and potentially get a story for her newspaper. This reflects her ambition, determination, and willingness to take risks in her career.

External Goal: 7.5

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to interview Francis and potentially get a scoop for her newspaper. This reflects the immediate challenge she faces in convincing him to talk to her.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a moderate level of conflict in the scene, primarily stemming from the power dynamics between Francis Underwood and Zoe Barnes. Their conflicting motivations and agendas create tension and intrigue.

Opposition: 7.5

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Francis initially resistant to Zoe's presence and her intentions. The audience is left unsure of how the interaction will unfold, adding to the suspense and drama.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are moderately high in the scene, as the introduction of Zoe Barnes poses a potential threat to Francis Underwood's plans and ambitions. It sets the stage for power struggles and manipulative tactics.

Story Forward: 8

The scene effectively moves the story forward by introducing a new character, setting up potential conflicts, and advancing the plot. It adds depth to the narrative and hints at future developments.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics between the characters, the unexpected twists in the dialogue, and the moral ambiguity of their actions.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

There is a philosophical conflict between Francis, who values his privacy and security, and Zoe, who values transparency and the pursuit of truth. This challenges Francis' beliefs and values, forcing him to confront his own motivations and actions.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of intrigue and anticipation, especially regarding the potential consequences of Zoe Barnes' presence in Francis Underwood's life. It sets up emotional stakes and hints at future developments.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, engaging, and reveals the underlying tensions and power dynamics between Francis Underwood and Zoe Barnes. It effectively conveys the characters' personalities and motivations.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the dynamic between the characters, the high stakes of the interaction, and the underlying tension that drives the narrative forward.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the characters' interactions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, following industry standards for screenplay format. The dialogue is well-paced and engaging, contributing to the overall effectiveness of the scene.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a dialogue-driven, character-focused scene in a drama genre. The pacing and rhythm are effective in building tension and developing the conflict.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear transition from the previous scene, making it feel slightly disconnected from the overall flow of the screenplay.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Zoe feels a bit rushed and lacks depth, considering the significance of their interaction.
  • There is a missed opportunity to build more tension and intrigue in the scene, especially given Zoe's role as a reporter and Francis's cautious nature.
  • The introduction of the 'mutual appreciation club' concept feels forced and could be developed more organically to enhance the believability of the interaction.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual descriptions to create a vivid and engaging setting for the audience.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief transition or establishing shot to connect this scene more seamlessly with the previous one.
  • Expand on the dialogue between Francis and Zoe to delve deeper into their motivations and intentions, adding layers to their interaction.
  • Introduce subtle hints of tension and mystery to keep the audience intrigued about the nature of Zoe's visit and Francis's reaction.
  • Revisit the 'mutual appreciation club' concept to make it more believable and integrated into the storyline.
  • Enhance the visual descriptions to create a more immersive and engaging atmosphere for the scene.



Scene 26 -  Trust and Collaboration
INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - LIVING ROOM - A FEW MINUTES LATER

Francis pours drinks from the liquor cabinet. Hands one to
Zoe, then sits across from her. Zoe takes a sip.

ZOE
It’s strong.

FRANCIS
You like it weak?

ZOE
No - the stronger the better.

She unwraps her scarf, revealing some impressive cleavage
Francis takes a quick glance, then finds her eyes again.

ZOE (CONT’D)
There’s no harm in looking.

FRANCIS
That’s a cheap ploy, Ms. Barnes.

ZOE
Cheap but effective.

FRANCIS
If your goal is to distract me -
which you haven’t.

ZOE
I don’t want you distracted. I
want you focused.

FRANCIS
You certainly have my undivided
attention.
39.


ZOE
Good, then I’ll get straight to the
point...

FRANCIS
(amused)
Foreplay is over?

ZOE
I read somewhere that JFK never
lasted more than three minutes.

FRANCIS
The point being?

ZOE
That time is precious. Powerful
people don’t have the luxury of
foreplay.

He smiles, eyes narrowing.

FRANCIS
Why are you here Ms. Barnes?

ZOE
Because I need somebody I can
trust, and someone who trusts me.

FRANCIS
You’re in the wrong zip code for
that.

ZOE
Maybe trust isn’t the right word.
An arrangement perhaps.

FRANCIS
As in...

ZOE
You confide in me, to the extent
that you’re comfortable...

FRANCIS
And in return...

ZOE
I protect your identity and print
what you tell me. I serve you. I
communicate what you can’t publicly
say yourself.
40.


FRANCIS
What makes you think I don’t
already have such an arrangement
with one of your colleagues?

ZOE
Because if you did, you wouldn’t
have let me in the door.

Francis smiles. He’s enjoying the repartee.

FRANCIS
I’ve had a very long, very
successful career avoiding this
sort of intrigue with the press. I
don’t see any particular advantage
in starting now.

ZOE
Is there any disadvantage?

FRANCIS
Sloppiness, for one.

ZOE
I promise you absolute discretion.

FRANCIS
So we are talking about trust.

ZOE
Use whatever word you like. I
don’t care.

FRANCIS
Words matter very much, Ms. Barnes.
You should care more, given your
profession.

ZOE
Then yes, your trust. Because if I
were to betray it I stand far less
of a chance surviving the
consequences.

FRANCIS
Metro is killing you, huh?

She looks at him, impressed he knows this.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Don’t be flattered that I’m
familiar with your work. I read
everything.
41.


ZOE
I don’t doubt it. And yes, Metro
is killing me.

FRANCIS
(considers for a moment)
How exactly can I help you?

ZOE
The Administration’s legislative
agenda.

FRANCIS
I see.

ZOE
You must know.

FRANCIS
I may.

ZOE
Immigration is too controversial.
Tax-reform isn’t sexy enough. I’m
thinking Education.

FRANCIS
You very well might think that.
I couldn’t possibly comment.

ZOE
All I need is a nod or a wink.

FRANCIS
It’s late Ms. Barnes, and it’s been
a long day.

ZOE
Can we speak again?

FRANCIS
A prudent man never makes a rash
decision unless forced by
necessity. And my only necessity
at the moment is a pillow beneath
my head. I hope you’ll understand
if I’d prefer to sleep on all of
this.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary In this scene, Zoe meets with Francis in his living room to discuss a potential arrangement where she would protect his identity and print what he tells her in exchange for his trust. They engage in a witty and strategic conversation about trust, discretion, and potential collaboration. The main conflict revolves around whether Francis can trust Zoe with confidential information and if Zoe can convince him to collaborate with her. The emotional tone is tense, strategic, and slightly flirtatious as they navigate their conversation with caution and wit. The scene ends with Francis politely declining Zoe's proposal, leaving the potential collaboration between them unresolved.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Intriguing power dynamics
  • Complex character interactions
Weaknesses
  • Limited physical action
  • Reliance on dialogue for tension

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, with intense dialogue and a sense of intrigue that keeps the audience on edge. The power dynamics and manipulation between the characters are well-executed, creating a tense atmosphere.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of trust, manipulation, and power play is central to the scene, driving the characters' actions and decisions. The negotiation between Francis and Zoe adds depth to their characters and sets up future conflicts.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as Zoe seeks information from Francis, setting up a potential alliance or conflict between them. The scene adds layers to the overarching political intrigue and sets the stage for future developments.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh take on political intrigue and power dynamics, with unique character interactions and dialogue that feel authentic and engaging.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Francis and Zoe are well-developed, with distinct personalities and motivations. Their interactions reveal their cunning nature and strategic thinking, adding depth to the narrative.

Character Changes: 8

Both Francis and Zoe undergo subtle shifts in their dynamic, as they test each other's boundaries and motivations. Their interactions hint at potential character growth and conflict in future scenes.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal is to maintain control and power in the conversation with Zoe. This reflects his need for dominance and his fear of being manipulated or exposed.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to navigate the conversation with Zoe without revealing too much information or making any commitments. This reflects the immediate challenge of maintaining his political position and reputation.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Francis and Zoe is subtle but palpable, as they navigate a delicate dance of trust and manipulation. The power struggle and hidden agendas create tension and intrigue.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and hidden agendas creating obstacles for the characters to navigate.

High Stakes: 9

The high stakes of trust, power, and manipulation add tension and intrigue to the scene, as the characters navigate a delicate balance of alliances and conflicts.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward by introducing a new alliance or conflict between Francis and Zoe, setting up future plot developments and character dynamics.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and the characters' hidden agendas, keeping the audience guessing about the outcome.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between trust and manipulation. Zoe presents herself as trustworthy, but the protagonist questions her motives and intentions, highlighting a clash of values and beliefs.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of tension and intrigue, keeping the audience emotionally engaged in the characters' complex interactions.

Dialogue: 10

The dialogue is sharp, witty, and filled with subtext, reflecting the characters' hidden agendas and power dynamics. It drives the scene forward and keeps the audience engaged.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the sharp dialogue, tension between the characters, and the sense of mystery and intrigue surrounding their conversation.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, with a gradual reveal of information and character motivations.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a dialogue-heavy scene in a screenplay, with clear character actions and dialogue cues.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a dialogue-driven, character-focused scene in a political drama genre.


Critique
  • The scene starts off with a cliche setup of pouring drinks and a flirtatious interaction between Francis and Zoe, which feels a bit predictable and lacks originality.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Zoe, while witty, feels a bit forced and overly scripted. It lacks a natural flow and comes across as too rehearsed.
  • The conversation between Francis and Zoe focuses too much on verbal sparring and innuendos, which may distract from the main purpose of their meeting and the underlying tension between them.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtlety and nuance in the interactions between Francis and Zoe, allowing for a deeper exploration of their motives and intentions.
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of direction and purpose, with the dialogue meandering without a strong narrative thread to drive the interaction forward.
Suggestions
  • Consider starting the scene with a more unique and engaging setup that sets the tone for the conversation between Francis and Zoe.
  • Focus on creating more authentic and organic dialogue that reflects the characters' personalities and motivations, rather than relying on witty banter for its own sake.
  • Introduce more subtext and underlying tension in the conversation between Francis and Zoe to add depth and complexity to their dynamic.
  • Ensure that the dialogue serves a clear purpose in advancing the plot and developing the characters, rather than simply serving as a vehicle for clever wordplay.
  • Work on tightening the structure of the scene to maintain a sense of momentum and direction, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the outcome of the interaction.



Scene 27 -  Francis Meets Zoe Barnes
INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - FOYER - MOMENTS LATER

Francis helps Zoe put her coat on. Steve is in the foyer
with them. Zoe hands Francis a card.
42.


ZOE
My cell phone’s on the back.
Personal, not work.

Francis pockets the card without looking at it.

FRANCIS
(to Steve)
Did you put Ms. Barnes in the
visitors leger?

STEVE
Not yet.

FRANCIS
Don’t.
(to Zoe)
Needless to say...

ZOE
Needless. I get it.

Francis smiles. She smiles back. His desire to make her
visit “disappear” is a good sign. He opens the door for her.
Claire is coming up the steps.

CLAIRE
Oh...hello...

FRANCIS
Claire, this is Ms. Zoe Barnes,
from the Washington Herald.

ZOE
Very nice to meet you Mrs.
Underwood.

They shake hands. Claire offers a polite smile.

FRANCIS
(to Zoe)
Drive safe. There’s lots of ice on
the road.

ZOE
I will. Goodnight. And thank you.

Francis and Claire watch Zoe walk off.

CLAIRE
A reporter?

FRANCIS
A hungry reporter.
43.


CLAIRE
Aren’t they all?
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Francis assists Zoe with her coat as she prepares to leave. Zoe discreetly provides Francis with her personal phone number. Upon the arrival of Claire, Zoe and Francis introduce themselves. Francis cautions Zoe to drive safely due to icy conditions. Francis and Claire witness Zoe's departure, and Claire inquires about Zoe's profession, which Francis confirms is a reporter.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Tense atmosphere
  • Strategic interactions
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Slightly predictable dynamics

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up a tense and strategic dynamic between Francis and Zoe, with well-crafted dialogue and subtle character interactions.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of a reporter seeking to protect Francis's identity in exchange for exclusive information is intriguing and sets the stage for potential collaboration and trust-building.

Plot: 7

The plot advances as Zoe visits Francis to discuss a potential arrangement, adding layers to their relationship and setting up future developments.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces a familiar setting of a wealthy household but adds originality through the nuanced interactions and power play between the characters. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Francis and Zoe are well-developed, with distinct personalities and clear motivations driving their interactions.

Character Changes: 5

There is a slight shift in the dynamic between Francis and Zoe as they navigate the potential collaboration, but significant character changes are not prominent in this scene.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to maintain control and manage his public image. He wants to appear in control and confident in front of the reporter, Zoe, while also ensuring that his wife, Claire, is not suspicious of his interactions.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to handle the situation with the reporter smoothly and avoid any potential negative consequences for his reputation or political career.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is a subtle conflict underlying the polite and strategic interactions between Francis and Zoe, adding tension to the scene.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong enough to create tension and uncertainty, as the characters navigate their conflicting goals and motivations.

High Stakes: 6

While there are stakes involved in the potential collaboration between Francis and Zoe, they are not exceptionally high in this particular scene.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing a new dynamic between Francis and Zoe, setting up future plot developments.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable due to the subtle hints at the characters' true motivations and the potential consequences of their actions.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

There is a philosophical conflict between the protagonist's desire to manipulate the situation for his benefit and the reporter's pursuit of truth and information. This challenges the protagonist's values of control and power.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

While there is a sense of tension and intrigue, the emotional impact is not the primary focus of the scene.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, strategic, and filled with subtext, effectively conveying the tension and dynamics between the characters.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging due to the subtle power dynamics and tension between the characters, as well as the underlying mystery surrounding the protagonist's intentions.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-crafted, with a balance of dialogue and action that keeps the audience engaged and builds tension effectively.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

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

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with clear character introductions, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm are well-executed.


Critique
  • The scene lacks depth and fails to advance the plot significantly. It feels like a filler scene with no real purpose or impact on the overall story.
  • The dialogue between Francis, Zoe, and Claire is quite bland and lacks substance. There is no tension or intrigue to keep the audience engaged.
  • The interaction between the characters feels forced and unnatural. There is a lack of authenticity in their exchanges, making it difficult for the audience to connect with the scene.
  • The scene could benefit from more conflict or tension to create a sense of drama and intrigue. Without any stakes or obstacles, the scene falls flat and fails to hold the audience's attention.
  • The introduction of Zoe as a 'hungry reporter' is cliched and lacks originality. It would be more engaging to explore her character in a more nuanced and complex way.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a twist or unexpected turn of events to make the scene more engaging and impactful.
  • Develop the dialogue to reveal more about the characters' motivations, conflicts, and relationships. This will add depth and complexity to the scene.
  • Explore the dynamics between Francis, Zoe, and Claire to create more tension and intrigue. This could involve conflicting agendas, hidden motives, or power struggles.
  • Consider incorporating subtext and non-verbal cues to add layers to the characters' interactions. This will make the scene more dynamic and visually interesting.
  • Revisit the purpose of the scene and ensure that it serves a clear function in advancing the overall plot. If it does not contribute significantly to the story, consider revising or cutting it.



Scene 28 -  Traffic Stop on Michigan Avenue
EXT. MICHIGAN AVENUE - LATE AT NIGHT

A BMW slows to a halt by the curb with a POLICE CAR slowing
to a stop behind it, lights flashing.

CUT TO: A POLICE OFFICER ambles up to the stopped BMW and
aims a flashlight at the driver. It’s Russo. He looks wasted.

POLICE OFFICER
License and registration.

RUSSO
The glove compartment sweetheart.

We see that there’s a CALL-GIRL in the passenger seat. She
gets the registration out of the glove compartment while
Russo pulls out his license and hands it to the cop.

RUSSO (CONT’D)
Here you go.

POLICE OFFICER
This isn’t your license. It’s a
Starbucks card.

RUSSO
Oh...sorry about that.

POLICE OFFICER
Sir - have you been drinking?

RUSSO
No, I don’t drink coffee at this
hour.

POLICE OFFICER
(not amused)
I’m going to need you to step out
of the car.

RUSSO
If I was speeding just write me a
ticket and I’ll -

POLICE OFFICER
Sir, out of the car. Right now.
44.


RUSSO
Alright listen, I don’t want to
sound like a prick, but I’m a
member of Congress...

POLICE OFFICER
I don’t care if you’re the King of
China.

RUSSO
China doesn’t have a King. It’s a
communist oligwock - ola -
communist oligarchy. Man, that’s
hard to say.

The cop opens the door.

POLICE OFFICER
Let’s go. Out.
(to the Call-Girl)
You too.
Genres: ["Drama","Comedy"]

Summary Congressman Russo and a call-girl are pulled over by a police officer on Michigan Avenue. Despite Russo's attempts to avoid it, the officer demands that he step out of the car.
Strengths
  • Engaging dialogue
  • Dynamic characters
  • Effective blend of humor and tension
Weaknesses
  • Slightly predictable outcome

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is engaging, entertaining, and effectively blends humor with tension, making it a memorable and impactful moment in the screenplay.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of a politician getting into trouble with the law adds depth to the character and creates an interesting conflict that drives the scene forward.

Plot: 8

The plot is advanced through the interaction between Russo and the police officer, showcasing the character's flaws and adding a layer of complexity to the story.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on a familiar situation, adding humor and tension to the interactions between characters. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue enhances the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Russo and the police officer are well-defined and their contrasting personalities create a dynamic and engaging scene.

Character Changes: 6

Russo's encounter with the police officer challenges his sense of entitlement and forces him to confront the consequences of his actions, leading to potential growth and development.

Internal Goal: 8

Russo's internal goal in this scene is to maintain his composure and authority despite being in a compromising situation. This reflects his need for control and power, as well as his fear of losing his reputation.

External Goal: 7

Russo's external goal is to avoid getting arrested or facing consequences for his actions. This reflects the immediate challenge he is facing in the scene.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between Russo and the police officer escalates as Russo tries to assert his authority, creating a tense and dramatic confrontation.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the police officer challenging Russo's authority and entitlement. The audience is left unsure of how Russo will navigate the situation.

High Stakes: 7

The high stakes of Russo's encounter with the police officer add tension and suspense to the scene, raising the stakes for the character and the overall story.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by revealing more about Russo's character and setting up potential conflicts and consequences for future events.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected turns in dialogue and character reactions. The audience is kept on their toes, unsure of how the situation will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 6

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between Russo's sense of entitlement and the police officer's duty to enforce the law. This challenges Russo's beliefs about his own importance and authority.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene elicits a range of emotions from amusement to tension, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the outcome.

Dialogue: 9

The witty and sarcastic dialogue between Russo and the police officer adds humor and tension to the scene, revealing the characters' personalities and motivations.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the witty dialogue, tension between characters, and the unpredictable nature of the interactions. The humor and conflict keep the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension and maintaining the audience's interest. The rhythm of the dialogue and character interactions keeps the scene engaging.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene descriptions and character actions. The dialogue is formatted correctly, enhancing the readability of the scene.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with clear character introductions and conflict development. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the effectiveness of the scene.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear purpose or connection to the overall plot of the screenplay. It feels disconnected from the main storyline and the characters involved.
  • The dialogue between Russo and the police officer feels forced and unrealistic, with awkward attempts at humor that fall flat.
  • The interaction between Russo and the call-girl adds little to the scene and feels unnecessary, contributing to the overall lack of depth and substance.
  • The scene fails to build tension or create a sense of urgency, making it feel like a filler rather than a meaningful part of the narrative.
  • There is a missed opportunity to explore Russo's character further or delve into the consequences of his actions, leaving the scene feeling shallow and inconsequential.
Suggestions
  • Consider revising the scene to tie it more closely to the main plot or character arcs, adding depth and relevance to the overall story.
  • Focus on creating more realistic and engaging dialogue that serves to develop the characters or move the plot forward.
  • Explore Russo's motivations and internal conflict in a more nuanced way, adding layers to his character and making the scene more impactful.
  • Introduce elements of suspense or conflict to heighten the stakes and keep the audience engaged in the scene.
  • Consider reworking the scene to make it more integral to the overall narrative, ensuring that every scene serves a purpose and contributes to the progression of the story.



Scene 29 -  A Late Night Proposal
INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - BEDROOM - LATER

The phone rings. Francis groggily answers it.

FRANCIS
Hello...?

Listens for a second. Sits up, suddenly alert.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Good - let’s think this through for
a second...


INT. DINER - 4 AM

The door swings open, jangling a bell. In walks D.C. Police
Commissioner BARNEY HULL - a square-jawed career law
enforcer. He glances around, doesn’t see who he’s looking
for. Takes a seat in one of the booths.

A figure slowly spins around on one of the stools at the
counters and faces Hull. It’s Stamper.

STAMPER
Mind if I join you?

Hull looks at him, perplexed. Stamper gets off the booth and
slides into the booth across from Hull.
45.


STAMPER (CONT’D)
Doug Stamper - the Congressman’s
Chief-of-Staff.

HULL
I thought I was meeting someone
else...

STAMPER
No. You’re meeting me.

HULL
What the fuck is going on? It’s
the four in the goddamn morning and
I’ve got a City Council meeting
in...
(glances at his watch)
Less than five hours.

STAMPER
(leans in close)
You’ve been Police Commissioner for
what - almost a decade now?

HULL
We here to talk about my resume?

STAMPER
Mayor of D.C. would look good on
that resume, wouldn’t it?

Hull sits up straighter. He’s listening now.

STAMPER (CONT’D)
We know you’ve been angling to run
for some time. Experience is your
strong suit. Endorsements and fund-
raising aren’t. But we can help
with that.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary In the wee hours, Stamper and Hull meet in a diner. Stamper reveals his role as Underwood's aide and offers political support for Hull's mayoral campaign in exchange for cooperation. Hull remains skeptical but intrigued.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Intriguing plot development
  • High stakes and tension
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Some ambiguity in character motivations

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively builds tension and intrigue through its dialogue and setting, setting up a crucial moment in the plot.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of a clandestine meeting between a Chief-of-Staff and a Police Commissioner to discuss political ambitions and power dynamics is compelling and sets the stage for future developments.

Plot: 8

The plot advances significantly as the characters discuss potential political moves and alliances, adding layers of complexity to the narrative.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh take on political intrigue, with complex characters and morally ambiguous actions. The dialogue feels authentic and drives the plot forward in unexpected ways.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters of Stamper and Hull are well-defined and their interactions reveal their motivations and personalities effectively.

Character Changes: 7

Both characters undergo subtle changes as they navigate their political ambitions and potential alliances, hinting at future developments.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to convince Hull to consider running for Mayor of D.C. This reflects his desire to manipulate and control the political landscape to benefit his own agenda.

External Goal: 9

The protagonist's external goal is to secure Hull's endorsement for the mayoral race. This reflects the immediate challenge of convincing a powerful figure to support his plans.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict in the scene as the characters navigate their political ambitions and hidden agendas, creating tension and intrigue.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Hull initially resistant to Stamper's persuasion. The audience is left wondering how Hull will respond to the offer and what consequences it may have.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as the characters discuss political ambitions, power dynamics, and potential corruption, setting the stage for intense and dramatic developments.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward by introducing new alliances, conflicts, and power dynamics that will shape future events.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists and turns in the conversation between Stamper and Hull. The audience is kept on their toes, unsure of how the interaction will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between ambition and integrity. Stamper is trying to persuade Hull to make a career move that may compromise his principles for personal gain.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The emotional impact is subtle but present, as the characters' motivations and ambitions are hinted at through their interactions.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, strategic, and filled with subtext, adding depth to the scene and showcasing the characters' hidden agendas.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the high stakes, sharp dialogue, and complex character dynamics. The tension and suspense keep the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a gradual build-up of tension and suspense. The rhythm of the dialogue and character interactions keeps the audience engaged and invested in the outcome.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, following industry standards for screenplay format. The dialogue is well-paced and engaging, driving the narrative forward.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a political drama, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the tension and suspense of the scene.


Critique
  • The transition from Francis receiving a phone call in his bedroom to Stamper meeting Commissioner Hull in a diner feels abrupt and disjointed. There is a lack of clear connection between the two scenes, making it confusing for the audience.
  • The dialogue between Stamper and Commissioner Hull feels rushed and lacks depth. The conversation jumps straight into discussing political ambitions without establishing a solid foundation or context for their interaction.
  • The scene lacks visual descriptions and emotional depth, making it difficult for the audience to fully engage with the characters and their motivations. There is a need for more sensory details and character development to enhance the scene.
  • The pacing of the scene is uneven, with a sudden shift in tone from Francis's grogginess to Stamper's assertiveness. This abrupt change in mood can be disorienting for the audience and disrupt the flow of the narrative.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and nuance in the dialogue to create tension and intrigue. Adding layers to the conversation between Stamper and Commissioner Hull would enhance the complexity of their relationship and motivations.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a smoother transition between Francis's phone call in the bedroom and Stamper meeting Commissioner Hull in the diner to improve the coherence of the scene.
  • Develop the dialogue between Stamper and Commissioner Hull to include more subtle hints at their respective agendas and motivations. This will add depth to their characters and make the interaction more engaging.
  • Introduce visual descriptions and emotional cues to enhance the atmosphere of the scene. Include details about the setting, character expressions, and body language to create a more immersive experience for the audience.
  • Work on pacing and tonal consistency throughout the scene to ensure a smooth progression of events and emotions. Pay attention to the rhythm of the dialogue and the overall mood to maintain a cohesive narrative flow.
  • Explore opportunities for subtext and layered meaning in the dialogue between Stamper and Commissioner Hull. Add complexity to their conversation by incorporating subtle hints, conflicting emotions, and hidden agendas to create intrigue and suspense.



Scene 30 -  Argument in the Car
INT. POLICE STATION - HOLDING CELL - MORNING

Russo is sitting on a bench, head in hands. We hear
footsteps. He looks up. A COP enters, unlocks the door,
opens it.

COP
You’re free to go.

Russo stands. He’s puzzled, but he’s not about to ask
questions. He exits the holding cell.
46.


INT. CHRISTINA’S CAR - LATE MORNING

Christina is driving, Russo’s riding shotgun.

RUSSO
It was just a few drinks.

CHRISTINA
It was enough to get pulled over.

RUSSO
But I was in control. I wasn’t
drunk drunk.

CHRISTINA
Were you alone?

RUSSO
Yes.

CHRISTINA
Say it to my face.

RUSSO
Watch the road.

CHRISTINA
Say it to my face!

RUSSO
Yes - I was alone!

CHRISTINA
You can’t keep doing this Peter.
It’s gonna catch up with you.
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Russo is released from jail and tries to convince Christina that he was not drunk when he was arrested. Christina suspects otherwise, and the two argue about Russo's drinking and whether or not he was alone when he was pulled over. The argument is unresolved.
Strengths
  • Tense dialogue
  • Realistic character interactions
  • Emotional depth
Weaknesses
  • Limited physical action
  • Limited visual elements

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys tension and conflict through the dialogue and character interactions, setting up a pivotal moment in the storyline.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of addressing the repercussions of Russo's behavior and the impact on his relationship with Christina is well executed, adding depth to the characters and advancing the plot.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as Russo faces the consequences of his actions, leading to a crucial confrontation with Christina that adds complexity to their dynamic.

Originality: 8

The scene presents a familiar situation of drinking and driving but adds a fresh approach through the intense dialogue and emotional dynamics between the characters. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Russo and Christina are well-developed and their interactions reveal layers of their personalities, motivations, and conflicts.

Character Changes: 7

Russo's character undergoes a subtle shift as he faces the consequences of his actions, hinting at potential growth or further conflict in the future.

Internal Goal: 7

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to justify his actions and convince himself that he was not in the wrong. This reflects his deeper need for validation and avoidance of responsibility.

External Goal: 8

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to avoid facing the consequences of his actions and maintain his freedom. This reflects the immediate challenge of dealing with a potential DUI charge.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Russo and Christina is palpable, creating a tense and dramatic atmosphere that drives the scene forward.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Christina challenging the protagonist's beliefs and actions, creating a compelling conflict that drives the scene forward.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as Russo faces the repercussions of his behavior, potentially impacting his career, relationships, and future actions.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by revealing the aftermath of Russo's actions and setting up potential future conflicts and developments.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected turn of events, where the protagonist is released from the holding cell but faces a confrontational conversation with Christina. The audience is left unsure of how the situation will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is between personal accountability and denial. The protagonist's beliefs and values are challenged by Christina's direct confrontation, forcing him to confront his actions and their consequences.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The emotional impact of the scene is significant, as the audience feels the tension, concern, and strain in Russo and Christina's relationship.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, tense, and realistic, effectively conveying the emotions and tensions between Russo and Christina in the aftermath of the police incident.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the intense conflict and emotional stakes between the characters. The audience is drawn into the tension and dynamics of the situation.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and emotional intensity, with well-timed dialogue exchanges and scene transitions. It keeps the audience engaged and invested in the characters' journey.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene follows the expected format for its genre, with proper scene headings and dialogue formatting. It enhances the readability and flow of the scene.

Structure: 9

The structure of the scene follows the expected format for its genre, with clear scene transitions and character interactions. The pacing and rhythm contribute to its effectiveness.


Critique
  • The scene lacks depth and emotional impact, especially considering the gravity of the situation Russo is in.
  • There is a missed opportunity to delve into Russo's internal struggle and the consequences of his actions.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat cliched and lacks nuance in portraying the complex dynamics between Russo and Christina.
  • The scene could benefit from more tension and conflict to engage the audience and heighten the stakes.
  • The interaction between Russo and Christina feels somewhat predictable and could be more dynamic.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more layers to Russo's character by exploring his emotions, regrets, and internal conflict in this moment.
  • Enhance the dialogue to reflect the power dynamics and emotional intensity between Russo and Christina.
  • Introduce more twists or surprises in the conversation to keep the audience engaged and add depth to the scene.
  • Focus on building tension and escalating the conflict between Russo and Christina to create a more compelling and impactful interaction.
  • Consider incorporating non-verbal cues, body language, and subtext to convey the underlying emotions and tensions between the characters.



Scene 31 -  Breakfast Negotiations
INT. UNDERWOOD RESIDENCE - KITCHEN - MORNING

Claire picks up two fresh cups of coffee from the espresso
machine. Meanwhile Francis finishes slicing an apple, places
half the slices on one plate, half on another. They meet at
the kitchen table - Claire with the coffee, Francis with the
apple. Sit down. Their morning routine.

CLAIRE
Do you think we can arrange two
more at our table for the Red and
White Ball?

FRANCIS
For whom?
47.


CLAIRE
The Holburns.

FRANCIS
Why on earth would we want them
there?

CLAIRE
I’m going to need her money for the
CWA at some point.

FRANCIS
The expansion?

CLAIRE
The staff cuts will only get us
halfway there. We’ll need to fund
new projects.

FRANCIS
I’ll talk to Vasquez.

A beat.

CLAIRE
(checking in)
How’re we doing?

FRANCIS
Good.

CLAIRE
Just good?

FRANCIS
Progress. Irons in the fire.

CLAIRE
(smiles)
I like irons. But I love fire.

He downs his espresso. Stands. Gives her a peck on the
forehead. And he’s out the door.
Genres: ["Drama","Political"]

Summary Francis and Claire discuss campaign funding and Claire's need for financial support for her non-profit organization. Claire suggests inviting the Holburns to a ball to secure their support, and Francis agrees to consider it. Despite Francis's assurances about his campaign's progress, Claire expresses a desire for more decisive action.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Character dynamics
  • Political intrigue
Weaknesses
  • Low conflict level
  • Moderate emotional impact

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets the tone for the day with strategic discussions and subtle character interactions.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of morning strategy meetings and political maneuvering is well-executed and engaging.

Plot: 7

The plot progresses with discussions about funding and political alliances, setting up future developments.

Originality: 9

The scene demonstrates a high level of originality through its nuanced character interactions, strategic dialogue, and complex power dynamics. The authenticity of the characters' actions and motivations adds depth and realism to the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Francis and Claire are well-developed, with their relationship dynamics and strategic thinking shining through.

Character Changes: 5

There are subtle shifts in character dynamics, especially in terms of strategic decisions and relationship building.

Internal Goal: 8

Claire's internal goal in this scene is to secure funding for the CWA and ensure the success of their expansion plans. This reflects her desire for power and influence, as well as her willingness to manipulate social connections to achieve her goals.

External Goal: 7

Francis' external goal in this scene is to secure funding for new projects by talking to Vasquez. This reflects the immediate challenge of needing financial support to move forward with their plans.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 5

There is a low level of conflict in this scene, mostly centered around strategic decisions.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Claire and Francis facing conflicting goals and motivations that create tension and conflict. The audience is left wondering how their power struggles will play out.

High Stakes: 6

The stakes are moderate, focusing on political alliances and funding decisions.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by setting up future plot developments and character arcs.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the characters' shifting motivations and hidden agendas. The audience is kept on their toes as they try to decipher the true intentions behind the characters' actions and dialogue.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the characters' willingness to use social connections and manipulate others for personal gain. Claire's strategic approach contrasts with Francis' more pragmatic attitude, highlighting their differing values and approaches to achieving success.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The emotional impact is moderate, with hints of tension and underlying dynamics between the characters.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, strategic, and reveals insights into the characters' motivations.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its sharp dialogue, subtle tension, and complex character dynamics. The audience is drawn into the power struggles and manipulations unfolding between the characters, creating a sense of intrigue and suspense.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension and suspense through the characters' dialogue and actions. The rhythm of the scene keeps the audience engaged and invested in the unfolding drama.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene adheres to the expected format for its genre, with clear scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting. This enhances the readability and flow of the scene.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm of the scene contribute to its effectiveness by building tension and intrigue.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or conflict, making it feel somewhat flat and unengaging. There is no tension or emotional depth to drive the scene forward.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Claire feels a bit mundane and lacks the sharp wit and intrigue that is characteristic of the series. It doesn't add much to the overall plot or character development.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and layers of meaning to make it more compelling. Adding hidden agendas, ulterior motives, or underlying tensions between the characters could enhance the scene.
  • The interaction between Francis and Claire feels too routine and doesn't reveal much about their characters or their relationship dynamics. It lacks the complexity and depth that is usually present in 'House of Cards' scenes.
  • The scene could use more visual elements or actions to break up the dialogue and add visual interest. Incorporating gestures, movements, or changes in the environment could make the scene more dynamic.
Suggestions
  • Introduce a conflict or dilemma that Francis and Claire need to navigate, adding tension and intrigue to the scene. This could involve a disagreement, a hidden agenda, or a revelation that challenges their relationship.
  • Enhance the dialogue by infusing it with more subtext, double meanings, and veiled intentions. Create a sense of verbal sparring or manipulation between Francis and Claire to reflect the show's tone.
  • Consider adding visual elements or actions to complement the dialogue and enhance the scene's visual appeal. This could involve incorporating gestures, facial expressions, or changes in the environment to make the scene more engaging.
  • Explore deeper into the characters' motivations and emotions to add layers of complexity to the scene. Show the internal struggles, desires, and conflicts that drive Francis and Claire's actions and decisions.
  • End the scene with a cliffhanger or a revelation that leaves the audience wanting more. Create a sense of anticipation or mystery that propels the story forward and keeps viewers engaged.



Scene 32 -  Francis's Ultimatum
INT. BLYTHE’S OFFICE - DAY

Francis holds up a document as HAROLD BLYTHE looks on.

FRANCIS
(holding up the document)
This is the only hard copy?
48.


BLYTHE
Yes.

Francis goes over to the shredder, starts feeding in pages.

BLYTHE (CONT’D)
What are you...

Francis has put too many pages in. The shredder jams. He
yanks out the half devoured sheets and tosses them in the
waste basket with the rest of the 600 page document.

FRANCIS
The bill is garbage, Harry, and you
know it. You’ve wasted your time
and mine. I’m not happy.

BLYTHE
I’m sorry Frank...

FRANCIS
I don’t want apologies, I want a
passable bill. Tax increases? The
ban on vouchers? A Federal
Oversight Commission? How am I
supposed to work with that? You
have to help me help you.

BLYTHE
I’ll rewrite it.

FRANCIS
By the inauguration.

BLYTHE
If you want something from scratch
that’s going to be -

FRANCIS
You have less than a week.

BLYTHE
That was years worth of work.

FRANCIS
Then get me a short-form draft.
Get me something I can put your
name on. We can flesh out the long-
form later.

Francis points to the waste basket.
49.


FRANCIS (CONT’D)
That version is dead. Erase every
copy on every computer.

Blythe nods.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
(as he goes)
Call me if you need anything.

And Francis is out the door. We follow him. He turns to us.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
(to the camera)
Busy work for poor old Blythe.
Eventually I’ll have to re-write
the bill myself. Not because I
care what’s in it. I only care
about where it gets me. And if it
gets me rubbing shoulders with
Walker again, it’s served its
purpose. But to do that I need a
bill I can pass. Ideology is for
standing still on a soapbox. I
never stand still. I want
momentum.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Francis confronts Blythe about the inadequate 600-page document. Despite Blythe's apologies, Francis demands a satisfactory bill before the inauguration. Blythe agrees to rewrite it, but Francis insists on a short-form draft bearing Blythe's name. Francis discards the old version and orders Blythe to erase all copies, acknowledging his intent to rewrite the bill himself and using it to advance his career.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Intense conflict
  • Strategic character interactions
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is intense, well-written, and drives the plot forward significantly.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of negotiating a bill under tight deadlines and political pressure is engaging and well-executed.

Plot: 9

The plot is advanced significantly through the negotiation and conflict between Francis and Blythe.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on political intrigue and power struggles, with authentic character actions and dialogue that feel true to the world of politics.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters of Francis and Blythe are well-developed and their interactions are compelling.

Character Changes: 7

Francis showcases his manipulative nature and determination to achieve his goals, while Blythe is forced to adapt to Francis' demands.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal is to advance his own career and gain influence by passing a bill that will allow him to rub shoulders with a powerful figure. He is driven by ambition and a desire for personal gain.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to get a passable bill from Blythe in a short amount of time, despite the challenges and obstacles presented by the current version of the bill.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Francis and Blythe is intense and drives the scene forward.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the protagonist facing challenges and obstacles that create uncertainty and tension for the audience.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as the negotiation of the bill could impact Francis' political standing and future plans.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward by setting up a crucial plot point and showcasing Francis' political acumen.

Unpredictability: 7

The scene is somewhat predictable in terms of the power dynamics and conflicts presented, but the outcome of the protagonist's actions remains uncertain.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between pragmatism and ideology. The protagonist prioritizes practicality and achieving his goals over sticking to a specific set of beliefs or values.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The emotional impact is more intellectual and strategic rather than deeply emotional.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, strategic, and reveals the characters' motivations effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging due to its fast-paced dialogue, high stakes, and the protagonist's ruthless ambition, keeping the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is fast and dynamic, reflecting the urgency and tension of the situation, contributing to its effectiveness.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows standard formatting conventions for a screenplay, making it easy to read and understand.

Structure: 8

The scene follows a clear structure with well-defined character goals and conflicts, fitting the expected format for a political drama genre.


Critique
  • The scene effectively establishes Francis's assertive and demanding nature, as well as his focus on achieving his goals at any cost.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Blythe is sharp and to the point, showcasing the power dynamic between the two characters.
  • The use of the shredder jamming as a metaphor for the flawed bill adds a visual element to the scene, enhancing the tension and urgency.
  • The scene effectively sets up the conflict and stakes for Francis, as he emphasizes the importance of a passable bill for his own advancement.
  • The ending monologue by Francis to the camera provides insight into his motivations and strategic mindset, adding depth to his character.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more physical actions or gestures to enhance the visual storytelling and make the scene more dynamic.
  • Explore opportunities to further develop Blythe's character and motivations to create a more nuanced dynamic between him and Francis.
  • Introduce subtle hints or foreshadowing of future plot developments to keep the audience engaged and intrigued.
  • Consider incorporating more subtext or layers of meaning in the dialogue to add complexity to the characters and their interactions.
  • Experiment with different camera angles or shot compositions to visually emphasize the power dynamics and emotional intensity of the scene.



Scene 33 -  Hush Money
INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

TIGHT on the door. A knock. A moment later the door opens,
revealing the CALL-GIRL we saw with Russo the night before.
She’s wearing a long overcoat and heels. CUT TO to Stamper.

STAMPER
Come on in.

The Call-Girl takes a look around the room, impressed. She
unzips her overcoat. Let’s it fall to the ground. She’s
only wearing panties underneath.

Stamper pulls an enormous wad out of his jacket pocket.
Tosses it to her. She starts to flip through the wad.

STAMPER (CONT’D)
Ten thousand dollars. What will
that get me?

She eyes him, a little frightened.

CALL-GIRL
I mean I’m kinky, but I don’t know
if I’m the girl you’re looking for.
50.


STAMPER
Oh you’re definitely the girl I’m
looking for.

CALL-GIRL
(stands)
This doesn’t feel right...

STAMPER
All I want for that money is your
silence.

CALL-GIRL
My silence...?

STAMPER
The guy you were with last night,
the one who was arrested. Do you
know who he was?

CALL-GIRL
You mean the Congressman?

STAMPER
There was no Congressman. There
was no arrest. None of it exists.
All that exists is the money you’re
holding. You understand?

CALL-GIRL
Yeah.

STAMPER
Good.

Stamper pulls out some more money from his jacket. Folds it.

STAMPER (CONT’D)
Open your mouth.

She does, he gently slides the bills between her teeth.

STAMPER (CONT’D)
Here’s four hundred more. This
last bit is for me.

He takes off his jacket and starts to unbutton his shirt.
Genres: ["Drama","Thriller"]

Summary In a clandestine hotel rendezvous, Stamper bribes a call-girl with a hefty sum to silence her about a staged arrest involving a Congressman. Despite initial hesitation, she accepts the money, resolving the tense exchange. Stamper proceeds with a more intimate encounter as the scene fades.
Strengths
  • Intense atmosphere
  • Complex character dynamics
  • Sharp dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Potential for the scene to be too dark or unsettling for some audiences

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is well-executed, creating a tense and suspenseful atmosphere with strong character dynamics.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of using money to buy silence and erase a potentially damaging incident is intriguing and adds depth to the characters involved.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as Stamper takes steps to cover up the previous night's events, setting the stage for future conflicts and developments.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh approach to the theme of corruption and power dynamics, with unexpected twists and turns in the dialogue and character interactions. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

Stamper and the call-girl are well-developed characters with complex motivations and dynamics, driving the scene forward.

Character Changes: 7

Both Stamper and the call-girl undergo subtle changes in their dynamic as they navigate the situation, revealing new facets of their personalities.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to maintain control and ensure the call-girl's silence. This reflects his deeper need for power and control, as well as his fear of being exposed or losing his position of authority.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to buy the call-girl's silence by paying her off. This reflects the immediate challenge of covering up a scandal and protecting his reputation.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict in the scene, both internal and external, as Stamper tries to control the situation and the call-girl grapples with the implications of his offer.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, as the call-girl challenges the protagonist's control and forces him to confront his own moral choices. The audience is left uncertain of how the conflict will be resolved.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as Stamper tries to cover up a potentially damaging incident, risking his reputation and career in the process.

Story Forward: 8

The scene propels the story forward by introducing a new conflict and setting up future developments.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists in the dialogue and character motivations. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the situation will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between truth and deception. The protagonist is manipulating the call-girl by creating a false narrative to protect himself, challenging his own beliefs about honesty and integrity.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes tension and unease, drawing the audience into the characters' emotional states.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp and impactful, revealing the power dynamics and manipulation at play between Stamper and the call-girl.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the high stakes, moral dilemmas, and suspenseful interactions between the characters. The audience is drawn into the conflict and invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension and suspense gradually, leading to a climactic moment of confrontation between the characters.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene follows the expected format for its genre, with clear scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting. The visual descriptions and action lines enhance the atmosphere of the scene.

Structure: 8

The structure of the scene follows the expected format for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm of the scene contribute to its effectiveness in building tension and suspense.


Critique
  • The scene lacks subtlety and nuance in its portrayal of a transaction between Stamper and the call-girl. The dialogue is too on-the-nose and the actions are too direct, making the scene feel forced and unrealistic.
  • The power dynamic between Stamper and the call-girl is not well-developed. There is a lack of tension and complexity in their interaction, which diminishes the impact of the scene.
  • The scene relies heavily on cliches and stereotypes, such as the call-girl being hesitant and frightened, and Stamper being manipulative and controlling. This limits the depth of the characters and the scene as a whole.
  • The dialogue feels stilted and unnatural, lacking the subtlety and complexity needed to create a compelling and engaging scene. The interactions between Stamper and the call-girl come across as contrived and unconvincing.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and layers of meaning to add depth and complexity to the characters and their motivations. This would make the scene more engaging and thought-provoking for the audience.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more nuance and subtlety to the dialogue and actions of the characters to create a more realistic and engaging scene.
  • Develop the power dynamic between Stamper and the call-girl to add tension and complexity to their interaction.
  • Avoid relying on cliches and stereotypes in character development, and instead focus on creating multi-dimensional and authentic characters.
  • Work on crafting dialogue that feels natural and authentic, with layers of meaning and subtext to enhance the complexity of the scene.
  • Explore ways to add depth and complexity to the scene through subtle character interactions and nuanced storytelling.



Scene 34 -  A Proposal of Power
INT. FRANCIS’S (INNER) OFFICE - LATE MORNING

Francis sits across from CATHERINE DURANT (early 50s),
another conservative Democrat from the South.
51.


DURANT
Secretary of State?

FRANCIS
That’s right.

DURANT
(puzzled)
Walker just nominated Kern.

FRANCIS
It’s a long road to confirmation.

DURANT
Kern is a boy scout.

FRANCIS
No one’s a boy scout. Not even boy
scouts.

Durant is intrigued by Francis’s tone. She presses.

DURANT
What do you have?

FRANCIS
Absolutely nothing.

DURANT
So what are we talking about here?

FRANCIS
I’m just asking a simple question -
does the job interest you?

DURANT
Wouldn’t you want it for yourself?

FRANCIS
I turned it down.

DURANT
Really? I heard that Walker passed
you over.

FRANCIS
I’ve let that story ride so he
could save face. I haven’t spent
twenty years in Congress to toss it
aside for a four-year cabinet post.

DURANT
So why do you want Kern gone?
52.


FRANCIS
I want him gone because he’s a
pretty face with an empty skull.
The Foreign Relations Committee
needs a Secretary I can work with.
Somebody brilliant. Somebody
tough. Somebody who isn’t afraid
to stand up to Walker when he’s
wrong. We need you Catherine.

DURANT
(slight beat)
Let’s assume I’m interested...

FRANCIS
I don’t want to assume - I want to
know.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Amidst the backdrop of Francis's private office, a cunning political game unfolds. Representative Francis, driven by ambition, seeks to replace the incompetent nominee for Secretary of State with Senator Catherine Durant. Intrigued but cautious, Durant weighs her options. Francis's manipulation and Durant's initial reluctance set the stage for a potential alliance that could reshape the political landscape.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Intriguing character dynamics
  • Strategic plotting
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Some predictable elements

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is well-written, engaging, and sets up a significant power dynamic between the characters.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of political maneuvering and power dynamics is central to the scene, driving the conversation and character motivations.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as Francis tries to convince Durant to consider the Secretary of State position, adding depth to the political intrigue of the story.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on political intrigue and power dynamics, with well-developed characters and authentic dialogue that feels true to the world of politics.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Francis and Durant are well-developed, with clear motivations and conflicting interests that drive the scene forward.

Character Changes: 7

Both Francis and Durant undergo subtle shifts in their perspectives and motivations during the conversation, setting up potential character arcs.

Internal Goal: 9

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to persuade Catherine Durant to consider taking the position of Secretary of State. This reflects his desire for a capable and strong ally in a key government position.

External Goal: 8

The protagonist's external goal is to remove Kern from the position of Secretary of State and replace him with someone more competent and aligned with his goals.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict in the scene as Francis and Durant navigate their differing agendas and power dynamics.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and motivations driving the conflict between the characters.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as Francis tries to secure Durant's support for his political agenda, impacting his future political maneuvers.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward by introducing a new plot point and deepening the political intrigue surrounding Francis and Durant.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and the characters' hidden agendas.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the protagonist's pragmatic and ambitious approach to politics and Durant's cautious and skeptical attitude towards power and authority.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of tension and intrigue, but the emotional impact is more subtle compared to the strategic and political elements.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, strategic, and reveals the manipulative nature of Francis as he tries to persuade Durant to align with his agenda.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the high-stakes political maneuvering, sharp dialogue, and complex character dynamics.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and maintaining the audience's interest, with well-timed reveals and character interactions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a dialogue-heavy political drama, with clear character names and actions.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a political drama, with clear character motivations and conflict driving the dialogue.


Critique
  • The dialogue between Francis and Catherine Durant feels a bit on the nose and lacks subtlety. The exchange about the Secretary of State position and Francis's motives for wanting Kern gone could benefit from more nuance and depth.
  • The scene could use more subtext and layers to the characters' motivations. It feels a bit too straightforward and could benefit from more complexity to add depth to the interaction.
  • The scene lacks visual elements and physical actions that could enhance the tension and dynamics between Francis and Durant. Adding more visual cues and physical movements could make the scene more engaging.
  • The pacing of the scene could be improved by adding more dynamic shifts in the conversation. It feels a bit static and could benefit from moments of tension or conflict to keep the audience engaged.
  • The scene could explore the power dynamics between Francis and Durant more explicitly. Adding moments of power play or manipulation could add intrigue and depth to their interaction.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more subtext and layers to the dialogue to make the conversation more nuanced and engaging.
  • Introduce visual elements and physical actions to enhance the tension and dynamics between the characters.
  • Explore the power dynamics between Francis and Durant more explicitly to add depth to their interaction.
  • Work on pacing by adding dynamic shifts in the conversation to keep the audience engaged.
  • Consider adding moments of conflict or tension to make the scene more dynamic and compelling.



Scene 35 -  Mysterious Call
INT. RAYBURN BLDG PARKING GARAGE - NIGHT

A Black SUV rounds a corner on the bottom floor of the
garage, pulls into an empty spot. We can see that Steve is
driving. The back door opens. Stamper gets out. He heads
toward a set of dumpsters in the far corner. Looks around.
Sees no one. Opens the lid to one of the dumpsters.


INT. NEWSROOM - DAY

ZOE is seated at her desk, looking miserable - trapped, under-
appreciated, creativity stifled. She’s got her land line
phone to one ear and is taking notes she clearly doesn’t give
a rat’s ass about.

ZOE
Uh-huh...uh-huh...

Her cell phone vibrates. She glances at it. “Unknown
Number.”

ZOE (CONT’D)
(into the land line)
Hold on.

She answers the cell phone.

ZOE (CONT’D)
Zoe Barnes.

After a beat she stiffens, suddenly alert.
53.


ZOE (CONT’D)
Yes, anywhere you want.
(listens)
On my way.

She ends the call.

ZOE (CONT’D)
(into the land line)
I’ll call you back.

She hastily grabs her purse and coat, heads for the elevator.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Zoe Barnes, feeling unmotivated at work, receives a mysterious phone call that piques her interest. She promptly leaves the newsroom to meet the caller at an undisclosed location.
Strengths
  • Building tension
  • Creating intrigue
  • Setting up a pivotal moment
Weaknesses
  • Limited character interaction
  • Minimal dialogue

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively builds tension and intrigue, setting the stage for a pivotal moment in the story.


Story Content

Concept: 7

The concept of a sudden call to action leading to a potentially game-changing event is well-executed.

Plot: 8

The plot advances significantly with Zoe's departure, indicating a shift in the narrative.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces a fresh approach to the theme of rebellion and conformity, with Zoe's internal struggle mirroring the external actions taking place in the parking garage. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and contribute to the scene's authenticity.


Character Development

Characters: 7

Zoe's reaction and quick decision to leave show her determination and readiness for action.

Character Changes: 6

Zoe's decision to leave her mundane surroundings hints at a potential shift in her character's trajectory.

Internal Goal: 8

Zoe's internal goal in this scene is to break free from her trapped and under-appreciated state in the newsroom. This reflects her deeper desire for recognition, creativity, and independence.

External Goal: 7

Zoe's external goal is to meet someone at an undisclosed location. This reflects the immediate challenge she faces in breaking away from her routine and pursuing a potentially risky opportunity.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

The conflict arises from the unknown nature of the call and its implications for the characters involved.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong enough to create uncertainty and tension, with Zoe facing internal and external obstacles.

High Stakes: 8

The high stakes are implied by Zoe's immediate response to the call, suggesting that the upcoming events will have significant consequences.

Story Forward: 8

The scene propels the story forward by introducing a new development that promises to impact the narrative significantly.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the sudden shift in Zoe's demeanor and the mysterious actions taking place in the parking garage.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is between conformity and rebellion. Zoe's desire for freedom and creativity clashes with the constraints of her current environment, challenging her beliefs and values.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The scene evokes a sense of anticipation and curiosity rather than deep emotional resonance.

Dialogue: 6

The dialogue is minimal but serves its purpose in conveying urgency and setting up the next sequence of events.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because of the mix of suspense, character development, and the promise of change for the protagonist.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, keeping the audience engaged and eager to see what happens next.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings, descriptions, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, effectively transitioning between locations and building tension through character actions and dialogue.


Critique
  • The transition from the parking garage to the newsroom is abrupt and lacks a clear connection or flow. It feels disjointed and could benefit from a smoother transition.
  • The description of Zoe as 'miserable, trapped, under-appreciated, creativity stifled' is a bit on-the-nose and could be shown more subtly through her actions and interactions.
  • The dialogue between Zoe and the unknown caller lacks intrigue or tension. It could be more engaging and mysterious to hook the audience's interest.
  • Zoe's sudden alertness and haste to leave the newsroom could be better motivated or explained to make her actions more believable and compelling.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual cues and descriptive details to create a vivid and engaging setting for the audience.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief transition or establishing shot to connect the two locations and create a smoother flow between scenes.
  • Show Zoe's feelings of being trapped and under-appreciated through her interactions with colleagues or her environment, rather than telling the audience directly.
  • Enhance the dialogue between Zoe and the unknown caller to create more suspense and intrigue, keeping the audience guessing about the nature of the call.
  • Provide a clearer motivation for Zoe's sudden alertness and departure from the newsroom to make her actions more believable and engaging.
  • Add more visual details and sensory cues to immerse the audience in the scene and create a more vivid setting for the action to unfold.



Scene 36 -  A Delicate Dance
INT. NATIONAL GALLERY - DAY

Francis and Zoe sit side by side on a bench in front of a
Thomas Eakins painting. It depicts two rowers in a skull.

FRANCIS
Do the math, Ms. Barnes.

ZOE
He needs a bill...

FRANCIS
Sponsored by?

ZOE
Somebody with legitimacy...

Zoe thinks for a moment, then shakes her head.

ZOE (CONT’D)
But the person with the most
experience...

FRANCIS
(finishing her thought)
Harold Blythe.

ZOE
...is an old school tax and spend
Democrat. Walker ran as a
moderate. He’s almost Republican.

FRANCIS
Exactly, which is why he needs me.

ZOE
To steer the bill to the center.
54.


FRANCIS
You were right about why Walker
kept me in Congress.

ZOE
Do you think Blythe would talk to
me?

FRANCIS
Be smarter than that. He can’t
speak to the press about this.

ZOE
Maybe somebody in his office, if I
butter them up. All I need is a
few crumbs.

Francis flips open a brief case. Pulls out a bulky manila
envelop and places it in Zoe’s lap.

FRANCIS
How about a five-course dinner?

She peeks inside the envelope.

ZOE
Is this what I think it is?

Francis points to the painting.

FRANCIS
I just love this painting, don’t
you?

Zoe looks up. TIGHT on the two rowers in the painting. Then
BACK TO the pair on the bench. Francis turns to Zoe.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
We’re in the same boat now, Zoe.
Take care not to tip it over. If
you do, I can only save one of us
from drowning.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Francis and Zoe, a politician and lobbyist, discuss the need for a bill sponsor and decide on Harold Blythe. Francis instructs Zoe to approach Blythe's office and provides an envelope of money for potential bribery. He warns her of their shared involvement and urges caution to avoid jeopardizing their partnership.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Strategic negotiation
  • Tension-filled atmosphere
Weaknesses
  • Limited physical action
  • Reliance on dialogue for tension

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is well-written, engaging, and sets up important plot developments. The dialogue is sharp and keeps the audience on edge.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of negotiation and manipulation in politics is effectively portrayed, adding depth to the characters and advancing the plot.

Plot: 8

The plot thickens as Francis and Zoe navigate their complex relationship and political ambitions. The scene sets up future conflicts and alliances.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces a fresh take on political maneuvering and power dynamics, with authentic character interactions and realistic dialogue.


Character Development

Characters: 8

Francis and Zoe are well-developed characters with clear motivations and dynamics. Their interactions drive the scene forward and reveal their strategic minds.

Character Changes: 7

Both Francis and Zoe undergo subtle shifts in their dynamic and motivations during the negotiation, setting up future character development.

Internal Goal: 8

Francis's internal goal is to maintain his position of power and influence in the political landscape. He wants to prove his worth and strategic thinking to Zoe.

External Goal: 7

Francis's external goal is to secure support for a bill from Harold Blythe, a key figure in the political arena.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between Francis and Zoe, as well as their internal conflicts, drives the scene and adds intensity to their negotiation.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting ideologies and hidden agendas creating obstacles for the characters.

High Stakes: 8

The negotiation between Francis and Zoe has high stakes, as their decisions could impact their political careers and personal lives.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward significantly by establishing new alliances, conflicts, and plot developments.

Unpredictability: 8

The scene is unpredictable due to the shifting power dynamics and hidden agendas of the characters.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict revolves around the balance between political ideologies and pragmatic decision-making. Zoe represents idealism, while Francis embodies pragmatism.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of tension and intrigue, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the characters' fates.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, strategic, and filled with subtext. It reveals the characters' intentions and adds tension to the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging due to its tense atmosphere, sharp dialogue, and complex character dynamics.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the characters' interactions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene is well-formatted, with clear scene descriptions and character actions, adhering to the expected format for its genre.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a clear structure with well-paced dialogue and character interactions, fitting the expected format for a political drama.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering the high stakes and manipulative nature of the characters involved.
  • The dialogue feels a bit on the nose and could benefit from more subtlety and nuance in conveying the characters' motivations and intentions.
  • There is a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the power dynamics between Francis and Zoe, as well as the potential consequences of their collaboration.
  • The visual elements could be enhanced to create a more engaging and visually stimulating scene, especially considering the setting in a prestigious art gallery.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more layers to the conversation between Francis and Zoe, incorporating subtext and hidden agendas to create a more intriguing dynamic.
  • Explore ways to build tension and suspense throughout the scene, perhaps by introducing conflicting objectives or hidden obstacles for the characters to navigate.
  • Enhance the visual storytelling by utilizing the art gallery setting to mirror or contrast the characters' intentions and emotions, adding depth to the scene.
  • Work on refining the dialogue to be more sophisticated and layered, allowing for subtle hints and implications to drive the interaction between Francis and Zoe.



Scene 37 -  Preparations and Requests
INT. ZOE’S APARTMENT - AFTERNOON

Zoe in her cramped, hopelessly messy apartment. She’s
flipping through Blythe’s original draft. Making notes.
Utterly focused. She has something no one else on the planet
has. Her cell phone rings. She presses ignore without even
looking at the number. A moment later it rings again. She
presses ignore. Nothing is going to distract her.
55.


INT. BLAIR HOUSE - VASQUEZ’S OFFICE - DAY

Francis and Vasquez across a desk from one another.

VASQUEZ
We need a passable bill.

FRANCIS
And you’ll have one.

VASQUEZ
Before the inauguration.

FRANCIS
I didn’t choose Harold Blythe. You
did. And that’s fine. I had to
send him back to the starting
gates, but I can work with him.
You don’t have to micro-manage
this, Linda.

VASQUEZ
The President-Elect is concerned.

FRANCIS
He shouldn’t be. And you shouldn’t
either. You’re asking me to work a
miracle. I understand that. And I’m
telling you - I’ll work the
miracle.

VASQUEZ
Alright, Frank...

FRANCIS
I have a favor to ask, though.
Can you fit two more guests at our
table? For the Red and White Ball?

VASQUEZ
Of course. I can make that happen.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Zoe is diligently working on Blythe's draft, Francis and Vasquez emphasize the significance of a finalized bill. Francis requests Vasquez's assistance in accommodating additional guests at their Red and White Ball table.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • High-stakes negotiation
  • Character development
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Some repetitive dialogue

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively builds tension and sets up important plot points while showcasing the strategic maneuvering of the characters.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of negotiating for a passable bill and securing support for the Red and White Ball is crucial to the overall plot development.

Plot: 8

The plot advances significantly with the negotiation between Francis and Vasquez, as well as the setup for the Red and White Ball.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces a fresh take on political drama by focusing on personal relationships and individual struggles within the political landscape. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters of Francis and Vasquez are well-developed and their interactions reveal their strategic thinking and determination.

Character Changes: 7

Both Francis and Vasquez exhibit changes in their approach and strategies during the negotiation, showcasing character development.

Internal Goal: 8

Zoe's internal goal in this scene is to focus on her work and not be distracted by outside influences. This reflects her deeper need for validation and success in her career.

External Goal: 9

Francis's external goal is to deliver a passable bill before the inauguration, showcasing his ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines in the political arena.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict in the negotiation between Francis and Vasquez, as well as the underlying tension surrounding the passable bill.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and power struggles between the characters that create tension and drive the narrative forward.

High Stakes: 9

The negotiation for the passable bill and securing support for the Red and White Ball represent high stakes for Francis and Vasquez, adding tension to the scene.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward by setting up key plot points and advancing the negotiation for the passable bill.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and unexpected requests made by the characters.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between trust and control. Vasquez wants to control the situation and micro-manage, while Francis believes in trusting his abilities and working independently.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

While the scene is more focused on strategy and negotiation, there is a subtle emotional impact in the characters' determination and motivations.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, strategic, and engaging, reflecting the characters' personalities and motivations effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the high stakes, tension between characters, and the sense of urgency in achieving their goals.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a balance of dialogue and action that keeps the audience engaged and invested in the characters' journey.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, following the expected format for a screenplay in this genre.

Structure: 9

The structure of the scene follows the expected format for a political drama, with clear character motivations and conflict driving the narrative forward.


Critique
  • The transition from Zoe's apartment to Vasquez's office feels abrupt and disjointed. There is a lack of continuity in the scene change, which can be confusing for the audience.
  • Zoe's intense focus on Blythe's original draft is not effectively conveyed through her actions or dialogue. More visual cues or internal monologue could help emphasize her dedication to the task.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Vasquez is somewhat repetitive and lacks depth. It feels like a surface-level conversation without much emotional or strategic depth.
  • The stakes of the scene are not clearly defined or heightened. There is a lack of tension or urgency in the interaction between Francis and Vasquez, which can make the scene feel flat.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and nuance in the characters' interactions. Adding layers to their motivations and intentions could make the dialogue more engaging and dynamic.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief transition or establishing shot to connect Zoe's apartment to Vasquez's office, providing a smoother flow between the two locations.
  • Enhance Zoe's actions and dialogue in her apartment to better convey her intense focus on Blythe's draft. Show her internal struggle and determination through visual cues or inner thoughts.
  • Add more depth to the conversation between Francis and Vasquez by exploring their conflicting motivations and hidden agendas. Introduce subtext and tension to make the scene more engaging.
  • Heighten the stakes of the scene by clearly defining the consequences of not delivering a passable bill before the inauguration. Create a sense of urgency and pressure in the dialogue.
  • Infuse the scene with more emotional complexity and strategic maneuvering. Develop the characters' relationships and intentions to add depth and intrigue to their interactions.



Scene 38 -  Francis Confronts Russo
INT. FRANCIS’S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

Francis shuts the door as Russo takes a seat.

FRANCIS
Drink?

RUSSO
Sure...what do you got?
56.


FRANCIS
Whiskey. Bush Mills.

RUSSO
If you’re offering.

As Francis pours him a drink.

FRANCIS
How are things in the city of
brotherly love?

RUSSO
We’re getting by.

FRANCIS
Good, good.

Francis hands him the drink.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
So it seems you’ve been a
bit...irresponsible.

RUSSO
What...?

FRANCIS
Don’t play dumb with me Peter.
Save it for the House Ethics
Committee.

Russo freezes - a deer caught in headlights.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Drink up, you could use some
courage right now.

RUSSO
You’re not having any?

FRANCIS
It’s a bit early in the day for me.

Russo sets his drink down.

RUSSO
Is this about last night?

Francis simply stares at him. A stare which says “yes.”

RUSSO (CONT’D)
How do you know about that?
57.


FRANCIS
Because it’s my job to know.

RUSSO
Look - they let me off. There’s no
charges. It’s all taken care of.

FRANCIS
Honestly Peter, do you really think
these things take care of
themselves?

Russo suddenly realizes Francis was behind his release.

RUSSO
It was just that once, Frank. I
swear to God.

FRANCIS
Then you must hold God in very low
esteem, because we both know that’s
a lie. Drunk driving, prostitutes,
cocaine - you’ve got quite a long
list of hobbies. I’m surprised you
can find the time to represent your
constituents. What I should really
have done is hang you out to dry.
But then you’d be of no use to me,
would you?

RUSSO
What is it that you want?

FRANCIS
Your absolute, unquestioning
loyalty.

RUSSO
(after a beat)
Anything. You name it, Frank.

FRANCIS
Not now - but soon. There will be
no shortage of things you’ll be
able to do for me.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Francis confronts Russo about his irresponsible behavior, including drunk driving, prostitution, and cocaine use. Russo initially denies everything but quickly realizes that Francis knows about his activities. Francis reveals that he was the one who got Russo off the hook for his arrest the previous night. Francis demands Russo's absolute loyalty in exchange for his continued protection. Russo agrees to do whatever Francis asks.
Strengths
  • Intense dialogue
  • Complex character dynamics
  • High stakes
Weaknesses
  • Limited physical action
  • Heavy exposition

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, filled with tension, and sets up important character dynamics and plot developments.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of testing loyalty and power dynamics in politics is executed effectively, setting up future conflicts and alliances.

Plot: 9

The plot advances significantly with the revelation of Francis's control over Russo and the establishment of their complicated relationship.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces a familiar theme of political manipulation but adds a fresh perspective through the nuanced interactions between the characters. The authenticity of the dialogue and actions enhances the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Francis and Russo are well-developed, with clear motivations and conflicting interests that drive the scene forward.

Character Changes: 8

Russo undergoes a significant shift in his relationship with Francis, realizing the extent of Francis's control and the consequences of his actions.

Internal Goal: 9

The protagonist's internal goal is to assert his dominance and control over Russo, showcasing his power and influence. This reflects his deeper need for control and loyalty from those around him.

External Goal: 8

The protagonist's external goal is to secure Russo's loyalty and obedience, using his past actions as leverage. This reflects the immediate challenge of maintaining power and influence in the political sphere.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Francis and Russo is palpable, creating tension and driving the scene's intensity.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Russo facing a difficult choice between loyalty and self-preservation. The audience is left uncertain about the outcome, adding to the tension and conflict.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Francis tests Russo's loyalty and sets the stage for future power struggles and betrayals.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by revealing key information about the characters and their motivations, setting up future conflicts and alliances.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and moral choices the characters face. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the conflict will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between loyalty and self-preservation. Russo must choose between maintaining his integrity and facing consequences or sacrificing his values for the sake of power and protection.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes strong emotions of tension, fear, and intrigue, especially in the interactions between Francis and Russo.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is sharp, intense, and reveals the power dynamics between Francis and Russo effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense dialogue, power dynamics, and moral dilemmas. The audience is drawn into the characters' conflicts and motivations, creating suspense and intrigue.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, building tension gradually through dialogue and character interactions. It maintains a sense of urgency and suspense, keeping the audience engaged.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, following industry standards for screenplay format. It enhances the readability and flow of the dialogue and action descriptions.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a dramatic confrontation, building tension through dialogue and character interactions. It effectively sets up the conflict and resolution.


Critique
  • The scene lacks subtlety in the confrontation between Francis and Russo. The dialogue is very on-the-nose and could benefit from more nuance and subtext.
  • The pacing of the scene feels a bit rushed, with the tension escalating quickly without much build-up or development.
  • The dialogue could be more dynamic and engaging, with more layers to the characters' motivations and emotions.
  • There is a lack of visual elements or actions described in the scene, which could enhance the overall impact and engagement of the audience.
  • The power dynamic between Francis and Russo is clear, but could be further explored to add depth to their relationship and the stakes involved.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more subtext and nuance to the dialogue to create a more layered and engaging interaction between Francis and Russo.
  • Work on building up the tension and conflict gradually throughout the scene, rather than escalating it quickly.
  • Introduce more visual elements or actions to enhance the scene and create a more immersive experience for the audience.
  • Explore the power dynamics between Francis and Russo in more detail, adding complexity to their relationship and the consequences of their interactions.
  • Consider adding moments of silence or pauses to allow the tension to simmer and create a more impactful atmosphere.



Scene 39 -  The Bombshell Document
INT. WASHINGTON HERALD - NEWSROOM - AFTERNOON

Zoe makes a B-line for Lucas’s office. As she barges in...

LUCAS
Where have you been? I’ve been
calling you.
(MORE)
58.

LUCAS (CONT'D)
Everybody’s working double-time on
the Inauguration and you decide to
just up and disapp --

She plops a large ream of paper on his desk. He picks it up,
starts to flip through.

LUCAS (CONT’D)
Where did you get this?

ZOE
Wrong question. The right question
is how quickly can we get it up on
the site?

LUCAS
This is page one. I have to run it
past Bob.

ZOE
Then let’s run it past Bob.


INT. WASHINGTON HERALD - HAMMERSCHMIDT’S OFFICE - AFTERNOON

Hammerschmidt, Zoe and Lucas - serious shit going down.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
(to Lucas)
Get legal on this - make sure we’re
not breaking any laws. And I want
a litigation assessment.
(to Zoe)
You won’t tell me your source?

ZOE
I can’t do that.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
Fine. But if legal -

ZOE
I understand. How long do you
think that will take? We should
get this online right away.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
I’m not just going to scan a 600
page document and put it up before
we’ve gone through every --

ZOE
I did that already.
59.


HAMMERSCHMIDT
You read the whole thing?

ZOE
Cover to cover. I’ve got excerpts.
Analysis. Three thousand words
ready for editing.

Hammerschmidt glances at Lucas. They’re impressed.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
(to Lucas)
You start going over that. And
let’s get the online staff pitching
in, working on graphs, charts, the
whole nine yards.
(opens door, calls out)
Janine!
(to Zoe)
What’s the angle, five words or
less?

ZOE
Far left of center.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
How far?

ZOE
Very.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
Enough to put Walker on his heels?

ZOE
Forget his heels. This will put
him on his ass.

Janine enters. She doesn’t see Zoe in the corner.

HAMMERSCHMIDT
(to Janine)
We’ve got a draft of the
administration’s Education Bill.
You’re going to work with Zoe, do
background copy.

JANINE
(incredulous)
Zoe Barnes?

HAMMERSCHMIDT
That’s right. Whatever she needs.
60.


Hammerschmidt nods in Zoe’s direction. Janine sees Zoe for
the first time.

JANINE
(as if it’s disgusting)
Share a byline with her?

HAMMERSCMIDT
No sharing. The byline is Zoe’s.

JANINE
But she’s Metro. I’m your chief
political correspondent...

HAMMERSCHMIDT
Then you should’ve brought in the
story yourself.
(to Lucas)
Zoe gets the byline. Janine gets
assisted credit.

JANINE
Assisted? Come on. You can’t -

HAMMERSCHMIDT
Go. We’ve got 18 hours before
tomorrow’s print deadline.

Janine glares at Zoe.

ZOE
(to Janine, triumphant)
I’ll see you at my desk.

Zoe walks out. Janine reluctantly follows.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Journalism"]

Summary Zoe brings Lucas a large ream of paper, which she insists they get up on the website immediately. Lucas says he needs to run it past Bob, but Zoe insists. They go to Hammerschmidt's office, where Hammerschmidt insists this be run by legal before posting and asks Zoe who her source is. Zoe refuses to say, but Hammerschmidt agrees to post it after proper review. Hammerschmidt asks Zoe what the angle is. She says "Far left of center." Hamerschmidt asks if it is enough to put the president on his heels, and Zoe assures him it will "put him on his ass." Hammerschmidt puts Janine in charge of working with Zoe, who is absolutely furious at having to take orders from Zoe and having her byline pushed to "assisted" status, but leaves the room at Hammerschmidt's insistence.
Strengths
  • Engaging plot development
  • Strong character dynamics
  • Sharp dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Some predictable power dynamics

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is engaging, intense, and pivotal in advancing the plot. It effectively sets up future conflicts and developments.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of investigative journalism, power struggles within a newsroom, and the ethical dilemmas faced by journalists are well-executed and central to the scene.

Plot: 9

The plot is driven forward significantly as Zoe presents the document and pushes for its publication, leading to potential repercussions and conflicts within the newsroom.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on the newsroom drama genre by focusing on the digital age and the challenges of online publishing. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and engaging.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters, especially Zoe and Hammerschmidt, are well-developed and their interactions reveal their personalities, motivations, and conflicts.

Character Changes: 6

Zoe's determination and assertiveness are highlighted, showcasing her growth and development as a journalist.

Internal Goal: 8

Zoe's internal goal is to prove herself as a capable journalist and make a significant impact with her story. This reflects her desire for recognition and success in her career.

External Goal: 7

Zoe's external goal is to get her story published online quickly and make a political impact. This reflects the immediate challenge of breaking a big story and beating the competition.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict present, both internal (within the newsroom) and external (ethical dilemmas, power struggles), driving the tension of the scene.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and power struggles between the characters creating tension and drama.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as the decision to publish the document could have significant consequences for the characters and the narrative.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward by introducing a major document, setting up conflicts, and establishing the stakes for the characters.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected power dynamics and twists in the characters' interactions.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is the clash between traditional journalistic practices and the need for speed and impact in the digital age. Zoe's approach challenges the established norms of the newsroom.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

While the scene is more focused on tension and professional dynamics, there is a subtle emotional impact as characters navigate ethical dilemmas and power struggles.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is sharp, professional, and reveals the power dynamics and conflicts between the characters effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the high stakes, fast-paced dialogue, and conflict between the characters.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is fast and dynamic, keeping the audience engaged and moving the story forward effectively.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene is clear and easy to follow, with proper scene headings and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a newsroom drama, with clear character motivations and conflict driving the action.


Critique
  • The scene starts abruptly with Zoe barging into Lucas's office, which may be disorienting for the audience without a clear transition.
  • The dialogue between Zoe and Lucas feels rushed and lacks natural flow, making it difficult for the audience to fully grasp the urgency of the situation.
  • The interaction between Zoe and Hammerschmidt lacks depth and emotional resonance, making it challenging for the audience to connect with the characters and their motivations.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual descriptions to create a vivid and engaging setting for the audience.
  • The conflict between Zoe and Janine feels forced and lacks subtlety, diminishing the impact of their interaction.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief establishing shot or transition to set the scene before Zoe barges into Lucas's office to provide context for the audience.
  • Slow down the pace of the dialogue between Zoe and Lucas to allow for more natural and engaging interactions between the characters.
  • Add depth to the interaction between Zoe and Hammerschmidt by exploring their motivations and emotional stakes in the situation.
  • Enhance the visual elements in the scene to create a more immersive setting for the audience, such as describing the newsroom or office in more detail.
  • Refine the conflict between Zoe and Janine to make it more nuanced and impactful, adding layers to their relationship and interactions.



Scene 40 -  The Inauguration and Inaugural Ball
EXT. THE MALL - MORNING

A WIDE PAN of massive crowds gathered for the Inauguration
Ceremony on a crystal clear, January morning.

FRANCIS (V.O.)
Power is like real estate. It’s
all about location, location,
location.

CUT TO the rostrum on the Capitol steps. Walker has his hand
raised as CHIEF JUSTICE conducts the oath of office.

FRANCIS (V.O.)
The closer you are to the source,
the higher your property value.
61.


We ZOOM IN on Francis and Claire sitting in the first row
behind the lectern.

FRANCIS (V.O.)
A hundred years from now, when
people watch this footage, who will
they see smiling just at the edge
of the frame?

Francis gives a little wave to the camera.

CHIEF JUSTICE
So help you God.

WALKER
So help me God.


EXT. THE ROSTRUM - TEN MINUTES LATER

TIGHT on Walker in the midst of his Inaugural Address.

WALKER
...Today is not simply about the
next four years. It’s about the
next four decades. You’ve placed
your faith in me, and I, in turn,
choose to place that faith in our
children. Our children are the key
to this nation’s future, and that’s
why the first order of business for
this administration will be a
comprehensive Education Reform Bill
to properly fix, finance and
strengthen our nation’s schools.

Huge cheers from the audience. QUICK CUT TO Francis,
clapping vigorously, staring right at us.


INT. RED AND WHITE BALL - NIGHT

A huge reception hall decorated to the hilt. The mood is
festive. Francis and Claire are seated next to Charles and
Felicity Holburn at the Vice-President’s table.

FELICITY
(leaning into Claire)
It was so nice of you to make this
possible. When you called and -

CLAIRE
Not another word.
62.


SHIFT TO Secretary of State nominee Michael Kern.

KERN
...”Your dog must be a genius,” the
guy says. “Nah,” says the other
guy, “He’s pretty stupid. Every
time he’s got a good hand he sniffs
his ass.”

Everyone at the table laughs at the punch line, Kern most of
all. Francis forces a laugh. Claire leans into Francis.

CLAIRE
Go do your thing.

He squeezes her hand. Gets up.

CUT TO Blythe standing awkwardly alone eating a crab cake at
the hors d’oeuvres table. Francis approaches.

FRANCIS
Maestro, I’ve been looking all over
for you.

Blythe fumbles with the crab cake, accidently spilling it on
his lapel.

BLYTHE
Shit.

In an instant Francis has grabbed a napkin and begins dabbing
the stain.

BLYTHE (CONT’D)
Oh thanks...

FRANCIS
Truly outstanding work on the new
draft. You’re going to make history
with that bill Harry.

BLYTHE
Thanks for all your help Frank.
Couldn’t have done it without you.

Out of the corner of his eye, Francis spots Catherine Durant
near the dance floor.

FRANCIS
Catherine!
(to Blythe)
Excuse me Harry.

And Francis glides over to Catherine.
63.


FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Don’t you look stunning.

DURANT
We Southern girls clean up well
when you get us out of the trailer
park and into some Vera Wang.

FRANCIS
And we Southern boys may be slow
with our words, but we’re fast on
our feet.

He half bows, takes her hand and kisses it.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
May I have the honor?

DURANT
You most certainly may.

He leads her onto the dance floor and they waltz beautifully.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Francis and Claire attend the Presidential Inauguration and Inaugural Ball. Francis gives a brief speech about location and watches Walker deliver his Inaugural Address, announcing an Education Reform Bill. They attend the Red and White Ball, where Francis schmoozes with attendees, including Blythe, Catherine Durant, and the Holburns. Francis and Catherine dance.
Strengths
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Intriguing power dynamics
  • Character relationships
Weaknesses
  • Limited emotional depth
  • Lack of major character development

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively captures the tension and intrigue of a political event, setting the stage for future conflicts and developments.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of power dynamics, alliances, and ambition in the political world is well-executed and drives the scene forward.

Plot: 7

The plot progresses through interactions between characters, setting up future conflicts and alliances.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces fresh perspectives on political power, social interactions, and personal ambition, with authentic character actions and dialogue that add depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters are well-developed and their motivations and relationships add depth to the scene.

Character Changes: 5

While there are subtle shifts in character dynamics, the scene focuses more on establishing relationships and alliances.

Internal Goal: 8

Francis's internal goal is to secure his position of power and influence, as well as to be remembered in history. This reflects his deep desire for control, recognition, and legacy.

External Goal: 7

Francis's external goal is to maintain his political alliances and influence key figures like Blythe and Catherine. This reflects the immediate challenge of navigating political relationships and securing support for his agenda.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

There is underlying tension and conflict in the power dynamics and ambitions of the characters, setting the stage for future confrontations.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong in terms of political rivalries, personal conflicts, and power struggles, adding complexity and depth to the narrative.

High Stakes: 8

The high stakes of political power, alliances, and ambitions are evident in the scene, setting the tone for future dramatic developments.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing new alliances, conflicts, and ambitions that will shape future events.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable in terms of character interactions, political alliances, and personal revelations, adding tension and intrigue to the narrative.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict revolves around the themes of power, influence, and social status. Francis's belief in the importance of proximity to power contrasts with the superficiality of social interactions and political alliances.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 6

The scene evokes a sense of anticipation and intrigue, but the emotional impact is more subdued compared to the strategic elements at play.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, strategic, and reveals the characters' intentions and personalities effectively.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging due to its mix of political intrigue, social dynamics, and personal relationships, keeping the audience invested in the characters' actions and motivations.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension, highlighting key moments, and maintaining audience interest through a mix of dialogue, action, and character interactions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a political drama, with clear transitions between locations, character interactions, and thematic development.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of tension or conflict, which is crucial for engaging the audience and driving the story forward.
  • The dialogue feels a bit forced and lacks depth, making the interactions between characters seem superficial.
  • The transition between the Inauguration Ceremony and the Red and White Ball feels abrupt and disjointed, lacking a smooth flow.
  • The character interactions, particularly between Francis and Claire, lack emotional depth and fail to convey the complexity of their relationship.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual descriptions to create a vivid and immersive setting for the audience.
Suggestions
  • Introduce a conflict or dilemma that Francis faces during the Inauguration or at the Red and White Ball to add depth and tension to the scene.
  • Enhance the dialogue to reveal more about the characters' motivations, emotions, and relationships, making the interactions more engaging and meaningful.
  • Consider adding a smoother transition between the Inauguration Ceremony and the Red and White Ball to create a more cohesive narrative flow.
  • Focus on developing the emotional dynamics between Francis and Claire during the scene to provide insight into their relationship and inner struggles.
  • Include more visual details to paint a vivid picture of the settings and enhance the overall atmosphere of the scene.



Scene 41 -  Freddy's BBQ Joint
EXT. PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE - EARLY MORNING

The streets are empty. Sanitation workers sweep up the
ticker tape from the previous day’s celebration. Police
crews load barricades into flatbed trucks.


EXT. FREDDY’S BBQ JOINT - EARLY MORNING

It’s a bitterly cold, bright sunny day. Francis arrives at
the restaurant with a newspaper tucked under his arm. FREDDY
- the husky African American proprietor - sees him
approaching and opens the door for him.

FREDDY
Mornin’ Frank.

FRANCIS
Morning Freddy. How are you?

FREDDY
Can’t kick. Come on in.

FRANCIS
Actually, would you mind setting up
a table for me outside?

FREDDY
Outside? It’s freezing.
64.


FRANCIS
I’ll be fine. A little cold never
hurt anyone.

Freddy nods and heads inside. Francis turns to the camera.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
My one guilty pleasure is a good
racks of ribs. Even at 7:30 in the
morning. I have the whole place to
myself. Freddy opens up just for
me...

CUT TO:

Francis at a table, breath condensing in the cold air.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Where I grew up in South Carolina
nobody had two pennies to rub
together. A rack of ribs was a
luxury, like Christmas in July.
I’ve had a weakness for them ever
since.

Freddy comes outside with a steaming plate of ribs. Places
them before Francis. Before digging in, Francis glances at
the newspaper he brought with him.

Zoe’s breaking story, detailing the contents of the leaked
Education Bill, occupies a huge swath of the front page. The
headline reads:

EDUCATION BILL FAR LEFT OF CENTER

We PAN DOWN to see Zoe’s byline in bold above the article.

QUICK MONTAGE

-- Blythe in his office staring at the article on his
computer. Complete horror.

-- Vasquez in the back of an SUV scrolling through her
blackberry in even more horror.

-- Zoe, Lucas and Hammerschmidt gathered around a computer
where a TECH GUY is monitoring a graph.

TECH GUY
The web traffic is crazy.

-- Janine watching Zoe, Hammer and Lucas from a distance,
eyes narrowed - jealous.
65.


-- A COP CAR with its lights flashing beside a dented BLUE
TOYOTA CAMRY - the same car that hit the dog in the opening
scene. Two COPS cuffing the mangy 20 year-old CULPRIT.
Genres: ["Political Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Francis enjoys a peaceful morning at Freddy's BBQ Joint, reading about Zoe's breaking story on the leaked Education Bill.
Strengths
  • Effective tension-building
  • Compelling plot development
  • Strong thematic elements
Weaknesses
  • Limited character depth in the scene
  • Dialogue could be more nuanced

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively builds tension and sets up significant consequences for the characters involved. The juxtaposition of Francis' personal moment with the unfolding political drama adds depth to the narrative.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of revealing a major political scandal through a newspaper headline and showcasing the characters' reactions to the news is well-executed.

Plot: 8

The plot advances significantly with the revelation of Zoe's breaking story and the reactions of key characters, setting the stage for further conflict and developments.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a unique juxtaposition of comfort and indulgence against a backdrop of cold weather and political intrigue. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters' reactions and interactions in the scene are crucial in conveying the impact of the unfolding events, but there could be more depth in their individual responses.

Character Changes: 6

While characters are faced with significant revelations, there is limited exploration of individual character growth or transformation in this particular scene.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist, Francis, seems to be seeking comfort and nostalgia through his guilty pleasure of eating ribs. This reflects his deeper desire for connection to his past and a sense of familiarity.

External Goal: 7

Francis' external goal in this scene is to enjoy a meal of ribs despite the cold weather. This reflects his immediate desire for comfort and indulgence.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict in the scene is high, with multiple characters facing personal and political challenges as a result of the breaking news.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene, such as the cold weather and the situation with the leaked Education Bill, adds complexity and conflict to the protagonist's goals.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as characters grapple with the fallout of the leaked information, facing potential political and personal repercussions.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by introducing a major plot development and setting up future conflicts and resolutions.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because it introduces unexpected elements like the leaked Education Bill and the character reactions to it.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

There is a philosophical conflict between Francis' desire for comfort and indulgence and the harsh reality of the cold weather and the situation with the leaked Education Bill. This challenges his values and priorities.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene elicits a sense of tension and concern, but could enhance emotional impact by delving deeper into the characters' emotional responses.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the tension and urgency of the situation, but could benefit from more nuanced exchanges between the characters.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it combines personal introspection with external conflict, keeping the audience invested in the protagonist's journey.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and emotion, keeping the audience engaged in the protagonist's internal and external struggles.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings and character dialogue.

Structure: 8

The scene follows a clear structure with a setup, conflict, and resolution, effectively conveying the protagonist's internal and external goals.


Critique
  • The scene starts with a strong visual description of the setting, but it could benefit from more context or connection to the previous scenes to enhance continuity.
  • The dialogue between Francis and Freddy is a bit generic and could be more engaging to capture the audience's attention.
  • While Francis's monologue about his love for ribs adds depth to his character, it feels slightly disconnected from the urgency of the breaking news story about the leaked Education Bill.
  • The quick montage showing the reactions of various characters to Zoe's article is effective in building tension, but it could be more impactful with tighter editing and more dynamic visuals.
  • The inclusion of the police arresting the hit-and-run culprit ties back to the opening scene, but the transition feels a bit abrupt and could be smoother.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief transition or reference to the previous scenes to establish a stronger connection and flow.
  • Enhance the dialogue between Francis and Freddy to make it more engaging and reflective of their relationship.
  • Integrate Francis's monologue about ribs more seamlessly with the breaking news story to maintain the sense of urgency and relevance.
  • Refine the montage sequence to create a more impactful and cohesive visual storytelling experience.
  • Smooth out the transition between the main scene and the quick montage to improve the overall pacing and coherence of the sequence.



Scene 42 -  Francis' Triumph and Reflection
EXT. FREDDY’S BBQ JOINT - MORNING

Francis’ plate is empty. He wipes his hands and dabs his
mouth with a napkin. Freddy starts to clear Francis’s plate.

FREDDY
You want seconds?

FRANCIS
I better not.

Freddy starts off. Scarcely a moment later...

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
Actually, yes. I’m feeling hungry
today.

Freddy goes inside. Francis stares right at us, piercingly.

FRANCIS (CONT’D)
(to the camera)
There are two kinds of pain, but
only one kind of pleasure - total,
unstoppable, undeniable victory.
(leans toward us)
The minister was wrong about
defeat. I wasn’t put on this planet
to endure. I was put on this
planet to win.

He closes his eyes again and leans back. Basks in the sun
and exhales a long, deep breath into the cold air.

The serenity is shattered by sudden, thumping ROCK MUSIC.

Black out.

THE END
Genres: ["Drama","Political","Thriller"]

Summary Francis contemplates pain, defeat, and victory in a monologue while basking in the sun. Rock music interrupts, and the scene cuts to black with 'THE END' on screen.
Strengths
  • Strong character development
  • Sharp dialogue
  • Intense tone
Weaknesses
  • Limited external action
  • Lack of visual dynamics

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the intense and serious tone of the series, setting up the character's motivations and the overarching themes of power and ambition. It provides a reflective moment for Francis Underwood while hinting at the high stakes involved.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of power, ambition, and manipulation in the political world is well-established in the scene. It sets the stage for the character's journey and the central themes of the series.

Plot: 7

The plot progresses as Francis Underwood contemplates his pursuit of victory and power, setting up future conflicts and developments in the story. It hints at the consequences of his actions and decisions.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh perspective on victory and defeat, blending it with a casual dining setting to create a unique juxtaposition. The authenticity of Francis's dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Francis Underwood, are well-developed in the scene, showcasing their motivations, personalities, and relationships. The dialogue and interactions reveal layers to the characters and their dynamics.

Character Changes: 6

Francis Underwood experiences a subtle shift in his resolve and determination, hinting at potential character growth and transformation. The scene lays the groundwork for future changes and challenges.

Internal Goal: 8

Francis's internal goal in this scene is to assert his desire for victory and success, contrasting with the idea of defeat. This reflects his deeper need for validation and achievement, as well as his fear of failure.

External Goal: 6

Francis's external goal in this scene is to decide whether to have seconds at the BBQ joint, reflecting his immediate circumstances and choices he must make.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is an internal conflict within Francis Underwood as he grapples with his desire for victory and the consequences of his actions. The scene sets up potential external conflicts and power struggles in the future.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is moderate, with Francis's internal conflict providing a subtle obstacle that keeps the audience engaged and unsure of his decision.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high in the scene as Francis Underwood grapples with his pursuit of victory and power. The consequences of his actions and decisions have far-reaching implications, setting the stage for intense conflicts and power struggles.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by establishing key character motivations, conflicts, and themes. It sets up future plot developments and power dynamics, driving the narrative towards new challenges and revelations.

Unpredictability: 6

The scene is somewhat predictable in terms of Francis's decision to have seconds, but the unexpected philosophical monologue adds an element of unpredictability.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the concepts of victory and defeat, with Francis asserting his belief in the importance of winning over enduring. This challenges traditional ideas of resilience and acceptance of defeat.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of ambition, determination, and intensity, resonating with the characters' emotional states and the high stakes involved. It sets the stage for future emotional developments.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, reflective of the characters' personalities and the intense political world they inhabit. It conveys the themes of power and ambition effectively, driving the scene forward.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because of the contrast between the casual dining setting and Francis's profound reflections, as well as the tension created by his internal struggles.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, leading to a climactic moment with Francis's philosophical monologue.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting adheres to the expected format for a screenplay, with clear scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 7

The scene follows a traditional structure for a character-driven moment, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm contribute to its effectiveness.


Critique
  • The transition from the aftermath of the hit-and-run incident to Francis at Freddy's BBQ Joint feels abrupt and disconnected. There is no clear link between the two events, making the scene feel disjointed.
  • The dialogue delivered by Francis to the camera feels forced and overly dramatic. It lacks subtlety and comes across as heavy-handed in conveying the theme of victory and defeat.
  • The sudden interruption of rock music at the end feels jarring and out of place, disrupting the serene atmosphere that was previously established. It doesn't add to the scene and feels like a random choice.
  • The scene lacks depth and complexity, with Francis's character coming across as one-dimensional in his pursuit of victory. There is a missed opportunity to explore his internal conflict and motivations in a more nuanced way.
  • The visual description of the scene could be enhanced to create a more vivid and engaging setting, providing more context and sensory details to immerse the audience.
Suggestions
  • Consider revising the scene to establish a clearer connection between the hit-and-run incident and Francis's contemplative moment at Freddy's BBQ Joint. This could be achieved through visual cues or thematic parallels.
  • Refine the dialogue spoken by Francis to the camera to make it more subtle and reflective of his character's internal struggles. Focus on conveying his complexity and inner turmoil in a more nuanced manner.
  • Reconsider the use of rock music as a disruptive element at the end of the scene. Explore alternative ways to convey a shift in tone or mood that aligns better with the overall narrative.
  • Add layers to Francis's character by delving deeper into his internal conflict and motivations. Show his vulnerabilities and doubts alongside his drive for victory to create a more compelling and multifaceted portrayal.
  • Enhance the visual description of the scene by incorporating sensory details, setting the mood, and painting a vivid picture for the audience. Use imagery to evoke emotions and immerse the audience in the moment.