Dark Matter


© 2018 by Dark Matter Media LLC

where creatives control
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Logline: A woman retains memories of the original unfolding of events, before they were mysteriously altered.

Dark Matter Review


Overall Impression:

Counterclock is a twisting, turning examination of a seemingly simple question: What time do you wish it was?  For Diane, who tragically lost her mother at a young age, the answer seemed easy.  But be careful – unintended consequences abound for the unwitting who attempt to answer that question in a self serving way.  While we weren’t enamored of the execution on an intriguing premise – though it had its moments – what shined through for us is Counterclock’s keen eye for instilling day-to-day interactions with depth and meaning.  Counterclock has good bones, but we wished Diane were a more active participant, as she is too often a passive observer.

What We Found Most Effective:


Diane’s relationships with other characters are round and vibrant.  Whether her tender interactions with her grieving father, or her awkward flirtations with Steven, her erstwhile flame, Counterclock always sounded the right note on building authentic emotional connections among the characters.

What We Found Least Effective

The plot is meandering.  We often found ourselves wondering what Diane’s true goal was.  Yes, she wanted to resolve the mystery of the seemingly divergent timelines she was living, but too often she felt adrift without a solid, tangible goal for the audience to sink its teeth into.  Without a goal, we eventually became indifferent toward the outcome.

Suggestions For Improvement:

Big Picture Suggestions


  • A certain amount of confusion around which timeline Diane is living is to be expected, and is even desirable.  But, we would suggest limiting the number of inconsistencies that Diane is trying to reconcile.  Early on, she is primarily concerned with keeping things straight regarding Kara (her best friend) and whether Kara had 3 children or just 1 and/or whether Kara became sick.  Just as we had a handle on this dilemma, focus shifted to Damon and Calvin Boller, and whether or not Calvin died in a boating accident.  We found ourselves far less invested in the Boller storyline, and increasingly confused by the divergent timelines (what, if any, interplay is there between the different Boller and the different Kara storylines?).  On top of that, we had layered in Diane’s divergent personal storylines regarding the death of her mother.  We think it would help to eliminate one of these diverging timelines (we suggest the Boller subplot).


  • Diane’s role is often passive.  For the most part, things just sort of happen and she spends her time reacting to them.  Consider giving Diane a concrete tangible goal that drives the action – we think it would help the audience connect and raise the stakes.


  • The Reaper’s involvement is only sporadic, despite apparently driving the action from behind the scenes.  We suggest either cutting this character, or developing him significantly more (we would prefer the later).  We’d love to know what is driving the Reaper – why does he care?  What does he get out of playing with Diane?  What rules apply to the Reaper?  There are a lot of possibilities!


Odds & Ends


  • GENERAL NOTE: Spec script formatting usually doesn’t contain a space between the character name and the dialogue entry, or between the character name, the wryly and the dialogue entry.


  • Pg. 1. The action entry is “He resembles a friend of hers.”  If you want the audience to know that Diane is curious about Darryl, then give the actor something to play.  Perhaps Diane does a double take, or makes eye contact, etc.

  • Pg. 5-8. Nice scene.  Great little details, and we appreciate the “inside baseball” look at auditioning.  Between this and running the grocery store, a very effective intro to Diane’s little life.

  • Pg. 12. Okay, the scene is set.  We have a good grasp on Diane’s life.  Now we’re starting to get antsy for the big event that will kick off Act II.  At this juncture we’re starting to wonder – what is Diane’s mission?  What are her emotional needs (we have a sense of this, but still not specific)?

  • Pg. 15. Typo. “…is bathe in darkness…”

  • Pg. 16. The action entry is “Diane empathizes deeply with her loneliness.” We’d love for you to show us how she expresses this empathy.  She is in the middle of trimming the hedges.  So perhaps she takes off her hat and wipes her brow.  Or stops fiddling with the trimmer for a long beat.  Or another action you feel appropriate to communicate Diane’s emotion to the audience.  Otherwise, you're leaving it to the actor and director to try to fill in the blank.


  • Pg. 30. Typo. “He and Diane shares a coy moment.”

  • Pg. 36. Typo. “… folds the top and staples it close.”

  • Pg. 35 – 43.  This section feels slow, as if not much is happening.  After Diane’s revelation about her memory (as punctuated by Mr. Lai finding the Christmas card), the script stalls out a bit until Diane’s confrontation of Corey.  We certainly appreciate that Diane’s memory is a big issue for her, but the plot should be starting to really pick up steam at this juncture.


  • Pg. 56 – 60. This is a well-constructed, effective scene.  Mr. Lai concisely summarizes Diane’s dilemma and the choices facing her.  However, the introduction of a nest egg removes one of the adversities we previously assumed that Diane faced – consider introducing more obstacles through Mr. Lai, not fewer.


  • Pg. 67. Would Steven really have waited until they were in their late 30s to ask Diane out?  We get that they were both waiting on a big break and/or for Diane to move on from her Mom’s death, but most guys we know aren’t that patient.

  • Pg. 72. What if Steven and Diane were the ones to hit Diane’s mother with a car?  Perhaps it’s too melodramatic, just some food for thought.

  • Pg. 73. Okay, so this scene explains why Steven waited so long with Diane… but still, he waited 20 years only to capitulate without even a fight?  He didn’t even ask her to come to FLA for his acting gig… You’ve got a great set up for some fireworks between these two – give us a show!

  • Pg. 74. There are long gaps between appearances of the Reaper.  We saw him on page 9 and then 40 and now 74.  We’re not entirely sure of his purpose in the script at this juncture, but his appearances are so few and fleeting that he does not feel as meaningful to the script as we suspect he is intended to be.

  • Pg. 75 – 92. We understand that the “big explanation” is coming, but the jumps between timelines are disorienting and confusing. We think that’s what you’re going for, but we just caution that after one too many turns we find ourselves tuning out and just letting the script wash over us as we hunt for the explanation.

  • Pg. 98.  Very eerie ending – we like it!

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