Dark Matter

  Media

© 2018 by Dark Matter Media LLC

 
where creatives control
Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 3.42.51 PM.png

Logline: It lives Under Hollywood is a romance couched in a monster story taking place under Hollywood.

Dark Matter Review

 

Overall Impression:

It Lives Under Hollywood is a light and breezy monster mash that is heavy on humor and light on plot and character development.  We follow Steve and Joe, an odd couple pairing of private investigators, as they work on a special assignment from the mayor to investigate a potential monster living under Hollywood.   At its best, It Lives Under Hollywood reads like Arachnophobia meets Rush Hour.  Unfortunately, the laughs aren’t enough to cover for the flat characters, thin plot and unisnpired action sequences.

What We Found Most Effective:

 

The Steve and Joe show is pretty funny.  We enjoyed their flippant approach to monster hunting, and think the buddy humor would play well.

What We Found Least Effective

The script doesn’t have an emotional through-line to speak of.  We appreciate that it is a monster-hunting, buddy comedy, so we aren’t expecting Sophie’s Choice, but without an emotional goal for the lead characters, it’s hard for the reader to become invested in their story or care much about the outcome.  Even a script like Rush Hour has an emotional storyline: two cops from completely different cultures who hate each other are forced to work together to save a young girl.  The emotional goal is clear - can they put aside their differences and work together?

Suggestions For Improvement:

Big Picture Suggestions

  • We think you can get a lot more out of the Steve and Joe odd-couple dynamic. They are described as a blonde Yugoslavian Jew (Joe) and a bald Native American (Steve).  But aside from the physical/cultural descriptions, they read very similar, and their dialogue is generally interchangeable.  We’d love to see you play up and explore their differences, and think there could be a lot more humor in examining what works/doesn’t work when meshing their unique personalities.

  • The script is dialogue heavy.  While we generally expect more dialogue from a comedy, we read the script as an action-comedy, only without all that much action.  This may be driven, in part, by the lack of specifics about the creature.  We’re never treated to a full-blown description, and are left wondering if it’s humanoid, animal-like or something totally different.  Depending on the creature’s specific physical attributes, you might be able to imagine how it would defend itself, how it would attack and what its vulnerabilities are, and then use those characteristics as a springboard to invent some unique action sequences as Joe and Steve fight the creature.

 

  • To add depth to the characters and the script, we think both Steve and Joe each need emotional goals, which they spend the script achieving. Consider Riggs and Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon.  When we meet him, Riggs is mired in a suicidal depression after the death of his wife.  Murtaugh is just trying to push through the rest of the paper work to get to retirement.  They clash immediately, and each have clear emotional goals to overcome as the story unfolds.  For It Lives Under Hollywood to take that next step and become a great action/comedy script, we think its characters need some additional layers.

 

Odds & Ends

  • Pg. 1. Typo.  You introduce “Gabrieleno Indian Brave” and at first refer to him as Brave (which is fine), but then later refer to him as “brave” – stick with the capitalized version.

  • Pg. 2. We would have liked at least a little description of the monster.  If you want to hold out his full description for later to build suspense, that’s fine, but consider describing just one horrifying feature for the audience to see as the monster is crushed under the rock.

  • Pg. 4. We’re digging the odd couple detective vibe.

  • General Note: For a spec script, there’s too much focus on camera location and movement. We suggest just focusing on the story and leaving camera direction for a shooting script.

 

  • Pg. 8. Steve mentions the “old anti-abolitionist tunnels under Hollywood…” as if that’s common knowledge, but this is the first we’ve heard of them. Are they real?  Also, wouldn’t it be the abolitionist tunnel?  Anti-abolitionists weren’t a persecuted group that would have needed to operate in secret.

  • Pg. 11. Frank’s appearance is a little random.  Steve and Joe already have their goal, set by the mayor’s aid, to investigate the tunnels.  They don’t really need Frank to motivate them, so what’s the purpose of this scene?

  • Pg. 12. Typo. “The narrow aisle are packed...”

 

  • Pg. 14. Typo. “ I hat a hot tub installed…”

 

  • General Note: A high percentage of the dialogue entries end with exclamation points.  It’s okay to use them when called for contextually, but otherwise we recommend using them sparingly.

 

  • Pg. 23. “Shit!” lol, this will get some laughs.

 

  • Pg. 24-26. Steve and Joe come off pretty inept in their first meeting with the monster.  They didn’t seem prepared, didn’t have a plan, and didn't bring any weapons.  At the first sign of trouble, they ran and didn’t attempt to fight back.  We understand that it’s a comedy, but Steve and Joe’s effort with the monster seems pretty implausible.

  • Pg. 27. Sort of developing a creepy “IT” vibe.  We’re really wondering what the monster looks like at this point, whether it can talk and also if it is dexterous enough to pull Marilyn into the sewers (does it have arms/hands?).

  • Pg. 28. Typo. “…Frank in forefround”

  • Pg. 32. Typo. “fra,e”

  • Pg. 35. Okay, we finally get the full reveal of the creature, which is good, but we still don’t get the full description we’ve been wanting.

  • Pg. 40-45. This chase sequence drags a bit.  It boils down to setting the charge, being chased out of the tunnel, and igniting the charge to let loose a torrent of water.  We’re okay with the action itself, we just think you can condense it.

  • Pg. 47. Why aren’t Joe and Steve shooting at the monster?

  • Pg. 49. Typo. “I’, not going to…”

  • Pg. 54. It seamed a little too easy to kill the creature.  All it took was a sword?

  • Pg. 59. Ugh - so gross when he pops the youngling in his mouth!!

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon