Dark Matter


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Wetched Refuse

Logline: Wealthy businessman regrets his plan to gentrify New York City and finds himself the target of his determined partners.

Dark Matter Review


Overall Impression:

Wretched Refuse is a poignant work of social commentary wrapped in a plot of intrigue and suspense.  Antihero Basil Chambers falls from the heights of industry-conquering hero to the depths of moral (and financial) despair as he is forced to live, first hand, the consequences of his monstrous business practices.  At times preachy, and occasionally farfetched, Wretched Refuse’s dry wit and excellent dramatic tension kept us turning pages.


What We Found Most Effective:


  • Great story structure: Basil has clear emotional and tangible goals throughout. 

  • The downtrodden troupe of supporting protagonists – led by Mister, Coreen, Big Boy, Tony, Ray Ray and Cassie – are well developed and easy to sympathize with.

  • At its best, the social commentary is timely and touching.

What We Found Least Effective

There are a few believability gaps that need some work to be fully bridged: 1) As resourceful as Basil must be to have built a business empire, we had a hard time believing he would be completely incapacitated merely because he lost his clothes, wallet and phone (perhaps the adversity Basil faces is a bit more than that, but the audience will boil it down pretty quickly, and he needs to face more); 2) is there really a business case for turning homeless people into fertilizer, even with the benefit of speeding up real estate development?  The concept is so integral to the plot that it needs to be fully explained/believable; and 3) would the police really be so inept as to allow dozens/hundreds (enough to run a fertilizer plant) of people to be mass murdered?


At times the social commentary verges on the brink of preaching.


We like Basil as a character, but you might consider a redeeming quality (or two) to help the audience identify with him (preferably qualities that are fundamental to his character, not just as a result of witnessing Fasttrack in action).  He is so one-sided evil at times that he doesn’t feel real.  The best villains/antiheroes tend to have a rationale (even if it’s not believable) for why what they’re doing is good/right.

Suggestions For Improvement:

Big Picture Suggestions


  • The Fasttrack premise is just a little off at times.  It doesn’t necessarily require whole-sale changes,  but consider working on: 1) the believability of Basil’s loss of power; and 2) the believability of the business case behind operation Fasttrack.  Watch (or re-watch) the movie The Game for some inspiration – it kept popping to our mind as we read and it does a wonderful job of stripping a business mogul of his power.

  • Pg. 20. The big event, which causes Basil to change his view on operation Fasttrack and starts Basil on his journey, is close, but not quite there. It would have helped us buy-in if this event had affected Basil personally in some way.  As it is, Basil seems like too hardened a soul to be this acutely impacted by witnessing the sausage being made (he estranged his own son, why does he suddenly care so much about complete strangers?).

  • The dialogue has a tendency to be a bit too on the nose (i.e., explaining exactly what is happening, rather than letting the audience infer).  Pg. 27. Is one example.  It may build even more foreboding if we have to guess what response will come from the rest of the Fasttrack syndicate, rather than to have the characters explain that they plan to kill Basil.

Odds & Ends


  • Pg. 1. Typo. “…a dark panel truck, with its lights our appears out of…”


  • Pg. 6. Watch for big blocks of action, and long stretches of dialogue.

  • Pg. 16. Typo. “lease watch over him.”

  • Pg. 20. Typo. “former special oops mersenary.”

  • General Note: It wasn’t immediately obvious that Bass is short for Basil (yes, we eventually picked up on it).  It’s fine, of course, for characters to have nicknames, but use only one name for the dialogue heading and consider cueing the reader the first time that “Bass” is used to make it obvious that it’s Basil’s nickname.

  • Pg. 29. Typo. “Here!.”

  • Pg. 29. Great line - “I intend to reduce my bar to vapors.”

  • Pg. 29. We didn’t buy that Basil would call Drew.  Basil just had a relatively major disagreement with all of the members of Fasttrack, including Drew; and, given that Fasttrack’s business involves murder, it seemed implausible that Basil would trust Drew in this circumstance, no matter how good their friendship had been.

  • Pg. 31. Typo. Noah and Johnson’s second dialogue headings each appear above the preceding action entry.

  • Pg. 33. Typo. Noah’s first dialogue heading appears above the preceding action entry.

  • Pg. 35. Typo. San Man 4’s first dialogue heading appears above the preceding action entry.

  • Pg. 39. Typo. San Man 1’s first dialogue heading appears above the preceding action entry.


  • Pg. 41. Typo. Basil’s first dialogue entry is split by an action entry.

  • Pg. 46. Wow, this is bleak.  You did a great job drawing out and building up this awful scene.  The audience has known for most of the script that a scene like this one was coming, and you really delivered a knockout punch.  Focusing on Noah’s face was a shrewd choice.

  • Pg. 56. We enjoyed the interaction between Johnson and Basil.  The “King of Patches” note was a nice touch.

  • Pg. 58. Why would Basil attempt to take cash out of the Fasttrack account?  If he is worried about the depth of the conspiracy, surly he’d take money out of one of his private accounts to avoid exactly what happened (i.e., the remaining Fasttrack members learning of the attempted withdrawal).


  • Pg. 61. Typo. Counter Man’s first dialogue heading appears above the preceding action entry.

  • Pg. 67. Typo. Basil’s third dialogue heading appears above the preceding action entry.

  • Pg. 68. Typo. Tony’s third dialogue heading appears above the preceding action entry.

  • Pg. 68. We think Basil would be more resourceful than he is acting. Sure, he tried to sell his watch in a watch store, but why not visit a pawnshop? He must have more friends, or at least business associates.  Wouldn’t he have a secretary? A protégé? A lawyer?

  • Pg. 72. Typo. The final dialogue entry is missing a heading.


  • Pg. 73. The cleaning out of Basil’s finances feels pretty flimsy. Even if we bought the takeover of electronically accessed funds, he would still likely have valuable property, cars, jewelry, safety deposit boxes, etc.

  • Pg. 81. Typo. “They scurry along until they come an area…”

  • Pg. 85. We understand the desire to not be seen, but Sinclair and Wilson give up and assume everything went okay with capturing Basil very quickly.  Given how much they have riding on this, would they assume everything went to plan, or would they check first hand?

  • Pg. 86. Way to get Johnny Walker in on the action – great moment!

  • Pg. 90. Good job building tension with Cassie taking the jeep.

  • Pg. 106. Typo. Lance’s second dialogue heading appears to be missing.

  • Pg. 107. Why would the whole building explode?  Does it need to?  You may want to describe the machine in greater detail so we understand what about it would cause an entire building to explode.

  • Pg. 108. Typo. Paul’s second dialogue heading appears to be missing.

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