Script Notes Page 2
section of suggestions to VP of Development for another
This story’s nucleus is a viable thriller prospect; the plot
simply needs to be deepened, calling for a more shocking
twist. If the boyfriend, Steve, is going to be a surprise
to us as the actual schemer and villain, then that revelation
needs to be camouflaged much more carefully.
If Martha is going to suspect him and have nightmares
showing him as an enemy, then the author has to convince
us at one point that Steve is not involved in evil
doings, thereby misdirecting us by apparently putting him
in, first, the spotlight of suspicion, followed by one of
vindication. The problem is that we are on to him from the
beginning, particularly because we’re alerted by Martha’s
hallucination and overt suspicion of him.
It is somewhat surprising when we realize that he
is in cahoots with the wife of the corporate crook, but
it’s not enough of a twist to give us that “gasp payoff.”
A recommendation for a true twist would be if somehow Martha’s
rescuer and lover, Harold, turned out to be part of the
conspiracy (now that would be a shocker).
This would show the true cunning nature of Steve
as he was using Barnett to chase Martha into the clutches
of Harold, who was set to kill her out in the middle of
nowhere on the ocean. (In
that regard, the attempts on her life could be revealed
as being not meant to actually kill her, but merely to scare
her towards Harold, to whom Steve knows Martha will run.
We would enjoy being fooled when we realized that
what we have been witnessing has not been what it seemed.) This “shapeshifter” motif (Harold turning out
to be an antagonist, most likely a greedy one) would definitely
affect an audience when it realized, along with Martha,
that there is now absolutely no one whom she can
trust. We’d have
our eye on Steve and trying to figure out how far the conspiracy
extends and never see the improbable become a fact:
that Harold is a player in that conspiracy. Another possible plot twist idea could be the resurrection of Harold
at the end as he teams up with Martha on the island to outwit
and overcome Barnett, Martha and Harold having faked his
death at sea, knowing that they would have been eventually
hunted down and killed, fleeing on the ocean, and therefore
devised a plan to lure Barnett to the island, thereby giving
Martha a much more active role in the third act rather than
having her merely running for her life.
The dialogue needs much more nuance. Martha’s words need to be warmer and more realistic
in order for us to get to know her a little better so that
we can care more about her besides being a woman on the
Once we know Steve is the “bad guy,” his demeanor and dialogue
should reveal his true dastardly and sly persona, the one
he has hidden all along.
Consider showing Steve being arrested, allowing us the visual
pleasure of seeing the mastermind apprehended.
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