A Review of ZAK CORBIN on The Blacklist

I registered and posted ZAK CORBIN AND THE MASTER OF MACHINES as a script on a site called The Blacklist. This is not to be confused with the NBC series THE BLACKLIST, starring that guy who used to be on a lawyer show with William Shatner. Anyway, the site provides access to scripts and screenplays to members. Some of those members are leading industry professionals (who shall remain anonymous).

As a registered member, I could request (and pay for) an evaluation. Now this is not the same as a reading by an industry professional looking for a script, per se. This is a person who has some experience in the business and reviews the script (on a paid basis).  Now taking into account the positive review ZAK CORBIN received on the PAGE International Screenplaying Writing Contest, let’s see what this BlackList reviewer has to say about ZAK:

Numerical ratings:

PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION #1
Script Rating
6/10
Premise
7/10
Plot
6/10
Character
6/10
Dialogue
6/10
Setting
7/10
Strengths:

This script offers a cute premise and an adventure. There is plenty of fun action for children, starting with the slapstick comedy of Lugnut pushing the cart of trophies through the school. The story is creative and simple enough for young children to follow and delight in. The ability of the main characters to build a giant, perfect robot friend who fights and succeeds in a battle satisfies kid fantasies in a bright and clean way. The positive messages provided- like the ultimate value of all human life- are appropriate for children but also provide serious drama, like the robot who won’t save Dr. Corbin’s wife because that would endanger more people. Overall the script is loud, bright and action-packed, occasionally achieving a sense of danger without being too scary.

Weaknesses:

The time period is poorly conveyed. At first it is set in WW2 era, then a futuristic 1950s, and at the end it’s set in 1939 but there is no time travel or explanation for this. Clarity in slug lines would be very helpful. There are some logic issues as well. It’s not clear why Zak and his friends can’t have the harmless robots that other kids have, and it seems like Zak’s family history would conjure a more severe reaction when people learn he is making his own robots and bringing them to school. His desire to show off the ugly robots at school is confusing as well. Overall, the script is somewhat lacking in logic and clarity. It would also benefit from the addition of complex layers to entertain adult caretakers watching the movie with children, which has become a trademark of successful children’s entertainment. There are numerous typos, including one in the title.

Prospects:

Prospects for the story are somewhat good, but the cultural appreciation of robots may be changing considering technological advances. This script seems to have its best chance at success as a small-budget animation.

Well, there you go. The business of writing and reviewing is personal. It’s all a matter of taste. I can certainly see the reviewer’s points here. They’re not the same as the judge who read the same script  in the PAGE awards.

So what happens next? Well the script has been downloaded a few times by Industry pros, but I’ve read somewhere that no one will pay any attention to your script on this site unless it achieves 8s on the number score ratings.  So the work continues.

 

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