Free Script Feedback: When too many sci-fi concepts can hurt the sci-fi

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Free Script Feedback logoRIM-PDX by A. Davis

Read the first 10 pages here

The first 10 pages of “RIM-PDX” fall into the trap that faces many science-fiction scripts: it introduces too many concepts that are never fully clarified. Instead of hooking the audience right off the bat (despite a great opening scene), it soon becomes very confusing.

The beginning is indeed very visually engaging, showing a dying Irina lifted to the heaves as she is observed by Frank Gobi. Nevertheless, the subsequent newscast and conversation between Gobi and Hans are often hard to decipher.

Though the audience will get the idea that some kind of soul theft has taken place, the subject of Trode Heads needs clarification. It would be easier to understand what a Trode head is if the idea of the Omni-Net, to which the Trode Head is connected by electrodes, was explained.

Ulbricht tells Frank: “Urban dematerialization, my boy, that is the defining phenomenon of our times. Channel Emmanuel is a regrettable situation, neural technology gone awry. But an entire city that disappears for a twelve hour period each day of the week?”

The audience doesn’t know what Channel Emmanuel is, or what drastic shift in human evolution Hans is talking, and as a result, they may be jolted out of the story.

Similarly, other concepts, like a televised VR baptism or the New Tokyo flu lack explanation. When on p.4 Frank asks Ulbricht to clarify what he is talking about, anticipating the audience’s confusion, in “fortune cookie language,” Ulbricht’s response is also confusing.

It is unclear why or how Tokyo disappears from time to time because it’s undergoing a state of flux, or what this means exactly. Obviously Frank and Hans are discussing some strange phenomena that are taking place, but their conversation will not be accessible to the audience.

Also, their discussion is dry, and makes for a very talky opening to the story. The first ten pages are, consequently, confusing overall, and it is hard to determine what the story is about. As its first step, the script should grab the audience with something much simpler and more effective, only gradually explaining its various ideas.

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