at kotte’s suggestion and with ghostboy’s permission, i post his comments. i hope he’ll forgive me for posting just about the whole thing.
My reaction to 'I'll Be Waiting' is one of admiration - admiration with quite a fair share of caveats. It's a beautifully written script, no doubt about it, and I think the manner in which you deflate noir conventions really does come across. In a sense, this is a script in which nothing really happens - and I like that. I love the extremely slow, methodical manner in which you detail everyone's morning activities. I'm not sure how that'll fly when you transfer the script to the screen, but it's almost a microcosmical reflection of your intentions for the entire script: to take these hard boiled noir characters and turn inward upon them, relying not on plot conventions to carry the script but the minutiae of their lives.
On the whole, I think you've succeeded in this to a certain extent, but not completely.
I think the character of Pete Anglich, and his particular story, suffers the most. He seemed to be very much based on the Phil Marlowe model - Marlowe fallen on hard times - and all the details of such a character are intact. But aside from his heroin addiction, there doesn't seem to be that much else to him - you don't really get into what makes him tick, so to speak. And that addiction is brought up early on, suggested once more, and then forgotten. I think at a certain point, if he was a true addict, he'd start getting the shakes pretty bad. But I digress. I think you could do a bit more with him; with his character; give him a monologue or two that offers a bit more insight into who he is, why he is, etc. Too much about him and what he does feels arbitrary (following Evelyn out of the bar, for example), based on your need to move the plot along and not the character's needs.
I bring up the character of Evelyn; she's intriguing, but more or less disposable at this point. I'm going to make an overt suggestion here: what if the girl that he wakes up next to, the one whose murder he's supposed to be framed for, is in fact Evelyn? I think this would be an improvement for two reasons: since a semi-rapport has been developed between Evelyn and Pete, this would be a bit of a shock, and would raise the stakes. It would also give Pete a more classical reason for returning to Waltz's place. I'm not suggesting you try to orchestrate a Sin City revenge scenario here - indeed, this actually gives you a chance to subvert that whole revenge cliche, because of Anglich's actions on his subsequent return to Waltz's place, which isn't exactly hero (or antihero) behavior. You could also use the extortion scene in Waltz's office as a chance for more introspective dialogue on Anglich's part - maybe about the girl, maybe not.
Also, this would allow you to drop a few scenes, the ones involving the Reno character - which feel more or less extraneous as it is.
On the other hand, if you go with the story the way you have it now, I'd consider having Evelyn show up again at the end. As it is, Anglich's story ends on a rather abrupt note - which is good, but not good at the same time. Maybe you could add a scene where he drops Evelyn off back at the street corner. Again, subverting the expectations, after he rescues her from Reno, that a romance might develop.
I'm not sure how I feel about the Vidaury character. I think you need to introduce him much earlier than you actually do. Maybe have something in the beginning where Eddie or the cops are watching one of his movies on TV an comment about how he's washed up. Just something to get the character introduced earlier on, so that he's in the back of the audience's head (sort of like the Frank TJ Mackey TV commercial that seems to be playing on all the TVs during the introductory sequences in Magnolia).
His whole deal with Waltz seems a bit shaky as well, but maybe I just need to read it again. Overall, I think this entire storyline could use the most work, but there's some good stuff there, waiting to be developed. At the moment, there's not enough character material to justify the sketchiness of the plot - or vice versa. One or the other needs a bit of work. I also wouldn't be surprised if, on close consideration, you didn't find five or ten pages of material to cut out here; despite the deliberate pacing, which is a good thing, I think there's a lot of fat on this storyline.
Jumping back a bit, I love how you begin the script. Throughout the first 20 or so pages, you're throwing the audience for a loop, consistently reworking expectations about what the plot might be, who the lead character might be - because of the prologue, we think the whole movie might be about the events leading up to Eddie's death, but then we're back to that scene 20 minutes in and he's out of the picture - it's a wonderful way to draw people in. Everything up until the first time Anglich shoots up - which is where I see his story as beginning - doesn't need to be changed.
I think the Eve and Tom story plays out quite nicely, and their scene together in the lounge is one of the high points of the script. I'd actually consider moving that to the middle, to the sequence where Eve is first introduced - because as it is now, that whole sequence is sort of confounding. If you give it a great hook - like that beautiful conversation about suicide - it'll be perfect. I think it would suit the structure of the script as a whole quite well, too - not just that particular sequence.
So yes. I greatly admire what you've done with this script - both in intention and, when it works (which is a good deal of the time) in execution. You're a rewrite or two away from something exceptional. I'll be happy to read any rewrites, too - hopefully with more timeliness!
and for the benefit of kotte and perhaps some other members of the board, i will post my reactions here.
ghostboy, your comments have given me the courage to dive back in and completely tear things out and change them. i think, in a sense, i was stuck with what i had. i wasn’t happy at all with the vidaury part, i don’t know if it’s that i couldn’t really think of anything (which may be that case), but i haven’t really brought myself to make any major changes to it. but now, i feel like i can do that, just maybe not right away.
having evelyn’s character be the one who turns up dead, would probably be great for the script, but it’s a little bit harder to do for me. i like ending that particular part on him opening the door and finding her quite a bit. but i think you may be right with this whole part and i’ll have to do a lot more thinking about it. it does let out some motivation for anglich’s character, which is both good and bad in my view.
the idea of one of vidaury’s films playing somewhere in the background is a good one, but it’s a little bit difficult to do since my envisioning for the time period of the story is before TVs were readily available. i’ll have to think about this more because i would very much like to work some introduction like that into the script.
there’s more that i would like to dicuss with you, but that will have to wait till i’ve let everything sink in a little more.
but i wanted to ask one more thing, and this is for kotte as well if you wish to give me some more feedback, the scene between tony and rauls near the end, was one of my favorite parts while i was writing it. i guess i just wanted to ask your reactions to it and if you thought it worked.
thanks again to both of you.