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Old 03-22-2010, 08:22 AM
Fjoyner Fjoyner is offline
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Default Diary of a Renewed Black Woman

This is a sequel to Diary of a Mad Black Woman
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File Type: pdf Diary of a Renewed Black Woman1.pdf (33.6 KB, 11 views)
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:42 PM
WriteNow WriteNow is offline
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Hello Fjoyner and welcome to MovieTreatments.com!

I don't know how familiar you are with the site but I am something of the resident guru here and I like to offer my critique of the treatments people submit in the hopes it will help them realize their dreams of becoming working writers in the industry.

Anyway, your submission looks great. Unfortunately I have not seen the original Diary of a Mad Black Woman and don't feel like I could properly critique it unless I do.

So I will-

I'm going to go rent it later on today and hopefully get to it in the next couple of days, read your treatment, and get back to you. Thanks for giving me an excuse to relax with a good movie, seems I hardly ever get the chance any more.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:40 AM
WriteNow WriteNow is offline
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Just wanted to update you so you wouldn't think I had forgotten all about your treatment-

Been real busy this last week and haven't got to it yet but it's on my to do list and should be up here by this weekend.

Usually I'm pretty quick with these little critiques, I just haven't been able to carve out some time to sit down and watch the original film yet-
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:32 PM
WriteNow WriteNow is offline
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Okay, all done- finally. Sorry for the delay. Real life got the better of me-

Anyway, I watched the original film and somewhat enjoyed it. I don't think it was really geared towards men, but there was definitely some enjoyable parts to it. The comedy involving Madea and her family were the highlights for me. The melodrama got to be a bit much I felt and the director let the actors run a bit too wild (later, checking imdb I see that was his first film- no surprise). But the movie sure did connect with somebody because it was a very respectable hit and Tyler Perry has gone one to make 9(!) more films. Reading the studio wrap-up over the weekend the head of the studio distributing his pictures gushed about his most recent film's performance. As he should- Tyler makes them cheap, makes them often, and makes the studio a fortune each time. Definitely someone the rest of us could look up to as far as "business models" go. But don't forget that he started out making ultra low-budget "films"- by which I mean he wrote for the stage, essentially cinema, minus the cameras.

Okay, so my thoughts while watching the films re: your treatment were along the lines of: Yikes. Lots of voice-over. In fact, lots of major plot points are conveyed via the "diary writing" sections of the film. As treatments generally don't (and shouldn't) contain dialogue (even voice-overs) I was curious how you would approach this. The second thing that struck me is how stacked the deck was regarding how we, the audience, we supposed to feel about the characters, particularly the men. Charles wasn't just a bad husband, he was a genuinely evil person. Orlando wasn't just an OK guy. He was the PERFECT man, doing everything Helen wanted (whether she knew it or not). So when things wrapped up I thought "That's it. They live happily ever after. Done." There seemed to be nowhere to go.

(Side note: Tyler Perry has somewhat ingeniously made "sequels" of a sort to this film by expanding the universe of characters. In other words, using Madea as a anchor he has made other films featuring some of the same characters/locations yet they aren't direct continuations of stories in the previous films (I think)).

So I started reading your treatment with lots of curiosity. Here's what I thought-

Overall, it's nicely done. Format is good, length is good but you could expand some scenes (which I'll mention) and get it closer to fifteen pages. Seeing as the original was a two-hour film, it is assumed the sequel will be as well. I found a few typos/grammatical errors and I would highly recommend correcting these before submitting to anyone. I knew lots of "readers" in L.A. who had to read dozens of scripts/treatments a day and didn't tolerate typos very well. Not to mention they didn't want to pass along a typo-riddled script to their boss and risk looking bad.

The first scene- the wedding scene- should be MUCH bigger. At least half a page, preferably a whole page. Think of The Godfather. This is your chance to re-introduce all the characters and have them each demonstrate a memorable (and humorous) trait. Have Madea pull out her gun, have Uncle Joe flirt with the bridesmaids, etc. I definitely think glossing this scene over is a missed opportunity. I realize you do this "re-introduction" in a couple of pages, but why not do it now? Everyone loves a wedding scene, and you can up the stakes as far as people's antics go.

Now then, I see you dealt with the narration issue skillfully. Using parentheses is probably not necessary but it does help set it apart fro the rest of the paragraph and imply that it will be voice-over or some such. So, good job there.

I am a little concerned about your over-reliance on internal character traits. Lines like: "They are connected physically, spiritually, mentally, and sexually." and "Helen is both happy and nervous about the trip. She still thinks she’s dreaming. After all, she thought she wouldn’t find love again." are dicey. They leave the screenwriter lots of room to work, but they themselves are unusable in the actual film. So maybe instead of telling us "she thinks she's dreaming", you could have a "dream-sequence" where she wakes up and is still "dreaming", but now she's awake, as her dream has become her reality.

Uh-oh- Charles is back! This can't be good. It says "Charles gave his life to the lord" with no elaboration. Is he a preist, a deacon, a preacher? I would clarify that. Regardless we now have a plot forming- Charles wants Helen back.

The line "Orlando says "Just trust me"," should be changed to something like "Orlando asks Helen to trust him." That goes for all the rest of the spoken dialogue you have. I know its a drag to have to ax your favorite one-liners, but most people still don't wan to see dialogue in treatments, it's just not part of the format.

I would also re-word a line like "Orlando is taking Helen to the house he purchased for them." in way that lets us, the reader, share in Helen's surprise. For example, "Orlando pulls up to a strange house, freshly-painted, with an apple tree in the yard. Seeing the confusion on Helen's face he smiles and tells her it's theirs." Anything that makes the reading process more enjoyable is always good. As long as you don't get carried away making jokes, etc. solely for the readers benefit.

Now we get that "reunion" scene and updates on all the characters. It seems like, chronologically, you kind of take off running here. We suddenly follow Debrah and her hiding the singing lessons for what seems like a long time. Maybe this could be spaced out along with Helen's issues? As it is it feels like a long detour from the main story. I realize this occured in the original, but I think in that film each person's story was peppered throughout pretty well, so we didn't focus on anyone too long.

Back with Charles we learn he is still chasing Helen. I noticed lines like this "Charles told Brenda that he wanted visitation with his children. Brenda told him no and walked away." That should be changed to present tense. Most all treatments are written in present tense, they aren't novels. Most of yours is too, but it changed tense sometimes which can lead to awkward lines like the one above and will most definitely cause a reader to toss it in the trash if it happens too often.

OK, so . . . Helen's mother dies, insurance policy . . . very nice touch. How will Orlando respond? Like the "perfect" man, of course. The pregnancy is good, too, especially given the dramatic implications (i.e. her history of miscarriages).

And then- Helen kidnapped! Yikes, Charles really loses it. Honestly its not that surprising since you set up his mental decline well and he has a history of doing whatever it takes to get things done.

From there it plays out like I expected (and I mean that in a good way). Honestly the last three or four pages of the treatment have the "blow-by-blow", "in-the-moment" feel that I thought was lacking in the first half.

Here's my overall assessment- Good job continuing the story in a believable, yet unexpected way. All the characters remain true to the ones we have gotten to know from the first film. More importanly the "feel" of the treatment, and the values it preaches, all feel in line with the original film as well. On the downside I would revise the entire treatment with regard to spelling, grammar, and tense. It may seem minor, but it will kill your chances of selling it, trust me. Also, in many ways this is a very general idea of the story you want to tell. You might try and write more specific scenes and instances, as opposed to just giving your reader a general idea of what happens, or how someone feels.

That's it! Good luck and I hope I've been of help to you. Thanks for your submission and if you have more then keep 'em coming-
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And remember- no matter what ANYONE says, not your next door neighbor or the head of Warner Bros.- keep at it. Eventually, you will succeed-

Last edited by WriteNow; 04-07-2010 at 11:01 PM.
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