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TITLE: East Side Girl
GENRE: Period/Horror/Comedy/Musical
LOGLINE: 1962, the final days of Camelot. A horror-comedy in the style of late ‘50s monster Bmovies with the early 1960s teen coming of age musicals. Joann, the new girl at school,
uncovers a plot to turn teenagers into ghouls and hurries to cure everyone before her small
town is overrun. Bye Bye Birdie mixed with Shaun of the Dead with a sprinkling of Reefer
East Side Girl is a quirky and well-written look at the early 60s written by a writer with lots of
talent. The formatting is tight, clean and reads smoothly, though it takes longer than it should to
figure out what the main conflict is. The constant references to 60's memorabilia and lingo is
funny at first, but gets old really fast and tends to slow down the pace of the read, plus no one
who isn’t within the specific demographic this story seems to be targeting is going to get most
of the references. At first it seems like this was an "homage" of sorts to a forgone era, but it's
written like it's actually by an writer in that era, which makes it very unique. The problem is it
the uniqueness wears off quickly, gets hard to read at times and the 102 pages start to become
a chore to read by the tenth page.
This just the general overview and specific points will be discussed, with examples, in further
detail in the following notes, which will be broken down by Story, Structure, Character, Dialogue
and Formatting, with the bulk of the notes being in Story and Structure.


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The story of East Side Girl is quirky and, for the most part, enjoyable to read. But the main issue
is it takes a while to figure out what the main conflict is, as the writer is too busy trying to "wow
us" with his early 60's style of writing. It is fun to read for the first few pages, but then starts to
get a little frustrating with the constant references to pop culture. And it was jarring the first
time characters broke out in song, seeing that it wasn't made totally clear in the accompanied
logline that this was a musical. Music was mentioned, but it doesn’t explicitly say that this is a
musical. It wasn’t long before the singing parts became a task to read as it didn’t seem to do
anything to serve the story or further along the main plot. Sure there were some relationship
beats between the protagonist Joann and Deke/Chad, adding to the conflict of “who will she go
with: the bad boy with the heart of gold from the wrong side of the tracks, or the smarty-pants
with some anger issues,” but even when there’s singing instead of talking it should keep the
story moving.
There was so much random ridiculousness in the story as it went along that it detracted from
the read most of the time. Of course, with this being an homage of sorts, it can be assumed that
this is just how these movies were back then. But still, why would an adult toll-booth operator
have some sour candy in his pocket? How can kids ride their motorcycle through the school
halls? Why does Kim obsess about shakes and golf while the world is crumbling down around
her ears?
On page 36 Joann is dropped off at Chad’s for their date, but for some reason he’s not there, yet
she doesn’t seem bothered by it and even skips down the street on the way back to her house.
The next page we see Chad in a tavern parking lot angry with his mom, but what exactly is
happening isn’t clear. Is she an alcoholic and he’s mad that she’s too drunk to drive him to the
dance? Or is she just really against him going on a date? It isn’t clear what’s going on.
Then in the following scene Joann and her dad have an argument on their front porch and
suddenly Deke is spying on them from some undisclosed location. He wasn’t written as even

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being there at first, so this reads as very strange, especially since he’s on his bike and it seems to
be still running, so wouldn’t they hear his engine?
The reveal that Principle Everett is the Big Boss near the end was a good twist, though some
kind of hint or set-up earlier on that we could look back on and say “oh right” would bump up
the already great writing. It just seemed to come out of nowhere when it happened and felt like
a last minute addition the writer just came up with.
This script adheres well to the basics of structure, though some turning points are stronger than
Inciting Incident: On or around page ten is where producers/assistants/studio readers would
look for the inciting incident i.e.; the moment that propels the story and the protagonist into
action. In this script it appears to be Joann first meeting Deke, then learning that he deals
marijuana, a drug that is connected to the death of her mom. This is good for setting up the
Joann/Deke relationship storyline and her decision to put a stop to his drug dealing ways.
Though a few pages later when Professor Perkins injects his duck Tricky with a serum that turns
him into a green leafy zombie also felt like the inciting incident, so the actual ii feels a little
muddled right now.
Second Act Turning Point: First acts are generally thirty or so pages, again just something that a
studio would look for, but it is not a hard and fast rule. By the thirtieth page Perkins has started
to spread his “green-zombie” virus using Tricky and the town is about to be overrun. A few
pages earlier Deke and Joann share their first kiss, so their relationship line and the main story
feel very closely connected. But is the main story the zombies, or Joann’s fluctuating feelings
between Deke and Chad?

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Mid-Point: Joann is unable to convince Principle Everett about the impending outbreak, just
before it actually happens at the Harmony High gymnasium. This works fine as a mid-point.
Third Act Turning-Point: Also known as the All Is Lost or Crisis moment for the protagonist. The
town is under attack, Joann and Chad have somehow managed to convince General Dunforth
that they know how to stop the green zombies. Joann realizes her drunkard dad is the only one
that can help using his plumbing knowledge. Then in an argument with him she reveals her
mom was a drug user and her death was her own fault, not Joann’s. But does it count as an allis-lost moment if she knew that information the whole time? Her finding this out instead of
knowing would have more of an impact. Maybe somehow Joann thought she was responsible
for her mom’s death but her dad knew the truth and him revealing that to her could be a much
more emotional moment.
Climax: Joann has “zombified” herself so she can get into the high school and stop the madness.
How she’s able to keep her brain normal enough to turn the zombies back to human with the
needles isn’t explained, so that could use some clarification. On page 90 Deke tells Joann what
really happened to her mom and it was really Perkins fault all along. But there is zero reaction
from Joann, maybe it’s because she’s been ghouled, but this huge piece of important story
information is glossed over and never mentioned again, which is strange. Principal Everett is
revealed as the “big boss” of the drug ring, a nice twist, but pretty cliché, though this story is
littered with what feels like deliberate cliché moments.
Resolution: The town is saved. Everyone is back to normal, even Joann’s dad has stopped
drinking. A standard resolution but it works for this type of story.
The characters of East Side Girl where quite unique and one of the stand-out areas of the script.
Each of the mains, and even the bit players, were given an interesting trait to make their
character pop. The protagonist, Joann, is strong, well-rounded, and her arc hits all the right

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beats, almost too perfectly sometimes, but a great character all the same. Her constant
referencing the “Ship of Guilt” affirmations to lead her life was strange because of their
blatantly bad advice, but she comes to her senses at the perfect time: right before the climax.
Professor Perkins ever-changing eye patch and his constant carrot chomping made for an
interesting antagonist, plus his “evil plan” being connected to the loss of his wife and making his
town a “greener”, cancer-free place made him somewhat sympathetic.
Some character introductions were in capitals, and some not. Every new character should have
their name capped, even people on screen that have no dialogue. There were moments of
confusion of who’s male or female, especially with Deke and his “gang.” It took several pages to
realize Bam Bam was a girl and Troll a guy, even though it was mentioned in their introductions.
And there was constant confusion discerning between Principle Everett and Professor Perkins,
because at a glance their names look similar and begin with the same letter. This may seem nitpicky, but similar looking/sounding/number of letter names play a trick on the brain that
naturally happens when you glance at them.
As with the action description, it's unique and well-written, but gets to be a chore to read once
the initial charm wears off. Plus there’s many moment where there should an exclamation point
when a character is clearly yelling. And some lines people say are so random is doesn’t fit with
what is happening in the scene, maybe this is also an homage to certain movies, but it’s so out
of left field sometimes it causes the reader to stop.
Example, page 71: Everyone’s in the middle of figuring out how to deal with the ghouls when
Kim talks about going to play mini-golf. This has nothing to do with the story at all.
Kim was always saying random things like this all the time that weren’t pertinent to what was
happening in the scene. Perhaps it’s just a strange character quirk and how she deals with
stress, but it didn’t work out how the writer intended.

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During some singing lines, it felt unnecessary, and just looked plain silly, especially when
background singers had lines like “woe, woe, woe.” It could be removed or changed to “the TGI
gang sings back-up” or something.
Overall though, the dialogue is one of the strongest aspects of the script.
East Side Girl is written very well and the formatting is spot on. Though the style this is written
in is unique, it also makes it hard to read at times. The constant references to words or lingo
people don't use anymore makes the pace of the read slow down as sometimes there is time
needed to digest what was just read. And there’s a distinct lack of energy during moments of
action. Some examples:
Page 9 - When Deke breaks down the classroom door with his bike the action description stays
A loud engine roars from the hallway.
Suddenly, the classroom door dangles from its hinges.
This could definitely use a punch-up to make it more exciting. Capitalizing sounds always helps
with adding more energy to a line, like this:
A loud ENGINE ROARS from the hallway. Suddenly –-- DEKE CHIARELLI, 20s, BURSTS in on a Harley motorcycle, classroom door dangling from its hinges!
Another example, page 53: Chad mixes chemicals. Boom. Explosion rocks
the room.
There’s an explosion and it’s written very in a very uninteresting way. Even just capping the
BOOM would change the tone and energy.

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There are too many other moments like this in the script to even mention, where there is no
energy or excitement added to scenes where it is definitely needed. Especially in the scenes
where there’s ghoul-teenagers and army-men running amok through the streets.

Another small formatting note, page 86: Joann’s talking to Chad on the walkie-talkie but her
dialogue is written as (O.S.), when it should be (V.O.) as she’s not in the actual scene.

East Side Girl is a well-written script by a writer who was definite talent, but the lingering
question is what demographic is he going for with this screenplay? The characters and dialogue
are fun to read, but the charm wears off pretty fast. Musicals don’t usually sell that much,
currently at least, unless it’s based on pre-existing material that’s proven to be popular. And
even so, it’s aimed at a very targeted demographic that probably doesn’t even go to the theatre
anymore. Just changing this from a musical to a just a sci-fi/horror/comedy could help improve
its marketing potential.
Coverage by: Tim Aucoin | |
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