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  • Writer's pictureRoy Zafrani

Austin Film Festival Reader Comments on Lenny

My latest screenplay, Lenny, was recently selected by the Austin Film Festival, one of the world's most renowned competitions. After Lenny advanced to the second round of their Script Competition, they shared some wonderful reader comments, which I'm happy to share with you.

Concept: Lenny is a sweet, presumably animated, piece about a snail learning to love who he is. It’s a good lesson for kids (or any of us) and is told in an unexpected way.

Plot: While we know early on that Lenny is going to visit someone with a rose, learning who and why he’s visiting them along with all the things he considers to get him there keep the reader turning pages.

Structure: Structurally this piece is well-crafted overall. Action blocks are focused and lean, the writer maximizing impact with fewer words. The only place that gets a little sticky is the cut to black and the rescue by Ben.

Characters: Lenny is a complex and well-crafted character with strong wants, needs, and flaws. His choices and actions are always interesting, even when you know he’s making the wrong choice.

Dialogue: Dialogue is sparse overall. What is here could use a revision to be a little more age-appropriate for the kids and less on-the-nose for Lenny and his mom.

Overall: Lenny is triumph of the human (err… snail) spirit story told from the perspective of a snail tirelessly trying to get to the beach to visit someone with a rose. Who and why he’s trying to get there and the lengths he’ll go to along the way hook the reader/viewer and keep them engaged. This piece is well-crafted from a structural standpoint, with appropriate pacing and tension derived from well-focused action blocks. There is a little bit of confusion around what happens when Lenny is stranded on the tree and rescued by Ben. Lenny is a well-constructed character overall, feeling complex and interesting – even when he’s making choices we know are bad for him. There isn’t much dialogue, but what is here could use another pass. The three five year olds seem to be older in their dialogue and Lenny’s mom is a little on-the-nose. Overall this is a great piece that shows off the writer’s skill well.

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