Crossing Over by Bill Lae | Script Revolution

Crossing Over

A gay ghost helps a pipsqueak young man lose his virginity and “live life,” and the virgin helps the ghost bring to justice his diabolical murderer before an innocent man is executed in three days.

Type:

Status:

Page Count: 
112pp

Genre:

Budget:

Age Rating:

Synopsis/Details: 

After trying everything from the gym to potions and pills, unmanly Steven invokes a “make me
a man” spell, but he accidentally conjures up a man: Marcus (although Marcus isn't exactly
Steven's idea of manly). Now, the spell that tethers them in life will curse them to an isolated
hell unless Steven helps solve Marcus's murder, and Marcus helps Steven "solve his life"—
find love and get laid.
Marcus sends Steven on a date with Wendy, a detective who is “paranormal friendly.”
Marcus's widow (whom he married as a business arrangement) turns out to be much more
than he ever bargained for. In the end, the boys must solve problems bigger than murder or
virginity. Manhood isn't about the stereotypical conquests many men seem to believe it is.
Both love and life are not skin deep nor matters of the flesh.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

http://billlae.com/crossingover/analysis.pdf

HighLights from Script Readers:
“Sparklingly witty and unique concept”
“Very unique, fun, and entertaining.”
“The concept was a lot of fun, and very original.”
“A supernatural Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
“Dialogue sparkles.”
“The ending was nearly flawless.”
“The plot has many layers and twists to keep audiences on their toes.”
“By the middle, I didn’t want to stop reading, and by the end, you’d totally won
me over.”
“This movie will see audiences laugh repeatedly, groan, grip the seat in
suspense, and quite a few will cry. ...uplifting ...fun.... Bankable.”
“This plot is so surprising and compelling, and the writer really takes us on a
ride throughout the course of the script.”
“A memorable story with exciting and original characters.”
“...truly laugh out loud scenes and complex, well-developed characters that
could be very attractive to actors.”
“The dialogue really sells this script. It's witty, charming, and has an infectious
hyper-realism to it that really makes the material a joy to read.”
“The writer has managed to capture the same rapid-fire back-and-forth of
witticisms and cutting remarks of classic Hollywood comedies.”
“A fantastic bit of writing, and no doubt one that many actors would delight in
performing.”
“There's a lot of great chemistry and comedic potential between these two
characters, and audiences are sure to find that irresistible.”
“What begins as a supernatural odd-couple narrative, surprisingly - yet
satisfyingly - unfolds into a story about identity, trauma and acceptance.”
“The writer has really shown great talent in both the construction of the script's
comedic material, and their ability to touch upon issues of gender, sexuality and
redemption in a way that feels respectful and rewarding.”
“With its quirky humor, playful use of generic tropes and inclusion of
contemporary issues, this script could attract a lot of positive marketplace
potential.”
“It's refreshing and thoroughly unique, and has all the makings of an instant
cult classic.”
“Characters are original and entertaining and the writer incorporates themes
that are meaningful and timely, especially in regards to transgender and non-cis
characters.”
“The antagonists, while purposefully not likeable, are nonetheless very engaging
and fun to spend time with because they are so wicked or cunning or ‘love-tohate’ characters.”
“The strong characters and fresh twists, combined with the high level of
comedy (especially in the dialogue) in the first half of the script would certainly
appeal to a broad audience. Likewise, the dark supernatural elements could
attract fans of thrillers and supernatural dramas.”
“It's thoroughly satisfying. A delightful piece of entertainment with a
moderate budget that isn’t much of a marketing risk, yet that successfully
articulates aspects of human nature and communicates a level of wisdom,
sufficient to satisfy those audience members who want a bit more depth.
Wonderful.”

Excerpts above were pulled from these extensive, detailed,
reader's analysis notes below: (Caution: SPOILERS!)

Reader: S. Kerrigan (Wiki Screenplay Contest https://www.wikiscreenplaycontest.com/ )
This is a sparklingly witty and unique concept, which shows a lot of promise. A supernatural
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, this is a concept that requires strong comedic impulses and
razor sharp dialogue to really fulfill its potential. Luckily, it is clear that the writer has these in
spades. A wonderful, quirky read.
The key elements are all in place, from Steven's own journey into becoming a man to the
intrigue of Marcus' murder. Establishing two narrative threads so effectively in such a short
amount of time is, in and of itself, an enormous feat. To establish two threads while also laying
the groundwork for a paranormal detective story is another thing entirely. It cannot be
overstated that what the writer achieved here is truly impressive. A prime example of strong
storytelling and a beautifully economic use of language. Well done.
The pacing overall is very well-managed. Comedy succeeds or fails based on timing, and the
overall pacing of a comedic script is every bit as crucial as the timing of a one-liner or pratfall.
The writer has shown mastery of their genre by keeping scenes tight. The action never drags,
and each page serves a purpose. All of this makes for a thoroughly enjoyable opening act,
and the writer deserves full praise.
This is a really fun concept, wonderfully teased out across its run time. What begins as a
supernatural odd-couple narrative, surprisingly - yet satisfyingly - unfolds into a story about
identity, trauma and acceptance. It's a lot to take on within what, on the face of things,
appears to be a light-hearted comedy, yet the writer manages to do so with aplomb.
The third act, in particular, is enormously entertaining and packed with exciting set pieces and
intriguing twists. The writer's use of foreshadowing throughout, in particular the way in which
they made clever use of details introduced early on (let's coin the phrase "Chekov's magic
mirror"), is applauded.
This plot is so surprising and compelling, and the writer really takes us on a ride throughout
the course of the script. While the set-up of the odd-couple routine and paranormal murder
mystery is intriguing in and of itself, the way it expands into astral plane showdowns is nothing
short of impressive. The writer has done tremendous work in establishing the world of the
film, and the rules of this world. Even the romantic subplot runs well. There's no shortage of
strong plot elements on display here that audiences can really sink their teeth into.
By and large, the pacing here is of a high quality. The comedic timing is tight and the rhythm
of much of the dialogue is a joy to behold. There's a quick, snappy quality to much of the
speech that really carries the scenes and keeps the action from ever dragging. Additionally,
the main story beats all fall where they should, resulting in a nice escalation of tension
throughout the story. Overall, very nice work.
The main cast of characters are all very well-developed and fleshed-out. Steven, in particular
seems to occupy an archetype rarely seen in modern comedy, insofar as his attempts at
masculinity feel more wholesome than threatening. From the very first page, he's an
immediately sympathetic figure and one with which we can relate. It was a clever move on the
writer's behalf to show Steven trying to model himself against some perceived masculine
ideal, yet never committing to the misogyny that often comes along with it - as evidenced in
Wilmot. This allows his character to really shine, without alienating any audience members.
Marcus, too, is a great counterpoint to Steven. Though somewhat broadly drawn, his
character is imbued with some depth by the film's close, when we learn of his difficulties in
accepting Anastasia for who she is - a trans woman, and not the man he initially fell in love
with.
Steven as the feeble, well-meaning underdog calls to mind the hapless comedic heroes once
played by Rick Moranis. While a similar character could easily have been imbued with a
degree of bitterness, the writer here has managed to capture an endearing innocence and
earnestness in their depiction.
The dialogue really sells this script. It's witty, charming, and has an infectious hyperrealism to
it that really makes the material a joy to read. In addition to the quick-fire quips noted before,
the writer's satirical edge is also noted and commended. The use of Steven's conversations
with Marcus (and other spirits) being one-sided to bystanders is also milked to great effect
throughout. A stand-out scene is when Steven is about to sleep with a sex worker in the
motel, only to begin conversing with the unseen spirit of Molly. Though it could be argued that
this scene doesn't quite further the plot, what it adds in humor and further development of
both Steven and his powers more than makes up for it.
Dialogue is where the writer truly shines, and the argument between Marcus and Anastasia is
a perfect example of their talents. In this scene, the writer has managed to capture the same
rapid-fire back-and-forth of witticisms and cutting remarks of classic Hollywood comedies.
There is simultaneously something very camp and old school in the delivery, yet something
distinctly modern in the vocabulary, which makes this scene so entertaining and refreshing. A
fantastic bit of writing, and no doubt one that many actors would delight in performing.
Elsewhere, though somewhat more subdued, the dialogue remains appropriate to the genre
and setting of the script. Mrs. Baltrim's deadpan admonishments of Steven are wryly funny,
and a counterpoint to the flurry of excitement that is the opening argument. Taken in tandem,
these scenes are a fine example of the writer's interplay of bombast and restraint.
As remarked upon with regards to characterization, a lesser writer could have imbued a
character like Steven with a degree of bitterness or malice - souring the tone. Instead, the
writer has maintained a light tone throughout, even when introducing the murder subplot,
which feels like the right decision. Contrasting Steven against the casually misogynist and
loud-mouth detectives further reinforces both the script's tone and Steven's characterization.
In many ways, the scene in the bar sets the tone for what is to follow. Steven wants to be like
the detectives, but the course of the narrative will prove that Steven is, in fact, better than
them - better at finding the killer, and better at being a man. Beyond simply adhering to the
light comedic tone, this is a tremendous example of how to distill the tonal material of a piece
into a few short pages. Very impressive.
It's no mean feat to balance zany supernatural comedy with some genuine moments of
sensitivity and pathos. The writer has really shown great talent in both the construction of the
script's comedic material, and their ability to touch upon issues of gender, sexuality and
redemption in a way that feels respectful and rewarding. Lesser writers might be tempted to
lean into cheap gags about the aforementioned issues, but this writer rises above and makes
clear tonal distinctions. These distinctions manage to feel effortless, even though they
represent quite significant shifts in the work's mood. Truly impressive work. The handling of
Steven and his quest for masculine validation is also superbly handled. There were many
ways in which a story of this nature could tonally fall flat, and the writer has managed to both
avoid these pitfalls and provide surprising, refreshing and sensitive perspectives throughout.
For starters, the ticking clock device of requiring Steven and Marcus to save Juan before he is
executed is brilliant. It immediately raises the stakes high, as a life is literally on the line. From
there, the sense of peril only increases, as we are afforded with greater details pertaining to
the spell. What really amps up the conflict is the mid-point reveal of Anastasia as undead. A
remarkable twist, carried off beautifully, which adds another great element of tension to the
narrative and opens the story up to those aforementioned fantastic astral plane set pieces.
Truly unexpected and entertaining, and serves to elevate a concept that might have otherwise
become repetitive as the story progressed. Finally, the last-minute fear that Steven might
have failed, despite everything, is a great gut-punch. Though the resolution might be made
somewhat more clear, it is nonetheless a strong beat.
There's a lot of great conflict to contend with in the opening pages of this script. There's the
personal, inner conflict of Steven as he strives towards a hypermasculine ideal. There's the
violent conflict of the altercation between Marcus and Anastasia, and the smaller-scale
conflict between the children on the bus. Finally, there's the core conflict - the murder mystery.
While many writers might feel the impulse to pack their scripts full of conflict in the mistaken
belief that all conflict is inherently entertaining, the writer here has been very smart with how
their conflicts function with regards to the script as a whole. Every instance of conflict here
serves a purpose - be it setting the narrative in motion (Steven's arc and the murder mystery)
or further developing the characters (Steven's response to the bullying on the bus). This
displays a great understanding on the writer's behalf of how conflict ought to function within a
script, and how to utilize it to different ends. Great work.
There's a lot of scope for emotional investment in this script. To begin, Steven's desire to "be
a man" is sympathetic in how mundane and believable it is. He's just a regular guy, aspiring to
something he doesn't fully understand - something that he's already better than. With the
introduction of other plot elements, particularly Steven's desire to help and understand others,
we get a more comprehensive overview of his character. This elevates Steven from relatable
schlub, to a real hero we can invest in. His compassion towards Anastasia at the end, and the
reveal of acceptance and love as the key towards resolution, is a strong emotional beat. As a
result, our response to Steven feels earned, and the story as a whole gains greater
resonance. Great work.
Given the strong character and tonal work here, there's no doubt that audiences will be able
to sympathize with Steven and find themselves investing in his journey. Similarly, Marcus is
an engaging and sympathetic character in his own right, while embodying the polar opposite
of Steven's characteristics. There's a lot of great chemistry and comedic potential between
these two characters, and audiences are sure to find that irresistible.
Marketplace Potential : With its quirky humor, playful use of generic tropes and inclusion of
contemporary issues, this script could attract a lot of positive marketplace potential. It's
refreshing and thoroughly unique, and has all the makings of an instant cult classic.

Reader: C. O'Donahue (Wiki Screenplay Contest https://www.wikiscreenplaycontest.com/ )
This is an imaginative and ambitious concept that swings from comedy to dark drama with
supernatural elements. The writer has a unique and distinctive voice and there are some
incredibly compelling visual elements written into the script, such as the astral plane and the
use of a magic mirror. Characters are original and entertaining and the writer incorporates
themes that are meaningful and timely, especially in regards to transgender and non-cis
characters. The plot has many layers and twists to keep audiences on their toes.
The plot follows a traditional and effective three-act structure, with a strong set-up in the first
act which introduces us to the protagonist and other major characters, as well as the setting,
premise, and tone. A compelling turning point spins the protagonist from act one to act two
and establishes the central conflict in a creative yet believable way. The second act takes the
audience on a roller coaster of rising and waning conflict as the stakes get higher and the
ticking clock grows louder, which leads to a fascinating ‘final showdown’ moment in the
climax. The third act delivers an emotionally satisfying resolution that wraps up each of the
subplots as well as the central conflict and fulfills the audience’s expectations for a
supernatural thriller but adds a heartwarming twist to the antagonist’s story line.
The protagonist is established as a likeable and relatable everyman who is grounded in
reality, and this helps to support the supernatural elements which enter his life as the central
conflict begins. Marcus (the ghost) has a terrific backstory which is well-incorporated into the
plot across all three acts and Steven is introduced as a man who is open to thinking outside
the box and seeking help from those who know more about life than he does. So the
foundations for the Marcus-mentors-Steven plot are strong.
The story begins with a high level of intrigue and comedy, and the pacing is strong across all
three acts. Individual scenes have a clear sense of cause and effect, and there are very few
scenes that feel either too long, too short, or incomplete. The writer does a good job of getting
in late and getting out early, so that the audience can enjoy the comedy and get information
that is important to the plot, without lingering on unnecessary moments. Comedic timing is
also very strong, and this is equally well done during sequences like the rescue of the little girl
in the motel which are suspenseful and intense. The climactic sequence in the third act has
rapid-fire, dramatic pacing that feels entirely appropriate to the subject matter and the actions
of the characters, and there is a great juxtaposition between the frantic ‘real’ world and the
astral plane which enhances the supernatural elements and creates a strong visceral
impression. Tempo builds appropriately across all three acts, hits a compelling crescendo at
the climax, and delivers an emotionally meaningful and uplifting resolution.
Characters are complex, well-developed and likeable. One of the things that stands out in this
script is the feeling that each character has a life that exists outside of the confines of this
story and that they are not merely caricatures created to serve a plot. This makes them feel
like three-dimensional individuals and helps build a strong bond between the audience and
the players. Character relationships and interactions are believable but with a heightened
sense of at first comedy and later mystery and suspense. As an example, the scene where
Marcus tries to Cyrano de Bergerac Steven during a dinner date is especially funny, largely
due to the fact that each character involved has a fully developed personality, point of view,
and comfort level. These scenes do a great job of revealing character as well as advancing
the plot.
There are many sources of conflict in this story which are equally strong and do a great job of
challenging the protagonist to rise to the occasion, grow as a human being, and think outside
the box. From his internal conflict of doubting his masculinity and worrying if he will ever be
able to be a father, to the more obvious external conflict involving solving Marcus’ murder and
eventually facing down the evil spirit/witch/ghost that killed Marcus, there is plenty of tension
and conflict to drive the story. The stakes are high and are well established when Marcus and
Steven read the spell book which tells them of the consequences if they fail to achieve their
goal. Interpersonal conflicts are strong as well, both in comedy scenes like the ones at the
restaurant, the bar, and the magic shop, as well as the more thrilling scenes such as the one
at the hotel and in the astral plane. Not only is there a high level of action to drive the plot;
there is also tension between characters on a personal level. One good example of this is
when Steven is arrested after the police find the gun (Marcus’ murder weapon) that has been
planted in his car. This jeopardizes his budding relationship with Detective Wendy and leads
to a climax in this subplot where Steven refuses the truth serum in order to prove that their
love for one another must be based on trust rather than proof.
Each character presented (except where they are expressly antagonistic like Anastasia and
Wilmot) is lovable, relatable, and endearing. Each, at one point or another, reveals something
meaningful and emotionally relevant about their past that gives the audience a good
understanding of who they are on a deeper level. And the antagonists, while purposefully not
likeable, are nonetheless very engaging and fun to spend time with because they are so
wicked or cunning or ‘love-to-hate’ characters. All of this works together well to create a quick
and lasting emotional investment in the characters and their journey. With stakes that surpass
even life and death, we worry for the protagonist and sense that he is in real and imminent
danger, while still being charmed by his quirky, uncomfortable personality which plays out with
great comedic effect in the earlier scenes.
Market Potential: The strong characters and fresh twists, combined with the high level of
comedy (especially in the dialogue) in the first half of the script would certainly appeal to a
broad audience. Likewise, the dark supernatural elements could attract fans of thrillers and
supernatural dramas.
A memorable story with exciting and original characters. Some truly laugh out loud scenes
and complex, well-developed characters that could be very attractive to actors.

Reader: Hannah Vel (Originally from Trigger Street)
Within this familiar territory, you have created a heart-warming emotionally literate (!) story
with its own originality, safely within generic expectations without actually becoming derivative
(!).
It's thoroughly satisfying. A delightful piece of entertainment with a moderate budget that isn’t
much of a marketing risk, yet that successfully articulates aspects of human nature and
communicates a level of wisdom, sufficient to satisfy those audience members who want a bit
more depth. Wonderful.
Characters
Steven is beautifully drawn. Sincere, insecure, half the time wise-cracking, the other half
jamming his foot right up to his tonsils. He’s easy to root for, and smack our heads over as he
bumbles along trying to “man up.” His arc is subtle but definite, and integral to the story logic -
he evolves his understanding of what it means to be a man, and in the end, gains the
confidence and self-esteem he always needed.
Marcus is delightful, if a little less dimensioned- but then, he’s a ghost! He does eventually
become fully dimensioned in the last few moments of the story as Steven finds the little boy
inside him - this was beautifully done.
Wendy has a good balance of certainty, doubt, decisiveness and integrity. She’s a great ally
for Steven, helping him reality check how he’s doing as he evolves. Yet she also rings true as
an individual woman in her own right. Nice work.
Anna - she’s a bit of a Villain with a capital V. I wanted just a few more tiny hints to recall later
after Steven found the key to her resolution. Perhaps these could be planted in the backstory
of her marriage to Marcus - there’s a vulnerable little girl in there who is lovable - but she’s too
afraid to be intimate, she turns against Marcus rather than come out from behind her Witch
Mask.
Wilmot - well drawn - the insecure blusterer, publicly using his crass phone app to ‘man up.'
Even very minor characters like the principal, Molly, the muscle man in the cell, were people
rather than mere extras. I downright loved how you painted Madonna, and used her to
foreshadow and thematically set up the critical “trust” scene with Wendy in the jail.
Dialogue
Dialogue sparkles. Used to characterise. Natural, entertaining. Great interactions and
exchanges. The scenes where Steven answered Marcus, and the others present responded
assuming they were being addressed, were beautifully crafted.
Emotional Roller Coaster
This movie will see audiences laugh repeatedly, groan, grip the seat in suspense, and quite a
few will cry. And overall it will be uplifting and feel like it was fundamentally fun. Great job.
Bankable.
I loved the emotional literacy that constantly grounded the characters and action. Rather than
a few clever platitudes pasted on top for the odd “ah” moment, a wonderfully wise world-view
and perspective actually drove the action. Made the difference between what worked and
what backfired. The characters don’t get off the hook till they “get it”. This makes for some
great emotional intensity that is comedic-appropriate but isn’t actually cheesy - quite an
achievement.
Overall
By the middle, I didn’t want to stop reading, and by the end, you’d totally won me over.
Reel Writer's (anonymous) Reader Feedback:
The story as a whole was very fun, very well done. The concept was a lot of fun, and very
original. It's great when a story can carry certain themes and elements all the way through,
even if some of them are smaller details. Crossing Over did this very well on several
occasions, and it's an under-utilized tool that most writers don't take the time to use. It's a
great way to tug at emotions and create a connection with the audience when they recognize
it. Well done.
The characters, once they got rolling, were great. Very unique, fun, and entertaining. They
played off each other very well and I could see several prominent actors and actresses
playing different roles. Resolution - The ending was nearly flawless, and here again, is usually
one of things that screenwriters mess up most. They rush the ending, or don't bring things
together and complete the story. Crossing Over did a great job at building up to, and
completing the story.

Submitted: March 5, 2022
Last Updated: March 5, 2022

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The Writer: Bill Lae

Bill Lae is an award winning film-maker. He wrote, directed and produced the critically acclaimed (Daily Variety) mockumentary, SuperGuy: Behind the Cape. Superguy won the "Best Produced Screenplay" award at the River Run International Film Festival. Superguy and Bill’s Young Merlin both went into development with Paramount Television. Inspired by the original Ghostbusters , his scripts are typically comedy meets fantastical. SuperGuy -super hero. Crossing Over -supernatural. U.F.OH! -science fiction/extraterrestrials. Magi -fantasy/wizards. More recently, he's been writing, directing, and producing short form comedy for the internet. His Cooking with Carmine campaign for Lyco-Red went... Go to bio
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