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Trainees Example Studio Coverage

“This is a deeply troubled Santa struggling with his inner demons.” – Extracts from a script report by our trainee Adam Yee based on the script BAD SANTA found on The Daily Script website: CLICK HERE to read the script.

TITLE: Bad Santa                                                         LOCALE: Milwaukee and Phoenix

AUTHOR: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa                SETTING: Shopping mall, department store, big house.

GENRE:                    PRIMARY: Black crime comedy caper

                                 SECONDARY: Christmas movie





WILLIE T. SOKE (M): He is bad Santa, mostly dressed in the Santa suit, black stubble with eyes colder than those of a dead fish. He’s cantankerous, foul-mouthed, alcoholic, sex-addicted and depressed safecracker. (LD)


MARCUS SKIDMORE: (M): He’s Santa’s elf and dressed as that for most of the time. Small and tiny. His wife is Lois. (SP)


THURMAN MERMAN (M): Pathetic bullied overweight and snot-nosed eight-year old kid, badly dressed and smells of pee. (SP)


SUE (F): Attractive barmaid, an outdoorsy Western beauty. (SP)


GIN SLAGEL (M): A wiry, hard-bitten, sun-baked saddlebag of a man. Chief of security. (SP)


LOIS (F): Marcus’ Pillipina mail-order wife of several years, dressed expensively, whose mouth is ever down-turned in pruney distaste. (FE)


BOB CHIPESKA: Chamberlain’s department store manager. (FE)


LOGLINE: Two serial thieves pose as Santa and his Elf to rob department stores each Christmas Eve, but Santa’s life is complicated by befriending a bullied kid.



Bad Santa is a black comedy crime caper. A Christmas movie for adults. The script has an ingenious premise that turns the concept of Santa right on its head. A mall Santa (Willie) and his little helper (Marcus) rob department stores every Christmas Eve. The script is well executed and has a clear three-act structure with decisive turning points…

A fantastic post-title scene provides the major conflict that runs throughout – conflict between what a Santa should be and how Willie’s Santa is – they are polar opposites. The scene shows a Santa orientation meeting where a trainer lists and tells of the ten rules a Santa must abide by, this is visually broken by Willie discreetly chugging alcohol with cold eyes showing a distinct lack of interest. The rules are set up to be broken and Willie will break them all. The script does well to maintain this conflict till the end where Santa is gunned down by cops.

The script opens with a brief successful heist that introduces us to Willie and Marcus, showing what they do. The inciting incident moves the narrative along to next Christmas where Willie and Marcus target a different department store. The inciting incident works because it sets up a new heist and moves the action to a new location with new characters. Willie and Marcus’ goal and motive is clear and simple… Slagel’s investigation doesn’t provide big enough conflict as when he finds out about Willie and Marcus’ motive he wants a stake of the loot. The heist isn’t jeopardized. Slagel’s involvement in the heist is resolved in the second turning point when he is killed by Marcus and Lois. This leads into the third act where the climactic heist goes ahead as originally planned. The main obstacle to the heist is Willie’s erratic behavior which makes him a liability, causing conflict and tension with Marcus…

The script uses its premise to explore the depths of its protagonist. This is a deeply troubled Santa struggling with his inner demons. His transformation from despair to a spark of humanity, brought about by Thurman, is a winning one. The change gives Willie purpose and makes him feel human. It makes him more empathetic. Willie and Thurman help each other…

No matter how unpleasant Willie is, he has a certain charm. His sharp, hilarious and caustic dialogue make him compelling to watch. One of the pleasures of this script is the comedic exchanges of dialogue between Willie and other characters, spouting out things the audience can only dream of saying. Willie is brash and by far the most substantial character…

The coda satisfyingly resolves the narrative. A good ending to match an engrossing darkly comedic premise with a standout lead character, makes this script worthy of consideration. There are not many Christmas movies for adults. That is its selling point. It has the potential to reap the commercial rewards from a key 18-25 year old demographic…


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