Basically, re-evaluating a screenplay I'm writing while I'm about 60 pages in. It's supposed to be in a very similar style to Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm not quite sure if I'm going in the right direction, but I wanted some advice. Keep in mind, I have to be cognizant of page count. No more than 120, max. So, here's my original idea, and then some iterations: Original: A man (Jack), and his ex-wife, Zoey run into each other during the zombie apocalypse. We start out showing Jack and his two friends, Mick and Staci, killing zombies while hunting down a bounty, since they're bounty hunters. When we first meet Zoey, it's with her lover, Andy. A warlord and his men break into their house, and take their dog, Gunner, holding him as collateral until the pair can secure and deliver an item for him by stealing it. She ends up stealing it, and the person she steals it from happens to be Jack's boss. So Jack and his friends get the job, not knowing one of the bounties is his ex-wife. They, of course, meet up, and that's when Zoey reveals that Gunner, their old dog, has been taken. So Jack is forced to betray his boss, another powerful warlord, in order to help deliver the item, and get their dog back. I tried to give most of the characters some good backstories and motivations. Jack feels abandoned. After Zoey left him (the opening scene of the screenplay), there's no one around. He's all alone for quite some time. When he does find people? They either betray him, or die off. So there's no permanent relationships for him, and that just echoes his experience when Zoey left, taking Gunner with her. Zoey feels powerless. After not being able to stop the warlord from taking Gunner, and subsequently being blamed by Jack for allowing it to happen, she feels like she's not taken seriously. Mick is a tortured soul. After his wife and daughter were bitten by zombies at the start of the apocalypse, in order to stop them from dying a slow and agonizing death, and become zombies, he has to kill them. He later learns that they would neither have died, nor become zombies, so I killed them for nothing. He feels he has nothing to live for, so the whole zombie apocalypse thing is just one big game to him. Andy has anger issues. Nothing too crazy here. It got him into a lot of trouble before the apocalypse (he was in prison when it all began, but managed to escape), and he hopes Buddhism can help guide the way to managing his anger. ____________ Now, here are some of the problems I'm having with this: while Jack supposedly feels alone, he's been with his friends for a while now. It's not like he just met them. If he was going to have the "they're not anywhere" moment, it probably would have been a while ago. Also, a big part of Jack's character is that he listens to music so that he has some human voices to listen/talk/sing to. If he wasn't actually alone, why would he still be doing this? The music is a non-negotiable. It sets the mood for the entire story, no matter which iteration I do. Likewise, Zoey feels powerless. Because she is powerless. Why would this warlord steal her dog, and make her steal the item from another warlord, rather than someone who isn't inept? Doubt he'd pick someone at random, and trust them with such an important item (it's VERY important). ____________ Those are the two main characters. While the others are important, and help with the total group dynamic, Jack and Zoey really need to be convincing. The others' motivations/backstories could be done in just a single scene. I have a couple ideas for some alternatives: Instead of Mick being the big showman who had to kill his wife and daughter, I've thought of making Jack the one that had to kill his daughter (but not Zoey), which I think may give a solid reason for him and Zoey growing apart (she blames him), and he has a solid reason for both feeling alone/incomplete (lost his child), as well as a reason to fight (doesn't want to let down his family/friends again). In this case, though, I'm not sure how him and Zoey would run into each other. And without Gunner, I'm not so sure whatever the warlord could hold over Jack's head to convince him to betray his boss would be as powerful (or as sympathetic to audiences) as his dog. That said, as I mentioned earlier in this paragraph, I do think it better explains his feelings of aloneness. But then that makes me think of Mick. He's kinda a fucked-up dude, a big prankster with a silver tongue, and he's pretty sick. I mean, he's not just all about business. No. When he kills a zombie, that thing is going to be chopped into pieces. There's a part that I particularly enjoy (don't ask why, lol) where he cuts off a dude's hand. When the dude surrenders, and they let him go, he goes to pick up his hand, and Mick says, "drop it, that one's mine." It's never explicitly said what he does with it, but I kinda like the sociopathic edge to the character. And it's made possible by the trauma, by the guilt, and not having anything to live for anymore. If I give that to Jack instead, Mick couldn't be that character, and I don't want Jack to be. I don't want to eliminate any of these characters outright. I like the whole ex-wife angle, as well as her new lover, Jack's love interest, and the prankster fifth wheel. And I find that five people is usually a great number of people when it comes to subplots. I'm just having tons of trouble figuring out the plot, and would really like some insight. I've tried getting some feedback on other places, like Reddit, but never gotten any responses on this piece, probably because people don't want to read 58 pages.