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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Dramedy Scripts  ›  Oh, Christmas Tree
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  Author    Oh, Christmas Tree  (currently 503 views)
Don
Posted: November 29th, 2017, 5:39pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Oh, Christmas Tree by Marty Chartrand - Dramedy, Family - A man drags his family along on his quest to find the perfect Christmas tree. 87 Pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



Visit http://www.simplyscripts.com for what is new on the site.


-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  November 30th, 2017, 12:00pm
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Marty
Posted: November 29th, 2017, 8:26pm Report to Moderator
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Hi everyone,

I must have checked the wrong box. I am interested in feedback on this.

I notified Don as well.  

Thank you in advance.
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Dustin
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 2:45am Report to Moderator
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Sounds like an episode of the Simpsons. Dramedies are not my thing. I can't copy n paste from your script which makes things more difficult when trying to give examples. Your opening is written a little too passively for a pro screenplay... and you're a white male possibly nearing middle age so your gender or race isn't going to save you.

The 'we are on a mission' line of dialogue is off. The 'I am not going home without a Christmas tree' is all that is needed there. I could go on but you don't make things easy.

All the best... and I mean it.
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Marty
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 8:54am Report to Moderator
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Dustin,

Thank you for your feedback.

My deepest apologies for disappointing you. It's never my intention to do so.

I would more categorize this as a family story with dramatic and comedic elements. But for whatever reason, SimplyScripts has us choose a single category. I felt if I selected, Family I would have gotten but someone gives the middle finger. A selection of Drama would have been, but there's too much comedy for a drama. Comedy, but it's too serious at times.
So Dramedy it is.

I am a thirty-one-year-old white male.
So yes, middle age is creeping on in.

As for my writing being too passive for a professional screenplay,
I think I tend to write in a style that is easier for me to write, read, rewrite and proofread.   So there is no doubt that people who tend to like the classical style of screenplays will hate it. Maybe someday I will try to write to the more basic approach of screenwriting. Eliminating ellipsis, dashes, hyphens and so on.
This will more than likely always hold me back.

But the way I look at my current state is, I am not being paid to write a professional screenplay, the reader is not being paid to read a professional screenplay, so why not have a fun read?

Maybe I'm wrong and maybe I am just a bad writer who's never going to cut it. I guess time will tell but I don't think I'm ready to give up on it. Not yet at least.

Again, thank you for your time. I appreciate it and I am sorry this one wasn't worth it.

P.S. I truly mean zero disrespect by any of this and I really hope it isn't taken that way.

All the best,
Marty

Revision History (1 edits)
Marty  -  November 30th, 2017, 9:23am
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Dustin
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 10:15am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Marty
Dustin,

Thank you for your feedback.

My deepest apologies for disappointing you. It's never my intention to do so.


As I didn't have any intention of reading the entire content anyway, I'm hardly disappointed. My interest lies in the technical aspects of your screenplay. As you're a regular member here, my intention was to help you improve your technical ability.

Your storytelling ability is already without question, I believe.


Quoted from Marty

I would more categorize this as a family story with dramatic and comedic elements. But for whatever reason, SimplyScripts has us choose a single category. I felt if I selected, Family I would have gotten but someone gives the middle finger. A selection of Drama would have been, but there's too much comedy for a drama. Comedy, but it's too serious at times.
So Dramedy it is.


All stories have these elements in them. You have romance too, I bet. If not, then your script needs it.


Quoted from Marty
As for my writing being too passive for a professional screenplay,
I think I tend to write in a style that is easier for me to write, read, rewrite and proofread.   So there is no doubt that people who tend to like the classical style of screenplays will hate it. Maybe someday I will try to write to the more basic approach of screenwriting. Eliminating ellipsis, dashes, hyphens and so on.
This will more than likely always hold me back.


You're confusing classical with modern. What I'm suggesting is modern. You need only look at the poorly written screenplays from the past to prove this.

You've misunderstood what I mean by your writing being a little too passive. I'm talking specifically about your overuse of 'ing' verbs. One or two here and there is fine, but, generally, it is more active not to use them.


Quoted from Marty

But the way I look at my current state is, I am not being paid to write a professional screenplay, the reader is not being paid to read a professional screenplay, so why not have a fun read?


The read would be far easier and more fun if more active.


Quoted from Marty

Maybe I'm wrong and maybe I am just a bad writer who's never going to cut it. I guess time will tell but I don't think I'm ready to give up on it. Not yet at least.


The old 'maybe I'm a bad writer, but...' routine. How cliche. This from being offered advice on more active writing. Please... you're better than that.


Quoted from Marty

Again, thank you for your time. I appreciate it and I am sorry this one wasn't worth it.


Just so you know, I merely offered advice on your writing as I see that you're an active member, which makes you a serious writer. As you're a serious writer, why wouldn't you want to improve your grasp of the craft?


Quoted from Marty

P.S. I truly mean zero disrespect by any of this and I really hope it isn't taken that way.

All the best,
Marty


Mate, I can't be arsed with bullshit. Saying 'thank you' and I 'appreciate' means nothing to me at all. They're just words on a page, the real intent behind them unknown. You've clearly taken my post negatively, so why would you appreciate that?
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Marty
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 10:26am Report to Moderator
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Dustin,

I completely misread the 'ing statement. I agree. I tend to do that a lot.

I said thank you because you took the time out of your day to offer feedback. That is appreciated.

I did not mean any disrespect by it.

Your status on here shows you've been around and know what you're talking about.

I'll shut my mouth from here on out and take the feedback, fix things and move on to the next story.

All the best,
Marty
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eldave1
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 12:35pm Report to Moderator
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Gave this a read through 40.

It opens a bit slow/passive (see Dustin's notes).  

Other than that, the writing from a technical perspective is very strong IMO. That being said, I think there are story telling issues.

The wife is far too stereotypical and dated. This is someone who would have graduated high school around  2000 and she sounds (i.e., her voice) so old. Shake her up. Make her a modern woman, put an IPAD and a glass of wine in her hand - basically - get her out of the 1950s. She could serve much better as a comic foil in that regard. (e.g., researching the environmental damage from XMAS trees on her smartphone, etc. etc.).   Make her a real, vibrant person. ANd now that I think of it, this may be a more interesting tale if the roles were reversed.  i.e., flip the roles of the husband and the wife.

The reversals are too mundane. First - the car breakdown. It is such a common trope and an everyday event that most folks aren't going to get why it is a barrier - especially with things like rental cars/Uber, etc. etc.  

Second - the mini-van.  The problem here is that how much easier it would be to just clear out the snow from the mini-van than it would be too take the convertible to get a tree. You don't want your viewers thinking - shit, why don't they just.....

So - yes - getting a large tree in an open convertible - funny stuff. Just get there in a less complicated fashion. They simply have two cars - a mini-van and a convertible. He goes to start the mini-van - dead as a doorknob. On to the convertible.

I am 40 pages in and I have no sense of why this tree mission is critical to him. This needs to be clear much earlier. I also have no idea what role his Dad's death played in all of this instant need for Christmas cheer and I think I need to know that as well.

So - while I think the writing from a technical perspective is very solid, the story is not holding me at the 40 page mark because I have no sense of the reason for this mission, the urgency and the obstacles set up seem mundane.

Hope this helps. I do like your style.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Marty
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 1:00pm Report to Moderator
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Dave,

Thank for once again for the read and for the feedback.

You make some great points that will help with this story and all my future ones.

At 40 pages in, I should have you hooked not walking away. I'll work on that.

You put into great prospective what my strengths and weaknesses are. Thank you for that.

All the best,
Marty
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eldave1
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 1:08pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Marty
Dave,

Thank for once again for the read and for the feedback.

You make some great points that will help with this story and all my future ones.

At 40 pages in, I should have you hooked not walking away. I'll work on that.

You put into great prospective what my strengths and weaknesses are. Thank you for that.

All the best,
Marty

My pleasure - all the best


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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khamanna
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 3:59pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Marty,
I read the first 15.
I couldn't understand your main guys problem. I mean - I do see it in the longline but don't think it's on the pages. I see they are looking for a tree in the first two scenes - but it reads just like another regular day.
Also there's no much conflict and that spoils the read.
So he couldn't find a tree - that's no biggie, I'd think.
So he lost his dad but what's of it?
I suggest you infuse it with conflict between family members.
He doesn't have a car - how about his wife is reluctant to drive him or something.

(On an unrelated note he tells his wife "My cousin Victoria" - just "Victoria" as she knows who Victoria is)

I might be off with this review but that's how I read it. And if I missed something I'm sorry.
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AlwaysTheNewGuy
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 5:32pm Report to Moderator
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You know what? I actually learned something.

I quite literally am the new guy round here. Sniffing around the threads, trying not to lurk too creepily. So Iím sorry in advance and probably in perpetuity.

... But I notice that youíre apologising more than an Englishman for even posting a great big long script thatís clearly taken you craploads of hours and hard work to create. I mean, Iím actually English. Iíve already apologised 57 times today: I got on the tube - sorry - I walked past someone - sorry - I bought a coffee - sorry. You get the idea. But you should not be apologising for submitting a script to the vague appraisals of various typists.

I read the first ten pages. I learned: I need to break up my action paragraphs a WHOLE load more than I do currently. You do that, and it makes the whole thing a whole load more readable. I skimmed, and I understood. Sorry for skimming (Iím English, I can excuse ANYTHING). But I did skim and I still understood, because the action was simple enough and the dialogue was clear enough.

So... no more apologies. Youíve written a feature. And I learned from even the first 11%. Thank you!
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Marty
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 6:48pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Khamanna,

Thank you for the read and for your feedback.

Because it is unlikely that people will read the whole script, I will summarize it for everyone.

A man loses his father. It is Christmas Eve. They have no tree, no decorations. No care for a Christmas. After seeing a photo of his parents and himself around a Christmas tree, he gets the idea to cheer up his mother by giving her a great Christmas. They look for a tree here and there. Thy are offered a tree. It is not good enough so they turn the tree down. They get a tree. They lose a tree. They find a tree. They lose that tree. Roy feels like he's let his mother down. The rest of the family find the original tree that wasn't good enough for Roy and bring it home. Roy realizes through this act that it was never about the tree but rather the family around it. There's a convertible driving in the snow. A broken radio that only repeats "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." A large man named Bruiser chopping down trees in the forest. Family loss. Family love.

All the best,
Marty
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Marty
Posted: November 30th, 2017, 6:52pm Report to Moderator
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AlwaysTheNewGuy,

No need to apologize. Get yourself accustomed to the site.

The best advice I can give is you get what you put in. So offer feedback and submit.

I'm glad that you were able to find something useful out of my screenplay.

As my first feature, it's a little rough but it's okay. I will improve.

Some like my style and some don't. A lot of feedback is subjective. But very, very helpful. Breaking up your action is always recommended. You want people to find your writings to be quick reads.

Best of luck to you with your current and future projects.

All the best,
Marty
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AlwaysTheNewGuy
Posted: December 1st, 2017, 6:34am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Marty
The best advice I can give is you get what you put in. So offer feedback and submit.


Thanks!

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StevenClark
Posted: December 4th, 2017, 9:42pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Marty,

Iím on this. Iíve read 27 pages so far, a few days ago. Iím putting the finishing touches on my own family type Christmas feature at the moment, so this appealed to me.

From what I get out of the first act, Iím seeing a lot of tragedy - I think your protagís father just died? - but Iím not getting much rationale yet for this journey to go out and get the perfect tree, which I believe is because grandma is coming and he wants the perfect tree? Sorry, itís been a few days since reading. Anyway, Iíll have a better thought out opinion once I read this all the way through, which I hope to do. Cheers then.

Steve


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