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------------- You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - Wayne Gretzky
Posted: August 11th, 2008, 6:54pm
I had a problem, or two, with this script, Javier. For starters, your characters need to be a little better developed. Without this, no one will care about the characters. And, if you don't care about the characters, you won't care about what happens to them.
One of the reasons I couldn't feel for the characters was because you didn't name both of them. Unless they have names, the reader can't always feel for them. It keeps a certain distance between the character and the reader. I can't feel anything for 'The man,' as I need a name to feel that he is more than what he is.
I felt that your dialog was forced and artificial. On page two, when The Man said:
I'm not debating your sorrows. How noble of you to say you're sorry. But let me tell you what I've been thinking about ever since. What I would say and do to the man if I ever was in his presence.
No one talks like this, outside of Bible movies. After you write some dialogue, you should read it aloud and see if it seems natural to you.
A great way to learn dialogue is to record people talking and then writing it down, word for word. People, generally, do not speak in perfect English. Broken phrases. Dependent clauses. Etc.. It's how people talk.
Why call the guy a mystery man? Why not just call him George? We already know the man doesn’t know who he is because he asks who the guy is.
The man? This is the second script I’ve read recently where a pivotal character is called the man. Why didn’t you call him Frederickson? Were you intending that we weren’t supposed to know his occupation until the end? Because I assumed immediately he was a judge when he took off black robes as he entered his office.
The dialogue didn’t ring true. If someone showed up in my office and I asked him how he got in and he responded, “Never mind how I got in;” I wouldn’t tell him to make an appointment. I wouldn’t have anything to say to him. I’d call security. Why wasn’t the man offended by that comment?
Some of the dialogue was strange to me. For example; “What do you want one to say? Do you want one to forgive you?” I’ve never heard anyone talk quite that way. I mean, there’s not technically anything wrong with it. It just doesn’t sound natural in this particular situation.
The actions of characters aren’t believable either. It doesn’t make sense that George would come there to tell Frederickson he killed his son and tell him he only needed a few minutes of his time. You go to jail for hit and run. George should have expected he would be talking about it a whole lot longer than a few minutes. He should have expected to go to prison.
Frederickson’s reaction didn’t make sense either. He was far too calm about what he’d just learned. Their conversation didn’t ring true at all. You don’t just find out who killed your son and calmly commit murder. It was too calm to be spontaneous and too illogical to be premeditated. It wouldn’t make sense to do it in your own office, especially when you had to get back to work soon.
The job you attribute to a court announcer is performed by a bailiff.
You need to work on writing conversation. A more realistic conversation style will help your story go more credible directions.
I didn't want to be the first one to comment on this because I didn't really know how to say everything. But after Breanne and Phil's comments, I think I might feel more comfortable reviewing this script.
The dialogue was hard to follow, along with unbelievable. Nobody talks like that, as Phil and Breanne have stated. I had to reread almost every line to understand what they were trying to say. Even then, some of the lines I still didn't understand, but I didn't bother rereading them over and over again until I understood it, so I basically just skipped over it, which probably caused more confusion in the script for me.
Following the above comment, I had no idea that The Man's name was Frederickson, mostly because you continued to refer to him as The Man. Which led to further confusion at the end in the courtroom scene. I didn't know Frederickson was the judge, I thought it was just some random judge. And I thought it just ended right there and that there was more to it, but there wasn't, which is partly why I didn't leave a comment because I had no idea what just happened in the courtroom scene.
You really need to learn to make your conversations more realistic and to have your descriptions flow more easily, along with naming the main characters or we're not going to feel any sympathy for them, and, as for me, we won't know who they are later in the script.
In reflection I have made errors. I tried not to give too many clues away and I have tried to do research on this but was unable to find the right resources. Even using the words 'black robes' was a give away. I tried to read up on the court system used in different countries and what the terms were. I was unsure as to what role the bailiff held. I'll fix this.
On reflection, I should of named my main character to make it an easier read. As for the break in and making an appointment. This needs to be reworked.
Using the lingo “What do you want one to say? Do you want one to forgive you?” It probably isn't common in most parts of the world. But for me, I encounter people every day that speak like this. And that includes judges.
But for the character, I shouldn't have use this as I was unsure.
The confrontation was meant to be over the top and irrational. And I know that this isn't an everyday occurrence.
Even if this was readable, I guess this wouldn't be to everyone's taste anyway.
I didn't have a good feeling going in when I noticed that the script was only 4 pages long and you didn't exactly prove me wrong.
The conversation, as mentioned by others, didn't feel real and there wasn't enough time to build tension. "The Man"'s decision to shoot the driver came out of nowhere. I think this could be fixed by adding a scene before this, maybe a conversation between the man and his wife. Maybe it's the deceased boy's birthday and the wife is depressed, but the man would rather sit in his office and drink away his sorrows. The two could get into an argument and we'd be able to see that months later, the man is still haunted by the hit-and-run incident, rather than having him flatly tell us that in the office.
Also, as others have noted, I would reveal Fredrickson's name sooner than the courtroom scene. I'm sure the newspaper article would have the man's name, or atleast his last name, which George could use when speaking to him in the office. Then in the final scene, when it is revealed that Fredrickson is a judge (a fact I didn't pick up until I read Breanne's comment) the ending doesn't feel vague and anti-climactic.
Overall, an interesting premise but I think it could still use a considerable amount of work.