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Posted: May 31st, 2009, 3:39pm
SPOILERS, always spoilers................ * * * * * * * * This is really well written, but maybe over-written? You go into a lot of detail, especially describing the store and condition it's in. Not a big deal, it just felt like more than 12 pages.
I read it twice, thinking maybe i missed something. It seems simple enough. A man's retiring, looking forward to his golden years, but then his wife, confronted by the robbers, has a heart attack. Eariler you thu in a little misdirection w. the medication. That piece, along w. returning to the golf clubs and news paper just kind of fell flat. It didnt have the impact I think you wanted it to. Maybe i did miss somethin?
It is well written, but i didnt feel any connection to Jim or his wife, so her dying was just kind of a 'oh well' moment for me. Maybe if Jim's retirement was made to mean more to both of them, to bring them back together after some kind of problem, their being robbed of that opportunity would've had more of an impact.
I also didnt get the book that was given to him. I understand it on the surface, but am missing some subtext somewhere maybe. I do hope I've misunderstood something. One problem that I am certain of is the robbers dialogue. It was very cliche, cheesey. Otherwise it's well written and i wanna like it.
You always make such an effort in reading others' scripts, so I felt compelled to read yours - and I am glad I did.
Well, this script is an example of how the same story can divide opinion. I read Astrid's comments above, and where she feels no connection with Jim and Nora, I felt involved in what they were doing. The essence of the story is not original, however, that barely matters. You have written this one very well, and I like how you reversed expectations; I - and I think others may - was expecting that Jim would be the victim, and we were led to believe this was happening, and then on page 10, I saw exactly where you were going with it, which was nicely done. Regards the actual heart attack, I would personally propose a more dramatic ending for Nora. It just felt a little too understated.
Some of the descriptions were maybe a little extended, yet they felt very deliberate, and in tune with what - I think - you were attempting to achieve.
I can see where Astrid is coming from re: a lack of 'punch', but that's exactly what I liked. This was a very understated, sparse script and the small town imagery that you depicted felt right for the story being told.
The scene between Mary and Jim was done in such a powerful manner, and that stood out for me.
I think you did a great job, however, I think this one is suited to people who like something a little understated, IMO. Therefore, it may be a bit of a niche script... maybe. I hope not, 'cos I think this one deserves a lot of credit.
What a fantastic reversal in the end. I totally saw the "other" ending coming - not this one. Bravo. Was it over-written? When reading the first five pages, yes, but the more I read the more weight all those extra words in the beginning started to carry. I really felt for Jim, and I was definitely fearing that he would die on his last day at work. That's the benefit of a somewhat long opening that, luckily, pays off in the end.
Also, nice symbolism with the book - Jim ending up alone, shipwrecked so to speak.
I really liked this one Col, much better than the other you mailed me.
Keep it up.
Oh, and, on the first page, "CALANDER" is usually spelled "CALENDER"
I must rly be cold cuz the woman's death didn't effect me at all. Maybe this says more about me than it does the script? Scary! There is tho a lot to like about this script. It's well wriiten n it's obvious that a lot of time and effort was put into it. I also understand the book thing better now, so thx Sniper!
Hey, The pacing and Jim's character were what really worked here. I immediately had an image in my mind of who Jim reminded me of and I think most people who read this will have their own. He's a very relatable, everyday guy that you can't help but root for. The pacing of the first few pages set up things well, from the feel and look of the town to Jim's everyday life. Too often scripts plop you down in the middle of everything too soon without setting up the story world, but this built it gradually and it helped in the long run.
The junkies were introduced early, everyone will see what's coming, but it doesn't hurt the story at all. Only small bit of advice would be to spice up the logline a tad. A really good old fashioned intriguing read, with a somber ending that wasn't rushed at all. Nicely done! Nate
Hi Col, great to read a new short by you. I enjoyed this, it was very carefully crafted and thought through. Was it inspired by people in the area you live? It had that very definite English street type of feel. I did think the opening scenes are over detailed a bit. This could put some readers off. You could perhaps just go from bedroom to kitchen then outside fairly quickly? The shop scenes were set up nicely and I agree with Andrew; the dialogue with Mary was superb. It really enriched things and was easy to picture. Nora having the heart attack was a good twist. I didn't catch the reference at first with the book, but someone above pointed it out. Over all top job.
A couple of grammar observations: twice you had Tom instead of Jim at the shop. And also I noticed you start words with a capital after an ellipse; i'm pretty sure you should stay lowercase. Cheers buddy.
Hey Col, I enjoyed the story of this one. Like others, I thought I could see the ending coming but you gave a nice little twist there.
I noticed the same things as Stevie. When I read the name Tom a couple of timee I had to go back and check to make sure I hadn't missed a character. Also with using capitals after ellipses and dashes, it may be a small thing but it was enough for me to get distracted from the story. Couple of typos and things as well but those are easily fixed.
I was halfway through reviewing this one earlier when my piece of 5hit laptop crashed... Just read it again and I've got to say that I really did like this one man, very little for me to actually say. There are very few scripts I enjoy reading the second time as much as I did the first, but this is one of them.
I didn't have any problems with your descriptions, in fact I actually liked them. Sure, you describe things in lots of detail, but you managed to paint a very vivid image of the settings in my head. You really nailed the small town British feel. Have you ever been to the Isle of Wight? The locations really reminded me of a few towns there.
One thing I noticed: You say that all the books cost 3.50 euros which kind of threw me off location wise, as I guessed it was set in England. But then the junkie's use "quid" in relation to Jim's earnings, which is an English phrase. Nothing too big, but as an English lad, it confused me a little.
But yeah, this was a very good script man. The junkie robbery was a little predictable, but I didn't predict the actual ending of the script, so congrats there. The pacing of the script was also superb. It was perfect length; You didn't rush along, which allowed you to create real empathy for Jim.
So yeah, congrats here. This is easily my favourite script of yours. Keep up the good work.
It was a decent read. I didn't see the twist the other folks were referring to though. he's still going along with the trip despite his wife's death? I don't see a major problem with this. Some folks might want to get away from the memories and in truth, it's really a new life awaiting him.
First off, thanks to everybody who has taken the time and effort to read and feed this, both positive and negative, its all very much appreciated. A friend gave me some excellent ideas when knocking this into shape so he must take some of the credit. I’ll try and answer your queries, problems and suggestions the best I can and hopefully clear up a few issues one or two may have with it.
Although you didn’t particularly like it, its great to hear your comments, thank you.
Yeah, you could say it is a little overwritten in parts but as Sniper pointed it out as it was my intention to give added weight to these details, to build Jim’s character, emphasise his morning routine, the dilapidated shop, etc.
Sorry you didn’t feel anything for Jim when his wife died. Or the different symbols of a supposed enjoyable retirement lying in wait for them. The reason why I showed the paper with his shop in the for sale section was to suggest that he might yet take the store off the market now that Nora isn’t around to enjoy his retirement with or at least give the impression that he still has an opportunity to do so. I tried to give the impression during the piece (especially with Mary’s scene) that Jim, even though is looking forward to his “Golden Years” will still miss the shop. He is doing it primarily for Nora so he can look after her properly given her poor state of health. Of course, age and lack of business are also contributing factors in him reaching this decision.
“Maybe if Jim's retirement was made to mean more to both of them, to bring them back together after some kind of problem, their being robbed of that opportunity would've had more of an impact.” – As I explained above, Jim is looking to the retirement as a time where he can look after his ailing wife properly, spend more time together and of course take her on that cruise…which he never gets a chance to even tell her.
One problem that I am certain of is the robbers dialogue. It was very cliche, cheesey. Otherwise it's well written and i wanna like it – Maybe the co-operation line could go. I was going for a smash and grab type robbery. They’re junkies after all, which means more than likely part time petty thieves, desperate for their next fix, so its desperation stakes, a quick in and out. I kept their dialogue to a minimum for the very pitfall you’ve mentioned. I mean what do a couple of suffering dope fiends say to one another when planning to hit a place?
Again thanks for your comments, a pity in didn’t work for you but that’s the thing, it’ll work for some and not for others. I resigned myself long ago to the fact that you simply can’t please them all in this business.
Andrew, Sniper, Nate.
Thanks for the positive comments, fellas. You all seem to get what I was going for in different ways, which I’m pleased about. What I’m most encouraged by is that you all liked the slow build up and recognised why I chose to go that way with it.
Andrew - “Regards the actual heart attack, I would personally propose a more dramatic ending for Nora. It just felt a little too understated.” – A fair point, I did struggle with that inter cutting of scenes in trying to create some drama, I’ll give it another look.
Sniper - “Also, nice symbolism with the book - Jim ending up alone, shipwrecked so to speak.” – Bang on, my friend.
The cruise they had intended on going on too was also to give the impression that they were embarking on an adventure of their own, unfortunately its not going to happen now.
Also Robinson Crusoe is generally accepted as the first printed book in English for mass distrbution. It could hold a special place in an avid reader’s collection, the original print especially. Not a valuable collectors item or anything, one can probably get it on amazon for a normal price nowadays, it’s just the novelty of it I suppose. It’s a cool cover too, probably the most descriptive one you’ll ever see, practically a first page! Check it out.
Good catch, its actually spelt “calendar” though not "Calander" as I spelt it or "Calender as you suggested. It went undetected on Word cause it’s all in capitals.
Nate - “Only small bit of advice would be to spice up the logline a tad.” – Like most will say, loglines are not my strongest aspect. I didn’t want to give too much away so I went down the short and sweet route.
Steve, Trojen, Tonka
Thanks for the read, lads, glad you liked it.
Steve - No it’s not based on anybody in particular, but I think most people will know a Jim type character, or have come across one in their life.
I was actually thinking more along the lines of an small Irish town but an English one would do too, whichever feels right for the reader.
“I did think the opening scenes are over detailed a bit. This could put some readers off. You could perhaps just go from bedroom to kitchen then outside fairly quickly?” – No I’ll be leaving that as it is, and I’ve explained above my reasoning to do so. If people can’t hold concentration for only a couple of pages while I try and build up a character and situation then I must be in the wrong game here.
Yeah, his name used to be Tom, but I changed it at the last minute (I know, another boring name)
I spotted one when Peter watches him leave the sign out, can you tell me where the other one(s) are, please.
“And also I noticed you start words with a capital after an ellipse; i'm pretty sure you should stay lowercase.” – I think it depends, if there is a gap between one sentence and the next, it should be capitalised, right? Now if it’s a word that’s spaced at the end of a sentence, or wherever within the line, then it will be lower case which is what I abide by. I’ll check it out. If anyone knows the exact rules here, let us know, cheers.
Tonka - “Is that why you picked that specific book?” – Yeah, in part…Not much gets past the Dane, eh! I explained the other significance’s of the book above.
Trojen - “Also with using capitals after ellipses and dashes, it may be a small thing but it was enough for me to get distracted from the story” -- Yeah the ellipses I addressed with Steve above, not so sure on the dashes, again if someone knows the protocol here, grace us with your knowledge, thanks.
“Couple of typos and things as well but those are easily fixed.” -- Besides the Tom mix up and calendar spelling, did you find many others??
Toby, Pia and JamminGirl
Thanks for taking the time, ladies and gent.
Toby - Yeah, a small English or Irish (that’s why I went for the Euro currency) town is what I was aiming for. No, I’ve never been to the Isle of Wight, just scene the footage from the festivals there.
quid" in relation to Jim's earnings, which is an English phrase – “Quid” is used extensively in Ireland too, and carries the same meaning.
“The junkie robbery was a little predictable” – As I said, I was going for a rushed smash and grab operation. I mean, its 2 young twenty something’s against a man in his late 60’s, was it ever going to go any other way? I do see your point though and Andrew made a similar comment so I might reconsider it.
Pia – Always good to hear your thoughts, I’m happy you enjoyed it.
“Who’s Tom” – As highlighted above, it was a previous name I had for Jim. One or two slipped under the radar during the proof reads.
“I guess the book title was good. Going on a cruise, ending up all alone, stranded...” – Yep, like Sniper you made the right connection.
JamminGirl – To be honest I’m not sure what you're getting at in your analysis here.
Firstly, “didn't see the twist the other folks were referring to though” – I sequenced it in such a way at the beginning that we think the medication is for Jim. Thus there is an impending doom hanging over the day that something horrible is going to happen to him…but in reality they are Nora’s tablets, which is revealed in the closing scene, the bottle on her bedside press. The glass tumbler beside it that Jim had filled that morning was for his wife not him as we were led to believe.
“he's still going along with the trip despite his wife's death?” – I seriously doubt that.
“I don't see a major problem with this. Some folks might want to get away from the memories and in truth, it's really a new life awaiting him.” – True, a new life does await him, except he thought he’d be spending it with his wife, instead of alone.
That’s why I have the advert on the paper at the end detailing that the shop is still for sale, maybe he could re-open it sometime in the future. After all, it was for his wife’s welfare that he initially gave it up…among other things.
Much respect again for the reads, people. Its why I put stuff up here, makes it all worthwhile to hear intelligent and thoughtful remarks like these, good, bad or indifferent.
Great set up and description. I was a little less emotionally involved with Nora's tragedy but I did feel the effect on Jim which I suppose was the point. Oh, "The place is quite" should be "...quiet." Nothing more to add to the thoughtful reviews above.
Major lead characters must show GRIT. No wimps! He must do something. He must have forward motion.
I found this to be well written and touching. We didn't get to see much of Nora and Jim together yet know that their relationship was close by little details, such as her making the sale sign to help him, and the ladies’ greeting to Jim, showing that Nora talked eagerly of spending time with Jim on his retirement. Then, of course, his plans, the surprise cruise that Nora she was sadly unaware of. Very nice indeed. The build-up to the big day was such that it's really very moving at the end to see Jim return home without her. All those plans and all those days in the calendar now in front of him? Heartbreaking.