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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short  ›  March of the Martyr Moderators: bert
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SimplyScripts
Posted: August 9th, 2009, 11:10am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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March of the Martyr by Peter Pearson (Muse32) - Short - March of the Martyr is about Amir, a family man brainwashed through his faith into becoming a Martyr . Now a bus full of civilians will have their fates in his hands. 6 pages - pdf, format


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SimplyScripts  -  August 13th, 2009, 9:30pm
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bert
Posted: August 9th, 2009, 12:09pm Report to Moderator
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When I saw this title pop up, I seemed to remember a lot of hand-wringing by the author about controversy of some sort.

Having read this, I have absolutely no idea why, and now I suspect it was more promotion than anything.  But it did get me to look haha.

For a three-pager, there is little to say, and I really only have a few problems.

The first one, an easy fix, is that I think it is important to state where this story occurs.  If it is in Iraq or England or America, the story will have slightly different impact.

The second problem is that white flash.  I understand the voices that follow, and who they represent, but that white flash is kind of an odd device to deliver the message.  It feels a bit contrived.  I would suggest some alternative, but I am not sure what.

I would not give braces to a five-year-old -- that's too young -- and while I usually do not mention typos, "Bust Stop" should really be fixed.

It is hard to give feedback on something so short, but apart from those issues, the writing is fine.    


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jayrex
Posted: August 9th, 2009, 3:14pm Report to Moderator
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Hello Peter,

Just read this piece and I must admit, I don't get the point of the story.  What's going on?

The White Flash moment threw me, I don't get that part too.

All the best,


Javier


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Andrew
Posted: August 9th, 2009, 5:07pm Report to Moderator
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Muse,

Well, what's going on here conceptually is rather interesting, but I do feel like the execution is lacking. Did you ever see 'Paradise Now'? That movie was able to look at the complexities of suicide bombing and how this action weaves into everyday life - the family, the more local devastation of our actions, and that seems to be the core of your idea? The notion that what is intended as an international act of war is much more tragic when viewed through the lens of the local impact.

Entirely agree with Bert that a missing location changes the dynamic - the impact of a suicide bombing in England - where I suspect this is based - differs to that along the Gaza Strip, for example.

At the end of the day, the message here requires a more substantial embellishment than you have currently given it.

Andrew


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Pete B. Lane
Posted: August 9th, 2009, 5:52pm Report to Moderator
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A few points to make:

You describe Amir as a "5 foot 10'' Iranian". His height is unnecessary detail, IMO. Also, how are we (the film audience, not the reader) supposed to know he's Iranian? We could probably tell he's Middle Eastern, but not specifically Iranian. Perhaps you should just describe him as Middle Eastern and write "SUPER: (city), IRAN".


Quoted Text
Sweat runs down his forehead, his hand clenches much fiercely around the strap.

He wipes the sweat from his forehead and...


This is just a personal preference, but I try not to repeat words too often, especially close together. I would use "brow" instead of the second "forehead". It means the same thing and makes for a more interesting read, I believe.

I agree about the 5 year old being too young for braces. I don't recall ever seeing a child that age with them. You could easily make her 10 or so and it would still work for the story - or just forget about the braces.

This story could stand to be a bit longer. Some inner monologue and more stuff with his daughter could add some much needed character insight. We need to see his struggle to do the right thing, not just his revelation that he's doing the wrong thing.

Good luck with it!

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Andrew
Posted: August 9th, 2009, 6:05pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Pete
We need to see his struggle to do the right thing, not just his revelation that he's doing the wrong thing.


To my mind, that is some of the best advice I have seen on the site in a while - too often stories focus on the consequences without exploring the struggle, which is what ultimately draws people into a script/movie. You articulated that very concisely, Pete. This McNugget of wisdom is something I need to imprint, 'cos I fail to explore and instead focus on the thematic of the story. It's all about the audience glue - the journey.

Andrew


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Pete B. Lane
Posted: August 9th, 2009, 6:17pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Andrew
To my mind, that is some of the best advice I have seen on the site in a while...


Thank you very much, Andrew. Now if I could only follow my own advice!

~Pete
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Coding Herman
Posted: August 9th, 2009, 10:16pm Report to Moderator
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Can the writer explain what he/she is trying to say here? I don't see a story. There is no middle or end. Is this a work in progress? Who is the leader and the woman? You have introduced 6 characters in 2 pages and a bit. I suggest go back and flesh out your story and characters first.

EDIT: Okay, I went back to read it a second time and I think I got some of it. So Amir is a suicide bomber on the bus and he figured out that he should not do it. Okay, so this is a scene that shows Amir's revelation but still not a story.


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Angry Bear
Posted: August 9th, 2009, 10:18pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Muse,

good writing, but the story has some issues IMHO.

I've read a lot of these types of stories now and watched a lot of short films too. The last one read was "The Circle" by David Hewson (I think)... That was a good one.

Anyway, like I said, the writing itself was fine, but I think the story was a little confusing. First off, I do agree with a 5 yo having braces. I don't think anyone has braces put in on their "baby teeth".

Second, I think you need a better description of Amir. A lot of Iranians are Persians and don't look the same as Saudis for example... If you want the people on the bus to be suspicious of him describe him as someone might be suspicious of. Meaning distinct Arab looking.Stereotypical even, but just saying Iranian is like saying "he was Swedish". Nowadays that could actually mean an African person so it doesn't really say much if you know what I mean.

I didn't really get the bright flash. Did he think he's gone to heaven where his virgins were waiting, but then was greatful to realize it was just the sun and he did not commit a terrorist act.

You could add to the story the drama/conflict the other bus passengers are going through... That would add a lot.

Anyway dude, you did good. The writing was great, but the story needs some clarification.

Cheers,

Pia  


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Muse32
Posted: August 10th, 2009, 7:12pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bert
When I saw this title pop up, I seemed to remember a lot of hand-wringing by the author about controversy of some sort.

Having read this, I have absolutely no idea why, and now I suspect it was more promotion than anything.  But it did get me to look haha.
    


Hahaha glad it influenced you




Quoted from jayrex

Hello Peter,

Just read this piece and I must admit, I don't get the point of the story.  What's going on?

The White Flash moment threw me, I don't get that part too.

All the best,


The Flash of light was the sun, but can also be misinterpreted as the bomb going off, which I also wanted to do so you don't know whether Amir is dead or alive.




Quoted from Andrew Allen

Well, what's going on here conceptually is rather interesting, but I do feel like the execution is lacking. Did you ever see 'Paradise Now'? That movie was able to look at the complexities of suicide bombing and how this action weaves into everyday life - the family, the more local devastation of our actions, and that seems to be the core of your idea? The notion that what is intended as an international act of war is much more tragic when viewed through the lens of the local impact.

Entirely agree with Bert that a missing location changes the dynamic - the impact of a suicide bombing in England - where I suspect this is based - differs to that along the Gaza Strip, for example.


I was going for UK 7/7 terrorist attack, but never mentioned it due to playing it safe, but now I've actually went off and tried to be risky in this new version. (hoping not to offend anyone who suffered anything from that date)



Quoted from Pete

You describe Amir as a "5 foot 10'' Iranian". His height is unnecessary detail, IMO. Also, how are we (the film audience, not the reader) supposed to know he's Iranian? We could probably tell he's Middle Eastern, but not specifically Iranian. Perhaps you should just describe him as Middle Eastern and write "SUPER: (city), IRAN".



Yeah, sorted that out now also adjusted the girls age and changed it to brow, thanks



Quoted from Coding Herman

Can the writer explain what he/she is trying to say here? I don't see a story. There is no middle or end. Is this a work in progress? Who is the leader and the woman? You have introduced 6 characters in 2 pages and a bit. I suggest go back and flesh out your story and characters first.

EDIT: Okay, I went back to read it a second time and I think I got some of it. So Amir is a suicide bomber on the bus and he figured out that he should not do it. Okay, so this is a scene that shows Amir's revelation but still not a story.


Yeah, originally I was just going for a revelation, but seems the reader needs more to this, so I hope I've done that.


Quoted from Angry Bear

Hey Muse,

good writing, but the story has some issues IMHO.

I've read a lot of these types of stories now and watched a lot of short films too. The last one read was "The Circle" by David Hewson (I think)... That was a good one.

Anyway, like I said, the writing itself was fine, but I think the story was a little confusing. First off, I do agree with a 5 yo having braces. I don't think anyone has braces put in on their "baby teeth".

Second, I think you need a better description of Amir. A lot of Iranians are Persians and don't look the same as Saudis for example... If you want the people on the bus to be suspicious of him describe him as someone might be suspicious of. Meaning distinct Arab looking.Stereotypical even, but just saying Iranian is like saying "he was Swedish". Nowadays that could actually mean an African person so it doesn't really say much if you know what I mean.

I didn't really get the bright flash. Did he ...


You actually got this straight away with the flash, which I'm quite happy about hope you like the new changes.


-- CLICK ON ME TO READ MY SCRIPTS --

Sent to Hell (Short, Horror) FURY (120+ page Feature, Horror) Dead End Street (29 page Short, Horror) March of the Martyr (6 page Short, Drama)

Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Muse32  -  August 16th, 2009, 4:32pm
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Dreamscale
Posted: August 11th, 2009, 4:14pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Muse, I gave your revised draft a read, as you requested.  I took page by page notes which should help with some issues, such as repetitiveness, and run-on sentences.

I think it’s pretty decently put together, and I like the flashback with Souri.  I don’t really get what happened to Souri and his wife though, as it seems like buses are blowing up left and right around here…is that the way it is?  I think it would help to mention that Souri isn’t in her bed when he takes the DVD from under the pillow, as I wasn’t quite sure.

This could use some fleshing out, and I think that would most likely increase the affect of the twist at the end.  All in all I think it’s a pretty decent little script.

Good job!

Page 1 – I would think the “FADE IN” would have to come before the SUPER, wouldn’t it?

You don’t have an opening slug.

Opening passage is too long a sentence, with too many different thoughts.  It also contains too much and unnecessary detail, IMO.

Second passage has some problems.  You use “reading” twice” here.  Try not to repeat words or phrases right next to each other, as it stands out.  Second “sentence” is a run-on.  You could replace the comma after “him” with a period, and start a new sentence with the rest of it.  Also, you need a comma after “out”.

“A friendship band grabs his attention, wrapped around his wrist, made by his daughter.” - All this information is shown in your flashback, making most of this unnecessary and repetitive.  I would take out “friendship band” and “made by his daughter”.  It will save you a line and it will read better when the flashback kicks in.

Missing a period after “Thank you”

Page 2 – You used “and sees” in 2 consecutive sentences.

You also used “the Bus” twice in 1 sentence.  No reason to cap “bus” here.

“He heads up to the back of the bus, the eyes of seated passengers judge him as he walks past.” – couple issues here.  It’s a run-on sentence.  You can fix it by replacing the comma with a period and then starting a new sentence.  The opening part, “heads up to the back…” is awkward because “up” usually refers to the front, not the back.

“His hand tightly grips on the strap of the bag, a PASSENGER looks over at him, and stares at his clenched fist.” – This is another run-on sentence, with the same issue as the others.  You can fix it by replacing the comma with a period.  What makes these run-ons is the fact that you are combining 2 completely different thoughts together, with 2 completely different subjects.

“Amir looks at the passenger, who quickly looks away when confronted by Amir’s eyes.”

I’d get rid of “by Amir’s eyes”, as it’s unnecessary and repeats “Amir”, which you don’t want to do unless you have to.  You don’t have to here at all.

“Laughter of Souri fades in, slowly becoming louder.” – Afraid this will be an unfilmable, the way you’ve written it here.  No one will have a clue where the laughter is coming from or who it is coming from, unless you do some sort of quick cut flashback or the like.

“Sweat runs down his forehead, his hand clenches much fiercely around the strap.” – This is awkwardly phrased, and also seems to be missing a word like “more” before “fiercely”.

Page 3 – “He wipes the sweat from his brow and looks around, Amir rolls up his sleeve and looks at his watch ticking the seconds away.” – Run-on again.  Replace the comma with a period.  Also, you used “and looks” twice.

Is “WHITE FLASH” supposed to be a slug?  I think this “scene” needs some work.  First of all, no one will have a clue who the OS voices are coming from, or what they mean.  I think we’re still on the bus, but maybe the white flash means we’re in some sort of dream or something.  Either way, having Souri come running into the scene is probably an issue…I’m not sure, but I think there is a much better way to gt this across so it makes more sense and is clearer and easier to follow.

Page 4 – This time you used “down”, when he’s going to the front of the bus.  You’ve got these 2 backwards – “up” equates to “front”, and “down” equates to “back”.

Missing a period on 3 lines in the dialogue near the bottom of the page.

Page 5 – “officer’s” should be “officers”

Missing a period after “baby”.

Page 6 – Your slug heading doesn’t work or make any sense.  You can write this without a new slug by saying something like, “On TV screen”, and then just show what’s on the video.  It will work much better.


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Dreamscale  -  August 12th, 2009, 12:02pm
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Muse32
Posted: August 12th, 2009, 6:49am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for checking this out Dreamscale.

¥¥ SPOILERS ¥¥

In the beginning Souri thanks her father for lettin her go on the trip... Unfortunately she is on her way to school with her mom, and that bus is the one that exploded in london on 7/7/05.

Not sure if your familiar with that terrorist attack on England. Ive tried to keep everything close to the facts with this, to make it more realistic, but add my own story to it.

During the flash on the bus, bits of dialogue is in there, the birth of his daughter, the scene where he's making the dvd and Souri running up to him with his rucksack. The same device that would kill her soon, a sick irony so to speak.

Glad you liked the story, hopefully my execution in writing will develop over time and become much better.

I reccomend looking up the 7/7 attack on google. Might give you a different perception on the story.


-- CLICK ON ME TO READ MY SCRIPTS --

Sent to Hell (Short, Horror) FURY (120+ page Feature, Horror) Dead End Street (29 page Short, Horror) March of the Martyr (6 page Short, Drama)

Revision History (1 edits)
Muse32  -  August 12th, 2009, 9:26am
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