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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short  ›  The Ducks Come Out to Groove About Moderators: bert
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SimplyScripts
Posted: September 9th, 2009, 5:50pm Report to Moderator
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Ducks Come Out to Groove About (and have fun in the Sun), The by Simon Lewis (niles crane) - Short, Drama - 1967. The Summer of Love. An ordinary young man sits in a park and spots a beautiful young woman, an event which will lead to a fantastic tale of romance, John Lennon and dancing ducks. 6 pages - pdf, format


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SimplyScripts  -  November 6th, 2009, 1:15pm
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grademan
Posted: September 10th, 2009, 12:48pm Report to Moderator
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THE DUCKS COME OUT TO GROOVE ABOUT

I liked this story.  I saw it as a melancholy look at a love that might not have been if we were able to see the future with the help of John Lennon.  With a little tweaking, this would have been an interesting OWC entry.

Here are my questions and opinions. They may come across as bossy but I hope they help.

Gary

QUESTIONS/COMMENTS

With all the Beatles’ references, why close with a Monkee’s song?  Identifying specific songs in scripts is usually frowned upon but your story would have less impact if they weren’t included.

Should the sequences with John be identified as a dream sequence in a slug line? Maybe having John there is enough of a hint that it’s a vision.

Use of “it” and “is” and “we see” borders on too much? For example “A jazzy youth band is performing” could be “A jazzy youth band performs.”

Also “His hair is thinning rapidly” can also mean that hair is thinning right before our eyes?

Are bolding and italics needed? The reader is led to the bold print thinking it must be really important. I don’t think the plague is that critical to the script.

Too many camera instructions? I have yet to figure out how a crash cut differs from a cut. If there’s a scene change, the instructions are dubious. MCU = Mega close up? Let the director decide how close up he wants to be. And a crash fade out seems unnecessary here.

John Lennon had a noticeably British accent. Here, I think he reads as a simple American. Some of his language should hint he was quite the witty and opinionated observer?


Major lead characters must show GRIT. No wimps! He must do something. He must have forward motion.

JAMES SCOTT BELL
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Niles_Crane
Posted: September 10th, 2009, 1:32pm Report to Moderator
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Crash Cut is when it is done very suddenly - on a line say, rather than allowing a beat before a cut. A Crash fade out means that we don't hear his words - he opens his mouth and that's it...

MCU is Medium Close up - ie, you see her full body, or most of it, rather than just a face. I wanted this shot to be done this way. I see no harm in putting such directions into a script - if a Director dislikes it, they can (and probably would) ignore it anyway! (And in any case, my long term aim would be to direct my own material, thus achieving complete creative control).

Ironic you mention Lennon sounding American as I am British. I wanted to avoid writing it in a Liverpudlian style - writing accents and dialects can look poor on a page and I feel is best left to the actor.

Thanks for the read anyway, Gary - it was appreciated. I will make an effort to return the favour asap.

By the way, I wanted a general sixties flavour, hence the use of The Monkees song - but I'd point out that the title comes from a Small Faces song, "Itchycoo Park", though slightly misquoted.
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tonkatough
Posted: September 10th, 2009, 8:09pm Report to Moderator
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Loved it! This is awesome.

Beautiful and whimsical.

A great story with a real Christmas Carol vibe to it but way cooler.  

You fit Lennon into the same mould as Buddha and Jesus, what would you call that? the mystic, saviour guide type.

The flow is dreamy and fluid and just float along.

What I didn't like, the one thing that took me out of the magic of your story was dancing ducks.

Ducks that flap their wings and twirl around and shake their tail feathers I can except, but ducks doing a groovy 60's dance I call bulls*** and would be impossible for the anatomy of the duck to pull off.

Why I point this is out is because you have written this script in such a low key, believable way it makes it easier for us to buy into the magical aspect of your script and embrace it. Groovy dancing ducks is just daft and a bit lame and shatters the believeble fantasy you have constructed.

Oh yeah, lose the Monkey song. That song is retarded because it is now associated with Shrek. (I think that's the one) Plus it is an insult to the Beatles and your wonderful script to close with such a second rate pop band.

But other then that this is a gorgeous script.

And due to your subject matter I know Stevie is gonna be all over this and lapping up every word with glee.

And Stevie, if you read this, please tell us your suggestion for which Beatle song would fit the end of this script. Me, I would go with "When We Was Fab" by George Harrison.  



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tonkatough  -  September 10th, 2009, 8:21pm
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stevie
Posted: September 10th, 2009, 8:36pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Glen.  Yeah, Niles sent me this the other week, before posting and I loved it.

I think every Beatle nut would like it and it stands alone well to the neutrals.

I hadn't give any thought to the song until you and Gary mentioned it. Hmmm..

Maybe John's 'No.9 Dream'?  Or a Beatle song, perhaps...'Because'?


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mcornetto
Posted: September 10th, 2009, 9:00pm Report to Moderator
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I thought this wasn't bad.  A very clear story in a psychedelic situation.  

There are some formatting issues in here and some typos but I'll let others address those.

The real issue I found with this was the "Oh, wow!" factor.  One of the things about the Beatles is that factor and I think you just missed hitting it.

As tonka mentions things like the ducks really don't work visually.  

You do nicely with John's dialogue but I think his last line of dialogue was a bit out of character.  

I don't know if you've watched Yellow Submarine lately or not but watching it would certainly help you capture what this piece needs.

Like I said, it wasn't bad.  You nearly hit the mark with me.  A little more work on it and it will be groovy.

Cheers,

Michael
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Niles_Crane
Posted: September 11th, 2009, 12:30am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from tonkatough
Loved it! This is awesome.

Beautiful and whimsical.

A great story with a real Christmas Carol vibe to it but way cooler.  

You fit Lennon into the same mould as Buddha and Jesus, what would you call that? the mystic, saviour guide type.

The flow is dreamy and fluid and just float along.

What I didn't like, the one thing that took me out of the magic of your story was dancing ducks.

Ducks that flap their wings and twirl around and shake their tail feathers I can except, but ducks doing a groovy 60's dance I call bulls*** and would be impossible for the anatomy of the duck to pull off.

Why I point this is out is because you have written this script in such a low key, believable way it makes it easier for us to buy into the magical aspect of your script and embrace it. Groovy dancing ducks is just daft and a bit lame and shatters the believeble fantasy you have constructed.

Oh yeah, lose the Monkey song. That song is retarded because it is now associated with Shrek. (I think that's the one) Plus it is an insult to the Beatles and your wonderful script to close with such a second rate pop band.

But other then that this is a gorgeous script.

And due to your subject matter I know Stevie is gonna be all over this and lapping up every word with glee.

And Stevie, if you read this, please tell us your suggestion for which Beatle song would fit the end of this script. Me, I would go with "When We Was Fab" by George Harrison.  


Thanks for the read - all comments, even if I don't always agree with them, are much appreciated.

For me, the ducks are a psychedelic reference - this being 1967! I just liked the visual image (and, although the idea is from a non-Beatles song, I felt that they'd fit into the piece). The idea was to equate love with the effects of mind altering drugs.

As to the anatomy of the duck stopping them dancing - they don't talk either, but it never worried Daffy!

Whatever your opinion of The Monkees (and I'd disagree strongly with it) - the song (I have not seen Shrek by the way, and was not aware of the connection) "I'm a Believer" is one of the great pop songs of all time - and fitted in with the theme. As I said previously, the aim was to create a general sixties feeling, not just a Beatles one.

"When we Were Fab" is a nice song - but isn't a Beatles song in any case. The much more obvious song choice would have been "Lucy..." given it's a song about finding the girl of your dreams.

I should say that this story actually started out as something much darker (it did not have a happy ending) and with a totally different approach. I worked it out in detail while sitting in a cafe - but when I started writing it later in the day, it went off in a different direction completely.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment.
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jackx
Posted: September 13th, 2009, 8:27pm Report to Moderator
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Hey niles, cute script.
Don't consider myself a beatles lover by any means, but who doesn't like John Lennon as the ghost of christmas future?

I think everyone else covered the things I noticed, could definately drop some of the we sees without changing anything.  I can see how some of the camera directions are kind of important to how the scripts plays out, but some could probably be implied.  
Also when you freeze frame on the girl, wouldn't it be better to have a super slomo instead?  So we get a little hair blowing in the wind and not just a static photo of her?

I like how the psycadelia of the ducks kind of represents a sense of romance, so when the girl sees them as well it implies they have that in common.

I would say the biggest problem I see with the ducks is that itll be pretty hard to film, especially if you're doing it yourself, but oh well.

Anyways, nicely done.


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stebrown
Posted: September 20th, 2009, 7:47am Report to Moderator
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Hi Niles, nice script you have here. I'm a big Beatles fan and music of that era in general so that element of the script I liked the most.

As someone else mentioned, the camera directions aren't really needed. The freeze frames aside, you can suggest the directions through your descriptions.

You start the script off with '1967' in your opening line of description. I'm not sure if this is something you would want to appear on screen, but if not, I'm not sure why you have that there. The descriptions of the hippies etc tells us we're in that era. If you want the year on screen then - SUPER: 1967. The Summer of Love. - is how you should have it.

I think this would work really well as an animation. Not sure if that's how you see it but with the dancing ducks and general psychedelia, I think it would work well.

The story itself is good and has a strong message to take our chances in life and love. Enjoyed it.

Ste


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Niles_Crane
Posted: September 20th, 2009, 8:02am Report to Moderator
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Hi Ste

That's an idea - the ducks, and maybe other elements could be done with "Yellow Submarine" like animation?

Quite like that suggestion.
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stebrown
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Quoted from Niles_Crane

That's an idea - the ducks, and maybe other elements could be done with "Yellow Submarine" like animation?



Yeah, Yellow Submarine was what I was thinking of.


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alffy
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Hey Simon or do you prefer Niles?

I noticed a few errors and a few too many past tenses but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this.  The story was great and your use of time shift was well done, I had no trouble imagining it at all.

I agree that the Monkeys song at the end was a bit strange, what with all the beatles reference throughout and also Ste's thoughts about animation would look good and give it a more 60's feel.

Good work.


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Niles_Crane
Posted: September 20th, 2009, 4:16pm Report to Moderator
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I am beginning to feel that Niles may be a lucky name as things have been looking up since I adopted it, and I tend to look for omens and portents in things - so for now, at least, I think I prefer Niles!

Re the song as the end - if it should be a Beatles song (despite the title coming from a Small Faces song, which no one seems to mind!), what about It's All Too Much? It's from the right period as well.
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colkurtz8
Posted: September 25th, 2009, 5:51pm Report to Moderator
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Niles

Can't say the logline had me clamouring to read this, Lennon and ducks mmm,  but since the two pieces I did read from you prior to this were so strong "The Hunger Artist" and "Rest My Eyes in Shades of Green" I was going to check it out on that basis anyway.

A sweet story, a touching fantastical element to it dealing with age, things left unspoken and second chances (with the help of a Beatle of all things) that was well expressed and structured. Plus, I got to applaud the randomness of it, did this guy have his coffee laced with acid or what, this dude looked like he was trippin’ balls. Have you cunningly disguised a pro psychedelic drug advertisement under the guise of a heart string tugging love story...?

I notice the time passing similarities between this and “Rest My Eyes...”. It’s a nice effect to quantify the passing of time and unstoppable ravages of time which go with it. On screen, this will always provide a stark, arresting image and here would be no different; the monitoring of Simon falling into that sad routine of sitting on the bench day after day, holding onto that glimmer of the young woman while society perpetually morphs around him...not that he takes any notice.

I don’t know if it’s been said already but you can definitely cut down on the prose. In particular, the word “is” when stressing a verb, it will help tighten the read.
Having said that I did enjoy the vivid images you conjured up in your writing, the park, the time, the culture, the happening band at the time (and still fu?king great, mind you). Naturally I’m too young to have been around that time but it seems, by all accounts, that anything was possible back then, or at least seemed possible. So the fantasy, even fairytale, element of this certainly suited the time and place.

I nice little piece overall, gives you that temporary, warm, fuzzy feeling and instils that unspecified, hopeful sensation we get from time to time when something touches us. I preferred your other two scripts but that’s just me, I’m a cold bastard. Decent job though.

Col.


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Niles_Crane
Posted: September 26th, 2009, 9:52am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Col.

Cold Bastard? Don't believe a word of it, not after "Your Golden Years Await"!

Most people who know me (who have not read these scripts) think I am a grumpy old git, I should say! But deep within the crusty exterior, obviously, beats the heart of an old romantic! Having experienced first hand unrequited love, it seems to have become a theme with me (though I can have it requited in my stories, if I so choose - which is why writing is so much better than real life).

I really must read more of your work as you have now read three of mine - any preferences for which of your list?
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