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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short  ›  The Return Moderators: bert
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SimplyScripts
Posted: March 3rd, 2010, 10:55pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Return by James Redd - Short - TJ Haywood, a decorated US soldier, returns home and recounts the hardships and personal battles he endured to his best friend. 3 pages - pdf, format


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screenrider
Posted: March 3rd, 2010, 11:08pm Report to Moderator
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Okay...

This genuinely got me.  You had me going until the very last lines and then whammo, curve ball.  I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.   But this is definitely worth a read.

Great job.
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dogglebe
Posted: March 3rd, 2010, 11:17pm Report to Moderator
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I read this twice and I just don't get it.  Was this meant as a joke?  I expected some serious discussion between TJ and Brandon and was interested in how serious you could make this in three pages.

I'll have to read it again.


Phil


The Devil's Jokebook  
An ancient relic disappears.  And Heaven and Hell will fight to get it back.


Finalist, Shriekfest Horror Film Festival screenplay competition.
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Ledbetter
Posted: March 4th, 2010, 12:48am Report to Moderator
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I don't wish to sound overly sensitive regarding our military and the route you took but I am from six years in and have had a few of these conversations with friends (and family) returning home and DEALING WITH THESE FEARS.

I felt is was a bit clever but at the expense of a beer commercial type ending.

I think you really had dialog working in your favor had you kept it on a serious level. Almost like you had been there.

Actually, when I was reading it, I also thought you were going to take an after life type approach. Like they were both dead and one was helping the other to cope.

Shawn.....><


EQUAL RETRIBUTION
[XX] - (Double) Worth the read - Scriptshadow

*REVIEW OF "WDKY" ON SCRIPTSHADOW*
http://scriptshadow.net/amateur-friday-what-doesnt-kill-you/

*PRODUCTION UPDATES*
http://futureproofentertainment.com/development
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dogglebe
Posted: March 4th, 2010, 12:59am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Ledbetter
Actually, when I was reading it, I also thought you were going to take an after life type approach. Like they were both dead and one was helping the other to cope.


That, actually, would make a great story.


Phil



The Devil's Jokebook  
An ancient relic disappears.  And Heaven and Hell will fight to get it back.


Finalist, Shriekfest Horror Film Festival screenplay competition.
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Trojan
Posted: March 4th, 2010, 1:09am Report to Moderator
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To me this comes across like a bad sketch from Mad TV. I think you would have been better off taking this story in a serious direction and playing it straight.

But if you go the comedy route you need to have an element of believability in there for it to be funny.

SPOILERS


So he is away on a two day retreat? Fine, but that completely undermines the conversation they have about still looking the same, and keeping his good looks etc.  You might think that is part of what makes it funny, but I would argue this is what ruins it. You overplay it to the point of absurdity and since there is no basis of truth here then the comedy feels forced. That is the problem with a lot of sketches on TV.

I think you could give this a rewrite and find a different way to tell this story (if there is one there) that doesn't just rely on a big build up with a cheap gag as a payoff.

Cheers,
Tim.


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screenrider
Posted: March 4th, 2010, 1:18am Report to Moderator
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James,

It appears as if the gag might've gone over a few peoples heads.  Or maybe it went over mine.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read it like TJ and Brandon were on a company retreat playing paintball.  True or false?  The paintball schtick is funny, if that's in fact what you were going for.  If not, then you might wanna rework the ending just to clarify.

P.S. - I can see where Ledbetter is coming from.  PTSD isn't too funny when it comes to our brave soldiers.
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Trojan
Posted: March 4th, 2010, 1:36am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from screenrider
It appears as if the gag might've gone over a few peoples heads.  Or maybe it went over mine.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read it like TJ and Brandon were on a company retreat playing paintball.  True or false?


Clearly from the dialogue TJ and Brandon were not together. That's why Brandon is asking TJ all about it.


Quoted Text
The paintball schtick is funny, if that's in fact what you were going for.  If not, then you might wanna rework the ending just to clarify.


Whether it is paintball or something else, that is the gag. But it has been done a zillion times before. Exaggerating a trivial event way out of proportion to lead us in one direction and then shock us with the gag at the end. But the problem is the characters' actions are completely outside of reality for the actual event that it cheapens the humor. If I can't buy the premise or believe the characters are behaving in a way that is real, then ultimately I fail to identify with it and laugh at it.

Cheers,
Tim.


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albinopenguin
Posted: March 4th, 2010, 1:51am Report to Moderator
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i think the problem with this script is that is goes way too serious and way too deep for way too long. i think you should make the wartime dialogue a little bit lighter and definitely shorten its duration. when people start caring about the characters (as a few on this forum did) and start becoming intrigued in what they have to say - well it feels like a punch in the balls when the gag comes. they almost feel as though they were led on.

also, i think the ending could be a bit clearer considering a few people didnt get it. myself, i thought i knew what happened but i wasnt 100% sure until i read other people's comments.

oh and PTSD is a very touchy subject. i like to think that no subject is taboo...but thats one where i wont even go (just because it invokes an immediate negative response no matter how funny/clever the script is)


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screenrider
Posted: March 4th, 2010, 2:09am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Trojan


Clearly from the dialogue TJ and Brandon were not together. That's why Brandon is asking TJ all about it.



You're absolutely right, Trojan.  I had to go back and read it again.   But I still think the paintball gag would be funny.  Different strokes for different folks I guess.


Quoted from albinopenguin
it feels like a punch in the balls when the gag comes. they almost feel as though they were led on.


I'm not trying to be a smart-a**, Albino, but isn't this what you could consider a "big twist?"   For me that's what storytelling's all about.   I'll be curious to hear what the Author actually had in mind for this one.


Revision History (1 edits)
screenrider  -  March 4th, 2010, 3:10am
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Craiger6
Posted: March 4th, 2010, 9:35pm Report to Moderator
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I didn't see the ending coming and I admit, I was surprised.  Some may find the subject matter a little touchy, and I admit, I don't think I would write something like this, but to each his own.  I will defend our troops to my last breath, and their sacrifice should not be taken lightly, but then again, it's that very sacrifice that allows you, me, and all the rest of us to come on here and share our little stories.  

As far as the story itself, I def got a little chuckle out of the ending.  When I was about halfway through I was wondering how you were going to pull this off in only three pages.  

Couple of things:

Seem to be missing a (cont'd) for Brandon on page one.

I'd also think about breaking up some of TJ's dialouge with a little action sequences.

All in all, like I said, I had a chuckle at it.  Good luck.

Craig


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albinopenguin
Posted: March 5th, 2010, 2:50am Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
I'm not trying to be a smart-a**, Albino, but isn't this what you could consider a "big twist?"  


not when the twist isnt all that clever. if there's a big payoff at the end, then we feel like it was worth reading. when there isnt, we just feel suckered.

for example

the sixth sense- awesome twist ending that made us all go "holy s*** i cant believe i didnt see that coming"

the village- awful twist ending that made us walk out of the theatre grumbling and complaining (because we knew M Night was laughing all the way to the bank)


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screenrider
Posted: March 5th, 2010, 12:51pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from albinopenguin

not when the twist isnt all that clever. if there's a big payoff at the end, then we feel like it was worth reading. when there isnt, we just feel suckered.


Aw c'mon, Albino...why so serious?   I guess we'll just have to agree that we disagree on this one.  Won't be the last time.  

It'd be nice if the Author of this script chimed in.  Hey, dude!...are you out here?  What was TJ doing that traumatized him so much?  
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albinopenguin
Posted: March 5th, 2010, 2:10pm Report to Moderator
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haha i really wasnt being all that serious. forum replies, just like text messaging, do not convey intentions or tone of voice unfortunately. and yes, it wont be the last time haha i like you screenrider, you keep me in check

and ill second the notion that i want the author to stop on by and say a few words


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screenrider
Posted: March 5th, 2010, 3:26pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from albinopenguin
haha, i like you screenrider, you keep me in check


I like you too.


Awwwww.
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