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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Western Scripts  ›  No Beans in the Wheel Moderators: bert
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  Author    No Beans in the Wheel  (currently 8928 views)
SimplyScripts
Posted: July 4th, 2014, 11:29am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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No Beans in the Wheel by Cameron Dueker - Western - A young outlaw faces hard choices when his notoriety becomes the biggest threat to his gang's crime spree against banks in the Old Southwest. - pdf, format


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SimplyScripts  -  July 31st, 2014, 11:48am
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AnthonyCawood
Posted: July 4th, 2014, 2:53pm Report to Moderator
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Is this in right place, 117 pages???


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
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Screenwriting articles - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles
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CameronD
Posted: July 4th, 2014, 3:31pm Report to Moderator
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This is my first script and the one I've been working on ever since I joined here. I learned a lot from this site while writing it and have tried to participate on the boards, giving feedback and even participating in last April's OWC since I knew you you need to contribute in order to be read. I am eager for any and all feedback, positive or negative on this as well. And I will gladly return any reads. I've put more time in this than I care to admit but I "think" its good. We'll see. That said, my intention all along has been to try and get this out and hopefully sold one way or another, so any criticism that can help get to that point would be awesome. Thanks in advance.


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c m hall
Posted: July 4th, 2014, 10:02pm Report to Moderator
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Many portions of this story are admirably crafted.  Much of the story leads credibly from section to section and the characters are generally distinct and interesting.  

The action, the violence, they are unrelenting.  This was too much for me, I didn't care much who survived by the end.  

I thought the train scene had great tension, good elements of surprise and real energy between the characters.  My thought is that the story becomes less interesting after that.  

The references to Robber Barons and cheating bankers, I think, need to be used carefully -- Gustavus is already a pretty creepy character, I didn't really care about his motivation and sense of justice.  Just my opinion, of course.

Cassandra's character (heroic, resourceful, loyal) is pivotal to the script, I think, any changes that you might make should not in any way diminish her.  

All in all, I think the dialogue seemed bright and crisp.  There's a lean, mean tone to the entire screenplay that seems true to the Western genre.

You should realize that there are numerous spelling and punctuation errors, to the point that it's distracting to a reader.  
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Mr. Blonde
Posted: July 4th, 2014, 10:28pm Report to Moderator
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What good are choices if they're all bad?

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Just a personal thing, Cameron. I said I wasn't a fan of your original title, but after thinking on it for a few weeks, it started to kind of grow on me (a little. Still not a huge fan, but more than I was). I don't think this title will have that same growing effect. =)


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pale yellow
Posted: July 4th, 2014, 10:51pm Report to Moderator
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Love your title...

Try to intro each character before they speak. If they don't have important parts in the script give them an easy name I don't have to remember.

One thing that needs work in my opinion is the dialogue in this. I have a problem with dialogue when I write so don't feel bad...we all have to read it out loud and rewrite what sounds natural or natural for that specific character. Make sure each character has their own voice also if you can. And in each scene, give us a tidbit of information on the character...give us some mystery...or some insight(if they are depressed, lonely, crazy, etc). At times it feels like there is back and forth dialogue that doesn't move the story forward or allow us to know the character better.

I only got into a few pages but I'll try to read when I have more time. Sleep is calling. Good on you for finishing a feature!


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CameronD
Posted: July 6th, 2014, 12:33pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you for reading. I went back through the draft again after some of the comments and tried to make the read leaner and easier by cutting and rewording dialogue and action. CM, I'm glad you liked some of the characters and dialogue. I spent a lot of time on the story and I think it is pretty solid. The execution of that story however I am not sure about, which is why I've posted here.  

Which brings me to the title. Mr. Blonde volunteered to read an earlier version and was super helpful in identifying some lags in the story and my many punctuation mistakes. There were many. (Thought I caught them all) At that point the script had a working title that was simply, Berserk Western, because in truth, the idea from the start was to base this heavily off of the Bersek anime. If you are at all familiar with the anime the similarities should fly out at you. There is a lot of history between samurai movies and westerns and I wanted to follow in that tradition here. I didn't want to say it at first because I wanted to see if the script could stand on its own. No Beans in the Wheel is slang for a revolver with empty chambers and that feeling of desperation and vulnerability from being in that situation translated well to themes in the script. It also sounded very spaghetti western to me which is an added bonus. It took awhile for it to grow on me but I'm glad at the choice I made. It didn't come until the end.

I would still love some more feedback from anybody willing and will return it if anybody has work to critique. Looking back the logline only details the early setup and doesn't really do the rest justice. I need to work on that and avoid it sounding cliche.


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CameronD
Posted: July 8th, 2014, 4:16pm Report to Moderator
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I can't update loglines so please consider the following as a more accurate and refined version. I admit the original is bland and cliche.

A young outlaw faces hard choices when his notoriety becomes the biggest threat to his gang during their crime spree against banks in the Old Southwest. 115 pages.


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Reef Dreamer
Posted: July 9th, 2014, 6:30am Report to Moderator
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where's my simply scripts thong?

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Hi Cameron

Returning the read as promised;

Small point - i wouldn't have the telephone number or date of draft on the script - cane browned upon

p1
it's snowing, not its
the first slightly confuses me - first of there a lot of characters to keep up with and I'm not sure who's at the table, who's elsewhere. we're told four card players yet there are six men alone mentioned
Not sure i like young outlaw when others are named
P3 is there a reason he's called Gunman?

p4 - A small grotesque cobwebbed statue covered sits on a sh.. perhaps this could be clearer. i don't get a sense of the shop, people in there etc
by mid p4 I'm already on over 11/12 characters - be careful on the numbers it breaks from the read
Dean is 46 - too young for retirement? especially in westerns

up to p11

Lets think what we have.

a gang playing cards is attacked by a gunman - unknown, with marking. reference to mad Dog - but we don't see anybody
flashback to earlier times, we assume - see cooper lose his finger
A sheriff takes a prisoner off and in turn losses his younger brother - revenge
a clown, cade, tries and fails to rob a bank and is tracked down - Gustavus appears as leader
he steals the locket - so the emblem of the revenge has passed hands to a man who didn't kill the brother

so, whilst a little messy, a few too many characters IMO, we have the makings of a simple revenge play, good guy tracks down the bad guy, with a mixed up identity

at this point i suppose i wonder who's story this is?

Moving on...

P12 - i assume we cut to older cade, best make that clear just to keep the reader on track
Over a bush CASSANDRA (27), undoes her pants and pees on it.. i thought she had just peed on her pants?
p19 Cooper! Enough! She’s the only onehere I trust with my life, - bit on the nose. think of a way to show it

p 20 Now Cassandra, are you sure thatthese numbers are right? - could be "you sure about that?'

That there isn’t a mistake? That is a problem then. - could be 'Then we've got a problem"

I know. Abraham! You’re up! - could be "Abraham" as he points, kind of an order, gives gravitas

INT. PLACER HILLS BANK - SAFE ROOM - CONTINUOUs - could use a mini slug SAFE ROOM

no need for all your CONTINUOUS in the slug lines - this tends to be used in a big scene where different things are happening at the same time in the same location, not for cutting between scenes

i think you could give a clearer feel for whats its like in the bank - sweating, splinters flying, dust swirling, folk choking, hostages praying - make us feel that tension and moment, likewise in the hotel

p28 neighbourhood watch? in a western?

p28 typo - one
p30 this locket is really being passed round, didn't know why

end at 32 - sheriff goes mean

thoughts.

comes across as expected, a revenge story, brother killed, sheriff goes after them, turning bad on the way

the second bank scene seemed a little random, going back to the same place, just like that. why not use the fact the burial is going on as a suitable time to hit it - they then seem more organised.

I'm still a little lost as to who's story this is. Cade - the cold killer, scared by war
Gustavus - the leader
Dean - the sherif - does he become mad dog? or the gunman

i feel we needed to see more of the bothers together to get depth of emotion, connection and elder brother protection, elder brother looking forward to younger taking over - may be like their father before them
cade - needs to be colder, a more complicated character. a young man tainted by war, struggling with emotions and reactions.

if you took the first scene away would the story suffer??

anyway, all the best with this






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c m hall
Posted: July 9th, 2014, 10:26am Report to Moderator
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I think that in Westerns there's a shorthand of behavior that audiences accept (because the people in a frontier town have cobbled together their various languages and customs to establish some kind of communication) and there's a certain pride in understanding a shared sense of decency with a single look.
So I'm thinking that there's no need to establish that one brother would avenge another's senseless death.  On the other hand, the way that the brother (sheriff) becomes ruthless, that's recognizably human but self indulgent (not heroic) unlike Cade who (seems to) act unselfishly.

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Guest
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Well, Duke, I finally got around to this and it didn't grab me at all.  I remember the opening from a WIP thread.  I wasn't a big fan of it then, but I noted improvement this time around.  I don't know what to say, really.  I don't have any harsh comments or critiques or whatever, but this script and I were just not jiving.  I got as far as 17 pages, expecting a strong goal, cool characters, nasty villains, badass dialogue.  Maybe that comes later, but I don't feel like sticking around to find out because there's nothing holding my attention right now.  That's just my opinion, though, man - you have plenty of people here that seem to like it, so don't worry.     I love westerns, but this wasn't my kind of western.  Get a hold of me when you knock off 20 pages and do some more rewriting.  I'll read that draft, no problem.  

As for this opening - it has potential.  I think you could milk it a little longer and really do something with this scene.  Maybe our hero could waltz in, oblivious to the fact that these outlaws have taken over the saloon.  He orders some dinner, but the waitress doesn't know how to cook because the outlaws already killed the cook for taking too long with their food.  You know, shit like that.  I'm willing to bet Tarantino would have a field day with an opening like that, lasting 25 pages. haha.

I also think you could have had a real funny, awkward scene, when you had that one guy bathing nude and talking to Cade.  You note that the dude makes no effort to hide his nether regions, but that's as far as it goes.   It could have been a good, funny, awkward, entertaining scene.  Try to play it up a little bit more, Duker.  That's what I've gained from the 17 pages I read.  It'll help to make a scene more entertaining.
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CameronD
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Thank you for the valuable input guys. Reef I have heard a few times there are too many characters early on and I can see the point. I think losing a few guys in the opening bar scene won't kill it. Also I can see that it isn't clearly stated the Gunman is a slightly older, much changed Cade from who we see robbing the bank a few pages later. I was trying to keep his identity slightly secretive and let the audience figure it out later to be honest.

The cobwebbed statue was to set up a few things. First Gustavus is an educated man for knowing the obscure artist, and always looking to turn a profit as it's implied he sells the statue back to the owner when he walks out with a wad of money when we see him next. Another subtle theme I was trying to establish here was that old things can still have value. When Dean fends off the attack by his young prisoner, he shows he still can fight, despite age and upcoming retirement. Abraham has an old cap and ball revolver that plays keys roles later on, and Gustavus has a crises moment with this issue head on as well. At the end of the script however the youthful Cade does overcome his older adversaries in Dean and Gustavus. Only when they are gone can he truly begin to become his own man. Old things have value, but by their nature are due to be replaced by the new. You can't hang on forever.

Reef, you are right in that I tried to avoid unnecessary scene description while writing. I didn't want to direct too much and since this is a western I'm assuming the reader knows quite well what the locations should look like. But I am assuming here. Perhaps a little more atmosphere could help at times.

Deadite, the nude scene was supposed to seem more awkward than funny. I wanted Gustavus to come off as a little unnerving at first. I wasn't trying to be too funny. Not there at least.

This IS Cade's story, but Dean, Gustavus, and Cassandra have big parts in it. And revenge plays a big part in everything. I don't want to give too much away but almost every character is seeking revenge on another in some way as the story develops.

Dean seeks revenge on Cade for killing his brother early on.
Gustavus seeks revenge on the banks which ruined his childhood.
Roberts seeks revenge on the gang for the death of his wife.
Cooper seeks revenge on Cade for his jealousy with how Gustavus treats him favorably.
Cade seeks revenge on Dean for killing William.
Mr. Alabaster, a robber baron, seeks revenge on Gustavus for attacking his banks.
Gustavus seeks revenge on Cade for leaving the gang.
Cade seeks revenge on Gustavus for setting him up to be tortured and branded.
Cassandra seeks revenge on Gustavus and Cade at the end for abandonment and implied rape.
And every character pays a heavy price while seeking their revenge. An eye for an eye makes the world go blind. (Maybe Cade should lose an eye at the end. I thought about it)

That said, I know it's asking a lot, but I wish I could have held your attention longer as the first scene is actually one of the very last. When Cade walks into the bar, dressed in black, a branded man, he is a straight up ruthless killer consumed by revenge. Very different from where he begins during his first bank robbery. The movie shows his progression to become more capable, confident, and scarred. As the movie progresses the gang is being hunted into the ground due to Gustavus's recklessness and Cade's murder of the deputy by multiple parties. And Cade himself puts them in danger. Everybody around Cade dies. From his older brother in the Civil War, to everybody in the opening bar scene, to William, to the Dr. who heals him after being branded. He is cursed to be alone. It is for this reason he leaves the gang, as he cares too much for Cassandra to stay with her and put her life at risk with his presence. Without Cade, Gustavus is a shadow of himself and is captured, sentenced to hang. Willing to do anything to save his life he makes a deal to sacrifice his gang resulting in Cade's torture. Left for dead Cade recovers and returns to Placer Hills, a grim reaper, to hunt Gustavus down, starting with his new gang in the bar.

Again thank you guys and everybody for the feedback. It looks like I might have some adjustments to make. Honestly I had taken this as far as I could go by myself and needed outside feedback badly. I don't know if I can cut 20 pages but it seems I need to make the opening more attention grabbing. A lot happens in the first 10 pages, you have to give me that.


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Reef Dreamer
Posted: July 9th, 2014, 3:49pm Report to Moderator
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Just to say, I applaud complexity, but remember the best complexity is in the lead character -where the focus should be - rather than a sea of other characters on a similar journey. Don't be overly worried by others with a Similar path, keep focused on your A lister.

All the best


My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
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YaBoyTopher
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Giving this a read now, Should have a review up the end of the day.

Ok so I read the first 55 pages... I will start with the positive, you are a good writer and this shows that, I enjoy westerns and you have captured the feel of the western genre.

Now for the issues.

First ten pages were a mess for me, it was all over the place and hard to follow, I had no clue what story was about, who was main character or anything. I almost stopped reading here but I continued.

After Cade shoots the deputy the story picked up and I could now get a sense of where it was going. Gustavo and the crew were interesting enough but this brings me to my main complaint with your story, you have so many characters that the story feels spread thin and I never really cared about any of them, they all felt thin and one dimensional.

A story like this requires the reader to care about the characters, we should be rooting for Cade or the sherrif and really want one to succeed. As it stands I didnt have a connection to anyone.

The flashback scenes were meant to help accomplish this with Cade and Gustavo but they didnt work for me they were confusing for me, espevially the Cade one. The Gustavo one was more effective.

The train robbery was very confusingly written for me, maybe I am just dense but I was having a hard time visualizing this scene in action.

My suggestions, mainly would be to streamline the story a bit and focus in on your main characters Cade, Gustavo and the Sherrif, give us more personality and time to show motivations on those three. This will serve your story so much because once we begin to care about the characters the shoot outs and robberies will be more tense then they currently are.

I really feel this story has potential and I can tell you have the skill as a writer to make this really work so re-writing and refining.

I will return to this at some point and finish the read to give you thoughts on the 2nd half.



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YaBoyTopher  -  July 21st, 2014, 7:21pm
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CameronD
Posted: July 22nd, 2014, 1:10pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you Topher. This is a big issue I've been having in that the first act loses too many people. I've been meaning to go back and simplify the first 15 pages to make the read easier but to be honest my personal life is falling apart right now so I haven't cared to work on this. I think making the introduction of the characters less jumpy will help. But as I've mentioned before, the first act really sets up a lot of what follows so I don't want to perform drastic surgery. Maybe just a little nip/tuck.

Thank you for sticking through. I'll keep a look out for your comments and then respond once you've posted. I don't want to say anything else until you've finished. Much obliged.  

Also, where in AZ you from? Phoenix here.


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CameronD  -  July 22nd, 2014, 2:39pm
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