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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Western Scripts  ›  Ideal Truth Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: May 31st, 2017, 4:20pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Ideal Truth by John Staats - Western - Four men struggle with the conflicting testimonies from a recent murder trial. Does it really matter whose truth is absolute? 52 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  May 31st, 2017, 7:42pm
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Warren
Posted: June 13th, 2017, 11:50pm Report to Moderator
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Hi John,

I gave this a look, made it through the first 20.

I have to say that I'm not your ideal audience, I'm not a fan of westerns at all, so that really didn't help.

I'll give some notes on some things I noticed though.

I'm not a fan of an unorthodox title page, just keep it simple.

I feel like there is some over writing.

Note sure I have ever seen this before:


Quoted Text
The pouch is an Apache amulet to protect against evil
Note
and is worn around the neck.


The note with a border around it? If a script is meant to be visual how will the reader know visually what this is?

This was confusing:


Quoted Text
PREACHER
There's never been anything so
terrible. Never. This is worse than
wars. Worse than...I don't know.
DOC
Hey, now, don't get all preachy on
me...I just wanted to hear an
amusing little story while I wait
out the storm...if you're going to
start preaching, I think I'd rather
go sit and listen to the rain.


The Preacher only said 4 lines, it wasn't preachy at all.

Your O/S should be V/O's when you go back into the past. Off screen implies exactly what it says, that the person talking is in the scene but not on screen. This would be a voice over.

I still have no idea what this woman looks like:


Quoted Text
Followed by the Captain is a beautiful WOMAN (late 20's).
Heavenly and angelic.


Heavenly and angelic? So what does she look like?

This may very well turn into a great script but I wasn't hooked by page 20 and that's a problem, again though, I don't like westerns.

I know you said that you thought this could be padded out to make a feature but I still think you are going to fall short at only 51 pages.

Sorry it wasn't more positive. Hopefully someone that appreciates westerns will give it a read, or you could always do a feature exchange with someone.

Best of luck with it.


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Warren  -  June 14th, 2017, 12:06am
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JEStaats
Posted: June 14th, 2017, 7:49am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read, Warren. Yeah, I caught the issue with the O.S./V.O. and have since corrected it in my working revision. Agree too that interaction with the Preacher was clunky.

The description of each character can definitely be worked on as well. Each version of the truth would have subtle differences from their memories.

I appreciate your time and comments!
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eldave1
Posted: June 15th, 2017, 12:07pm Report to Moderator
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JE - had a chance to get through the first five - all in all pretty good stuff. In addition to the comments that Warren had (which I agree with) there are some minor - nitty - issues on your opening page.


Quoted Text
EXT. DIRT ROAD - DAY

SUPER: Arizona Territory - 1862


Some peeps may disagree, but to me, the SUPER should not appear before there is at least some action or description. i.e., it is the text is displayed over an image when we enter the scene. So I would go with.

EXT. DIRT ROAD - DAY

It is an epic mid-summer monsoon of biblical proportion. The
dark sky is frequently ripped apart with sheet lightning.

SUPER: Arizona Territory - 1862


Quoted Text
It is an epic mid-summer monsoon of biblical proportion. The
dark sky is frequently ripped apart with sheet lightning.


The "it is" is a bit clumsy to me. Also don't think you need Epic and biblical. I think it reads better without it - something like

A monsoon of biblical proportion floods the road. The
dark sky is frequently ripped apart with sheet lightning.


Quoted Text
The wagon rolls down main street. Not a single person is in
sight during the deluge. The town looks deserted.
Near the center of town stands the old dead skeleton of a
cottonwood tree.


Don't you need a new scene heading here? He starts out in the desert and now is in Rosemont.

Anyway - like I said, nit issues. You do paint a very effective picture of the setting. It felt authentic.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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JEStaats
Posted: June 22nd, 2017, 11:51am Report to Moderator
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Hi Dave -

Thanks for the read and comments. No argument from me on your points and suggestions. Definitely correct that there should be a new scene heading when he enters the town.

If this were ever to be produced, I would hope that the Producer/Director would understand how visual this would play out. Each testimonial would vary dramatically, from high-contract to B&W to surreal imagery, and so on. A testimonial could even by animated as in Sin City. It could have a very high 'cool' factor.

Thanks again,
John
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eldave1
Posted: June 22nd, 2017, 12:09pm Report to Moderator
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No problem - glad they helped - I agree - there is a lot of cool imagery to play around with here.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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