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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    My Work In Progress  ›  Strings Moderators: bert
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Jed
Posted: October 1st, 2017, 12:45pm Report to Moderator
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STRINGS

An adapted screenplay


Genre: drama? thriller? horror? (you decide).
Rated: NC-17
Length: 130 pages
_____________________

Premise:

After four years of turning tricks in a mob-run New York brothel to pay off a debt, Nina is ready to go back to a quiet life in Iowa. Just one more client and the whole nightmare will be behind her. But this last trick turns into a battle for her soul.

Meanwhile, the brothel’s callous Madam has been hiding away money in order to move up in her family’s organization, and she only wants the half million dollars the reclusive billionaire pays for the girls. But her driver, Ramón, has other ideas, making off with the money left behind when Nina’s last trick goes unexpectedly awry.

The theft comes at a great cost to the Madam, setting off a horrific chain of events that changes the three of them.

The hooker. The driver. The Madam. All of them on a collision course to a place where only madness holds sway.

_____________

Dear members of the SS forums:

Strings is a passion project I worked on earlier this year. It's a fan adaptation of an obscure novel of the same title, by author Allison Dickson, who was kind enough to give me permission to take a shot at it. I think deep down, she knew Hollywood wouldn't touch this kind of genre bender with a 10 foot pole (we both knew it actually, but I decided to write it anyway, just for the hell of it  ).

I even designed my own poster, for shitz and giggles, with photos of actors I imagined would be suitable for the roles.

http://jmp.sh/xcNtDh7


I hold no official rights to this 130-page beast. This endeavor is intended only as an exercise in adapting a novel. I will post it here, in fragments, so it can be dissected and critiqued. Feel free to do with it as you please.

At any rate, your feedback is most welcome.

J. Z.

__________________

Here are the first 14 pages (half of Act I):

Enjoy:

http://jmp.sh/GSj11gP






Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  October 1st, 2017, 1:22pm
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Marty
Posted: November 9th, 2017, 9:52am Report to Moderator
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Jed,

I was hoping to help you out give your poster a look and the first fourteen pages of ACT I a read.

Any chance you can put a link to either a google drive or drop box account for it?

All the best,
Marty
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Jed
Posted: November 11th, 2017, 4:42am Report to Moderator
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Hey, Marty.

Didn't realize the original links were troublesome.

Here you go:


https://www.dropbox.com/s/1pw8j0vc5xm3jvu/Poster.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ya3u1msvqi78y5e/STRINGS%20-%20Fragment%201.pdf?dl=0


Thanks in advance.


J. Z.
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Marty
Posted: November 11th, 2017, 5:51am Report to Moderator
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Jed,

Thank you for the new links. I'll take a look at it later on today and give you some feedback and notes if I have some.

All the best,
Marty
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Marty
Posted: November 12th, 2017, 11:11am Report to Moderator
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Jed,

Could you please do me a favor?

In reference you your poster and the actors and actresses you would like us to picture as the characters (The Hooker, The Madam, The Driver, The Mobster, The Tycoon) in your film, could you please list the names of them?

I will keep my views of them separate from the story and then tell you my feelings after incorporating them.

Forgive me, I don't recognize all of them.

All the best,
Marty

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Marty  -  November 12th, 2017, 11:24am
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Jed
Posted: November 12th, 2017, 4:12pm Report to Moderator
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Okay...

I designed that poster back in April, and I've had second thoughts about two of the players since then.


The Hooker: I was thinking of actress Jennie Jacques, because of her physical appearance, and she's the perfect age to play the part. But now I have no particular preference.


The Madam: Eva Greene. I cannot imagine anyone else in that role.


The Driver (a Mexican): I think Damian Alcara would fit the bill nicely.


The Mobster: I was thinking Joe Pesci, but then I realized two things. He's a bit too old for the role now, and he can only play Joe Pesci himself.  


The Tycoon: Jason Biggs.


Best regards,

J. Z.


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Marty
Posted: November 13th, 2017, 9:29am Report to Moderator
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Jed,

First off, sorry this took me awhile to finish. My apologies.

Just a few opinions and suggestions on my end.

Poster:
-It's not bad. Overall with the city, "Who's pulling your strings?" The blood splatter. I like it.
-My only suggestion would be that I think, in my opinion it would like even cooler if the characters were on strings as well. But that's just me.

PDF header:
(Printed with an unregistered version of Fade In)
-Use a free version of Celtx, WriterDuet or Fade In.
-That should address that unregistered version.

Sluglines/Scene Headers:
Example:
EXT. BALLAS MANOR / UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - DAY
-should be,
EXT. BALLAS MANOR - UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - DAY
-or,
EXT. BALLAS MANOR, UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - DAY

CONT'D or cont'd:
-I would remove the automatic setting of this. It makes for a better read.

Story:
-I can see where you are going with this story. I think.

Characters in the story:
-We get a good glance at some of them so far. I'd assume some of the secondary characters featured on your poster come more into play a little later in your story?

Characters based off of actor/actress choices:
-All are good choices and no one I thought was off. So my actors and actresses would be just for a second choice thought.
The Hooker: I was thinking of actress Jennie Jacques, because of her physical appearance, and she's the perfect age to play the part. But now I have no particular preference.
-Maybe Samara Weaving?
The Madam: Eva Greene. I cannot imagine anyone else in that role.
-Maybe Jessica Chastain?
The Driver (a Mexican): I think Damian Alcara would fit the bill nicely.
-Maybe Cliff Curtis?
The Mobster: I was thinking Joe Pesci, but then I realized two things. He's a bit too old for the role now, and he can only play Joe Pesci himself.  
-Maybe Ray Liotta?
The Tycoon: Jason Biggs.
-Maybe Ethan Hawke?

Action:
-Your action lines get talky in some parts. Almost like you are talking to the reader. I do this too.
Example:
Kali's eyes betray a cold, calculating determination, like a woman whose long-laid plans are on the verge of fruition.

Montages/Flashbacks:
-If you have to use them, do. But try to use them sparingly and only if necessary. You have a lot of montage scenes in fourteen pages that you could have easily just written out as scenes and shown us.

Dialogue:
-The dialogue is pretty good. Some spots fell flat but overall, it wasn't bad.  

Overall, keep working at the script and your craft.
Read. Write. Rewrite. Repeat. You've put a lot of effort into it so far.

I hope some of this has been helpful.

Best of luck to you with your current and future projects.

All the best,
Marty
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Jed
Posted: November 13th, 2017, 2:49pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Marty.

Thanks a bunch for the tips.

Don't worry about the "Free Version" header or watermark at the top of the pages. This is just for the experimental draft I'm posting on this forum. It will disappear eventually.


Quoted Text
-My only suggestion would be that I think, in my opinion it would like even cooler if the characters were on strings as well. But that's just me.


Yes, indeed. That's a good idea. I also envision strings zapping across the screen at various angles, as the opening credits play.


Quoted Text
CONT'D or cont'd:
-I would remove the automatic setting of this. It makes for a better read.


I didn't know you could toggle the settings for this. Anyway, thanks for the pointer.



Quoted Text
Story:
-I can see where you are going with this story. I think.


Oh, no...There are plenty of unexpected turns in this tale, I assure you.



Quoted Text
Your action lines get talky in some parts. Almost like you are talking to the reader. I do this too.


You're absolutely right, and you're not the first person to tell me this, but I do tend to overwrite sometimes. It's just me. I prefer the smooth flowing wording that is more akin to novels, over the choppy brevity of screenplay style writing. It's a habit I'm going to have to overcome, down the road.


Quoted Text
-Montages: If you have to use them, do. But try to use them sparingly and only if necessary. You have a lot of montage scenes in fourteen pages that you could have easily just written out as scenes and shown us.


I think the reason is that the first 9 pages of the screenplay, which establish the mood by introducing the reader to Mr. Hank Ballas, will be overly long if written in normal scene format. Because I chose the approach of introducing the main antagonist first (which I believe can be quite effective sometimes), I had to sort of "get to the point" faster, and introduce the protagonists as soon as possible. The montage in that opening sequence helps move the final four months of Lady Ballas' pregnancy forward. as quickly as possible.


Regarding the actors, Let's postpone this until the end, after everyone's been introduced.


Here is the second fragment, also 14-pages long, which completes ACT I. (When the door swings shut at the end, we know ACT II is about to begin).

Enjoy:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3oj3tnfecdeyec3/Fragment%202.pdf?dl=0


Also, here's a photo of a painting from the NY Museum of Modern Art. You'll know what that is once you reach that part:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5an1y82lpcjznpj/58-1024x677.jpg?dl=0


Appreciate the encouragement.

J. Z.



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Marty
Posted: November 13th, 2017, 3:04pm Report to Moderator
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Jed,

That sounds great and I'm glad some of the feedback was deemed useful.

I'll take a look at the next fourteen pages and get back to you later on.

All the best,
Marty
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