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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    My Work In Progress  ›  Untitled - semiautobiographical military drama Moderators: bert
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  Author    Untitled - semiautobiographical military drama  (currently 191 views)
GGutshall
Posted: January 11th, 2018, 2:29pm Report to Moderator
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I'm an old veteran and like most old veterans, I have a plethora of stories from my time serving.  After quite a bit of prompting from loved ones who've heard these stories over and over, I began pouring them into a script.  At this point I have a few sequences scripted out but I could use some suggestions for more novel ways to present the material as I feel it is turning into the same old worn, cliche, "Full Metal Jacket" or "Biloxi Blues" type script.

Do however be advised that these experiences date from a time before the "kinder - gentler" military that we have today, so some may find the language a tad too "colorful" for their tastes.  Consider yourself warned.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u4efpz2c622y775/Script%20military.pdf?dl=0
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CrackedAces
Posted: January 11th, 2018, 4:17pm Report to Moderator
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I also am an old soldier, retired in '87. An army motion picture cameraman. Almost got captured on the Karean DMZ with camera in hand, froze my ass off in Alaska doing film documentation of army testing and blowing up stuff, and made boring ass army training films that you were forced to watch.

Your story of life under a DI in Basic Training really moves forward.

SUGGESTION:

First of all, people don't sleep in bunks in an army barracks.  Soldiers or Trainees do.

SCENE HEADING > The dash after the INT or EXT isn't necessary.  INT.  PLATOON BAY - NIGHT will do.

DRILL SERGEANT WILLIAMS as the speaking character over the dialogue can be reduced to WILLIAM (only).
Same fore all speaking characters -- one name will do.  Although, this is a popular way not a convention written in stone.

The PARENTHETICALs need to be on a line of it's own, commonly beneath the CHARACTER NAME or as a (short action) inserted between dialogue lines.

DUMP the (beats), they are like POT HOLES.  Instead write some simple action like: Looks him in the eye. OR Stomps his foot.  --- Stuff like that is better than a beat.  Some writers use dot ,,, or dashes -- instead of a beat. Again, its just a common style and NOT a convention written in stone.

When I do rewrites of my scripts, I look for sentences that have a linking verb and an "ing" word nearby and then rewrite to an active voice to make the sentence stronger.  I also dump as many adverbs as I can write out.

You do have a lot of fucking "FUCKS" in the story. This may turn off many fucking folks so I would fucking think about the number of fucks that may fuck up the fucking story.

Hope this helps you some.

Steve


Take a look at my Scripts "Fire Dancer" 115 pages   (Liken to a "Miss Rambo meets Rounders," with Spiders, Scorpions, and Snakes -- Oh My.)

"Springtime in Alaska" 8 pages   (Taken from Cold Dead Fingers)
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Steven
Posted: January 11th, 2018, 4:24pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from CrackedAces
I also am an old soldier, retired in '87. An army motion picture cameraman. Almost got captured on the Karean DMZ with camera in hand, froze my ass off in Alaska doing film documentation of army testing and blowing up stuff, and made boring ass army training films that you were forced to watch.

Your story of life under a DI in Basic Training really moves forward.

SUGGESTION:

First of all, people don't sleep in bunks in an army barracks.  Soldiers or Trainees do.

SCENE HEADING > The dash after the INT or EXT isn't necessary.  INT.  PLATOON BAY - NIGHT will do.

DRILL SERGEANT WILLIAMS as the speaking character over the dialogue can be reduced to WILLIAM (only).
Same fore all speaking characters -- one name will do.  Although, this is a popular way not a convention written in stone.

The PARENTHETICALs need to be on a line of it's own, commonly beneath the CHARACTER NAME or as a (short action) inserted between dialogue lines.

DUMP the (beats), they are like POT HOLES.  Instead write some simple action like: Looks him in the eye. OR Stomps his foot.  --- Stuff like that is better than a beat.  Some writers use dot ,,, or dashes -- instead of a beat. Again, its just a common style and NOT a convention written in stone.

When I do rewrites of my scripts, I look for sentences that have a linking verb and an "ing" word nearby and then rewrite to an active voice to make the sentence stronger.  I also dump as many adverbs as I can write out.

You do have a lot of fucking "FUCKS" in the story. This may turn off many fucking folks so I would fucking think about the number of fucks that may fuck up the fucking story.

Hope this helps you some.

Steve


Thank you both for your service. My dad and grandfather were both in the Navy...so military stories are awesome to read.

Having said that, I haven't read yet due to dropbox being blocked though my work network.

Speaking on the cursing, look at Full Metal Jacket. If that didn't turn people off, I don't think whatever is in this would either.
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FrankM
Posted: January 11th, 2018, 4:32pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Steven
Speaking on the cursing, look at Full Metal Jacket. If that didn't turn people off, I don't think whatever is in this would either.

I've always thought that Heartbreak Ridge was rated R solely for language.
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GGutshall
Posted: January 11th, 2018, 4:41pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from CrackedAces
I also am an old soldier, retired in '87. An army motion picture cameraman. Almost got captured on the Karean DMZ with camera in hand, froze my ass off in Alaska doing film documentation of army testing and blowing up stuff, and made boring ass army training films that you were forced to watch.


Cool beans - great having input from a fellow vet!  Thanks for electing to serve brother!


Quoted from CrackedAces

Your story of life under a DI in Basic Training really moves forward.

<...snip a lot of good input that I shall take to heart...>

You do have a lot of fucking "FUCKS" in the story. This may turn off many fucking folks so I would fucking think about the number of fucks that may fuck up the fucking story.


The high "fuck" count is sort of intentional as that was how he spoke.  I'm kind of writing the high points on my first pass but I'm keeping some notes for the character-development-ish filler that goes between the major events and one of the things we 'cruits always made fun of was the singularly "rich" way he spoke.  Also as noted in one of the voiceovers I was indeed 17 & raised in a VERY sheltered, religious home - the overt amount of cussing was quite jarring for me... and I'm trying to equally jar the audience albeit with his actual quotes.  The first bit regarding "Jodie" is almost word for word as I recall it.   (imagine coming from a home where the harshest words you heard were "shoot" or "darn" and encountering that!)


Quoted from CrackedAces

Hope this helps you some.

Steve


Thanks Steve it does indeed!
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FrankM
Posted: January 11th, 2018, 5:29pm Report to Moderator
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Also wanted to chime in and thank you for your service. The olive drab uniforms were before my time, and I suppose that explains some of the differences (our Reception battalion had its own drill sergeants). That said, there's no indication yet of the time period. The only real difference it makes is if we're dealing primarily with enlistees or draftees.

As for the language, I think it's fine for the genre and target audience.

Just to add to what was said before, you can replace the (beat)s with little blips of action. For example, Washington can take a dramatic deep breath, spin around to face another recruit, or something else. Then go right back into his dialog.

The "VOICEOVER" lines should be "GREENE (V.O.)".

This is an early draft, but just wanted to let you know that the audience is only going to stand there and wipe Washington's spittle off their faces for a few minutes before they expect something to happen story-wise. The whole story can be in Basic Training if you want, but the story needs to move forward in some perceptible way. Maybe it could be as simple as noting that becoming guidon bearer changes the course of his career.

Looking forward to seeing more of it as it develops.
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GGutshall
Posted: January 11th, 2018, 6:00pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from FrankM
Also wanted to chime in and thank you for your service. The olive drab uniforms were before my time, and I suppose that explains some of the differences (our Reception battalion had its own drill sergeants). That said, there's no indication yet of the time period. The only real difference it makes is if we're dealing primarily with enlistees or draftees.

As for the language, I think it's fine for the genre and target audience.

Just to add to what was said before, you can replace the (beat)s with little blips of action. For example, Washington can take a dramatic deep breath, spin around to face another recruit, or something else. Then go right back into his dialog.

The "VOICEOVER" lines should be "GREENE (V.O.)".

This is an early draft, but just wanted to let you know that the audience is only going to stand there and wipe Washington's spittle off their faces for a few minutes before they expect something to happen story-wise. The whole story can be in Basic Training if you want, but the story needs to move forward in some perceptible way. Maybe it could be as simple as noting that becoming guidon bearer changes the course of his career.

Looking forward to seeing more of it as it develops.


Well Greene pretty much is me... Names were changed yada yada... like I said in a previous post.  I'm kinda capturing snippets that I'll later stitch together with character development & story line...  This all occurred starting in August of '81 btw.  There was some glitch that happened.  Normally you'd only be at reception for a day or so before getting your drill & being marched over to Disney barracks on Knox...  but we had our issue already & hair cuts & all before our drill finally showed up.

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FrankM
Posted: January 11th, 2018, 7:36pm Report to Moderator
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OVER BLACK

SUPER: The following is based on true events. Names have been changed to protect the innocent... and our drill sergeant.

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CameronD
Posted: January 12th, 2018, 12:00pm Report to Moderator
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Include ages after a charterer's introduction in the action. PRIVATE EMERICK (19) sits in the corner of the shower room crying, holding a LETTER.

No need to go so heavy on the description of clothing. If they are soldiers in a bunk at night I assume to know what they are wearing. As a rule, only really point out clothing if it's critical to the story. A certain hat that twas worn gives a character away in the 2nd act or it comes up in dialogue.

Language doesn't bother me but first scene is VERY FMJ. Starting out right in the barracks getting smoked out by the DI. An idea. Why not start with Private Emmerick pre enlistment in a quick montage of his whirlwind romance with his gf. They are deeply, madly in love, lay it on thick and hammy. Just a page or less. Then, WHAM. Cut straight to the latrine with Emmerick crying over the letter to start. After that be careful not to get too stuck copying FMJ. Fair or not, that scene is iconic and readers of your script will compare yours to it and you will end up looking like a bad impostor. Either start with the chewing out and cut away quick to the next scene or do something different. Why not cut to that asshole Jodie doing the deed as the DI explains in detail exactly what has transpired. That might be pretty funny and a little twist to make it yours.

Just be careful there is a movie with your experiences and not just a straight retelling of your service. (Thank you for it) That straight approach works for a book but in a film you need an overarching plot.

Also, TA - Fifty, not TA -50. Numbers get written out in dialogue.

I'm at work so only had time for a little skim but I love military films and like the authenticity you have. Keep it up!


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GGutshall
Posted: January 12th, 2018, 1:36pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from CameronD
Include ages after a charterer's introduction in the action. PRIVATE EMERICK (19) sits in the corner of the shower room crying, holding a LETTER.

No need to go so heavy on the description of clothing. If they are soldiers in a bunk at night I assume to know what they are wearing. As a rule, only really point out clothing if it's critical to the story. A certain hat that twas worn gives a character away in the 2nd act or it comes up in dialogue.

Language doesn't bother me but first scene is VERY FMJ. Starting out right in the barracks getting smoked out by the DI. An idea. Why not start with Private Emmerick pre enlistment in a quick montage of his whirlwind romance with his gf. They are deeply, madly in love, lay it on thick and hammy. Just a page or less. Then, WHAM. Cut straight to the latrine with Emmerick crying over the letter to start. After that be careful not to get too stuck copying FMJ. Fair or not, that scene is iconic and readers of your script will compare yours to it and you will end up looking like a bad impostor. Either start with the chewing out and cut away quick to the next scene or do something different. Why not cut to that asshole Jodie doing the deed as the DI explains in detail exactly what has transpired. That might be pretty funny and a little twist to make it yours.

Just be careful there is a movie with your experiences and not just a straight retelling of your service. (Thank you for it) That straight approach works for a book but in a film you need an overarching plot.

Also, TA - Fifty, not TA -50. Numbers get written out in dialogue.

I'm at work so only had time for a little skim but I love military films and like the authenticity you have. Keep it up!


Thank you for your helpful input & kind words!  Just as an aside & in case you didn't know, "Jodie" is a generic name GI's use for "any dude that isn't you who's sleeping with your girl"

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CameronD
Posted: January 12th, 2018, 4:56pm Report to Moderator
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I know who Jodie is.

Make him a real slime bag sleezy scum ball.


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eldave1
Posted: January 12th, 2018, 7:33pm Report to Moderator
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In addition to comments by others:


Quoted Text
INT. - PLATOON BAY - NIGHT

The platoon bay is dark BUNKS and FOOT LOCKERS line both sides of a central walkway. There are PEOPLE sleeping inthese bunks. Snores are heard.


- No need to include your scene header information in the description.
- The first sentence doesn't make sense - need a period after dark I think.
- SOLDIERS rather than people I think and write it actively - Soldiers sleep.
- No need to tell us they are sleeping in bunks - it can be assumed
- No need to cap bunks and footlockers.

So - I think it should be:

INT. - PLATOON BAY - NIGHT

Dark.

Bunks and foot lockers line both sides of a central walkway. SOLDIERS snore as they sleep.


Quoted Text
At the far end of the platoon bay is the latrine DOOR. It is lightly ajar and a LIGHT streams through it.


Whenever you see an "it is" - generally means it could be written better. Also no need to cap light or door. Simply:

Light streams the half-open door of a latrine at the end of the room.

The dialogue is solid IMO


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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GGutshall
Posted: January 15th, 2018, 12:27pm Report to Moderator
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I've written a few more scenes & made some of the recommended edits.  It's uploaded to the same address (https://www.dropbox.com/s/u4efpz2c622y775/Script%20military.pdf?dl=0).  I look forward to any input.  

As an aside, I'm thinking of removing the entire scene that occurs inside the latrine and allowing it to play out all from Geene's (my) perspective.  I mean here I was sleeping & was suddenly jerked out of my slumber by the drill's tirade.  Only later after talking to the two guys involved, was I able to piece together what had brought it about.

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GGutshall  -  January 15th, 2018, 12:56pm
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