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REBECCA All the pain and suffering in the world. Famine. Disease. Volcanoes blowiní their tops in Hawaii...
I think rather than "about what?" Steve should say something like - it's just a cemetaryl (i.e., mistakenly thinking that is what Rebecca is referencing). Then Rebecca responds - No, not that. All the pain...
REBECCA End times are close.
I'm wanting some reaction from Steve here. Just a physical one (a shake of the head or something). i.e., she just kind of dropped a crazy line does he agree? Has he heard this shit before??
INT. CAR (MOVING) - DAY
Steve drives. Sipping soda from a big cup. Rebecca watches out the window.
EXT. STREET - SAME
A young black MAN pads along the sidewalk.
I think you could avoid multiple scene headings (i.e., on the car, in the street, etc.) by just going with:
INT/EXT. CAR ON STREET (TRAVELING) - DAY
Colin's dialogue sounded dated to by ear - almost like 1950's Alabama.
REBECCA Is that whatís important to you? Touching me?
Think it should be either V.O or (through phone) - all cases in this scene.
REBECCA The Devil himself. Heís in me, Steve. Inside. (swallows) And he wants to come out. Steve raises both hands, palms out. STEVE Listen to me. I want to help you. Will you let me help you?
Steve's reaction here seems unnatural to me - he's just been told by this girl that she's carrying Satan's baby. I think it should be more of a what the fuck reaction as it sinks in that this girl is nuts. Instead - he's right into the help mode.
The scene with the Cop is solid in terms of plot point - but the tone is off. The interchange is too jovial - Steve seems nonplussed. IMO it need to be more grim, - he just saw a suicide.
Good call on all fronts. Will definitely work your suggestions into the rewrite.
The ending. Donít know if youíve seen Beatriz At Dinner. Underwhelming movie, but it had a similar ending, and Iíve seen it elsewhere. Kinda the ďwashing of the handsĒ or ďIím glad this is over, what do I do now?Ē Oh yeah. Take a cleansing dip. Thatís my explanation of sorts. Was thinking of putting someone there for Steve to interact with briefly.
A quick, smooth read, no surprises there. Story-wise itís a little too bleak for my tastes. Itís like a slide downhill from bad to worse and I couldnít quite figure out if I was meant to see Steve as better off or worse at the conclusion. It came across as oddly ambiguous given the weight of subject matter.
Whoís story is this? The logline suggests Rebeccaís but the execution/conclusion seems more geared towards Steve. I think thatís where Iím finding it hard to understand what it is you want the reader to take from this.
The pregnancy twist was a nice touch though the dialogue with Steve and the Cop felt a little off. The Ďhow do you know I didnít do it?í seems a little too casual given the situation. Iíd be tempted to find a work around by not even raising the question of suspicion.
I couldnít tell if Steve was letting himself go as some act of release/cleansing or intended to take his own life. I presumed the latter but see from your post thatís not the case. Again, itís hard to know which as I canít tell how Steve really felt about Rebecca. It was tricky to understand the dynamic between them.
Maybe just a little too glib for me.
Hope this helps,
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I pretty much enjoyed this as is. There are definitely parts I donít understand.
If you didnít explain the ending in one of your posts I would have been left wondering what was going on.
Clearly she had a messed up childhood but was the dad just perceived as a demon? I have a similar twist in one of my shorts. Rebecca is clearly bonkers, but there was no defining moment where I could figure out what was real and what wasnít, maybe that was intentional or maybe I missed something.
Two bits that really pulled me out of the read; one of them has been mentioned already.
STEVE Then letís destroy him together. You and me. Weíll destroy him with our love.
Way too cheesy for me.
OFFICER Yeah. Unless you want to confess to killing her. Steve half-laughs nervously.
This exchange is super awkward.
My kind of dark story and even despite my confusion I found it enjoyable and quite the page turner. Very well written.
You raise a good point regarding whose story this is. It started off as Rebeccaís, but going further I became interested in Steveís plight, too. So, if Steve is a bit more front and center then perhaps he deserves a little more fleshing out as a character.
Iím very glad the pregnancy twist is going over well. Seems I hit a good note there. Doesnít happen often enough! Iím not really sure what I want my reader to take from this other than to read a story about a situation and be entertained by it. At least this piece. I kind of focused more on writing something that was engaging, and would keep you flipping pages as opposed to some message to take away. Something different, though, but would definitely benefit from a rewrite and lengthening.
Overall, I enjoyed this quite a bit. It definitely kept me turning the pages. Some of Rebecca's lines really gave me chills.
I agree with what stevemiles said about the focus shifting.
I think Steve as one of those people who can't let go... sort of like McConaughey in Mud... where he's getting dragged down by this woman despite all the signs he should cut loose... that's where the tension is. It's hard to pull that off and also explore Rebecca's complex past including flashbacks at the same time.
So, more of an escalation, focused on Steve discovering more and more damning evidence, with her destructiveness threatening to swallow him up.
Perhaps move the police stuff at the end to early on - maybe he's brought in for beating that guy - the cops are trying to warn him Rebecca's a lost cause... he won't listen... etc.
Thanks for the read. Glad it worked for you, more or less.
Dad was never meant to be perceived as a demon until he was...perceived as a demon. Make sense? But it does tie in with her thinking sheís carry the Devilís baby.
I know the line ďweíll destroy him with our loveĒ sounds cheesy, but I feel when you look at it in the context of Steve was trying to say something that might calm her down and try to diffuse the situation, it makes a little more sense. He didnít mean it. He just didnít want her to kill herself.
I stand by the other line as well. I think it suggests that the cop has seen crazy things from the neck of the woods, so heís not surprised by this. Not that itís not a tragedy, mind you.
Thanks for the suggestions. Still gotta look into giving the ending a bit more clarity.
1. Rebecca's second line feels a little forced. I understand she's a troubled character, but it seems to come on a little strong with no setup. Maybe you could have the radio playing in the car, with a newscaster talking about violence and/or a natural disaster, etc. It doesn't even need to be complete dialog from the radio. The audience would only need to hear a few snippets from the radio to understand what kind of news broadcast it is, and then Rebecca's line about pain and suffering in the world would feel a little more natural.
2. You're using ellipses in your dialogue to indicate points where a character's dialogue is trailing off, and at points where a character is pausing before delivering the next word. Personally I feel things read better when the ellipses that are being used to indicate a pause in dialogue have a space before and after the ellipses, and that only ellipses that indicate trailing off follow a word with no preceding space. (I realize this is a minor nitpick. lol.)
3. Speaking of ellipses, Rebecca's second line on page 2 reads a little weird. I think "No ... don't touch me." would work better than "No. Don't ... touch me."
4. I wasn't quite sure what the scene involving Colin was for. With Colin specifically being black, I was anticipating some sort of social commentary or something, but ultimately I don't think it added anything to the story except to make Rebecca less sympathetic as a character, which detracts from the twist at the end when we find out she's not really pregnant. Maybe get rid of a specific race for Colin, and then describe him as wearing a specific type of shirt, and then later when Rebecca has her flashback, her father is wearing the same type of shirt, or a shirt that similar enough that the audience would more clearly understand that Rebecca's accusation of rape towards Colin was triggered by her deep level of trauma.
5. When Rebecca tells Steve that she's going to kill herself after he breaks up with her, his response is to look down and sigh. Later he then shows up at her house, but considering how fast the script already jumps through time, it's not 100% clear that him showing up there is in response to her suicide threat. I had to actually go back to reread a bit to make sure if were still in the same night, or if the story had jumped ahead again and Steven and Rebecca were back together. I would change Steve's reaction to the suicide threat so that after looking down and sighing, he looks to his truck parked outside the barn. That would give the audience a hint that he's going to do something about Rebecca's suicide threat. You could then also add a shot on page 8 where we see Steve's truck, with the 50 pound feed bags still in the bed, pull up to Rebecca's trailer. It think all that would help improve the reader's sense of continuity.
6. Also, speaking of Steve's truck, in the first scene they're riding in a car. Does Steve own two vehicles? You do refer to the car as "his car," so I assume it's supposed to be Steve's car, but I think it would work better if you could set it up that the car in the beginning is Rebecca's car, and that Steve was just driving it, especially since the cross hanging from the rear-view mirror seems to fit better with Rebecca than with Steve. It would also help give a little bit more insight into Steve's character, i.e., that he's the kind of guy who takes the driver seat and has his girlfriend in the passenger seat, even when in her car, which fits with the "rescuer" persona that his character has.
Thanks for reading! I get what youíre saying about the tension. Steve is discovering these things about Rebeccaís pastó The cemetery scene and beating up Colin. So, perhaps thereís something amiss in the actual writing I can find to drive home those points further, or maybe add something.
I love the idea of Steve getting taken in for beating up Colin. I can see that working. I can also see it adding to the page count, and due to my laziness I donít see it happening. Or maybe I do. But thatís a good suggestion.
Gave this a look. Not really sure how I feel about it.
The writing is pretty solid for the most part, though it can definitely cleaned up. I noticed a lot of words ending with "-ing". You can get rid of all of those.
There is a lot going on here for such a short script. Not sure all of it is needed. Like the scene with Colin. Or the scene where Steve goes to the cemetery at night. Neither one seem to advance the story.
One thing that confused me was the end where Rebecca shoots herself. She shoots the gun, then Steve crashes onto the table. It read like Steve was the one who was shot. Obviously this is not the case, so why did he fall onto the table?
Overall this just doesn't work for me, sorry to say. It just gets so muddled that the story seems to get lost. Rewrite this, trim the fat and tighten up the story a bit.
Overall it worked for me because it kept me reading and I was curious about what might happen until the very end. After he sees his belly the short loses a bit of energy. I think that's because the policeman is not very informative. I'd like him to say something concrete about her family. But I understand it has to be delivered in a very subtle way... still something concrete something more at the end would have helped it. I loved the bit about her belly. About subtlety - all the scenes with her dad are a bit too much for me. I'd vote for more subtlety there. Maybe you could paint Dad differently. Make him well-educated and intelligent and bam - I don't know, just an idea.
So I got this from it: SPOILERS She was traumatized badly in her childhood. When she grew up she met Steven. They fell in love. Then someone raped her. Or maybe she made that part up. She decided that the baby she's carrying it the rapist's baby. And her mind went downhill from that time. Or maybe she just stopped taking her pills. There's nothing about the pills, any pills - I know. There could be by the way. I want to know when she met Steve and when she lost it. She says someone raped her. I don't know if she made that up. On one hand, I think she did because the policeman doesn't say anything about the rape. Instead, he talks about her family.