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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short  ›  So Many Words Moderators: bert
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SimplyScripts
Posted: June 13th, 2009, 8:01pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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So Many Words by James Redd - Short - A couple have a fight in their backyard. Why are the harshest words the easiest to say? 2 pages - pdf, format


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Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
SimplyScripts  -  June 14th, 2009, 7:33pm
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cloroxmartini
Posted: June 13th, 2009, 10:55pm Report to Moderator
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i'm pretty sure i know what you were shooting for (pun intended), but you didn't hit the mark.

what's with the bullet holes appearing? is someone in the car shooting? is the young couple shot dead?

voice overs never carry things for me. maybe try real dialogue then kill everyone off.
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Baltis.
Posted: June 14th, 2009, 12:12am Report to Moderator
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At very least we know the name of the work in question with how many times it was littered through out the script. A little overboard - I'd say.  Anyways, it's fairly well written. Very blunt and direct in the descriptions. That's good.

The VO work is a little taxing, but sometimes it's needed. Here, in your 2 page epic, I don't know if it was working for or against it. "Shrugs"

The whole thing is a wash in the end cause it just has little to offer. Nothing to offer me, as a writer myself. I learned nothing from it. Nothing for other writers "who might be new" as they're gonna think 2 page epics are the norm anymore... Which, sadly, they are.

I'm sure you spent hours and hours cranking this one out, but in the end you failed to connect with me. "A READER" ... you don't always have to connect to all of your writers, sure... but for the most part I am willing to be a lot of people who reads this will feel the same. They just won't tell you as bluntly as I did.

That's my 2 cents.

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SimplyScripts  -  June 14th, 2009, 12:35am
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James R
Posted: June 14th, 2009, 8:48pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read, cloroxmartini, and for the honesty.

Quoted from cloroxmartini
i'm pretty sure i know what you were shooting for (pun intended), but you didn't hit the mark.

Were the questions you listed the reason why I didn't hit the mark? To answer, there was a drive by shooting aimed at the couple walking and while Kate and Brian were both using words as ammunition against each other (Brian, anyway) real live ammunition was fired ending any opportunity for them to make up.

Thanks for the read, Baltis, and the honesty as well. Honesty is our policy!

Quoted from Baltis-
Anyways, it's fairly well written. Very blunt and direct in the descriptions. That's good.

Thanks you, sir. This started out much longer (maybe even 5 pages!) but I kept whittling it away to what I thought might be its essence. As I wrote the story sort of changed and this is what resulted.


Quoted from Baltis-
I'm sure you spent hours and hours cranking this one out, but in the end you failed to connect with me.

Sorry you didn't love it, it was a quick one for me (not sure if the "hours and hours" was sarcastic or not). I was doing a lot of outlining for a handful of feature lengths I have been working on and just wanted to write.

Thanks again for the reads and the comments.

James


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slabstaa
Posted: June 15th, 2009, 1:00am Report to Moderator
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it was too damn sad for my liking.
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James R
Posted: June 15th, 2009, 11:21am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from slabby
it was too damn sad for my liking.

I see you've found a way to get past the cuss-word-finder.


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alffy
Posted: June 15th, 2009, 12:55pm Report to Moderator
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Hey James

This was a strange little short, not sure if I liked it or not really.

I was intrigued to see what the argument was about and thought perhaps Kate and Brian had lost their child, so the shooting was a surprise.  

It had emotion but unfortunately we don't know enough about the couple to care for them.  They're arguing so they come across as unpleasent people not caring paretns which they might be.

I'm not sure why they were shot at all, was it just coincidence?

Your writing was good, the descriptions and V.O.'s worked well but I didn't find the story strong enough.


Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.

You can find my scripts here
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Andrew
Posted: June 15th, 2009, 3:35pm Report to Moderator
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James,

It left me internally divided. I mean, it's more like an ad, y'know. One of those warning ads. It's well-written enough, but just seems wildly underdeveloped. It kinda feels like you wrote something, and planned to embellish it, but never quite did.

I suspect that there's something profound weaved within this story, but the meaning feels lost - to me, at least - 'cos you've got such little on the page.

Andrew


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James R
Posted: June 15th, 2009, 4:04pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the reads, alffy and Andrew.


Quoted from alffy
I was intrigued to see what the argument was about and thought perhaps Kate and Brian had lost their child, so the shooting was a surprise.  

It had emotion but unfortunately we don't know enough about the couple to care for them.  They're arguing so they come across as unpleasent people not caring paretns which they might be.

I'm not sure why they were shot at all, was it just coincidence?

I didn't feel like the nature of the argument was important, just the fact that they were arguing. Point taken that there isn't much to go on as far as rooting for the characters. And yes, the shooting was meant for the couple walking on the sidewalk and a stray bullet got through and hit Brian. This started out as a longer script that was whittled down, maybe too much I'm thinking after the comments that have been made.
Thanks for the comments.


Quoted from Andrew Allen
It left me internally divided. I mean, it's more like an ad, y'know. One of those warning ads. It's well-written enough, but just seems wildly underdeveloped. It kinda feels like you wrote something, and planned to embellish it, but never quite did.

I suspect that there's something profound weaved within this story, but the meaning feels lost - to me, at least - 'cos you've got such little on the page.

Yes, it started as something bigger (a revenge story centered around Kate seeking out the guys in the car who shot Brian) but once I started writing it changed. I wanted it to feel sudden and brevity seemed to be the answer but maybe you weren't given enough time to root for the characters. I may revisit the bigger story at some point.

James


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Baltis.
Posted: June 15th, 2009, 4:28pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from James R
Thanks for the reads, alffy and Andrew.


I didn't feel like the nature of the argument was important, just the fact that they were arguing. Point taken that there isn't much to go on as far as rooting for the characters. And yes, the shooting was meant for the couple walking on the sidewalk and a stray bullet got through and hit Brian. This started out as a longer script that was whittled down, maybe too much I'm thinking after the comments that have been made.
Thanks for the comments.


Yes, it started as something bigger (a revenge story centered around Kate seeking out the guys in the car who shot Brian) but once I started writing it changed. I wanted it to feel sudden and brevity seemed to be the answer but maybe you weren't given enough time to root for the characters. I may revisit the bigger story at some point.

James


James, all I can ask is that you please don't revisit the bigger story... We've seen it done many, many, many, many times now. Jodi Fosters absurd last attempt was proabbly the last time we should be subjected to revenge stories as such. They just don't work... Not when a male lead is in them... Not when a female lead is in them.

Revenge stories -- blow by and large. Keep what ya got.
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slabstaa
Posted: June 16th, 2009, 12:37pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from James R

I see you've found a way to get past the cuss-word-finder.




you wrote this?  well, like I said, it was really sad, to me at least.  I got teary eyed/moved in a way.  there was only 1 other script (which was a short too) on here that got me that way, and I think it was about an alcoholic and how his life just went by in a haze.  I forget who wrote it, and what its called, but I recommend it.
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James R
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Quoted from Baltis
Revenge stories -- blow by and large. Keep what ya got.

That doesn't mean I can't do it, right? Maybe I can start a trend...


Quoted from slabby
well, like I said, it was really sad, to me at least.  I got teary eyed/moved in a way.

Job well done to me then, right? Glad it made you feel.


Quoted from slabby
there was only 1 other script (which was a short too) on here that got me that way, and I think it was about an alcoholic and how his life just went by in a haze.  I forget who wrote it, and what its called, but I recommend it.

That reminds me of the joke Marlin tells in "Finding Nemo". I'd love to read it if you can find it again.

James


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cloroxmartini
Posted: June 16th, 2009, 11:33pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from James R
Were the questions you listed the reason why I didn't hit the mark? To answer, there was a drive by shooting aimed at the couple walking and while Kate and Brian were both using words as ammunition against each other (Brian, anyway) real live ammunition was fired ending any opportunity for them to make up.


Then what you wrote is poetry, in a sense, and not in a good way. I could figure out there was a senseless drive by. Saying that the words they argue with are ammunition, and then someone gets shot with our typical ammunition is too subliminal for me to figure out on my own. But I have been told to write for an eighth grade audience. There was all the voice over and no dialogue. All you say is implied. It's not explicit and in my opinion should be explicit. It's a blueprint for a movie for Pete's sake, not a secret. What you're doing is trying to be cute with it and it ended up not working. Why not have them argue for real? Ditch the VO. That would take some real work. Why not show some thugs hanging out the window with submachine guns and wasting everyone? Why just a car drives by and bullet holes appear in the fence?

A CAR SKIDS AROUND THE CORNER. OUT THE WINDOW HANGS A WILD EYED YOUTH WITH A SUBMACHINE GUN. HE OPENS FIRE ON THE HAPPY WALKING COUPLE, RIDDLING THEM WITH BULLETS.

SOME STRAY BULLETS PUNCH THROUGH THE FENCE...

AND FIND THEIR WAY TO BRIAN.

HE TAKES SEVERAL MORTAL HITS AND FALLS TO THE GRASS.

KATE WHIPS UP AN RPG AND BLOWS UP THE PERP CAR.

SHE THEN RUSHES OVER TO SEE IF BRIAN IS ALIVE. HE'S NOT. SHE CRIES OVER HIS DEAD BODY.

KATE: (SNIFF, SOB) THAT'LL...(SNIFF) TEACH YOU TO TALK TO ME LIKE WE HAVE FOREVER, BRIAN (SNIFF). BUT I GOT THOSE f****rs! YOU'DA BEEN PROUD, LIKE YOU WERE WHEN WE FIRST MET (SNIFF).

Why not tie the thugs to one of the characters so it means more? Maybe they are arguing about his drug deals and some day it's all going to backfire, so then it does.

Even if you did all that, what's the point? Talk to someone like it's their last day, or could be? Why not have them argue and he backs out of the driveway like a crazed and angry man and he gets plowed into by the garbage truck? Or he doesn't pay attention as he backs out and runs over Mr. and Mrs. Happy? Why not have them argue and his plane crashed and she hears about it on the news? So...why bullets? When do you EVER hear of this kind of thing besides in the movies? "Random" violence like this more often than not ends up not being so random, meaning there is usually a connection between the perp and the victim.
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James R
Posted: June 17th, 2009, 11:31am Report to Moderator
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I guess I wanted the VO to be sort of a subtext for what was really happening. In her VO Kate doesn't really talk about what's happening, otherwise there would be no point in it and real dialogue should replace it.

The action you mentioned were all good suggestions but at that point the sadness is taken out of it and it becomes anger, but almost comical. Maybe what I wrote is too subtle (it wouldn't be the first time) for some, maybe most. I don't want to take the focus off Kate and Brian, which is why you only see the couple walking on the sidewalk and the car full of gun-wielding maniacs through the fence (Kate's POV).

This was originally intended to be a longer piece that I cut down to a single scene when I wrote it because I felt sadness when the situation took place. It was going to be a tale of revenge where Kate finds the gun-wielders and takes them out but I liked this better.

Thanks for the comments and the suggestions, it's more than most people take the time to give. Any other suggestions?

James

PS - do you have anything posted here? I'd like to return the read, though it may be a week or two. We're about to have a baby!


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jayrex
Posted: June 17th, 2009, 7:28pm Report to Moderator
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Hello James,

I thought this was a good two page short.  Wasn't too taxing to read and difficult to understand.  I liked the message you've conveyed and see nothing wrong with it.

Keep it as it is.  Good job.

All the best,


Javier


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