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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short  ›  Red Light Moderators: bert
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SimplyScripts
Posted: April 14th, 2011, 6:39pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Red Light by Zack Akers (splatterboy) - Short, Horror - A lot can happen between yellow and green. 4 pages - pdf, format


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Dressel
Posted: April 14th, 2011, 6:50pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Zack,

I know this is a short and all, but this seems like a half-realized idea.  I just felt like, in the end, there should have been more to this.  I also wasn't really sure what kind of vibe you were going for.

The technical stuff was fine though, no need to comment on that.

-Matt


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dogglebe
Posted: April 14th, 2011, 8:41pm Report to Moderator
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Zack, where is the other half of this scene?  This comes off as an idea popped in your head and you wrote it down without thinking it through.


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Zack
Posted: April 14th, 2011, 10:26pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading guys. Sorry neither of you enjoyed it. I admit to writing this one pretty fast. I've had a bad case of writers block for what seems like forever(this is my first script in over a year, lol), so I figured I would force myself to write a quick short and hopefully break through the wall(so to speak). I think this script turned out fairly well for how fast I wrote it, but you two are right. I don't need to get back into the habit of pumping out scripts. Thanks for reading.

~Zack~


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greg
Posted: April 14th, 2011, 10:38pm Report to Moderator
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Oh Hi

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It's good that you used this to break through your writer's block.  For what it was it was okay except it felt like the first part of something bigger.  Force yourself through the writer's block again and add more to it


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Zack
Posted: April 15th, 2011, 1:17pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading Greg. Glad you didn't hate it.

I Hope to add more to it with rewrites, so hopefully it will eventually seem like a full story instead of a quick scene.

~Zack~


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Sham
Posted: April 15th, 2011, 8:37pm Report to Moderator
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Where did you get the idea for this one, Zack? It sounds familiar.


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Zack
Posted: April 15th, 2011, 8:52pm Report to Moderator
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I got the idea for this script while waiting at a red light one night. lol

~Zack~



Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Zack  -  April 26th, 2011, 6:43pm
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B.C.
Posted: April 15th, 2011, 9:45pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Zack, this was a cool little four pager. People look at things from different angles, I quite like a 'quick scene' where things aren't fully tied up.

What happened with him and his girlfriend isn't important to me. I guess the unknown occurence that leads to the unanswered call is BAD - therefore death comes to take the lead character.

I love a good atmosphere and simple action, and this had it.

If you improve it by adding more, then cool. But I liked it for what it was.
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Zack
Posted: April 15th, 2011, 9:59pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read Basket Case. Glad you enjoyed it.

~Zack~


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Peter Breeze
Posted: April 19th, 2011, 11:05am Report to Moderator
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Hi Zake...Being a fan of the short short story I liked it. Story line is in and out in four pages. With that type of genre words are precious. There's a lot left for the imagination...Peter
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Zack
Posted: April 21st, 2011, 2:58pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read Peter. Glad you enjoyed it.

~Zack~


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Dreamscale
Posted: April 27th, 2011, 3:29pm Report to Moderator
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OK, Zack, just to be clear here, I’m providing this feedback because you asked me to.  I’m bringing up almost everything that I feel you need to be aware of.   It’s nitpicky, but I think you need to start seeing what it is about your writing that’s not working and why.

You have a history of writing scripts that are “short”.  Short for feature lengths and short for shorts.  They are short on action that matters but long on meaningless action/description lines.  They are also very short on characterization/motivation and reasoning for why people do what they do…or why your Antags do what they do or are even involved.

There’s very little meat to your scripts on a constant basis, but they’re all long in terms of how long they really should be, based on what you’re offering.  You continually write complete throwaway lines as opposed to lines that matter.  IMO, it’s a big problem that you need to address and understand.

Now, I will say that in this effort, at least we do feel for your Protag, cause you showed us that he’s going through tough times with his girlfriend, and the ending is bittersweet in that if he just had waited another second, he would have received her call, lived, and everything would have been wonderful, so to speak.  But, it’s definitely not enough to save this from being very lackluster, cliché, and dull.

Here are my page by page notes and keep in mind they are nitpicky, but I want to make a point, and I want you to see what you’re doing all the time and why it’s an issue.

Hope it helps.

Page 1 – Initial Slug – Your hyphen isn’t centered for some reason (this holds true throughout).

Opening line – You repeat your Slug in it, which you don’t want to do, and you open with an orphan.  Poor way to begin.  By taking out the repetition, no more orphan.

Next line – Another orphan – that makes 2 sentences with 2 orphans, right out of the gate.  This one could so easily be done away with just by chopping the completely unnecessary “high up in the night sky.”

Look how many times you’ve used “light” or some form of it in your first 7 passages (opening scene – less than half a page)…7 times!  7 times!!!

Basically, Zack, IMO, this opening scene is not written very well.

New Slug missing time (CONTINUOUS, NIGHT, whatever).

“The small cabin is clean.” – Completely unnecessary, and IMO, downright odd line.

“SOFT ROCK MUSIC plays over the stereo.” – Again, completely unnecessary line, but more importantly, you’ve chosen to use 2 standalone lines before you’ve intro’d your character in the INT. CAR scene, which basically means, you open with a shot of this small clean “cabin”, and you feel it’s important to note what kind of music is playing (of course it’s over the stereo – where else would it be coming from?) all before we see or meet our main Protag.

“DANNY FOX, 19, slender with average looks, sits behind the wheel.” – OK, do we need to know his last name?  I’m all for info like this, but in a 2 page short where I doubt it’s going to come into play in any way, it’s a waste, IMO.  “slender with average looks” – again, this generic info isn’t doing much of anything.  “sits behind the wheel” – If he’s the only one in the car, of course he’s sitting behind the wheel.

“He looks down, picks up his cellphone, and punches in a number.” – You’ve got another orphan here, and I want to show you why it’s here and how simple it is to get rid of it.  Do we need the phrase, “He looks down”?  Definitely not.  Remember how many of these exact lines you had in Webster Family?  Same deal here.  “cellphone” could easily be edited to “cell”.  “and punches in a number” – no reason to have “and” here.  So, there are 3 different ways to get rid of the orphan…take your pick or go for all 3.

“The phone RINGS AND RINGS.” – OK, listen, man, like I said in your last 2 scripts, no one wants to constantly watch a character on his cell.  It is a visually dead scene…boring, dull, all filler.  Now, I’m not saying you can’t ever do this and have it work, cause you definitely can…but you need to stop doing it every single time you write a script.  Also, the cell isn’t ringing…the cell he’s calling is the one ringing.  Basically, you do not need this line again, as it’s completely unnecessary.

“Danny reaches out and turns down the volume of the stereo. The phone continues to RING.” – Zack, my man, you’re killing me, brother.  Look at this…2 more standalone passages, taking up 4 lines that say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  Complete and total waste of space.  I often talk about people writing mundane action lines that are assumed or downright not needed.  This is one of those.  It’s complete filler and it’s irritating.

Megan’s VO although somewhat necessary is another example of how you’re just filling up the page with meaningless stuff that goes nowhere and does nothing.  Here, it’s another 5 lines, followed by a blank line and then “BEEP”, another blank line, followed by another useless action line.

Please, Zack, turn off your “CONTINUEDs” at the top and bottom of every page.   Look at the wasted space this takes up!  Please…PLEASE!!!

Page 2 – OK, so now we finally get something happening...some movement outside the car in the rear view mirror.

“He hangs up the cellphone, tosses it onto the passenger seat, and then turns back to the street light.” – Zack, this is exactly what I’m continually talking about in your writing.  These are “throwaway lines” – lines that don’t need to be included in a Spec script.  If this wasn’t here, no one would miss it whatsoever.  And think about it…this is basically a 2 page script and look how many throwaway lines you’ve got here!  Based on what you’ve included, this script could easily be 1 page!

The old cloaked figure…meh…

“He is terrified.” – Poor line.

“IS CRUSHED BY A PASSING TRUCK!” – Again, meh…cliché, expected, unbelievable.

Why is the twisted heap “2 vehicles”?  The truck got destroyed as well?  But the cell phone made it out in 1 piece, and still works?  C’mon now, brother…

“ The Cloaked Figure turns away from the destroyed vehicles and the cellphone and starts to walk down the dark back road.” – Zack, check out how many useless words you’ve included here…”from the destroyed vehicles and the cellphone” “and starts to” “the dark back road” – all wasted words and space.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Zack
Posted: April 27th, 2011, 7:47pm Report to Moderator
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Awesome review Jeff! Some really helpful and constructive criticism here man. I really appreciate it a ton. Please don't ever change how you review peoples work.

Yes, both vehicles got destroyed. As for the cellphone making it out of the car... I guess you will have to suspend disbelief. lol

As for all the stuff you pointed out... I will go through the script and try to fix it up using the advice you've shared. I'll do the same with The Neighbor.

~Zack~


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Dreamscale
Posted: April 27th, 2011, 7:59pm Report to Moderator
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Sound good, Zack.  Hope it all makes sense.  Keep in mind, these are my opinions here.  You or others may not agree, and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

Now get back in the saddle and RIDE, Brother!!!!!


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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