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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Steady As She Goes Moderators: bert
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SimplyScripts
Posted: September 12th, 2013, 4:03pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Steady As She Goes by Steven Clark - Short, Drama - A man, frustrated with the state of his marriage, inadvertantly finds the inspiration to keep moving forward. 9 pages - pdf, format


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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: September 13th, 2013, 9:17am Report to Moderator
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Steven,

Good writing here, although I need some clarification on the beginning.  It was great, but I can't put my finger on how these two stories connect.  Maybe the picture?

So we start it out hitting the ol' haze gray.  I'm a huge fan of nautical stories.  

Port bow side.  No need to put side, at least in dialogue, because port refers to a side.

There were a few sentences I would have changed or combined (stronger verbs, back-to-back serialized sentences) but overall it was a very clear write.

So the ending (last few pages) was what really stuck out to me, it was one of the best endings I've ever read on SS.  It was so simple and small, yet the weight of it cannot be moved.  Excellent job, but the rest felt tacked on.  I need more explanation.

Johnny
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: September 13th, 2013, 9:59am Report to Moderator
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There be spoilers ahead, yarr!

Well written but confusing, I didn’t really get what was going on. The beginning with the guy at sea I was intrigued with but then we are in a different location with different characters. Then Hope is trying to communicate with someone via a laptop, is it the Captain at sea and something has happened to him?

Then there’s flashbacks within flashbacks and lots of camera shots, well described camera shots but camera shots rather than storytelling.

Finally the guy rearranges the word divorce to love?

So I read it a few times and now I think maybe I know what’s going on. The Captain is thinking back to the love of his life who he lost and he still loves her, is that it? If so it needs a lot more clarification but it is nicely written and shows promise.


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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StevenClark
Posted: September 13th, 2013, 8:59pm Report to Moderator
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Hey all,

As always, thanks, Don.

Mark and Johnny,

Appreciate the read, guys.   At the moment I am just getting over being sick.  But give me a day or so.  I'll def give you some details on what drove this story and some of its inner workings.

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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StevenClark
Posted: September 15th, 2013, 7:58pm Report to Moderator
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Okay guys,

Mark,

I think you might have mistook my mini slugs for camera directions, and Hope is only on her laptop downloading pictures.  As far as having a flashback within a flashback.  Well, i searched around and couldn't find one good reason not to try it.  Nobody said it was tabboo or anything!  And the opening at sea, and the main piece, have nothing to do with each other.  However, the protag in the first part sort of offers some advice to the protag in the second part.

Johnny,

Thanks for the nautical clarifications.  Nautical novice here.

It was funny you said some of it felt "tacked on" because that's exactly what happened with the opening at sea.  I finished the thing, but I felt it needed more so I offered up the captain/boat scene.  Hopefully, it makes sense.  After all, a grizzled old captain has likely weathered many a stormy sea, right?  Starting to make the connection between relationships now?   At least that's the way I saw it.

Another thing I wanted to mention was the love scene.  Ray at one point has her pinned down in bed, and I wanted to illustrate that because it's the only time where we see Ray have the upper hand on his wife.  


Quoted from oJOHNNYoNUTSo

So the ending (last few pages) was what really stuck out to me, it was one of the best endings I've ever read on SS.  It was so simple and small, yet the weight of it cannot be moved.  


Just about the best compliment I ever got, man!  Thanks so much for that.

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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stevemiles
Posted: September 19th, 2013, 1:34pm Report to Moderator
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Steven,

I do like the way you write.  There’s a subtly to your use of images that allow for the ‘quiet’ moments to tell your story.  It makes the reader work for it a bit more, no bad thing -- whether they will or not is the risk you take.

With that said it was a stretch for me to really see the link between these two pieces.  I can’t help but wonder if they’re too distant from one another, with too much distraction in the first (e.g the iceberg, and exchange between the two characters) for the reader to concentrate on seeing the deeper connection to the next.

If the idea was to use these two pieces to explore a theme rather than present a contained story (beg/mid/end) then perhaps this could benefit from more.  Another thread or two to continue and build on these ideas and give the reader a common theme.  As it is, I think the danger is these two don’t go far enough to create a whole.

Hope this helps -- and if anything makes sense...

Steve.


My short scripts can be found here:


http://www.sjmilesscripts.webs.com
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spesh2k
Posted: September 20th, 2013, 12:07am Report to Moderator
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Hey Steven,

Page 1:

I'm cool w/ an immediate image after FADE IN: w/ out a SLUG...

But only if the setting is unclear, like if we were to OPEN ON a very specific image or opening w/ stock footage or NOISES over black... here, you have a definite setting... I'd use EXT. OCEAN EXPANSE and then describe the ship, etc.

And then you cut to INT. BRIDGE -- this is a bit unclear... how are we inside a bridge? The SLUG or setting is not described... where is this bridge? Is it overlooking the water? Is the ship in sight? On radar?


Quoted Text
The Captain SNATCHES the binoculars. Sighs impatiently,
stands and looks out the window for a beat. He GRUNTS, turns
to the helmsman, and SHOVES the binoculars into his chest.


... stands and looks out the window for a beat. -- Sounds like he's looking out the window for something called a beat rather than a silence. Him looking out the window kind of implies a beat IMO. Now, if he were staring out the window, it would imply several beats.

Also, I've seen this in some pro scripts before, but I'd advise against capitalizing actions like SNATCHES and SHOVES... they're called ACTION BLOCKS, so of course there is going to be action (or description) in it. No need to emphasize unless you're injecting symbolism into an object or action that you really want the reader to remember if it should repeat itself at another point in the story...

Also, no need to capitalize GRUNTS... only sounds that should be capitalized are sounds created  by non-human objects or entities or machines, etc. Anything that comes from a human being's vocal chords or coughing/sneezing should stay lower cased.

Page 2: Get outta her should be get outta here.

Also, if you have an INSERT (I try not to use them, but I have nothing against them as I see them in a lot of stuff, pro and amateur) -- you should have a BACK TO SCENE mini slug once the focus is off the insert.

Your MINI SLUGS (thinking of naming the kind you use SEMI SLUGS) where the focus is on a CABINET, etc -- it's used correctly. And some of the time, they're used correctly when you put a person's name RAY. But...

Page 3:

HOPE FIELDS, (34), very pregnant, bare feet. Her pink pajamas
hug her figure as she washes the dishes, her back to --

RAY
Stands behind her...

Just write Ray, who stands behind her (if you're completely against using "ing" -- Ray, standing behind her). "Ing"s are acceptable in the same way that WE SEE can be acceptable... if they are used very sparingly.

You also do the same thing w/ HOPE on page 4 shortly after. Just say "Hope turns and heads for the door" instead of wasting a line space for HOPE then saying "turns and heads for the door" on the next line. You draw enough attention to the character and their action just by writing it.

Also "Ray stands silent" instead of RAY

Stands silent. -- I like white space, but this is a waste of space. You have this quite a few more times as I read through it further.

On page 6, that SEMI SLUG (we'll see if that term catches on, haha) should be THE WALL, not SHADOWS... the wall is the canvas, the shadows the content of the canvas...

And then you have REMOTE off the table, when it should probably be TABLE... in all honesty, I think you go a little overboard with SEMI SLUGS... just say he grabs the remote off the table... drawing emphasis on something that doesn't need it.

If you keep doing those SEMI SLUGS -- REFRIGERATOR, etc... you are forced to use RAY as a SEMI SLUG to take focus off the refrigerator (or BACK TO SCENE) and it just keeps snowballing into more and more unnecessary semi slugs.

OVERALL:

I wasn't sure what to make of this. I assume CAPTAIN was RAY? And I was confused by the flashbacks... seems like you have a flashback within a flashback?

So, this story was about a man who is now a captain... he has a flashback of when he was w/ his pregnant wife,... does she decide to give the baby away? Leave him? Kind of unclear to me.

Then he flashes back again...

The conception of the baby w/ the woman. Then we flashback to present time? Not sure where we're returning to at first... is present day the opening or are we returning to the distant relationship w/ him and his wife?

Well, we return to the living room... Ray obviously wants a baby, according to the missing O being in the unborn baby's room (LVE on the fridge).

So... I'm not really sure what to make of this exactly. It all seemed very abstract... not against that as a lot of what I write can be abstract, but the opening seemingly had nothing to do with the rest of the story other than the tone and feeling of dread, disparity and sadness. To me, it felt incomplete, not all of the ideas seemed to come together in a coherent way.

But there were interesting images throughout, I felt like certain things were meant to symbolize other things, but I just wasn't sure quite what.

-- Michael


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StevenClark
Posted: September 20th, 2013, 2:00pm Report to Moderator
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Steve and Michael,

Thanks for taking a look. It's much appreciated.

The story, however unclear, are really two separate stories brought together by the same theme. And that is no matter what troubles a relationship may have going on...steady as she goes. Iceberg off the port bow? Steady as she goes. I figured what better way to illistrate that point in from a grizzled old captains perspective, someone who's no doubt seen his share of rough seas. I understand that it may be difficult to pick up on the way this short is laid out, but I def wanted to experiment with this one. Hence the two stories in one, and the flashback within a flashback.

Mike, thanks for the advice with the mini, or semi, slugs. I knew as I was writing this that there may have been some that were needlessly placed in there, but I wanted to get your opinion on them to set it straight.

Def appreciate the help!

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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spesh2k
Posted: September 20th, 2013, 10:21pm Report to Moderator
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No problem, man, anytime. BTW, semi slug is just something I made up, I'm not sure what the official term is (or if there is one) of those slugs that don't indicate a location really, but draw focus to an object or very specific location (refrigerator, on the wall, character, character's eyes, etc).

Short scripts are a perfect outlet for experimentation... still, the stories IMO should be connected somewhat. As of now, the opening is just there as a metaphor pretty much, symbolism, and has nothing to do with the main story (from what you've explained).

-- Michael


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RegularJohn
Posted: September 21st, 2013, 6:03pm Report to Moderator
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How's it goin', Steve?

So I took a look at this and one of the bigger, technical problems I have with this one is the odd spacing, most of which didn't seem necessary.  Throughout the script or at least during the flashbacks, you put a character's name or an object then follow it up with the rest of the sentence in a new paragraph.

It'll really fluff up your page count and I don't really see a reason for it.  It can put emphasis on the objects that you used this tactic with but doing that with the numerous mini-slugs can get overwhelming.  While on mini-slugs, the first time you use it, you have to write it as an entire slug before using it as a mini-slug.  For example:

{

INT. RAY'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT

Ray washes dishes then enters-

INT. RAY'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Ray pats his pocket then turns back into-

KITCHEN

}

It needs to stem out from some master setting the first time around if you're going to be moving around so that it's clear where we're at.  In either case, you're wasting a line of space to put it there so might as well write it out.  Still great that you used them btw.  In my opinion, mini-slugs are very useful and very underutilized so good job.

The flashbacks did get a bit cumbersome as you started the first one.  Sometimes I think it's better to go in chronological order as opposed to working your way backwards with the flashback after flashback and instead just have that one original flashback and illustrate the time progression with their appearances or by some other details.

For what you were aiming for, I would have liked (in terms of effect) seeing Ray's marriage degrade with time instead of working backwards to the time where he and Hope were at their happiest.  The flashback from the captain (whom I'm assuming is Ray) looking at a picture of whom I'm assuming is Hope to their passionate night which withers away in time would have been the route I would have gone.  It also would have retained that great ending as well.

Overall I did like the story.  Your writing is crisp and moves at a smooth and steady pace with just enough detail to paint a picture without needlessly describing a bunch of other objects.  So great job on the short.  I hoped this helped out a bit.

-Johnny


A read for a read makes the whole world...better at reading.  PM me for a read.

Ring Finger
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StevenClark
Posted: September 22nd, 2013, 6:18am Report to Moderator
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Hey Johnny,

Thanks for taking a read.  Anytime I can return the favor just let me know!

So, it seems that the majority rules here.  Almost no one got the idea that the opening image with the captain had nothing to do with the main story.  It was just sort of in keeping with the theme of the entire work.  I suppose I had hoped people might pick up on the theme, but so many tried to link the characters.  I love symbolism, metaphors, etc., but this just did not seem to work out as written.  (clear in my head though -- haha)

Also, thanks again for the mini slug help.  As I mentioned earlier, I did feel there were too many of them, some needlessly placed.  Writing them as part of the action blocks seems the way to go.  Also, a quick shout out to MarkRenshaw, who was the first to notice them, labelling them as camera directions.  In essence, theat's exactly what they were.  It was me trying to direct the scenes, I guess, without giving the camera shots.  

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: September 22nd, 2013, 6:48am Report to Moderator
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Hi Steven,

I think i owe you a read or two, so here goes. Haven't read any other comments so will read a fresh

What's a comely woman?

Ok, finished. Humm, you've lost me with this one.

I can't see the conenction with the first scene and the rest. They are set in different periods as well.

My best guess is that it's about the continuation of life after loss, but that's a weak link. IF i'm right, we don't know about the deaths, why or how etc and what the journey or challenges are.

I like subtle, I like symbolism, but a story still must drive on, IMO. What is the outcome? I feel that we as readers should fele we haven't learnt soemthing from a script like this, felt the emotion from the images, and for that clarity is required.

For me this needs some work.

Cheers


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RegularJohn
Posted: September 22nd, 2013, 12:47pm Report to Moderator
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So you were after a theme, eh?

I should have read the other comments.  If that's the case, you might wanna go the anthology route.  A few short tales held by the theme you're after could do the trick.

I see now that the early scene had nothing to do with the story following it.  I would name the captain to avoid the confusion.  With shorts, it's nearly impossible not to make these types of connections so anything to keep it crystal clear.

It may up the page count but another short story within the short with a few new characters would definitely clear up the pattern of love lost that you're after.  In any case, good job.


A read for a read makes the whole world...better at reading.  PM me for a read.

Ring Finger
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StevenClark
Posted: September 23rd, 2013, 8:50pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Reef,

Thanks for cracking this open!

A comely woman?  As I understand it, it just means attractive, pleasant to look at.  Actually, it was something I stole from Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven.  In the beginning it describes Will's dead wife as a comely woman.  I hope I got that right.  And I also used that, as you correctly noted, was that the scene on the boat was from another period in time, perhaps some 40 or 50 years in the past.  Glad you picked up on that.  I tried to indicate that with the b&w picture of the woman.

Glad you also tried to guess what it means.  In the future I'll try to make things like this clearer, because people are guessing too much.  No one has died in this piece.  It was simply a tale about how people need to move forward when the going gets rough, as is the case with Ray Field's.  The captain on the ship was mainly a metaphor for someone who has experienced "rough seas."

Also, I think Michael mentioned this, but the child's bedroom exists not for Hope and Ray's unborn chilod, but for another child they have, who is not mentioned.  I tried to indicate that by showing the bed already made with stuffed animals, and a fish tank...like it has been used.  Again, another case of me probably being a bit too ambiguous.

Johnny,

I feel another story tacked on might have added to the confusion that already exists with this piece.  Like i said, in future works I'll just have to find ways to make it clearer.  

Anyway, thanks to all who commented.

HAPPY 4TH BIRTHDAY, SPENCER!

Steve


Fair's Fare
An unsavory mechanic takes a shortcut that may not cost him his life but, by golly, he just might wish it had.
http://www.dropbox.com/s/3o0108q746tld5q/FAIRSFARE.pdf?dl=0
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Nomad
Posted: September 24th, 2013, 12:53pm Report to Moderator
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Steve,

I too agree with what most are saying.  
The mini-semi-pseudo slugs were confusing and unnecessary.  
I would have preferred a slug after FADE IN:.  

Fortunately I did see that they were two separate stories, but only because I read the thread on Cloud Atlas before I read this.

If you're going for theme, clearly show that the two scenes are from different time periods.  

As I go back I see that you did throw a lot of clues in there, so perhaps I didn't pick up on them as quickly as I should have.  If you would have put the clues in caps and not used all the mini-semi-pseudo slugs then they would have stood out more.

Nice ending.

Jordan


Read my scripts here:
PATRICIDE HOPE 4pg-Horror
SOCIAL EXPERIMENT 8pg-Drama
THE BRIDGE 8pg-Horror
SCHEISSE 6pg-Horror/Comedy
MADE FOR EACH OTHER-FILMED

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Nomad  -  September 24th, 2013, 6:43pm
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