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SimplyScripts
Posted: November 26th, 2014, 7:04am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Pieces by Steven Clark - Short, Holiday, Drama - A desperate gunman chooses the wrong family to rob on Christmas Day... Or has he? 17 pages - pdf, format


Visit http://www.simplyscripts.com for what is new on the site.


-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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LC
Posted: November 26th, 2014, 8:25am Report to Moderator
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Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

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Okay, Steve forgive me if I miss some things - is past midnight here and I'm off to bed soon. Just wanted to post my initial thoughts first. I might have more later, you never know...

My first thought was 17 pages - hmm, bit long - (I quite like my 'shorts' short,) but this was a breeze to read and held my attention throughout effortlessly.

Cap Momma p. 2 and further on. Where you can replace the word Momma with a name i.e., Clara, it should be capped. Example of when not to would be for example: 'that's my momma' - it's lower case here cause you wouldn't say: 'that's my Clara'.

'garlands' plural? in your intro
nods his head p. 5 instead of 'shakes' cause Fischer does in fact do what he's told and go to the kitchen.
'lets go of Clara' instead of 'lets Clara off' - being picky I suppose.

Few other nitpicks but not worth mentioning cause it's probably personal taste/preference in word usage and the writing on display here is topnotch.

Particularly here:
Jake looks out on a soft pink sky behind bare tree branches.
He taps a cigarette from his pack, lights it, inhales deeply.
The quiet, the cold air. Peaceful.
High above the tree tops... a lone HAWK circles endlessly.


And then picking up on that (above) at the end with the the snow falling and the contrasting landscape - terrific stuff.

Love the tables being turned with the gifts being given. Clever and unexpected.

Funny - this reads as a period piece to me if it wasn't for a few of the gadgets - as if set in the 50s or 60s - don't know why - just the feel of it I suppose.

Just one more thing: I'm not overly enamoured with the title - think it deserves more.

Overall, this is a truly lovely piece of work, Steven.  Hope someone picks it up.
Unless of course you're filming it yourself...


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DS
Posted: November 26th, 2014, 8:54am Report to Moderator
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Hi Steven - my thoughts:

Getting closer to Christmas, I see. This was an enjoyable read, I knew the general direction the script was going to take from  the logline, but you still caught me by surprise on where it went. I liked the character work here, they were well fleshed out. Jake & Clara's banter was good, it was realistic and still kept a nice family tone to the script.

Good tension with the robbery, it all played out very well and was never over the top. You managed to show how the family cares for eachother throughout the scene with subtlety and I felt it worked really well. Great writing.


Quoted Text
P3: JAKE
Fine, I'll bring it back.


take it back?


Quoted Text
P8: CLARA
Why on earth are you here, sir? You
should be home with your family.


I don't think Clara should be calling him sir, it doesn't really feel in her character. While she's compassionate with Tyler's situation imo she had a nice strong serious edge about her that would hold it against him that he robbed them enough to not give him the "sir" respect and say that line with a full "this is what you need to be doing".

As the conversation about Tyler's past goes, I didn't think the transition from where he got the gun and being ex-military to him being laid off and needing to do this for his family worked. Perhaps too many details at once or perhaps that answer to Jake's question simply felt rushed, I feel like another line or two in between could be of use.

Fischer running out with a picture drawn in a questionably short amount of time was rather cheesy. The necessary emotions were already established enough, no point overdoing it imo. Missing a CONTINUOUS slug when they walk out of the door, I think?

My last gripe was that Tyler was a bit too stupid, I get you were going for him being a bit dim, but he seemed to take zero precautions breaking into someone's house at daylight, could he have at least had a ski mask to try hide his identity?

As LC, I didn't like the title much either.

But overall, really good stuff here. Best of luck with this, hope my notes helped.
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LC
Posted: November 26th, 2014, 7:41pm Report to Moderator
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Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

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I re-read in the cold light of day.   Not that that detracts from my initial thoughts.

So, just want to add a couple of things -

I think you need a bit more of a transition to this one -

Clara, I'm sorry. p. 13
Even if it's just: 'oh God, Clara, I'm so sorry.'

And I think it's a better idea if the ribbing between Clara and Jake is kept on a lighter tone.

Clara with the 'get out' 'get out of here' is a bit strong imh - I think she would be more weary at this point with her klutz husband than show that anger to a complete stranger. 'Clara on the floor in tears' - I think that takes the humour and her cool demeanor from the story. Before the 'dog' breaks everything is pretty light and humourous even though there's an undercurrent of truth.

'construction
paper. ??' - what am I missing here?

Also, I'm with DS re the kid's drawing - I just think that's a bit of a jump - Fischer was held at gunpoint - pretty traumatic I'd say. I think you'd need a flash-forward to a 'rehabilitated' Tyler and family passing Jake and family in the street or meeting at church or some social occasion for this to work.

Also with regard to Clara addressing Tyler as 'Sir' I think I know what you were going for here - see it a lot especially with U.S. folk from the south and their very formal/respectful salutations. I'm just not sure it is appropriate in this context.

Minor points. Terrific script.  


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Athenian
Posted: November 27th, 2014, 12:39pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Steven,

This would definitely make a sweet Christmas film. Touching and well-written, really enjoyed it.

I agree with most of what Libby and DS have said. Just a small gripe of my own: In the beginning, Tyler probably comes across as more violent and dangerous than he should. I mean, would a good (deep down) guy threaten a mother in front of her child and husband the way he did? Yes, the gun was not real, but still. Maybe he could just point the gun at the family in a hesitant and half-hearted manner (as if he had already regretted it).

A solid and warm story, though. Loved the writing.

Manolis
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StevenClark
Posted: November 27th, 2014, 9:27pm Report to Moderator
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Libby,

Thanks for taking the time! And thanks, Don, for posting.


Quoted from LC

Cap Momma p. 2 and further on. Where you can replace the word Momma with a name i.e., Clara, it should be capped. Example of when not to would be for example: 'that's my momma' - it's lower case here cause you wouldn't say: 'that's my Clara'.


Hmm. I never realized that. Thanks.


Quoted from LC
Funny - this reads as a period piece to me if it wasn't for a few of the gadgets - as if set in the 50s or 60s - don't know why - just the feel of it I suppose.


Hmm. I never realized that. Thanks. Seriously, not sure why you feel that way. My first thought would be the name Clara...sort of old school, I suppose.


Quoted from LC
  Just one more thing: I'm not overly enamoured with the title - think it deserves more.


I couldn't agree with you more. Any suggestions?


Quoted from LC
Overall, this is a truly lovely piece of work, Steven.  Hope someone picks it up.
Unless of course you're filming it yourself...


Thanks, Libby. Glad you liked it. I can't even fathom trying this myself. I spent too much time on damn rewrites and to think...storyboards, more rewrites. Ugh.


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: November 27th, 2014, 9:44pm Report to Moderator
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DS,

Thanks for reading this.


Quoted from DS
Hi Steven - my thoughts:

Getting closer to Christmas, I see. This was an enjoyable read, I knew the general direction the script was going to take from  the logline, but you still caught me by surprise on where it went. I liked the character work here, they were well fleshed out. Jake & Clara's banter was good, it was realistic and still kept a nice family tone to the script.Good tension with the robbery, it all played out very well and was never over the top. You managed to show how the family cares for eachother throughout the scene with subtlety and I felt it worked really well. Great writing.


Thanks, I appreciate that.


Quoted from DS
take it back?


You're right. That is better.


Quoted from DS
  I don't think Clara should be calling him sir, it doesn't really feel in her character. While she's compassionate with Tyler's situation imo she had a nice strong serious edge about her that would hold it against him that he robbed them enough to not give him the "sir" respect and say that line with a full "this is what you need to be doing".


Good point. I'll change that. The inclusion of the "sir" wasn't necessarily her saying it out of respect. It was mainly because she didn't know his name at the time. But I understand that that might be hard to translate.


Quoted from DS
  As the conversation about Tyler's past goes, I didn't think the transition from where he got the gun and being ex-military to him being laid off and needing to do this for his family worked. Perhaps too many details at once or perhaps that answer to Jake's question simply felt rushed, I feel like another line or two in between could be of use.


100% correct. While it wasn't a rush job writing wise, I can see how it feels that way. TMI  in too short of time. It needs to be lengthened a tad so you get a better feel for Tyler's character.


Quoted from DS
  Fischer running out with a picture drawn in a questionably short amount of time was rather cheesy. The necessary emotions were already established enough, no point overdoing it imo.


Another good point. I think Fischer giving him just the puzzle would have worked out fine. I get cheesy sometimes.


Quoted from DS
  My last gripe was that Tyler was a bit too stupid, I get you were going for him being a bit dim, but he seemed to take zero precautions breaking into someone's house at daylight, could he have at least had a ski mask to try hide his identity?


Another good point. You're chock full of them!

Thanks again for reading. Every point you mentioned made sense. Appreciate it.

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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LC
Posted: November 27th, 2014, 11:18pm Report to Moderator
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Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

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Quoted from StevenClark
... Seriously, not sure why you feel that way. My first thought would be the name Clara...sort of old school, I suppose.

You know thinking about it I'm really not sure either. I think it was a combo of her name (Clara) and the Spanish porcelain dog - you see those a lot in old worldy type scripts, the black luxury car - the Martha Stewart attention to decorating. And I suppose the characters seem rather mannered to me too.

Speaking of which, him being a cop, how come they're so well off?


Quoted from StevenClark
I couldn't agree with you more. Any suggestions?

Re title: I will give it some thought though I think even Pieces of Us sounds a lil better... Will let you know if something else springs to mind.


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StevenClark
Posted: November 29th, 2014, 5:15am Report to Moderator
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Manolis,

Thanks for the read. I get what you're saying with Tyler appearing a bit vicious. I deleted a passage with him tearing up as he did this. Instead I went for his gun hand shaking to try and show he was more nervous than he was letting on. Perhaps it needs a bit more to get the reader to know that this guy is not the ill tempered thug we think he is.

I'm glad you liked it overall.

Libby,

I get what you're saying about Clara. That dog was a piece she obviously cared about a lot and, considering the tension that was being built with the gift "exchange," I figured at that point she'd just lose it. Maybe it came on a bit strong. I'll think on it.

Re your idea of a rehabilitated Tyler and the family meeting again somewhere down the road as sort of an epilogue? Love it! Thanks again.

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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DS
Posted: November 29th, 2014, 9:13am Report to Moderator
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I think the robbery scene is fine right now. The hand shaking is a great tool, it can be interpreted in many ways. Whether he's scared, nervous, simply whack, has shakes from a drug addiction, alcoholism etc. It's easy for Tyler to get lost in the moment and it's not unbelievable. Maybe it would be more unbelievable if he could keep his cool and orchestrate a "peaceful" robbery. Either way, the reveal works fine as it is and I wouldn't risk changing it. If Tyler had a ski mask and possibly some sunglasses fully covering his face and eyes maybe it would be more natural as he could have been fretting under there. It could make the scene even more tense, as well.
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stevemiles
Posted: December 5th, 2014, 1:08am Report to Moderator
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Steve,

A fast 17 pages executed with your usual understated approach.  Like the way you shifted direction from the initial stand-off to using Tyler as catalyst to reveal Clara and Jakeís strained marriage.

A couple of thoughts.  The tone seems fairly well grounded in reality, though fake gun or not Tyler would be looking at some serious charges -- which made giving him the unwanted gifts hard to swallow.  I think if you lessened Tylerís initial threat of violence (perhaps lose the gun) it would be more believable for them to subsequently play out their domestic issues.

Torn on the ending.  Part of what I took from this was the idea of forgiveness.  Though Jake forgives Tyler, his relationship with Clara is left somewhat hanging.  The last time we see her she's on the floor crying over the broken figurine -- to this end Jakeís final quip (to me) felt a little cold.  We know Jakeís sorry, but Clara doesnít.

Perhaps Iíve missed the point -- realityís imperfect.  Thatís a theme I get from this (and your other shorts) so perhaps Iíve missed the point.  But on the other hand the story seems to suggest Tylerís actions inadvertently bring this family closer -- in which case I wonder if you should go a little further to show Jake and Clara on better terms?

Just my tuppence worth.  Other than that a solid idea.

Steve.


My short scripts can be found here:


http://www.sjmilesscripts.webs.com
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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: December 5th, 2014, 5:37am Report to Moderator
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Steve,

Pieces feels like the beginning sequence of a feature, mainly sets up a protagonist's world and character. It had that frosty, crisp atmosphere I think you were going for. I did like the pacing, mainly the surprise of the crash from within. It was a great visual amongst the serenity.

The majority was written well, but suffers from a few difficult passages on the first page. Your opening passage is overwritten.

Still on her first cup of coffee. <---

As a standalone short, consider giving any character new direction. Not to say these characters are unbelievable, or their motivations insincere. The deescalation of stakes was a hard pill to swallow. Instead of working toward a climax, we just get an excuse from Tyler. Those elements should be masked, allowing the theme to be identified in the end. The luxury car and abundance at start was great, but you still exposed your hand too early.

Pleasure to read, bro.

Johnny
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StevenClark
Posted: December 5th, 2014, 4:34pm Report to Moderator
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Steve,

Thanks for the notes, man.

I've already decided, at Libby's suggestion, that it might further the story if I was to show Jake and his family at some sort of social gathering on better terms, and while there they happen to come across Tyler and his family. I think at that point all it would take is a simple nod of the head to close this out on a more complete note.

I think Clara she sees a kind of kindred spirit in Tyler, seeing how it was supposed to show that both of their children have Autism. Actually, I don't know I the Autism angle came through on this because I don't think anyone has mentioned it thus far.

You're right on the forgiveness theme, as well as compassion. Those were the central ones I tried to get across.
Also, I believe, the appearance of a bird in a story is supposed to mean the "bearer of news" or something like that. Just in case anyone was wondering.

Much appreciated, Steve.

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: December 6th, 2014, 8:11pm Report to Moderator
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Steve,

the Autism angle was subtle but it worked fine for me.  


My short scripts can be found here:


http://www.sjmilesscripts.webs.com
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StevenClark
Posted: December 8th, 2014, 9:37pm Report to Moderator
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John,

Thanks as always, my friend. I'm glad most of it worked for you.

Still on her first cup of coffee. I never liked asides. I'd use them in my earlier scripts but found them to be too cutesy to work well. I use asides now, but mainly when it's to further a character description or to help explain a mood in a particular scene. I use them sparingly, and try to make sure they don't sound like I'm trying to be too clever. Man, I hate that.

I guess the reason I tipped my cards was because I knew that that wasnt what I was going to end the story on. I know that you hated the picture.  You've seen it before, too. Stuff like that happens alot in my work and I need to get away from that a little. In further rewrites I'm eliminating the picture scene. Anyway, that's the direction I seem to go with stories. I think that the aftermath is just as important as the reveal, most times more so. At least I think so.

Thanks again for reading bro. I have a feeling when I post my aborted OWC you're gonna like it alot better. Go Bunny!

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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