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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Drama Scripts  ›  Twenty Moderators: bert
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  Author    Twenty  (currently 864 views)
Posted: November 13th, 2015, 11:30pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Twenty by Joe Caruso - Drama - Three young men after college, unemployed decide to start their own Private Investigation business and very soon find themselves in a great deal of trouble. 123 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: November 14th, 2015, 3:32am Report to Moderator


Over there.
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Your opening line after your Fade In amused me, sadly for all the wrong reasons.

Quoted from Twenty

I'm fairly sure this isn't quite right. Call me Bernard again. I might be wrong and there may be some bizarre new trend running around Hollywood supported by people with strange haircuts and their arses hanging out of their stranger trousers, but I doubt it.

I read on. Surprisingly enough the next few pages are fairly amusing, but for the right reasons. I might even read on if the author posts here and says he'd love to here more of my deeply insightful and weighty comments. If not I'll understand and move on with my life, albeit with a heavy heart.


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rendevous  -  November 14th, 2015, 3:38am
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Posted: November 14th, 2015, 3:47am Report to Moderator

You know what a saguaro is?
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123 pages makes me hesitate big time. When I open it up and the scene heading is like written above, followed by 13 pages of dialogue then another scene heading like above, I know why there are 123 pages and the rest of the story will be the same. It's important to understand what you are doing and why (writing a screenplay). If you're writing for fun, great. If you desire to make money, then learn what this should look and read like in order to do so. There are tons of articles about what makes a good story, and how to write that good story. I like reading screenplays when they are well written, better than a good book. So like a book I flip through the first few pages and see if I want to read it. Those first few pages count for me. A lot. I didn't read your first 13 pages, just scrolled through them. I know I don't like watching people talk (on the screen) for 13 minutes, so I didn't read it.
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Posted: November 14th, 2015, 12:12pm Report to Moderator

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A lot of people can tell a writer's ability on the first pages. Not even reading, just by glancing. So cloroxmartini is right. 13 pages of dialogue is a little odd, especially since there is so little action in between. That said, it's not a deal breaker.

But right off the bat, we get a very flat description of these two people, Rich and Doyle. I'd recommend saying ANYTHING about them, just to quickly paint a picture in my head.

I read this article once (, and it made a nice point between amateur and pro screenplays:

Quoted Text
A less skilled writer would write the following scene like this:

Jack and Miles sit in a diner. The sexy, young WAITRESS arrives and serves them their food. Jack can’t keep his eyes off her as she leaves the table.

Fuck man, too early in the morning for that, you know what I mean?

Instead, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor wrote the scene like this:

TWO PLATES OF FOOD float in front of two breasts tucked inside a zippered uniform.


Disheveled and unshaven, Jack and Miles are served breakfast by a young, innocently sexy WAITRESS. Jack leers after her.

Fuck man, too early in the morning for that, you know what I mean?

I don't necessarily agree that you have to be *that* cinematic all the time, but your first page has to grab people.

Your dialogue flows pretty well, which is good. But I think the scene doesn't work.

First off, some lines are just way to informative and "tell."

Quoted Text

You have been unable to get a job
for as long as me, and its a full
year after we graduated. Our lives
are going nowhere.

And that comes to the main problem of the scene. You are trying to set up the ENTIRE PLOT and motivations for the characters all in this one scene entirely through dialogue. Your movie can start anywhere. Do you need to start in a diner with two people talking? Think outside the box.

And it's too long for what it is. Why even have Harvey come in halfway through, only to have Rich explain everything again? Just have them all there to start with.

The second half of this scene just goes on and on with details that I don't really care about. It's GREAT that you put in a bunch of thought to how they will manage this, but just laying it out to the audience through dialogue is boring, and you can just SHOW us them doing these things later.

Forget telling us information! We want Drama! Joe goes from "no that's dumb" to "yeah, I'll try it" in a manner of pages. I know it's just the beginning scene, and I'm being too harsh on it, but you don't want to bore your audience.

A very typical structure that you see in a LOT of movies is where the hero will first REJECT the idea to move into a new world (this PI business), but then finds his circumstances (poor, no job) require him to take that leap.

And scene headers need a location! (Ex. INT. DINER - DAY)

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