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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Textual Assassins - Filmed Moderators: bert
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  Author    Textual Assassins - Filmed  (currently 3605 views)
Don
Posted: February 27th, 2016, 7:11am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Textual Assassins by Nolan Bryand - Short, Dark Comedy - Being a hitman is tough, killing indiscriminately is harder than you'd think. - pdf, format

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Don  -  September 17th, 2016, 10:10am
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RichardR
Posted: February 27th, 2016, 12:11pm Report to Moderator
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Nolan,

Some notes.

First, I like this little twister.  I think it's a nice idea.  So, where might you improve it?

I'm not sure how a hit man acts, but if he's good, would he communicate with his employer while he's working?  I would think the last thing he would do is pinpoint his location.  Try the front door?  Yes, worth a try but what happens if someone is home?  He walks in and is spotted immediately?  So, he finds the back door unlocked?  Since this guy is our protag, things shouldn't be easy for him.  If he's done his homework, then he knows no one is home.  A simple break-in will suffice.  However, you might consider a dog to complicate things.

And he goes into killer mode.  Why would a pro killer talk to himself?  There's no benefit for him.  

The little scene with the couple works for me.  I am no fan of torture.  I wish the killer had another reason to do what he does, like making it look like serial killer or copycat killer.  But that's me.

The kitchen scene with Carla and Jack feels like filler.  Just send them up one by one.  

I do like the twists at this point, however, the dialogue seems a bit pedestrian.  Can you give our killer something unusual?  

And the ending.  Unless the killer shoots the others, why would he ever consider going across the street?  One 911 call, and he's toast.  I know no one can recognize him because of the mask, but the police would be all over the place within minutes, especially since they people in the bedroom know who he's looking for.

For me, this one reads as if the characters are acting for the writer, not the audience.  Delve into their minds and figure out what they would do in this situation.  Often, characters won't do what the writer wants, and that's ok.  Let them be themselves.

Best
Richard
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Nolan
Posted: February 27th, 2016, 1:53pm Report to Moderator
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Richard,

Thanks for the read and the suggestions.  I'll take another look at it and see what I can do.

Nolan
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AnthonyCawood
Posted: February 27th, 2016, 3:00pm Report to Moderator
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Took a quick read, a few thoughts... just my opinion of course

1) Not sure a hitman would try the front door at all, not sure they just walk up the street... hidden through the back?
2) Talking to himself seems off.
3) He enters the house without the silencer already on the gun and without his phone off...
4) Even though the people he wants are downstairs he decides to go upstairs and wait for them, again seems the wrong choice for the character.
5) Wouldn't he go from toe nail to kneecap?
6) He's in contact with whoever hired him, by phone, but he has never been sent a picture of who his victims are?
7) And of all the houses to break into... sorry, breaking into a house to have sex... why, what's wrong with back seat of a car, toilets in a bar, etc etc
Like the 'God I love you line'
9) So in wrong house and second wrong couple... i see this is meant to be a comedy, but it sort of ends up as a comedy in the last act... I think this should be established earlier.

Script is decently written and flows well but all the co-incidences are too just convenient for anything other than a straight up comdy (imho), and in that case I think it needs to be more obviously comedic from the start.

Anthony


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
Screenwriting articles - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles
IMDB Link - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6495672/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
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Nolan
Posted: February 27th, 2016, 3:24pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read Anthony,

I guess a few of my responses would be:

1) Point take about the front door, but as for walking up the street, why not?  Hide in plain sight.  
2) Fair enough.
3) Good point.
4) I never really thought about that.  
5) Possibly.  
6) I actually thought about that before I wrote it.  And my reasoning was, he has an address and names.  Why would he need a picture?  He gets paid either way.  Perhaps it's just the convenience part of it for me as to why I settled on that.  Sometimes I'm lazy.  That's something I'll definitely tweak.
7) The back seat of a car, or toilets in the bar? Nah, breaking into a house to have sex sounds like a real rush!  But I see your point
Thanks!
9) Another good point.  

Thank you for the suggestions.  After the first two comments on the script, I will most definitely be taking another look at it to touch it up.  I had fun writing this, but I come here to make things better from the suggestions and critique I get, so thank you very much!

I was thinking about a title change from "174 Ridgeway Drive" to "Textual Assassin", if anyone has any thoughts on that.

Nolan
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AnthonyCawood
Posted: February 27th, 2016, 4:08pm Report to Moderator
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Spot on Nolan, enjoy the writing and use the feedback to hone each story/script... I've learnt so much on here over last couple of years...


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
Screenwriting articles - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles
IMDB Link - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6495672/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
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Forgive
Posted: February 28th, 2016, 6:41pm Report to Moderator
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there's a number of problems here, this could have been written in two-five pages. A lot of what you're saying isn't needed, a detail over-load. After that, we have your story and story intent and story is about what you're saying and who is saying it. Think about your tone here, when he gets to the front door there's a danger of it turning comedic. Your story doesn't have much to say and all of what he does until the end is get things wrong, so what does this say about him, and what does it say about the story that we're  following? The tone of the writing needs something too, sorry but a lot of it sounds like a list is being read out, there needs to be something more injected into the way you write stuff.
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Nolan
Posted: February 28th, 2016, 7:56pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the comment,

I just posted a new version and it's actually just five pages.

Nolan

Revision History (1 edits)
Nolan  -  February 29th, 2016, 8:28am
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Forgive
Posted: March 1st, 2016, 6:49pm Report to Moderator
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Let The Sky Fall

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Okay, you didn't post a new version, you pretty much wrote a different script, and there's a difference between improving something and changing something and this has been changed. What you are still getting confused about is story and how to tell it in simple terms but with some meaning that's going to appeal to the reader. The cat is a distraction and doesn't belong here and all of that needs to be dropped. Think about what you're saying here. Your first version in some
ways was better cos the killer got the wrong people and I think that needs working on because in some ways even though the torture is unpleasant it forms some kind of relationship and when he finds he has the wrong people he has to deal with that and that is a story idea that's worth exploring.
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Nolan
Posted: March 1st, 2016, 7:34pm Report to Moderator
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Dear forgive,

I'm a little confused by both of your comments.  First off, fair enough about the new version compared to a different script entirely.  I understand that.  

In your first post you mention that a lot of what I'm saying is a detail overload, and that there's a danger of it turning comedic.  When you say that do you mean a straight up comedy?  Because the intention was for it to be a dark comedy.  You mentioned that my story doesn't have much to say and in the end he gets thing wrong, so what does that say about him.  I'd say it says that he's a pretty crappy assassin, that's what it says about him.  Nowhere did it mention that he was supposed to be some type of A class assassin.  Could it not be his first job and he doesn't know what the hell he's doing?  As for the tone of the writing, what does that mean?  It sounds like a list is being read out?  in what sense?  I don't get it.  What needs to be injected? And you didn't give me any critique on how the tone "needs something".  Do I need to be more descriptive?   The first two comments I got actually gave me some constructive criticism.  Sorry, but I found that comment not really helpful at all.

As for the second post, how am I getting confused on how to tell a story in simple terms, but with some meaning that's going to appeal to the reader?  And why doesn't the cat need to be there?  Think about what I'm saying?  I always think about what I'm saying.  What I'm saying is that he got attacked by a cat.  I'm not in the mindset that everything that is written has to have some deep thought behind it, and kudos to those who are.  That's not me.  Then you say that at least in the first version there was some kind of relationship with the people he tortures.  And then you say the first version was a story worth exploring?  Where was that in the first comment?  

Look, I know you're trying to be helpful and I truly appreciate that.  I can see that you post a lot, so you clearly have valuable information with your feedback.  But I'm sorry to say, I didn't see any in either of those comments.  Maybe I can't read between the lines, I don't know.  

I changed the story because after thinking about it, I liked it a little better than the first one.  Based on the two comments by Richard and Anthony, I worked with those to make a different story, again, because I liked the second one more than the first.  
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Forgive
Posted: March 2nd, 2016, 5:53am Report to Moderator
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Hi Nolan, I think you are confused because you don't understand story structure and how a story should be told. That's not a major problem but it is something you'll have to do a bit of work on.

Richar points out "...the characters are acting for the writer ... delve into their minds..."

Anthony points out "...it sort of ends up as a comedy in the last act..."

So, set the tone early on, and if it is to be a comedy give an indication early on.

Character motivation, why is he doing this, what propels him into action, what internal and external challenges does he face and what if anything does he learn?

What events move the story toward it conclusion? Retell the story without the cat and it'll read much the same, as the cat events really add nothing to it.

Take your first idea, it's his first job, then the question is why is he doing it? Desperate for money, or does he want to impress people and move up some gang hierarchy? Then he realises that he's got the wrong people, so what does he do then? That's a real conflict, and then, where does the story end?

Both your versions have weak ending and before you write you need to figure out the Beginning, Middle, End of a tale, the beginning means setting this up, the middle where things happen, and the end where everything is concluded (or sometimes not) but each area has to be strong, and your ends, conclusions, are not.

And anyway, writing is re-writing, you'll always have to re-write stuff, it goes with the territory.
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Nolan
Posted: March 2nd, 2016, 7:39am Report to Moderator
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Forgive,

Thank you for your reply.  I found that much more useful.  I will take some time away from it and really take a good look at it.

Nolan
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RichardR
Posted: March 2nd, 2016, 9:15am Report to Moderator
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Nolan,

Some notes.

This version is quite different from the first, and I like it better.  It provides some comic relief and more problems for the protag.  How to improve?

If I can offer a tip, it would be to make the killer something other than a killer.  Does that make sense.  Make him a jogger or something, who has a reason to be on the sidewalk.  No one pays attention.  He jogs behind the house, we suddenly realize he's really something else.  We love surprises.

The cat.  The cat doesn't work for me.  It's not that cats can't be aggressive, it's that our killer acts stupidly.  He either tosses the cat in the closet or shoots the cat.  If he's there with a silenced pistol, I vote for shooting the cat.  That's what I would do.  I'm not going to try and KO the cat with a crow bar.  Of course, in the comic vein, when the killer chuckles at the beware of cat sign in the window, he doesn't know that 'cat' is the name of the Great Dane sleeping in the other room.  Never turn down an opportunity to surprise your audience.

Or cat could be a python or tiger or something else that will cause the protag a big problem.

I like the idea of having multiple killers, and that's a comic ride you can explore, especially if they begin to show up and not necessarily get killed but argue about who's going to do the hit.  Was it an accident or did the contractor want these killers to meet in a confined space for some reason?  Was he looking to knock off these folks or did he mistakenly hit 'reply all' on the email?  You have opportunities to surprise your audience and push the comic value.

And you have chances to play with the killers--jogger, pizza delivery, cable man, etc.  Lots of opportunities for comedy.

I hope I haven't stepped on your toes or offered too much.  

Best
Richard
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Nolan
Posted: March 2nd, 2016, 9:25am Report to Moderator
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Richard,

You haven't stepped on my toes at all.  I appreciate the feedback, and the ideas!  Anything to help make my story better, or to change it completely .  Like I said to forgive, I'm going to take a little time away and really think about where to take this.  

Thanks again,

Nolan
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Gum
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Quoted from Nolan
I was thinking about a title change from "174 Ridgeway Drive" to "Textual Assassin", if anyone has any thoughts on that.


Hi Nolan,

You might seriously consider that, being Google Maps had more than six hits on that very address. I won’t go into the logistics of how sticky the situation could become if… well, you get the gist.

Other than that, I liked the ‘Series of Inept Events’ that you scripted here and, would like to have seen more actually. It put me in mind of the ‘Money Pit’ for some reason, that and ‘Home Alone’ obviously. You should give it (Money Pit) a go if you haven’t seen it; funny, funny shit.

Anyways, I think it would be even funnier if you had a bunch of assassins all breaking in through different doors, windows, etc. Then have them walking through a dark house inadvertently trashing the place, meeting their own demise via some ridiculous scenario etc., then have the homeowners walk into a train wreck after the dust has settled. Scratching their heads, thinking WTF happened here?!  Just my opinion of course…

‘Lady Killers’ had a good scene where all the criminals were victims of their own vices, and ‘Welcome to Collinwood’ had a cast of characters play out a funny WTF just happened scene that left them no better off than they were to begin with. So where am I going with this? A series of unfortunate events being played out by a cast of inept assassins would probably sum it up.

Just some more feedback to go on, I dig the writing here, it shows potential. Best of luck…
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