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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2018 Two Week Challenge  ›  Operation Downfall - 2WC Moderators: Mr. Blonde
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Don
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 10:07am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Operation Downfall by Night Train - Short, Action - The atomic bombings against Japan never happened. The invasion of Japan did. 15 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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CameronD
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 11:57am Report to Moderator
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What have we here? Two invasion of Japan scripts? The plot thickens.

Off the bat, way too much chatter to start. These don't sound much like war weary marines to me but hard nosed stereotypes. Constantly jostling and bragging to the other about causalities and war as if it was a game. A band of fraternity brothers.

Not sure who the main protag is yet as there are a ton of charterers. I think in a short you don't have the time to do an ensemble but that's me. Lots of dialogue is very on point. No subtlety.  The military jargon seems good so maybe was written by a vet?

Page 6 and nothing has happened. Waiting for them to break out marshmallows and sing campfire songs. Starting to skim.

Bubblegum joke is kinda funny.

Page 8 and now they're going to make an assault. From the banter and descriptions I thought they were actually going to camp for the night. There is no tension or urgency that you think would creep up before an assault. Again, this is a game to the men, which I assure the invasion of Japan would not be.

"A bullet PINGS! into Stoverís helmet and sends it flying. Stover follows its flight path in confusion. Adams laughs uncontrollably at the look on Stoverís face." I don't know if Adams, having been shot in the leg, bullets and men dying all around would be laughing at this moment. Little things like this kill the story for me. Not believable.

TOP MARCUS
"If you canít drink it, eat it, or kill with it, burn it." Band of fraternity brothers confirmed.

A few things. The writer can write and although this isn't their first script, they still have a ways to go with formatting. Major characters should have after their name like this (21) instead of saying later that they are twenty-one. Lots of ing verbs in the action as well.

The plot is paper thin. Even though it's a short you still need a story to tell. This is just half macho talk half bloody violence with nothing laying underneath. I don't know or connect to any characters and am actually turned off by how many talk and act.

The first 8 pages are a waste. You develop character with action and there is none here.  Padding to meet the page limit? Put at 15 pages the padding is too much.

as hoping maybe some kind of payoff with the truck but there was none.

On a historical note, the planned invasion was to take place in November and you start in Oct. From the way the men talk it seems like they've been in Japan for some time as well so that's off. It's pretty easy to get what the change in history was but for a reader not familiar with the challenge or circumstances of the war this doesn't really seem special. Your logline shouldn't be the explanation for the change in timeline.  

A can't imagine marines willingly bayonet charging a Japanese position unless desperate. It should be the other way around.

I think this is a great setting for a story, you just need to find one to tell.


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stevie
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 6:16pm Report to Moderator
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Whoa, the attention to detail in this is awesome - the war talk, equipment, soldier jargon, even the cliched chars lol. Someone really did their homework here. but as Cam said above, there's a lot of pages devoted to the chat and army talk but not much happens.

Then when the battle starts we get the violence thrown in with the pre battle jokes. It works in MASH but doesn't here for some reason. Great event to chose to change - the planned invasion of Japan was predicted to cost a million lives of both Allies and Jap sides I recall reading - and I love the updates from the other theaters of war stil
going in Europe.

Anyway I enjoyed this as it really immersed me in the battlefield. I'm still playing Battlefield 1 on the ps4 and its still awesome with new content arriving soon which promises to be eve greater!

Good job!


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pale yellow
Posted: January 27th, 2018, 11:11pm Report to Moderator
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This was pretty good. I like your title and I'm good with the logline.

I take this was an ensemble as I didn't get a feel for following any one of the men in particular. Some of your dialogue was really really good ... then there was some that was on the nose or fed too much backstory for me.

Did they have drones that time period??

There are some great action lines. But there does not seem to be the tension that I would like to see. We need to care about the characters or at least about what's happening to them. Maybe a casualty. I know you have in dialogue some where about the three guys lost the day before... but just feel the need for some irony and casualty or twists.

I love the setting but I think it's drawn out too much. I can remember reading a script called THE WALL.. great script about a sniper and their target. The whole thing is in one location but it's super tense. I think if you are going to use the battlefield, it has to be more tense... sure you can have simmer moments where you can build your characters and their relationships but I want to feel more tension.

I think this is a pretty good stab at it. And I liked the ending on this one. Good job writer.


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JEStaats
Posted: January 28th, 2018, 4:09pm Report to Moderator
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Good banter and action sequences throughout. It does seem somewhat padded and could have some of that banter edited as it really doesn't contribute to the story (IMO only, perhaps you feel it's necessary?).

As the word DRONE has a totally different meaning nowadays (remote piloted craft), I had to read the last little bit twice then realized that you meant the noise. My bad. You were spot on throughout with your jargon in regards to military equipment et al, so I wondered where the drones came in.

Good story. Great job getting this submitted. Kudos.
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: January 29th, 2018, 9:35am Report to Moderator
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The second WWII story I've read but that's not a bad thing, I actually expected loads of WW1 or II related tales and I'm surprised that there's only 2...so far of course...I've a few left to read.

Anyway, the banter is spot on. Sure it seems cliche, but it's only cliche because we've seen a lot of war movies use such banter and yet those movies felt authentic and entertaining at the time.

I do think there's too many characters for such a short story. I quickly lost sight of who was who.

The writer did their research and made me believe in this invasion and the battle. That's not easy to do, so well done there. The first 7 pages or so did feel like a lot of fluffing and filler just to get the pages in though. You over explained the plight of the war. There's been heavy causalities and the allies are having to go to the extremes to compensate, we get that early on, but your still laying this on thick by page 7. It felt unnatural for the soldiers to be discussing every aspect of the war in such a short space of time.

The battle itself was brief but tense. Sadly, the truck mystery didn't pay off and the secret base, secret country, secret everything being revealed at the end seems rushed and convenient. The final image of the invading air-force was very powerful!


I have to say and I'm going to say this for every script in this challenge (so I'm basically cut and pasting this last bit into all of them lol) that well done on entering! This was creatively an extremely challenging outline, one in which quite a few didn't even attempt or dropped out of. To have a completed script in the running deserves a pat on the back and a collective high-five!

-Mark


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DanC
Posted: January 30th, 2018, 1:49am Report to Moderator
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This is the 3rd war story IN A ROW that I've read.

Please, GOd, no more!!

Okay, this was better than one, not as good as the other.  

I think your action is the best of the 3.  

Where it lags is no plot.  I didn't get the purpose or what they really achieved at the end.  

I'd cut down on some unnecessary stuff, streamline it, and try to make it the best it can be.

Good job entering.

Dan


Please read my scripts:
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I'm interested in reading animation, horror, sci fy, suspense, fantasy, and anything that is good.  I enjoy writing the same.  Looking to team with anyone!

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Stumpzian
Posted: January 30th, 2018, 10:17am Report to Moderator
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I think the story here is (or should be) this unit's move to retrieve the abandoned truck. The Army wants it back, we're told; the soldiers don't know why. They fight the enemy, get wounded or killed, and eventually secure the truck. What's inside the truck could make for a poignant ending, especially with the air attack that signals the end of their ground role. If you make truck the focus, everything else in the script would fall into place.
Random opinions:
* Too many "ing" words that bog down the paragraphs.
* Some characters need better introductions.
* Proofreading needed.
* Very believable period atmosphere and dialogue.

Henry



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DarrenJamesSeeley
Posted: January 30th, 2018, 10:12pm Report to Moderator
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Wow. Another one. I suppose new outcomes of wars is expected in historical speculative fiction. Like the other entry, the story's bulk takes place arond the time of the event itself. I'm starting to think that while the OWC didn't call for it (it must be set in a "new" present) I think it's better that we know the context of the changed event.


Quoted Text
At 22, heís the oldest man in his platoon. H
So, the rest of the platoon is under 21?   OWENS, CORTEZ and NOWICKI are at least 20 yes old. (due to rank) but that might become a question for some of your readers. There's only a two year difference. How do we know he's the oldest? And if we are going by rank, then... shouldn't Gunny be the same age as Rorke?

Anyway, I would strongly suggest that in future revisions that you drop the ranks of the characters as far as character slugs go. The last names of the characters will do. This elimates the "Cpl" part because it didn't take me long to get confused on who was talking.

Faceless MARINES get killed. Oddly, not one of them is a character we met before.

I get characters being the subject of a shot, but it' looks a bit off at times when you switch to LOCATION. I don't know, maybe it's just me.

Lots of talk, talk, talk. Feels stretched out.


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Dreamscale
Posted: January 31st, 2018, 6:09pm Report to Moderator
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Last one for me.  I'll do my best to be as detailed as possible, assuming I stay in for the long haul.

And away we go...

Well, sadly, we're off to a very poor start here, with the 1st Slug containing info that should be in a SUPER.  The 1st passage that follows is 5 lines and you just don't want or need to write passages over 4 lines.  This is overly detailed, is passively written, and contains a word from the Slug.

Well, it's pretty well written and seems to be well researched.  It's just not something that remotely interests me and it's too detailed for a 15 page script, as I'm 3 whole pages in and literally nothing has happened and although there's been alot of talk, I don't know anyone here, and no one stands out in the least.

Not much to say, because nothing is happening.  Again, it reads as if you know what you're talking about and the dialogue even sounds real, but it's so dull, and lifeless, sorry to say.  I don't want to say I'm skimming now, but I actually am.

Writing is going downhill and mistakes are popping up now when the action hit.  Way too much passive writing and it's so easy to do away with.

Your Slug choice is interesting, interspersing full Slugs, Minis and Subject Slugs.  It's tough to pull off, and there are some issues here, but pretty well done overall.

Again, it's well done for what it is, but what is it, exactly?  It's simply small battle in a make believe war, where we don't know or care about anyone.  I don't mean to be cruel with these comments, but there just isn't anything memorable here, anything creative, anything actually entertaining.

It's good exercise in writing and for the most part, you did pretty well.



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ChrisBodily
Posted: February 2nd, 2018, 3:47am Report to Moderator
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I LOVE that logline. It also works as a tagline, too.

I would put a comma before "thanks to the constant WHIRRING..."


Quoted Text
Everyone else[,] rest in place!


Abbreviations need periods.

Sergeant? 22? He's a boy! He's younger than I am!


Quoted Text
(indicating edge of
forest)


A tad too long for a parenthetical. But it works well enough to let it slide.


Quoted Text
big man with long mustachios


So like Snidely Whiplash? Dick Dastardly? Teddy Roosevelt?

For the uninitiated, CO means "Commanding Officer."


Quoted Text
We have a new company CO, yet, Gunny?


Huh? Is this a complete sentence?

10:41 a.m.? One Thousand-Forty-One Hours?

PC refers not to a personal computer, but to a "permanent change of station." Or at least that's what Google says.

What's L/CPL. You should tell us earlier.

PFC = Private First Class.

"Stover is seventeen. Allegedly." Okaaay, then. At least he isn't 0s.


Quoted Text
PFC Stover[,] show the lance corporal where weíre at.


You have a few orphans. Too many of these could pad the page count.


Quoted Text
Rorke and the others are brought up short by this comment


Filmable?


Quoted Text
SGT RORKE
(sniffing)
Rumors of my mental instability have been greatly exaggerated.


Something familiar here. Trump sniffs a lot and claims to be a "stable genius."

ETO is not a 70s rock band, but rather European Theatre of Operations.

Alacrity = "brisk and cheerful readiness."

MP = Military Police.

You don't really need CONT'D.


Quoted Text
The only sound is the WHIRRING of the shells overhead and the EXPLOSIONS they make when they crash to earth.


Reminds me of the sound design for Dunkirk.

We hear the word "Go," right?


Quoted Text
A bullet PINGS! into Stoverís helmet and sends it flying. Stover follows its flight path in confusion. Adams laughs uncontrollably at the look on Stoverís face.


A little too busy. Break it up into separate paragraphs.

What OP mean what I think it means?

Ruck? Alan Ruck?

Top? Is that the dude's name? Like, his actual name? Who names their kid Top?

Why is he the only one not identified by his rank?


Quoted Text
SGT RORKE (VO) CONTíD) (CONTíD)
(s sigh)
Good Night, Tokyo.


What happened there?

I don't quite get the ending. Did the Japanese wipe them all out? Did we lose the war?

I would have trimmed the script by a few pages. It was borderline dragging along. Too much Military jargon. But overall, I did like the story.


FADE IN:
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Dustin
Posted: February 2nd, 2018, 4:12am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder than dialogue.

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Code

EXT. FOREST - KANTO PLAIN, JAPAN - OCTOBER, 1946 - DAY

A long skirmish line of combat-geared MARINES is moving
noisily through the forest.



Not good.

The date in the slug should be written as a super.

We already know it's a forest because you said so in the slug. How long is long? Combat-geared? It's a skirmish line so, obviously, they are combat-geared... unless you mean geared as in clothed/adorned but, even then, they are soldiers, we'd expect that. The 'is' makes the action line too passive.
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StevenClark
Posted: February 3rd, 2018, 9:17pm Report to Moderator
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Writer,

I paid most of my attention to the story. I didnít bother with typos and formatting. This was pretty good, I thought, and could be some kind of great idea for a feature if done right. Your visuals were very good. I had a good sense of place, and I was able to see what you wanted. A bit wordy, though. Lots of back and forth banter between the soldiers, and it got a bit tiresome after awhile as I was waiting for the action. When the action did arrive it was underwhelming and all too quick. Still, a very decent effort, but it lacks the punch I was expecting from a story like this.

Steve


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AlwaysTheNewGuy
Posted: February 5th, 2018, 5:01am Report to Moderator
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IMHO, what does this need?

This was vivid and well constructed... but it didn't take me anywhere. There's characters and a situation, but I somehow missed any real development or emotional involvement. Things happened, but I canít describe them as progress.

Partly, that's typical of this type of war story, I think. People who love this stuff I guess are happy with macho characters and manly situations - tough guys and tough times.

What would this need to go beyond that? At least one character would need to be uniquely linked to this situation. For example... it's their first time on the front line... theyíre the only one who knows the air force are on their way... they're half Japanese. Or something - it's your story. I'm looking for something that provides more depth than guys sitting on their helmets and smoking cigarettes before getting their bayonets out.

Having said that, it was vivid and crystal clear, and that's a big achievement for a short with a whole bunch of characters. I stayed with it all the way.
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