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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Drama Scripts  ›  Killing Joseph Smith
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  Author    Killing Joseph Smith  (currently 1779 views)
Don
Posted: February 7th, 2018, 10:19am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Killing Joseph Smith by Matthew Akisan - Short, Drama - On a hot summer night in 1844, a small group of jailers must stop a determined, vengeful mob getting their hands on their prisoner, Mormon leader and founder, Joseph Smith. 19 pages - pdf format

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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (4 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  October 31st, 2018, 4:41pm
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HyperMatt
Posted: February 7th, 2018, 2:58pm Report to Moderator
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Based on historical events, but with some 'liberties' taken.



Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
HyperMatt  -  February 8th, 2018, 8:41am
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Don
Posted: February 7th, 2018, 6:50pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Link fixed.

- Don


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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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HyperMatt
Posted: February 7th, 2018, 8:09pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Don.


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MarkItZero
Posted: February 17th, 2018, 3:36pm Report to Moderator
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Hey HyperMatt,

I struggled with some of the description writing. I think you can be more efficient with your sounds and visuals.

I'm gonna write out different versions but it's just to illustrate a point. You have your own style so it'll be completely different when you write it... maybe you won't be convinced any changes are needed... but I want to stress descriptions be clear, efficient, and visual.  

So, looking at page 2:


Quoted Text
Cyrus looks behind him anxiously as an angry voice in the
unseen crowd seems to be aimed at him


Is it efficient? You already described him as nervous in the character description so you can probably lose "anxiously".

Is it clear? I found the description of "the unseen crowd" confusing. There's a torch on the door and the mob is holding torches, why can't he see them?

Is it visual/auditory? A description of an "angry voice" in a crowd we can't see that "seems to be aimed at him" is not much in the way of a clear sound.

How about something like...

Cyrus glances over his shoulder - the crowd SNARLS and JEERS as it inches towards him.

Or...

Cyrus glances back - the crowd seethes towards him, faces smeared by torchlight, lips curled into SNARLS and JEERS.

Okay, I may have just broken my own rules of efficiency and clarity with that second one. We all get carried away sometimes lol.




Quoted Text
Cyrus quickly reaches for his bag in a quick motion, causing
the rifle to be cocked. Chester jolts in fear.


Same test.

Is it efficient? "Quickly" and "quick motion" are redundant. You probably don't need either, actually.

Is it clear? I think so.

Is it visual/auditory? This may be more a personal preference but I'd rather "causing the rifle to be cocked" be a sound effect.

For example...

Cyrus reaches for his bag - hears the CLACK of a rifle bolt - he freezes.



There's many other lines throughout that could do with a second look. I notice a lot of "the sound of something..." as in, "the sound of a window breaking".

Again, just put the actual sound up front. It's more efficient. A window SHATTERS.


That rug really tied the room together.
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HyperMatt
Posted: February 17th, 2018, 4:41pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks so much for your comments  MarkItZero. Must admit I rush through this just to get down the story that I liked. And I did struggle finding different words to sound on the online thesaurus, as sound and voices is used a lot in this script. A lot of what you wrote makes sense. I thought Cyrus Wheelock was the most interesting character in the story and maybe I overemphasised his anxiety and weirdness.


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Gerlinde
Posted: February 18th, 2018, 4:23am Report to Moderator
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From the Script:

I am going like a lamb to the slaughter.

This sentence is said to have told Smith before going to jail. However, according to recent sources, he said that even in Nauvoo, shortly after the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor, he exposed some of Smith's evil deeds.
I downloaded the script and will read it later. As a former member of this cult I am interested in the topic.
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Gerlinde
Posted: February 18th, 2018, 4:42am Report to Moderator
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Matt, I looked at the first five pages of your screenplay, and the last pages (the death of JS). Apart from some historical untruths (as Mr. Wheelock did not jail with a message from Governor Ford, but with smuggled guns for Joseph Smith and others, as John Taylor testified), two things are particularly disturbing the script:
On the one hand, it is very tendentious, as if a Mormon defended his church leader. Tell me, are you a Mormon? And on the other hand, the many drawings disturb me. Film is a visual medium with sounds, voices and images that move.
By the way, when Smith fell out of the window after he was fatally hit, he sent out the Masonic's call sign, which also confirmed many witnesses. My advice: Rework the script again. And make it clear that Smith did not want to die because he called the Nauvoo Legion to help him out. And by the way, Joseph Smith was not General of the Nauvoo Legion, but Lieutenant-General, A title few had before him, and he gave himself in his megalomania.
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HyperMatt
Posted: February 18th, 2018, 5:10am Report to Moderator
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I'm not a Mormon, but I am fascinated by their culture and ties to American folklore. Maybe I need to clearly spell out that this is a work of fiction playing with the facts.  All the jailers are fictional and there was no Albino Freemason in Carthage Jail, that was totally made up.
Is there room for these kinds of pseudo-historical stories? .... Hmmmm.


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HyperMatt
Posted: February 18th, 2018, 9:04am Report to Moderator
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Hey Gerlinde, Cyrus telling the jailers he had correspondence from General Ford was a deception. If you read the whole script you would have seen that he hid the Derringer pistol in a compartment in his shoe. When I wrote this I wanted the reader at the end to think ‘What the f**k was that?’ And I seemed to have got that response from you. I’m glad somebody thinks my description of pencil sketches are disturbing. I feel like an artist now!


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Gerlinde
Posted: February 19th, 2018, 12:55pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from HyperMatt
Hey Gerlinde, Cyrus telling the jailers he had correspondence from General Ford was a deception. If you read the whole script you would have seen that he hid the Derringer pistol in a compartment in his shoe. When I wrote this I wanted the reader at the end to think ‘What the f**k was that?’ And I seemed to have got that response from you. I’m glad somebody thinks my description of pencil sketches are disturbing. I feel like an artist now!


He got more than a gun brought into Carthage Jail (4 of them, hide in many places on his body).
That it was a deception, was clear to me, but that was not true from historical point of view.
BTW, why you're interested in a church, which lie so often to public and their members?
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HyperMatt
Posted: February 19th, 2018, 6:32pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Gerlinde


BTW, why you're interested in a church, which lie so often to public and their members?


Isn’t that interesting in itself? Wouldn’t that make good drama?


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Gerlinde
Posted: February 20th, 2018, 12:15am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from HyperMatt


Isn�t that interesting in itself? Wouldn�t that make good drama?


I'm personally interested because I used to be in the "club". And yes, it would be a good drama to show the way of a Mormon from missionary instruction, baptism, and life as Mormon, to the first observations and doubts, and the inner and outer struggles. And what happens when someone leaves the Mormons. How your own family shuns you because you no longer want to be part of the "club". How "friends" avoid you, and pretend falsehoods about you. And you, because they are afraid that you are talking about the negative about the Mormons, banning you from their so called "churches," and warning members against you. That would be facts based on true events!
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Dustin
Posted: February 20th, 2018, 12:37pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Gerlinde


I'm personally interested because I used to be in the "club". And yes, it would be a good drama to show the way of a Mormon from missionary instruction, baptism, and life as Mormon, to the first observations and doubts, and the inner and outer struggles. And what happens when someone leaves the Mormons. How your own family shuns you because you no longer want to be part of the "club". How "friends" avoid you, and pretend falsehoods about you. And you, because they are afraid that you are talking about the negative about the Mormons, banning you from their so called "churches," and warning members against you. That would be facts based on true events!


I'd rather watch grass grow.
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HyperMatt
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I could watch grass grow, but it would have to be on fast forward.


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