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Your title page seems a bit off centre, not a big deal.
FADE IN is usually situated on the left of the page. Again, no big deal.
INT. PSYCHIATRIST'S - ALICE'S OFFICE - DAY
This reads quite awkwardly.
I think INT. ALICE'S OFFICE - DAY would be better, I'm sure we will establish her profession soon enough. Alternatively it could be INT. PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE - DAY, and we will establish that it belongs to Alice.
lies. Google the difference between lie vs. lay.
looking up with dead eyes and a smile. Opposite him, sitting a rolling chair, wearing a professional looking
Lots of passive writing. Does it matter what kind of chair it is?
She takes no notes.
No real need to tell us what someone doesn’t do, if you don’t write it, they don’t do it.
ALICE Have you attempted suicide yet?
I don’t think a professional would use the word yet.
all right is better.
You can turn off the character CONT'D, not required.
Stephen King's nightmare.
Sounds great written down, but it’s really vague. If you have some idea what this looks like, describe it to the reader, it’s your job to set the scene.
The disembodied sounds of laughing children, taunting, and drunk parents softly echo about the forest.
Now you’ve almost been too descriptive, I have no idea what this would sound like.
a child-like Carter reads aloud
I do like what you are going for here but it’s really not clear enough. So is this Carter talking like a child, or Carter as a child. If it's Carter as a child how would an audience know that?
I really like your intent, and there is definitely a story in there somewhere. You need to clear it up though. There are also a lot of grammatical errors and writing inconsistencies.
Calm music plays as CARTER BROOKE (24), with his slicked back hair, lays down in a long sleeve shirt, looking up with dead eyes and a smile.
Opposite him, sitting a rolling chair, wearing a professional looking button-up shirt and trousers, is ALICE DAVENPORT (36). She has a closed BLACK NOTEBOOK in her hand, with CARTER BROOKE written across it.”
- This reads very bloated. Firstly, you are not really describing a whole lot. There is too much focus on what they’re wearing which is generally non vital information unless it informs the character. I’m assuming this isn’t the case here since the clothes are ordinary. Also, look to eliminating “ing” usage.
Hence, the above could be written like this without losing any of the important information:
“Calm music plays. CARTER BROOKS (24), slicked back hair, lays down, looks up with dead eyes and a smile.
Opposite him sits ALICE DAVENPORT (36), professional attire, in a rolling chair. She holds a closed BLACK NOTEBOOK entitled “CARTER BROOKS”.
To your credit, the rest of the writing is relatively ok from a technical standpoint and didn't detract from the read.
Plot-wise, it has some interesting elements with a lot of it being left up to interpretation. It’s hinted that these books Alice keeps have some special ability to tap into a patient’s subconscious but that’s it, not much else is given. All I do know is that Alice, as a shrink, has the edge on her contemporaries in possessing this extremely effective tool for getting to the root of her client’s issues. She best keep that shit to herself!
Other than that, there is not much a story here. A psychiatrist has a magic book or revolutionary technique, she helps her patients...and that’s it. Yes, it gives you the opportunity to enter weird and wonderful worlds but there is no pay off or twist here. Could Alice be harvesting these experiences for some ulterior motive, possibly a malevolent one? It feels like the script ends before it should, seems like there is more to this, That what we see here leads into the story proper. It almost reads like a framing device or an introduction to a bigger tale, but alas, it just ends.
Are you planning to expand this based on the central idea you have here? As right now it feels unfinished.
Thank you for the feedback guys! First things first, this is a "student script" so it was written under constraints- 5 pages, 2 locations, 2 actors, and it's coming out of my wallet. I think you guys may have picked up on that... But that's all! Anyways, since quoting multiple people is hard, I'll just respond line by line:
WARREN- I may have been taught "wrong" or remembered "wrong" (I'm in the UK at the moment and they may have different rules. But I don't know enough to argue that and may as well give my professor some benefit of doubt.) about the formatting stuff... maybe I also shouldn't rely on a free program... But thank you for that!
I seem to get conflicting information about how specific is too specific though. Since her occupation is important, and it's her office, I assumed I could knock both bits of information out with the heading? Maybe I can't? Or maybe I'm not good enough to (yet!)?
Haha... oh my... maybe I should go "lay" down... (I would like to say the very first example Google gives, right under the search bar, is "lie on a sofa")
I think the next two comments go back to the "how specific is too specific" thing (passive thing aside which I do need to work on). If I don't mention it's a rolling chair, you would probably be really confused when she rolls over to Carter, no? Or, I guess, how would that play out to you? I feel like if I say she's "sitting in a chair", but then she rolls to the patient, you might be like, "WTF?". And the "taking no notes" thing- wouldn't you expect a psychiatrist to take notes? Would it not be abnormal for them to take zero notes? But if it is abnormal, shouldn't I write it? (And I'm just thinking out loud here so you can latch on to my thought process)
I can turn off CONT'D? I feel like formatting is not my forte at the moment...
And then the rest- just fitting it into their brief. Since I'm directing this, I put a little leeway in to get it to 5 pages.
I'd love to get your opinion on the non-formatting stuff, now that you can sort of see where it came from!
COLKURTZ- I wish you had read it before it was approved! Not that I can't change things now, because I can, but saving space like that could have helped me flesh out the look of the forest more before we started pre-production... since, again, space.
It's funny you mention that it feels unfinished, because the original story was way longer and was about her. And then I shrunk it down so I could film it and realised the 5 minute version was about him. And that really sucked 'cause her story was more interesting.
We are filming this btw. So all my "directing shortcuts" will be out there soon enough...
Describing the type of chair is fine. I have one of my characters sitting in a captain's chair. Maybe when it is filmed they won't use a captain's chair, but that doesn't matter, the point is we build images. To just write 'a chair' is weak, IMO.
Anyway, as you're filming this yourself, it doesn't matter what the script looks like. Good luck.
It's the first narrative I've directed and the first time I've seen my screenplay go from page to screen. It's currently in the offline editing stage but I think it's almost done. So hopefully in a few weeks, we'll have a final version!