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New writer here, I believe. Not much of a story and your logline is true to the mark: just another day at home.
A few takeaways for you: - You have unnecessary direction that will take the reader away from the story. Leave direction, lighting, camera angles, etc. to the Director. You're just the writer. - Very passive writing. Instead of 'drinking, watching, sitting, etc.', a man is seated on the sofa. He drinks a beer and watches TV. - Read your dialogue aloud. Does it sound natural? - Read as many entries as you can. You'll learn a lot. - Prepare for some critical reviews.
Congrats on taking part in the OWC. We look forward to seeing you around.
Okay - I'm going to digest the hell out of your opening two scenes.
EXT. SUBURBAN HOUSE - ESTABLISHING - DAY
We see a nondescript ranch-style house in an equally nondescript suburban neighborhood on an unusually quiet spring afternoon. The only sounds we hear are the gentle wind blowing and birds chirping. As we DOLLY IN, a car enters frame from the left and pulls into the driveway.
Is very inefficient. It can be crispier by:
Eliminating all the we sees and camera directions - they are not needed and you kind of know that since there are used haphazardly. Sometimes you just write what is happening and sometimes you default to the we sees.
Use you header to save space/lines. Move "Ranchhouse to the header and then you don't need to repeat it.
Avoid stuff like non-descript - it really means nothing.
There is no need for ESTABLISHING. All you need is something like:
EXT. SUBURBAN RANCH STYLE HOUSE - DAY
Sunny and breezy. Quiet, other than the CHIRPING of birds.
A car pulls into the driveway.
Perhaps not that exactly - but the point is you can boil this down to two lines.
Apply an efficiency principle (convey as much as you can with as few words as you can) to your writing and you'll be better off.
The story itself is lacking. There is no oomph to it and it plays out like a scene in a larger story. The tricks to shorts is to write a story with a beginning, middle and end.
Well, I can't wait for Jeff to turn up for this one.
Look, this is not bad writing at all, if it were a novel. But it's reading that way. Way too wordy for a script. Too much description. You're telling us everything to the smallest detail, and it's really not that important that we know all that.
There's also not really a story here, at least not as it's currently situated. It's just them reassuring each other that everything's going to be okay. Not really any conflict, no sense of urgency, no resolution to a problem. That may be what everyday life is like in a pandemic, but it doesn't mean it makes for an interesting story.
Okay -- now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me just say that it's obvious you can write. You have the chops for sure. But use those chops to give us condensed writing that is colorful and to the point. I think you can be very successful at it if you do. Best of luck.
I guess you are probably aware of the difference between your submission and the others by now, well I f you’ve been reading. Which I highly recommend you do, both for format, but also structure. Even a short should, usually, have a start a middle and end.
This story is a gentle, warm tale, of a couple appreciating the difficulties they face, how they react differently, and that together they can reassure each other. It’s nice that it avoids the blame game and hysterics that some would go for.
But to keep us focused, it needs conflict and tension. This can be between them, or what they face, or both. Can they pull through. Does one of them behave differently? Etc etc
There are threads on this Discussion board about scripting format which I would recommend.
A few other pointers;
Only describe what we can see, but quickly.
Characters are often defined by what they do, how they react or what they wear. Eg if the man was dressed in a short skirt, that would give us a different message to butt naked Use these to convey your story.
Avoid the ‘we see’ - you just need to describe the scene and action
Short scripts need a twist, a pay off. What couldn’t we see coming, or may have been in doubt.
If there is one thing for certain, a OWC tends to be a fast way to learn.
The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards. Third - Honolulu Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
I like the small implications in this script--the man has taken up drinking and the woman worries about her mother in a nursing home. The characters reassure each other, but maybe they aren't truly convinced. The events are small-scale but there is something beneath the surface.
I think the first page can be sharpened with fewer words and directions. It's jam packed with verbiage right now.
Okay, so I can tell that the writer is pretty new to this. Which is totally fine, you gotta start somewhere. I won't comment on the writing too much as I'm sure examples have been pointed out. It is overwritten, specifically the description. I'm not super against using "we see", but it is frowned upon. And you open with a "we see" and then continue to use it often throughout. We're seeing what you're describing, so it's kinda redundant and unnecessary. And your action blocks should be broken up -- I usually break them by focus of action.
The story itself was pretty mundane... nothing interesting really happens. Which is kinda what life is like right now, in general. But even on a boring day, this would still be considered pretty mundane. Taking a leak would be more memorable (if it were me).
My biggest issue, however, was the dialogue. It's very on the nose, pretty much just providing context -- we already know there's a pandemic and we know that grocery stores are running low on food, things are getting canceled, etc. And that's pretty much all they talk about. And the dialogue at the end mentions the title like 3 times in a row in dialogue. Sounds really forced.
Some specific bits of dialogue I had problems with...
WOMAN (exhausted) Absolutely crazy. I'm amazed I was able to find as much as I did. Hardly anyone was social distancing. Good thing I remembered to put my mask on.
MAN There will always be people like that, pandemic or not. I don't understand it either.
What's he talking about? There will always be people who don't practice social distancing and, even if there wasn't a pandemic? I'm sure if there wasn't a pandemic, there wouldn't be social distancing.
MAN I swear, you make the best homemade chicken tenders I've ever had.
WOMAN Considering that chicken was pretty much the only meat I could get, that's quite a statement.
Her response makes no sense. You're forcing in information to provide us with context. I don't understand how the fact that there was only chicken at the grocery store makes his compliment "quite the statement". He's telling her she makes he best homemade CHICKEN tenders he's ever had. If they were made with a vegan substitute w/ out him knowing, that'd be quite the statement.
Everything being said, it's still a nice effort at coming up with something on such short notice. Best of luck.
Anywho, a night of recollections which is good. Camera directions should be lost perhaps. And better give names to your characters I think. That shows your attachment to characters and makes us care for them a bit more. I wish he didn't dump his mother in the nursing home. When did he do that? That part is unclear to me. Otherwise this needs a bit of cleaning. Maybe you could pick that up from reading other scripts. The passages are dense and a bit overwritten, too. Story works though.
So I'm not going to comment on what's been said above, because it's all true. I'm going to say two things - one, I commend you for the spirit and the message of this script, which actually touched me more than any script I've read here yet, and I'm a fair ways through already. "We'll Make it Through."
The second thing I'll say is that everything you describe or show has to serve that theme. The part where they are in bed and they list all the things they've been through together? Perhaps lead with that. The other three pages were ordinary things that could happen on ordinary days. So you need to describe the EXTRAordinary. Zero in on their marriage. The guilt that the wife feels for putting her mom in the home. And their LOVE. Zero in on love in the time of COVID, and write the shit out of that. And you will have a good, filmable script.
A rule of thumb we try to adhere to: make your reader read down the page, not across.
Also, Khamanna made a great point. Give them a name.
The main thing is this lacked conflict...but I kinda liked what you wrote so far because this has the potential to be a feel-good story WITH a genuine heart.
Ohh and welcome to the community. Don't worry. A lot of new posters are subjected to this kind of baptism of fire. Think of it as a Frat Bros, or sorority -- pledge type thing. Take the few hefty buttock whackings and move on.
Great job on entering.-A
"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."
The sentiment of the script definitely shines through so I hope you'll stick with us.
Screenwriting is a whole different ballgame to other types of writing. At the moment you're making some rookie mistakes (we've all made them when starting out) which others have elaborated on so I won't join the throng.
So, you have a strong theme. You know exactly what the point of your story is, and that's a great start.
Now, you have to ask yourself... what specific actions/story beats will highlight the need to convey this message? That is, you need to stress one of your characters to the point that another of your characters is COMPELLED to deliver your message.
As it sits, it's just a lovely message that her husband probably delivers to her every night. Which is nice, don't get me wrong. But, it's not enough to carry this story on its own.
I'm happy that you entered. It takes guts to do so. But, it takes even more guts to stick with things and apply the notes you've been given.
I hope that you'll take everyone's great advice and apply it. You'll make fast progress if you do. I'd particularly encourage you to fully incorporate ElDave's advice specifically. Apply what he showed you to every action block and watch your script come to life. I promise it works.
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The husband drinks a beer. The wife brings home the groceries. Then they have dinner and commiserate with each other over the ordeal they're dealing with. While this couple is probably typical, it would have been stronger dramatically by going with an atypical couple.