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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    May, 2020 Challenge  ›  We'll Make It Through - May OWC Moderators: Administrator
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  Author    We'll Make It Through - May OWC  (currently 413 views)
Dreamscale
Posted: May 19th, 2020, 12:51pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Wooooo...

Oh boy...

So, let me just say that the very first second I looked at your script, I knew there were issues throughout, probably every single line...and there are.  because of this, I went back and read the feedback, and see that everyone has already given you excellent advice.

There's no need to point out every little mistake, so I'm going to just bring up a few things you should definitely take to heart.

ALWAYS left align FADE IN - we read from left to right.  Don't make this mistake to start out your scripts.

Personally, I wouldn't use Bolded Slugs until you really know how to write good Slugs.  When they're bolded, they obviously stand out, and you don't want to draw attention to them before you really know how to write them.

DO NOT go over 4 lines per passage...ever.  Just don't do it.  Any and every single time you have a passage over 4 lines, stop right there, and go over it until it's whittled down to 4 lines...or less.

ALWAYS name your characters.  Absolutely no reason not to, especially here, as you have 2 characters, 1 setting, and alot of dialogue.

Glad you entered.  Hope you read and comment.

*


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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PrussianMosby
Posted: May 19th, 2020, 7:58pm Report to Moderator
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Hey,

"We see a nondescript ranch-style house in an equally nondescript suburban neighborhood on an unusually quiet spring afternoon."

You okay?

p1 the writing's longer than the actions are worth it. My mind completely wandered off at some point…

Door this that, close open, groceries, bag, open, table…

The "easy and normal" couple-chemistry you create is actually good and could serve a lot of identification with your audience.

The concept they live in just didn't convince me.

All best



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MarkRenshaw
Posted: May 20th, 2020, 5:45am Report to Moderator
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A new writer I think and I've nothing more to add that hasn't already been said.

Nice, sentiment to the script - read a few produced screenplays to see how it's normally written and read a few books then keep on writing.

Well done for entering,


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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MarkD
Posted: May 24th, 2020, 11:07am Report to Moderator
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Thanks everyone for the feedback/reviews. I didn't think I'd get this much feedback on my first script. I'd like to take a few moments to respond to some of it to explain the method behind the madness.

I've seen camera directions in many of the pro scripts I've read. Those also tend to have somewhat lengthy action descriptions. Here's an example from the script for the Star Trek pilot episode The Cage that has both:

Quoted Text
MOVING WITH SPACESHIP - VARIOUS ANGLES

Obviously not a primitive "rocket ship" but rather a true
space vessel, suggesting unique arrangements and exciting
capabilities. As CAMERA ZOOMS IN we first see tiny
lettering "NCC 1701 - U.S.S. ENTERPRISE". Aiming for the
surprise of the ship's actual dimensions, the lettering
looms larger and larger until it fills the screen.
Then,
surpassing even the previous illusion of size, we see a
tiny opening above the huge letters and realize this is
actually a large observation port. CAMERA CONTINUES IN,
MATCH DISSOLVING THROUGH OBSERVATION PORT TO REVEAL the
bridge, command station of the U.S.S. Enterprise. And
as we see Crewman at the controls inside, the gigantic
scale of the vessel is finally apparent.


Also, notice the we sees?

I was trying to portray as accurately as possible what people are going through during the pandemic. That probably explains why there wasn't much of a story and why it fell flat. I went with MAN and WOMAN so that it would be more ambiguous, and also because neither of their names are mentioned in the dialogue. And yes, I'm not the best at writing dialogue at this point.

I bolded the scene headings as a stylistic choice. In scripts that don't bold them, at least for me, they blend in with the rest of the text and it's less obvious where the scene changes are. As for the FADE IN where it is, that's where the screenwriting program I use put it by default.

All the feedback has been extremely valuable to me and I'll make every effort to incorporate it into my next OWC script.
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ajr
Posted: May 24th, 2020, 11:41am Report to Moderator
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Hey CS,

Congratulations on entering and getting a script done in such a short amount of time. I enjoyed the sentiment behind this. It did touch me, so good job on that.

I think STAR TREK is the wrong example for a screenplay template. There was never a question about that getting filmed, and that's a prestigious for-hire assignment that goes to the very best working screenwriters out there, and, often times, it's the director writing it, or contributing to it. We play in a very different sandbox.

And I disagree with Jeff that you ALWAYS have to name your characters. Scripts are made to be seen, and dialogue is made to be said, not to be read. If the characters are never addressed, it only makes a difference to the reader if they are named, not the audience. The audience doesn't know the character is named Joe until someone says "hey, Joe."

AJR


Click HERE to read JOHN LENNON'S HEAVEN https://preview.tinyurl.com/John-Lennon-s-Heaven-110-pgs/
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spesh2k
Posted: May 24th, 2020, 12:01pm Report to Moderator
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Hey man, welcome to Simply Scripts!

In regards to the heavy description, I'll second AJR's advice and say that using a shooting script as a template is a bad idea for an unproduced, non-commissioned spec. You might have the most brilliant story ever but, if it isn't easy to read, especially for a busy producer or even for a production company's readers who slog through several screenplays a day, they'll never know how good the story is. Because, in all likelihood, if they sense that it's going to be a slog, they're not going to finish it... especially if they don't have to. That Star Trek sample feels like a shooting script written with the director's involvement. Also, science fiction scripts that need a lot of world building tend to be more detailed. Though, it's still a good idea to break up the action lines by change of focus, change of action in the order that we see the visuals/action.

I always suggest Rian Johnson screenplays to newer writers because they're so easy on the eyes and so clean, lean and crisp. Even in scripts where world-building is necessary (Looper for instance). A script should move at the pace of a film -- 1 page = 1 minute of screen time. And the read itself should move at a comparable pace. When you have heavy description like that, it looks like a word search you see in a Sunday newspaper. If I'm reading a script and it feels like I'm READING rather than SEEING a film, that's not a good thing.

As for the WE SEES -- I'm not totally against it, but just like repeating the same descriptive words too often during a script, it feels robotic and mechanical if I'm reading WE SEE too much. I feel like you're telling me what I'm seeing instead of me just seeing it on my own as I read -- which fucks with the way I visualize something in real time. It's already implied that we're seeing something when you describe it. Why give me more words to read? Not very economical. And, as nitpicky as it sounds, the WE SEES add up and effects the 1 page = 1 minute rule.

-- Michael



MY FEATURE FILMS:

THE SUICIDE THEORY (79% Rotten Tomato Score, Available on Amazon Prime, Itunes, Google Play, Youtube, etc) - https://youtu.be/5eaXXOKJvtg

RAGE (coming late 2020/early 2021) - https://vimeo.com/402447622

Check out my latest horror script, HONEY MUSTARD - https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-horror/m-1585433547/
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MarkD
Posted: May 26th, 2020, 3:13am Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
I think STAR TREK is the wrong example for a screenplay template. There was never a question about that getting filmed, and that's a prestigious for-hire assignment that goes to the very best working screenwriters out there, and, often times, it's the director writing it, or contributing to it. We play in a very different sandbox.


That script was actually written by Gene Roddenberry himself, but it does seem likely that the director was involved. Also, the point of a pilot episode is to sell a series to a network (in this case NBC), so the descriptions were probably written especially to serve that purpose.


Quoted Text
You might have the most brilliant story ever but, if it isn't easy to read, especially for a busy producer or even for a production company's readers who slog through several screenplays a day, they'll never know how good the story is. Because, in all likelihood, if they sense that it's going to be a slog, they're not going to finish it... especially if they don't have to.


On that point, here is a bit of the (sadly) unproduced Batman vs. Superman script from 2002:


Quoted Text
EXT. WAYNE MANOR -- GARDENS -- DAY

Oaks of turning reds and oranges. European-style GARDENS,
which today host more than 300 GUESTS. Many of GOTHAM'S
elite POLITICIANS, BUSINESSPERSONS, and SOCIALITES are here.

MINISTER'S VOICE
...to join together this man and
this woman in holy matrimony.

On the flower-adorned ALTAR, a MINISTER stands between
dashing BRUCE WAYNE and his stunning bride ELIZABETH.

MINISTER
Now I understand you have both
chosen special rings...

Elizabeth opens her hand, revealing a perfect gold band,
edged by platinum, glinting in the bright sun.

DRIFT LEFT to find the BEST MAN. Clark Kent, dapper in a
tuxedo as hands fumble first in one pocket, then the next.

A beat. Then Clark grins, winks, hands an antique diamond
ring over to Bruce who is shaking his head, grinning back.


Would this be a better example than the Star Trek one? Camera directions also appear throughout that script. Many words are also capitalized for some reason. Thanks once again guys!
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ajr
Posted: May 26th, 2020, 6:56am Report to Moderator
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The writer is capitalizing characters, that may not have dialogue, so that the director knows to concentrate on them, and the line producer can capture them in the budget. They may be prominently shot, rather than being extras.

They are also capitalizing shots and sound effects, because again, this is a shooting script.

I would not use this as a template, either. Here is the trap that new screenwriters fall into - they see scripts like this that break "the rules" set forth by the Blake Snyders of the world. But the professional screenwriter already KNOWS the rules, and thus knows how to navigate around them in order to convey what they'd like to stamp in the director's or audience's head.

So in short, learn the rules. Then read tons of scripts. Indie scripts, mostly. And then your writing style will develop, as an amalgam of what you've learned and read.

Hope this helps.

AJR


Click HERE to read JOHN LENNON'S HEAVEN https://preview.tinyurl.com/John-Lennon-s-Heaven-110-pgs/
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PKCardinal
Posted: May 26th, 2020, 11:57am Report to Moderator
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This was a difficult lesson for me to learn... you can be right... and wrong, at the same time.

You're right, many scripts use "we see" and camera direction. You can find many, many examples. (Though, many ARE shooting scripts.)

But, you'd be wrong to write that style if you are an unknown writer and your goal is to appear professional and capable... and to get scripts read.

You will literally lose a LARGE percentage of professional readers on page one if you do it.

You just will.

Readers are very specific, and your goal is to 1. give them reason to keep reading, and 2. give them no reason to stop.

For many pros, "we see" and camera direction are deal killers. They'll literally stop reading at the first one. Right or wrong, it's just true.

So, you can die on the hill if you want... but, they won't care. They've got a pile of scripts to read even without yours.

Trust me. It's a silly thing to dig in on.

And, honestly, they really mess up the flow... so, it's a poor creative choice anyway.

Just my two cents. For what it's worth.

Good luck with the writing!


PaulKWrites.com

60 Feet Under - Low budget, contained thriller/Feature
The Hand of God - Low budget, semi-contained thriller/Feature

Many shorts available for production: comedy, thriller, drama, light horror
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Dreamscale
Posted: May 26th, 2020, 1:01pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Quoted from ajr


And I disagree with Jeff that you ALWAYS have to name your characters. Scripts are made to be seen, and dialogue is made to be said, not to be read. If the characters are never addressed, it only makes a difference to the reader if they are named, not the audience. The audience doesn't know the character is named Joe until someone says "hey, Joe."

AJR


All very true, but let's also remember that scripts are read first...way before they are shot and turned into film.

When we read, we visualize.  We see it in our heads, based on the way it's written.  Same for dialogue.  We "hear" it in our heads, hopefully somewhat in the manor the character is supposed to be saying it.

We root for characters.  We fear characters.  We feel for characters.  When a character has no name, it makes it tough to do any of these things, because they don't come across as real.

There are tons and tons of very popular, successful movies, in which main characters don't have names - in the actual scripts, and even on film, but most are "different" types of movies, in which names may not even come into play.

What I said about "ALWAYS name your characters" is simply a rule of thumb.  It just helps the reader relate better to a character.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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PKCardinal
Posted: May 26th, 2020, 2:08pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale


What I said about "ALWAYS name your characters" is simply a rule of thumb.  It just helps the reader relate better to a character.



100% agree. Unless you are filming it yourself, anything you can do to make the reader feel connection to the script/character is a good thing.

Plus, it's not like it's a hard thing to do. Why not just take the extra bit of time?

Even more important if it's a script like this where you're going for an emotional pull.


PaulKWrites.com

60 Feet Under - Low budget, contained thriller/Feature
The Hand of God - Low budget, semi-contained thriller/Feature

Many shorts available for production: comedy, thriller, drama, light horror
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