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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    May, 2020 Challenge  ›  Justice - May OWC Moderators: Administrator
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  Author    Justice - May OWC  (currently 209 views)
Don
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 10:38am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Justice by ThE StOryTelleR - Short, Drama, Crime - Two LAPD Officers caught during a virus epidemic in a vital decision between law and ethics. 6 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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spesh2k
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 3:11pm Report to Moderator
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This one was pretty decent, I liked it. I liked how Andrew is dealt with a moral dilemma and chooses to go with what is MORALLY right rather than what is legal. Especially considering his stance on Covid in the earlier scenes. He actually has a decent arc, which is good for a short, especially written in such a tight time frame.

The writing overall was pretty good, at least in terms of the description and presentation. My main issue was the dialogue. It didn't seem to fit two LA cops. I could tell that the writer wasn't American just by the spelling of the word, "favourite". But the dialogue just feels off and sounds awkward.


Quoted Text
ANDREW
What is the favourite color of your
wife?


It would be more like -- "What's your wife's favorite color?" As is, it sounds like maybe English was the officer's second language.


Quoted Text
ANDREW
What did she wanted to become when she
was a little girl?


Should be "What did she want"


Quoted Text
ANDREW
Twenty years and yet so less
information about the details.


Again, awkward. Should be something more natural like -- "Twenty years and, yet, you know so little about her". Even that sounds a little stiff. "Twenty years? Sounds like you barely know her."


Quoted Text
ANDREW
Please Carl, do me a favor and change
the channel if I just hear one word
more of the big bad wolf government I
might forget to--


This needs some punctuation.


Quoted Text
RADIO (O.S)
We have a 459 on 23rd west street.


Think you meant 459, West 23rd Street.

Anyway, a good effort!

-- Michael


MY FEATURE FILMS:

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Rob
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 6:11pm Report to Moderator
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It was clever to frame the script around bored cops on a beat. That's a pretty unique perspective of the virus. I like the interplay between the officers and the differences they have with wearing masks. The discussion of the novel and the details not always coming sharply into focus is good.

I feel like a bit more tension could be added to the end. It needs to be more clear that the older cop would have arrested the family--that he was a no mercy type. Putting the older cop in the building might have added more tension. What if he was just about to open a door to find the family, but was distracted by the younger officer just in time? Nothing in there, the younger cop would tell him.

Best of luck.
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_ghostwriters
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 6:26pm Report to Moderator
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Writer... this was decent, but I can't help adding that the initial dialog exchanges between Carl and Andrew just felt a bit stilted.   Logic issues with the 459. Andrew was pretty nonchalant for a burglary call.  I get what you are trying to do, but still, not buying a single officer going in alone.

Code

ANDREW
(holding a flashlight)
LAPD, I'm coming in.  



Um, I don't know???

Nonetheless a good entry.

Ghost


"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

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eldave1
Posted: May 16th, 2020, 6:54pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
INT. LAPD POLICE CAR -- DAY


Traveling or Parked?


Quoted Text
A bright day in LA. The streets are empty, almost abandoned. Some advertisements are playing on the radio.

Unless these ads are going to somehow play into the plot – why needed?


Quoted Text
At the wheel, Officer CARL BROWN (40s, white, craggy features), fixing the streets and chewing calmly his gum.


Calmly chewing


Quoted Text
ANDREW
What are you doing put it back on.

? after doing. Put it back on s/b a separate sentence.


Quoted Text
ANDREW
Please Carl, do me a favor and change the
e channel if I just hear one word more of the big bad wolf government I might forget to—


There were Ads playing on the radio – not government warnings.

Okay – typos throughout – just know you need some clean-up.

The dialogue seemed stilted - a bit unnatural for me

I do like the premise of the story.


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Reef Dreamer
Posted: May 17th, 2020, 3:04am Report to Moderator
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Justice

Logline - I think I would lose the ‘vital’ but since I’m crap at loglines, best you ignore me  

Overall - not bad

The writing flows for me and we know what happens etc. However, despite the depth of the tittle and issues at stake, something felt a little thin.

Almost felt more like the opening to a feature script.

Small point - why Andrew for a Latino? I kept on getting a different image in my head. Just saying.

Fair effort for the week and with more time the depth and complexity can be added.

All the best


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LC
Posted: May 17th, 2020, 3:32am Report to Moderator
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Nice title and a nice idea.

I won't harp on about punctuation, grammar, and word usage too much cause you've already some solid advice above.

I think you'd do well in another draft to research the patter of beat cops a bit more. At the moment the flow could do with a bit of beefing up.

Along those lines I'll also make the point that using the contraction generally makes dialogue sound more natural. You do this sometimes but in the opening exchange not as much.

Carl calls Andrew boy, son, and kid. Boy sounds a little derogatory, just saying.

Some nice touches of humour,  and I like where the story went with the cat.  

P.S. Your logline.
Two LAPD Officers caught during a virus epidemic in a vital decision between law and ethics.
It reads like an incomplete sentence to me.

viral pandemic would be better
and caught doesn't sound right. Caught in the middle of?

Two LAPD officers on the beat during a viral pandemic are forced to make a choice between ethics and the law.

Really it's only the one cop though, isn't it?


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ajr
Posted: May 17th, 2020, 10:55am Report to Moderator
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So there are some jarring things a the top of the script - "empty, almost abandoned" doesn't really tell me what's going on. If the streets are empty, they are abandoned as well - no need for the qualifier "almost" or to use both words. And "some" advertisements  - better to say "a voice-over guy hawks pimple cream on the radio" or something innocuous like that. And chewing calmly should be calmly chewing.

And these two cops speak with almost the same voice, and it's not really indicative of street language or the banter between officers.

And I don't know police lingo so I'm not sure what the ramifications of not sending a CIT car is. And if you don't want it pronounced in dialogue as "SIT", it needs to be written with periods (C.I.T.).

All that said - I liked the story and the message it delivered. At the top, I was thinking, wow, this is called "Justice" - that's a meaty subject and a tall order to live up to. And what I liked most about this is that the young cop delivered justice on the job, and then you tied it back to the banter about not knowing what the book was about. So really great job on that.

Execution-wise, this can use a scrubbing, but story-wise, I really did like it. Nice effort!

AJR


Click HERE to read JOHN LENNON'S HEAVEN https://preview.tinyurl.com/John-Lennon-s-Heaven-110-pgs/
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Bayne
Posted: May 17th, 2020, 2:18pm Report to Moderator
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A nice effort with a clear message. I recommend doing a bit more research into the day-to-day life of a police officer. Much of Carl and Andrew's interactions, as well as the lingo they use when communicating with each other, felt very unnatural to me. If you were to read up on police officer procedures, you can apply the info to this story and make it feel more grounded.

There are numerous typos and grammar issues, enough to distract from the story. Extra attention should be given to the proof reading process. There's definitely something here... it just needs to be cleaned up.
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Yuvraj
Posted: May 18th, 2020, 2:37am Report to Moderator
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Sorry, couldn't finish this one.

Too much sentence and grammar mistakes. Plus some action lines don't even the purpose. No need to dig on the mistakes, they are pretty much lucid.

But at the core, the story is decent.

Good luck.


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: May 18th, 2020, 9:07am Report to Moderator
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I didn't know unknown sounds were against the law!

A bit of clumsy writing and unnatural dialogue made this one tough to read. I suspect maybe a newer writer at play here?

Anyway, the tone and sentiment are in the right place and this could be filmed within the constraints of the OWC so a very decent effort. Just needs work!


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Gary Howell
Posted: May 18th, 2020, 10:25am Report to Moderator
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So minus the grammatical things, it's a decent story that you have laid out here.  Two cops from very different backgrounds in the middle of the pandemic without much to keep them busy.   A disturbance causes one of them to investigate a business which has become inhabited with homeless people looking for safety and shelter, and the younger cop essentially looks the other way, showing some compassion.

The story makes a good comment about life in the pandemic and how it affects those that are less fortunate.  I think there were some awkward moments in the writing, but I'm guessing this is from a newer writer or from a writer for whom English is a second language, which I have no problem with and try to overlook and focus on the story itself.  From that standpoint it was pretty good.  My only nitpick is that a police office would never let his partner go into a place like that alone -- it would be a dereliction of duty and a firable offense, especially if the partner got hurt.  So maybe in a rewrite you have the older partner in another part of the building, and Andrew finding the family in a second part of the building.

Good effort here. Best of luck.


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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PKCardinal
Posted: May 18th, 2020, 2:53pm Report to Moderator
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Setting aside the grammar and language problems...

The core story here is worth the read, though I think you can tell it more effectively. You really don't get into the story until page 3. If you cut the first 2 pages of this script, I don't think you'd feel a measurable loss. And, when you're talking about 6 pages max, you can't afford to stall 2 pages.

I think you definitely need to get Carl more active, to build tension. Maybe even make it clear that Carl wouldn't agree with Andrew's decision. (As it sits, Carl probably would agree, as he says the virus thing is a government plot to get rid of poor people.)

Those 2 pages could have been used to build more tension, or to spend a bit more time with your key moment... Andrew's reaction to finding the family.

I like where you're going here. And, the idea is a good one, worth exploring.


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Arundel
Posted: May 18th, 2020, 5:11pm Report to Moderator
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Did enjoy the interplay between the two officers. One us hard and grizzled. The other is young and idealistic. Story that unfolded showed Andrew's morals. Strongest parts for me was the dialog between the two at the beginning, before the action takes place. Later in the script some of the dialog might need to be cleaned up but reading it again reminded me how good that opening dialog was. Enjoyed it.
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Grandma Bear
Posted: May 18th, 2020, 6:41pm Report to Moderator
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Story is actually good, but this script suffers from lack of knowledge of police radio speak, procedures and English. Don't take that as a total cut of your potential. My English when I first started writing was atrocious. But, with the help from people here at SS and reading a massive amount of scripts and books, I can now hold my own. In fact, I often get complimented on my writing these days. Also, another non native English speaking writer who started out here at SS, went on to win PAGE one year and $25K and a Hollywood movie produced. It takes hard work and a long time, but if you have the basic natural story telling skills, and based on this short you do, you can do it too.  Good Luck!    


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Spqr
Posted: May 19th, 2020, 7:05pm Report to Moderator
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The story has its heart in the right place, but could profit from some action. Most of the story takes place in the cop car, with the cops just talking. One of them's a lazy white guy, and the other's an intellectual latino (with a decidedly non-latino name). Sparks will definitely fly, but the object of their disagreement is maybe about how the police are handling the pandemic among the various racial groups.

In the store, Andrew finds the hungry family and decides to let them go. A complete lack of tension. Throw in a fight to escape, or an irate owner with a shotgun. Don't make it easy for Andrew to just walk away from his duty.

On the plus side, I enjoyed the cop lingo.
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The Moviegoer
Posted: May 20th, 2020, 12:42pm Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed this. Good back-and-forth between the characters.

Thought it might have been more impactful with the Carl character having the conversion rather than Andrew. Andrew already seems like a conscientious type.

The banter between them was interesting, but possibly would have had more impact if we knew what the book was – feels a bit dissatisfying not to know, although if you name the book you probably open up another can of worms with people arguing about the book’s validity – e.g. is it Thoreau? Marx? Some eastern philosophy?

There were some elemental grammatical mistakes in there as well, e.g. punctuation missing in some sentences. Saying a “female witness” felt a bit redundant, her gender didn’t influence the story. Andrew Marshall doesn't sound like a very Latino name.

You could have maybe intercut with Carl looking over Andrew’s book while Andrew is in the shop, maybe dipping into a page and shaking his head in exasperation. You needed to make it clear in their conversation that Andrew wouldn't have let the family go - maybe have him complaining about immigrants carrying the virus or something rather than have him complaining about the government. His character would make more sense if he was pro-government, a real law-and-order nut.

Good job overall.


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JEStaats
Posted: May 21st, 2020, 5:14pm Report to Moderator
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Some lines were lost in translation, for sure. Intent was there, it just needs clarity. This is a clear case of the need to give your work to someone else for proofreading before submitting. Would also help to do a little research on 10 Code and police protocol.

That said, a decent little story of boredom and doing the right thing. Nice job, writer.
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PrussianMosby
Posted: May 22nd, 2020, 5:50am Report to Moderator
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Hey!

Your logline pulls, the title not so much.

Car's standing is not clear. You should address it immediately when you open, maybe even put it in the slugline. Your main characters are not likeable, which is a problem when you play slow. Lots of imprecise formatting and imprecise visual descriptions. Story's not enough – for me.

All best



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