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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    January 2019 -  One Week Challenge  ›  The Proposal - OWC
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  Author    The Proposal - OWC  (currently 626 views)
Don
Posted: February 1st, 2019, 11:30pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Proposal by -  Slug Horn - Short, RomCom - A nerdy lawyer gets up the nerve to propose to his girlfriend of three years. But his proposal results in some very unexpected consequences. 9 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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LC
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 8:18am Report to Moderator
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We'll, this was different...

Um, is this written in Courier? It looks odd. I will focus on story and let Jeff point out your formatting idiosyncrasies, how's that?

Lie v lay
https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/lay-versus-lie
That much I will add.

I'd personally do away with the opening banter between Mary and Sheila.  It's exposition mainly and though mildly amusing doesn't add too much overall.

SPOILERS AHEAD:


Chocolate covered roaches?

I thought for a minutes she'd confused them with chocolate covered rose petals, or something else?

That said , sorry to say, I didn't get their hypnotic effect, on Mary, nor the radical change of mind Mary has.

I like all the French stuff and you set the mood well.


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IamGlenn
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 8:23am Report to Moderator
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Hi,

Don't want to focus too much on formatting, but it's all over the place here. Don't know what software you used, but I'd recommend a different one.

The dialogue, from the get go, is pretty tough to get through. Sorry, had to bail about halfway through. So, so much unnecessary dialogue and huge action blocks.

Wasn't for me.


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Mr. Blonde
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 10:35am Report to Moderator
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It is refreshing to see Times New Roman because you hardly see that anymore. It was interesting to follow this story as it went along because, spelling- and grammar-wise, you had almost no issues in the beginning and they started to pile up more and more as you went along. The story itself was going fine, I was in for the ride, but then... the roaches. Unfortunately, I don't think your script survived that choice.


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jayrex
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 11:25am Report to Moderator
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Cut to three weeks earlier

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This script reads more like a drama with romance and ends with silliness.  I didn't get the comedic part.  I also thought the ending didn't quite flow with the rest of the story and Mary's character.  Just felt out of place.


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eldave1
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 12:48pm Report to Moderator
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The formatting is off. Scene headers don't have the proper spacing  - may want to consider a software change.

Break-up your descriptive passages a bit so we can see them in distinct chunks. e.g., at least to me:

This:


Quoted Text
MARY, 24, tall, slim, long hair, is dressing for a date. She’s wearing a chic
form-fitting red dress, cleavage-revealing white blouse and tie with a matching
red vest. Her girlfriend is SHEILA, 23, short, moderately overweight, laying on
the bed munching on chips and candy.


Is easier to digest as this:

MARY, 24, tall, slim, long hair, is dressing for a date. She’s wearing a chic
form-fitting red dress, cleavage-revealing white blouse and tie with a matching
red vest.

Her girlfriend is SHEILA, 23, short, moderately overweight, laying on
the bed munching on chips and candy.


Quoted Text
DENNIS
That flower is in your hair is working the hell
out of that vest, girl…


I think you lose Dennis' voice here - doesn't sound like something the character you established would say.

I found the dialogue between the two a bit boring. Sorry - maybe just me.

No - I didn't buy the roaches as a device for total character change. Sorry.

Congrats on entering - the story didn't do much for me though.




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irish eyes
Posted: February 2nd, 2019, 1:05pm Report to Moderator
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The script format trying to be more clever than the story.
90 minutes later should be a super not in a slug.

I got through the story and there wasn't much there to entice, just a back and forth between the couple with roaches apparently the weakness for Mary.

Not great sorry

Good job on entering


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AnthonyCawood
Posted: February 3rd, 2019, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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As already noted... formatting is very off, no idea what software you are using but it needs changing... and you don't normally put scene numbers in a spec script.

Right, onto the story.

She wears a form-fitting red dress over cleavage revealing white blouse - writer is a man

Ellipsis are three dots ...

This was a little predictable, well until the ending!

The ending, sorry just didn't work for me.


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Warren
Posted: February 4th, 2019, 4:12pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Writer,

This doesn’t look like a script at all. I'm sure there is a lot of free software out there that you can use.

Not really much going on here. The dialogue is over the top and on the nose.

Sorry but this one wasn’t for me.

All the best.


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Philostrate
Posted: February 4th, 2019, 5:46pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Writer,

I appreciate the effort, but the story was a little boring for me - sorry.

It was rather predictable until the end where the change of heart of Mary felt very out of place.

The weird formatting didn't help.

Good job on entering, though.


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khamanna
Posted: February 4th, 2019, 6:15pm Report to Moderator
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Hi.

I imagine there are a lot of comments on formatting. Please listen to others, formatting is important. It should be Courier New, page numbers should go in the right-hand corner.

Just look up other scripts to copy the format.

The opening is passive. A lot of passive continuous tense. "is dressing" better be just "dresses"

The dialog reads somewhat stilted but that's a question of a rewrite.
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Spqr
Posted: February 5th, 2019, 1:08pm Report to Moderator
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The first scene told us all we need to know about Mary's relationship with Dennis, making the scene in the restaurant mostly superfluous. Perhaps you should go straight to the scene where she rejects him. And her reaction to the chocolate roaches is so extreme, you might to drop a hint earlier on that this was a possibility so she doesn't come off as a total nutjob.
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: February 6th, 2019, 3:41pm Report to Moderator
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Hello Writer,

The story had some strength with identifying the female character's weakness: in that she was willing to settle.

The dialogue felt a little too on point.

The end with the roaches came out of the blue and that is negative for me.

Mostly, though, you have something here so good work.  

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Dreamscale
Posted: February 6th, 2019, 4:35pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
Um, is this written in Courier? It looks odd. I will focus on story and let Jeff point out your formatting idiosyncrasies, how's that?


And here's Jeff!!!!!

Title page looks off.

Yeah, we have issues here immediately.  The font is off, it appears to be all bold, spacing is off, and what's with all these numbers?  Lots of free screenwriting software out there - GET SOME!!

Opening Slug is incorrect - start with the biggest thing, then work down to smaller.  This should be INT. MARY'S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT

Oh boy, so many issues in the first passage!  Passive writing, overwritten, and the old "lay/lie" problem.

Dialogue does not remotely sound like 24 and 23 year old chicks!

GET RID OF THE CONTINUED on every page!!!

I'm sorry...I just don't have time for this any longer.  Best of luck.

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Cam Gray
Posted: February 6th, 2019, 5:16pm Report to Moderator
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Hey writer,

I won’t put the boot in, I’ll just keep it brief as things seem largely covered above.

I think you’ve probably used word, download an old version of Celtx for free, it’ll save you. Cut down your description passages, keep it active. Really trim your dialogue, a lot of it we get the point after two lines but it rolls for nearly a page.

The story was a bit odd but there’s an idea there and that’s the main thing, now practice on getting it across to the reader and you’ll be singing/dancing/happier.

Well done on entering, get some practice in and come back swinging next challenge round.

Cam


23 Mu Mu’s in an ice cream van...
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: February 7th, 2019, 11:19am Report to Moderator
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Hello writer - This is my penultimate read, hope it's good!

The starting conversation seems, off - If they are best friends, and she has been seeing this guy for a while, would they have not have talked before about him being boring?

You really took the red theme and shoved it into our faces lol

I don't think you need to tell us they speak in French when the dialogue is written in French.

It took them an hour and a half to order and eat? is it just me, or is that a long time?

I'm not loving the dialogue - needs work.

That big block of action could be broken up

Eh? what the hell just happened lol OK so it's her favourite thing to eat, would that make her suddenly want to marry him? It's a Rom-Com so maybe I'm being too serious, but, reading it I was just like "WTF?" lol

This was a bit of a slow burner for me, then kinda fizzled out.

Well done for completing the challenge

Matt


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ReneC
Posted: February 7th, 2019, 1:11pm Report to Moderator
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It's not much of a stretch to say this is a new writer with a lot to learn. Take the advice, get software to do the formatting for you, and read professional scripts.

The dialogue is on the nose, meaning people are saying exactly what they are thinking, which isn't screen dialogue. It needs subtext. It's also boring and predictable (just like you described Dennis). So is the story, with one exception...

Chocolate-covered roaches. Yikes. As you said, a delicacy in some places, but understand that's a huge turn-off for a lot of people. It's the one surprising thing in all of this, and you didn't set it up very well.

For this story to work, those roaches need to signify that this man isn't as predictable and boring as she thought. In her conversation with the roomate, she should express a desire to see anything adventurous from him, any hint that there's something exciting in him. When those roaches come, it shouldn't be that he hit on one of her true passions, she should be delighted that he showed a willingness to try new things, a willingness to spice things up for her. He should even eat one, the very last thing she ever expected of him.

Maybe her reaction is your attempt at humour, but it just makes her seem crazy, like she would marry anyone who dumped a plateful of chocolate-covered roaches in front of her. Tone it down, make it about them, not about the delicacy, and you have a better story.

As it is, this isn't there. Good effort though.


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PKCardinal
Posted: February 8th, 2019, 12:39pm Report to Moderator
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I'm not sure I have anything to add.

Definitely take all of the formatting advice. The last thing you want is a reader to be distracted by the look of your script. You want them lost in the story.

Only one reviewer mentioned the numbered scenes, so I'll emphasize that: take them off. That's for shooting scripts.

After formatting, I'd suggest tackling the dialogue. Someone else mentioned subtext... study that. Your characters are saying exactly what they think, and on the nose dialogue makes a script feel elementary.

You have some good ideas, and some ability. Keep working your craft!


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_ghostwriters
Posted: February 8th, 2019, 11:00pm Report to Moderator
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Not here to pile on.  Your script is a good example of very common mistakes.  It's easier to pick them out when someone else does them, not so much when the mistakes are in your own writing.

You had my interest, but with reservations.

Some thoughts;

--Lots of trimming to be done.  The restaurant scene.  Get in and get out.  Can't spend over six minutes of screen time on Mary arguing with Dennis over why she doesn’t want to make a commitment.  That's insane.  Pick your jokes, and punch the ticket.

Point being, before we even meet Dennis, I felt like me and him were old friends from the opening.  

-- A word of caution -- You have two people in the room and Mary is telling us all the back story about her and Dennis' relationship.  Total exposition.  May I suggest you noodle out alternate ways of opening this tale.

-- The chocolate-covered roaches. It's a bridge too far.  You are asking use to suspend disbelief. It's a bit of a stretch to think that's all it took to tip the scales in Dennis' favor.  It borders on being hokey.  

For something like that to pay-off... methinks you need to go back to the beginning, and set it up.  The concept has comedic possibilities.  There's a lot of potential.  Kudos for finishing...


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hawkeye
Posted: February 9th, 2019, 3:50pm Report to Moderator
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Okay, last one!  Let's see if we've saved the best for last!

Ummm...okay, well, I guess not.  But it was different, for sure!  Going back now through the other comments, it looks like you've already been slogged about the formatting and whatnot.  If you have screenwriting software, take a look at your settings and make sure it is set for the feature template.  There's an industry standard and you're currently not using it.

The story is a bit deficient.  Not much to it other than the dinner setting and the dialogue is a bit unnatural for a script.  Put this aside for awhile and read the winning scripts from this challenge, and then come back and compare your script against those.  See what those scripts were doing and learn from them.

Best of luck,
Gary


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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pale yellow
Posted: February 11th, 2019, 3:39pm Report to Moderator
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Love your title page.

HATE the software you are using. What in the world are you using? Specs should look like a spec... no numbered scenes.. and formatting should be correct...

In the intros you call the two girls 'girlfriends' yet one is going out on a guy 'she could marry' ???

I am confused why she got so excited at eating chocolate roaches??? Will wait on the writer to weigh in on that one but overall this one was cute. Yet a bit confusing.

Good job.


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Conz
Posted: February 14th, 2019, 10:00am Report to Moderator
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Was kinda hoping they were a lesbian couple, just because it would be a refreshing angle.

Fat, funny friend.  Let’s hit them tropes!

No need to fancy it up with a Dissolve…

Extremely long action block.  Break that up. I can’t picture any of the 3 people you mention.  I imagine most people can’t either for the most part, lose it.

You’re hitting the Red way too hard.  You already accomplished the red, I get it, that’s what the challenge called for, but it wasn’t “whoever gets the most red in their script wins.”

She doesn’t know he speaks French?  He’s about to propose.  Your logline said they’ve been together for 3 years, no chance she wouldn’t know that… and let’s say it was a big surprise for the proposal, her reaction would be that of shock, not “I didn’t know you spoke French.”

They’re not talking like a couple on the verge of marriage.

She also says his name too much.  That never rings authentic to me.  How often do you say a person’s name while having a conversation with them?  Mayyyybe once.

She’s 24 and not ready but earlier made it seem like jumping back into the dating pool at the ripe old age of… 24 would be impossible.

Dennis has read like multiple people – first he’s an intelligent suave Frenchman, then he basically says “your tits are lookin good, girl” now he’s being the insecure accusing boyfriend “you got someone else?!”

This is overwritten.

Another script that gets really weird out of nowhere. She loves chocolate covered roaches to the point she has a seizure? What…

The relationship never rang true, the characters were inconsistent and the out of leftfield resolution was ridiculous.  It’s like you handed it off to someone else midway through, and they just said “I’m gonna fuck around with this.”


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CameronD
Posted: February 15th, 2019, 3:11pm Report to Moderator
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Formatting looks off as I'm sure others have mentioned.

Way too dialogue heavy to start. And its very on the nose. Sometimes what charterers don't say is more important than what they do.

Unless the portraits of these french people are relevant to the story no need to identify them one by one.

WTF? I skimmed until the roaches came then had to reread to see what the hell was going on. You made me laugh more than any other script here but not for the reasons you wanted me to. lol.


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