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Advance, Britannia by Billy James - Sci Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian - In the not too distant future, where Britain turns to a republic state, the president is a sociopath, who’s obsessed with his image, and promotes serial killers fights on live television are a source of home entertainment, a lawyer, his wife, and serial killer behind bars must fight for power, morals and the future of the country. Treatment - pdf format
I've only managed a quick look at the first few pages so far - below are my first impressions/notes (Don't take anything to heart, I rarely know what I'm talking about inside and outside of screenwriting)
I'm loving the imagery of the opening, the rich colours of the old King Charles being evicted from the country contrasting with the dark and ominous atmosphere and the dictator. Handing over the crown was nicely symbolic and a great opening image.
I really dislike the V.O spoon-feeding us information. I would do away with that and get this information across in more visual and authentic ways - we can see the Monarchy is in trouble as the now King Charles has been evicted, so no need to also tell us.
I'm assuming writing a real person is hard - Have you done much research on Prince Charles? He speaks proper so I am wondering if he would use contractions in his speech (you're/you'll) It's a minor thing anyway, which brings me to this point...
Prince Charles mannerisms - at the moment you tell us traits such as "elderly but proud" "fragile, yet respectful" I would be more visual than this. Charles has a habit of standing with his arms clasped behind his back and head leaning forward, this is the opposite of the defensive arms crossed pose and is a kind of "I'm leaving myself vulnerable because I'm not scared of you" pose. I would try to add in little nuances like this.
But as a general rule, rather than telling us characteristics, try to show us instead.
If it's a green screen then we won't see what is on it unless we see him through a monitor.
The president's ass-kissing P.A and winning campaign manager
More unfilmable traits that should be shown not told. Personally, I find it to be lazy writing but it also stops me from getting pulled into the story as I'm not seeing anything. P.S I also corrected the quoted line above, you should run a spell/grammar check over it.
INT. BT TOWER, STUDIO 1 - DAY
Is there a studio at the BT Tower?
OK, I have read the first 11 and my main take-away is that there is a lot of fluff and repetition. You need to get in and out of a scene as late and early as possible and ask yourself if a scene is really necessary at all.
I don't see the purpose of the first scene in a studio, where he is sitting and having make-up put on and I don't see the purpose of the scene where he is talking to Davina. Personally I would jump straight to the live show and intercut it with the prisoner who I am assuming is an important character.
DAVINA O'NIEL (FILTERED, O.S) ( ) Pre - recroded 35 years ago today, a three year old boy; Perry Newman was abducted by two young boys - soon to be monsters - Ron Generals and Jared Compton, led to an abandoned train line and was brutally beaten and mercilessly tortured to death. In return for their punishment, the old government handed down the two monsters: Ten years behind bars, followed by lifelong anonymity. Not under Greenwood's government. The video cuts to Greenwood, parading to the masses on his campaign rally. PRESIDENT GREENWOOD (FILTERED) Let me tell you something, nobody would go harder on these criminals then I would. I remember... (Crowd quietens) I remember 34 years ago when two sick. Sick, little boys killed a three year old and our pathetic excuse of a government gave them a measly 10 years. Let me tell you something. Those boys have it lucky. Because with me in charge, it would be a whole other story. Fresh new identities my ass. (MORE) 8. What should we do? PRESIDENT GREENWOOD (FILTERED) (cont'd) (Crowd booing) Burn them alive on live television. Fuck'em. It'll entertain me, what about you? (Feeding off crowd) You like that? I like that.
All of the above is very in your face, and a bit strange. Again, personally, I wouldn't have this video thing, instead, get the identity of these criminals across in a more nuanced way.
I quite like the shift between the slightly comedic setup of these convicts (with the Davina McCall character telling them not to swear, and the audience pulling bricks from their chairs) to the then brutal reality as Michael bludgeons them to death with the crowbar.
And then to the burning of the bodies with cult-like brainwashed slogan
AUDIENCE MEMBERS In the flame, cleansed, our new Britannia.
I am sensing this is to have a more comedic vibe than a completely dark dystopian - And I'm liking the contrast somewhat. I won't be able to read anymore as there is just too much fluff for me to get through and the whole thing needs a good proof-read.
Hey Matthew, sorry I've just finally got around to editing this script and thanks alot for the feedback. First of I know I know the voice over is so cheasy but I thought Abbie needs to be the main character somehow and I'll cut down the dialog because your right, re-reading it I cringed like I do with every script lol. Thankyou for the nice comments on the imagery. your right! I should do some research on his speech now and I'll re-arange what he said. Proper, I like that word. I don't think there's any studios at the BT tower, I just thought it looked like a cool building. I know the budget would never get this made but I do think that maybe some of the stupid satire and delusions in it could help me if I handed this into a executive one day (when it's ready). hopefully, anyway.
That scene in the studio I just wanted to show that he's a narsacist and a sociopath and just cares about his image, I also wanted it to resemble Trump a little and also I've tried to get as much knowledge from my upbringing I used this as an example of when George Bush did his 9/11 speech on live television and just before going live he was getting pampered by makeup artists. I like the contrasts of something so camp whilst being for a bad cause. I don't know why, it's stylish and comes off right.
You're definately right, it is meant to be a little comedic actually, quite alot. There's no way I could have wrote something this rediculous without making it funny. I can enjoy films if they're rediculous but show they are rediculous. But anyway, thanks Matthew, if there's any feedback I can give you on any script let me know, You and Frank have been good, I'll start editing it now.