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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Action/Adventure Scripts  ›  Base Moderators: bert
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  Author    Base  (currently 1353 views)
Posted: November 7th, 2010, 9:41am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Base by Charles McWittig (chappy) - Action, Adventure - {no logline} 159 pages - pdf, format

Visit for what is new on the site.

You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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Posted: November 7th, 2010, 3:08pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Chap, there's a few things that stand out right from the get-go:

1 The entire script is in Times New Roman. It should be in 12pt courier.

2 There seems to be a bit of white space between a character's header and dialog

3 Page numbers should be top flush left, not at the bottom center.

Since there is no logline, you want to think of one. When you place this in an action genre and I see the word "Base" I'm not thinking of a connection to Drug Wars. I'm thinking that the story is set in and around a military "base". But since the story does revolve around a "Traffic" like structure (although not exact) I understand the idea for a large canvas. 158 pages is still a huge hill for any reader to climb. With the three things above, added to long paragraph blocks and "informational" dialog, there will be a huge temptation to bail out early.

I decided to read this all the way. I won't get into too many specifics, but what I will focus on is what you can do to make this both a shorter page count.

The above three examples when fixed will cut back on maybe three pages alone. Maybe four.

But here's more that can be expendable:

* Look for any characters ENTERING and LEAVING through any door. Cut it. Just have said character(s) in that room.

* Establishing shots, such as those on p7, 31 and 39 are expendable. Just get to the scene.

* "Richard Pryor and Ronald Reagan" this is a tough call. But if you were to take out the radio report and part of Miss Silverman's babble in regards to it, you lose nothing. Besides, the way the Pryor incident is written, it happens to an anachronism.(June 9, 1980; Ronald Reagan  took office in the White House in 1981. Also the "war on drugs" was more of a focus of Reagan's second term Not his first.) On p13, there is a SUPER that says "Miami 1979". It should be, then, a flashback. But it isn't:

Quoted Text

ATENTADOS looks out the window. He is no longer in uniform, but dressed instead in
casual clothes � the Central American dictator in exile. He is seated in coach in between
oblivious strangers. Atentados clearly finds the seating arrangement uncomfortable and

We last seen Atentados in uniform...when? You tell me "he's in exile". When did we last see him? Think about these questions very carefully. Then match it up with Pryor's cocaine accident from 1980 and Reagan taking office in 1981 *and* his war on drugs in 1985.

We don't get to 1987 until p34. Everything that has happened from the 1979 point remains 1979 until now. But some characters allude to things done/said from earlier in the script (1980?1985?) Nigri dies in 1985 (?). He's back from the dead in 1987. Or did he die in 1987 and Reagan repeats his War On Drugs speech again from two yeas prior?

Quoted Text
The desks have old-style computer monitors.

We are still in the year 1987; ealier you wrote that the newsroom has the computers of 8os. So, what's 'old style'? Our next date is 1995 {p58}. Remember: Negri was in his mid to late 30s when he dies at the start of the script.

What does West say on p76?

Quoted Text
Good thing Reagan�s in office now and not that jackass Carter.

What does Spears say on p94?

Quoted Text
Back in the mid-1980s

It is at this point where I'm slowly coming around to pinpoint a timeline, even when it should be more clear. This is a big crapshoot on my part. It seems when we got to...1995 everything related to Nigri and the other reporters remains in the mid-90s (although the character would have still said "ten years ago") and the stuff with the CIA , Guardado and Hernandez is in the mid-80s? I'm probably right. Still, the timeline doesn't quite add up.
It took be 90 some pages in just to pin that down.

* Show don't tell.

Quoted Text
A man, 50s, wearing a cowboy hat, sits in an old reclining leather chair at the desk. This
is HERNANDEZ. He has an almost relaxed, retired military air about him, as if he knows
he is no longer in the game but needs to be ready for a fight at any moment. He is
accustomed to serving up country ham for civilians. He plays the country farmer well,
when he has to, but not on this occasion. There is some paperwork in front of Hernandez,
but he has his boots on it.

Put HERNANDEZ in place of "A man" and then:

HERNANDEZ, 50s, wearing with a cowboy hat, sits in an old reclining leather chair at the desk. He has an almost relaxed, retired military air about him, as if he knows
he is no longer in the game but needs to be ready for a fight at any moment. He is
accustomed to serving up country ham for civilians. He plays the country farmer well,
when he has to, but not on this occasion.
There is some paperwork in front of Hernandez,
but he has his boots on it.

Quoted Text
The Marshal is at the hotel ice machine. This is located in a little niche off the main
hallway. He places the bucket under the spout, but it is off-center and partially off the
grate. He places his left hand up on the machine and rests his head against it. With his
other hand, he gropes for the button. When he presses it, some ice goes in the bucket, but
most goes on the floor. The Marshal shortly realizes what happened, and tries to readjust
the bucket. However, he slips on some ice and winds up on the floor, prone and inert. His
handcuffs are visible, tucked into his pants behind him, and his gun is in its holster,
plainly visible.

Guardado and Hernandez looks out the hotel room door and exit. They carefully walk
down the hall, to the ice machine, where they see the Marshal laid out. Hernandez laughs

He�s on ice!

Try something like this:

The Marshal is at the hotel ice machine.
He places his left hand up on the machine. With his
other hand, he  presses the button. Ice spills out everywhere. As the Marshal readjusts
the bucket. he slips on some ice and winds up on the floor.

Guardado and Hernandez look out the hotel room door. They  walk down the hall to the ice machine.

Marshal passed out. Hernandez laughs.

The one-liner is expendable. The excessive detail is expendable. In order for this character to slip and fall, he must be off balance to start. I'd much rather him be taken by surprise and knocked out as opposed to the slip and fall comedy act, or at least distracted by something else in the process.

* The characters.

"The Pilot" needs a name other than 'The Pilot'. When he's first seen, his character name makes no sense at all (no planes around) and the occasional generic character (SOLDIER 1 SOLDIER 2, OFFICER 1 OFFICER 2 etc.) can be a bit grating. But on p103, we have MRS.WEST. who speaks with her husband, WEST.

Quoted Text

West rises and goes into the kitchen, as the Girls plead for their daddy to come back.

Starting a little early tonight, aren�t you?

They have to bother us on your one free Saturday?

That smells like gin.

West exits. Mrs. West crosses into the family room, where the Girls come to attention.

Give Mrs. West any name that comes to mind that will not conflict with any other character. In fact, avoid a name that starts with "W". I want to know who's talking, coming and going.

* Arrive late, leave early. Especially with phone conversations and conference rooms.

* Long scenes with no meaning.

Quoted Text
"Long after the world has forgotten about your nonsensical lies and we have ruined
your career, we will kill you."

-The Pilot, p145

See p.1.

* Another puzzle. Look at what I bold.

Quoted Text
The Pilot shoots Negri in the head twice, in the heart once, and three more times, and
leaves him there. He exits.

The Pilot reads the San Francisco Intelligencer at an outdoor cafe. He opens the
newspaper and finds a story headlined: �Former Intel Scribe Kills Self.� As the camera
closes in, the first few lines of the news story read as follows: �A former Intelligencer
reporter, Matt Negri, died yesterday from a self-inflicted gunshot would to the head.

Police found Negri in his bedroom at 11 a.m. after neighbors reported hearing shots fired.
The Intelligencer employed Negri fro 1993 to 1996, separating him from employment
due to philosophical differences in March 1996.�

A conspiracy can only go so far...

Anyway, I think you could make something out of this if it wasn't all over the place. Watch your grammar, the orphans, and the huge blocks of text


"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
my scripts on ss :
The Art!
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Posted: November 20th, 2010, 11:16am Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Tucson, AZ
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I skimmed over this as well, and DJS seemed to cover most of what I had.
In terms of the length and style, I really think you need to decide to focus the story mush more tightly.  I also thought of Traffic when reading this, but that was still a tighter narrative than this.  I'm sure once you've read a ways in and the story lines connect its all good.  But you need to hook the readers/viewers a lot quicker.  As it is now we spend many pages with just little chunks of unrelated and mostly uninteresting stories.  Pick the tightest and best story arcs, then pare them down, then weave them together.

The second problem I had was the HUGE amount of unfilmables.  Every new character is introduced with a brief backstory that we cant see on screen.  I would bet getting rid of all the unfilmables would cut a half dozen pages from this.

And lastly, you have this set back when Richard Pryor was doing his thing.  This seriously dates this whole piece, and I'm not really sure why.  I think a fair amount of the young adult audience this would be aimed at wont even know who he is.  We already have a lot of movies (traffic, blow, etc) about the drug trade in the past.  
With all the crazy shite happening now, re Mexico's cartel wars, why write about something contemporary?

At 160 pages I'm sure you've been working on this forever, so it's kinda crappy to tell you to scrap it and write a new story set today, but I just don't see the draw for another movie that's not pushing new ground.  Also I live very close to the border so I've probably got a lot more interest in this kinda thing than the average american living north of the mason dixon line.

In any case, congrats on writing a long ass screenplay, that's the tough part.  Now just trim the fat and work on the formatting.  Good luck with it.

(65 Pages) Stealing the case is just the beginning...

(80 pages) A city where superheroes are murderers and villains walk through walls...
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Posted: November 20th, 2010, 4:32pm Report to Moderator

You know what a saguaro is?
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Besides the fact that the first dozen pages are not that interesting. Action/adventure movies need to hook right away and this fails in that respect.


If this is your first full length feature, congratulations on finishing it.
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