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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Action/Adventure Scripts  ›  Murderdrome Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: October 1st, 2014, 10:39pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Murderdrome by Phillip Richards - Action, Adventure - A World War One veteran who is being stalked by a mob  hitman races his motorcycle on the treacherous board tracks of the 1920’s. 96 pages - pdf, format


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Dustin
Posted: October 2nd, 2014, 4:20am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Code

A World War One veteran who is being stalked by a mob hitman races his motorcycle on the treacherous board tracks of the 1920’s



The logline is terrible. What were the guys called back in the 1920's that rode the board tracks on motorcycles? If they had a special name it would really help with the logline. It's not my place to research for you.

Code

EXT. THE GERMAN LINES, FRANCE - NIGHT


Not a slug.

Code

It’s 1918.


Belongs in a super.

Code

The man we’ll come to know as RAY Jackson, at
this point 20 years old, is in a doughboy’s uniform, lying
in the mud, unconscious.


Why not just call him RAY JACKSON from the start? What's the point in telling us we will come to know him, when in the very next breath you tell us who he is anyway? At this point, 20-years-old? Why not just say he is 20? Let me rewrite that for you:

RAY JACKSON (20), marine, lies unconscious in the mud.

I had to google what doughboy was and it came up as marine. Don't try to be smart. Especially if there is an easier way. Well, do try to be smart... just be smart about it.

Code

His left leg is a bloody mess. He
has a head wound that is bleeding badly.


Your writing is dragging along at a snail's pace and this is only the first action block.

I'm going to have to rewrite the whole thing now:

RAY JACKSON (20), marine, leg mangled, bloody head,
lies unconscious in the mud.

That's all I've got. Hope this helps.


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PhillipRichards
Posted: October 5th, 2014, 4:14pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the crit, Dustin.  You've been helpful in the past and you've given me some good input this time.  
I didn't mean for the "1918" info to be used as a supe, but I think I will now, per your suggestion.
Nowhere in my research (and I did quite a bit) have I come upon a specific term for board track motorcycle racers.  
It's been my experience that "doughboy" was a generally well known term.  I guess I'm showing my age.  It refers, by the way, to any soldier (Army or Marines) who fought with the American Expeditionary Force in WW1.
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Dustin
Posted: October 5th, 2014, 5:33pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Then soldier or marine will do. There isn't any need to mention the uniform as it will stand to reason as per the time period.

Your writing may be good enough to send out to producers right away... but you want them to read through quickly. Going the long way about things merely serves to bog down the story. Try to be as succinct as possible. This may improve your chances of getting picked up.


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the goose
Posted: October 6th, 2014, 6:12pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while


Yippie-kay-ay.

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Hi Phillip - I took the time to quickly read through this earlier. Admittedly the logline could do with a bit of rephrasing - but the plot stood out to me, it almost had a Hitchcockian feeling to it and so I felt I had to read.

Dustin has given you a bit of a critique about the layout - and I agree with his points, there are some huge blocks of text here and some very pedestrian action such as (not direct quote) "Ray walks over to the Promoter and asks a question" - and yes some of the slugs need work. But you're a good writer and I'm sure by your final draft you can iron these out - what's important first and foremost is the story. Unless you're writing for Steven Seagal (which I'm 99% sure you're not) you could have the best formatted script in the world but without a good story it would forever be imprisoned in the scripting abyss.

It very much reminded me of a film from the sixties through to the seventies - I felt everything from Hitchcock's Frenzy to Rambo First Blood and even through to the old Eastwood vehicle 'Any Which Way But Loose' as I read. All are films I've enjoyed, and they were good in their time - but are such stories marketable nowadays? I don't know that's up to you.

- Spoilers -

The story does move a little slow, I'd almost be tempted to start it with the Hitman chasing Ray straight away. It seems to take a while for this to be set up and to be honest with you I didn't find Sean all that threatening, could have done with some establishing scenes to show his lunacy or his quick temper - make him a formidable foe - especially as he is the only main bad guy in the story (asides from O'Banlon who does very little).

This is marked as Action/Adventure - but when you think about it, is it really? I'd say more of a Drama crossed with a Thriller - I didn't feel like the action or the race scenes were long enough to add enough action to the story to firmly fit it into that genre.

Also as for the relationship between Ray and Betty, I get that he's hard-bitten and scarred but until the end I really didn't get any sense that there was going to be anything there between them. I may have missed them, but if not perhaps it maybe worth including a few scenes where Ray gets close and almost surrenders to her attraction/opens up to her. Just some food for thought.

I liked the character of Joe, but I'd bring him in a little earlier - and the idea of the dog is nice as well, although it does seem to disappear some way through.

I think the script lacked any 'big action scenes' as in those scenes that viewers (if it were made into a film) would always talk about. Such as the car chase in Bullit and the 'do ya feel lucky punk' in Dirty Harry etc.

Anyway I'm a little tired after a long day so these are my thoughts so far - if there's anything else you'd like to ask my opinion on please do. There's a story here definitely, and it's something we haven't seen in a while but I wonder if it's marketable (maybe could even be modernised if needs be) . As I said earlier though, you're a good writer and I'm sure you can sort out any formatting issues but if it were my script I'd looked at developing Betty and Ray a little more and adding some more (or even just a little more) 'big action' to proceedings.


Actor trying to write...

"A good script is never rejected because of layout or lack of technical jargon. If people like it, then any experienced film or TV PA or secretary can lay it out in professional manner and add all the technical terms necessary"

-- Ronald Wolfe "Writing Comedy"

"We don't make movies for critics, since they don't pay to see them anyhow."

-- Charles Bronson.
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PhillipRichards
Posted: October 7th, 2014, 7:32pm Report to Moderator
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Goose, thanks for taking the time to read my script all the way through and giving me some really useful notes.
If I understood you correctly, you feel that the story (or my way of telling it) is kind of old school.  This is something I've wondered about myself and now that you seem to have picked up on it, it's something I'll work on.  I'll see if I can make it "edgier".
The action scenes may seem a bit short, but that may be because I made a point of not putting a lot of detail in them.  I didn't know if I should leave that sort of thing for the director to flesh out.  Thoughts?
Yeah, the relationship between Ray and Betty needs to be developed more.  I like the idea of Ray getting to the brink of a romantic relationship with Betty, but backing away.
I'll develop Sean more, too.
Thanks again for your crit, much appreciated.
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the goose
Posted: October 8th, 2014, 5:28pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Phillip,

That's no problem at all - glad to have been able to help.
I see your point with the action scenes - and you're right, I guess what I meant is there could be a bit more big action - as opposed to just a quick handgun battle and the occasional punch, but then - on the other hand - maybe that would change the feel of the story, it's up to you..

Glad you agree with Ray and Betty, I understand why his character is so hardened and mysterious - but maybe during the script we could see a few flashes of the 'real' Ray, as in his softer side and his feelings which progress - perhaps signs that he can be fun to be around haha!

As for 'old school', yes and no - it is old fashioned but not in a necessarily bad way, the point I was thinking of was that (Unless it's a really big budget epic) how often nowadays do you see a film set in this time period? I was just wondering how marketable it was. I understand it captures a certain sport of a certain period, but if you ever wanted to sell it, it may well be worth you being open to modernising it (e.g. having Ray a veteran of a more modern conflict perhaps racing on an underground bike circuit).

Just thoughts anyway, you're the boss - and, like I say, you're a good writer.


Actor trying to write...

"A good script is never rejected because of layout or lack of technical jargon. If people like it, then any experienced film or TV PA or secretary can lay it out in professional manner and add all the technical terms necessary"

-- Ronald Wolfe "Writing Comedy"

"We don't make movies for critics, since they don't pay to see them anyhow."

-- Charles Bronson.
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