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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Action/Adventure Scripts  ›  The Gavel Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: July 3rd, 2015, 10:14am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Gavel by Rutger Oosterhoff - Action, Adventure - After being framed for murder by their cunning criminology teacher, identical twin sisters – who moonlight as violent vigilantes – must outwit their mentor to clear their names.  101 pages - pdf, format


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vancety
Posted: July 8th, 2015, 3:40am Report to Moderator
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Hope that someone still wants to take a look at Jerel's screenplay so we can work on it and make it better. For all I know - just scroll through it and tell us what you think about the quality of the "white space".  - Rutger
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Dustin
Posted: July 8th, 2015, 7:04am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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Code

An janitor enters, pushing a mop and bucket, a shower still
STEAMS at the very last stall.



What's a shower still? Ah, got it... a shower still steams. However I wasn't aware that any showers were steaming earlier so this comes as a bolt out of the blue.

A janitor. Not An Janitor. Also janitor should be in uppercase.

Code

Nothing.



I know what you mean here, but it again took me out of the action. Nothing doesn't actually mean anything. Perhaps place.. No reply... there instead.

Code

Confused the janitor walks towards the stall to investigate.



Missing comma after confused. It's also over written. Simply write:

The Janitor walks to the stall and pulls back the curtain.

Code

He pulls the shower curtain back to find a young male
student, JAMESON GRAHAM, early 20’s, athletic.

Lying on the stall floor naked, his throat red, strangled.



The first block reads that he's just in the stall like a normal person. So I get that image. Then you switch that image out for one of him on the floor, strangled to death.

Code

The janitor’s is stricken with the grisly and he runs off.



The Janitor's what is stricken? What's a grisly?

Code

The word “Guilty” has been spray-painted on Jameson’s
forehead with the precision of a stencil.



Again a messy sentence. Stencils don't spray paint anything.

'Guilty' stencilled on Jameson's face in spray paint.

Code

The black paint SWIRLS into the drain as steam rises off the
corpse.



What black paint? It can't be very precise if it's leaking all over the place. The colour is also important for the earlier paragraph.

So:

'Guilty' stencilled on Jameson's face in black spray paint.


That's your opening scene and there is something wrong with every action block. You're going to need to proofread the entire script. Even scripts written well can lose out on reads, so you're not helping yourself here. Perhaps practise with a few shorts till you master it. People here will read shorts far more often than a feature.

If I were you I'd definitely practise with some shorts before coming back to this. You still have lots to learn.


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vancety
Posted: July 8th, 2015, 1:20pm Report to Moderator
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... Thanks Dustin, we will try and work on it!

One question?

Can we change the shower sequence into:

"The Janitor walks to the stall and pulls back the shower curtain to find an athletic male
student, JAMESON GRAHAM, early 20’s - lying on the floor naked, his throat red, strangled. "  

- or is this sentence too long?"

A mini-slug?:

The Janitor walks to the stall and pulls back the shower curtain to find an athletic male
student (-)  with or without a bracket?

JAMESON GRAHAM

early 20’s - Lying on the stall floor naked, his throat red, strangled.

Maybe the wrong choice, because Jerel is not using any mini-slugs in the rest of the screenplay.

I'm also not sure if you can only use a mini-slug to show change from one area of a specific building (so to speak) to another. I've seen people use a mini slug to 'introduce characters', but I'm not sure it's correct.

That's it, thanks again,

Rutger


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vancety  -  July 8th, 2015, 2:19pm
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Dustin
Posted: July 8th, 2015, 1:47pm Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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Hanging around here will help. Like I said, write a few shorts first as you will get more reads. It's not easy to write like this, it takes time, dedication and lots of patience. Good to see you have a thick skin. Keep at it. I hope you take my advice regarding the shorts as they will really help you hone your skills.


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vancety
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Hey Dustin, I've written one short, but it's terrible. Have a better version than the one that's on this forum but will post that after we finished the two projects Jerel and I are working on at the moment.

It’s easy to cope with (constructive) critic(s) because I'm not a screenwriter.  I can only create concepts. Have some - ok - ideas but need people to work them out. I'm Dutch and hate my own language. So I like my ideas worked out in English.

I'm working on the Multi-media concept "Serial Twins" for more than five years now, so yes, you could say I have thick skin. Or maybe I'm stupid - only time will tell.

PS: Can you still take a look at the questins I asked you,

With kind regards,

Rutger
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Dustin
Posted: July 8th, 2015, 2:44pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Quoted from vancety
... Thanks Dustin, we will try and work on it!

One question?

Can we change the shower sequence into:

"The Janitor walks to the stall and pulls back the shower curtain to find an athletic male
student, JAMESON GRAHAM, early 20’s - lying on the floor naked, his throat red, strangled. "  

- or is this sentence too long?"


That sentence is fine. Try to write per screen image. Usually one image will fit in one sentence, sometimes two.


Quoted from Rutger
A mini-slug?:

The Janitor walks to the stall and pulls back the shower curtain to find an athletic male
student (-)  with or without a bracket?

JAMESON GRAHAM

early 20’s - Lying on the stall floor naked, his throat red, strangled.

Maybe the wrong choice, because Jerel is not using any mini-slugs in the rest of the screenplay.

I'm also not sure if you can only use a mini-slug to show change from one area of a specific building (so to speak) to another. I've seen people use a mini slug to 'introduce characters', but I'm not sure it's correct.



Mini slugs can work but are usually only used with names when two characters are in different parts of the same scene doing different things. So, imagine a large field and there are two fights going on, one at either end. If you want to switch from one to the other then minis would work well there. Otherwise just write normally.


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vancety
Posted: July 8th, 2015, 3:18pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Man!!!
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TonyDionisio
Posted: July 8th, 2015, 6:51pm Report to Moderator
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Damnit, get to the point!

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Rutger,

Think as a Screenplay as a format with rules you must follow. Your formatting must be short and direct.

The Screenplay is your vehicle to sell your concept. Be a salesman and if your concept is sound and in demand,  you never know!
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vancety
Posted: July 9th, 2015, 2:43am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Tony, Jerel and I did a lot of standard formatting already, we have to focus on 'sentence construction' (short and direct) and 'unfilmables' now.

Question for you to: "Are we talking 'unfilmables' here and how can I change "we see"?"

Page 5:

The Twins disrobe their ninja gee, unbuckling their belts, peeling back the sweaty black fabric, pulling their masks off, hair frizzy.

(We see) T(t)hey have muscular toned physiques, cruel scars, sexy beasts.

KATHRYN PRESCOTT, 23, reserved, intelligent, black hair, reaches into her belt removes her wad of cash.

MEGAN PRESCOTT, 23, witty, dangerous, bleach blonde hair, hands her loot over to her sister.
.....................

Kathryn Prescott -- "reserved", "intelligent", are unfilmables?!

Is it not possible that her facial expression shows us she is reserved but intelligent. We as humans 'can' be great 'expression readers'.


Megan Prescott -  "witty", "dangerous"

Ok, a facial expression that shows us being "witty "and "dangerous" at the same time, difficult, but impossible? I myself don't think so? What do you think (about possible unfilmables and "we see".) ?!
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Dustin
Posted: July 9th, 2015, 2:49am Report to Moderator
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(We see) T(t)hey have muscular toned physiques, cruel scars, sexy beasts. 




They have muscular, toned physiques, cruel scars, sexy beasts.


Not sure about the 'sexy beasts' bit at the end, perhaps some extra punctuation will help with that:

They have muscular, toned physiques, cruel scars; sexy beasts.

Honestly though, I'd get rid of sexy beasts, or maybe reorganise the sentence if it's really necessary.

In respect to 'We see', simply write what we see instead.


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eldave1
Posted: July 9th, 2015, 2:09pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from vancety
Thanks Tony, Jerel and I did a lot of standard formatting already, we have to focus on 'sentence construction' (short and direct) and 'unfilmables' now.

Question for you to: "Are we talking 'unfilmables' here and how can I change "we see"?"

Page 5:

The Twins disrobe their ninja gee, unbuckling their belts, peeling back the sweaty black fabric, pulling their masks off, hair frizzy.

(We see) T(t)hey have muscular toned physiques, cruel scars, sexy beasts.

KATHRYN PRESCOTT, 23, reserved, intelligent, black hair, reaches into her belt removes her wad of cash.

MEGAN PRESCOTT, 23, witty, dangerous, bleach blonde hair, hands her loot over to her sister.
.....................

Kathryn Prescott -- "reserved", "intelligent", are unfilmables?!

Is it not possible that her facial expression shows us she is reserved but intelligent. We as humans 'can' be great 'expression readers'.


Megan Prescott -  "witty", "dangerous"

Ok, a facial expression that shows us being "witty "and "dangerous" at the same time, difficult, but impossible? I myself don't think so? What do you think (about possible unfilmables and "we see".) ?!


1. They are unfilmables.
2. Sometimes unfilmables are fine - they can set a tone.
3. In this case, they are not and IMO, harmful. I'll use Kathryn as an example.

I read through page 5 - there was nothing reserved or intelligent in Kathryn's actions, dialogue or surroundings. You can't make up for that by simply telling us that she is. A simple facial expression won't get it either. Nor do we have to get it in a single line.

It's like using a description like this:

Kathryn has black hair. She wishes it was red.

Rather than that unfilmable - you would write Kathryn, black hair, fondles a red wig. Puts it on and looks in the mirror - smiles.

So, in your specific screenplay, let's deal with Kathryn's intelligence. It could have been foreshadowed by things around her (e.g., research books, computers, etc.), or by her dialogue (e.g., "the theory of relativity means...") or by others dialogue (Meagan - "just because you graduated Oxford doesn't mean you can tell me what to do...) or by her actions.

IMO - the problem with using unfilmables for character descriptions or for that matter trying to capture the entirety of their make-up with a single facial expression - creates the real risk that you will not pay attention to the character traits in the action/dialogue in the balance of your script.









My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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vancety
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"I read through page 5 - there was nothing reserved or intelligent in Kathryn's actions, dialogue or surroundings. You can't make up for that by simply telling us that she is."

You are right. There isn't. But in the rest of the story there is a clear character description. Before Jerel started to write this story I gave him background info and a character description of the twins who I and Robert Arthur Jansen created. The desciption is just not on page 5.

"IMO - the problem with using unfilmables for character descriptions or for that matter trying to capture the entirety of their make-up with a single facial expression - creates the real risk that you will not pay attention to the character traits in the action/dialogue in the balance of your script."

I totally get that. We don't want lazy readers!!



An other try at unfilmables and describing the twins:

..................

The Gavel looks up to the lip of a building and sees [CUT:the] a Figure in identical ninja gee and mask.

INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT

The white walls are blank in a tiny living space, a cheap studio, in a cheaper part of town.

[CUT:The Twins have no intentions of settling in, always on the move.]

A couch with a couple of worn blankets, A TV with a hangar antenna, A table with two laptops, chargers, and a police scanner.

They pull of their masks revealing (-)

IDENTICAL TWINS

hair frizzy -  sexy beasts disrobing their ninja gee, unbuckling their belts, peeling back the sweaty black fabric: muscular toned physiques, cruel scars.

1) I just don't know where to naturally put in the collour of their hair
2) I guess you first pull of your mask and then take of your gee.
3) Where to use ; or :

KATHRYN PRESCOTT, 23, reaches into her belt and removes her wad of cash.

MEGAN PRESCOTT hands her loot over to her sister.

MEGAN
I shower first.

KATHRYN
(impatient)
I had to run the farthest to catch the last punk.

MEGAN
I had to beat up three all by myself.

KATHRYN
Fine.

In sports bra and panties Megan walks to the bathroom [ CUT?: and we hear the shower]running.]

Kathryn [CUT?: , same garbs] sits at the table and [CUT?:begins] counts [CUT?:ing] the crumpled up bills, neatly stacks them and sets to the side. She sags her shoulders while staring at  the small stack of bills.   [CUT? - A tedious amount of income for disastrous work.]

I'm Dutch so I don't know if the narrative flows...

....................

Page 6:

NEWS HEADLINE: "The Gavel, Friend or Foe?"

Must I use quotation marks? I can't fint the rule in The Hollywood Standard; it only tells me to use quotation marks in newspaper articles and and underscoring in newspaper titles, nothing about news headlines.

HOONER
For months now here in the great city of Austin of Texas. Criminals have been found guilty by a vigilante dubbed “The Gavel”. Muggers and rapist have been spraypainted with the word “Guilty” and left incapacitated by the unknown rescuer.

becomes?:

HOONER
For months now here in the great city of Austin-Texas (-) criminals have been found guilty by a vigilante dubbed “The Gavel”. Muggers and rapist have been spraypainted with the word “Guilty” and left incapacitated by the unknown rescuer.


That's it folks, I promise!!

  



Revision History (14 edits; 1 reasons shown)
vancety  -  July 10th, 2015, 12:06pm
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TonyDionisio
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Quoted from vancety
Thanks Tony, Jerel and I did a lot of standard formatting already, we have to focus on 'sentence construction' (short and direct) and 'unfilmables' now.

Question for you to: "Are we talking 'unfilmables' here and how can I change "we see"?"

Page 5:

The Twins disrobe their ninja gee, unbuckling their belts, peeling back the sweaty black fabric, pulling their masks off, hair frizzy.

(We see) T(t)hey have muscular toned physiques, cruel scars, sexy beasts.

KATHRYN PRESCOTT, 23, reserved, intelligent, black hair, reaches into her belt removes her wad of cash.

MEGAN PRESCOTT, 23, witty, dangerous, bleach blonde hair, hands her loot over to her sister.
.....................

Kathryn Prescott -- "reserved", "intelligent", are unfilmables?!

Is it not possible that her facial expression shows us she is reserved but intelligent. We as humans 'can' be great 'expression readers'.


Megan Prescott -  "witty", "dangerous"

Ok, a facial expression that shows us being "witty "and "dangerous" at the same time, difficult, but impossible? I myself don't think so? What do you think (about possible unfilmables and "we see".) ?!


I think you are confusing unfilmables with taking liberties. I'm a firm believer that you should only take a few liberties per Screenplay,  and I wouldn't use any in the first few paragraphs. You may discourage potential readers.

When you write for instance,  what characters are thinking at the moment, that is unfilmable.

When i see a character intro such as MEGAN PRESCOTT, witty, dangerous - the first thing I wonder is how so? Just show me how with dialog / action. If you want to tell people who to cast for the role,  don't. Not your job. Smarter people know better.

Or why don't you just not cut yourself short and say: MEGAN PRESCOTT, absolutely the most unforgettable and funniest character in movie history. Her shit doesn't stink and she's more dangerous than a stroke and a brain aneurysm.

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vancety
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... I know what you're saying, but forgive us, we just started (as you can see) re-writing...

Don't tell me you copy-pasted “Megan Prescott" into Google and found out about the English Prescot twins... I had to use an extra “t" for ... ha-ha

I did not want to tell people 'who' to cast for the job, I was just looking for suitable 'twin names' when I found the twins that came close to what  I 'already had in my mind’s eye.

I also knew that the protags should not look like the Soska twins and I did not want them to end up dead in a trunk.
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