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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Action/Adventure Scripts  ›  Shadows Below Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: October 23rd, 2016, 5:13pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Shadows Below by Gregory Mandarano - Action, Adventure - After American terrorists nuke China's naval command on the 4th of July, a submarine commanded by the US President's Daughter and her team of Navy SEALs are all that stand between a rogue Chinese submarine and Nuclear Armageddon. 116 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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GregoryM
Posted: October 27th, 2016, 10:26pm Report to Moderator
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Hidden around the world are submarines with only one mission:

Nuclear Counter-strike in the event of war.

Known as doomsday subs for their ability to destroy the world, redundancy protocols give their Captains authority to launch without a direct order on one condition only:

If communications with command ever stops.

After the US Vice President visits China to sign a treaty that will unify their Navies in the war against terrorism, the VP's Press Secretary claims to be an anti-communist martyr and detonates a nuclear bomb wiping China's naval command from the face of the Earth.

When the legendary Captain of a Chinese doomsday sub learns of the attack, the deep hatred he harbors for Americans drives him to start a quest of vengeance against the US.

Turning his sights on Washington he makes a desperate dash towards the shallows intent on destroying the Capitol and forcing the US into war.

And with only hours remaining before America is destroyed, a submarine commanded by the US President's daughter and her team of Navy SEALs are the only ones capable of stopping him and saving the world from Nuclear Armageddon.
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Nomad
Posted: October 28th, 2016, 9:45am Report to Moderator
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Gregory,

This is an interesting read so far, page 12, and I'm curious to see where it goes.
You have a different style that was off putting at first, but it does make the read faster.

You have a lot of things going against you right off the bat that will prevent people from reading this, though.

  • TITLE PAGE
    That title should just be a normal courier font.  
    That crazy font and shadow text will turn a lot of people off.
  • SLUGLINE FORMAT
    You don't have traditional sluglines, and as such, it takes a little time to get used to it.
    Once I understood what you were getting at, it does help the story flow, but people will resist the change.
  • DIALOGUE
    Your dialogue is on-the-nose.
    "Rith.  You are my legacy.  And you must live on."

I'm going to take my time reading this so I may not comment for a while, but I'll let you know what I think when I'm finished.

Jordan


Read my scripts here:
SOCIAL EXPERIMENT 8pg-Drama
THE BRIDGE 8pg-Horror
SCHEISSE 6pg-Horror/Comedy
MADE FOR EACH OTHER-FILMED
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eldave1
Posted: October 28th, 2016, 10:29am Report to Moderator
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I liked the title page - just a matter of taste I guess


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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GregoryM
Posted: October 29th, 2016, 6:25am Report to Moderator
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My sister makes my title pages. ^_^

Thanks for deciding to give it a read Nomad. I hope you enjoy it.
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TonyDionisio
Posted: November 3rd, 2016, 9:11am Report to Moderator
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Damnit, get to the point!

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Hey Greg,

Had a look through this as it's my kinda genre and right up my alley. Well written period-meets-fiction piece. Seems you put a lot of research into this. It does present a real smooth read.

Initial logline thoughts: "After American terrorists nuke China's naval command on the 4th of July, a submarine commanded by the US President's Daughter and her team of Navy SEALs are all that stand between a rogue Chinese submarine and Nuclear Armageddon."

I wouldn't reveal American in the logline. The more mystery, the better. Now, if this is a misdirection, then I see where you're going here, but, still... with logs, less is always more and more is always magnificent.
Removing the actual day un-clutters the log a bit, kinda. Not a big deal in the slightest, as it still delivers a complete idea of what I'm about to read.

Since it's a period war battle, you kept the opening short, which should keep filming costs down. You intro'd young, 9yr Rith, as an innocent boy to feel bad for as war rages around him. And then this same boy ambushes an alone (not Lone Ranger )_ Ranger, inside of an unknown and hostile war-zone, (why's he alone? To drink juice?) and Rith kills him with a spoon. That's kinda hard to believe, but you are establishing that Rith is resourceful and a dangerous type, so I get what you're doing there.

50 years later and we meet back up with Rith. I suggest showing us some feature about him so that we can immediately recognize him (such as a scar from the Ranger fight, or something). I assume he has this rogue-type sub about to cause havoc on a target and the sub is surfaced??? I'm no expert on subs, but I know they are silent killers and wouldn't risk exposing themselves with a surface show (within binocular range) just before firing on their target. It makes for a good scene with Rith, however.

Even if I have this all wrong at this point, can a sub fire missiles water to air at low flying, close-in helicopters? I dunno.

The US President's daughter is to high-level command a nuclear submarine -- different. I like it. Very recent to have woman on subs. Good thing to explore. Not sure you have much data on the topic to write about accurately.

Mary and McBride have some nice solid dialog going on between them. Not too much conflict, but still makes for a good scene. Stuff like this is great, which, IMO, is something I would end the scene with.

           MCBRIDE (CONT�D)
You�ve just been promoted to the black
sheep of America�s submarine fleet.


Not  digging 15yr old Mary speaking to her parents (flashback) as though she's older.

Pg.26, Alvarez speaking on the phone is not a V.O. Either use O.S. or phone or just word Walter as: "I'm on my way, sir."

Some of the scene transitions between surface fleet and submarine interiors are a bit confusing, probably due to lack of scene slugs. It seems you have rules for your scene transitions that vary.

EXPEDITION NINE
sinks just in time for Quiet Fire to pass over it.

I'd pick a better word. The action sequences are tight and the battle dialog works well. Although, it does read like any of the similar movies on the topic. You spent quite a few pages of action on a training scene -- at the end of Act 1. That's a let down. I can't say much for the timing of this.

Steel beach party? lol. 49-50 pages in for the inciting incident. I feel this strongly needs to happen sooner.

I like how you intercut the reality of what Mary's sub sees vs. the nuclear reality. Pacing is really good, pages turn well. More than halfway through this and I think a major problem you will encounter is the lack of a full-blown main protagonist. I personally don't think it's a big deal as I write kinda the same way (make the entire cast and story front and center) but I believe others will tell you this is a problem.

I think you need to remove Shining and have Mary forced to make decisions by the time page 60-70 rolls around. She should be the underdog taking the suggestions and from others, unsure of her own abilities, the crew unsure of her. Which you do, kinda conveniently, but I think it needs to occur earlier.

Late twenties, Cuban, gorgeous. She�s your typical Navy Top Gun Pilot. She is? I wish I went into the Navy. lol. Now, you give us Kelly to root for and follow? It's like you left Mary after giving her very little to do and now Kelly is the active protag in a very important scene. And so late in the story to boot.

Again, this my type of movie. I would watch this. Now, I think you are trying to mess with your audience a bit too much. There are a lot of characters to follow and aside from Rith (who I would never root for) who's left? Mary is a huge disappointment.

Rith is an enigma. His legacy is told as the super smart, greatest tactician ever -- and he is just that... told to be. While he is active in his plan, he is not unpredictable and he wasn't really pushed to the limit or challenged enough. Everybody around him seems to know what he's gonna do before he does it.

We have Crimson Tide, we have Red October and a shit load of rip-offs. Where does this fit in? What's truly new here? This won't be a low budget thing to make. Which one of these characters would an a-list be dying to play? It ain't Mary, that's for sure. It needs to be Mary.

Other than that, as an action guy, I love the action writing and you do it really well. And, overall  I did enjoy the read.

Good luck!

Tony.


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GregoryM
Posted: November 3rd, 2016, 7:50pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the notes. Putting a scar on rith's face in the very beginning to make it easier to identify him visually is a brilliant move. I think you're also right about cutting mcbride scene in that spot too. saves space. good instincts.

The budget thing actually isn't as much as you'd think. I had it quoted as 10-15. A lot of the stuff can be done with cgi, and the actual sets are just confined locations, so it's not too bad. Thing about sub movies is they're actually fairly cheap when you consider it as a set.

You're of course right about mary. Pinning her as the protagonist when there's a lot of gray areas is difficult. Spending more time on mary takes away from the story. she had less of a placement in an earlier draft, and i think really the problem comes from the story itself in that respect. shining is more of an active protag than she is, and that's what happens when you deal with multiple protag ensemble pieces.

As for hot navy pilots. Omg people in the navy are so hot.
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