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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  The Novice Priest Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Novice Priest  (currently 2478 views)
Don
Posted: May 19th, 2007, 8:13am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Novice Priest by Elisabeth Dubios - Comedy, Drama - A retiring priest is preparing a young timid novice priest, father Julius, for his first priesthood task. Julius’ first task will be to wed a couple of petty thieves, Bonita and Clyne, who want to exchange vows in a hot air balloon. Reluctantly, father Julius performs the ceremony; but things don’t quite go as plan as all three unexpectedly embark on a journey that will alter their lives.  89 pages - pdf, format


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elis
Posted: May 21st, 2007, 9:17pm Report to Moderator
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Hi to all,

I suppose getting someone to read your script to get feed back is an enormous task, considering the amount of scripts on the site.
Even "I" am absolutely overwhelmed with it.

I hope someone can give a little feed back, even if you only read the first 10 pages.
Thanks,
Elis


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Shelton
Posted: May 21st, 2007, 9:38pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Elis,

I saw the concept and thought it was interesting, but wasn't sure if you were around or not.

I'll take a look at it for you.


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Shelton
Posted: May 21st, 2007, 11:30pm Report to Moderator
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First off, not a huge deal, but you should edit the title page to get rid of all the generic stuff in there and to put in the actual title and your name.

I think you can afford to offer a little more description for the introductions of Bonita and Clyne.  They are main characters after all, and something more than "Italian looking" would be better suited.

The ! in Bonita's dialogue implies shouting, but you have her whispering in the description.  Actually, you should use a parenthetical if you want her to whisper instead of putting it in the description.

Instead of having Clyne go to the pew and pray, you should show him going and taking the money from the poor box instead of telling in the next scene.

I don't think you need the definition of trap door in there...or entrance.

The catapult thing is quite interesting.  reminded me of Logan's Run for some reason.

In a couple spots I notice you have isle...should be aisle.

Once you name the Operator Charles, it's better to use that in descriptions and dialogue.

You have a "we see" at the top of page 25

Page 46, Bonita's dialgoue has an O missing in doing.

You have two rule number fours, and isnt't rule number three to obey Julius anyway?

No need for the repeat of exchanged bodies in bold.

Just getting into the switching body thing, I'm seeing the comedy feel return to the script.  It seemed to disappear for the most part around page 30.  Granted there was a lot going on, but there weren't as many laughs as there were in the early going and now.

Why is some of your text blue?

I enjoyed this.  I thought it was a really interesting concept just based on the logline, and all the little things that you've added made for a really enjoyable story.  I'm not sure how to classify this one really, since even you have it as comedy and drama, but I think you did the right thing as flagging it as a comedy first.  It's not laugh a minute funny, but it definitely has a subtle humor to it that works well with the subject manner.

I think I covered most of the formatting issues above, but there are a few typos and some misplaced commas and what not scattered throughout that would warrant another round of proofing.  Also, the bold lettering in the exchanged bodies slugs definitely need to go.  I mentioned it above when I first noticed it, but it bears repeating.  You need to find a different way to establishing that they haven't switched back yet...either through actions or dialogue.

Overall, a really good story and concept that flowed nicely.  Nice work.


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elis
Posted: May 22nd, 2007, 3:52am Report to Moderator
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Thank you Mike,

I appreciate your feedback and will reproof the story. I've taken your advice and will change a few things accordingly. English being my second language brings about a few grammatical errors.
I think I should be looking for an editor to brush up my scripts.
I have also placed another two on this site.

Can you recommend an editor?

Thanks again,
Elisabeth


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Shelton
Posted: May 22nd, 2007, 4:10am Report to Moderator
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Off hand, I can't really think of an editor, although reading your script out loud helps tremendously.  Just use a brief pause where the commas are, and it should help to identify a lot of the misplaced ones, since the dialogue doesn't roll off the tongue as well.  It'll also help with identifying the typos.

The script wasn't overloaded with them, defintely nothing that distracted from the reading, but a good once through would help.

Are you originally from AU?  What's your first language?


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elis
Posted: May 22nd, 2007, 4:38am Report to Moderator
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From France.
Been here a fair while.
Did all my primary school years in France and came to Autralia at the age of 12.
An A student but never in English


A NEW VERSION NOW UPLOADED



Revision History (1 edits)
elis  -  June 3rd, 2007, 11:47pm
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aurorawriter
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Hi Elis,

Thank you again for reviewing Elf-Analysis; and thanks for letting me read The Novice Priest.

First of all, I think this is a terrific idea for a movie.  You’ve clearly given a lot of thought to Paradise Resort, the numbered robes, etc.  I think Bonita and Clyne (love the names!) are interesting characters, and it’s clear to me why they need to go on this journey.  Also, I noticed in your comments above that English isn’t your first language.  I give you a huge amount of credit for completing a screenplay (a difficult enough feat in itself) in a second language.  I can count to ten in a couple of other languages, but that’s about it.

Now, for what I think could be made better in your script.  The biggest thing is that I think the story takes too long to get going.  Your second act really starts when Bonita and Clyde get their robes, which is on page 38.  For a 95 page script, you really want your second act to start by about page 25.  I’ve made some notes below that might help you tighten up the action and description.

I think your set-up needs a bit more impact, as well.  We need more of Bonita and Clyne as a couple, and at least the hint of any idea of why they steal.  Do they work?  Not work?  They don’t seem like truly bad people, but you need to let the audience in on their story a bit more.  Ditto Father Julius.  Why is this the right story for him?  We know he’s afraid of heights, but I think giving the audience a hint of him being afraid to lead his own church would go a long way toward developing his character.  Also, I think that not showing Paradise Resort before Bonita and Clyne get there will give their arrival more impact.  Maybe you can hint at its existence by showing the streaks of light, or something; but let the audience discover it with your characters.

Because I think the beginning needs to be trimmed, I also think you need more story in the middle.  Maybe spend a bit more time with Bonita and Clyne at Paradise Resort.  Make them figure out where they are, and why they’re there, maybe by talking to other guests with other numbers.  And when they get back to earth, I think their tasks need to be more directly related to what they’ve done wrong.  While cleaning the church is a good deed, it would be more effective if they had to somehow do something for the poor (who, after all, they were stealing from).  The same thing goes for Robert.  Maybe they could help him see the error of his ways (show him that he really *is* blind in the ways that matter.)

I’d also recommend taking another look at having Bonnie and Clyne switch bodies.  I’m not sure it really works, and it might even take away from your central story.  It might work better, too, if Augustus can’t go back to earth to help Julius.  If Julius has to figure it out on his own, it makes him a more interesting character.

My notes on structure and other nitpicky stuff are below.  You seem eager to get feedback on your work, which is great.  If you’re interested, check out wwww.moviepoet.com.  It’s a website that runs a free monthly contest (5 page maximum) and on average, everyone who enters is getting about 30 reviews of their script.  I’ve learned a lot from getting such regular feedback, and it’s a great place to meet other writers and filmmakers.

Thanks again for letting me read...

Aimee

Notes on style/structure:

Your action can be tighter.  For example:

“Father Julius twitches nervously as he removes his steamed
glasses off his nose. He wipes them with his robe.”

Could be shortened to:

“Father Julius’ eye twitches.  He removes his glasses, wipes them on his robe.”


The same thing goes for descriptive passages:

“The foyer is richly decorated.

Ornate with golden columns and floors covered in white marble tiles.

Large pillar candles, placed on golden stands, are scattered around the foyer.”

Would read better as: “Richly decorated, golden columns, white marble.  Candles flicker.”

There are some misplaced commas, which I know Mike mentioned to you as well.  Here’s an example:

BEGGAR
The devil will get, you two.

You don’t need the comma there.  The Beggar probably wouldn’t pause between “get” and “you,” and the comma has the effect of making the reader hear a pause there.


Be careful of including actions that duplicate the work your dialogue is doing.  For example:

Clyne tries to deny.

CLYNE
But Father I wouldn't do su...

The dialogue is Clyne trying to deny it.  Get rid of the descriptive lines like that, and you’ll have a tighter script.

Be careful of unnecessary parentheticals.  Only use them if it’s not obvious from the dialogue how the character would say a line.  For example:

BONITA
(Shouting)
Clyne, get off my dress!

Bonita’s words, the exclamation point & the situation make it clear she’s shouting.


There are quite a few typographical errors here, of the kind that won’t be caught by spell check.  For example:

POLICE OFFICER 1, a man, mid 20’s, is sanding next to POLICE OFFICER 2, a woman, mid 20’s.

The best way to catch errors like that is to read your whole script out loud, slowly.  It’s easier to hear those mistakes than it is to see them.


P. 27 (O.S.) for off-screen dialogue should only be used if the character is not visible in the scene.


p. 38 This is where I felt the story really started – and it’s a bit too late for a script of this length.


While it’s a good thing to have characters with flaws, you run a risk of making Bonita & Clyne unlikable.  They’re stealing from the poor.  You need, at the beginning, a scene that gives the audience a reason to empathize with them.  Blake Snyder calls it a Save the Cat scene.



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elis
Posted: June 12th, 2007, 10:17am Report to Moderator
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Thank You Aimee,
You have a flair for doing reviews
I would like to thank you for taking time out to read the script.  There are so many scripts on this site, it's never ending.
I think I know have five reviews to do.

Your points have been a great help; I am reviewing the whole script with all your considerations in mind.

I have looked up moviepoet.com.
It's a great little site and I have joined, thankyou.

Sorry about the mix with the PM. I had forgotten which script you were reading  

Once again thank you for the review.



Revision History (1 edits)
elis  -  June 14th, 2007, 10:41pm
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aurorawriter
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Hi Elis,

Thanks -- I hope the notes help, and if you want me to read the rewrite when it's done, just let me know.

I'm so glad you joined moviepoet.  It's really a great site, with a great group of regulars.  The thing about getting so many reviews of your writing is that, if you see the same comments crop up again and again, you know that's an area you probably need to look at.

Keep writing,

Aimee


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randyshea
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I just started reading, but it's awkward from the get go, not entirely mind you, but you'll see what I mean.

this is how it starts

INT. CHURCH - AFTERNOON

The afternoon sun's rays illuminate the interior of an old catholic church, through its ornate lead light windows.

There are about 20 long pews, long enough to sit 20.
The pews are equally divided by a wide aisle that leads to the altar.

Behind the altar is a large golden crucifix.

A confessional box is visible, to the right of the altar.
Two black curtains cover the entry of the confessional box.

BONITA, a voluptuous,long haired brunette of olive complexion, early 20's, is kneeling behind the second row of pews, closest to the confessional box.
Her hands are joined in prayer, keeping an eye on the confessional box.

A hand pops out of the right confessional box curtain and begins to wave, distracting, Bonita.

She refrains from laughing as she sees the hand gestures.

NOW TRY THIS:

INT. OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH - DAY

Sun streams through ornate lead light windows, illuminating rows of pews and an alter up front.

BONITA, early 20's, kneels in the second row near a pair of confessional boxes. She’s a voluptuous brunette with an olive complexion. Her hands are joined in prayer, but she keeps an eye on one of the confessionals.

From the right confessional pops a hand that waves at her.

She contains a giggle.

THIS IS HOW YOU CONDENSE 16 LINES OF (THE ACTUAL SCRIPT) READING INTO 8. THE POINT BEING THAT YOU STILL GET A SENSE OF WHAT YOUR ARE LOOKING AT BY ADDING MORE TO THE SLUG LINE, AND EDITING THE DESCRIPTION. FOR ME IT READS THE SAME, JUST FASTER, CLEANER. KEEPS ME INTERESTED IN THE STORY, NOT THE CHURCH. GETS ME TO BONITA AND CLYNE FASTER. THAT IS WHAT YOU WANT.

I'll keep going on it.

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elis
Posted: June 18th, 2007, 12:58pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Randyshea,
Condensing action is still one of my pitfalls. I do elaborate , although aware of the need to refine my action lines.
The way you reduced  16 lines to 8 does leave the story intact and allows the story to move quicker.
I enjoy receiving remarks like yours.  I like being criticized and I take it all with an open mind.
Thanks for the comment Randyshea. This sort of criticism is extremely helpful.

Cheers,
Elis


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Quoted from elis
Thanks Randyshea,
Condensing action is still one of my pitfalls. I do elaborate , although aware of the need to refine my action lines.
The way you reduced  16 lines to 8 does leave the story intact and allows the story to move quicker.
I enjoy receiving remarks like yours.  I like being criticized and I take it all with an open mind.
Thanks for the comment Randyshea. This sort of criticism is extremely helpful.

Cheers,
Elis


I sent you further notes by e-mail, so look for them. Check your junk file if you don't see them.

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Hey, I just read your first 10 pages and I like it. It is a very good story so far and well written. I will let you know more when finish.
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