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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  Robins Vermont Moderators: bert
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  Author    Robins Vermont  (currently 1408 views)
Don
Posted: December 20th, 2009, 10:31pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Robins Vermont by Mark Alford - Comedy - A young couple relocates an hour away from their hometown only to realize that they miss their friends and family more than they thought they would. 99 pages - pdf, format


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c m hall
Posted: December 22nd, 2009, 4:29pm Report to Moderator
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I'm guessing this script is a  draft.
Here's my two cents:  
The dialogue sounds realistic, mostly, but a little flat.
Maybe that's the difference between reading a script and seeing  the story on the screen -- I'm sure there are films in which a lead character says Hello, how are you, I'm fine, etc. with every telephone call, but it makes for slow readiing.
I don't think the characters change very much, as the story develops, except for Constant and his writing --  it makes the ending seem forced, unfortunately.
I don't doubt that you've got some of the pieces here that would make a good story, I just don't think you've put it together, yet.
Of course it's possible I've missed the point completely, that's been known to happen.
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ricketybridge
Posted: January 13th, 2010, 11:07pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark,

I can tell with the first two blocks of description that you haven't read enough professional-level screenplays or "how to write a screenplay" books yet--or haven't taken such instruction to heart.  Allow me to indulge in a little anecdote.

When I was in college, I slaved over my essays.  Slaved and slaved away, staying up till 3am locked in my dorm room on a Saturday night while everyone else was at frat parties.  And I loved it and all, but it was still pure torture.  

It was only when I got to my senior year that I was actually assigned to read actual, professor-written essays.  I realized in surprise and a little bit of horror that in spite of the fact that I was a devoted English major, I had never, ever had any examples of what, exactly, my goal was--that I'd effectively been shooting blindly and just hoping to hit the target.  

But if I HAD been reading professional-level essays, I'm sure the process would have been MUCH easier--there's a certain cadence and way of thinking that just soaks into your head after reading similar things over and over again--or I at least would have understood why my writing tutors were saying the ridiculous things they were saying.  

Okay, maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe you've done your due diligence and read hundreds of screenplays already.  In which case, just take the above as for the benefit of the rest of the class.  And in that case, you need to read screenplays with a sharp eye for how they're written.  And if you don't know where to find screenplays, just head over to script-o-rama.com.  

There are a lot of technical/formatting problems.  You need to specify day or night in your scene headings, describe your characters when you introduce them, and show us only what we can actually see and hear on screen.  "Her friend SHIRLEY answers."  How do we know this?  Because we hear something like this?:

SHIRLEY (O.S.)
(from phone)
Hello?

"Hand raise in frustration."  Whose hand?  This is also grammatically incorrect to the point of being unintelligible.

"In the middle of the flock stands a CAMEL!

"He (the camel?!??!) slowly waking and begins singing with Robin and car dancing."

Things like this tell me that you need help with writing in general--not just screenplay-specific writing.

This may all seem like nit-picking to you, but it's things like these that are immediate red flags to readers that you don't know what you're doing.  But these rules are more than just a shibboleth to separate the insiders from the outsiders: they make reading easier for the reader.  If you don't do these things, the script becomes terribly confusing.  

Additionally, such rampant technical problems indicate that the story as a whole is going to be just as maladroit.  You may find this unfair--I haven't read the whole script; how would I know that the story isn't good?  It's because it happens 100% of the time.  Not 99%--like, there's that one mad genius who doesn't care for format.  No.  100% of the time.  And every executive and reader would agree with me.  It's because if someone has read enough screenplays to be proficient technically, then they're probably proficient story-wise.  And if they see issues like this, they're going to assume the story isn't any good and decide not to read the whole thing.  

Which is exactly what I did.  I'm sorry, it's just too hard to read.  And it's my guess that that's why the script was only able to elicit one comment.  If you do a rewrite addressing all these issues (and any others you encounter in your readings on the subject) and repost it, let me know and I'll be up for giving another crack at it.


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