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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  He's Having an Affair Moderators: bert
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  Author    He's Having an Affair  (currently 1775 views)
Don
Posted: July 31st, 2015, 9:59am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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He's Having an Affair by John Norris - Comedy - A happily married woman devises a scheme to force her husband's infidelity convinced it's the only way she can confess her fling and stay married. 112 pages - pdf, format


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Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  August 14th, 2015, 6:22pm
revised draft updated logline
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Erica
Posted: July 31st, 2015, 12:03pm Report to Moderator
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Have to say I'm a little confused on the logline.  Your saying he didn't cheat and that his wife is trying to get him to cheat so she can feel better?

There are a few formatting errors (I'm no expert).
FADE IN:  should be on the left side.

There also seems to be some character descriptions missing when you introduce a new character.  I see you had one for the Construction worker but nothing for the Therapist.  

The 11 years later - present should appear on screen, not in the slugline.

SUPERIMPOSE:  11 Years later - Present day

I also see a lot of V.O.'s some on establishing shots and others that appear while the character is on screen.  I'm not sure how well that would translate into shooting.  Plus there seems to be a lot of flashbacks.

It might be me but I still don't get the opening scene.  We know Edward is there but who is the other person?  There is never a mention of them.  I don't see Edward in the script again (glancing forward).

These are just my thoughts, hope it helps.  



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eldave1
Posted: July 31st, 2015, 10:36pm Report to Moderator
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Okay, the log line is confusing - had to read it twice. That being said, once I got it   - I loved the premise of the script.

I found the first ten pages very confusing and felt that the premise promised was no where to be found. The Gay ex-husband thing added to the confusion.  - the flashbacks and voice overs made the story seem more chaotic then necessary.

I really like the premise so I'll give this another whack later - could be that I'm just having a bad reading day.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Dreamscale
Posted: August 1st, 2015, 12:51am Report to Moderator
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Well...uh...yeah...the logline's a mess and doesn't make alot of sense, but again, as I often say, you can tell so much from a really poorly written logline.

And Page 1 screams what I already knew going in.  No way I can go any further.

So many mistakes here I can't even spend the time to go into detail...

THe opening Slug...the opening passage...the next passage...the first 2 lines of dialogue...Rachel's intro...the passage describing Rachel...Edward's incorrect intro and following dialogue...ARGH!!

Sorry, but this needs SERIOUS attention all the way around.  Jump into SS and you'll find lots of peeps ready and willing to help.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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JohnN
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Quoted from Erica
Have to say I'm a little confused on the logline.  Your saying he didn't cheat and that his wife is trying to get him to cheat so she can feel better?


Yes.  And yes your thoughts help.




Revision History (1 edits)
JohnN  -  August 1st, 2015, 10:00am
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JohnN
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Quoted from eldave1
Okay, the log line is confusing - had to read it twice. That being said, once I got it   - I loved the premise of the script.

I found the first ten pages very confusing and felt that the premise promised was no where to be found. The Gay ex-husband thing added to the confusion.  - the flashbacks and voice overs made the story seem more chaotic then necessary.

I really like the premise so I'll give this another whack later - could be that I'm just having a bad reading day.



Thanks.  Actually the first 10 pages have been significantly changed (including scenes removed) but I wasn't sure how to post the revised screenplay.
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JohnN
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Well...uh...yeah...the logline's a mess and doesn't make alot of sense, but again, as I often say, you can tell so much from a really poorly written logline.  


Thanks. I appreciate the feedback.  It's my first screenplay and first attempt at a logline.  I'll consider revising.  Likely explains why I sent out nine email queries re: representation yet only got two back asking me to send my script.

Suggestions for revisions welcome.

Revision History (1 edits)
JohnN  -  August 1st, 2015, 1:41pm
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eldave1
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A suggestion for the title John:

"Getting Uneven"


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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JohnN
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Quoted from eldave1
A suggestion for the title John:

"Getting Uneven"


That is a clever title.  Mine was based on her thought, not reality and helping the audience reach the same wrong conclusion.

Maybe I could have her get pregnant and call it "misconception."  

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eldave1
Posted: August 1st, 2015, 4:27pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JohnN


That is a clever title.  Mine was based on her thought, not reality and helping the audience reach the same wrong conclusion.

Maybe I could have her get pregnant and call it "misconception."  



That would work too.

BTW - if you got a script request from 2 out of 7 query letters that is a great ratio - IMO - means they really like the premise


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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eldave1
Posted: August 14th, 2015, 8:54pm Report to Moderator
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John: I am going to comment on the script in two parts. The first is going to deal with common issues/mistakes that are made. I am going to site one or two examples for each one and trust that you can go through your script to pick off and correct the similar problems. The second part will deal with the actual story. Here are the common format and style issues:

CAMERA DIRECTIONS


Quoted Text
Page 1

EXT. HIGHWAY - LOS ANGELES AREA - NIGHT

Amongst the traffic, we focus on a late model pickup truck, "Wilson and Sons Construction" logo on the door.

Avoid camera directions and the use of “we” (e.g., we focus, we hear, we see, etc.) whenever possible. Just write the action. For example, the above could be written:

Light traffic, including a late model pickup truck with a "Wilson and Sons Construction" logo on the door.

Another example from Page 4.


Quoted Text
We hear Rachel SING as she takes her SHOWER in their

Just write this as:

Rachel sings in the shower.

Anyway – go through the script and look for all of the “we” things.

SCENE HEADINGS

INT. WILSON HOME - MASTER BATHROOM

This needs to be:

INT. WILSON HOME - MASTER BATHROOM – DAY

There are a ton of scene headings where you are missing the DAY or night at the end. Go through the entire script and look for these errors.

USE OF SUPERS


Quoted Text
ON SCREEN: EARLIER THAT DAY


This should be written as:

SUPER: EARLIER THAT DAY

OVER USE OF HYPHENS

You use hypens way to much when periods will do the trick. Again, an issue throughout the script: e.g.,

RACHEL(V.O.)
So far so good - he’s headed the right direction.

Should be:
So far, so good. He’s headed in the right direction.

DONNA(V.O.)
Told you.  - but don’t get too far behind - you don’t want to lose him.

I told you. Don’t get too far behind. You don’t want to lose him.

TYPOS

There are a lots of them, along with missing commas – give it another scrub.

ACTIVE VOICE

There are many places where you slip into passive voice. You shouldn’t. For example:


Quoted Text
INT. ART GALLERY - LOS ANGELES - DAY

It’s a smallish, mid-scale, art gallery. ANGELA, 30’s, is standing next to CUSTOMER, male, 50’s, pompous, holding a Poodle, as they look at an abstract painting on the wall with a $5,000 price.

The above should be written:

ANGELA (30s) stands next to a male CUSTOMER (50s) as they…..

Another example:


Quoted Text
INT. RACHEL’S MINIVAN

The minivan is being driven by RACHEL WILSON, 30ish, winsome, her cute, expressive face tense with apprehension.

This should be written:

RACHEL WILSON (30s) drives a mini van…..

Always use an active voice. Go through the entire script and whenever you see an “ing” word (e.g: walking, talking, etc) and or an “is” convert it to an active voice.

ACCURACY OF SCENE LOCATION

In the beginning of the script you have several scenes where action is going on both inside and outside the van. However, the scene heading is:

INT. RACHEL’S MINIVAN

(Note again – a missing ‘NIGHT”

Within this same scene heading you have a lot of action outside the minivan. For example:

None of the cars between the Rachel and the pickup are turning left.

You either need to add a new scene heading when going from inside to outside or add or use a combined one: e.g.,

EXT/INT.  RACHEL’S MINIVAN (TRAVELLING) - NIGHT

OVER WRITING OF DESCRIPTIONS

In the first five pages or so there are several examples of over-writing.

Page 3

Then a WOMAN, late 20’s, shockingly beautiful and shockingly covered in tattoos that on her are as enticing as distracting, appears, her arm covers her bare breasts as she gives a dirty look at Neighbor and yanks down the shade.

You don’t need the “then”, shockingly twice and the sentence needs to be broken up. In other words, if you have a three line sentence you probably have problems. Try something like:

A gorgeous, naked WOMAN, late 20’s, covered in tattoos, appears in the window. She shoots the neighbor a dirty look as she covers her breasts with one arms and yanks down the shade with the other.

Another example close by:


Quoted Text
INT. WILSON HOME - MASTER BATHROOM

We hear Rachel SING as she takes her SHOWER in their restored master bathroom with two pedestal sinks, a make-up area, a vintage Victorian toilet with the pull-chain tank mounted high on the wall, and a vintage tub/shower with the curtain closed.


Unless all this detail about the bathroom is going to be critical to the plot – nuke it. It reads like a novel rather than a screenplay. Everyone already knows that bathrooms have showers, toilets and sinks. This really could be written as:

Rachel sings in the shower.  

There are several areas in the script where you over describe things.

John:

I am enjoying the dialogue and the story.  It has promise. But there are some issues you need to address in terms of format and style and they seem to be problems throughout the script. So, you can start looking at those right now.

Will get back to you on the story itself soon.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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eldave1
Posted: August 14th, 2015, 10:38pm Report to Moderator
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Okay, John: On the story itself.

1) You have a great premise.
2) You're dialogue is great! With just a few exceptions - spot on and clever. This is clearly a strength of yours as a writer.

I think the story itself has some problems:


Page 5


Quoted Text
She kisses him again. They’re cute together. If we did know he was having an affair, we’d like him.


I think you mean that if we didn’t know. Regardless – the scene preceding (the shower dance) doesn’t make sense in terms of the plot – she is already trailing him – thinking he is cheating. Yet she is this romantic in the shower???? Doesn't make sense.

Page 9

The entire scene with Rachel parking the van and bumping the car adds little to your story – I would eliminate the scene altogether.

Page 13

I don’t get the value of doing this scene twice – once in the opening and one here. As a note – you can’t do the “later we will learn he is his brother, later we will learn she is Miranda, thing. If it is important for us to know now – then show us now.

The sex with Rob.

I didn’t buy that her husband’s brother would serve as Rachel’s (1) confidant and (2) revenge lover. There is nothing in the back story that would serve this purpose. He is obviously a total jack ass. Why in the world would she go to him. I know that you want high stakes (i.e., she screws his brother - but if you want that then you need some since of attraction). Yes, I like the dialogue and you handle the scene well – it’s just not believable. Rachel needs to run into an ex-boyfriend or something. Not the brother.  There is not way that she wouldn’t find this too risky (in terms of being caught) and the brother would have to be the worse dude on the planet to screw his brother’s wife. It was tortured logic for me.  A suggestion - an ex lover comes into the art gallery - admires Rachel's work - she shoes up - they talk - then lunch. He tells her he's in between relationships - his gal was unfaithful - Rachel - wala - got the same problem. A few drinks later and then - revenge sex.

Derek can find out like this - he goes to the gallery - the ex lover is there admiring the work - mentions that he slept with the artist - etc etc.

Rachel’s physical decline

I think you over do this. And, if you are going to keep it, then there must be some reaction from Derek by now – he’s not concerned that his wife’s hair is falling out and her skin is exploding? I would move the scenes you have later to earlier in the story.

Page 29

All of the talk about sex, vibrators, etc between Rachel and Doctor Martin is very funny and well written. It also has to go. It is completely unrealistic. A Doctor would never talk to a patient like this. It took me out of the story. I know - it is real funny stuff so it is tough to nuke it - but it just isn't realistic (maybe move some of it to a conversation between her and Angela?

There are several unrealistic plot points.

Rachel spraining her foot so her sister could seduce Derek. If you want this - just have her fake it - an ace bandage around her ankle - she doesn't actually have to sprain it. You could still use the stuff right up to the point where she was going to do it - can't - and then Donna says - hey - let's just put a bandage on it. Rachel - no shit - what were we thinking.

That Derek would seek advice from Miranda on Donna’s move is a bit unrealistic.

But this is the most problematic plot point:

The Detectives showing up at Derek’s place of work with the sex tapes is totally unbelievable. It would never, ever happen like this. I know that you have to have a way for Derek to find out about the affair – but this ain’t it.

Finally - IMO the story must be more about Rachel's misguided attempts to get someone to screw Derek (and he them) then what you have. That is the promise of the premise. i.e., she pays for a hooker to hit on him at a bar - that doesn't work. She secretly puts his profile on Ashel MAddison or some other adult hook up site - that doesn't work - etc. etc.

Don't get discourage from these notes. Your dialogue is great. You have a real sense of humor in your writing. You need to work on more realistic story elements along with the issues dealing with style/format in the first post.

Good luck with this, John. Again - I think the premise is a winner.





My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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JohnN
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Thanks for the input!


Quoted from eldave1
   Page 5

I think you mean that if we didn’t know. Regardless – the scene preceding (the shower dance) doesn’t make sense in terms of the plot – she is already trailing him – thinking he is cheating. Yet she is this romantic in the shower???? Doesn't make sense.  


Top of page 4  

ON SCREEN: EARLIER THAT DAY

The bathroom scene is the start of that day. She doesn't know yet.


Quoted from eldave1
Page 9

The entire scene with Rachel parking the van and bumping the car adds little to your story – I would eliminate the scene altogether.


I'll look at that.  It's there as an indication she honest to a fault and to bolster the severity of her guilt when she literally screws up later.



Quoted from eldave1
Page 13

I don’t get the value of doing this scene twice – once in the opening and one here. As a note – you can’t do the “later we will learn he is his brother, later we will learn she is Miranda, thing. If it is important for us to know now – then show us now.


I'll look at that too. Hangover, for example, does that... opens with a scene we see later.


Quoted from eldave1


The sex with Rob.


I am changing that - to her going over there to see if he knew about Derek and Miranda and Rob basically manipulating her into sex.  

A scene that starts with Rob feeding her anger and ends with ...

                                                  ROB
                                    What are you going to do?

                                                  RACHEL
                                    I don't know.

                                                  ROB
                                   If it was me, I know what I'd do.
                                   I'd have revenge sex.

                                                 RACHEL
                                   I'm not you.

                                                   ROB
                                 No - you're the nice girl - the victim.
                                 That's why you don't deserve this.

                                                   RACHEL
                                 You're right. I don't deserve this.

                                                    ROB
                                They're the disgusting ones but you're
                                the one that gets hurt.

                                                   RACHEL
                                  You're right.

                                                   ROB
                                  That sucks but I admire your strength -
                                  the way you'll be able to bravely sit home
                                  night after night knowing Derek is out screwing
                                  Miranda's brains out. I don't have that strength.
                                  Just the thought of someone I love having red hot,
                                  animal, screams of passion, eye rolling in the back
                                 of their heads sex - would make me want to get even...
                                   but that's just me.

Maybe I'm a masochist but I like the challenge of it being the worst person you could screw -- a sibling.  Interestingly, women tend to cheat with people they know well.  Husband's friend's and even husband's relatives.  According to a friend who is a marriage counselor, he sees it a lot more than you'd think.    


Quoted from eldave1


Rachel’s physical decline


She's hiding the hair loss from Derek.  Maybe I need to make that clearer in the script.

The blotches - she claims is some "itis" that will go away.


Quoted from eldave1
  Page 29

All of the talk about sex, vibrators, etc between Rachel and Doctor Martin is very funny and well written. It also has to go. It is completely unrealistic. A Doctor would never talk to a patient like this. It took me out of the story. I know - it is real funny stuff so it is tough to nuke it - but it just isn't realistic (maybe move some of it to a conversation between her and Angela?


You're probably right and I like your suggestion.  It's just that - that scene and the one with Derek and his dad at the hotel are my two favorites.


Quoted from eldave1


Rachel’s physical decline Rachel spraining her foot so her sister could seduce Derek. If you want this - just have her fake it - an ace bandage around her ankle - she doesn't actually have to sprain it. You could still use the stuff right up to the point where she was going to do it - can't - and then Donna says - hey - let's just put a bandage on it. Rachel - no shit - what were we thinking.


I want her to be that desperate.  She'll literally do anything.  Your idea with the hooker (discussed below) will help with that.


Quoted from eldave1
  That Derek would seek advice from Miranda on Donna’s move is a bit unrealistic.


I'll look at that.  


Quoted from eldave1
The Detectives showing up at Derek’s place of work with the sex tapes is totally unbelievable. It would never, ever happen like this. I know that you have to have a way for Derek to find out about the affair – but this ain’t it.


The detective doesn't show up with the tape - only a file that has censored pictures of the women in it. She shows them the pictures for the purpose of identifying the other potential victims.  I'll look at that and make sure it's clear.


Quoted from eldave1
Finally - IMO the story must be more about Rachel's misguided attempts to get someone to screw Derek (and he them) then what you have. That is the promise of the premise. i.e., she pays for a hooker to hit on him at a bar - that doesn't work. She secretly puts his profile on Ashel MAddison or some other adult hook up site - that doesn't work - etc. etc.


I like the hooker idea.  She hires a hooker first and when that fails, is when she becomes even more desperate turns to Donna and is willing to hurt herself.  


Quoted from eldave1
Don't get discourage from these notes. Your dialogue is great. You have a real sense of humor in your writing. You need to work on more realistic story elements along with the issues dealing with style/format in the first post.


Thanks for being my sounding board.

JohnN





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Anon
Posted: August 26th, 2015, 6:14pm Report to Moderator
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The line "if we did know he was having an affair, we'd like him" is still wrong i think. Despite it being earlier in the day as you mention above. And even if it is technicaly correct, it's confusing. I had to read it several times and you want to avoid that at all costs.

The reason i'm making a big deal out of this one line is it's a good example of something you can improve. Clarity. I like your premise, and was enjoying your story. But too many double-takes on lines made me stop. It's not all like that though. Most of it is clear with some nice touches of flair, so you obviously have the ability to fix it. I'd rewrite before sending it out again.

Good luck with it.
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