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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  Poor Debbie Lee Moderators: bert
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  Author    Poor Debbie Lee  (currently 526 views)
Don
Posted: April 30th, 2019, 9:29pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Poor Debbie Lee by James Allen - Comedy - During the last days of her life a widow tries escaping from a man who faked his own death. 90 pages - pdf format

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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  June 3rd, 2019, 12:43pm
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AlsoBen
Posted: May 1st, 2019, 12:20am Report to Moderator
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Dude

This script haunts me. You've posted it on Reddit before, maybe 1-2 years ago, as an early draft. It was rough (and, and in many parts, bizarre and unreadable) but it was also extremely hilarious and was, to this day, the only script that ever made me REALLY laugh out loud.

Of course, you received lots of criticism on Reddit for the "bizarre and unreadable" narrative parts, the (sometimes wild) tonal inconsistencies, and the meandering plot, and you posted another draft in response. Then another. And each time, I felt two things -

- The script is still bizarre and weird, and not really even intelligible in spots. I'm beginning to think it's just you.
- Your re drafting each time sucked a lot of the funny out.

I don't know man. I think you need to go back to  that early draft, with the laughs. I don't know what happened but this isn't the script that I remember and like I said, it's still incredibly hard to tell what you're intending to happen on screen.


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JamesA
Posted: May 6th, 2019, 5:05pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you so much for taking yet another read.  I understand that it haunts you.  Debbie haunts all of us, in a way.

I understand also by what you mean of beating this to death.  I favored the earlier drafts too.  

So many have LOVED and then ABOSULETY HATED this thing.  I've probably diluted too much of it to try and find an even line.

Thank you again.  This is a tremendous help.

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JamesA  -  May 6th, 2019, 6:06pm
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AlsoBen
Posted: May 6th, 2019, 9:24pm Report to Moderator
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Hey James, I saw you sent me an SR message before you made an account here, asking for some clarification of my comment.

What I meant when I said was "I'm beginning to think it's just you." was certainly not as harsh as it sounds. I think you just have a very descriptive and stylistic way of writing, but even when you've obviously done several drafts of this script, it still makes it hard to understand.

I'll give you an example:

"Bumper to bumper traffic. Honkers. Long lanes. An early
90s Miata. Top cover down. Debbie's pilot with her sparkly
red dress. An unlit cigaratte in her mouth."  

There's nothing WRONG with this, and it's a personal choice, but you do this scene setting throughout and it gets less and less clear as the script goes on. I know more about Debbie's car than I do her in this description before I'm even aware she's on screen. There's nothing wrong with having a voice, but if you really dissect even just that whole highway scene, you can see how a reader might get lost.

You name a character LOS ANGELES and he only appears in one scene  -- that has the potential to be funny -- but I literally have no idea for sure what the interaction he has with Debbie is actually about.

Like I said, there was a draft of this script you wrote that was gut bustingly funny. It just needed a work-over to be more clear and concise. I remember reading it and loving details like Debbie and her psychologist's relationship (I still remember - two years later! - a line like Debbie saying "do you think I'm smart?" and the disinterested doctor responding "Yes I think you're pretty". Fucking gold), her son's disdain for her, and her complete naivety about how much her family disliked her. But you'd get "lost" in scenes, like describing a flashback to Debbie's childhood that made zero sense on the page.

I hope you have that early draft. I'd love to read it again and maybe give you some tips (in my opinion) how you could redraft more effectively.


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JamesA
Posted: May 6th, 2019, 10:11pm Report to Moderator
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Gotchya!

That second scene always bugged me too.  LOS ANGELES as a character.  You're right.  I see the potential.  That whole scene was supposed to be a quick transition.  Meaningless.  I think I had FABULOUS GUY in one of the first drafts.  

It's been a nightmare I agree.  Thank you for that point about the car.  I get what you mean about trying to dissect it out.  Not trying to get the reader lost.  It's something I'll keep working on.

It's hilarious you remeber some of Debbie's lines.  That one you mentioned, damn, it could've still worked.  I think that whole opening started dragging because I tried to spicing it up too much.  Excellent points.

Hey.  I'd be happy to send over the another draft at some point.  But likewise this thing has haunted me to death.  I don't think I can open it for another couple of weeks.  

I'll stay in touch with the group.  This is incredible.
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MGayles
Posted: May 10th, 2019, 4:48pm Report to Moderator
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This might be the strangest six pages of a script I've ever read. Everyone talks and acts weird, like in a Yorgos Lanthimos film. I want to read more but I'm afraid for my sanity.
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JamesA
Posted: May 10th, 2019, 7:08pm Report to Moderator
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MGayles,

I appreciate the eyes.  Thank you.  And I'm glad you mentioned Yorgos Lanthimos.  I also gained a little inspiration from Todd Solondz.  

I hope your sanity stays intact!

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