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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  Doubles Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 6:29pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Doubles by Daniel Ehrlich - Comedy - Tennis is more than just a game for one and a nuisance for the other - but when the opportunity for superstardom arises, these two teenage misfits must put behind their mutual loathing for fame, fortune and love. 127 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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eldave1
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 7:56pm Report to Moderator
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Daniel - just a quick scan through the first few pages.

Man - that opening narration is thick and we don't have a clue what he is narrating over (over black?)  Regardless - I would certainly chop this down.


Quoted Text
INT. HOSPITAL - DAY, ANYWHERE USA
A woman rests in a hospital bed. She swaddles a small newborn


Name the Mom here - she's going to be in the next several scenes.


Quoted Text
EXT. SHANTY HOUSE - DAY (SIMULTANEOUS TO NARRATION)


If so - out the narration in the scene.


Quoted Text
Splint's mother and father lie in a double bed, shoulder to
shoulder, as Rustic bounces an ever-present tennis ball while
his arm hangs off his side of the bed. A picture of Emmanuel
Agassi with a young Andre hangs from the wall on one side of
the room. A picture of Richard Williams with a young Venus and
Serena hangs on the other. The room is otherwise simple and
sparsely decorated, not that there is any space for stuff.


Break up your description/action blocks into bite sized chunks.

Splint's mother and father lie in a double bed, shoulder to
shoulder, as Rustic bounces an ever-present tennis ball while
his arm hangs off his side of the bed.

A picture of Emmanuel Agassi with a young Andre hangs from the wall on one side of
the room. A picture of Richard Williams with a young Venus and
Serena hangs on the other.

The room is otherwise simple and sparsely decorated, not that there is any space for stuff.


Quoted Text
INT. SHANTY HOUSE, RUSTIC'S BEDROOM - DAY

We return to the POV of Splinter's mom, now nursing Splinter in


You really don't need the camera angles here - its a spec script


Quoted Text
EXT. SHANTY HOUSE BACKYARD, DAY,

TEXT READS: ONE YEAR LATER

Splint crawls up a small dirt mound. Rustic's voice can be
heard in the background:


I assume you mean SUPER - and it needs to go after you've described something in the scene

EXT. SHANTY HOUSE BACKYARD, DAY,

Splint crawls up a small dirt mound. Rustic's voice can be
heard in the background:

SUPER: ONE YEAR LATER

So to me, the nut of the writing is fine - I like your dialogue - but it's just top clunky and dense and tricked up with camera angles, etc that it takes one out of the read. Think crisp and clean - hope this makes sense


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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stampede331
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 8:41pm Report to Moderator
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Opening narration not over black but a montage of iconic sports clips that describe the narrator's feelings.  Didn't know I was supposed to include.

What do you mean "out the narration in the scene."  This is the first script I've ever written.

I didn't know I was allowed to break exposition up into paragraphs.  

The mom not having a name is part of the script.

The first 11 pages are the choppiest in the script.

Also don't know what you mean by adding the word "SUPER."


Thanks for reading the beginning.



Revision History (1 edits)
stampede331  -  April 15th, 2020, 8:59pm
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stampede331
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 8:54pm Report to Moderator
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Also just read the first 10 pages of The Last Statesman, so I see how clean and unchunky (not a word) your exposition is.
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eldave1
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 9:12pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
Opening narration not over black but a montage of iconic sports clips that describe the narrator's feelings.  Didn't know I was supposed to include.


Basically, you should include what you wanted us to see - you just open with a narration. What are we seeing when this narrator is talking?

If you want a montage of sport clips - you need to write that the montage,  I only mentioned over black since you hadn't written what we wee supposed to see so I just assumed it was over black.


Quoted Text
I didn't know I was allowed to break exposition up into paragraphs.  


Yep - absolutely.


Quoted Text
The mom not having a name is part of the script.


Okay


Quoted Text
The first 11 pages are the choppiest in the script.


They need to be your least choppiest.


Quoted Text
Also don't know what you mean by adding the word "SUPER."


SUPER  is short for SUPERIMPOSE. It means we are going to see words on the screen over a scene (something we are seeing).

Hope this helps


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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stampede331
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 9:41pm Report to Moderator
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It does help.  Thanks!
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stampede331
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 10:12pm Report to Moderator
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Title: Doubles
                                             Written By: Daniel Ehrlich
FADE IN:

SUPER We begin with images of the majesty of sport - the still interiors of Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Lambeau Field, Giants Stadium, The Staples Center, Madison Square Garden, Billy Jean King Tennis Center, Wimbledon; then Pop Warner Football Fields, little league fields in lush green, neighborhood basketball courts and junior tennis courts with still images of children playing on them; then an iconic still image of Gary Kasparov and a famous painting of the founding fathers signing the constitution

NARRATOR (V/O)
I once held the theory that sports are not meant for man in his current state.  Sports, after all, are beautiful expressions of competition, fully realized in concept, governed by the incontrovertible logic of their own rules and regulations, and yet easily adaptable to suit the particular ages, needs and ability levels of their practitioners.  In my opinion, there is no major sport that is not the equal of chess in precision of design or constitutional democracy in durability of design.  

SUPER The collage from above becomes alive as still images are joined with live clips of the most unsportsmanlike behavior caught on film: Tyson bites Holyfield’s ear; Don Zimmer fights Pedro Martinez; Ndamukong Suh stomping on his opponent’s hand; David Ortiz smashes his bat into the dugout phone; Ron Artest breaches the stands to attack fans; and on and on

NARRATOR
Now man, man is not beautiful.  In fact, man is often quite ugly, governed by wild, intemperate passions that yield to nothing and capitulate to no one.  He is cruel and stubborn and vain and ignorant, and all of these qualities are crucial to his failures, though even this he does not know.  Now again, I had this theory about Man and Sports, and for most of my life I would have loved to elaborate on it with you, but then I was tasked with the job of covering the craziest son-of-a-bitch and the saddest-son-of-a-bitch the sport of tennis has ever known for my local newspaper.  I still can't decide which one is which, but more importantly, I no longer hold the theory I once held.

Is that better
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eldave1
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 10:32pm Report to Moderator
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Better - but you are misusing the SUPER. Check out this link:

https://thestorydepartment.com/formatting-tip-audio-over-black-and-text-over-image/


I would write it like this

FADE IN:

MONTAGE OF SPORT EVENTS

- The still interiors of Fenway Park,  Yankee Stadium, Lambeau Field.

- A Pop Warner Football Field. Youngsters in helmets too large for their heads battle on the pee wee gridiron.

-  An iconic still image of Gary Kasparov at the chess championship.

NARRATOR (V.O)
I once held the theory that sports are not meant for man in his current state.  Sports, after all, are beautiful expressions of competition, fully realized in concept, governed by the incontrovertible logic of their own rules and regulations, and yet easily adaptable to suit the particular ages, needs and ability levels of their practitioners.  In my opinion, there is no major sport that is not the equal of chess in precision of design or constitutional democracy in durability of design.  

-  Tyson bites Holyfield’s ear at the MM sports arena.

- Don Zimmer fights Pedro Martinez at Fenway Park.

-  on Artest breaches the stands to attack fans.

NARRATOR (V.O)
Now man, man is not beautiful.  In fact, man is often quite ugly, governed by wild, intemperate passions that yield to nothing and capitulate to no one.  He is cruel and stubborn and vain and ignorant, and all of these qualities are crucial to his failures, though even this he does not know.  Now again, I had this theory about Man and Sports, and for most of my life I would have loved to elaborate on it with you, but then I was tasked with the job of covering the craziest son-of-a-bitch and the saddest-son-of-a-bitch the sport of tennis has ever known for my local newspaper.  I still can't decide which one is which, but more importantly, I no longer hold the theory I once held.

You need more then what I wrote - the point being you have to paint the specific image you want on the screen in the order that you want it.

That being said - I wouldn't start with the opening narration at all. You don't need it. We will learn all the things the Narrator is laying out up front as we go through your story.

I would start the script like this: (I just made up hte ages for example)

FADE IN:

INT. HOSPITAL - DAY

A WOMAN (25) rests in a hospital bed cradling a newborn
baby in her arms,

SPLINTER (30) sits in a chair to her right.

In a chair next to him sit RUSTIC (30), Russian. He impatiently
bounces a tennis ball. like players do before a serve.

A nurse enters

Lose your camera directions and get rid of the things we can't see - For example, you can't tell us he's a father (how do you film that). You are limited to things we can actually hear or see.







My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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spesh2k
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 10:36pm Report to Moderator
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SUPER is reserved for text over screen, as in superimposed over the screen. SUPER isn't used for description.

Take off the SUPER before the description you have and you're on the right track.

And white space is easier on the reader's eyes. You can still split up the images and split up the dialogue.

FADE IN:

As images flash across the screen, exhibiting the majesty of sport...

NARRATOR (V/O)
I once held the theory that sports are not meant for man in his current state.

Images of the still interiors of Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Lambeau Field, Giants Stadium, The Staples Center, Madison Square Garden, Billy Jean King Tennis Center, Wimbledon...

NARRATOR (V/O)
Sports, after all, are beautiful expressions of competition, fully realized in concept, governed by the incontrovertible logic of their own rules and regulations, and yet easily adaptable to suit the particular ages, needs and ability levels of their practitioners.

Images of pop Warner Football Fields, little league fields in lush green, neighborhood basketball courts and junior tennis courts with still images of children playing on them; then an iconic still image of Gary Kasparov and a famous painting of the founding fathers signing the constitution.

NARRATOR (V/O)
In my opinion, there is no major sport that is not the equal of chess in precision of design or constitutional democracy in durability of design.

The collage from above becomes alive as still images are joined with live clips of the most unsportsmanlike behavior caught on film: Tyson bites Holyfield’s ear; Don Zimmer fights Pedro Martinez; Ndamukong Suh stomping on his opponent’s hand; David Ortiz smashes his bat into the dugout phone; Ron Artest breaches the stands to attack fans...


And so on...

-- Michael








THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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stampede331
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 10:46pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you, Michael and Eldave.  Clearly you both have lots of screenwriting under your belts.  This is my first attempt at a feature and my first attempt at writing in over a decade.  I will make these changes and check out that link
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spesh2k
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 11:20pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
INT. HOSPITAL - DAY, ANYWHERE USA

A woman rests in a hospital bed. She swaddles a small newborn
baby, SPLINTER. Seated to her right is the boy's father,
RUSTIC, who speaks with a thick Russian accent. He sits with
impatience, bouncing a tennis ball in a rehearsed fashion, as
players do before a serve. A nurse walks into frame.


For you scene heading, it should just be...

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY

No need to say Anywhere, USA. Write what we see. As of now, we see that we're in a hospital. And you should specify where in the hospital we are in the scene heading.

Also, your description, you should CAP all characters when introducing them, including WOMAN and NURSE. Especially with WOMAN, try to include an age and physical description so we know what kind of woman we're looking at. Creates more of a visual, thus feels more like a film. And, if she is the mother, maybe give her a name (if she's somewhat relevant).

And try splitting up your action blocks a little bit. The way I split up action blocks is as if I were directing the film, without mentioning camera directions. I split them up based on the order of what we see. As soon as the visual changes focus, I start a new action block - as if changing camera angles. It's a small detail that really does have somewhat of a subliminal effect on the reader. And it also helps presentation - white space is easy on the eyes. When you have huge action blocks, even action blocks that are 5 lines long, it can be like looking at a Daily News word search.

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY

A WOMAN (age, description) swaddles a small newborn named SPLINTER while resting in bed.


Then the next visual.

RUSTIC (age, description) sits at bedside, nervously bouncing a tennis ball as a NURSE enters.

You don't need to mention that he has a Russian accent until he speaks.

RUSTIC
(thick Russian accent)
Dialogue.


So that paragraph would look something like this --

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY

A WOMAN (age, description) swaddles a small newborn named SPLINTER while resting in bed.

RUSTIC (age, description) sits at bedside, nervously bouncing a tennis ball as a NURSE enters.


It simulates a film more accurately, especially since 1 page = 1 minute of screen time (roughly). And it reads at the pace of an actual film. Which is what you want. The second we feel like we're reading rather than seeing a film, it feels like a chore. The easier a script is to read, the more your readers can focus on the actual story and see it visually. Which makes it easier for us to judge the story as a whole.

-- Michael



THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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stampede331
Posted: April 15th, 2020, 11:39pm Report to Moderator
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THANK YOU, I've made considerable changes tonight based on the advice of both of you
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stampede331
Posted: April 16th, 2020, 12:12pm Report to Moderator
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https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B5wNeoYV7tMRWmlNQmVjaFRMZ2s

Just an updated look at the script based on the great feedback received here
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eldave1
Posted: April 16th, 2020, 12:36pm Report to Moderator
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The link says accessed denied


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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ajr
Posted: April 16th, 2020, 12:45pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Daniel,

Congratulations on getting a feature script done... no small feat.

To echo and build upon what Dave and Michael are saying, with the opening narration:

Narrators are usually 3rd person omniscient - meaning that they know all, and are there to feed us exposition. A cheap trick in some cases, but very clever and useful in other cases when it's done properly, and in moderation.

Your narrator says "in my opinion", which means he or she has now insinuated themselves into the plot, and we must know who they are. Moreover, we must "care" about their opinion now. Very difficult to do right off the bat without any other visuals or character introductions. Does this narrator take form later on in the script? Or is he / she meant to simply provide play-by-play? It needs to be one or the other. Just food for thought -

AJR


Click HERE to read JOHN LENNON'S HEAVEN https://preview.tinyurl.com/John-Lennon-s-Heaven-110-pgs/
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