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stampede331
Posted: April 16th, 2020, 12:57pm Report to Moderator
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Very clever, AJR.  No, the narrator is not just here to narrate.  He becomes an integral character 3/4ths of the way through the script, no longer narrating but participating.  I'm not sure why it says access denied.  I will try again to post a link to the updated script.  Thanks for the kind words.  Writing a feature length script was an Everest I put off climbing for too long.  
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stampede331
Posted: April 16th, 2020, 12:58pm Report to Moderator
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Revision History (1 edits)
stampede331  -  April 16th, 2020, 1:11pm
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stampede331
Posted: April 17th, 2020, 7:21pm Report to Moderator
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https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YbyoZivfxgKt-kwsmHKgbrf9EDNA7-Ld/view?usp=sharing

A new opening, completely different from the original script I posted.  When in the writing process does the editing end?  Does it ever?

Revision History (1 edits)
stampede331  -  April 17th, 2020, 9:07pm
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ajr
Posted: April 18th, 2020, 5:34pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Daniel,

So this has a Wes Anderson meets THE SANDLOT vibe to it... not sure if that's what you intended, or if you stumbled upon it... but you have my attention so far. I'm at page 21 and I'm going to try to continue as long as I can, but I have to be honest with you that the formatting is making it a real chore to read... You have CUT TO's and *'s that disappear after the first few pages, and SCAB's dialogue is formatted like action lines (flush left), and your scene headings have commas instead of dashes, and some sentences don't have periods at the end of them. You really need to scrub this and get it into screenplay-ready format.

Some random thoughts:

Do we need the narrator? I'm wondering if this can be told from someone else's POV; maybe you do need the narrator, however he is too prominent early on. He has too much dialogue, and I think the Waldo thing is out of left field and lands flat. The narrator should say ONLY AS MUCH as is necessary to propel your narrative along, and not one word more. He says several times that he's the one that breaks a big story, etc. Don't let him steal the movie from Scab and Samuel.

I do like that he reveals how Scab got his name, though. In spots he feels like the Burl Ives character in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (the Rankin-Bass version).

Why isn't Scab's mother given a name?

At one point you say "Scab's mother and father" lie next to each other, and the next sentence you start with Rustic. Things like these need to be cleaned up. You've already named Scab's father.

I like the exaggeration of Samuel's character. How he's set up to literally be Peter Perfect. Again, very Wes Anderson.

We need more emotion in the first few pages. I'll tell you where you captured me, and got me to read on. It was page 12, when Samuel tells Scab he's going to be the catcher, and you said "Little Scab nods timidly." That pulled on my heartstrings. We need more of that. THAT is why you are writing. To get us to root for the underdog.

Samuel's conquests with the Magnum condoms is quite humorous.

I think the advancing of their ages needs to be sharpened a bit. Also, you have Scab aging past toddler-ism and then you begin with Samuel at birth. Maybe run those side by side, since they are the same age? It got a little confusing.

I'm up to the point where the boys meet and Scab and Anna are showing interest in each other. So now it's cute, and the dialogue is actually pretty good.

Rustic is a good character. His death was both sad and funny. I liked how neither Scab or his mother showed emotion.

So, in summary, so far? I think you have a cool story here, and the trick is to craft, and hone, and read, and get better at telling your story in visual form. And get slavish to the screenplay format.

More to come --

AJR


Click HERE to read JOHN LENNON'S HEAVEN https://preview.tinyurl.com/John-Lennon-s-Heaven-110-pgs/
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stampede331
Posted: April 18th, 2020, 7:54pm Report to Moderator
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Wow, thanks for reading AJR.  This is the first script I've written, with the exception of 8-10 page scripts in college.  I wonder if I should have read one of those books on how to write a script first, since I thought I formatted correctly.  I saw the problem with the SCAB action lines this morning because I changed his name and it screwed up that element of the formatting.  This link should have the correct formatting.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bQMYd-h-W7bSgv3wA1lghMyWGufQlxno/view?usp=sharing
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spesh2k
Posted: April 18th, 2020, 9:46pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
FADE IN: Black

We open to a blinking cursor under the heading: The Summerfield Times on pre-formatted journalism software.


The visual you want us to have feels a little confusing as most of us who aren't journalists don't know what pre-formatted journalism software looks like.

And I'm not sure what you mean by FADE IN: Black. You can't fade into black unless there was something else before this. So, overall, the opening image is hard to visualize.

FADE IN:

ON A COMPUTER SCREEN - A cursor blinks on a blank document, only a headline reading, "The Summerfield Times" above it.


Then we have the narrator. I really don't think acknowledging in the dialogue that the narrator is actually a character is the best of ideas. Why can't we just come to find out who the narrator is naturally as the story unfolds? And does the narrator have a name when it's revealed who is narrating the story?

I'm a huge Elmore Leonard fan. Now, he's a novelist, but his books are about as close to screenplays as you can get without being a screenplay. And, I forget the exact quote, but, to paraphrase -- Cut out the fat.

Whatever you don't need, whatever doesn't contribute to your story, theme or the personality/tone of your story, I say take out. Get right to it, IMO.

FADE IN:

ON A COMPUTER SCREEN - A cursor blinks on a blank document, only a headline reading, "The Summerfield Times" at the top of the page.

NARRATOR (VO)
Hi. My name is Blah-blah-blah. And I'm a
sports journalist for the
Summerfield Times.


Then you have this:


Quoted Text
CUT TO:
The Narrator as the camera zooms in to locate him. He is
circled with a sharpie in the upper left corner of the screen,
taking notes in the bleachers of SAMUEL’S middle school
baseball games. We will identify this scene again later.


You don't need any "CUT TO:". Just start a scene heading, it's the same thing and doesn't take away from the read.

Where are we? We don't find that out until the third line of your description that we're at a middle school baseball game. And who is Samuel? Is that the name of the middle school?

FADE IN:

ON A COMPUTER SCREEN - A cursor blinks on a blank document, only a headline reading, "The Summerfield Times" at the top of the page.

NARRATOR (VO)
Hi. My name is Blah-blah-blah. And I'm a
sports journalist for the
Summerfield Times.


EXT. SAMUEL'S MIDDLE SCHOOL BASEBALL FIELD - DAY

NARRATOR *probably should give him a name, in CAPS when you intro any character* (age/description), takes notes from the bleachers as a ball-game ensues.

NARRATOR (VO)
That's me, right there. Covering
a middle school baseball game.

ON THE FIELD

The 13-YEAR-OLD PITCHER sends a heater over the plate, the BATTER wiffing on his swing --

UMPIRE
Steee-rike!


See what I mean? We feel like we're there, we know where we are and what we're SEEING. Film is a visual medium, you should write what we see as we see it.

Another example, right after this...


Quoted Text
EXT. SUMMERFIELD TIMES HEADQUARTERS

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
No, it’s not like that. I’m no
pervert. Let me start over: I’m a
sports journalist for the
Summerfield Times...


What does the Summerfield Times Headquarters look like? What are we looking at?

As I read on to page two, you actually show the NARRATOR prominently... didn't you just say we weren't going to see him for 20 minutes in your voice over at the beginning?

And, again, he should have a name IMO.

-- 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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spesh2k
Posted: April 18th, 2020, 10:36pm Report to Moderator
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I am intrigued to read more after checking out some of page 2 -- I actually used to be a sports columnist for a small town paper. And I specifically covered high school girls tennis, so I might be able to relate to the material somehow. It kinda sucked covering boring middle school and high school games. But the tennis stuff was fun and I got to travel around a little bit.



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 18th, 2020, 11:11pm Report to Moderator
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So I'm reading and taking into account all of your feedback.  I'm a stone cold amateur and would not pretend to be anything different.  I decided to lop off the first half of the introduction by the narrator and start at the meat.  I don't think it takes anything away from the story except a cheesy laugh.  Nice pic of your time as a tennis journalist.  I wrote this for tennis aficionados and fans of bildungsroman buddy comedies.  It's a bit crude but I hope has heart.  The description of Wes Anderson meets The Sandlot might be the best description.  Here's a link to what's yet another draft.  I wrote the beginning 8 years ago and the next 110 pages in the last two weeks.  I sort of shoehorned a script into an introduction from a writer and person who is practically no longer me.  Anyways, here's the updated link.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aKXBMiRrOoTJXOjUXYolH8aWWscTmkS3
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spesh2k
Posted: April 18th, 2020, 11:20pm Report to Moderator
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Yeah, that was like 20 years ago. I actually kinda hated writing for a newspaper. But I grew an appreciation for tennis after that -- when I was hired, I lied that I knew tennis well so I could get the job. So I had to research a lot and I do appreciate the work that goes into it. And it is pretty entertaining.

Anyway, yeah, I'll give this a look in a little bit, give you my thoughts... just glancing at it, the presentation looks easier on the eyes... will give you my thoughts.

-- 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 18th, 2020, 11:28pm Report to Moderator
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Cool, thanks Michael
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ajr
Posted: April 19th, 2020, 10:28am Report to Moderator
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Hey Daniel,

I agree with Michael about the narrator. I spoke about him in broad terms, however he did a nice job of showing you how to pare this plot device down to its barest elements. I also think the Waldo thing is not necessary and tends to take the audience out of the read. Plus there would be licensing issues with this. I really applaud your willingness to learn, listen and adapt, and I look forward to finishing this later on today.

AJR


Click HERE to read JOHN LENNON'S HEAVEN https://preview.tinyurl.com/John-Lennon-s-Heaven-110-pgs/
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spesh2k
Posted: April 19th, 2020, 4:07pm Report to Moderator
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So, I read up to page 25 so far. This is actually pretty good. The dialogue is funny, although I don't think it's fits the age of its characters at times. And I like how we show how different Scab and Sam's lives were in contrast to each other's growing up. Some good character development, here. They're complete opposites yet are similar, setting up conflict for the rest of the story.

As I mentioned, it's the writing that needs the most work. But it's fixable and not TOO, TOO far off. Despite some of the writing, this actually moved pretty fast. So I will be getting to the rest of this during the next few days or so.

Here's notes I made as I went...

PAGE 1:
Your narrator should be a voice over since he, himself is not speaking to the camera. So don’t forget to put NARRATOR (VO) in.

Also, what does the exterior of the hospital look like? There should be at least a quick, one-line description of it to give us some kind of visual.

BOTTOM PAGE 1:


Quoted Text
INT. HOSPITAL, NATAL WARD – DAY

A woman (30, plain looking) rests in a hospital bed. She swaddles a small newborn baby, SCAB (diminutive, oddly silent). Seated to her right is the boy's father, RUSTIC (35, severe looking). He sits with impatience, bouncing a tennis ball in a rehearsed fashion, as players do before a serve. A nurse walks into frame.


Capitalize WOMAN. Also, maybe give her a name. And try splitting the action line up – 5 lines can be a little too much, especially here. Give us the description as we see it in real time. Pretend your a director – and I don’t mean including camera directions. And cut out the use of “We see” in description. Of course “we see” it if you’re describing it. It’s redundant. Be more economical with your words.

I already gave you an example of how to write this action line earlier in your thread.

PAGE 2:


Quoted Text
RUSTIC (thick Russian accent)
The check.


Should be:

RUSTIC
(thick Russian accent)
Ze check.


ALSO PAGE 2:

You don’t need “CUT TO” to transition to every scene. But for this, it should be, all the way to the right of the page –

CUT TO BLACK:

SUPER:

SCAB?


Also, what is the point of showing SCAB? Maybe just have the question mark. Even then, it’s not a great visual just having that over black. Maybe super impose a question mark on screen as we see the baby on screen while continuing the voice over.

PAGE 3:

Again, probably give mother a name and description when you first introduce her. She’s not just some generic bit character that only appears for one line of description.

PAGE 3 – 5:

When NARRATOR is heard, we need (VO) next to his character name. Again, as I suggested before, maybe give your narrator a name.

And I’m not sure what’s going on with the voice over, it sounds non-sequitur. You have the narrator talk about the baby not having a name and then, a minute later, we hear him say, “Without milk”… feels out of place and doesn’t sound like a continuation. And if it is a continuation from previous NARRATOR dialogue/voice over, it takes too long to come back to the voice over. A minute has lapsed. And then you having him say, “Love” on the page after that. The voice over, if continuous, shouldn’t be spaced out that far. And, again, it doesn’t sound like a continuation.

PAGE 5:

So, the boy is at least 3 years old now and his mom is still trying to breast feed him? I guess. It does show the difference in mother and father’s personalities – mother is nurturing, father isn’t.

PAGE 7:

Why does the 4 year old boy talk like an 8 year old boy? I get that he’s probably a little more advanced due to the way his father is raising him. But still.

PAGE 8:

Your scene headings are a little wrong –
Quoted Text
INT. HOSPITAL, NATAL WARD, DAY


Should be dashes in between, not commas – INT. HOSPITAL – NATAL WARD – DAY

PAGE 8 – 9:

Ha! I like how Samuel’s upbringing is so different than Scab’s. This scene when he’s born is pretty funny, the doctor’s and parent’s reactions.

PAGE 9:


Quoted Text
EXT. KURT’S LARGE HOUSE, BACKYARD, BATTING CAGE


Again, dashes not commas. And a brief description of the setting.

PAGE 10:


Quoted Text
INT. PRESCHOOL, DAY

A retinue of children exits off a small yellow bus one by one. Each child is dressed in normal garb. Finally, Sam is revealed. He’s wearing a superman costume, cape and all. He walks in slow motion from behind the rest of the crew, his chest up like a superhero. As he approaches a small series of stairs, which his peers negotiate with care, he leaps off the ledge and lands five steps below on the ground in a crouched hero’s pose.


Break this up a bit. And you don’t need to really describe what they’re dressed like, we can assume they’re wearing school clothes. And how are we INT. PRESCHOOL? What kind of a school has a bus parked inside of the school?

EXT. PRESCHOOL – DAY

A YELLOW BUS pulls up to the curb, its door opening.

A retinue of PRESCHOOL CHILDREN exit the bus, one by one until...

Samuel emerges from inside, wearing a caped Superman costume, leaping heroically and gracefully from the top of the bus’s stairs, off of the bus.

He struts towards the school’s entrance with the confidence of a high school jock, his band of 4-YEAR OLD PALS following their leader into class.



PAGE 11:


Quoted Text
SAMUEL
Get behind home plate. You’re catching. Your job is to throw the ball back to me after each pitch. That’s it. In the unlikely scenario that someone on their team is running home, get out of the fuckin’ way. Then I’m the catcher.


Funny, yes, but I just can’t buy a 7 year old talking like this. Sure, I used to curse when I was that age, but using words like “unlikely scenario” just doesn’t ring true to me.

Also, again, describe the INT. MIDDLE SCHOOL. And indicate their ages as they get older… a new actor will be required to portray each version of Sam and Scab.

PAGE 12:

Haha! Funny (the condom talk). It almost feels like watching Stifler grow up. He’s like a lovable dick.


Quoted Text
NARRATOR (V.O.)
See that guy, the preoccupied one next to Scab and two rows below the girl jilted by Sam. That’s me. I guess now is the time to reveal: I’m not merely the narrator of this story. I’m a sports journalist for the town’s newspaper.


You don’t mention that the NARRATOR is present in the description. And there’s no description of narrator. I HIGHLY recommend giving him a name.

Also, you’ve pretty mentioned this already on the first page that he’s a journalist. Why not mention that he writes for the local paper off the jump? Why a 12 page set up to reveal a surprise that really has no bearing on the story? There is no reason to hold off on revealing who he is.

And, again, him acknowledging himself as the narrator of the story doesn’t really work. We know he’s the narrator because he’s narrating and then he points himself out.

PAGE 14:


Quoted Text
INT. MASKED SEX PARTY, MANSION, NIGHT
Samuel wears the mask from Eyes Wide Shut. He rips open magnum after magnum after magnum with his teeth as a harem of topless girls who wear exotic masks themselves throw their bodies in his direction.


Middle school kids having sex isn’t that far fetched – but being involved in underground, sophisticated sex parties at age 12-13? Not sure about that. It’d be a little more believable if he was 16 or 17. And even then, a little advanced. The people throwing these sex parties would have to be older and that suggests something illegal, especially with 12-13 year old kids.

PAGE 17:

Ha – obsessive cocksucker disorder. Nice.

PAGE 20:


Quoted Text
DOCTOR
A tumor the size of a tennis ball in his brain. Malignant. Probably been growing for years.


Love the irony.

PAGE 22:

Again NARRATOR should have (VO) next to his name.


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 19th, 2020, 5:10pm Report to Moderator
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Again, infinitely grateful for the continued read.  I'd already made the change to the narrator explaining that he's the guy in the bleachers.  I' unfortunately in the midst of two very different drafts and some of the inconsistencies were not erased so that revisions could provide clarity when I posted the script.

In the other cases, I have just made the changes you have advised.

The mother is sort of supposed to not have a name because she's just "woman" in the way that Scab is "boy."  She also doesn't really appear much in the script, except as a prop character.

Thank you again for the time you have put into this first feature script attempt of mine.

Oh yeah, and as far as there being too much time that elapses in the narrator's VoiceOver...I'm aware of this problem.  If I were to write the script over again, there would be no narrator.  Parts of pages in the 50s and 60s suffer from narrator syndrome, in which I try to include narrative voice over, newspaper clippings and short montage clips in the same time frame.  Totally doesn't work and yet I can't figure out how to fix it.  I feel like if I were to try to remove the narrator from the script, and more importantly the story arc, it would be like trying to unweave a spider's web.  Not even the spider could do it.
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spesh2k
Posted: April 19th, 2020, 5:17pm Report to Moderator
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No problem man, will get back to it after some errands.

As for the mother, I get that, but she's in it enough to describe her and give her a name at least. It makes it easier to follow. WOMAN is reserved for a featured extra or someone with a line of dialogue, only appearing in one scene. And if you have another WOMAN in the script that is a bit character, it's easy to mix up with woman, the mother of Scab, if that makes any sense.


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 19th, 2020, 6:14pm Report to Moderator
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Most updated script:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Ex4srsy5YPuoKB3HXqGJd3ER2NYw76ht

By the way, I'm gonna look for The Suicide Theory on streaming services.  Where is it streaming now, including pay sites?
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