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King Rat by Christopher Bohslen (kurisuborosen) - Drama - Let go. When teenager Tal Murphy's father commits suicide, his whole life starts to disintegrate around him. When his mother kicks him out of the house, his only respite is his sordid relationship with his tutor, Christine. 94 pages - pdf, format
Okay, only made it to about page 11. Here are some thoughts. I was attracted to the log line. Made it sound like an interesting story.
Your problems start on the title page. Yes! The title page. Why does it say "first draft"? Get rid of it. Why does it say, "Not to be reproduced..." etc etc? Get rid of that too. Title, by you, and contact info. Forget the rest.
Page one. OVER BLACK. Don't try to direct these scenes. The director, editor, and DP can decide where and when the pictures start, NOT YOU. Just start with a kid in the park. But after reading, it really should just be the backyard. Why make the producer pay for a whole new set in the park?
BAM. Right into the voice over. Voice overs should almost NEVER be used by amateurs. A lot of movies do it, but to professional readers it looks like laziness. I know, it's not fair. Don't do it. It's just exposition that you need to be way more creative at conveying.
"He checks his mobile phone." How about this:
Something like that.
The 'wrylies'. In addition to telling the director how to direct, you also like to tell the actors how to act. This insults people, A LOT. Everybody else involved in the filming can decide for themselves what the characters state of mind is, and um HOW TO SAY THE LINES. When you do it, you look arrogant and amateurish. Don't do it. Example I'm refering to is (skeptical) page 2. Numerous others. Dump them.
Try to keep your producer in mind. He's paying the bills. Every single time you type INT or EXT, that is a set up. Set ups are expensive. Lights, cameras, people, recordists, everything. All this so we can see the kid kick off his shoes? Why? Dump it. Get on with the story. We get that he walks inside. Plus, dusk? Dusk? Dusk scenes are hard to shoot. You have a very narrow window to get it on film before the sun goes down. No re-takes. No do-overs. No coverage. Make it night or day, take it easy on people.
Great, a whole other scene where the kid merely goes in and closes the door behind him. More set ups. Dump it.
More wrylies. (annoyed) (sarcastic). Dump em.
Another scene of him getting his shoes. You got a thing with the shoes. It sure isn't moving the story forward.
Pg 8. We're looking for Ward. The kid has gone to school here for years but still can't find the office? Okay, skip that. The bigger problem is COME LATE AND LEAVE EARLY. If the girl tells Tal to go and see Mr. Ward, and the next time we see him is in an office talking to an old guy, we can pretty much assume this is Mr. Ward. Give the viewer / reader a little credit for not being total morons. We get it!
The hi howya doin stuff has got to go. We don't care. Plus, the whole point of this scene from what I can tell, is the guy telling him the tutor is Mrs. Evans. We need a whole scene, (couple of scenes as written) for that?
Why not just skip to the tutor? I'm sure we can figure that out too. Even better if we skip to the tutor on their third of fourth meeting. We'll catch up I'm sure.
Sick bay? Maybe it's an Aussie thing, but when I hear Sick Bay I immediately think I'm on the Enterprise being examined by Dr. McCoy.
Okay, so if I read the rest I'll probably need to write a book here. But you get the idea. Tighter, leaner, only scenes that have genuine conflict. The stuff with the mom is probably the best scene, but even there...multiple bottles? C'mon. How about one or two. Jesus, she would be dead.
Anyway, read up on structure and take another stab. I'll be happy to read a cleaner draft.
Your comments welcome on: GOD GETS FIRED. Comedy, 89 pages. Humans are such a failure that God loses his job. Worse, his ex-wife is appointed to oversee Earth’s destruction. Luckily, God has a plan…but it’s not about saving us. It’s about winning her back.
Thanks for the quick (and comprehensive) response. I agree with most of this. There are some things about which, I must protest.
Firstly, any script posted on this site is supposed to have a Copyright notice on the title page. It stops over-eager producers nicking them. Also, writing the number of the draft on the title page is also common practice, it is found on many produced scripts (this includes spec scripts, not only shooting ones).
I understand your perspective on the use of "dusk" scenes and transitions. However, I didn't write the script specifically with a "small budget in mind". I understand this means it'll never be produced, but that wasn't the point. I wrote a spec script, with everything I wanted in it. If anything seemed extravagant, I thought it was necessary to the story.
I also protest that the transition scenes were used to create a mechanoly atmosphere in the (admittedly slow paced) drama. The early scenes with the tutor were completely necessary, as development later in the script would make no sense without this early characterization. In the instance of the bottles, this is a first draft and is therefore quite rough.
And they are called "sick-bays" in Australian schools. Trust me.
"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat" - Lily Tomlin