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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Drama Scripts  ›  But You Can Learn To Play Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: March 9th, 2011, 5:54pm Report to Moderator
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But You Can Learn To Play by Mark Lyons (rc1107) - Drama, Thriller - Visiting an indian reservation after a school shooting, a therapist finds an obscure book in a girl's collection written by his sister, who was kidnapped as a child.  After tracking her down and eager to make up for lost time, he takes her on a trip across the mid-west to reconnect her with his family and discovers his life isn't at all the way he wants it. 104 pages - pdf, format


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bert
Posted: March 10th, 2011, 2:28pm Report to Moderator
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Excellent work, Mark.  This read crisp and fast, opened powerfully, then lagged for just a bit, but then picked back up and held my interest right up to the conclusion.

I will get right to my notes here.

For the first pages, is Loma a boy or a girl?  I did not need to be reminded in class that Loma threw the snowball.  And in class, the teacher says that Loma goes first, and Sicily steps up anyway.  That is an easy fix, but makes no sense the way you have it now.  Also, the kids occasionally sound a bit too adult when discussing their items.  It is a solid opening, though.  No doubt about that.

You have a slug all alone at the bottom of page 12.  You do this a couple of times, actually.  Never end a page with a new slug.  That one is a real rule.  Just space it down to the next page.  A little extra white at the bottom of the page is never a problem.

Once Howard reaches the reservation, it occurs to me you really have not done that great a job introducing us to Howard.  Earlier, you show him shaving and drinking lots of juice, but none of that is really about character.  Maybe if you could insert a scene where he is actually interacting with children, that might help, but there should be a little something to reveal a bit more of his character to us by this point.

By page 24, a think a pro reader would be getting at least a little concerned about the amount of VO we have going on here.  I am just acknowledging that here, and the page where that thought occurred to me.  We do leave all that behind later, so it is not a huge problem.

On page 28 you have Howard using a pay phone, and he has no cell?  The details on these pages are not coming off as realistic.  When is this supposed to be set?
  
Mary Beth and Howard both buy into this whole scenario pretty quickly, with no questions.  It would be nice if one of them had some sort of proof.  Like a birthmark (first thing that comes to mind) or something like that.

And boy, does she hop into the car with this guy pretty quick.  You are moving this story along too fast at this point.  Again, I think some definitive evidence would really help with the plausibility of this section.  Unless there is supposed to be some element of doubt, of course -- but you do not play up that aspect either.  Both of these people buy into the idea completely and right off the bat.

At the midpoint now, after we have left Grandma, I am starting to feel there is more going on here than meets the eye.  The mystery of her name is intriguing, and Howard is starting to come off stranger and stranger by the minute, which is good if that is what you were going for.  And later, it seems that you are, and you continue to escalate this sense of unease for the reader, both for Mary Beth and Howard, very effectively.

I realized the plot twist about 10-15 pages before we got there, but that is not really a problem here.  You build to it slowly enough that even the reader begins to realize this is more about the journey and the destination than the author trying to fool us with a last-minute revelation.  All the clues are there, so it does not feel like you are cheating or anything.

Reaching the end, I really think a more compelling reason for Howard to stop his medication is needed.  Simply "forgetting" does not seem to be enough.  It should be a conscious decision that he makes for some concrete reason -- either a good reason or a bad reason -- it does not really matter -- but I do think it should be for a sympathetic reason.

And my biggest problem -- unless I missed something -- I am still at a loss to understand exactly why Mary Beth hops into the car with this guy so quickly and so willingly.  That is far from an unfixable problem, but you do need to overcome that speed bump before this story will make perfect sense.

But a great effort here.  I really mean that. A handful of characters and no special effects.  This is just a few rewrites away from something you can shop around, I think.

A solid recommend.

-------------------------------------

[EDIT:  And another thing.  Keep the first sentence in your logline and lose the second one.  My advice.]


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grademan
Posted: March 11th, 2011, 6:01pm Report to Moderator
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Mark
Had to read after Bert's endorsement. I liked it a lot!

My comments, some are silly style comments.

P 1 Fade in!
p 1 Sicily seems like a strange name
p 23+ Voiceovers have nothing going on in background
p 26 rather abrupt way to learn about his sister
p.27 Love this description: He picks at a greasy hamburger nestled on soggy fries. Plays with a limp pickle.
p 29 meakly > meekly
p 33 why does she go so quietly and easily?
p 48 stop it w/ the “cut to” directions already
p 57 orphan scene heading
p 58 her mom’s > at her mom’s
p 61 I just noted your page numbering format
p 70 cool reveal
p 73 this is getting good...          
P 88 flashes should be to the left!
P 95 stories over - why is there 10 pages to go?
P 102 oh, I see. clever
p 104 I feel like I've seen a movie!
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rc1107
Posted: March 11th, 2011, 9:38pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Bert.

Thanks once again for taking a look at this one for me.  Just the quick read I took through your comments and I was already able to go back and change a couple things on the new draft.


Quoted from bert
is Loma a boy or a girl?....  the teacher says that Loma goes first, and Sicily steps up anyway


Going over that part again, now, I realize I should have given Loma a proper introduction.  It probably would have made it read smoother too.  But Loma's a girl.  As for the teacher, she chooses Isabel to go first, but never tells Loma she's next.  After Isabel's done, Loma assumes she's going next and stands, but Sicily beats her to it.  That's when the teacher tells Loma she can go next.  I did it just to put in another reason for Loma to get irritated and have an attitude towards Sicily.  I've already figured out how I can change it to make it not as awkward and maybe add even a little more tension to the scene.


Quoted from bert
You have a slug all alone at the bottom of page 12.  You do this a couple of times, actually.  Never end a page with a new slug.  That one is a real rule.


You know, I remember going back and fixing a couple slugs at the end of the story that did that, but all those ones in the beginning, I honestly don't even remember seeing them.  And, honestly, I only try putting bottom-line slugs on the next page because I think they look better.  I didn't even know that that was a hard fast rule.


Quoted from bert
Earlier, you show him shaving and drinking lots of juice....  there should be a little something to reveal a bit more of his character to us by this point.


I wasn't too exactly sure what I wanted to reveal about him early on, I was too into setting up the flashback scenes for later on, so I definately understand where you're coming from there.  I think you are right, eventhough I don't want to reveal too much about him, there should be a couple things I can add to give him a dynamic.

It's funny you mentioned him shaving.  That wasn't supposed to be in there.  I was supposed to cut that.  Ever wonder why he washed himself first, then shaved?  In an earlier draft, I had him shower then shave.  Then, through certain points in the story, I'd have him scratching his smooth cheek and clean-shaven chin.  Then, after the reveal, he has about two weeks' worth of a scraggly beard.  Turns out he only thought he had shaved, so that's how he had saw himself in his episode.  Kind of like he was washing his tomato juice glasses and placing them brim down in the dishrack, but the detectives discover a cluttered sink.  I'm really thinking about bringing the beard thing back, though.  Do you think that would be a good idea or not?  I got rid of it in the first place because the flashbacks at the end I thought were getting too cluttered.


Quoted from bert
On page 28 you have Howard using a pay phone, and he has no cell?


:-)  You found one of my hints I dropped.  Of course degree'd therapists have cell phones, especially if they travel.  But most Goodwill employees don't have that luxury.  I didn't think about it too good though.  I guess I still have to explain why a diner still has a payphone in it, huh?


Quoted from bert
And boy, does she hop into the car with this guy pretty quick.....   I am still at a loss to understand exactly why Mary Beth hops into the car with this guy so quickly and so willingly.


Yeah, I knew something was wrong with that in this draft, and I should have addressed it better and figured something out to make it jive a little bit better, but the truth is, I kind of just wrote through that scene in this draft, hoping something would work itself out.

In the first draft, the scene's extended a little longer and he packs her clothes for her and because she's so fragile, he's holding her arm to help her out to the car and they talk a little bit more about the situation, but it still remains very vague. Then, in the flashback when he remembers what really happened, he still packs her clothes, and he thinks he's helping the fragile (now) old woman, but she's putting up a lot more resistance, so she's not just hopping in.  I don't know if that would fix anything about this draft if I put it back in, but I cut it out because of how clustered things were getting during the flashbacks.


Quoted from bert
I realized the plot twist about 10-15 pages before we got there, but that is not really a problem here.  You build to it slowly enough that even the reader begins to realize this is more about the journey and the destination than the author trying to fool us with a last-minute revelation.  All the clues are there, so it does not feel like you are cheating or anything.


Just out of curiosity,do you remember about what page it was (or what part was it) that you realized the plot twist?  I was just wondering because as I was writing, for me, I thought the main plot twist occured at pg. 70, when the detect's talked to Deanna and she told them she didn't even know Howard.  But also, when you realized that Howard was disturbed, did you at the same time figure out that Mary Beth had already died and was in the trunk, and he was just imagining her, that's why she got healthy?  I was just kind of curious because I was wondering if people would figure out both things at the same time.


Quoted from bert
I really think a more compelling reason for Howard to stop his medication is needed.


I absolutely agree with that.  In fact, it felt like I was cheating the audience there, because the 'off his medication' thing is way overplayed.  I just really didn't know how to express the chemical imbalances going on in his head without using that cliche.  I'm going to have to work on that one.


Quoted from bert
A handful of characters and no special effects.


Yeah, I probably shouldn't have added the word 'thriller' in the genre when I submitted it, huh?  And I'm slapping myself on the wrist for adding that second sentence to the logline.  I did know better than that.  For some reason, I think it's because it was my first feature, (that I've posted on SS), I wanted to say more so it would read like something you might see on the back of a DVD package.  I'm hanging my head in shame.


Thank you, thank you, thank you very much again for checking this out and I'm really glad you liked it.  (Also, I'm really really glad to see that you understood it.)  I was afraid that I was too vague telling the story that everything wouldn't make sense at the end.  Glad to see that wasn't the case.  (at least with you.)  :-)

Hope you have a good one, Bert.  I'll be seeing you around

- Mark



Revision History (1 edits)
rc1107  -  March 12th, 2011, 7:19am
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jwent6688
Posted: March 12th, 2011, 11:07am Report to Moderator
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Mark,

A fellow O-H-I-O boy. I'm in concord. Got a fucken foot of snow yesterday. So, instead of digging myself out, I read your script.

I can see why Bert liked this so much, your script looks like his with the -- everywhere.

I wrote my comments before reading any others. A few are redundant.

On pg/2 Loma has dialogue without an introduction. I think you should intro anyone who has dialogue in an action sentence. I don't even know if Loma is a boy or a girl.

Elsie's intro was vague also, if you gave her an age I would autamatically know she was the teacher. Why don't you call her Elsie on her dialogue boxes. Cotter made me go back and check. Not a good flow to start, but a gripping opener none the less.

I'm on pg.11 now and some of the dialogue is really on the nose. I'd like a craftier way for Howard to tell Deanna that he's leaving. Maybe he leaves all of the time. They have an understanding between them when he says a certain something. Not just explain the entire trip.

In the gas station, That whole exchange felt odd. He didn't pay for his gas, never figured out which pump. Didn't get the point of it. - clarified after finishing.

Seemed odd that Howard drove 15 hrs not knowing they close the reservation during mourning. - another clarified

Mary Beth agreeing to go with Howard seemed shockingly fast and with so little evidence IMO. I also thought he was convinced a little too quickly. I would've liked it foreshadowed a bit that he was maybe obsessed with finding his lost sister.

ON pg. 56 -- Howard's getting pretty creepy at this point. He seems dillusional. I hope this is what you were trying to accomplish.

The trooper gave it away for me. now trying to figure out the point of all this.

on pg. 75, i didn't like your description of an immaculate ashtray. from the dollar store? I would rather like strauss or bongco to pick it up and say "Looks like its never been used."

Okay, finished. I liked it overall, I think some alot of things could be better. I thought the bent tire on the Buick was going to be a reason why Howard stopped taking his meds. Maybe he got into an accident or something?

I also felt too much of this was told by flashback at the end. The twist is no real surprise at the end. Again, the trooper gave it away that he was hallucinating, so i would've like the agents to maybe spoon feed us some of the info leading to his arrest.

I think we should find out Mary Beth is old and sickly after the trooper encounters Howard. It would add tension IMO. They race to find them before she dies in the care of ignorant Howard.

This story was sad. Howard was not a truly bad person, just sick. It flowed nicely, i read it in one sitting. Wish is a good thing. I wish you best of luck with it. Congrats writing a feature. Let me know if you do a heavy rewrite.

James








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rc1107
Posted: March 12th, 2011, 11:24am Report to Moderator
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Thank you Grademan for taking a look at this.  (I think I saw a post of yours on another thread and you said your name was Gary, but I'm not quite sure.)


Quoted from grademan
P 1 Fade in!


I've always been keene on cutting straight into a movie.  I don't know why, but it just looks better in my head.  I wasn't sure if using 'Fade In' was a hard fast rule or anything, I just liked the image of the scene snapping right in.  Plus, I thought it would eliminate using a camera direction.  (Although, I use 'Slam Cut to Black' after the scene anyway, so I guess I used one anyway.)


Quoted from grademan
p 23+ Voiceovers have nothing going on in background


I was worried that would be a little boring.  I'm thinking of adding in a part where Deanna's there as he starts reading, then add another frame later where he's alone in bed reading in the middle of the night, then she's there again in the morning.  I don't know if that would make it more interesting though.


Quoted from grademan
p 33 why does she go so quietly and easily?


Yeah, that seems a big gap in the story I have to fill.  In the first draft, the scene's extended a little longer and he packs her clothes for her and because she's so fragile, he's holding her arm to help her out to the car and they talk a little bit more about the situation, but it still remains very vague. Then, in the flashback when he remembers what really happened, he still packs her clothes, and he thinks he's helping the fragile (now) old woman, but she's putting up a lot more resistance, so she's not just hopping in.  I don't know if that would fix anything about this draft if I put it back in, but I cut it out because of how clustered things were getting during the flashbacks.


Quoted from grademan
p 57 orphan scene heading


Blah!  Can't believe I missed those.  There were a bunch in the beginning, too.  My only excuse is that I was too focused on other things during the rewrites and they totally slipped my mind.


Quoted from grademan
p 70 cool reveal
p 73 this is getting good...          
P 102 oh, I see. clever
p 104 I feel like I've seen a movie!


Ahh...  Those are the quotes that make me feel good.  Especially that last one.  That's been my main goal in writing screenplays, is too put clear images in the reader's head so the story feels like watching a movie.

Thank you once again, Gary, (if, in fact, that is your real name.)  If not, than thank you grademan for taking a look at this and letting me know what you think.  Glad you liked it.  If you have anything you'd like read, just drop me a line.

- Mark


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rc1107
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Quoted from jwent
Got a fucken foot of snow yesterday. So, instead of digging myself out, I read your script.


That was actually pretty smart of you, considering it all melted today.  I was the dumbass out shoveling.  At least, it's all pretty much melted around here.  I don't know about you guys up there being so close to the lake.


Quoted from jwent
some of the dialogue is really on the nose. I'd like a craftier way for Howard to tell Deanna that he's leaving. Maybe he leaves all of the time. They have an understanding between them when he says a certain something. Not just explain the entire trip.


Hopefully, this was clarified by the ending, too.  It seems like something a couple who's been together for awhile wouldn't say to each other, then they end up actually not being a couple.


Quoted from jwent
Mary Beth agreeing to go with Howard seemed shockingly fast and with so little evidence IMO.


Yeah, that seems a big gap in the story I have to fill.  In the first draft, the scene's extended a little longer and he packs her clothes for her and because she's so fragile, he's holding her arm to help her out to the car and they talk a little bit more about the situation, but it still remains very vague. Then, in the flashback when he remembers what really happened, he still packs her clothes, and he thinks he's helping the fragile (now) old woman, but she's putting up a lot more resistance, so she's not just hopping in.  I don't know if that would fix anything about this draft if I put it back in, but I cut it out because of how clustered things were getting during the flashbacks.


Quoted from jwent
I thought the bent tire on the Buick was going to be a reason why Howard stopped taking his meds. Maybe he got into an accident or something?


That is a fucking good idea.  Holy shit, I think you just solved one of the problems I was going to adjust in the next draft; give him a better reason for not taking the meds.  It needs a little bit of work with it, but you just made my job a lot easier.  Holy shit thank you.  :-)


Quoted from jwent
I also felt too much of this was told by flashback at the end. The twist is no real surprise at the end. Again, the trooper gave it away that he was hallucinating


Yeah, I wasn't really going for a huge 6th Sense twist type thing in this one.  I wanted the reveal to come a little early so we'd take a little bit of the trip with him knowing that he's not right.


Thank you very much for taking a look at this one, I appreciate it and it really helped a lot.  I'll be seeing you around.  Well, on the boards anyway.  We live pretty close to each other, but I don't think we'll be passing on the streets.  :-)

- Mark


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Dressel
Posted: March 16th, 2011, 12:46pm Report to Moderator
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Mark,

Ok, this is a tough one to critique.  Mainly because I wrote down a ton of notes and then found, at the end, that a lot of them were now null and void.  So I then had to go through them all and figure out which ones still applied.

Overall, I liked the story.  It kept me interested the whole time, and I read the script in one sitting.  The main things I had problems with were some of the motivations and logic.  I'm going to go through my notes as I read the story and explain as I go along:

For whatever reason, while powerful, the beginning comes off as kind of forced for me. --  Not many 9 year olds commit suicide.  In fact, 4 out of 500,000 children under the age of 12 commit suicide annually (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)  So, you'd probably say "Sicily is one of those 4."  To that I would say that it's already a tough pill to swallow, but then you're compounding it with the fact that she does it publicly (which probably never happens either).  Also, I didn't buy her following the hunters to find the gun.  If you REALLY want to do this opening, I hate to say it, but I think you're going to have to tone it down.  Maybe by doing that, it will be even more chilling.  I mean, what's more chilling than a 9 year old silently hanging herself in the beginning?  That way, it also doesn't take up so many pages in the front.  You're in, you're out. Done.

p.14 - "Once they get the image of seeing inside somebody's skull out of their mind, they'll be fine." - Seems like of cold from someone trying to show respect.

-It seems odd that they would just let him into Sicily's house.  Did he show credentials?  They don't know this man at all.  Why do they trust this man at all?

Howard doesn't seem that emotional/excited/anything that he might have found his sister.  He just says "I think it is her."  He just VERY passively reads the book.  Maybe show a progression?

Why doesn't Howard have a cell phone?

I agree with everyone who has stated that she agreed too easily to coming along, especially now that I know the twist at the end.  Actually, why would she even go along at all?

p.33 - Identify Mary Beth's house in the slug line

p.40 - So, I guess one could make the argument that because she doesn't have much time left she would go with Howard, but I still don't buy it.  She barely believes the guy, and would probably want to spend the rest of her time with her husband.

Would they immediately assume kidnapping?  The note wasn't bad, no signs of a struggle.  I feel like the police would need more than that to launch a full-on investigation.  Especially seeing as it's only been an hour or so.  She could be eating lunch with the guy.  (Why doesn't anyone have a cell phone?!?)

p.45 - Why hasn't he told her where they're going?  More importantly, why hasn't she asked?

p.46 - Why does she set the phone down if she thinks he means her no harm?

p.47 - "Her book's gotta be over 20 years old now." - This might be too big a red flag for your twist ending.  You make a lot of references to "years ago" and her being old, when I think you only really need one.  I made a note every time you said something about it, and it became too much.

p.50 - At this point, I'm kind of thinking Howard might be insane.  (Do you want us to be thinking this by now?)

p.50 - Ok, Facebook and Myspace?  So, where are people's cell phones?  (As of right now, I know the police are acting as the B-story, but they add almost nothing.  No additional information, no tension, nothing.)

p.52 - THE car's, no A car

The whole scene with the grandma seemed anti-climatic, especially seeing as we've been waiting for them to get to there.  I don't know what I expected to happen, but something a little more dramatic.

p.59 - What's the purpose of the flashback?  To remind us?  Or to say that he knows?  I don't understand if it's either, because we don't need the former and the latter doesn't make sense.

p.60 - Going on two days now?  As far as I can tell, it hasn't even been a full day

p.63 - Wait, now she wants to go with him to Minnesota?

p.65 - "You mean I can't meet my future sister-in-law?"  - This makes no sense to me.  Why is she all of a sudden so interested?

Ok, as far as the two above are concerned p.63 and p.65, this is a big give-away to your twist, and you need to lessen the blow a bit.  She switches way too quickly to being completely invested in Howard, and you need to give her some reason.  Otherwise, even though it's for the sake of the twist, it leaves the audience saying "What the hell?!?!" for the next 20 minutes, and that's too long.

p.66 - How do they know where she works?  When you run someone, it only gives you their home address, nothing more.

p.69 - Ohhhhh, so he IS nuts.  And the detectives finally have a purpose. You need to give them more of a purpose than re-laying information we already know in the beginning.  Add some actual tension.

p.73 - I know this scene with the officer is important later, but I would still heighten the tension a bit.

p.81 - What condition does he have, exactly?  I'm not 100% sure this is medically accurate, whatever it is.  It seems like you made up a medical condition.



---
Ok, so those are my notes.  Like I said, I enjoyed the story, but I would work on tightening it up a bit.  Work on Howard's character.  I never really empathized with him too much and saw him as kind of a nutjob from early on.  I feel like you need to ease into his illness, slightly showing signs.  He's just too gung-ho about the whole sister thing, and it doesn't come across as touching or anything (like it should), but kind of creepy.  You basically can guess, almost from the beginning, that he might have a screw loose; which is problematic, because he's the "hero" of the story, and we're following him.

I know you take a lot of liberties with the story because they're all explained later in the twist, but you have to remember: the audience doesn't find out the twist until the end.  So until that point, they'll be picking apart your story, critiquing every motivation and action.  Work on fixing that (and the above listed stuff) and I think you'll have a much more solid story.

-Matt


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rc1107
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Hey Matt.  Thank you very much for taking a look at this one for me.


Quoted from Dressel
the beginning comes off as kind of forced for me. --  Not many 9 year olds commit suicide.


I can see where you're coming from that this was forced, but  I've always been really affected by Jeremy Wade Dell's incident back in '91, so that's why I committed so much to opening the story like this.

As for 9 year-olds committing suicide, that number's probably a bit more than what they actually say.  I've heard a lot about police and doctors labelling those kind of things as accidents to save a dark cloud over the family.  I did dabble with the idea of making Sicily about thirteen, but there is a reason I made her nine.  An own personal experiance.  A friend of mine's daughter threatens to kill herself every other day, (most of the time over something stupid because she doesn't get what she wants), but she's still taken a knife to herself and did a little damage.  I based Sicily loosely on her, but I should up her age to about 13-15.

But I do understand what you're saying about the beginning in general.


Quoted from dressel
He just VERY passively reads the book.  Maybe show a progression?


I was worried that would be a little boring.  I'm thinking of adding in a part where Deanna's there as he starts reading, then add another frame later where he's alone in bed reading in the middle of the night, then she's there again in the morning.  I don't know if that would make it more interesting though.  I'm not sure if that's exactly what you meant by progression or not.


Quoted from Dressel
I agree with everyone who has stated that she agreed too easily to coming along, especially now that I know the twist at the end.  Actually, why would she even go along at all?


Yeah, that's a pretty good sized plot hole I missed.  In the first draft, I think I handled that situation much better, but in the rewrite, I was too worried about cutting things here and there and I too out something I should've kept in.  I don't know exactly if it would make it better or anything, because you were right when you said I took a lot of liberties with the story and taking for granted that everything would be explained at the end.  Hopefully the first draft covers that problem a little better.


Quoted from Dressel
pg. 59 - What's the purpose of the flashback?


Lol.  You know, after I noticed the random flashback in 'The Other Man', my flashback on this page was the first thing that popped into my head.  :-)  After I noticed you said you were going to check this out, I was going to hurry up and send a revision of this to Don only taking out that flashback so you didn't see it.  You read too fast, dang it!


Quoted from dressel
She switches way too quickly to being completely invested in Howard


Yeah, I kind of wanted to show the definate point from where she went from sick to healthy and happy, from being a real person to just a delusion of Howard's.  I did want a WTF moment there, but not a WTF twenty minutes.


Quoted from Dressel
How do they know where she works?


The grandma actually told them.  I went back and read that part and I do see how I worded their dialogue wrong.  But I think the feds can get anything.  And I know I didn't make it crystal clear, but I also meant to hint that Deanna has a record, so she's not who we thought she was.

But, just so you know, I also know for a fact that any scars, tattoos, or identifying marks also come up.  (Don't ask how I found that out.)


Quoted from Dressel
p.81 - What condition does he have, exactly?  I'm not 100% sure this is medically accurate, whatever it is.  It seems like you made up a medical condition.


I'm going to deal a lot more with his mental state in the next draft of this, so hopefully it'll explain a lot of things better, (especially how he got off his medication in the first place.), and hopefully add a little more to Howard's character.

Thank you very much again for taking a look at this and the time you took for it.  (Although you read and replied to it fast as heck.  I can read a story really fast, but it takes me forever to write as in depth a review as yours.)

Thank you again.

- Mark


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Dressel
Posted: March 16th, 2011, 5:00pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from rc1107

I was worried that would be a little boring.  I'm thinking of adding in a part where Deanna's there as he starts reading, then add another frame later where he's alone in bed reading in the middle of the night, then she's there again in the morning.  I don't know if that would make it more interesting though.  I'm not sure if that's exactly what you meant by progression or not.


I mainly mean a progression in terms of his emotion.  He seems very static the whole time; the book doesn't really have an effect on him (or at least one you explicitly state). I would write that he gets more interested as he reads, as opposed to him eating a piece of toast.  And then, have him excited when he thinks he's found his sister.  Maybe show him have a weak moment where he talks about how much it means to him, etc.  This type of stuff will get us to identify with him and understand when he goes a bit crazy later on.  It's a good diversion, if anything.



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bert
Posted: March 18th, 2011, 3:16pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Mark.  Reading through the comments here it appears I missed a couple things.


Quoted from Mark
Turns out he only thought he had shaved… I'm really thinking about bringing the beard thing back, though.  Do you think that would be a good idea or not?


My first instinct on that is no, actually.  It is kind of over-thinking things, and on screen this would probably just look like bad continuity.  I think you have enough clues in place already, and this one would just be confusing.


Quoted from Mark
Just out of curiosity, do you remember about what page it was (or what part was it) that you realized the plot twist?


Not exactly, but like I said, it came on gradually.

But there was this one scene where they wake up in the morning and suddenly she is all hunky-dory and feeling fine.  That is one of the spots where I started fitting the pieces together, but again, I do not think that is a problem at all.  I think doubt started to creep in at the appropriate point in the story, and when I arrived at the end of the script, I did not feel like you had been cheating.


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rc1107
Posted: March 19th, 2011, 9:20am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dressel
I would write that he gets more interested as he reads .... have him excited when he thinks he's found his sister


Ahh.  I see what you're talking about now.  That would be a lot better.


Quoted from bert (RE: The beard.)
My first instinct on that is no, actually.  It is kind of over-thinking things


Gotcha.  At least I did something right from the 1st draft to the 2nd draft.  It seems what I changed from the 1st draft gave the story a little less logic and I should have just kept the 1st draft.  At least I got that right, though.


Quoted from bert
But there was this one scene where they wake up in the morning and suddenly she is all hunky-dory and feeling fine.  That is one of the spots where I started fitting the pieces together,


Cool.  That and the scene right after that where the detects visit the waitress is when I wanted people to think that something wasn't quite right.

Thank you, very much.  That was one of the things I was worried about was not cheating with the end.  I hate stories that just go out of left field.

- Mark


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: March 22nd, 2011, 11:12am Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark,

I was intrigued by Bert's comments on this, so I stuck it in my queue.
I got a little worried in the first few pages when characters have lines but no intro.
Got through the first 36 pages today and will continue as my schedule allows.

Your pages are sufficiently intriguing and I like stories with organic discovery.
Howard and Deanna are so matter of fact, it's plays out artificial.
Their dialogue is almost eerily all in the moment, we learn nothing of them from it.
I don't know if that's on purpose or if those early scenes need a dialogue polish.

I think I would like to see some flashback images for Howard as he reads the book.
It would also help break up those large blocks of voice over for the audience.
I'll assume for now there's a reveal later as to why we see the hunters at all.
Showing some flash images may help the audience believe Howard.

His revelation is delivered in a shocking matter of fact manner.
I had to go back and read it twice to be sure it was happening.
And the virtually immediate acceptance is a large bitter pill to swallow.
It's the first real serious stumbling block I've encountered in your pages.

However, I'm interested to see where this story goes.
Your pages read well, despite some repetitive and superfluous action description.
You spend a lot of space telling us what people wear, but it offers no insight.
I keep waiting for your action description to give us a peek into the characters.

You've got a good hook here and I'm looking forward to seeing where you take it.

Regards,
E.D.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: March 23rd, 2011, 10:33am Report to Moderator
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Hello Mark,

Read pages 37 - 70 today.
Seems the cat's out of the bag by about the half way point of the script.
When Mary Beth says, it's not in the book, the shoe has dropped it seems.
There's a fistful of moments like that when characters are dropping hints.
I feel like you story's mid section is cutting away at key moments.
Right before we get to the juicy reveal and learn more about your characters.

It feels like you are being too precious with the "secret" about Howard.
For me, reveals aren't so much an ending but a doorway into the characters, not plot.
I'm more interested in why Mary Beth would go along with Howard's notions.
In her twilight days, does the potential of reconnection appeal to her?
Even though she knows it's unlikely to play out, she wants to help Howard. Why?
Once the fantasy is acknowledged, that's the uncharted territory I want to read.
I'd like to see these two find a common ground, because I like them.
I'm hoping they connect more as we head into Minnesota.

The law enforcement scenes seem to only service the plot.
Those characters read very interchangeable to me.
We spend a lot of pages with them, they should have some color or spice.
No affectations or dialects or quirks or chemistry, they could use it.
They C.S.I. the tires quickly, but no one has cell phones or other tech.
Perhaps a tire cast to suggest a pre-forensics computer boom might help?
With CCT at rest stops and gas stations, this chase might end sooner.
So establishing a pre Amber Alert time period might help out.

There's several words smashed together that shouldn't be.

p. 42 "tireprints"
p. 51 "lastname"
p. 64 "lastnight" x2 on the page

And a typo: p. 38 "btween" in a dialogue chain.

Looking forward to reading the conclusion tomorrow, thanks Mark!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

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rc1107
Posted: March 23rd, 2011, 2:47pm Report to Moderator
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Hey E.D.

Thank you for wanting to take a look at this one.

It's actually kind of funny you just started reading this.  I was reading 'Red Sun' Monday night.  (I have a soft spot for westerns.)  I was on page 15, (maybe 14) when my wireless box blew.  I did download it to my laptop from the library yesterday, though, so I'll be able to finish reading it Saturday night.  (My next night off work.)

Anyhow, I'll wait to respond til I've heard everything you have to say about it.  Thank you for pointing out those typos and compound words.  I've read over this script I don't know how many times and I still miss that shit!

Anyway, thanks again for taking time out to read this.  Hope you like the rest of it.  And like I said, I should be able to finish the rest of 'Red Sun' saturday.  My wireless should be back up, too, hopefully, by then.  (I'm bouncing a signal from the neighbor's house across the street right now, but it only works when it's cloudy out.)

- Mark


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