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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Drama Scripts  ›  Morphine Moderators: bert
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  Author    Morphine  (currently 20950 views)
spesh2k
Posted: May 6th, 2013, 8:05am Report to Moderator
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Yeah, this script will be tough to market. It's not exactly a high concept, plot driven story, though the thought of someone who can't feel pain, becoming somewhat obsessed with pain and sitting in with a dominatrix to experience pain vicariously, at least to me, is interesting. And I think the main character wearing a blood-covered hospital gown literally through the whole story is a striking visual (eg. the scorpion jacket in "Drive", the garbage bag in "Silver Lining Playbook", etc.)

I'm big into Indie film and much of what I write is intended for an Indie audience. I feel the story is quite original, which may also make it a tough sell (along with its dark nature). The story needs some tweaking indeed, but I feel it would make a very strong Indie pic with strong characters and original relationships between characters never before seen on film.

It's hard to get any kind of film made, so this will indeed be a challenge. It will take the right kind of director. But hey, I did get one of my Indie feature scripts filmed, and it was equally as dark as Morphine. We'll see what happens. But first things first... rewrites!




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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insider901
Posted: May 6th, 2013, 8:46am Report to Moderator
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I'd try having Agony live. That makes it work, IMO.

What script did you get filmed? Doesn't surprise me at all. Where can I find it?
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spesh2k
Posted: May 6th, 2013, 9:06am Report to Moderator
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It's not released yet, still in post production. But they have a little 30-second sneak peek on the simplyscripts homepage - it's called The Suicide Theory - the script was posted here in 2008.

It should be finished in a couple months and will make its rounds in the film festival circuit.

The sneak peek doesn't really show much, but here's the link. I do have an awesome 2 minute teaser, but I'm not allowed to show anybody yet. Hopefully it's released to the public soon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF65GifSPLw&feature=youtu.be

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1


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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insider901
Posted: May 6th, 2013, 10:03pm Report to Moderator
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Very cool. Congrats! Like I said, doesn't surprise me if Morphine is any indication.
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spesh2k
Posted: May 7th, 2013, 4:13pm Report to Moderator
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Hey insider901, here's the official teaser trailer just released today... finally! It shows a lot more than the snippet I had posted above. It's about a minute and a half long, check it out!

TITLE: The Suicide Theory
LOG LINE: A suicidal man hires a professional killer to euthanize him, but for some reason, miraculously survives each attempt on his life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEBcsdGRvRo

Become a fan on facebook!

And if you haven't all ready, check out Morphine. It's definitely indie, not for everybody, but it's original. Kind of a companion piece to The Suicide Theory.


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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insider901
Posted: May 7th, 2013, 6:15pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for posting it. Very nice. Indie is definitley the route to go. Once you're in it opens up a lot of possibilities.

Did The Suicide Theory get noticed on SS? Just curious.
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spesh2k
Posted: May 7th, 2013, 6:36pm Report to Moderator
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It did by several filmmakers, got me a lot of writing gigs, but as for this film director, I'm not really sure, he never really specified. It's possible.


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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wonkavite
Posted: May 10th, 2013, 10:05am Report to Moderator
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Hi Spesh -

Checked out the Suicide Theory trailer - looks very professionally done...kudos!  Also read Morphine, and have been letting it sink in for the last few days.  Wanted to give you an overview of my impressions, FWIW, without doing a line by line analysis.

Very streamed lined, clean writing - it was a smooth, quick read.  As things progressed, the majority of my interest focused on Agony and Early's relationship.  I found myself pulled in, and caring where it went.  Obviously, a pairing between a dominatrix/sadist and a kid who can't feel pain has tons of potential.

Three Small details: 1) I do agree with an earlier poster that Agony got a bit too violent with one of her clients.  Cause pain and humiliation, sure.  But damage?  That's not part of the usual rules.  And yeah - I figure she wants return clients, so she'd play by the rules to some extent.  (Hey, I know what the vault in Hell's Kitchen was like.  So I know where of I speak.    )  2) Re: the scene with Early's birthday party - I was at first confused at how old he was.  And surprised that Tina didn't stop his self-injuring actions sooner.  3) At first, the early flashbacks threw me off.  I saw how they paid off as the script progressed, but at first they seemed too many - and kept pulling me out of the current-day action by jumping between time lines.

My big issue was the last act, once Agony's Dad arrived.  I'm not squeamish - trust me - but the violence, incest and general death and mayhem seemed too far over the top for me.  Violence for violence's sake.  I'm no fan of torture porn for that reason.  Blood and guts, sure.  But only with a purpose.  (I'm not saying you didn't have one...just that it FELT gratutitous to that extent.)  I'm a fan of the very ending, and the darkness of it.  Just...IMHO - something in that last act needed restructuring.  Allowing Agony to survive (maybe) - and toning down the violence a bit in favor of even more character development??

My five cents, FWIW...  But I do think this one has alot of (dark) things going for it...

Cheers,

--J
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spesh2k
Posted: May 10th, 2013, 11:22am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading!


Quoted Text
Three Small details: 1) I do agree with an earlier poster that Agony got a bit too violent with one of her clients.  Cause pain and humiliation, sure.  But damage?  That's not part of the usual rules.  And yeah - I figure she wants return clients, so she'd play by the rules to some extent.


The scene you speak of is after the stun gun scene with her and Early. Now, I'm not saying that all dominatrixes have messed up pasts with incest and violence, because most of them probably do not. But she gets off on inflicting pain, though she never crosses the line by inflicting serious damage. But this scene in particular, remember, she's never had an audience. And her attraction to Early is a strange one - in a way, she envies his ability (or inability) - while she's punishing this client in particular, she knows Early is watching. She wants to put on a show for him. And she gets caught up in the violence, lost in a lustful frenzy. She even stares at Early in the closet with a seductive look while punishing the client. But she catches herself and snaps out of her little trance (this scene reflects her past and foreshadows the "gratuitous" scene with her father). She's even shocked by the damage she had caused to the client (also, it's the final dominatrix scene of the story). But I feel the scene definitely reflects something darker about her past (which is not yet revealed).


Quoted Text
2) Re: the scene with Early's birthday party - I was at first confused at how old he was.  And surprised that Tina didn't stop his self-injuring actions sooner.


The scene takes place maybe about a year or so after the lake incident where he's 4 years old. I didn't mention the age, because visually, though he's mentioned as 4 in the previous scene, we are never told how old he is. And the changes in appearance between the ages 4 and 5 are minimal, so I didn't mention that he was a year older. But perhaps I could have put 5 candles in the birthday cake or something.

And this is only the second scene. Tina doesn't know he has this "disease". He bangs his head four times - it comes out of left field, right after they sing happy birthday to him. Tina and Fred are bewildered. And Early isn't crying. He kind of wears this blank look while doing it. He shows no signs of pain until he sees the blood on his hand (that's when he cries). The shock Tina and Fred feel from this particular moment causes them to freeze (I felt a proper reaction - it's not like a car is barreling towards him, or he's standing at the ledge of a building - there is no threat leading to it. It happens suddenly.)


Quoted Text
3) At first, the early flashbacks threw me off.  I saw how they paid off as the script progressed, but at first they seemed too many - and kept pulling me out of the current-day action by jumping between time lines.


The themes of the flashbacks reflect the scenes we flashback from and transition to. Flashbacks are always tricky and, especially when there are more than three or four of them. I felt the flashbacks overall reflected one of the main themes of the script - characters struggling with their pasts. Rather than cramming a bunch of info into a couple of scenes, I spread it out in bits and pieces during the script.


Quoted Text
My big issue was the last act, once Agony's Dad arrived.  I'm not squeamish - trust me - but the violence, incest and general death and mayhem seemed too far over the top for me.  Violence for violence's sake.  I'm no fan of torture porn for that reason.  Blood and guts, sure.  But only with a purpose.  (I'm not saying you didn't have one...just that it FELT gratutitous to that extent.)  I'm a fan of the very ending, and the darkness of it.  Just...IMHO - something in that last act needed restructuring.  Allowing Agony to survive (maybe) - and toning down the violence a bit in favor of even more character development??


It wasn't violence for violence sake in my mind. Think about Agony's character before that one scene with Daddy - she's obsessed with the mutilation of genitalia (she makes a few comments to Early threatening to cut off his penis - she also says she should cut off his balls and flush them down the toilet). Even during her "tender" moments, she seems like she's had some serious issues with men (she sets a stun gun to Early's genitals). She's defensive when she thinks Early thinks that she may possibly be a prostitute. She's aggressive. She's foul mouthed.

Now, she spends the story running away from her past, but in a subtle way where she herself doesn't even know it, deals with it in a way that is aggressive and violent. As for the incest, think about the dynamic between her and Early. Though she is only 3 years older than he is, Early is described as looking very young for his age. She even mentions how young he looks when they first meet - yet, she is attracted to him in a strange way, quite possibly stemming from her younger years where she was sexually abused. And though the scene where she puts a stun gun to Early's genitals comes across as romantic through his eyes, the actual act of it is quite disturbing - she's doing harm to him even though he can't feel it. In a way, she's doing what her own father did to her - she's taking something innocent and corrupting it, though her intentions are quite different.

She is opposite from Early in many ways, but in terms of running away from her past, they share that little thing in common. And both of their pasts come back to the forefront in violent ways (though a lot different). I wanted to show the contrast. She ran from her past and sadly, after all that suffering over the years, her life ends. Early ultimately, after running away from everything (never responding to Winston's letters, the mere act of leaving the hospital and not coming home) he makes the conscious decision to confront his past (Winston).

I do agree I can definitely tone down a few things in that scene alone, mostly, IMO the dialogue from Daddy. But it really does explain a lot about her - Daddy wants her to scream, but she doesn't - during her sessions, she gets off on hearing her clients scream. It even has a strange effect on Early when he's attacking Nathan (her brother), begging for him to scream.

As to your comment about toning down the violence in favor of more character development, the violence IS part of the character development. In Agony's case, it's the final part of her character arc. In Early's case, he experiences her life (walks a mile in her shoes) and her pain (psychological) and resorts to becoming a part of it for that scene, though out of necessity.

And in the way their pasts are presented shows the differences between them. In Early's case, his past is shown through flashbacks scattered throughout the script. He is running from his past, but he's not as far along as Agony. He actually ponders about his past often. He talks about it. He wonders Why?

Agony's past isn't revealed until the very end - when it's too late for her. She's been running away from it this whole time and its not until now where the reality of it hits her.

Fate is a theme explored in the film, but I try not to fall into that thing where everything neatly falls into place. I suppose when he breaks out of the cuffs, it's sort of a little pay off (wondering why he has this disease and the purpose behind it) and seemingly saves her life (those guys getting killed and the nature they got killed, I believe it was deserved) ... but she dies, kind of trumping the idea that we realize our purpose during one particular defining moment. Purpose, I feel, is something that is realized within. True purpose is not dependent on others - his existence and the purpose of his disorder wasn't solely for Agony. And I feel the very ending kind of got that across.

Like I said, the story isn't for everybody, though I think Lars Von Trier, David Lynch and David Cronenberg fans (Cronenberg's earlier stuff) would like it, and that's sort of the intended audience.

Thanks again for checking out the script! I will definitely consider your suggestions in future drafts!


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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Ledbetter
Posted: May 18th, 2013, 5:48pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from spesh2k
A revised 2nd draft will be up soon.


Hey man,

You sure have doing some great reads and reviews around here brother. Also congrats on The Suicide Trailor. It looks very well done.

Have you reposted this revised script yet?

I'd love to give the new version a read when you do.

Take care man

Shawn.....><
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spesh2k
Posted: May 18th, 2013, 6:11pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Shawn,

I'm actually working on some revisions right now. I'll probably re-submit the revised version tonight, so it should be up in a few days.

The rewrites are pretty major (I took some suggestions from these boards and consulted with some fellow colleagues/filmmaker pals, and their suggestions were consistent with the ones I've received here). It's pretty much from page 75 - the end.

Thanks in regards to "The Suicide Theory" - it feels good to get anything produced, let alone a feature. And to have it be well-crafted and professionally done to its highest quality makes it all the more gratifying. Not sure about a release date, but I'm confident it will make its rounds at some awesome film festivals (crossing my fingers for Sundance) and find distribution. But as of now, it's still in the latter stages of post (sound mixing, etc).

I've actually found it quite therapeutic to read and review a lot of the work posted here. It's easier to point out the flaws and the successes of other scripts than it is with my own work, which in turn, makes it easier to find the flaws in my own work. And it keeps me out of trouble. I've had a lot of time on my hands lately, due to some personal issues with addiction and such, thus costing me my job and what not.  I've sort of been getting by on unemployment along with selling short scripts lately.

But participating on this site has helped me during this period of detox. And as I read and comment more and more on this site, it has somehow helped to boost my own production (been writing like a madman lately).

It's a nice little community of filmmakers here, of all walks of life, aspiring and established (outside of some of the negative threads I've come across). I'm just happy and humbled to contribute in some way.

I'll keep you posted on when the revised version is up

Cheers

-- 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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Ledbetter
Posted: May 18th, 2013, 6:25pm Report to Moderator
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It's great to hear that you're working through those issues brother.

I can say that this site has helped several people during the downswings in their lives so you are not alone.

I, myself struggled a couple of years ago and actually left here in frustration. It wasn't this site that was the problem, it was me. Don was very gracious and emailed me asking to please be a part of the community.

To him, it may not have been much, but for me, it was the world and it gave me something to hold on to.

Your writing is great. it's no accident you found yourself here. You will succeed if you keep doing what you're doing.

With the caliber of writing you exhibit, you have no choice but to succeed.

Btw...Your Suicide Theory poster is BAD-A$$.

Shawn.....><
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spesh2k
Posted: May 19th, 2013, 2:01am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the compliments, dude, appreciate it. I've been writing scripts since forever it seems like (12 years to be more accurate), and I feel I've come along way since then, but you can never stop getting better. Just trying to become the best writer I can be, improving every day.

And as the for The Suicide Theory poster, yeah, when the director first showed me the artwork, I was blown away (thank God). I'm not quite sure who did the artwork, but I'll let you know (hopefully I can get him or her some more work through other filmmakers on this site with projects in development).

I just finished a third draft, so hopefully, it will be up soon. Just re-submitted the draft.

-- 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: May 19th, 2013, 2:08pm Report to Moderator
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The revised draft is now up (with a different ending).

Thanks for the reads and comments so far, you guys have definitely been a big help! Hopefully, I'm getting closer here...

-- 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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kev
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Hey Michael, just finished this. I didn't read through the other comments because I didn't want it to skew my thoughts, so sorry if I'm repeating anything. One thing I think is really great about your writing style is how you reel in the reader, the opening scenes read well as they transition very smoothly into each other, it gives the script a dream-like feel and I can see how it would be effective in film. I don't have anything to say about formatting or writing style, it all reads great and I only spotted a few typos, so the fact that this is a third draft really shows and I'll stick to my thoughts on the story more than anything.

I really enjoyed the set up, my favourite scenes are the interaction between Early and Agony, especially when they first meet. I wasn't sure where this was going when it came to genre. I know it's a drama but I thought this was going to be more of a coming of age story between Agony and Early but it sort of slips into a darker thriller tone towards the end. This threw me off a bit but that's not a bad thing, I just wasn't expecting it and I can appreciate the story a lot more looking back over it now that I know where you were going with it.

The bar scene I really liked but I'm not sure if it's just me but saying the lights dim for just them kind of threw off the original vision I had of the bar, it seems a bit corny and unlikely for the dive that they are in. From what I got, the spotlight thing seems more of an aesthetic choice but I didn't feel it was necessary and it kind of took me out of the moment a bit.

Going back to the tone, things really take a turn when Nathan comes into the picture. You have a knack for writing suspense, and the scene in Agony's apartment really had me on edge and it read well. Personally, the Daddy/Nathan storyline wasn't my favourite subplot when it comes to the characters backgrounds. The scene works because it really gives Agony's character depth and reason for how she is but I thought the reasoning didn't have to be so dark and twisted. It was a lot to handle at this point, I think that something a little more simple, let's say Agony had stolen money from a previous pimp to support her child would be more effective. That's just my opinion though, I could be alone on that one.

In the climatic scene in the motel where Daddy comes into the picture, I kept forgetting that Darko was in the room until he jumps on Early's back. This is a simple fix, but I would just add a few action lines stating that he looks over or something just a bit more often to keep the reader aware of his presence. I liked how Agony was fighting to show pain, it works well in the story how you show how various characters deal with it, it reminded me a bit of Sin City when Jessica Alba is being tortured but holding back to scream.

The only other thing that I felt went a little unmentioned was the wounds that Early has towards the end here. After the motel scene, where Early shots himself through his shoulder (which I think was great by the way), he should be losing quite a bit of blood and though he can't feel it, it should be more of a concern. When Early returns home and sees Tina, there isn't really any mention of Early's wounds or at the hospital, no one seems to be checking him for medical attention and I thought that seemed a little unrealistic.

I liked how you did the ending, the final line worked well for me. Also, I was concerned you might not tie up some of the side stories, but you managed to really make everything come circle in reference to the man who hit him with the car, Tina and so on. Other than these few things, the script is pretty flawless and I could easily see this getting made. Here's a few typos I noticed:

- Page 55 (re: her look) instead of (re: he look)

- page 88 should have let you* drown instead of your

- page 90 early collapses* instead of collapse

Overall, I really liked this, it reads fast and it managed to never lose my interest. The tone was a bit shocking to me because I wasn't expecting this to get as dark and violent as it did but it never turned me off of the script. I think the story is great, the dominatrix mixing with Early's medical condition is a great idea. I liked how every character is facing a different form of pain and suffering in comparison to Early who can't feel physical pain. This is a very smartly written script, I also enjoyed the reoccurring classical music as well as the teenagers on prom night to contrast what the normal teenager is experiencing compared to Early. I believe this script is in pretty much tip top shape and I've learned a lot from it, you have a great, easy-to-read writing style. I look forward to the rest of your writing and I hope you the best of luck with this one.

- Kev


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