All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com and simplyscripts.net domain are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. This screenplaymay not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
The Book of Joseph by Barry John Terblanche - Drama, Suspense, Future - The battle for souls - the rule of earth... will not be fought by the Gods in heaven or in hell. But, here on earth. Between a Priest and a child. 89 pages - pdf format
New writer interested in feedback on this work, please be nice
I recently wrote and posted my script THE BOOK OF JOSEPH (Found in scripts DRAMA) I'm new at script writing and fell that whilst the STORY is unique and good - To me the script reads more like a book and not as it should be... A SCRIPT.
Opinion... ? Anyone out there that could make it A MOVIE SCRIPT ~ sellable - Get a produces attention.
I'm not sure if this is the most recent version but I opened it up and read the first 15 pages and thought it a waste to not comment.
Sometimes I'll play a little game with scripts on this site, I'll read the loglines and guess what the script will be like (I have a lot of free time).
Problems in the logline usually echo problems in the script. For example, loglines that only describe the characters inner journey usually shadow a script which lacks plot. Like “A young man struggles with the past as he has to make a decision that will change his future forever”. It tells me nothing.
Your logline (I feel like I'm writing “logline” too much) felt vague and doesn't mention plot at any point. I saw an interview with the guy who played Mr Brown in the film City On Fire, Tarantino. He said that when he writes a screenplay he only knows what will happen up until the midpoint because he wants the rest to surprise him. This is a good rule of thumb for loglines as well. Tell us what happens in the first ten pages (The context), what the inciting incident is and what happens in the first half of act 2.
You'll find you'll get more reads and it will strengthen your script. Take the two loglines below I wrote for the film The magnificent 7. Which one would you want to watch?
A small village in Mexico is terrorised by a gang into handing over their food supplies (Context). They decide to hire a group of 7 gun-for-hires (Inciting incident) to train them and protect them for when the gang returns (First half of act 2).
Villagers in Mexico make a decision that could cost them their lives but learn that standing up for themselves can only come from within.
The first example implies the inner journey.
I've written WAY too much about your logline. Jesus, I have a lot of free time today. But there's a reason strong loglines usually stand in front of good scripts.
ANYWAY, back to the script and the first 15 pages. Your first page is a really bad sign. It needs to go. You can't just write OPENING CREDITS; OVER A MONTAGE OF RELIGIOUS WARS OVER THE TIMES B.C - A.C TO PRESENT DAY. THE VIOLENCE AND KILLING OVER RELIGIOUS BELIEF'S.. LAND.. ETC....
That's not how scripts work. You have to show us the montage, describe it. Not to mention... Although I'm going to mention it so... to mention, in one line your film now costs millions of dollars.
Moving on from page one you have a lot of telling and not showing. Describing characters in details that don't translate to what you are showing us.
This all seems pretty negative but I hope you find it productive at least. You do have some real strengths as a writer. Some of your descriptions are good and you dive right into the action with is great. I was also surprised to find your focus on plot with lots of things happening and the story moving fast. PUT IT IN THE LOGLINE! Your dialogue is good and I feel you really understand your subject matter and the kind of story you want to write. It felt very sincere.
The story was interesting and gave an original slant to the Son of God/Son of Satan concept. But as you yourself said, you need to know whether this would make a better book or better movie. The story and the action scenes definitely work well for the screen, but the dialog and theological discussion are more suited for a book.
But as this is a screenwriting site, there were some glaring spelling errors and formatting issues you have to be aware of. You pretty much know how to write and format that way, just watch your spacing. Also, the characters speak PARAGRAPH upon PARAGRAPH of dialog way too many times. Those speeches and arguments between characters needs to be cut way down.
The idea of Joseph travelling from Kenya all the way to New York City on a ship and arriving in the city, all the while blind was really far-fetched (if I interpreted it right). And why does some of the action take place in London? The characters just appearing in these other cities was too extraneous. Keep the action in New York and Kenya, keep it tight.
Be sure you can visualize what you're describing on the screen. Have it make sense for both the writer and the viewer. Again, good ideas for the most part but still needs lots of trimming. There's a decent story in here.
First of all, I'm no expert, not by a long shot. It's as easy to scrutinise a screenplay as it is hard to write one. I wish I could look at my own writing and see the problems and “easy” fixes as I can in other peoples. Please keep that in mind when you read my comments.
There's a Stephen Fry quote I like that goes “A truth poorly told is a lie”. You can change this to “A good story poorly told is a bad story”. Screenwriting is the art of articulating stories. The Godfather is a great film because it's a good story told beautifully.
You've tackled a huge story for your first screenplay and I admire your bravery. You tackle a big subject matter. I know it's frustrating to have people comment on your screenplay after reading just 15 pages but I don't think this is ready for a full read yet. You want comments on your story not formatting but the two are intertwined with screenwriting. That's where the craft comes in and mastering formatting will elevate your writing tremendously and it forces your story to shine through.
I did try to read some more and although there is a good story there and some of the dialogue was snappy and deep, I just couldn't read on. Characters endlessly discussing nothing but God came across as a little repetitive and I had a hard time following what was going on. I agree with Arundel that him getting the boat to New York was a little odd. Why can't he just live in New York?
The way you write the action lines made it feel like I was reading things just happening instead of being drawn in. It jumps around a fair bit and the tension never escalated.
My advice for your rewrite is tighten the events that happen. Take the time to build tension on the scenes that need it like the angels arriving and making people go blind and lose any scenes that slow the read. Cut down on a lot of the god talk and let it play out as subtext. Simplify the story.
Quick thought – You describe them as Angels but how do we know? Won't they look like aliens?
I don't want to give you writing assignments so tell me to Buzz off but would you be able to write a new logline? I think this will really help you for your rewrite and I would love to read it because I think there is a great story in here and you have a voice but at the moment it's a bit lost in the weeds.
It's a huge undertaking to read a full feature length screenplay. I don't know how many you've read on here? But one day you'll post your 11th rewrite and someone will say they read to the end because they just had too. That's the goal.
The writing is not good enough. I couldn't read two pages let alone 111.
With your current talent level, you have a very long time before you'll be of a decent enough standard to get anyone to read even a short script.
If you think screenwriting is easy and a way to get rich quick, you're sorely mistaken. Screenwriting takes talent and lots of hard work. Writing a script isn't hard work. Learning to write one to a professional standard is.
If you're really serious about writing, then you will be prepared to put in the years and years it's going to take to make it... if you ever do.
SAM, you read till page 15. PLEASE read till the end and let me know what you think of the STORY as a whole
The first 5 to 10 pages (some say the first 3 pages) are our best-foot- forward moments. The first impression we give when introducing ourselves to the reader with every word we've written. Moments we need to raise the reader's comfort level and assure them they're in good storytelling hands. And I didn't get that.
It's like inviting people over for Thanksgiving then setting a clearly half-baked turkey on the table and smiling, "Enjoy, everyone!" All of the guests can see it's not fully cooked. Worse, they're wondering why their host doesn't see it's not fully cooked. Now, what are the odds the guests will want to eat the entire meal right through to dessert?
This may be a rough analogy but IMO it's exactly what's going on when we invite people to read our scripts. We need to pique the appetite of the reader immediately and get them to consume our story. We can't expect them to be patient and wait to see if the second course or third course is better tasting.
It's a bit like playing the violin. No one just picks it up and plays. Beginners all sound like they're torturing cats.
I also had some logic problems which is a result of expository dialogue that serves one purpose: cramming in the bullet points of Leah's problems. Miss my parents -check. My Aunt is deaf - check. My friends don't talk to me issues - check.
You should dig a little deeper and come up with something more compelling to tell us Leah has a problem and Father Joseph is not only concerned, he wants her to do something about it, pronto.
I will only say that your description (action) needs a lot of work in order to clean up the logic, clarity, and effectiveness of the sentences.
A word of caution: I don't get why you have the CUT TO's. You seem to use them at random times and in any case, when you go from one scene to the next, it's an implied cut to. All the scene transitions where you don't put a CUT TO are also CUT TO's, and you should be using them there as well if you're going to be consistent.
Now I'm not going to tell you... you shouldn't for a spec script. Becasue I've come to the conclusion that screenwriting operates at on a quantum level. What's supposed to be done varies by who happens to be looking. But... I'll leave 'em out, that alone will trim a couple of pages off this without effecting the story as a whole...
"We see" is a legitimate tool available to a writer if he/she so chooses, and you use a tool when you need it and don't use it when you don't need it. But the majority of the time it's not needed.
You don't use a sledgehammer to get through a door if there's a knob and the door is unlockled - you ruin the door without reason. But if the door is locked and bolted and the house is on fire and puppies are inside? Sledgehammer might be the best choice. When someone says "Never use the sledgehammer" that's stupid because even though most of the time you will just open the door or use your keys - those other times? The puppies will die.
Sometimes We See serves a purpose... an example: to call attention to something that the reader (and eventually, viewer) sees, but the characters on screen don't. Take yours for example. Just wasted space. "We see a small African farming village - scatter of mud and stone built homes." That sentence has more energy from dropping that dead weight: "We see," you lose nothing, and it'll leave more room for the important stuff.
Disclaimer; Your logline isn't helping you. That said, I didn't read the whole thing, Father Joseph sounds interesting, and I'm not going to tell you to throw out all the explicit biblical references if you have a slew... just don't over do it. Parallels are interesting; retelling a bible story isn't. Unless you do a crazy good job.
Honestly, I think this is very ambitious but the whole thing needs an overhaul.
In summary, I hope my notes do not discourage you at all, rather inspire to try again and work harder. Like others' have said, just because the story is not there yet doesn't mean it never could be. I believe you've already admitted to yourself that the story needs work... now work on the craft, but be careful about slapping a coat of paint on a building with a shoddy foundation. Do the core work first. Good Luck...
"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."
WARREN - Thanks for message - I'll hit you up then, good luck.
GHOSTWRITER - WOW!! Thank you very much for taking the time to help a new writer with such in-depth knowledgeable / advice that I'll be taking / using in my re-write. It's great to see people like you (and Sam... and all) helping us newbies.
HARD LIFE, is all but left behind upon entering to hear the warm words of the village Priest.
Is really a different scene and you need a new scene header - you are inside the church now.
Anyway - that's just a page and a third. That's a lot of problems for that amount of script and that is what will discourage anyone from reading further.
Take what Dustin said to heart - you need to spend some time learning the basics of the crafts. You need to know what you don't know. e.g., read some articles on scene headings (just Google how to write a scene heading). Same for character introductions, etc.
Don'e be sloppy - there are just way to many typos and grammar mistakes. Try something like Grammerly (a free tool). What you are telling us in this work product is that while you may be a serious story teller, you are not a serious screenwriter.
That's okay as long as you recognize it and start putting in the work to hone your craft.