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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Script Review Exchange  ›  Inescapable- Script Review Exchange Moderators: the goose
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  Author    Inescapable- Script Review Exchange  (currently 335 views)
MatthewLincoln
Posted: November 29th, 2018, 1:57pm Report to Moderator
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Hi everyone,

My name is Matthew, and I've got a sci-fi short film I'd like to submit for exchange. It's called Inescapable. It's 24-25 pages long, and takes place in the near future. It's influenced by films like The Terminator. I'd be willing to read any short film in any genre, though I'd like to keep it to short films, so I can get back to you faster with feedback. Thanks alot.

Matthew Lincoln

LOGLINE: A kidnapped CEO of a robotics company finds himself hunted by a droid programmed to kill him.

Here's the link: http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-shortscifi/m-1536422872/

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Don  -  November 29th, 2018, 7:19pm
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khamanna
Posted: November 29th, 2018, 10:27pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Matthew.
Checked out the link.
You actually have a lot of feedback to work with. Have you rewritten it? Is that why you're asking for more?
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MatthewLincoln
Posted: November 30th, 2018, 9:16pm Report to Moderator
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khamanna,

Thanks for checking the link. I get what you're saying about the reviews--there are quite a few of them. The thing is, though, most of those reviews have been about the technical aspects of the script(Format, spelling, punctuation). I was hoping for more of a review about the story itself(The plot, characters, world-building...etc.). The reason is that there's a screenwriting competition coming up in January--and I want to make sure the story's solid enough to submit. That's why I'm still making some tweaks to it. I need as much feedback as I can get. Thanks alot.

Matthew Lincoln
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Angry Bear
Posted: November 30th, 2018, 9:35pm Report to Moderator
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I'll trade you my short No Recollection, a first draft, but... for the first 15 of yours. I will ignore technical stuff and focus on story and such only. I might read on if your story intrigues. Deal?

http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1543595337/

It's tough to get read around here these days, lol.  


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MatthewLincoln
Posted: December 1st, 2018, 12:42pm Report to Moderator
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Angry Bear,

You got yourself a deal. Thanks. By the way, I just read your script. I'm working on my review as we speak. Also, you might want to read mine all the way. There are a couple of major plot developments that occur by the end.

Matthew Lincoln

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MatthewLincoln  -  December 1st, 2018, 9:15pm
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Angry Bear
Posted: December 2nd, 2018, 8:17am Report to Moderator
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Okay, great! Will read today.  


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Angry Bear
Posted: December 3rd, 2018, 1:11pm Report to Moderator
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Okay, here we go. I will not worry too much about the technical stuff. I was however struck immediately by the "a film by" on the cover page. This isn't a film. It's a script, so...

I know people like to quote others sometimes, but IMHO, it doesn't do anything for the script. You should let the story wow us. Having intelligent/brilliant/make you think thoughts quotes right off the bat makes a reader wonder if your script can live up to the promise of those quotes.

Page 3.     So, the locks and bars are on the inside of the windows, but the door is locked from the outside? Kind of weird, but...

You leave this scene with "Foster leaves the room". He's in a factory. Somehow, I pictured this as one giant room, so when he leaves the room, it takes away that image, but also makes me wonder where he went.

Page 4.     How is the room stark?

Ok, I see Foster is now running down some hallway. Nothing bad with that, I just think you need to help us a little more with the visualization of this factory.

OK. After the first five pages, I know that Foster owns a robotics company. He's married with two kids. He's been missing for days. He has awaken confused in what I assume is his own factory. Windows and doors are locked and he can't get out. Some robotics enhanced man is watching his every move on monitors while he tries to find a way out of the factory.

Although I am a little confused, the mood I sense from what I read so far is mystery thriller. If that's what this is, then good job on that.

I'm not yet invested in Foster. I know some things about him, but those things have all been told or shown to me, but not by directly watching him. It's still early though, so I'm not concerned yet.

Page 6.     I'm confused here again. He's in a hallway, but a massive droid appears. Wouldn't that be crowded? Again, nothing wrong, just hard to picture him in a hallway with a massive droid.

Foster darts from corner to corner. Does the hallway have many turns? Foster takes cover where? I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just trying to let you know that I think you need to make the layout a little more clear. Best way to turn off a reader is to confuse them. Especially early on.

Page 7.     Same issue continues here. In the last shot, Foster was in a hallway being chased by Nemesis. Now they are INT. FACTORY, but you do not tell us where in the factory and suddenly Foster pops up from the crate. What crate?

Next scene is in a corridor. Not a hallway? So, this is a different space?

The scene after the storage scene is in a hallway again. Same space or different? You need to be consistent with the scene headings.

After having read the first ten pages, I still don't know Foster and therefore, I'm not invested in him. I don't really care what happens to him. There always exceptions, but normally by page ten, we know for sure who our protag is and usually even the antagonist. We normally also know what the story will be about. At this point in your story, I have no clue what this is about. I know nothing more about the story or our hero than I did at page five. My interest is beginning to wane, but I will read to page fifteen as promised.

Page 11.   The Nemesis glides through the air duct. How big are these air ducts, I thought the Nemesis was a massive droid.

Page 12.   The scarred man edits his recording on the computer. After a few minutes, he's done. Okay, are we the audience supposed to sit and watch him during those minutes? That would be pretty dull. You need to cut to something else while he works on that.

Okay finished the first fifteen pages. Sadly, I have nothing new to report. This is a 23 page script. Only eight pages left and I still have no idea what this is about. I still don't know Foster. All I know about him was told to us or shown by other means that watching him in person. I have no idea who the scarred man is or what he's trying to do. What is his goal? These fifteen pages were all running around and shooting and avoiding getting shot by a droid.

My suggestion to you would be to work on Foster's character some more so we get to know him and want to see him succeed. Be more clear in your settings so the action is easier to follow. Also let us know early on what the goals and stakes are. Right now this just comes across as really flat.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Pia


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MatthewLincoln
Posted: December 3rd, 2018, 3:21pm Report to Moderator
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Angry Bear,

Thanks for the read. I was wondering, though. Did you finish the script?  A lot of Your questions about the characters will be answered by the end, and we'll be able to discuss it a lot better.

Matthew Lincoln

P.S. I'll post my review of your script pretty soon.
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Angry Bear
Posted: December 3rd, 2018, 10:22pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from MatthewLincoln

Thanks for the read. I was wondering, though. Did you finish the script?  A lot of Your questions about the characters will be answered by the end, and we'll be able to discuss it a lot better.

P.S. I'll post my review of your script pretty soon.


You're not going to like what I have to say. I've been around a loooooong time. I've read thousands of scripts. I can't even tell you how many times a writer has told me to continue to read because it gets better...  or everything will be explained at the end. That is not how you tell a story. You have to capture an audience's attention right away. People have very short attention spans these days. I read two thirds of your script and still had no idea what the story was about and even more importantly, I didn't know Foster enough to care what he is doing or what might happen to him. It was all action, but no substance.

I'm sorry it's not what you want to hear, but that's how I felt about it.  



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Angry Bear  -  December 4th, 2018, 6:27am
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MatthewLincoln
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Angry Bear,

Thanks again for taking out the time to read my work. I wasn't mad about your comment. It gave me something to think about as far as the structure is concerned. I only asked, because there is substance with respect to the script. If you didn't finish reading, then you missed two major reveals about both Foster and The Scarred Man.  I'll be working on another rewrite, and I'll look into making some changes to the structure. Thanks again.

Matthew Lincoln
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MatthewLincoln
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Angry Bear,

Thanks again for taking out the time to read my work. I wasn't mad about your comment. It gave me something to think about as far as the structure is concerned. I only asked, because there is substance with respect to the script. If you didn't finish reading, then you missed two major reveals about both Foster and The Scarred Man.  I'll be working on another rewrite, and I'll look into making some changes to the structure. Thanks again.

Matthew Lincoln
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Angry Bear
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Quoted from MatthewLincoln
If you didn't finish reading, then you missed two major reveals about both Foster and The Scarred Man.  
Matthew Lincoln

This is something that new'ish writers haven't got a handle on yet. In the real world, no audience is going to sit around for fifteen twenty minutes and wait for crucial reveals at the very end. It is your job as the writer to make sure that we are entertained while we wait for that reveal. Your answer to this might be, but it is entertaining! Foster is being hunted by a massive droid!

My answer to that would be that you're wrong. Why? Because we don't know Foster. We've been told that he's married and has two kids and he's been missing for days, but that doesn't mean we know him. It's only info we've been told about him. You have to make us care about what happens to him. Make us want him to survive. If we don't, we won't be sitting at the edge of our seat waiting to see what's going to happen next.

As an example, instead of having the scarred man play a recording with some desperate male stranger begging for help, why not play a recording with Foster's wife and kids on it begging for help. Now Foster would have a goal we can all get behind. Do you see the difference?

Also, people have very short attention spans these days. If something doesn't hook the audience immediately, they're off to another channel. I know it sounds cruel, but no one will wait fifteen minutes.

Hope that help.  


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Angry Bear
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This just arrived in my email. Maybe it will explain what I meant a little more clear.  

6 Things to Remember When Writing a Short Script
by writesoffluid.com

1. WE STILL NEED A STORY
Sure, you can get artsy with shorts. But more often than not, there is still a story there: some sort of character transition or life-changing event. Showing this effectively in such a short amount of time is a tricky task, but itís doable if you focus on what the short/character experience really means. Whatís it about? Whatís the message?

2. MAKE THE OUTCOME SATISFYING AND MEANINGFUL
It sounds like obvious advice, but often short scripts can feel a little underwhelming if, for example, the character is too passive or if the scenes/events seem too random. Sometimes, the meaning in a script needs to be coaxed out a bit more, in a way that makes it more effective and impactive.

3. STRUCTURE HELPS
Structure can help with this. You donít have to obsess over it, but in general you will likely still have a beginning, middle and an end. Think about what youíre trying to convey in the script: the message or the reveal you are aiming for, and work backwards to ensure that the conclusion is built up to effectively.

4. USE CAUSE AND EFFECT
Using cause and effect can help with this. What does the protagonist go through from start to finish in order to end up where they are at the end (physically and emotionally)?

5. HAVE A GOOD SETUP
In order for cause and effect to take your character/s from the start to the end of the script, and for your message to be clear, a good setup can do wonders. If your shortís arena (story world) is a big part of the story, then be sure to set up the location and era and so forth to launch us into the world the character/s inhabit. If the character/s personal journey is the focus; something that happens to them that changes them in some way, then be sure to set up their issue at the start.

6. HAVE STAKES
If there is no clear issue, the audience wonít know what the stakes are and how the experience has an impact on the character/s. Short films are all about impact, so make the most of stakes and cause and effect to create a story that will be satisfying and meaningful to the audience.


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MatthewLincoln
Posted: December 9th, 2018, 4:58pm Report to Moderator
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Angry Bear,

Thanks for the info. Sorry it's taken so long to reply-- I haven't been online in a while. I'm going to review your script in this thread. I noticed other reviews on your script's thread, but I wanted to respond here--and not let the other reviews affect my own review.

I've read your script twice, now. My overall impression is that it's in interesting story. I think the potential is there for a really great script, however, there are some issues with execution. I'll start with the technical aspects first, followed by the narrative elements.

On a technical note, No Recollection is well written for the most part(I think I saw a couple of punctuation errors, but nothing major).

You did a great job describing the scenes, where the story takes place. It was very easy to visualize. Same goes for the chase sequence between Jenn and Robert.  

The dialogue is also a standout--especially the story that Robert tells about the cat(and how he relates that to Jenn's circumstances).  There was a scene that I think could've been condensed--particularly the scene where Jenn was looking for a location on her phone, and zooming out. I think that could've been shortened in a way that would still convey what's going on.

I have two issues regarding elements of your script. The first is when we're introduced to Robert. In his introduction, you wrote "His mind as cunning as a starving fox." Personally, I'd get rid of that as there's no way we can know that while he's sleeping, when we're just introduced to him. Just a suggestion, though. Secondly, you missed a FADE OUT at the end.

In terms of a narrative, it's an interesting concept. One of the things that stuck out to me was that Jenn had no memory of what happened. Was it from drinking? Is it a medical condition? I'm not sure if it will fit in your script, but that bit of backstory might help me understand better how the character got into that situation.

Also, when Jenn woke up, and ran out of the house. Given that there's another chase sequence later on, It might work better if the conversation between Robert and Jenn took place in the house, then a chase ensues leading to the husband's grave. Right now, it seems like she ran, had a conversation with Robert, then ran again. That leads me to my next point: Why is Robert chasing her? I was a little confused about that. Is he trying to kill her to prevent her from going to the police? If so, that needs to be clarified.

Also, at the end, Robert stood there and laughed as the helicopter arrived. That part rang a little false to me. If he did help Jenn kill her husband, It doesn't seem like he'd just stand there and laugh as the police were arriving (even if he were crazy, which he seems to be).

Aside from the points I raised, I liked it. I want to know more about what happens(The end felt like the set up for something bigger). It was a cool story. Hope this helps.

Matthew Lincoln

P.S. I'm doing some more work on Inescapable. It's more of a re-structuring, than a re-write(even though there were some scenes that were changed). Thanks for your insight, I appreciate it.
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LC
Posted: December 9th, 2018, 5:36pm Report to Moderator
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Matthew, now come on, etiquette requires you bump the script you are reviewing, not your own, don't you think?

Now that it's done you really should cut n paste  in Pia's script thread:

https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-shortthriller/m-1543595337/s-0/


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