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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Reviews    Script Reviews  ›  Short Scripts on SS:  A Discussion Moderators: bert
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  Author    Short Scripts on SS:  A Discussion  (currently 8346 views)
Dreamscale
Posted: May 18th, 2011, 10:55pm Report to Moderator
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OK, pontificater, I assume you are AA...correct?  You changed your name?

<y point being, in simple words, is that successful movies are seen by Millions of everyday, normal peeps, who go to see those movies for entertainment purposes. When the movie ends, they either like it or dislike, based on whether or not they were entertained.

Sure, not 100% like that, but pretty damn close.

But, it actually doesn't even matter, cause once they've paid for their ticket, it's locked in to the BO results...but to me...it does matter.  A movie should be good...period.  Whether or not it makes a shitload of cash is obviously the goal, but I feel like film makers should be making movies that the general public should be happy they shelled out their $5-$15.

It's the damn critics who "tell" is what's good and what's not, but we really don't even need that.  If it's good, it is good, and if it's not, then it's obvious.

Again, write a good script, make it shine, make it hit hard, and then...well...good luck.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Andrew
Posted: May 18th, 2011, 10:56pm Report to Moderator
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Kev, I think you're being a little sensitive. Just fooling around - I just wanted to lighten the mood. We ALL spend too much time on here. And I'm a sad little keyboard warrior man!

Jeff,

Yeah, a name change. Chuff is my alter ego. Nah, just time for a name change 'cos my full name is a bit formal, which makes people think I'm formal. Which I am actually not. At all.


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Andrew
Posted: May 18th, 2011, 10:58pm Report to Moderator
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I'm not sure we'll ever converge on 'good movie', Jeff. But as I mentioned earlier, film appreciation is a difficult beast to understand.

To be honest, I'm not sure we need to go over this debate again.

Just get your bloody Jaegies down you.


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 5:43am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from leitskev
There may not be money in shorts, Jeff, but you may underestimate what they can lead to. I just read a story a couple months ago about a director who won an award with his short(something about a clown who can't cry) and who's gotten real work in Hollywood now out of it.

Granted, that was a director, not a writer.

Chuff, that's not an argument. It's a snipe. The internet is wonderful for that, isn't it?


Did you not read my Mrs Pepprercron thread in General chat?


First time writer, signed to biggest talent agent in LA, already paid for first feature.
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bert
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 7:35am Report to Moderator
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Interesting bit of Shorts trivia:

Out of curiosity, I trudged all the way to the back of the Board (76 pages!) and found the very last short.

Not an author I recognize -- and apparently not that great a script -- but how does that even happen?  Dead last haha.  Must be some kind of honor for that:

http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-short/m-1113050783

Here is a pretty good one that you probably have not seen unless you've been around for a while -- from the very first one week challenge:

http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-short/m-1121874780/s-0/

And just for the heck of it -- since Helio has been back around lately -- an ancient one of his that I always liked, though I did not comment on it at the time.  I was always kind of surprised this one never got picked up:

http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1120911796





Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 12:15pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
I guess I'll jump in here, damnit!

As usual, I feel most are completely missing the point.

That point being, write a solid, well written script, with good characters, a good story, something unique, something memorable, and on top of everything else, something that works.

It doesn't matter if it's a short or a feature.  It doesn't matter if there's some deep theme or character study.  It just has to fucking work and entertain those who choose to read it.

Same goes with films.  There are so many "critics" in here, who talk just like Pro critics, analyzing this and that, throwing out BS that has absolutely nothing to do with what the writer/film maker was after.

Look at all the successful films over the years.  Look at why they were successful.  It's not because of some deep theme or meaning that the makers were after or the critics decided to play up.  They're successful because of a few different reasons...

Star Power - be that the actual stars, or the "stars" behind the film.

Entertainment value - A biggie through and through.

Pure damn luck - All to often the case, as so many "great movies" do crap at the BO, yet so many crapfests rake in the money.

You can look all you want at success stories and try to emulate them, but the bottom line is that you don't need to.  Take from them what you can, but be your own person, write in your own voice, and show the fucking world what you got.

Shorts ain't where it's at.  Very few care about them more than just a good read for 10 minutes of their time.


Entertainment is obviously important...although a slow moving, philosophical film can be as entertaining as a mindless action flick in its own way...albeit to a different, and probably smaller crowd.

It's pretty hard to think of films that are good that don't have strong themes though, as much as you regale against the idea. Even popcorn flicks like Die Hard, Jaws, Aliens etc deal with deeper issues than what's just on the surface.

In some ways it's also a dangerous path for writers to go down..if you dismiss the depth of writing and are concerned purely with entertainment, there really isn't that much use for a writer. You might as well just break out the guns, have a few actors running around, throw a few explosions in.

Even the top 50 biggest grosing films of all time...the ones with the marketing budget to allow for pre entertainment shows this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_films

There's only Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland, Transformers, Spiderman 3, and perhaps Da Vinci Code that aren't heavily built around strong themes...and they're probably arguable.

As for the point about shorts...probably couldn't be more wrong. Saw, The Raven, Attack of the Killer Robots, The Silent City, Mrs Peppercorn, Mama, Alive in Joburg...honestly the list is probably near endless of the people who've gone straight from shorts to making features. You've even had people go from making fake trailers (That zombie clown thing recently, Hobo with a Shotgun) to making features.

Shorts are an excellent proof of concept...they demonstrate the technical ability of the makers and showcase its potential popularity.

What shorts rely upon more than anything else is that the filmmakers who make them, make them to an excpetional level and then market themselves and the film to its maximum potential (which is by far the hardest aspect of filmmaking).

It's probably easier to get signed up to a major agency with a short that's well made than it is writing features because it's easier to write a tight as hell, top quality short, get it made and get it out there, than it is to write a top quality feature.
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Dreamscale
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 12:27pm Report to Moderator
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Rick, I don't want to argue with anyone.  Period.

BUT...

I do have to say that you or anyone else who is going to contest that movies like Jaws, Alien, and Die Hard involve deep thematic material, are really reaching.  Or to say that the action and story revolve around the theme, is just plain crazy, IMO.

I say it all the time and I'll say it again here.  For some reason, people (either critics, or of a critical mind/nature) tend to over analyze literally everything and all of a sudden that's what that movie stands for or is.

If you're honestly saying that Jaws, Alien, and Die Hard are these deep philosophical movies, I guess you're also saying that all the clones of them are as well?  C'mon now...seriously.

I don't want to knock shorts in any way, but for me personally, I'm not very interested.  I am aware of many of the success stories you brought up.


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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James McClung
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 12:35pm Report to Moderator
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To be fair, Jaws did have deeper issues than what was on the surface... like, a shark.



Seriously though, as a filmmaker, I see an undeniable importance in shorts. As a screenwriter, not so much. If you've resigned not to be involved in the filmmaking process at all, you might as well write a feature. You can argue that it's easier to write one than the other but frankly, I think it's nonsense. The difference in effort between writing a short and writing a feature is barely a fraction of the difference between producing a short and producing a feature.

Personally, I've always found features easier to write than shorts.


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bert
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 12:43pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Rick, I don't want to argue with anyone.  Period.


So what exactly do you call hammering on the same point in post after post?  


Quoted from Dreamscale
I do have to say that you or anyone else who is going to contest that movies like Jaws, Alien, and Die Hard involve deep thematic material, are really reaching.  Or to say that the action and story revolve around the theme, is just plain crazy, IMO.


Think about those characters, Jeff.

Brody, Ripley, McClane -- bad-ass characters, sure -- but also consider their journeys, and the obstacles they must overcome to eventually succeed.

You do not see themes there?  Really?  You need to dig a little deeper sometimes, Jeff, or you undermine your cred.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 12:53pm Report to Moderator
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I never said any of them were deep philosophical movies, I said they were built around themes.

Your problem is the exact opposite of what you accuse others of...you literally see nothing beneath the action.

For instance Die Hard. Bruce Willis' wife has gone to work for a major corporation, threatening their marriage. Her boss, a kindly Asian gentleman represents a different world to the one Bruce is comfortable with. Hans Gruber comes along and expressly mentions that he wears the same suits as the boss, except his are the more expensive variety. Gruber represents Mcclanes biggest fears taken to the absolute extreme.

The point about the clones of them all doesn't stand because the clones do what you're saying...they miss the extra layers of thematic content and just copy the style and form, so they just feel like weaker, lighter copies and have no voice of their own.  

Jaws has got all sorts of themes in it. The main character who is scared of the sea (ie dying)...and his group of misfit friends who all fear their own mortality who go out alone to protect the community. It's also a political allegory...the massive shark terrorizing the peaceful seaside resort that brings out the worst in the towns citizens...the Mayor who won't close the beach to protect profits, the rednecks who go out killing numerous sharks for no reason.

You just seem to miss whole swathes of what makes these films all time classics. Without the depth that the writers and directors bring to these films...Jaws would just be any one of the clones you mention that are on the cheap movie channels every night.

With the tension Spielberg creates and even the quality of the score, it may have been an enjoyable film without all these myriad elements...but the fact that they were there meant the film changed cinema history and continues to be held in high regards all these years later.
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Heretic
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 1:02pm Report to Moderator
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The font is annoying as hell, but there's a pretty concise breakdown of some of the obvious thematic elements in Alien here.

If Die Hard wasn't built around a theme, wouldn't it make more sense for the female lead to be a hot young babe than to be McClane's estranged wife?  After all, if we were only after entertainment, it would have been better to just throw some gratuitous sex scenes in rather than watching our protagonist argue with his wife, wouldn't it?


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 1:12pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Heretic
The font is annoying as hell, but there's a pretty concise breakdown of some of the obvious thematic elements in Alien here.

If Die Hard wasn't built around a theme, wouldn't it make more sense for the female lead to be a hot young babe than to be McClane's estranged wife?  After all, if we were only after entertainment, it would have been better to just throw some gratuitous sex scenes in rather than watching our protagonist argue with his wife, wouldn't it?


Good post. I was going to mention the fear of male pregnancy in regards to Alien, but I thought Jeff's head might explode with that one!
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Dreamscale
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 1:30pm Report to Moderator
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Bert, you're funny.     I really don't want to continuously argue.

Maybe the points I'm trying to make aren't getting through clearly, and if that's the case, I apologize.

First of all, let's look at Jaws.  Jaws was obviously written as a best selling novel by Peter Benchley written in 1972.  Before it was even published, the film rights were purchased, and production began.

OK, who cares, right?  Everyone knows that.  But, the point is that both the novel and the film are about a monster terrorizing mankind, much like many of its predecessors and followers.  It's filled with great characters, but at its heart, it's about a shark terrorizing a beach community.  Period.

You can read in anything you want here.  You can throw out any political, thematic, moral issues, whatever, but all of that is not what the novel and movie is about, nor does it have anything to do with the success of the novel and film(s).

Rick, you are correct in what you're saying about me being the opposite of what I argue against, or accuse others of.  I do this to try and make a point that continues to not get through.

There are themes and the like present in every form of entertainment, and they don't even have to be consciously put in there.  They're part of life itself and will always be present in a well constructed story/script.  You don't even have to search for them or try to make it a big deal about what they are and why they matter...cause they don't matter.

Sharks are scary monsters...and they're real monsters.  Being eaten by a shark has got to be one of the very worst ways to die.  Benchley capitalized on this and the world was hooked, so to speak.  It didn't hurt that Spielberg put together a wonderful movie, with wonderful characters, A-List talent that all provided top notch performances, and as you also noted, a soundtrack that will never be forgotten.

Do you guys seriously not understand what I'm saying?



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 1:33pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from James McClung
To be fair, Jaws did have deeper issues than what was on the surface... like, a shark.



Seriously though, as a filmmaker, I see an undeniable importance in shorts. As a screenwriter, not so much. If you've resigned not to be involved in the filmmaking process at all, you might as well write a feature. You can argue that it's easier to write one than the other but frankly, I think it's nonsense. The difference in effort between writing a short and writing a feature is barely a fraction of the difference between producing a short and producing a feature.

Personally, I've always found features easier to write than shorts.


There's no right or wrong way.

The way I see it though, if you have a feature script on its own...it seems very hard to get traction on it in any way. It just kind of sits there. You can send it to competitions maybe, to some agents who won't look at it unless you've got a name. It just seems a very difficult way to get in and one that relies a lot on luck.

On the other hand. Write a short 6-10 promo of that feature, get some people together to make it, get it in festivals, meet people pitch the feature, stick it online, market the hell out of it and get people talking...you've got a bit of buzz behind it and the start of an audience...you've got proof of concept and you've already laid the groundwork for the distributor...just seems a more potent way of doing things and gives you some kind of active control over your destiny.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 1:41pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
Bert, you're funny.     I really don't want to continuously argue.

Maybe the points I'm trying to make aren't getting through clearly, and if that's the case, I apologize.

First of all, let's look at Jaws.  Jaws was obviously written as a best selling novel by Peter Benchley written in 1972.  Before it was even published, the film rights were purchased, and production began.

OK, who cares, right?  Everyone knows that.  But, the point is that both the novel and the film are about a monster terrorizing mankind, much like many of its predecessors and followers.  It's filled with great characters, but at its heart, it's about a shark terrorizing a beach community.  Period.

You can read in anything you want here.  You can throw out any political, thematic, moral issues, whatever, but all of that is not what the novel and movie is about, nor does it have anything to do with the success of the novel and film(s).

Rick, you are correct in what you're saying about me being the opposite of what I argue against, or accuse others of.  I do this to try and make a point that continues to not get through.

There are themes and the like present in every form of entertainment, and they don't even have to be consciously put in there.  They're part of life itself and will always be present in a well constructed story/script.  You don't even have to search for them or try to make it a big deal about what they are and why they matter...cause they don't matter.

Sharks are scary monsters...and they're real monsters.  Being eaten by a shark has got to be one of the very worst ways to die.  Benchley capitalized on this and the world was hooked, so to speak.  It didn't hurt that Spielberg put together a wonderful movie, with wonderful characters, A-List talent that all provided top notch performances, and as you also noted, a soundtrack that will never be forgotten.

Do you guys seriously not understand what I'm saying?



Themes are not part of life. You either put the scenes on the page and in the film, or you don't.

If Spielberg didn't have the town meeting where everyone protected their own self interests instead of doing the right thing, the Mayor didn't refuse to close the beach...they just wouldn't be in the film.

It's about a shark attacking a town...so is Jaws the Revenge...except it lacks all the thematic content and quality of the original.
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