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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Series  ›  Father, Forgive Me Moderators: bert
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  Author    Father, Forgive Me  (currently 1720 views)
Don
Posted: March 28th, 2015, 7:07pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Father, Forgive Me by Jeffrey Dean Langham (Jeremiah Johnson) - Series - Pastor Rick Scott, Ex-CIA, spent five years putting his past behind him, but the people and events from his former life try to pull him back in. 45 pages - pdf, format


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DanC
Posted: March 30th, 2015, 11:53pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Jeff, or Jeremiah, not sure who to address this to.

I'm reading your screenplay right now.  Here are some notes:

1.  Page 1.  You say INT prison, then describe it as a prison.  You don't need to do that.

2.  If they are gonna speak Arabic, you might just have to say it once in the directions that they speak in Arabic, and if they break that, then tell us.

3.  It's hard to kick someone in the stomach.  I'd go with punch or knee.

4.  In stead of "he has his back to the prisoner, I'd go with "His back is to the prisoner."  Or Youssef's back is to the prisoner." on page 2 (towards the bottom).

5.  Page 3, the prisoner grabs the knife - how?  I'd rather see he disarms him or something to that tone.

6.  A problem that I see in a lot of scripts (keep in mind that I"m not a pro either) is here on page 4.   You say:  The prisoner pulls the knife out of youssef's foot.  He cries in agony.  Then you say that the prisoner kicks him to the floor and on his back... HOW?  He's on his knees.  Unless you want a comical version of a kick to a Russian song, that isn't possible.  You might want to say he pulls out the dagger, Youssef moans in agony.  The prisoner while quickly rising to his feet grabs Youssef's hurt foot and flips him on his back, Youssef's head hitting the floor hard, blood drawn.

7.  Page 4 at bottom, you say "he still recovers from what happens."  What do you mean, his flashback, his first shock of coming down from that flashback, or the shock of her knock?

8.  I was under the impression that Acts were only used in sitcoms and stage plays.  Am I wrong?

9.  Not sure what the black prostitute has to do with anything, just some random line, and what has she heard?

10.  You say on page 8  "how'd she know how to find me."  I'd use different words instead of how twice.  You never want to use the same words, especially do do, that that etc.

11.  So, he has enough money for a cab, but, doesn't have money for food?

12.  page 17 Mattie says "you gotta learn to pay me more." then u have a separate sentence saying that she says that to herself.  I think that's wrong.  You should use (to herself) or (sotto) and then her comment, or some other variation of whatever works for u.

13.  page 20 act 2, it makes no sense to have the guy walk from the first part of the room to the back room.  Just start it off in the back.

14.  Page 28 not sure you have to break that up.  I think you can just make that all one scene.

15.  Page 38 you don't say begin flashback.

Okay, finished.  Overall, it's good.  I don't know what your intention was, but, I knew all along that was Rick.  Partially b/c it just made sense, but, you don't show us any other male possibilities at all.  So, that end scene is needless.  Either add in more characters or just let us know that's him.  The reveal won't surprise anyone.

I think there is a ton of intrigue.  Perhaps too much.  I have no clue what is going on in terms of "knowing" anything.  I don't know who the good guys or who the bad guys are.  Sure, we are supposed to think the Iraq people are evil, but, what if they aren't?  I don't know about you, but, whenever I read a story like this, I try to figure out what will happen before it does.  So, perhaps I was looking for a twist on top of a twist on top of a twist.  

I do think it was good, I do think you left yourself a ton of room.  I don't think you had to let us know those aren't his or her real kids.  Why tell us that in episode 1?  That's a great reveal later in the season when they might be having a big drawn out fight.

Best of luck with it.  I'm tired after all that, neck is killing me (crushed spinal cord and 9 herniated discs)...

Dan


Please read my scripts:
http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-series/m-1427564706/

I'm interested in reading animation, horror, sci fy, suspense, fantasy, and anything that is good.  I enjoy writing the same.  Looking to team with anyone!

Thanks
Dan
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Jeremiah Johnson
Posted: March 31st, 2015, 7:58am Report to Moderator
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Dan,

Many thanks for reading this and reviewing.  I will look at some of the issues you found.  I will address some of the other stuff here as well.

The act structure is there for TV and used where the commercials would go.  I really didn't intend this to be for cable (HBO, etc.), but if it was the structure would be a little different.

I never said the people of Iraq were bad.  The first scene was just having him in Iraq during the time the military pulled out of Fallujah and it was taken back over by the Iraqi people.  That scene wasn't intended to show them as bad, but just to show what Rick was into during that time.  I'm sorry that's how it came across to you.

For TV, I really don't think you need a "twist" or a "twist of a twist" for a pilot.  It should just be a good setup for future episodes and to get people interested in the characters or the story itself.  I have two underlying story threads that will run all though the series, plus each episode will have enough story to stand on their own.  Each episode will reveal more and more, which I think what makes a good series.

I did struggle with the kids reveal in the pilot.  Yes, I could have (and still could) waited until later, but decided to give that out because I have other things in store and didn't want to leave too many open ended items.  I left enough question marks!  

With your health issues, I really appreciate you giving me the great notes.  I will see what I can use to make this better.  I wish you better health.

I work 12 hours a day through Friday, so it may be later this week or weekend before I get yours done.  I hope I can give you notes you can use.

Thanks again,
Jeff (Jeremiah Johnson)


My Scripts:
SHORTS
Bed Bugs
I Got The Shaft
No Clowning Around
Fool's Gold
Five Days for Redemption

TELEVISION
Father, Forgive Me
Sheriff of Nowhere
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PrussianMosby
Posted: April 7th, 2015, 3:50pm Report to Moderator
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Jeffrey, big congrats. This here is amid simplyscript's top quality from my point of view.

The script succeeds with mystery, plotting, emotional depth, action, empathy for the protagonist, all there. Some points to work on and polish, sure, but I'd clearly like to say I see you on the right track here. So well balanced. I'm impressed and encourage you to invest in this project.

Violence, religion, and lifestyle what an awesome concept.  Must be so attractive for the markets.

Titles's great too.

That said: Your logline is IMO not good and that's how I'd say it friendly
(perhaps even keeps away some readers here - better change it)

"Pastor Rick Scott, Ex-CIA, spent five years putting his past behind him, but the people and events from his former life try to pull him back in."

" putting his past behind him"           bland

"try to pull him back in"      into his past, it's repetitive, somehow the same

"former life"      well that past

"People and events"      what?, bland

Reads absolute lifeless, whereas the first few words "Pastor Rick Scott, Ex-CIA," shit, great stuff, completely interesting.

I'd suggest you to write it concisely, maybe from another perspective onto the story. You need to find out yourself. PASTOR COMMA EX-CIA premise makes the deal anyway.


Great opening.  Love this mini story.

The "get up"-part could be marked as "(rhetoric )" maybe, since it's meant that way, not? I mean, he can't get up with tightly bound feet, so they just play with him, dirty talking ...

I'd suggest letting him drop the shard after he freed his hands. Just for us to see and remind of the item he needed and used; when there's tension the audience often forgets conclusions quickly, and the scene has some tension here.

"2015" – a mistake I see quite often. You write for 2017 or probably even later. Show the producers or whoever you like to address this script to that you consider such obvious production mechanisms. On the other side perhaps you may want to tell a story in 2018 settled in 2015, then you're correct here.

"You
say, that bad Angels came down from
Heaven and had sex with women here
on Earth?"

Sound not authentic to me that he'd say that, too absurd somehow.

Another point: After the hook, I found the office's a quite boring location to start and how he jolts up on a couch too; there's much more potential. If you reveal him praying on a bench at the vestry or such room, then he shocks up and you have your AWESOME PREMISE of a killer going the religious way right in our face.

"INT. CHURCH – DAY

RICK
In Ecclesiastes it says,..."

I wouldn't ever start a scene with dialogue. One of the few quite consistent rules in my eyes. In a series shooting draft, maybe I've seen it before because they're sure about a close-up here and where all characters are positioned and so on. As a story, better give us orientation, and then let them talk.

You work with a lot of subtext; out of the tiny points I've mentioned, I like it a lot since yet,

the entire story.

I found no physical descriptions like face, haircut of Rick?

All the subtext you have here is very good.

At the beach scene, you could give a line to the fact that there's nobody in sight expect of the two because I think it's how you see it (like a private beach or lonesome moody place something. "Partly" a bit unfocused yet is that they're not delivering much for the story in this scene – give it one subject at least except of the sexual thing let them foreshadow something, perhaps finish the scene with that specific subject.

22-23 That's where the tone delivers for me completely. And I like the tone. You seem not to aim for a super duper 24 mega skill spy stuff rather a kind of street style story with real people, real criminals, and a bit of humor. It's great imo.


The scene p 28 to 32 Sir, you really know what you're doing! Exactly what was needed at this place in time IMO. Maybe the scene is a bit overwritten but you have an awesome control over the story, very balanced.

How did the Mexicans know they hide at the warehouse?
If they were near them, still following them, you need to write a transmission that clears this fact up somehow.

P 37 Make it clearer we're not in Rick's church rather in a catholic church. "Why you come to my church?" something like that which clearly distinguish that the pastor's going to another church and another priest. It's a bit weird somehow.

"RICK
First, my past came back to haunt
me."

Then you show up a positive moment for Rick. Don't know if it's meant ironic.


EXT. DESERT ROAD – DAY

Originally it's also a flashback – should be marked.
I don't understand that scene at all. It's not nearly as accurate presented as everything I've read before. Reads to me as Antonio betrayed somebody else, same as he tries to betray Rick then.

Okay, a lot of mystery. What's with the tape? How did it get its way to some Mexicans etc. What has Maria got to with them? What happens next?

If you like your play yourself and have a tight connection to it, with some episodes in the back once, I'd hardly recommend you to offer this piece. I just guess they do stuff like yours in the end, simply original.

I'd be happy to read more and follow your series.



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Jeremiah Johnson
Posted: April 8th, 2015, 11:42pm Report to Moderator
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First I have to say is WOW!  Are you sure my wife didn't pay you to write this review?!    I really appreciate this good of a thorough review.  This is what helps people.

You've hit on some good points.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
Jeffrey, big congrats. This here is amid simplyscript's top quality from my point of view.

The script succeeds with mystery, plotting, emotional depth, action, empathy for the protagonist, all there. Some points to work on and polish, sure, but I'd clearly like to say I see you on the right track here. So well balanced. I'm impressed and encourage you to invest in this project.

Violence, religion, and lifestyle what an awesome concept.  Must be so attractive for the markets.

Titles's great too.

That said: Your logline is IMO not good and that's how I'd say it friendly

(perhaps even keeps away some readers here - better change it)

"Pastor Rick Scott, Ex-CIA, spent five years putting his past behind him, but the people and events from his former life try to pull him back in."

" putting his past behind him"           bland

"try to pull him back in"      into his past, it's repetitive, somehow the same

"former life"      well that past

"People and events"      what?, bland

Reads absolute lifeless, whereas the first few words "Pastor Rick Scott, Ex-CIA," shit, great stuff, completely interesting.

I'd suggest you to write it concisely, maybe from another perspective onto the story. You need to find out yourself. PASTOR COMMA EX-CIA premise makes the deal anyway.


I wrote it pretty quick to get the script up here and realized that there are a couple of issues.  I've read that you're not supposed to put proper names into the logline.  I actually have it now starting...

A pastor and Ex-CIA man, ...

But I still like my origina beginning, but agree the rest of it sucks.  I like your breakdown of it.  That will help me get it to where I need to.  Heck, it's the first thing people read, so it needs to be the best it can.  Thanks for this, I'm on it.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
Great opening.  Love this mini story.

The "get up"-part could be marked as "(rhetoric )" maybe, since it's meant that way, not? I mean, he can't get up with tightly bound feet, so they just play with him, dirty talking ... .


I'm glad you liked the little play on words with the "get up" the guard was telling him.  Really didn't think most people would catch that.  Thanks.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
I'd suggest letting him drop the shard after he freed his hands. Just for us to see and remind of the item he needed and used; when there's tension the audience often forgets conclusions quickly, and the scene has some tension here.


Yeah, I struggled with this one when I was writing it.  On one hand, I was hoping the audience is smart enough they would have figured it out - and if they didn't - their buddies would make fun of them for not paying attention.  On the other hand, I like what you said about the tension.  I'll have to think a little more on this.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
"2015" – a mistake I see quite often. You write for 2017 or probably even later. Show the producers or whoever you like to address this script to that you consider such obvious production mechanisms. On the other side perhaps you may want to tell a story in 2018 settled in 2015, then you're correct here.


I see what you mean about the year.  I just wanted to show that we are back in present time.  I hope the studio people will have me put the current year when they pick this up for prime time!!     I can surely fix it if it's going to be a deal breaker.  Thanks.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
Another point: After the hook, I found the office's a quite boring location to start and how he jolts up on a couch too; there's much more potential. If you reveal him praying on a bench at the vestry or such room, then he shocks up and you have your AWESOME PREMISE of a killer going the religious way right in our face.


I really like your idea for him snapping to from a praying position!  That's good stuff.  I'll definitely use that.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
"INT. CHURCH – DAY

RICK
In Ecclesiastes it says,..."

I wouldn't ever start a scene with dialogue. One of the few quite consistent rules in my eyes. In a series shooting draft, maybe I've seen it before because they're sure about a close-up here and where all characters are positioned and so on. As a story, better give us orientation, and then let them talk.


Agree with starting that one scene with dialogue.  I could just have some description of him just pausing, surveying the audience.  I'll work on it.


Quoted from AlexanderBrauckYou work with a lot of subtext; out of the tiny points I've mentioned, I like it a lot since yet,

the entire story.  All the subtext you have here is very good.[/quote


Thanks again for the compliments!

[quote=AlexanderBrauck]I found no physical descriptions like face, haircut of Rick?


I was hoping that would leave it open for a good casting range.  He's been through some stuff, so he's got to show he's "rough around the edges," but can still pull off the "softy" parts.  I'm hoping that people will see that this guy is complicated and will need a really good actor to make him stand out like he should. I will try out for the part, of course.  


Quoted from PrussianMosby
At the beach scene, you could give a line to the fact that there's nobody in sight expect of the two because I think it's how you see it (like a private beach or lonesome moody place something. "Partly" a bit unfocused yet is that they're not delivering much for the story in this scene – give it one subject at least except of the sexual thing let them foreshadow something, perhaps finish the scene with that specific subject..


Yep, I see it as more of a private beach.  Soon you will find out how much private beach there is.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
22-23 That's where the tone delivers for me completely. And I like the tone. You seem not to aim for a super duper 24 mega skill spy stuff rather a kind of street style story with real people, real criminals, and a bit of humor. It's great imo..


Once again, you've got it on the nose.  That's what I hope people get from this, the human element about it.  Deeper questions than what you see on shows today for sure.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
The scene p 28 to 32 Sir, you really know what you're doing! Exactly what was needed at this place in time IMO. Maybe the scene is a bit overwritten but you have an awesome control over the story, very balanced.


Thanks.  I'm having fun with these characters.  I feel I know them pretty well.  They have personality and it will only get better from here (I will try to do it justice).


Quoted from PrussianMosby
How did the Mexicans know they hide at the warehouse?
If they were near them, still following them, you need to write a transmission that clears this fact up somehow.


***SPOILER ALERT***
I hope this will be figured out by the end of the episode.  Antonio was calling them the whole time.  He's in it with them.  Hopefully, by the end of the warehouse scene that will be figured out.  If not, when Rick is talking to the Catholic Priest it will.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
P 37 Make it clearer we're not in Rick's church rather in a catholic church. "Why you come to my church?" something like that which clearly distinguish that the pastor's going to another church and another priest. It's a bit weird somehow.


I was hoping that by the scene heading and the confessional, that it would be clearer.  Maybe I can describe the priest's clothing so it will be clearer as well.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
"RICK
First, my past came back to haunt
me."

Then you show up a positive moment for Rick. Don't know if it's meant ironic.


In a way.  I was trying to show with all of the scenes with the priest, that Rick already had some ideas how things really were without "telling" the priest the details.  Sort of playing it back in his mind.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
EXT. DESERT ROAD – DAY

Originally it's also a flashback – should be marked.
I don't understand that scene at all. It's not nearly as accurate presented as everything I've read before. Reads to me as Antonio betrayed somebody else, same as he tries to betray Rick then.


I'll mark it as a flashback, thanks.  As I said above, Rick was replaying how he "saw" what had happened with Antonio.  It wasn't how Antonio told him.  That's what was going on here and in those scenes.


Quoted from PrussianMosby
Okay, a lot of mystery. What's with the tape? How did it get its way to some Mexicans etc. What has Maria got to with them? What happens next?

If you like your play yourself and have a tight connection to it, with some episodes in the back once, I'd hardly recommend you to offer this piece. I just guess they do stuff like yours in the end, simply original.

I'd be happy to read more and follow your series.


Thanks again for the review and getting into the story so I can get it as good as I can.  I will definitely work on the things you brought up and cleared up some other things.  Your positive comments were greatly appreciated and I"m having fun writing this thing!

As soon as I finish the next episode, I'll shoot it your way.  I hope you can help me get this thing into good shape.  It has all kinds of possibilities.

I will read some of your scripts and give back a little!


My Scripts:
SHORTS
Bed Bugs
I Got The Shaft
No Clowning Around
Fool's Gold
Five Days for Redemption

TELEVISION
Father, Forgive Me
Sheriff of Nowhere
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PrussianMosby
Posted: April 9th, 2015, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Jeremiah Johnson
First I have to say is WOW!  Are you sure my wife didn't pay you to write this review?!

I'm open for such an agreement.

No, honestly. There are lots of things I liked and the script works as a whole. The ending for example, with the dead plant and the alcohol (also a metaphor for the life and death action-scenario); then his assistant placing a new plant on the sill - so much slowing down (from the action and mystery angle) and caring for tone and emotional conflict, foreshadowing  Rick's inconsistent state; it was good, I can't say other. That you showed his face again, which you originally hide in the opening- sure it was all clear - but nevertheless so effective to close the circle here and let us look back, seeing his face first time as the guy he was in the capture scenario.

The warehouse scene works that way, you're right.  I just believed Henry to look after him more successful, since he's a quite smart guy who in the end clears things up within the shootout. But I understand what you mean with "Antonio called them" and not everything has to be delivered pedantically – the twist with Antonio pointing the the gun at Rick is finally there and I guess the whole scenario is just for the pilot, exposition, action

The only mess is the desert scene.  That felt uninspired in its presentation. Two Another Man, Two Mexicans, later it shows that they are Eduardo and the other guy..., then I didn't know where Antonio approaches all the time, from which car who gets out. Imagine you read it first time - no chance - and I read it more often. Did they free Antonio from the guys, or did Antonio set up another trap? Did they need to change cars to cross the border? And why would those machine gun guys make a break and walk into that trap? That scene is not well executed and I fear it's also an uneven concept about this scene. Better make it a CLEAR mini-story as you did in the opening scene.  The flashback situation is not 100% Jeffrey. You say how Rick saw it, but he couldn't, right? So, it's the perspective of an omniscient observer – just for us. Maybe it works, but it should be rethought. Opportunity: Break off the desert scene with a V.O. from the confessional "Then Antonio and his friends appeared. Somehow they must have made it cross the border" << this is an methodically example. You show that Rick instincts are great and he's able to guess things to be the way as they almost truly happened... and happen on screen while he says so. Something like that works better – a bit tricky. But the audience understand the purpose of the scene, identify the flashback and things better. Just a thought about what I disliked in that scene. Maybe you find the answer between the lines.

Quoted from Jeremiah Johnson
I've read that you're not supposed to put proper names into the logline.  I actually have it now starting...

A pastor and Ex-CIA man, ...

I know about that rule with not using proper names for sure (though not sure concerning series, maybe research), in your case, however, I'd think about to give him a name as you did, regardless of the rule. He deserves. The logline and concept walks so much with protagonist.  

1. Pastor Rick Scott, Ex-CIA,...

2. A pastor and Ex-CIA man,...


At No. 1 You are very clear - only nouns - and his name in the middle breaks off so well this great premise, and gives a bigger irony to it that way IMO.

At No. 2 You'd need an article in front and then there's also the "man" behind CIA; or the "and" because

A pastor, EX-CIA       might be ?odd?  I don't know. I like the bit irony I explained in opposite to throwing it away like that, somehow ?cold?

Subjective. Difficult choice

Quoted from Jeremiah Johnson
Your positive comments were greatly appreciated and I"m having fun writing this thing!

I always think to say what works is the best feedback. That's where to build up on. If there were anything to rip apart, I would have done so and wouldn't leave you with major problems I see – there was none. It's a great script.

Quoted from Jeremiah Johnson
As soon as I finish the next episode, I'll shoot it your way.

Do that.






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Jeremiah Johnson
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I would like some help from my SS family.  It's an urgent request because I have someone looking at my pilot and liked it.  They want to see a SERIES BIBLE.  There are many opinions on what goes into the bible, but this guy is one of the PROs so I want to put something in front of him that will be close to what he's looking for.  On top of that, he wants it in the NEXT 48 HRS!!!

Some ideas would be great, but I'm starting on it already so if I get some ideas, I can deviate if I need to.  Anyone with any experience at this?

This is great news for me today because I also just found out my grandpa died today also.

Thanks in advance!


My Scripts:
SHORTS
Bed Bugs
I Got The Shaft
No Clowning Around
Fool's Gold
Five Days for Redemption

TELEVISION
Father, Forgive Me
Sheriff of Nowhere
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