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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Shattered Moderators: bert
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  Author    Shattered  (currently 1807 views)
Don
Posted: January 13th, 2009, 10:32pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Shattered by Martin Hooijmans (Martinus) - Short - Two men who meet each other in a prison cell discover that they have more in common than they'd like. 6 pages - pdf, format


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  January 15th, 2009, 8:49pm
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Martinus
Posted: January 14th, 2009, 5:11am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for posting it, Don I'm curious what you all think!


I will return reads as fast as possible!

My scripts:

Shattered - Short: Two men who meet each other in a prison cell find that they have more in common than they'd like...

Tough as Pins (work in progress)
Bulletbound (work in progress)
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dogglebe
Posted: January 14th, 2009, 9:23am Report to Moderator
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While the story itself was interesting, the way it was told left a lot to be desired.

Screenplays are a visual medium.  And most of your descriptions were the character's facial expressions.  Reading about the anger in someone's face gets dull real fast; you have to change this.  Tell the story through more flashbacks.  Show Gabe's upbringing in the church.

Your dialog was very on-the-nose.  You told us exactly what we needed to know exactly when we needed it.  People don't talk like this.  On page six, Gabe says:


Quoted Text
Theodore and I were both adopted by the Church as orphans, raised in secret to be assassins. The Church uses people like us to eliminate...threats. We have no heritage, no identity. We are children of God, merely existing to do God's bidding.


This kind of Charleston-Heston-Bible-Movie-talk makes people cringe nowadays.  People don't need to know everything at once.    And you don't have to tell it like it was an encyclopedia entry.

Don't number your scenes, or shots.  That's only done in shooting scripts for production purposes.

On page six, you wrote the following:


Quoted Text
EXT. CANTERBURY VILLAGE - 3 YEARS AGO

        STAN (V.O.)
   There I was, with a few pieces of
   silverware in my hands, caught
   red-handed by the guards, dragged
   away to this godforsaken place
   before the eyes of my poor
   mother...

Simultaneous with the V.O., Stan is being dragged through
the village by two guards, his face full of blood from
the hits he took. His mother is crying, while Stan himself
is screaming and moaning. The ARCHBISHOP can be seen
casting a cross.


You really should put the descriptions before the narrative.  Reading the V.O., without picturing it is pretty confusing.


Hope this helps.


Phil

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  January 14th, 2009, 1:27pm
I stand corrected
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sniper
Posted: January 14th, 2009, 9:35am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from dogglebe
You really should put the descriptions after the narrative.  Reading the V.O., without picturing it is pretty confusing.

I think Phil meant before the narrative.



Down in the hole / Jesus tries to crack a smile / Beneath another shovel load
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Martinus
Posted: January 14th, 2009, 10:09am Report to Moderator
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Hey Phil, thanks for the feedback! Very much appreciated They will definitely help me improve the script.

I was already a little worried about the extensiveness of the dialogue, I'll make sure to tighten it and make it less revealing, as well as add some extra flashbacks and character actions. Expect a new draft soon

Let me know when I can return the read!


I will return reads as fast as possible!

My scripts:

Shattered - Short: Two men who meet each other in a prison cell find that they have more in common than they'd like...

Tough as Pins (work in progress)
Bulletbound (work in progress)
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Toby_E
Posted: January 14th, 2009, 11:16am Report to Moderator
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Hey man,

The first thing I noticed when I started reading this script is that your descriptions are too chunky and detailed... As a rule of thumb, try to keep your descriptions under 4 lines, 4 lines being the absolute maximun. If you break up the descriptions, it makes the reading flow much smoother.

Also, another thing I noticed was that the dialogue didn't sound realistic... It sounds very awkward, and not at all like how real people speak. Okay, it might be a time-piece, but still, the dialogue doesn't ring true. Watch some time-piece films, set in the same time as your script, to get a feel of good dialogue. Also, as Phil said, it is very on the nose.

Also, Stan's mother's first speech should be (O.S.), as she hasn't yet been introduced, and yells from behind.

Why does Stan call his mother "mom"? It's an English script, right?

Like Phil said, I didn't have any real problems with the actual story. However, I had the exact same problems Phil had, so I'm not going to bother repeating them. Also, parentheticals(the brackets after character names) should be below the character's name, not beside it.

Another problem I had was that this script read very slowly, and dragged on, I think if you slimmed down the descriptions, and made them more crisper, it would flow a lot smoother. Also, some of the dialogue (especially Gabe's huge dialogue on page 6) needs to be trimmed down. Long pieces of dialogue are both boring to read, and watch.

Overall, you've got a pretty good idea here... Just work on the formatting issues, re-work the dialogue and descriptions, and it will be a pretty cool short, dude.

Toby.


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Angry Bear
Posted: January 14th, 2009, 1:52pm Report to Moderator
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Martinus,

just read this one. I agree 100% with the previous reviewers.

It is a very chunky and slow read and IMHO does not read as film. You're being way to descriptive which bogs down the pace. Get rid of all unnecessary words. The leaner the script the better.

The dialogue I found to be chunky as well. That needs trimming too.

The story itself is not bad, but still left me with some questions. I didn't really buy this whole "working for the church" part and them being assassins... It just didn't make sense to me. Even if they were assassins working for the church, why would Gabe think it was okay to kill Stan's mother. I understand Theodore was her husband, but that still didn't sit right with me. It was an unnecessary kill IMO.

When Stan is 60 and lies on the floor in the end, why does he utter the name Gabe?

Anyway, the very basic idea here is pretty good. I like how they all end up in prison together, but you need to do a little rewriting to make this more effective and maybe suspenseful too.

Hope that helps.  


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Martinus
Posted: January 14th, 2009, 2:38pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Pia and Toby,

Thanks for the tips! Glad you like the idea! I now see that I have approached the scriptwriting basics in the wrong manner. Looks like I have a lot of work to do, and I must say I'm looking forward to it! A script really becomes your darling once you have spent time on it (this was already the second draft)

Pia, to answer your questions concerning the content:

- Gabe kills Stan's mother because he is completely indoctrinated by the church. He doesn't really have a will of his own. I agree that this part could be strengthened, and I'll look for ways to move away from the church and assassin thing. Maybe I can find something more believable instead. A tale of revenge comes to mind as I'm writing this.
- Stan utters the name Gabe in the end because he has been utterly obsessed by that man since the day he destroyed Stan's heritage.

Toby: Yes, I'm trying to write the script in proper English. Sometimes the difference is still hard for me though, since English is not my native language. What is the proper English word for mom? Should it be mum?

Concerning the brackets, when it comes to O.S. and V.O., Movie Magic Screenwriter automatically places them behind the character names instead of beneath them. So I suppose everything except for O.S. and V.O. should be placed beneath the names?

Once again thanks for the feedback!


I will return reads as fast as possible!

My scripts:

Shattered - Short: Two men who meet each other in a prison cell find that they have more in common than they'd like...

Tough as Pins (work in progress)
Bulletbound (work in progress)
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Angry Bear
Posted: January 14th, 2009, 2:49pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Martinus
I now see that I have approached the scriptwriting basics in the wrong manner. Looks like I have a lot of work to do, and I must say I'm looking forward to it! A script really becomes your darling once you have spent time on it (this was already the second draft)


We all learn. My first one was so amazingly crazy and bad, I wouldn't show it to anyone nowadays.

You did well and will do even better in the future.  



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Martinus
Posted: January 16th, 2009, 1:09am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the repost, Don!

I took the critique you all gave me and drastically changed the script, skimming it down to six pages and venturing away from the church/assassin thing. Hopefully you think it' s an improvement!


I will return reads as fast as possible!

My scripts:

Shattered - Short: Two men who meet each other in a prison cell find that they have more in common than they'd like...

Tough as Pins (work in progress)
Bulletbound (work in progress)
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Toby_E
Posted: January 16th, 2009, 5:11am Report to Moderator
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Hey Martinus, just read this. The following are things I noticed whilst reading:

Page 1 - I don't think the colour of Stan's mother's hair needs to be in capitals...

Page 1 -I think the "10 Years Later" should be a Super, so that the audience knows. Having it in a slug won't show the audience anything mate.

Page 2 - Gabe's speech "..." Doesn't need to be in dialogue - Just write "A beat" as an action.

Page 3 - You do the "..." again... Just write "A beat" as an action line, dude.

Page 4 - I didn't like how Theodre just 'appeared' from the shadows. I think it would have been better if Gabe notices Theodre in the shadows, and is like to Stan- "Who's he?" And Stan replies something like- "His name's Theodre. He's here for the same reason you are- murder. But don't waste your time with him, he doesn't talk."

Page 6- Gabe's dialogue- "Oh no..." isn't strong enough. The two people in the prison are both related to someone you just admitted killing. Your dead meat. I'd definitely say something a lot stronger.

Okay man, this is much, much better. It flowed a lot smoother; descriptions were crisp and concise, and dialogue was more realistic. Only thing I might say about the dialogue is that it seemed a bit modern, for the time period this drama is set.

The twist at the end worked pretty well, but I've got a few things to say regarding it. If Gabe could work out that Stan's mother was married to Theodore, then how did Stan not know Theodore was his father? And the end, it was a bit of an anti-climax... Gabe has just killed Stan's mother, and Theodore's wife. One of them, probably Stan, (as I get the feeling Theodore might be on the road to reformation) would attack Gabe. So okay, you resolved the story-line to some extent, but after the good twist, the actual ending was a bit of a let down.

Oh yeah, another thing. When Gabe and John were looking at the body, I don't understand the "It's Lucy" line. Obviously the dead corpse of a man isn't Lucy, so is John implying that Lucy has also been murdered? Make it a bit more explicit mate.

But yeah, overall, this is much better. Keep this up, I really enjoyed this one. It flowed much better, and it was all round an entertaining little short. I will definitely keep an eye out for more of your work.

Cheers, Toby.


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Colkurtz8
Posted: January 16th, 2009, 12:43pm Report to Moderator
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Martinus

Really liked the opening page here. Very mysterious, & a strong element of a troubled youth assuming that this is his mother's full time profession. "The keep" though an odd setting is an interesting one & certainly attributes to the clandestine nature of the beginning, nice job.

Is there such a job as "Peacekeeper??

"then explodes towards the part of the forest John came from." - A funny way to describe sprinting, but I liked it.

"Merely a blank expression." - You need to specify whos reaction this is.

GABE (CONT'D)
(silent)
...Stan. -- How can he be (silent) yet say something? Change is to (lowers his voice), (hushed tone) (whispers) etc.


"Gabe pauses as he realizes something."

GABE (CONT'D)
...a name...
He turns to Stan, shocked.

GABE (CONT'D)
(silent)
...Stan.

Is this a nod to Eminem? An inane question I know, I'm just curious.

The twist is paced well & revealed nicely tho I had it figured when he said he had killed Theodore's wife. This is in part due to the logline which is a giveaway but I understand its practically unavoidable here.

Though it is mind blowing news to take I found the ending let down an otherwise strong piece.

Stan falling to his knees was a tad melodramatic as was the "no no no no" from Gabe.

Also there are some questions I have about the story itself.

1) When is this supposed to be set,? Are they actually in a Keep, or is that just a representation of a jail or confined space, as to link back to the opening memory of Stan.

You need to specify the time period unless its present day for the duration of the story. I'm taking his as being a few hundred years ago, the mention of a "peacekeeper", Theodore presumably being starved to death in prison (that wouldn't happen now...right?) stealing from the archbishop (I dunno seems like something that was done back then)

2) How come Stan doesn't recognize Theodore as his father?

3) Why isn't Theodore equally angry with Gabe as they are even at this point. Eye for an eye and all that.

I know he is worse for wear but we get nothing from him, not a word or even an expression to give us an idea how he is taking this unlikely meeting.

4) Surely the prison would have done a background check and not allowed at least Gabe & Theodore to be in the same cell!

The fact that the three of them land in there together just feels too implausible.(Unless this was set back in that time, where such an error may be possible)


I can't criticise the unlikeliness of the premise here as I have have been accused of the same thing with my own work  but even I thinks this is a bit too uncanny.

Otherwise this was an enjoyable read. I think you could get a greater story out of it. 6 pages isn't near enough to properly establish the plot & character connections here. Too many questions were left unanswered. Solid work all the same.

Cheers.

Col.






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Colkurtz8  -  January 17th, 2009, 7:26am
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TattooGigolo
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Quoted from Martinus

Concerning the brackets, when it comes to O.S. and V.O., Movie Magic Screenwriter automatically places them behind the character names instead of beneath them. So I suppose everything except for O.S. and V.O. should be placed beneath the names?


This is correct. (V.O.) and (O.S.) go beside the name, (CONT'D) does too, but I don't even bother to use it.
The other things like (mutters) etc go below. As far as I can tell you did that right. Don't go over board with them though; some of that should be left up to the actors and director.

There were a few parts where you had the ellipsis (...) as the only dialogue. I would not do that; instead put it into the descriptions. Perhaps something like: Gabe continues to stare into space. Or maybe, Gabe turns away from Stan. It all depends upon what you are trying to say. Is Gabe ignoring Stan on purpose because he is being a jerk? Is he distracted by the dire situation he is in? Is he shy? Intimidated? All that can be much more interesting than an ellipsis.  

The reveal at the end seemed a little shaky - convenient. I didn't like that Theodore was Stan's father (that is the case, right?). I think an interesting twist would have been if Theodore was just another one of Stan's Mother's "Clients" and Gabe mistook her for the wife. This would be even more devastating to Gabe since he killed the wrong woman. His revenge was never enacted.

Just my two cents.



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Xavier
Posted: January 16th, 2009, 3:13pm Report to Moderator
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An interesting script. It made sense, not that much of course, what I want to know is, if Stan didn't know that his mother was killed by Gabe, why was he talking to him?


Those who believe that they are the best, the most popular, the go to guy, those are usually the ones who need the most help.
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Martinus
Posted: January 17th, 2009, 7:33am Report to Moderator
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Hey all, thank you for the comments and the compliments! Again there are some great points in there that will help me improve the script

To answer your questions:

Toby:
- It's true that I didn't write the dialogue in the style of the time. A major reason for this is that I myself don't really like the old kind of speech in movies...it slows down the pace in my opinion.
- Stan never met his father. I agree I should have processed this in the script, and I'll be working on that!
- Stan doesn't attack Gabe right away because he's much too overwhelmed, and Gabe is as well. i wanted to give them both a moment to reflect. Bringing the violence back is something I'll explore. Theodore is not only physically worn out, but also psychically, making him unable to respond to anything with much emotion. Right now I'm thinking of adding a part in where Stan tells Gabe about the numerous beatings Theodore took from the guards, one beating being so severe that Theodore turned into a vegetable afterwards.
- The 'It's Lisa' line refers to Gabe's wife. John and Gabe are in the woods, investigating recent killings. John returns from another part of the forest, bearing the bad news. If this wasn't clear, I will try to clear it up some more in the script itself.

Col:
- It's not a reference to Eminem, at least not one that I'm consciously aware of. I now see the similarity though, because Eminem does the same thing in his song, right?
- I'll see if I can change the 'I killed his wife' line to something less revealing. Maybe something like 'I got my revenge.', and then only revealing near the end that he killed Theodore's wife.'
- It is set somewhere in the Dutch Golden Age (17th century). They are in the keep Stan saw as a child. it's being used as a prison. I'll add both the time and the location as a Super.
-  I'm thinking of changing Gabe's job as peacekeeper to town guard.
- Stan never knew his father. I'll think of a way to process this into the script.
- Theodore is like a vegetable. Again, I will look for a way to place this into the script.
- The reason they are all together in the same cell is a really sad coincidence for all of them. Because of the time the story is set in, no background checks were done.

TattooGigolo:
- Gabe is taking a moment to organize his thoughts and take in his new surroundings. I'll make sure to put that in instead of the "...".
- Yes, Theodore is the father Stan never knew.
- I really like that idea to change the twist! I'll be thinking about that, thanks!

Xavier:
- Stan and Gabe are cellmates, exchanging experiences is part of that from what I've seen and read about it in the past. Besides, Stan is a friendly guy who hasn't had anyone to talk to for quite a while (due to Theodore being like a vegetable). Naturally he'd like to speak to someone again.


Again thank you all for the comments. With these I'll be able to conjure up my final draft, and then start working on my next short I'll make sure to return the reads in the next couple of days!

- Martin


I will return reads as fast as possible!

My scripts:

Shattered - Short: Two men who meet each other in a prison cell find that they have more in common than they'd like...

Tough as Pins (work in progress)
Bulletbound (work in progress)
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