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so i read this one yesterday, and wanted to sit on it a bit. overall i loved the story, especially the ending. however the VO's weren't doing it for me. when picturing this as a film, i can't help but think that the viewer would be completely confused. there are so many voices, it might be hard to determine who was saying what. i would much rather see this entire story played out with a series of flashbacks (or played out chronologically).
furthermore, i saw the ending coming. so i might disguise Jesse's words and intentions a bit thicker.
Lastly, not sure if you meant "don't" or "doesn't" but as is, this read a little awkwardly for me.... JESSE (V.O.) The police doesn't have time for the quarrels between a couple of dumb kids. No one wants to help me. I can't take this anymore.
I like where you took this. My main concern is the predictability of the story. You should probably use some misdirection to get our attention away from it. You need to make us really believe that he is about to kill himself.
I don't have a problem with how dark it turns out, but if you want people to be more sympathetic after finding out Curt died, you could make it an accident. Jesse tried to defend himself and ended up killing Curt. That will make it so that Jesse didn't actually want to kill him so Curt will have more of the blame.
If you want an awesome example of misdirection, check out Sham's script "Cooked" from the unofficial OWC in December. If you had something like that in your script, the end would be a much bigger surprise.
P.S. you should check out the documentary BULLY. It's the reason I wrote my last OWC about bullying.
'Artist' is not a term you should use to refer to yourself. Let others, and your work, do it for you.
Very strong, Cindy. Very strong. When I was in school I had kids who followed me home and beat me up, so I know just what that is like. I was one of the smaller kids in class, not to mention one of the weakest and slowest and meekest. I kept to myself. So I was a prime target for the bullies. My own locker partner was one of those guys, and I caught him and another jerk stomping my science project one day in front of our locker. They destroyed it. I told no one, but my sister dragged it out of me after school when she saw I was upset. She made me go in and tell the assistant teacher. He told the teacher. The next day the teacher brought it up in front of the whole class. She relayed my story exactly as I told it to the assistant. Then she made me apologize to the boys for lying about them -- because she asked them and they said they didn't do it. That was the support I got. She asked them and they said they didn't do it, so I was automatically branded a liar. The boys were two of the more 'popular' in class, so there you go.
I hate to say it, but I see how a story like yours could wind up the way it did, and the poor boy who was driven to do what he did will pay. My son has a video tape of 'hard hitting football action' call NFL Crunch Course, and in it, an ex-player gives the advice "Always be the the one to hit, never the one to hit back. . .they're the one who always gets in trouble." It is so true.
Will, Thanks for taking time to give this one a read. I thought out the story and wrote it in about an hour. It still needs rewording and reworking. Others have mentioned that they saw the ending coming, too, so I'll have to work on that.
Hi alffy, I haven't seen you around in a while. Glad you are back. So you didn't see the ending coming? Hummm... I'm still going to do a polish on it. Thanks for the read.
cinemachado, I'm glad you liked where this script went. I really do have to get on that rewrite soon. I will definately check out Sham's script "Cooked". Thanks for giving this a read.
kingcooky555, Thanks for the read.
steven8, I'm sorry that you had to go through that. Too many kids have and still will because of teachers like that. I heard that there is a case pending where a boy's parents are sueing the school system because their minor son kept getting bullied and the school did nothing. They are saying that the school is responsible for his safety (which they are). If a minor child got injured at a baby sitter's house, the baby sitter would be responsible, so I believe the schools are responsible, too. I think if money is taken from the teacher's pockets (who watch and do nothing) as well as the school's money, then maybe we will see a change in how they deal with bullying.
Thanks for the read,
Award winning screenwriter Available screenplays TINA DARLING - 114 page Comedy ONLY OSCAR KNOWS - 99 page Horror A SONG IN MY HEART - 94 page Drama HALLOWEEN GAMES - 105 page Drama
Great job, didn't see the ending coming. I'm glad to see Bullying getting the attention it deserves recently, such as that new documentary. I think this has a really good message and should be filmed. Too many people avoid the subject when teens are going as far as killing themselves instead of facing such abuse.
You portrayed Jesse's nervous breakdown brilliantly. I could easily picture this one on the screen.
Loved the way it ended with the news reporter. You unveiled the harsh reality that many people couldn't care less about bullying, perfectly. It's always great reading a script that leaves you thinking 'WOW...'
I read through the entirety of this thread and I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with the general consensus; while I didn't dislike your script, my feelings on it are very much divided. I do have some praises reserved for it and as such, I will save them for the end of my review, so as to leave you on a high note.
The overall structure of the script is very problematic for me. I hate to sound like a broken record, given the countless responses concerning your use of V.O., but your script is utterly dependent on it and as such, I wouldn't say you overuse it so much as bombard us with it. There's a very haphazard feel to it as well. Jesse's personal thoughts mixed in with dialogue from other characters in the past. I'm not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, it could be an interesting and justifiable way to communicate Jesse's utter frustration and helplessness. On the other, it comes off as, like I said, haphazard and at worst, as if you tried to cram too much character background into too short a script using a device (V.O.) that works best in small doses.
It depends how you read it, I suppose, which is something that makes the script a little tricky. I, myself, didn't respond well to it, initially, and while I came to see its potential after several reads (especially with the right actor), it still doesn't quite sit right with me.
This is exacerbated by the fact that if you take the V.O. away, the script isn't particularly eventful until midway through (I say midway because Jesse's breakdown is an event). It's also peppered with Jesse talking to himself which I take great issue with in just about every script I read. It's as far from naturalistic as can be. I wouldn't say it was as forced or awkward as it could be here but it was not lost on me when you switched from V.O. to diegetic dialogue.
The general dialogue could be stronger as well. First and foremost, it seemed strange to me that Curt would go from insults like "geek" and "four-eyes" to "fag" and "pussy." They don't seem like they'd come from the same person and I'm not sure kids (even young kids) even use "geek" and "four-eyes" anymore, especially the former. For a character that attempts to hang his victim at the end, I'd keep his insults on the meaner side. I'd also like to hear more personal attacks from him. "Fag" and "pussy" seem too generic and don't contribute to the visceral quality of the script as much as they should.
Your reference to Ds and Es didn't work for me. I'm aware that somewhere out there, there's schools that give Es instead of (in addition to?) Fs. I'm not sure if this happened at some point or still goes on but it's strange and threw me off track briefly. Equally strange was Mom offering to make brownies after going to the police. I don't know what you were trying to convey with that line but it's just weird. I'd also lose Jesse looking back and calling to his dad after the daydream. Did he really think that actually just happened?
Other lines are hard to put my finger on as far as exactly what irks me. I'm not sure if the dialogue's weak or just arranged in an unconventional way but it didn't flow for some reason.
I suppose I'll make a transition into the good at this point. I was kind of shocked that Curt would actually try to hang Jesse upon entering the garage. I'm not sure a fifteen year old who, presumably lives a sheltered lifestyle in the suburbs, would react to the prospect of a victim hanging himself in quite the same manner. However considering that he was just beat up by said victim, I think you could sell it a little better. Indeed, he's got to be furious. The ending worked well for me, generally speaking. I think I'd have Curt try to strangle Jesse with the noose as opposed to actually trying to hang him (or did I miss something here?) and perhaps offer a more graceful transition into the news report. Initially, I didn't care for ending the script by adding so many characters and tying things together in such a simple way but there were things that came up that you probably wouldn't have been able to introduce otherwise (e.g. Jesse undergoing psychiatric evaluation).
As for Jesse killing Curt, I'm going to have to disagree with everyone who says this is against your cause. The complaints I've read seem to be moral issues more than anything but I don't think there could be a more moral way to end the script. There are kids out there who have been pushed into corners, possibly after failed attempts to stand up for themselves, and have seen no other options than to react violently, whether it be directed against the bullies or themselves. It's not right but... well, what other options are there? A person can only take so much.
I think the power of this script (and there is power) lies in the difficulty of coming to a consensus when it comes to bullying. It is a highly prevalent social issue which seems like it should have simple solutions but in reality doesn't at all. By having an ending that doesn't sit well with people, it encourages them to consider solutions or at least bring to their attention that the situation is utterly fucked. If there were a means by which bullying could be resolved that benefits everyone involved, no one would have to make films about it.
So yeah... Personally, I think this needs work but there is a great potential here that I think it worth working towards. I hope you continue to work on this in the future.