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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Shovel Moderators: bert
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  Author    Shovel  (currently 4227 views)
Don
Posted: May 11th, 2013, 11:42am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Shovel by Mark Lyons (rc1107) - Short - A young boy shovels almost all of the drives in his neighborhood.  But why isn't anybody home? 11 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  -  June 12th, 2015, 4:07pm
revised draft
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hawkeye
Posted: May 11th, 2013, 2:34pm Report to Moderator
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Damn, Mark, another great effort by you here.  Very melancholy but in a weird sense quite uplifting at the same time.  It's a great story of forgiveness and letting go.  I read through this twice and try as I may, could not find anything to quibble about from a writing standpoint, so good for you there.  I like that he bypassed Marianne's house the first time around and then came back later--nice touch there, especially with Marianne watching him out the window.

I guess one would ask how realistic is it that Raymond Dre would extend his kindness to her that quickly, but I was able to easily overlook that because the rest of the story worked so well.  Now if you could just get a big snowstorm up there so you can run and film this thing!  Excellent work here!


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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jwent6688
Posted: May 11th, 2013, 3:16pm Report to Moderator
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This was a fine effort, Mark. It was merose, but the message was heartfelt. Wish there were more forgiving people in the world nowadays, I just know that's not reality.

Seems like this world just sits around waiting for someone to say or do something stupid so they can all jump on a bandwagon and crucify them and whomever associated with them. Good stuff. Nothing to add this time.

James


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spesh2k
Posted: May 11th, 2013, 3:23pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark, nice story you got here. The writing was good as usual. And I really liked your protagonist, Raymond Dre. He was an easy kid to root for.

The story itself was very somber - the tone felt drab and gray to me at times, but that may have been due to the setting and the voice over. The snow covered driveways, an empty neighborhood, nobody home -- it's just Raymond Dre, alone and sad. But he shovels. And shovels some more.

I liked the fact that he wasn't completely forgiving right away - he doesn't shovel Marianne's driveway right away. But after getting all that money, he eventually does and even gives her some money to get by for a little bit.

I really felt for her character as well and her son even though they make a very brief appearance. It wasn't her or her son's fault what happened to his brother, yet they carry this guilt. And that guilt is alleviated by Raymond Dre's willingness to help them.

I couldn't really find anything wrong with the story. The voice over was well written, but it is a bit long I suppose. And when you reveal that it was her drunk husband who had killed his brother, it's done in a chunk of voice-over dialogue at the end, which felt a little bit forced.

Overall, good work.


MY FEATURE FILMS:

THE SUICIDE THEORY (79% Rotten Tomato Score, Available on Amazon Prime, Itunes, Google Play, Youtube, etc) - https://youtu.be/5eaXXOKJvtg

RAGE (coming late 2020/early 2021) - https://vimeo.com/402447622

Check out my latest horror script, HONEY MUSTARD - https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-horror/m-1585433547/
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rc1107
Posted: May 11th, 2013, 3:50pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Gary.

I appreciate the compliments!  I'm glad you liked it.

Actually, a snowstorm would be the least of my problems here in Ohio.  (At least in winter anyway.)  I have to get a decent camera up here first.  :-)

You do bring up a good point about a production negative, though, and having to shoot this in certain weather.  I knew it was going to be a problem from the beginning and tried writing a summer version, but 'Mow' just didn't have the same power and atmosphere I was going for.  :-)

Thanks again for taking a look, Gary!

- Mark


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rc1107
Posted: May 11th, 2013, 4:19pm Report to Moderator
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Hey James.

Finally!  I finally wrote a story you didn't have a great idea that I should've thought of in the first place to make it better!

:-)  You actually had me look up merose to see what it meant.  Then I realized you meant morose, and I still had to look it up because I still wasn't exactly sure what it meant.  :-)

Thanks for the read James.  I'm glad you liked it.

- Mark


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rc1107
Posted: May 11th, 2013, 5:33pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Michael.

Long time no talk!

Thanks for taking a read and letting know your thoughts.  It's much appreciated.


Quoted from spesh
The voice over was well written, but it is a bit long I suppose.


Yeah, I feared this might get the 'too much voiceover' tag.  I actually wrote this about 4 years ago as a prose short story.  I never turned it into a script because I knew I'd have to resort to voiceover as a device to tell the story.  There's just not a better way to get inside a character's head so quick, especially when he's alone for the first half of the script.

I never wrote it before because the whole story would have to be a voiceover, but finally, I found a way to tell it with only that beginning intro V.O. and was able to work in some character dialogue without it coming off as what I think of as too expositional.

I agree with you on those last lines of the story, though.  I've played with it and played with it quite a few times and just can't think of the PERFECT words to end this one.  I like it the way it is now, but I know it's missing something.

Thanks again for taking a read, Michael.  Glad you liked it.

- Mark


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jwent6688
Posted: May 11th, 2013, 7:09pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from rc1107
Hey James.
:-)  You actually had me look up merose to see what it meant.  Then I realized you meant morose, and I still had to look it up because I still wasn't exactly sure what it meant.  :-)


Tis why I have several editors for my screenplays. I know what I mean, but nobody else does...

James



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trickyb
Posted: May 11th, 2013, 7:13pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark,

Fantastic story you have written, Raymond is a little champ.

Michael


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I read this one earlier when it was first posted.

I didn't have much to say... still don't.

Just that it sends a very important message... forgiveness goes a long way.
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rc1107
Posted: May 12th, 2013, 7:05am Report to Moderator
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Hey Tricky and Reaper.

Thanks very much for taking a look and letting me know you guys liked it.

And I'm very happy to hear people say that the message is coming across.  No better compliment than that for a writer.  :-)

- Mark


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stevemiles
Posted: May 12th, 2013, 1:32pm Report to Moderator
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Mark,

I like how you worked the story around Raymond shoveling (or not shoveling) the driveways -- solid visual storytelling.

Itís minor, but I did think Raymondís dialogue on p.8 (regarding the drunk driver) stood out from what was otherwise some nicely handled dialogue.  That said, it's tricky getting all that backstory across to the audience in such a short space and for the most part this is seamless.

Heartfelt and well told.

Steve.


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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J.S.
Posted: May 13th, 2013, 1:18am Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark,

Returning the read. As a side note, before I started I noticed the genre's not specified which intrigues me.

Quick preface. My review may give you the impression like I'm splitting hairs but honestly I think its far from it. My entire intent is to help you with your writing. So I'm giving you my gut reaction to things I think just don't make the writing great. And I'm hoping that you as a writer would like to produce great writing.

Okay, notes and concluding thoughts are below:

"My mom and dad weren't arguing
about the money,"

Why "the" money? What specific money is he talking about here?

"My dad said we'd be fine, but it
sounded like he didn't know if he
was lying or not."

"we'd be fine" connotes lack of money?

"And then it started snowing."

I don't get the logical step between this and the previous line of dialogue.

"At least nobody was home. I didn't
have to work around any of the
rusted cars or beaten pick-ups...
They were all at church...
I suppose I should've been there,
too, but I was helping a lot more
by shoveling."

My gut feeling is that there's something wrong in the way you arranged this. As I'm reading, the first sentence confused me. So I had to stop and think. The second one makes the first make sense, okay. "They were all at church" I'm assuming he means the neighbors. And "helping" means financially, I guess. I really feel like you should be more explicit with this and not do the whole beating around the bush thing so much. Because to me it feels like this is a conscious effort you're making to do that. I keep questioning my own criticism on this point, that it might resort to taste, but no, I don't think that's it. I think that great writing is clear and you don't have to beat around the bush. Now, if you want to allude to something, that's a whole different story.

I know you don't mention Raymond's ethnicity but for some reason unknown to me I imagined him black. Just thought I'd tell you.

"Besides, I had already mourned.
I didn't have any tears left.
At least not right now."

Again, it's unclear what the first sentence means. The question "why" pops into my head. So for the second and third.

You do the same with the next line of dialogue.

"Why do funerals and caskets have to
cost so much anyways? Funerals
aren't like weddings. You don't
hire photographers to help you
remember them. And the casket just
gets buried anyway."

This was good.

"He walks up on the porch, leaves the shovel outside, and
kicks the snow off his boots."

I think you can find a more visual word than "kicks" in this case. Stomps. Heels.

Actually the more I think about it, you can remove this line altogether. It does nothing to further the story.

Next scene: "INT. CORNELL HOUSE - LATER" I find unnecessary.

"They each give Raymond a hug, and Valencia gives him a kiss
on the cheek."

I got a bit confused here. Did he stand up or sit up, and are they kneeling down and giving him a hug or not?

"They sit down on the couch and all three stare at their
reflections in the blank television screen."

This is just very strange. Also, if "they" refers to all three of them, I'm letting you know its inconsistent with the previous "They."

"Finally, a loud knock at the door jars them and Reginald
answers it."

It probably be better to indicate he stands up and goes to answer it. It's not like he's answering the phone.

"Reginald steps back to allow Gustafson in. He looks at
Raymond Dre still laying on the floor."

Okay, so I'm still somewhat confused as to how they hugged him. Also, I don't think laying is the right word to use here. (And it would be lying by the way). Resting is a bit more general, true, but I think its better because then you avoid confusion.

"Raymond stirs up and politely walks over to Gustafson."

I've never read "stirs up" before. I'm guessing you mean stands up or rises. And I think politely is unnecessary.

"Gustafson puts the bill in Raymond's hands for him."

"for him" sounds odd.

"Raymond Dre looks at his dad for permission."

"for permission" is something you'd write in prose so I would get rid of it.

"It's going to be hard living here."

Why does he say this?

The last line of dialogue was good with Raymond's caring personality. I like that you made him somewhat unbiased. I don't know why the other family needed money, but it's an unimportant detail anyway, I can run without it.



I have mixed feelings about this script. On one hand I think Raymond is an interesting character. He feels slightly underdeveloped in the beginning of the script, but I got a better sense of him later on. On the other hand I am turned off by the way you had him say something that I have no idea what it means and then a few lines later you sort of explained it. I don't know what else to say about his parents except that they're kind of strange and very quiet.

Okay, so if I had to pick a favorite part of the script I'd say it was the neighbors making their way to the house. I wish you hadn't said "several" though. I would have liked to see almost like a herd or something, in which case you may have a bigger effect on Raymond's portrayal as a character. Kid's got a big heart.

Just my thoughts.

Best,

-J.S.
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rc1107
Posted: May 14th, 2013, 6:17am Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve.

Thank you very much for the compliments, and thank you for checking this one out.

Yeah, I admit the dialogue you're referring to on Page 8 wasn't sitting well with a few people who have read this.  And reading it more and more, I'm starting not to like it myself, either.  I'll certainly have another look at it before this goes into production.

Thanks again, Steve.  I'm glad you liked it.

Do you have anything posted on SS that you'd like to take a look at?  If so, let me know and I'll give it a read.

- Mark


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rc1107
Posted: May 14th, 2013, 7:32am Report to Moderator
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Hey James, (J.S.)

Thank very much for taking a read and letting me know your thoughts and the detailed notes.


Quoted from J.S.
Why "the" money? What specific money is he talking about here?


The money it costs just to bury a loved one.  I set this up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood.  A ghetto, pretty much.  (And yeah, you're right, Raymond Dre and his family are black.)

The families in these neighborhoods just don't have the thousands of dollars it takes to bury someone, and often, their loved ones sit on ice for a month or so until the state finally chips in to help bury or cremate them.

I don't come right out and say it right away, it's only alluded to.  I didn't want to be too expositional and come right out and say they can't exactly afford the funeral.  I wanted to take a little bit of time with the set up and atmosphere.


Quoted from J.S.
"And then it started snowing."

I don't get the logical step between this and the previous line of dialogue.


When it snows in the hood, everyone gets their shovel and goes knocking at doors, trying to make some extra money.  Again, I didn't come right out and say that, but why would I?  It's evident enough that Raymond's using the snowstorm as a way to make money.


Quoted from J.S.
"He walks up on the porch, leaves the shovel outside, and
kicks the snow off his boots."


That whole part there, Raymond Dre going inside and getting the glass of water and getting his brother's basketball, is to set up the lonely atmosphere Raymond has to live with now.  Life without his brother.

I agree it is a bit bland, but I wanted to set up a very somber atmosphere.


Quoted from J.S.
"They sit down on the couch and all three stare at their
reflections in the blank television screen."

This is just very strange.


:-)  I actually love that visual, and I've used it quite frequently before when my characters are in an extreme states of sadness.  Strange, yes.  But it also touches me in a way I can't explain.


Quoted from J.S.
Also, I don't think laying is the right word to use here. (And it would be lying by the way)


I'm not taking the blame for that one!  That one is my 'editor' Libby's fault!  She knows she's my go-to person for lay and lie.  She pointed out two or three other lays and lies and never mentioned that one.  She'll be receiving a very pointed e-mail from me tonight.

:-)  Actually Libby is LC from the Simply Script boards.  She had a look at this.  She might have mentioned that one to me and I had just missed it in my final rewrite.  I'll admit I don't even pay attention, nor really care about lay or lie, (as it doesn't effect they way I read it), but I do change it when people bring it up.  I probably just missed that one from her notes.


Quoted from J.S.
On the other hand I am turned off by the way you had him say something that I have no idea what it means and then a few lines later you sort of explained it.


I can understand where you're coming from there.  I guess sometimes when I see a film, I like to not understand everything in the beginning, and I love to see how it all comes together.  I guess I work that into my writing, too.

And thank you very much for all your suggestions and your thoughts.  When I give this one a final 'go' before any production starts on it, I will be visiting it again and decide what to do to make it fire on 'all' cylinders.

Thanks again, James.

- Mark


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