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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  To Be Moderators: bert
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  Author    To Be  (currently 6246 views)
Don
Posted: April 18th, 2014, 9:57am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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To Be by R. McManus - Short, Thriller - A woman seeks a drastic fix to a situation fast getting beyond her control. - pdf, format


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RayW
Posted: April 18th, 2014, 10:37am Report to Moderator
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Hi, Ren.

A nice opening sequence to a what's probably a feature length political thriller?

As a stand alone it's kinda draggy with a clueless ending.

But as an opening sequence to a feature it's all the right private/covert government espionage build up to introduce a grander scenario.

'State of Play' or 'The Town' sort of atmosphere.

It's good.



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Toby_E
Posted: April 18th, 2014, 1:07pm Report to Moderator
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Yeah, as Ray said, this had a solid opener... the whole mystery aspect of this kept me reading until the 'end'. Unfortunately, the 'end' left more questions that it answered for me, I'm afraid. As the end failed to successfully explain what was going on in the script, the script's biggest success so far - the whole mystery aspect - therefore because it's biggest weakness, as I was left completely scratching my head.

Writer; care to elaborate as to what was actually going on?

But holding my attention all the way to end of a short does take some skill, so congratulations on that.

Just wish it was concluded in a more satisfying manner!


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SteveClark
Posted: April 18th, 2014, 2:51pm Report to Moderator
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Ren,

Yeah, this is very good. It kept me reading all the way through, taut with a breezy pace. Very visual. I enjoyed the little nuances you threw in from time to time -- Edith scratches her nose, the squirrel, ducks quacking, plop plop of the breadcrumbs. Things like that allow me to hear your story as well as visualize it. Very nicely done.

You seem to have a lack of commas in your action passages. I don't know whether that's a conscious decision. It doesn't detract from the read at all, I think. Just thought I'd bring it up as that is perhaps your style.

Overall, I liked the writing a lot, and the story. However, yes, a muddy ending kinda left me clueless as to what exactly was going down. I checked back to the opening in hopes I'd find a clue with Samantha, but all I found was the dropped invoice, and that didnt really explain much.

Nicely done, though!

Steve


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rendevous
Posted: April 18th, 2014, 7:47pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the reads, lads. And thanks to Don for posting. Pretty quick too.

RayW You've no idea how difficult it was for me not to call you 'Rat'. I'm sure you'd agree it is time to move on from that lest it sticks.

I see you tend towards the blunt approach to critique.

'kinda draggy with a clueless ending'! After reading your own new opus I find this a tad harsh.

Good job you're not an oncologist...

Mr. Adams, you've got about a fortnight. Then it's all over. Three weeks tops. I wouldn't even bother with with the chemo. You're a goner for sure. Close the door on your way out.

Stop blabbling, man. Shit happens. Next!


Reading on I see you got more complimentary. A sort of reverse compliment shit sandwich.

This has been up here before, a few years ago when I was still fairly new around these parts. I did play around with it, several attempts at lengthening it into a feature. But the results weren't what I'd hoped for.

The Town and State of Play are good calls. I don't think they were around when I wrote this. Thay do have the tone and atmosphere I was hoping for.

I thought I'd put it back up to see what the curent bunch posting here thought. Personally I still think it's one of the best thing I've written.

More in a bit.

R


Out Of Character - updated


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rendevous
Posted: April 19th, 2014, 12:32am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Toby_E
Yeah, as Ray said, this had a solid opener... the whole mystery aspect of this kept me reading until the 'end'


I don't think I could get a more satisfying response. Maybe, if the quotes around 'end' weren't there...


Quoted from Toby_E
Unfortunately, the 'end' left more questions that it answered for me, I'm afraid. As the end failed to successfully explain what was going on in the script, the script's biggest success so far - the whole mystery aspect - therefore because it's biggest weakness, as I was left completely scratching my head.


Well. This is one way to look at it. I'll take the head scratching as you're thinking about it. Which is the idea.


Quoted from Toby_E
Writer; care to elaborate as to what was actually going on?


Erm, not particularly. When I first posted this I was asked the same thing. If I did post an explanation you probably wouldn't like it.

I'm going to make a fatal mistake and mention 2001. This isn't that. That's one of my favourite films and one I still rewatch on a regular basis. Not something my better half is too impressed by. But the sequel - 2010 - set out to answer all the questions posed in 2001. It flopped hugely. It was terrible. I fear if I explain what I think happened in To Be the situation would be reprised.


Quoted from Toby_E
But holding my attention all the way to end of a short does take some skill, so congratulations on that.

Just wish it was concluded in a more satisfying manner!


Many thanks. I'm still of the opinion that if it ended in a more clear cut way you would have liked it less.

R


Out Of Character - updated


New Used Car

Green

Right Back

The Deuce - OWC - now on STS

Other scripts here

Revision History (1 edits)
rendevous  -  April 19th, 2014, 12:44am
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Dustin
Posted: April 19th, 2014, 2:44am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Hi, Ren, I'll get onto your story in a minute... but there are a couple of things I noticed on your first page.

Code

She reaches out to pick up one of several invoices on the
bedside table.



It slows down the read a tad, detracts from the point a little, when you mention that she 'reaches out'. You could just write, she picks up one of several invoices from the bedside table. Reaching out goes without saying. Unless she does it with her teeth, or maybe a straw, her feet, or...

It's the sort of thing I do too, and something I usually clean up on a run-through for brevity.

Code

Joseph’s eyes scan his surroundings - deserted.


Same thing with the above. If you haven't described a type of scanning equipment, then it is safe to assume he is scanning with his eyes. Joseph scans his surroundings - deserted. I know what you're getting at though. You mention the eyes because that is where you are directing the shot. If you really want to direct the shot, then you'll need to get more descriptive. For example, Joseph keenly scans his surroundings - deserted. Inserting the word 'keenly' implies that a shot of the eyes should be utilised, IMO. There are other ways, obviously, and probably far better, it's just a quick example.


Ah, OK I didn't see that coming... she paid for the invoice with not only her own life but also the life of her father Paul. So, Samantha is Caroline's sister. Very powerful stuff. Nicely done and certainly something to make us think.


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Toby_E
Posted: April 19th, 2014, 6:55am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from rendevous

Many thanks. I'm still of the opinion that if it ended in a more clear cut way you would have liked it less.


You're probably right, as I'd then probably bash you for being too unsubtle This has kept me thinking though... in fact, I have come back to it a few times since I read it yesterday, which is always good.


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SteveClark
Posted: April 19th, 2014, 8:10am Report to Moderator
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Ah, the invoice!

Dustin, you keenly scanned that well!


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Dustin
Posted: April 19th, 2014, 11:13am Report to Moderator
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Without looking back through the script... is Samantha the sister or the daughter? I think it would be more powerful if the daughter... and isn't there a 20-year age gap? I think I may have had it wrong. Samantha is the daughter. So two generations die to save the daughter/granddaughter.


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rendevous
Posted: April 19th, 2014, 7:49pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from StevenClark
Yeah, this is very good. It kept me reading all the way through, taut with a breezy pace. Very visual.


Now, if only my relatives talked like this to me. Instead they always asking me 'what time do you call this?' and 'where is that money you owe me?' and 'did you take my car?'


Quoted from StevenClark
I enjoyed the little nuances you threw in from time to time -- Edith scratches her nose, the squirrel, ducks quacking, plop plop of the breadcrumbs. Things like that allow me to hear your story as well as visualize it. Very nicely done.


Thanks. Better than a beat or a pause. For some reason they also seem to add to the tension. Which I wasn't expecting. I took them out to see and it didn't work as well.


Quoted from StevenClark
You seem to have a lack of commas in your action passages. I don't know whether that's a conscious decision. It doesn't detract from the read at all, I think. Just thought I'd bring it up as that is perhaps your style.


It also seems to add tension. Short sentences. Have that effect. I like it. Although sometimes, it can get a bit on the nerves.

I've rewritten this thing a few times now. Got it to a point I'm pretty happy with.


Quoted from StevenClark
Overall, I liked the writing a lot, and the story. However, yes, a muddy ending kinda left me clueless as to what exactly was going down.


Naturally I'd be more inclined to the word 'ambiguous' rather than 'muddy'. As I was saying to Toby - I think you'd be less pleased than you suspect with a clear cut ending or a cut and dried explanation. Plus I think if it was filmed by someone good it would work well on screen. We live in hope.


Quoted from StevenClark
I checked back to the opening in hopes I'd find a clue with Samantha, but all I found was the dropped invoice, and that didnt really explain much.


All depends on how you look at it. Many thanks.

Back later.

R


Out Of Character - updated


New Used Car

Green

Right Back

The Deuce - OWC - now on STS

Other scripts here
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Guest
Posted: April 19th, 2014, 10:00pm Report to Moderator
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Mystery is good, it's what keeps a reader...reading.

BUT, this wasn't intriguing enough.  Not for me, sorry.

Lacks punch, IMO.

Some notes:

Why is FADE IN on the right instead of the left?  I'm not criticizing.
Just curious.  Every once in a blue moon I see someone has it on the right.
I'm so used to seeing it on the left.

Page 1 - She steps slowly toward the bed.
Try "she creeps toward the bed" instead or something.  "Slowly"...slows down the read.

Page 1 - "This is so and so" intro's for the characters.
You can trim a little bit of space by cutting out the "this is" and (paraphrasing)
"woman in bed" and "bearded man".  Sure it's not much trimming but every bit counts,
plus it just reads better.


--Steve
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Andy JW
Posted: April 20th, 2014, 5:36am Report to Moderator
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I thought the pacing was very good. Very fast and made me thinking 'what's going on?' but in a good way. I always wanted to know more.

I'd be lying if I said the ending left me 100% satisfied. That said, the reason I wasn't satisfied was simply because I wanted more. If that last silenced gun shot was followed by 'opening credits roll' I'd be thinking "I want to see that movie."

Good job, Rendevous.


Quoted from Guest
Mystery is good, it's what keeps a reader...reading.

Why is FADE IN on the right instead of the left?  I'm not criticizing.
Just curious.  Every once in a blue moon I see someone has it on the right.
I'm so used to seeing it on the left.

--Steve


To answer your question Steve, 'Fade In' is a transition just like 'Fade out' and 'Cut to'. Even though many (perhaps most) writers put it on the left I do believe that putting it on the right is technically correct.
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LC
Posted: April 20th, 2014, 5:57am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Andy JW
To answer your question Steve, 'Fade In' is a transition just like 'Fade out' and 'Cut to'. Even though many (perhaps most) writers put it on the left I do believe that putting it on the right is technically correct.


Yep, lots of us agree with you there Andy... as I'm sure Ren does. There was a whole thread/debate devoted to left or right, so we hopefully we won't be getting into that again... least not on this thread. A lot of pro scripts don't even bother with a FADE at all. It's become one of those 'trends.'.

As far as 'To Be' goes, I remember the original version. Good to see you're posting again Ren. This is/was some of your finest work - created quite a bit of debate from memory too re it's ending, and for some regarding 'what the hell it was all about'! We're in the business of writing scripts and film, so despite the somewhat less than satisfactory ending for some, this was never a problem for me.

In capable hands and with good actors this would film well and fit in nicely as part of a showreel for an up and comer (director/filmmaker) to display their skills I reckon.



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Interesting.
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