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Don
Posted: May 3rd, 2015, 8:47am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Disassociation by Dustin Bowcott - Short, Drama - A family man learns why it's wrong to bully people on the internet. 8 pages - pdf, format


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oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Posted: May 3rd, 2015, 10:32am Report to Moderator
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Hi ya Dustin,

Great writing in this, I really liked the opening. The note was a good icebreaker to get things started.

The story relied more on its message than characters, which is okay, but in the context of a thriller it needed more setup to deliver on Sergei's character. It's hard to buy into his thirst for power when we've only seen him in a submissive role. You might be able to get his motives across without the setup. Just a suggestion -

You handled his wife's reaction quite well, but when she started turning against him, I thought to myself - it would be a good time to show us what makes Sergei tick. Why not use the same tactics he used on Vincent's son to free him from this situation? I say him because if Sergei did it for his family, the selfless act (if you call it that) wouldn't justify the end.

Overall, great writing with a promising story. The asides never came across bitter or self aware.

Johnny
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SteveClark
Posted: May 3rd, 2015, 2:32pm Report to Moderator
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Dustin,

Good story. Very dark in tone, I find this one of those stories a writer feels he needs to tell. No glossing over things, beating around the bush. Unapologetic.

But I wonder what was Sergei (married, right?) doing on the Internet in the first place, on a suicide prevention website, bullying people. Seems like it would make more sense if Sergei was a teenager. You hear about most of these kinds of things happening with younger people. Was there a rationale behind your choice?

Spoilers...

Blindfolding the kid was a good touch. As if there wasn't enough tension already. But I kinda knew either Sergei or Vincent was gonna get it in that room. Offing the kid would've just been so morbid. But still, it could have went anywhere. But the way you took it makes sense and works well. Good job, mate.

Steve


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DS
Posted: May 3rd, 2015, 3:55pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dustin, glad to see another short of yours up.

I think this would be a great short thriller on the screen. I was pretty sure with whose death this was going to end at about half of the short and figured that the scenario/ending would be a pretty repetitive twist, but that extra ending scene was a pleasant surprise and made it a whole lot deeper than an usual similar revenge short. Everything in between captured my attention throughout well. Good dialogue, good tension, good message. I liked it.
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TonyDionisio
Posted: May 3rd, 2015, 5:36pm Report to Moderator
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Well written,

As reading the exchange between hostage and prisoners I thought to myself what a great idea to have the hostage taker commit suicide in front of the prisoners to leave them with a lifetime of agony. And then there it was, you did it!

I think subliminally I arrived there because your hostage taker was not brutal enough. Not mean enough. I personally would have ended it at the reveal.Anyways, gj on the wrirting.

Tony
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DanC
Posted: May 3rd, 2015, 7:16pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Dustin,
    I'm reading your script right now.  I will post things as I see them.

Wow, that was really good.  It was exciting and well thought out.  I was at the edge of my seat.  Well done.  

I just wish one thing, I wish we knew more of the conversation he had with the suicidal kid, what made him say well done, you win.  The Well Done seems very interesting and we didn't get to know that.

Otherwise. great job!!

If you do a rewrite, I'd read it again
Dan


Please read my scripts:
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spesh2k
Posted: May 3rd, 2015, 10:57pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dustin,

I really enjoyed this one. I'm drawn to darker material and this was indeed dark. I thought the characters, particularly their arcs, were very strong and well thought out, especially Sergei's arc.

The writing was good overall, though two things caught my eye (and I'm just nitpicking):

Page 1, opening paragraph --

On the bed, eyes red from hours of crying, SERGEI GORELEV (25), writes a letter.

Could have been worded differently, read a bit off to me --

On the bed --

SERGEI GORELEV (25), eyes red from hours of crying, writes a letter.


Don't necessarily have to say On the bed with a double-dash then start a new paragraph. Maybe --

SERGEI GORELEV (25) sits at the edge of his bed, eyes red from hours of crying, and writes a letter.

The other thing that caught my eye was an aside on page 3:

Sergei looks at Michaela, ’Hey, it’s me, your lover, the man you’ve known for ten years’.

I don't mind asides much, but this seemed a bit long-winded. And though it provides the reader with information (I suppose they've been together for 10 years), it doesn't provide the viewing audience with any information because they never see this and they never learn that they've been together for that exact amount of time. We get that they're husband and wife. Just a simple:

Sergei looks at Michaela, desperation in his eyes -- "Honey, it's me". Or something like that. Again, I'm nitpicking.

Everything else was very strong. Just one suggestion, though. I'd begin the story with a VO so that the VO later doesn't seem like it's coming out of nowhere.

It may be considered redundant, but I feel that it would play strong on screen if you accompanied the letter with a V.O., as he was writing.

Also, is this V.O. a continuation of the letter from the beginning? If so, who exactly is he leaving the letter for? It kind of just sounds like he's providing the audience with information, how everything went down after Vincent killed himself in front of him.

Overall, nice work, Dustin.

-- Michael


THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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Dustin
Posted: May 4th, 2015, 3:13pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Hi ya Dustin,

The story relied more on its message than characters, which is okay, but in the context of a thriller it needed more setup to deliver on Sergei's character. It's hard to buy into his thirst for power when we've only seen him in a submissive role. You might be able to get his motives across without the setup. Just a suggestion -

You handled his wife's reaction quite well, but when she started turning against him, I thought to myself - it would be a good time to show us what makes Sergei tick. Why not use the same tactics he used on Vincent's son to free him from this situation? I say him because if Sergei did it for his family, the selfless act (if you call it that) wouldn't justify the end.

Overall, great writing with a promising story. The asides never came across bitter or self aware.

Johnny


Hi mate... yes, I think there is a perfect moment to show his bad side. I just have to tread carefully... because people's attitudes change depending on the environment. A guy that bullies everyone in one place could move to another place and be bullied themselves. People have many faces. In a submissive situation, with your family at threat, you're not going to want to antagonise. I'll think about it.

Thanks for the read mate.




Quoted from SteveClark
Dustin,

Good story. Very dark in tone, I find this one of those stories a writer feels he needs to tell. No glossing over things, beating around the bush. Unapologetic.

But I wonder what was Sergei (married, right?) doing on the Internet in the first place, on a suicide prevention website, bullying people. Seems like it would make more sense if Sergei was a teenager. You hear about most of these kinds of things happening with younger people. Was there a rationale behind your choice?


Yes, I wanted him to have a young family and I think you'd be surprised at the age of some trolls on the internet.


Quoted Text
Spoilers...

Blindfolding the kid was a good touch. As if there wasn't enough tension already. But I kinda knew either Sergei or Vincent was gonna get it in that room. Offing the kid would've just been so morbid. But still, it could have went anywhere. But the way you took it makes sense and works well. Good job, mate.

Steve


Yeah, I wanted to hint at somebody getting it... but who? Cheers for the read and review, mate.


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AnthonyCawood
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Another great short Dustin, dark and gritty, felt real.

There was one thing that took me out of it a little... Sergei Gorelev... I immeadiately thought we were in Russia, but then the other character names didn't necessarily seem consistent with that... not sure if him being Russian matters?

Anthony  


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
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RichardR
Posted: May 4th, 2015, 7:56pm Report to Moderator
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Dustin,

Comments can prove deadly. Read with a jaundiced eye.

First, you've done a good job, but comments should help make it better. Here we go.

Opening.  I am no expert on suicide notes, but I don't know why he needs to tell his name. They will find his body, and the landlord knows his name, so the introduction is for the audience and necessary?  I would buy a note addressed to miahaela or Darius or even 'to whom it may concern'.   This is a nit.  It's me.

You do a great job of juxtapositioning Vincent and Sergei.  We think Vincent is the antagonist when he's really the protagonist.  Wonderful. But take a look at the attributes of your combatants. You make Sergei weak and Vincent strong. For drama, reverse the power. The protagonist is the weaker. How?  Think of Sergei as a psychopath?  When confronted what does he do?  It's in the playbook.  Deny, deny deny.  He was never online.  The userid isn't his.  Make Vincent break down every issue.  Vincent grows. Sergei shrinks.   Give Vincent a worthy foe.

Of course, if you make Sergei stronger, then his suicide becomes more problematic.  

Vincent's suicide is well done, complete with blindfolding the boy. Good job. I'm not sure I buy michaela's response.  She doesn't know he's a psychopath ?  

Overall, this is good work if you can make things harder for you protagonist, you'll have a nice reversal.  The audience will wonder how they got fooled.

Best
Richard
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DanC
Posted: May 4th, 2015, 10:06pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RichardR
Dustin,

Comments can prove deadly. Read with a jaundiced eye.

First, you've done a good job, but comments should help make it better. Here we go.

Opening.  I am no expert on suicide notes, but I don't know why he needs to tell his name. They will find his body, and the landlord knows his name, so the introduction is for the audience and necessary?  I would buy a note addressed to miahaela or Darius or even 'to whom it may concern'.   This is a nit.  It's me.

You do a great job of juxtapositioning Vincent and Sergei.  We think Vincent is the antagonist when he's really the protagonist.  Wonderful. But take a look at the attributes of your combatants. You make Sergei weak and Vincent strong. For drama, reverse the power. The protagonist is the weaker. How?  Think of Sergei as a psychopath?  When confronted what does he do?  It's in the playbook.  Deny, deny deny.  He was never online.  The userid isn't his.  Make Vincent break down every issue.  Vincent grows. Sergei shrinks.   Give Vincent a worthy foe.

Of course, if you make Sergei stronger, then his suicide becomes more problematic.  

Vincent's suicide is well done, complete with blindfolding the boy. Good job. I'm not sure I buy michaela's response.  She doesn't know he's a psychopath ?  

Overall, this is good work if you can make things harder for you protagonist, you'll have a nice reversal.  The audience will wonder how they got fooled.

Best
Richard


This is some great advice.  I do think it's better if Vincent breaks down all of the avoidance that Sergei would have.

You had said how could the wife not know he's a psychopath?  I can tell you from experience that the family members are the last to know.  The guy always has a reason for being away to do his dastardly deeds.  I've seen it happen 3 times in Buffalo alone, and the wife was shellshocked all 3 times.  And I've seen it online a few times too.  

Once the shoe falls, the wife realizes all the times he was gone, but, until then, they are clueless.  Heck, even pedophile people find ways to hide it from the family until caught.


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!

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Dustin
Posted: May 7th, 2015, 1:59am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from DS
Hey Dustin, glad to see another short of yours up.

I think this would be a great short thriller on the screen. I was pretty sure with whose death this was going to end at about half of the short and figured that the scenario/ending would be a pretty repetitive twist, but that extra ending scene was a pleasant surprise and made it a whole lot deeper than an usual similar revenge short. Everything in between captured my attention throughout well. Good dialogue, good tension, good message. I liked it.


Yeah, I was a little worried about the repetition of the two suicides. In the original draft, both shot themselves in the head. The repetitiveness made me switch the final suicide up for a hanging.

Thanks for the read, mate.


Quoted from TonyDionisio
Well written,

As reading the exchange between hostage and prisoners I thought to myself what a great idea to have the hostage taker commit suicide in front of the prisoners to leave them with a lifetime of agony. And then there it was, you did it!

I think subliminally I arrived there because your hostage taker was not brutal enough. Not mean enough. I personally would have ended it at the reveal.Anyways, gj on the wrirting.

Tony



I considered leaving it at the reveal, but it wasn't obvious what Sergei would do, or, if he would even care, so I added the final scene. Thanks for the read and review mate.

This one is a popular short. There are three parties interested in making it.


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AnthonyCawood
Posted: May 7th, 2015, 2:14am Report to Moderator
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Congrats Dustin, fingers crossed!


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
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TonyDionisio
Posted: May 7th, 2015, 7:51am Report to Moderator
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Grats Dustin,

Can't wait to see the outcome of what someone can do with an intense scene such as this. I envision just a facial close up of a messed up dude, perhaps with blood splatter. The look could tell it all that he couldn't live with himself.
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DanC
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Dustin
   That's awesome news.  I know that I recommended it for STS with Janet.  It's that good.  Congrats bud.  You deserve it.  It's a fantastic script!


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!

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Dan
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LC
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Dustin, congrats on getting so much interest in this, and so fast!

SPOILERS FOLLOW:

Just get away from him

This is a motherly instinctive reaction. I think she'd say: Get away from him without the qualification of 'just - it's a demand.

Sergei looks at Michaela, ’Hey, it’s me, your lover, the man
you’ve known for ten years’.


At first I balked at this line and thought it was a bit much, and then I thought about it some more. I think it's actually quite effective and will give a quite nice layered directive to the actress playing the role. It also resonates further on when Sergei's true amoral nature is revealed through his extra curricular activities with 'the other woman'. Some will like it and I suspect some not, but I'd keep it in.

Darius stares into Vincent’s soul.
Hmm, maybe pushing it. I suppose I'd say something like 'a penetrating look' or equivalent - but you're the writer here, not me, and it's a small gripe and more in line with creative choice. The meaning is inherent and that's all that really matters in the end.

Then, what was your reply?

Just do what you
have to, then leave.


Bit of repetition with the 'thens'. I'd change one of them to an 'and'. Or possibly even leave out the 'then' in 'What was your reply.'

Vincent    raises the gun.
There's an extra unneeded space in there. p.7 midway.

(VO)
Have you ceased with the periods between the letters? I've just read a feature length with this all the way through and it annoyed me - suppose formatting is all about what we become accustomed to.

going sour after complications
I would have said 'gone sour' given it's something I gather is in the past.

The strongest part of the story for me is when the little boy is blindfolded and I had a distinct flashback to 'Funny Games'.

During that particular scene (yours, I mean) we as an audience really have no idea which way this is going to go and I think this is the strength of any good thriller narrative - suspense - you got me there. Will Sergei be shot, will it be Michaela, or will it be Darius. And though I should have, I didn't pick what did happen and it actually jolted me.

I loved Vincent kissing Darius' head btw - at face value it's a display of affection but it's also the kind of contradictory thing you see from someone unhinged and unpredictable - what he says, what he does, and how he acts may be completely different things. I have a suggestion along those same lines re your denouement.

Sergei's ultimate demise is shocking and ironic but that denouement did leave me feeling a bit underwhelmed. I would have loved to have seen Sergei deny more - he appears rather passive - at least up until the moment Vincent reveals he knows all about his life right down to his shameful affair with the other woman.

If there's one thing I've learned about people who are trolls, or people in general who are just liars and cheaters, it's that it's in their DNA to deny everything right to the end. I thought Sergei was just a little too quiet and accepting throughout and then when we get to his actual demise where he admits it's his fault and he hangs himself.

I'm not suggesting he not kill himself - he has to do that, but I do wonder if when played out on screen it might appear a bit predictable - on screen we'll get a distinct echo of what's to come with your opener cause here he is back in the same location and and when we come to that scene again at the end it might not be quite as shocking as it is when it's read.

But, if Sergei were to keep denying right to the end (particularly in that voice over) and correspondingly in that letter - saying it wasn't his fault i.e., the kid was fragile and weak, nobody can make someone else kill themselves etc. etc., and then we jump cut to the chair being kicked out from beneath him and the noose around his neck, I think that might be more shocking and cinematic.

Just as you did with Vincent pulling the gun it'd be nice if you toy with audience some more with this misdirect. And his ultimate action contradicts everything he's saying. After all the jury came back (his family, his friends - and he's been found guilty) doesn't mean he's going to go down easy though - why not make them live with the guilt. It's great when characters say one thing and then do something altogether different - that's real life.

Anyway, just my thoughts. Disregard what you will.

Great job, look forward to seeing this one.


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stebrown
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Hi Dustin,

I thought this was a very effective script and really well written. I don't have a lot to say about it because I think it works well as is.

***possible spoilers***

The way I understand Sergei's character, he does this quite often? If so, I think you can get this point across by him being shocked when he sees the profile on the laptop. Up til that point he's probably forgotten all about it and doesn't know why this is happening? I think this would also add more tension to the middle of the script as by Sergei's reaction to seeing the profile we're left wondering even more what he's done.

I don't have a problem with your descriptions and the 'hey, it's me...' line works well for me.

Good stuff.

***addition*** I just realised that the three of them are still tied up at the end. Unable to contact anyone. This is a pretty horrific thought, especially with a small child there. I'd maybe play on this a little and have a bit more in that room after the gun shot. What are the three of them doing or saying? Is it just silence? That's maybe something for the director to work with but I think it would be a waste of that situation to just cut away from it.

Ste


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DWLiu
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Dustin,

I'm not quite sure that the opening scene (letter-writing) and the closing scene (moving in to a new apartment) are necessary, especially for a short. Going to the kidnapping scene directly might be more gripping.

Given that Vincent doesn't want to hurt them but just being extremely angry, it might be a bit out of the character for him to tying up Sergei's wife and son in the same room. Also, from a production stand of point, you might be able accomplish the same with just Seigei's family photos present, and save the room for more intense exchange between Vincent and Seigei.

David


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Colkurtz8
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Dustin

“Sergei looks at Michaela, ’Hey, it’s me, your lover, the man
you’ve known for ten years’.”

- Wow, that's a helluva specific and nuanced "look"!

“Darius stares into Vincent’s soul.”

- Eek, soul searching stares are always the most disconcerting but jokes aside, shouldn't it be the other way around:

"Vincent stares in Darius's soul"

VINCENT
You taunted them.

- Ok, so it’s more of cyber bullying thing. Topical yes but I thought, knowing your propensity for darkness that the website was some kind of twisted, snuff thing, offering people a chance to, shall we say, euthanize these suicidal people as per their own request. Like the polar opposite of a Make-a-Wish foundation. And yes, that assumption probably says more about me than anything else.

Also, I find it curious that you would tackle this subject in this manner since I remember you being unsympathetic towards suicidal people (and those who actually follow through with it) before on some thread. That is your point of view of course and I'm not here to wag my finger or challenge you on it. I just found it interesting that you would take such a sympathetic approach here.

VINCENT
I understand your reasons. The
shitty job. Overbearing boss... the
love affair with a work colleague
going sour after complications with
an abortion.

- I dunno, most people hate their jobs and respective bosses, nothing particularly trying there. Sergei has a wife and kid (or should I say "had") and was tapping a work colleague, things weren’t so bad!

“Michaela cries out in despair, looks to Darius, empathising
instantly with what it would be like to lose a son.”

- I wonder do we need this line telling us all that?  Have more faith in your writing, although I understand your desire to convey exactly what Michaela’s look implies. Perhaps "empathizing" would be enough. The rest is too much in my opinion.

VINCENT
You’re disassociated. You believe
you’re sorry. But that is only
because I am here. Tangible.

VINCENT
He was never very strong, always
took things to heart. Quick to
suffer.

VINCENT
You didn’t care... you still don’t.
Your tears and pleas for
understanding sicken me.

- Vincent's dialogue is a little over ripe at times which I recognize and understand because I am guilty of it too. It’s very hard to avoid especially when you have a vengeful/remorseful/crazed character like this in control of a scene and is been given the license to let it all out.

Overall, this was a solid script, it packs a punch and would be easily produced. I liked the circle of violence/suicide element, how one spawns another. You could speculate that down the line Darius may wrestle with similar emotions as a direct result of this harrowing experience.

However, I feel the way in which you structured the piece is problematic and negates a lot of the potential tension. Thankfully, it can be easily fixed.

What I mean is the opening scene shows Sergei alone, crying and writing a note. Thus, straight away we know this guy is at the end of his tether. Crying, lonely men writing notes is never a good thing As a result of this prologue I knew that Sergei was going to survive the ordeal, at least in a physical sense, and since Vincent assures Darius early on that he won’t get hurt and there is no real reason for him to shoot Michaela, most readers will deduce the outcome by process of elimination that Vincent is going to top himself long before the act is carried out.

Once we know that, we can assume Michaela and Darius will leave Sergei which takes us up to the prologue so we can witness the next link in this tragic chain. So step-by step, I anticipated events before they happened.

This is a pity because the script is written with an assured hand, very economical and purposeful. I just wish the key plot points weren’t so signposted which is primarily due to that unnecessarily explicit prologue. I appreciate you want to prime the main sequence of the script with some kind of introduction that can be called back to at the end but right now I feel you give us too much.

Col.



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Colkurtz8  -  May 20th, 2015, 12:56pm
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Iancou
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Dustin,

Overall, I enjoyed how you set up the story and the way it played out. It is a strong one and could be easily filmed on a low budget, which is definitely helpful. I hope it gets picked up.

From a technical perspective, is this a shooting script? I saw the "roll credits." I also saw several "fade ins" and "fade out." Normally, fade ins are only at the start and fade out at the beginning. Recommend the first "fade out" be "return to scene" and not put in the "roll credits." The second and third "fade ins" can probably be removed. The second would be covered by the "cut to:" and the third is covered by the subsequent slug.


Quoted Text
Darius has a panic attack, urine spreads from the crotch of
his trousers.


A panic attack is understood through a visual. Suggest a slight change along the lines of "Darius quivers, a wet spot spreads from the crotch of his trousers."


Quoted Text
Michaela stares at Sergei, she hates him already.


Staring can convey a range of emotional states. What particular looks can the actor give/make to convey this state. Perhaps:

"Michaela glares at Sergei, a mix of loathing, anger, and hatred."


Quoted Text
Michaela gasps, tears form in her eyes as she looks at the man she loves, desperately wanting him to deny the accusations.


She desperately wants Sergei to deny Vincent's claims, but how does she show it? It this purposely left open to the director and actress to portray?


Quoted Text
Michaela cries out in despair, looks to Darius, empathising instantly with what it would be like to lose a son.


The part "empathising instantly with what it would be like to lose a son" is unnecessary and not something you can portray visually. When she displays emotion as what Vincent said, the audience can come to its own conclusions as to why she is reacting. I believe the only other way would be to have Micheala say something. What came to mind was something like:
MICHAELA
(to Sergei)
You son-of-a-bitch. What if someone had done that to Darius? How would that feel, you prick?


Quoted Text
Michaela cries.
Sergei wants to offer her comfort but can’t.


How does he physically show that he wants to comfort her? He is tied up, so what are his facial expressions? His posture? Does he struggle in his constraints? Tries to move in her direction?

Final minor point, I believe "voice over" is written as (V.O.).

I hope to see this filmed. I think you have a strong one here, Dustin.

Best of luck.

Ian







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eldave1
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Enjoyed this. It was  really well written and gripping (a page turner).  The only hiccup for me was the motivation for Sergei to be on the suicide site. I know that you addressed it here:


Quoted Text
VINCENT
I understand your reasons. The
shitty job. Overbearing boss... the
love affair with a work colleague
going sour after complications with
an abortion.


But it just didn't directly connect for me. Maybe just a line somewhere (e.g., you thought preying on the weak would give you strength again - or you never forgave your mother for her suicide) - or something. Long winded way of saying that the issues listed (job, bad boss, affair) are relatively common life conditions. I guess I was looking for something less common that caused Sergei's  dysfunctional behavior).

Anyway - this was a great effort. I could see it on film.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Dustin
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Quoted from AnthonyCawood
Another great short Dustin, dark and gritty, felt real.

There was one thing that took me out of it a little... Sergei Gorelev... I immeadiately thought we were in Russia, but then the other character names didn't necessarily seem consistent with that... not sure if him being Russian matters?

Anthony  


No, the Russian thing is just that I look for not oft used names. The people could be literally from anywhere. I made the ages like that based on people I think could play the parts.

Thanks for the read, mate.


Quoted from RichardR
Dustin,

Comments can prove deadly. Read with a jaundiced eye.

First, you've done a good job, but comments should help make it better. Here we go.

Opening.  I am no expert on suicide notes, but I don't know why he needs to tell his name. They will find his body, and the landlord knows his name, so the introduction is for the audience and necessary?  I would buy a note addressed to miahaela or Darius or even 'to whom it may concern'.   This is a nit.  It's me.


I suppose I wanted to personalise it, to make things easy for the police. I really have no idea how a suicide note would be started. Food for thought. I'll mull that one over.


Quoted Text
You do a great job of juxtapositioning Vincent and Sergei.  We think Vincent is the antagonist when he's really the protagonist.  Wonderful. But take a look at the attributes of your combatants. You make Sergei weak and Vincent strong. For drama, reverse the power. The protagonist is the weaker. How?  Think of Sergei as a psychopath?  When confronted what does he do?  It's in the playbook.  Deny, deny deny.  He was never online.  The userid isn't his.  Make Vincent break down every issue.  Vincent grows. Sergei shrinks.   Give Vincent a worthy foe.


Nice idea.


Quoted Text
Of course, if you make Sergei stronger, then his suicide becomes more problematic.  


Well that's Vincent's point. He expects Sergei to not really care. Just to pretend to to get out of the situation. I think your point is valid and stands well with the plot.


Quoted Text
Vincent's suicide is well done, complete with blindfolding the boy. Good job. I'm not sure I buy michaela's response.  She doesn't know he's a psychopath ?


He's not actually a psychopath. That was a comparison you made.


Quoted Text
Overall, this is good work if you can make things harder for you protagonist, you'll have a nice reversal.  The audience will wonder how they got fooled.

Best
Richard


Thanks. You've definitely helped out. Thanks a lot.


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Dustin
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Almost missed this one. That wouldn't have looked good. Good to see you posting here again.


Quoted from spesh2k
Hey Dustin,

I really enjoyed this one. I'm drawn to darker material and this was indeed dark. I thought the characters, particularly their arcs, were very strong and well thought out, especially Sergei's arc.

The writing was good overall, though two things caught my eye (and I'm just nitpicking):

Page 1, opening paragraph --

On the bed, eyes red from hours of crying, SERGEI GORELEV (25), writes a letter.

Could have been worded differently, read a bit off to me --

On the bed --

SERGEI GORELEV (25), eyes red from hours of crying, writes a letter.


Don't necessarily have to say On the bed with a double-dash then start a new paragraph. Maybe --

SERGEI GORELEV (25) sits at the edge of his bed, eyes red from hours of crying, and writes a letter.


I honestly prefer mine.


Quoted Text
The other thing that caught my eye was an aside on page 3:

Sergei looks at Michaela, ’Hey, it’s me, your lover, the man you’ve known for ten years’.

I don't mind asides much, but this seemed a bit long-winded. And though it provides the reader with information (I suppose they've been together for 10 years), it doesn't provide the viewing audience with any information because they never see this and they never learn that they've been together for that exact amount of time. We get that they're husband and wife. Just a simple:

Sergei looks at Michaela, desperation in his eyes -- "Honey, it's me". Or something like that. Again, I'm nitpicking.


I feel this is something we just have to trust our actors with. It is their job to convey what we want them to say with either looks or tone. I'm not an actor. I could write... Jules looks to Alena and scrunches his face.

Or I can just tell the actor what I want and trust them to convey it in the right way.


Quoted Text
Everything else was very strong. Just one suggestion, though. I'd begin the story with a VO so that the VO later doesn't seem like it's coming out of nowhere.

It may be considered redundant, but I feel that it would play strong on screen if you accompanied the letter with a V.O., as he was writing.

Also, is this V.O. a continuation of the letter from the beginning? If so, who exactly is he leaving the letter for? It kind of just sounds like he's providing the audience with information, how everything went down after Vincent killed himself in front of him.

Overall, nice work, Dustin.

-- Michael


Something to think about. What I like about the opening is that the timeline isn't actually known. Although everything is signposted, I don't believe it becomes obvious just how clearly everything was signposted until the end. Definitely something to think about though mate, cheers.



Quoted from LC
Dustin, congrats on getting so much interest in this, and so fast!

SPOILERS FOLLOW:

Just get away from him

This is a motherly instinctive reaction. I think she'd say: Get away from him without the qualification of 'just - it's a demand.


Yes. You're correct. Thanks. I have a habit with the word 'just'. I tend to edit it out a lot in my writing.


Quoted Text
Sergei looks at Michaela, ’Hey, it’s me, your lover, the man
you’ve known for ten years’.


At first I balked at this line and thought it was a bit much, and then I thought about it some more. I think it's actually quite effective and will give a quite nice layered directive to the actress playing the role. It also resonates further on when Sergei's true amoral nature is revealed through his extra curricular activities with 'the other woman'. Some will like it and I suspect some not, but I'd keep it in.


Yeah, again this comes down to actor direction. This is my story, and if I were writing a novel I'd describe exactly what each character did, and this is the same thing. I don't know how the actor could convey that look, that's their job.


Quoted Text
Darius stares into Vincent’s soul.
Hmm, maybe pushing it. I suppose I'd say something like 'a penetrating look' or equivalent - but you're the writer here, not me, and it's a small gripe and more in line with creative choice. The meaning is inherent and that's all that really matters in the end.


I like it.


Quoted Text
Then, what was your reply?

Just do what you
have to, then leave.


Bit of repetition with the 'thens'. I'd change one of them to an 'and'. Or possibly even leave out the 'then' in 'What was your reply.'


I think there is a different inflection on each then which nullifies the 'rule', but, I suppose, changing the first one for 'and' is a good move. Thanks.


Quoted Text
Vincent    raises the gun.
There's an extra unneeded space in there. p.7 midway.


Thanks.


Quoted Text
(VO)
Have you ceased with the periods between the letters? I've just read a feature length with this all the way through and it annoyed me - suppose formatting is all about what we become accustomed to.


I've never really used them. I have on occasion, but I tend to not use them. It's very longwinded throwing in all those full stops... especially when commas and other types of punctuation needs to be added afterwards. Far easier to not use them and probably more grammatically correct.


Quoted Text
going sour after complications
I would have said 'gone sour' given it's something I gather is in the past.


I'll have to look into that some more.


Quoted Text
The strongest part of the story for me is when the little boy is blindfolded and I had a distinct flashback to 'Funny Games'.

During that particular scene (yours, I mean) we as an audience really have no idea which way this is going to go and I think this is the strength of any good thriller narrative - suspense - you got me there. Will Sergei be shot, will it be Michaela, or will it be Darius. And though I should have, I didn't pick what did happen and it actually jolted me.


Thanks, I've never seen Funny Games, but wanted the viewer to think exactly what you did, although his real intention is simply to spare him the sight of what is about to happen.


Quoted Text
I loved Vincent kissing Darius' head btw - at face value it's a display of affection but it's also the kind of contradictory thing you see from someone unhinged and unpredictable - what he says, what he does, and how he acts may be completely different things. I have a suggestion along those same lines re your denouement.

Sergei's ultimate demise is shocking and ironic but that denouement did leave me feeling a bit underwhelmed. I would have loved to have seen Sergei deny more - he appears rather passive - at least up until the moment Vincent reveals he knows all about his life right down to his shameful affair with the other woman.


Yeah, I agree.


Quoted Text
If there's one thing I've learned about people who are trolls, or people in general who are just liars and cheaters, it's that it's in their DNA to deny everything right to the end. I thought Sergei was just a little too quiet and accepting throughout and then when we get to his actual demise where he admits it's his fault and he hangs himself.

I'm not suggesting he not kill himself - he has to do that, but I do wonder if when played out on screen it might appear a bit predictable - on screen we'll get a distinct echo of what's to come with your opener cause here he is back in the same location and and when we come to that scene again at the end it might not be quite as shocking as it is when it's read.

But, if Sergei were to keep denying right to the end (particularly in that voice over) and correspondingly in that letter - saying it wasn't his fault i.e., the kid was fragile and weak, nobody can make someone else kill themselves etc. etc., and then we jump cut to the chair being kicked out from beneath him and the noose around his neck, I think that might be more shocking and cinematic.

Just as you did with Vincent pulling the gun it'd be nice if you toy with audience some more with this misdirect. And his ultimate action contradicts everything he's saying. After all the jury came back (his family, his friends - and he's been found guilty) doesn't mean he's going to go down easy though - why not make them live with the guilt. It's great when characters say one thing and then do something altogether different - that's real life.


Ooh... I really like that. That is just brilliant. That's poetic shit, thank you very much.

Thanks for the read and review.


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Dustin
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Quoted from stebrown
Hi Dustin,

I thought this was a very effective script and really well written. I don't have a lot to say about it because I think it works well as is.

***possible spoilers***

The way I understand Sergei's character, he does this quite often? If so, I think you can get this point across by him being shocked when he sees the profile on the laptop. Up til that point he's probably forgotten all about it and doesn't know why this is happening? I think this would also add more tension to the middle of the script as by Sergei's reaction to seeing the profile we're left wondering even more what he's done.

I don't have a problem with your descriptions and the 'hey, it's me...' line works well for me.

Good stuff.

***addition*** I just realised that the three of them are still tied up at the end. Unable to contact anyone. This is a pretty horrific thought, especially with a small child there. I'd maybe play on this a little and have a bit more in that room after the gun shot. What are the three of them doing or saying? Is it just silence? That's maybe something for the director to work with but I think it would be a waste of that situation to just cut away from it.

Ste


Both very interesting points that I'll come back to. I'm still thinking about them. I definitely agree that Sergei's reaction should be changed up. The silence, or 'what's said afterward' thing is very interesting.


Quoted from DWLiu
Dustin,

I'm not quite sure that the opening scene (letter-writing) and the closing scene (moving in to a new apartment) are necessary, especially for a short. Going to the kidnapping scene directly might be more gripping.

Given that Vincent doesn't want to hurt them but just being extremely angry, it might be a bit out of the character for him to tying up Sergei's wife and son in the same room. Also, from a production stand of point, you might be able accomplish the same with just Seigei's family photos present, and save the room for more intense exchange between Vincent and Seigei.

David


Re the tying up... he wanted to show Sergei how it felt to be totally out of control and unable to protect the ones he loves. Just like his own son.

Food for thought though mate, thanks for the read. Much appreciated. I considered long and hard (still am) not adding the bedsit and letter writing stuff, but I like it too much to get rid.


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Max
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I liked this piece a lot, on the plus side it's something that can be filmed.

The only problem I had with it and it's nothing which you probably didn't think about already, I think it should've ended after he killed himself.

The voice-over wasn't necessary IMO, all I know is that when I read the "he inserts gun into his own mouth" bit I was like... whoah... and if it would've ended on that note it would've hit harder.

Apart from that, I enjoyed it very much and I breezed through it.

Great work IMO.

You don't need a goofball like me giving you any advice anyway, you've got a nice gig.
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Dustin
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Quoted from Colkurtz8
Dustin
“Darius stares into Vincent’s soul.”

- Eek, soul searching stares are always the most disconcerting but jokes aside, shouldn't it be the other way around:

"Vincent stares in Darius's soul"


I prefer it my way because it is Darius that wants to see Vincent's intention. Darius' intentions are pretty obvious, he just wants to survive.



Quoted Text
Also, I find it curious that you would tackle this subject in this manner since I remember you being unsympathetic towards suicidal people (and those who actually follow through with it) before on some thread. That is your point of view of course and I'm not hear to wag my finger or challenge you on it. I just found it interesting that you would take such a sympathetic approach here.


Well spotted. I am unsympathetic to most suicides but that doesn't make for the best story. I don't have any problems pushing my personal beliefs to the side if it makes for a better story.


Quoted Text
VINCENT
I understand your reasons. The
shitty job. Overbearing boss... the
love affair with a work colleague
going sour after complications with
an abortion.

- I dunno, most people hate their jobs and respective bosses, nothing particularly trying there. Sergei has a wife and kid (or should I say "had") and was tapping a work colleague, things weren’t so bad!


Yeah, I need to work on the reasons.


Quoted Text
“Michaela cries out in despair, looks to Darius, empathising
instantly with what it would be like to lose a son.”

- I wonder do we need this line telling us all that?  Have more faith in your writing, although I understand your desire to convey exactly what Michaela’s look implies. Perhaps "empathizing" would be enough. The rest is too much in my opinion.


We differ here.


Quoted Text
VINCENT
You’re disassociated. You believe
you’re sorry. But that is only
because I am here. Tangible.

VINCENT
He was never very strong, always
took things to heart. Quick to
suffer.

VINCENT
You didn’t care... you still don’t.
Your tears and pleas for
understanding sicken me.

- Vincent's dialogue is a little over ripe at times which I recognize and understand because I am guilty of it too. It’s very hard to avoid especially when you have a vengeful/remorseful/crazed character like this in control of a scene and is been given the license to let it all out.


Getting the dialogue right with this is difficult. I've rewritten it quite a few times. I think it comes down to balance.


Quoted Text
Overall, this was a solid script, it packs a punch and would be easily produced. I liked the circle of violence/suicide element, how one spawns another. You could speculate that down the line Darius may wrestle with similar emotions as a direct result of this harrowing experience.


Yes, I did consider Darius' future, which is why the blindfold. I understood that it would serve a dual purpose. Darius' would not have a visual memory of a man killing himself, but would be left with the education. It also, of course added to the suspense of the moment.


Quoted Text
What I mean is the opening scene shows Sergei alone, crying and writing a note. Thus, straight away we know this guy is at the end of his tether. Crying, lonely men writing notes is never a good thing As a result of this prologue I knew that Sergei was going to survive the ordeal, at least in a physical sense, and since Vincent assures Darius early on that he won’t get hurt and there is no real reason for him to shoot Michaela, most readers will deduce the outcome by process of elimination that Vincent is going to top himself long before the act is carried out.


They may deduce it as a possibility, but they certainly cannot be sure until the end. Vincent may well be about to kill Darius. A man with a gun saying he isn't going to hurt you doesn't mean that he isn't. I can't agree that most readers will deduce the outcome, merely the possibility of one, which is apparent in all stories anyway.



Thanks for the read and lengthy review. On the points I don't agree on now, it doesn't mean I will feel the same five minutes from now. So plenty of food for thought. Appreciated.


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Colkurtz8
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Dustin


Quoted from Dustin
I prefer it my way because it is Darius that wants to see Vincent's intention. Darius' intentions are pretty obvious, he just wants to survive.


- Ok, it’s just that Darius is 5 years old. I mean, how penetrating a stare can one muster at that age?

Quoted from Dustin
Well spotted. I am unsympathetic to most suicides but that doesn't make for the best story. I don't have any problems pushing my personal beliefs to the side if it makes for a better story.


- Fair enough. Although, I think there are stories to be told about those who think a “good clip around the ears" is all a suicide case requires to snap them out of their funk.


Quoted from Dustin
Yeah, I need to work on the reasons.


- I was being a tad facetious in regards his cheating but yeah Sergei just seems to embody the standard working class existence which I guess is just cause to go projecting your frustrations and self loathing onto others. In a way, it’s almost more indicative and realistic that Sergei doesn't have any extreme hang-up or conventional motivation, he's just a normal bloke pissed off with his lot.


Quoted from Dustin
They may deduce it as a possibility, but they certainly cannot be sure until the end. Vincent may well be about to kill Darius. A man with a gun saying he isn't going to hurt you doesn't mean that he isn't. I can't agree that most readers will deduce the outcome, merely the possibility of one, which is apparent in all stories anyway.


- True, it doesn't entirely negate all but one possibility but why reduce those potential outcomes with, what I deem is, an overly explicit prologue? By keeping it as elliptical and abstract as possible you won't give anything away, yet those opening images (and perhaps dialogue) could be conveyed in such a way that only make sense in the epilogue when you call back to them. At least by then we will have moved through the central sequence so only understanding the significance of the prologue then would be more satisfying.

Anyway, it’s just a suggestion.

Col.


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Dustin
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OK, you guys win. I got rid of the beginning and the end. Now it all happens in just one room. I've added a little more dialogue and stripped others. Maybe one or two more drafts to tighten dialogue but it's pretty much done. Thank you all for the excellent advice.


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Colkurtz8
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Quoted from Dustin
OK, you guys win. I got rid of the beginning and the end. Now it all happens in just one room. I've added a little more dialogue and stripped others. Maybe one or two more drafts to tighten dialogue but it's pretty much done. Thank you all for the excellent advice.


- Your call of course but I would think twice about omitting those book-ended scenes entirely. I think they can serve as an extra set up and pay if they were made a little less explicit. As I said, the opening scene could be very oblique, drawing us in, making us wonder what has happened, etc. The answer then only becomes clear during the main sequence. Thus, it can be paid off at the end when we return to that opening scene. Something to consider perhaps.


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Dustin
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When it comes down to filming I think most would strip the bookends out. Although serving some small purpose, to set up all the equipment at a new location, source the location and spend another day filming, with the expenses it entails... I think just the one room serves this story the best.

Be nice to do the extra little bits, but I can't see anyone else being up for that. I bet if those other guys make this that they'll cut the bookends too. It just makes more sense.

Thanks for looking out Col, much appreciated.


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Dustin
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Quoted from eldave1
Enjoyed this. It was  really well written and gripping (a page turner).  The only hiccup for me was the motivation for Sergei to be on the suicide site. I know that you addressed it here:



But it just didn't directly connect for me. Maybe just a line somewhere (e.g., you thought preying on the weak would give you strength again - or you never forgave your mother for her suicide) - or something. Long winded way of saying that the issues listed (job, bad boss, affair) are relatively common life conditions. I guess I was looking for something less common that caused Sergei's  dysfunctional behavior).

Anyway - this was a great effort. I could see it on film.


I did take note of this in the new draft. Thanks for the read.


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Dustin
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Quoted from Iancou
Dustin,

Overall, I enjoyed how you set up the story and the way it played out. It is a strong one and could be easily filmed on a low budget, which is definitely helpful. I hope it gets picked up.

From a technical perspective, is this a shooting script? I saw the "roll credits." I also saw several "fade ins" and "fade out." Normally, fade ins are only at the start and fade out at the beginning. Recommend the first "fade out" be "return to scene" and not put in the "roll credits." The second and third "fade ins" can probably be removed. The second would be covered by the "cut to:" and the third is covered by the subsequent slug.


It is a shooting script of sorts. But there's no point arguing the rights and wrongs now as I have deleted the scene.




Quoted Text
A panic attack is understood through a visual. Suggest a slight change along the lines of "Darius quivers, a wet spot spreads from the crotch of his trousers."


Noted. That has been changed in the new draft.




Quoted Text
Staring can convey a range of emotional states. What particular looks can the actor give/make to convey this state. Perhaps:

"Michaela glares at Sergei, a mix of loathing, anger, and hatred."


I actually prefer my asides. They say exactly what I want the actor to do, then it is up to them to do their job and pull it off. If I were directing it, which I probably might, then we would discuss the best way to tackle it together.



Quoted Text

She desperately wants Sergei to deny Vincent's claims, but how does she show it? It this purposely left open to the director and actress to portray?


Yes.




Quoted Text
The part "empathising instantly with what it would be like to lose a son" is unnecessary and not something you can portray visually. When she displays emotion as what Vincent said, the audience can come to its own conclusions as to why she is reacting. I believe the only other way would be to have Micheala say something. What came to mind was something like:
MICHAELA
(to Sergei)
You son-of-a-bitch. What if someone had done that to Darius? How would that feel, you prick?


I disagree that it can't be portrayed visually. What that aside does is direct the editor. A cut to her looking toward her son, a concern look on her face, then a cut to her son. Within context and some good editing is what's needed to pull that off.




Quoted Text
How does he physically show that he wants to comfort her? He is tied up, so what are his facial expressions? His posture? Does he struggle in his constraints? Tries to move in her direction?


I'm not into writing facial reactions. I'd rather write asides and leave it up to actor/director discretion on this occasion. I suppose it might depend on who I'm writing for... but over all, I make style choices deliberately.


Quoted Text
Final minor point, I believe "voice over" is written as (V.O.).


As you know, I started a whole thread about this very thing.


Quoted Text
I hope to see this filmed. I think you have a strong one here, Dustin.

Best of luck.

Ian


Cheers mate, thanks for the read and pointers.





[/quote]


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Colkurtz8
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Quoted from Dustin
When it comes down to filming I think most would strip the bookends out. Although serving some small purpose, to set up all the equipment at a new location, source the location and spend another day filming, with the expenses it entails... I think just the one room serves this story the best.

Be nice to do the extra little bits, but I can't see anyone else being up for that. I bet if those other guys make this that they'll cut the bookends too. It just makes more sense.


- Oh cool, I didn't know production was imminent, congrats. I see its more of a practical issue, fair enough.

Maybe, as a cheap alternative, you could reduce the prologue to the sound of a pen writing on paper over a black screen. Then tack on some VO at the end over a black screen reciting the suicide note (or just show the note sans VO) and boom! You got yourself a bookend


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DanC
Posted: June 10th, 2015, 9:00am Report to Moderator
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Hey Dustin
     I see that you put a new version of this up.  I HAVE to read it as it was really good the first time.  I want to know where you took it this time.  Here goes:

1.  Sergei doesn't have an age.

2.  page 2 after Darius wets himself, you simply have Vincent walk over and put tape over his mouth.  Why not play that out?  It could be really terrifying to wonder what he might do.  You could introduce the gun, have him pull out a knife to cut the tape with etc.

3.  When Michaela says "just get away from him"  the just seems weak.  Wouldn't she be angry?

4.  JMO when Sergei says "tell them what"  I'd put a wylie in there and make him pissed off or something.

5.  page 3, I think Sergei gives up that info way too easily.  He'd deny that he even knows him.  I think it'd take some mental mind game to get him to do that.  He's a predator, he's used to lying.

6.  page 5 you have Sergei with a gilt-ridden look.  Wouldn't he scowl instead b/c he hates that he isn't in charge and might be defiant?  

7.  I think that the transformation should happen when Sergei is forced to tell his family what Vincent's son typed.  That's when he's truly defeated.  When he's forced.  When he loses all his power.

8.  I miss the end.  I don't think you need the beginning, but, you need the end, a broken Sergei taking his own life after his wife leaves him.  Even if you have a SUPER 2 weeks later or something.

I loved the story the first time, you know that.  However, after reading many of the comments over the time, and knowing what I knew about the story, I wanted to see more of the cat and mouse breakdown of Sergei.  I didn't really get that.  

Vincent didn't seem as terrifying this time around.  Sergei didn't seem like anything.  He didn't act like he was tough (the typical "I will hunt you down for this") at the beginning.  Or his wife saying we have money, what do you want, etc.

It's a great story.  And perhaps if you shoot this yourself, you will direct the actors to include everything that I said, but, I had wished I saw that in the script.  This was one of my fav stories that I read when I joined the site.

Any rewrite you do, I'd be glad to read.  Again, it's soooooo close to being amazing as opposed to great.
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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Electric Dreamer
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Very easy and effective read.
A swift contained production like this is catnip for talented directors.

Two points weren't clear to me:

1) Why was Sergei trolling suicide sites in the first place?

2) What is Victor's connection to the kid?
I could make assumptions, I guess he raised the boy.
But I'd like to know for sure. All because this is a tight read.

As to the asides, the director that was attached to Deal Breaker dug them.
He felt they were a good jumping off point for the actors and setting the tone.
Actors do what they want, but I find most most want to know what the writer intended.
Thanks for sharing! I look forward to seeing this one brought to life.

Regards,
EDreamer


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Dustin
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Quoted from Colkurtz8


- Oh cool, I didn't know production was imminent, congrats. I see its more of a practical issue, fair enough.

Maybe, as a cheap alternative, you could reduce the prologue to the sound of a pen writing on paper over a black screen. Then tack on some VO at the end over a black screen reciting the suicide note (or just show the note sans VO) and boom! You got yourself a bookend


Cheers Col. I'll consider that.


Quoted from DanC
Hey Dustin
     I see that you put a new version of this up.  I HAVE to read it as it was really good the first time.  I want to know where you took it this time.  Here goes:

1.  Sergei doesn't have an age.


Very brave giving it another read. Cheers. There is another draft of this where I have included the age, I just haven't uploaded it to the website yet.

Quoted Text

2.  page 2 after Darius wets himself, you simply have Vincent walk over and put tape over his mouth.  Why not play that out?  It could be really terrifying to wonder what he might do.  You could introduce the gun, have him pull out a knife to cut the tape with etc.


Yeah, you're right. That is a weak area of the script. But I don't agree with intro'ing the gun yet. That needs to be served at the right time.


Quoted Text
3.  When Michaela says "just get away from him"  the just seems weak.  Wouldn't she be angry?


Can she afford to be angry? She's already had a slap across the face once for being belligerent. If you want people to comply then showing them a little violence is a good way to do it. I imagine the actress delivering this in a panicked tone. She's already seen Vincent be violent, felt it across her face, why would she risk her son suffering the same by acting angry?


Quoted Text
4.  JMO when Sergei says "tell them what"  I'd put a wylie in there and make him pissed off or something.


I'm not sure why in this regard, I believe it is clear enough from the context, and I'd like to see how the actor delivers once she fully appreciates all of the emotions at play.


Quoted Text
5.  page 3, I think Sergei gives up that info way too easily.  He'd deny that he even knows him.  I think it'd take some mental mind game to get him to do that.  He's a predator, he's used to lying.


I have already applied a little of that. I'm not sure if any more wouldn't be spoon feeding. I'll look into it though, it could be that an extra line of dialogue may help. I'll see.


Quoted Text
6.  page 5 you have Sergei with a gilt-ridden look.  Wouldn't he scowl instead b/c he hates that he isn't in charge and might be defiant?


No.


Quoted Text
7.  I think that the transformation should happen when Sergei is forced to tell his family what Vincent's son typed.  That's when he's truly defeated.  When he's forced.  When he loses all his power.


I disagree. Sergei lost all his power once he was tied to the chair and his wife was slapped without him being able to do a thing about it. He also could only watch as his young son had tape put over his mouth. He's truly defeated once his wife knows what he did, not when the final words are mentioned.


Quoted Text
8.  I miss the end.  I don't think you need the beginning, but, you need the end, a broken Sergei taking his own life after his wife leaves him.  Even if you have a SUPER 2 weeks later or something.


This is something I've thought long and hard about and discussed with others. The end is best left gone.


Quoted Text
I loved the story the first time, you know that.  However, after reading many of the comments over the time, and knowing what I knew about the story, I wanted to see more of the cat and mouse breakdown of Sergei.  I didn't really get that.  


It was never my intention to make it a cat and mouse game.


Quoted Text
Vincent didn't seem as terrifying this time around.  Sergei didn't seem like anything.  He didn't act like he was tough (the typical "I will hunt you down for this") at the beginning.  Or his wife saying we have money, what do you want, etc.


Maybe because you know what's coming. So Sergei not acting tough, which he wouldn't really, nobody would in that situation, not unless they're stupid. Why would anyone say 'we have money?' In my experience, people in that situation deny they have anything at all. Some fuckers would rather be tortured than admit they have a stash of cash. Nobody ever offers shit up for free, unless they're fools.


Quoted Text
It's a great story.  And perhaps if you shoot this yourself, you will direct the actors to include everything that I said, but, I had wished I saw that in the script.  This was one of my fav stories that I read when I joined the site.


Everything will be rehearsed and discussed.


Quoted Text
Any rewrite you do, I'd be glad to read.  Again, it's soooooo close to being amazing as opposed to great.
Dan


I agree, but for different reasons. Thanks for the thoughts mate.


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Max
Posted: June 11th, 2015, 4:36pm Report to Moderator
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Did you change the ending of this one Dustin?

My problem originally was that it didn't end after the head topping but it seems as if you've changed that now.

For the better I might add, the ticking clock is a bonus at the end.
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Dustin
Posted: June 12th, 2015, 2:20am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Electric Dreamer
Very easy and effective read.
A swift contained production like this is catnip for talented directors.

Two points weren't clear to me:

1) Why was Sergei trolling suicide sites in the first place?

2) What is Victor's connection to the kid?
I could make assumptions, I guess he raised the boy.
But I'd like to know for sure. All because this is a tight read.

As to the asides, the director that was attached to Deal Breaker dug them.
He felt they were a good jumping off point for the actors and setting the tone.
Actors do what they want, but I find most most want to know what the writer intended.
Thanks for sharing! I look forward to seeing this one brought to life.

Regards,
EDreamer


I have mentioned in a later draft that Vincent is the kid's father. I just haven't uploaded it to the website yet as I'm waiting for the final draft. Yeah, Serge's reasons. I had a go at that in the last draft... but I'm not sure a reason is needed. He's just a dick that gets off on trolling on the internet. I don't think there needs to be an underlying cause. In a way, I'd rather that Sergei appeared just like any other person, meaning that anyone can be a troll. The nicest people can turn into trolls on line as there isn't any comeback.

Perhaps you're right. Perhaps a little of that logic I've just given thrown in would work to deliver the reasoning. I liken it to Hitler syndrome. Where normal people, if given complete control over another's life without any reprisals for actions, will go as far as killing them for noncompliance. There was also that experiment, where the large majority of people executed the actor. These are normal people. You and me.

So I think something like that may need to be added to the dialogue... but otherwise, I'm not particularly wanting to make Sergei out of the ordinary.

I'm all for asides. What other writers think about them doesn't bother me in the slightest. I think the only person that goes on about them is Jeff. Then others follow. I will mention them if I feel they don't work, but if they do something for the script, whether that's directing the actors or even the final edit, I believe it is our job to tell the story exactly as we see it.

Thanks for the read and well wishes, mate.



Quoted from Max
Did you change the ending of this one Dustin?

My problem originally was that it didn't end after the head topping but it seems as if you've changed that now.

For the better I might add, the ticking clock is a bonus at the end.


Yeah, I've ended it there now. We all know Sergei is fucked. I liked the idea of the silence after the shooting so have showed that with the final line regarding the clock.

Thanks again, mate.


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Max
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Alternatively, just throwing another idea out here...

As soon as he puts the gun in his mouth, cut to black.

No gunshot.
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Dustin
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Quoted from Max
Alternatively, just throwing another idea out here...

As soon as he puts the gun in his mouth, cut to black.

No gunshot.


You know it could actually go like that. To set up the blood and brain isn't easy. It's special effects territory. There are DIY methods on line and it would be fun to have a go at it. Just nobody wants to spend anything, so it could well be that a conversation happens where everybody decides to cut to black at that moment. Because, really and truly, that's all that is needed. I am already anticipating that.


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simonscript
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Hi Dustin
On first read this seems good, but then afterwards, it's like - where is the action? It's all talking. I could get the same effect from an audio book.

I'm sure it might make a good, cheap short for filming but IMO it would be much better if throughout, Victor spent the time setting it up to look like he was going to murder Darius in a horrible manner, while all the time he was setting it up for Darius to actually pull the trigger in Victor's suicide. Something along the lines of a Hannibal Lecter set up but with a twist to the murder victim.

A much better revenge too. I can't see a family being too bothered about Victor's suicide when they thought he was just about to kill their son. They would mostly be relieved I would think (well I certainly would in that situation anyway).

Anyway - good luck and what happened to this, did it get produced?
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Dustin
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Quoted from simonscript
Hi Dustin
On first read this seems good, but then afterwards, it's like - where is the action? It's all talking. I could get the same effect from an audio book.

I'm sure it might make a good, cheap short for filming but IMO it would be much better if throughout, Victor spent the time setting it up to look like he was going to murder Darius in a horrible manner, while all the time he was setting it up for Darius to actually pull the trigger in Victor's suicide. Something along the lines of a Hannibal Lecter set up but with a twist to the murder victim.

A much better revenge too. I can't see a family being too bothered about Victor's suicide when they thought he was just about to kill their son. They would mostly be relieved I would think (well I certainly would in that situation anyway).

Anyway - good luck and what happened to this, did it get produced?


Thanks for the feedback. It's been optioned twice and produced once. I like the sound of your story though, you should write it.


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Jose
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what's up, dude!

Just finished reading it. I thought it was pretty interesting. Obviously well written. I think it escalated really good. I was hooked wanting to figure out what happened. I didn't see the ending coming. I was surprised he killed himself. I understand why, but I don't know, I feel like that might be too extreme? just my thoughts.

Jose.
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alffy
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Dustin, seems like an old one but as I've never read it I thought I would and I found it very good.  I have one niggling question though, what was Sergei's reply?

Great tension throughout and a bleak ending.  Good read.


Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.

You can find my scripts here
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Nomad
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Well done, Dustin.

Easy to read, envision, and empathize.  All goals for any writer.

I also appreciate the moral of the story:  Your actions online aren't confined to the virtual world.

The only suggestion I have is on page 5 when Vincent says, "Just stop."

He should slap Sergei across the face in stead of saying "Just stop."

This one act of vengeance is all he takes.  This would lead the reader to think that something more vicious is in store for Sergei and his family.

Overall:  Excellent.

Jordan


Read my scripts here:
SOCIAL EXPERIMENT 8pg-Drama
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Dustin
Posted: March 20th, 2016, 1:36pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read all. Regarding the slap, I do like the idea. It really would help with the whole set up. Cheers.


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DanC
Posted: March 21st, 2016, 12:19am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
Thanks for the read all. Regarding the slap, I do like the idea. It really would help with the whole set up. Cheers.


Hey Dustin,
Is this a newer version then the one I read?

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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Dustin
Posted: March 21st, 2016, 2:51am Report to Moderator
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No, it's the same one as far as I can remember.


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Dustin
Posted: June 1st, 2016, 5:34pm Report to Moderator
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This one has been filmed - retitled as 'Anonymous' - by Rendalee Singleton and is on the festival circuit, appearing in the Rack Focus Dallas Round Three competition tomorrow. I have seen it myself and it's another good one for the portfolio. Unfortunately, I cannot share it publicly, but if anyone is down with Facebook, here is a link to the page:

https://www.facebook.com/Anonymous-235889630133565/

If you want a 'like' for anything in return just ask and I shall oblige.

It is down for other festivals too, and with how these things are, it probably won't be publicly available for approximately a year.


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eldave1
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Very cool, dude. The trailer looked great.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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DanC
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Wow, 2 things filmed.  Great job!!  Keep it going, right??

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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Dustin
Posted: June 2nd, 2016, 2:30am Report to Moderator
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Cheers guys... I do have a third short being filmed right now. Well, it should be being filmed right now anyway. It's being done by a first time producer but a very well known actor. He used to be in Coronation Street and was a main character for around 15 years. So I trust that he has the skills and contacts to do a good job.

I should have a feature produced this year too.

Fingers crossed they all come in.


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AnthonyCawood
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Awesome work and awesome news!


Anthony Cawood - Award winning screenwriter
Available Short screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/short-scripts
Available Feature screenplays - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/feature-film-scripts/
Screenwriting articles - http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk/articles
IMDB Link - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6495672/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
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Nathan Hill
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Nice one Dustin, the trailer was done perfectly and should be a top production! Great work, keep it going!
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Dustin
Posted: June 3rd, 2016, 3:17am Report to Moderator
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Just heard that the film did amazing at the festival yesterday and was one of 8 films chosen to be put into an anthology. So I assume this means the anthology will get some type of commercial release. Not quite sure how those anthology things work, to be honest. I've never seen one. Although I have read a few.

Thanks all for the kind and encouraging words.


edit: Just reread the email and being put into an anthology does mean that it will be distributed.



Revision History (1 edits)
Dustin  -  June 3rd, 2016, 3:38am
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Grandma Bear
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Congratulations, Dustin! You've come a long way. Good things come to those who study and work hard.    


.
SS, is still free...
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khamanna
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Anthology?! That's nice, congrats!
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khamanna
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Did it get produced, Dustin?

I liked this a lot.

I'd suggest a slower opening. I'd start with something like darkness, someone's hand, leg whatever. Describe a little and only then get them talk. Or maybe even a shot outside that room.
Either way, it's quite effective the way it is for me.
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Dustin
Posted: June 10th, 2016, 2:29pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from khamanna
Did it get produced, Dustin?

I liked this a lot.

I'd suggest a slower opening. I'd start with something like darkness, someone's hand, leg whatever. Describe a little and only then get them talk. Or maybe even a shot outside that room.
Either way, it's quite effective the way it is for me.


Yes, it's been produced twice now. The second one is entitled 'Anonymous' and is the one I'm most pleased with. Thanks for the tips, but I'm not inclined to revisit this one again. I'd rather concentrate on my non produced stuff. Thanks for checking it out.


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Dustin
Posted: June 22nd, 2016, 11:19am Report to Moderator
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I unfortunately cannot embed the video into this thread, but there is a link at the end of this post to the finished film. It's only 7 minutes or so long. Not sure how long the link will remain active for.

https://vimeo.com/165722743/5cc3c54284


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eldave1
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They did a really nice job with this one. My only issue (a minor one) was I wasn't crazy about all the cut to black screen up front  - but overall it was very professional and solid. l - thought the wife in particular was a great actress. Congrats, dude.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Dustin
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Quoted from eldave1
They did a really nice job with this one. My only issue (a minor one) was I wasn't crazy about all the cut to black screen up front  - but overall it was very professional and solid. l - thought the wife in particular was a great actress. Congrats, dude.


Thanks mate.

You should really consider writing some shorts. I'm sure you'd see some instant success in this area. Once you have a short made, you're a produced writer. Short wins an award (of any kind) and you're an award winning writer. Looks good on the C.V. and/or in pitches to producers. They're more likely to take your pitch seriously and not instantly delete it.


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eldave1
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Yeah - other than one short ("The Object of My Infection"), I've pretty much only done them for the OWC. I', 3/4ths the way through a feature now that I want o complete and after that I am going to focus on Shorts. Thanks for the advice.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

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Quoted from Dustin

You should really consider writing some shorts. Once you have a short made, you're a produced writer. Short wins an award (of any kind) and you're an award winning writer. Looks good on the C.V. and/or in pitches to producers. They're more likely to take your pitch seriously and not instantly delete it.

I can definitely second that. And, the more the better too, because even if things don't always turnout great, that doesn't really matter. No one sits and watches through your films. They just look at the credits.

Oh, and I just remembered the film End Of The Tour won best screenplay at a festival. I guess that makes me an award winning writer! I had totally forgot about that!  



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SS, is still free...
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MarkItZero
Posted: June 22nd, 2016, 3:04pm Report to Moderator
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That was intense stuff. Between that and Guilty Conscious you certainly know your way around dark and intense. And you seem to be getting a crazy amount of stuff filmed lately. Congrats.


That rug really tied the room together.
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Dustin
Posted: June 23rd, 2016, 4:34pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Quoted from Grandma Bear

Oh, and I just remembered the film End Of The Tour won best screenplay at a festival. I guess that makes me an award winning writer! I had totally forgot about that!  


Nice to be able to tick boxes.


Quoted from MarkItZero
That was intense stuff. Between that and Guilty Conscious you certainly know your way around dark and intense. And you seem to be getting a crazy amount of stuff filmed lately. Congrats.


Two things so far, with another that should, hopefully, be completed soon. I'm close to sealing the deal with another short of mine that should definitely get made to a high standard. I have that feature out there too that could pop up any time.

I do like the darker stories. I don't believe that one needs to sympathise or have emotional investment with characters. Readers just need to be interested in what the characters do next. This allows for this type of storytelling, where I believe the reader's need to know what's going to happen next, overrides all other aspects.

This is how I arrived at the conclusion that mystery beats conflict. Yes conflict drives a story, but it's mystery that keeps us watching.


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Nathan Hill
Posted: June 23rd, 2016, 10:28pm Report to Moderator
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Great production there. Really intense. I just think that sfx for the gun shot cheesy and the way it was shot just felt fake. Didn't really impact me but I enjoyed most of it.
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Dustin
Posted: June 24th, 2016, 3:51am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Quoted from Nathan Hill
Great production there. Really intense. I just think that sfx for the gun shot cheesy and the way it was shot just felt fake. Didn't really impact me but I enjoyed most of it.


I noticed that it was a fake gun pretty early on. It is distinctly visible a couple of times where we can look into the barrel. That took something away from it for me. I also don't like the way he points the gun at the child. I prefer my version where the danger to the child is merely implied by the blindfolding near the end.

All in all though, considering what can happen to our scripts in the wrong hands, they did an excellent job.

Take a look at this version, produced by somebody else:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtIlD8bqIa0


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