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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  In Desperation Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: July 29th, 2015, 5:26pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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In Desperation by Simon - Short, Drama - Unable to find work, two men turn to desperate measures. 5 pages - pdf, format


Visit SimplyScripts.com for what is new on the site.

-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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eldave1
Posted: July 29th, 2015, 5:43pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Simon:

typo on page 1


Quoted Text
JOSIE
This was Mama's. She got it from
her Moma


This line really didn't make sense to me (it was counter intuitive):


Quoted Text
STAN
Money. You had enough to pay her,
now you can pay me.


Overall - a real solid effort here - it was an easy read - crisp.

I like the ending - nicely done.

I didn't care for entire conversation with the John in the car - it was unbelievable. I think this would work better if you just had Stan observing the transaction - the car drives off and then he decides to steal from the hooker.





My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Forgive
Posted: July 29th, 2015, 5:58pm Report to Moderator
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Let The Sky Fall

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Cool - thanks for the read. The Mama/Moma was Mom/Grandma, but maybe that's confusing.

I'm surprised by the car bit, as I didn't think that would be an issue, but I do like your suggestion - it's a nice angle, I never thought of it that way.
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Max
Posted: July 29th, 2015, 6:44pm Report to Moderator
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Ain't nobody write like that, bruh.

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Hey Forgive,

I'm going to give you some grammatical feedback, but I'm not going to comment on the story until tomorrow.


Quoted Text
Josie sits on a sofa. She looks at a TRINKET on her arm, and
toys with it.


The second sentence is a compound predicate, so you don't need to use a comma there.

More examples of this -


Quoted Text
Josie walks up to him, and offers a small wad of notes.



Quoted Text
Ricky switches the computer on, and sits.


----

I thought your comma usage was a little odd here:


Quoted Text
A car, in the near distance, pulls to the side, and stops.


I may or may not be correct here, but I don't think you need any commas in this sentence.  The clause "in the near distance" identifies which car we're talking about, so I believe it's not necessary to offset it with commas.

If we eliminate those commas from the equation, I think you'll find that it's also unnecessary to put a comma before "and stops".

I personally wouldn't use "near distance" either because it conflicts.  I've heard it used, of course, but anything which can cause conflict or confusion should be eliminated.

Maybe Dustin or Dreamscale could shed some more light on that last example.  I might be missing a trick here, but I'm pretty sure I'm correct.
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Forgive
Posted: July 29th, 2015, 6:55pm Report to Moderator
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Let The Sky Fall

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Hey Max - thanks for the read - you're quite an education, bro, but it's late here - tomorrow I'm checking out a compound predicate, and hopefully (providing I understand the explanation), I'll be a wiser man. thanks for the read
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Max
Posted: July 29th, 2015, 7:07pm Report to Moderator
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Ain't nobody write like that, bruh.

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No problem.  Somebody will come along and correct me if I'm talking out of my arse.

Btw, I just skimmed through it because I didn't know it was you who wrote it, but I'll make sure to give it another read tomorrow, so I can give my thoughts on the story.
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Forgive
Posted: July 30th, 2015, 7:55am Report to Moderator
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Let The Sky Fall

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So, I have a compound predicate as telling us two things about the one subject; and you're right, none of the examples had commas before the conjunction.

Nice one Max.
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Max
Posted: July 30th, 2015, 8:46am Report to Moderator
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Ain't nobody write like that, bruh.

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NP,

Stan punched Josie to the floor, right?  And that was her in the last scene?  If so, what deal were Stan and Ricky talking about?

The penultimate scene had me thinking they concocted a plan with Josie to rip off curb crawlers and steal their vehicles, so I was a little confused there.

What happened? A or B?

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Forgive
Posted: July 30th, 2015, 11:18am Report to Moderator
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Let The Sky Fall

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Josie had been working in secret which is where she got the money from (not from family).

Stan realises after trying to rip the john off, that pro's carry cash and robbing them won't result in them going to the police.
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Max
Posted: July 30th, 2015, 11:27am Report to Moderator
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Ain't nobody write like that, bruh.

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Quoted from Forgive
Josie had been working in secret which is where she got the money from (not from family).

Stan realises after trying to rip the john off, that pro's carry cash and robbing them won't result in them going to the police.


So, Josie was whoring herself for cash? And Stan clattered her because robbing prozzies is an easy way to get cash?  I get it now, but what a dick!

You kept things low budget, and the twist wasn't half-bad at all.  I almost forgot about the trinket tho, so capitalizing it for people like myself wouldn't hurt at all - just a suggestion

I'm not the best person to give advice on storytelling, so I hope others can give you more of an insight on that.  Nothing in the screenplay was over-elaborate so well done.

What more can I say?
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Forgive
Posted: July 30th, 2015, 3:42pm Report to Moderator
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Let The Sky Fall

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Thanks Max - I'm relieved it passed your approval

Yeah - I capitalised the trinket on intro, so it probably wouldn't hurt to do so at the end.  
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Max
Posted: July 30th, 2015, 3:52pm Report to Moderator
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Ain't nobody write like that, bruh.

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My approval don't mean shit, lol  

Just keep writing is all I can say because that's what I do anyways.
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RichardR
Posted: July 31st, 2015, 10:11am Report to Moderator
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Simon,

Comments can be trinkets but not as pretty.

Shades of O'Henry.  Irony is a wicked master.  I liked the idea of this, but the execution needs work.  The dialogue isn't good enough.  Take the first two lines.  Too wordy for a husband and wife.  Keep it short and simple.

JOSIE
Any luck?
RICKY
Nada.

If you say any more, you're doing it for the audience, not for the characters.  They both know he's job hunting.  They both know there's nothing out there.  We'll learn soon enough what the searching is about.

In the trinket line, Moma should be Mama, right?

Same for Ricky and Stan.  They're old friends.  They talk in shortcuts and slang.  Being more formal is for the audience, not for the characters.  

In the next bit of dialogue between Josie and Ricky, you do it exactly as you should.  She offers money.
JOSIE
This might help.
RICKY
Where--
JOSIE
Family.

That is succinct and to my ear reads exactly as these two would say it.  Nothing more than what is needed by the characters.  IMO, the difficulty of writing goo dialogue lies in hearing the characters in side your head, mastering their speech, and managing to imbue it with information for the audience.  If it were easy, anyone could do it.

The ending works for me, although I would prefer a setup early in the piece, something to show that Josie can dress up like a high class hooker, perhaps a cell phone that is never on while Ricky is home, something to connect ending to beginning.  

Good job.

Best
Richard
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Dustin
Posted: July 31st, 2015, 10:55am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Code

INT. FLAT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

It's seen better days; cramped and in need of a clean.



Ordinarily, I'd let little things like this pass me by, but as you were so kind as to pick up on every little thing you could find, warranted or not, I feel that you deserve the same thing from me. Let's begin with the tell in your very first line of action.

How do we know it has seen better days? Maybe before the current tenant the flat belonged to a necrophiliac who broke all of the windows to prevent the bodies from going off so quick. Entrails all over the place, etc. All you need in the above is 'cramped and in need of a clean'. Or maybe, more simply... Cramped. Dirty.

Code

Ricky (25), is hunched in front of a dated monitor.



Using 'is' here is just plain lazy. He's just hunched over the monitor not doing anything? This sentence could be far more dynamic.

Hunched in front of a dated monitor, RICKY (25)
watches hardcore porn.


Obviously he could just be looking at boring job ads or something but it would still be far more of a dynamic visual if you show us what he is doing while hunched over the monitor. Even if he's staring at the screen. The way you've written it, he could be dead.

Code

Behind him, Josie (24), watches him with concern.



Maybe he is dead. You could drop one of the 'him' from this sentence. I'd drop the first. Actually, I think I'd drop both. In fact, I'd rewrite completely.

Code

JOSIE
Any luck? With the job-hunting?



If he's looking at jobs and she's looking over his shoulder, what else could she mean? She asks, any luck? Then, just in case he doesn't get it, she reminds him... with the job hunting. If you'd have just said what he was doing while hunched over the computer in the first place then we wouldn't need this OTN dialogue.

Code

RICKY
There's nothing out there.



Pointless dialogue that would be better served with a sigh and negative shake of the head from the actor.

Code

Josie sits on a sofa.



The English language... funny thing; can be twisted in so many ways. We know Josie is in a living room. We can expect to find a sofa in a living room so it's cool to address it as 'the'. It's an expected piece of furniture. The way it is written here it could be construed that there is more than one sofa in the living room and she selects one to sit on. Whereas if she sat on 'the' sofa, then there could be no mistake that it is just the one... as is to be expected.

Code

She looks at a TRINKET on her arm, and toys with it.



Is this trinket attached to her arm in some manner? She toys with her arm or the trinket? Try something more like this:

She toys with a trinket that is attached to a slim, silver
chain around her wrist.


Where does this suddenly spring from? One minute we're talking about his job hunting and the next we're getting some exposition about the trinket. It comes from nowhere. Maybe have the trinket fall off due to a loose clasp or something. As it stands this transition and resultant spoon feeding of information is very garish and almost impossible to swallow.

Code

EXT. BRIDGE - DAY

Ricky and STAN (26), lean on the bridge's railings.



We know they're on a bridge, so you could just have them lean on railings. Where else could the railings be if not on the bridge, which is the location? Also, no description for the characters leaves them lifeless. You can't be arsed. This is a very lazily written script. I'm sure I've read better from you before, or perhaps I simply overlooked the errors for favour of the the story.

Code

STAN
You know I still feel like I owe
you one. You got me that job.

RICKY
Yeah, just in time to see it go
bust. Did you enjoy the view?



Why would he feel like he owes him one for getting him a job that quickly went bust?

The whole meeting on the bridge is exposition and really bad OTN dialogue. Some examples:

Code

RICKY
And you've got kids. Are you still
managing to feed them?



Code

STAN
Going straight was never going to
be easy. But I don't know how long
I can keep this up.



Code

RICKY
I can't go back to that. Thieving,
robbing. I'm got a family on the
way.

STAN
You've got to feed them, Ricky.



Lot of food needs feeding, that's for sure.

Why the meeting on the bridge anyway? What type of bridge is it? A motorway bridge? Seems a very unusual place to choose and with no other description I'm left wondering why you chose it.

All of this is very lazily written so far.

Code

INT. FLAT - LIVING ROOM - DAY

Ricky switches the computer on, and sits.



This is all so lazily written it's very boring to read and quite the chore to make it through the pages. I have already read this once and actually skipped to find out the punchline. I'm sure you don't always write like this, but perhaps I'm thinking of somebody else. There is also a comma that doesn't belong. Not surprising really, given your 'advice' on commas in my own thread.

Code

Josie walks up to him, and offers a small wad of notes.



Poor comma placement again. Also, more of that boring action. Josie walks up to him... it's really, really poor. I'm starting to think you wrote and submitted this while drunk.

Code

INT. BAR - NIGHT

Ricky and Stan sit by a bar.



You just don't care. So they're sitting by a bar, presumably there is more than one bar in this bar, although you haven't been specific. Aren't they drinking anything? Maybe playing some Dominoes... or tiddlywinks. Two guys just sitting at a bar is boring.

Code

STAN
Let me get you one.

RICKY
Stan--

STAN
I owe you, man!



He owes him for getting him a job that he promptly lost due to the business going down. Stan is a complete idiot.

Code

RICKY
You don't owe me anything. It's
like everyone's...

Ricky fades out. Stan looks at him.

STAN
What?

RICKY
Josie borrowed. From her Mom or
Dad, or something. Family.



Ricky's reveal doesn't make sense. Like it's a big deal that Josie had to borrow money from her family. Who even talks about stuff like that with their friends?

Code

RICKY
I cannot even put food on the table
for them.



Back to the food again. There isn't any need for 'for them' at the end. Who are 'them' anyway? Josie's parents?

Code

Ricky gets up, gives Stan a slap on the shoulder, and
leaves.



What did Stan do to deserve that?

I'm going to have a coffee break and come back to this script later. Don't worry though, I'm determined to finish.


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Dustin
Posted: July 31st, 2015, 2:10pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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Code

EXT. STREET - NIGHT

An almost deserted street.



We know it's a street from the slug... but what type of street is it? Would it really hurt so much just to have a little more description added? You're leaving too much up to the reader's imagination. It's OK to write RESIDENTIAL STREET, as the reader can picture a street filled with houses. However, just writing STREET, leaves them to consider if it has shops, houses or industrial premises on it.

Then, when given a further line of action for description you use four words to describe it as deserted. I can do it in one: deserted.

You might argue that of course it is only 'almost deserted' because Stan is standing near a doorway. However the street is deserted until the camera reveals Stan in the doorway and whoever else shows up later. The street is deserted until the viewer/reader is shown otherwise.

Code

Stan stands by a doorway.



Why not 'in' the doorway? Lingering by the doorway would make him visible? Why not something like:

Stan hides in a shop doorway.

Code

A car, in the near distance, pulls to the side, and stops.

A woman steps out, high heels, mini-skirt, the works. She
heads off.



Three very clunky lines of action... maybe something like:

In the distance, a car pulls up. A PROSTITUTE climbs out and,
high heels clacking, totters away.


Code

Stan moves forward to the car - he can almost see the driver
adjusting himself.



Forward? Are you sure it's not backwards? Maybe he sidles over? He can almost see the driver adjusting himself? Surely, he more simply can see the driver adjusting himself. There isn't any need for 'almost'.

Code

The driver checks the side-mirror before moving off, as Stan
THUMPS the driver hard.



The above is a really difficult visual. The driver actually pushes the accelerator and drives off, so how does Stan thump him hard? It's a terrible line of action where the driver is mentioned twice.

I've been suspicious all the way through this, but this reads like a vomit draft. It lacks soul.

Code

The driver checks the side-mirror before moving off, as Stan
THUMPS the driver hard.

DRIVER
What in hell!

STAN
Hand it over. Now.

DRIVER
What?



Honestly? Just for a second, place yourself in the Driver's mindset. He's just dropped off a prostitute and now somebody is punching him in the face while he is accelerating away. Would you stop to wonder, what the hell... or would you continue driving and be thankful you just escaped a robbery, most likely set up by the prostitute?

So this is what Stan wants Ricky to 'get back into?' Robbing punters after they have paid the prostitute? Seems less of  a caper, more of a one way ticket to jail.

Code

STAN
Money. You had enough to pay her,
now you can pay me.



Is Stan now offering his services as a prostitute?

Code

The driver fumbles to get his wallet out, and opens it up
for Stan to look inside.



The driver has a very high libido. He's just finished with a female prostitute, now he's going to have his way with Stan.

Code

DRIVER
Nothing! See? That's due to me
giving it all to her. Maybe you
should be heading that way before
she gives it all to her pimp,
asshole!



This conversation is all very surreal. Not in the least bit realistic given the context. As I said before, the driver would have simply driven off. But even were he to somehow want to hang around, the words spoken are not what I'd expect from such a situation.

Code

Stan looks ahead, toward the prostitute.



Stan looks toward the Prostitute.

Code

He sprints off behind her, catches up to her, and levels a
harsh blow to the back of her head.



He catches up to her and levels a harsh blow to the back of
her head.

Code

INT. BAR - NIGHT

Stan is by the bar, on his cell.



Which bar?

Code

INT. BAR - NIGHT

Ricky and Stan.



And here you can't even be arsed to write any action at all. They simply are. Are they standing, sitting, watching the footie on a huge screen? Who knows... or even cares.

Code

A car crawls up to the prone figure of the prostitute.

The driver gets out and walks cautiously up to her.



There's a lot of walking up to going on in this script.. for 5 pages, it's extremely excessive and poor quality writing. Are you sure one of your kids haven't written this and submitted it under your name? Why would the driver need to walk cautiously up to her when he has already crawled up to her in the car?

Code

He looks at a small TRINKET on her wrist.



Is this another trinket? It's been placed in uppercase as though it is a new character or sound effect. You honestly believe that your readers will be so inept that they might miss the trinket? Not only that, but you seem to want to deliberately confuse by placing an 'a' before it. As though this were indeed a new trinket. Put that with the fact it is in uppercase and now positioned at her wrist... why, if I were you, my poor mind would be all of a kerfuffle about now. Luckily, I'm not you and I can decipher exactly what you mean without having to ask. That doesn't change the fact that you're doing it wrong, though.

We finally hit FADE OUT. Only you decide to use a full colon, because you're different.

There isn't any way for the viewer to know the prostitute is Josie. You keep it a secret even from your readers. All we really get to see is a prostitute wearing a trinket similar to Josie's. But I know what you're getting at. You obviously expect us to see Josie lying there. The family money, the result of selling her pregnant body to pay the bills and give Stan some drinking money... oh, and put some food on the table, of course.

At its heart this is a good story. It's just a shame you had to execute it.


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