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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Trapped Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: January 15th, 2016, 1:37pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Trapped by Steven Wood - Short, Mystery - A man must eradicate the noise that hails from his walls. 7 pages - pdf, format


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AnthonyCawood
Posted: January 18th, 2016, 3:05pm Report to Moderator
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I'm getting an error when I try opening the script?!?


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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Steven
Posted: January 18th, 2016, 5:02pm Report to Moderator
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Me too, I reported the post, link to it here...

http://media.wix.com/ugd/75998b_b606acc3b7194a2b99053581be6f2726.pdf
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Steven
Posted: January 19th, 2016, 6:40pm Report to Moderator
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OK, the OP is fixed.
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cbead
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 12:37am Report to Moderator
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https://chrisbeadnell.wordpress.com/

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Again I like your style of writing. And I knew it was never going to be a rat! I did enjoy the ending. Clever.

SPOILER

Had to re-read to try and find the turning point from when he knew this was something a tad more sinisiter than a rodent. I'm sure you deliberately wrote it to not give much out in facial expressions, startled jumps etc, having the audience wondering why is he now running to the shed? Why is he bringing a pick axe? Certainly worked on me.

Also it touched a chord with me because I've been chasing a bloody rat in my vegie garden for over a week now. Four different types of rat traps and the little bastard keeps alluding his not so certain fate, whilst still eating my cucumbers, soya beans and capsicums (bell peppers). Anyway I digress...

Cheers

Chris


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Dustin
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 4:02am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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The writing is unclear to me. Your first sentence is off:

Code

A pick up truck that hauls a trailer pulls into the drive
way or a modest, small house.



It is unclear from your sentence whether or not the pick-up truck is actually hauling a trailer or that it normally hauls a trailer but there isn't one on it today. Also if the house is modest, then most would ascertain from that that it is small. Driveway is all one word.

A pick up truck, hauling a trailer, pulls onto the driveway
of a modest house.


You might think it's nothing. Not important. However, if you come across anyone with a decent education, which is most producers, and they read that... they will make a judgement about your own education. They will then question whether you actually have what it takes to tell a compelling story. That doubt will grow. You already have mistakes in your very first sentence. What hope the rest of the script?

Code

The man driving exits and begins to unload boxes/furniture
into the garage.



The above is very poorly constructed. Lacks professionalism. So now the trailer that may or may not be on the back of the pick-up truck is large enough to hold furniture? You described the home as modest, yet there is a garage? I didn't picture that from the initial description. Is this a garage connected to the modest house or is it next door?

There is also no uppercase for the intro of a new character. Why not just call the man the DRIVER? So something like this:

The DRIVER gets out and unloads boxes into the garage.

Code

MAN, in his 40ís.



Is this the same Man as the Driver? In his 40's what? Do you mean that his age is in the 40s?

Code

He stares at a framed picture inside a box that has popped
open.

INSERT - PICTURE

Its the man and his ex wife.

BACK TO SCENE



This is not visual enough. Where has this box popped open? Maybe it pops open as he tosses it onto the floor. Then, as he goes to close the box, he spots the pic of he and the ex wife.

Code

MONTAGE

-He takes boxes and furniture from the trailer into the
house until the trailer is empty.

BACK TO SCENE



Is he taking them into the house or the garage? Is he walking through the garage to take them into the house? Does the house not have a front door?


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Steven
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 8:24am Report to Moderator
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CBEAD - The thing with the pick ax was to show just how frustrated he was with the noise in the wall. Also, I think I may have accidentally deleted a couple of lines, but there was a piece of dialogue that went like this:

MAN
It's coming from behind a wall.

SISTER (V.O.)
Then open the wall.

MAN
How do I open a wall?

That lead him to get the pick ax, and so on. Thanks for the feedback, I have some work to do but I appreciate it.

DUSTIN - Maybe this is a preference, but I've heard conflicting viewpoints regarding action lines. Mainly cutting out the "ing" of a word when describing what a character is doing.

The man is unloading boxes from the trailer.

Would turn into:

The man unloads boxes from the trailer.

Something to that effect, which is why I worded things the way I did. I need to brush up on proper action lines, I know that, but at least I can get the dialogue rolling and put together something interesting.

Thanks for your help on the suggestions.
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bert
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 8:49am Report to Moderator
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The payoff is nice, but there is a lot of wasted time in this, even at seven pages.  Generally speaking, everything in a script should serve the story in some way.

Here, the neighbor and sister really serve no purpose to the narrative.  Their conversations only rehash things that we have already seen for ourselves -- apart from a random comment from the neighbor about noise, but is that even necessary?  I am not sure it is.

Consider a tighter story.  Just the man, one character, and perhaps even no dialogue.  This could be much creepier than it is.

And why the photo of the ex-wife?  Again, if you are going to set that up, maybe it should be HER in the wall haha.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Steven
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 8:51am Report to Moderator
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I've made some corrections and also added a little piece of dialogue that explains why he can't just call his dad himself.

http://media.wix.com/ugd/75998b_70371d97cb684d64a58eee45901a3663.pdf
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Steven
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 8:57am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bert
.


Bert,

     I played and played with ideas regarding this story. Is the sister just a voice in his head? Was HE actually the person who was there the day before, as the neighbor suggests. Thing's like that.

The only reason I put in the neighbor was to establish the fact that someone else was at the house the day prior to moving in...which would explain the fresh paint in the hallway section and the LIVING girl behind it.

I'm trying to shoot this myself, well, considering it. There are shortcuts that I could take as you suggested - cutting out everyone except for the main character. I'm also debating how to show the girl behind the wall, if she needs to be shown at all.

I planned on having the "walls POV" during the end where the girl is revealed, does that make sense? We only see the man swinging the pick-ax, then a spray of blood and his reaction. I don't think we NEED to see the girl ,but I'm not sure.

Lastly, the picture. It was meant to explain that he went through a divorce, or maybe she died, and he moved on into a new house...that's it. I had some extra dialogue between he and his sister talking about this, but it went no where and added nothing.
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bert
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 9:37am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Steven
I planned on having the "walls POV" during the end where the girl is revealed, does that make sense?


No.  Not to me, anyway, but if shooting this yourself, you are free to do what makes sense to you.


Quoted from Steven
Lastly, the picture. It was meant to explain that he went through a divorce, or maybe she died, and he moved on into a new house...I had some extra dialogue between he and his sister talking about this, but it went no where and added nothing.


That's what I am talking about, though.  She left him, whereabouts unknown.  Until he finds her.  He reacts with confusion -- or shock -- or slow realization.  Or a shrug.  No call to 911.  He begins to repair the wall.

My thoughts, anyway.  Good luck with it.



Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Steven
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 9:42am Report to Moderator
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Imagine the camera mounted to the wall, or on a tripod right against the wall, facing the man just below his eye level. He swings the pick-ax above the camera, striking the wall. That's what I mean by the wall POV.

I want the same type of shot for when he is in Home Depot looking for traps and a the grocery store. That way there would be some type of theme with the way things were shot. I could probably find other parts to use this angle.

So say I remove the ex wife from the equation altogether and I end up with just the man and his sister...or even no sister what so ever. What do I have? I don't really have a "script", but instead just a list of action lines. It will be best to get this thing shot and have a certain style to make it stand out since there is no dialogue.
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RichardR
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 11:02am Report to Moderator
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Steven,

Some notes.

First, I like to think of screenplays as Chinese puzzles.  Not jigsaw puzzles.  You remove a piece from a jigsaw puzzle, and the lighthouse is still a lighthouse.  Remove a piece from a Chinese puzzle, and the whole thing falls apart.  You're left with a pile of pieces that resemble nothing.

As others have noted, you provide information that doesn't add to your story.  Is there a good reason for him to be divorced?  The sister is a disembodied voice that adds how much?  The neighbor sets the stage for the rehab in the hall, all the commotion, but is that necessary?  Dad is never seen or heard.  Buying the traps and cheese are fillers.  We know he's going to do that because you've told us already.

Bottom line, you have to go through your story and ask yourself if you can cut the scene and not hurt the story.  If the answer is yes, then you cut no matter how good the scene seems.

So, that said, how can you improve this?  I don't like that he doesn't notice the fresh paint right away.  Fresh paint smells.  Now, when he does, he can call the landlord and ask who painted the hall but not the rest of the house. Landlord plays dumb which adds to the mystery.  And there are the sounds.

The sounds are crucial, and if he believes there are mice or rats involved, he has to search for the entry point, which means a visit to the basement or crawl space or attic or whatever.  Setting a trap in the hall won't do a thing unless there's a hole there.  He'll have to search everywhere, and he'll have to be puzzled when he can't find a hole or droppings or anything.  More mystery.

Now, I have a problem with stuffing body into the wall of a modern house.  Built of 2x4s, the walls are hardly thick enough for an adult, a child is different.  However, if the house is sufficiently old, the walls could be 2x8s or 2x10s.  now, you're talking a big enough space.  If that's the case, you have to let the audience know.  

I think you need a trigger for him to attack the wall.  If he truly believes in rodents, then tearing into the wall won't do any good.  So, dream up a reason, and it could a  muffled sound.  He could even initiate it, yelling and getting a reply.  

The pick axe works because it will draw blood, a nice touch.  

His line to 911 doesn't work for me.  An accident?  How about...There's someone inside my wall.

nit.  In a pitch black room lit by the clock radio, how does he look at the photo?

There are some formatting errors, but you can fix those.

This has the makings of a decent story.  Cut the things that don't matter and add some things that do.  Even if you never tell the audience, you have to fill in the off-screen story.  Who is this woman, and who put her in the wall?  Is she the neighbor's wife?  the landlord's wife?  Would make for a nice little twist if she's the neighbor's wife, and he's upset because the protag (needs a name) showed up three weeks early.  Damn, the paint still smells.  In any case, fleshing out the story in your own mind will help you set up your audience.

best
Richard
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Dustin
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 11:02am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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Quoted from Steven

The man is unloading boxes from the trailer.

Would turn into:

The man unloads boxes from the trailer.



Agreed. That is exactly what you would do in the above example. But that isn't what you wrote originally.

Here's your original sentence:

Code

A pick up truck that hauls a trailer pulls into the drive
way or a modest, small house.



OK, looking at it now that I'm wide awake... it would be more active to write:


A pick up truck hauls a large trailer onto the driveway of a
modest house.


However there also wouldn't be anything wrong with using:

A pick up truck, hauling a trailer, pulls onto the driveway
of a modest house.


The way you have written it makes it a little unclear. The time to think most about activity is upon sight of 'is' and 'are'. The majority of the time, they will be unnecessary in a screenplay. It's fine to use 'ing' words though. It just depends how it is done.


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Steven
Posted: January 20th, 2016, 11:17am Report to Moderator
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RICHARD - Thanks for the tips. As I said earlier regarding the cast, I'm cutting this down to no dialogue, screw it. That would make things so much easier on my when it comes time to film.

you're right when you say that I brought up things which only add questions, and not lend anything to the actual story. The picture of he and his wife I think fits because one would assume that if she isn't there with him, she's either dead or divorced, especially if he's looking at it and showing an emotion.

I'm taking your advice on the smell of the paint, I know first hand the smell will linger for a couple of days, longer if it's an oil based paint. It's going to be tricky with no dialogue, so maybe when he walks upstairs he just sees a section is a little "cleaner", and runs his fingers across it or something to that effect.

Regarding a trigger to prompt him to say that's it, I'm tearing the wall down is a great idea, not sure why I didn't think of it. I guess I just had it in my head that he was so annoyed with the scratching, he snapped.

I really want to NOT show the girl in the wall, but I'm not sure how to accomplish that. When it comes time to film, I feel the payoff may be cheap if all we see is a flurry of swings, then a spray of blood on the man's face.

I'll do something with the 911 call.

_________________________________

DUSTIN - I took what you suggested, word for word, and put it into the script. Action lines are my obvious weak point right now.
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