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  Author    Desperation  (currently 2267 views)
Don
Posted: November 24th, 2016, 9:59pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Desperation by Jennifer Chapman - Short, Drama - When a rookie cop and his partner answer a domestic violence call, they comes face to face with the abusive husband who is also their boss. The rookie cop discovers corruption and has to save the wife in time. 13 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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AmbitionIsKey
Posted: November 27th, 2016, 2:47pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Jennifer, so I read this yesterday, or the day before, just didn't get the time to sit down and write my feelings.

I took the time to read it again and took some notes along the way

- First page, Brooke's description "pretty blouse but looks exhausted", okay so she she's wearing a pretty blouse but it seems to link with the fact she looks exhausted? I would maybe change this to something along the lines of '...dressed casually, looks exhausted; greasy hair and bags under her eyes' - maybe expand on how exactly she looks exhausted.

- Right off the bat, I don't like Jared, the dialogue is good.

- I notice you use 'CUT TO:' - I would drop these and just go straight into the scenes as they're not necessary.

- "Jared HEARS the running water from the bathroom and knows she is taking her morning shower." - I would drop the last bit of this sentence, just leave it that he hears the running water from the bathroom.

- 'EXT. BATHROOM DOOR - DAY' isn't really a correct use of scene heading. I would have it "INT. HALLWAY - DAY" followed by "Jared looms outside the bathroom door" in the action description.

- General rule of thumb when writing action is to keep it to three/four lines max. When Jared discovers the suitcase the first paragraph runs on for 6 lines, I would suggest breaking this up. Keep paragraphs short and sweet.

- "He holds up the extra set of car keys" - how does the audience know that this is an extra set? I would change this to "He holds up a set of car keys"

- Top of page four, you forgot a full-stop here.

- Okay, I'm really liking this so far, but I think if I were a violent boyfriend with psychopathic tendencies, and my pregnant girlfriend just tried to run away from me, the very last thing I would do is take a nap. It seems silly for him to do something like that right in the middle of this when things are just getting juicy for the reader, I would maybe have it that the door-bell rings, or the landline rings or something... whilst he is distracted Brooke finds her cell-phone and attempts to call the police. Something along those lines, it keeps the action going and makes more sense realistically, but that's just my 2 cents!

- Page 6, Brook instead of Brooke, easy mistake.

- "I flushed the pills down the toilet.
I'm not a druggie. I'm a good cop
and good cops catch the druggies and
their dealers" ... hmm, this line seems a tad cheesy to me. I would consider revising this? Maybe even just have Jared say something like Ain't nothing wrong with me, I don't need drugs. And then straight into his dialogue about being a good guy.

- Caruso should be in cap letters when first introducing him.
- 'Star' should be start

- So this cop has discovered that his coworkers are practically insane, and he asks for water, and Jared complies. I don't think Jared would want to let this guy out of his sight, let alone go get him a drink of water. I know you need an excuse for Jared to exit the room, so maybe have it that he hears a noise and goes to check up on what Brooke is doing.

So, this is a great short. There's a lot, a lotttt of potential here. But again, and you seemed to have this problem with your last short, the ending, it was pretty lackluster, it just ended. Thank you? No problem? Fade? I would maybe have a scene where Caruso and Brooke talk, or she's at the back of an ambulance, something, and they talk about the events. Thicken it out. More emotion. It just seems to end without really addressing what actually just went down inside the house.

Also, with some tweeks, I see this being really filmable as it's a small cast with one location. The only thing is the scene in the bedroom with the shooting/guns, the special effects when the guns are shot + the police car. That'll be hard for filmmakers on a budget to get their hands on. If you find a way to do an ending without the police car, change the finale in the bedroom so that there's actually no shooting involved but they still manage to get away, I can see someone wanting to make this. I like the character's and I like the story. With some polishing this could be really good and filmable. Good luck with this and hope you found my comments helpful!

Curtis


"No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story..."

Short scripts

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Jenniferkc22
Posted: November 27th, 2016, 9:37pm Report to Moderator
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Curtis,
Thank you so much for being honest and encouraging at the same time. It's obvious I am so new at this. All of your comments make so much sense.

One thing I think I need to learn, is to REALLY know my characters, I mean know them in and out. Yes, it's not logical for Jared to take a nap. I see that. I also think after I write a script, I need to let it rest a bit (work on something else then look at it again with fresh eyes) before I post it.

And yes, I seem to just end the script abruptly!   I don't know why I do that, but I have to be careful to not make that a habit which I seem to be doing. I also learned that I sometimes have a logic problem-I mean like Jared going to give Caruso a glass of water...that is not logical. I will practice more and make it logical. Live and learn. I will improve that. I have the determination to learn this craft.

Also, I am working on another short and I dropped the Cut To's on those. I will also take them out of this script. I am taking a screenwriting class and the instructor just told us too that it's better to not use those. There is so much to learn, but it's fascinating.

I want to thank you again for your suggestions, which I will make use of and also for taking the time to help me. I really appreciate it.

Time for a lot of rewriting this week!!
How long have you been writing/in this industry?
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AmbitionIsKey
Posted: November 27th, 2016, 11:08pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Jenniferkc22
Curtis,
Thank you so much for being honest and encouraging at the same time. It's obvious I am so new at this. All of your comments make so much sense.

One thing I think I need to learn, is to REALLY know my characters, I mean know them in and out. Yes, it's not logical for Jared to take a nap. I see that. I also think after I write a script, I need to let it rest a bit (work on something else then look at it again with fresh eyes) before I post it.

And yes, I seem to just end the script abruptly!   I don't know why I do that, but I have to be careful to not make that a habit which I seem to be doing. I also learned that I sometimes have a logic problem-I mean like Jared going to give Caruso a glass of water...that is not logical. I will practice more and make it logical. Live and learn. I will improve that. I have the determination to learn this craft.

Also, I am working on another short and I dropped the Cut To's on those. I will also take them out of this script. I am taking a screenwriting class and the instructor just told us too that it's better to not use those. There is so much to learn, but it's fascinating.

I want to thank you again for your suggestions, which I will make use of and also for taking the time to help me. I really appreciate it.

Time for a lot of rewriting this week!!
How long have you been writing/in this industry?


On the contrary, it isn't obvious at all that you're new to this at all! For someone, as you say you are, just starting out this is really enjoyable material! Glad you have found my comments helpful especially the stuff regarding logic etc! I tried my best to my as helpful as I could! I agree also with letting it rest, this will sometimes help as when you return to it, it feel more fresh and you end up reading it from a more objectified position!

Exactly, I am no expert at this. Nobody is. Live and learn is right! We all, everyone of us, learn from our mistakes! Writing is a learning curve always. No problem at all I was happy to read them.

Well I began writing screenplays around the age of 15. Mainly fan-fictions of movies I liked lol. Then I strayed away from that and wrote some original material. I'm 20 now and at uni, studying film, I have a mountain of things going on so it is sometimes hard to find time to actually sit down and write, which I guess is why I lost the passion, but I am very happy to be back writing!

And I would also like to add, for someone who is just starting off, and is taking classes, the shorts I have read from you are of good stander for someone just starting. You should be proud! I have read a lot of messy stuff - this is not messy, this is good! I can't wait to read the revised version, good luck

Curtis





"No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story..."

Short scripts

GONE
(6 pages, drama/thriller)
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RichardR
Posted: November 29th, 2016, 12:34pm Report to Moderator
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Some notes.

The opening scene doesn't work for me.  Husband and wife talk as if they just met.  The longer people have been together the more they speak in short cuts.  Something like this....

JARED
I'll call before lunch.
BROOKE
If I don't answer, don't worry.  Nap time
JARED
Keep the phone near
Brooke looks down.
JARED (CONT'D)
Sick again?
BROOKE
Just a little morning sickness.
JARED
Tough it out.

Don't need complete sentences, and you can toss in some slang.  These are husband and wife.

She gets the suitcase from the closet but tries to hide it under the bed?  OK, she's in a hurry.

We go through the usual controlling, abusive husband and the battered wife.  It works, but I think you might find a way to make him much more evil.  He has ways to hurt her without leaving bruises, ways to torture.

She makes the 911 call, but hubby is a cop, so this one seems done.  Fine.

The cops get her OK, and they're going out.  Then, there's the bet payoff and the telltale photo.  Does that strike you as too coincidental?  It does me.  Then, we have the Caruso KO Silva despite the fact that Caruso is dazed and Silva is on guard.  hmmm.

Then, the final confrontation.  Generally, police training is to shoot a person in 'center mass'.  That means in the middle of the chest.  No leg shots or head shots or arm shots.  And a leg shot is probably not going to deter Jared.  But that's me.

I understand that you are a beginning screenplay writer, and this isn't bad for a beginner.  Where you might try to improve is in dialogue.  Remember that characters who know each other well speak in shortcuts and slang.  Most of the words are understood between them.  As far as story goes, you might try to find a way to twist the usual.  In this case, perhaps, after Caruso kills Silva and Jared, he makes it known that he's going to abuse her too--before he kills her and blames her for the others' deaths.  Or, if that's too dark, she manages to kill off Silva and jared before she leaves with the dazed Caruso.  Or, if you want to reverse, it's not Jared abusing her but she abuses him?  Oh well, see what you can do.  

Best
Richard
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Jenniferkc22
Posted: November 30th, 2016, 2:43am Report to Moderator
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Hi Richard,
Those are some fascinating ideas...everyone's comments so far make my story so much better.

I don't mind dark sometimes, in fact some of my stories seem to go in that direction.

I like this idea:
"We go through the usual controlling, abusive husband and the battered wife.  It works, but I think you might find a way to make him much more evil.  He has ways to hurt her without leaving bruises, ways to torture."  That would be interesting. Maybe I could try out something mental-he mentally abuses her too/just an idea. Maybe she's depressed and he plays on and controls her by her fear of being crazy (yet she's not) but that's how he keeps her in line...hope I make sense, on a few hours sleep haha.

And I will take all the suggestions and work on them. Especially the dialogue. I was married once and I know how husbands and wives talk yet I didn't put it on the page.  And the ending needs more action, more closure.

Yes, I admit the photo is too coincidental....and I know in scripts you have to show things not tell, so it's a challenge but I can come up with something else.

Thank you very much for your comments and time. It's scary to put myself out there for constructive criticism, but how will a writer get better if they can't accept criticism and learn how to improve?  

Thanks again!
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RichardR
Posted: November 30th, 2016, 12:56pm Report to Moderator
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Not just husbands and wives.  Characters who are very familiar will resort to short dialogue for everyday talk. The go long when the other person doesn't know.

Best
Richard
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JakeJon
Posted: November 30th, 2016, 3:04pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Jen,
I read, I liked.   Mainly because it flowed quite nicely.   Not an easy story to convey, but I  "bought it".  So, great.

Plenty of technical advice already delivered.  Have nothing to add there.

You know, just keep writing.  You're on to something!

JJ
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Jenniferkc22
Posted: December 1st, 2016, 1:18am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JakeJon
Hi Jen,
I read, I liked.   Mainly because it flowed quite nicely.   Not an easy story to convey, but I  "bought it".  So, great.

Plenty of technical advice already delivered.  Have nothing to add there.

You know, just keep writing.  You're on to something!

JJ

Hi, Jake, thank you. I appreciate all the feedback here and have learned so much.
I will check out your work too.
Thanks again, never give up on something you love to do is my belief.

PS Silly question, but I clicked on your name to see your work but I just see replies to other members. Do you have any work posted? Is there a certain way I find a member so I can read their work? Just trying to return the favor. Thanks.

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Jenniferkc22  -  December 1st, 2016, 1:38am
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Jenniferkc22
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Quoted from RichardR
Not just husbands and wives.  Characters who are very familiar will resort to short dialogue for everyday talk. The go long when the other person doesn't know.

Best
Richard


I agree, excellent point. I meant other people too...

May I ask, did you write the one script called "The Beginning" and then the "Beginning of the End?" It was great. Loved it. I don't know if it's good etiquette to put that in this thread, but everyone on this site has their own talent. I hope I make sense. My eyes are burning from reading so much today, haha.

I saw the link to your work posted in another discussion.

I hope everyone has a great Thursday.
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JakeJon
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Hi Jen,
I author as Ronald Pergola.

Started submitting work to SS this year. Novice as well.
Would love if you checked out any of my stuff.   Dramedy Shorts.

Try "To Ride of Not to Ride"  or  "Perhaps, A New Start".

thanks,

JJ
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Jenniferkc22
Posted: December 3rd, 2016, 10:57am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JakeJon
Hi Jen,
I author as Ronald Pergola.

Started submitting work to SS this year. Novice as well.
Would love if you checked out any of my stuff.   Dramedy Shorts.

Try "To Ride of Not to Ride"  or  "Perhaps, A New Start".

thanks,

JJ


Thank you for the info-I will check it out and leave comments! I am not educated quite enough to leave a lot of helpful feedback but I can share what I have learned.

Thanks and I will read your work later today-it's Saturday.
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RichardR
Posted: December 3rd, 2016, 2:37pm Report to Moderator
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Jen,

I did not write THE BEGINNING or BEGINNING OF THE END.  Here is a list of some of my work and the places you can find them if you care to read.

Best
Richard

http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/thetrade.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/ourkind.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/theanalogsolution.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/imyourangel.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/beginnersluck.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/ergo.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/thattimeofyear.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/poolboy.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/whippingboy.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/badthingsgoodpeople.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/theperfectjob.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/insight.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/thebridge-russell.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/davinci.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/monique.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/holidayman.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/Acureforlonliness.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/troubles.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/prison.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/IN20YEARS.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/poolboy.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/ChristmasSpirit.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/pain.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/belief.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/cheatingdeath.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/penance.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/preview.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/behindthewords.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/worseoff.pdf
http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/craizerthanyou.pdf
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Jenniferkc22
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Hi, Richard,

My mistake, so sorry!

Wow, you have a lot of scripts, that is so terrific. How long have you been writing and how did you become interested in screenwriting?
I will read your work soon,  thank you.
Have a great weekend.
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eldave1
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Hey Jennifer: I took a look.


Quoted Text
JARED (30s, wears a police uniform) stands at the front door
with his wife BROOKE (20s, attractive, dressed in jeans,
pretty blouse but looks exhausted). He kisses her good-bye.


A real nitty point - -but, other than age, not a huge fan of descriptions in parentheses. Think it always reads better like JARED (30s), wears a police uniform, stands at the front door....

Also - give us a little more on exhausted. Something like - Jared kisses Brooke on the cheek, not noticing the dark circles under her weary eyes... or something like that. i.e., let us see what exhausted looks like.

I think others have mentioned the dialogue - a little unnatural for husband and wife.  Also - I'm not sure the whole phone thing is needed - unless you make it a little menacing. This line:


Quoted Text
JARED
You will answer the phone. Keep it
near you.


sounds sweet - but if you change it to something like:

JARED
(firmly)
Then keep the phone near you.

Gives us a little foreshadow of how this prick flips personality.


Quoted Text
Brooke locks the door after he leaves and goes into the
bedroom.
CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM - DAY


Don't think you really need the cut to. Also - you could use a mini-slug here: e.g.,

Brooke locks the door and scampers to the:

BEDROOM


Quoted Text
She rummages in the closet and pulls out a small suitcase
hidden behind some cardboard boxes. She puts it on the bed,
opens the latch and tosses in a few clothes.


If the suitcase was already packed - I can understand why it as hidden. But it's not -  I would get rid of the - hidden behind the cardboard boxes..


Quoted Text
We hear the SOUND of a car pulling into the driveway. Brooke
peeks out the bedroom window.


Avoid the "we hears" where you can. This could be written.

The REV of an engine emanating from the driveway breaks Brook's concentration. She goes to the bedroom window - peeks out.


Quoted Text
She locks the door, and runs the water for a shower. She
winces as she turns the faucet on. There's a fresh bruise
on her right arm.


Minor logic issue - she's had the bruise the whole time so I wouldn't say fresh and why would we have not seen it before. I assume because she's now disrobed or removed her blouse or something but you don't tell us that anywhere.

Again - I think you get rid of all the CUT TOs

As another poster mentioned - Jared's nap made no sense to me.


Quoted Text
BROOKE
Stop it! You're supposed to help
people, not hurt them. You haven't
taken your meds lately, have you
Jared?
JARED
I flushed the pills down the toilet.
I'm not a druggie. I'm a good cop
and good cops catch the druggies and
their dealers.


I would re-work the above - not very natural.  With Brooke - I would just have the line - did you stop taking your meds? and Jared's response being something along the lines of - fuck the pills, they make me numb. The above is to preachy for a talk between a husband and wife.

The CARUSO, SILVA and JARED scene where they first come to the house seemed odd to me. Jared is the Deputy Chief of Police and I am assuming that he is their boss. The dialogue sounds more like they are co-workers. SILVA/CARUSO should be almost apologetic - "Sir, sorry - but you know we have to get a statement from the person who made the call.... Instead - Jared is getting lectured. Would the Chief really take that from an underling?

Okay - just read on and see that Silva is really on it - got it. That explains the above.

On the ending - very abrupt. I have a suggestion in that regard as well as other parts.

1. I don't think you need the SILVA character or that story angle at all. To me, it distracts from the thread of your story - the torment and tension you want us to feel for Brook.

2. I would just have a rookie cop show up and maybe Jared is taken aback - thinking they would send someone like Silva - he pulls the "you know who I am bullshit with this rookie" but Caruso is too raw to know he's suppose to Kow- tow - Sir, you know I have too talk to the person who placed the call. Then he asks Brook (as Jared stares at her with threatening eyes) what happened. Brook looks at the suitcase, her bruises, her despicable husband and finally finds the courage - he beats me - every day.

3. CARUSO tries to make the arrest - but Jared ain't having any of that and places his hand on his gun - starts to remove it and Caruso instinctively fires his - hitting Jared square in the chest. As the life leaks out of Jared, Brook hovers over him - oddly calm - it's ending. Maybe she even says something snarky like - I told you to go to work. At the same time  - Caruso is panicking - he just shot the Chief when he wasn't even sure if he was in danger.

4. As Jared dies, Brook places Jared's service revolver in Jared's hands and squeezes the trigger causing a bullet to slam in the wall by Caruso. Brook says - it was self defense - he fired first and you have a witness.

Not the above exactly - but a long winded way of saying give us Brook's revenge - let her save the day at the end while at the same time saving the career of the rookie cop - the only one who ever dared really investigating a 9-1-1 call related to Jared's abuse.

Best of luck with this:

PS - I wrote the Beginning of The End and The End - glad you liked it. I also wrote a very similar domestic violence short involving a policeman. If you want to look at it for food for thought - - it is here:

http://media.wix.com/ugd/4e8bd1_bd2bc777d2964f8ca826195b831cd13a.pdf

Please don't take all the above notes negatively - overall I think there is a whole lot of promise here. Keep at it.








My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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