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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Drama Scripts  ›  Grenade
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  Author    Grenade  (currently 1644 views)
Don
Posted: December 18th, 2016, 10:08am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Grenade by Steve Miles - Short, Drama - A chance discovery at an abandoned army barracks gives a bullied youngster a chance to reconnect with his errant grandfather.  17 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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eldave1
Posted: December 18th, 2016, 11:48am Report to Moderator
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Steve: Overall, I loved this. This is really my cup of tea. Nuanced emotions, small moments depicting larger themes. The descriptions were great - really painted the canvas.

You may get - it's a bit long - from some. But I loved the slow boil of this one.

The comments I have beyond that are take it or leave it nits. Nothing of real import. Anyway:


Quoted Text
IGGY
Sometimes. She just gives him a
hard time. Don’t like it when he’s
around.

BRYN
It’s doesn’t. Not don’t.


As written, I think in Iggy's line there should be a "She" before don't. - i.e., to clarify if it is him or his Mom that doesn't like it.

Given how some of his dialogue runs, it struck me odd here that Bryn is correcting grammar. He does not exactly use the King's English. And, I think a more natural line after She Don't - from Iggy would be "How bout you? You like him around> - or something like that.


Quoted Text
BRYN
Nothing wrong with standing your
ground. Your maths you want to work
on. You have to know when to run.


Could very well be a U.S thing - I didn't understand the phrase - your maths....


Quoted Text
BRYN
What then? Hawk it online as a
novelty paperweight?


This threw met. As I was reading I pictured a time long ago (I was even going to recommend you put up a SUPER with the year 1956 or something. Army radios, unattended military dumps, kids riding bikes and playing with toy soldiers, etc. -  all made be vision yesteryear - maybe sometime shortly after WW II - and then the mention of on-line.


Quoted Text
BRYN
Nightshift. Have to be another day.

A faint smile passes between him and Marie. She nods.


I wanted just a little more here - a sign of a commitment from Byrn. Something like:

BRYN

Nightshift. Have to be another day.
(a beat)
Maybe supper - Sunday.

Just something that makes it clearer he is re-engaging.


Quoted Text
IGGY
Will Grandad lose his job?


A real nit - but some how Grandpa sounds more natural a term for this boy.


Quoted Text
IGGY
Says you don’t like people. You
don’t like work. You live on a boat
so you can run away whenever you
want, not have to bother with us.


Only part of the script that I was not a fan of. I didn't see the Mom writing this in a letter. Don't k now why - but it just struck me they had this conversation before. I think it would work better as dialogue - e.g., Bryn asks does your Mum ever mention me - Iggy responds something akin to - sometimes - says you don't like people.....

Anyway - splendid work - very much enjoyed it.



My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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RichardR
Posted: December 19th, 2016, 9:37am Report to Moderator
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Some notes.

This is a good little tale.  It incorporates all the elements of a good story.  Lots of conflict, lots of chances for redemption, a decision to be made.  Good job.

Only complaints are length and the daughter.  Her role doesn't seem necessary.  Drop her and the story is the same--Iggy against the world.  I think you can cut back on mom's phone talk.  Less is more generally.

But I commend a good job.

Best
Richard
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stevemiles
Posted: December 19th, 2016, 6:56pm Report to Moderator
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Dave, Richard - thanks for the reads.  

Yeah, it's a bit longer than i'd prefer for a short - lately they’ve been getting away from me.  I’m working on keeping them under ten pages.  Though maybe not the next one… But after that, it’s shorter shorts

Richard, I came close to cutting out Annie a few times.  I weighed it up and decided to leave her in as I wanted to show a side of Iggy that otherwise wouldn’t of come through: him helping her dress for school, meeting her afterwards etc.  He’s forced to take on a grown-up responsibility to help his mum.  That and the hint that his dad has more time for Annie than him.  I felt it helped to distance him from his parents and kind of force Bryn to realise he needed to be around more.

Dave, some fair points on the dialogue, I got carried away on the dialect.  Math/Maths - that’s one of those Brit/American things.  (It’s) your maths you want to work on.  It’s bad English…

It is meant to be contemporary, but it’s interesting that it didn’t feel that way.  I was thinking a cold war military base/firing range - cheaper to put up a fence than spend the money on clearing the site hence a few bits left hanging around.

I like the idea of showing Bryn’s commitment to Marie a little more - that’s key here.

Thanks again,

Steve


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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Digitaldecayfilms
Posted: December 21st, 2016, 11:41am Report to Moderator
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Steve,

Fantastic piece!  Well written and flows together really well.  Great descriptions for each of the characters, I could really visualize each one.  They were fleshed out nicely.

My notes:

My biggest issue with the short was the amount of time it took to meet Bryn.  The budding relationship between grandson and grandfather was the meat and potatoes of the story, but we don't meet Bryn until the halfway mark.  I would trim a bit of the fat leading up to his introduction.  Also, I didn't realize that Marie was speaking to her dad on the phone until my second reading of the script.  In hindsight it totally makes sense, but I think just having Marie say the word "Dad" in her conversation would have gone a long way.

That was my only gripe.  I loved everything else about the piece.

Thanks!
Brian


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stevemiles
Posted: December 21st, 2016, 3:22pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read and notes Brian, glad you enjoyed it.


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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JakeJon
Posted: December 22nd, 2016, 11:30am Report to Moderator
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S,
Go ahead laugh but I felt like I was sitting on a parent's lap and being read this one. (This is a backwards compliment).  Not only because the story is "kid" solid (endearing) but because some times I got lost in the "Brit" vernacular or "tone"  and wanted to bounce a question off "Dad".   hob, recce, hawk, backie. etc. " A fork skewers  a chip on the dinner plate".  Good Stuff!


I think, Iggy stops at the Electronics Shop to acquire a "shiny" 12 Volt battery? If yes, how did he port it to the Training Ground?   12 Volt batteries in the US weigh at least 45 pounds and most around 90Lbs. Are the 12 volt batts. over there lighter?  Not sure when this story takes place but the longer ago ,  the heavier those suckers are going to be.    Aah, no biggy I guess.  At 12, a bit of a struggle for the IGG Man, though.

So, If Iggy had gotten the Clansman working, what would he have heard other than a successful burst of "static"?  Doesn't matter I guess. "the journey not the goal"?

Why did he scrape the ground with a stick when he was hiding?  Maybe it doesn't matter.  Just a lucky move?

A Scully gang member just decides to walk over and pee "a bush away" from Iggy.  Okay, added to the suspense I guess.

Loved Iggy, Bryn and the Galahad.  Was that the Canal where Donald Sutherland stabbed the Brit Old Guard gents  in "Eye of the Needle"?  Was for me.  EXCELLENT!

Maybe this should be a shorter short.  Some of the Marie, Annie stuff could be economized.  But don't compromise the "thickness" of the stew.

Enough already.  Oh did 7 year old Annie have to call her 12 year old brother a dick?  "Dad" left that one out.

Here's the best note:   If it wasn't for Scully, no grenade discovery.  One for the dark side!

Ending was sweetly clever.  NICE!

JJ
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James McClung
Posted: December 22nd, 2016, 3:08pm Report to Moderator
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Quality script. Well-written with subtle moments of sweetness and sadness that feel real and work as intended.

No real issues other than I do wish you had dated the script explicitly. Hard to ascribe a time or place to the thing. The references to "online" and the like were helpful, but they come a little late. To be fair, there's not much in the script to make one think that the setting isn't modern EXCEPT the image of the toy soldiers, which opens the script and gives the first impression we have of the world. They appear in films enough to be an iconic image of sorts and are generally associated with eras past, so if you're wondering why folks might think the story takes place earlier than intended, I suspect that'd be the reason.

Also, as effective as it was, the story is a little overly familiar. Could use some personal touches that help it stand out from the crowd. Even if you're happy with a more tried-and-true approach, the sister and bullies aren't much more than foils, and I think Marie and Bryn's, shall we say, "issues" are a little too vague. I guess we're supposed to assume they're your run-of-the-mill single mom and deadbeat father archetypes. Fair game, since a lot of people do recognize/relate to those characters, but a little specificity to give them more life and wouldn't take much effort to incorporate IMO.

In any case, decent effort.


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stevemiles
Posted: December 24th, 2016, 7:39am Report to Moderator
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JakeJon,

Many thanks for the read and notes - always appreciated.

12v batteries come in a range of shapes and sizes - I guess depending on the application.  Iggy’s would be a smaller unit less than 2kg.  Whether or not it would work to power an old radio unit…that’s all creative license.  Fair point on what he would be able to do with it.  But, kid logic - just getting it working is the goal.

Scraping at the ground - just a bored kid move.  It’s a highly ‘convenient’ chance discovery.

Never seen ‘Eye of the Needle’ - sounds like my kind of film.  I’ll check it out.  Funnily enough, I had Donald Sutherland’s Oddball character from Kelly’s Heroes in mind while writing Bryn…  


James,

Glad this worked for you.  I was aiming for something a little sweeter but not overly saccharine - something with a Christmas flavour.  I’d agree it does fall back on familiar territory in places (foils, mother/father relationships etc.) it’s kind of a useful shorthand - especially with a limited number of pages.  Something for me to think on.  I’m tempted to get in and dig out the characters more but it would probably add length where I’m not sure there’s enough of a story to back it up.

Thanks again for the notes.  If I can return the reads let me know.

Steve  


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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MarkItZero
Posted: December 29th, 2016, 2:46pm Report to Moderator
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Nice work on this one. Sounds like you’re happy with it as is, understandably, since it is very well-written and the characters work. I don’t think it needs any major changes. But I agree with people saying you could lose the sister. There’s probably a more efficient way to show a kinder side of Iggy, and him taking on adult responsibilities, without introducing a whole other character.

I’d go so far as to say you could lose all the opening scenes at home with mother on the phone and Iggy helping his sister. Maybe open instead on Iggy in the middle of a fight with the bullies, he runs away, finds the grenade, then comes home and talks to mom in the kitchen. So the home scene currently on pg. 5 becomes the only home scene. Then you find a way to show mom is stressed, home life is not perfect, Iggy has a kinder side and is taking on adult responsibilities… all in that one scene. Might be hard to pull off, but probably not impossible. For example, maybe mom is a bit out of it, knocks over a wine glass, and Iggy is the one to clean it up and help her to the couch.

Again, I liked it as is. You probably don’t wanna waste time trying to make that drastic of a change. But thought I’d throw it out there.


That rug really tied the room together.
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stevemiles
Posted: January 2nd, 2017, 1:41pm Report to Moderator
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Hey James,

Thanks for checking this out.  I tried to squeeze a lot into a short space with this one.  I quite like the suggestion of opening on Iggy and the bullies in order to get to the grenade a little sooner.  One to think on.

If I can return the read just let me know.

Steve  


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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