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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Drama Scripts  ›  Killing Joseph Smith
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  Author    Killing Joseph Smith  (currently 2396 views)
Gerlinde
Posted: March 1st, 2018, 11:24pm Report to Moderator
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Matt, can't see the new draft. Maybe it takes a little time to be uploaded.
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HyperMatt
Posted: March 2nd, 2018, 3:42am Report to Moderator
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Hi Gerlinde, I was able to get into it okay.
Thanks for giving a second look.


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Colkurtz8
Posted: March 4th, 2018, 8:29am Report to Moderator
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Matthew

Fantastic opening images, very striking and vivid.

“Cyrus looks behind him anxiously as an angry voice in the
unseen crowd seems to be aimed at him.”

- I would be wary of writing things that don’t translate to screen. This would work of course if you had written out what the angry voice actually said. As it stands though, it’s too vague.

Looks like you could fit more text at the bottom of page 2, big gap there.

“Bill grabs Cyrus...”

- I assume Bill is Deputy Morris? If so, it should be clarified in his introduction.

ROTHERHITHE
Shut up with that song singing
Taylor!

- Ha, I enjoyed this line.

So far I’m really liking this. I don’t know the history of Mormonism outside of the key players and a few bullet points of information and  consider myself an atheist so its testament to your writing how engaged I am with it. Although, I guess you’d nearly prefer an audience who don’t know the story so they won’t know how events transpires...script title aside

MORRIS
(shouting)
Sheriff! Get in here! The
undertaker’s looking for business!

- Good line

“With no eyes on him, Joseph quickly slips the pistol down his
sleeve.”

- Wow, that was a hell of a diversionary tactic by Cyrus...but I fear what will become of him now for his actions.

“Chester and Morris jump and Cyrus and holds him down.”

- Should be “on” instead of the “and” between “jump” & “Cyrus” No “s” in “holds”. There are quite a few typos like this throughout the script so far, would be worth giving it another proofread I reckon.

MORRIS
American Mohammed my ass!

- Don’t mean to be pedantic and otherwise you’re dialogue, by and large, sounds like it’s from the era but would they’ve used this expression back then? Or the word “sh?t”?

“Warwick and Rotherhithe pull the triggers but the rifles
don’t fire to their chagrin, they are empty.”

- How did they allow this oversight...or is it the work of some higher force? Reading on, it’s evidently the former. I know you want to set it up so the dude with the sword can slice ass unimpeded but it’s hard to believe Warwick, no matter how incompetent he must be, would’ve forgotten this of all things. Is there a way you can have them without their guns entirely when they come face to face with Stranger?

WARWICK
(to Rotherhithe)
He must be talking about Smith.

- This line feels surplus to requirements, unnecessary, as if you’re spoon feeding. It’s safe to assume we can all infer, the characters and us the reader, who Stranger is talking about.

“Before he can strike, the stranger unexpectedly jumps out,
turns and pierces Chester in the chest with the sword in
swift coordinated movements.”

- You know, the cliché of the black guy always eating dust first has been subverted so much in recent times that this now feels fresh and unexpected again. A bold choice

“The stranger falls on top of Morris. Morris groans in pain.”

- Oh, that was a quick demise, wasn’t anticipating it. Seems like a waste to have a sword wielding Cloaked avenger, with the entrance he made, only strike once.

“He is an ALBINO, (20s), with a baby face and a splendid mop of curly
hair.”

- A startling visage for sure, interesting.

“A barrel from the door fires and hits the

A barrel enters from the opened door and fires. The shot hits
the light and the whole place is plunged into DARKNESS”

- Not sure what is going on here. Seems like a line is partially repeated or something.

“The man is knocked out and falls behind the door.”

- Knocked out by a book? Really?

“The pistol fires and hits John’s watch. The ticking stops.”

- Nitpicky yes, but I doubt we’d hear the ticking over all this commotion.

“Warren grabs one of Warwick’s canes by the door.”

- Who is Warren? First mention of him here.

Nice bookend with the sketches.

Overall, this has a lot going for it. You can clearly write, the characterisation is strong, the storytelling clear and concise (I won’t comment on how accurate it is to true events, rather judge it as pure fiction) and the dialogue is believable and quite rich in places, in a good way.

The biggest criticism I have, which I already mentioned in the notes above, is the amount of errors in the writing, particularly in the prose.

Some of it is down to awkward phrasing, but to be fair, technically it’s not too bad. It, like most scripts (including my own) can always do with some trimming. The main problem here is just basic proof reading. It is strewn with typos and missing words (oxymoronic I know but you get my meaning). Unfortunately a lot of people won’t be able to get past this, will fixate on it and maybe even give up on your script without giving it the consideration and I think it deserves. Thankfully, it’s also an issue easily fixed.

Nice work and with some rigour it could be great.

Col.



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Colkurtz8  -  March 4th, 2018, 11:47am
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HyperMatt
Posted: March 4th, 2018, 10:08am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from HyperMatt
New draft uploaded. A few changes.
I was surprised how many typos were in it. and a duplicated and an incomplete paragraph to my shame.


Thank you so much for your thorough examination of the script colkurtz8 and your detailed comments. You don’t know how much I appreciate it.  I think you must have downloaded and read previous draft 7, as I could find only the ‘Bill grabs Cyrus’ error (Bill was indeed Morris’ name in previous drafts). That ‘He must be talking about Smith’ line of dialogue was also taken out as I saw how redundant it was on another read. I'm so upset with myself on the typos I made. Always thought the quality control on a short script will be easier.
I very much enjoyed writing it, especially the dialogue, which I think is strong for me. That song singing line, my dad used to say that to me.  The characters came alive and took a life of their own. I know I've got some anachronistic dialogue, as some films do. If it ever gets filmed, I’ll leave it for the film-makers if they want to keep it or not.
I was really pleased with some of the visual ideas that came while writing this, like the sketches. You’re right in saying that I am more interested in readers who have only partial knowledge of the history of Mormonism. They’ve got some rich stuff in their mythology.

Thanks again Col.
I’ll definitely return the favour. (favor for our American friends).

Matthew


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HyperMatt
Posted: March 4th, 2018, 10:10am Report to Moderator
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Oh and Warren is Willard.
Thanks  Col


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Colkurtz8
Posted: March 4th, 2018, 11:49am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from HyperMatt
I think you must have downloaded and read previous draft 7, as I could find only the ‘Bill grabs Cyrus’ error (Bill was indeed Morris’ name in previous drafts). That ‘He must be talking about Smith’ line of dialogue was also taken out as I saw how redundant it was on another read.


- That's good to hear, it's worth working on this. There will always be a typo or two with anything you read but when it distracts from the read you've got a problem. Yeah, I often download a script on to my computer and then read it when I get the chance, sometimes weeks can pass. I must have downloaded this before you posted the new draft.

Anyway, best of luck with it going forward.


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JordanB
Posted: April 5th, 2018, 6:24pm Report to Moderator
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After a couple of reads, I can appreciate your use of sketches to set the tone of what’s to come. The integration of voice-overs really adds to it. Having a little difficulty with the description writing but am intrigued enough to work through it. Will let you know my final thoughts after I take some time to absorb it.
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HyperMatt
Posted: April 5th, 2018, 6:46pm Report to Moderator
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A few people have had issues with my descriptive writing. I've really got to work on that.


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HyperMatt
Posted: April 29th, 2018, 4:53pm Report to Moderator
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New draft uploaded.

Thanks a lot for your constructive criticism everyone, it has been very helpful.


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Gerlinde
Posted: April 30th, 2018, 1:04am Report to Moderator
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I didn't daw any changes at the script. In your script, JS is still a martyrer of his faith, not the person, which killed and wounded wit his prison smuggled weapon three people. And, don't forget, he call the Nauvoo Legion, to free him from prison. And he called the freemasons, as he got out of the window.
Historical not correct, and in my eyes a try, to whitewash JS.
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Clark
Posted: March 18th, 2019, 10:17pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Matt, I don't know if it was just me, but I felt confused by this and I hate to say a little hard to follow? I don't know anything about the true history. It could just be my ADD etc, but I just couldn't get into this one.
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