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Don
Posted: March 4th, 2019, 4:03pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Grey by Max Ruddock - Short, Drama - A depressed, introspective young woman whose only friends are the corpses in her family's mortuary, finally realises that once she's open to life, life is open to her. 4 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  March 24th, 2019, 4:41pm
revised draft
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: March 5th, 2019, 10:47am Report to Moderator
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I do like it when I open up a short to read and see that you are the writer. Although I do now feel like a reviewing stalker.

A few spelling errors I found below: I don't usually point these out but at least this may make my comment vaguely useful.
Pg 2 - "Fiona lay..." should be "Fiona lies..."
Pg 4 - "where" instead of "were"
Pg 4 - "corpse" instead of "corps"

You paint a great picture here - A proper isolated world that Fiona lives in, even down to the self-service checkout.
Reading it, I assume that the world that Fiona lives in isn't actually this desolate, but that is just how she perceives it?

Visually it could be very striking, the dull greys interrupted with moments of magnificent colour (on that note, there is no mention of a burst of colour in the ending, I would put that it so it ties back with the burst of colour when she first sees him, and when she sees the dress).
The animated corpse would also make for good visuals.


Quoted Text
INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - EMBALMING ROOM - NIGHT

Fiona wipes down the table were Vera used to be.

INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - FOYER - NIGHT

Fiona arranges flowers beside Vera�s coffin.

INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - GARAGE - NIGHT

Fiona wheels a trolley carrying a bagged-up body from a van.

INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - EMBALMING ROOM - NIGHT

Fiona trims the hair on the corps of a MAN (35).
She stops, looks at his face, puts her hands on his chest,
looks at the clock, rushes out
.

A lot of scene headings in a short space on the page. Slowed the read down a bit - could this be done as a series of shots under the one slug? I don't know, just a thought.

Not easy to tell a story without dialogue (well, not an interesting one anyway) - yours was interesting, so well done on that.

Do you need to have scenes at a junction and a park? I'm thinking that A) it would make potential production easier as there will be 1 less location to set up in and B) it will focus the story more IE - We open in the park, she first see's Ray in the park, she finds him again in the park OR We open at the junction, she first see's Ray at the junction, she finds him again at the junction - Again, I don't know, just throwing things at the wall and hoping something sticks lol

The ending also felt a bit, convenient. In that, he just happened to be there. Coincidences do happen, but do they make for great stories? Could Fiona do something that instigates their reunion rather than just being in right place at the right time?

Anyway - I like your style. Good work sir

Matt

P.s if you would like me to stop commenting on your work just let me know lol

EDIT: Forgot to add, not a fan of the title. It's a bit generic.


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Max Ruddock
Posted: March 5th, 2019, 1:02pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Matt/stalker guy,

...haha just kidding. Thanks for the read (again), and the feed back. Massively appreciated!

Oh man I always struggle with that lay/lie down type stuff. Thanks for pointing it out (plus the other spelling mistakes too). I'll get that sorted!

Great suggestion about the colour element. Sounds dumb but even though I'd pictured it like that, it didn't cross my mind to actually write it like that. Just shows how important it is to get feedback.

But yes, the world appears like that to her not so much cos it is actually like that, but because of her state of mind. I'd caught something on Radio 4 where they said colours can appear washed out or grey if somebody is depressed and thought it'd be interesting to write that in.

The slug one is tricky. I get what you mean though. Will definitely put some thought into that.

The junction and park locations were more about showing how isolated she is, even in very public places. You're right though, they could be very tricky to actually shoot though... especially the junction scene.

Yeah it's tricky with the end bit. I have her going to the junction in the hope of finding Ray, yet having her hopes dashed... and the park scene I'd already established, so I thought it would work as a lot of runners do train in parks. But you're right though. It does look pretty convenient.

Oh man, I'm fucking rubbish when it comes to names! "Honk if you're Horny!" is the only good name I've ever come up with, and even then all I did was use something off a bumper sticker. All the other times the titles were either too vague, too general, or worst of all, really pretentious. But yes, I agree. Shit name. Needs work.

Thanks again for the read Matt, I dig your feedback. My turn to return the reads now.

Cheers

Max
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LC
Posted: March 5th, 2019, 7:03pm Report to Moderator
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Heya Max, read this yesterday.

Formatting/nitpicky first:

FADE IN: – align left. I personally don't care but some do.

HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - EST. 1918

Typically should be: Funeral Home and I'd put that on a new line as a 'shot'.

Metallic instruments – suggestion.

Spring to life – instead of sprang.

Vera glides over to Fiona and gestures for Fiona (gestures for her) to pass
(her) the comb.

Vera takes the comb and uses the reflection from a steel
lamp-shade to comb her hair to her own preferred style.

Vera combs her hair in her own preferred style.
A steel lamp-shade? Is there something else in that room of 'instruments' she could use as a reflection device that's perhaps a bit more macabre or humorous?

I'd go mini slugs for the action taking place consecutively in the Funeral Home. It's otherwise becoming a bit laboured.

Cards – playing cards be better/or, perhaps Tarot cards?

Vera is actually lying down. Lay/ lie pointed out by Matt.
https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/lay-versus-lie

distant pitter-patter – the sound of distant foot-falls perhaps? It's a group of runners right? - pitter-patter is typically used for rain and lighter feet. Imho.

force her to sit up. Forces her to sit up.

They stare at each other until Ray, forced by necessity,
breaks away to see his group disappearing in the distance.

I'd delete ' forced by necessity'.

Fiona skips along performing the occasional pirouette.
The world should transform into colour at this moment imho.

Vera is cutting Fiona’s hair, she stops, takes Fiona’s hand
and puts it on her chest. Shakes her head.
Vera puts their hands on Fiona’s chest, makes a beating
movement and points to a clock on the wall.


I get you don't want ambiguity above but it still needs some streamlining.
Vera trims Fiona's hair. She stops, takes Fiona's hand, (in her own?) places it on her chest. Shakes her head. Is that last part (the clock) to indicate time ran out for her?

Vera puffs away on a
cigarette. (Great visual)

She sees nothing but buildings and the flicker of distant
street lights.
Start with: 'Nothing but...' (delete the 'she sees') Fragments are good in screenplays. Speeds things along.


INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - EMBALMING ROOM - NIGHT
Fiona wipes down the table were Vera used to be.
INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - FOYER - NIGHT
Fiona arranges flowers beside Vera’s coffin. (Foyer?) Perhaps Chapel Room or
INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - GARAGE - NIGHT
Fiona wheels a trolley carrying a bagged-up body from a van. (Consider this location as Refrigeration Room)

Suggestion: Use Mini Slugs to speed things along.

INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOME – NIGHT

EMBALMING ROOM

Fiona wipes down the mortuary table.

FOYER  (I'd head it Chapel or Viewing Room)
Arranges wreaths by Vera's casket.

GARAGE? I'd head it /RECEIVING STATION/REFRIGERATION ROOM
Wheels a trolley carrying a body bag.

EMBALMING ROOM
Trims the hair on the corpse of a MAN, (35).

Deleting all the Fiona this/Fiona that enables a smoother, faster read.

Fiona is sat on her usual bench.
Fiona sits...'
'is sat' is a UK thing combining present and past tense - fine and colloquial in dialogue but not in description imh..
...

I enjoyed the vibe of this. I really liked the TV monitors blinking off in succession and Fiona in a world of her own and her grey life finally finding colour.

I was curious about your time of day used. It's always NIGHT. I thought the jogging element could denote some passage of time and with DAWN included perhaps add to the narrative.

Nicely done overall but something is missing for me in that Fiona appears to stay on two levels - even-steven and resigned to her life(I only got 'depressed through 'grey'), and happy when she meets Ray.

I presume you were going for low key, grey depressed life suddenly transforms into colour and optimism? In which case, at least in your final act, I think emotions and actions need ramping up more. She does rush out of the room towards the end but...

Then the rhythm slows again -

She slowly raises to her feet (rises)
She sees Ray
and slowly approaches. Ray pauses, looks up
at her then climbs to his feet.

I think you need fast pacing at the end to contrast with the slow rise to the surface of a drowning woman in the beginning.

Hope some of what I've said is helpful.


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Matthew Taylor
Posted: March 6th, 2019, 8:42am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Max Ruddock


Oh man, I'm fucking rubbish when it comes to names! "Honk if you're Horny!" is the only good name I've ever come up with, and even then all I did was use something off a bumper sticker. All the other times the titles were either too vague, too general, or worst of all, really pretentious. But yes, I agree. Shit name. Needs work.



It is difficult - I think it's worth the effort though as a title will be the very first thing someone reads - even before the logline.

you could look at the script itself for inspiration;

- Perpetual Grey
- Lost in Grey
- Dead Grey? Death by Grey? something to do with death and grey lol
- Heart of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey has ruined the use of grey in titles because you could have had things like;

- Every shade of Grey
- Different Shades of Grey

Others I have thought of because I have now fallen down the rabbit hole;

- Finding My Rainbow
- Frame of Mind
- I'm Grey Da Ba Dee Da Ba Daa (Couldn't resist - You young guns out there may not get the reference)
- Roses are Grey...
- Greyscale
- In search of Colour

Ok, I'll stop - I'm not saying any of mine are any good, but maybe they might spark an idea in you.


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Max Ruddock
Posted: March 10th, 2019, 5:28am Report to Moderator
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Hey LC,

Wow!!!

Thanks for all the feedback. That a goldmine of feedback right there and I feel guilty for not addressing each bit individually... reason being that I'm very likely going to make every suggestion you gave, and write them into the next rewrite which I'll make this coming week.

Thanks again LC, massively appreciate the read, and all the feedback. I owe you one... more actually.

Max
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Max Ruddock
Posted: March 10th, 2019, 5:34am Report to Moderator
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Hey Matt,

Thanks again for the suggestions. To be honest 50 Shades of Grey (or something similar) would have been great. Just never occurred to me. I know you mentioned you think it's hard, but from what I can tell you've got a knack for it. Inbox (1) is a great name. I read it the other day as it goes. Just want a reread before giving feedback as there's a couple of things I want be clear with beforehand, if that makes sense?

But anyway yes, thanks for all the suggestions. Hopefully that should help spark something.

Thanks again Matt,

Max
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Andrew
Posted: March 10th, 2019, 6:20am Report to Moderator
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Filmed, this would be a mood piece that - as Matthew says - could be very striking visually.

Likewise, I found myself getting lost by the sheer volume of slugs, and I found myself getting bogged down on that, and not focusing on the story.

I had to go back to read it a second time to clarify what was going on. I still didnt really understand why Vera was combing the hair, and Ray is a ghost who has previously been in the funeral home?

Maybe it's just me, but found it difficult to follow exactly what was going on there.


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LC
Posted: March 10th, 2019, 6:57am Report to Moderator
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My understanding is Fiona preps the dead for burial and interacts with them even though they're dead. She's painfully shy and introspective, least that's my take on it.

Only when she finally engages with the living Ray in the real world and comes out of her shell does her world of perpetual grey turn to one of colour.

Perhaps Max, you could alternate hair with makeup. Open casket viewings are common in certain religions.
Shelly in My Girl is a makeup artist in Harry's Funeral Parlour:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102492/?ref_=tt_ch

I'd definitely expand on Fiona's skills.
Open with perhaps her applying makeup to Vera's face, maybe a close-up of lipstick being applied. Then we discover she's dead. Perhaps beard trimming  or trimming of hair for MAN.

I think visually you've a lot of opportunity with the prime setting.

Anyway Max, happy to help.
No return read required at this point.


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Andrew
Posted: March 10th, 2019, 7:01am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
My understanding is Fiona preps the dead for burial and interacts with them even though they're dead. She's painfully shy and introspective, least that's my take on it.

Only when she finally engages with the living Ray in the real world and comes out of her shell does her world of perpetual grey turn to one of colour.

Perhaps Max, you could alternate hair with makeup. Open casket viewings are common in certain religions.
Shelly in My Girl is a makeup artist in Harry's Funeral Parlour:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102492/?ref_=tt_ch

I'd definitely expand on Fiona's skills.
Open with perhaps her applying makeup to Vera's face, maybe a close-up of lipstick being applied. Then we discover she's dead. Perhaps beard trimming  or trimming of hair for MAN.

I think visually you've a lot of opportunity with the prime setting.

Anyway Max, happy to help.
No return read required at this point.


Ahh, I didn't pick up on the fact Ray was alive. That makes sense with the logline.

The colour would definitely aid, but I think the read needs a cleanup and tighten; then again, I've been out drinking tonight and am still up so I can watch the EPL... so I might just be missing the obvious!


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Matthew Taylor
Posted: March 11th, 2019, 10:07am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Max Ruddock
Inbox (1) is a great name.


Thanks, but I think the name is the only good thing about that short lol. I need to revisit that one at some point


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eldave1
Posted: March 11th, 2019, 1:30pm Report to Moderator
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Well written.

I would be tempted to use mini-slugs in several places given the number of scene headings. An example:


Quoted Text
INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT

Fiona, inches from a television screen, repeatedly presses
the power-on switch but the screen stays black.

She gives up and tries the radio. Again, no luck. Only
static and crackle. She thumps the radio and stomps off.

INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - EMBALMING ROOM - NIGHT

Fiona and Vera sit holding cards and watching one another’s
faces closely.


Could be:

INT. HOBART FUNERAL HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT

Fiona, inches from a television screen, repeatedly presses
the power-on switch but the screen stays black.

She gives up and tries the radio. Again, no luck. Only
static and crackle. She thumps the radio and stomps off.

EMBALMING ROOM

Fiona and Vera sit holding cards and watching one another’s
faces closely.




My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Max Ruddock
Posted: March 11th, 2019, 6:44pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Andrew and Eldave,

Thanks for the read and your feedback. Yes, definitely going to go with the mini slugs in the rewrite. Sounds daft but that never even crossed my mind... just shows how valuable feedback is!

And yes, LC's right. She's only talking to the dead dead, if that makes sense? Kind of like a kid having imaginary friends, only hers are corpses... Ray's definitely alive though. The guy in the morgue just reminds her of Ray, and spurs her to action.

Thanks for the suggestion about mixing up her skills. it'll go into the next draft!


Thanks again folks, I'll make sure I return the favour.

Max
  
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eldave1
Posted: March 11th, 2019, 8:10pm Report to Moderator
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My pleasure


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Andrew
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Quoted from Max Ruddock
Hey Andrew and Eldave,

Thanks for the read and your feedback. Yes, definitely going to go with the mini slugs in the rewrite. Sounds daft but that never even crossed my mind... just shows how valuable feedback is!

And yes, LC's right. She's only talking to the dead dead, if that makes sense? Kind of like a kid having imaginary friends, only hers are corpses... Ray's definitely alive though. The guy in the morgue just reminds her of Ray, and spurs her to action.

Thanks for the suggestion about mixing up her skills. it'll go into the next draft!

Thanks again folks, I'll make sure I return the favour.

Max


Got you. I really like the way you phrase, "The guy in the morgue just reminds her of Ray, and spurs her to action", as it gets me in the story that bit more.

A rewrite with the mini slugs, and the inevitable finessing that rewrites bring will nicely sharpen this.

Look forward to the next draft.


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