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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Drama Scripts  ›  Questionable Legitimacy
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  Author    Questionable Legitimacy  (currently 332 views)
Don
Posted: February 13th, 2022, 12:03pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Questionable Legitimacy by Simon Lee - Short, Drama - Two people, two different worlds, collide one night in an isolated artist's studio on the coast. 12 pages

Contest: Semi-Finalist Award, Sunday Shorts Film Festival - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Billie
Posted: February 26th, 2022, 1:59pm Report to Moderator
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I like this story and I think the discussion between the couple is timely so I can understand why it was a semi-finalist. Congratulations!

The dialogue was good and I'd only add that you might think of breaking some of the more lengthy pieces  up somehow.  Maybe with a movement by the person speaking.  Dialogue should be short, crisp, and never expository.

Because you have a good story, I did find some problems with the writing which I'll point out.  I think with some editing, the script could be even better, maybe even win more awards.  

Remember, these are only one person's thoughts so take what you want from this review and ignore the remainder.
"
First, I'd suggest you go through and delete all the "we hear" and "we see" words.   The audience is seeing and is hearing so those words in the script only tend to clutter it and waste space.  A screenplay should only tell us what we can see and what we can hear, nothing else. For instance, the first action line - which, incidentally, should be no longer than three lines - reads as follows:
"Early November. We are in the backroom of an Artist's studio which overlooks the south coast on the outskirts of a small coastal village in Southwest England. A radio can faintly be heard, and we hear a mixture of conversation and classical music. The camera is focused on a painting in progress depicting an upturned boat on the beach with children playing on it. We see the artist's hand as he works on his creation. We hear the sea; we hear a solitary Seagull.
"The Camera pans to the window and then down to the."

That's eight lines of action.  As I said above, it should be about three.  Keep them short, even fragments of sentences.

"Early November." The audience doesn't know or can't tell what time of the year it is so if that's an important part of the story, it has to be shown or told in dialogue.  IF important, maybe show a calendar with the first couple days crossed off.  If not important, delete it.

"We are in the backroom of an Artist's studio which overlooks the south coast on the outskirts of a small coastal village in Southwest England".

The scene heading already tells us we're in the backroom of an artist's studio so a repeat of it in the action line isn't necessary.  However, to show it's an artist's studio, you need to show us and seeing the painting in progress as you have it, plus canvases lined along, and on the wall, will do that.

If you want this to take place in a small coastal village in Southwest England, you're going to have to show it's in Southwest England somehow, however, I believe we find that out through the dialogue so also showing it isn't necessary. Maybe:

"A view from the window of a fishing village.  On the beach, children play on an overturned boat."

In addition to deleting the 'we see' and 'we hear,' also take out the "cut to" and "fade in" and "fade out" words.  The only place "fade in" is to be in a script is at the beginning, and "fade out" at the end.  As far as the "cut to" words, we know we're cutting to a new scene when we see a new scene heading.

Remove the camera directions. Those are at the discretion of the director and those operating the cameras. You may want it shot a certain way but what if the director disagrees, thinks he has a better idea, yet has to follow your script?  Our job is to write the story, not tell how it"s shot. And the actors' job is to play the part for which he gets paid, so try not to give them too many instructions on movements.

And finally, one more thing. What we're seeing on the screen is happening now so try to keep action lines in present tense.  By using passive verbs (is, are), and "ing" words, it keeps it in the past.  Example:

"Matthew walking down the street."  Make it "Matthew walks down the street."  

"Matthew has moved back to the shelf to replace the marble ornament."  Make it "Matthew moves back to the shelf to replace the marble ornament."
"I hope these notes help somewhat.

Good luck with the script.  
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