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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Dramedy Scripts  ›  The Countdown
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Don
Posted: March 27th, 2019, 3:57pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Countdown by Max Ruddock & Isaac Shaw - Short, Dramedy - A cleaner has to talk a suicidal officer worker out of killing himself before the stroke of midnight. 10 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Andrew
Posted: March 27th, 2019, 4:31pm Report to Moderator
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Enjoyed this.

Nice exploration of the trials and tribulations of life. Hugely English, and had a sort of After Life vibe. The existential nature of it will ring true for many.

I understood on a human level why Kevin would try and save Ian, but would maybe like (maybe just personal preference) for some link in that middle section to make that desire to save him personal. For me, that would give you an uplift in stakes and tension, plus add a little more emotional resonance.

Some funny moments, and you have a proper conclusion. Tonally, it's a nice blend of comedy and drama.

The dialogue was mostly good, but there were bits that had a first draft vibe to them. You could probably knock this down by a page or two by tightening dialogue and still retain impact.

For me, this is a very attractive script to film; two characters, one location. It could be shot quickly and cheaply. A good director will see ample opportunity to find nuance and meaning.

Hope to see it picked up. Good luck with it.


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Max Ruddock
Posted: March 28th, 2019, 5:05pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the read and the feedback. I really appreciate it.

Totally get what you mean with the dialogue. Really wanted something that pops, but still feels flat in places. I'm hoping after a few weeks working on other stuff I'll come back to this one with fresh eyes and more energy. I think the limited characters, location, and time has actually boxed us in to a degree, but hopefully should pay off in the end.

Thanks again Andrew, I owe you one.

Max
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: March 29th, 2019, 4:32am Report to Moderator
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Hey Max - Review stalker here - I can't help it, I like your stuff

This is really geared for easy production, like Andrew says - 1 easy to find location, 2 actors - done

OK, I'll jump into stuff I like.

* Dialogue - I like it, felt very natural and interesting, oh and funny - the phone a friend bit got me. I guess it could be tightened in places, but not too much - natural dialogue isn't tight.
* Kevin - I love that he is so shit at talking the guy down. He started off well, getting him to come down from the noose to talk, but after that, he doesn't do a great job, which again, feels fitting to his character and reality.
* The ending - I love that he didn't actually convince him not to kill himself, then something touched on stops him, well done I thought.
*Introducing the countdown - Making it time limited is great for adding the tension.

Things I was a bit confused about.

*The boxes in the beginning - What's the relevance of these? has he just been fired and has packed up his stuff?
*Kevin is a cleaner, and it looks like he comes in after the office has closed (you have NIGHT in the slug) so how would he hear chitchat around the office (learning Ian's name)?
*Is the window open? or is he planning on launching himself through the glass? I've never been suicidal, but I think I would open the window first lol

I don't know how I am supposed to feel about Ian, I didn't much care if he did kill himself or not. I also didn't feel that the stakes for Kevin stopping him were high enough, there was mention of him being on probation, but I didn't get the feeling that Ian killing himself would affect Kevin's life that much - Maybe build a connection between the two like Andrew suggested, at the beginning, Kevin mentions the rope won't hold? How does he know? maybe he has tried to hang himself before and so has that emotional attachment.. or maybe he saw his dad try and do it when he was a kid and has scarred him mentally - Just spitballing...

The writing:
Mostly good, just feels a little rushed in places with grammar and sentence structure.
Nodding - there's a lot of nodding lol 8 times. Is that a lot? I don't know.

Unimportant stuff:
The title page looks off kilter - and where are the page numbers? are we suppose to have page numbers? they help with people reviewing atleast...

Anyway - As always, another interesting read from you (and your writing partner)

Best of luck with it

Matt
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Max Ruddock
Posted: March 29th, 2019, 3:24pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Matt,

Thanks for the read. I always really appreciate your feedback.

Yeah the countdown element is there as a bit of a cheap way to up the ante haha... still, if it works why not eh? Plus we tried to time the countdown with the page count, so hopefully it could play out in real time and perhaps even as a continuous shot if someone is particularly ambitious.

The boxes are there as he's packing up his stuff because his company has gone under. Will have to have a think about that if it's not clear. Cheers for the heads up.

Great point about the time. Hadn't thought about that. Obvious mistake too because even though cleaners do often roll in around 5ish at some offices (I did when I was a cleaner at the local job centre and another time at Philips), and do get to speak to staff, they're not likely to bump into them close to midnight... will get that sorted. Thanks again.

Good point about the window too. That'll be a nice detail to add in, plus a way to add a little tension in if it's Ian who opens it.

It's tricky with Ian. Personally I didn't really connect with the character either and that probably comes across on the page. Will have to think about that.

Haha yeah I know what you mean about some of it looking rushed. Will have to polish it up. And Jesus, haha I've got him nodding like he's got some kind of medical problem. Will sort that out!

Glad you mentioned about the title page. I thought it was just me thinking that. Seriously. I even covered up one eye at a time to see if it changed. Fuck knows why but Final Draft has been doing that with all my stuff. No idea about the page numbers. That'll teach me for using a moody copy of FD I guess.

Thanks again Matt, once more, I owe you.
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stevemiles
Posted: May 9th, 2019, 2:41pm Report to Moderator
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Max,

A quick read at ten pages (might want to add some page numbers) with the whole will he/wonít he question just enough to keep me in even though the premise felt familiar territory.

A couple of amusing lines help along the way but for me, Ianís complaints felt pretty stock - job, money, marriage etc. which leaves the back and forth to cover some pretty well trodden ground. Itís functional if not exactly memorable.

Ian guessing Kevin was on probation (presumably prison and not a probationary work period?) from the tattoo felt a bit forced.  Could be another way to reach that conclusion.

The ending did throw a curveball - one that was nicely set-up in the dialogue.  That said, the ending still felt a bit flat - more of a distraction than a payoff as the death offers no clear resolution to Ian and Kevinís situation.  Has Kevin given Ian a reason not to jump?  It gives you a convenient place to end but perhaps thereís a more satisfying way to tie this all together and have more fun along the way?

Still, a simple enough idea and the kind of thing that gets picked up.  Best of luck with it.

Steve


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


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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Max Ruddock
Posted: May 9th, 2019, 8:26pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Steve,

Thanks for the read and feedback. I owe you!

Great points too. I've been struggling with this one so asked a friend to come on-board and help with another draft. He did a good job of freshening up the dialogue but I think it still has those issues you've pointed out.

It's a bit of an annoying one for me as I find it hard to find my way out of the predicament I put myself in... I clearly overrated my own creativity here haha

Good point about the page count. Allowing myself to expand things should help with offering up opportunities for a fresh perspective.

Thanks again.

Max
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stevemiles
Posted: May 10th, 2019, 10:19am Report to Moderator
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No worries.

Just to clarify on the page number thing  (I think I could have worded it better) I just meant numbering the pages - I think the length works for what it is - maybe even a touch less if need be.

Steve  


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


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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Max Ruddock
Posted: May 12th, 2019, 10:44am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from stevemiles


Just to clarify on the page number thing  (I think I could have worded it better) I just meant numbering the pages - I think the length works for what it is - maybe even a touch less if need be.



Ah I get ya haha... Ok roger that!

Thanks again Steve
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