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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Dramedy Scripts  ›  Smoking Can Kill
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  Author    Smoking Can Kill  (currently 420 views)
Don
Posted: July 1st, 2019, 2:41pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Smoking Can Kill by Gerlinde Kenkel  & Bobby P. - Short, Dramedy - A man who has given himself up, wants to buy cigarettes, and meets on the way home a man who wants his money, and the robber is experiencing a surprise. 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 (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
LC  -  July 2nd, 2019, 8:19am
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Gerlinde
Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 7:18am Report to Moderator
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May I ask why Bobby P. was not also named as an author? He had a big part in the making of the script. And I think he deserves to be named as co-author.
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LC
Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 8:21am Report to Moderator
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Do you like to eat pie after a good movie?

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Fixed. Co-author added.


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Dustin
Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 9:03am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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Code

INT. BEN�S LIVING ROOM - EVENING 1

A dirty living room...



Rather than BEN'S LIVING ROOM and then repeating 'living room' in the action it would be better to go with INT. DIRTY LIVING ROOM - NIGHT. Also, the first line of action is passive anyway - so not good.


Code

Empty beer and liquor bottles are lying on the
floor, the table, and the broken sofa. 



Empty beer and liquor bottles lie on the floor, a
table, and a broken sofa.


Code

Likewise, old pizza boxes and glasses, on which 
cobwebs have formed.




Why not just include this in with the first line of action? As it stands, it's pretty awkward.


INT. DIRTY LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Cobweb-caked liquor bottles and mouldy pizza lie
on the floor, a table, and a broken sofa.


That is your 4 lines done in 2...

Rinse and repeat.


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Gerlinde
Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 7:04pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
Fixed. Co-author added.


Thanks a lot, LC.
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Gerlinde
Posted: July 2nd, 2019, 7:21pm Report to Moderator
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Dustin, I followed the German script standards. And after that, also the place is at the beginning of the text (description of the scene, or the place) to describe something of the life of the main character.
According to German script standard one does not write "dirty living room" in the scene heading. One writes "living room", and then in action, what the living room looks like.
On the other hand, I find your idea of shortening the action to two lines ingenious, and immediately implemented it in my screenplay. Thanks for this tip.
Incidentally, when I brought in the German homeowner/Landlady (the old hag), I thought of my aunt, who owns two houses here in Germany, and she is just like the character in the script.
I scoured my script collection, and found scenes from Richard Curtis (Nothing Hill) and Alexi Kaye Campbell WOMAN IN GOLD)    , where in the headline only the space was described in the storyline of the room. I copied it here for you:

Notting Hill:

Int. The Bookshop - Day

It's a small bookshop, slightly chaotic, ....


Woman in Gold:

EXT. A CEMETERY. DAY.
A Jewish cemetery on a sunny afternoon, an oasis of calm
against the Los Angeles skyline.

First the place in Heading Line, then in action the describing of the place (how the bookshop look alike, that this is a Jewish Cemetery). The same as in Germany.

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Gerlinde  -  July 2nd, 2019, 7:43pm
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Dustin
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 12:55am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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I find it difficult to believe that there is a German standard for writing scripts in English. I also find it hard to believe there is such a thing as 'German Standard' in the first place. If this script is for the German market, why is it written in English?

The writing in both of those examples is not the best. It is fine to add a little - often just one word - description in your slug if it helps the narrative.

It is different when you have been commissioned to write something as you can get away with not being so on point. Either that or those writers just aren't as craft-aware as I am. I've actually never heard of the second film, and never seen the first.

All you should consider is what makes the most sense. What is the most logical solution. If you have 'BOOKSHOP' in the slug, why repeat that in the action? It is a waste of words... and that is not what screenwriters do.


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Gerlinde
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Quoted from Dustin
I find it difficult to believe that there is a German standard for writing scripts in English. I also find it hard to believe there is such a thing as 'German Standard' in the first place. If this script is for the German market, why is it written in English?


I have over 200 English scripts, and about 50 screenplays in German (film and television). In addition, according to the German script standard, I attended two courses at the adult education center (teacher was a graduate of a film school).
And there are differences in German and English / American script standard. There are similarities but also differences.
The present script was neither written for the German nor the American market, but was just the idea for a story that haunted my head.
I do not write for markets, but for pleasure.
If you want, I send you some of my German and American scripts to convince you.


Quoted from Dustin

The writing in both of those examples is not the best. It is fine to add a little - often just one word - description in your slug if it helps the narrative.


But they are in the scripts as well. I found more examples. In "Casablanca" as well as in "Victoria and Abdul". I quote:

int. abdul’s room, india
A darkened room. Someone is moving in the darkness.

(It's the first scene)


Quoted from Dustin

It is different when you have been commissioned to write something as you can get away with not being so on point. Either that or those writers just aren't as craft-aware as I am. I've actually never heard of the second film, and never seen the first.


Both films are well-known, not only in Europe. Notting Hill is with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, a wonderful comedy. The woman in gold is about a true story (it's about a stolen picture).
Here are links to the two films:

Notting Hill:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notting_Hill_(film)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RI0QvaGoiI

Woman in gold:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman_in_Gold_(film)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu9JeTX6Sdw


Quoted from Dustin

All you should consider is what makes the most sense. What is the most logical solution. If you have 'BOOKSHOP' in the slug, why repeat that in the action? It is a waste of words... and that is not what screenwriters do.


The author of Notting Hill has written many screenplays. Here is a link to his works:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Curtis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Curtis#Filmography

He knows what he is doing! He is not an amateur! My favorite Movies of Mr. Curtis:

Love Actually, Notting Hill, War Horse

Are we so successful as he is?

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Dustin
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 8:02am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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If you want to unnecessarily repeat information and write passively then that is up to you. If you wish to continue writing 4 lines when 2 will do, then that is fine. Especially as you're only writing for pleasure anyway.

Carry on.


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Gerlinde
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 11:28am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
If you want to unnecessarily repeat information and write passively then that is up to you. If you wish to continue writing 4 lines when 2 will do, then that is fine. Especially as you're only writing for pleasure anyway.

Carry on.


Dustin, as I have already written above, I have accepted and implemented your advice to cut the lines. And if you still have more such proposals, I am pleased to learn from it.
Only, as far as the heading is concerned, I showed you how professionals handle it. By authors who have written screenplays for television series and feature films. What they do can not be wrong, right?
By the way, some of my screenplays are more passive, others rather aggressive (most of them in German). I wish you could understand German. I would like to send you a copy of each.
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 4:27pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Gerlinde

I would be careful when copying what the pro's do in their screenplays as a lot of them are either not spec scripts, or they are from already known writers. When you are an unknown spec writer, best to err on the side of caution and make your writing as tight as possible to let the story shine through

Take your examples:

Notting hill - written by Richard Curtis, already known for 4 weddings and a funeral and co-writer of Blackadder

Woman in gold - yes, this was Kaye Campbell's first feature film, but he was already an award winning playwright

Casablanca - not a spec script

Victoria and Abdul - written by Lee Hall, an already BAFTA and Academy award nominated writer and most famous for writing Billy Elliot.

Point is, don't assume that you can take the same liberties that these writers can. In the struggle to sell a spec script, the less excuses you can give to the "gatekeepers" of the industry, the better



Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Matthew Taylor  -  July 4th, 2019, 4:37am
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LC
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 6:45pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Matthew Taylor
... When you are an unknown spec writer, best to throw caution to the wind and make your writing as tight as possible to let the story shine ...

Matthew, don't you mean best not to throw caution to the wind? - best to be cautious, conventional. A bit contradictory, that line of advice.


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Dustin
Posted: July 4th, 2019, 1:19am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder...

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She is only writing for pleasure, so it doesn't matter. Who knows why she lists the scripts here. I wrote for pleasure from the age of 7-38 and I never showed my work to anybody - well, very, very few people. I certainly would never have showed people online. I only did that when I finally made the decision (6 years ago now) to take my writing seriously.


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Matthew Taylor
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Quoted from LC

Matthew, don't you mean best not to throw caution to the wind? - best to be cautious, conventional. A bit contradictory, that line of advice.


Yes, thank you, I had a bit of a brain fart lol - I meant to say "err on the side of caution" - will edit the post accordingly.

Dustin - yea I saw she only writes for pleasure, but since it's a public forum I thought I would throw my 2 pence in for anyone else reading the thread.



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Matthew Taylor  -  July 4th, 2019, 4:38am
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Fais85
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Quoted Text
He looks into it. Everything is empty except a few coins
that he counts and three $5 bills.
BEN
(Smiles)
Enough for a pack of cigarettes.


No need for the dialogue. After finding empty cigarette packets, the reader already knows that he is looking in the wallet to buy cigarettes only.

The whole landlord scene is unnecessary. It doesn't add any value to your script (unless the story was about a guy in need of money.)

Instead...

After looking inside the wallet, he can just SIGH. the SIGH alone will let the audience know his pathetic condition.

Similarly, the whole bar scene is unnecessary. Instead, you could have given VLADIMIR's intro near those HOMELESS MEN snatching their last booze bottle.

Both character doing the same thing (checking their wallet) is weird.


Quoted Text
VLADIMIR
(Grins)
The purse is refilled, baby.


No need for this dialogue too. a GRIN is enough.


Quoted Text
Smiling, Ben reaches into his pocket. The smile confuses
Vladimir. He takes his hand out, nothing is in it.
BEN
(very angry)
Nobody robs me! Nobody threatens
me!


It will be more mysterious if he speaks the same dialogue with calmness and suddenly kicks the guy catching him off-guard.


Quoted Text
BEN
Do you know what that is,
schmock? I was a member of the
Marines. Head of a special unit
for black operations.
(Grin)
And we have never taken
prisoners!


BEN
Do you know what that is, schmock? Marines. Head of a special unit for black operations.
(Grin)
And we have never taken prisoners!

Goodluck with the next draft.
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