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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Dramedy Scripts  ›  Play by the rules
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  Author    Play by the rules  (currently 149 views)
Posted: June 10th, 2024, 2:08pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Play by the rules by Erica - Short, Dramedy - It's just another love story. 61 pages - pdf format

New writer interested in feedback on this work, please be nice

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Posted: June 15th, 2024, 10:14pm Report to Moderator

Northeast USA pretty much.
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I think you have a nice story here. It’s fairly straightforward. The characters are interesting. I like Victoria Kensington. She’s not the type of person that I would like to be around but she is the kind of character that I like to write. She’s a great source of dramatic energy both with how she treats subordinates and the internal issues she deals with.

There are a number of serious issues with your format. From the best that I can tell, this was written with a word processor. You should use a software package specifically written to write screenplays and teleplays. It sets all of your margins correctly along with page numbering, parentheticals, etc.  The cost of a package varies from expensive to free. This is a link that Libby suggested to someone. I’m passing it on to you.

The reason I am suggesting this is because your margins are not consistent. You center justify your character dialog titles and the dialog itself. Sometimes action or dialog starts in the center, sometimes way to the left. The only things that I can think of that should be center justified are the title and your name on the title sheet, and “The End” at the end of the script.

Another glaring problem is that you put action text after a character title. That’s something that will cause a producer to put your script down and move on to the next script in their busy day. Action text should be on its own and not follow a character dialog title. To make it clear that Victoria is doing the action, write, “Victoria storms off in a huff.” Don’t put it under an character title for dialog. Read some of the other scripts posted here. You’ll see what I am talking about.

The third biggest problem is that you have many things written that cannot be filmed. How is someone supposed to film that Audrey understands that she can score a point? Perhaps it could be done with a specific expression, gesture or vocal nuance. That’s something specific that can be a acted and filmed. That is what you need to put in your script. Write what they do and what they see and hear, not what they feel or think.

There are examples of where you do things correctly. On page 18, Kate eats a chocolate cake, it tastes delicious judging by her face. The look on her face can be filmed. “It tastes delicious” is what I call commentary and supports or describes the action. Personally, I prefer to put the filmable part first and the commentary second. I would word that sentence as: Kate eats a chocolate cake. From her expression, the cake is delicious. It’s just my opinion.

Another glaring problem is that almost the whole document is missing punctuation. No periods or question marks, only an occasional exclamation mark. I think you are above this. Use punctuation.

You shouldn’t put characters in ALL CAPS throughout the whole teleplay. You only need to do this when they are first introduced or in their dialog titles. You should also use ALL CAPS when introducing extras and support characters like the bartender on page 7 or the Woman that Victoria meets in a bar on page 8.

The top of page 8 has a small assortment of problems. First, the woman isn’t introduced. She just starts talking like she’s been there interacting with Victoria already. She needs to be introduced with something like: A WOMAN approaches Victoria like she just spotted an old friend. Then you would have the dialog title WOMAN followed by her dialog, “Hi stranger.”  When the woman kisses Victoria, she wouldn’t be in all caps just like you have it.

There are other problems like typos but I think you can fix those without my help. I want to focus on the bigger format problems.

As far as the story goes, the only issue, and it’s a minor one, is how does Kate have the authority to fire Victoria? I get the impression that they are partners of V&K Company with equal standing. That is something that needs to be cleared up.

Also, I don’t know much about British law but where I live, it’s illegal to hack into another person’s phone and install software of any kind much less tracking software. Perhaps you could change the premise of the story in that Victoria lost a friendly bet to Kate. The hiring of Audrey and the installation of the software was a condition of losing the bet. Just a thought.

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