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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Sci Fi and Fantasy Scripts  ›  Kings
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  Author    Kings  (currently 186 views)
Don
Posted: April 30th, 2019, 9:28pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Kings by David Gonzalez - Short, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Drama, Suspense - A retired spy visits a dying former cold war adversary in hopes of finding out the truth about his grandson. 11 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
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Dustin
Posted: May 1st, 2019, 11:58am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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I find it annoying when a film uses chess and doesn't do it properly.

Chess pieces are not counters.

Code

John plays quick and straight. Not a second guess. But
Olegís moves are slower, thoughtful. He is a strategist.



One's speed of play doesn't make them a strategist or a tactician. Indeed, strategy comes from memory more often than not... hm, but then, tactical ability often comes down to pattern recognition so perhaps that's memory too. Speed of play though definitely isn't an indicator of anything. I can play through a 60-move game of chess in under a minute - obviously using pre-moves.

Code

Immediately, Oleg castles his king and rook, switching
their positions.



Better to just write 'Oleg castles.' The king and rook do not switch positions, so your attempt to explain 'castling' fails.


Code

John studies the new placements. He frowns, noticing
something - Olegís rook is in line with his king.



He can't be much of a chess player if he cannot see that taking the en prise queen leads to a mate in one. Has he just learned to move the pieces?

The rest of the story is not written to a standard where I can read it. Keep reading scripts, keep trying. Eventually you may get somewhere.


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Philostrate
Posted: May 4th, 2019, 5:53am Report to Moderator
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Hi Dustin,

Thanks for taking the time to read and give some feedback. I appreciate your comments.

David


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MarkItZero
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 12:09am Report to Moderator
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Hey David,

You've got some cool stuff going on here. Spies, magic abilities, an interesting twist at the end. The world building was getting going, the twist opens up a lot of possibilities, kinda felt like it was just getting started. Maybe the start of something larger?

I liked the intensity of the chess game matching their argument.

A few things that I think are really helpful to train yourself on dialogue:

1)Get into a scene as late as possible, leave as early as possible.

2)Generally, less is more with dialogue. Sometimes, an action line can express the same thing. A furtive glance, a blush of the cheeks, can speak volumes.

3)Be subtle, build subtext.

I'll list some lines below that IMO are in danger of being unnecessary or lacking subtlety. I'm not saying pro scripts are completely devoid of this. But it's something to be aware of and get in the habit of avoiding. Too much of it, and your scene is gonna run of the risk of reading flat.

For each, I'd first ask the question does this even need to be said? And, if so, can I deliver the information in a more subtle manner?


Quoted Text
OLEG
You know we were never friends, right?



Quoted Text
JOHN
Because you love chess. You would never
waste a good game.



Quoted Text
JOHN
He's my grandson, Michael. For the last
month, we've been visiting one doctor
after another because I suspect he may
have "special abilities".



Quoted Text
JOHN (CONT'D)
How are you? I heard your health isn't
doing so good...



Quoted Text
OLEG
I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm no
longer what I used to be. I have a brain
tumor.


Again, not necessarily saying this is wrong. I'm sure I've read plenty of pro script where a character says I have a brain tumor. Just a good general habit to get into. Ask can I show this instead of saying it? If not, can I reasonably convey the information in a subtle way (that's clear to the audience)?


I'm gonna do a different take for the start of the first scene as an example. If you don't like me writing out scenes of dialogue lemme know, I'll refrain in the future. Not saying this is better, it might be worse. But at least it'll give you an idea of some other angles you can take to deliver information.

I left out almost all the descriptions, hopefully it's still easy to follow...

OLEG
Hello, John.

JOHN
A match for old time's sake?

OLEG
If you win?

JOHN
I get a favor. You win, you get peace and quiet.

They start playing.

OLEG
Not quite the stakes we had in Berlin.

JOHN
I never gambled with lives. That was
your specialty.

OLEG
And yet you bring a boy here.

OLEG
Over my right shoulder, by the swings. Or is that
one of your clever diversions?

JOHN
No games this time.

OLEG
You and I never stop playing, John. No doubt you
listened to the whispers about my health. Noted
the tremor in my hands, confirming it. A brain
tumor to defeat the mighty Oleg.

OLEG
We play the game till our last dying breathe.

JOHN
Checkmate.


That rug really tied the room together.

Revision History (1 edits)
MarkItZero  -  May 15th, 2019, 12:56am
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Philostrate
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 3:44pm Report to Moderator
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Hey James,

Thanks for taking a look.


Quoted Text
You've got some cool stuff going on here. Spies, magic abilities, an interesting twist at the end. The world building was getting going, the twist opens up a lot of possibilities, kinda felt like it was just getting started. Maybe the start of something larger?
I liked the intensity of the chess game matching their argument.


Interesting, a friend asked the same question. He even suggested expanding the short and turning it into a pilot. I'll have to give it a thought - it wasn't my initial idea but I had a lot of fun with those characters.


Quoted Text
A few things that I think are really helpful to train yourself on dialogue:

1)Get into a scene as late as possible, leave as early as possible.

2)Generally, less is more with dialogue. Sometimes, an action line can express the same thing. A furtive glance, a blush of the cheeks, can speak volumes.

3)Be subtle, build subtext.


Yeah, you're right. I found an unfinished old draft of this in the hard drive while on writer's block and decided to give it a go. I finished the script and changed a few things, but didn't touch much of the dialogue, and, as you said - it lacks more subtext, the dialogue is a little on the nose. I realize now. Will have to work on it, thanks.

I like to think that I improved a little in this area with some of my other scripts Ė Lady Justice, The Beginning, Ö - but I still have a long way ahead. As a reader I love subtext, but as a writer sometimes I find it complicated to tackle.


Quoted Text
If you don't like me writing out scenes of dialogue lemme know


Nah, all good - itís fine for me and the example was very useful.

Great feedback, James. I appreciate you took the time to read and review.

You and Dustin - along with Kham and Sean (Elwood), who also read the script and shared their thoughts Ė have given me a lot to think about.

Iíll be happy to return the read so, if you want me to read something of yours, hit me up. I seem to remember that you were working on a fantasy epic screenplay, correct me if I'm wrong...



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MarkItZero
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 4:09pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Philostrate
As a reader I love subtext, but as a writer sometimes I find it complicated to tackle.

Iíll be happy to return the read so, if you want me to read something of yours, hit me up.


No worries, man. I have trouble with it too. You're doing great. Some of this stuff will come down the road. You're just starting out and you're improving greatly... keep at it!

Most important thing is just keep reading and writing.

No need for a return read right now, thanks though.


That rug really tied the room together.
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Philostrate
Posted: May 16th, 2019, 3:23pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from MarkItZero
No worries, man. I have trouble with it too. You're doing great. Some of this stuff will come down the road. You're just starting out and you're improving greatly... keep at it!

Most important thing is just keep reading and writing.

Thanks for the kind words and the cheer up, James. Will do!


Quoted from MarkItZero
No need for a return read right now, thanks though.

Okay, you're welcome, but I'll keep an eye out.


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