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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Sci Fi and Fantasy Scripts  ›  Storm at the Backyard
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  Author    Storm at the Backyard  (currently 656 views)
Don
Posted: November 5th, 2020, 5:54pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Storm at the Backyard by Miranda Dutton - Short, Sci Fi, Fantasy - Talking animals struggle with a newcomer to their backyard. - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



Visit SimplyScripts.com for what is new on the site.

-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  November 24th, 2020, 10:54pm
this is a revision a of 1115 - apologies for not updating.
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Miranda
Posted: November 7th, 2020, 9:56am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for posting. It is my first ever script after my dog, Leah died at age four. Writing helped me deal with her loss. Also English is not my first language. I had to review every single word. Any feedback, good or not so good is welcome! Anyway, I read some work here but I am shy to give my opinion. I will try to overcome this.
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LC
Posted: November 7th, 2020, 6:08pm Report to Moderator
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Miranda, I notice you've been around for a while sporadically, but I'll post some links for you regardless, as they might help.

And... Don't be shy. Your opinion is just as valuable as anyone else's.

Guide to getting around the site:
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-cc/m-1124159895/

Screenwriting Class:
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-screenwrite/

This is optional:
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-knowyou/

The more you comment on other's work the more you'll get back in return.

I'll check your script out a bit later.
Love the big red heart avatar, btw.  


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Miranda
Posted: November 9th, 2020, 11:02am Report to Moderator
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Thank you! You make me feel closer to be part of the SimplyScripts "family"  I will wait for you feedback. Tks a lot.
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MarkItZero
Posted: November 9th, 2020, 1:57pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Miranda. Welcome to SS. That's a good first script ever. Especially for not being a native speaker. I like that Leah comes to accept the dog in the end. That's a funny line about the storm trooper.

Despite only having to learn one language, I'm still terrible at grammar.

But I'll take a stab at some errors and such I caught along the way...

Pg. 2 -- Takes a deep breath in relief.

Pg. 3 -- A plastic bag flies directly into Leah’s face.

Pg. 4 -- A branch hanging on a powerline provokes fire. Repetitive
small explosions occur while wind aggressively swings the
lines and branches.

Pg. 4 -- Leah rolls backwards, panting and gasping for air. Dirt
and leaves hit her face.

Pg. 4 -- The lizard is pale in shock.


Also, it's good practice to write actively. So, instead of something like "he's walking along the road". Could just be "he walks along the road". Good description writing is all about being efficient and visual. I think you're doing the visual part really well.

Look for places where it can be more active as well as spots where you can essentially create the same visual image with fewer words. For example...

Pg. 1 -- Scalding bothersome winds blow large leaves into the air.

Leaves scatter in the wind.


Pg. 4 -- Wind whistling frantically.

The wind whistles.

Or

A gust of wind.


Nice job overall! Keep reading and writing lots of scripts. It's a bit quiet on the boards as I think most people are hibernating after this nightmare year. But people always welcome feedback on here. It's good to get a fresh perspective from a new writer.


That rug really tied the room together.
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LC
Posted: November 9th, 2020, 9:45pm Report to Moderator
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Hey again, Miranda.

Forgive me if I repeat anything James has said already.

Re your title page::Email as contact is generally standard, and enough info. I'd personally delete the other address info.

And insert this after the (c) 2020:
All rights reserved. This screenplaymay not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.

As a traditionalist I'm rather fond of a FADE IN: & OUT, makes me feel like ooh, the movie's about to start. More and more script writers don't bother, so up to you

If you want a location at the top i.e.,South Florida you're going to need a title or Super.
So, some description first, then:

SUPERIMPOSE South Florida.
Though, I'm not sure it's needed.

Pompous to describe the tree?
Your opening description of the tree is a bit analytical instead of evoking atmosphere.

South Florida, a dense pompous shade tree, stands
centered at 500 SQ feet. Tons of brown leaves lie beneath
it. Uneven Shrubs and palm trees limit the property
.

Maybe just call it a big old oak tree or olive tree or Shady Lady tree. Perhaps she stands majestically (imbue the tree character) front and centre in the backyard. Use a word like imposing or majestic instead of pompous which is a word generally used to characterise a person's character.

Delete the 500 sq feet description. Oh, and for the most part if using them in a script write out numbers in full - I.e., five hundred square feet.

Scalding bothersome winds
Scalding usually refers to heat and liquids.
I think you might mean squally or squalling winds. Wild gusts of wind.

Shrubs and palm trees limit the property.
Border the property perhaps?

Master will bring
his brother’s dog to watch over us
during the storm.

I'd write the dog's name in at this point... Will be bringing Stanford by to watch over us.
Perhaps at this point Leah can proclaim that she doesn't need some other dog looking after her, she can look after herself just fine, thank you!

Suggestion:
Master will be bringing…
Or: Master is on his way with Stanford...
Or: Master is bringing…

LEAH, Shar-pei dog, golden, medium-bulky-size, full
muzzle resembles a hippopotamus, snobbish posture,
comes out of the house. Door closes behind her.


This description (above) reads a bit like specs for this breed of dog.
Think about how you'd describe this dog to someone you know who didn't know what the mutt looks like. The muzzle bit says a lot but mostly you'd describe her chubby folds of skin and wrinkles and her almost cartoonish face.

BIG MAMMA, (a big black cat) big black cat. White spots on three paws and
below the neck, like a baby bib. Squeezes out of pet’s
back door a few feet away.

If I were you I'd link those descriptions for fluidity instead of using full stops which create a staccato halting rhythm instead of a continuation of flow.

And, as with the dog:

Choose your verbs so that they contribute life, movement, and personality to your characters. The Dog 'bounds' from the doorway is much stronger than 'comes' out of the house. Door closes behind her would be better as the screen door swings shut or slams shut ( given the high winds) behind him. Think about the visual you want your audience to see.

BigMama has the trademark tuxedo coat pattern of white socks/ socked paws and chest? squeezes out of a cat flap by the kitchen door, perhaps? And then give us her personality. My husband always describes cats as elegant tramps.  

BigMama slinks across the lawn, perhaps? I'd be looking at words/verbs to describe the cat's movement - to inject personality, humour. Felines like to stalk in long grass, hunt and pounce and walk tightrope along fences etc. Likewise with the dog - it has completely different behaviour - they lope and bound and sniff the ground (and each other's bottoms) and laze around, and wag their tales when happy etc.

I'd describe BigMama looking up at the bird before you actually intro Redbird. Maybe call it Robin?

DAN and DAVE. Teenager squirrels
Should be teenage squirrels

Leah runs toward Big Mamma. Twist her head sideways
checking for any visible injuries.

Use plural here - twists her head, checks for...'

Takes a deep breath in relieve.
Relief or relieved.

They both stare at the clouds grouping together.
They both stare up at dark storm clouds gathering overhead.

Format-wise you've got some instances of an orphaned character name at the bottom of the page and the accompanying dialogue over on the next page.
You want to fix that.

Property. Maybe better as territory.

Jealous!
You're jealous!

A branch hanging on powerline provokes fire. Repetitive
small explosion occurs while wind aggressively swings the
lines and branches.


Sparks is the word you're looking for here I think.

The lizard is pale in chock. (chock?) shock?
This lizard sounds like it's a chameleon if it's able to change colour?
Nice visual of it exploding from Leah's mouth btw. That's funny physical comedy. May as well give it a name as well, even if it is a bit-part.  

Call the dog Stanford from the outset imho, like I said earlier. Gives it more character. Perhaps Leah and Stanford have butted heads before on more than one occasion?

Leah roars loud. Bares her teeth.
Barks or growls not roars - leave that to a lion.

Leah and he (Stanford) gaze into each other eyes.
Gaze is too static and even romantic a word. This is more like a face-off.

Leah and Stanford lock eyes perhaps?

Humm?
Huh?
Or:
Hmm?

Disrespectful towards others, or of others.

In terms of plot I'd amp it up a bit.

Establish Stanford and Leah being long term rivals, even enemies to begin with. It's more exciting as there's established conflict, jealousy etc. This is Leah's territory and she's not happy with this interloper.Perhaps if Stanford performed some heroic act, creating suspense and saved Leah from the sparking powerlines? BigMama could assist with some comedic highwire act?

This has heart. I can see what you're going for and a lot of it comes across very well already. I just think you need to fill in a few gaps, add more humour, more suspense, add some more comedic touches and hijinx etc.

Hope this helps and hope to see more of you, Miranda.
We need more girls in the ranks!


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Miranda
Posted: November 10th, 2020, 10:24am Report to Moderator
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Thank you guys! I wonder if you related "my" Leah to Leah from STAR WARS, when she encounters Stanford.

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Miranda  -  November 12th, 2020, 11:14am
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Miranda
Posted: November 12th, 2020, 11:10am Report to Moderator
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Establish Stanford and Leah being long term rivals, even enemies to begin with. It's more exciting as there's established conflict, jealousy etc. This is Leah's territory and she's not happy with this interloper.Perhaps if Stanford performed some heroic act, creating suspense and saved Leah from the sparking powerlines? BigMama could assist with some comedic highwire act?

Just posted a revised version. I have fixed all errors and considered all suggestions. Regarding the plot, I agree with you and may work on it considering your suggestion, in the future.

Thank you.  

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LC
Posted: November 12th, 2020, 7:04pm Report to Moderator
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Out now, Miranda, but I'll definitely check out the revised draft a bit later.  

P.S. Is the new draft posted yet? Let me know when.



Revision History (1 edits)
LC  -  November 13th, 2020, 12:19am
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Miranda
Posted: November 13th, 2020, 9:38am Report to Moderator
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I did submit a second draft two days ago. I assume it also takes a few days to update. I will let you know. Thank you!
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LC
Posted: November 23rd, 2020, 7:05pm Report to Moderator
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Just wondering... Did the updated draft go up for this, Miranda?


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Miranda
Posted: November 24th, 2020, 5:34pm Report to Moderator
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Hi LC,

It is an updated draft. In less than a week SS uploaded new draft. (thanks guys) I considered all comments and made correction.

I did not touch the plot. With my free time I want to collaborate more by reading other people work here at SS and I hopefully start another story for next year.

Thanks a lot for asking and reviewing, )

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Don
Posted: November 24th, 2020, 10:55pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
Just wondering... Did the updated draft go up for this, Miranda?


Yes, the updated draft went up. I forgot to update the thread.

- Don


Visit SimplyScripts.com for what is new on the site.

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LC
Posted: November 25th, 2020, 1:33am Report to Moderator
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Thanks, Don.  

...

Read the revised version, Miranda and it's really good. A few word usage probs still remain and a couple of typos - 'storm trooper'    but you've cleaned it up a lot and it flows nicely.  Just busy getting a Blog review done at the moment but I can give you some further notes if you'd like in the near future on this thread or via PM?

This draft is much improved like I said. I love the little touches with the birds and the chameleon which contribute to the whimsey of this piece. Great job.



Revision History (1 edits)
LC  -  November 25th, 2020, 2:58am
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Gum
Posted: November 29th, 2020, 12:11am Report to Moderator
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Hi Miranda,

I read your script, it’s cute and urbane, but I don’t think your primary issue is language, it’s developing a cohesive story with resolve…. that is, something is lacking. What I mean is, there doesn’t appear to be a beginning and end to this, just a snippet if you will, a day in the life of some tame and/or feral creatures waiting out some storm? I digress.

What else can I offer you with respect to the story? Not much, simply cause there’s not much to go on except a display of Alpha-Beta interaction. Your writing is definitely there to deliver something unique, but this is not showing what you can really do in my honest opinion; this seems like a page torn from a bigger or more complex story, simply posted as a short script. I would suggest you write and post something bigger, because your writing is fun and clever, I’ll await that.

Anyway, attempting to study another language myself, like Japanese: which is primarily spoken as  ‘Subject-Object-Verb’ as opposed to English ‘Subject-Verb-object’, I realize it can be somewhat of a hurdle to get around (but I think your native tongue is classified Romance language, so your good there). But how do you ensure the thoughts you wish to convey in English land properly on the page?

Well, there’s only a few elements (in your script) that do not appear to land right (not wrong, just not right), but for the most part you have a firm grasp on the language, so kudos for that.

Want to really make it (English) shine? Try this… but no, please refrain from using it in its entirety unless you plan on writing prose, or a novel.:

The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase.

Adjectives  - “absolutely have to be in this order: writes the author, professional stickler Mark Forsyth:  Opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun.

So you can have a… “lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife”

But if you mess with that order in the slightest…? Curious things happen. Just a little trick that a native English speaker has incorporated (subconsciously) into their daily vocabulary since birth, probably learned even before they said their first words, strange, I know… but there you have it. English, the mother of all creole languages, so much so, that a 50 year old native English speaker such as myself… still hasn’t any real clue if any of what I just said makes any sense.

That said, best of luck!


My scripts and templates: Obfuscation
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Miranda
Posted: November 30th, 2020, 6:34pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Gum,


Quoted Text
I read your script, it’s cute and urbane, but I don’t think your primary issue is language, it’s developing a cohesive story with resolve…. that is, something is lacking. What I mean is, there doesn’t appear to be a beginning and end to this, just a snippet if you will, a day in the life of some tame and/or feral creatures waiting out some storm? I digress.

I get you point. It does make sense. The story is linked to only one thing: the famous quote from Leah from Start Treck: "You are too short for a stormtropper. " .  Which clearly did not work, and if that did not work, the story is "storyless".
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Miranda
Posted: November 30th, 2020, 6:51pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Gum


Your writing is definitely there to deliver something unique

Thank you. I grow with the negatives, but I appreciate the positive comment also.  

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Miranda
Posted: November 30th, 2020, 7:04pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Gum

Want to really make it (English) shine? Try this… but no, please refrain from using it in its entirety unless you plan on writing prose, or a novel.:

The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase.

Adjectives  - “absolutely have to be in this order: writes the author, professional stickler Mark Forsyth:  Opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun.

So you can have a… “lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife”

But if you mess with that order in the slightest…? Curious things happen. Just a little trick that a native English speaker has incorporated (subconsciously) into their daily vocabulary since birth, probably learned even before they said their first words, strange, I know… but there you have it. English, the mother of all creole languages, so much so, that a 50 year old native English speaker such as myself… still hasn’t any real clue if any of what I just said makes any sense.

That said, best of luck!


Thanks for this great tip. I will make a side note to never forget this. And don't worry, I won't overdue. I get it!

Thank you , Gum, Don, LC, Markitzero for your time!

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