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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Thriller Scripts  ›  Open Your Mind Moderators: bert
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  Author    Open Your Mind  (currently 5488 views)
Don
Posted: January 31st, 2011, 8:34pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Open Your Mind by Martin Lancaster - Thriller - In a world where cranial surgery is the new heroin of a deteriorating nation, a hardened ex-con fights for his sanity and his life against the cartel boss who opened his mind in a bid to control him. 97 pages - pdf, format


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RayW
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 2:34am Report to Moderator
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Howdy, Martin

Knock that super-sized title back to 12pt courier

Remove your phone number from your title page to make it more difficult for the psycho pervs to find you.
You email is good enough in the 21st century.

ALICIA and LUKE need ages.

Gonna be kinda hard to slip a big fat @ss camera underneath pimply Luke's pillow to see his fingers coil around a small plastic device.

Regulator?
Like the scuba diving thingie?

Kinky, but okay, I guess.

Alright... I don't think that's a regulator, is it?

All 97 pages this descriptive?
You're gonna get hammered on the same novelistic stuff that I've been.
Folks are gonna ask you to rip out about... 20% of this. At least.

Delete the commas from your slug lines.

RICK's got an age. Whaddup with poor ol' ALICIA and LUKE?

Did Rick just crack an egg in the frying pan THEN sit down to read the paper?
Either Rick or you have never made eggs.

Delete that entire "On a good day... " line. That's an unfilmable.

Also, on your mini-slugs you don't really need to include that they are INT. BATHROOMS and KITCHEN.

You're calling RICK BRANNON by his last name throughout? But SARAH by her first name?
Okay.
Seems funny.

Bacon takes a while to cook. He have that already done before starting the eggs?
Go back and have him drop crackling strips of bacon on a hot plate/griddle/skillet - THEN he can sit down and enjoy his cup of joe and the paper.
THAT'll work jusssss fiiiiine.

Alright, that's enough of that.
See what kinda nit-picky things readers will be hammering you for?

Go back.
Redo.
Resubmit.



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Martin
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 5:34am Report to Moderator
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Hi Ray, thanks for cracking this open and taking a look.

Please don't take offense at this but feedback like this is one of the reasons I stopped posting stuff here.

Truth be told, I haven't touched this script in a couple of years (it was reposted here at Don's request). My writing style has adapted and streamlined somewhat since then but I still stand by the formatting of this one, unfilmables and all. I'm well aware of the many different opinions on formatting a script, and the prescriptivist stance many people have on this matter. My formatting hasn't been a problem for the producers I've spoken to about the script, nor was it mentioned negatively in any of the coverage I received.

No offence to the format junkies but I'm more interested in feedback on the story itself, especially since I did a couple of pretty fundamental rewrites to address notes from producers, and I think the story suffered somewhat in the process.

So, feel free to tear apart the story and characters, but forgive me if I take the prescriptivist format advice with a fist of salt.

Thanks!
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mcornetto
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 6:01am Report to Moderator
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Don't worry Martin, most people here might talk some about format but there's very few format Nazi's left here lately.   Ray's confused by conflicting criticism and therefore seems cynical.  He'll get over it.

Congrats on being the first featured script.    
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RayW
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 9:35am Report to Moderator
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Howdy, Martin

Please don't take offense at this but feedback like this is one of the reasons I stopped posting stuff here.
I'm not offended at all.
However, I am disappointed you stopped posting because of it, though, long before I fell off the turnip truck.
http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?v-search/p-user/by-requiem/
Last post - Date Posted: September 25th, 2008, 2:54pm

Please don't turn away.
There's some sort of industry spec script standardization to be achieved and it looks like those conventions haven't changed much since I've been indoctrinated with the same (offensive) dogma two years after you last posted.
Don't know what that means other than it must be something.
Wind hasn't changed direction.

SS remains largely a spec script populated arena.
I've read lots of corroborating evidence elsewhere on the web that supports spec style is quite different than what I previously misread into a lot of online shooting scripts and "pro" scripts.
Disastrous results when posted here.
Now, once you're "in" the format flood gates are wide open.
Pretty much anything goes once your get your street cred.

My writing style has adapted and streamlined somewhat since then but I still stand by the formatting of this one, unfilmables and all.
Brave position.
How are you able to get away with unfilmables and other format transgressions?
I guessing you already have a working relationship with several producers, then?

My formatting hasn't been a problem for the producers I've spoken to about the script, nor was it mentioned negatively in any of the coverage I received.
Now I see you already have a working relationship with several producers.
Super duper.
Wish I had known that and how going into this.
That changes everything.
Format's largely out the window in your case.
Just stick to content and construct.

No offence to the format junkies but I'm more interested in feedback on the story itself, especially since I did a couple of pretty fundamental rewrites to address notes from producers, and I think the story suffered somewhat in the process.
Truth be told - up to a certain limitations, of course, I'd much prefer to do it your way, as well.
The format junkies (can I use the label "nazis" to a guy in/from Germany?) grate mightily.
Harping on the slugs and maybe with the name and age nit-pickies I can see, but the story's fundamental content and construct are what I'm after as well.

So, feel free to tear apart the story and characters, but forgive me if I take the prescriptivist format advice with a fist of salt.
I gots irons in the fire.
Will get back to that in a couple weeks.
And I'd take with less than a pich of salt since you've already got an "in" in the biz.
Cool beans.
Forgiveness not required.

Michael -
Don't worry Martin, most people here might talk some about format but there's very few format Nazi's left here lately.  
Ah, ha ha ha!
Is it April Fool's day already?

- There is writing that is too wordy, and there is writing that is too sparse. Your writing is too sparse. Which woman does what? Which one is the young one? Hard to follow if you don't answer those questions.
- You also have a lot of CONTINUED'S on the top and bottoms of pages. I'd get rid of them. Every screenplay is continued on the next page.
- if you plan on filming this yourself then fine, but if not, i'd get rid of all those camera angles.
- One thing that really bothered me was the opening montage (I forgot to mention this earlier).  The images that you show us are fast going and active, almost extreme.


Talk "some" about format?
There's lots of it.
Shall I go back and find the recent comments where the readers state they quit at page X because of format issues?

Ray's confused by conflicting criticism and therefore seems cynical.  He'll get over it.
Product of my environment. Bounces off me and sticks on you.
Not really confused any more.
People like to state opinion as fact.
Fact - "Ray, your writing is too novelistic. Cut it down some."
Fact - "Ray, your writing is too sparse. Color it up some."
Yeah.
Those are increasingly becoming subjective opinions (stated as fact) that I'm growing increasingly less influenced by.
So, maybe I'm pretty much already over it.

Which means when I state STORY things like "You don't crack eggs in a skillet and then sit down to a cup of coffee and the paper, instead drop in your bacon - THEN - sit down" that I'm probably not too full of baloney.
Or since Martin's in Frankfurt, shall I say "full of bologna"?





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Trojan
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 9:52am Report to Moderator
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Just read through the first few pages of this after seeing Ray's comments. Formatting and everything here is fine. I'll come back to this story when I get a bit more time and read the whole thing. It starts off pretty well and it's clear you know how to write.

Ray, c'mon man, what are you talking about here? Pretty much every point you made here is incorrect, IMO. You chastise Martin twice for not including the ages of Luke and Alicia, but it is written there plain as day on the first page. Mid-twenties.

How is this too descriptive? How is it novelistic? It has short paragraphs telling us what is happening and moves at a good pace. This is how a screenplay is supposed to look. Go read a novel and then come back and read this. Not similar at all.

It's fine to have INT. in the slugs for the bathroom and kitchen. It's perfectly acceptable to have commas in the slugs also. Where are you getting your information from? I certainly wouldn't recommed Martin chop out 20% of his descriptions here, not sure why you are suggesting this.

When it comes to unfilmables, there's no actual screenwriting rule that says you can't include them. If they serve a purpose they can actually save you space. So the example here of 'On a good day she looks beautiful. Today is not a good day' actually works well. You'll actually see professional screenwriting teachers give advice about writing character descriptions, and it'll include writing unfilmables. You might write something that we can't see on camera but it will tell the actor exactly what the character is like, beyond simply what they look like and what they are wearing.

Getting off topic here, not trying to have a go at you Ray, but you really should make sure you know what you're talking about before dishing out the advice. Especially to a writer who clearly is more experienced than yourself.

Cheers,
Tim.
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Mr.Z
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 10:04am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RayW
How are you able to get away with unfilmables and other format transgressions? I guessing you already have a working relationship with several producers, then?


Many of the so called "transgressions" are not such. That's why the pros use them. And you don't have to be a working pro to be able to use them too; that's a myth.

The script that got me a manager had bold sluglines, plenty of unfilmables, swearing in the action lines, "we hear" (on the first page, no less), a "zoom in" camera direction (on the first page, no less) and many other "format violations".

I'm a completely unkown writer with no connections that lives in a third world country. If that doesn't prove that these "rules" are bogus, I don't know what will.



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CindyLKeller
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 11:46am Report to Moderator
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Hey Martin,

I just finished reading this in one sitting. It was a quick read for me. I love your writing.   Your words just seemed to flow from you, onto the screen so easily.  

I have to disagree with Ray about the On a good day, she's beautiful. This isn't a good day.

In fact, I wrote down that line to comment on because I thought it was so neat.
I think it's better than writing something like: She's a beauty, but she's ill, and looks bad. Ya know?  

Your dialogue is top notch as always, too. I guess that's why I've always been a fan of your work.

I only found one typo. It was on page 68 in Alicia's dialogue.

The poster is pretty creepy, too.
I think you did a knock out job. One of the best movies I've ever read on paper.

Cindy



Award winning screenwriter
Available screenplays
TINA DARLING - 114 page Comedy
ONLY OSCAR KNOWS - 99 page Horror
A SONG IN MY HEART - 94 page Drama
HALLOWEEN GAMES - 105 page Drama
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RayW
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 11:51am Report to Moderator
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Tim -

Getting off topic here, not trying to have a go at you Ray, but you really should make sure you know what you're talking about before dishing out the advice. Especially to a writer who clearly is more experienced than yourself.

Got no truck with you and desire to maintain that status.
I appreciate the headzup, Tim.
Making generalizations such as "Pretty much every point you made here is incorrect, IMO" keys in exactly at how subjective, person to person, a lot of what writers get beaned with here.

D@mn near most of these things I regurgitate are just that: regurgitations.
I learned these things from you guys.
I didn't bring them with me.
Product of this environment. Hi!

You're point that my points aren't necessarily correct, in your quite valid opinion, are positively reinforced by what Matias states "I'm a completely unkown writer with no connections that lives in a third world country. If that doesn't prove that these "rules" are bogus, I don't know what will."

I drank that kool-aid and survived.
I'm a sheep in wolves clothing.

You two are supporting my natural bias.

Yet, these "rules" are perpetuated with fervent zeal around here - and I... kinda.. see them elsewhere.

Here's the deal - I'm a big boy. Beat on me all you want. I can take it. So I don't mind.
In fact I ENJOY pointing out a culture's double standards.

This is one of them.

You're going to tell me that writing "early twenties" is fine for ALICIA, LUKE and RICK BRANNON then write "25" for SARAH is A-okay, squared away? - that's an incongruity that some fickle AD will "begin to develop a negative bias towards--"
Whatever.
Shut up.

What's a small plastic regulator?
I'm a pretty smart guy with a vocabulary larger than most with a mind to go hunting for what I don't know, and I've a wild imagination to boot, but I don't think scuba equipment under the pillow is generally regarded as some sort of sexual enhancement device.
So, what's Martin communicating to the reader?
This community preaches, nay - it chants "Clarity! Clarity! Clarity! By the light of the fiery cross, write with clarity!" (it helps if you effect a semi-zombie-like state when you read that.)

"He clicks the regulator button again and again and again and again and again... "
That's A-Okay?
Not... too much... too.. much... too much... rep-rep-repitition? As the thunder crashes?
Ring any bells?

"She coughs and wretches over the bowl" wouldn't be consolidated two lines up?
What happened to Holy line conservation?
Buffet style review?

Blah blah blah...

As I relied back to Martin, personally - I can read this stuff just fine.
I agree with Matias' statement - "the rules" are largely bogus.
I can read most any of the dense stuff just fine.
I don't honestly get why the dense stuff bothers people?
I don't get why unfilmables bother people.
Slugs? Whoopteedoo!
Do I know where and what I'm looking at? Then it's all okay.
Put commas, double dashes, quotations, fifteen words in them, emoticons and make 'em DAY, NIGHT, NOON, TEA TIME, SOMEWHERE IN THE GREAT BEYOND! - it just really doesn't matter.
Do I know where and what I'm looking at?
Yes!
Then it's - O. K.

Pia's not only smart but experienced at writing and she's being "challenged" by her co-producers over issues that seem questionable to her and ridiculous me.
For the life in me I wish some of our other actual directors here, like Rick, AJR and Breanne, would chime in more frequently that "HEY! FRUITCAKES! CHILL! Directors don't care. We got it already. The producers are clueless but I can film this fine."


So, which is it?
Subjectively some spec rules apply but others don't - or - they do apply and some consistency needs to be maintained, because in the two years of Martin's absence the same stuff that ran him off is still being taught to the congregation.
I'm just meaner and stupider than he is and haven't gone running off just yet.


Matias -
You and Tim are chanting me back to the liberal side of the aisle from where I departed to sit with the conservatives.



Could I film it. Yes? No? Pass? Fail?



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Martin
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 12:20pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Cindy,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Did the story work for you or were there any points of confusion? I ask because I did some pretty fundamental rewrites to address producer notes and it got to the point where I couldn't see the wood for the trees. After all that they ultimately passed and this script has been gathering virtual dust ever since.

Trojan, Matias, I appreciate the support in this age-old debate.

Ray, I didn't mean to dismiss your points out of hand. You have some valid criticisms regarding clarity.

I can see how the regulator introduction is a bit confusing even though it's described as a "small plastic device" - maybe that's not clear enough that it's completely unrelated to the breathing apparatus of the same name - in earlier drafts it was introduced later with a more detailed description. It's easily fixed.

Gotta disagree with this one though:

"He clicks the regulator button again and again and again"

To me, this implies a rhythmn building up to a climax that a director and/or editor can easily translate onscreen. More so than if I wrote "He clicks it repeatedly"

But anyway, before I left I started a thread about this very subject. It grew so big it spawned a sequel. So before this thread gets derailed with a formatting discussion, maybe you should take it here:

http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-screenwrite/m-1211906819/s-0/
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Grandma Bear
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 12:22pm Report to Moderator
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This is a fantastic script that I read several years ago. I still remember it pretty clearly. I can't say that about a whole lot of scripts.

Too bad Martin doesn't come around here more often these days, but understand his reason...  A lot of people have left for the same reason. A lot of people that I miss.

As far as format goes I have made comments in regards to that too on scripts. Mostly I try to help people that seem new to screenwriting. Sometimes however it does seem to me that a writer who I know can write really well tries to emulate a style of scripts that have recently sold and in the process loses his own voice. When that happens, I will comment on that because it then seems forced.

Currently I don't give a damn about format. When my partners read Finders Keepers we talked about story, characters and dialogue. Not my crummy grammar or typos.

Anyway, another favorite of mine that Martin wrote is The Great Brain Robbery. It's absolutely hilarious. Especially if you know the characters.  Ahhhh, the good ole days!    


.
SS, is still free...
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RayW
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 2:08pm Report to Moderator
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LOL!

Martin -
Just saw your brief on the SS front page. Didn't know it was there.

"Writer Bio: Martin Lancaster is a full-time writer and narrative designer for video games. He’s recently completed work on the story for Crysis 2 together with sci-fi author Richard Morgan. The game is due for release on March 22nd and will be available on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

His screenplays have been translated into several short films and a television pilot, and he recently embarked on his first short film project as producer/director: an adaptation of the short story ‘Berenice’ by Edgar Allan Poe. He lives in Frankfurt, Germany with his girlfriend and a chili plant named Dante. You can view some of Martin’s work on his website at MartinLancaster.Com"


Down to chuckling now.
Um... yeah.
Different rules for you.
Unless you wanna promote the liberal Matias&Tim approach, in which case the SS Samurai need to ease off on their routine format disembowelments.

I didn't mean to dismiss your points out of hand. You have some valid criticisms regarding clarity.
Eh... one or two.

To me, this implies a rhythmn building up to a climax that a director and/or editor can easily translate onscreen. More so than if I wrote "He clicks it repeatedly"
Yup. Got it the first go round.
Like I said, my bias is towards including all sorts of detail which I've had my knuckles rapped repeatedly over.
Consider it being bi-lingual, albeit poorly: I naturally write with the detail that you've included. I've (inadequately, it appears) learned how to beat down the format etiquette.
Spec Screenplay for nubes - you'd be recommended to forgo that repetition.
As a producer/director it's fine either way. Doesn't matter when you're behind the camera.
You know you're going to spend four hours of time to shoot a half-hour's worth of action and edit it down to a twenty seconds.
Big rubber WHATEVER stamp.
It'll turn out fine.

See.
Different rules.

Pia -
Currently I don't give a damn about format. When my partners read Finders Keepers we talked about story, characters and dialogue. Not my crummy grammar or typos.
Hoooraaay!

Did you guys figure out some character and dialog solutions?
I'm guessing the story elements have largely been ironed out.





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mcornetto
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 3:42pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RayW


Michael -
Don't worry Martin, most people here might talk some about format but there's very few format Nazi's left here lately.  
Ah, ha ha ha!
Is it April Fool's day already?

- There is writing that is too wordy, and there is writing that is too sparse. Your writing is too sparse. Which woman does what? Which one is the young one? Hard to follow if you don't answer those questions.
- You also have a lot of CONTINUED'S on the top and bottoms of pages. I'd get rid of them. Every screenplay is continued on the next page.
- if you plan on filming this yourself then fine, but if not, i'd get rid of all those camera angles.
- One thing that really bothered me was the opening montage (I forgot to mention this earlier).  The images that you show us are fast going and active, almost extreme.


Talk "some" about format?
There's lots of it.
Shall I go back and find the recent comments where the readers state they quit at page X because of format issues?

Ray's confused by conflicting criticism and therefore seems cynical.  He'll get over it.
Product of my environment. Bounces off me and sticks on you.
Not really confused any more.
People like to state opinion as fact.
Fact - "Ray, your writing is too novelistic. Cut it down some."
Fact - "Ray, your writing is too sparse. Color it up some."
Yeah.
Those are increasingly becoming subjective opinions (stated as fact) that I'm growing increasingly less influenced by.
So, maybe I'm pretty much already over it.

Which means when I state STORY things like "You don't crack eggs in a skillet and then sit down to a cup of coffee and the paper, instead drop in your bacon - THEN - sit down" that I'm probably not too full of baloney.
Or since Martin's in Frankfurt, shall I say "full of bologna"?




Ray,

You haven't been around here long enough or screenwriting long enough to see a real format Nazi.  And I'm the first to say that all comments on a thread are subjective.  There is no one answer but there is one truth - this isn't your thread so stop hijacking it.  
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Breanne Mattson
Posted: February 2nd, 2011, 5:50pm Report to Moderator
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I read this when it was originally posted. Like Pia, I never forgot it. I’ve liked Martin’s descriptions as long as I’ve known him. I’ve always felt Martin was one of the most talented writers around here.

And Martin, it’s nice to “see” you again.


Breanne


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CindyLKeller
Posted: February 3rd, 2011, 9:31am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Martin
Hey Cindy,

Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Did the story work for you or were there any points of confusion? I ask because I did some pretty fundamental rewrites to address producer notes and it got to the point where I couldn't see the wood for the trees. After all that they ultimately passed and this script has been gathering virtual dust ever since.


Well, now that you ask, I did wonder WHY they would begin to use different drugs at the end. I mean I know WHY (to include the highs of different drugs) but I don't think you actually need it in your story. You could always have mention to the Japanese that they are thinking about including different drugs IF they decide to invest.

I mean, they did do this to control people, and it seems that's pretty much what they did by zapping them with pain if they didn't do what they wanted, and always making them come back for a refill (because they were junkies)...

... They could always get people who weren't addicted to heroin, and make them be addicted by opening their mind   like with the last girl.

It's your story, but if it were mine, I don't think I'd start using the different drugs on people. Not in part one, anyway. I think it's creepy enough.



Award winning screenwriter
Available screenplays
TINA DARLING - 114 page Comedy
ONLY OSCAR KNOWS - 99 page Horror
A SONG IN MY HEART - 94 page Drama
HALLOWEEN GAMES - 105 page Drama

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CindyLKeller  -  February 3rd, 2011, 11:20am
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pwhitcroft
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Martin,

I’ve listed my comments as I read this below. Often I’m more likely to note negatives than positives.

Pg 1 – The opening is well written and dramatic stuff. It’s possible that the use of uncontrolled sex could be viewed as trying too hard. This impression is reinforced by the immediate flashback that follows this scene, since unless this scene turns out to have wider significance it might turn out to be a device.

Pg 2 – Leaving the “DAY” off these slugs might be okay, but for me I think you need it. Specifically the “INT. BATHROOM” might be filmed in a totally different place and on a different day from the kitchen, so it could have a full slug.

Also I’m guessing pregnancy.

Pg 9 – This is moving along pretty swiftly. I like the conflicts you have set up. It might be that you are revealing a lot of information in dialogue, but you are concealing it with arguments.

Pg 11 – I like the action scene here, although I’m not sure I buy Brannon randomly crashing the car into the warehouse. Can one of the goons shoot out a tire to make him crash, say?

Pg 13 – Having an apparent main character die alone is a twist. Then immediately after that you break off to introduce Lex, who is presumably the replacement lead female.

Pg 15 – Since we’ve now jumped fifteen years forward another question occurs to me. Is what we’ve seen so far backstory and will it turn out that we didn’t need to see it for this story to work out?

While I’m on that subject I’ve not yet seen anything that makes me think the first page isn’t an unrelated device.

Pg 25 – This is going along really well now.

Pg 27 – I have a slight concern that the drilling scene runs for 7 pages. I guess it’s broken up, but you could consider if it’s a little long.

This procedure feels like an inciting incident for the story that began on page 15.

Pg 29 – Brannon says “Jesus... “ which is fine, but on page 15 Lex says it the same way which raises the question of whether the characters have distinctive voices.

Pg 32 – The scene that ends here has some lengthy dialogue passages that are used to explain everything. Is there a briefer way to get this across or could you just not tell us some of this? I’d suggest not telling us, indeed there could be a case for having no explanation at all at this point and letting it be a mystery that he figures out.

Pg 37 – For a while I thought Lex would turn out to be Brannon’s daughter, but I’ve checked her age and she can’t be.

Pg 43 – “Somebody silenced him.” – This feels on the nose. This is another long conversation scene which I think is one of the reasons the story feels a little slow for me.

Pg 53 – These pages, especially with the slide show, have an exposition feel about them.

Pg 54 – Kane’s concerns about risks and stability seem quite odd coming from a drug dealer.

Pg 61 – I thought Lex was dead. I’m glad she’s not.

Pg 66 – “Jesus... “ – Alicia uses the same phrase.

The story is moving along well.

Pg 74 – There’s a danger that with Rufus being this anxious and business detailed, he loses his bad-assness.

Pg 86 – I see you are making it so that it is Brannon’s determination that makes Lex free him, but for me I’m not sure if this makes him an active protagonist who drives his own fate. Thinking about it, he has only got here by being captured and carried in. I guess he’s determined, but I don’t know if he’s done many things in the story that have propelled it forward.

Pg 89 – So he self-removed the brain implant? It’s cool, but I’m struggling to go along with it.

Pg 97 – The finale is a tense good battle and the wrap up is brief and sharp.


Overall the story works well and has a lot of good thrills and fights.

As I noted above I’d suggest looking at some of the long static conversations. Also I wonder about rethinking the beginning structure and how active the protagonist is.

Your technique reads smoothly and quickly. Good luck with it.

Philip


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greg
Posted: February 3rd, 2011, 7:05pm Report to Moderator
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Good script to have as the first featured of the month.  Totally tripped me out when I first read it years ago.  Way to go, Martin.

Greg


Be excellent to each other
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Martin
Posted: February 5th, 2011, 8:04pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks guys, especially Philip for the detailed critique. Your points are spot on. That's exactly what I needed. Cheers!
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: February 22nd, 2011, 11:58am Report to Moderator
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Martin,

The first Script of the Month, good on you.
Congrats on getting some producer heat on this script.
Regardless of the outcome, it's a valuable learning experience.
I made it through the first 32 pages this morning.
I will continue reading as my schedule allows.

I'll cut to the chase. I don't know what this script is about.
You got the hook with the procedure, I can see why producers would like that.
However, your script is one third gone before we get a first glimpse at it.
And then it's just a frustratingly external and bloody expose.

Brannon is a reformed junkie who never got a chance to be a father.
Whatever is going to make him let go of that must be very strong.
And if it's that strong, I need to see that strength on the page, with visuals.
Brannon is your protag, we need to experience what he experiences.
If we don't feel the power of the "drug", then Brannon is just a junkie again.
This procedure can "heal away" the pain of his past? We need to see that.
If we don't feel that arc with Brannon, we have little reason to care for him.  
Maybe you come to this later in the story, but first impressions are everything.
The idea of the skull procedure is cool, but the first scene with it plays bland.

Your pacing here is pretty solid, action beats the way producers like them spaced.
I hope as you go on that Brannon and Rufus's relationship is detailed.
Right now, I have no idea how they are related, by what parent, etc.
I assume their youth together plays heavily into the dynamic they now share.
If not, then why make them related?

I'm interested to see how the rest of this plays out.
Thanks for posting, I'll return when I can.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: February 23rd, 2011, 11:50am Report to Moderator
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Martin,

Read pages 33 - 66 this morning.
The pacing still holds up, but I don't care for the new plot developments.
We get the Girl Friday hunting for a scoop and foreign investors.
Girl Friday could be a turncoat, given the opening scene, who knows.
It strikes me odd how convenient her meet with Brannon went.
Even more odd that Rufus doesn't have Brannon bugged and watched.
If he was that smart, the reporter sub plot would be dead, unless she's a turncoat.
The scene with the foreign investors didn't do much of anything.
I can't get a bead on Lex, she starts out all in control and Rufus's lieutenant.
Then she's hot for Brannon, then repulsed, then raver horny and now a vegetable.
It feels to me she's whatever the scene calls for, I can't grasp her character.
The best potential character dynamic lays pretty much dormant.
You have a revolutionary drug dealer who owes a lot to his half brother.
There should be sparks between these two, yet, it's the tamest of the interactions.
You have put the effort into setting up a classic dramatic dynamic.
It's ripe with filial guilt, shame, deception and brotherly power play rivalry.
Hopefully, you take advantage of that juicy set up in the third act.
The script reads well, no problems getting through pages.

Some scene specific notes:

p. 35 Lex interaction. The "go away, but I want to save you" dynamic is flat.
        I'm not feeling the chemistry/tension between Brannon and Lex.
        Not to mention, why isn't Brannon going to see Sarah?
        Ahh, to your credit, you go there a few pages later.
p. 40 Reporter. Why isn't Rufus having Brannon followed? Makes no sense.
p. 44 DJ Regulator rave scene very cool.
        I like seeing your "device" show up in every day life.
        Makes the fantasy element more accessible to your audience.

I'll tune in tomorrow for the skull drilling conclusion!

Regards,
E.D.



LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: February 24th, 2011, 12:49pm Report to Moderator
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Hello Martin,

I read through pages 66 - 97 this morning.
My feelings from the previous posts still hold.
Your scene construction and overall pacing works throughout the pages.
The action tropes play out fine, would have liked a better sense of the city.
I like your "procedure" but we never get a mind's eye view of it, frustrating.

I'm genuinely confused as to why Rufus and Brannon are half brothers.
It doesn't really translate to the page very well.
If you take out the filial references, they play like crime partners gone bad.
Why make them related, but never bring up family?
We never see Rufus and Brannon partying or any youth memories.
Did they share a mom or a dad? Did they grow up together?
Did Rufus protect his younger half brother from an abusive parent?
Did they turn to crime to survive a broken home, watching out for each other?
So many opportunities for these two characters to be intertwined that are neglected.
Perhaps producer notes and subsequent drafts muddied that relationship?
There's nothing about Brannon and Rufus that indicates to me they are family.
There seems little to no emotional dilemma on the page for these half brothers.

I see you have an IMDB resume with a produced short and video games.
So, you're at least somewhat on the inside of the "business" at least.
As a rank amateur with no resume, I'll offer you this freebie to jump start this script.
In addition to the unused relationship and dilemma above, consider this...

Rufus was forced to leave Brannon wedged in that car, sirens closing in, etc.
That suitcase was the lynch pin for the "empire" that Rufus created.
Rufus carries on his research to forge a revolutionary leap in designer drugs.
Sarah tried to overdose, but became a vegetable, brain damaged.
Rufus operates on Sarah to save her for Brannon, who's taking the rap for him.
That emergency surgery provides Wolfgang with the missing link for their procedure.
Sarah is alive, but diminished, and Rufus has the genesis of his drug empire.
Rufus saves Sarah and Brannon's child is born, perhaps not all there due to drugs.

Fast forward 15 years and watch the fireworks fly between these half brothers.
The aforementioned scenario is ripe with character conflict and dilemma for Brannon.
Love, betrayal, guilt, shame, hate, birth, family, death, you name it.
It's a character driven extravaganza of family dysfunction and designer drugs.
Now, that's a script I want to read, big time.

But what do I know, I'm a nobody with no resume.
Best of luck with your endeavors.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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screenrider
Posted: February 27th, 2011, 10:35am Report to Moderator
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Martin,

I just read your script for the first time.   Top-notch writing.   You make it look so effortless.   Are you gonna post a new draft?    I'd love to read it.

Two suggestions (story-wise); It'd be cool to throw some Russians into the mix along side the Japanese.  Like maybe Rufus is about to go global with the Regulators, hence, Brannon will save the world.   (I imagined Gerard Butler as Brannon)    

I was also waiting for Sarah to re-submerge in the final act, like Maybe Rufus revived her from her overdose, then he could use her as final pawn against Brannon in the final act.

Overall, you're story has a "Surrogates" feel to it.    Might wanna get on IMDB Pro, track down the producers who worked on that movie and send a query letter to them or their Agents.   (and Gerard's Agent)  Looks like Babz is interested in this script.  (I can see why)   Hopefully she can hook you up.

All the best.    
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jnave
Posted: March 7th, 2011, 4:33pm Report to Moderator
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Martin,

I really liked this.  Great, easy read.  I feel like I've seen similar things, but I enjoyed it and it is certainly different enough to get attention.  A couple of things that threw me a bit:

- The mention of Regulator early on without describing at least what it looks like.  I was confused.
- I found myself wondering about the daughter for a while as I was reading - it felt like it was just dropped, then mentioned at the end.
- The self-removal of the implant is a neat idea, I guess, but kinda crossed the believability line for me (yeah, I was fine with everything else).

I think the "unfilmables" mentioned before were used in just the right amounts and enhanced the story.

Good luck!


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Martin
Posted: March 15th, 2011, 6:54pm Report to Moderator
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I'd like to thank everyone who's taken the time to read this and provide feedback. It really is appreciated and your criticisms will not be ignored. I've just returned from a three week vacation so I haven't been able to check in until now but I'm genuinely grateful for all the constructive feedback.

If anyone would like me to return the favour feel free to drop me a mail: martin dot lancaster at gmail dot com

I can't promise I'll get to your script in the next week or so as I have a lot going on right now but I always like to have a stockpile of scripts to read.

Cheers!
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wonkavite
Posted: May 19th, 2011, 7:42am Report to Moderator
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Hi Martin -

So - after having seen OYM posted as the Featured Script of the Month, I finally found the time to read it.  Had been meaning to for awhile now.

Definitely strong, clean writing.  A quick read.  Good dialogue, believable characters.  A script that's complete and solid as-is.  Nothing need be, or should be changed on this one.  (Not that you'd be accepting ideas at this stage, anyway....just commenting on that fact as a reader of the script.)

The only complaint that I'd have - if you can call it that - is that there was nothing new to Open Your Mind.  It's a straightforward drug story, with a hero that needs to get out of the game.  Sure, the technology's upped a tiny bit...but I knew exactly how this would play out from page one...both for the plot and the characters.  (Okay - well - digging out the implant's a serious stretch.  But that's only one detail.)

BTW - read on the boards that Babz was pretty excited about this one.  Congrats - hope great things are in the works!

Cheers,

--WV
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