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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Thriller Scripts  ›  Umbrage Moderators: bert
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cloroxmartini
Posted: May 21st, 2011, 8:29pm Report to Moderator
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Had some more thoughts about Dunne...Dunne seems to be along for the ride. Carla is not HIS target. Carla is the Feds' target. But then Carla is not even the target of the Feds, the Arabs are the targets. Or are they. There doesn't seem to be much going on for anyone to go AFTER, they just follow along this little story until the Senator has Dunne beat to a pulp. Then the story develops. But back to Dunne...in Batman, the Joker WAS the target. Here, Carla is NOT the target even though she is chased because she was at the scene of a crime. When she's gone, the focus is off her and back on to why are the Arabs in Kentucky.

If the Black Witch was Dunne's target, it would make the ending much stronger. As I said, Carla is strong, but she is not the villian here, so there is really no true conflict between Dunne and Carla. I think that's what is fundamentally missing. You create some major emotional stuff between them and it gets sidetracked with the terrorist stuff. Maybe you could overhaul the whole story and see how it could revolve around Dunne and Carla. Cut Joyce completely out of it.
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Breanne Mattson
Posted: May 21st, 2011, 10:01pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from cloroxmartini
If you had not written it the way you had, and written it in one or two lines, no one would know the difference. But because you wrote it, it's there. The seed is there. You can't take it back for you or anyone that's already read it.

Take that scene. If she is pushed. If she is drug. If she is shoved along. We fill in the blanks while we read. You put "woods" in the slug, so we know where we are. Dense Woods could mean something. Dragging means something. Is she drug kicking and screaming?

Is it important that her dress is torn or that she gets knicked along the way? If so, how could you say it? Drug along, torn and bloody? Something quick. The point of the first scene is to revel the international assasin in a really cool way, which you do. But it's a heavy read for an action movie.

It's not about current trends at all, it's about what does it take to set the scene in the fewest and choicest words possible. You don't have to do that everywhere, but every description has to have meaning in order to put it in there in the first place.

It just reads better and you're not sacrificing your artistic intergrity to do it.

You want to get into that top 1%, be a finalist, make 25 grand, this is where you need to go.


Cloroxmartini,

I understand what youíre saying. Some readers are going to look at it and say itís over described. Others will look at it and say how nice it is to read something that doesnít sound like a laundry list of actions.

This isnít an action movie, itís a thriller. And actually, yes, I do think itís important to show the things I describe. I think shots of her bare feet being scratched or her dress getting hung lend to the story. Inferring action is one thing. What youíre suggesting is to strip the action down to the point of it essentially being a sort of list. Iím sorry but I donít think thatís the best solution.

Youíre right, however, that the script can be improved. I do appreciate you pointing out things that bothered you as a reader. Thatís always useful in some way. It pushes me to strive to make it better. For that, I sincerely thank you.

For the record, a Nicholl Fellowship winner receives $30,000. I didnít enter this script this year because Iíve since written scripts I think have a better chance of winning. I do hope reading this script and seeing its flaws help you win one. Thatís why I posted it here. So people can see a script that came close to the quarterfinals. Itís hard to find scripts from the competition online. I thought this script might serve some writers by letting them see its flaws - and hopefully some things they felt were done right.

Too much description may have very well been the reason the script didnít advance. Without any actual feedback from Nicholl staff readers, I canít say with certainty. The script was entered as a thriller. I think the subgenre was drama. I canít recall but Iím relatively certain I would never have applied with the subgenre of action. I donít consider it an action flick at all. I consider it a thriller and a drama that happens to have a lot of action in it.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
Did Salman use the little girl as a human sheild?


Quoted from the script
His daughter quietly sobs, scared to death. Salman pulls her to her feet.
Snug in front of him.



Quoted from cloroxmartini
Is the Black Witch by Salman's feet?


Quoted from the script
By his feet... the Black Witch is back in her original spot,
bag over her head.


Then, moments later:


Quoted from the script
She springs from the floor...


At this point, she is standing.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
Whose bag is the blood dripping on?


Quoted from the script
The crying girl slides to the floor. Blood drips onto her bag from overhead.



Quoted from cloroxmartini
What is happening with the stagger boots and the woman's feet?


Quoted from the script
She (the Black Witch) springs from the floor... A SLICE. GURGLING. (These are sounds.)

Salmanís hands relax. His rifle drops. The crying girl
slides to the floor. Blood drips onto her (the crying girlís) bag from overhead.

Behind her (the crying girl)... Salmanís boots quietly stagger with the womanís (the Black Witchís) bare feet down the hallway.



Quoted from cloroxmartini
What just happened here? Did the Black Witch just kill Salman?


That is the way it appears and itís definitively answered in a few moments.

I think maybe youíre reading it so fast, in such a hurry to find things wrong, that youíre missing things. Most of your questions are answered in the description.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
**I'll want to know how the locket got out of the rubble and in the possession of The Witch**


Thatís answered later. Surely you donít expect to be handed everything right up front.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
Show me, don't tell me. All I know about Dunne is that he had this romantic moment and then some bad guys came in the office and he shot at them. Nothing reckless about that.


I donít agree that thereís nothing reckless about it. He leaves citizens behind in danger while he pursues suspects without backup.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
Is Dunne a teacher or is he an active agent currently teaching?


I think this is answered in the script.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
Hmmm...just who is the Black Witch?


Thatís answered later in the script.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
Black Witch is caught leaving the Imam's room. Not buying it what with her meticulous planning and poisoning she didn't have an exit strategy? Surely she knew the agents were down stairs?


How exactly would she know that if she was upstairs with the imam the whole time?


Quoted from cloroxmartini
Curious spectators at a shootout? They'd be running out the front door.


The action is on the fourth floor. Theyíre not even sure whatís happening yet. When the action moves downstairs, they do run.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
Salt...


If youíre comparing any part of my script to the movie Salt, this was written before that and I can prove it.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
What do I think overall? It's not working for me. It lacks something. Maybe some of the things revealed in the last half should be foreshadowed in the beginning.


Everything in the last half is foreshadowed in the first half. Not sure what youíre talking about here.

Iím going to stop here because youíre really just comparing it to a bunch of other films and not really giving it a chance on its own terms.

You didnít like it. I get it. Itís not for everyone. Iím certain that if I had the financing I could turn this into a killer film. Itís meant to be its own film, not a clone of someone elseís.

Iím sorry you didnít like it. I want to be the best writer I can be but I think itís also true that no story can please everyone. I appreciate your thoughts and comments. I really do. And I will actually keep them in mind and use them whenever I rewrite this - or any other script for that matter.

Thank you very much Cloroxmartini. Youíve made me a better writer.


Breanne



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Breanne Mattson  -  May 22nd, 2011, 1:11am
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cloroxmartini
Posted: May 22nd, 2011, 2:11pm Report to Moderator
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It's not that I didn't like it. I wouldn't have read the whole thing if that was so. I divorce myself from who wrote it and simply read. What kept me going is that I wanted to know about the Black Witch. That's the good part of the story, the strongest part. Is she unique? Not 100%, but enough. Now that I think about it, the beginning, when she first kicks some ass, was she wearing a hood then so that we don't know it's Carla? If so, how could she be so very good and kicking the guy's ass if she couldn't see him? She's precise in everything she does. Can she do it without being able so see?

When I wonder what is going on, it's because it's not clear to me right away. I say "right away" because I'm a big beleiver in not going back and rereading to figure things out. If I have to go backward, or pause, the writing needs to be clearer. It's clear to you because you already know what you see before you puts words to flat screen.

It's only natural to compare similar movies to what I read. When I do that, I bring up things that have worked in one story and might work in another.

If I read something to the end and it doesn't work FOR ME, then I attempt to figure out why and then attempt to convey the reasons best I can.
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Breanne Mattson
Posted: May 22nd, 2011, 8:35pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from cloroxmartini
Now that I think about it, the beginning, when she first kicks some ass, was she wearing a hood then so that we don't know it's Carla? If so, how could she be so very good and kicking the guy's ass if she couldn't see him? She's precise in everything she does. Can she do it without being able so see?


Utbah pulls the bag off her head on page 5. We, the audience, never see her face. The people she kills may or may not see it, depending on the circumstances. When she takes her original place among the hostages, the bag is returned. This is to prevent Salman from immediately noticing sheís there. Salman is the only one she kills while wearing a bag over her head. Even then, thereís a hole cut into it so she can see. Thatís all in the script.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
When I wonder what is going on, it's because it's not clear to me right away. I say "right away" because I'm a big beleiver in not going back and rereading to figure things out. If I have to go backward, or pause, the writing needs to be clearer. It's clear to you because you already know what you see before you puts words to flat screen.


I understand. I have no problem taking responsibility if my writing isnít clear enough. It just seems that a lot of your questions are answered in the script. This makes me wonder if you didnít read so hurriedly that you missed parts. Youíre absolutely right that the writer is ultimately responsible for whether or not the writing is clear. But this is also a mystery story and skimming over description is guaranteed to confuse readers.


Quoted from cloroxmartini
If I read something to the end and it doesn't work FOR ME, then I attempt to figure out why and then attempt to convey the reasons best I can.


And I thank you for that. There are a lot of reasons something may not work, one of which is personal taste. Another is the possibility that the whole script needs a major rewrite. Just covering all the possibilities.

Thanks Cloroxmartini.


Breanne


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cloroxmartini
Posted: May 22nd, 2011, 8:59pm Report to Moderator
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Yes, the bag is pulled off. With all the action going on, I would think I'd see her face. I guess that's the impression I'm left with to think about later. I really didn't think about being able to see Carla's face during that first battle and compare it to later.

Do you think that even if we did see her face at that time that we would be fascinated if we saw her again as Carla? Villians are shown all the time without the good guys knowing who it is but we know. Sometimes it creates good suspense.
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Breanne Mattson
Posted: May 23rd, 2011, 12:36am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from cloroxmartini
Yes, the bag is pulled off. With all the action going on, I would think I'd see her face. I guess that's the impression I'm left with to think about later. I really didn't think about being able to see Carla's face during that first battle and compare it to later.

Do you think that even if we did see her face at that time that we would be fascinated if we saw her again as Carla? Villians are shown all the time without the good guys knowing who it is but we know. Sometimes it creates good suspense.


I donít think it would be more suspenseful if the audience saw her face. It would certainly be less mysterious. It would be a bit like telling the audience who the killer is upfront in a murder mystery. As soon as viewers saw the Black Witch in her disguise, they would instantly recognize her. As it is, we find out who the Black Witch is the same time Dunne does (unless someone figures it out). We get to experience the same sense of discovery as our hero. I like that in a film.


Breanne


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