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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Thriller Scripts  ›  Out with the Old Moderators: bert
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Ledbetter
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 1:30pm Report to Moderator
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Ha!

Well said Pia

Shawn.....><
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DustinBowcot
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 1:32pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Heretic


No, it doesn't. Melodrama means that elements of the piece are exaggerated for a specific intended effect. If they are exaggerated to such a point that the audience feels a disconnect with the film, those elements are overly melodramatic, ie, the device has been pushed too far and has broken down. What J.S. and Reaper are saying (I think), and I've read the first ten and feel the same way, is that the dialogue in the opening sequences seems exaggerated to the point where it's difficult to connect with. That doesn't mean it's not entirely realistic, and it doesn't mean it's not a matter of cultural perception, but it does mean that at least three people have had a similar reaction to the opening sequence of your script. Those three reactions, you can take or leave.



There is no such thing as overly melodramatic, you either are or you aren't. When you are overly dramatic this is the same as saying melodramtic. so you are overly overly dramatic? Makes no sense at all.
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DustinBowcot
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 1:41pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from J.S.


Yes, Dustin. It's imperative I know.


Around the same area... obviously.




Quoted from J.S.
Well first of all, there is no film. It's a script. Second of all, I did no such thing. I was speaking generally about such films.


It's a film script, James. So we're both right. And you were actually speaking about mine, clearly.

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J.S.
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 2:14pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from DustinBowcot

Around the same area... obviously.


How is it obvious?


Quoted from DustinBowcot

And you were actually speaking about mine, clearly.


"And I disagree that this film is for "purely entertainment value" as I don't think melodramatic films are very entertaining. Now, that doesn't mean what I read wasn't entertaining."

If this is what you're referring to then I apologize for not including the phrase "assuming this script is one of them" after melodramatic films. I thought it was obvious from the context.
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DustinBowcot
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 2:22pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from J.S.


How is it obvious?


You just have to read it mate. You've already said that it is a fast read, yet after all this time you still aren't past page 3.




Quoted from J.S.
"And I disagree that this film is for "purely entertainment value" as I don't think melodramatic films are very entertaining. Now, that doesn't mean what I read wasn't entertaining."

If this is what you're referring to then I apologize for not including the phrase "assuming this script is one of them" after melodramatic films. I thought it was obvious from the context.


You can't disagree with the film being written purely for entertainment value then. I also wrote it and should know the reasons why better than anyone.
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spesh2k
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 2:51pm Report to Moderator
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This thread is getting pretty funny.

Just a question, Dustin... if this script is all ready in the hands of producers, why even post it? You seem pretty dead set with everything. And all the criticism you've received (about the script itself) seems to have been met with a negative rebuttal. Though I thought the "First act ends on page 24. Do you really need me to tell you when Act 2 ends?" bit was pretty funny.

I, for one, love British gangster films (Layer Cake, Sexy Beast, The Krays, the Michael Caine Get Carter, The Business, Lock Stock, I can go on forever) and thought this script was fairly decent (whether it's a first draft or not). No, I didn't grow up in the criminal underbelly that you came up in (I'm from Philly and lived in NYC for 10 years), but I do have an extensive knowledge of film, and as I've said, I'm a huge fan of British cinema as a whole as well as the British gangster film sub genre.

That being said, I agree with some of the criticisms concerning the dialogue. I know the story doesn't take itself too seriously, but I don't think you intended this for a B-movie audience, which at parts, seems to be (though as a whole, I didn't get that vibe).

The baby getting its hand cut off for instance. Yeah, it can be shocking, and it's not really expected, but I feel it would be more shocking and emotional if you had set a different tone right from jump street. And the dialogue really does set a B-movie tone (borderline cliche dialogue, and the scene opens on the day of someone's wedding which is done often in gangster films) -- and when the baby got it's hand cut off, I kind of laughed (maybe I'm just a sick fuck ) -- for some reason, I heard that cheesy B-movie, overly dramatic music (ala Drive) in my head when that happened. I had the same reaction to Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun. And sad to say, I also laughed in Punisher War Zone when Ray Stevenson came in and killed a bunch of mobsters sitting around a table.

It just seemed cartoon-like to me.

But if you're happy with it, and it's all ready in the hands of producers, what's the point of having people put in the time to read the whole thing (it is a fast read, but I digress) and then comment on it?

Just my personal opinion. I think you're a good writer and I do think this script is decent. But people are going to have their opinions and not everybody is going to "get" the script, as is the same with audiences with films. You wrote it and they didn't, so obviously, not everybody is going to see eye to eye with you.


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DustinBowcot
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 3:07pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from spesh2k
This thread is getting pretty funny.

Just a question, Dustin... if this script is all ready in the hands of producers, why even post it? You seem pretty dead set with everything. And all the criticism you've received (about the script itself) seems to have been met with a negative rebuttal. Though I thought the "First act ends on page 24. Do you really need me to tell you when Act 2 ends?" bit was pretty funny.

I, for one, love British gangster films (Layer Cake, Sexy Beast, The Krays, the Michael Caine Get Carter, The Business, Lock Stock, I can go on forever) and thought this script was fairly decent (whether it's a first draft or not). No, I didn't grow up in the criminal underbelly that you came up in (I'm from Philly and lived in NYC for 10 years), but I do have an extensive knowledge of film, and as I've said, I'm a huge fan of British cinema as a whole as well as the British gangster film sub genre.

That being said, I agree with some of the criticisms concerning the dialogue. I know the story doesn't take itself too seriously, but I don't think you intended this for a B-movie audience, which at parts, seems to be (though as a whole, I didn't get that vibe).

The baby getting its hand cut off for instance. Yeah, it can be shocking, and it's not really expected, but I feel it would be more shocking and emotional if you had set a different tone right from jump street. And the dialogue really does set a B-movie tone (borderline cliche dialogue, and the scene opens on the day of someone's wedding which is done often in gangster films) -- and when the baby got it's hand cut off, I kind of laughed (maybe I'm just a sick fuck ) -- for some reason, I heard that cheesy B-movie, overly dramatic music (ala Drive) in my head when that happened. I had the same reaction to Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun. And sad to say, I also laughed in Punisher War Zone when Ray Stevenson came in and killed a bunch of mobsters sitting around a table.

It just seemed cartoon-like to me.

But if you're happy with it, and it's all ready in the hands of producers, what's the point of having people put in the time to read the whole thing (it is a fast read, but I digress) and then comment on it?

Just my personal opinion. I think you're a good writer and I do think this script is decent. But people are going to have their opinions and not everybody is going to "get" the script, as is the same with audiences with films. You wrote it and they didn't, so obviously, not everybody is going to see eye to eye with you.


I have maintained throughout this thread that I will edit the script before sending it to producers. Lots of times now. It isn't already in the hands of anyone aside from a few actors. I'm finishing a draft on my 3-part drama and then I will do a few things on this before sending it out anywhere.

You have experience in British film which qualifies you to an opinion far more than somebody that hasn't and I have already agreed with you. Yes, in parts I do hit melodrama. It doesn't open on a wedding though, but it is a family gathering to celebrate the birth of a baby, so not exactly dissimilar. I could certainly be more inventive about that, but as it is just a flashback, aside from cleaning up the dialogue I think the scene stands fine. If a producer tells me to get more inventive over that then I will switch it up. I will clean up the dialogue though.

In regards to B movie audience... no that isn't my over all aim... but it is an initial one. I think a film should start out B and then make it big. Most of the films that start out big are really a pile of rubbish, their only saving grace being that people fall for the hype over and over again. So I'd like to make an A movie on a B movie budget. So obviously melodrama, and I do see it myself in parts, is something I should avoid and I am grateful for it being pointed out. However I reject that the whole script is like it which is what it seems to turn into once an admission has been made.
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bert
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 3:31pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from DustinBowcot
There is no such thing as overly melodramatic, you either are or you aren't.


Yes, in the same way that food is never overly salty.  It is salty or it isn't, right?

I hate to jump into a thread this is already "overly" bloated, but this little niggle is driving me nuts.

Melodrama is a stand-alone genre.  And you can have too much of it (for some tastes).  

Not saying that you do, specifically, but it is possible.  Would you contend that a film could not be "overly" violent?


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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DustinBowcot
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 4:06pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bert


Yes, in the same way that food is never overly salty.  It is salty or it isn't, right?

I hate to jump into a thread this is already "overly" bloated, but this little niggle is driving me nuts.

Melodrama is a stand-alone genre.  And you can have too much of it (for some tastes).  

Not saying that you do, specifically, but it is possible.  Would you contend that a film could not be "overly" violent?


Melodrama means overly dramatic. It's the same thing. It's a grammar thing. You can't put overly melodramatic together. the correct phrase is overly dramatic. One is overly dramatic, or melodramatic, they are not overly melodramatic. Ridiculous.

In regards to violence... you can't over murder somebody either. You either kill them or you don't.

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Forgive
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 4:38pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dustin. Disappointed to hear that this is actually a melodrama - should've stuck than in the log-line 'cos it could get missed. Wind-swept oceans, flowing capes, get 'em all in. Somehow. And drugs. They're illegal by the way, so careful.

Back to it.

p.31 - I wouldn't start a new scene straight into dialogue. Maybe go with Honey double, or sprawling, or Tony stepping in.

Minor on this one: Johnny never steps in the house, but storms out of it (he's in on/by Tony's dialogue).

p.36 -

INT. DELBOY'S etc

The men ...

-- think about your breakdown. There's a couple of bits like this that are a bit off - I know it's nothing major but it is a new scene, and better is 'The Cobo's ...' or similar.

p.37 - okay - I'm guessing (or had thought) that we were working with two cases - at this point, I'm still thinking that. If that's true ... do you need an identifier for Johnny's case? It's just that if a case came out - then I'm thinking it could be either Benny's or Johnny's, but as you're specifying in the description, I'm wondering how I know this, and how I know it's not Benny's?

p.38 From the dialogue 'You've done well my friend.' I got the feeling the guys almost had the wrong dialogue? Would the 'If only things were that simple' not belong to the Cobo's?

p.39
     DANNY
To be honest with you, I don't
think they will.
-- got give-away written all over it.
     DANNY
To be honest with you...
-- or
     DANNY
I don't think they...
-- maybe play with it.

p.44 - exposition on the Turks is too heavy: needs a re-work. Angle's fine.

Okay - I'm out for tonight. Only thing I'm wondering at close-ish to half way is the Alexander role ...?
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bert
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 4:38pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from DustinBowcot
Ridiculous.


Wow, you really stick to your guns on things, don't you?

Have you even done a little digging into the possibility that you are mistaken?  Even a dictionary or something?

Anyways, done here.  Sail on, good Sir.  Where is Jeff when I actually need him?


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Ledbetter
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 4:52pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from bert


  Where is Jeff when I actually need him?


He's in Vegas, baby!!!

I'll jump in if you want.

I haven't been thrown off in months...

Shawn.....><
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Forgive
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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This is really getting side-tracked with minutiae. Let's take it all the way back, then. There's no music, so how can it be melodramatic? Because that's what is means: from the Greek 'Melos' (Music) + the French 'Drame' (Drama). So it's not melodramatic unless we get Beethoven's 1st (or whatever) blasting all over it.

Let's be frank - this has all come about due to J.S.'s dim and inaccurate take that this is melodramatic - all off some badly phrased early dialogue that's Dustin's said is going to be cut.

And yeah - where is Jeff?? Pitch in b*itch! - this is all his territory - 'cept I guess he's not a fan of Brit flicks.
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KevinLenihan
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 6:19pm Report to Moderator
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melodramatic

1. Having the excitement and emotional appeal of melodrama: "a melodramatic account of two perilous days spent among the planters" (Frank O. Gatell).
2. Exaggeratedly emotional or sentimental; histrionic: "Accuse me, if you will, of melodramatic embroidery" (Erskine Childers).
3. Characterized by false pathos and sentiment.

melodrama

a. A drama, such as a play, film, or television program, characterized by exaggerated emotions, stereotypical characters, and interpersonal conflicts.
b. The dramatic genre characterized by this treatment.
2. Behavior or occurrences having melodramatic characteristics.

From this, I would say "Exaggeratedly emotional or sentimental" applies to film.

And I would say that being melodramatic is often a deliberate style choice. It's an acceptable form.

And from that I would say it's possible to go too far with it. In other words...overly-melodramatic.

So the use of the description would be acceptable and useful. Not saying it applies here, I have not read enough to know. But it's valid for a reviewer to use the word.

Carry on.
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J.S.
Posted: May 17th, 2013, 8:41pm Report to Moderator
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Alright Dustin. I'm giving this one a go. I'm being completely honest with my comments here. I'll try to explain myself where necessary. I may be saying things that have been already mentioned before. I didn't read through all of the comments, however

pg. 1, "A tall, powerfully built man named DELROY (18.), a mouthful of gold teeth, removes his scarf."

You might want to place 'a mouth of gold teeth' at the end since that's revealed after he removes his scarf.

pg. 2, "Feliks screams and strides towards Delroy in a rage, spittle flying from his mouth."

I don't get this. I think this would look goofy on screen. Now if you mean he screams the dialogue as he strides toward him, that's different. But just him screaming and striding is very, very odd.

"FELIKS
Don't... you... fucking... hurt...
my son."

It's at this point where I think you're on the course to channeling melodrama. BUT, having said that, I think in the hands of the right director and the right cast it doesn't necessarily have to be interpreted that way. I'm just saying that most actors, especially method actors, will likely go in that direction. I can perfectly picture an actor cheweing up the scenery with this.

"You don't get it Feliks. This aint
even about you, man. This is about
all of them."

This too.

"Delroy raises the machete and slices off the baby's
hand. The hand falls onto the floor amidst the baby's
terrible, terrified screams.
Everyone in the bar screams too -- completely
horrified."

Okay, so at this point the red flags are going off. Why go that deep into the violence so early on when it has little to no context? What purpose does this have but to gross out the audience? You're inserting violence just 'cause. If I was watching this movie, I would go, "yeah, this is pointless." There's no build up here. "It's a meaningless gore flick, I'll pass." That would be my reaction more or less. Let me give you an example for reference. Look at a movie like Oldboy or I saw the devil. Excellent films with plenty of violence. There might have been a moment or two where I felt like the violence was stretched out for a beat too long, but generally, it was done very well. I was entertained and I felt that whatever violence I saw was completely warranted. I can't say that about this part here. This is like one of the highest levels of darkness and you stick it right at the beginning of your script?? How do you raise your audience back up after this scene, I have no idea. Anyway, I'm moving forward.

"EVA
No!"

This too.

"Feliks holds out his hand to his wife, mouths
the words "I Love You", and dies."

This too. The "I Love You" is a huge one here.

"Don't kill my baby, please don't
kill my baby."

This too.

"Eva spits in Delroy's face.
EVA
Tell them yourself."

Okay, now she has a change of tone here, which I'm having trouble reconciling in my mind.

So all in all, I don't feel like you hit the ceiling of melodrama (i.e. overly-melodramatic). But it's certainly melodrama.

"Alexander sits opposite....."

Who's Alexander, how old is he, and what does he look like?

The Oddball/Danny exchange you have is not bad but I don't understand why it's relevant.

"a couple of inches off the floor
before he falls flat on his back"

Should probably change to ground rather than floor since its outside.

This next scene, between Alexander and the three Males, was pretty good.

"Two cars pull up side by side. Lights go off, engines
die. A door opens and somebody gets out -- runs around
to the driver side of the other car.
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Three pistol shots. The GUNMAN
opens the car door and pulls a suitcase from inside.
The dead body of a middle-aged white man falls out."

Initially, I couldn't understand what's going on here. It was only after I read the next action line that I got it. So reword this so it's clear.

"Tell him... tell him, the shit has
hit the fan."

Nice

I'm having a minor issue with Alexander being so obliging when he meets Oddball. Okay, he takes the case to the guy, I'll buy that. But Oddball's trustworthiness of him I feel iffy on. Then Alexander's sure-I've-got-nothing-better-to-do-then-follow-you-around-town attitude is where I'm not as satisfied. If he backed off, or at the very least questioned Oddball, simply said, "Look, man, I don't want any part of this shit, whatever the hell it is." I could buy that. I'm assuming he's got some idea as to what his friend Danny is involved in so he might have some idea that if cops are involved, then this shit's hitting the fan from both sides and maybe it might be wise to stay out of it. All I'm saying is that it's a convenient stretch for the screenwriter to make and personally it's not a big buy from me. But I'll go along with as it doesn't bother me that much.

"skims through the pictures, chuckling occasionally."

What are "the" pictures? Pictures on the phone? Should make this more clear.

"ALEXANDER
I met your friend tonight.18.
ODDBALL
His name is Danny... you met him
tonight?
ALEXANDER
Yeah, tonight."

Okay, Dustin, I can't believe this. I thought the two knew each other, in which case I was going to cut you some slack for what I mentioned above about Alexander's readiness to oblige, but at this point I can't believe what just transpired. It's far fetched to have Alexander just conveniently do go through all this for someone he just met!!! I can't believe these plot points. I can't believe Alexander is doing this guy the favor. I can't believe Oddball is so easily trustworthy with Alexander. And I can't believe Alexander would follow Oddball. Having said that, I think you could find a better way to lay down these plot points. As they stand, they're very unbelievable.

ALEXANDER
I'm not really from anywhere. I
grew up in care and since then
I've been in and out of prison.

You should rework this. It feel forced. It could be just a phrasing thing.

"No mate... you're going nowhere
till Danny shows up."

I neither understand the logic behind this plot point nor can I believe it. Oddball's very conveniently inviting Alexander into this is not wise I think and not very believable, especially how quickly it happens.

"Look. This isn't going to get us
anywhere. Now Danny, look...
there's a lot of fucking money in
that case. Everything we've worked
for is in that case. Can you think
of anywhere that fucking mug could
be right now?"

Las Vegas!!! No, I kid But that was my first thought as I was reading this.

"A shot from behind the settee shows that the case is gone."

I don't understand this. Is this like a thought bubble or something? Or a shot back at the safe house?

"ODDBALL
Fuck.
DANNY
Yeah, fuck.
Danny looks at Alexander.
DANNY
You as well."

I don't understand these reactions either. Is it because they're not at the safe house like they're suppose to be and they're just screwing around like little kids?

Alright so I'm stopping at scene bottom of page 30. I'm going along with it, despite some of those hard to believe plot points.

From what I read so far I would say a good portion of your action lines are very well written. There's no superfluous words. You get right to it. Some could definitely use tweaking, others need more clarity. But overall you get good marks from me on that aspect.

I can't say much about the dialogue for right now. It does come off as wooden at times. Sort of fades in and out for me. And true, it's nothing like your opening scenes which I can't take seriously by the way, and probably would not continue watching the movie because of them. But thank God they were only 3 minutes long. Actually the more I think about it, it's probably the odd combination of sentimentality and violence, and it's right in the beginning too.

Anyway, enough from me for now. I don't have further thoughts on this at this time. I'll get back to this later.

Take care,

-J.S.

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