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Refugee City Armon Haplitim by Gregory Mandarano & Raza Rizvi - Thriller - While struggling to maintain control of a controversial sanctuary city of refugees, an Israeli minister tries to retrieve scandalous evidence of a murder she committed. 135 pages - pdf, format
When a Shop Owner attempts to escape a war-torn Syria with his family, a dispute over the cost of entry on a make-shift raft forces them to separate, and while his family flees out to sea, he must stay behind.
But when all passengers aboard the raft die except for one, the Israeli Minister who rescues the lone survivor uses the tragedy to promote the construction of a sanctuary city for refugees. A place where all would be welcome as they ask the world for a new home.
Four years later the city of Armon Haplitim has been built, with the Minister as its overseer, but immense overpopulation has given rise to protests as refugees fight over food and limited supplies.
After an unsuccessful attempt at her life by angry protestors, the Minister catches her husband having an affair, and in the argument that follows, he accidentally dies. Rather than risk her career, she has no choice but to kill her husband's gay partner and stage it as a murder suicide. But evidence of the murder has been caught on tape.
In a captivating game of cat and mouse, a Mother and Son who end up with the video are forced to take refuge in Refugee City. Once inside, they observe first hand the plight of its citizens. And when they cross paths with the Shop Owner, he does everything in his power to save their lives...
Even if it means sacrificing himself.
Billed as ENEMY OF THE STATE meets CHILDREN OF MEN, within the fast-paced high-stakes format of an action thriller, Refugee City brings attention to the very real, and very current growing humanitarian crisis where war and worsening economic conditions have led to waves of refugees and migrants across the Middle East and Europe.
REFUGEE CITY embraces a racially diverse cast, involves multiple ethnicities and cultures, and conveys a positive message about unity between genders, races, and nationalities, traits essential for global release.
I've seen a few of your other works where you haven't used slug lines (in the traditional sense), and in this one you are using them. Is there a reason for using them in this one? That's not meant to be insulting, or a slight in anyway, I'm just curious
Anyhow, onto the story. I wonder if the beginning with Esam and his family would benefit from having subtitles, rather than just plain English. I see that you did that a few pages later on the boat.
At first I thought that the talk show included in the montage was a little long. But when I got to the end of it at page 21, I was fully on board with it being part of the montage. Perhaps it would be better if they were doing something rather than just talking? Even drinking water or a cup of coffee or something, rather than just having straight dialogue.
Page 41, "Sofia hastily pulls on a shirt and picks up her phone". Should that be Michelle?
On page 55 I'm wondering if it would be better to write I P rather than ip in Sofia's dialogue. I actually sounded ip out for a second before I realized what it was. But sometime's I'm a tool So that may just be me!
I'm engrossed in the story, so maybe I missed it somewhere before, but on page 66 you have the Operator speaking, but I never noticed him introduced in all caps. I could have missed it though.
Okay, finished all the way through. It was a very enthralling story! I enjoyed it.
There are a few things I wonder about though. For one, I thought that subtitles should have been used more often throughout. For instance, when Jaffar, Esam and Shakur are speaking to each other from page 70 to 72, I feel like they should be speaking in their native tongue. Page 100, when Nasim is speaking to the other men, and even Esam for that matter, I thought they should be subtitled. This was the guy who couldn't speak English at the beginning. And, if he's speaking English (it is three years later so it's not out of the ordinary that he would have learned English in the city), I think it should be more of a broken English. That of course, is a matter of personal opinion, just as it is with the subtitles.
And just one more nitpicking thing; on page 105 you use a wrylie for Jack nods during Esam's dialogue. Would that not be better to just throw that in an action line instead?
Overall I enjoyed it. i thought the set ups were good and worth while. It took a long time for Esam to come back into play, and I was wondering what his place in all of this was going to be. But it paid off in the end for me.
One thing I will mention is that I'm not a fan of the CUT TOs. In my school of thinking they don't belong in a spec script. I like to try and keep things nice and simple in those terms, but hey, to each his own. If that's what you like, that's what you like. That's just a matter of personal opinion.
I think this would be good on screen. There were lots of twists and turns to keep me interested! I had intended to stop around page 50 and come back to it later, but I just kept on going, so hopefully that's saying something!
Nice job, hopefully something will eventually come out of this.
Thanks for giving the script a read! I appreciate it and am glad you enjoyed it!
The scripts where I've written in the Goldman / Ferguson style have a variety of reasons as to why I chose to write that way.
Shadows Below employs a lot of naval action, with many cuts between submarines. Early on I made the decision to use Ferguson's style that he did in the Hunt for Red October, also a submarine action film. I found that it suited the pace of action and made it read better.
Later I wrote the script Shadows Beyond, which as a massive fantasy adventure, I chose to employ the same style in order to capture the rich detail of the world without bogging people down with sluglines. Instead I force perspective to ensure the reader is paying attention to exactly what I want them to. If you read the script you'll see why i chose to do it that way.
With my script Dead Star, which is an adaptation of one of my novels, the script takes place almost exclusively in a single Exterior location. From forests through caves, to badlands to different areas of the badlands. As a resut instead of using sluglines I chose to go with the Goldman style so that the reader just follows the story itself, and changes 'views' of the area through description only.
This script is more of a contemporary modern day thriller with lots of scene changes, and it made more sense to go with a classic style. I also co-wrote this script with Raza, and he is more comfortable with normal sluglines. So I went with it!
Ultimately it depends on whether I'm writing by myself, or the nature of the story itself. I find that for action scripts and fantasy the no-slugline style is more up my alley.
I'll make the changes you mentioned. A character error, and the I. P. as opposed to ip, which is the right way to write it normally, but not the way it would be sounded out when written in dialogue. Totally slipped my eye so good catch. And yes The Operator had his own intro, you must have zipped past it cause he's a main character but doesn't have an actual name.
When it comes to subtitles, it's actually a touchy thing.
The only part in the script where it was absolutely necessary to point out that there's subtitles is during the conversation between Nasim and Sofia, where it's made clear he can't speak english, or really Hebrew, and Sofia translates. In a sense, this is the opposite of the scene in THE GODFATHER, where during the conversation that Michael has with the dudes before he goes and gets the gun in the bathroom to kill them, when they start speaking in italian it ISN'T subtitled, while in every other part of the script Italian is. The director's reasoning is that it doesn't matter what they say, because they're both dead men.
Realistically I could go through the draft and specify language divides everywhere, but this is somethign that would ultimately just bog down the read. My cowriter asked me about it multiple times and I explained it like this.
The purpose of the script is to tell the story to the reader. The director could make choices down the road as to when there's subtitles or how multiple languages are handled. But for the purposes of the script read, it's better to avoid the subtitles altogether.
And like I said, the reason there is that one scene where they're included, is simply because the fact that theyre not speaking the same language comes into play in a story purpose, so it's necessary.
You might be right in that there could be some other times where subtitles could be used. My co-writer and I will look into it, but that's my explanation of handling subtitles in scripts.
Less is more.
As for the wryly of (Jack nods) in the script. This is a good question.
I actually will refer you to check out the screenplay for The Godfather, which uses wrylies A TON of times in dialogue.
Ultimately, im of the school that if a piece of action is important to the story (in this case, jack nodding) then it's necessary to have the action. Otherwise you're just directing on page and there's really no reason to have a bunch of meaningless action lines.
Since in this case AN ENTIRE LINE would be dedicated to
and any additional words or descriptions in the action line would just be extemperaneous
I think it ends up being more efficient to throw the action into a wryly. It saves space, and keeps the reader's eyes moving down in the dialogue rather than getting thrown off it.
As for the Cut To:s
you should find that every time the Cut To: transition is used in the script it is for the following reason:
*A change in time inside the same location.*
So rather than creating another slugline for the same location and putting - LATER, you just Cut To: and it's inside the same location and you go straight to action without having another slugline.
I hope that clears up some stuff. If you ever have any questions on formatting or different styles of how to approach something in a script, feel free to ask!
That's a fair point about the wryly, I never really thought of it that way. I guess I'm just in the train of thought that anything with the wryly should be associated to the character himself/herself, but you're right, there are many different ways of doing things
Same thing with the cut to. I would personally just write later, but hey, that's just what I'd do! We're gonna write, how we're gonna write, right?
And that makes more sense with the talk show explained like that. I just checked it again and it wasn't clear to me when I first read it. I just interpreted "shares the screen" as they're all on the screen together, in the same room. Not in different locations.
In all honesty, I don't have much of an opinion on the refugee crisis in the script. I'm a visual guy, and if I saw it on screen I'm sure I would have more of an opinion. When I'm just reading it, I kind of get lost in the story and enjoy the ride. Does that make any sense?