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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Western Scripts  ›  Dust and Roses Moderators: bert
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  Author    Dust and Roses  (currently 2497 views)
Don
Posted: January 25th, 2009, 12:44pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Dust and Roses by Daniel Meade (electricsatori) - Western, Short Western, Short Bloody Western - Jim Curtis returns to the town where his wife died. He's back for vengeance. 7 pages - pdf, format


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Cam17
Posted: January 26th, 2009, 12:11am Report to Moderator
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I always like a good, bloody western.  This guy is one mean bastard.  Killin' a twelve year old retarded kid?   Jim ain't exactly the Lone Ranger.

I thought this story worked well, for the most part.  The guy is holed up in the saloon and the entire town is scared to take him on, with good reason.

One problem I had with the script is how you explained away Jim's actions.  The Sheriff tells us that Jim's wife died and they buried her with no marker and that Jim found out and now here we are.  Show, don't tell.  You should have shown us a scene of Jim at the grave.  At least that would have given us an inkling as to why he went on this rampage.

HAROLD
Not since we lost Margaret.

This line confused me.  Who is Margaret?  

Also, Jim gets shot in the gut and it seems to have no effect on him.  Unless he's secretly a terminator, that wound would have killed him.

Just a technical note, Nevada didn't become a state until the 1860's.  You might want to push the story's date ahead about twenty years.

Overall, this story had good action and a merciless, pitiless main character.  I'd like to see Jim in a more intricate, involved storyline.


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electricsatori
Posted: January 28th, 2009, 10:33am Report to Moderator
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Hey Cam17,

Hahaa, nope, he's definitely not gonna ride in and save the day.

I really do think you summed up my hunches about what was lacking in this script. I used a weak storytelling device (exposition) and should have showed his discovery of her body. Point well taken.

Harold's daughter, Margaret, died awhile back. I was hoping that their shared history would add dimension between them, and the reader would assume it was a child or wife. One line on Jim's part could fix that, something like "No one should have to bury their child," would work.

Ya, I should have showed his life bleeding out from his gut. His pale skin, trembling hands from blood loss.

I will definitely change the timeline!

I'm really considering fleshing Jim's character out some more and turning this into a feature length piece. I absolute love brutal and bloody westerns too.

Thanks a bunch for your review!

-Daniel


DUST AND ROSES - (Western) 7 Pages

SUNDAY IS THE WORST DAY TO DIE OF THE PLAGUE - (Drama) 12 Pages

THE GHOST OF JOHN (Horror) 94 Pages
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colkurtz8
Posted: November 6th, 2009, 7:14pm Report to Moderator
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Daniel

SUPER: 1847

Wind whips sand across the faded buildings. Not a single
person strolls through the streets.

INT. HAROLD’S SALOON - DAY
A single patron, JIM CURTIS, sits at the bar. He holds an amber glass to the light and admires the scars on his fingers.

He exhales a long stream of cigarillo smoke. The saloon door flaps open, but no one enters.

His hand slips down to the revolver on his hip. He relaxes
and downs the whiskey.

Great intro to this which demands a special mention. Sure it’s been seen in every second western out there (check out "Once Upon a Time in The West" for the greatest intro ever to a film of this genre, in my opinion) but you articulated it on the page extremely well here. From the establishing shot of the wind on the faded buildings to the lone man at the bar, a smoke, a drink, the swinging of doors, that moment of anticipation before relaxing again, great tension. We may have seen it a hundred times before but I loved your depiction of it and in such few, well placed words too, straight away setting the tone for the piece.

"A flap of its skull hangs open from a bullet wound."

A red hole, like a third eye, opens in the Boy’s forehead.
He coughs once, falls backwards and dies.

-- Damn, I love these two lines, violent, disturbing & highly visual, just thinking of the poor kid coughing before dropping to his knees. What an odd but evocative reaction to make him do once we see the bullet seared through his forehead. Did you see happen it in a film?

HAROLD
Connor didn’t make it.

Jim pours himself another shot.

JIM
Good.

-- I know this Jim is being portrayed as a mean SOB, the devil incarnate but this was perhaps a little too much, almost petulant from him, possibly trying too hard to show his indifference to the heinous act he’s just committed. I think having Jim ignore him completely and resume his drinking would say a lot more, and be all the more unnerving for Harold.

“Jim has his shirt open and is examining the wound on his
gut.”

-- Could possibly be rewritten as “Jim opens Harold’s shirt, examines the wound on his gut” To me, it just helps the sentence flow better when you cut out the “and” & the “ing” of “examining” but above all, Harold’s name should be mentioned for clarity as it the beginning of a new scene.

“He pushes him.” – Who pushes who? I’m thinking the Sheriff does it, but again, names would be helpful. Especially when one of your characters bears such a cool handle as “Shanny”

“The Sheriff SWALLOWS audibly in the silent room.” -- I would really hope if this were ever made (I for one, would love to see it done), that we wouldn’t hear this sound effect overdubbed. Oh, please, no, bit to cartoonish for my liking, not at all fitting with the script.

I liked how you interweaved the back story into the script, practically seamless and a good time to tell when both sides are having a standoff of sorts, poised to make the next move. Cam also made a good point about cutting to a scene of Jim at the grave, not entirely necessary for this to work but wouldn't do any harm either.

I wondered why Jim had been away and what accident had befallen Rosy. Not that it requires explanation within the context of your story, I’m a firm believer in not presenting everything to the audience and leaving things open to a certain extent. Although the Sheriff referring to her as a whore gives us a hint at what could’ve happened.

“Jim fills his mouth with a bullet.” – Another superbly visceral image.

Man, I really dug this. Like your “Daphne’s Inferno” you have a flair for packing a lot of punch into a limited number of words. Not so sure about the closing line but everything up to that was excellent, really had me sucked in till the climax.

The dialogue from all characters was pitch perfect, completely fitting the type of story, setting and its desperate, scared sh?tless inhabitants (bar Jim, of course).

Would I be way off the mark by saying you pinched Jim’s idea for fooling the mob at the end from the film “Copycat”? Feel free to correct me.

Anyway, this was a very cool, dark and brutal (in a good way) revenge piece which deserves a lot more comments from people on the site here. I’m confident most would enjoy it if they gave it the chance. Don’t be afraid to plug your work either, buddy, it’s what the site is all about after all.

Great job.

Col.



Revision History (1 edits)
colkurtz8  -  November 6th, 2009, 7:25pm
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colkurtz8
Posted: November 6th, 2009, 7:21pm Report to Moderator
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Just realised this is in the Western section, which would explain the lack of comments. Get on to Don, and kindly ask him to re-post it as a short (since it qualifies as one).

You'll find it will garner far more attention on that discussion board.


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craig cooper-flintstone
Posted: November 7th, 2009, 7:00am Report to Moderator
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Hey Daniel,

This is the second short of yours that I've read, and I have to say that it is every bit as impressive as 'Daphne's Inferno'.

I love your descriptions- loads of information and detail in short concise sentences, which really help conjure up a vivid mental picture.

The introduction is fantastic, and the character of Jim is perfectly profiled. It's amazing that you've managed to get so much across in so few pages.

I'm gonna check out your other script over the weekend.

Great stuff chap

Craig


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electricsatori
Posted: November 9th, 2009, 3:32pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from colkurtz8


Great intro to this which demands a special mention. ... We may have seen it a hundred times before but I loved your depiction of it and in such few, well placed words too, straight away setting the tone for the piece.


I always try to write it in as few words as possible. The feeling and tone of the old Westerns has always struck a chord with me and I didn't want to break the mold, just re-envision it.


Quoted from colkurtz8

"A flap of its skull hangs open from a bullet wound."

A red hole, like a third eye, opens in the Boy’s forehead.
He coughs once, falls backwards and dies.

-- Damn, I love these two lines, violent, disturbing & highly visual, just thinking of the poor kid coughing before dropping to his knees. What an odd but evocative reaction to make him do once we see the bullet seared through his forehead. Did you see happen it in a film?


These are two of my favorite lines also. Actually, I don't know where it came from, it might be inspired by something in the Dark Tower series, I think it is, but it could just have come from my subconscious…


Quoted from colkurtz8

HAROLD
Connor didn’t make it.

Jim pours himself another shot.

JIM
Good.

-- I know this Jim is being portrayed as a mean SOB, the devil incarnate but this was perhaps a little too much, almost petulant from him, possibly trying too hard to show his indifference to the heinous act he’s just committed. I think having Jim ignore him completely and resume his drinking would say a lot more, and be all the more unnerving for Harold.


Sometimes silence, like indifference, is more powerful. I agree, it would work better here.


Quoted from colkurtz8

“Jim has his shirt open and is examining the wound on his
gut.”

-- Could possibly be rewritten as “Jim opens Harold’s shirt, examines the wound on his gut” To me, it just helps the sentence flow better when you cut out the “and” & the “ing” of “examining” but above all, Harold’s name should be mentioned for clarity as it the beginning of a new scene.

“He pushes him.” – Who pushes who? I’m thinking the Sheriff does it, but again, names would be helpful. Especially when one of your characters bears such a cool handle as “Shanny”


Yes, both of those passages definitely need a rewrite. Your revisions are clean and smooth, I will most definitely use your advice.


Quoted from colkurtz8

“The Sheriff SWALLOWS audibly in the silent room.” -- I would really hope if this were ever made (I for one, would love to see it done), that we wouldn’t hear this sound effect overdubbed. Oh, please, no, bit to cartoonish for my liking, not at all fitting with the script.


I would like to see it with super-overdubbing! As loud as a thunder crack! Heh heh,  I kid I kid. Ya, I had some problems showing his nervousness, I don't know, maybe wiping sweat from his brow... Like I said, I had problems with this part.


Quoted from colkurtz8

I liked how you interweaved the back story into the script, practically seamless and a good time to tell when both sides are having a standoff of sorts, poised to make the next move. Cam also made a good point about cutting to a scene of Jim at the grave, not entirely necessary for this to work but wouldn't do any harm either.

I wondered why Jim had been away and what accident had befallen Rosy. Not that it requires explanation within the context of your story, I’m a firm believer in not presenting everything to the audience and leaving things open to a certain extent. Although the Sheriff referring to her as a whore gives us a hint at what could’ve happened.


This is always a problem for me. How much backstory to include? I like action and I don't like my stories to stall, however, sometimes the backstory gets lost, or clouded. For instance. I'm writing a story right now with a character whose mother was impregnated by a dog, does the reader/audience know that? No. But I'm sure they wouldn't be surprised - at least in the context of the story.


Quoted from colkurtz8

“Jim fills his mouth with a bullet.” – Another superbly visceral image.


I wondered about that line. I didn't know whether it was trying to be too fancy for the description, but I'm glad it was received well.


Quoted from colkurtz8

Man, I really dug this. Like your “Daphne’s Inferno” you have a flair for packing a lot of punch into a limited number of words. Not so sure about the closing line but everything up to that was excellent, really had me sucked in till the climax.


Thank you, both of these were written at around the same time. People might criticize my work for being shallow, without much time for reflection. My perspective on this is it is probably true. I don't like to be bored when reading a story, and if I'm bored I suspect the reader is also.
I didn't think the closing line fit either, it was too casual for all the previous carnage.


Quoted from colkurtz8

The dialogue from all characters was pitch perfect, completely fitting the type of story, setting and its desperate, scared sh?tless inhabitants (bar Jim, of course).


Dialogue has always been very tough for me. I have what is called a ‘tin ear.’ My only exception is Westerns. Weird, I know. Maybe I was just born in the wrong century.


Quoted from colkurtz8

Would I be way off the mark by saying you pinched Jim’s idea for fooling the mob at the end from the film “Copycat”? Feel free to correct me.


My wife laughed at this comment. She's been trying to get me to see this movie. But no, I didn't lift it from "Copycat." Here's the thing, I'm not a fan of plagiarism, most aren't. If, while I'm writing a scene I remember seeing it somewhere else I usually don't use it, even if it flows naturally with the events and character arc.


Quoted from colkurtz8

Anyway, this was a very cool, dark and brutal (in a good way) revenge piece which deserves a lot more comments from people on the site here. I’m confident most would enjoy it if they gave it the chance. Don’t be afraid to plug your work either, buddy, it’s what the site is all about after all.


Thanks so much for your glowing review of my work. I really appreciate your intelligent and well-articulated feedback.
I'll quote Clint in "Unforgiven" here. "Deserves got nothing to do with it."
I'm sure many would like it, but I'm just no good at self-promotion.

By the way, let me know if you want me to review some of your work, I always like to return the favor.

I'll share a personal anecdote with you about this story.
When I first posted it on the site I actually had a Director is Denver inquiring about it, he wanted the standard rewrites which all producer/directors want. And I agreed to all of his terms, even changing Jim into a female. Which, as a writer, you just have to come to terms with your story being completely altered. It's part of the game.
However, I was directing a movie of my own and writing a class curriculum (extremely busy). Even though, I told him I would be happy to rewrite this. I got the shooting schedule, budget restrictions, all the cr a p you need as a professional to gear a story to your clients....
We scheduled a telephone meeting and he blew me off. He emailed me a couple days later with some lame excuse. But, being on a strict time-frame, he threw my rewrites behind schedule and I had to tell him, in no uncertain terms, I was not the writer for him.
Did I screw up by refusing to work with him? I don't think so.
In my experience in film. Most people are flakes who don't know how to schedule their production around exacting time frames, which is why hundreds of movies get lost in editing and never get released each year.
For me, it's not just about getting your work produced, it's about getting it produced correctly.

Anyway, that's my rant, thanks for all of your feedback. I will most definitely use it in my rewrites.

-Daniel





DUST AND ROSES - (Western) 7 Pages

SUNDAY IS THE WORST DAY TO DIE OF THE PLAGUE - (Drama) 12 Pages

THE GHOST OF JOHN (Horror) 94 Pages
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electricsatori
Posted: November 9th, 2009, 3:41pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Daniel,

This is the second short of yours that I've read, and I have to say that it is every bit as impressive as 'Daphne's Inferno'.

I love your descriptions- loads of information and detail in short concise sentences, which really help conjure up a vivid mental picture.

The introduction is fantastic, and the character of Jim is perfectly profiled. It's amazing that you've managed to get so much across in so few pages.

I'm gonna check out your other script over the weekend.

Great stuff chap

Craig


Thanks Craig!
"Daphne's Inferno" and "Dust and Roses" were both adaptations of two short stories I had written. Both of them were written at the same time and I think you can see that in the pacing.
Jim's character is one of my favorites I've written so far. His strong drive makes him a strong protagonist, and even though he's an anti-hero, I believe his actions are justifiable.

Look forward to seeing what you think about "Sunday is the Worst Day to Die of the Plague." Yes, it is a cartoon, however, it would not garner a 'G' rating, more likely, an 'R'.

-Daniel


DUST AND ROSES - (Western) 7 Pages

SUNDAY IS THE WORST DAY TO DIE OF THE PLAGUE - (Drama) 12 Pages

THE GHOST OF JOHN (Horror) 94 Pages
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: November 4th, 2010, 10:21am Report to Moderator
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Daniel,

Good on you for writing a Western, one of my favourite genres!
Your opening and overall imagery is very strong.
The death of the mentally retarded boy, ouch, effective.
There were a couple of saloon slugs that confused me for a moment.
I thought the scene break was not needed until I read the passage of time.
For me the read would be smoother if a "'later" was part of the slug.
My only real problem with this story is all the exposition.
We are told everything and shown nothing to drawn our own conclusions on.
Good story and action and nice twist with Harold, less exposition and this would be great!
Thanks for the post, and yay Westerns, hope you like mine.

Regards,
E.D.


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khamanna
Posted: November 4th, 2010, 11:39am Report to Moderator
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The writing is good. I liked the slang - I think you got it right.

Who is the hero in here? Looks like Jim at first but then you take the focus so often from him... in the end it's Shanny and the attention is on Shanny, that made me think you want us to root for him. But then I thought 'who is Shanny?' - you introduced him only on page 7...

Jim is not very likable/unlikable either, I couldn't feel him, root for him for some reason. I guess it's because you kept the POV away from him for half of the story.

The story itself is a little simple -- JIm loves Rosy, keeps killing for her (although I still don't know why), sheriff (apparently) wants to find "the best with a pistol" and finds Shanny (hope I got that part right too) --but the simplicity works fine, it's the duality of it that doesn't work for me (when it does in some other stories but not in this one).
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