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  Author    Red Storm  (currently 7372 views)
Don
Posted: August 19th, 2009, 5:14pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Red Storm by James McClung - Western -  A nomadic bounty hunter is caught in the middle of a vicious power struggle while on the hunt for a faceless serial killer. 103 pages - pdf, format


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  December 10th, 2010, 2:20pm
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Dreamscale
Posted: August 20th, 2009, 1:02am Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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James, this is "The Nameless", huh?  You should have let me know you were posting this.

I will give it a read again.  I started out and I see you changed some things early on that  were issues when I read it.

I'll try and get to this ASAP, but things have fallen into the shitter in my life.

I will give you a plug here, in hopes of bumping your reads...

This is has alot going for it, even in an early draft that I read awhile back.  Check it out and post what you think.

I'll be back...


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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James McClung
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Hey Jeff. Sorry things haven't been going so well. Take your time getting to this one. A lot of what I've changed is in the descriptions as you pointed out although I've tweaked some of the dialogue, primarily as a means of giving a better sense of the main character. The general flow of events is about the same though. I changed the title to distance myself from the Eastwood flicks. Maybe I should've watched a few before writing this but I wanted to be free of influence. Anyway, hope this new draft does something for you.


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grademan
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James –

Very absorbing script here. Well constructed.  I liked it a lot. For another western script on the gory side check out The Brigands of Rattleborge at Scriptshadow.

Gary

Here are my notes  (and I took a lot of them!):

ACTION / STORY

Action in the first 10 seconds – kudos!

10 – Great first 10 pages

12 – Nice visual title sequence

13 – The obligatory bar fight; nice action though

17 - The Mayor shouldn’t be shocked that Red Storm doesn’t care; the Mayor is a man in his 60s

18 - You have to do your exposition somewhere.  At least it’s not one big block of dialogue.

25 – So, at this time no one knows Red Storm’s name. Nor that of The Barber. Cool. And Red Storm is a bounty hunter? Way cool.

24 - More exposition.  Shift more of this to the flashback?

26 –The prostitute is beautiful and named Loretta. Yawn.

29 – The villain wears black. Yawn.

30 - No wait Loretta has scars both physical and emotional – much better

30 - The villain spouts religious nonsense while killing. Yawn again. EDIT: Okay I know why – it’s essential to the Bell Tower scene (and a few others).

40 – Red Storm finds a suspicious salesman who looks like he might be The Barber in the first bar he looks in?

42 - Now Harvey Hill is referred to as The Barber in description?

45 – Okay, I was misled to think Harvey was The Barber. Well done.

47- So the Barber is a sick freak with his “wigs.”

54 - BTW, Bower is a great name for the second in command and double agent.

68 – Now Bower is after The Barber and Red Storm because he was found out as a double crosser.

78 - Series of shots. Red Storm acts like Clint Eastwood’s Indian brother.

62 – Red Storm sees mercenaries killing Indians. It’s déjà vu all over again. I like it.

83 – Excellent action sequence at the Bell Tower

101 – Go in on “two” not “three”

104 – Does this knock down drag out fight end with a swig of beer? Okay I can see that.

114 – Red Storm dies a little too easily here. Is he really that ready to die? Nice imagery with Grey Elk though.

WORD CHOICE

10 – I don’t think Red Storm could do all he does if he’s described as “emaciated”

14 - “It’s curtains for you, boy” – a little clichéd?

15 - “as he proceeds to kick the living shit out of” awkward

19 - “Would you be more than satisfied to rot away at the gallows?” you usually don’t rot at the gallows unless they leave you hanging

20 - The dialogue between Bower and Red Storm can be trimmed down. For example, Bower could just say “Why don’t you run along before we have to kick your sorry red ass all over again.”  Same intent, less lines.

24 - Red Storm’s line “Cash ain’t no luxury to me. It’s a necessary evil and I can’t afford to say it’s beneath me.” It’s a great piece of dialogue.  Short and says a lot about the character.

24 - Whoa. I couldn't make sense of this one. I even read it out loud. “You’ve got nothing left to lose. Just everything you’ve got left.”

30 - The word “synthetic” is not a word I would use in a western even if it is in description.

30 - Loretta’s flashback lines are particularly good “Every girl has her price.” The dual dialogue “You deserve to die.” is great.

42 – Not sure about Bower talking to himself.

43 – “Robotic” is another word I wouldn’t use in a western

57 - “Cronies” is becoming overused

67 “Scott free” is this western speak?

82 – Dialogue here is very predictable. “Are you ready to quit?" “Never.” But sometimes simplest is best.

86 – Red Storm “You talk too much.” Bravo, I was thinking the same thing.

103 – No reason for an “unseen force”

112 – “Take him out boss” sounds like mobster speak






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James McClung
Posted: August 20th, 2009, 3:46pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the read, Gary! Glad you enjoyed it, even with a couple yawns in there. My approach to this script was by no means "writerly." I just wanted to write something fun that kicks ass for a change. I think naturally people are going to have issues with the cartoony nature of it all but my goal was to write a Western the way I think Westerns should be. Naturally, there's gonna be a few cliches and archetypes around but oh well. Like I said. This is just a fun ride and something of a test for myself to see if I could write a Western.

I'll take a look at some of the out-of-place word choices. For the descriptions, I don't really see the issue. They're not going to show up on screen. You may be right about the others though. I'll look into it.

Thanks again!


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grademan
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Hey James, nice to see others trying to break free. I need to find my way to be a little less anal. Speaking of that, have you read my new script? Shameless, i know.
Just follow the link below.

Gary
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abelorfao
Posted: August 21st, 2009, 2:36pm Report to Moderator
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Hello, James. I've just read your script and here are my thoughts.

I found this to be a breeze to read (quite impressive for such a lengthy script), and I must say I enjoyed this more than your Night Shift screenplay. Still, there are a few points you may want to consider.

You might want to rephrase your description of Red. When he is introduced, Red is described as having an emaciated physique which greatly implies he is physically weak and unimposing. During the course of the story, however, Red handles himself quite well in numerous fights and even tears out someone's Achilles tendon with his bare hands. You may want to consider a description which better conveys his slender but strong physique.

I also wonder if the climactic battle would work better if it built up to Red's confrontation with Lebeaux instead of starting with it. As it stands, the climax ends with Red beating some nameless flunkies in the bar. I think the battle concluding with Red taking care of Lebeaux would cause it to end on a more exhilarating note.

As with your Night Shift script, several lines of dialogue spill over onto the next page without a MORE and CONT'D parenthetical. Once again, I'd recommend just shifting these lines to the next page.

Here are the points which stuck with me as I read the script.

Page 1: The phrase "blood shot" should be "bloodshot."

Page 2: One of the cues is simply titled MERCENARY. Did you intend for this line to be spoken by Judd or the third member of the party? If you meant the latter, you may as well give him a name at this point.

Page 6: The phrases "no nonsense" and "s*** eating" should be "no-nonsense" and "s***-eating" respectively.

Page 14: Considering it is a name for a type of cramp, I would rephrase the part where Red "charley horses" (small-c, by the way) the deputy.

Page 18: I'm not sure if you need a flashback to let the audience know Lebeaux cost Bower his eye. If you're worried the audience may miss this, you could simply have Thompson rub his right eye as he mentions what Lebeaux did.

Page 36: You may want to clarify Thompson's explanation, as it took me a few moments to figure out why he was so upset upon learning Red was after the Barber.

Page 39: The phrase "molasses covered" should be molasses-covered."

Page 54: The sentence "Good day, mayor" should be "Good day, Mayor."

Page 55: The sentence "The cat's outta the bag, mayor" should be "The cat's outta the bag, Mayor."

Page 56: There is an extra paragraph break between one of Thompson and Lebeaux's cues.

Page 65: There is an extra break between the last two paragraphs.

Page 67: The phrase "Scott free" should be "scot-free."

Page 80: There should be a paragraph break after Bower grabs his revolver.

Page 83: The phrase "swing on the Barber" should be "swing at the Barber."

Page 93: The phrase "Tata" should be "ta-ta."

Page 102: Would Red really decapitate Lebeaux with the sword so easily and quickly? Given it was encased in a cane, it would seem the blade would be to thin to cut through the bones in his neck.

I hope this response helps, James, and good luck with your script.
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screenplay_novice
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I think you have a pretty strong story here. It was action packed. There was something happening all the time but it wasn't so busy that it was distracting, which is good. It also had an excellent flow. My chief complaint though, is that Red Storm died too easily. In the closing scenes at Thompson's office, he survived a pretty vicious fight only to go out so quickly. I would rework his death scene, make it a bit more meaningful.
The dialogue was good and the pacing was good. The characters were believable but I'd like to see a little more description of the towns, i.e. buildings, furniture, scenery, etc. I know I have a tendency to over-describe things, but sometimes a bit more is needed.
Not a bad script at all. I liked it!


If you can't beat 'em, then get yourself a bigger stick!
John Mavity
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James McClung
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Thanks for the read, dude! I agree about the descriptions. I also tend to overdescribe although in this case, I seem to have done the opposite. As for Red Storm's death scene, not only is he ready to die, he wants to as he realizes that living alone and removed from society isn't all it's cracked up to be. Really, the whole script is about a guy who's life hasn't really worked out for him and yet he endures more than the characters who live their lives based on ideologies. The undercurrent of the whole script is kinda hard to understand. Still, I can agree. The death scene could use a little more. Thanks again!


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rock.
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Hey, I started reading it.  Since it would probably be impossible to comment on something that these other readers haven't already touched on, I'll just give my thoughts so far.
Opens with bang (literally).  Good.  Kept me interested.
I dunno if its just me, but the time jump from age 3 to age 8 was a little strange.  Coddled by a bunch of prostitutes...then BAM, he's 8 years old.  
Red Storm's name hasn't been introduced yet, right?

"Red Storm grabs the deputy by the arm and shoves it
backward forcing the deputy to stab himself in the neck
with his own weapon."
I don't really understand this.  If he just pushes his arm straight back, the sharp edge of the bottle wouldn't make contact with him.  Does he actually grab his arm, then twist it around so that it stabs him in the neck?  If that's how I'm imagining it, it sounds really anti-climatic.

Very gory and violent...Zack Snyder would be the perfect director for this movie...oh wait, it's not based on a graphic novel..

From what I've read so far, it seems really well written and interesting.  I'll try to finish within the next week or so.


My scripts:

Façade:  In a "film noir" set in the 1950's, a detective investigates the murder of a teenage boy in the quintessential 50's American suburbs, and as he slowly peels back the veneer of the picture perfect family, he realizes nothing is what it seems, unaware of what secrets he will uncover.
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James McClung
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Thanks for commenting, rock. Honestly, I'm not a Zack Snyder fan. I enjoyed Watchmen but his style's way too flashy for my taste. This is supposed to be way more down and dirty. Anyway, I'm about halfway through your script. Hopefully, I'll have it finished by the end of this week.


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rock.
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Finally finished!  And to respond to your post, I completely agree.  I watched Watchmen, it was so terrible I couldn't even finish it.  Probably one of the worst films I've seen in recent years...even worse than Transformers, and that's REALLY saying something.

Now to your script...

A little slow at first, but it really picks up.  the scenes like the one on pg. 42, the whole scene in the chapel and the final fight scene with all the cronies were real exciting and interesting, and I really enjoyed them, although just a little too violent for my taste (if it were a real movie, i would not be able to watch it...sorry )

For me, the action/fight scenes, etc. is where this script really shined.  You have superbly written and wonderfully choreographed fight scenes throughout the story which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The 'sitting in the office talking' scenes, that were numerous in your script, were a bit more dull, and a little hard to follow.  idk if it's just me, maybe i was just extremely distracted when reading this. Dialogue, as well as descriptions, is well-written, although it sounds too typical and too used of these kinds of genres of films, if that makes any sense at all.

Also, the Barber, although he was a really sinister, dark villain, i didn't get his motives at all.  Why does he hunt down prostitutes for their hair?  I was thinking he needed the hair to disguise himself, but he wouldn't even need to be disguised if he stopped killing women for their hair, which he needs to disguise himself.  Kind of goes in a circle...how did he even start being a murderer?

The ending I didn't really get.  Why did Alistair feel scared of Red Storm and why was he hesitating?  It didn't really create a sense of closure for me.

Also, I don't think Red Storm's name was actually ever introduced in the dialogue.  Only descriptions.  If it were a real movie and I was sitting and watching it, Red Storm's name would never be mentioned (except for the title of the movie itself, although it could be referring to a dust storm or something) so essentially he is a nameless character.  Unless it was intentional, maybe try reworking it to introduce his name somewhere?

"...and slashes his shoulder with the straight razor."  (p. 83) Wasn't Delilah holding the razor?  How did he get it back?

a few grammatical errors here and there, like 'too' instead of 'to' on page 91 and 'The' instead of 'They' at the bottom of pg.104

Anyway, really nice.  I liked it a lot.  I was actually able to read like 80% of it in one sitting.  That should be a clue as to how much I enjoyed it.  Hope you enjoy 'Shadow of the Dragon'.  I hope it's not too boring or anything...


My scripts:

Façade:  In a "film noir" set in the 1950's, a detective investigates the murder of a teenage boy in the quintessential 50's American suburbs, and as he slowly peels back the veneer of the picture perfect family, he realizes nothing is what it seems, unaware of what secrets he will uncover.
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Scoob
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Well, you weren't kidding when you said this is a fast read, James!

The first ten pages have gone by in no time yet we have already began on an interesting story.
Very easy to picture what you are going for here, it definitely has that Western feel and I always enjoy your descriptions. Just nice small things like Red Storm's room always help to form an atmosphere and vibe that sticks with the character and the absinthe/heartbeat/knocking on door was well put together to name just one instance.

22: Like the whole Lebreux eye ball scene when RS first meets him. Nice dialogue here.
The Barber sounds like he's gonna be an interesting character. Lives up to it when we see what he does to Loretta. I thought this was a really good scene, especially the violence and even from the build up to introducing Loretta with the synthetic looking hair.
35: "Keep an eye ON him." 68: Missing word in Alistairs' corpse dialogue ( couple of others here and there but nothing major.)

There is a lot of suspense when RS is looking for the Barber and he gets mixed up with Harvey. I was thinking this is a little too easy when he comes up to him in the bar so that was a red herring that certainly worked on me. Great little scene there and I think you wrote it all really well. The Barber's character also comes out a little more and he appears to be here to do his version of God's work and clean up. I think he's a creepy little character so far.

So by page 68, things are still moving at a fast pace which is a great credit to you. It never really has slowed down and the dialogue seems fine to me - maybe barring a couple of moments here and there. A fair bit of double crossing going on as you probably might expect in this kind of story which is a good thing, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.

71: I'd knock out Delilah saying "I'm so stupid". Same with the Pastor "It's you! The murderer!" I think the scene would work a little better without it.
All the following is good stuff. The classic stand off, the Barber's fight with Bower and the result of that. Particularly liked the detail when Bower hit the ground.

88: Great touch with the vultures and then Lebreaux's men gather round.
93: Loretta's revenge! Awesome and...painful.
101: "Boss! Tell me you're still alive!" - just one of those slightly awkward dialogue pieces I don't think you really need in here. The action itself is fine.

Red Storm goes on a rampage. Bloodbath ensues! This guy can dish it out as harsh as he can take it.
The following meeting with Thompson - not sure I buy he would even argue with Red Storm in his shape. Considering he has just plumped the head of his adversary - a guy who recently beat him up - maybe his reactions would be more shaken? He does seem the type to always have someone do his dirty work whilst he stays in his safe haven. I know he falls off his chair, and he does need to argue, but it's just something small that niggled me.

And to the ending, which does give it that what comes around goes around feel crossed with Red Storm finally being at peace.

There is a good story here. I know that you were more or less testing the waters by writing a western so I think you should be pleased with what you have written. The pace is always fast, it never lags and there is always something happening. The conclusions to the four main characters in here are all satisfying.

RedStorm is bound to bring immediate thoughts to previous Western characters such as Eastwood's the Man With No Name but I still think you gave him his own characteristics with the Indian background and being brought up how he was. I think you made him your own and it worked well. Plus, the guy can seriously drink and take a beating. Or two. Or three.
The Barber was probably the most interesting character for me. He seemed slightly reminiscent of Jack the Ripper, because of his appearance I suppose and killing the prostitutes and having towns in fear. All his idea of ridding the world of evil I imagine.
All the other leading characters were definitely individual from each other.
I'm sure these characters helped to spring out so well in my mind because I could immediately place them fitting in other Western movies, but that's not to say you don't deserve credit for writing them so well.

Which brings me to your writing, which is always really good. There was never a time I could not see what you wanted to put across. All the descriptions of locations and actions were all spot on, as far as I'm concerned. I think you got the right mix of describing things, you didn't go over the top and you didn't underwrite either. It helped to create a perfect Western style mood and atmosphere, and even sprinkle some darker moments too.

The only negative is small. The majority of the dialogue is great, and very impressive. You either know your stuff or you have put in some effort researching. But some of it, mainly the ones I pointed out at the top, feels a little off or just doesn't need to be in there at all.

I cant say this a perfect script, because I doubt there ever is such a thing. But for a first effort at a different genre, I think it's very solid and entertaining. I managed to read it in one sitting so it definitely held my attention. I might have some more to add when I chill out and think about it some more, but hope some of this might help.

Nice one!



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James McClung
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Thanks for the read, dude. Yeah, I think you're right. I can do away with a couple of one-liners. I still gotta see some of the old Eastwood flicks so I can figure out how to keep this one unique. Thanks again.


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Ryan1
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James,

The logline pulled me in, so I gave this a read.  For the most part, I enjoyed it.  Once the story gets moving, it pretty much keeps on chugging along.  I see you have a nice command of Old West dialogue, which was proabably my favorite part of the script.  There were a few on the nose lines but you had some gems in there too.  Overall, the dialogue helped give the story that authentic sound that westerns need.  

It's an intriguing concept, this idea of a bounty hunter going after a Jack the Ripper type serial killer in the wild west.  BTW, nice touch with Whitechapel, an obvious nod to Jack.  And there were some gruesome scenes in this with the whores getting scalped and the Sheriff being pecked apart by the vultures.

But, we never really got to know Red Storm, other than what we see on the surface.  This guy has led a tortured existence, and I want to know what's going on in that head of his.  When the story started, I was hoping that his pursuit of the Barber was going to be the great spiritual crusade of his life.  Like, by finding and capturing this psychopath it would somehow force Red Storm to finally confront his own demons.  It seemed that was going to happen when Red Storm encountered Grey Elk.  But nothing happened here.  It seemed a perfect opportunity for Red Storm to verbalize his inner pain and also come to grips with his Navajo culture, which was taken from him so long ago.  But, he just sort of staggered out a cave and collapsed.  No revelations there.

I liked several of your supporting characters, including Bower and Lebeaux.  Their sleaziness adds to the flavor of the tale.  But, I felt the subplots involving the double dealing among Lebeaux, Thompson and Bower sapped some strength and speed from the main thrust of your narrative, which was Red Storm's hunt for the Barber.  For instance, starting on page 50, there is a full ten page absence of Red Storm.  Those pages are filled with exchanges between LeBeaux, Thompson, Alistair and some others.  While subplots are necessary to add depth to your story, here they completely derail the narrative.  The dealings among these characters aren't nearly as interesting as what Red Storm is facing.  I really thought you needed to devote more time to the cat and mouse game between Red Storm and the Barber.  I also wanted to learn a lot more about the Barber.  You don't give us much on this guy.  We don't know who he is, where he comes from or why he hates women so much.  He gives us the old "I'm doing God's work" line, but there's no reasoning behind it.  A little backstory on him would have helped.  Maybe parallel his brutal upbringing with Red Storm's childhood, like they're two sides of the same damaged coin.

For me, the story pretty much ended once Red Storm delivered the Barber to LeBeaux.  Once he's out of the picture, Red Storm's quest has come to an end.  I found the shootout scene and fight scene after Lebeaux's death redundant.  Also, your overuse of the words "crony" and "cronies" became comical.  Several times, you seem to use the single Character name CRONY for like five different guys.  If you're not going to give them names, as least give them a little something to define them for us.  Or call them something other than crony.

The ending I found very unsatisfying.  I have no problem with sad endings, but this just fell flat for me.  Red Storm's arc was not even close to being fully formed when he died.  He never seemed to grow or learn much about himself.  He has the potential to be a fascinating character, and he deserved a more fitting end, IMO.

So, while I did enjoy the read, I came away feeling that this could have been so much better.  You've got the concept and the characters, you just need to dig more.  Anyway, good luck with it.

Ryan
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James McClung
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Thanks for the read, Ryan. I've done several rewrites of this one. The latest version is only several weeks old. I've neglected to post it since the page count seems to have turned a lot of people off to it. At least I would assume.

Anyway, you're completely spot on about Red Storm's character. I wanted this to be a full blown, in-your-face, violent, brutal adult Western on the surface BUT with a character study serving as an undercurrent. Unfortunately, a lot of aspects to the character seem to have stayed in my head. I suppose I was never able to fully articulate them or put them on paper. I've cut down the alcoholism angle considerably. In the earlier drafts (including this one), I think it makes sense that his character would use alcohol the way he does but in the end, I felt it was mostly in bad taste. I've tried to make him a little more vocal and indeed he is at this point but I never wanted him to be a character with much interest in conversation. Instead, I've opted to have other characters bring out and reveal information about him.

In particular, there's a lot more going on in the scenes involving the Indian family. The exchanges between Red Storm and Grey Elk as well as Red Storm and the family's would-be killers feel a lot stronger at this point even though they're still somewhat low key. I'm still quite adamant about keeping the ending though. There's still a lot of reasons I think it works. It's the rest of the script I feel needs changing at this point. The rest of the script needs to put the ending in perspective.

Anyway, I think Red Storm's character is considerably more developed at this point. I think initially, I wasn't quite sure what he was about but now I think I have a much stronger idea. It's still not quite perfect though. I'll post a new draft when I think I've successfully bypassed the issues of the first few drafts. Or at least when I'm on my way.

Thanks for the read, man.


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Look forward to the new draft.  One thing I forgot to mention, and you probably dealt with this in your rewrites:  the Barber isn't even mentioned until page 23.  For your main bad guy, he's got to get in the game sooner than that.  I thought that the break between the last image of young Red Storm watching Willie get dragged to his death and the first shot of the adult Red Storm was a perfect place to intro the Barber.  Just a quick glimpse of him doing his nasty business.  
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stevie
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Hi James. Finished this tonight after work as promised.

I thought it was a decent script. The western is probably the most cliched of all genres, when you think about it - you got guns, horses, the western lanscape, whores, etc.

I like how you gave it a different kick with the Barber/Ripper character. He was actually the most intersting - and perhaps the most 'likeable' one in it. most othe other cast were lowlife scum. Ok, i ain't defending his seriail killer bent, but he just seemed to have more pizzazz!!! lol...

I mentioned on Skype i didn't a) realise immediatelt that RS was the kid grown up and b) that he as an Indian pers e. The name 'Red' conjures up images of some poor white trash farmer, or of the fire fighter Red Adair (not that he was poor white trash...)
But I was tired when I started reading and must've skipped a bit!

Your action scenes were good, as mentioned by others, though, went on a tad too long on some cases,

Overall though, a neat script. There were still a few grammatical erors, words missing and that. But if you do another re-write they'll be spotted.  

Cheers stevie


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James McClung
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Thanks for the read, Stevie!

Yeah, I definitely tried to write a different kind of Western film. I wanted to forget the fun adventure format that so many adopt and write something really brutal and adult. And with the draft you read, I think finally some of the more thematic elements have started to surface. I intended this to be more than just a bloody, shoot-em-up from the beginning but somehow, it just ended up a really goofy cartoonish Western with really extreme violence. Now I think you can start to see it's a little more than that although maybe it'd have to be an actual movie to fully realize that. It still needs work in any case.

That said, there's very few likable characters, indeed. There is one particular scene I dedicated to Red Storm being the hero and he has his moments throughout but he's a very harsh character in a rather mean script. This is more or less intentional although in the initial drafts, I don't think RS had any redeemable qualities, whatsoever. Just a completely different character.

The action... *sigh*

Yeah, it runs a little. But I've decided to stop caring. I've worked really hard on cutting it down and believe me, I cut it down a lot. I may cut it down some more when I read through it again but I'm not going to make it a priority. I feel like either it won't do any good and people will still complain or it'll do too much and take away from what's actually good in it. And there is good in it. I think the action would play out great onscreen, especially the last scene. A real brutal, drag out brawl, that one.

In any case, it's at the end of the script. If anyone's made it this far, I doubt they're going to stop with 5-10 pages left.

Anyway, I've submitted the new draft. I think it's about time. I never thought I'd be able to get it right but I think I've finally got some close to what I intended it to be.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: December 15th, 2010, 10:12pm Report to Moderator
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Greetings James!

Thanks for letting me know about your new draft of Red Storm.
Congrats on reworking your material, its no easy feat for sure!

This is my first time reading this script.
Overall, I think you've got some very strong images and ideas at work.
The devil is in the details, and its true here as well. They are very effective.
Your color palette, tone, disfigured and dismembered characters everywhere.
Broken, downtrodden, despair, twisted, it's all here in effective detail.

However, what I don't have is a protag struggling for redemption to drive it.
Red Storm, the man, feels to me to be some busted up angry bitter figure.
It's hard for me to really get invested in him at all. He's cool, but I don't feel for him.
He has his moral code and he's fine with that, he's not wrestling any past demons.
Which is surprising to me considering the dire circumstances of his young life.
He's not out for revenge, redemption, saving another to help save himself, etc.
Red Storm seems to be just about the job, which is okay in a straight up action fest.
But your script doesn't play out like a straight to DVD punch fest.
And I think it will all come off even better when you figure this guy out.
What drives Red Storm? Does he care about anything? Anyone? Gimme something.

That being said, I do believe there's a lot of good stuff here, but it needs a core.
There's no real humor, love, redemption, suspense or mystery going on.
I really thought you were injecting a mystery about the Barber's identity.
I was pretty let down there, you set it up, but you didn't pay it off at all.
You completely took me off on p. 78 when the Barber is caught.
You set up a kinda face off with Barber, Lebeaux and Red Storm, or so I thought.
That sequence didn't really catch fire, no sparks between that triangle.
A lost soul, a twisted religious killer and a politician type. Big potential for conflict.

As mush I as I enjoyed the read, I pretty much tuned out after p. 94.
Your action description is chunky at times, but overall good visuals.
All the major villains are vanquished, it's a crony gun fest.
No character investment at that point for me, so I pretty much skimmed that part.
I don't intend any disrespect, its just all the interesting antags were goners already.
So, my attention wandered pretty quickly from that point on.

Here are some page specific notes:

p. 6 You have some super short scenes, feel like in camera edits. Hard to read.
       Going back forth between a ranch and a farmhouse I think. Kills pacing.
p. 19 Not pat down from Labeaux when Red Storm enters? Odd.
p. 20 I really like the ear in the jar, nice detail.
p. 31 Don't get how Thompson got Red Storm out of Marigold. Two towns needed?
p. 35 I don't get why Red Storm offered to take out The Barber? Justice?
p. 40 We already know Red Storm is coming, no chance for tension here.
         Scene might play out better if his appearance is not telegraphed.
p. 43 Really nice Barber reveal with the scalp. I'm excited about his origins.
p. 53 Villains talk and scheme a lot, it slows down your story. Alistair feels odd.
        It feels like we've got one thug too many, kinda interchangeable.
p. 60 Why does Bower get stabbed if Alistair wants him to get the job done?
         Hard to complete task as a cripple. Unless that's what he wanted?
p. 63 If Barber is so notorious? Why do whores keep falling victim to him?
        It's minor, but it bugs me how dumb whores are in the script.
p. 66 A tie on mustache? That's gonna be a hard practical effect on set. Weird.
p. 68 How did the Pastor get in the street? Hard to follow the action here.
p. 76 Fourth time someone "arrives at bottom of stairs", you can lose that.
p. 78 Wow. I was really surprised the barber got caught. Big showdown later?
p. 85 Story feels strange, with Barber caught its kinda stagnating some.
p. 90 Rip an Achilles tendon with his bare hand?!? That's super strength. Whoa.
p. 94 An "unseen force" trips him? For a sec there, it sounded like a horror flick.
p. 97 I skimmed the crony shootout. I don't care about cronies. Sorry.

I think if Red Storm wants something more out of his existence, that would help.
The action and detail are effective, but I want to care more about your protag.
Good job, this is loaded with potential. I hope you stick with it.
Thanks for sharing and keep writing!

Regards,
E.D.



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Heretic
Posted: December 18th, 2010, 8:19pm Report to Moderator
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I'll pretend that I wasn't supposed to read this half a year ago.  No I won't.  I'm a jerk.  Sorry James!

As I go:

Page 12:  Missing the word “hold” in the Lowlife’s second line.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the Lowlife pour the racism on a bit thicker before Red Storm really reacts; I would think Red Storm would be so used to racism that it would take a bit more to get him going.  Or maybe we’re learning that he’s quick to anger here…

I like the tone of this script a lot but there sure is a lot of talking and back story in this first act…

Page 48:  I’m starting to have trouble with the fact that we don’t really know what Red Storm is trying to achieve.  I’m not sure I entirely understand what his relationship is to the Barber at this point; is he just after him for the money, or would he try to stop him anyway?

Page 65:  I feel like the Barber’s Bible would be very personal to him, that he wouldn’t rip a page out of it just for the Pastor.  Maybe he should grab a bible from one of the pews instead?

Page 74:  He tosses his revolver after him?  That’s pretty bad form, even for an insane dude…

Page 78:  Just reading the second meeting between Red Storm and the Barber here, I really feel like the first one needs to be amped up a bit.  Would have liked to see a lot more of a chase, or some kind of action sequence, before the Barber got away the first time.  That’d heighten the stakes a bit here, I think.  Still having trouble with the stakes.  I’m not entirely sure I know what Red Storm’s position on everything is, and it’d be nice to know that before his showdown with one of the main antagonists.

Thoughts:

The town of Marigold

I stopped commenting on typos immediately because there are a lot of them.  And missing words.  Not hugely bothersome, but you'd definitely wanna do a solid once-over before you send it anywhere important!

I think Electric Dreamer is right on the money here.  How exactly is Red Storm actively seeking redemption?  I appreciate the end of the story and his realization, but I don't really feel like we saw him moving closer to or further from that destination.  I think we need to get inside Red's head a little bit more.  You know what I think is missing?  A character for him to play off.  You don't give him anyone to talk to and I think that that's a serious problem.  Conflict-ridden as their relationship is, The Man With No Name spent a lot of time talking to Tuco.  It's not even that I find Red Storm unlikeable -- I'm all for an antihero -- I just had trouble, as above, figuring out why he was doing things, and that makes it difficult to become immersed in a film.

Overall, I really liked the story.  It moves quick, it's just complicated and just simple enough, it's deliciously violent, and everyone gets what they deserve.  Skimmed the crony shootout because there was too much black but like the idea and the placement; contrary to what ED says above I think this sequence supports the film thematically to a great extent, showing the violence continuing despite Lebeaux being dead.

I wonder if the supporting cast couldn't use a bit more insight overall.  I think Bower is an excellent opportunity for this script, but I wonder if there's some way we can see his personality outside a violent situation for once, and get a glimpse at how his weasely personality manifests itself outside that narrow view of him?  Lebeaux and Thomson I kind of felt the same way.  I wonder if their dialogue with Red couldn't reveal a bit more about their characters.  I think that just as important as us eventually learning why Red became a bounty hunter and doesn't want to be one is learning why Lebeaux, Thomson, and Bower became the way they are and are willing to stay that way, or unable to change.  This in itself may help us to understand Red all the more.

Overall, very enjoyable.  I think you can take it further though.  Put Red's soul in even more jeopardy, make him face an even tougher choice.  We know he'd kill all these men to get money to get out of the life; would he shoot through Delilah to wound the barber?  How would he react faced with conflict with someone entirely innocent?  A young, scared, baby-faced deputy gets between him and the money, how does he react?

I'd really love to see you let the man have a relationship with someone -- not necessarily a big one, not necessarily a love interest; just, something.  Not just as a device to let us get inside his head, but also so we can feel just a little warm and fuzzy here and there -- that'll go a long way for an audience.  I thought whatshername the blonde prostitute who gets her revenge on the barber might have been a prime choice; would he condone her vengeance?  Tell her not to take it?

I think the supporting cast can be pushed a bit further.  What are their lives like outside this plot?  Can we see a little bit of that?  Is there a sliver of humanity in Lebeaux?  A sliver of honour in Bower?  I'm not saying that everything should turn out to be positive and/or uplifting, but little bits of that can make the bleak stuff all the more impactful.

As usual, your script was a delight to read, James, and original.  Thanks for it and I hope any of the above helps.


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James McClung
Posted: December 19th, 2010, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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Wow! A lot to respond to.

I suppose I'll just say I see where you guys are coming from in terms of the character. He's been really difficult to develop as he's supposed to be a really reserved and misanthropic person and traditional exposition wouldn't be of service to that. You also never really figure him out until the end, which I think might be a mistake.

I actually spent a lot of time developing the character when I was outlining the script. The problem is that not much of it made it onto the page.

I agree that having a character to talk with would help, for sure. I think I'm going to make that character the Barber so as to kill two birds with one stone. I also think there's similarities between the two characters that haven't been exploited at all.

So yeah. I'm on it.

In response to a few details.


Quoted from Electric Dreamer
p. 53 Villains talk and scheme a lot, it slows down your story. Alistair feels odd. It feels like we've got one thug too many, kinda interchangeable.


Alistair was originally a handful of different cronies. I combined them into one just to keep things organized. Better than having to introduce a new character each time.


Quoted from Electric Dreamer
p. 63 If Barber is so notorious? Why do whores keep falling victim to him? It's minor, but it bugs me how dumb whores are in the script.


I'll look into this.


Quoted from Electric Dreamer
p. 90 Rip an Achilles tendon with his bare hand?!? That's super strength. Whoa.


This was inspired by a P.E. teacher I had in middle school who allegedly did exactly this to an enemy soldier in Vietnam. I'm not sure if it's true or not but it's cool just the same. In any case, it was inspired by reality, in one form or another.


Quoted from Heretic
I'll pretend that I wasn't supposed to read this half a year ago.  No I won't.  I'm a jerk.  Sorry James!


No worries, man. The last draft was junk. I would've preferred you read this one.


Quoted from Heretic
The town of Marigold

I stopped commenting on typos immediately because there are a lot of them.  And missing words.  Not hugely bothersome, but you'd definitely wanna do a solid once-over before you send it anywhere important!


The Marigold reference wasn't a conscious one but I definitely thought about your script afterward. Just thought it was a cool idea to have such an idyllic sounding name for such a bad town.

As for the typos, I definitely should've done another once-over before submitting. I honestly didn't expect there to be so many though as almost all of them would've come from the revisions. I've fixed a lot of them along the way. I guess I was getting tired of rewriting so I figured the next time I go at it, I should have some fresh comments.


Quoted from Heretic
I'd really love to see you let the man have a relationship with someone -- not necessarily a big one, not necessarily a love interest; just, something.  Not just as a device to let us get inside his head, but also so we can feel just a little warm and fuzzy here and there -- that'll go a long way for an audience.  I thought whatshername the blonde prostitute who gets her revenge on the barber might have been a prime choice; would he condone her vengeance?  Tell her not to take it?

I think the supporting cast can be pushed a bit further.  What are their lives like outside this plot?  Can we see a little bit of that?  Is there a sliver of humanity in Lebeaux?  A sliver of honour in Bower?  I'm not saying that everything should turn out to be positive and/or uplifting, but little bits of that can make the bleak stuff all the more impactful.


I'll make a point of adding a little something extra to Red Storm's sit down with Loretta, although I think he would most definitely condone the vengeance. I'll also think about expanding the characters.

I'd like to be careful about adding more positive elements to the story though, especially in regards to the characters. I really set out to write a story about bad people and the most negative aspects of society. Besides, I think there are more uplifting moments in the script already. In the scene with the Indian family, Red Storm is a full blown hero. He also makes a connection with Grey Elk, albeit a brief one. And I think Lebeaux is very kind to his girls. I mean, Loretta is horribly maimed and would have a hard time getting customers. But Lebeaux doesn't kick her to the curb.

I think these moments stand out just as much as the nastier ones do.



Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
James McClung  -  December 19th, 2010, 5:29pm
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Heretic
Posted: December 19th, 2010, 8:09pm Report to Moderator
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That's a good point that Lebeaux is kind to his girls!  I really like that.  I didn't actually pick up on that, or think about that, while I read the script, though.  That's awesome so you should make sure that people understand that...maybe I'm just thick!


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The boy who could fly
Posted: June 23rd, 2011, 9:58pm Report to Moderator
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Hey James, nice to see you branch out into other genres, no one really does westerns anymore which is a shame cuz I really like them. This was a pretty cool story, you sure do have a lot packed into 103 pages, maybe a few too many characters, you sure do have a lot to juggle around here, but i think you did a pretty good job for the most part.

I think the character you developed the best was Lebeaux, the one thing is I think he should be older than in his 40's, he read like someone more in their 60's, at least thats how it felt to me.

Red Storm himself seemed pretty much like the man with no name, which isn't bad, just nothing really new, except for the last scene, which worked.

Bringing the serial killer into a western was something that is new to the genre, and i loved his name and what he did, the scalping was pretty brutal.

page 12

LOWLIFE
That’s no injuns. Everyone knows you
can’t your liquor worth a shit.

I think you're missing a word. same with page 53

ALISTAIR
You want us him back dead or alive?

But that's something I've done as well  

In the end I liked that you brought some new blood into a mostly, and sadly, dead genre. I do believe that you do juggle a few too many characters, but you do have all the elements to good old fashioned kick-ass western, in fact I think this may be one of my favourites of yours. I hope you don't lrt this one collect dust.  good job.


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James McClung
Posted: June 24th, 2011, 12:26am Report to Moderator
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Hey dude. Nice of you to pop in and dig up this smelly old thing.

I tend to write with an intentionally small number of characters so I can spend a little extra time developing them and keep things intimate. Being a Western, I upped the scale a little bit but I still need some practice in managing a fuller cast of characters. I think Red Storm's character suffered as a result of spreading myself so thin.

That said, this is still only the second to last draft. The last draft, I managed to cut things down some. In particular, the character of Sheriff Doyle was written out of the script. He didn't serve much purpose other than explaining the Barber's motives (which people already know, pretty much) and acting as a foil for Bower, who's not all that major a character. I think I may have chucked a few other characters but I'm not sure.

I also managed to develop Red Storm and The Barber's characters more. I think they stand out a lot more this time around and while Red Storm is definitely a throwback to The Man With No Name, he's much more of his own character at this point.

I hope this one doesn't collect dust. There was some interest in it a while back and as far as I know, there still might be but only time will tell what comes of it. My bigger fear is that Tarantino will render this one completely outdated by the time his next movie comes out. The scalping is his in the eyes of the public so I look like I ripped him off already and now he's got a Western script with a Southern bad guy... I think I might be in trouble.

Thanks again, dude!


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scriptwriteralpha
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I didn't read the whole thing, but i think this is very well written.  Your characters and story are nicely done.  I like where the story is going.  You did a great job of building up Red Storm's general character backstory from a child to an adult.  Awesome job!

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scriptwriteralpha  -  July 6th, 2011, 1:04am
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Dustin
Posted: December 9th, 2013, 3:43pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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Hi James.

I'm a huge western fan. The grittier and dirtier the better. From your reads around the site I'm expecting a pleasant ride through this script. I have skimmed other comments, but not taken on board any information aside from the fact that this script is a few years old now and you had some interest in it a while back. Let's hope this bump does something for you.


Code

THOMPSON
Don’t you see? The Barber. He’s the
key to taking down Lebeaux. Once the
money is gone, Lebeaux will have to
take his business elsewhere, so to
speak. If all goes well, his
competition will be forced to do the
same. This isn’t just about Lebeaux
anymore. This could mean the end of
criminals passing through Thompson. I
can’t believe I never saw it before.



I'm guessing the rest of the entire plot rests within this piece of dialogue. In other words, the serial killer kills all the working girls and Lebeaux is left dry.

I don't like the exposition in this dialogue. It's not that you're talking the plot, its just how much is said. It's hammered in too much. There has to be a better way of delivering this information. If not, then it still flies, but only just, IMO.



Code

Red Storm holsters his weapon.

RED STORM
I’m taking you alive.

BARBER
Like hell you are!



You could cut Barber's line here.

Code

RED STORM
You about ready to quit?



In the middle of a dirty, gritty gunfight it comes across as schoolboy-ish.  I think you could cut htis line too and it not hurt your script at all.

Code

The Barber comes up to Bower and slashes his shoulder with
the straight razor.



I've noticed writing like the above quite a lot throughout this script. It could be done more succinctly:

The Barber slashes Bower's shoulder with the razor (we already know what type of razor it is... but I suppose there's no harm in calling it a straight razor either). Takes the sentence from 14 words down to just 8.

I apologise for pointing that out because I imagine you would notice that yourself on subsequent drafts. I've tried to read through without pointing out the odd bad sentence structure or typo. You have quite a few typo's throughout... but I didn't want them to get in the way of reading your story.

Code

INT. LEBEAUX’S OFFICE - DAY
An empty room.
The crony takes a cautious step across the threshold.
CRONY
Where are you?
The crony takes another step and peers around the door.
Lebeaux’s decapitated corpse lies on the floor.
CRONY
Bleedin’ Christ!
The crony stumbles backward over the threshold.
93
A round object flies out from behind the desk. The men fire
at it as it sails through the air toward them. It lands at
the crony’s feet. It’s Lebeaux’s head, shot to shit.
The crony looks up as Red Storm rises from behind the desk
with Lebeaux’s shotgun. He barely takes a breath before Red
Storm fires.
The shotgun blast tears the crony’s jaw and explodes
another’s head directly behind him. Pellets and splattered
gore take down the rest.
INT. LEBEAUX’S OFFICE - DAY
Red Storm tosses the shotgun aside and leaps over the desk.



A scene change but it's the same scene.


I don't like how Lebeaux was taken out before all his cronies. His men go down first, the boss gets it last... those are the rules. After the boss had gone down, I kinda skipped the killing of the cronies.

Over all I enjoyed this script. Moments of brilliance. However, some badly constructed sentences in places too. Alongside quite a few typo's. Characters all well defined. I think the script is missing a scene though with Bower the vultures and the knife though. I'd have liked to see him stab himself to death or something rather than face being eaten by the vultures.

Really good script though, told visually and I could easily see this one being made. Cheap enough for a western. Oh yeah, I loved the white chapel reference, ala JTR, of course.

Good luck with it.
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James McClung
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Hey Dustin. Thanks for checking this out.

All of your comments are spot on, especially in regards to sentence structure and exposition. This is actually the first script where someone really pulled me aside and explained to me that my writing wasn't the best when it came to descriptions. I've since developed a much tighter writing style, technically speaking. I've also tried to cut down on my exposition and reveal plot/character info through more natural methods. I'd like to think this script, in a sense, is the last in a specific phase of my writing development over the years.

A lots been said about Lebeaux getting dispatched before his gang. That's been plenty drilled into me at this point. Indeed, the scene with Bower and the vultures has been removed. I really liked that scene but ended up cutting it to accommodate a smaller budget, I believe. There was some interest in the script a while back and I made a few other changes of this nature then as well.

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the script. I myself have sort of mixed feelings about it. I've put a lot of work into it over the years but have since moved onto other projects. It's had a good run for the time being. I expect at some point, I may come back to it though. I wrote it in 2009, which is when I think I really began to hit my stride with screenwriting and evolve and given the interest in it, I think there's still something to it that people seem to respond to.

I see you've got a couple features posted here yourself. Let me know if there's a particular one you'd like read and I'll check it out (I see Donny and Floyd is your most recent).


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Dustin
Posted: December 10th, 2013, 3:02am Report to Moderator
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Action speaks louder than dialogue.

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Yeah I hear what you're saying on the vultures and cutting costs... however it wouldn't cost much more as there is already a Vulture scene and some special effects needed with the ripping of the eye. That's the cost. The vultures looking threatening and he stabbing himself to death, or whatever he does, would come in a lot cheaper and could even be used from the off cuts of the first scene. Also you set it up, leaving the viewer to imagine that would be a cop out and a huge let down. They should be cut altogether or there really isn't much harm or cost in a second scene We've already seen what the vultures can do, so there wouldn't be any need to go there again. They simply landing and looking menacing would be enough.

It's always a bit of a cringe getting criticism on stuff you could easily change yourself if you had the inclination. So I'm sorry for playing a part in that. I looked at your page, and Western is in my top two genres, alongside thriller, so I chose the western. No other genre demands utter ruthlessness like a western, IMO. I'll read through some of your other stuff too as I see you are quite prolific.

If you could read Donny and Floyd that would be great. She's my latest script and a super fast read. I think maybe too fast.
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James McClung
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Quoted from Dustin
Yeah I hear what you're saying on the vultures and cutting costs... however it wouldn't cost much more as there is already a Vulture scene and some special effects needed with the ripping of the eye. That's the cost. The vultures looking threatening and he stabbing himself to death, or whatever he does, would come in a lot cheaper and could even be used from the off cuts of the first scene. Also you set it up, leaving the viewer to imagine that would be a cop out and a huge let down. They should be cut altogether or there really isn't much harm or cost in a second scene We've already seen what the vultures can do, so there wouldn't be any need to go there again. They simply landing and looking menacing would be enough.


Seems I misunderstood you on the vulture scene. The most current version of the script (not posted here) includes no vultures whatsoever. I didn't realize that version of the script isn't posted until I checked just now and that the vulture scene remains intact here. I guess I assumed you'd skimmed through the other comments and seen a vulture scene referred to.

Anyway, to clarify on your original comment, there is in fact no scene that follows after Alistair throws Bower the knife. But the implication is that Bower used it to kill himself.


Quoted from Dustin
It's always a bit of a cringe getting criticism on stuff you could easily change yourself if you had the inclination. So I'm sorry for playing a part in that. I looked at your page, and Western is in my top two genres, alongside thriller, so I chose the western. No other genre demands utter ruthlessness like a western, IMO. I'll read through some of your other stuff too as I see you are quite prolific.


No worries, man. And agreed on Westerns. My intention for Red Storm was to write something dark and brutal, not a fun adventure.

Feel free to check out some of the other scripts if you like though I'd suggest work post-Red Storm.


Quoted from Dustin
If you could read Donny and Floyd that would be great. She's my latest script and a super fast read. I think maybe too fast.


Will do. 17 pages in at the moment.


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Dustin
Posted: December 10th, 2013, 3:54pm Report to Moderator
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Shame to cut it, it was a great scene. I'd leave it in. I'd also add the extra scene where Bower kills himself. I know it's implied, but I wanted to see it. That would have made for a great scene. If a producer comes along and doesn't like the scene or thinks it'd be too costly then he can cut it. I doubt it would actually put somebody off though. There has to be a way to pull it off cheaply enough.

I will check out one of your latest scripts. If you can recommend one to read I'll take a look tomorrow evening.
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James McClung
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Quoted from Dustin
Shame to cut it, it was a great scene. I'd leave it in. I'd also add the extra scene where Bower kills himself. I know it's implied, but I wanted to see it. That would have made for a great scene. If a producer comes along and doesn't like the scene or thinks it'd be too costly then he can cut it. I doubt it would actually put somebody off though. There has to be a way to pull it off cheaply enough.


Indeed, I thought it was cool. Bower takes so much punishment throughout the script, this felt like a fitting coup de grace. I cut it because dealing with live vultures would be a pain in the ass for any production but especially for the (at the time) interested parties.

I suppose I could incorporate Bower offing himself. I figured the knife was a cold enough gesture to make the impact but I don't think showing it would take that much away from it. The script is already so violent, it certainly wouldn't be out of place.


Quoted from Dustin
I will check out one of your latest scripts. If you can recommend one to read I'll take a look tomorrow evening.


My last feature was Left Hand Paths. It's a coming of age drama with some horror/Satanic elements. I'd like to rewrite it at some point as it's still only a few drafts in. Any comments on that would be a help, for sure. It's definitely a slower, more atmospheric script though. Not like Red Storm at all.

I've also got a romantic comedy called Love You To Death. That one's way more easy reading. It's got an indie/hipster-ish feel with a *slightly* dark/morbid edge to it. Not exactly a Hollywood picture.

Any shorts after 2009 would be fair game as well, I expect.


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James,

If you converted to Celtx or some kind of screenwriting program that is a little easier on the eyes I would be more than glad to read a handful of your features.

I read The Outsiders a long while ago and was not a big fan of the use of Word.  I don't like the look of it.  It's a strain on the eyes.  In fact it's probably the number one reason why I haven't read anything else of yours -- even when I wanted to.


-- Steve
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James McClung
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Quoted from Guest
James,

If you converted to Celtx or some kind of screenwriting program that is a little easier on the eyes I would be more than glad to read a handful of your features.

I read The Outsiders a long while ago and was not a big fan of the use of Word.  I don't like the look of it.  It's a strain on the eyes.  In fact it's probably the number one reason why I haven't read anything else of yours -- even when I wanted to.


-- Steve


I understand where you're coming from, Steve, but I'm probably not going to switch to screenwriting software. I tried to switch to Celtx for the last OWC, couldn't stand it, and wrote the script (Familiar) in Word. If I could cut and paste scripts from Word into Celtx instantaneously, I would but I haven't had much luck with that; seems you can only cut and paste in chunks.

What I'm considering doing in the future is to cut and paste scripts into Celtx whilst writing them in Word but at this point, I think I've adapted my writing style to the point where it's basically the same as in screenwriting software. Indeed, Red Storm and Outsiders both have outstanding issues that are difficult to overlook but if you check out Familiar, you'll see that the dialogue is written *exactly* the same as it would be in Celtx (test it out if you want). Action margins in Word are off from Celtx by a single letter. That's pretty close to insignificant right there.

At this point, I think the only truly discernible difference between my scripts and Celtx is the font of the page number. Otherwise, you'd have to be actively looking for something off. Of course, not all of my scripts posted on SS have been updated so that they look up to snuff but some of those scripts are so old, they're basically crap anyway. The first script I ever wrote is still posted here, for example.

Can't stand Celtx. Won't pay for Final Draft or whatever. I've been using Word to write scripts for eight years and get totally jammed up by all the auto-formating and such when I find myself using screenwriting software for whatever reason. I seem to have developed a reasonably good system for writing at this point. If you've got any other suggestions on the subject, I'm honestly down to hear them.

Nevertheless, I appreciate the interest. And again, I do understand where you're coming from.


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You know what, try bolding the text and send me an e-mail.

I'll see if it looks better on the eyes.
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James McClung
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LOL. I thought you were talking about the format being a strain on the eyes. Whole different story there. Let me see what I can do.


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haha Send me a couple of your features in bold text, if you can.  I'll check 'em out.
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James McClung
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Cool, man. Will do.


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Dustin
Posted: December 11th, 2013, 2:22am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from James McClung


Indeed, I thought it was cool. Bower takes so much punishment throughout the script, this felt like a fitting coup de grace. I cut it because dealing with live vultures would be a pain in the ass for any production but especially for the (at the time) interested parties.

I suppose I could incorporate Bower offing himself. I figured the knife was a cold enough gesture to make the impact but I don't think showing it would take that much away from it. The script is already so violent, it certainly wouldn't be out of place.


If you were the viewer would you want to see it? Ask yourself that. That's the kind of scene people remember and tell their friends about. You can't leave it out, it'd be a sin. It's probably the most memorable scene of the whole script, IMO. It's so fitting that we see Bower get what he deserves... unless you write a part two and somehow he survived.


Quoted from James McClung

My last feature was Left Hand Paths. It's a coming of age drama with some horror/Satanic elements. I'd like to rewrite it at some point as it's still only a few drafts in. Any comments on that would be a help, for sure. It's definitely a slower, more atmospheric script though. Not like Red Storm at all.

I've also got a romantic comedy called Love You To Death. That one's way more easy reading. It's got an indie/hipster-ish feel with a *slightly* dark/morbid edge to it. Not exactly a Hollywood picture.

Any shorts after 2009 would be fair game as well, I expect.



I'll check out Left Hand Paths then. I do like coming of age dramas now and again.
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CameronD
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Hi, new here, writing a western myself which I'd like to post when done. Found this website a few days ago and thought it'd be good practice to read and look at a couple scripts here for motivation and help. Just some thoughts while reading through.

I don't understand what Willie's time with the boy is supposed to show except Willie has a gambling problem and he owes some money to Sherrif Black. Since you are jumping around anyways it might be better if we actually SEE Willie borrow the money from Black, and SEE Willie somehow go back on the deal. Also, I'm not sure why Willie wants another mouth to feed since the boy is just a tag along here. I'm guessing the boy does grunt work for him but with what you've described the child just seems to be audiance for Willie. maybe show Willie teaching him something to show part of him cares for the boy? Even if its badly?

Why would the bounty hunter kill Willie and leave? He can't collect the bounty I assume without proof of Willie's capture or demise. Here the bounty hunter kinda shoots himself in the foot.

Too much charecter description at times. It doesn't matter if lebeaux wears a red pinstripe suit. just saying fancy or expensive clothes works.

I like that Lebeaux collects and shows off ears. Why not give him more to show it's not a recent hobby?

Page 23, so Red Storm is a bounty hunter. I wasn't sure up until this point because so far you've only written him as the town drunk. Maybe show him bringing in a bounty early so we can see him in action and know for sure? Hell, maybe upon payment he walks straight into the bar and orders his whiskey. Two birds, one stone.

Why is Red Storm taking up this bounty again? Whats in it for him? Only money? it must be a lot considering he's been forced to do something he doesn't seem interetsed in doing. But you don't show us the carrot.

So Loretta met the barber. She better have been scalped and she was so I'm happy. Before she goes into her flashback have her take off the wig, to show us she really has. Also, the flashback is too long. Cut out the chit chat, show us the goods. unless there is some valuable clue in the conversation that turns up later, ahem, cut it.

Page 30. I'll get back to it later when I can.


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James McClung
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Hey Cameron. Thanks for giving this a look.


Quoted from CameronD
I don't understand what Willie's time with the boy is supposed to show except Willie has a gambling problem and he owes some money to Sherrif Black. Since you are jumping around anyways it might be better if we actually SEE Willie borrow the money from Black, and SEE Willie somehow go back on the deal. Also, I'm not sure why Willie wants another mouth to feed since the boy is just a tag along here. I'm guessing the boy does grunt work for him but with what you've described the child just seems to be audiance for Willie. maybe show Willie teaching him something to show part of him cares for the boy? Even if its badly?


Willie's time with the boy is intended to show how Red Storm was shaped into the person he is for the main story. He hates the world but plays his part in it. He hates money but places importance on it in his own way. There's something else too but I'll wait until you finish the script to get to that.

As for Willie taking the boy in, I figured he'd use the boy in his schemes, make him do grunt work as you said, and perhaps teach him to be a full-fledged "partner in crime" at some point. Admittedly, his motivation wasn't properly thought out on my part. It's barely been brought up in other reviews and the fact that Willie doesn't play a large part in the script at large has led me to overlook it, I suppose.

That said, in hindsight, none of this is really necessary. I could easily have started the script with Red Storm as an adult. I do think there's some insight to be taken from it and given the way Red Storm is developed throughout the script, I thought a prologue of sorts would be of help. At the same time, I wanted to write something epic and wasn't too concerned about how verbose the script would be so I included a prologue. This is a script I wrote primarily for pleasure so naturally, there's been a few loose ends to tie up in developing it into something more market viable, if you will.


Quoted from CameronD
Why would the bounty hunter kill Willie and leave? He can't collect the bounty I assume without proof of Willie's capture or demise. Here the bounty hunter kinda shoots himself in the foot.


Did this happen? I don't think so. Willie was tied to the back of the horse and drug along with the bounty hunter.

Nevertheless, this brings up the issue that by the time the bounty hunter returns to his destination, Willie might be too tore up to be identified.


Quoted from CameronD
Too much charecter description at times. It doesn't matter if lebeaux wears a red pinstripe suit. just saying fancy or expensive clothes works.


Fair point. Overwriting has always been an issue of mine. I've been working on it over the years. At this point, I think if I can't write sparingly the first time around, I can definitely tighten things up with a rewrite.

Not sure what's wrong with mentioning a red pinstripe suit though. It's not a glaring embellishment, I wouldn't say, and if the director or whoever doesn't like it, they can scrap it.


Quoted from CameronD
I like that Lebeaux collects and shows off ears. Why not give him more to show it's not a recent hobby?


That'd certainly be fun. I'll think about it.


Quoted from CameronD
Why is Red Storm taking up this bounty again? Whats in it for him? Only money? it must be a lot considering he's been forced to do something he doesn't seem interetsed in doing. But you don't show us the carrot.


This'll come about as the script moves forward. I should also note that this is not the most current version of the script; I've expanded upon this considerably since.

Thanks again, man. Look forward to the rest of your comments.


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CameronD
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I had a somehwhat similair problem with the protagonist in my script as well. I just observed that we see Willie gamble twice and whore up once. Besides being a little stereotypical they don't do anything for Red Storm. Perhaps if those scenes were seen from the boy's perspective? As it is now, the begining is more about Willie than Red Storm. I would think yo'd want the opposite.

I misread the bounty hunter part. It seemed like Willie and the horse just took off into the night leaving the rest behind. Simple fix, just have the bounty hunter ride the horse with Willie dragged from behind.

Something else that bugged me, for being a unknown stranger it seems a lot of people have heard of Red Storm in the begining. I don't know why the mayor would release a random drunk indian from jail for a special mission if he is a stranger. Unless he is looking for a patsy.......

I was hoping to read more today but won't able to. I'll get some more pages in tomorrow and see where this goes.


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CameronD
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Ok, reread the Loretta Barber scene. I was rushing through it yesterday, read better this time. I still think she should remove her wig at some time. Give her a scarf to hide her neck scar.

Thompson and Bower's explanation of why Red Storm must be stopped is very forced. I'm not sure how you could show the audience this but the way it is written now is not good.

How does Red Storm end up at Springwood? What trail of bread crumbs lead him here? He finds the Barber too easily.

The Barber wears the scalps???? That seems..... odd. I think people would notice if you walked around town wearing a scalp, especially a man wearing woman's hair. I guess it's creepy in a Buffalo Bill Silence of the Lambs kind of way. I think he might need a bigger hat to wear instead of a bowler to cover those scalps. He angry at god for his male pattern baldness?

The Barber has Red Storm at his mercy and just lets him go? He cuts up prostitutes but lets the man sent to kill him go? Have Red Storm knee him in the balls, or police come break them up. Have Red Storm in desperation pull off the scalp and throw it, the Barber freaks out and panics, grabbing it while running away. Red Storm looks better and gives us a look at how warped the Barber is.

Page 54, how does Red Storm know to find Saul and Angus? How does he know that they would know where the barber is? Putting his barrel into the gunshot wound is a nice touch though.

Page 62 and the Barber is attacking another girl. The problem is this is the 3rd time we've seen this scene already. Change it up or cut it short. All we need to see is the Barber and the girl going up the stairs. We know what will happen next.

So Grey Elk and Red Storm part ways? I must have missed the point. What purpose does this serve in the story? Red Storm knows where to go already, the Barber told him. I thought maybe Grey Elk would help root him back into his heritage but no, all he does is act as his waiter, serving him deer.

How does Bower know to head to White Chapel???? I thought Bower was supposed to save the Barber from Red Storm? now he wants to kill him? Red Storm makes a hell of a shot on Bower. I didn't know he was such an amazing marksmen because all he's done so far is get into fisticuffs it seems. Again it seems forced because there is no build up, no hints of what he is capable of.

Bower should be able to hear. the ear canal is in your head, ears are just skin.

Page 88, Red Storm was hit point blank by a shotgun but is able to fight lebreaux on the next page?

LOTS of black text towards the end. Honestly I just skimmed it and still got the gist of it all.

My two cents. This is quite the offensive story you have here. Every woman is a prostitute, and the main character is a walking stereotype, a drunk Indian. I'm not sure how this will be accepted. The beginning had some promise but afterwards the story is just an excuse to hurry from plot point A to B to C. Nothing really happens. Everybody shows up just when they need to, they spend too much time talking about the plot instead of acting it out. The Barber is nothing but a religious nut that we've seen many times before. Some of the characters are interesting like Lebreaux and Loretta but a lot aren't. Every prostitute in the script seems interchangeable. But my biggest complaint is Red Storm is a boring character. He doesn't change at all during the course of the film. Half the time it seems he should be tanked but he always acts sober. I'm still not sure why he goes on this mission. What’s to say he just skips town once released? Lebreaux has nothing to hold over him to see the job done. The way its written is that Red Storm has it in for Lebreaux, but why go through all this if he could just come back and kill him at a later time?

I know you've made some revisions since the OP so a lot of what I've said could be out of date. Develop Red Storm some more, he's your hero, we want to root for him on some level, right now I don't see why we should give him anything but pity. Pair him up with Loretta to hunt down the Barber. Make the Barber hard to find. Show us your story instead of having characters on screen tell it to us. Again, the beginning is interesting but it falls apart during act 2 and never recovers.

What changes have you made so far?


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James McClung
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Hi Cameron. Thanks for finishing this.

I'd like to address all of your comments eventually but don't quite have the time right now. I'll try to do so later tonight.

I will however address a few things at the moment.


Quoted from CameronD
My two cents. This is quite the offensive story you have here. Every woman is a prostitute, and the main character is a walking stereotype, a drunk Indian. I'm not sure how this will be accepted.


I've thought a lot about this and honestly, I'll totally concede to it. In my defense, I'll say that I didn't write this with the intention to be mean-spirited or exploitative. I wanted to write something brutal and nihilistic. Still, regardless of intent, the script is more than a little exploitative. Even beyond the stereotypes, I think most of the characters are sort of cartoons. I'm not sure why all this is but I expect it was carelessness and perhaps being somewhat misguided in my writing.

The story centers around a Native American character and prostitutes being murdered. I don't plan on changing these things. But I would like to scale back on some of the blatantly exploitative elements if I can, ideally by writing more well rounded characters.


Quoted from CameronD
The beginning had some promise but afterwards the story is just an excuse to hurry from plot point A to B to C. Nothing really happens. Everybody shows up just when they need to, they spend too much time talking about the plot instead of acting it out.


I'll concede to this as well. Far too much convenience pushing the plot forward. I'd definitely like to fix this at some point; I certainly don't like reading it in other people's scripts.

There's a lot of talk as well. I'd also like to scale this back. I do like dialogue scenes and felt that there was enough action in the script where the two balanced out but perhaps not. Like I said earlier, overwriting always been an issue for me and I'm still working on remedying that.


Quoted from CameronD
What changes have you made so far?


The biggest changes I've made so far are making Red Storm a more well rounded character. I initially intended to write him as more of an enigmatic character who you really don't figure out until the end. I've received much flack for this. It isn't working so I've had to go back to the drawing board.

I've also been working a lot on the Barber's character. Indeed, he's just a religious psychopath as of now. His new character is a little more complex and some of the new elements I've introduced call into question whether or not he really is religiously motivated.

He and Red Storm have a lot more interaction as well. A lot of their characters come out through their conflicts with each other. I think the Barber's almost become sort of a foil for Red Storm but I'd like to scale that back so both can be their own characters.

I've also streamlined the story a lot. The convenience is still there though. I suppose that's next.

Overall, I haven't worked on this script for quite some time. I wrote it in 2009 and don't look at writing the same way anymore. Coming back now, it honestly feels like a huge mess. But perhaps salvageable. I've come back to older scripts and had to admit to myself that they were not. But I think there still might something here worth pursuing.

Thanks again, man. Will get back to you on your other comments in further detail when I can.


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CameronD
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You don't need to respond to all of them. I'm not sure what your intentions are for the script and I did notice this was posted years ago. It just seemed to be the script at the top of the boards that had the most comments on it at the time. I did this as much for me as for you. Thought it'd be a good exercise to critique someone else's work in helping me critique my own and I think it did. I've been working on my own story for going on 8 years now off and on and have just recently made it a goal to get it finished by Christmas. I'd like to throw it up here and get some feedback when its at a level I feel comfortable with. Thanks for your feedback as well.


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James McClung
Posted: December 14th, 2013, 12:45am Report to Moderator
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Fair enough. Honestly not sure what I plan on doing with the script now. Initially, I wanted to try my hand at a Western and wasn't too concerned about what to do after. Some of these earlier scripts I wrote just to try things out and get experience writing. This particular one still gets a bump every once, I think given that there's very few Westerns posted on the boards. There's been interest in it though so maybe it's got a shot if it's cleaned up properly.

Indeed, reading scripts is a good way to learn the craft. I'd keep at it. Good luck with your story. Let me know if you decide to post it and I'll check it out.


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