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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Western Scripts  ›  Red Sun Moderators: bert
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  Author    Red Sun  (currently 10127 views)
Electric Dreamer
Posted: October 27th, 2010, 2:34pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Brian M
Hey Brett,

I thought things slowed down a fair bit until it all kicked off in the end, but it might be that way in the 1971 film, I donít know, Iíve never seen it. Pretty much all of the action sequences were very well done. I especially liked the shootout in Hotel Maxine with Mariaís death. Also loved the scene at the campsite on pages 43-45. Nice to get to know Link and Kuroda and a welcome break from the action.


Thanks for completing the read Brian, it means a lot to me!
I will address those tech issues Jeff mentioned in the new draft.
Red Sun is my first script, so its an evolving training tool for me.
I'm glad you liked the action, all of it is original material.
The environments are the same, but I completely reworked the actual action.
The campfire scene with whittling and origami? Completely original by me.
The wooden carving and origami stuff do not exist in the original script.


Quoted from Brian M
I did a quick search on IMDB and the movie reads exactly like you have here. I see your post earlier of what you added, and they work well for me. I canít tell what else you added though, so itís difficult for me to comment. There were some great one liners (You dropped your hat!), and some great dialogue about the butter knife etc. If they are added from you, they are very well done, but because I havenít seen the movie... see my situation here! Iíd be interested to know what is new here so it would give me more to comment on.


The hat dropping by Stone and the return pay off on the bridge, all me.
The butter knife is referred to once in the original, I kept on using it.
The whole bit about the "nag" is me. The Captain has one line in the original film.
Stone never returns after the opening scene of the original film.
I hope this help, I will PM you about tracking down the hard to find original film.



Quoted from Brian M
Anyway, reading this script makes me want to track down the film, so thatís a good thing. Thereís a lot of good in here. If you post any more scripts, give me a PM, Iíd love to give them a read. Thanks!

Brian


Well, that's great news!
It pleases me a non Western fan is interested enough to follow up on the film.
I will be uploading a redo of my OWC effort soonish, I'll keep you posted.
Thanks again so much!

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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medstudent
Posted: November 6th, 2010, 2:28pm Report to Moderator
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Read this in one setting which is a good thing. The pace and action was written well.

While the script reads well and hits most of the appropriate story points, there are several critical problems with this script. The First, being there is no discernible THEME. PLOT + THEME = SCRIPT is what I've learned (although, I would add PLOT + THEME + CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT = SCRIPT)

Was the theme "honor vs getting what's yours?" Touches of a theme were there but were lost very quickly.

The second critical problem is with the characters. I could never really pick who to root for (except Kurodu, who I began to dislike for his weakness) because there was no reason to. Link and Gault were nothing more than selfish thieves who would sell their own mothers for gold. Why should I root for either of them? Also, none of the characters had a real character arc. There wasn't a moment for any of the characters that changed them (for good usually). No realization that what they thought or believed in the beginning may be wrong.  The problem is that, I believe, you don't really know who your characters are. What makes them do what they do? believe what they believe? The more you know about your characters BEFORE you write, the easier it is to know what they will do, how they will react to certain instances.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:
I like the tension being built in the train.
I'm trying to get a feel for what Link's position within the gang is. Is he the leader?
PG 19. "Ambassador Nokamura speaks harsh-sounding Japanese to the genuflecting warrior." reads better.
PG 23. Not sure what to think of Link. Is he a bad ass? A thief? A cheat? What's his story? Why did he get into robbing trains and running around this crowd in the first place? I think if YOU knew his backstory a little better we (the reader) would already have a pretty good idea who he is.
PG 25. Action in parenthesis should be only one or two words. More should be put in a separate action line.
PG 32. How does she know he was left handed? Did he write a letter? I know he probably used a gun with his left. Too easy.
Too many "!" in your action lines.
PG 37. Not sure I'd be pulling water from a well that was just urinated in.
PG 63. One thing I'm realizing is that I'm having a difficult time being sympathetic for Link. I mean, he robbed a train, killed a bunch of people, allowed several "good" people to get killed by Gault without protest. Why should I root for him? Just when I start liking him, I remember that he's just a low-life thief.
PG 69. Why would Kurodu ask "Who gave this to you?" He already knows.
PG 75. At this point, Pogo still believes Link is still at the hotel. Why did they not go there to check it out first?
PG 77. Promotion from Corporal to Sergeant does not make one an "officer."
PG 96. Why didn't Mace kill Link and Kurodu druing Link's rescue?
PG 101. Cannonball's don't explode. They are just big, round pieces of metal.
PG 105. At this point, I'm not sure who to root for. The soldiers or the bandits. The only one I semi-like is Kurodu. The military didn't do anything to make me dislike them. They are fighting against criminals.
PG 106. Actually, the sword does belong to President Grant. It was going to be a gift to him anyways, right?

I know this is a rewrite and an exercise. So for your next script, you need to include a theme and more character development. This is really what separates novice writers from experienced ones.

Joseph


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medstudent
Posted: November 7th, 2010, 12:24pm Report to Moderator
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Thought I'd clarify and give example of how to solve certain things...

One movie that I reference for using a scene to make us sympathetic for a character is The Wrestler. There is ONE POINT in the movie that pulls us close to the character and allows us to root for him. When The Ram is sleeping in the van and the kids come banging on the door... at first you think he's going to get up and rip heads off but when he comes out of the van he starts playing with the kids. This ONE SCENE makes us believe "This guy isn't so bad, he's just in a fucked up situation. Damn. I hope this guy succeeds." You are missing this scene in your film.

One addition that would be a good start would be to have Link protest or get angry at Gault for killing the old man in the beginning. Also, a good character arc for him would be have him starting out as a selfish bad ass who cares only for himself and getting rich but in the end sacrifices himself or has to choose between doing something for someone and getting the gold... of course he chooses to help someone and gives up the gold, showing us that he really isn't that bad.

Go through the script and find these scenes where Link could have one of these moments. Use a scene already written.

Remember, you are using your skills to pull the reader/viewer in the direction you want them to go. "I want them to believe that the samurai is a stone-cold killer without any emotion in the beginning but in the end I want them to know that he has a heart."

This is what's cool about creating characters.

Hope this helps clarify things.

Joseph


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Quoted from medstudent

One addition that would be a good start would be to have Link protest or get angry at Gault for killing the old man in the beginning.


I agree. I'm on page 30. I thought the killing of Cora's father was dealt with very coldly. I thought killing her dad in front of her would be about as horrific as it gets, but no one seemed to react too much to it.



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Electric Dreamer
Posted: November 10th, 2010, 11:51am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from medstudent
Read this in one setting which is a good thing. The pace and action was written well.

The First, being there is no discernible THEME. PLOT + THEME = SCRIPT is what I've learned (although, I would add PLOT + THEME + CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT = SCRIPT)
Was the theme "honor vs getting what's yours?" Touches of a theme were there but were lost very quickly. There wasn't a moment for any of the characters that changed them (for good usually). No realization that what they thought or believed in the beginning may be wrong.  

Joseph,

Much thanks for the read, I'll do my best to address your concerns.
I'm glad you found this compelling enough for a one sitting read, a good sign.
Yup, you got the theme. The value of honor over personal gain.
Lost very quickly? Allow me to provide what I feel are examples to the contrary.
I'll focus on the second and third act, since that's when Link really begins to change.
Link could shoot Kuroda after the ranch, but he acknowledges the samurai's quest.
They philosophize at the river and campfire about honor versus wealth.
Link no longer tries to run away, even Kuroda get caught thinking he would do that.
Link could have let Kuroda drown, he already knows where Gault was last seen.
Link rescues Kuroda and helps him regain his health.
Kuroda decides to face the cavalry alone to retrieve the sword.
Link joins Kuroda, facing almost certain death, Link does this of his own free will.
Facing Gault at the end, Kuroda mortally wounded, Link kills Gault.
Link does this knowing he will never find out where the gold is hidden.
He sacrifices the only chance of ever finding the money to avenge his friend.
Not only does he give up the gold, he completes Kuroda's mission.
He doesn't try to sell the jeweled sword for money, he gives it back.
Link starts out as a thief and in the end gives it all up to restore Kuroda's honor.
I can't imagine him going through much more of a change than that.


Quoted from medstudent
The second critical problem is with the characters. I could never really pick who to root for (except Kurodu, who I began to dislike for his weakness) because there was no reason to.

I don't follow what you mean by Kuroda's weakness. Could you elaborate?


Quoted from medstudent

GENERAL THOUGHTS:
I like the tension being built in the train.
I'm trying to get a feel for what Link's position within the gang is. Is he the leader?
PG 19. "Ambassador Nokamura speaks harsh-sounding Japanese to the genuflecting warrior." reads better.

I'm glad the tension worked for you.
As to Link's position in the gang, here's page 12...
Bandits assembly line heavy gold coin filled bags out of the
MAIL CAR. Link, Ellis and Gault observe nearby.
GAULT
$300,000?
LINK
$100,000 for me, $100,000 for you
and $100,000 for everyone else.
Give or take.

I thought that made it clear Link and Gault were partners without lots of exposition.
I like your p. 19 suggestion, it reads well.

Quoted from medstudent

PG 23. Not sure what to think of Link. Is he a bad ass? A thief? A cheat? What's his story?

Well, you're right. Link is all those things. He's a survivor.
He can get himself out of a scrape, but isn't a gun happy killer.
Link kills out of necessity, he tries to let the Mail Car guys live.
He does not wish for the Japanese delegates to be murdered.
Perhaps that could be a stronger disagreement between him and Gault?
He only kills the cavalry soldier necessary to facilitate his escape through the roof.
He's upset when Cora's father is killed, but he's a thief, can't get all golly gee about it.
A survivor is not the easiest person to root for, until they start to change.

Quoted from medstudent

PG 32. How does she know he was left handed? Did he write a letter? I know he probably used a gun with his left. Too easy.

Too easy? I am I detecting some sarcasm here? Hope I'm mistaken.
When I reviewed Shades Within for you, I don't recall treating you that way.
It's established in Gault's intro that he is a left handed gunfighter.

Quoted from medstudent

PG 37. Not sure I'd be pulling water from a well that was just urinated in.

Well, I hadn't thought of that, good point. That needs a rewrite. Thanks.

Quoted from medstudent

PG 63. One thing I'm realizing is that I'm having a difficult time being sympathetic for Link. I mean, he robbed a train, killed a bunch of people, allowed several "good" people to get killed by Gault without protest. Why should I root for him? Just when I start liking him, I remember that he's just a low-life thief.

Great! At this point of the story, you should be struggling with liking him.
He does likable things, but he comes from a not so likable background.

Quoted from medstudent

PG 69. Why would Kurodu ask "Who gave this to you?" He already knows.
PG 75. At this point, Pogo still believes Link is still at the hotel. Why did they not go there to check it out first?
PG 77. Promotion from Corporal to Sergeant does not make one an "officer."
PG 96. Why didn't Mace kill Link and Kurodu during Link's rescue?

p. 69 Kuroda wants to hear Christina say it. He's getting angry.
Sometimes a victim wants to hear the guilty confess.
p. 77 Okay, thanks, I can change that "freshly promoted soldier" or something.
p. 96 Because was given off screen instructions my Gault to bring them to the fort.
Once and for all, Gault wants to assert himself over Link, his ego is muy grande.

Quoted from medstudent

PG 101. Cannonball's don't explode. They are just big, round pieces of metal.
PG 105. At this point, I'm not sure who to root for. The soldiers or the bandits. The only one I semi-like is Kurodu. The military didn't do anything to make me dislike them. They are fighting against criminals.
PG 106. Actually, the sword does belong to President Grant. It was going to be a gift to him anyways, right?

p. 101 The cannonball fires into the sand! Explosive blowback
obliterates the CANNONEER!
Its the recoil from firing directly into the ground that causes the effect.
Perhaps I did not word it too well. Thanks for pointing it out.
p. 105 & 106 It's a matter of honor versus law.
Do you root for the honorable man or the lawful soldiers?
Kuroda is a cultural relic of a changing country trying to hold on to honor.
Link starts out as a thief and in the end gives up the gold to help his friend.
I'm sorry my efforts to show those aspects of them did not work for you.
Yes, the sword is meant for the President. The law is correct there.
However, its the honor of Japan to present the gift to him.
To have the army save it would be a massive dishonor for Japan.

Thanks so much for the read and your thoughts.
Your input is appreciated, good luck with all your writing!

Regards,
E.D.



LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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medstudent
Posted: November 10th, 2010, 8:45pm Report to Moderator
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ED,
I'll respond to those things that I can without going back through the script. I'll need to go through the script again for some of the other things.


Quoted Text
Facing Gault at the end, Kuroda mortally wounded, Link kills Gault.
Link does this knowing he will never find out where the gold is hidden.
He sacrifices the only chance of ever finding the money to avenge his friend.
Not only does he give up the gold, he completes Kuroda's mission.


I completely missed this, then. If I did, it wasn't made explicit enough or I didn't read it well. I'm assuming the former. I'll have to go back through the script. To be clear, all the other things Link does are good things but him having to choose between the gold and his new friend IS THE ONE THING that shows us he's changed in the end. This point is what really matters for Link's character arc. This needs to be laid out explicitly in the end.


Quoted Text
I thought that made it clear Link and Gault were partners without lots of exposition.


Again, no, it wasn't clear enough on what Link's position within the gang was. There are more than two people in the gang. Not just he and Gault. He needs to reprimand one of the others, be addressed like he's the leader. SOMETHING. I just didn't get a good sense with the characters behaviors towards each other DURING the heist. This is when we should get the best sense of who's who. The behaviors of these bandits were pretty much the same for everyone during the initial train scene.


Quoted Text
He's upset when Cora's father is killed, but he's a thief, can't get all golly gee about it.

How do we know he's upset? There was no resistance to this happening nor after it happened. He just stood by and let it happen. In the eyes of the audience he's as implicit as they are. I'm not saying have him get all "golly gee" about it but show that he isn't for it.


Quoted Text
He does not wish for the Japanese delegates to be murdered.


Again, how do we know this? He had no reaction or showed no resistance either physically or verbally to this.


Quoted Text
Great! At this point of the story, you should be struggling with liking him.

HUGE NO. By page 60 we should have a good feeling one way or the other for your character. We should NOT be struggling to like him. If this person is your protagonist, we HAVE TO BE SYMPATHETIC FOR HIM BY THIS POINT. You are well into your second act and in order to convince the audience to continue watching this character, you have to convince them that it is worth doing so. This is done by making your character LIKEABLE. Not by making it difficult to feel one way or the other for him.


Quoted Text
Because was given off screen instructions my Gault to bring them to the fort.
Once and for all, Gault wants to assert himself over Link, his ego is muy grande.

If I remember correctly, Gault wanting to assert himself and him having an Ego that was more important than his greed was never given to us. Again, my impression was that he wanted the gold and nothing else. He didn't care about Link one way or the other. If his conflict is being better than Link then say so in the script with action or dialogue. If someone is trying to be better than someone else, it is usually communicated with the people around them not directly to them.


Quoted Text
p. 101 The cannonball fires into the sand! Explosive blowback
obliterates the CANNONEER!  Its the recoil from firing directly into the ground that causes the effect.


"Obliterates" to me means the guy was killed with his body being turned into tiny pieces. If sand was just thrown on him then "covered" may be better.


Quoted Text
p. 105 & 106 It's a matter of honor versus law.
Do you root for the honorable man or the lawful soldiers?

I don't root for either. This is where your problem lies. You haven't given us enough to REALLY root for either side.


Quoted Text
Too easy? I am I detecting some sarcasm here? Hope I'm mistaken.

Not one bit of sarcasm. Think about it. When do you EVER think about describing a person you meet by their handedness? Only if you see them handwriting something. I was in the military and shot weapons all the time and never did it occur to me if a person was left or right handed by the way they shot.

Again, my opinion is really worth shite. But remember... don't fight so hard defending these points in discussion, find a way to defend them with the writing in the script. If it is good you shouldn't have to DEFEND anything really. Maybe clear some things up, but hardly defend. If you find yourself defending points in the script, go back and take a look at those areas to see if things can be tightened up. I bet they can.

Cheers,
Joseph



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medstudent
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ED,
Just to be clear on something...

I like the script. I think it could be better, though.

I apologize if I sounded like an ass in my previous posts.

Joseph


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: November 12th, 2010, 9:22pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from medstudent
ED,
I completely missed this, then. If I did, it wasn't made explicit enough or I didn't read it well. I'm assuming the former. I'll have to go back through the script. To be clear, all the other things Link does are good things but him having to choose between the gold and his new friend IS THE ONE THING that shows us he's changed in the end. This point is what really matters for Link's character arc. This needs to be laid out explicitly in the end.


Hey Joseph, thanks again for the reply.
Here is the scene I think we are referring to.
p. 109
CHRISTINA
You stupid bastard! You killed him!
The samurai clutches the wakizashi to his chest.
KURODA
All for nothing, no gold.
LINK
Not for nothing, the sword is safe.

I felt that was pretty explicit. I suppose Christina could yell about losing the gold.
Something like, "You stupid bastard, you killed him, now we'll never find the gold!"
Is that the kind of explicit you are referring to there? Perhaps that would be better.

Quoted from medstudent

Again, no, it wasn't clear enough on what Link's position within the gang was. There are more than two people in the gang. Not just he and Gault. He needs to reprimand one of the others, be addressed like he's the leader. SOMETHING. I just didn't get a good sense with the characters behaviors towards each other DURING the heist.

I'll go along with that one. It could use a tweak.
The opening scenes or this script are the ones most like the original film.
As I gained confidence, I deviated more and more from the source material.

Quoted from medstudent

How do we know he's upset? There was no resistance to this happening nor after it happened. He just stood by and let it happen. In the eyes of the audience he's as implicit as they are. I'm not saying have him get all "golly gee" about it but show that he isn't for it.

p. 5
CORA
Daddy!
Coraís Mother shields her daughter.
Link sees the little girlís anguish, the sound of pounding
wheels and whistle drown her cries. He lowers his gun.

Looking back, I can see how his reaction may be interpreted that way.
The lowering of the gun for a moment suggests he's not thinking like a thief.
It's subtle, perhaps too subtle, point taken.


Quoted from medstudent

Again, how do we know this? He had no reaction or showed no resistance either physically or verbally to this.

p. 16
GAULT
What about them?
LINK
Let them go, unless you have a
thing for men wearing dresses.

Link tells Gault to leave the Japanese alive.
This also suggests something of a pecking order in the gang.
It could use a bit more of that early on though.


Quoted from medstudent

HUGE NO. By page 60 we should have a good feeling one way or the other for your character. We should NOT be struggling to like him. If this person is your protagonist, we HAVE TO BE SYMPATHETIC FOR HIM BY THIS POINT. You are well into your second act and in order to convince the audience to continue watching this character, you have to convince them that it is worth doing so. This is done by making your character LIKEABLE. Not by making it difficult to feel one way or the other for him.

I respect your opinion, but I'm standing my ground on this one.
Link has allowed and done some not so cool things. True.
However, he saved the raped girl and the little boy.
He could have killed or run off from Kuroda, but he doesn't.
He says and does some light hearted stuff.
He has a healthy relationship with Pepita.
It's not all black hat/white hat at this time and that's how I want it.
Link is coming around, it's an arc and it ends with him laying it all on the line.
Kuroda is the one that should be close to 100% likable at this point, not Link.
Kuroda is honorable, loyal, a bad ass and caring for the weak.


Quoted from medstudent

If I remember correctly, Gault wanting to assert himself and him having an Ego that was more important than his greed was never given to us. Again, my impression was that he wanted the gold and nothing else. He didn't care about Link one way or the other. If his conflict is being better than Link then say so in the script with action or dialogue. If someone is trying to be better than someone else, it is usually communicated with the people around them not directly to them.

There are several points where Christina, Gault's girl, is Link's old flame.
When Mace reports to Gault, he's furious Christina is "with Link".
This is the first I've encountered someone not picking up on it.
I'll look into those moments, perhaps they are a bit too subtle.


Quoted from medstudent

Again, my opinion is really worth shite. But remember... don't fight so hard defending these points in discussion, find a way to defend them with the writing in the script. If it is good you shouldn't have to DEFEND anything really. Maybe clear some things up, but hardly defend. If you find yourself defending points in the script, go back and take a look at those areas to see if things can be tightened up. I bet they can.

Cheers,
Joseph


I see what you're saying, but sometimes you do have to defend the good stuff too.
Defend/explain, its a thin line, but sometimes out of defense, I learn things too.
I cite examples, explain my character motivations and pick up new stuff.
It's all part of the process and its all good. Thanks for the effort.
I'll take your passionate replies to mean you care and like the material.
Laguna Beach, not that far away, I'm a few beaches up the coast.

Regards,
E.D.


LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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medstudent
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ED,              


Quoted Text
GAULT
    Tell you what, let Christina and I
    go and you can have all the gold.

Link turns! He grabs the IMPERIAL KATANA!

Christina drops the rifle down to Gault!

Link charges and drives the blade into Gault!

The rifle falls to the ground.

Link stands face to face with Gault.

                 LINK
      You keep it.


So I missed this point completely... This is THAT POINT I'm referring to... my apologies.


Quoted Text
Link sees the little girl's anguish, the sound of pounding
wheels and whistle drown her cries. He lowers his gun.


Yeah, may be too subtle. Maybe something more.


Quoted Text
Link exits the LUXURY CAR. Mace watches Link leave, then nods
to Gault. He tosses the robe to Mace.


Just don't feel this is a reaction I want my protagonist/hero having. You said it yourself, deep down he only does these bad things because he has to. He is against unnecessary killing. Leaving, he knows what is going to happen. I think if he felt no one was going to get killed it would be okay for him to leave. Maybe if Gault reassured him that nothing was going to happen.


Quoted Text
However, he saved the raped girl and the little boy.
He could have killed or run off from Kuroda, but he doesn't.
He says and does some light hearted stuff.
He has a healthy relationship with Pepita.


So I think the problem (for me) is that in order for your character to have an arc, he/she needs to have a good starting point, a reference. Maybe a line of dialogue like "No one ever cared for me so I don't care for no one." This gives us a VERY EXPLICIT starting point for a character arc. I'm afraid it is difficult to pin this down with Link. Once we have a good reference, the character can't begin to change UNLESS there are things that help to change his/her mind. He can't be bad one scene then good another for no reason. People don't just change. They need good reason to. If Link "doesnīt care for anyone" why start with the little girl, etc? Because this is really the character arc... He starts out not caring for anyone but himself, then little by little finds reasons to care for others until ultimately he gives up the only thing he cares about for someone else.


Quoted Text
There are several points where Christina, Gault's girl, is Link's old flame.
When Mace reports to Gault, he's furious Christina is "with Link".
This is the first I've encountered someone not picking up on it.
I'll look into those moments, perhaps they are a bit too subtle.


Jealousy and Egomania are two different things. Again, if Egomania is Gault's fault, this should 1. be explicit and 2. Ultimately be the thing that "does him in" in the end.

Next time I'm in LA or you in LB let's hook up and talk shop!

Best,
Joseph



Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
medstudent  -  November 12th, 2010, 11:23pm
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Murphy
Posted: November 13th, 2010, 6:24pm Report to Moderator
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I read this yesterday with the knowledge it was a re-hash of an existing script, so really i just read it as I would with a pro scripts, i.e. for entertainment rather than to provide a review. I can't really comment on any aspect I would normally focus on... story and structure as I have no idea what is the result of someone else (most I assume) and what it yours.

I don't think it is a bad idea however for your first script, I hope it achieves what you set out to achieve, it is a good way to understand how a script is built and a story structured. In fact I read something once where someone suggested re-writing other peoples scripts word for word is a great exercise in understanding the craft.

What I can comment on I guess is the writing, I think it is over descriptive, far too much in places. I can forgive the first page, often writers will over write on the first page to get across the physical look of the film. But for the rest of the script you really need to scale it back. The good thing however is that this is an easy thing to fix, it is very common with new writers, I used to be awful at it. I am not sure how many pro screenplays you read, but make sure you do read some, after a while it just begins to click. You will read a pro script that has a character go into the bathroom and the writer describes nothing, only the slug tells us it is a bathroom, the writer assumes we all know what one is. Then you read amateur scripts that tell us what the bathroom looks like in every detail, even down to the stains on the wall.

It makes for a much harder read than it needs to be, and I think this script does suffer from that. Again, this is just a minor quibble, something you will fix the more you write.

If I had seen the original I may well have more to say on the story, I am not sure if you have changed much? It was a good story though, and with True Grit about to descend on us it is very timely. It has made me add the film to my "need to see" list, so once I do I will probably come back and read this again then.

It was written well though, despite my issue above, for your first feature I am impressed. The fact you have written one I am impressed. I enjoyed the read.
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Angry Bear
Posted: November 14th, 2010, 6:11pm Report to Moderator
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Not sure why you would rewrite another script, but hey, maybe it's time for an update on this one. Not enough westerns are made IMO.

Okay, I read your first comment and I see it's your first script and this was just training for you. That's fine.

I also noticed there were comments in the beginning of this thread saying you introduced too many characters. I didn't feel that way at all. Is this a different draft?

Okay, on to your script.

The story...well, it's good. I liked it. Don't remember seeing the film, but I guess you pretty much watched the film and wrote down what you saw. So, no complaints about the story.

The characters were fine too. I think you missed out on some of the characterization though. Like I said, I haven't seen the film, but I imagine that the characters revealed a lot more about themselves via gestures and expressions than you wrote down. Therefore the characters come off a little more flat than they probably were on screen.

Formatting was okay except for the slugs!!!! There's more about those later on.

Your writing was boring. I'm sorry to say. You had a good story to work with. Good characters to work with, but somehow this was a tough read. I really felt that you were just writing down what you saw on screen. There's no emotion or anything. Someone said it read almost like a novel. I would agree sort of. The biggest difference between a novel and your script is that in a novel we usually get a very deep glimpse into the characters psyche. What they're thinking, how they feel, back story... That IMHO is the biggest problem with your script. We get none of that. We can "see" the action and "hear" the dialogue, but...and this is huge IMO, we get no sense of emotion whatsoever. In other words this fails to reach its potential and feels flat.

The following are comments I wrote down while reading.

Sorry this took so long btw. I've been really busy lately and have only had time to read about 10 pages/day.

pg   1.  what is sweaty toothed?

I think you need to mention why Smirker struggles to keep his balance. Is he drunk or did the horse take off?

pg   2. not sure how old Cora is, but her second piece of dialogue doesn't work for me. It doesn't sound like a kid from the old days.

pg   3.  didn't quite get what happened there with Gault, Stone and Link. Did Gault shoot and missed and Link shot his hat off? Then Stone jumps off.  what happened to Gault? I read it three times. Maybe make that a little more clear what happened there.

pg   4.  I'm getting confused by the characters now. Who is Goatee Bandit. I thought the man in the window with the goatee was Ellis? I think to keep the reading easier in keeping all the characters separated, you need to call them by name only. I don't have a problem with you mentioning that Stone is a sheriff or a bounty hunter and Ellis is a bandit, but when you refer to them in the script you should call them by their names, Stone, Ellis. Just to make it easier to follow the story for the reader. I'm sure on film it would be easier since you can see their faces.

pg   9.  typo...Holly "and" fire"s"

pg   10.  I think it would add to the scene if Cora is crying or something. Maybe even her mother. After all, they just watched their husband/father get murdered.

pg  18.  I don't think you need to mention that Veho is Latin for ride. Nor do you need to mention they ride west unless the suns position plays a role.

By now I'm thinking that this is a very slow read. Did you watch the film and just typed in exactly what you saw? Not saying it's bad, only that that's how it reads to me. Lots of action so far, but action should read faster if done well. At least IMHO.

pg  22.  typo...he "puts" food on two...
  
pg  34.  was Link in the well? he got pissed on?...even if that was in the movie, I would probably change that. just doesn't seem cool to have our hero drenched in urine.

pg  37.  I wouldn't drink that water from the well... Was that in the movie? Yuck!

Is Christina a town? Just asking since it's a normal female name, I wasn't sure if it was a town or you forgot to change a name.

pg  39.  again, I don't think you need to tell us the dialogue is in Japanese. We can pretty much guess that.

you have a lot of "MINUTES LATER" and "MOMENTS LATER".  Not sure if that's correct or not.
I'm thinking not...  You also use AFTERNOON and DUSK and things like that instead of NIGHT and DAY. Not a huge deal I suppose, but IMO it's better to describe the time of day in the following action paragraph.

pg  44.  "never had the patience to learn people"  should that be "teach" people? Sounds better to me at least.

pg  54.  she struggles just enough to make it interesting! LOL!

pg  62.  not to be picky or anything, but I think your slug "PEPITA'S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER" doesn't work since the previous scene are totally different people doing something totally different. You do that a lot. Moments later, minutes later and so on. That doesn't tell the production if that scene takes place at nigh or day light.

pg  75.  you really need to stop this MINUTES LATER stuff. I'm not saying it's totally wrong to use it, but you're misusing it. You can't go from one character doing something in one location to another scene with another character doing something completely different and say that it's minutes later. It's getting very annoying. Minutes later means what's happening in this scene is taking place minutes later than the previous one!

pg  77.  I think it's sergeant, not sargeant...

pg  85.  wrong use of MINUTES LATER again. Those are actually everywhere in this script, but I have to point this out.  Link pulls Kuroda out of the water and "minutes later"  they have a campfire going and everything.

pg  92.  your paragraph starts by telling us "the group" rides up to a wagon. I think you need to tell us which group. Link's or Stone's. I know which one by reading on, but to paint a complete picture right away we need to know who is in the picture.

pg 106.  how do we see the cold winds separate from the hot winds?

Hope any of this can be helpful.

Pia  


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: November 15th, 2010, 12:02pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from medstudent

Yeah, may be too subtle. Maybe something more.

I was thinking perhaps a "Sorry, kid." outside the train or something.
The little girl rejecting it, saying "Liar! You're just like him!" referring to Gault.
Something like that would stick in his gut. I'll save it for the next draft.


Quoted from medstudent

Just don't feel this is a reaction I want my protagonist/hero having. You said it yourself, deep down he only does these bad things because he has to. He is against unnecessary killing. Leaving, he knows what is going to happen. I think if he felt no one was going to get killed it would be okay for him to leave. Maybe if Gault reassured him that nothing was going to happen.

I think perhaps making Link's objection to killing the Japanese stronger would work.
Crossed guns barrels or something. It would show the Japanese he has some worth.
Which is why the Ambassador may believe he can be of use on the mission.



Quoted from medstudent

He starts out not caring for anyone but himself, then little by little finds reasons to care for others until ultimately he gives up the only thing he cares about for someone else.

I'm thinking perhaps not so linear, but something in bed with Pepita.
"I'm tired of turning kids into orphans." Something like that in the middle.
Perhaps a reveal of something else during this private moment too.


Quoted from medstudent

Next time I'm in LA or you in LB let's hook up and talk shop!

Best,
Joseph


Hells yeah! The first round is on me, mate!
Thanks again and looking forward to reading more about rattlesnake tacos!

Regards,
E.D.

P.S. Murphy and Pia, thanks for the reads, will reply when I have more time!


LATEST NEWS

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is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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James McClung
Posted: November 16th, 2010, 5:31am Report to Moderator
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How's it going, Electric?

Haven't seen the original film nor had I heard about it until I learned a studio remake and Joss Wheadon's Cabin in the Woods were getting shelved. Not sure how I feel about that but as far as Wheadon's movie goes, yippie! The world is a better place without that bullshit.

Anyway, I Wiki'd the original film. I didn't notice much difference except the end in which Link supposedly promises to bring the sword to the Ambassador. In your script, this actual happens. Is this a genuine departure from the film? If so, I think it was a good choice as there's no doubt as to Link's intentions.

Moving along. This script seemed to grow on me. The opening seemed pretty standard. It was also a little confusing as they were hopping from train to train but with each new slug, I just assumed it was a different place (until I continued reading). Think the location just lent itself to that kind of confusion. Following the setup, it seemed really cliche with Link and Kuroda in the desert, especially when Kuroda reveals he speaks English. I couldn't help but think of lame Jackie Chan movies (e.g. Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon). I also didn't care for Link for the most part. I think when they come across Rosa, he kind of turned a corner but he was still sort of a douche and I didn't buy his arc at the end, even though I knew it was coming.

That said, I did like him better at the end. Not quite sure why. Maybe a little more charisma and not so much doucheface.

Kuroda was a better character. He teetered on stereotype at times but never quite became one. I liked his moment with the little boy and the toy gun. I think that was my favorite moment in the whole script, despite all the action, killing, etc. Was this you or the film? It was really special, I felt. I also liked the running gag with the "butter knife." It was funny but really communicated how he felt about Link at the same time. I think the guy fell to the wayside around the middle but no biggie.

The action got more and more interesting as the script went on, as did the dialogue. I'm not sure why but everything seemed to work better. Part of this, I think, is that you divided up attention to different characters around the middle. You had Link and co., the Captain, the bad guys. Just a lot more well-rounded. I think you could've used more Gault though. Then again, he was barely around at all so I don't know how his presence would've fared to begin with. Maybe it wouldn't work. I don't know. You could try it. Just saying there wasn't much of a villain in this one.

I think you should rename the characters at the fight at Rosa's. Every name ends with BANDIT. I'd drop it. CALVALRY HAT BANDIT could become CALVARY HAT. FAT BANDIT could become FATTIE. GREASY BANDIT could become GREASEBALL... Food for thought.

I also didn't get how Rosa knew Gault was left-handed. Do people really notice this stuff?

Anyway, good stuff, dude.


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khamanna
Posted: November 16th, 2010, 3:44pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Brett,

Read your Red Sun, just wondering how much of it is the movie and if the dialog and all the funny bits is yours. Reminds me very much of Shanghai Noon (or Nights - one of the two)

I took some notes up to page 34 I think and then stopped (not reading but taking the notes)

p2 "Cora stops skipping" - maybe I missed something but I haven't see her start skipping.

p3 "The ex-lawman", "the left handed gunslinger" - these are all fancy descriptions for Link and it takes me time to understand who you're talking about.

p4 - "Now jump" He fires, sheriff's hat flies off "You dropped your hat" - I really, really like it. Moments like this make a movie, I think. Is that you though?

p4 Link wipes the crude sheriff's star of the dirty glass - I don't understand that.

I realize they exited the train, but don't know what for. Is that for some leisure time, for food - Cora with a bun in her hands would explain much - or maybe they changed one train for another... --maybe I missed something too.


bottom of p6 "The armed quartet keep the passengers in check. Gunfire outside punctuates the silence. The train lurches backward." --you break here

"Link Cauld and Ellis look at each other" - interesting break. It's a chain reaction - train lurches backward, they look at each other -- looks like it should go in one paragraph I think. And I spotted quite a few instances like that.

p8 I think it's too many exclamations marks in description. Reads very informal.

p8 The soldiers curse the unarmed bandit for the unwelcome gunfire. - I think that "curse someone for something" is not very visual. Id' let them curse outloud.

p17 Cauld asks them to open up the box and Link exited the car. He didn't even tell Gauld to cut it off. Very negligent of him I'd think.

p20 "you got any horses" - is there a beat before he says that... I think we must feel the beat.

p21 - I love the dialog!

p22 "Kuroda makes his untrustworthy companion take the lead again" - what do I see here.

p22 You wrote "He food on two Bamboo Mats" - probably a typo.

p34 Fat & Greasy Bandit - shouldn't be Fat Bandit and Greasy Bandit?
p34 - too many bandits for me! of all kinds apparently, hard to distinguish.

p34 bottom - You have "Miss!" - probably meant "missed".

I really liked it. It was hard for me to start it, I thought it's a real western but it's more on the comedy side. Link is not very cowboyish, he sounds like Owen Wilson all the time! And maybe that's why I liked it. It's also very funny and there are many original bits, with much texture. Like "Do people in Japan make fists" etc (sorry for paraphrasing).
Curious of how much of it is you though.

The first 8 pages were a slow read read. But it went fast once I got past them.
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: November 16th, 2010, 9:34pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Murphy
I read this yesterday with the knowledge it was a re-hash of an existing script, so really i just read it as I would with a pro scripts, i.e. for entertainment rather than to provide a review. I can't really comment on any aspect I would normally focus on... story and structure as I have no idea what is the result of someone else (most I assume) and what it yours.


Murphy,

Big thanks for taking the time to read my work, it's appreciated.
I have been getting this a lot about the compare and contrast thing.
Sadly, the movie is not easy to come by in its original 1971 release.
It was VERY LOOSELY remade with Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan, Shanghai Noon.
Brian (reader on this thread) has procured a dubious copy of the original.
I know safe place where such "copies" can be found, its what I did.
So, I am very looking forward to his thoughts on the reworking here.
IMHO, about 70% of my script differs from the original.
I kept the basic story beats, but cut stuff and expanded on many characters


Quoted from Murphy

I don't think it is a bad idea however for your first script, I hope it achieves what you set out to achieve, it is a good way to understand how a script is built and a story structured. In fact I read something once where someone suggested re-writing other peoples scripts word for word is a great exercise in understanding the craft.


This started as a weird obsession in summer 2009, when I first saw the film.
It wouldn't go away until I wrote it down. So, I did.
What it has become is a good practice tool for screenplay mechanics.
While nibbling away at this, I have written treatments for several original ideas.
I figured since I had to purge this remake out of my system, I might as well use it.


Quoted from Murphy

What I can comment on I guess is the writing, I think it is over descriptive, far too much in places. I can forgive the first page, often writers will over write on the first page to get across the physical look of the film. But for the rest of the script you really need to scale it back. The good thing however is that this is an easy thing to fix, it is very common with new writers.


I'm guilty as charged! This is actually the third draft.
Believe it or not, this draft is toned down with the descriptions.
The first draft of this script came in at 148 pages.
I've already chopped about 15 pages of novel type junk out of it.
I agree it needs, more, but I work on this in between original ideas.


Quoted from Murphy

If I had seen the original I may well have more to say on the story, I am not sure if you have changed much? It was a good story though, and with True Grit about to descend on us it is very timely. It has made me add the film to my "need to see" list, so once I do I will probably come back and read this again then.

It was written well though, despite my issue above, for your first feature I am impressed. The fact you have written one I am impressed. I enjoyed the read.


I feel its about a 70% change, for example, the Captain has two lines in the original.
Funny thing is I wrote the first draft of this before True Grit was publicly announced.
My friends felt this was a bad sign, I agree with you, quite the opposite.
Thanks so much for the encouraging words!
I look forward to reading more about your "silly idea".
Keep writing and stay in touch.

Regards,
E.D.



LATEST NEWS

CineVita Films
is producing a short based on my new feature!

A list of my scripts can be found here.
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