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The Killing Man by Thomas Jamieson - Western - A bounty hunter pursues an elusive serial killer through Gold Rush San Francisco, but the line between hunter and hunted starts to blur in the ultimate fight for survival. 103 pages - pdf, format
This is my first time posting a screenplay on SimplyScripts.com. I would love to get any feedback possible. I am happy to read/provide notes to other scripts. If anyone has a script he/she would like reviewed, please let me know.
Welcome aboard, pal. You'll find pretty much everyone to be helpful and informative here. Don't be afraid to jump right in and start reviewing others' work. It's the best way to get reads, no matter how much experience you may have.
Read the first 13 pages and gotta say you've got a very unique writer's voice, Clear & concise. Might be a few too many "we's", "CUT TO's", CLOSE UP's" and whatnot but personally I don't mind. Others will. This is definitely a script I'd like to get back to if time allows. For now, I'll just say good job so far. But in the same breath I'll also have to say it's overwritten in parts.
Is this script as good as I think it is? Anybody else read it? To be honest I still haven't had time to read the entire story, but I keep coming back to it and I've read big chunks of the beginning, middle and end.
It's good writing, IMO. I could see it getting produced.
I just wanted to check in with my thoughts on the first 10 of your script. I will post my thoughts regarding the entire story within the next couple of days, but your work here HAS the goods so far. I think more peeps need to read this even if you don't care for the genre.
I am a geek when it comes to Westerns, so underrated, and you've managed to capture a period peace like I've never read on the site before. I do have a few minor issues that linger so far, but the pros of this outweigh the cons by far.
Your use of various angles and shots don't come across poorly at all. In fact, I think they assist in setting the tone. It displays alot of craftiness to do this in a manner that is confident and effective. Excellent work so far, this script is like Christmas Day.. Excited to finish.
I'll start by saying you've got one hell of a script on your hands here. Is there room for more story? I'll say so, but most of my own issues with this fall at the conclusion's feet. There's so much to talk about, but I'll condense my thoughts so I don't ramble.
Never have I read something that felt like I was reading an Elmore Leonard short without it being written by the guy himself. The Killing Man captures those visuals, characters, and dialogue perfectly. Not that I'm saying this was your vision for the story, but it's the closest thing I can compare it to genre-wise, and I respect everything about your efforts here.
Similar in premise as The Alienist, it's a story about a serial killer in times where forensic science is absent, leaving the imagination of other killers in awe. I think that's the reason why this works so well. It's an awesome concept in an awesome time period. Morrison is a bitter bounty hunter, a killer himself and seen it all, but none to the likes of this. And really doesn't bother him, until this serial killer takes a swipe at him, and things become personal.
You handled the characters very well in this. No one feels overwritten or underwritten. Every dog has their day and plays their role well. Plenty of conflict, even the sheriff's problems were brought into the spotlight in a clever way. The dialogue is OUTSTANDING! Everything about it. Some of the best I've ever read, and having anything less than A list actors fill these roles would be a crime.
I do want to mention that Doc can get a little on the nose talking about "serial killers" and "forensics". It' would've work better if it was still somewhat a mystery, and you give the audience an advantage over characters knowing what exactly is going here, but having the characters wrapping their heads around the gruesome events.
So what is my problem with the story? Although the ending offers a substantial twist, it only really pays off for the plot and doesn't do much for Morrison's character. There has got to be more thematic pay off for your protagonist. That being said, everyone's motives are crystal clear so you have that end covered well.
As far as the writing goes, not much to say. From a grammar standpoint, you can whittle down a lot of this but it just requires polish. From the very first sentence, things like replacing "and" with a comma, consistency with contractions unless for dramatic tone could be applied. The biggest issue is the camera angles and close ups here. I know in an earlier comment I said it was well done, but as I read on, the POVs and CUs become very distracting. You have an excellent writing style, but a lot of it isn't necessary to tone or style. But I will stick to my guns and say the opening sequence was excellent and you should keep it the way it is.
I can comment on this all day, so if you have any further questions let me know. If you want to make this stronger, then you gots to make it longer. Or maybe not, but it needs a stronger thematic revelation in the end.
This is a script that deserves to be produced. It packs a visual punch, and I enjoyed every second of it. Best of luck with this, one of the better scripts I've read. I highly recommend this.