All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com and simplyscripts.net domain are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. This screenplaymay not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
Sorry it took me so long - I was doing another read for a friend which I promised earlier, then got sick...
Anyway - I stoped on a flashback. I didn't like it as it's not tied to the story properly in my opinion. As I finish reading the flashback - what does it show? Cade lost his brother, so what? I think you want to say something with this flashback - I'm sure of that, but whatever it is it's not on the pages.
Moving on - FADE OUT and FADE IN - what do you need it for? p12 - its not it's
It's a lot of dialog but the dialog is kind of entertaining. at times you're loosing me though - p14 "how would I know about beautiful woman" - you started this conversation about a beautiful woman ealier on another page - now returning to it - I'd say it's too late, there's no flow in this instance. p15 typo - soldier It's too many questions for me now. Why would Cade go find Abraham? What's hi connection to him? Why they are friends with Gustavus now? Who is Casandra? Why Cade is interested in her? Why she would hate Cade all of the sudden?
I guess Cade is your main character. But what does he wants? What troubles him? Try telling us ealier so we're invested in him and in your story.
Oh, so Cassandra, Cooper and Gustavus are kind of together. And Cade wants to be part of the group. I think you need to establish this in clearer fashion right when Gace approaches Gustavus the second time. Show us they are a group and let us know who the boss is there. It must be Gustavus but let us know nonetheless. Also bring conversations between others to a bare minimum. I see a lot of Cooper Gustavus, Cassandra Gustavus - most of it should be Cade Someone. Also, I don't see justification for the ealier Abraham-William scene. Do you need it? You could introduce William on p17 together with his mother. dialog on p19 - too long, see if you can cut it.
and p20 - you keep introducing new characters on every page...
I'll keep on reading but will stop with the notes and give you an overall impression at the end of the read.
As I read on - this gets complicated. I wish you found a way to settle on one character (and I think it's going to be Cade) and show what he wants. You can also do it a brothers story - Dean and James vs. Cade and his brother. Cade revenges for his brother right? And Dean for his.. It could start with Cade's brother scene. Then show Dean and Cade robbing the bank. Then Cade is trying to be a part of the group. Don't capitalize on the group - you don't need to in my opinion. Simplify this the best you can. Don't show us what Cassandra, Gustavus want... Small characters like Tessa - don't give them two pages, few lines at most.
Thank you for the read. I'll have to go and fix those last few typos you caught, thanks. The flashback was supposed to show that from an early age poor Cade has been surrounded by violence and has been alone. I mean, after all he killed his own brother. This was also supposed to set up a theme throughout the movie, which I've stated before that everybody around Cade dies. He is cursed to be alone because tragedy and violence follows him everywhere. And that's exactly what happens in the script. At the end the only people left alive are Cade and Cassandra.
I don't know. I tried to put a lot of subtext and layers into this where every scene builds onto another later. But it seems a lot of readers are getting thrown off by this because the script doesn't show everything up front. I have my inciting incident in the first 10 pages, Cade kills the Sheriff's brother while robbing the bank, by the next 30, end of act 1, he is with the gang and the movie is set in motion. I guess its a fine line between crafting a detailed story and keeping it simple enough to follow. I really thought this was at that point.
Cameron, I can see how our styles contrast now. I’m too detailed oriented and you are incredibly sparse, but to a fault. I’ll end up echoing a lot of what has been said but you introduce too many characters to count in the first 30 pages of your script. Intuitively the audience expects that each character we see is going to be important through the whole film in the first 30 minutes of a movie and that each character will have a beginning middle and end to their arc. Basic rule of threes as I’m sure you’ve heard of. Instead you unceremoniously kill off characters before we feel their purpose to the story. This is problematic since by proxy makes your hero characters difficult to spot and feel just as disposable. I think the only way to solve this is to invest in more of the emotional reality of these situations for your heroes; I know it’s a western, and inherent in the mythos is casual body count but don’t dismiss how people really react to murder. If Cade’s journey is from novice to hardened criminal, his reaction to killing James should have more humanity to it, as it stands it’s like he killed a fly. Makes him unlikeable right away, remember your hero is the audience’s conduit for entering your world. James for that matter needs one more story beat, a middle...show him looking at a house for his gal, a little shitty one, but it just might be enough to start a new life, then he gets pulled away to deal with the robbery. You seem to rush through moments that should have more impact. Great westerns aren’t afraid to wallow a bit in the duality of a kill. Don’t miss those opportunities. It’s a quick read though and the dialogue is smart. I’ll visit the other acts when I get the chance. Cheers.
Thanks. I've heard that before from readers that James needed more beats to give his death more impact. I did try to show Cade recoiling a bit when he kills James. That it was more of an accidental knee jerk reaction than on purpose. But you are right in that it happens so quickly it may be missed. Maybe I could show James sitting down to write a letter to his gal, the locket open, her picture staring back at him when he hears of trouble at the bank. He grabs the locket and rushes out the door. It'd be a quick scene at least.
I also know the beginning seems to show off lots of characters. Initially it was slower paced, and didn't move so fast but it took me 40 pages to get through the first couple scenes. So I constantly went back and cut cut cut to trim the same amount of story into about 20 pages. It can be overload I'm aware which seems to turn off a lot of readers initially. I'll be honest, the beginning of Tombstone was my guide here. If you watch that movie you have Wyatt, his brothers, their gfs, Doc, Sheriff Behan, and the Cowboys all coming together in Tombstone at the same time. That's how I envisioned my opening as well.
Thanks again. I've taken a break from this but I'd still like to try and peddle it out there. I queried a bunch of agencies and producers but didn't hear back from any but two. I'm thinking maybe I might enter a contest or two when I can afford it and see how it fares. But it could probably use a few tweaks before then.
Since it had an interesting, catchy title, I had hopes that “No Beans in the Wheel” was going to be stylized, gritty western. So I decided to read the first twenty pages to see if the story grabbed me. Unfortunately, this western landscape was populated by paper thin, unoriginal characters, uninspired and often downright poor dialogue and odd, expository narrative. As I read the material, I did some bullet point notes.
• No Beans opens with what I think is supposed to be homage to Sergio Leone and the Spaghetti Western genre. The writer offers the reader a group of outlaw types at a poker game abusing a waitress, until they’re killed by a mystery gunfighter. He disappears and then the story abruptly shift focus to a young outlaw named Cage. I think the writer is attempting to have a big, yet cryptic opening sequence; but unfortunately it falls flat.
• Page 5. How does a smirk accompany a Swedish accent? Do they walk arm and arm together?
• Page 6. Cade turns quickly and buffalos him. – What does that mean exactly?
• Page 9. You don’t need to have your character say Aaaaaaaaaaa! Having all those (a’s) looks amateurish. Saying Cade YELPS or SCREAMS will convey the same meaning.
• Page 10. “His anger boils through gritted teeth” – an interesting narrative. However, it would sound more sensible to say “in anger, he grits his teeth.”
o Page 10. Gustavas character: “Do you doubt my aim? Where should I place the next shot? The base of your spine? The back of your head? I’d rather not kill you today but that doesn’t mean— “ That’s an unnecessary amount of dialogue to convey character’s point. You could leave off second half of line and it would ring truer.
• Page 10. “Cade lunges at Gustavus, caught by surprise, and tackles him to the ground.” – Who is caught by surprise, Gustavus or Cade? Consider adding Gustavis, who is caught by surprise.
• Page Eleven: Dialogue from Cade “Yeargh!” What exactly is that? Is that a Doctor Suess character?
• Page 11. “Brutal hand to hand fighting between SOLDIERS.” – This is expository narrative. Why not say “A confederate soldier swings his rifle butt and hits a Union in the jaw”? It’s far more interesting to the reader.
• Page 12. “Next to him is a naked WOMAN, her beautiful brown eyes burrow into his with contempt.” – What does that mean exactly? Are her eyes digging a hole? You may want to rework that description.
• Page 13. “Her short hair and masculine clothing fail to hide the attractive Hispanic woman underneath.” – Underneath what? The clothes? The Hair? A cactus?
• Page 14: “She gives him a hard wet slap across the face and storms off. Cade wipes his face, then smells his hand. Gross.” – Saying gross really isn’t good narrative. It’s more in the realm of commentary. More accurate “He sniffs his hand and frowns” might work better. Or he quickly mov1es his hand away…
• Page 14: Tough outlaw Gustavas says “I see you’re not yet dead. That’s quite good.” – is he an outlaw or a Jane Austen character?
• Page 15: Gustav character talking to Cade: “She’s a good soldier, follows orders without question. My right hand. But don’t let her fair sex confuse you, she’s the last enemy you’d ever want to make. That reminds me. You should stay clear. I do think she hates you. – this dialogue is flat, expository and repetitive. You should consider economy of words in this type of conversational exchange.
• Page 16: Gustavas character: “You like to eat? That’s good. And an easy fix. – Your character asks and answers a rhetorical question. What’s an easy fix? That Cade likes to eat?
• Page 16: Gustavas character: “Besides, I don’t want you getting any bad ideas of foul play. I did whip you severely.” This is odd dialogue coming from a Swedish character. Additionally, Gustavas stabbed Cade. A whipping connotes that Cade was spanked or had a switch taken to him. – You might want to say I carved you up pretty good. That would make better sense.
• Page 16: “A clean hole in his forehead, James’ body lays on a table in the middle of what passes for the town hospital.” – this is expository narrative. What does pass for a town hospital? I don’t know since you didn’t offer me any description.
• Page 18: William: “All of my family’s been killed trying to take more than society’s fair share.” –what does that mean exactly? And what is society’s fair share? Is that something an uneducated 15 year old farm boy says?
Since this is a first effort script, I think the writer has done a tremendous job with his formatting. However, based on the opening 20 pages, I believe he may want to consider going through and rewriting much of his narrative to be less expository and definitely go through his dialogue line by line. As it is now, it’s very flat, often awkward and largely unengaging to the reader.
Just for completeness, the newest version of the script is uploaded to the link. I took some time away from it, had some reads and got coverage on it with great feedback. So I went through it one more time to address a lot of the issues that keep coming up.
- I tried to make the action in the first ten pages more clear as it confused a lot of readers with some of the time jumping. and flashbacks.
- Cade(the protag) has a more defined want in that he's looking for a family to belong to and has eyes for the main female lead. (A lot of this was in the script already but I had it pointed out it was too subtle, and not as clear as it should be. I hope it reads better now)
- The action has been cleaned up to be easier to understand.
- There is a bit more relationship building between Cade and the members of the gang.
- Some of the overly wordy bits of dialogue have been cleaned up so it makes more sense.
The script may still have some flaws, but after two years of work and investment I think it's as good as I can make it. (I do think it's quite strong however) I'm going to move forward with putting this back out there again and seeing what kind of legs it has. If anybody cares to read it I'd still value feedback, though if you've read it again I don't really see the need to do so again.
Read some of it. Thought it was cool. I liked it, but it's clear that your writing needs work. That's okay because mine does too.
I agree with a lot of the comments above. The opening scene could be improved a lot. I'm sure you could add more tension. I was confused at first by all the character introductions so maybe take your time with them. I think for the hook to work the sequence needs to be longer. It kind of reminds me of that sequence in "Inglorious Bastards" when Michael Fassbender's character is going undercover and gets his cover blown. Now that's tension.
Overall I think it has a lot of potential. Keep at it, dude!
Man, everybody seems to hate the introduction, lol. It was hard to write because, yes there are a lot of characters getting introduced and a lot of what sets the film into motion begins here. I'm not sure how far you got but I tried to set up a lot of dominoes in those first ten pages and worked hard to fit it all in under ten.
Here, let me just try and spell out what my goals where for those first ten and I'll let you and anybody else decide how successful I was in meeting them. No nuances. Flat out plot and spoilers.
The very beginning in the Copper Coin bar is really the end of the film. The gunman in black is Cade our hero. I wanted the scene to be stark. Violent. Unnerving. But also to raise questions. What happened to bar? Who are these scummy outlaws? Who is the gunman in black? What's the relationship between him and Cooper?
Then we flashback and I need to introduce a younger version of Cade as a a down on his luck, inexperienced, trigger happy, outlaw.
Dean (the villain, but not quite there yet) is a bit Cade's opposite. Older, experienced, lawman, has family.
When Cade kills Dean's younger brother it sets them on a path to confrontation that will force Cade to become the hero and Dean will fall to become the villain. They exchange roles. It was hard to build and start each of them at that point initially because after James's death both their characters begin to change.
On top of that, I tried to squeeze in Gustavus (villain #2) as a cocky and confident mentor of sorts and in many ways is the center that the plot revolves around.
That is a lot I know. In my defense I will say that I used the beginning of Tombstone (a fav) as guidance. If you've seen it, the film starts with the Cowboys shooting up a wedding for no reason followed by introduction after introduction as Wyatt, his brothers, Doc, Sherrif Beehan, and the lawlessness of Tombstone are introduced in rapid order. I'm not saying my script is the second coming of Tombstone, but there was a method to my madness.
I do try to keep my writing pretty sparse so maybe that contributed to the difficult read. I will say, that after those first ten pages the script does slow down to focus on Cade and his time spend with Gustavus and his band of outlaws. I think I lose too many people in the beginning and that is a problem.
Also, I do try to write sparsely when I can so maybe that made it harder for you to read.
I'm glad you gave this a look however. I've put this script on the backburner lately to focus on other projects but have not given up on it. For awhile it looked like I had found an artist to adapt it as a graphic novel. I'd still like to pursue that as a means of getting the script more exposure. One day......
halfway through-ish. So far I’m wondering what’s going on with Dean. We don’t really know him. I understand he wants revenge, but why? What’s at stake? I’d just like to know Dean better to understand why he wants revenge. I think its easy to just say he killed my brother so i want to kill him back. That’s everybody in a western, but what makes him unique?
When you go to Abraham with the voice overs, i thought it was cool, but i feel like the execution could be better. It seemed very random with me and I didn’t really remember abraham, but it’s a good idea to add different characters opinions through the film, add dynamic, i liked it.
the train robbery was kind of confusing, maybe the way you wrote it, or I’m just not reading it well, but I do feel like you could re-write the sequence and just make it clearer, you know? try building more suspense, it’s the biggest sequences I’ve read in the script so far, and i also liked how you raised the stakes, but one thing i didn’t like was when cade rushed back to save william. Just my thoughts so far.
For the sake of keeping the thread up to date I just wanted to update that I've begun early work on, and teamed up with a very talented artist (http://johnrawsoncontact.wixsite.com/arts) to turn the script into a graphic novel. You can see an initial character sketch for the main protag, Cade below.
Our plan is to illustrate the first ten pages of the book over the fall and winter (taking our time) then attempt a kickstarter to see if we can get funding to complete the whole story. This of course means another script rewrite, but this time into comic book format. It's similar but you have to take time to describe every panel and also visualize how many panels to fit on a page with regards to pacing and story flow. Basically making a storyboard for you script. It's been fun. I'll keep the thread updated with new images when they get done, however our pace is only two a month. I'm excited!
Got another page of concept art in for some of the main characters. Still a long ways away from getting to actual panels but any progress is good progress. Stoked to finally see the script depicted visually. It's like seeing your newborn baby for the first time. Well almost. lol