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No Beans in the Wheel by Cameron Dueker - Western - A young outlaw faces hard choices when his notoriety becomes the biggest threat to his gang's crime spree against banks in the Old Southwest. - pdf, format
This is my first script and the one I've been working on ever since I joined here. I learned a lot from this site while writing it and have tried to participate on the boards, giving feedback and even participating in last April's OWC since I knew you you need to contribute in order to be read. I am eager for any and all feedback, positive or negative on this as well. And I will gladly return any reads. I've put more time in this than I care to admit but I "think" its good. We'll see. That said, my intention all along has been to try and get this out and hopefully sold one way or another, so any criticism that can help get to that point would be awesome. Thanks in advance.
Many portions of this story are admirably crafted. Much of the story leads credibly from section to section and the characters are generally distinct and interesting.
The action, the violence, they are unrelenting. This was too much for me, I didn't care much who survived by the end.
I thought the train scene had great tension, good elements of surprise and real energy between the characters. My thought is that the story becomes less interesting after that.
The references to Robber Barons and cheating bankers, I think, need to be used carefully -- Gustavus is already a pretty creepy character, I didn't really care about his motivation and sense of justice. Just my opinion, of course.
Cassandra's character (heroic, resourceful, loyal) is pivotal to the script, I think, any changes that you might make should not in any way diminish her.
All in all, I think the dialogue seemed bright and crisp. There's a lean, mean tone to the entire screenplay that seems true to the Western genre.
You should realize that there are numerous spelling and punctuation errors, to the point that it's distracting to a reader.
Just a personal thing, Cameron. I said I wasn't a fan of your original title, but after thinking on it for a few weeks, it started to kind of grow on me (a little. Still not a huge fan, but more than I was). I don't think this title will have that same growing effect. =)
Try to intro each character before they speak. If they don't have important parts in the script give them an easy name I don't have to remember.
One thing that needs work in my opinion is the dialogue in this. I have a problem with dialogue when I write so don't feel bad...we all have to read it out loud and rewrite what sounds natural or natural for that specific character. Make sure each character has their own voice also if you can. And in each scene, give us a tidbit of information on the character...give us some mystery...or some insight(if they are depressed, lonely, crazy, etc). At times it feels like there is back and forth dialogue that doesn't move the story forward or allow us to know the character better.
I only got into a few pages but I'll try to read when I have more time. Sleep is calling. Good on you for finishing a feature!
Thank you for reading. I went back through the draft again after some of the comments and tried to make the read leaner and easier by cutting and rewording dialogue and action. CM, I'm glad you liked some of the characters and dialogue. I spent a lot of time on the story and I think it is pretty solid. The execution of that story however I am not sure about, which is why I've posted here.
Which brings me to the title. Mr. Blonde volunteered to read an earlier version and was super helpful in identifying some lags in the story and my many punctuation mistakes. There were many. (Thought I caught them all) At that point the script had a working title that was simply, Berserk Western, because in truth, the idea from the start was to base this heavily off of the Bersek anime. If you are at all familiar with the anime the similarities should fly out at you. There is a lot of history between samurai movies and westerns and I wanted to follow in that tradition here. I didn't want to say it at first because I wanted to see if the script could stand on its own. No Beans in the Wheel is slang for a revolver with empty chambers and that feeling of desperation and vulnerability from being in that situation translated well to themes in the script. It also sounded very spaghetti western to me which is an added bonus. It took awhile for it to grow on me but I'm glad at the choice I made. It didn't come until the end.
I would still love some more feedback from anybody willing and will return it if anybody has work to critique. Looking back the logline only details the early setup and doesn't really do the rest justice. I need to work on that and avoid it sounding cliche.
Small point - i wouldn't have the telephone number or date of draft on the script - cane browned upon
p1 it's snowing, not its the first slightly confuses me - first of there a lot of characters to keep up with and I'm not sure who's at the table, who's elsewhere. we're told four card players yet there are six men alone mentioned Not sure i like young outlaw when others are named P3 is there a reason he's called Gunman?
p4 - A small grotesque cobwebbed statue covered sits on a sh.. perhaps this could be clearer. i don't get a sense of the shop, people in there etc by mid p4 I'm already on over 11/12 characters - be careful on the numbers it breaks from the read Dean is 46 - too young for retirement? especially in westerns
up to p11
Lets think what we have.
a gang playing cards is attacked by a gunman - unknown, with marking. reference to mad Dog - but we don't see anybody flashback to earlier times, we assume - see cooper lose his finger A sheriff takes a prisoner off and in turn losses his younger brother - revenge a clown, cade, tries and fails to rob a bank and is tracked down - Gustavus appears as leader he steals the locket - so the emblem of the revenge has passed hands to a man who didn't kill the brother
so, whilst a little messy, a few too many characters IMO, we have the makings of a simple revenge play, good guy tracks down the bad guy, with a mixed up identity
at this point i suppose i wonder who's story this is?
P12 - i assume we cut to older cade, best make that clear just to keep the reader on track Over a bush CASSANDRA (27), undoes her pants and pees on it.. i thought she had just peed on her pants? p19 Cooper! Enough! She’s the only onehere I trust with my life, - bit on the nose. think of a way to show it
p 20 Now Cassandra, are you sure thatthese numbers are right? - could be "you sure about that?'
That there isn’t a mistake? That is a problem then. - could be 'Then we've got a problem"
I know. Abraham! You’re up! - could be "Abraham" as he points, kind of an order, gives gravitas
INT. PLACER HILLS BANK - SAFE ROOM - CONTINUOUs - could use a mini slug SAFE ROOM
no need for all your CONTINUOUS in the slug lines - this tends to be used in a big scene where different things are happening at the same time in the same location, not for cutting between scenes
i think you could give a clearer feel for whats its like in the bank - sweating, splinters flying, dust swirling, folk choking, hostages praying - make us feel that tension and moment, likewise in the hotel
p28 neighbourhood watch? in a western?
p28 typo - one p30 this locket is really being passed round, didn't know why
end at 32 - sheriff goes mean
comes across as expected, a revenge story, brother killed, sheriff goes after them, turning bad on the way
the second bank scene seemed a little random, going back to the same place, just like that. why not use the fact the burial is going on as a suitable time to hit it - they then seem more organised.
I'm still a little lost as to who's story this is. Cade - the cold killer, scared by war Gustavus - the leader Dean - the sherif - does he become mad dog? or the gunman
i feel we needed to see more of the bothers together to get depth of emotion, connection and elder brother protection, elder brother looking forward to younger taking over - may be like their father before them cade - needs to be colder, a more complicated character. a young man tainted by war, struggling with emotions and reactions.
if you took the first scene away would the story suffer??
The Elevator Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards. Third - Honolulu Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
I think that in Westerns there's a shorthand of behavior that audiences accept (because the people in a frontier town have cobbled together their various languages and customs to establish some kind of communication) and there's a certain pride in understanding a shared sense of decency with a single look. So I'm thinking that there's no need to establish that one brother would avenge another's senseless death. On the other hand, the way that the brother (sheriff) becomes ruthless, that's recognizably human but self indulgent (not heroic) unlike Cade who (seems to) act unselfishly.
Well, Duke, I finally got around to this and it didn't grab me at all. I remember the opening from a WIP thread. I wasn't a big fan of it then, but I noted improvement this time around. I don't know what to say, really. I don't have any harsh comments or critiques or whatever, but this script and I were just not jiving. I got as far as 17 pages, expecting a strong goal, cool characters, nasty villains, badass dialogue. Maybe that comes later, but I don't feel like sticking around to find out because there's nothing holding my attention right now. That's just my opinion, though, man - you have plenty of people here that seem to like it, so don't worry. I love westerns, but this wasn't my kind of western. Get a hold of me when you knock off 20 pages and do some more rewriting. I'll read that draft, no problem.
As for this opening - it has potential. I think you could milk it a little longer and really do something with this scene. Maybe our hero could waltz in, oblivious to the fact that these outlaws have taken over the saloon. He orders some dinner, but the waitress doesn't know how to cook because the outlaws already killed the cook for taking too long with their food. You know, shit like that. I'm willing to bet Tarantino would have a field day with an opening like that, lasting 25 pages. haha.
I also think you could have had a real funny, awkward scene, when you had that one guy bathing nude and talking to Cade. You note that the dude makes no effort to hide his nether regions, but that's as far as it goes. It could have been a good, funny, awkward, entertaining scene. Try to play it up a little bit more, Duker. That's what I've gained from the 17 pages I read. It'll help to make a scene more entertaining.
Thank you for the valuable input guys. Reef I have heard a few times there are too many characters early on and I can see the point. I think losing a few guys in the opening bar scene won't kill it. Also I can see that it isn't clearly stated the Gunman is a slightly older, much changed Cade from who we see robbing the bank a few pages later. I was trying to keep his identity slightly secretive and let the audience figure it out later to be honest.
The cobwebbed statue was to set up a few things. First Gustavus is an educated man for knowing the obscure artist, and always looking to turn a profit as it's implied he sells the statue back to the owner when he walks out with a wad of money when we see him next. Another subtle theme I was trying to establish here was that old things can still have value. When Dean fends off the attack by his young prisoner, he shows he still can fight, despite age and upcoming retirement. Abraham has an old cap and ball revolver that plays keys roles later on, and Gustavus has a crises moment with this issue head on as well. At the end of the script however the youthful Cade does overcome his older adversaries in Dean and Gustavus. Only when they are gone can he truly begin to become his own man. Old things have value, but by their nature are due to be replaced by the new. You can't hang on forever.
Reef, you are right in that I tried to avoid unnecessary scene description while writing. I didn't want to direct too much and since this is a western I'm assuming the reader knows quite well what the locations should look like. But I am assuming here. Perhaps a little more atmosphere could help at times.
Deadite, the nude scene was supposed to seem more awkward than funny. I wanted Gustavus to come off as a little unnerving at first. I wasn't trying to be too funny. Not there at least.
This IS Cade's story, but Dean, Gustavus, and Cassandra have big parts in it. And revenge plays a big part in everything. I don't want to give too much away but almost every character is seeking revenge on another in some way as the story develops.
Dean seeks revenge on Cade for killing his brother early on. Gustavus seeks revenge on the banks which ruined his childhood. Roberts seeks revenge on the gang for the death of his wife. Cooper seeks revenge on Cade for his jealousy with how Gustavus treats him favorably. Cade seeks revenge on Dean for killing William. Mr. Alabaster, a robber baron, seeks revenge on Gustavus for attacking his banks. Gustavus seeks revenge on Cade for leaving the gang. Cade seeks revenge on Gustavus for setting him up to be tortured and branded. Cassandra seeks revenge on Gustavus and Cade at the end for abandonment and implied rape. And every character pays a heavy price while seeking their revenge. An eye for an eye makes the world go blind. (Maybe Cade should lose an eye at the end. I thought about it)
That said, I know it's asking a lot, but I wish I could have held your attention longer as the first scene is actually one of the very last. When Cade walks into the bar, dressed in black, a branded man, he is a straight up ruthless killer consumed by revenge. Very different from where he begins during his first bank robbery. The movie shows his progression to become more capable, confident, and scarred. As the movie progresses the gang is being hunted into the ground due to Gustavus's recklessness and Cade's murder of the deputy by multiple parties. And Cade himself puts them in danger. Everybody around Cade dies. From his older brother in the Civil War, to everybody in the opening bar scene, to William, to the Dr. who heals him after being branded. He is cursed to be alone. It is for this reason he leaves the gang, as he cares too much for Cassandra to stay with her and put her life at risk with his presence. Without Cade, Gustavus is a shadow of himself and is captured, sentenced to hang. Willing to do anything to save his life he makes a deal to sacrifice his gang resulting in Cade's torture. Left for dead Cade recovers and returns to Placer Hills, a grim reaper, to hunt Gustavus down, starting with his new gang in the bar.
Again thank you guys and everybody for the feedback. It looks like I might have some adjustments to make. Honestly I had taken this as far as I could go by myself and needed outside feedback badly. I don't know if I can cut 20 pages but it seems I need to make the opening more attention grabbing. A lot happens in the first 10 pages, you have to give me that.
Just to say, I applaud complexity, but remember the best complexity is in the lead character -where the focus should be - rather than a sea of other characters on a similar journey. Don't be overly worried by others with a Similar path, keep focused on your A lister.
The Elevator Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards. Third - Honolulu Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
Giving this a read now, Should have a review up the end of the day.
Ok so I read the first 55 pages... I will start with the positive, you are a good writer and this shows that, I enjoy westerns and you have captured the feel of the western genre.
Now for the issues.
First ten pages were a mess for me, it was all over the place and hard to follow, I had no clue what story was about, who was main character or anything. I almost stopped reading here but I continued.
After Cade shoots the deputy the story picked up and I could now get a sense of where it was going. Gustavo and the crew were interesting enough but this brings me to my main complaint with your story, you have so many characters that the story feels spread thin and I never really cared about any of them, they all felt thin and one dimensional.
A story like this requires the reader to care about the characters, we should be rooting for Cade or the sherrif and really want one to succeed. As it stands I didnt have a connection to anyone.
The flashback scenes were meant to help accomplish this with Cade and Gustavo but they didnt work for me they were confusing for me, espevially the Cade one. The Gustavo one was more effective.
The train robbery was very confusingly written for me, maybe I am just dense but I was having a hard time visualizing this scene in action.
My suggestions, mainly would be to streamline the story a bit and focus in on your main characters Cade, Gustavo and the Sherrif, give us more personality and time to show motivations on those three. This will serve your story so much because once we begin to care about the characters the shoot outs and robberies will be more tense then they currently are.
I really feel this story has potential and I can tell you have the skill as a writer to make this really work so re-writing and refining.
I will return to this at some point and finish the read to give you thoughts on the 2nd half.
Thank you Topher. This is a big issue I've been having in that the first act loses too many people. I've been meaning to go back and simplify the first 15 pages to make the read easier but to be honest my personal life is falling apart right now so I haven't cared to work on this. I think making the introduction of the characters less jumpy will help. But as I've mentioned before, the first act really sets up a lot of what follows so I don't want to perform drastic surgery. Maybe just a little nip/tuck.
Thank you for sticking through. I'll keep a look out for your comments and then respond once you've posted. I don't want to say anything else until you've finished. Much obliged.
That sucks, Cam. Hope all goes well. I can relate as I also had something shitty happen to me while I had a feature posted and people were leaving me detailed reviews... I just hope things eventually start looking up for ya. Here's some advice to help you with your script, especially with your first act: Complex characters, simple story.
Sorry. This isn't the place to share personal struggles. I was freaking out at the time but I've recovered. I want to keep this on topic and not hijack my own thread. I was temporarily weak. My apologies.
Hang in there Cameron. Even though it's an oft use phrase, just breathe deeply and take one day at a time. At the moment it's all a huge shock obviously, and you're in that state of reeling from it all. Most of us will be able to relate to your pain having been through similar relationship woes. Love is grand, but it can also be the pits.
Last bit of advice: don't suffer in silence. Lean on people you know will support you and/or get some counselling to help you through this initial time. You'll be okay.
I'm sorry, Cam. I didn't know it was that serious. That's a hard situation. My jaw literally dropped reading your post. You do what you gotta do, though, that's all I can say, man. I don't know the whole story. If you want to shoot me a PM, go a head, but do what you gotta do. Just know we're all here for you.
For any future readers I have uploaded a revised draft thanks to input given from here. Some of the scenes in the first 10 pages have been shuffled so it's not as jumpy as before. Hopefully it'll be a bit easier to keep track of who's who if we stick with characters a bit longer. I have also fixed some of the grammar mistakes that still lingered. I don't want to keep losing readers after the first ten pages.
The link wouldn't open - it takes me to my own dropbox folder for some reason. And if I try to open it from my phone it just wouldn't. Also in a corner on top it says "the link "malevolence" does not exist". Am I doing something wrong?
You are right Khamanna. The link goes to my own Dropbox as well and it says Malevolent does not exist. I guess the writer must have changed something. Maybe screwed up a bit while uploading a new draft..
Ok finished reading this, sorry it took me so long, been crazy busy.
As I said with part one of my review, you are a very good writer. This is a good story with alot of potential.
The story definitely got easier to read and more interesting for me in the 2nd half of it.
The relationship between Cade and Cassandra was a strong point for me, before the train robbery I felt cassandra was a weak filler character but after the train scene I really enjoyed her scenes, so well done on that. On the other hand I felt like Gustavus was a better stronger character in the first half of the script but got weaker near the end.
You have some really good action sequences throughout and Cade is a strong character as the reluctant anti hero. The scenes leading up to Williams hanging were some of your best in my opinion, I really enjoyed this sequence, it made me think that these scenes would be even better if we got to know william better leading up to this. Either way I realy enjoyed this section of the script.
My main issue with the final act of your script is that I feel like character logic went out the window. First someone steals their money, Gustavus blames it on William which no one seems to believe and yet after Cade rides off this becomes a non issue the rest of the group seems to just accept that William stole the money, this didnt make sense to me.
The rescue of Gustavus is another area I didnt think made sense, They know he is to be hung in two weeks but they dont formulate any real plan to rescue him except apparently to wait until he is about to be hung and go in guns blazing. This seems illogical, some sort of jail break plan would seem more logical to me, this isnt a big deal though and I can live with this plot decision.
The bigger issue with this part of the story is when the gang sees Gustavus magically free with no explanation nobody asks any questions or anything they just act like nothing. I am not sure if I missed something but I reread this section several times and couldnt find any explanation given. To have the group not question how he escaped at all and just blindly follow him to the barn didnt make sense to me at all and took me out of the story a bit. Even if he gives a completely bogus excuse for how he got out, something needs to be said to make this more believable.
The last part that seemed bizarre to me was the very ending when Cassandra shoots them both. I dont understand why she would even be with Gustavus, how did she not realize he set them up at the barn. This didnt, make sense to me and seemed to be a convenient contrived drama to end the story with.
Besides that complaint I did really enjoy your ending, Galen was a good side character, Cades killing of Cooper and connecting back to the first scene was satisfying. The final showdown with Gustavus all was a good exciting read, only the last bit with Cassandra do I have any issue with other then that it was a good ending.
My final thoughts are you have a good story here and its written very well. I feel there is some room for improvement in the area of character development early on in the script and then some lapses in logic near the end.
I hate Dropbox. Since my computer is so slow, it takes me forever to open one window and then download the script. For some reason the whole Dropbox thing just doesn't agree with my computer. Anyway, cam, gonna cut you some slack on the 115 page count because it would be hypocritical of me to bitch about it seeing as it appears a rewrite I'm doing may fall into the 100s as well. Also it's late - 4:23am - and I'm calling it quits at p. 28 to go and get some sleep.
I feel you should intro all of your bandits at the same time instead of as BANDITS. You have a lot of them speaking first then being described, or not described at all until a bit later, and it's all confusing and I'm like 'who's this guy?' Strive for clarity. And I would get a little bit more in detail about how the gun man shoots them all. "More SHOTS tear through the bar, killing them all except Cooper and Becky" is a little bland. You describe a bullet ripping a part Amigo's head. That's good, now give the others each a specific way out. Maybe one gets shot in the throat and gurgles blood and another gets shot in the eye or one lifts a gun only to have his hand blown clean off.
William gets a similar character description ("homely") as someone else earlier in the script. I forget who.
You might want to scratch that and make sure they have unique and different descriptions so they have some individuality.
That's all I have to say, really. I haven't noticed much of a difference.
Everything still seems the same. I'll see about checking out the rest, but I can't promise I'll get right on it.
Thank you and thank you both for the second chance.
Topher, I'm glad you dug the second half. So much of the begining felt like setting up dominos to knock down later and I realize its more entertaining watching them fall down than being set up one by one.
I'm glad you liked Cassandra in the end. She is the emotional heart of the movie. I've heard before that William would be better served if we get to know him better. I'll have to look into that. He does have a few moments of his own already though, but I guess he could do with a few more bones thrown his way.
I'm also glad Cade came through as a strong hero. In earlier versions he was pretty stoic and boring so I tried to better show his progression and growth throughout. And I'm glad you felt satisfied returning to the first scene at the end. I know it turned a lot of people off whom only read the first few pages but I'm not getting rid of it. First, it starts the script off with a bang. Also I was hoping the black gunman's identity would be a mystery, or even forgotten as you watch the movie. Until the moment when Cade gets branded and everything snaps into place. You know the gunman IS Cade and you know a reckoning is coming soon. But if you know Cade was the gunman right away that moment would be lost.
I can see how Gustavus gets weaker at the end, because, well he does. I tried to put him on a high horse early on so his fall later would be more damaging. He's never dealt with setbacks, but losing Cade and the bad luck that follows is too much for him and he loses it. His selfishness comes out as he tries to grasp at the life he had once built for himself. As for his rescue.... while being tortured he realizes the sheriff is still fixated on Cade so he proposes a deal. We don't see the fine print of it until later but basically the sheriff lets him go with the promise Gustavus can deliver Cade to be captured. That is why he just appears outside town, the sheriff let him go. Except for Cade, the gang still loyally thinks Gustavus can do no wrong and assume he just escaped. I tried to show Cade was unnerved by this and originally there was some back and forth asking the details of his escape but I cut it. Long story short is it was supposed to be a bit of a head scratcher. Something is not right. The numbers aren't adding up. And you know something shady is going on because of it.
Of course William didn't steal the money. Cade doesn't buy that story and says as much as he leaves. Even Cassandra knows it's not true but being the loyal good soldier she can't leave Gustavus. This is why she is with Gustavus at the end. She saw Cade tortured, left for dead, and in her mind abandoned her once again. Right after she loved him. She is depressed, distraught, dazed. All she has left is Gustavus even though he is a scumbag. It's not so much she jumped into Gustavus' arms, rather he took advantage of her emotional state. I even tried to imply there may have been some rape involved. And at the very end, Cassandra has nothing and nobody. Just like Cade.
There's a lot that happens in the end I know. I understand the motivations of course but I don't know how effectively they came across so I'm thankful for the comments. If there was confusion then perhaps I need to leave some more breadcrumbs.
Deadite, you are going to beat me up over that opening scene until the cows come home. You may be right it needs some more bloody descriptions but honestly I wanted to be in and out of that scene. Right now it's about 3 minutes I think and I don't linger too long. And you're right about homely being used twice. I caught that and thought I had fixed that. And who cares if your rewrite is pushing into the 100s? I'm weary of anything below 100 pages myself.
I read the first ten and I'm going to continue with the read, but let me comment on your opening ten first.
The biggest problem I see here is - I don't see your main character just yet. It's a bit of many characters for me.
The first scene - you never return to these characters in the first ten, only to Cooper on p8 but I don't see the connection to the scene and to Cooper's last line in your your first scene. Do you need that scene at all? p1 You say it's snowing outside, then Slick repeats what he sees "It's snowing outside" - try to come up with something like "Looks like we're stuck in here for the night" or something, don't repeat what he's seeing.
AMIGO has to appear (O.S) from the very beginning. I'd get rid of the exclamation marks in Amigo's speech (bottom of p1) Exclamation marks are never good. Lot's of exclamation points on p2 and I'm thinking you have to go over your script and get rid of them leaving only a few most needed ones. P2 Ahhhh! - get rid of it. p4 Isaac is on the floor, passed out - there's no explanation to what just happened and why. Also, he's on the floor, passed out and James is showing off the babe in the locket... "James proudly pulls" - why proudly? p5 Do you need this scene with Gustavus and Goody? Maybe you do, but if they play important part in your script you can't introduce them like that. typo p8 "the action lever of the rifled dented by rocks" p9 "Aaaaaaaaa!" - come on now... "my finger!" - stuff like this makes it read like a cartoon. on p11 yuo have a flashback - there's no bridge to this - it's out of blue sort of.
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
Been busy and haven't updated in awhile but I got the last piece of concept art for the script and next month we are going to start illustrating the first panels of the graphic novel. Been a long haul but excited to see where this project can go.
Just another little update on the script's progress. Slow and steady wins the race right?
Changed artists and we finally got the first page of the 1st issues of the graphic novel finished over the weekend. Once again, our goal is to illustrate the first 8 -10 pages then try to shop it around to some publishers and see if we can't get the book picked up.
Very cool. I love seeing writers use unique ways to market their scripts. Pia and I just filmed a short that is more like a teaser that we are going to shop around. I think what you are doing is AWESOME. Did you have to pay the artist (hope you don't mind me asking)??
A teaser is a good idea and I'd love to see it when done. Whatever you can do to bring attention to your project is worth it in a marketing sense.
The artist I found was on Deviant Art and after some negotiating we agreed to a price of about 100.00 per page. It's a lot considering we want 8-10 pages but it's something I can afford if it's one a month. After all, it's an investment. Right?????
Ok, here it is, the first 8 pages of the the script fully drawn, inked, colored, and illustrated as comic book pages. Phew! What did I learn about making a comic book during this process it's expensive! lol Which is why it took so long to knock this out as I until recently, I had to do everything one page at a time.
However, I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out. There was a lot of back and forth working with people remotely on how things should be done, communicating changes and edits, and working with a team of what ended up as 5 people to create what you see below. As a result a few panels had to be reworked to get the colors just right but I think we nailed it for the most part. I've always been weary of dark, dreary, and gritty art direction as it ends up looking cliche and easily forgettable so we tried to bring a little color to the work, since this is a comic and all.
I can't remember if I posted it before, but here is the comic script for these 8 pages. Turning the script into a comic wasn't difficult, but did require me to think a lot more about direction than I ever did before. We tried to approach the comic as a very thorough storyboard that could be used to help shoot the movie if we ever wanted to. I hope it flows easily and the action is easy to follow. https://bit.ly/2DE7MaN
Now that the pages are done, illustrated, inked, colored ,lettered, the plan is to query comic book publishers and see if there is any interest in picking the project up. And for that we will have to wait, see, and hope.
I think for the most part it turned out really well and it was all a huge learning experience to be sure. Enjoy!
You constantly try to start action blocks from a different perspective which is generally a good thing. It aids in not making the script read like a list:
Cade does this, Cade does that, he does this, he does that, for example.
Problem is that I think it is affecting the script and how it flows. It's reading quite awkwardly. I'll give some examples:
With disgust, Cooper throws his hand away
By the neck, Amigo forces Becky’s head down to the table.
In the doorway, all in black
On a porch bench, Cooper elbows ABRAHAM
It’s like you set it up then it goes into what’s going on, instead of just telling us what’s going on. That makes sense in my head. Hopefully you get what I mean.
I won’t mention it again, but for me personally it slows the read and can tend to make it a little awkward. I do think you need to change up the perspective but it can’t be forced. The story’s flow should come first IMO.
A grotesque, cobweb covered statue covered sits on a shelf.
This confused me, is there one too many "covered"?
With his gun drawn, but shaky James steps over the guard and enters.
I know you want this to read that the gun is shaky but it reads as if James is shaky.
You have a tendency to start a lot of sentences with "as", I’ve noticed it and by page 8 it’s getting repetitive, also "as" indicates that something is happening at the same time as another, that isn’t always the case.
breaks Cooper’s little finger off with a SNAP.
Not really sure this is possible.
Said I wouldn’t mention it again, but I will only because of how big an issue it is becoming for me. More examples all within about a page:
Dumbfounded, everyone stops
In a blur, Cade throws
Desperate, Cade blinds
Amazed, Abraham and
I’m not saying don’t do this, I just saying tone it down a bit. Again though this is a personal thing, if many people have read the script and not mentioned it, it may not be an issue to the bulk of readers.
In a blur, Cade throws the canteen at Gustavus, caught by surprise, and tackles him to the ground.
This reads really awkwardly.
I didn't really enjoy the dialogue early on, but by page 11 it’s starting to settle in nicely.
Berserk story is all falling into place:
Cade - Guts Gustavus - Griffith Casca - Cassandra
Band of Hawks - Hachs' Bandits
The quality of the dialogue is inconsistent, which is a shame because there are some instances where it’s really solid and then the quality drops.
Great dialogue - when Cade is captured and the interactions when we are first in the camp of the bandits.
Not so great dialogue - the first few scenes and the second bank robbery.
CADE He’s dying! Hold on now. You’ll be alright.
This made me laugh; you might want to rethink it. He yells out "He's dying!" then tells the guard "You'll be alright". At this point, if I was the guard, I wouldn’t be thinking things are going alright.
won’t even let me bury me properly.
bury him properly.
By page 33 I'm struggling to get a grip on how I'm meant to feel about Dean. Having a similar problem with Cade, but it’s not as bad.
Bottom of page 34 I think you missed a (V.O.) for Abraham.
Really like the action written on pages 33 and 34.
COOPER Those are strong legs you have there, darling. You like to ride? CASSANDRA (to saloon girl) Excuse the village idiot, honey. COOPER You don’t get thighs like that serving drinks! CADE That’s a fact. CASSANDRA And how would you know? CADE Where do you think she got them?
Example of great dialogue IMO.
Action and dialogue overall is hitting a really nice stride at this point.
I just made the above comment and then I hit this little gem of dialogue and action:
CADE To biting off more than you can chew. The drunk cowboy takes the hint and sulks away. CADE Gustavus says you owe him a beer. CASSANDRA Tell him, I say he can shove that beer up his Swedish ass. At the table, William chugs as Cooper eggs him on. CADE Hey, let’s start over. You seem to have confused me for your personal punching bag, and I’m here to tell you I’m not -- Cassandra slaps Cade hard across the face. CASSANDRA Oh really? She slaps him again, harder. The entire bar stops to watch. CASSANDRA Shame. You make such a good one. She swallows the last shot in Cade’s face then leaves.
I wasn’t going to mention it earlier as I thought it was just missed, but it’s happened a few times now:
BANK MANAGER Excuse me, you look lost sir.
Need a comma when addressing people directly in dialogue. you look lost, sir.
No, definitely just forgot a few because 2 dialogue blocks later you do it.
The manager gulps.
Too comedic for the overall tone.
Cassandra hands the flask to Gustavus, kisses her hand and pats it on his head.
I’ve read this a few times and have no idea what I’m meant to be seeing.
Some more great dialogue between Cade and Cassandra on the train.
INT. TRAIN - PASSENGER CAR - CONTINUOUS William notices Abraham outside the chesty woman’s window. INT. TRAIN - LUGGAGE CAR - CONTINUOUS Cassandra holds her clenched hand high. CASSANDRA Get ready! INT. TRAIN - PASSENGER CAR - CONTINUOUS Harold pulls a derringer out from his boot. INT. TRAIN - LUGGAGE CAR - CONTINUOUS Cassandra’s hand drops. CASSANDRA Now! INT. TRAIN - PASSENGER CAR - CONTINUOUS Harold rushes William. Knocks him down. INT. TRAIN - LUGGAGE CAR - CONTINUOUS
Just a suggestion but would look a lot cleaner if these super quick scene changes were written as mini slugs or potentially even an intercut.
The exchange between Harold, Cade, William, and the chesty woman all comes off a bit cheesy and not in line with the tone of the rest of the story.
Bashes his head repeatedly with a rock, berserk.
Every time she yells this it takes me out of the read, most times it just comes off comedic to me.
William’s hung body sways in the breeze.
I’m not confused about Dean anymore.
Should really have spent more time on Williams’s death, feels like a wasted opportunity for some good drama.
I think you’ve done a pretty good job building the relationship better Cade and Cassandra; this is maybe a step to far, a little cringworthy:
Huddled under a blanket, Cade and Cassandra watch the sun paint the sky in beautiful red hues as it sets.
I’m at page 77, the change in Gustavus has started to really show.
Have to call it there for the moment, life takes over unfortunately. Could easily finish this in one sitting if I had the time.
Yes there have been a lot of comments, not all positive but I can say that I am thoroughly enjoying the story, and I never say that about westerns. Yes, it’s obviously because of where the story stems from but still. I’m looking forward to finishing this and I’m really excited to see how you handle the Eclipse.
huge man sits up, with bag in hand and grins. Rubs a lump on
his head. The police swipe it away.
A little cheesy.
The string of bank robberies and wanted posters doesn't make for the most exciting read.
The associate gulps nervously.
Another gulp, does anyone do this in real life? I know it's in comedy and cartoons, but I cant ever remember gulping at a situation in my lifetime. Maybe I've just never been in a situation that warrants a gulp.
The dialogue from when Cade rejoins Cassandra to when they get it on really needs a lot of work, its some of the worse so far. On the nose and just some really cringeworthy lines.
Cassandra mounts her horse. Races towards Gustavus. Blocking
the sun with his hand, Gustavus stares at Cade on the hill.
EXT. RANCH ROAD - SUNSET
Badly beaten, Gustavus rides with the gang towards an
abandoned ranch in the distance. Cade scans the horizons.
I'm a little confused by this? Did Gustavus escape? Pretend to escape? Did we miss a whole lot of scenes of the gang rescuing him? Might be explained later but it's a really big jump and quite jarring to the story.
You know, this isn’t normally how I
like to roll around in the hay.
What is happing to the dialogue? Some of the cheesy lines and cheesy actions are making me wonder about the tone you are actually going for.
I’d rather be up in the loft.
And again, outnumbered and facing certain death, but there's still time for wise cracks.
So this must be your Eclipses (the barn shootout). I wanted so much more. Abraham's death is too simply handled, Dean's demise as well. I wanted something so much more grand. I even felt a little let down over Cade and Cassandra's treatment. I wanted Cade to suffer more and I wanted Cassandra to really be traumatised. I guess this is the issue with me constantly comparing it to the source material
Didn't really enjoy much of the interaction between Cade and Galen. I also don't think their relationship is developed enough to give his death any real impact.
So I realise Cade and Cooper's relationship has never been the greatest, but I don't know why it got to this point.
And I'm done.
The story really lost something after the band split up. It almost feels like you lost a bit of steam and struggled to bring it all home.
Like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed a lot of this but felt let down by the ending.
Thanks so much Warren for the read. I haven't had too many fans of the anime read this all the way through so I do value your input.
The constant issue I had when writing was like any homage I'm sure, is how much do you want to pay tribute to what came before and how much do you want to put your own spin on it or just stray away and do something completely different. I did my best with NBITW to follow some of the bigger story beats from Berserk but make them work with the story I was trying to tell. And of course taking place in a more grounded western setting forced a lot of different approaches. I hope there is enough here for fans to enjoy but that the story can stand on it's own too.
Obviously the 3 mains are similar to those found in Berserk. Dean was kinda a fill in for Zodd in he was a supposed to be a secondary antagonist early on but became a much bigger part of the story and what helped rive the action along. I liked to see your comment early on that you weren't sure about Dean as I deliberately tried to make him the hero in his own story. But as you saw, his thirst for revenge pushes him to a dark irredeemable place. Speaking of revenge, that was a little theme I tried to put in as every character is seeking revenge on somebody else for some wrong doing done to them.
I was also afraid you might be let down by the barn scene since I could tell from comments you were hyped for a westernized eclipse as it's smaller in scale. Again, I'll take that beat of horrific betrayal but make it mine with something more intimate. You may be right that some of the quips may be out of place there. I thought it came off pretty well though.
I've had a few readers get confused by Gustavus's sudden release/appearance as I did write it out bluntly on purpose. It doesn't make sense. What just happened? I hope it's clear by the barn he made a deal with Dean to be released in exchange for Cade, which is all Dean cares about and Gustavus knows it.
I'm also glad to see you picked up some other homages. Haches Bandits instead of the Band of the Hawk. The copper pendant is a stand in for the beherit. It's also kinda "cursed" in the script as whoever wears it befalls misfortune at some point. Galen is kinda like the blacksmith too. Cooper is kinda a bigger asshole version of Corkus and Will is kinda a Ricket in a pinch. Abraham is who he is though. And of course Gustavus has his rise and fall, and it's implied some not very nice things happened to Cassandra after the fallout of the barnyard ambush.
The big bad banker has no analog to the anime. I felt I needed to give Gustavus somebody specific to seek revenge on himself so he wasn't just robbing random banks for no reason. You didn't mention him so I don't know if that's bad or good lol. If there is a sequel (yes i have plans for Two Beans in the Wheel) there's a good chance we may see more of him, but for a now he's a stand in for what Gustavus wanted to be and an added antagonistic force to hunt down our heroes.
Although I've been working on the graphic novel adaptation for over a year now, I haven't touched this script in years. I've grown a lot as a writer since then I think and some of your comments make me want to go back and give this another once over. I feel really good to hear you took the time highlight some of the dialogue in scenes and understand other areas may need some work. I might over the summer when I have more free time.
Thanks again so much for the thorough read. I really appreciate it and am glad you enjoyed the story and script!