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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    My Work In Progress  ›  Stranger Danger /Short/ Drama Moderators: bert
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  Author    Stranger Danger /Short/ Drama   (currently 249 views)
Kevin_S
Posted: October 3rd, 2019, 5:31pm Report to Moderator
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Hey everyone,

A short script I've been working on for a little while.    It's 14 pages.  I would like to see what some opinions are if anyone is interested in reading and commenting.

Title: Stranger Danger
The logline is: A bullied kid makes an unlikely friend on the playground.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/75997a4ddbe9rnh/Karma.pdf?dl=0

Thanks!

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eldave1
Posted: October 3rd, 2019, 5:45pm Report to Moderator
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Writing is fine, The story is just okay for me, Kevin.

SPOILERS

The main issue I had is that I couldn't see the reason for an 18 year wait for the bullies to get their comeuppance.  Also, not quite sure that I liked Hayden's happiness about that. Just didn't land with me.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Kevin_S
Posted: October 3rd, 2019, 6:22pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for taking a look, Dave!  Steven C. warned me about that ending. He said the same thing you said.   I asked him to take a peek  a few days ago,  before I put it out to the masses.
I did rewrite what I thought would work. I guess I didn't rework it enough.

Thanks again!
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eldave1
Posted: October 3rd, 2019, 6:28pm Report to Moderator
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My pleasure


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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LiamX
Posted: October 4th, 2019, 2:09am Report to Moderator
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I read this one all the way through, it was a nice easy read. I actually like the story, and I felt for hayden and liked the twist at the end, but you why did the teacher like him so much? DId he remind him of him when he was a kid? Maybe that could work???

Not bad though,

LIam
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: October 4th, 2019, 4:29am Report to Moderator
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Hello


Quoted Text
HAYDEN
Just so you know. I'm chipped


That made me laugh out loud at work. Now I gotta explain to the boss why a "VAT return" is funny.... anyway

I like the Hayden kid, he has character and his own voice. At times the dialogue is a bit stilted and overdone, but his unique voice still comes through.

Personally I had a few issues with the writing itself, but Dave says it is fine, and you should deffo take Dave's opinion over mine.

I too had an issue with the ending - but it wasn't the fact it was 18 years later. It was the message that this story is sending. That these 3 bullies deaths is Karma and is to be celebrated, not the right message to send I don't think, also Hayden's joy at their deaths does not make him a nice person at all.

Instead, you could have gone down the path that Hayden's life has turned out great despite the bullies, and now that he is older and wiser he doesn't hate them, he pities them. He is the true winner in life and can let go of the past and forgive those who wronged him.
You can still show that the bullies' lives are terrible (crime/drugs etc) to give the Karma element, without resorting to the celebration of their gruesome deaths.

Anyway, best of luck with it





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Kevin_S
Posted: October 4th, 2019, 3:16pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks, Liam, for taking a read and commenting! The teacher was "karma" in the form of a man that only Hayden could see.  


Quoted Text
but you why did the teacher like him so much?


That's a good question. I never thought  why is "karma" picking this kid out of all the other kids. So I can't really answer that.  I should have asked myself that question when thinking the story up.

All the best!
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Kevin_S
Posted: October 4th, 2019, 4:33pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Matt!

Thanks so much for taking a look!  It's hard to make people laugh.  I wanted it to be funny there, so I'll take it!


Quoted Text
At times the dialogue is a bit stilted and overdone, but his unique voice still comes through.

I'm not a well-spoken person.  I'm trying to work on it. I talk with a lot of slang.  So years and years of lousy everything, it will probably take me a while to get where I can write decent dialogue.


Quoted Text
Personally, I had a few issues with the writing itself, but Dave says it is fine.

I can't read Dave's mind but, I've noticed when he sees good writing, he tells them it's good writing.  I take it as he meant basic.  He also usually backs up what you say, so I'm more than willing to hear the issues you had.  With that said. You have said plenty already. So with the weekend coming up and the challenge, if you don't want to mess
with this story anymore I understand.  


As far as the ending, You're right.  I'll def think things through a little more.   I'm def going to change it.



Thanks again!  
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LiamX
Posted: October 5th, 2019, 2:44am Report to Moderator
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[quote=Kevin_S.]Hey Matt!

Thanks so much for taking a look!  It's hard to make people laugh.  I wanted it to be funny there, so I'll take it!


I'm not a well-spoken person.  I'm trying to work on it. I talk with a lot of slang.  So years and years of lousy everything, it will probably take me a while to get where I can write decent dialogue.



I feel ya, I'm excatly the same! It is so hard but something I'm trying to work on, and ive been getting great advice here so far.
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: October 5th, 2019, 3:13am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Kevin_S
Hey Matt!

Thanks so much for taking a look!  It's hard to make people laugh.  I wanted it to be funny there, so I'll take it!


I'm not a well-spoken person.  I'm trying to work on it. I talk with a lot of slang.  So years and years of lousy everything, it will probably take me a while to get where I can write decent dialogue.


I can't read Dave's mind but, I've noticed when he sees good writing, he tells them it's good writing.  I take it as he meant basic.  He also usually backs up what you say, so I'm more than willing to hear the issues you had.  With that said. You have said plenty already. So with the weekend coming up and the challenge, if you don't want to mess
with this story anymore I understand.  


As far as the ending, You're right.  I'll def think things through a little more.   I'm def going to change it.



Thanks again!  


No problem at all.  I will elaborate after the weekend  



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Matthew Taylor
Posted: October 7th, 2019, 4:37am Report to Moderator
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Hi Kevin.

Don't sweat the dialogue - personally I find it the hardest part of scriptwriting.

We, as writers, are supposed to write endless amounts of characters and give each their own personality - so they have different moods, motivations, experiences, education, vocabulary etc etc etc.... and each of these affects not only what they say, but how they say it... but we only have our own perspective to go on.... it's bloody hard lol.

Below are a few hints/tips I have picked up along the way

1) Assign a real-life person to the character - Could be someone famous or someone you know personally (doesn't have to be an actor). Choose someone similar to your character and it really helps with adding some humanity to dialogue because you can hear the person voice saying the lines as you write them - you can even ask yourself "how would *insert person* respond to this?" - might just give you a different perspective.

2) Actually get people to read the lines - This is the hardest one, but if you have family/friends who are willing to sit around and read the lines, it can really highlight unnatural dialogue.

3) Complete sentences - We may write in complete sentences, but we don't talk in them (usually). This is something I always forget when writing dialogue.

4) Eavesdrop - to write people, you need to study people. When you are out in public, observe people, try and listen to their conversations (but don't be intrusive lol). Pay attention to how they talk to each other, respond to questions and react to what's being said.

5) Character bio - Write a character bio, even if the information isn't relevant to the story. Where they grew up (localized dialect), their education, their life experiences will all shape how and what they say in conversation.

6) not too realistic - Once you have a good grasp of how people talk, how to make each character distinct based on their own circumstances, work on the what they say... in real life we waffle on (chit-chat), which isn't always a good idea in a screenplay. Remember to sprinkle in conflict and keep it relevant

As always, the above is my amateur ramblings - take what you want and leave the rest.

I have waffled on about dialogue for so long I don't have time to comment on the writing lol I will elaborate on that later today....



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Kevin_S
Posted: October 7th, 2019, 1:59pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Matt,

Thanks for the info! All of it is useful. I definitely appreciate it!  I tried using the robot voice engine in my writing software for the dialogue. It's about useless when it reads it back.

I was at Barnes & Noble, having coffee awhile back.  These college kids were sitting across from each other texting.   Some kind of text/hybrid communication. One would text, the other would answer by speaking, and then vice versa.  Instead of just talking.  Of course, there are plenty of people talking. I figured that was a little
different style of communication than I'm used to seeing. Lol.

Look forward to your suggestions about the writing.

Thanks again!
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: October 8th, 2019, 6:59am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Kevin_S

I was at Barnes & Noble, having coffee awhile back.  These college kids were sitting across from each other texting.   Some kind of text/hybrid communication. One would text, the other would answer by speaking, and then vice versa.  Instead of just talking.  Of course, there are plenty of people talking. I figured that was a little
different style of communication than I'm used to seeing. Lol.


That's a good observation and is the kind of thing that adds humanity to characters and their interactions.

As I comment on the writing part, remember that this is just the opinion of one person - one person who is an amatuer - what may bother me, may not bother others.
As i get deeper into this whole screenwriting thing, I am realizing what I actually like/dislike (I used to repeat advice that I was given myself without a second thought, and later started thinking to myself "This doesn't actually bother me, I'm only giving this advice because I have heard it from others" - anyway, I'll stop waffling on.

Character name after introduction - I see this regularly, but I don't really understand the point. why introduce him as "10-YEAR-OLD-BOY" then later tell us his name? Just seems to add to the word count for no reason

Odd sentence structures - "stroll in deep conversation" makes it sound like they are wading through some conversation liquid.

Less is more - a few instances where an appropriate word choice can take out a few words or even a line (If you can get the same information/emotion/feeling through with fewer words, deffo take that option) "Karla and Amy look it over. They're clearly not interested."... you could simply just use the word uninterested.

Emotive words - On a similar note to above, you should crack open the thesaurus and see if another word would be more suited to evoke emotion in the writing
"Hayden looks down with a sad expression" - for example, is a little dull - "Dejected, Hayden's gaze drops to the floor" - any better? who knows lol but try experimenting with different ways of telling us these things, you may find one that gives across just the right emotion.

"tries to be inconspicuous as he pulls a Zippo..." - "Inconspicuously pulls a zippo..."

Clarity - You want to be as clear as possible when writing screenplays, nothing pulls a reader out more than confusion. Exhibit A...


Quoted Text
Randy pulls the invitations out of Hayden's lunchbox. Looks
around to make sure he's not being watched. Then he hurls
it into the weeds behind the bench


Now, to me this read like he threw the invitation into the bushes... so when he then sets the invitation on fire, I was pulled out because I was thinking "But he doesn't have the invitation?"
And when Hayden went looking for the lunchbox, I was thinknig "When did this end up in the weeds?" - Which forced me to re-read before I got it.... could just be me, but you want pro readers to remain in the story at all times and not have to re-read. (Although I can't tell if the writing here is unclear, or if it's just me being slow lol try getting some others to read just that paragraph and see how they interpret it)

Oh while I am at it, naming the guy William Karma was a little on the nose lol

Your writing is not bad by any means, could just do with going over to make it even better. After all, writing is rewriting.... and rewriting and rewriting lol

Best of luck to you



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Diane
Posted: October 8th, 2019, 4:16pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Kevin,
There were two or three places I found a little unrealistic .  It seems a little too coincidental that Hayden turns on the tv just as the announcement about the train/car crash is airing. I also thought it highly unlikely that Hayden would have his lunch box stashed under his bed . maybe in a box in the closet or something.
I'm not an expert on bullying, but could all of these things happen on the playground with all the adults around?  Would a forty-year-old really hang upside down from the monkey bars?  Wouldn't somebody wonder who he is? Call the police?
One thing I liked a lot was how the bullies turned everything back on Hayden ie. Hayden doesn't want to go to that school and when he voices that the boys say "What, we're not good enough?" You do it two or three times and it's quite effective.
Good Luck
Diane
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Kevin_S
Posted: October 8th, 2019, 11:50pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Matt,


Thanks for ALL of the advice!  All of it looks good to me.  The odd saying sentences come from my slang, finding its way into my writing.  I was jumping around online, taking English tests to see what I thought I knew, like parts of a sentence, types of sentences, nouns, verbs, etc. I was slightly embarrassed by some of the results.  I probably should have tightened my English up before jumping on a site with a bunch of writers.   I hope after some study, some of it will come back.  If not, hopefully, Grammarly has my back.

I can't remember if it was someone in school or I saw it in a movie. It might have been the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.  Someone thought a Thesaurus was a dinosaur. Lol.  
I will add it (Thesaurus) in my arsenal.


Exhibit A: Yeah, "it" should have been worded better.  


I  most definitely owe you a few.  So don't hesitate to ask me if you think I can be of any help to you.  I did read Mr. Repent.  It was a real good story all around — a true devil of a deal.   I didn't comment on the feedback page because it said in production beside of it.  Can't wait to see it.

All the best!
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