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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    My Work In Progress  ›  The Things Moderators: bert
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Geezis
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:16pm Report to Moderator
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https://1drv.ms/b/s!Aqi3eogrHs8FgctlWacrlg-ibQ-FAg

'Two men survive the horrors of an alien infestation in the wilds of the Antarctic. Or do they?'

As an exercise to help develop my writing, I wrote the first pages of a sequel to John Carpenter's The Thing.

I set myself the parameters that it should be a recognisable sequel, contain original characters and take place within the first 24 hours of the end of the first movie.

I am more than happy to receive any feedback, positive or negative, as this can only help me improve.

Thanks



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PrussianMosby
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:19pm Report to Moderator
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The link is broken, bro



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Geezis
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:21pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from PrussianMosby
The link is broken, bro


Damn. Let me try again.



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Geezis
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:24pm Report to Moderator
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PrussianMosby
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:25pm Report to Moderator
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haha. Geezis Kryst, really?



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Geezis
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:27pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from PrussianMosby
haha. Geezis Kryst, really?


Yeah lol. I like the irony, I'm as far from holy as you can get  



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PrussianMosby
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:28pm Report to Moderator
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Although it might be a shame, I haven't watched The Thing yet, I think. Do you think a wikipedia read will do?



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Matthew Taylor
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:30pm Report to Moderator
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Geezis (If in fact, that is your real name)

About to leave the office so I quickly read the first few lines.

A couple of things:

"Can be seen" "we see" - or any variant thereof is unnecessary.  Being a visual medium we know it can be seen, you just have to establish the visual. Also, be careful using names for things that you haven't yet established "...rising from US outpost #31"

Write actively "rises" as opposed to "is rising"

"In the distance, smoke rises from a settlement" - quickly written but better I feel.

- DAYBREAK - aka - DAWN

"Racing across the frozen wasteland we arrive..." - feels like unnecessary directing to me. the "we arrive" brings me back to reality that I am being told a story, rather than watching it in my head.

The compound has just been established within the current location, here I would use a mini slug to bring us over to it


Quoted Text
In the distance, smoke rises from a settlement.

SETTLEMENT

Scorched and wrecked, remnants of a battle scattered everywhere.

SUPER: United States Antarctic Outpost #31


Might be better - I don't know - I'm rushing what I write now as the office is closing around me... will give proper thoughts later.



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Geezis
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:49pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from PrussianMosby
Although it might be a shame, I haven't watched The Thing yet, I think. Do you think a wikipedia read will do?


Possibly, but my script is based on the movie, not the Bill Lancaster script but the general gist of it is there.



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Geezis
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 2:50pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Matthew Taylor
Geezis (If in fact, that is your real name)

About to leave the office so I quickly read the first few lines.

A couple of things:

"Can be seen" "we see" - or any variant thereof is unnecessary.  Being a visual medium we know it can be seen, you just have to establish the visual. Also, be careful using names for things that you haven't yet established "...rising from US outpost #31"

Write actively "rises" as opposed to "is rising"

"In the distance, smoke rises from a settlement" - quickly written but better I feel.

- DAYBREAK - aka - DAWN

"Racing across the frozen wasteland we arrive..." - feels like unnecessary directing to me. the "we arrive" brings me back to reality that I am being told a story, rather than watching it in my head.

The compound has just been established within the current location, here I would use a mini slug to bring us over to it



Might be better - I don't know - I'm rushing what I write now as the office is closing around me... will give proper thoughts later.



Thanks for what you have given me so far.



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Dustin
Posted: February 10th, 2020, 5:43pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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My first issue is with your logline. It's hinting at a twist. That being that the two men only believe they have survived in some manner. Like, you know, they wake up only to discover they are already dead. Their survival was all a dream.

If there is such a twist then you shouldn't hint at it in your logline. If there isn't, then you still shouldn't hint at it because readers will be let down when it isn't there, and throw your script in the trash.

FADE IN: needs to be uppercase as with all camera directions.

Code

EXT. ANTARCTICA - DAYBREAK



Just stick with DAY and NIGHT. use action lines to show the time of day it is. Remember, film is a visual medium, you have to show us the information you want us to see. Telling us is no good.

Code

The early morning sun reflects off the ice and snow.



How do we know it's an 'early morning' sun? This can be done in a number of ways. Looking at your story, I'd probably start with the battleground scene and maybe show one of the characters look at their watch. Or cut to the helicopter and show the pilots reacting to an emergency call - again by showing a clock or watch somewhere... and then, only if the time of day is necessary. If it isn't... who cares?

Code

In the distance smoke can be seen rising from US outpost #31.



Missing comma after 'distance' aside, this line of action is not active. It also tells us something again. How do we know what US Outpost #31 is? You have to show us what you see.

In the distance, smoke rises from a clutch of low-ceiling, rectangular-shaped buildings.

Code

Racing across the frozen wasteland we arrive at the compound to find it scorched and wrecked.



I'd leave this sort of thing up to the director. Just cut straight to the compound.

Code

The remnants of the recent battle lie scattered everywhere.



Again, not visual enough. You're telling rather than showing.

Code

A scan of the compound reveals two figures slumped in a burned out building. Smoke gently blows over them.



A scan from what? I think this would be better if the helicopter did the scan and film the heat sources huddled together - or whatever.

Code

MACREADY, 35, white, bearded, exhausted, barely breathing. His face is frozen and his beard has icicles hanging from it.



Two sentences here that don't show me enough. What is he actually doing? For all I know, he could be standing on his head.

Code

Beside him is CHILDS, 33, black and bald. He too is exhausted, shivering and barely breathing. His face is frost-bitted and his eyelashes are covered in frost.



This guy gets three sentences and I still don't know what he's doing.



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Geezis
Posted: February 11th, 2020, 12:58pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
My first issue is with your logline. It's hinting at a twist. That being that the two men only believe they have survived in some manner. Like, you know, they wake up only to discover they are already dead. Their survival was all a dream.

If there is such a twist then you shouldn't hint at it in your logline. If there isn't, then you still shouldn't hint at it because readers will be let down when it isn't there, and throw your script in the trash.

FADE IN: needs to be uppercase as with all camera directions.

Code

EXT. ANTARCTICA - DAYBREAK



Just stick with DAY and NIGHT. use action lines to show the time of day it is. Remember, film is a visual medium, you have to show us the information you want us to see. Telling us is no good.

Code

The early morning sun reflects off the ice and snow.



How do we know it's an 'early morning' sun? This can be done in a number of ways. Looking at your story, I'd probably start with the battleground scene and maybe show one of the characters look at their watch. Or cut to the helicopter and show the pilots reacting to an emergency call - again by showing a clock or watch somewhere... and then, only if the time of day is necessary. If it isn't... who cares?

Code

In the distance smoke can be seen rising from US outpost #31.



Missing comma after 'distance' aside, this line of action is not active. It also tells us something again. How do we know what US Outpost #31 is? You have to show us what you see.

In the distance, smoke rises from a clutch of low-ceiling, rectangular-shaped buildings.

Code

Racing across the frozen wasteland we arrive at the compound to find it scorched and wrecked.



I'd leave this sort of thing up to the director. Just cut straight to the compound.

Code

The remnants of the recent battle lie scattered everywhere.



Again, not visual enough. You're telling rather than showing.

Code

A scan of the compound reveals two figures slumped in a burned out building. Smoke gently blows over them.



A scan from what? I think this would be better if the helicopter did the scan and film the heat sources huddled together - or whatever.

Code

MACREADY, 35, white, bearded, exhausted, barely breathing. His face is frozen and his beard has icicles hanging from it.



Two sentences here that don't show me enough. What is he actually doing? For all I know, he could be standing on his head.

Code

Beside him is CHILDS, 33, black and bald. He too is exhausted, shivering and barely breathing. His face is frost-bitted and his eyelashes are covered in frost.



This guy gets three sentences and I still don't know what he's doing.



Hi Dustin. Thank you very much for the feedback.
It's difficult at the moment for me to find the balance between keeping things short and relevant and over explaining things but I'm sure that will come from time and experience.
I'll keep practicing and will get there one day.
Thanks for taking the time to read it and for your great pointers.



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PrussianMosby
Posted: February 13th, 2020, 1:34pm Report to Moderator
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Geezis, bro!

Dustin and Matthew may have given you some fine format and writing tips to consider, so I'll keep it with reading the story and looking how your scene-writing works here…

Did a quick research about the Carpenter movie…

Two men alive, as yet – freaking cold out there – monster temporary out of order :-)

let's go:

second half of p2
although I like how you generally present the exposition, the dialogue is a little over-written because you're not strong in the picture there, so there's no balance between imagery and dialogue…

Just realize how much they talk while they just stand there. Give us some visual input or give some clear establishing shots about the destroyed buildings that accompany the dialogue.

At best you'd find an even entertaining situation they're in WHILE delivering their expository dialogue which you surely have to bring across.

Otherwise, only alternative would be to cut the dialogue so that you have a quick shot reverse shot moment before they actually get into MOTION. Whenever long dialogue happens just try to visualize how it would EXACTLY look like when they're just speaking. And then imagine what you need to do to visually engage us. Or as said – cut the talk down to the min...

Tiny point: but you want to keep us stoked in those very first expository moments. It's important I think so I spend some time here to make the point.

P5 same. Those sentences are really long re: screen time. Be visual

"How are the patients?"

f.i. why not place the patients in a tent right beside them, how they shiver connected to drips etc. while Torsten and Lars talk the situation. You know, combining the subjects – compress the plot and give a more entertaining picture.

p6 I see, you took those shots here

p7 you could really compress things and connect more beats.

It's generally good what you do, but just a little too slow. Considering we're on p 7, there's been too few stuff happening, even if it's surely a rather atmospheric and tonally slower kind of story from its core. Still feels a little to slow.

P8 again too few interaction and visually movement in the picture

That said I generally like the dialogue – this isn't the problem

I also think you nailed the old times characters, since I think we're in the mid 80's?

Just interesting to have that back in time movie characteristic here especially when regarding it's such a famous intellectual property!!!

9,10, 11 yeah stuffs eventually more kicking in for my taste

Some great dialogues

"I’m not unsympathetic doctor" - great line, absolutely subtle regarding his foregone actions and behavior – works!

Yep, got better.

You absolutely control the plot and nicely guide us within the premise.

I think I repeated my main point of criticism over and over and think that's what to internalize and work on.

The exposition of a story in screenwriting is exactly ten minutes – ten pages.

Your exposition is great and you even leave us with that final hook, cliff hanger on the last page.

Intertwine this fact with my critique of being too slow and partly too non-visual/dialogue-heavy and try to make page thirteen into page ten. That's imo how it should be. And that's far from a big task, but rather a typical first draft problem which is to fix in progress.

Also, think about to combine different scenes and beats into one beat each (or say, use a better, more fluent transitioning, more movement in the picture etc...).

You can improve the power of the narrative when you make it more multi-layered.

However the last 4p were actually quite strong.

It's noticeable that you know the subject very well and Kurt Russell literally popped from the page. Dialogues there were much stronger and entertaining than those in the beginning. So cut everything that's not so intriguing to the minimum of what you truly essentially need to make the respective point. Leave every word that goes beyond OUT.

The later dialogues are presented in the way how you want to entertain us.

Skimming through the other thread and realizing you stated that you're relatively new to screenwriting, this is an impressive achievement.

Good clear performance of a story exposition.

That said, there were a lot of typos in there – and I want to say to you right at this starting point of your journey – the orthography and presentation on the page is very important because it tells about your working ethics and personality. Don't see this as a smartass comment rather as an advice to consider the psychology that happens between you and a stranger reading you. In a sense, contrary to that it'll make a very good impression when everything looks and feels as treated carefully and attentive.

Anyway, this is truly good in general.

not to forget: title choice is an "of course" of course :-)

Best wishes
Alex



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Geezis
Posted: February 14th, 2020, 2:21pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Alex,

Thank you very much for taking the time to read, review and feedback pointers on my script.
I absolutely appreciate every hint, tip and criticism as I learn the craft.
It will take plenty of time before I get things right, maybe not good, but at least right.
I do take on board what people are telling me and I will continue to practice and improve.

I will review my script with your feedback in mind and see where I can improve my writing.

Cheers

Owen


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: February 20th, 2020, 10:18am Report to Moderator
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Nothing else to add to what has been said above, this just reminded me that I did exactly the same thing (pardon the pun) a few years ago and came up with a similar premise, I even called it The Things! I also wrote one as a direct sequel to American Werewolf In London

I think it's good to do such writing exercises, so keep it up!


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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