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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    My Work In Progress  ›  Peterstown Moderators: bert
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ABennettWriter
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 6:15pm Report to Moderator
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https://www.dropbox.com/s/xs59gu1ibrbjll2/Peterstown.pdf

LOGLINE: After her son goes missing, a determined, down on her luck mother fights small town corruption to find her son.

First twenty six pages. Inspired by a true life missing persons case from a small town in West Virginia. Was supposed to be writing it with someone who grew up in the area, but they've ghosted  me, so I'm going to write it on my own.

Would love to know if I'm on the right track as far as tone and character, so far as I can be for 26 pages.

Thank you!

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ABennettWriter  -  October 14th, 2020, 6:30pm
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eldave1
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 8:22pm Report to Moderator
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It's a subjective judgment, but for me, the answer is no.

You spend far too much time on pedestrian things - like a full page on paying a coffee tab. 27 pages in - almost a half-hour of film time, I really know very little about Dena - and very little about her son.  Not sure why I should care about them.

I would try to trim the day to day stuff and give us more about Dena.

Just my thoughts



My Scripts can all be seen here:

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Lightfoot
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 8:35pm Report to Moderator
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Gave it a quick read.

I'd say you have a good start so far.

Pace is good, story is definitely kicking up a few notches.

I do have a couple of minor issues. First being the Another Man character. Reads odd in the description, maybe find a new temporary name for him?

Second is the last scene, I was excited to see the first interaction between the officer and the mom, but it seemed to end too soon for me. Perhaps extent this a bit longer? Especially after the officer saying that line about her son I'd imagine Dena would be pretty fired up at this point. Maybe when the officer goes to tear down another sign Dena puts her hand on it and the two have a stare-down before Dena submits.

Anyways, so far so good.
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LC
Posted: October 14th, 2020, 10:47pm Report to Moderator
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Okay, so AB, the writing flows well, no real hiccups, it's just all a bit, on the one hand hyped up to the max (Molly and Dena's reaction to Leon being gone for not very long) and yet re the 'job' he has to do a bit downplayed.

Something about the pacing is a bit off for me -

DENA
Thank you so much, Sergeant.
SERGEANT TAYLOR
You're welcome. Go home and get some
rest, Dena.
DENA
I won't rest until I get Leon home,
with or without your help.


That last line of dialogue seems a bit premature and verging on melodrama cause it just seems way too soon. He's not even been gone for 24 hours, has he? Yet both women go into a tailspin. I'd work up to that a bit more.

Leon's delivering a highly suspect  'package' - considering your series of Shots in your opening credits -  squints at oncoming headlights, but then yawns? Not dramatic enough imh.

The Line with the Sergeant to Adam - it's no secret you don't get along? Seemed contrived and convenient, like he suspects him already? I dunno, again the pacing seems off.

I suggest you reorder the narrative structure. Ramp up the opening (coffee shop/diner, not doing it for me) cause as a hook - it would benefit, even if you include an out of sequence more dramatic and exciting scene, to give it a bigger start.

Your logline made me think this was going to be a missing child story. That's my presumption of course.
Echoes of: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri?

By the by, make Molly five or six months pregnant. Three months on a lot of women is a no-show. Also for dramatic purposes I think the visual would work better.

All jmho.
It's not too shabby at all. I just wanted a bit more to start.


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Dreamscale
Posted: October 15th, 2020, 12:04pm Report to Moderator
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First and foremost, GET RID OF THAT NAME " ANOTHER MAN".  It's terrible, looks terrible on the page, and just is so goofy.

In many ways, this is pretty well done, but as Dave said, it's just so overwritten, the pace is off, and it's a long read for what meat is on the page,  You're using way too many words and sentences to get through scenes/actions/etc.

For example, I've always told peeps not to include dull, mundane stuff in their scripts, whether or not you think the actual visual would be included in a filmed version.  I'm talking about stuff like opening and closing doors, walking to a car, etc., sitting down/standing up, etc.  Only include such common stuff if it turns out not so common.

Example - When someone shows up at work at 8 AM in the morning, whether we saw it actually play out on film or not, we can assume many things have taken place - wake up, get out of bed, mouthwash/brush teeth, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, do whatever needs doing before leaving for the day, go to garage, open garage door, get in car, start car, pull out of garage/driveway, close garage, drive to work, park car, turn car off, get out of car, walk to office, etc.  These types of mundane actions should not be included in a script, unless you're focusing on something for some reason.

Does that make sense?


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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eldave1
Posted: October 15th, 2020, 12:38pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
First and foremost, GET RID OF THAT NAME " ANOTHER MAN".  It's terrible, looks terrible on the page, and just is so goofy.

In many ways, this is pretty well done, but as Dave said, it's just so overwritten, the pace is off, and it's a long read for what meat is on the page,  You're using way too many words and sentences to get through scenes/actions/etc.

For example, I've always told peeps not to include dull, mundane stuff in their scripts, whether or not you think the actual visual would be included in a filmed version.  I'm talking about stuff like opening and closing doors, walking to a car, etc., sitting down/standing up, etc.  Only include such common stuff if it turns out not so common.

Example - When someone shows up at work at 8 AM in the morning, whether we saw it actually play out on film or not, we can assume many things have taken place - wake up, get out of bed, mouthwash/brush teeth, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, do whatever needs doing before leaving for the day, go to garage, open garage door, get in car, start car, pull out of garage/driveway, close garage, drive to work, park car, turn car off, get out of car, walk to office, etc.  These types of mundane actions should not be included in a script, unless you're focusing on something for some reason.

Does that make sense?


Austin - this is a much better way of saying what I was trying to say.

The opening scene for example is entirely about paying a coffee bill. It is pretty well written and I give kudos for that - but at the end of the day - it's about paying a coffee bill.

I try - not always successfully, to have an objective for each scene. Therefore the actions around that merely serve that objective. Going to go on a long-winded example.

This scene:


Quoted Text
INT. DINER - NIGHT

Adam and Officer Joe raise their mugs.

OFFICER JOE
Thanks, Dena.

DENA
You got it.

After a sip, Adam's cell phone beeps. He checks it.

ADAM
Time to run. Hey, Dena, can we get
the check?

DENA
For two coffees?

ADAM
Yes, ma'am.
Dena takes out the checkbook and slaps the check on the
table between Adam and Officer Joe.

DENA
Pay when y'all are ready.

ADAM
We're ready now.

Adam pulls out his wallet, but Joe stops him.

OFFICER JOE
I got this.

He pulls out a $10 bill and leaves it next to the check.

ADAM
Thanks. I'll get ya next time. Bye,
Dena.

DENA
Bye, guys.


Is about:

1. Introducing characters - two cops and a waitress.
2. Paying a coffee tab.

Like I said - nothing wrong with the writing - it's actually pretty good as was most of the script.

But what if you changed the objective to this.

1. Introducing two characters - two cops and a waitress.
2. Establish that the waitress is broke
3. Show that one cop is kindhearted and the other is a good dude.

Then you might have something like:

INT. DINER - NIGHT

Adam and Officer Joe drink coffee in a corner booth. Joe has his focus on --

Dena at the register ringing up a customer. She forces a polite smile as the customer
mumbles something and walks away.

Dena wipes the sweat from her brow - stares out the window. She takes a deep
breath - exhales.

At the table, Adam's cell phone beeps. He checks it.

ADAM
Time to run. Hey, Dena - check?

No response. Dena staring out the window, lost in thought.

ADAM
Hey, Dena!

This draws Dena's attention. Adam signals for the check.

She walks to the table, places the check on the
table between Adam and Officer Joe.

DENA
Whenever y'all ready.

JOE
You okay, Dena?

DENA
Yeah - sure, of course.
(off Joe's look)
Rent's due... You know.

Joe gives Dena a knowing nod. She gives him a wink.

DENA
It'll be fine, darling. Always is somehow.

Dena walks away as Adam pulls out his wallet.

OFFICER JOE
I got this.

Adam gives Joe a whatever look, stands.

ADAM
Gotta to run.

Adam heads for the door. Joe pulls out a $100 bill, places it on top of
the check.

JOE
Thanks, Dena

Dena, back at the counter gives him a slight wave of the hand.

DENA
You be careful, now.

================================
Now - I am not at all saying this should be your scene. What I am saying is that it is a coffee scene that serves objectives broader than paying a coffee bill.

Hope that makes sense because otherwise I kind of dig the writing - just need to make each scene have its own importance.



My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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ABennettWriter
Posted: October 15th, 2020, 2:35pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for all the reads and comments. Much appreciated! I get what you guys mean about the opening. I'll rework it.

The "Other Man" will play a much bigger role later on, and I didn't want to spoil that reveal early on. He does have a name.

Leon's been mixed up with the law a few times, and he's disappeared before. This time it's permanent and Dena knows it.

The very next scene after this shows Dena talking on the news about how the police aren't taking this as seriously as she thinks they should.

Thank you again for the help.
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eldave1
Posted: October 15th, 2020, 3:14pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ABennettWriter
Thanks for all the reads and comments. Much appreciated! I get what you guys mean about the opening. I'll rework it.

The "Other Man" will play a much bigger role later on, and I didn't want to spoil that reveal early on. He does have a name.

Leon's been mixed up with the law a few times, and he's disappeared before. This time it's permanent and Dena knows it.

The very next scene after this shows Dena talking on the news about how the police aren't taking this as seriously as she thinks they should.

Thank you again for the help.


No problem.  Good luck with it


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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