OK, these are just some random thoughts from the Twilight Zone, not an attack.
scrawlx101, not a bad little short. I understood it clear as a bell, but I'm still uncertain of genre, wondering if this is a comedy, suspecting it's not, wishing it was. Not a laugh-out-loud sorta thing, but a comedy (of the black variety) perhaps -cuz methinks the ending would play better. Why? Cuz many shorts this “light” are geared around a punchline, so maybe that’s what Michael's last line represents...the punchline, if so, OK. Cuz I did find it mildly amusing.
That aside, but if not a comedy, I read this twice. Maybe there's something I'm not getting, but because it doesn't come to any kind of resolution, it doesn't feel like the very last scene in a film, even a short one -- cuz like I said, they didn't resolve anything. Not really.
Sure, they hammer out an uneasy alliance at the end. I guess that's some sort of a resolution, but the central issue of Michael wanting to be normal again hasn't. The truth, I would probably add another page and resolve it, one way or the other. At the moment, it just feels like a big idea for five pages. Something to think about.
A bit too exposition heavy up front, but you didn't leave yourself much wiggle room. You have to get the info out some way, so fair enough. Especially since the backstory is really important here.
Michael's dialogue at the bottom of pg 4; It was a little too on the nose and melodramatic. Just thought I'd point that out.In laywoman's term, subtext is vision, it's time travel within your script. But subtext isn't used all the time, in every conversation. We'd all drive ourselves and (as writers) the audience insane. It's used now and again in conversations/exchanges that warrant its useage.
This doesn't. At least not that much. Heck, not sure what the relationship is between Michael and Valerie. For the sake of argument, I'll assume brother&sister. Both familiar with themselves. Both grown up together. A lot of the time subtext is used to convey underlining messages. The things we don't say, but are betrayed in our mannerisms or chosen word.
I can't really write your subtext for you but this image may help. It's a matter of training your thinking...So an ambitious officer worker, threatened by the entrance of a younger fitter colleague might shake their hand, denoting friendship, but he might turn to a friend and say...
Can we get the Kid a highchair for his desk?
This is subtextual dialogue. It implies that the old worker is threatened by the new worker's arrival. It achieves two things. It appears on the surface to be a joke, but not only has he alienated and broached the subject of his superiority through age and experience, he's brought another colleague into the joke, displaying solidarity among the familiar set-up. The corporate world absolutely drips with subtext.
But your scenes here (to get back on track) doesn't need to be steeped in Subtext. I mean, it's only 5 pages. Valerie and Michael are on opposite sides of the fence here. She’s accepted it, he hasn’t. If anything, just tweaking a few lines is more than enough without them coming out and saying it. Hope this makes sense.
So I believe my point
was summed up earlier. Subtext baby. We waste too much time debating the trimmings and not the cake = story. Or to paraphrase Shakespeare "The script's the thing ..."
There are technical issues to fix and it could be tightened of course. That's what second drafts are for. Keep going.