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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Mr. Gloom Moderators: bert
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  Author    Mr. Gloom  (currently 3537 views)
Don
Posted: January 2nd, 2006, 6:31pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Mr. Gloom by Mike Shelton - Short, Comedy - A day in the life of the unluckiest man on Earth. - pdf, format


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  September 30th, 2007, 1:16pm
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Zombie Sean
Posted: January 2nd, 2006, 6:57pm Report to Moderator
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This was a good screenplay. I enjoyed reading it. Good job!

Sorry for the short comment, but I'm busy at the moment.

Keep writing,
Sean


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Shelton
Posted: January 3rd, 2006, 1:10am Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading TDW2N.

I was experimenting with the use of voiceovers for the first time, and since I'mstill trying to work on my descriptions a little better, I figured I'd write this.

I originally thought I'd end up at around 10 pages, but I guess 13 is close enough.


Mike


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"I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper." - Steve Martin
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greg
Posted: January 3rd, 2006, 4:17pm Report to Moderator
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Well, Michael, I'd say that this is one of your better works.  I've always wanted to write something along the lines of this where bad luck keeps happening to someone, but I gotta say, you pretty much nailed this one on the head.

There was really no mystery that the old man was Malcolm, but right from the start where he's introduced in his younger years it was really quite funny.  Here's a good tagline: Everything That Can Go Wrong, Will.

Ripped socks, bird stealing toupee, bad milk, missed bus, crapped on, drenched in mud, computer virus--man!  I think the really bright spot is that you capitalize on the bad things.  What I mean is that you don't waste time building up the scene, you just stick Malcolm in there and let the bad times roll.  Really good shtuff.

The dialogue was solid, especially that of the teenagers, they had some pretty clever lines.  Malcolm finishes his story--"What a load of crap." !!!haha

"Yeah, let's go hang out at the construction site.  Maybe something bad'll happen and we'll fall in love."

My only real criticism here is the chunky descriptions of the scenes.  Really, looking at a paragraph of action is ugly.  Just separate them into two smaller paragraphs, it'll really make things look prettier.

Overall, winner all the way here.  Fun, funny, and an easy read.  Great job!


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Shelton
Posted: January 3rd, 2006, 4:57pm Report to Moderator
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Ah...my descriptions have foiled me again.  Sooner or later I'm going to find the proper breaking point.  Someone else just mentioned this in another thread for a different script, so it appears to be my achilles heel.

But, thanks a lot for the feedback.  I had been wanting to experiment with voiceovers for awhile, and this seemed like a good script to do it in.  I ended up using the teenagers to break it up a bit, and I'm glad that their characters worked.

I'm glad you liked it, and I'll work on getting those descriptions down.


Mike


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greg
Posted: January 3rd, 2006, 5:11pm Report to Moderator
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Yeah the voice overs worked nicely in this piece. Not too much, not too little, just enough.

And yes, your descriptions I think are your biggest weakness as a screenwriter.  I've read most if not all of your shtuff and everything else seems to be above par...or below par...whichever is the good one.

Chop those sons of bitches up!!!


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MegaC
Posted: January 3rd, 2006, 9:24pm Report to Moderator
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This being my first review of a script please forgive any irregularities from the norm around here.

Descriptions:

Almost spot on.  They were well written and added to the story but seemed a little too long. I’ve always thought that you should leave something to the reader’s imagination. To put it simply too much can be a bad thing.

Dialogue:

Impressive. This almost makes me hesitant to post my stuff; it would just get blown out of the water by the work on this site.  The dialogue flowed well, it seemed natural and real. Sometimes characters can come off sounding like robots, but you nailed it. Just an example:

                                                                OLD MAN
What would you say if I told you that there’s some people out there who ain’t so lucky as you and me?  People with a constant dark cloud over their head, that bad things just keep happening to?

Over all, a great read.
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Shelton
Posted: January 3rd, 2006, 9:49pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, thanks a bunch for the feedback, and for allowing my script to be your first review.



Quoted from MegaC

Descriptions:

Almost spot on.  They were well written and added to the story but seemed a little too long. I’ve always thought that you should leave something to the reader’s imagination. To put it simply too much can be a bad thing.


Yep, I have a tendency to do this.  It used to be that I didn't write enough description.  I'm working on finding that happy medium.




Quoted from MegaC


Dialogue:

Impressive. This almost makes me hesitant to post my stuff; it would just get blown out of the water by the work on this site.


Trying to sound like I don't have a big head here, but dialogue is by far the strongest part of my writing, and I've found that many people enjoy it, so don't let that deter you.  Ok, I do sound like I have a big head, Let me go back and read the comments on my descriptions......Alright, I'm down a peg, much better.  



Quoted from MegaC
Over all, a great read.


Thank you, and thanks again for the feedback.

Mike



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Martin
Posted: January 8th, 2006, 5:49pm Report to Moderator
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I really like this story, Mike. Again, dialogue is your strong suit and the plot is good but your descriptions slowed me down. It's not just the length of the paragraphs but something about the way you structure your sentences just seems flat to me.

Example:

"As Malcolm continues standing on the step, a splatter of bird droppings hits him on the shoulder.  Two YOUNG LADIES standing on the bus stop in front of the apartment see it and chuckle.  Malcolm takes a handkerchief from his pocket and cleans himself up, although a stain remains.  Malcolm looks at the two ladies, nods, and begins walking down the steps.  He makes his way down two of them when a bird swoops in and steals his toupee.  He desperately tries to grab it back and jogs off after the bird.  As he chases it down, his bus arrives, picks up the two ladies, and leaves without him."

Firstly, we know Michael is standing on the step from the previous descriptive line so the first clause is irrelevant. Also, avoid 'ing' words where possible. Nobody "continues" doing anything a screenplay, they only "do" things.

Given the amount of action that happens in the above paragraph, it needs to be broken down. I'm not saying this is perfect but here's a quick rewrite:

"A bird dropping splatters off his shoulder. He frowns and gazes up at the sky.

Two GIRLS at the bus stop look at him and laugh.

He takes a handkerchief from his pocket and scrubs at the stain to no avail. He sighs and approaches the bus stop.

A bird swoops down and steals the toupee from his head. He desperately tries to snatch it back and jogs after the bird.

The girls are in hysterics.

A bus pulls up and the girls climb aboard.

Malcom turns back to see the bus depart. He curses to himself and walks away."

Okay, it's not great but, pacing wise, I think the smaller chunks are better. Take each seperate event and describe it on a seperate line.


"He takes his wallet out, and inserts his card into the machine.  He types in his PIN, and the machine ejects his card. He removes it and tries again two more times before the machine takes his card.  He uses another card and gets his money.  He places it in his jacket pocket and continues down the street.  Money, Malcolm�s money, begins shooting out of the ATM."

This is another example of where your description runs a little flat. It's a funny sequence but the way the action's written is bland. Try to punch it up with shorter or fragmented sentences. The last line sticks out because nothing "begins" in a screenplay unless it ends. Use active verbs. Here's another quick rewrite:

He takes his wallet out, inserts his card into the machine, types his PIN number.

The machine GROWLS and spits out his card.

He tries again. Twice. No joy.

He sighs, tries another card. Bingo.

Malcom snatches his cash and walks away.

The machine WHIRS to life and spews money, Malcoms money, all over the sidewalk.


It's not great but shorter descriptions like this are quicker to read and they tend to stop people skimming over your description and missing the jokes.

Think hard about every adjective and verb. Are you using the strongest and most visual word you can find? Look back at some of Bert's stuff. You can see that he chooses every word carefully. It makes a big difference.

Keep everything short and snappy. Consider the difference between:

"John reaches into his pocket, takes out a gun, aims at the clown and shoots. The clown falls backwards onto the ground."

and

"John whips out a pistol. BAM! The clown hits the dirt.

I'm no expert but I hope some of this helps.

This is a good little story and I envy your ability with dialogue. Tighten up your descriptions and you'll be well on your way.
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bert
Posted: January 8th, 2006, 7:51pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mike: I’ve got a couple of things on this one for you.  It’s a cute story, with solid dialogue, but I can feel you struggling with these descriptions.  I can recognize your work much easier now than during that Halloween contest, I’ll tell you that.

The quickest fix for the description problem -- even if you change nothing else -- is just to break them up into smaller paragraphs, like, 3 to 4 lines tops (5 max).

Since Martin (kind of) gave me permission to do one (always a nice surprise to find that sort of stuff, thanks D.S.   ), I’ll take one:

This:

Malcolm sits at his kitchen table with a box of corn flakes, a quart of milk, bowl and spoon in front of him.  He pours cornflakes into the bowl, grabs the milk, and starts pouring.  The milk comes out in chunks.  He sets the quart of milk down and sighs as a toaster behind him starts smoking.

Becomes this:

Malcolm sits at the kitchen table, a bowl of cereal before him.  He pours the milk.  It oozes from the container in ghastly chunks that flop into his bowl.

He sighs.  Tendrils of smoke rise from the toaster behind him -- then flames shoot from the slots.


See how less is more?  Of course he has a spoon and a bowl.  Of course he grabs the milk before he starts pouring.  Stuff like that.

Here are a few more things:

*  A flier that says “Suicide”?  That seems kind of random.  How about an advert for a band called “Suicide”.  Seems less random.
*  When you end dialogue with an ellipse, intending to continue with more dialogue after some description, begin the next dialogue with an ellipse to make that clear:

          OLD MAN
     It just so happens that Jane…

Blah blah description blah

          OLD MAN
     …was his soulmate.

*  And for the end, I think something should happen to the kids.  Something off in the distance, in the background, like getting chased by a snarling dog or something.

Hope some of this helps you out.  It's a funny idea.  I think Mr. and Mrs. Gloom might be good characters in a sequel.  I can only imagine what their wedding must have been like!


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Shelton
Posted: January 10th, 2006, 4:12pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

I'm really hoping on tightening up those descriptions as I keep working on rewrites and future projects.  My first challenge will be to submit something for Phil's contest that won't make me easily identifiable.


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Shelton
Posted: February 6th, 2006, 5:19pm Report to Moderator
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Well seeing that I, for the most part, was able to write something for the western exercise that didn't easily identify me, and this being my favorite short that I've posted, I decided to go back and do a rewrite on this, fixing the descriptions, and taking Bert's advice on that little thing on the end.

I probably won't be submitting it again, at least not right away, because I didn't make any changes to the story, but if there's anyone that's interested in reading it and wants the newest, cleanest version, I can email it along.


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thegardenstate89
Posted: February 7th, 2006, 6:43pm Report to Moderator
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I enjoyed this one Mike. One little mistake I noticed you made:
OLD MAN (V.O.)
Guess his luck isn’t so bad after all.  I mean, the hostages did let him go unharmed, and things couldn’t possibly get any worse right?

I believe it was Mr. Gloom who was a hostage being let go. Just a silly error you probably overlooked.

Otherwise I found it very cute. Condense it and you've got a perfect life insurance advertisement.
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Helio
Posted: February 7th, 2006, 7:55pm Report to Moderator
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Just one comment Mr.Gloom.

It is about the long paragraphs in the scenes. VO for me is not a problem when it helps the understanding of the story.

Besides I have to say you are a great storyteller.

I wrote myself about a bad luck man too sometimes ago.
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Shelton
Posted: February 8th, 2006, 2:21pm Report to Moderator
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Tony,

Thanks for the feedback, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.  I think the hostage line was me falling victim to a train of thought.


Helio,

Right on about the descriptions.  They've been fixed in a rewrite.  

Is your story up here?  I'd like to read it.


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