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Well, Brea, this one is probably getting overlooked because of your crappy logline. But, unlike some others that have claimed their work to be “indescribable”, this one just might fit that bill. I can see how you would have a hard time with this one.
The reader must force themselves through the early pages, as it seems almost nonsensical, until the story reaches a point where it begins to make its own kind of sense -- and then the momentum carries you forward. It has kind of a “Naked Lunch” vibe to it (not the movie, but the book – are you familiar with that one?). Only not so completely whacked.
I wouldn’t say you’ve gone “too far” with this one by any means. I mean, it is what it is. And it is a unique piece of work.
I read as much as anybody around here, I think, and I’ve never read anything quite like this.
I don’t have many comments for you, Brea, because as I progressed through the story, I decided to retract many of the things I had said earlier.
And there are spoilers below, I guess, but that doesn’t matter much for a story like this. This piece is more something that you experience while reading as opposed to a conventional story.
* “He’s kind of a drug head.” I don’t think the unhippest parents in the world would use this phrase. * “A mess that needs to be cleaned badly”. Haha. I think you mean “cleaned well”. Rearrange this sentence. * “Everything around you is ashes, laid to rest in the wake of Red Rachel.” This is beautiful dialogue. I lingered over this line for a good 10 seconds. * The conversation on page 33/34, particularly with Mud Boy. Man, this stuff is starting to ring pretty true -- but let’s just leave it at that, shall we? * Later, though, while singing the “come out now” song -- I didn’t care for that. But then, I never like it in movies when people burst into spontaneous song. Some people like it. I don't. It’s a peeve of mine. * I am starting to sense a little baggage in the religion department, too, aren’t I? You are all over the place with this one, Brea. But that’s OK. * Yellow eyes should definitely have something better to say to the priest when they meet in the hospital room. Remember that scene in Blade Runner, where Roy finally meets his maker? Something like that. * When Yellow Eyes refers to Rachel as a “superhero” to the Inquisitors (see how these aren’t really spoilers at all?), that seems too anachronistic. Choose another word here.
So, anyways -- to the people around here who are serious about reading some truly unique work -- this one deserves a look. And I am not just being a wussy pushover because she liked The Farm, either. I think you'll see that if you read it. Good, good stuff, Brea.
Thanks for the read. I figured it was getting overlooked because it’s in the Drama genre. But, yeah, the logline doesn’t help. I would never submit such a logline to a producer but I haven’t been able to come up with a decent replacement.
The line was, “He’s a drug head, isn’t he?” but I see what you mean.
I meant “A mess that needs to be cleaned badly” as in that it was badly in need of being cleaned but again, point taken.
The peeve about the singing; do you mean singing as in a musical? Or any kind such as like just two idiots who were messed up singing which is what occurs here?
Yes, the superhero expression was definitely out of the period. That’s why the bishops didn’t understand it and believed he was talking about a priestess. I see your point, though. I can see how it could rouse readers from the period they’re currently in.
No, I’m not familiar with “ Naked Lunch” but yes, I remember the scene from “Blade Runner.” Rutger Hauer is very hard to forget when he has a good role.
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to just not get slammed, Bert. I just wasn’t sure what to make of this script myself at times. I struggled over what it all meant at times. It was perhaps the strangest experience I’ve ever had writing anything.
The peeve about the singing; do you mean singing as in a musical?
No, people are supposed to sing in a musical, and you go in expecting it.
I mean in a regular old movie where people are just walking along or driving in the car and they suddenly start singing a song for no discernable reason. For example, "Show me the way to go home" in Jaws. What the hell was that all about? It was out of character for all three of them, if you ask me.
I've never done this, and I've never seen anyone else do it, either. It is so false. It drives me nuts, and takes me right out of the story every time.
But like I said, some people are fine with it, and since they do it so often, some people must actually like it.
Well, Brea, i don't want to sound like a crazed fan but you've done it again. I think this is on a par with KTPNTY. It's one of the most original scripts I've read. I've been toying with the idea of an acid trip script for a while but never quite figured out how I'd do it. I think you nailed it. The paranoia, confusion and hallucinations add up to a bizarre ride and I couldn't put it down. I really like your poetic descriptions and dialogue. It's just a pleasure to read.
As for the logline, I can't help you. I've no idea how to boil this story down to a workable pitch. I reckon you could pitch this as a horror movie of sorts. I mean, it's a powerful drama but it's also pretty scary in places.
A few notes:
pg. 33-34: Mud Boy's confused dialogue rings so true. Well written.
Typo pg 37 "you're not boyfirend"
You've obviously done some research. Yellow Eyes is a really interesting character. I actually learnt something.
"JULIA: Oh my God, Trevor, I'm so scared"
Is this necessary? Maybe you can do this without dialogue or at least change it to something less obvious.
"JULIA: Oh my God, Trevor. They're crazy."
So far, I'm not really liking Julia and Trevor. Maybe that's the idea. The kind of detachment people get from those who aren't sharing their trip.
Mud Boy wallowing in the mud, haha
Pg. 44 I really like the scene with Harold and Myrna as bird and cat, especially how Myrna's the cat. It's symbolic of their relationship (i think). You might want to consider making things clearer e.g. HAROLD/BIRD as your character heading. I've no idea if this is accepted practice but it would make it clearer for me.
I'm pretty sure singing should be in italics. You might wanna check on that. For the record, I thought the singing was pretty cool but maybe a little too much. I guess it's hard to imagine what it sounds like when you just read the lyrics. The lyrics are generally good though.
The flashback scene with the priest is just plain creepy. Powerful and cleverly written.
Page 51. Wow, things are really kicking off now. I'm liking this more and more.
For me, Trevor and Julia are the weak link so far. The rest of the characters are so unique and alive, it makes these two feel so flat. EDIT: Julia gets better later on.
You've got some great visuals here. I especially like Rachel's flashback with the cocaine and the grasshopper.
pg 62-63 - great poetic dialogue from Yellow Eyes.
JULIA: I can't go any further - this line isn't needed
The scene with the Priest on page 75 could use some tighter dialogue. I'm not sure what exactly but stuff like "the problem with that is that it's not good enough" sounds awkward.
OMG, the officer shooting himself in the head is so twisted. I love it. How the hell do you think this shit up?
I love the ending with the priest and torture machine but something bothered me about the montage and the VO. I guess you felt you needed to explain things, but most of it I'd already figured out (i think). It felt a bit dumbed down when Yellow Eyes explains each character and what they represent but maybe it's necessary.
Yellow Eyes is a great character. I was reminded of Union Tear from KTPNTY. I actually think it's cool how your male characters are quite effeminate. You're playing to your strengths.
Overall, I'm really impressed. It's so imaginative and visual with a great dreamlike quality. I have no idea how you think this stuff up (actually maybe I have).
If anyone's bored of reading the same old cliched horror scripts, check this one out.
Wow. What a review. I can’t be anything other than extremely flattered. Thank you so much. I still think you’re the greatest writer in the world….hehe
You are absolutely right about lyrics being in italics. I screwed up there. Thanks for catching me. I kind of knew it didn’t look right but it just never occurred to me.
All of your suggestions are fantastic and I’ll do just as you say.
Part of the reason it started becoming more literal at the end with the montage is because I was afraid it had gotten away from me and that it had perhaps begun to lose cohesiveness. That’s one of the purposes that Trevor and Julia were to serve. Now, it seems that perhaps my attempts to ground it worked to its disadvantage and only served to pull the reader out of the story. I certainly never intended to dumb it down. That montage scene was added later and I can certainly fix that easily enough.
As to how I think this stuff up….well, it all started when I fell into that vat of toxic chemicals…
Both you guys are ace reviewers and, to be honest, I really sincerely believe that coming here and hanging around with quality writers has done a great deal to make me a better writer.
Hi Breanne, the inverse psychology marketing technique in your sig worked fine with me, so here I am.
Great format and scene efficency made this a fast read. The story was weird. Some bits were too weird for my taste but I enjoyed most of the script because the weirdness had a clever logical subtext in it. At first the story seems like a Teen Drug Drama, but then evolves into something pretty original and unique.
While reading the first pages and with so many characters appearing, I was afraid I could suffer the “Who was that guy?” syndrome, but the script proved me wrong. Each character was pretty well developed and had its own individuality.
There were some very creepy flashbacks which I liked, specially Rachel´s.
For all this reasons, and despite the fact that this genre is not my cup of tea, I enjoyed reading your work.
The logline is well written but it doesn´t ring like a logline; it sounds more like the kind of thing you can read in the back cover of a novel. I can understand why you had troubles to build a logline for this script. Loglines usually tell us about who is the protagonist and what´s his/her goal, and this script doesn´t have a clear protagonist (except for the last pages where Yellow Eyes and Rachel rise above the other characters in terms of protagonism). I would suggest to build the logline around Yellow Eyes´struggle to differentiate between real and hallucination.
Some very minor details that caught my attention:
P.1: When writing scenes that are part of a continuous action (like your first 4 scenes) it isn´t really neccesary to write DAY or NIGHT in every slugline. For example you could do it like this:
“EXT. ROAD - DAY The maintenance man´s truck drives along.
INT. TRUCK The old man looks curiously ahead as the vehicle slows.”
P.2: MAINTENANCE MAN (grouchy; to himself)
I would suggest removing “to himself”, there´s nobody else there.
P.3 UNSEEN PATIENT.
Not very sure about this one. Caps are used to introduce new characters or to emphasize a certain object, but you get to "see" the character or the object. I doubt if it´s correct to capitalize someone who´s not supposed to be seen by the reader.
P.5 I think the scene with the psychiatrist has too much description. There´s no need to tell what the characters are wearing unless there´s a good reason for it. Later on the script, the guys are impressed about Rachel´s look, so in that case is relevant to tell how she´s dressed and how gorgeous she looks. But here I can´t see a reason. You have like 13 lines before Rachel starts talking with the shrink; the scene would work faster and better if you loose some of the previous descriptions.
p.10 You have some lines in parenthicals which should be action lines, IMO. For example, when Birdie sighs annoyed.
p.12 I play the electric guitar. I know what you´re talking about here. But many people (including producers) won´t have a clue about C, F, Dm, etc. I doubt how many people in an audience could gather that Yellow strikes "D minor" a couple of times. I would suggest to loose all the technical details; the only relevant information is that Yellow Eyes is “rocking pretty good, not sounding half bad” and it doesn´t matter which notes he´s exactly playing. Just for the record, I believe you found a very clever way to format this, despite the fact I believe this information is not needed.
p.44. The Bird vs. Cat scene. Great. A weird, funny and clever representation of the relation between Birdie´s parents. One of my favourites bits.
p.46 “Yellow Eyes calls out after her” It´s redundant, IMO, since that´s made clear in Yellow´s inmediate dialogue.
p.48/51 For every writer that agrees with me on this, I find 10 that don´t, but here it goes in case you belong to the minority. I don´t think it´s correct to write FLASHBACK in scripts just before one is starting.
When watching a movie in the theatre, the screenwriter isn´t there to tell you “Hey, a flashback is coming”. You got to figure it out by yourself based on the information you see on screen (i.e. a character who died in the first minute of the movie, is now alive and kicking, like in The Exorcism of Emily Rose). This flashback is easy to catch, but sometimes writing a flashback is a very difficult thing, like the one you wrote about Yellow Eyes.
I mean, suddenly we are not at the overlook anymore, we are in a classroom, and while the script says that we´re looking at young Yellow Eyes, the audience will be looking at another actor, an unknown kid. It´s the writer´s job to connect both scenes, so the audience can figure out what´s going on. You did a good job here: the kid has yellow eyes. The connection is simple and perfect. But what if you didn´t write well this scene? What if you didn´t include any information to connect present and past? The reader would surely know it was a flashback (the script clearly states it is), but the audience (who won´t get the chance to read the script) would think “What was that scene about?”
Bottom line: if a flashback is well written, I think it´s redundant to write “flashback” in the script. If it´s not well written, I think it´s a way of cheating by putting information on paper that couldn´t translate on screen.
P.54 The alien talking backwards. Lol. Crazy stuff.
p.63 I agree with Martin about losing Julia´s “I can´t go any further” Her inmediate actions make that clear.
p.69 INSTANT NEW SCENE
Not sure about this. Every slugline implies an “instant new scene”. Maybe you could try something like INT. STAGE - LATER (?)
p.77 INT./EXT. ROOM/BALCONY - DAY I understood this scene. No problem. But I´m not sure if this is the correct way to format it. I would suggest another slug: INTERCUT BETWEEN ROOM AND BALCONY
Well, nothing more to add. I hope some of these comments are useful to you.
Another great read. Even though it went pretty far out at times, it still felt coherent throughout. And I love the dark stuff. Good job!
I don't really know what to say that hasn't already been said. INSTANT NEW SCENE is a bizzare way to move on. I'm not really sure what would make a suitable substitute though.
I agree with Dr. Mabuse about the characters being spelled out at the end though I would actually suggest leaving it out. I've always felt it better to leave those kinds of things up to interpretation and if people REALLY need to have it spelled out for them, they can ask.
All in all, another great read. I really enjoy your writing. Look forward to your future works.
Thanks for the read and critique. I’m getting a lot of really solid advice on this thread. Some of it may be that I’m receiving criticism better, I don’t know, but it seems like I’m getting a lot of good guidance.
The only thing I could really disagree with you on is Rachel with the psychiatrist. You may be right but I would at least like to explain what her appearance and behavior was supposed to represent.
Rachel suffers from a severe type of depression. To others, she’s a beautiful young lady but to herself she’s a detestable monster. She is shy and barely speaks when she finally does. She dresses as though she doesn’t care. Even later, it was Birdie who bathed her, dressed her and pulled her hair back off her face.
The light is something she fears. There are several scenes where light blares in as though foreign such as the scene in the park where the lamp comes on and Rachel freaks out and starts seeing demons.
Anyway, just some thoughts to explain. Your advice will be used in subsequent rewrites.