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I'll take first crack at the piece that has, arguably, the strangest title. As the title suggests, it is a quiet story, but by it's end the protagonists are well-developed, and the reader does care for them.
I can't guess who wrote this, but the 10-point font and "CUT-TO"s rule out a few people. As such, most comments to the author are format-related things (with a few SPOILERS):
* It is never resolved what Manny is running from near the beginning of this story. I was curious, and thought that should have been done. The near-ending implies what he might have been running from, but we are never sure. And the bigger issue -- are you implying that he was guilty?? You need to answer that, too, I think, as it has a pretty big bearing on how we ultimately feel about this character. * You have the boys running -- then a "CONTINUOUS" -- then George holding them by the scruff of their shirts. This is not a "continuous". Anyway, I have read more than once to not even bother with that particular slug anymore. Walking through a doorway -- into a new locale -- is about the only time it is ever used. * Once or twice we have long, unbroken paragraphs of description. But maybe you were just trying to keep it under 15 pages haha. * Actually, this story could have benefitted from more pages, particularly in terms of George's ultimate bonding with Manny. It happens kind of quick here, and I suspect you might have liked to explore that a bit more. * The V.O. square dance is a super montage idea. This works just great, I think.
This is a very solid entry into the competition. The author has done a nice job within the page limitations given to him or her, and this is actually a story for which I wouldn't have minded a few more pages.
This is a break from the "Bad stranger is a good guy the a twist appears" scripts that seem tobe popping out all over the place in the competition. Anyway, you did good. My only problem is with the title and the slugline, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS this script was hardly about fudge at all. You should definetely rethink the Title, i kept waiting for a fight over fudge, but it never came, there really was no coveting of fudge at all. That is just a really small aspect of a screenplay, and the rest was good in a disney sort of way.
This was a good story, although more of a Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn type one rather than a flat out western, with the two rambunctious kids getting into trouble, and the backdrop of Clifford Jackson.
Like Higgs said, it didn't have a whole lot to do with fudge, but I think there was enough to justify the title. The logline, eh, not so sure.
The dialgoue was well written, although I do remember seeing an instance of ye where it should have been ya. Also, I didn't care too much for the use if "pally" in this context. It didn't fit for me.
I rather liked this one. It had a nice pace to it, good plot, and some good characters. The descriptions need to be broken into blocks of no more than 4 lines. Some of those ran on and on. Dialogue was pretty good, although the personal references (fool, kid, boy, pally) were a bit much there at the beginning.
The only other thing I was curious about was if this Cliff Jackson was ever caught. That would absolve our minds of whether Manny was involved in any way. In fact, when the farm name came up at the end, I had to go back and check the names to ensure they weren't the same. Using more removed last names would help this. That's just me though.
The only other complaint was when the boys ran out of the store and then suddenly, George is holding them by their shirts. Seemed a little abrupt. Might have been good to see them busted.
I don't really have any other problems. It was easy to read and follow, and had that feel good ending. Well done.
Did somebody submit two? I swear this format looks like one I read the other day. Oh well, regardless, this was still a pretty enjoyable read. Only 15 pages but it still had elements that made ya laugh, made ya think, made ya hate. Very good piece to dig out all of those emotions.
As Bert said, why was Manny running? I thought maybe midway through that he was really Cliff Jackson, but those two things weren't explained. Dialogue was right on the money. This kind of reminded me of "To Kill A Mockingbird," except set a half century earlier.
The end montage with the singing and years passing was superbly done. I think if the author ever wants to turn this into a feature, that would be a sharp way to end it as well. Not 100% on the author, but a job well done!
I don't care for the 10 point font, the blocks of description, or the CUT TOs, but I hardly even noticed once I got into the story.
I thought the dialogue was very well written. I definitely got a feel for the era and setting. The characters were pretty well developed in a short space of time and the ending was just perfect.
I agree with the points others have made about resolving what Manny was running from. I'd also like to see this stretched out to show George bonding with Manny over time because it did feel quite abrupt.
I could see this working as a feature with Morgan Freeman playing old Manny haha.
This on my list of my favourites. Excellent work.
Oh, and I'm probably the only one that likes the title.
I really like this one. It’s very well written and a very touching story. I’m originally from the South (and contrary to the impression most people get from my writing, I speak with a very pronounced Southern accent). I’m very inclined to believe the writer of this piece is also Southern.
This one reminds me of a novel my teacher read to our class in grade school. I always adored that story and this one, though abbreviated, is quite charming as well.
Great storytelling in a very short page count.
Only criticisms (all minor):
1) Some paragraphs really need to be broken up. There are a few with too much action taking place in too large of a cluster.
2) Page 12 - typo - prostitute instead of prositute.
3) I know that the hoodlums wouldn’t be called that on screen but it might be better to call them vigilantes or something that was used in the era. I don’t think a lot of people were called hoodlums in the old west. I don’t know, though. Maybe they were.
These are all minor and, quite frankly, overlookable given the overall quality of the work.
You guys have no idea how happy I am about the positive feedback I’ve received for my script!! WOW. I’ll try to address some of the issues brought up…
First off, Bert - well done for guessing correctly!!
I really didn’t realise that the 10-point courier was that important actually. I can go back and change this later. I know about not using CUT-TO’s as well as CONTINUOUS too now. Thanks for the heads up here.
POTENTIAL SPOILERS for anyone who hasn’t read it ***********
Right, it seems as if everyone wants to know what Manny was running away from. Well, I was in two minds as to whether or not to explain this. I mean, I didn’t really think it made that much difference in the end, for the simple fact that the point wasn’t to find out what it was. We are supposed to imagine it’s something bad, but the emphasis was on the new found friendship, the acceptance into the Swanson family and the types of prejudices that Manny would have faced in those days.
As for the Clifford Jackson storyline, I wasn’t trying to hint at or confuse the reader into thinking he was Manny. In fact, I think I tried to make it clear in the dialogue between George and the sheriff, to emphasize that Cliff was a man and not a boy, in this line – (SHERIFF) “Rumor has it he's the man responsible for burnin' down the Wilder farm” – I think I need to make it more clear here then. Also, even though this was at the end, the sign at the barn celebration read “Swanson & Jefferson Ranch” – so you’d know for sure by then what Manny’s real surname was. I never gave Manny the Swanson surname, but showed that he’d been welcomed into the family by the writing on the new candy “Swanson & Sons”.
I brought the Clifford Jackson storyline into the script because I wanted to highlight the fact that back in those days, Negro lynching was unfortunately common practice and I wanted to show what black people were being subjected to, even after slavery had ended. I think I’ve only ever really seen westerns which played on the whole cowboy and Indian thing, so therefore wanted to take the western theme slightly later on in time, to the late 19th century/ early 20th century. Just so it was different and also because the issue is important to me.
The vigilantes, (vigilantes is a better word than hoodlums, thanks, Breanne) knew that George let Manny live with him, so they went on the offensive to the store to see if he was hiding Clifford. Which is why earlier the sheriff came to warn George about the possibility of there being trouble. Also Bill’s remark about George being a “Negro lover” was a dig, highlighting their different opinions about black people. So, they weren’t looking for Manny, but were stirring the fact that George wasn’t racist too.
As for the long descriptive paragraphs, to be honest with you, I was trying to squeeze this all into 15 pages. It was originally longer, as I’d spaced it out better, but then saw it went over by a few pages so therefore bunched the lines up.
I really wanted to make the story longer and show the way George, Nate and Manny bonded together, but I really couldn’t do it in the 15-page limit. I might go back over this and re-do the formatting and then add some more scenes.
George, I agree about the scene with the boys being caught could have been shown. I think I originally wanted to show it, but in the end, I went back and couldn’t see how I could fit it all in. Again, I struggled with 15 pages to tell this story. Actually if this had been written in 12-point courier, it would have made it 20 pages, so I still needed more pages to really get into it!!
I’m really glad the montage at the end worked. I was looking everywhere for good montage scenes as my Goonies ones didn’t work! I was worried I hadn’t written it correctly too.
As for the title, yeah, I really didn’t know what to call it. I first thought about ”Clearwater” as the title, as it has double meaning. First that the creek was called this and second, it was supposed to also imply how everything became clear in the water. Like in the washroom scene, when the boys first really get a good understanding of the differences between them, colour wise. I had a very similar experience when I was little, with my best friend at the time around 8 years old. It wasn’t with us washing our hands together, but comparing our little fingers to raw and burnt sausages!! Yeah, that’s another story! LOL. But then I thought “Clearwater” sounded too boring, so went with the thing that made the two kids happy upon bonding.
The terms “pally” and “kid” were originally inspired by Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. In the whole time they were friends, Jerry always said that Dean never called him Jerry. He always called him pally, kid or just Jer. That struck a chord with me. I started the story with a lot of “fool” and “pally” at the start, when they were old men, because there they were already best friends, in case it seemed odd…
Sorry the logline sucked. I really hate writing those. I really don’t spend enough time thinking about this and should in future, as I could see that the number of reads was slow due to the choice in title and logline. Shows how much of a difference it all makes. Glad you liked the title though, Martin.
Mike, I still have never read or seen anything related to the Sawyer/Finn story. I’d like to check that out now, as if this is similar in anyway, I’d really enjoy it.
Greg, I’m glad you found it thought provoking and funny too. It was hard to write something with a serious undertone and at the same time, add comedy relief to it.
Martin, I’m not really sure about how I could turn this into a feature length script, though it does interest me now that you mention it. I could totally see Morgan Freeman in this role too. Also, Louis Armstrong as well (had he still been alive). That croaky voice and those beautiful big, caring eyes, would’ve won me over in a heartbeat, for Manny’s character.
Breanne, thank you so much for the compliments!! I am from the south… sorta! If South London counts, lol. I’m really very touched that you think I did that good of a job with the dialogue and your compliment totally made my day. Thanks for the typo heads up too.
Thanks also to Tomson, Chris, Higs and others who read and reviewed this. Means a lot.
This wasn't bad. I have few problems with what actually goes on in the story, except that the fudge was more of an incident than a component of the plot, but it was very slow to read. You kept it within 15 pages but it felt longer. There were a lot of big, blocky paragraphs that you could probably chop up too. You can lose the CUT TO's as well.
The story itself, I enjoyed although it would've worked better if you focused more on the Clifford Jackson plot. I liked the bond between the two boys and you managed to capture the times pretty well. The montage at the end was well done too.
All in all, a good story but could've been less wordy to keep it moving along. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.
Martin, I have a few ideas already for a couple of shorts right now. I'll try to write them before I leave, cos once in CA, I won't have the software to do so anymore!!
James, I didn't realise it seemed like a slow read. However, hope that didn't hurt the storyline in any way. I didn't want to focus on Clifford Jackson, as that would have taken too much away from the boys. I appreciate your thoughts on this though. I'll try to make this more concise before I leave.
Zane, am really happy you liked it... cheeky b*stard! "Laters" lmao!!...
Bert, Higs, Andrew - I haven't forgotten about your scripts. I will be reading them soon. Just been really busy.