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Cut Off by Tyler Higgins - Short - Mark and his girlfriend and Kelly are on a road trip, completely unaware of the intricate lives of the people who cut them off. Sadly, we are not. 8 pages - doc, format
------------- You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - Wayne Gretzky
Posted: March 9th, 2006, 8:30am
I can't say I liked this story. Mark must really be bored if he's going to get philosophical about why everyone is doing what they're doing. I got the impression that he was driving for the last nine or ten hours.
The storyline involving Lucy, I felt, was very forced I can't see Chris doing what he did.
I felt that this story had no characterization. You wrote just enough about the characters to push the story along. As a result, I couldn't care for what happened to any of them.
Hey thanks phil, I realize that for this I need all the help I can get.
This is my first attempt at drama, and as phil pointed out, it is not a very strong peice. That is why I need all the help that I can get. My drama skills need work, I cannot simply use comedy, and that is the reason I wrote this short. Everyones help on improving my drama skills would be immensely appreciated.
The main thing to remember, when writing a short, is that it's a short. The story should be kept very simple. Try writing a short that deals with just Mark and Kelly in the car. What could two peopletalk about in a ten hour car trip?
Maybe you can have them get pulled over by cops who think they're dangerous/armed/wanted criminals. What would be going on their heads? What would be going on in the cops' heads?
You got your format rating up to the shades, but you still need that space before descriptions. ANYWAY, here's the shtuff I jotted down while reading.
Page 1: play's should be plays
Page 2: The cell phone jerk pulling out--I hate it when that happens.
Page 4: Why's she walking up the stairs? Wait, nevermind. I checked back up and they're in his basement.
Page 4: I don't know if Chris should be kicking her unconscious body. They just broke up so they've been together for a good time, but kicking her when she's unconscious? That's a Maury story in the making.
Ya know, the story shows promise but right now it's all over the place. You have a pretty good idea with Mark and Kelly talking about the lives of other drivers, but the whole parallel story with Lucy, Chris, and Rick doesn't land well. What I think would work better is if you stick with the same start, Chris drives his car with an unconscious Lucy, then he's tailgated by someone. We go into the car of the tailgater, hear his story, then some guy honks his horn at him, we go into the car of the honking guy, find out his story, etc, etc, then we end with another car cutting off Mark and Kelly. That was the sort of vision I had before reading this, because it's not really the lives of other drivers, it's the conflict between two ex lovers.
So I think the story has nice potential. Mark and Kelly's dialogue and thoughts were well portrayed, but again, it's that parallel story that kind of cuts this story off. Ha, get it? Nyuk nyuk nyuk! Anyway, good luck in the future on this. If you get a rewrite done I'll be glad to read it.
Thanks guys. I'm getting the idea that I should just drop the whole Lucy plot and stick with Mark and Kelly as the main charaters, which could work, I suppose, i'll just have to figure something out. I see how I can easily make this a comedy, but trying to make it a drama is proving to be tough.
I saw this was only 8 pages so I gave it a read. You said you were shooting for drama and that's hard to do in just 8 pages. For drama to work effectively, you need to create empathy/sympathy for the characters. This is impossible unless we get to know them first. I think you have too many characters in this script so we don't get to know any of them very well. There's no room for multiple storylines in such a short script. For all we know, Lucy deserves to be kicked while she's down (I'm kidding), but do you see what I'm saying? Without any knowledge of who she is, you're relying on shock value and nothing more. There's no emotional response to Chris' actions because there is no context for his violence.
You write well enough, and your dialogue sounds natural, but you need to take the time to explore your characters.
Look at it this way: introduce me to a random guy off the street and tell me he lost his job. Do I feel sorry for him? Not really. I don't even know the guy. For all I know he's an incompetent ass who doesn't deserve to be employed. If he was my friend or my worst enemy, I'd feel differently.
For a script this short you need to focus on 1 or 2 characters. Get to know them a little then throw them into difficult situations and see how they react.
Dr. Mabuse, that really helped a lot, you explained the predicament I put myself in well. So now I have two options: I can make it longer and keep the same basic plot but build up the characters more, or I can just scrap the old plot and make a newone focusing around only Mark and Kelly. This is really helping, thanks.
I thought this was pretty good. I don’t think you necessarily need to remove characters. I do think you need to develop them a little more but I don’t think you’d have to expand it too much to do that.
I do think it needs to flow better. The dialogue, I think, needs to be streamlined. There are things that are said that seem to be unrealistic.
For example: “…they all have their own lives as intricate and detailed as ours.” This line sounds more like something you would read in the editorial section of a newspaper than something a guy would say to his girlfriend. I mean, it’s possible someone would say that but it just doesn’t come off that way in the particular instance in this script.
No need to capitalize a word of dialogue. The exclamation point is plenty sufficient for yelling.
A few description things:
In some description, Kelly finishes painting her nails on her left hand. Shortly after, it says she begins painting her left hand. There’s no need to specify which hand. It’s not really relevant and it just adds tedium for the reader. Also, painting your nails while in a moving vehicle is very difficult. I don’t know a lot of girls who actually do this. Most do their nails at home because painting your nails can be very tedious and requires stillness to do right. It’s a lot harder to do in a car than putting on makeup. Just some thoughts.
Also, Kelly turns the music back up right before they turn into the exit and then they start talking while the music is still up though it's obvious in their tone that the music is down.
I think the basic story is pretty good. I just think it needs to be streamlined and a little more developed. For example, Mark and Kelly’s conversations are too similar too often. It’s good that the conversations tie in to the story but you’ll have to get creative to mix it up some more. It comes off more like the characters are serving a particular purpose rather than being complete people who happen to be in their particular situation.
I mean, yes, they are serving a purpose and they should be. They’re what are called “witnesses;” characters who are designed to either put the story into perspective or make sure the story gets told. But they need to have their own lives. Instead of just arbitrarily talking about the chili, for example, maybe one of them brings up a past instance that the chili reminded them of; that sort of thing.
Apparently the best cure for this short is to make it longer. This, of course, does not sound difficult, but if I do want to keep the plot the same (for the most part), it will be quite the challenge. The two way's that I think I could make this plot work as well as having more character development are the following: 1. A scene in the Diner in which Mark and Kelly see Lucy and Chris, and I can work on Lucy and chris a bit. 2. Flash backs.
Everything needs to take place in the time span that Mark and Kelly are in this little town, and theycannot be in it for too long. That is why I either need the flash backs, or something to happen while their in the Diner, because I'm short on time. Any suggestion on which I should use? Or other choices?
I liked it. So this was ur first drama script?!?!? It was awesome. But why would Chris just kick the fuck out his woman. LOL! And i agree with the to many characters. Good luck with your next drama script.
What am I working on?!? Splatter - Revisions Bad Hare - Writing
I stuck with the entire script and hoped for some resoloution, irony, or twist and nothing happended in the end. You story needed a great conclusion to tie everyone and everything together. Kicking the girl might be ok if the characters were developed better (we got to know them and their personalities) but with such a short script we didn't get time to know these characters so intimately.
Heres an idea: Just grab her ankle and come away with her shoe. As she falls toss her stilleto heels at her as she lays unconscious at the foot of the stairs in a pool of blood.
Just took a look at this lastnight because I saw the logline and thought it seemed kind of interesting. So I read it and was going to comment about it this morning. It's just a really weird coincidence that this happens to be the unproduced script of the day.
It seems like you haven't thought about 'Cut Off' in a little while so I don't know if you're finished with it, or still keeping it on the back-burner to work on. But, for what it's worth, here's my two cents worth:
It's actually not a bad build-up to the end. There was enough suspense to keep the story rolling and me motivated to finish it. The end, to me, did seem a little anti-climactic, though, mainly because there is no resolution in that we never know if Chris gets away with it, or if he gets nailed. Plus, we're not too sure what happens to Lucy. I'm assuming Chris kills her, but the last we see, he just punches her. I think it might be important to show if he kills her or not.
Also, one little tiny thing didn't add up that I saw.
Mark and Kelly leave the diner and get cut off by Chris driving Lucy to dump her in the park. So I'm assuming by now, Mark and Kelly are going to head to the highway and on to their destination.
So, in that time, Chris dumps Lucy in the park, she wakes and Chris has to take the time to (I assume) kill her and drive back to his house. Then, when he talks on the phone to her father, he says it was twenty minutes or so. Then, Mark and Kelly pass Lucy's father again. With all that happening, wouldn't Mark and Kelly have been out of town by then?
Other than those few things, I actually did like the story. It was a good little dramatic piece. I think other people don't seem to be into it because it is more of a drama, instead of an action-packed rollercoaster of a ride with a lot of blood and gore. (I'm interested to see how the February '08's OWC is going to be received.) Don't get me wrong, when I said I thought you should show Chris killing her, I meant just get the point across that Lucy is actually dead, and there's nobody to put Chris at the park. However, Mark and Kelly seeing Chris in the middle of his plan would be an interesting way to go. However, as is, I thought it was a decent story and the suspense was built up well through the beginning and middle. It just didn't seem to pan out at the end.
Oh yeah, just for the record, when Mark and Kelly were in the diner and Mark pointed out how Kelly's chili was the best in the world, it came off, at least to me, very cheesy. Also, he kisses her hair? What the hell is that all about? :-) At least have him give her a kidney bean-reeked peck on the lips or something. Him kissing her on her hair sounds like it could be an interesting psychological story about Mark in itself.
Hope these suggestions help and maybe want to work on the story again, if it's your intention. It could be a very good story ironed out.