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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Running On Empty Moderators: bert
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  Author    Running On Empty  (currently 1091 views)
Don
Posted: May 16th, 2006, 4:44pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Running On Empty by Spencer McDonald - Short - A Senator stops for a photo opp and a political spin regarding gas prices only to wind up deep in trouble at the hands of a jaded American.  - pdf, format


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James McClung
Posted: May 16th, 2006, 10:21pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Spencer. Thought I'd check this out since I enjoyed Master Lee quite a bit.

This started out very light and comedic with some nice political commentary that gets the point across without shoving it in your face, which is good. I expected the story to continue this way but I was completely caught off guard when it shifted gears into darker territory. It felt like two different stories though I wouldn't recommend making a smoother transition as the twist is partly what made the story so enjoyable. Both halves of the story were excellently written. The first has some great dialogue and comedic moments while the second is brutal and disturbing. My only issue I had with the story was some minor confusion regarding Larry's character. You don't mention his name is Larry when he is introduced so when the name appears, it's a little confusing, especially since you go on to call him the homeless man then back to Larry.

Good job with this one, Spencer.


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spencerforhire
Posted: May 17th, 2006, 5:55am Report to Moderator
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Write NOW! Perfect LATER!

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James

Thanks for reading. Yes. You are right the name thing was a bit confusing. At first I had Larry only as the Homeless man. I thought that was too impersonal so I actually gave him a name so people could feel for him a bit more. If I rewrite this little piece then I will correct that issue.

This story is loosley based upon an actual event where a senator pulls into a gas station to spin energy savings then drives around a corner and switches cars into his gas guzzler. Also, I wanted to try my hand at some brutal horror writing. I have a feature length horror I am starting to plan for writing. The title will be "Open House" and it involves a realtor.

Spencer


I got nothing.  
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Helio
Posted: May 18th, 2006, 10:16am Report to Moderator
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Better to die with vodka than with tedium!

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Hey Spencer! I just read your short script.

I don't know if I like it...Realy, I think it seemed to me very strange. I started to be angry with Jack (you decribe him as a politician in the dialogues very well), but you structured the narrative to the end I my point of view wrong and because of this I started to be angry with Lerry the homeless.

I think the scenes of turture were well described, but out of place, in other words, too strong to a payback from a cruel nut homeless.

So others things that people commented above were about the sluglines (INT./EXT) on page 4/5 that made my reading a little confuse.

I know you have good things inside your sleeve, just let us enjoy!

good luck partner!
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medstudent
Posted: May 18th, 2006, 10:57am Report to Moderator
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Spencer....tell us how you really feel about gas prices!!

I thought the story started well. It ended pretty violently, though. A little over-the-top. I think that was the effect you were going for though. By the first couple of pages I got the feeling the story was going to be humorous. Your tone was mixed. I liked your dialogue mostly...except a little too much cussing. Again, I think you were trying to show the intensity and emotion involved with it. I've found that stories are most effective when they have no cussing or very little. Cussing should only be used as an absolute necessity(unless it is part of the story itself)...then when it is used it has more of an effect. Also, thinking around cuss words and using different grammar/dialogue usually makes the dialogue more realistic, richer.

Other things I noticed were mostly grammar. It is distracting for me when I notice incorrect grammar or punctuation(though I still do it when writing)...it breaks up the flow of the reading. For example, when using more than one adjective use commas to break them up. Otherwise it is more difficult to read and understand.

"...scoots into a corner, big-brand gas station."

"...tall, well-dressed man..."

"...gum-chewing, twenty-something man..."

Other things...

On page 4 is it "Larry" or "Homeless man"? You use both.

Why methyl-ethyl ketone? I'm familiar with it but most may not recognize the name. You can be more generic here.

Overall though pretty decent. Keep up the writing.

Joseph



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spencerforhire
Posted: May 18th, 2006, 2:10pm Report to Moderator
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Helio

Thanks for the reivew. I was trying to take a story I had  heard about second hand and apply it to a person who lost everything because of the government and their stupid actions at times.  Also, was playing on the plight of huge gas prices. Then finally, I am in the throws of flushing out a feature length horror with some similar overtones and wanted to simply try it out here. Not much effort thrown into this one. Just a quick down and dirty to keep my writing muscle from rusting. Hope to let you read my synopsis when you are online next.

Medstudent

Yeah yeah my spelling sucks. And I over use commas then dont use them. I need an editor to help me out here. Anyway if that is all it can easily be corrected. I am finding that my dialogue seems to be the strong point of my writing. I will take the cussing under f***ing advisement.

Spencer


I got nothing.  
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Helio
Posted: May 18th, 2006, 2:38pm Report to Moderator
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Better to die with vodka than with tedium!

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Hi Spencer

I believe that the story itself has a great potential, but the way you structured it was the point. It was very difficult to me to believe on a guy (Homeless) just with him showing some photos and telling a sad story, even if we knew that most of politicians are liars etc. I think if you showed us first the homeless relatives suffering without we see him (a good surprise if you introduce him the end!) as a consequence of the wrong police and second other bad consequences, maybe we will go to hate Jack and will agree with the homeless attitude. If I was you I just would kill Jack with the stuff that motivated his relativesí death.

Maybe George Willson can help you with an accurate review than your partner here.

PS ďA suggestion: The homeless tides Jack up with pumpís hose and put the end of it inside he mouth and opened it in order to see the precious liquid running for inside his body!Ē
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medstudent
Posted: May 19th, 2006, 10:46am Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
I will take the cussing under f***ing advisement
.

Well put...


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James Fields
Posted: May 20th, 2006, 10:47pm Report to Moderator
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At first I was thinking that this was a comedy in the beginning of the script. The whole thing in the ending parts came as a shock to me as well. It blindsided me. Job well done Spencer.

I didn't find much wrong with this script. Can't wait to read more of your work.


Coming Soon:

I finally found the title for my short.

Acronym- You've been warned...

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marcusOH
Posted: May 28th, 2006, 2:47am Report to Moderator
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I liked it. It switches from comedic to dark very well.


I like movies. Ask me a question
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