All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com and simplyscripts.net domain are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. This screenplaymay not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
To Pay The Price by Jonathan Terry - Short, Drama - When Rob commits a crime so horrible that his life may be in jeopardy, Gray, his only true friend, must do everything in his power to let Rob know that he will stand by his side...even to the very end. 15 pages - pdf, format
This is interesting. It’s well written but I wasn’t ultimately satisfied with it.
P2 - slugline for dinning room - should be dining. Dinning is an actual word so spell-check wouldn’t have flagged it. Same thing on P7 with both a slugline and a line of Mr. Wilder’s dialogue when he calls for a meeting in the dinning room.
P2 - Mister Wilder states that Rob won’t talk for anything. A few moments later, Rob speaks. I understand that Mr. Wilder means Rob won’t talk about a particular incident. But I think that can be made clearer by adding an “about it” in Mr. Wilder’s dialogue. “He won’t talk about it for nothing.” Just a suggestion.
P3 - Just a note about (cont’d) for continuing dialogue. I don’t feel they’re necessary. A lot of people may like them. It’s not an important issue. But I don’t use them and I’ve never had any problem with people following dialogue or the story without them. I think they’re more of a distraction that anything. Like I said, though, it’s not a major issue or anything. Just a thought.
P3 - Rob says, “That stands for you too!” It might sound better if he says “goes” instead of “stands.”
P8 - in Miss Wilder’s dialogue; “We haven’t been in a while and it will good for us.” There should be a “be” between the “will” and the “good.”
P11 - Gray calls his foster parents “the” foster parents. So does Rob. I think “our” foster parents would sound more realistic.
It’s nice to read a straight drama occasionally. As Rob’s character developed, it became apparent that he suffered from some form of paranoia, inferring mental illness. Certainly, by the end of it, mental illness is more directly shown. I thought the character developed well in that respect.
What was missing for me were two elements that I think will enhance this story tremendously. One is that I would like to know exactly why Rob and Gray are so close. There’s a lot there already, knowing they’re both orphans and they’re in their situation together. But there’s no mention of what they’ve been through together that makes their relationship special. Gray has no idea that Rob suffers any form of mental illness so he’s apparently never seen Rob like this before. It’s apparent their relationship was quite different prior to this recent stint with the law. I wondered what it was like before.
Secondly, and most disappointingly, it’s never revealed what Rob is in trouble with the law for. The whole story is built upon it. It’s the source of Rob’s growing paranoia. It’s the source of Rob and Gray’s strained relationship and it’s the catalyst that leads Rob to his final tragic decision. Yet the reader is never made privy to the circumstances of this supposed crime. I realize you may have simply wanted the reader to concentrate on something other than that but, for me, I felt a bit cheated. The logline speaks of Rob committing a crime so horrible that his life may be in jeopardy. The crime is what draws readers to the story in this case, so readers may feel a bit cheated when they don’t find out what it is.
It’s well written and I enjoyed reading it. I have no problem with a story that leaves the reader to make of it whatever she will but, in this case, I feel like the crime in question is pivotal for the reader to know. Without that knowledge, we can’t fully appreciate the ending because we can’t fully appreciate what Rob is supposed to be free from.
Thanks so much for the read. I was really hoping I would get some serious and in depth reviews on this one, because I'm really wanting to develop it as much as possible. And you came through.
-- The "con't" after some continuous dialogue is a standard thing implemented by Final Draft. I'm not sure how to turn it off, or even if you CAN turn it off. I personally don't care for seeing it either, but it doesn't bother me that much.
-- I think you hit the nail on the head about Rob and Gray's relationship. I wanted to keep this as short as possible with as much character development as possible. Maybe in a rewrite I'll see what I can add in.
-- I see the ending a totally different way. I actually had the same situation that you did while reading a script. The main character had to kill someone to get the one thing he wanted most in life. Now, the writer never told us what that one thing was. After reading it, I felt cheated and betrayed. I felt that I should have been told what it was. I WANTED to be told what it was. But the more I thought about it, the more I saw that the story wouldn't have the same effect if the writer had revealed what that one thing was.
This piece is really a big metaphor. Every character and setting is symbolic in some way to our lives as humans. We are all Rob, struggling from past demons and looking for a way out of our guilt, and also Gray, a caring individual looking to stop those close to us from falling into darkness. This is why it was so important to make sure that each reader could see themselves in the characters.
If I would have revealed what he did then I could have possibly taken people out of the emotional attachment shared with these individuals.
Thank you so much again for the read. It is greatly appreciated.
I see what you mean. Hmmm. I guess the solution would be to somehow make Rob and Gray characters that people could more readily plug themselves into.
In a story where, for example, a character is given a choice between a billion dollars and a stranger’s life, we all instantly ask ourselves, “Hmm. Am I capable of choosing the money?” We all know what the correct choice is. But the money, in this case, represents a means by which to accomplish anything we ever wanted out of life. Sort of like with Indecent Proposal. We all sort of ask ourselves, “Could I do that?”
In the case with Rob, I’m not sure he’s instantly relatable that way. He’s relatable. But not immediately. There’s no wagering question underneath the story.
I guess what I’m saying is; how can the reader look at Rob and say, “What would I do in his situation?” The question in my mind is how can that be done without knowing Rob’s situation?
I can accept and appreciate the experimental nature of what you’re trying to do. I’m not quite sure how to accomplish it, though. That doesn’t mean it’s unworkable. It just means you have a challenge ahead of you. Good luck with it. It’s an interesting idea.
I totally understand what you are saying. I guess it can really go either way. Maybe telling what he did may, in fact, develop his character more. Like you said, it definitely can be done. It's just going to take some deep thought.
I found out that the script I read about someone making a choice actually was made. It turned out they did show what he was wishing for in the film. It was a case full of money. I still like the open ending, but I guess showing what the character is dealing with can sometimes please more people.
It’s an interesting idea. I like the way you’re experimenting with stepping outside the boundaries of standard. You’ve got me thinking. I mean, one must wonder how much of a story is necessary and how much is a crutch that makes it easier for the reader/viewer. It’s not impossible for what you’re trying to do to work, I don’t think. I’m just at a loss as to actually offer you any help in accomplishing it. I wish I could be more helpful here.
You've been more than helpful for me. I've seen so many movies that left me thinking about the future, about the events that had taken place. That is my definition of a memorable movie experience. I don't want a story that can be thrown away or forgotten the minute I walk out of the theater. I want a plot that engrosses me and leaves me guessing for days to come.
I've at least got you thinking, so I guess I can count that as a positive.
Thanks again for taking your time to read and lend me some much needed advice.
When I finished it, I wasn't really that concerned or unsatisfied with not learning what Rob was being sentenced for. But I was desperate to know the fate of Gray after being found in the toilets with a gun shot dead Rob. What happened to him? was he accused of Rob's murder?
The twist was so out there and bizarre (Rob reason for have gun and who he had to shot to get it) that it was jarring, like slaming your break on in a fast moving car. I'm sure if I was wearing a seat belt I would of got whip lash.
Not sure what Rob meant by that or you the writer. But it says a lot about Rob and would make a great story in itself.
I'm not sure what you mean by "Rob's reason for having the gun and who he had to shoot to get it." I'm not sure if you maybe read something wrong. There really is no twist about how he got the gun, nor did I imply that he shot anyone to get it.
But thanks so much for the compliments. They are very much appreciated.
Hey Jonathan, I see you are a little confused to what I wrote about your script and so I thought it is a good idea to explain my reaction to your script as it might help you with rewrites
Everything was going smoothly with this script, clear writing and motives and set-up but where I got stuck was right at the end with the scene in the toilets.
Rob shouts out that he took a gun then shot someone in the head and say it was him before shooting himself in the head again. This is all past tense so I literally took it as Rob killed himself or some sort of weird twilight zone version of himself.
But with a second read maybe everyone who is out to get Rob are just phantasm and illusions in his mind. That would make more sense but I didn't pick up on that first read and so my imagination had a huge blow out trying to interupt what was happening to Rob and why he shot himself.
So I just misinterupted the ending that is all. everything else is good.
Rob's line was just him basically saying that he was about to kill himself. Maybe that's where the past tense threw you off. I see what you mean.
Trust me, there is no twilight zone weird stuff going on.
The point of the line was to make Gray think that Rob was confessing he killed someone. Then when he shouts "Me" and kills himself, Gray realizes that he will never truly know what Rob did that was so horrible.
I hope the ending is not that confusing. I've had several readers read this (some before I posted it as well as Breanne) and no one has had a problem comprehending it.