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This one is fairly clever. I liked it, but do have a couple of comments.
In this script, you have a few passages where you need to script the action a bit better. You are skipping over stuff that you are not allowed to skip over.
For example, a descriptive passage such as this is far too general:
Tiffany and Shelly search around the areas they had browsed. Even a couple of customers help. After a few minutes of searching, the ring doesn’t turn up.
A few minutes? That is a whole lot of screen time. How many areas? Which areas? How many customers? You are taking too many shortcuts here.
Maybe you need a series of shots or something -- but you are just tossing out this line and then expecting the director to know what to do with it, you know?
It is your job to fill in those blanks.
You need to be on the lookout for those. You have a couple.
Other than that, I enjoyed it, but I also thought maybe it went on for a bit too long. Personally, I would have ended this at Gerald’s phone call.
The rest of the script is just you filling in blanks that we do not necessarily need filled in. You have done your job well enough here, and you should trust your readers to understand what has happened.
The twist actually surprised me. I knew people did that stuff, but I guess you just caught me when I was sleepy.
But, yeah, you don't really need all that ending. You could probably end it at the payphone ringing...but if you want everyone to understand, you cut quickly cut to the con-couple kissing and then fade to black from there(you don't need to have any of the dialogue that explains it). The scenes after the twist just kind of take away from the twist, making it less effective.
Chuck the last two scenes and you have yourself a very great short.
Bert, I do know I tend to skip quickly over some 'stage' directions, but I have been getting into that kind of routine since receiving a few comments from Circle of Confusion, a production company taking a look at one of my full-length screenplays. They seemed to stress the point that I'm getting too detailed with my directions. In fact, their exact words were 'Give the director a little bit of credit and let him do his job.' I don't know about that idea, but as you can see, I have been trying to just tell the story and let the reader assume the simple actions.
James, as much as I'd love to be there than here in the Americas, I'm not from the U.K. Now that you mentioned it, though, i'm definately going to check out 'The Real Hustle'. It sounds like something I might be interested in. And true, this is a universal con. I got the idea from a very old con in the late 1800's my father had told me about when I was eleven, and I never forgot it. A man with one eye would exclaim that he lost his 'glass eye' in a saloon and offer a ridiculous reward for it. A friend of his would 'find' the glass eye later and a mark would pay an amount not even close to the actual reward. Thanks for the compliment. I'm glad you liked it.
Hoody, I know the ending was carrying on a bit, but I wanted people to have a finite idea that Tiffany and Caleb did not exist. And I wanted the reader to know just how much they took their mark for and why they were doing it. I am still going to trim down the ending a lot, though.
This was a very interesting short. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of the Argentinean movie “Nine Queens” (check it out if you like con movies).
The twist worked wonderfully. I’ve got no substantial suggestions to make since the story works fine as it is. I do have some minor nitpicks though:
-I think you should tell us Tiffany’s age the moment she is introduced to us. No biggie, but it’ll help the reader to visualize her right from the start.
-Bert is right about some of the descriptions. Sometimes you condense action too much. An example:
“After a few minutes of searching.”
A few minutes search is really a lot of time. This scene could be tedious to watch if the search actually lasted a few minutes. What you need here is a 10 second sequence with a series of quick shots to imply that an extensive search took place. And I’m guessing that this is what’s on your mind. You didn’t mean to have the scene last for a couple of whole minutes didn’t you? The problem is that this description line suggests (literally) the contrary.
“After a few minutes of searching” is not a visual, is an idea. As the writer, you need to select and craft which visuals are going to convey this idea.
It’s not a big deal actually. I think any director could read that line, get what you mean, and come up with the shots required. But I think that your script would read much better if you flesh out the search scene yourself.
You’ve got to make the reader feel like he is watching a movie when reading the script. And because of the lack of concrete visuals, descriptions that condense action so much are a bit disruptive of the flow that the reading experience should have.
-As I said, I loved the twist ending. And as others suggested you could have ended the script a little sooner. Once we know it was all a con, fade out. End with a bang. Your ending is powerful, but it could be even more powerful if you end the story when the reader’s mouth is still open in awe.
This was a very good story and I highly recommend it... despite the absence of dragons...
I just finished reading the screenplay and I thought it had a tricky story (in a good way).
Anyway, I think Abercrombie & Fitch is soooo lame. That's where all the wannabe's shop, but this is besides the point and I shall get on with the review.
I didn't notice any error with the format of your writing, and it was clear to me, but as Bert mentioned to use "search for a few minutes" on a few words is a waste and you should add more detail to that.
For the characters, I thought the way Shelly & Tiffany acted at the beginning to make more drama for the ring was very good, and she made it really seem like she lost the ring, so she is a very good con-woman. What is especially good is that they talk about the ring just when passing the cash register, so that Gerald will hear them.
Gerald is a fool to her plans and when she offers him twenty-eight hundred dollars he is a complete sucker. At the end I felt sort of sorry for his character because hehe will get alot of cash and is excited that he has the chance to get the cash, but it's all a TRICK!!!
Brandon is also very good, he follows the scam very well and also tricks Gerald, and is very smart for making Gerald pay a grand for the ring, even though it's worth not much and it shows what suckers people can be.
Yes, Brandon & Alysia's reaction at the end is very realistic.
This is actually a realistic screenplay and it also shows how dumb people can be and how easy it can be to trick someone, and it is a nice little script, very nice for 11 pages =]
Thanks for recommending Nine Queens to me. I still haven't seen it yet, but after a little bit of research, I found out it was remade in 2004 as a movie called 'Criminal' with John C. Reilly, Diego Luna and Maggie Gyllenhall. I remember seeing it when that first came out and liking it a lot. I still haven't found the original 'Nueve Reinas', but I'm keeping my eye out for it.
Oopsy-daisies! I can't believe I forgot to list her age. I had her and Shelly listed as 2 mid-twenty-somethings in an early draft, but then I think I moved that line up into a description and forgot to replace it again. Sorry about that.
I'm finding out more and more that I'm condensing action too much. Even just earlier today, I found myself condensing the hell out of a game of stud for a scene I'm working on. I see now that it is disruptive to the ebb & flow of the story. I don't know how I got into this little habit and now that I realize it, it's annoying me. I promise I will get better, though. One day at a time. (Not that two days at a time is an option.)
Thanks for taking a look at this and I'm really glad you enjoyed it. As for public phone numbers being different from residential phone numbers, at least where I've lived in Youngstown, Ohio and Hollywood, Florida, the numbers have always been the same. In fact, my home phone is (330) 799- and the number at the pay phone down the street is (330) 799-. But now you got me curious, so I'll probably be stopping at every pay phone I see from now on to check the number. Lol. Thank you for waking up the obsessive compulsive side of me. :-)
I'm glad that you also liked this story. And, just for the record, I can't stand Abercrombie and Fitch stores, either. I think that's why I have Brandon and Alysia rip them off. I've been with my sister while she's shopped in there before, but I myself have never bought a thing there. And, honestly, I don't think I ever will. Even when I'm rich. Or if I'm rich. I do all of my clothes-shopping either at Rulli Bros. or The Village. (they're discount warehouses and second-hand stores.) Not only are they affordable, (5 t-shirts for $5? can't beat that.) but they also have huge selections and a lot of the stuff you can't even find anymore because they don't make them.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this and replying to it.
Clever work here. This was fun to read, and the back and forth between Gerald and Brandon was well done.
The ending went on a bit too long. I don't think we needed the backstory of why they were ripping off Abercrombie & Fitch stores, though it makes them sympathetic, and their methodology was fitting with the reason they were doing it, but it causes the script to lose steam. I think you could have ended it with Gerald's phone call then the two lovers happily walking into a ring store.
Nice job on this short...Fun with cubic zirconia...Gerald should not have let Brandon sucker him, just offer to split any reward he got...Oh well, can never under estimate the power of greed...Solid dialogue moved the story along without being chatty...
Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently - Dove Chocolate Wrapper
Yeah, I was planning on trimming the ending and your suggestion was exactly where I was thinking about ending it, after Gerald's phone call and the con-couple walk into the jewelers. I'm really glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the comments.
'Fun with Zirconia' was actually the original name of the screenplay, but I changed it because I thought it gave too much away. :-) Okay , maybe not, but wouldn't that've been an awesome coincidence?
Thanks for the comment on the dialogue, also. That's probably the hardest (and my favorite) part of writing, whether it's a short or a feature. At least for me. I love going over it again and again and cleaning it up. It never fails to surprise me how much my dialogue changes from the first draft to the seventh draft.
Anyway, thanks for the read and I'm on the lookout for 'The Wicked Dead'. Let's see you do with a story that has actual zombies in it. :-)
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hey mark, this was an easy read. i will say i saw it coming right away, but that's not necessarily a bad thing (this story has been done countless times, but the fun is in the execution, not the plot). i just have a few thoughts (i might end up repeating what others have said) one thing is at times i thought the dialogue was a bit wordy (like she doesn't need to say her phone number since she's writing it down, and the convo outside of king's). i think someone said something about trimming the end, and i agree. i think this script could work better if was 8 pages. i know someone also mentioned 'nine queens', and you saw 'criminal', and those would be good movies to watch. in particular, it could even perhaps be more rewarding if gerald at first tries to rip off brandon (like saying something like "there's a $500 reward, i have the cash with me right now"), so that way when gerald gets ripped off, we feel he deserved it. anyways, nice job
Nice short you've got here. I like scams they make cute little stories. I enjoyed it but I have a few comments.
First up, you could use a bit of tightening on your actions. Sometimes they are ok but other times...
Tiffany all of a sudden stops abruptly and begins searching around her pockets and purse.
could be more active and effective as
Tiffany stops. She searches her pockets and purse.
Tightening up your actions is part of the learning curve. Go over every action you have in this script and make it tighter.
Also cut actions you don't need. There is no reason to tell us something like
Tiffany hands the sunglasses she is buying to Shelly so she can search through her purse with both hands.
It doesn't really tell us anything about either of the characters or further the story.
Next. The Tiffany/Alysia thing. If you are going to call Tiffany Alysia after a certain point, call her Alysia and tell us in the action that she is Tiffany
Next. The scenes. Most of your scene run on a bit longer than they need to. Tell us what we need to know then get out of there. Screentime is precious, use it wisely. The biggest offender here is the last scene between Tiffany and Brandon.
Last. If you give thought to the above comments then I belive you can easily cut this script down to 8 pages, less maybe. And if you do that then you will have a crisp fast moving scam script that I would definitely like to read.
Thanks for checking this out and sharing your thoughts.
I'm working on a new short right now, rewriting an older one, and also working on a feature, so I'm kind of putting this on the backburner until I have time to actually sit down with it.
I do plan on doing a lot of the trimming that you have mentioned, especially with that last scene with Brandon and Alysia, though. And I do have a lot of the grammar you had also mentioned to tighten up, also. That was my goal, to chop it down to about 8 or 9 pages.
I'm glad you enjoyed it, though, and the story has a whole kind of worked. I kind of can't wait to get back to this one again.