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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Restless Moderators: bert
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  Author    Restless  (currently 871 views)
Posted: December 29th, 2007, 8:47am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Restless by Rajesh Bhardwaj - Short, Horror - While driving home, Brad Dale picks up, Samson Johnson,  a hitchhiker and the rest of his journey is not the same. 17 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: December 31st, 2007, 3:49pm Report to Moderator

Jacksonville, FL
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This story has been told a million times.  The part about the convenience store was a nice twist, although I felt the conversation between the store clerk and Brad was unoriginal.  He explained everything too easily and readily.  There were also many grammar and format errors.  I'll highlight some examples.

Quoted Text
In the distance the figure of a MAN standing near a BUS
STOP is seen holding a BROWN SUITCASE.
The BMW suddenly stops. The MAN steps back cautiously.
The MAN crouches down to look at Brad. He is well-dressed
in a KHAKI COAT, wears a BLACK HAT and is clean shaven.

The use of CUT TO: between every scene is unnecessary.  It's also INT. or EXT., never both as in the INT./EXT. as shown above.  Also, make sure every scene heading has DAY or NIGHT.  Some of yours don't.

I notice you putting several things in all caps, which is incorrect format.  Only characters being introduced and sound cues appear in caps.

When you introduce Samson, you introduce him as MAN, then he changes to Samson.  Introduce him as SAMSON.  It's okay if your character doesn't know who he is, but we need to know.

Quoted Text

This is not a word.

Quoted Text
Im can dig country but Im
really into rock. Classic rock
that is! That shit they listen to
nowadays is not my kinda thing if
you know what I mean!

You over use exclamation points and underllines.  In the example listed above, I imagined the guy screaming the line.  Save these for when they really count.

Quoted Text
Whats good than praying to Jesus
on his birthday.

Not sure what this meant.

Quoted Text
He opens the GLOVE BOX and takes out a CAN OF
COKE. He opens it and takes a huge gulp.

Who keeps a can of Coke in their glove box?

Quoted Text
Maybe hes dreaming maybe hes not.

I use this as an example because of two errors.  How can "maybe he's not" be shown?  Also, it should read: "Maybe hes dreaming, maybe hes not."  There are many comma abuses throughout.

Quoted Text
OFF SCREEN we hear a repetitive ping.

Why would it be off screen?  Isn't the ping in the car, just like our characters?  Maybe say:
A PING comes from the dashboard.

Quoted Text
The CAMERA moves down at the gas meter. The NEEDLE points

Avoid camera direction in a spec script.  Just tell the story.

There are many more to mention, but instead I will refer you to a screenwriting book titled The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script by David Trottier.  Keep writing!
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Posted: January 2nd, 2008, 12:47am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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Hey Rajesh,

Yosef is right, there are way too many errors, misspellings and mispunctuation marks.  I'll bet I could catch over a hundred errors in those seventeen pages, which is about 98 more mistakes than there should be in a 17 page script.  I'll skip those for now, though, and focus on the story at hand.

Yosef also said something else that is true, in that this story has been done a million times before.  I don't thing that's a necessarily bad thing, though.  I think it was Stephen King who said that every writer should take the time to write a story about a haunted house, even if it's only so much as an exercise.  I think the same could also be said about writing a story about a hitchhiker.  If anything, it'll at least get the creative juices flowing, and I'd love to read different writer's versions of a classic storyline.

Yours, unfortunately Rajesh, reminded me a little bit too much of Stephen King's 'Riding the Bullet', in which a young man hitchhikes and is picked up by a ghost who, very much like yours, can lead him into the afterlife.  So I think this may have been more than a little bit unoriginal, which definately turned me off about a story that I'm usually excited to read.

Also, there were a couple times early on where I had a few questions.  I've actually picked up quite a few hitchhikers driving between Florida and Ohio, (though, I don't know why, maybe because West Virginians creep me out, I always avoided picking up hitchhikers in the West Virginia and Virginia territories, (sorry, Don, please don't be biased now in posting any of my scripts, :-).), but out of all those that I've picked up, I would never ever think about letting them get into the backseat while I was driving.

Also, I didn't really understand how, after the gas station disappeared and Brad was in the middle of nowhere, he all of a sudden crashed into a bridge.  Maybe I need to reread that part, but it seemed to come out of nowhere.  And, in my opinion, the station seemed really ultra-modern for being in the middle of nowhere, especially if the gas station was supposed to be from '72, when the Johnson's had died.  (Not too sure if I read that part right, either.)

I will give this one a reread, though, just to make sure that it wasn't anything that I just misunderstood.


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Posted: January 4th, 2008, 12:03pm Report to Moderator

Florida, USA
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Hi Rajesh,

Since Mark and Yosef already gave some very sound advice on story and formatting, I'm going to recommend working on your characters. They are a little flat right now.

Why is Brad driving an expensive BMW like there's no tommorrow?

Is he on the run from the law? Does he have a stash of cocaine in the trunk? Is he late for a wedding? Is he late for work?

Why does he stop at the bus stop to pick up Samson? The bus stop is in the middle of nowhere-what kind of business is Samson in? Can Brad benefit professionally from this little good deed?

If Samson is a ghostly killer, why does he seem like a relatively nice guy?  

Whole lot in this story that stretches reality, perhaps too much...Suggest keeping a bit more grounded in reality and build the suspense, saving the supernatural twist until the end...A good effort though!


Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently - Dove Chocolate Wrapper
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