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Well, Murphy. I am not sure I know enough about horse racing to give you a proper critique on this piece. Especially the "drby, drby" from the announcer. You may be spot-on with some of this, but I would not know. It sure reads oddly, though, and I would second guess your choice to do that.
But I have spent some time in bars watching sports, and I will give you this -- I recognized the scene with ease. I liked these characters a great deal, the dialogue was smooth and real, and even the small details -- like the jabs about the watered-down beer -- rang true.
I felt like I was at the bar -- and more importantly -- I felt that you had been there. I was rooting for your horse without fully understanding the sport, swept up in the enthusiasm of the characters and scene you created.
Was this a real race? If so, actual footage might be used to recreate the scene. However, if this was an imaginary race, you have created a pretty expensive barrier for anybody who might be drawn to this material. Something to consider.
It is a fine, warm, simple story, and feels much more sure-footed than the earlier piece I read from you. They say "write what you know", and it feels (and reads) like you do know a little about this subject. This one is a step up, I think, and you are improving.
Thanks for posting this Don, Judging by all the scripts going up this morning you have had a busy weekend and appreciate your work.
I want to say that I realize that this is not really a script that will ever get produced, and probably does have its flaws as a script. It originally was a 5 page short that I bashed out for the Movie Poet January competition. I took some time during last month to re-write it and try to format it better as a script and less of a short story which I felt it was bordering on being.
I have posted it here because despite the flaws I really love it, It is easily my favorite piece I have ever written. It is my first piece that does not contains guns and killings and is really my attempt of writing something a little different.
Thanks for the read Bert, I appreciate your comments and will try to answer some of your questions.
* Yes it is a real race - The Grand National, held every year in Liverpool in April and is without question the greatest horse race in the world. It is not your multi million pound thoroughbred one mile dash watched by people eating oysters and drinking champagne though. It is a 4 mile slog, jumping over the biggest fences in horse racing and is usually comprised of horses owned by Farmers and racing clubs made up of normal everyday people. It is often called the "peoples race".
* "Drby, drby, drby" I was unsure what to do with this but it kinda is true, what I mean is that with 40 horses jumping fences at speed it is impossible to understand a word the commentator says with exception to the odd mention of a horses name. This was the best way I could think about getting that across despite it sounding a bit silly.
Write what you know? Indeed this is my first stab at writing anything that tries to incorporate some of my own experiences into it. And I love it for it.
I just had a read and I admit, I kind of was cheering for Celtic pride myself, especially when he crashed through one fence and slowed down considerably. I even thought to myself 'Come on! Get your arse moving!' That's how into the story I was, I'm American and I used the word arse.
However, there were a considerable amount of typo's that I kind of had to slush through that took away from the story a little, and I was even taking into consideration the different dialect from mine. For instance, you have Michael say 'Just been phone to him', which I'm assuming is supposed to be 'Just been on the phone to him'. And in another instance, you spelled frantically wrong. (You spelled it franticly). And a considerable amount of other mistakes like that.
I know they don't sound very important, but it does weaken a writer's work and even the story when there's easy-fix solutions to correcting those. I won't say any names, but there's one writer whose stories are very humorous, but I won't even read their stuff anymore because it literally feels like a seven year-old penned it and I have to go back and rewrite it myself just to be able to read it through one time.
I like your comparison of Guiness to black oil in the description, but it doesn't really seem to fit in the story when you have Michael tell Patrick to stop watering down the beer. Isn't black oil the exact opposite of watered down?
Other than that, though, I did enjoy it as a feel-good little piece and the characters were very likable in a 'Cheers' sort of comfort.
I know the there is a Grand National Competition, but I think what Bert meant by it, (which I'm also wondering myself, since I've never watched it), is 'Is what happened in the screenplay what really happened in the race?' 'Did an Irish horse really win by that large of a margin?' Or was that your idea?
I think what Bert meant by it, (which I'm also wondering myself, since I've never watched it), is 'Is what happened in the screenplay what really happened in the race?' 'Did an Irish horse really win by that large of a margin?' Or was that your idea?
Yes, that is what I was asking. And I'm still curious.
Quoted from Murphy
Indeed this is my first stab at writing anything that tries to incorporate some of my own experiences into it. And I love it for it.
It shows in the work. Sometimes you can sense a writer's fondness for the material, and it enriches the reading experience that much more. For me anyway. Keep up the good work, Murph. It is also fun to watch a "new-ish" member of the boards improve their skills, step by step.
Old eagled eyed Mark again! God I must have read this thing a thousand times and never once picked up on the errors you pointed out. I really need to get me a system for proof reading because this is annoying having my scripts contain such silly mistakes.
* Although "Franticly" is also a correct spelling as an alternative to "frantically"
I will make a promise right now that I will never submit a script to SS with mistakes like this again, just need to figure out now how.
Also the comment out the beer was not necessarily aimed at the Guinness, is more of a general (piss take/wind up? - not sure what they say in the US). Probably one of the biggest insults you can make to a real pub landlord is to accuse him of watering down the beer. So this was a light hearted poke at him by Sean, probably a joke he uses all the time on Pat.
Oh and no this race never happened, was purely a figment of my imagination. In the past there have been horses with no hope go on to win the race, usually with a huge slice of luck, Celtic Dreamer is just an imaginary horse.
Bert thanks for your kind words, I really do appreciate them.
Wow, Murphy. A great short and a good time. It may just be my love of all things Celtic but was thrilled while I read this one. I found myself cheering alongside the family and the patrons, which is a testament to making the characters lovable. I don't drink, but I wanted to go to this pub and watch the race.
A few minor typos, which have already been pointed out. I wonder if the mention of Kat is something that might need a little more? Or less? With shorts I have found that the fewer characters we have to learn the better, though you could definitely argue that the additions of Roy and John add to the Cheers-like atmosphere.
James thank you very much for the read and nice words.
As for Kat, i can see what you mean but not even sure who she is myself! I presume she is Sean's wife or girlfriend. I only mentioned her by name to try and sidestep the question of why Michael was not at the racetrack with Sean. If i made sure that the reader knew he was not there on his own it may make it easier.
Hi Murphy, just read your script. Gave me my first chance to cheer on the winning horse at the National (mine normally falls in the stable once I put the bet on ha).
The bar and the characters seemed real and had substance.
I liked the fact that Michael didn't watch until the last flat, exactly what the brother of one of the jockeys would do. For readers who haven't watched the National before there are horses and jockeys falling at every fence. The jockeys then have to somehow get out of the way of 40odd horses jumping at them.
Formatting seemed spot-on, but I'm not that good of a judge just yet. Only 2 things I picked up on were;
Page 5. "...from the crowd on the screen as betting slips are ripped up and tossed aside." I can't remember being able to see what the crowd are doing during the race apart from cheering, so I don't think you need that part in.
Page 7. "Fences fly by now as ON THE TELEVISION The 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th fences are jumped." The fences are flying by on the television so seems the first line is out of place. You don't need it either with the line saying the next four fences are jumped.
Small things those though so overall a very good short script.