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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  A Long Night Moderators: bert
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  Author    A Long Night  (currently 1277 views)
Don
Posted: April 27th, 2008, 2:51pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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A Long Night by Owen Flynn (thebigfish) - Short, Comedy - Ever have one of the nights where you can't sleep? Well Alan is having one and here's what happens to him. 12 pages - doc, format


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TheBigFish
Posted: April 28th, 2008, 11:03am Report to Moderator
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Would anyone like to give this script a read and let me jnow what they think. Cheers!


Are we cool - Yeah were cool!
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mikep
Posted: April 28th, 2008, 11:42am Report to Moderator
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Hi Owen - the main thing with the script is the ending is no surprise from the moment Alan can't get to sleep. So any twist or surprise is out the window.

Everyone has had those nights where you just can't sleep, so it's we can relate, but the hijinks along the way are hit and miss.

"He walks over to the bed, flips of his of his slippers and gets into bed" Watch the small typos like this. I had a formatting error in my last script posted too, so they can be easy to miss.

I'd suggest dropping the TIME PASSES slugs - we know time is crawling, and you usually follow that up with a scene change anyway so it's not needed. Show the second hand of the clock crawling maybe. Or as he watches the clock, the second hand actually moves back and gives him a start.

The "DaVinci Code" bit is OK, but it seems like his judgement on the movie was just added so you could tell us what you think? It might be more effective if he grabs one of her bodice-ripping romance novels and gets caught up in it...so caught up he gets turned on by the purple prose, and then he makes his moves on his wife.

I liked the milk making him do nothing but pee - sure can't sleep when that urge hits.
Also, doing the jumping jacks and such until he's winded was cute.

But in the end, we see that coming so it's not a strong zinger...I'd suggest finding another nutty twist to end this on.  The script had a few good nuggets but ends weak.


13 feature scripts, 2 short subjects. One sale, 4 options. Nothing filmed. Damn.

Currently rewriting another writer's SciFi script for an indie producer in L.A.
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TheBigFish
Posted: April 28th, 2008, 12:17pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks mikep for taking the time for reading my script.


Quoted from mikep

I'd suggest dropping the TIME PASSES slugs - we know time is crawling, and you usually follow that up with a scene change anyway so it's not needed. Show the second hand of the clock crawling maybe. Or as he watches the clock, the second hand actually moves back and gives him a start.

I couldn't really think of a way to make it seem like time had passed so i taught i'd go with the slug lines. The clock idea is a good one and will incorperate that into the next draft.


Quoted from mikep

The "DaVinci Code" bit is OK, but it seems like his judgement on the movie was just added so you could tell us what you think? It might be more effective if he grabs one of her bodice-ripping romance novels and gets caught up in it...so caught up he gets turned on by the purple prose, and then he makes his moves on his wife.

I really like the idea of him reading the romance novel and getting caught up in it, i didn't realize i was protraying my view on the film but i'll try not to do that in future.


Quoted from mikep

But in the end, we see that coming so it's not a strong zinger...I'd suggest finding another nutty twist to end this on.  The script had a few good nuggets but ends weak.

I kind of knew myself that the ending wasn't great and will definitly work on having a better end with a good twist to it.

Thanks again for reading the script and all your points were extreamly helpful.


Are we cool - Yeah were cool!
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Dr. McPhearson
Posted: April 28th, 2008, 2:43pm Report to Moderator
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Just right off the bat, let me apologize if any of my advice sounds anal or rude; I may point out the most miniscule of errors, simply to help you fix even the smallest issues in your piece here.

First off, on Page 1, words like "flicking," threw me off-guard. You may want to try "flipping" instead, just because it... I don't know. Sounds better and still gets the point across.

With the "TIME PASSES" issue, you may want to cut that, and the slugline "INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT, and replace them both with my personal favorite "SOME TIME LATER --". Format wise, it is completely acceptable, and we still get the point.

"He turns on his side facing the alarm clock waits a couple of seconds then turns back onto his back." The lack of commas here really makes this an uneven read. Heck, if you have to, use the shortcut commas, like:

"He turns, faces the clock... waits... turns onto his back."

See, we get the point, and the "..." subconsciously lets us imagine a moment or two passing.

"Elaine doesn’t move an inch she is in a deep sleep." Again, odd sentences like this one need to be cleaned up, even though we know what you're getting at.

"Alan is now sitting up on his side of the bed clearly pissed now. The duvet cover is off him completely and he sits in his pajama top and boxers. He is wide awake and has a glance over to Elaine who is fast asleep and snoring away."

Try shortening things like this one; try something like:

"Alan, stripped down to pajama top and boxers, sits on the side of the bed, visibly pissed. He looks at Elaine, who still snores."

Tighter action lines, that save you an extra line. It may not seem like much of a gain, but cutting away excess words makes for a more efficient read. And as for what "fills his eyes," that would apply more to envy than jealousy, yes?

The inner monologue didn't work for me. It seemed to be as expositional as one could get with it. "Warm milk maybe that'll work"... not only is that grammatically incorrect, but it tells us what he is planning to do, instead of allowing us to assume by the actions that follow.

Also, throughout the scenes, you write something along the lines of "Elaine, who is asleep.." or "Elaine, out cold...". Trust me; you've told us she was asleep once, so you don't have to bother saying it over and over and over. It just takes up space telling us what we already know.

"He begins to rifle through the cupboards under sink to get a pot.

He finds one and puts it on the cooker.

He then goes to the fridge and gets the milk and pours into the pot.

He sits down on a chair and waits for his milk to heat up
"

You spend several lines, spaced between, to tell us something that could be said in a short paragraph. Honestly, with a short screenplay, there is no reason to reach the 15 page limit unless necessary. Trying slimming it down a tad, a la:

"He rifles through the cupboard, pulls out a pot, sets it on the burner. Opening the fridge, he produces a carton, and pours some milk into the pot. After putting away the carton, he sits at the table... and waits."    

You may not want to use that word-for-word, but you get my point I hope. Action, space, Action, space, is a format that only works when each action is extremely vital to the scene on it's own (a.k.a. this doesn't seem like one of those cases).


Honestly, your action lines and scene descriptions left much to be desired, especially with a Montage that completely came out of left-field for me. This definitely wasn't my favorite; the lack of plot, rounded characters and/or clever dialogue really turned me away from this. I'm sure you have the potential to be a good writer; I just didn't see it here.

Good luck on possible rewrites, and I can't wait to see the rest of your work.


PLEASE review my first SimplyScripts submission....

Re-Right (short comedy)

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Dr. McPhearson  -  April 28th, 2008, 3:26pm
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TheBigFish
Posted: April 29th, 2008, 5:27am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Dr. for reading my script.

I can't lie that i find it disheartening that there has alot been found wrong with my script but I guess that this is what this fantastic web site is for. Getting advise from people like yourself who in the end know alot more about writing scripts than myself can only help me.


Quoted from Dr. McPhearson

Just right off the bat, let me apologize if any of my advice sounds anal or rude; I may point out the most miniscule of errors, simply to help you fix even the smallest issues in your piece here.

All and any sort of comments is well recieved as i need to learn what is right and wrong if i wish to write anything with any sort of credibilty.

Any other advise you can give me towards my goal of being a good writer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again


Are we cool - Yeah were cool!
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stebrown
Posted: April 29th, 2008, 12:07pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Owen, just read your script and I was smiling throughout. Just I haven't been able to sleep the last couple of nights and have been doing exactly the same thing as Alan. (Including the Sky Sports News haha).

Your action lines do need some work, just to tighten it up and make it an easier read but advice on that has been covered.

As far as the time passing comments. I'd have the central character of this as the clock. Every room he's in has a clock I'd assume so why not start every new scene with a close up of the clock. I know when I can't sleep I check the time about every 30 seconds or so. You could get it so Alan is getting angry/envious of the clock instead. Almost going insane as it mocks him with it's slow movement.

Insomnia's a great theme for a script and for a light-hearted affair, this is pretty decent. Sorting out the action lines would get this in shape.

Good luck with it mate.

Ste


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TheBigFish
Posted: April 29th, 2008, 12:23pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Ste, thanks for reading the script its much appreciated.


Quoted from ste

Your action lines do need some work, just to tighten it up and make it an easier read but advice on that has been covered.

If you have any other advice on tightening up the action lines it would be great. I'd really like to get a proper understanding of it before i do another draft.

Quoted from ste

I'd have the central character of this as the clock. Every room he's in has a clock I'd assume so why not start every new scene with a close up of the clock.

This is a really great idea and will definitley look at putting into the next draft.

Thanks again for reading my script and i will look at reading some of yours.


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sniper
Posted: April 30th, 2008, 5:42am Report to Moderator
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Hey BigFish,

I'm sorry but I did not like this one one bit. Two things really bothered me with this. First, nothing happens. Second, nothing happens!

You have a guy who can't fall asleep (which in itself is an okay start), but then it turns into this very repetitive (and not at all funny) story that seems to drag on endlessly. And it didn't help that it was clear from the get go how this one would end. The fact that he drank TWO glasses of warm milk (when he clearly didn't like the taste of it) reeked of filling.

The main problem altogether is that your writing is very passive: Allan IS sitting, Allan IS walking, Allan IS this and that. Try re-writing the script without using the words IS and ARE and you will see how much more active it becomes.

Cheers
Rob

PS: Doing exercises is not a smart thing to do if you wanna go to sleep, cos' exercises make the body release Endorphins which in turn gets you "high" and not sleepy.


Down in the hole / Jesus tries to crack a smile / Beneath another shovel load
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Pants
Posted: May 6th, 2008, 1:56pm Report to Moderator
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I really can't add much more than what has already been said previously. Overall I was kind of bored. You obviuosly had things happening, but they were boring things. Change it up a little. Maybe at one point after watching some TV he actually begins to fall alseep, but a noise outside wakes him and he's back at square one. Maybe at one point he can take his wife's ear plugs and mask. There could be some good comedy in that. With some tweaking this could be good.
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