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Change the Channel by John Christopher (Scarlet101) - Short, Drama, Horror - A young man travels a long way to execute a will, all in the hope that he head home slightly richer then he already is. 12 pages - pdf, format
I wrote these as I read along, so they are in point form:
- Intriguing premise.
- For a script that is 12 pages long, it takes way too long to get going (end of page 6).
- Too much exposition to begin with, slowing the pace.
- Spelling errors and grammatical errors throughout the script. Read it out loud and you'll catch them.
As I mentioned, I like the premise... but with a short script, you only have a tight amount of time to grab the attention of the reader and pull them into the story. The story takes too long to get going and when it does, it happens quickly without purpose or meaning.
The biggest flaw is the 'why'. Why is Conrad punished? What has he done to deserve this fate?
At the end of the script, what does the next person do to deserve his upcoming punishment?
What does the Solicitor represent?
What does the TV represent?
Although it's a short and a horror, there should still be meaning to the story.
Either I missed the untertones and the subtext, or the meaning flew right over my head.
To clear up a few things that will hopefully help you and other ppl who read it, I'll expand a bit on a few things.
The TV is a product from HELL, and the solicitor is acting as the middle man. The TV is a yuppie killer, and a solicitor (to me) is a perfect character to select and deceive the pray the TV will feed off, I tried to get across Conrad's yuppie attribute's in my descriptions, he also happens to share his surname with Patrick Bateman(American psycho).
So why didnt I put this in the script?
Although the TV is a main character itself, the story is Conrads, its all about him as we hear abit of his family history and see his life from birth flash before him.
As for the spelling and grammer errors, I'll read through it again(aloud)
Just read your script and think it's alright. It does have promise.
There are spelling & grammar errors for example: the word touche is touché, but this is nit picking.
You wrote - Conrad takes a toilet back...(break?)
You wrote at the beginning about how great this TV is. What it has and can do. Which took up quite a lot of pages. I would be less intrigued about what it can do, but the thought about someone who doesn't even know me would leave a TV to a relatively unknown family member.
Anyway I digressed, I would fix the end to sound like the new target would gain from the latest death. So try to throw in some of Conrad's possessions like a grand piano or Bentley at the beginning to show he's a yuppie as you mentioned earlier. And if anything, make the solicitor lie to Conrad when he wonders who gets what. Not like Conrad's going to find out in time. Or at least, bend the truth.
I noticed quite a few spelling and grammer errors through this script. Also a few camera directions and the dreaded 'we see'.
Your character is called Conrad Bateman and he's into moisterising and the like, a nod to Patrick Bateman from American Psycho?
'The juvenile face looks familiar, we make the connection.' If this means the face is Conrad then you should just say so.
Interesting story this one. I liked the visuals but it was a long and drawn read, it needs tightening so it flows better. My main problem is an echo of MacDuff's, why is Conrad being punished and who is the Solicitor? You need to try and answer these or at least suggest a reason to why these events are taking place.
Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.
I think no matter how many times I read over my scripts before I post them you just cant see the mistakes that other ppl will so easily notice, so thx for pointing them out, I dont consider it "nit picking" on this occasion cause I thought this script was mistake free before I sent it into Don (thx for the post Don).
As for the "Conrad takes a toilet back/break" part, the word that I should of typed in was "BAG" lol.
With my last script ppl where asking "why", which has happened again with this one, I can only put it down to inexperience and say that I have a good bit to learn yet about screenwriting. I think in the short term i can get around this by not killing any of my characters in my next script (that because there are already going to be dead lol).
Just read this one and my first reaction was, I'm not sure I understand what happened. The whole thing was way too vague. Who are each of these characters and why does this happen to them? The idea of the TV coming from hell and the solicitor acting as a middle man is intriguing, but this is not even remotely hinted at in the script. I'm trying to think of a better way to show this but right now the best I can come up with is something cheesy like a face morph of the solicitor to the devil's face at the end or some sort of comment to Conrad that can have two meanings like "Let's just say I show up when someone dies and I take care of them from there," which in context would explain his job, though in a second reading may hint at a supernatural occupation.
Also, the TV and how/why it kills Conrad doesn't really have an explanation. Maybe if earlier we find out that he has commited some grave sin (something worse than leaving the family for a better life) and this is his punishment, or have the solicitor say something in the beginning about how some people waste their lives away, and then have the TV kill Conrad by replaying his worthless life back to him. I don't know, just a few ideas, but as it stands I think the second half of this script needs a bit more of an explanation for why the events we see take place.
One last thing, watch out for the dreaded "unfilmables." A few of your descriptions, such as the bit about Conrad lifting the TV and discovering how light it is, would be difficult to film because without a line of dialogue where he says so, the viewer could just assume that Conrad is pretty strong. Another one on page 4, "a feeling of great wealth and greed rushes through his body." I don't know how one could film this and if he really is feeling these emotions, they should come across in his dialogue or body language. There are a few more of these as well.
Overall, an original idea and a decent first draft but it felt a little rushed but I think it's a re-write or two away from my giving it a thumbs-up. Try fleshing everything out and making the story longer so that the audience/readers can fully grasp all of the ideas you incorporated. Best of luck!