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Stuck by Steve Meredith - Short, Drama - John and Christine are stuck in an office building elevator during a storm. The time they spend in the enclosed space will reveal that they are more alike then they think. 10 pages - pdf, format
hmmm, didn't do much for me. The setup was alright, but neither of the characters was particularly interesting. For being a tortured soul he was pretty quick to open up and let a stranger in on his dark secrets, pretty much coming of as an attention grab. The whole slitting wrists thing seems pretty angsty teenagery for two adults that are supposed to pass for corporate types in an office setting. And two people that have real emotional trauma aren't gonna stand up and kiss each other in an elevator. Hope I'm not being offensive, but it kinda reads like an angsty teens day dream more than it's own story. On the good side the writing was fine, I think the only typo I noticed was a missing period at the end of the womans first bit of dialogue. Just need to work on more interesting characters. Good luck.
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Hi Steve, sorry, but I can’t agree with Jack about this being well written, as it’s not. Tons of issues on the first page alone, which caused me to stop. I wasn’t interested in the setup either, but it was the writing that doomed this for me.
Here are some observations and suggestions…
Page 1 – No “FADE IN:” Bad start.
Your Slugs are incorrectly formatted. You need a period after either “INT” or “EXT”. No dash. When you use a dash later in the Slug, you need a space before and after it.
Your first passage is pretty bad and it’s just a big old red flag of what’s to follow. Let’s look at it. First line – “A man and a woman wait for an elevator in the lobby of an office building.” – OK, we already know we’re in an office building, because your Slug tells us, so using “office building” in your opening line is repetitive and a waste. When you first intro a character, you have to use all CAPS…even when you don’t intro them by name, like you did here. But that’s also one of the problems here…why write, “A man and a woman”, instead of simply, “JOHN and CHRISTINE”? Again, because you did it this way, you had to use an additional sentence at the end of the passage to tell us their names. Complete waste. You also need to give them an actual intro, as in some description (age, looks, something). Second line – “It is raining outside, and they are both carrying umbrellas.” First of all, it’s a very poorly constructed sentence, but more importantly, we’re in an INT. scene. We wouldn’t know it’s raining outside, unless you gave us a shot to show the rain, but by adding in the 2nd part of the sentence (and they’re both carrying umbrellas), it comes off as an aside that you’re simply telling us. If the rain and umbrellas come into play and are important to your story, you’ve got to find a better way to intro them (there are lots and lots of ways that would work fine, BTW). It’s also very passive (raining, carrying). You want to try and avoid writing like this.
You don’t use a colon after a name in your dialogue boxes.
“John presses…” – Missing “on”. Sentence also contains an orphan.
“The two characters stand in silence as they ride to their floors.” – Another example of a really poorly constructed sentence here. Starting out with “The two characters” is really odd and just doesn’t work. “as they ride to their floors” doesn’t work at all, either. Remember, write what we see. What we would see here is John and Christine standing there. Absolutely no reason to add “as they ride to their floors”.
You don’t want to use things like “a moment passes” or “after a moment”. They don’t work in screenplays.
“A moment passes, and they a voice is heard.” – HUH? Obviously something’s fucked up here.
You misidentify “Larry” as “VOICE”. Whether or not he’s been intro’d yet, he’s still Larry. This whole dialogue exchange is very weak and dull.
That’s where I bow out. Sorry for not finishing and sorry for being harsh, but hopefully it makes sense to you and helps you as a writer, going forward.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
hi steve i have to agree with dreamscale there is so much missing here .you are not giving us something we can read and actually see if you know what i mean...maybe a screenplay books will help and some good format software...keep dreaming and god bless...
I like your idea here (I'm a sucker for a "one location, handful of people" story), but this one needs some work to be effective.
I see Dreamscale has given you some solid advice. Add a FADE IN: and fix your slugs. Rework your character introductions (and make sure you name them right away). Pay careful attention to punctuation.
Aside from formatting errors, my biggest issue with this script is the dialogue. I feel like too much is being said at once. There are literally blocks of dialogue right after the other, and while this may be a smooth read, saying it (believably) on film is an entirely different story. You want to say as much as you can with as few words as possible. Go back and trim it up.
I also agree with jackx about the conclusion -- I just don't buy it. The kiss felt forced, awkward, and too soon. I don't really have a suggestion on what to replace it with (maybe the elevator door opening, and neither one making an effort to leave right away?), but the kiss itself definitely needs to go.
First time commenter here. I'll try not to be conspicuous...
I agree about the kiss, and I didn't like when she said that she wanted him to kiss her ever since he mentioned therapy. I didn't see it.
What I did like was the potential for more and longer conversation tangents that would let the 2 characters build to the kiss. Like maybe keep them stuck in there longer and have each go off on crazy monologues about their dreams and troubles and lives, etc.
Then they could both realize they have to kiss each other.
I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, but then I thought: What the hell good would that do? -Ronnie Shakes