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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Under The Oaks Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: April 19th, 2011, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Under The Oaks by Ryan Lee (ryan1) - Short, Drama -  Two Civil War soldiers, one Union, the other Confederate, confront each other during the Battle of Appomattox. 4 pages - pdf, format


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jwent6688
Posted: April 19th, 2011, 5:10pm Report to Moderator
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Links not working!

Ryan, did you rewrite this or take it down at some point? I remember being a huge fan of it. I didn't think it needed anything.

James


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Ryan1
Posted: April 19th, 2011, 5:21pm Report to Moderator
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J,

Yeah, I took this one down about six months ago after a producer optioned it.  But, he was never able to do anything with it for various reasons so I'm throwing it back on the board.
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Don
Posted: April 19th, 2011, 7:37pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The link is fixed.

Don


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grademan
Posted: April 20th, 2011, 2:17pm Report to Moderator
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Ryan,

I read this before and remember it fondly. I like the lyrical feel of the woods and the conversation between two dying soldiers. In a few words of dialogue, you invoke a range of emotions regarding people and war.

It deserves to be made into a film.

Gary
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leitskev
Posted: April 20th, 2011, 2:55pm Report to Moderator
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I very much enjoyed this. Extremely well done. It works well as a short, and would work well in the middle of a larger story. I think the conversation reflects what was often the attitudes between the soldiers of the two warring sides of the same family, and by that I mean countrymen.

Might perhaps consider giving the soldiers a rank, since it would be an important part of their uniform.

One of the best parts of this was the Confederate tossing the flask. Maybe have the Union soldier drink then toss it back. That would really demonstrate honor among enemies.

Great work as usual.
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Ryan1
Posted: April 20th, 2011, 3:30pm Report to Moderator
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Gary,

Thanks for reading again.  Unfortunately the director I optioned it to just couldn't make it work.  Hopefully it gets some new life now.
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Ryan1
Posted: April 20th, 2011, 3:40pm Report to Moderator
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Kev,

Glad you liked it.  Interesting comment about the ranks.  I might just go back and add that detail.  I wanted to drive the point home that these two are just "grunts"who would have been forgotten by history, but whose final moments were as important as anyone else's.  

I tried to write it so it would be a self-contained story and not seem like a scene from a bigger tale.  So, I'm glad it worked for you on that level.

Ryan  
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leitskev
Posted: April 20th, 2011, 3:50pm Report to Moderator
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What did you think about tossing the flask back? I like the image. One thing Civil War soldiers knew very well was that dying could take a very long time. They heard their comrades die screaming in the fields for hours when they could not safely be rescued. If you're dying and you have a flask that can dull the pain, imagine the value of that? To offer some to an enemy is an unbelievably generous act. To trust that he will throw it back is just as powerful. In film I could picture the Confederate looking thoughtfully at the flask and thinking it over, then tossing it over, hoping he gets it back.

It might prolong your death scene too much, I don't know.
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Dressel
Posted: April 20th, 2011, 4:12pm Report to Moderator
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Ryan,

Your writing style is great; I can't even imagine picking it apart.

The story did, at times, feel like it was hitting me over the head with its message though.  Don't get me wrong, I really like what you're doing here, because I do think it's always important to remember, in war, that we're all people; and not just mindless killing machines.  But for whatever reason, some of your dialogue just seemed a bit too on the nose.  One thing that jumps out to me is John's final line.  I feel like that's something we could get without having to hear him say it.  Also, the back-and-forth between the two of them becomes just a tad much at times (with the I'll testify for ya and Good luck to you) , but that might be me.  I just can't for the life of me picture anyone saying that, even on their "death bed".

But these are minor things, because at it's core, I think what you've got is superb.

-Matt


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Ryan1
Posted: April 20th, 2011, 4:15pm Report to Moderator
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Kev,
Going back to when I originally wrote this, I think that notion crossed my mind.  But, I wanted to keep the story as tight as possible.  That's why after Alvin offers the hooch and John says he can't move, Alvin hesitates, then guzzles half of it before he tosses it over.  He wants John to have the rest of it.  They both know the end is very near.
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Ryan1
Posted: April 20th, 2011, 4:38pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading, Matt.  I understand your point about some of the dialogue being out of the ordinary for two guys to be saying to each other.  But, the way I figured it, the fear of the great unknown and the extreme physical pain they're in forces the two of them to adjust their thinking as they confront death.  I envisioned these two as simple country boys, probably uneducated, who were raised in religion.  Now that their time is at hand, all that fire and brimstone stuff they were steeped in is racing through their minds.  

I did a bit of research before I wrote this one, reading old Civil War letters and things like that.  People just had a different way of talking back then, using words that just sound odd to us now.  So, I tried to capture that period dialogue without going over the top with the message.

Ryan  
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Electric Dreamer
Posted: April 21st, 2011, 9:00am Report to Moderator
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Hey Ryan,

I was an intern on the Ken Burns Civil War documentary series.
So, you pretty much had me at your opening line.
I like the language and the feel, but I agree with Kev, the rank would be nice.
And I think Kev is onto something with the flask.
I see the flask as the "olive branch" between the two men.
And that needs to come full circle in the story.
My only issue with the script is there's very little arc for your characters.
Your resolution should pay off even better if the Union bloke is surly to start.
Then start the arc progression with the passing of the flask.
It looks like he's reaching for a gun, harsh words are spoken, etc.
Then now we have a bigger "journey" for these two souls on a scant few pages.
Solid work worthy of a production.

Keep writing and rewriting!

Regards,
E.D.


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Ryan1
Posted: April 21st, 2011, 4:41pm Report to Moderator
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ED,

Thanks for the review.  Good point about the arcs.  That would probably add another layer to the story.  I'll probably incorporate several of the notes I recieived here into the next rewrite.

Ryan
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