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Leona's Master Plan by Bryson G (13thchamber) - Short, Drama - After being pushed to her limits by her abusive boyfriend, Vince "The Prince". Leona hatches a clever scheme to ensure he never hurts her or anyone else again. 13 pages - pdf, format
The "almost rape-like" scene might turn some off on the first 3 pages.
I'm glad Leona finally ditched him.
I didn't like the flashback ending. I don't think the flashback was necessary. I think you could have ended it with Vince, suffering and dying in the end. Then Leona can call Leona and say "It's done."
I just think the flashback was just superflous exposition.
Thought the dialogue was okay (in the main), but I wasn't too sure about the descriptions. First scene sort of gives the initial impression that Vince is alone, but then Leona is by his feet. Maybe better to use a CLOSE for this, as you are looking at the visual description here.
Some of the descriptions are a little too long - keeping them short gives the work an edge.
Some of the slang passed me by - slang often denotes an attitude - this isn't always required in the action sequences; it needs to be brought across visually or through the dialogue.
There's other minors as well - Leona's friend shouldn't be described as such - how's that shown visually? - it will be self evident - and you've put a descriptor in parantheticals (laughing and shaking her head) - wrylies are for the way in which something is said.
Hey Bryson, sorry, but lots and lots of problems right out of the gate. You won't get many to even read past Page 1, based on the writing on display here.
First of all, you start off "BLACK", which would read better as "OVER BLACK", but the problem is that you never "FADE IN" from this black screen.
Your first 2 passages (single lines) aren't well written. Actually, they read both oddly and as if you were trying too hard - they're both awkward and say very little.
Then, from here, you go into heavy directing form. But not only is that a problem, but it's all so awkwardly written.
What's a "black" cigarette?
You use "he" before you've even intro'd anyone, which is a big problem. The problem comes from you trying to direct the shot without showing Vince.
"the" table - what table? You never intro'd any table yet, so using "the" to describe it is incorrect.
Why did you CAP "SANDWICH", but not cigarette or "bic" (which would actually be "Bic", as it's a brand.
I sure wouldn't use "a.k.a" in a script, and never the way you did it here.
"slightly attractive"? Ha...that's funny...not in a good way, either.
You've got 2 very strange wrylies here in a row. I understand action wrylies can be acceptable, but these 2 are not, in my book, at least. Bottom line is to avoid wrylies as much as you can and there's absolutely no reason for them here. And, the 2nd one has "her" in it, yet no "her" has been intro'd yet, another result of trying to direct, as opposed to simply writing your story.
Vince just lit the "ciggy" then he immediately puts it out, right in the CAPPED sandwich. Vince is either an idiot, or wealthy, as cigs ain't cheap any longer.
Leon's intro is terrible...terribly awkward, giving us zero visual image of her other than her age.
"Her face is tattooed with scratches and forming bruises." - Again, just terribly awkward, to the point where it reads humorously.
"Her eyes look at Vince, irate." - What other part of her body would "look" at anything? Again, the writing here is just not good.
And with that, I'm all done, as I know what the next 11 pages are going to look like and I don't have the patience to sit through the endless mistakes and awkward writing.
And I don't mean to be so harsh, but IMO, you do need to be aware of where your writing is coming up short. Hope this helps. Keep at it.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
I think this short has potential but it doesn't work for me the way it's set up at the moment, sorry.
I don't understand the whole prince nickname thing. It has no relevance to the story and you seem to only use it to state a line in your script " She's on her knees before the prince"
A lot of this is superfluous and could be edited out in a rewrite, the flashback scene at the end isn't needed IMO. There is also one scene where Leona takes out a gun, Walther p99 (Bond would be proud) but the gun is never seen again so why show us this if it has no relevance?
You stated how long it had been between scenes after one of your slugs. I mean you stated the exact minutes and seconds, surely moments later in the slug would have sufficed. It seemed strange to do this as us, the reader know's they are about to have dinner from the previous scene, does it matter how long it's been?
My main gripe with the overall story is Leona, she puts up with years of abuse and torment. Then all of a sudden Chanel gets irritate with her and it's like...eureka! I have to kill Vince! It's all too easy and unrealistic to me.
I think this was a good effort but needs some tightening up in places.
how exactly does one "eye f uck" a woman. sure, i know what it means, but it's hard to imagine. now if you wrote, "Vince stares at Leona wide eyed and smacks his lips" then we're going places. but saying that someone eye f ucks someone, is more of a mental thing. so show, don't tell.
"Vince's bitch ass smiles" ... once again, tells us nothing.
the story has been replicated thousands of times before. i really dont want to go too in depth with the criticism. suffice to say, you should just scrap it and move on IMO.
i actually found the first half to be very mean spirited. there's a sense of pleasure in what vince does, so it makes it all the more unsettling.
Appreciate the reads and reviews. The nickname I gave vince was pretty unnecessary looking back. I was going to have Leona use it, but omitted it. As for it being mean spirited, that's was my goal. Also, the fact that albinopenguin (someone) found it unsettling is good, as that was what I aimed to do. I made it mean spirited on vince's part to warrant his ugly demise. Overall, ill probably leave it be. I'm working on other things currently, and plan in taking the advice here into these next works. Thanks for the reads.
I thought this was really poor, man. If I were a professional reader, I would've stopped after page 1. I try not to do that here. Some writers do. I'm not one of them. I would, however, not have reviewed this at all if it weren't for your above post.
Speaking of writers who stop scripts and post reviews, Jeff's (Dreamscale's) entire review stands. Your script is peppered with awkward, poorly written phrases. In fact, you kicked off your script with two of them:
"Heavy breathing inflates then deflates."
"Muffled sobs lace the breathing."
The first sentence is very important to a screenplay. Yours is super weak. Why did you choose "inflate/deflate" over "inhale/exhale?" This is one of many poor word choices/misuses of words that appear throughout the script. Also, try to avoid passive voice (e.g. "ing" verbs) in general. Sometimes it's just practical but I don't think your use "breathing" falls into that category, especially since you use it as a noun. I'd substitute breath.
Either way, you'd repeat the word in the second sentence. Avoid this as well.
I'm not going to mention the rest of the awkward phrasing throughout the script. You need to go over it yourself and figure out how to restructure it. It really just takes reading something over several times to find a better way to write it.
I will, however, note your use of phrases like "eye fuck" and "bitch ass." You seem to really like the word "melting" too. Anyway, these phrases are either just overwriting or failed attempts to insert some panache into your script. I imagine phrases like "Vince takes his hand and muffs the shit out of Leona" are meant to come off as hardcore and stylish. They don't. They come off as adolescent and attention-seeking.
If fact, most of the script comes off this way. Vince doesn't come off as a real person at all. It's like all his dialogue was written just to shock the reader. It's forced and desperate to sound badass. The same goes for his behavior. Indeed, he puts a cigarette out on a sandwich moments after he lights it. Right... I can see this guy's nicotine addiction is legit.
In fact, the whole sandwich/tomato bit doesn't make sense at all. If Leona's constantly abused, she'd probably go out of her way to avoid situations where she'd presumably be beaten. That means she'd have a memorized list of what Vince eats and doesn't eat. She'd also make damn sure to answer her phone as soon as she gets a call. Speaking of which, why does Vince chew her out for not answering fast enough. As far as I can tell, she gets it on the first ring.
And she definitely wouldn't say "be nice." That's for damn sure.
Moving along, many other problems to choose from. Vince's "I love you" bullshit, for example. He just switches that on and off, doesn't he? Honestly, if you want him to be a vicious wife beater. Fine. But at least make his motivations consistent. If you really want him to attempt to be sensitive (and let's be honest, he can only attempt), at least have him do so after he's beaten his wife. You can't just staple "I love you" into aggressive dialogue. It doesn't make sense.
Also, Leona's family abandoned her because she was in an abusive relationship? That's nice.
I know it's been said already but why doesn't she call the cops? I think you're just trying to avoid them shutting down your story. This doesn't have to be the case. Sometimes cops are unable to do anything, even when they're called. It happens all the time in these types of cases. At least make it so Leona's explored the cop avenue before, only to have had it end up unsuccessful.
"I think I'm dying." Why do people always insert silly, filler dialogue like this into scripts? I think an allergic reaction might put Vince's verbal skills on hold. Even so, I'm not sure he'd beg Leona to save him. I feel like the desperation of his situation would force him to retreat back into aggression. But I don't know.
Doesn't really matter. After writing this all down, I have to say I think the script was even worse than I thought it was when I finished reading it.
Look, man. I get that you wanted this to be really disturbing and mean-spirited. Unfortunately rape and domestic abuse are two of the cheapest, most overused plot devices used in movies/scripts today. They're very easy to mishandle and require some consideration. I have my doubts that you gave this any.
Indeed, I think you're right to move on from this. I would totally scrap it.
actually Bryson, it wasnt the subject matter that i found mean spirited. it was the way you handled the material. i wasnt sure how to accurately convey my feelings, but i feel like James nailed it on the head. it was almost as though you enjoyed writing about abuse, rape, etc. now I HIGHLY doubt you meant to come across this way (or at least i hope so haha), but that's how it reads. follow james' advice and come up with better ways to describe what's going on.
The first emotion I got while reading this was I hate tomatoes in a sandwich too, can't stand them, right on, Vince.
Seriously though, the premise has a lot of potential even if it’s not the most original. Everyone likes a justified revenge tale and boy this guy had it coming in spades. Unfortunately, I don’t think you succeeded with it.
I get what you’re going for with Vince but he seems way over the top, a caricature as opposed to a real person. I know they are major pricks out there but this guy is ridiculous, there’s absolutely no middle ground with him, no shades to his character he’s an unbelievable basta?d to, in my opinion, an implausible extent. This may be a bad reflection on me, but the worse he became, the less sympathy I felt for Leona, just get the fu?k outta there, girl, Jesus!
To your credit, the rebellion happens early and is executed with satisfying brutality. Making the guy beg and grovel, I mean, it couldn’t have gone better for Leona. However, I can see her having a bit of explaining to do in terms of the circumstances surrounding the death. Cops call and see that the boyfriend died of an allergic reaction from a dish made by her, his epi-pen is mysteriously missing and she has all the signs of being a victim of severe domestic abuse. It’s not gonna take Kojak to figure this one out and make her a prime suspect, you know, its textbook stuff.
That aside, I wondered where the story was going to go since the revenge was exacted by page 10, leaving 3 pages to go. To my disappointment, it went nowhere, no twist or unexpected reveal, just a re-hash of the event we witnessed with Leona telling us her hardships and reasons for going to such lengths. Again, the more she went on about how much of a prick Vince was and how much her quality of life had diminished as a direct result of his treatment of her, the more I was saying why don’t you just leave him, report him, anything! She says she has lost friends, family, jobs because of him, I mean come on, someone should’ve given this girl a good talking to long before this. Plus, I find it hard to believe that her friends and family would abandon their loved one right when she obviously needed them most. If so, they’re not much of a family and she needs to pick her friends more carefully.
To sum up, I found it hard to sympathise with Leona, she came across as her own worst enemy by the end, allowing things get this far and now she’s got a murder on her hands. Maybe if they were married it might raise the stakes as she will feel more trapped. I dunno, I predict this is the start of much bigger problems to come for the poor girl, a “master plan” it ain’t.
The grammatical errors have been well covered above so I won't dwell on them.
The prose (particularly in the opening pages) contained some, shall I say, colourful language which is something i don't do. I prefer to leave the expletives to the characters and keep the action lines as functional as possible but I must admit to being amused at some of the turns of phrases here. Highlight include:
“Vince also gets up. He begins circling her like a shark would it’s prey.
-- Nice analogy.
“Vince eye-fucks the woman.”
“Vince takes his hand, and muffs the shit out of Leona.”
“Vince’s bitch-ass smiles”
“Like he just taught his dog to roll over, Vince sports a cheeky fucking face.”
-- These were just funny, love the use of the word “muff” while putting “fu?king” into a description of someone’s facial expression just seems unnecessary in my opinion.
Would Chanel have not copped something was up since Leona was wearing shades indoors? Did they have to actually slip for the penny to drop? Why not change this to an outdoor locale, makes it more believable.
CHANEL (irate) This is ridiculous! Look, your my girl, but I can’t keep supporting you while your with this lame. You won’t call the cops, you cant fight him, you won’t up and leave this chump...
-- Hell, I can think of FAR worse names for this creature then “lame” or “chump” they just don’t quite cover it.
I’m curious to know what the meal was comprised of as it would take something pretty good to mask the taste of the dreaded peanut.
Anyway, I reckon this requires a lot of work, I wanted more to it then just a straight tale of revenge. The characterisation of Vince needs far greater dimension and nuance. The last three pages were a classic example or telling and not showing, plus we had already witnessed the scene being relayed. I didn’t need a repeat with the added justifications of a woman who had, in my eyes, made some woefully wrong decisions in her love life.
Sorry for coming off a little cold, perhaps that’s my problem.
Thanks for the reviews. I honestly prefer to be ripped, that's the only way ill get better. So, thanks again to all who reviewed, read and didn't review, and who gave advice. It's much appreciated. Hopefully I can show off some progress in my next work. Trust me, I didn't write vince with the intention of making him a bad ass. What's bad ass about abusing women? As for enjoying writing about these things...not so much.