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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  The 20 Minute Window Moderators: bert
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  Author    The 20 Minute Window  (currently 4449 views)
Don
Posted: March 30th, 2012, 5:36pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The 20 Minute Window by Joe Splendorio (ottercat12) - Comedy - After finally convincing his silky smooth cousin to let him and two buddies tag along one night to learn how to score chicks, Josh learns of this rare opportunity that presents itself to men that have them scratching their heads. 118 pages - pdf, format


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ottercat
Posted: March 31st, 2012, 12:38pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for posting script.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Don’t hold back.  My best friend produces movies so before I hand this to him, I’d love for it to be at least a good story.  I know it’s going to be tough for him to be honest with me so any help would be great.  Character names, scenes to delete, formatting issues, anything!  I’m a big boy and can take constructive criticism so don‘t hold back.

Thanks.
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Forgive
Posted: April 1st, 2012, 9:03pm Report to Moderator
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Let The Sky Fall

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Hi Joe  I've seen you post feedback on scripts, so I thought I have a look at this one.

I'm going to start off by quoting:

"I’m a big boy and can take constructive criticism so don‘t hold back."

Okay. So I'm going to gulp a little, stick my head above the parapet, and go for it.

It's horrible.

But I think I can can justify my reasons for saying that - so if you'll hear me out, these are my thoughts:

You can start with an extablishing shot with the INT/EXT. And it reads better without - I'm not yet convinced that 'Rhode Island' is a 'location' - but I'm happy to be corrected here.

The use of 'We' is generally frowed upon.

'Several neighborhoods' sounds and feel lazy.

The boat seems to be a more specific locale, so I'd think about putting in the EXT at this point.

'He’s silky smooth with the ladies.'
-- can't be filmed, so shouldn't be written.

'A cosmetically enhanced older woman watches in her yard.'
-- This is odd - it has no location, and I don't see the relevance.

'This 735m Saver Riviera speed boat is a real chick magnet.'
-- Now discuss this with the camera man...

'JOSH,22, Vince’s cousin. Good looking, struggles with
confidence around the ladies'.
-- as per - you can't film this - all you'd have here is 'JOSH, 22, good looking' - that's all that the camera would see.

'ZACH,22, Marky Mark look a like. Fashion eye sore at times.'
-- patterns - see them emerging??

     JOSH
I told him he should’ve competed in the
X-Games when were here...
-- this sentence doesn't make sense.

So moving rapidly onto to page 2...

'(VINCE) Approaches a floating ramp. The onlooking woman FLASHES her
tits. He preforms a trick without a disaster. Steady as
nails!'
-- This is 'no' a million times. Cosmetic grannie is just wierd. Preforms should be performs. 'Without a disaster' needs to be cut out. 'Steady as nails' is just the wrong way to describe something that is moving! Steady? Check the web for the term 'Synonym'. Then use them.

     DANNY
Whoa, you see those tits? Shit she was
hot! Your cousin’s the fuckin’ man! We
need to tag along one night with him!
-- we're talking about cosmetic grannie, here, right? Or is she meant to be attractive? I'm okay with a boat load of grannie-shaggers, but I'm not too sure what audience demographic you're after here.

     DANNY
Whoa, you see those tits? Shit she was
hot! Your cousin’s the fuckin’ man! We
need to tag along one night with him!
-- Please, please tell that this isn't actually your inciting incident, because it looks precariously close to it.

Onto the joy of page three...

     DANNY
Flapjack? What the fuck is a Flapjack?
-- You've thrown this in, but I'm not sure I can make sense of it.

There are eight exclamation marks in eight lines of dialogue. That's too many.

VINCE’S BOAT - LATER SAME DAY
-- I would probably go for a full slug here.

VINCE’S BOAT - LATER SAME DAY
Tied to other boats in a U shape a rafting party is underway.
-- So what I think is happening here, is that you have specified one location, but then you are talking about other locations - the rafters and the other boats. - after that you bounce a bit back and forth from rafts to Vince's boats all within the same slug. Whichever it is, it is confusing.

There is no characterisation. All of your people sound the same - you have made one voice, and all of your characters speak with it.

'Carrying an empty buck, Vince jumps on boat, SMACKS Zach’s
ass and places a small towel on his shoulder.'
-- do you have any idea of just how gay this sounds?? Okay - shortly after this you make gay-ish 'stuff' - but... something.

There's a good book by Denny Flinn called 'How Not to Write a Screenplay'. You've not read it. At least not in the convention form of 'reading'. There's lots of good books out there, and loads of web stuff giving advice.

A comedy. Is not a screenplay with additional exclamation marks. Just like a screenplay isn't something you write that you'd like to be filmed.

"I’m a big boy and can take constructive criticism so don‘t hold back."

Okay - I didn't - and I hope you don't.

Simon
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ottercat
Posted: April 2nd, 2012, 8:12am Report to Moderator
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So.... you like it? hehe

Thanks for reading the first three pages. Any help is better than no help.

I'll add an age to the older woman (since she appears in story again).

Get rid of the "WE" and !!!!!!!

Thanks for the look.
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ChrisB
Posted: April 2nd, 2012, 12:54pm Report to Moderator
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DON'T SHOW THIS TO YOUR BEST FRIEND!

It needs a complete re write.  Consider this your first draft.

Continue writing and don't give up!

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ottercat
Posted: April 2nd, 2012, 2:33pm Report to Moderator
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Chris B,

Thx.

Anthing else to add would be great?

Like the story plot.

Seems like I have formatting-Slugs- discription issues. Would like to hear about story plot itself.
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ChrisB
Posted: April 2nd, 2012, 6:57pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ottercat
Chris B,

Thx.

Anthing else to add would be great?

Like the story plot.

Seems like I have formatting-Slugs- discription issues. Would like to hear about story plot itself.


You need a good antagonist for your story.

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Forgive
Posted: April 2nd, 2012, 8:04pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ChrisB


You need a good antagonist for your story.



Your antagonist doesn't need to be a human (guy tried to 'conquer' Everest'), it can be a situation - here, your guys trying to get laid(?) - but you need to show how strong your antagonist (-ic situation) is i.e. guys try it on and fail, and then build both the story and the plot around that situation. Before you start, have a look at your characters - an audience is going to spend an hour or two with them - are these characters worth spending that time with? Have your clearly defined them? Your story can be made into something else by the people who are going through it.
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ChrisB
Posted: April 3rd, 2012, 1:03am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Forgive


Your antagonist doesn't need to be a human (guy tried to 'conquer' Everest'), it can be a situation - here, your guys trying to get laid(?) - but you need to show how strong your antagonist (-ic situation) is i.e. guys try it on and fail, and then build both the story and the plot around that situation. Before you start, have a look at your characters - an audience is going to spend an hour or two with them - are these characters worth spending that time with? Have your clearly defined them? Your story can be made into something else by the people who are going through it.


Yeah, you summed everything up pretty well SiColl007.  
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ottercat
Posted: April 3rd, 2012, 8:14am Report to Moderator
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Gotcha.

Much Thanks.

I tried that with the character Zach always getting shot down or oblivious to the signs.  What I'm taking out of this, is your saying maybe have two of the three younger guys watch one of them fail while attempting to score a chick?


On another note. I've read a lot of scripts and seem to be more and more confused by reading them. Here are some examples from the movie "HEAT":

Neil is an ice-cold professional. Neil's voice is street, but his language is precise like an engineer's.

"Now discuss this with the camera man..." This is how I keep getting confused.


And


INT. CEDARS-SINAI CORRIDOR - TRAVELING TWO SHOT – DAY

We DOLLY on Neil as he crosses through the long crowded
corridor. Patients, nurses, interns and doctors pass by.
A P.A. broadcasts occasional messages.


I've change certain things over and over based on certain scripts I read. Is there a big difference in a spec script and a final script when it comes to these things that you two are warning me about?

Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
ottercat  -  April 3rd, 2012, 12:12pm
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_ghostwriters
Posted: April 3rd, 2012, 2:58pm Report to Moderator
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Ottercat...

You just can't sit down and write scripts, you need to read good pro scripts, read good books, mainly for basic formatting and storytelling.  "Save the Cat," is a very good one on storytelling.  
But you also need to do research to separate fact from fiction.  There's a lot of misinformation out there.

The "we and we see debate."  Check it out.  Just one of many.

http://theworkingscreenwriter.blogspot.com/2007/11/we-see-and-other-rules.html


WCMartell;

"We see" is a *tool* - and you use a tool when you need it and don't use it when you don't need it.

You don't use a sledgehammer to get through a door is there's a knob and the door is unlockled - you ruin the door without reason. But if the door is locked and bolted and the house is on fire and puppies are inside? Sledgehammer might be the best choice.

When someone says "Never use the sledgehammer" that's stupid because even though most of the time you will just open the door or use your keys - those other times?


More good stuff on his website.

http://www.scriptsecrets.net/

Great article on Character descriptions below;  JohnAugust.  

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t.....g_kD-LcVRIoXMBgXG5mA

Having said that... I read up to page #34 the other day.  I wanted to know who's driving your story.  It should be your main character and not the other way around. There's nothing wrong with introducing a bunch of characters... but the key here is to make sure you let us know who we need to focus on.

And JMHO, you didn't do that here.  I wanted someone to latch onto.  But I didn't get it.  From your logline, it sounded like Josh, but by page#30.  I'm still not sure.  I hate to assume, but I'm thinking it's either "Vince or Josh."  Unless you're going for an ensemble cast?   Are you?

Second, you have them all listed as (22).  Try not to limit yourself like that.  I would have went with (20s).  Having said that, I thought some of your characters descriptions were okay.

The bar scene... way too long.  I'd definitely trim that back.  Other then some guys trying to get laid, who need to grow up are mainly bickering and yelling insults at each other.  Poor Zach.   Vince is just a total jerk, other then him being a ladies man, what's so special about him.  After 30 pages, I still don't know..  Maybe that's what you were going for.  All I'll say... I think you should give your characters more depth.  I just wasn't invested in any of them, didn't care.

I'm just spitballing here;

This twenty-minute window?  How accurate is that?  Have you done the research? I mean from what I read are you just looking at it from a man's point of view?  If you are, may I make a suggestion, have you thought about getting a female's perspective?  Now I'm not saying to consider adding a lead female.

For a Comedy, you need to be, you wanna be... you should be between 90 and 110 pages.  You have a couple of one liners that made me chuckle.  So I'll give you that.

I wouldn't say horrible, I've read much worse, but you do have a lot of problems here that really needs to be ironed out.  Clearly this is a vomit draft, but you should never post them.

Good article of Comedy from Craig Mazin.
http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=60347

Oh yeah, You're vs Your.  Your; is used to express that something belongs to "you".  On the other hand you're; is used in sentences using "you" as the subject of the sentence with the verb "to be" used as either the helping verb (e.g. You're going ..., You're watching ...)  If you can use "you are" then it should be you're.  if you cant, then "Your" it is.

Having said all this... screenwriting is very subjective, I'm not repped yet, so this is JMHO.  I wrote this on the fly, forgive my errors.

Good Luck

Ghostie


"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

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Forgive
Posted: April 3rd, 2012, 4:58pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from ottercat
I tried that with the character Zach always getting shot down or oblivious to the signs.  What I'm taking out of this, is your saying maybe have two of the three younger guys watch one of them fail while attempting to score a chick?

No - all of them can fail - it works fine like that - but have a very clear protagonist - whoever it is - maybe Josh - I'm not too sure, but have someone that the audience is going to root for.



Quoted from ottercat
On another note. I've read a lot of scripts and seem to be more and more confused by reading them. Here are some examples from the movie "HEAT":

Neil is an ice-cold professional. Neil's voice is street, but his language is precise like an engineer's.

"Now discuss this with the camera man..." This is how I keep getting confused.


I think you need to be carfeful what you read! Heat - at least the version I can access is a shooting script - these are quite different from a spec script. Also - Heat is written and directed by Mann - I try to avoid scripts like these, as it's easier to write if you are going to direct - at least you know who is going to be doing the directing. The type of script you are writing is a spec job - you have no idea who - if anyone - is going to direct it.

If you want to read scripts - and you really should, then look to the likes of Akiva Goldsman, Robert Orci etc - they have written some of the biggest films around - but they don't direct - they write for other people.

To be frank - Neil's introduction in Heat is about the longest I've ever seen. And really most readers would balk at this - but we're not Michael Mann, with the best part of 20-odd films behind us.

Also - like I say - there's nothing wrong with the occasional unfilmable - in Heat - Neil is a key character - with yours, you do it habitually with all your characters. You could use a technique like this to draw attention to your lead - sometimes it helps as a clue to the actor.


Quoted from ottercat

And

INT. CEDARS-SINAI CORRIDOR - TRAVELING TWO SHOT � DAY

We DOLLY on Neil as he crosses through the long crowded
corridor. Patients, nurses, interns and doctors pass by.
A P.A. broadcasts occasional messages.

DOLLY is a function of the shooting script - shooting scripts are often done with the director.


Quoted from ottercat
I've change certain things over and over based on certain scripts I read. Is there a big difference in a spec script and a final script when it comes to these things that you two are warning me about?

A spec script has more focus on a story that will (hopefully) eventually be turned into a film - a shooting script is a production tool for actually filming it.
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ottercat
Posted: April 3rd, 2012, 5:20pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the help guys.  As you can see this is the first script I ever wrote and I can see some of the problems as you point them out.

A lot of good points I'm soaking in.

Ghostwriter,

I didn't do research on the 20 minutes, it's something my friends and I kind of picked up on, so I guess you can say a lot of this story are things I've come across. And yes, the ATOM BOMB if you get that far is for real! Please don't judge. lol.  But you did make two points that really stick out. 1. I did think about about a female friend in.  When I first wrote notes down she was in, but then decided not to add her. Maybe I should think twice. and 2. Everytime I read the Bar scene I feel it's too long also.  So thanks for that.
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ChrisB
Posted: April 3rd, 2012, 11:32pm Report to Moderator
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Ottercat, I'd suggest having a rival group of guys who are looking to get girls for your conflict.  That could add a great deal of spice to your story.
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