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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Culture Shock Moderators: bert
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  Author    Culture Shock  (currently 4432 views)
Don
Posted: April 24th, 2012, 7:08pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Culture Shock by Daniel Botha - Short, Drama - A teenage immigrant living in her new home in New Zealand struggles to come to terms with her new life. 6 pages - pdf, format


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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  May 30th, 2012, 3:51pm
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nawazm11
Posted: April 24th, 2012, 10:24pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Daniel.

Although there are many problems with the writing, I thought it was readable. I think the biggest issue you had was overwriting, a lot of unnecessary words that can be cut easily. Saying that, it was still decent and I got through it.

The story wasn't bad either, I just thought you completely rushed it at the end. It seems like you were going somewhere with this but nothing really happens at the end. Maybe have her make a noose? I dunno! Just something!

The dialogue at the end from Billy was so on the nose that I wanted to rip my eyes out, sorry to say. I saw what you were trying to get at, but nobody says that.

I'd go more into more detail if you're around, so if you are, just gimme a pm.

Mohammad
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Steex
Posted: April 25th, 2012, 3:37pm Report to Moderator
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Here are the things that stood out for me.
Hopefully you take this as constructive criticism.

You need FADE IN and FADE OUT.

You wrote "splatters of drizzle".
It seems a little weird to me. At first I wasn't sure if you were talking about rain or not.

You need character descriptions-- How do we know who Nothando is? Boy, girl? Age?

I try to stay away from writing "the typical..."
If you put "typical" then it says that there is nothing unique about your setting.

How do we know she is writing a letter to her grandma in Zimbabwe? How would the audience see/hear/know it on screen, without reading the script?

On page 2  you wrote "quieten down".

Keep in mind, if this were to make it to the screen, there are things you say that the audience wouldn't know. You need to show them. (ie, netball is Nothando's favorite game, the children are working on creative writing.)

Show "Creative Writing Assignment" on the header of a page. Or have her say that netball is her favorite game.

You wrote "All heads have been turned on Nothando." (keep it present tense)

"She opens it, revealing her three items of food." (Maybe try something like, food-- a sandwich, chips and banana. for example)

Instead of "not sympathetic" maybe, sarcastic?

You wrote "the boy (or BILLY)" - you need to commit. choose one.

Also, nawazm11 is right, try to stay away from on the nose dialogue.

Overall, I liked it. Not a lot happened and the ending DID seem rushed. But for some reason, it was a nice little story. It was decently quick.
Keep up the writing!


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danbotha
Posted: April 27th, 2012, 6:05pm Report to Moderator
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Hey guys!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read the script, your feedback is appreciated.

I see what you meant with the overwriting. I often tend to forget that in scripts, you don't have to be overly descriptive  

My main goal with the plot was to bring awareness to the racism that teenagers in New Zealand often fall victim to. Being a foreign teenager, myself, I feel that this is a story that needs to be told. I do agree that the story finishes very suddenly and I hope to fix that up before I film this in August, this year.

I just had a read through of the script and I am in full agreement with Billy's bit of dialogue being 'on the nose'. I think that this particular moment in the script is quite important and I would like to keep it there, if at all possible. At the same time, I want people to be emotionally invested at that particular point, so I'll try and find any way to fix that moment up.

I cannot believe I didn't write FADE IN and FADE OUT!!! That's all I really have to say on that  .

I tend to leave in-depth character descriptions out to allow people to have their imaginations deal with it. Having said that, I do need to include simple things like age and Gender.

The use of 'typical' is a common word I use in my scripts. It's my way of saying 'boring' without actually saying it. In 'Culture Shock' I used the word 'typical' to show that there was nothing unusual or different about Nothando's surroundings.

There are certain words that I can change up in this script, to have it make more sense.

Thanks for the feedback! It's great to hear that people are enjoying the story and I will definitely make an effort to improve this story  


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CindyLKeller
Posted: April 29th, 2012, 5:12am Report to Moderator
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Hi Daniel,

I have to say that I agree with Mohammad and Steex. I think your script needs some clean up.

I felt bad for Nothando, her being the new kid, being lonely and having to make up lies.  Her pain came through in your writing.

I wish I knew what she looked like though. Is she smaller or bigger than the other kids? Are her clothes modern and similar to the other girl's clothes or do they make her look out of place?

I'm glad that Billy spoke to her. Maybe Nothando could tell her grandmother in her last letter that she met a boy who really likes her and that they are going on a date ???

I don't think you should bring in a noose as suggested. I think she really wants to fit in, not kill herself.

Might be a nice way to end this if she noticed someone who was just as lonely as she was at school and she made the effort to meet that person. ???

Anyway, I think it just needs a clean up. Read the dialogue out loud to see if it's what you want, too.

Cindy


Award winning screenwriter
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danbotha
Posted: April 29th, 2012, 11:18pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Cindy for your input, I really appreciate it

There is no doubt in my mind that this script does need a clean up and I will get onto that as soon as I get the spare time. Hopefully, there will be a re-write posted on this website (if that's possible...)

I'm glad that I was able to portray Nothando's pain as it is vital in this script.

Because the script is set in New Zealand the clothes Nothando wears are exactly the same as all the other girls, as we wear uniforms. There could be a nice touch if I made her uniform a bit tattier than all the other girls' clothes. Nothando would probably be smaller than the other kids. I see your point with asking these questions... Attention to detail needs to be more prominent in this script.

I really like the idea of Nothando telling her grandmother about the boy that she met; that would be a really great touch.

Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate that


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Robbie37
Posted: May 14th, 2012, 4:55pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Dan,
I really enjoyed Culture Shock. I am new to scriptwriting myself, and also this website, but for me, this script has great potential.

I found your story had a lovely pace, and your action IMO easily allowed me to visulise everything. I usually find excessive V/O off putting, but in this case it really allowed me, the audience, into Nothando's world and the imaginary one she was creating for her Grandmother.

I agree, to some extent, that Billy's lines are a bit awkward - you could perhaps have him being the most cruel yet of the children...but...in a way this is a simple, subtle story and with good actors, would make a great short as is.

I enjoyed this, and look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

Cheers,

Rob.
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Mehdoh
Posted: May 14th, 2012, 11:08pm Report to Moderator
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I don't want to beat a dead horse but as already mentioned and as you acknowledged, it is overwritten. It's tough to try to cut out the descriptives when you have a vivid visualization in your head but you get bogged down in the details. It reads more like a novel than a script. There are also a couple typos that need to be cleaned up.

Also as previously mentioned, we need to know the character more. I know this is tough to do in 5-6 pages but I honestly thought it was a boy the whole time until you said "she". Then I got really confused because I couldn't figure out who "she" was because in my mind she was a "he". Does that make sense?

Anyway, needs some fine tuning, a little trimming here, a little beefing up there, and I think it will have some good potential.
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danbotha
Posted: May 15th, 2012, 12:28am Report to Moderator
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I was quite surprised to check up on this one and find I had some more feedback.

Rob - Thank you very much for your kind words. Your compliments are definitely appreciated and I'm glad you enjoyed Culture Shock  

Mehdoh - Thanks for your feedback. I really do appreciate it. There's no doubt that this script needs work and I'll definitely be focusing on the issues you pointed out over the next couple of weeks.

Sorry about the confusion with the gender of my MC. I need to work on simple things like character descriptions.

Thanks for the read, guys and for the feedback  

Daniel


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CoopBazinga
Posted: May 15th, 2012, 10:50am Report to Moderator
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Hey Daniel

Are you planning on filming this one personally? If not then get rid of all of those nasty “we” in the action. It wasn’t a great way to start a script but I’ll give you credit for giving an actuate feeling for New Zealand… grey, dreary day. We all enjoy the sun here in Oz.

Look, I think the writing has been covered by previous posters and you know about the overwriting so I’m not going to keep bashing you over the head with that.

This is a strong story, give it a rewrite and polish it up I think you could have a very powerful short here.

I like what you’re doing with the undertone here and think it has a lot of potential and would make for a good filmed short.

I hope you give this a rewrite.

Good luck and keep writing.

Steve
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danbotha
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Quoted from CoopBazinga


It wasn’t a great way to start a script but I’ll give you credit for giving an actuate feeling for New Zealand… grey, dreary day. We all enjoy the sun here in Oz.



Hahahahahahahahahaha! We get sun, here! ... Every now and then  

Thanks for the feedback, Steve.

I haven't decided if I'm going to film it, yet, so for the sake of anybody on this site that read the script, I'll take out the 'we' sentences.

I will be giving this one a re-write, soon.

Thanks Steve

Daniel



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Steex
Posted: May 15th, 2012, 7:26pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, danbotha.
I talked to you before and you asked me to read your script.
Then I realized that I already had!
I thought the title sounded familiar.


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Heretic
Posted: May 15th, 2012, 7:55pm Report to Moderator
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As I go:

Page 1:  "...classroom is reasonably normal."  I would avoid descriptions like "reasonably normal."  I know it's a pain when describing things that are very every-day, but "reasonably normal" doesn't mean anything at all.  Maybe "a typical Australian classroom" or something might work better?

"It is anything but under control."  I'm sure people have commented that this is overwritten in general, and it is, but I'd especially avoid explaining your own comedic irony in description.  Nothing turns a reader off faster than the sense that they're being written down to.  We get that the children aren't focused, it's funny, until you say it.

"...is getting alot better"  Speaking of comedic irony; "alot" isn't a word.  I assume just a typo, but a funny one!

Just a thought...a more visual way to show her uncertain of the spelling would be to have her actually misspell the word, look at it, erase it, and start again.

Page 2:  Why does she write the one-word sentence "yes" in her letter?  Makes no sense.

Page 4:  You should establish Billy right at the start of the story.  Not necessarily even saying anything, just perhaps a mention of what he's doing.  That way, he won't seem like a device when he becomes important here.

Thoughts:

I think you paint a very bittersweet picture here and I really like the tone of the script.  The irony of her lies is nicely played, especially when she announces in VO that she's sometimes allowed to join in with the games, which sounds reasonable, and then that expectation is totally demolished visually.  All in all, I think the concept of VO lies, visual truth is working really well for you.

I don't think you have a very dynamic protagonist here.  We need some change during the story, and we don't get it.  We get the reveal -- granny's sick -- but that won't satisfy an audience.  We need, at the start of the story, something that Nothando wants, and, at the climax of the story, her succeeding or failing in obtaining it.  One could argue, perhaps, that what she wants is to fit in, but the story isn't dynamic on that point; we don't see her try to fit in.  One could argue that she wants to make her grandmother happy, but it's also not particularly dynamic there, as she never considers telling the truth (the obvious conflict).  That's one thing that might give the story movement; something like "An estranged teenage immigrant who's created a fantasy life in letters to her grandmother considers writing a final letter telling her the truth".  That, to me, is a lot more dynamic than what you have, even at the level of a logline/quick summary.  

You have conflict and tension, but it needs to drive the protagonist forward in wanting and then creating change.

The portrait you paint of Nothando's life is very effective, and is moving, but it needs to go somewhere.  A story may be about one person, but it should tell us something about all of us.  It's not enough to depict sorrow without change, for the better or the worse.

I enjoyed reading this a lot.  Let me know if there's anything upon which I can clarify/expand.

Chris


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danbotha
Posted: May 15th, 2012, 11:07pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Steex
Hey, danbotha.
I talked to you before and you asked me to read your script.
Then I realized that I already had!
I thought the title sounded familiar.


Sorry about the confusion there, Steex. I'll take a look at some of your work when I get the time  

Daniel


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danbotha
Posted: May 15th, 2012, 11:14pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Heretic


I don't think you have a very dynamic protagonist here.  We need some change during the story, and we don't get it.  We get the reveal -- granny's sick -- but that won't satisfy an audience.  We need, at the start of the story, something that Nothando wants, and, at the climax of the story, her succeeding or failing in obtaining it.  One could argue, perhaps, that what she wants is to fit in, but the story isn't dynamic on that point; we don't see her try to fit in.  One could argue that she wants to make her grandmother happy, but it's also not particularly dynamic there, as she never considers telling the truth (the obvious conflict).  That's one thing that might give the story movement; something like "An estranged teenage immigrant who's created a fantasy life in letters to her grandmother considers writing a final letter telling her the truth".  That, to me, is a lot more dynamic than what you have, even at the level of a logline/quick summary.  

You have conflict and tension, but it needs to drive the protagonist forward in wanting and then creating change.

The portrait you paint of Nothando's life is very effective, and is moving, but it needs to go somewhere.  A story may be about one person, but it should tell us something about all of us.  It's not enough to depict sorrow without change, for the better or the worse.

Chris


Hey Chris

First off thanks so much for your response.

I agree with you about those awkward sentences that don't quite fit well. I'll take a look at that sort of thing when I go into the re-write.

I've quoted the above passage because I really liked that bit of information and I think more people should be aware of it. Not only were you giving me some great feedback, you were also teaching me some stuff that I haven't really learned, yet, so that's great.

As for never really mentioning Billy before... That thought never occurred to me. I think I just got lost in the moment and carried on writing.

I do think this story tells a lot about us though (notice how I said "a lot" instead of "alot"... You taught me something). My main goal with it was to show how ignorant human beings can be towards different cultures and, more importantly, how many of us adopt a bullying nature as a defense towards anything different. I think that's how many people react and I tried to make that as clear as possible. I will take a look at that and see if there's a clearer way of portraying that theme  

Glad you enjoyed it. I hope it becomes even more enjoyable for the re-write  

Daniel



Revision History (1 edits)
danbotha  -  May 15th, 2012, 11:22pm
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