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Don
Posted: May 22nd, 2012, 8:02pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Double Down by Christopher Stack (mehdoh) - Short, Comedy - Three friends take a trip to Vegas they'll never forget no mater how hard they try. 14 pages - pdf, format


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Mehdoh
Posted: May 22nd, 2012, 9:45pm Report to Moderator
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Geez, there's a typo in my logline. Anywho, I'm also aware of a typo on the last line of the script. I'd like to hear what you all think!
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Seven
Posted: May 22nd, 2012, 10:02pm Report to Moderator
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For just 14 pages, this was a tedious read. There is an excessive amount of stage direction. It isn't necessary to tell the reader each move a character makes moving from his car to his house - parking the car, grabbing the beer, exiting the car, etc. Unless what he does between his car and the house is of consequence to the story, it's wasted space.

There is a lack of dramatic tension. It isn't until the end that something is at stake, and that something is of little consequence. The only thing that paid off was Ryan's last line which was well timed and humorous.

The characters were guys we've seen in movies (and real life) many times. Far too familiar/boring.




  
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Mehdoh
Posted: May 22nd, 2012, 10:49pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Seven
For just 14 pages, this was a tedious read. There is an excessive amount of stage direction. It isn't necessary to tell the reader each move a character makes moving from his car to his house - parking the car, grabbing the beer, exiting the car, etc. Unless what he does between his car and the house is of consequence to the story, it's wasted space.

There is a lack of dramatic tension. It isn't until the end that something is at stake, and that something is of little consequence. The only thing that paid off was Ryan's last line which was well timed and humorous.

The characters were guys we've seen in movies (and real life) many times. Far too familiar/boring.




  


Thanks for your input. I didn't really give any stage direction at all but I see what you're saying about the wasted space by giving too many descriptives on the character's moves. I just figured it would help develop the character a little bit more and help the reader understand that he's had a long day/week. I guess I could just say that and get rid of the fluff.

As for dramatic tension, I was initially going to make this into a feature but decided to keep it as a short for now to see what people thought of it.

I figured the familiarity with the characters would be a good thing so that the reader can relate to the story more. Maybe I was wrong. I think "tedious" is a bit of a harsh description of the script. I still find myself entertained each time I read it but I guess I'm pretty biased.
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danbotha
Posted: May 22nd, 2012, 11:25pm Report to Moderator
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In terms of the way it is written and formatted, I can't fault this one.

For me, it took a while to get into the Las Vegas part. That was the only thing that really annoyed me to be honest. Otherwise, not a bad little read here.

Sorry my reply couldn't have been longer.

Daniel


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Mehdoh
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Quoted from danbotha
In terms of the way it is written and formatted, I can't fault this one.

For me, it took a while to get into the Las Vegas part. That was the only thing that really annoyed me to be honest. Otherwise, not a bad little read here.

Sorry my reply couldn't have been longer.

Daniel


Thanks, Daniel! It seems the consensus is that it is taking too long to get to Vegas. Perhaps if I expand on it to make it more like the length of a feature, it would make more sense for the delay getting there (I have some big plans for these guys still). Or I can just trim the fat a bit and make it a more tidy short.
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danbotha
Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 12:02am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Mehdoh


Thanks, Daniel! It seems the consensus is that it is taking too long to get to Vegas. Perhaps if I expand on it to make it more like the length of a feature, it would make more sense for the delay getting there (I have some big plans for these guys still). Or I can just trim the fat a bit and make it a more tidy short.


I think this one could go either way to be honest. It has the makings of a good short provided that you cut it down a bit (which you have already mentioned). I can see it working as a feature as well. The only problem I can see with this one being turned into a feature is, for me, when this sort of humor is spread out over a longer period of time, I get bored by the end. That's just me though.


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cloroxmartini
Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 12:34am Report to Moderator
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Seven is right, it is tedious and he is not harsh in saying so. It's boring. What does that mean? It means what you've written is not keeping a reader's interest. How do you keep a reader's interest? Write something they have not read before. Make it entertaining enough for them to read as they are the ones paying the freight.

I read 8 pages and I can't tell you what this is about. I read another script just posted and I got hooked enough to read 23 pages and I can tell you what it's about without going back to read it. There in lies your challenge. Going to Vegas has been done. Road trips have been done. They are worn out...or are they? If you put your spin on those stories then you may have a fresh approach and hook your reader. But first you have to have a story to set up. Do you have a story? What is it about? Your spin has to be better than the last going to Vegas hit and your first few pages should hook the reader in or you lose that chance to convince.
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Mehdoh
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Quoted from cloroxmartini
Seven is right, it is tedious and he is not harsh in saying so. It's boring. What does that mean? It means what you've written is not keeping a reader's interest. How do you keep a reader's interest? Write something they have not read before. Make it entertaining enough for them to read as they are the ones paying the freight.

I read 8 pages and I can't tell you what this is about. I read another script just posted and I got hooked enough to read 23 pages and I can tell you what it's about without going back to read it. There in lies your challenge. Going to Vegas has been done. Road trips have been done. They are worn out...or are they? If you put your spin on those stories then you may have a fresh approach and hook your reader. But first you have to have a story to set up. Do you have a story? What is it about? Your spin has to be better than the last going to Vegas hit and your first few pages should hook the reader in or you lose that chance to convince.


You read a little over half the script. It's no wonder you can't tell me what it's about. Your point is well taken that it isn't hooking the reader. One can say that Vegas has been done but the same can be said for horror stories, for action flicks, for spy tales, etc. I do have a spin I'm going to add to this one though and I'll trim the beginning to make it more readable for you guys and to help hook people in.
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cloroxmartini
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Don't miss my point. The theme of your story should be evident in the first scene. What is the first thing you see in The Hangover? What is The Hangover about? What made The Hangover interesting enough to keep watching? Not getting your theme out front is WHY your story fails - for me - in the first few pages. I don't need to know everything but I should have a sense of some kind. Is it going to be gut busting funny? Are people going to die? Is the world potentially coming to an end?...hey let's hang on to find out. If you don't go there, we aren't going to get there.

Another observation is that you are defensive, which writers are. It's your mind and time going into your story, so to have someone say it's tedious and boring, it's like, well F those guys, they don't have a clue. But then someone else says it, then another...not time to be defensive and say we don't get it and wait till you read the rest. If you now had 100 pages I would read no further because (more often than not) those first ten pages WILL tell me what is in store for the next 90 and I can decide if I want to spend the next 90 to 100 minutes of my life devoted to tedious and boring. If even one person says it's boring, you need to find out why because maybe that one thing will elevate the quality of your writing.
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albinopenguin
Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 4:17pm Report to Moderator
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let's see how far i'll make it

p1

your opening could be a bit smoother. it's a little wordy, but not in the right places. less words telling us there is elevator music playing overhead, and more words telling us what Ryan looks like.

OLD WOMAN
Better make it two. And....
(looking at the other
scratchers painfully slow)
letís see here...
^instead of a parenthetical, i would just write more description. if you want your audience to feel like time is lagging, you should write more. the duration of writing should be roughly proportional to how long the audience should be watching.

OLD WOMAN
Iíll take one of those Treasure
Chest ones and--
RYAN
(to: cashier)
--Iím sorry but Iíve had a long
day. Can I just buy this and get on
my way?
^a few pointers here. no need for "--" and just write (to cashier). the audience can get a feel that ryan is interrupting the old lady. you're over directing a bit too much.

OLD WOMAN
(turning to face Ryan)
Wait your turn, asshole!
^once again, no need to tell us that she faces Ryan. we can assume that she's talking to Ryan and not the cashier.

OLD WOMAN
Dammit, where was I...
^apparently a lot of professional script readers frown upon elipseseses. i dont mind them personally but i thought you should know.

p2

Ryan honks his horn and gestures with his hands to get the
car to move.
^sounds can be capitalized

The driver of the other car faces forward and, with an
apologetic wave, drives through the green light just as it
turns yellow. Then red.
^a little confusing, especially the bit about facing forward

He fumbles his keys as he shuts the car door with his hip.
With a sigh, Ryan shifts the case of beer to one hand and
picks up his keys.
He walks across his unkempt lawn as he searches for his
house key.
^WAY too much description. at this point in time, your script is dragging because of two things. first, your descriptors need to be more concise. second, nothing very entertaining or unique is happening. everything seems kind of mundane. take the opening scene from Office Space for example. everyone gets stuck in traffic jams. but Mike Judge found a way to make traffic jams entertaining. spice things up. make things more unique and offer a new perspecive on cliched situations.

how old is Dave?

try to avoid -ing words when possible. use active verbs.

p3

i'm going to ease up on criticizing your descriptors from this point on lest i keep repeating myself. i think you get the idea. write clear, concise descriptors. read some more screenplays to get a better idea of what i'm talking about.

DAVE
(whining)
Dude! You got me killed!
^paranthetical not needed

capitalize belch.

i honestly hate all of these characters by now.

p4

i'm sorry but this is getting really tough to get through. i want to give you more pointers on your writing, but then i'd be nitpicking. in order to get through this, i'm not going to go very in depth.

scale back on the parentheticals. period. only employ them when a character does something contradictory to what is expected. let the actor interpret your lines.

p6

f uck all these guys. you've written a story with a bunch of bros in it. i'm waiting for them to drop their trowsers and start sucking each other's johnsons like they're downing natty ice. sorry. just venting. but seriously, very one dimensional characters.

p7

write out numbers.

DAVE
(excited)
YES!
^Just write "Yes!" no caps. no parentheticals.

i seriously doubt that Ryan would take this gamble without first seeing Toby in action...if at all.

p8

DAVE
(to: Ryan)
Stop hatiní!
RYAN
Hatiní? Hatiní? Really? Okay,
Eminem.
^ugh

p9

Ryan pulls the car up to the valet and steps out wearing his
normal clothes. Toby and Dave step out dressed to the nines
complete with top hats and canes. Dave has now applied a
press-on curly mustache as Toby holds a monocle to his eye.
^in true bro fashion. i hope someone fist bumps Dave...in the ass

p12

WAITRESS
I think I do and if so, that was
really lame.
^very on the nose. she shouldnt say this. she should act all pissed off and say something clever that indicates that she thinks what he said was lame.

you forgot to introduce the pit boss (and put his name in all caps).

finished. unfortunately for you, you really can't criticize cloroxmartini for not finishing the script. and i can't fault him either. the script doesnt improve the further you read.

listen, we all write duds. you seem like you're new, and if that's the case, then this wasn't a bad effort. you could have done a lot worse. i've been doing this for a couple of years now and i still write some pieces of s hit from time to time. you're learning and that's okay.

here are my suggestion for this script, either scrap it or rewrite it entirely with your own spin. most shorts have a twist at the end. this one ends on a whimper.

keep writing. don't get discoruaged. and don't get defensive.






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Mehdoh
Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 8:22pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from cloroxmartini
Don't miss my point. The theme of your story should be evident in the first scene. What is the first thing you see in The Hangover? What is The Hangover about? What made The Hangover interesting enough to keep watching? Not getting your theme out front is WHY your story fails - for me - in the first few pages. I don't need to know everything but I should have a sense of some kind. Is it going to be gut busting funny? Are people going to die? Is the world potentially coming to an end?...hey let's hang on to find out. If you don't go there, we aren't going to get there.

Another observation is that you are defensive, which writers are. It's your mind and time going into your story, so to have someone say it's tedious and boring, it's like, well F those guys, they don't have a clue. But then someone else says it, then another...not time to be defensive and say we don't get it and wait till you read the rest. If you now had 100 pages I would read no further because (more often than not) those first ten pages WILL tell me what is in store for the next 90 and I can decide if I want to spend the next 90 to 100 minutes of my life devoted to tedious and boring. If even one person says it's boring, you need to find out why because maybe that one thing will elevate the quality of your writing.


This is a sound post and you're right, it's hard not to get defensive. I understand having a hook at the beginning but this was the first short I've ever written so I suppose I felt like I had to choose between having a hook and jumping right in or a little character development/backstory. Seems I should have gone with the hook and went right for the story. Thanks for the advice!
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Mehdoh
Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 8:35pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from albinopenguin
let's see how far i'll make it

p1

your opening could be a bit smoother. it's a little wordy, but not in the right places. less words telling us there is elevator music playing overhead, and more words telling us what Ryan looks like.

OLD WOMAN
Better make it two. And....
(looking at the other
scratchers painfully slow)
letís see here...
^instead of a parenthetical, i would just write more description. if you want your audience to feel like time is lagging, you should write more. the duration of writing should be roughly proportional to how long the audience should be watching.

OLD WOMAN
Iíll take one of those Treasure
Chest ones and--
RYAN
(to: cashier)
--Iím sorry but Iíve had a long
day. Can I just buy this and get on
my way?
^a few pointers here. no need for "--" and just write (to cashier). the audience can get a feel that ryan is interrupting the old lady. you're over directing a bit too much.

OLD WOMAN
(turning to face Ryan)
Wait your turn, asshole!
^once again, no need to tell us that she faces Ryan. we can assume that she's talking to Ryan and not the cashier.

OLD WOMAN
Dammit, where was I...
^apparently a lot of professional script readers frown upon elipseseses. i dont mind them personally but i thought you should know.

p2

Ryan honks his horn and gestures with his hands to get the
car to move.
^sounds can be capitalized

The driver of the other car faces forward and, with an
apologetic wave, drives through the green light just as it
turns yellow. Then red.
^a little confusing, especially the bit about facing forward

He fumbles his keys as he shuts the car door with his hip.
With a sigh, Ryan shifts the case of beer to one hand and
picks up his keys.
He walks across his unkempt lawn as he searches for his
house key.
^WAY too much description. at this point in time, your script is dragging because of two things. first, your descriptors need to be more concise. second, nothing very entertaining or unique is happening. everything seems kind of mundane. take the opening scene from Office Space for example. everyone gets stuck in traffic jams. but Mike Judge found a way to make traffic jams entertaining. spice things up. make things more unique and offer a new perspecive on cliched situations.

how old is Dave?

try to avoid -ing words when possible. use active verbs.

p3

i'm going to ease up on criticizing your descriptors from this point on lest i keep repeating myself. i think you get the idea. write clear, concise descriptors. read some more screenplays to get a better idea of what i'm talking about.

DAVE
(whining)
Dude! You got me killed!
^paranthetical not needed

capitalize belch.

i honestly hate all of these characters by now.

p4

i'm sorry but this is getting really tough to get through. i want to give you more pointers on your writing, but then i'd be nitpicking. in order to get through this, i'm not going to go very in depth.

scale back on the parentheticals. period. only employ them when a character does something contradictory to what is expected. let the actor interpret your lines.

p6

f uck all these guys. you've written a story with a bunch of bros in it. i'm waiting for them to drop their trowsers and start sucking each other's johnsons like they're downing natty ice. sorry. just venting. but seriously, very one dimensional characters.

p7

write out numbers.

DAVE
(excited)
YES!
^Just write "Yes!" no caps. no parentheticals.

i seriously doubt that Ryan would take this gamble without first seeing Toby in action...if at all.

p8

DAVE
(to: Ryan)
Stop hatiní!
RYAN
Hatiní? Hatiní? Really? Okay,
Eminem.
^ugh

p9

Ryan pulls the car up to the valet and steps out wearing his
normal clothes. Toby and Dave step out dressed to the nines
complete with top hats and canes. Dave has now applied a
press-on curly mustache as Toby holds a monocle to his eye.
^in true bro fashion. i hope someone fist bumps Dave...in the ass

p12

WAITRESS
I think I do and if so, that was
really lame.
^very on the nose. she shouldnt say this. she should act all pissed off and say something clever that indicates that she thinks what he said was lame.

you forgot to introduce the pit boss (and put his name in all caps).

finished. unfortunately for you, you really can't criticize cloroxmartini for not finishing the script. and i can't fault him either. the script doesnt improve the further you read.

listen, we all write duds. you seem like you're new, and if that's the case, then this wasn't a bad effort. you could have done a lot worse. i've been doing this for a couple of years now and i still write some pieces of s hit from time to time. you're learning and that's okay.

here are my suggestion for this script, either scrap it or rewrite it entirely with your own spin. most shorts have a twist at the end. this one ends on a whimper.

keep writing. don't get discoruaged. and don't get defensive.






The Eminem line was not my finest. I hated it when I wrote it and still hate it. It was a matter of do I sit here for 30 minutes thinking of a better line or should I just move on. I should have thought of a better line.

With the parantheticals, I suppose I wasn't giving the reader enough credit to understand the tone of the dialogue. I'll work on that for sure.

I'm thinking of axing the traffic light scene and the fumbling keys scene. Just stick with him coming home. That should make it get to the point faster and make it, hopefully, more engaging for the reader.

I'm a little interested in what gave you the bro vibe on the characters. In my mind, Dave is just a fat slob, Ryan is a hard-working type of guy who is sort of in between his college years and growing up, and Toby is the type of guy who thinks he knows everything but he's really just an idiot. So should I just flat-out describe what type of people these guys are? Or should I try to relay that in the dialogue? I thought I had described them via dialogue well enough but I guess it didn't work the way I hoped.

Yes, I'm new to this and have had some direction from a relative in the industry but he didn't read this script at all so I ended up posting it without someone else giving it a quick once over. I'll try to have future scripts read at least once by someone else to make sure they can make it to the end without wanting to scrape their eyes out.
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nastynate
Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 9:55pm Report to Moderator
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Chris,
For a first short this has lots of positive things going for it. The format is spot on and even though the story is familiar it's straightforward enough to avoid leaving the reader confused, unlike so many scripts that are just one random scene after another.

My main suggestion would be to ramp up the conflict as much as possible. There's some between the guys prior to the trip and a little more once they get to the casino, but the stakes don't seem to be high enough for them. Yes, they risk getting caught, but what are they risking it for? Right now they are just trying to make a quick buck while trying to not get caught.

If one or more of the guys actually needed the money from a get rich quick scheme for a specific reason that would change everything here. Maybe Toby and Dave are short on rent to Ryan and he's threatening to kick them out unless they pay up ASAP? Just a random thought, but the more you raise their stakes the better the story will be.
good luck with this and keep working at it,
Nate


New comedy short, "CRIME SCENE REENACTMENTS." The only TV show that lets actual crime victims reenact the worst moments of their lives for your viewing pleasure.

http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1337896711/
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Mehdoh
Posted: May 23rd, 2012, 11:30pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from nastynate
Chris,
For a first short this has lots of positive things going for it. The format is spot on and even though the story is familiar it's straightforward enough to avoid leaving the reader confused, unlike so many scripts that are just one random scene after another.

My main suggestion would be to ramp up the conflict as much as possible. There's some between the guys prior to the trip and a little more once they get to the casino, but the stakes don't seem to be high enough for them. Yes, they risk getting caught, but what are they risking it for? Right now they are just trying to make a quick buck while trying to not get caught.

If one or more of the guys actually needed the money from a get rich quick scheme for a specific reason that would change everything here. Maybe Toby and Dave are short on rent to Ryan and he's threatening to kick them out unless they pay up ASAP? Just a random thought, but the more you raise their stakes the better the story will be.
good luck with this and keep working at it,
Nate


Hey Nate,

Thanks for the support and the review. I see what you're saying about the conflict (or lack thereof). Thanks for the advice, I will ramp it up a bit in the next draft,

Chris
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