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Don
Posted: June 2nd, 2012, 3:35pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Addicted by Cristian Nicolae - Short, Drama - The story of two young cousins who deal with drugs. 16 pages - pdf, format


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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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danbotha
Posted: June 2nd, 2012, 5:55pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Christian

I'm going to start off on a bad note. This script needs work. A lot of work.

For starters, the dialogue seems way too unnatural. Try reading it out to yourself, to double check.

You use many unnecessary words such as "just." You don't need these to tell a story. Only use the words you need. We all fall victim to overwriting, and trust me, its hard to overcome, but hopefully with the help from SS members, you'll be able to overcome this habit.

There are a lot of typos. Be on the lookout for them.

I'll leave my page-by-page review for now, until you make an appearance.

Scrap the Narrator. When I see a Narrator, it tells me the story isn't ready to be told. It tells me that you haven't really planned the ending. You use the Narrator to set up a sense of mystery, but then you completely trash that mystery with your last shot, making the Narrator dead weight.

You don't need to try and spark thought into your audience. They will immediately start wondering what happens next, so you don't need to have the Narrator there to try and provoke some thought.

Hope this helps. I'll be keeping an eye on this one, to see if you make an appearance.

Daniel


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Forgive
Posted: June 3rd, 2012, 9:49am Report to Moderator
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Let The Sky Fall

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This si the same guy that wrote the 'Drunk' - looks like he's just hoicked a couple of scripts up here, but I'm not sure around to get any feedback ...
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Cristian Nicolae
Posted: June 21st, 2012, 9:13am Report to Moderator
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Hello ! This is my first appearance, I really appreciate all your comments. I did not make an appearance by posting, but I was always around.

@Daniel: thank you very much for your time reviewing this one and 'The Drunk', I appreciate it very much. I hope all your thoughts here will help me forward in a rewrite. I admit I'm a beginner and all your suggestions are welcome. Hopefully I will improve on the next one .  My main problem is really writing my thoughts, sending my imagined story to a paper. I can imagine them a few minutes before using an amazing dialogue, but when I start to write it.....it all becomes strangely unnatural. If I can fix this, I will be very happy. Sure, I'm not writing for a long time.


Upcoming screenplay: Killing Stars (working title)

Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Cristian Nicolae  -  June 21st, 2012, 9:43am
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danbotha
Posted: June 22nd, 2012, 1:19am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Cristian Nicolae
Hello ! This is my first appearance, I really appreciate all your comments. I did not make an appearance by posting, but I was always around.

@Daniel: thank you very much for your time reviewing this one and 'The Drunk', I appreciate it very much. I hope all your thoughts here will help me forward in a rewrite. I admit I'm a beginner and all your suggestions are welcome. Hopefully I will improve on the next one .  My main problem is really writing my thoughts, sending my imagined story to a paper. I can imagine them a few minutes before using an amazing dialogue, but when I start to write it.....it all becomes strangely unnatural. If I can fix this, I will be very happy. Sure, I'm not writing for a long time.


Hi Christian

We all have the same problem when it comes to describing things. If you're interested in more help, just send me a private message and I'll send you a page by page review.

I advise that you make a few comments on other scripts as well. It teaches you quite a lot and you'll definitely benefit from it.

Daniel


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danbotha
Posted: July 21st, 2012, 9:46pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Christian,

As promised, I have started to put together a page-by-page review. The thing is, it's taking a lot longer than I expected it to. So far I have 4 hand-written A4 pages and I have only gone through the first 2 pages. It's already one of my longest reviews I've ever written for someone and I haven't even finished, yet. And that includes the few reviews I've done for feature length scripts. I'm going to have to ask for your patience as I make my way through this script.

I'll post what I have, so far. As I write more, I'll post it.

In general, you over-write by quite a bit. I'll point out the moments where you have over-written and give you some pointers on how to fix those moments.

Your formatting is good, except for one thing. You capitalize names every time you mention them. When writing a script, you should only capitalize a characters name once; when we first see them.

Page 1: "It's a sunny day." - This very first word shows signs of over-writing. You could still get the same point across with on "A sunny day."

"The great weather is shown on children's faces." - I'm a little confused as to what you actually mean by this. How can weather be shown on someone's face? I say get rid of this sentence. You really don't need it.

"CHRISTIAN, 17, rides his bike. He comes across the street, keeping riding with is headset on his ears. He stops near a garden. He just looks inside, he sees a grey car, then he changes his song from his mobile. He continues the ride." - A perfect example of over-writing, here. A lot of the time with over-writing, there's only a few words to blame, such as "just" and "then." Find a way of getting rid of these words and you'll immediately have a cleaner read. I'm also wondering if the grey car is actually important here?? If not, get rid of it. The whole paragraph is awkwardly written. Try something along the lines of this...

"CHRISTIAN (17) a headset over his ears, rides his bike. He crosses the road, stops outside a garden. He peers inside, changes his song and carries on." - Even that paragraph is a bit awkward, but it has improved.

"CHRISTIAN walks inside very slowly, he puts his car near the house." - "bike" not "car" lol. See how you've put Christian's name in CAPS? A screenwriting no-no.

"Dashes" should be "Dishes."

CHRISTIAN hears only music from his headset." - This sentence would be fine, except you have him responding to his mother right after you state this. If he couldn't hear Sofia, how can he respond?

"He tries to enter, his mother takes his headset off, almost killing them, she is willing for an answer." - I think it's obvious, by now, that she wants an answer, so that last part of the paragraph becomes a bit useless. Try...

"He tries to enter, but is blocked by Sofia. She snatches the headset, almost breaking them."

Page 1:

                        CHRISTIAN
         I was at Billy...

Should be "Billy's"

Page 2:

                        SOFIA
               (Nervous)
        Cut the bullshit...

She doesn't seem particularly nervous here. If you want to show that Sofia is nervous, maybe mention a twitch that she gives off, or her not making eye-contact. Something like that.

                       SOFIA
              (Nervous)
       Cut the bullshit. Go inside and
       leave us alone, you don't know what
       responsibility is. Everybody has
       something to do, you are the only
       one who doesn't know that.

- Ah, the responsibility talk. I know this talk only too well . This is one of the moments where your dialogue isn't natural, but the way you structure it is. Simply having full-stops (or periods) in the right places can help you, here. For example...

                    SOFIA
            (nervous)
      Cut the bullshit. Go inside and
      leave me alone. You don't know what
      responsibility is. Everybody has
      something to do. You are the only
      one who doesn't know that.

"CHRISTIAN Goes inside. SOFIA continues washing." - This whole time, I thought Sofia was quite close to Christian. Otherwise, how is she supposed to snatch the headset?

Just as a quick note, I've just realized that I have no idea what you characters look like. Writing character descriptions is a habit you need to get yourself into as it is essential that we can properly visualize your characters.

Page 2: "... he is Christian's cousin." - Show us this, don't tell us.

"GABRIEL continuous watching the TV." - "continuous" should be "continues."

Page 2:  

                  GABRIEL
         (breaking the silence)
Did you got 'em?

"Got" should be "get."

Page 2:

                 GABRIEL
He is playing tennis with Andrew in
the garden.

-One of your unnatural lines. Try...

                GABRIEL
Playing tennis in the garden, with
Andrew.

"CHRISTIAN  is getting up. GABRIEL gets up, too." - For some un-known reason, using words that end in "ing" is a big screenwriting no-no. You may as well learn the rules before you start breaking them. You can easily shorten this sentence by saying...

"Both get up." - States the same thing as your sentence, just less writing.

Page 2:

                 GABRIEL
How much did you got?

-Again, "got" should be "get."

Page 2:

                CHRISTIAN
        (trying to undo the
         stuff out of the
         envelope)
OK.

-I have no idea what's happening, here. Is he just trying to open the envelope?

"We can see them going through the hall." - Another screenwriting no-no is the use of "we." It's OK to use it once or twice (debatable) but more than that and it just becomes annoying. Try...

"They move through the hall."

That's all I have, so far. I'll probably get more posted, tomorrow.

To any other posters, who haven't taken a look at the script, yet, please do. Christian is around. I've been private messaging him for a while, now, so your feedback wont go towards nothing. He's just looking for a little help and I know there are people here who can help.

Daniel



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danbotha
Posted: July 23rd, 2012, 4:46am Report to Moderator
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Christian,

Time for the next installment of this review. Didn't get much done today as I have quite a bit of work at the moment.

Page 3: "CECIL, 8, he is Gabriel's younger brother, also Christian's cousin, and hi friend, ANDREW, around 11, are playing tennis." - A very awkward sentence, don't you think? Also, I don't feel that their relationship is very important in this particular story. Don't bother mentioning things like that. Most people aren't going to care how they are related, they want you to get to the point. In the grand scheme of things, does it matter. If not, scrap it.

"They both suck at playing..." - Slang should be avoided in scripts. Although 'suck' isn't technically slang, it is still informal and, for that reason, should be avoided. For comedic effect, I think you could extend on the tennis playing a bit. Explain HOW they are terrible, rather than just saying it.

"CECIL stops, he is clearly fatigued." - Words like "he is" extend the sentence out further than necessary. Get rid of it and just have... "Cecil stops, clearly fatigued."

"CECIL is taking a big breath"

can be shortened to...

"Cecil takes a deep breath." - be on the lookout for these words that ruin the read.

"Their noses are somehow red, they looked like they took something." - Two things, here...

1)"Somehow red" ? ? Are they "Somehow red" or just "Red" ?

2) "... they looked like they took something." - Scripts should always be written in present tense. You have switched over to past-tense, here. For example, "look" instead of "looked" or "have taken" instead of "took." Do you get what I'm saying?

"They are both very tipsy." - I get the feeling that the tipsy part should be mentioned right at the start of the scene, because it's a very important aspect of some behaviour.

"The door is heard. Cecil and Andrew are coming in after some talking with Christian's mother." - The "talking with Christian's mother" bit isn't important. Get rid of it.

That's all I have for today. If you have any questions, just let me know via pm. I appreciate the patience with the amount of time it's taking to review this one. I think it's fair to say, there is still quite a lot about screenwriting that you still need to learn, but you'll get there. Those who stick around and wait for feedback, usually do in a matter of months.

Hope you've had a great holiday, man.

Daniel


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danbotha
Posted: July 24th, 2012, 4:07am Report to Moderator
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All right! More feedback for you. I'm making slow progress, but it's progress nonetheless.

Page 4: "GABRIEL starts laughing. Just like CHRISTIAN." - You could easily shorten this to...

"Gabriel and Christian laugh."

Page 4:

                 CECIL
       We are beginners. But we are playing
       ok, we haven't miss any balls today.

-I think this would read a lot smoother if the "we are"  became "we're."

"Both Cecil and Andrew are misunderstanding the situation." - Explain how they react. I'm a little confused here, to be honest.

There's some awkward dialogue on page 5. The problem with reviewers, when it comes to awkward dialogue is there isn't much that we can actually do to help you out. Dialogue has to be something that you work out for yourself. At least that's my opinion on it. If I was to re-write the dialogue in your script it would no longer be your script. It would be a script with a Christian Nicolae story, but written partly by Daniel Botha. Do you get what I'm trying to say?? I can't re-word dialogue as that is the main tool for telling YOUR story.

Page 5: "GABRIEL gets up strangely." - Rather than saying "strangely" try go into detail about what he is actually doing. For example...

"Gabriel gets up, patting down his trousers. He looks around at his feet." - You have so many opportunities to add a little comedy to this otherwise serious script, why not take it. On the other hand, you don't want to promote drug-use as something that is funny.

Page 5: "INT. HOME - FRONT ROOM - CONTINUOUS" - This isn't a continuous shot. This is an entirely new scene.

"They get their hands on the envelope..." - by "they" who do you mean?

Page 6: "When Christian says "You both going to be food for the dogs, like in the old days, boys" I laughed. Sorry, but that line really isn't realistic in the slightest. I don't think anyone would say that, no matter how high they are.

Going to leave it there, for tonight. I've noticed that as I read on your writing gets better. Good job, with that

Daniel


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Cristian Nicolae
Posted: July 25th, 2012, 5:58am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from danbotha
The problem with reviewers, when it comes to awkward dialogue is there isn't much that we can actually do to help you out. Dialogue has to be something that you work out for yourself. At least that's my opinion on it. If I was to re-write the dialogue in your script it would no longer be your script. It would be a script with a Christian Nicolae story, but written partly by Daniel Botha. Do you get what I'm trying to say?? I can't re-word dialogue as that is the main tool for telling YOUR story.


I completely agree on that.


Quoted from danbotha

Page 5: "INT. HOME - FRONT ROOM - CONTINUOUS" - This isn't a continuous shot. This is an entirely new scene.

"They get their hands on the envelope..." - by "they" who do you mean?



At that time I wasn't so sure about the usage of "CONTINUOUS" in a screenplay, now I am.

Well, I tried to not make it very clear, like in a story when you let the writer to deduct, but now I know that is a mistake.


Quoted from danbotha

Going to leave it there, for tonight. I've noticed that as I read on your writing gets better. Good job, with that


Well, I think that's because of the mood i was in when writing. Or because of I usually don't know how to start a screenplay. So I think the start is a hotpoint, because if you don't like it, you stop writing. I thank you again Daniel. I will try to check everything up and somehow get them into my mind as well as into some of the scripts i'm working on.

Christian.





Upcoming screenplay: Killing Stars (working title)
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danbotha
Posted: July 26th, 2012, 4:45am Report to Moderator
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Hello, again, Christian.

Good to see you active on the boards. Your response to my feedback is appreciated. Sounds bizarre, but you'd be amazed at how many people don't take the time out of their day to just thank you for what you have done.

Anyway, moving on. I got a little reading done today, before I had to retire to a music assignment due tomorrow.

Page 6: "Christian is sitting on a chair. He is peeling corn."

-Simply saying "Christian sits in a chair, peeling corn" would work a lot better than the above sentence.

Actually, I've decided to address this whole paragraph...

"Christian is sitting in a chair. He is peeling corn. Another chair is free in his right. There's when Gabriel comes in. He sits and stars to peel, Christian stops." - To me, this paragraph feels like it is written in chunks. It's uncomfortable to read. Some serious re-wording needed here. At the moment, I feel like I'm practically re-writing your script which I'm sure you don't want. Give it a shot. See if you can make it read better.

                   GABRIEL
    You must finish the corn, so we can
    go.

-As well as your action paragraphs needing some shortening, so does some of your dialogue. The above line is a perfect example. You could just have...

                    GABRIEL
    Finish the corn, so we can go.

"Gabriel continuous to peel the corn." - should be "continues."

Page 7: "... DANIEL, 16, neighbour and friend sits on the bench." - It seems to me that you think that a characters status is more important than appearance. It's OK to say that the guy is a neighbour, but I strongly advise using a simple description, as well. Being human, we immediately judge people by their appearance. This is why including a simple description is important. You have to allow us to stereotype the character, based on your description of them. Not to mention the fact that it's always nice to know what your characters look like

"Sofia points her view to the ground, looking like he thinks something." - Just try...

"Sofia looks at the ground, thinking."

All I have for tonight, I'm afraid. I apologize for being a little short, recently. I promise that, by the end of the week, this script will have pretty much have my full attention, other then my own scripts, of course and another person I'm due to start working with, soon.

Cheers,
Daniel


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danbotha
Posted: July 27th, 2012, 5:05am Report to Moderator
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Finished! I've finally finished my notes on this one!

Page 8:

                CHRISTIAN
    Oh come on mother, your talking like
    really carrying about me. Your acting
    is almost perfect.

-One of the better bits of dialogue in this entire script and you had to go and stuff it up with typos, lol. Seriously, change "your" yo "you're" and "carrying" to "caring" and you'll have a decent line, here.

"Gabriel gets on the bench, he was coming from the garden." - You need to mention Gabriel coming from the garden, first.

"Christian puts his hand on his forehead, feeling a headache." - How does the audience know he has a headache? We can't feel it, remember...

Page 10:

                    GABRIEL
          (still trying to unfold
            the envelope)
  What did you wanted me to do?

-"wanted" should be "want."

                    GABRIEL
   Are you serious about that? You
   learned me to get high and now you
   are just going away?

- What? That didn't make sense, in the slightest. Sorry.

Page 11:

                     CHRISTIAN
   Don't be stupid, I won't let you
   getting it by yourself.

- Maybe try "Take it by yourself."

"Christian prepared the powder." - You go back to past-tense, here. "Prepared" should be "prepares."

Page 12:

                      SOFIA
            (changing her tone)
    Get up!  Both!  Now!

- What does she change her tone to? You'd be surprised at how many people would read that and not realize what may seem obvious to you.

Okay, so I finished it. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a great story somewhere in there, but your many issues with the writing restrict that story from really showing. I like what you're trying to do with the script, and I hope my review has helped make it a little better.

The ending is weak. Incredibly weak. One of the weakest I've read in a long time. I am a strong believer that using a Narrator to end a story just screams "This script isn't ready!" at me. This is an exception to that. I do think this script is ready, I just think you need to fix up the many issues within the script.

Start off by reading as many scripts as you can. Get used to the format. Read the comments on scripts, as well. It's amazing how much you can learn by simply listening to the opinions of others on this site, particularly some of the script veterans.

Above all, you need to get out into the awesome SS community and start commenting on other work that isn't your own. If you're not comfortable with that, simply saying 'I liked it' is good enough for most writers. Commenting, itself, is a learning process. It's also good for getting reads on your own work. Once people see that you're out and about on the boards, they'll feel comfortable with reading your work. Expecting feedback when you haven't given any of your own is just ridiculous. Once you start commenting, screenwriting will become a lot easier for you and, in a matter of months, you could be getting some great reviews. It's a two-way street, though. You have to be willing to put the hard work in.

I would like to wish you luck with this script and I hope to see you around on the boards in the near future. It really would be a shame if my longest review ever written was put to waste...

Daniel


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