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A Thousand Sunrises by Mario Perrotta (coldsnap) - Short, Action, Drama - In Cold War-era Siberia, an American soldier drags a Soviet prisoner across the arctic terrain, when he discovers that the Soviet is more than what he appears to be. 13 pages. - pdf, format
I’ll not get into detail here till I know you’re on the boards. Overall I think you need to work out what the focus of this story is. Your opening scene had some promise, but what followed was a mishmash of genres, starting with thriller, then action and suddenly settling on the supernatural for an ending -- none of which were fully explained or resolved.
I kind of get where you’re going with this, but there’s a lot of unnecessary baggage, in both story and style, crammed into 13 pages here.
Hope this doesn’t read as overly negative, I am happy to share a more notes if you want.
My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:
Thanks for the comments. Sorry for not writing back sooner, I wasn't even aware my script was already posted up.
First off, this script is based on a dream I had (yes I actually dreamt this... not sure why I was dreaming about two soldiers in Siberia, but anyway...) I fleshed it out a little, but that's the gist of it.
Secondly, like my previous two short scripts posted up here, this is in no way a completed work. I have a tendency of putting out stuff that reads more like an extract of a larger work. Instead of expanding on it, I usually just submit it as is. So yes, I agree the script lacks focus and resolution, but sometimes, I also find that kinda cool, when done right. Look at TV's Lost. Didn't really resolve much in the end in terms of mysteries, and left us with endless questions. It can be frustrating, and could leave an audience divided, but also leaves things open to interpretation, which is also cool. But yes, if I were to expand this to a full-length feature, I agree with you, it would need more focus and resolution.
Again, thanks for the comments, and if you've got more to say, I'd love to hear it.
Had a read of this. In general, I liked it. There were some moments of really good writing and dramatic scenes that I could get emotionally invested in, which is always a good thing. On the other hand, I think there are moments in the script that let you down a bit.
Let's start with two of the most mentioned things on SS. That use of shots and angles. As a person not directing this, having all these shots and transitions in the middle of the read really can get on my nerves (and I'm not the only one.). There are many screenwriters who think that these shots and transitions are quite frankly, pointless and get in the way of the read, quite often.
Then there is your use of 'we see...'
A few days back, I posted a thread asking SS people what was the big deal with using 'we see...' in a script and the general conclusion was, it's redundant. Since I was told this, there is nothing I agree with more.
Take the following sentence, for example...
"From his POV, we see an arctic wasteland..."
-This could easily just be...
"From his POV, an arctic wasteland..." - Same point across, simply by taking that awful 'we see...' out. Am I making sense?
Page 3: "... his handcuffed hands showing signs of frostbite." - Show us, don't tell us.
Page 4: "Lowe narrows his eyes. Can't read him. Is he serious?" - You've showed us the thoughts of a character. As a reader I'd much rather be offered up that freedom to interpret what the character is thinking, rather than you just telling me. I'd get rid of the "Is he serious?" but that's just me.
Great little action scene between Lowe and Dresden. A well-written sequence.
Another well-written scene was the heart-to-heart between the two men.
A few things that confused me. Why were Dresden's men firing on him? You made a brief attempt at explaining it at some point in the script, but for me, it still didn't make much sense.
The ending. Ah, that ending. When reading that, I kinda got the feeling that maybe you didn't quite understand the ending, which is why it turned out a little messy? Dresden briefly tries to explain it at some point, but even then it doesn't make sense. Sorry to say, but the unresolved ending did kill it a bit for me. That's the thing with unresolved endings. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.
Overall, a solid piece of writing, but definitely in need of a polish up. Some moments of awkward dialogue as well.
Thanks for the feedback. Very helpful. I'm not a fan of angles and shots in a script, either. Coming from a prose background, I try to avoid them as much as possible. I enjoy scripts more that read like prose. Frankly, not sure why so many showed up in my script. Same with "we see". Absolutely on point about it being useless. Something to clean up in my rewrite.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, I kind of intentionally left the ending "unresolved". I sometimes enjoy when the viewer/reader isn't constantly explained everything, but instead leaves things open for the viewer to interpret and insert their own imagination into it. Who is Dresden? Why does he not die? How and why does he make Lowe like him as well? Something for viewers to discuss when the credits roll, I guess. That said, this is more the middle part of a longer script than an actual finished script in itself. A teaser, if you will? I'm great at starting stuff, not so great at finishing them.
Mario, thought I'd give this a read as your logline seemed interesting.
I got battered yesterday for commenting on format but hey-ho. I think your 'TITLE' should maybe be a 'SUPER'? Daniel's already mentioned the camera angles and 'we see's' so I'll concentrate on the story.
Not sure why Dresden had to go to Siberia to launch the missiles, would someone not be there to contact by radio? Also, why does he have to go alone? Some of the dialogue is a bit on the nose, meaning it doesn't really feel natural.
The relationship between Dresden and Lowe is a bit weird; fighting then telling stories, then crying fr one another. I guess this is plausible but maybe more so if they had been stuck together in the snow for much longer.
I'm torn by the ending really. Dresden's comments about him being a POW dropped a good spanner in the works and pushed this toward the supernatural ending but I was a bit disappointed by the scene on the pier. Dresden explains about being saved and he did the same for Lowe, but why? Seems strange that he gets beaten by Lowe, who clearly doesn't like him but Dresden feels for him so much?
I think you could cut a page or two with a quick re-write; losing the redundant stuff and I think it would benefit from a better ending. There's good potential in the story, especially the loneliness of the two soldiers. More evidence that Dresden has been around since the war would add more tension to Lowe's situation.
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Your story is implausible. There's no way nuclear weapons would be considered in the scenario you present. The Russians are famous for fighting wars of attrition. I say this pedantically--not critically--but you should read up on geopolitics and geography and history before spending time on this story or do to history what Tarantino did in "Inglorious Basterds," especially with your ending. It's folly to based this in real history with ending you've written.
Thanks for the comments, alffy and rmaze. Knew someone would bring this up; I agree, the story is implausible. I usually never use real places and situations in my stories, but did this time. Wasn't really concerned with historical details, just wanted to get the story going. I am aware, though, of the implausibility of the geography and the nuclear weapons. I was already contemplating changing these details in a rewrite, removing the specific settings altogether or changing Dresden's mission.