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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  He Was The Enemy Moderators: bert
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  Author    He Was The Enemy  (currently 4304 views)
Don
Posted: November 29th, 2012, 11:29am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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He Was The Enemy by Daniel Botha - Short, Drama -  War takes it's toll on a soldier after he risks his life to save the enemy. 4 pages - pdf, format


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RegularJohn
Posted: November 29th, 2012, 12:35pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dan.

Nicely written short.  Aside from a few typos, a smooth read.  I'm not really sure about the "shouts O.S."  I'm think that shouts in Italian would read a bit smoother.  Just a suggestion.


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DanBall
Posted: November 29th, 2012, 4:54pm Report to Moderator
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I loved this, Other Dan B. What I'd change is the opening with Carson. I'm not sure I really buy into it that this drove him over the edge like it did. It should bother him, but the rocking back-and-forth with a distant look in his eye's a bit common, theatrically. In fact, the Simpsons made fun of it quite often back in the 90s. "No, Bart. Put it down, Bart."

Explore other ways for him to be troubled. Maybe he has a dream about it in the tent, wakes up, thinks he's back there, grabs a BAR, then thinks his two buddies are the two Italian soldiers and holds them up. Then flash back to the actual occurrence, show that in its entirety, and come back and resolve the tent standoff.

Another option: Instead of having him go through extreme psychological issues, do something subtler. I'd also make him 18 or 19, instead of 24. Before the incident, he would've been a happy-go-lucky kid with dreams of marrying Jane Russell or Bettie Page. Afterwards, it's forced him to grow up and deal with death. He doesn't really know how to handle it, so he buries it. You could start in the tent, he's just talking to his buddies, chewing the fat, and then he flashes back to it. Show that in its entirety, then come back and show him bury it and brush it off, like it's the first time of many times over many decades that he'll do that.

Just some cogitations.


"I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called 'Max'."

THE PINBALL WARRIOR (scifi, WIP, ~30 pg.)
A STAND AGAINST EVIL (short, 9 pg.)
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danbotha
Posted: November 29th, 2012, 7:22pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Don (as always) for posting this one. You're the man

This was a short I entered into my first MP competition. The theme was "Where Am I?". This meant that the first line of dialogue had to be "Where am I?" and it had to be uttered by someone who had just woken up. I ended up coming first in that competition, so I'm quite chuffed with this, although it's still in need of another few re-writes.

It was originally five pages, but I've cut down on it quite a bit after getting some feedback from the awesome and very helpful people over at MP.

Onto the feedback.

@John: Thanks for taking the time for reading this. I'm glad you found most of the writing smooth. Everything I've learned from has been from this website, so it's fair to say I intend to stick around. Your comment about the off-screen shouts has been noticed. I usually try to keep my writing as simple as possible, but if it doesn't make sense, then I'd rather a lengthy sentence, instead. Cheers

SPOILERS!!!!!!

@Other Dan : Glad you enjoyed. There used to be a scene at the end of this script, where Carson doesn't attack the others, but he did hug their feet screeming "Papa! Papa!" over and over again. Problem was, that was way too melodramatic, so it had to be cut. I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty traumatized if I had just killed a girl's father right in front of her eyes??

I'll definitely have a look at those suggestions you have put forward. The one with his age, is a particularly good one. I just watched "All Quiet on the Western Front" and I discovered from there that most soldiers in WW1 and WW2 tend to be ignorant young teens who have no idea what they're in for.

Thanks for the feedback, guys. Let me know how and when I can return the favour


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DV44
Posted: November 29th, 2012, 8:22pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dan,

Another solid story. Your writing is coming along nicely! It was well written and read smooth. It felt as if we were right there fighting along side with Carson and Damon. So kudos for that. A nice little twist at the end with the enemy being the little girl's father.

One little nit pick I saw was on page 3. "She cries in Italian."  "Boo who who" but with a accent. lol.

Best of luck - Dirk
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crookedowl
Posted: November 29th, 2012, 8:23pm Report to Moderator
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Dan,

This was good. It was well-written. I would have liked for the beginning in the tent to kind of bookend the flashback...maybe go back to present at the end, have some kind of resolution.

I agree with Other Dan, Carson seemingly driven insane at the beginning wasn't realistic.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this. Great job.
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danbotha
Posted: November 29th, 2012, 9:36pm Report to Moderator
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Ok, so two people have asked for more of a resolution... Done deal. Will work on that in the next draft

Thanks Dirk and... crookedowl. Sorry I don't know your real name.

Dirk: Nice pick up with the Italian accented laugh. Got a good giggle gfrom that comment. Glad you liked it

Crooke: Shot for the read. Maybe I should tone down on the Shell-shock a little more next time round? I want him to be affected and I want that to be obvious. Nothing about this screenplay should be subtle, IMO. Anyway, I'll see how I can fix it up

Thanks guys.

Dan


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irish eyes
Posted: November 29th, 2012, 10:44pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dan(other Dan) that's not the other Dan

A couple of typos... Very few

Carson|s stretcher..... I think you pressed the wrong key  

Damon clutcches Carson's shirt.... clutches

It was a nice little piece, although IMO I always have a peeve that if a character becomes central, you should give them a name.. The small girl.

Besides that, your writing is very good and it's a nice read for 4 pages

Good job

Mark




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danbotha
Posted: November 29th, 2012, 10:54pm Report to Moderator
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Mark! Loving the new avatar

Thanks for popping this one open. I completely agree with giving central characters names. I'll think of a stereotipical Italian name for her just kidding.

Sorry about those typos. There are some things that you just miss when you read through it yourself. I'm terrible with proof-reading, so I usually just leave it to others. I'm lazy like that.

The thing with "Carson|s" can be blamed on me having to import my PDF into trelby and for some reason it automatically formatted apostrophes like that. I was sure I had nabbed them all, but apparently not.

Thanks for the read. Glad you liked it.

Dan

P.S. When I'm not busy writing, I'll be sure to take a look at "Loserville". I remember loving the Pilot episode.


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Electric Dreamer
Posted: November 30th, 2012, 12:38pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Daniel,

Been seeing your name around a lot lately.
So, I thought I'd take a gander at your MP winning short.

P. 1

Right off in the first action description is a bit of a no-no.
You repeated the military tent established in your opening slug.
Refrain from being redundant there.
Just say something like...

A basic model. Modest. Dark. Sparse.

That kind of repetition is a classic amateur mistake industry readers sniff out.

P. 1
And here's another repetition a little further down the page.
Verb repetition.

You used the verb "dart" in back to back descriptions.
Switch up your verb choices. This is another red flag.

Finished.
I liked your tale.
But I felt it needed a return to the tent with a hysterical Carson.
I'd like to have that bow on the resolution.

This is a pretty well told tale.
My two biggest issues were the limited word choices and some typos.
Lots of repetitive descriptives. Too many fires, cries and rubble.
Bust out some varied vocab moves to improve the read.

Keep writing and rewriting!

Regards,
E.D.


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DanBall
Posted: November 30th, 2012, 1:55pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from danbotha
I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty traumatized if I had just killed a girl's father right in front of her eyes??

I'll definitely have a look at those suggestions you have put forward. The one with his age, is a particularly good one. I just watched "All Quiet on the Western Front" and I discovered from there that most soldiers in WW1 and WW2 tend to be ignorant young teens who have no idea what they're in for.


While I'd agree that most writers can probably look inwards to find some sort of relatability to their characters, war veterans are one of the exceptions. I could be wrong, but I don't think PTSD was as acknowledged during WWII as it is now. Guys just came back from the war and buried it deep down. As a result, a lot of them were kinda emotionally absent. My grandpa was a bit of both. He was still emotional, but he buried a lot about the war. Then, one night we were watching the evening news on the 50th anniversary of D-Day and out of nowhere, he starts bawling. My mom asked him what was wrong and he said that right before the invasion, he'd been transferred out of a unit that took part in it and none of those guys made it outta there.

To underline your point about "All Quiet on the Western Front," one of my wife's cousins is just like that. He's 19 and a few weeks ago, he shipped out for Army basic training. He joined because he thought it'd be fun and he wanted to get away from his mom (because she tried to make him behave). Now, it's the holidays and he's homesick and wants to quit the Army. I figure in any military, there are guys like that and in war, it's even more tragic because they're not just faced with homesickness, but death.

If Carson were to go nuts, it'd be well after the war was over. I think it's usually years of nightmares and sleepless nights later before they get to that point. PTSD, on the other hand, could probably be triggered instantly. Or, he could bury it.


Quoted Text
Thanks for the feedback, guys. Let me know how and when I can return the favour


BOOM. Ask and ye shall receive.


"I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called 'Max'."

THE PINBALL WARRIOR (scifi, WIP, ~30 pg.)
A STAND AGAINST EVIL (short, 9 pg.)
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danbotha
Posted: November 30th, 2012, 5:35pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Brett and Other Dan

Brett: No doubt about it, I need to get hold of a thesaurus and change some words up. I'll definitely fix up those writing mistakes you picked out. Most of them I wouldn't have found myself, so thank you. I had no idea that industry professionals pick out those things that you pointed out. I always thought I'd be pretty safe with those, but I do see your point... It gets redundant after a while. Having a better, yet not so melodramatic as the previous ending is on my to-do list when I re-write this one. Might be a while before I get around to it, but I sure have taken note of your notes. Cheers Brett.

Dan: You're correct, PTSD wasn't acknowledged in WW2. Most soldiers who suffered, were labelled as cowards and were often convicted for "abandoning their duty" (I think). I know that was the case in WW1. The problem with anything war-related is a writer can't know for sure how things work out there. Particularly in New Zealand where the closest thing I've come to a war was with the filming of the Lord of the Rings. Maybe Carson isn't suffering with PTSD, yet. I've heard all sorts of stories about people killing someone and then going nuts. On the flip side of that argument, Carson has most likely killed heaps of people before. What makes this guy different? I see your argument and I think you have a very valid case. It's something I need to research more. If anyone knows a war-veteran or has themselves fought in a war, it would be great to hear your experience. Thanks Dan. I really do appreciate it.

Dan


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grademan
Posted: November 30th, 2012, 9:49pm Report to Moderator
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Dan.

This is a nice improvement over your original entry. Looks like you took the advice (damn those typos) from your readers at MP. The oversize bold font on the title page is perhaps self indulgent but okay for here. The prior reviews got the main points. Fade out has a period and is right aligned. A preference would be to have the girl use "Puh" instead of "Pa" to delay the recognition for a moment more.

Great work from NZ!

Gary
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danbotha
Posted: November 30th, 2012, 11:43pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Gary,

I've never seen you around MP, so I was a little surprised to see that you've already given this one a read. It's good to see that I've made some sort of improvement as usually with re-writes I tend to downgrade because I'm too eager to please everyone without considering what's actually good for the story. Your suggestion with "Puh" is a great one. I'll be sure to see how I can incorporate that in the next re-write.


Quoted from grademan
Great work from NZ!


You sound surprised

Take care, man

Dan


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stevemiles
Posted: December 1st, 2012, 12:04am Report to Moderator
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Dan,

found this entertaining, nice to read a short with a little action. Skimmed through the comments above so apologies if there's stuff that's already been covered.

A couple lines that stood out to me: the ‘death trap on Codine’ reference felt a little out of place.

p.2 ‘wonders aimlessly’ did you mean ‘wanders’?

Perhaps instead of --

CARSON
No time to lose.

-- Just have Carson shoot them... (purely opinion).

Then again, if you were inclined to take this in a different direction, I think there’s potential in exploring what could happen should the two opposing sides not shoot at each other (maybe not straight away). Think you could work some interesting tension between the father and the little girls ‘rescuer’ amid this hectic battlefield scene. Maybe up the emotional element and make us feel a little more for 'papa'.  Just a thought.

Good luck,

Steve.    


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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