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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Drama Scripts  ›  Our Times Moderators: bert
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  Author    Our Times  (currently 1200 views)
Posted: December 11th, 2012, 4:44pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Our Times by Bruce Fisher - Drama - A veteran newspaper city editor takes the helm to lead his dying newspaper back to popularity and prosperity using podcasts to refocus “Our Times” on basic journalism standards and the surrounding community especially the Tea Party. 89 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: December 11th, 2012, 5:42pm Report to Moderator
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Caught some issues right off the bat, before I even got a chance to read any of the script.

First off...89 pages is too short for a script, let alone a drama. I'd shoot for around mid 90s to 105. (Some may argue that 89 is fine for genre films like horror and comedy, but IMO anything under 90 minutes needs to be fleshed out some more.)

Anyway, on to the actual script, the first thing I noticed was the multicolored text.

And what does "bright" mean in the slug? I'm not sure if you're referring to the sunlight or the lighting in the room, but either way...if it doesn't matter to the plot, leave it out. Slugs should just be: INT./EXT. LOCATION - TIME OF DAY. Leave out "bright" or "dark" altogether.

Also, you've got a lot of long paragraphs, and as I expected, this was because your action is overwritten.

Things like "PUBLISHER ROGER PHILLIPS, a preppy young man in his mid-thirties, is embroiled in an unpleasant conversation on his office phone with his boss CARTER" are fine for novels, but in screenplays you need to be concise. Plus you're telling, not showing. All we see on film is Roger sitting there on the phone. We don't know he's talking to Carter until Carter talks. We don't know it's an unpleasant conversation until we see Roger scowl.

In short, make sure you're only writing what appears on the screen.

So you could cut this down to something like "Publisher ROGER PHILLIPS (30s), preppy, talks on the phone." (Yeah, not great, but you get the point.)

Parentheticals generally annoy readers, so use them sparingly, only when absolutely necessary. Plus it's redundant, 'cause we can tell from Roger's dialogue he's angry without being explicitly told.

Next paragraph has more unfilmables:

"City Editor KLINE EDWARDS enters, recognizes his awkward timing and turns to leave."

You're pretty much telling us what he's thinking. You can't film a man "recognizing his awkward timing". So make sure when you write it, you're showing us something we can film. "KLINE EDWARDS enters, glances at Roger and hurries out."

Moving on...don't describe outfits unless they're necessary to the plot. Also, you say Kline wears the same outfit everyday, but how would we know that on film? This is the first time we've seen him. And how does that serve the story, anyway?

"Embarrassed by his outburst, Roger turns his back to Kline." This isn't bad, because it's definitely something that can be seen on film, but there's a more visual way to write it. Show us Roger's facial expression, don't just tell us he's embarrassed.

Just noticed your page numbering, which isn't right, but not a big issue. You're supposed to skip numbering page 1, and start on page 2 with "2". And don't number the bottom of the pages.

Anyway, your scene is good in terms of conflict and character's actions, but the writing quality itself could use some work.

I don't mean to be harsh, so if I come across that way I apologize. I hope these notes help.

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