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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  2080 Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: January 11th, 2013, 2:09pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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2080 by Jennifer  - Sci Fi - In 2015, a young Becky writes and seals a letter to her future relatives, giving a time and place to meet up if time travel is ever invented. In 2080, Bella is handed a half burnt letter and made an offer she can't refuse .. 59 pages - doc, format


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crookedowl
Posted: January 11th, 2013, 3:09pm Report to Moderator
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Ha! Funny thing, I was once planning on writing a script called "2085", but mine's basically an 80s movie... set in the future.

Anyway, I could tell before opening this that it's got problems. 59 pages is way too short to be a feature, and too long to be a short. Basically, it's an awkward length. A feature should be at least 90 pages, but personally, I think 100-110 is the best length.

But since the formatting is off (more on that in a minute), your length is definitely going to change when you correct it.

Don't put "FIRST DRAFT" on your title page. It's never good to put the draft name on the copy you send to people... FIRST DRAFT tells us you haven't revised it (which usually means it has issues) and FINAL DRAFT makes us expect a perfectly polished script... which almost never happens.

And like I said, the format is way off here. Seriously-- download some formatting software. I recommend Celtx, and others seem to like Trelby (which I haven't used. Both are free). They let you crate pdfs, which is the accepted format around here... and everywhere else. Most people won't even open a script in doc format.

So like I said, format this correctly... and the length will definitely change. From there, you may have to expand/cut things from the story to be in the 90-110 page range.

So I could go over the basics of format... begin with "FADE IN:" to the left, you need a slugline to give us the location... but since I haven't seen you around here and I'm not sure if you're here to read this, I'll just link you to some good sites on format. You'll get more out of that, anyway.

You can learn everything about format by merely googling "how to format a screenplay". Here's a good source...

http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/howtoformatascreenplay

Some things that link might not mention...

Only write what you see on the screen. I'm sure you've probably heard the phrase "show, don't tell". That's because film is a visual medium, and everything in your script must be something you can actually film.

Your opening sentence is "the date is 26th October, 2016" which is telling, not showing. How would you film this, anyway?

So basically... Keep it visual. You may even want to write

SUPER: 2016

...if you want text to come up on the screen. That way we know the year, and now it's possible to actually see it on screen.

There are also a lot of issues with the action lines themselves. Screenplays should be written with active verbs. Instead of "she is sitting" or "she is sat", write "she sits". "They are stabbing each other" should be "they stab each other". Keep it active.

Action paragraphs should be 4 lines or less. Right here you've got an 8 line paragraph, which is way to long. Split it up. Divide individual actions up into individual paragraphs. Paragraph one, Bella's sitting in a chair. Paragraph two, people around her stab each other.

It'll get easier, and you'll get better the more you write, but basically, try to write like you're watching a movie. On screen, what will we notice first? We'll see Bella tied to a chair... then we'll notice the people around her stabbing each other.

Also, write character names in ALL CAPS when they appear on the screen for the first time.

I don't mean to sound harsh or anything, so if I do, well... it's not intentional. Hope my notes help.

I haven't seen you around, so hopefully you show up. Read some scripts around here and leave feedback to get reads in return.

Will
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kabbottjr
Posted: January 11th, 2013, 3:10pm Report to Moderator
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The Postman is an underrated movie!

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Jennifer,

I am by no means an expert on scriptwriting, but at first glance, here are a few things that I noticed:

(1) The logline caught my attention, but it also confused me.  If Becky is writing a letter in 2015 to her future relatives...then meeting them in 2080 would not require time travel at all.  It would simply require Becky to get older and then meet them in the future, presenting the letter to them that she had wrote years ago.  I am guessing there is a better way to word your logline and avoid this possible confussion.

(2) 59 pages would be way short for a scifi film.  I believe most scifi scripts are between 100 and 120 pages long.  (I have read before that 1 page of a script equals 1 minute of a movie...so 59 pages would be just under 1 hour of movie...which is very short)

(3) Never saying things like "we see" when describing actions.  Just say what is happening...i.e.  "Becky turns on her computer" instead of " We see Becky turning on her computer".

(4) I read the first few pages, and noticed some typos.  That is something that you would want to clean up on your rewrites.  I would advice letting what you write sit a day, and then going back and reading it out loud to see if it makes sense.

All that being said, I do see that this is your first draft.  So congrats on the first attempt!  Writing a script takes a lot of time and effort.  I recently posted my scifi script on here, and it also had some formatting errors and it was too long.  I am guessing that you did like me and tried your best to piece together from various sources what you should be doing when writing a script.  

The good news is that this site, and most of the people who post here seem to know what they are talking about.  So don't take anyone's replies to your script personally and do your best to use their advise to improve your script.

When I get a chance, I will try to read your script all the way through and give you comments on the plot and characters.

--Kenneth Abbott Jr.


Kenneth Abbott Jr.

One of a very small group of people that actually saw Kevin Costner's "The Postman" in theaters,
and I LOVED it!

                                                                                        Co-author of "Dark Speed: The Thirteenth Odyssey"

                                                                                        Coming Soon: "Dark Speed: The Fourteenth Odyssey"
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RegularJohn
Posted: January 11th, 2013, 11:15pm Report to Moderator
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Hello Jennifer.

I agree with Kenneth about the logline and the potential plot hole.  Time travel is a really thing to deal with but for now, I'll cast it aside.

I see that it's a doc.  It's a bit of a hassle to everyone, including you to write scripts in word since you have to indent and indent and indent.  Do yourself a huge favor and download some software.  Celtx or Trelby, both a free.

Keep the action lines to four lines max.  I suggest aiming for three.  So quite a few formatting errors.  No slugs, Bella is not introduced properly (capitalize a character's name when they first appear), a weird, indented paragraph of action.  Will has a link in his review which I highly recommend.  It's how I started getting the hang of formatting actually.

A description of Bella in that intro paragraph would help along with a description of the chair IMO.  The chair can really give a hint as to whether it's a weird dream or tricking us into thinking it's real.

I got up to page 4 before I got confused.  I don't know where Bella is anymore.  I don't meen to sound discouraging.  Hopefully this helped and with a rewrite, the read should clear up a lot.  Best of luck.


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