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The Overturned Sun by Robert Finlayson - Action, Adventure - The epic story of the conquest of Mexico and the collision of worlds involving the adventurer Hernan Cortes and the emperor Moctezuma. The entire future of a continent is at stake when these two dynamic figures clash with one another for supremacy. 161 pages - pdf, format
161 pages. At roughly a minute a page, you're saying this is over two and a half hours? I'm thinking it's overwritten.
Don't know what's up with your title page. You threw in a bunch of info that isn't even filled out yet and rest is spilled into your first page. You don't need to restate the title by the way.
Put that quote above the "fade in". I'm not sure if you need an "over black" transition but since script start from black and fade into the first scene, I don't think you need it.
I suggest putting the Mexican city in a super and sticking with just the temple district in your slug. If not, switch the positions of the city and the temple district. Your slugs should start with grand location followed by a specific location if needed. Example: Int. BOB'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY.
Now I see where the page count comes from. Don't direct the camera shots. You're writing a spec script. Just tell the story and leave the specifics and camera angles out of it. You also don't want to use "we see" or any "we" in action lines really. If it's in the action lines, we can see and hear it already so it becomes redundant. Your entire opening paragraph is overwritten. Basically we're looking at a big, impressive temple.
You're capitalising sections of action lines for no real reason. I get that the ruler is troubled but you're writing things we cannot see. We can tell that he's troubled but we can't tell it's about his people.
You're using "on" which I assume is a camera transition. Again, no camera directing. Because of that transition, none of the characters are introduced properly. Get rid of the "continued's" on the top and bottom of your pages.
This is as far as I'll go for now. I like historical war stories but with the way this thing is formatted, it's too off-putting. I suggest you read and review some of the scripts on this site and learn the ropes. Best of luck to you.
A script that's 161 pages will have trouble getting read here, Robert. Nowadays, the industry is looking for 110 pages.
I've looked at the first few pages and, it looks like, you can trim this down considerably. Delete all the camera angels and we see's, and unfilmable descriptions.
THUNDER RUMBLES IN THE MEXICAN SKY. We slowly move forward on a lengthy tracking shot down the impressive central avenue towards a MASSIVE TEMPLE until we reach the bottom of the grand stone staircase then we follow the tracking shot up the immense steps to the very top of the grandiose structure all the way into a smaller sanctuary at the peak...
can be cut to:
Thunder RUMBLES over the fourteenth century Mexican city. It echoes through the streets, leading up to a massive and ornate stone temple.
Be sure to add the period of the story if it's not present day.
Regarding the unfilmables I mentioned earlier:
a soothsayer from the countryside. He enters the chamber dressed in his humble peasant's clothing.
All I see, here, is an old man in rags entering the room (I'm assuming he's old; you should include a character's age when you introduce him). If I was watching this, I would have no idea that he was a soothsayer. Movies are a visual medium; don't tell us things, show them.
I strongly recommend that you look at some other scripts to see how this is done and, possibly rewriting this.
This action caught my eye as a good example of why your script is 160 pages long-
A line of men stand before Cortés, each of them signing up for his coming expedition. PEDRO DE ALVARADO is next in line. He is handsome, arrogant and as adventurous as they come. Quite differently than the average Spaniard, Alvarado's hair and shapely beard are both a striking reddish-blonde in color, making him appear of Nordic descent more than that of a native Iberian.
That whole thing could be summed up with-
In line to sign up for the games, stands PEDRO DE ALVARADO, young, athletic with cultural features of Nordic descent
You get the point?
Cut to the point. Explain things through the story. Sharpen up your action lines and you could lose 50 pages right off the top.
Hope this helps.
If the writer shows up, I’ll be glad to offer some more input.
Robert-- gonna agree with the others, 160 pages is way too long.
Lots of "we see" running around here, and a bunch of camera directions. You should stay away from camera directions in spec scripts (which are preferred here, rather than shooting scripts). Lotta LINES WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS, which doesn't look well on the page when you use too much of it.
"We see the tops of temples spread out amongst the metropolis" could just be "The tops of temples spread out amongst the metropolis". I mean, of course "we see" them. If you're describing it, it's on the screen. Which means we'll see it.
So like I said, this is pretty overwritten, which isn't a surprise considering its length. Film is visual, yes, but you can be descriptive and vivid without going overboard. I think a lot of the problem is the almost constant use of adjectives. "His gargantuan empire" "the immense stairs" "the towering towers". I mean, it has its uses, but if you keep saying "the immense this" and "the gigantic that" it gets tiring, IMO.
Some unfilmables as well, but I think that's been covered...
Onto some more technical, formatting kinda stuff... your title page is not good at all. Everything's in parentheses, and some parts that aren't even filled out. You can delete "based on" altogether if you aren't going to fill it out.
And get rid of CONTINUED at the top and bottom of the pages.
Your opening should be:
SUPER: DEATH AND LIFE HAVE DETERMINED APPOINTMENTS. RICHES AND HONOR DEPEND UPON HEAVEN - CHINESE PROVERB
EXT. TEMPLE DISTRICT - TENOCHTITLAN, MEXICO - NIGHT]