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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  The Family Man Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: February 23rd, 2013, 5:12pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Family Man by Gary Howell (hawkeye) - Short, Drama - Before Johnny Parisi can be named the Lombardo Family's new Capo, he has to take care of an unpleasant task to prove his loyalty to the Family. 11 pages - pdf, format


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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
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Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  March 25th, 2014, 5:10pm
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hawkeye
Posted: February 23rd, 2013, 5:21pm Report to Moderator
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Don, as always, thanks for the posting!

Just a quick explanation about this one--I was experiencing some writer's block recently, so last Friday, I gave myself a challenge to come up with an idea, write  it, and edit and post it all in a 4 hour span.  So this might look a tad rough, but on the plus side, it's much shorter than the last piece I posted here!

Gary


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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Guest
Posted: February 23rd, 2013, 5:34pm Report to Moderator
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I am a fan of this genre, so it was an easy read and I breezed right through it.

I liked it, but I have some problems with it.

The beginning in the restaurant - unrealistic.  Thereís too much incriminating conversation going here.  If the feds had that place bugged, Costa and Parisi would be done for.  Costa - 69 years of age - Iím guessing should know better and would either speak in code or be very vague to the point anyone listening wouldnít know what the heck he was talking about.

The prank pulled on Parisi - I donít know how I feel about this.  Itís different -- for a script.  I donít think I ever heard of the mob trying anything like that on one of their guys just to see if they would make the promotion.  As for Parisi falling to his knees and crying afterwards, whether the situation was real or fake, he would have been seen as ďweakĒ in the eyes of Sammy and Geno -- who most likely would pass the news on to other members -- and Parisi would soon be on the chopping block.  Thatís how those guys work, anyway.
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Forgive
Posted: February 23rd, 2013, 7:57pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Hawkeye. Seen you posting lots, so I thought I'd take a look at this.

First off -- it's not original, but I don't think that's the point here. This feels like a writing exercise, and a decent one if you're going to hone your skills.

There's lots of issues for me - but then that's just me and I think other people will have different opinions.

Starting off wide -- I'd have gone for a start point of Parisi entering the warehouse. That cuts out all of the expositional stuff in the restaurant, and pulls the reader in as they figure out what's happening. Also shortens it -- you kinda guess what 's going to happen, so best to keep it short, and go for an angle - and here you want the emotional take on it.

Back to the opener, briefly. It's way over-written, and lacks impact.
ANGELO COSTA (69), a gaunt looking man
-- borders on passive writing. If he looks gaunt, he may as well be gaunt, so state that's he's gaunt.

The restaurant is mostly empty, except for
-- Whatever. Three people sit in the restaurant. Period. You're problem here is your lack of visual writing. Film 'mostly empty' and then get back to me. Then film 'Three people in a restaurant'.

... except for Costa's BODYGUARDS, two large gentlemen who sit at a table nearby.
-- Or maybe Costa says 'Hi Parisi. Check my body guards over on the nearby table sitting near to me ...'

Second slug - CONTINUOUS, needs to be dropped. If it's later, then just put later.

JOHNNY PARISI (39), an athletic-looking man
-- just like your gaunt-looking man.

He walks to the back towards Costa, then stops near the two men and waits.
-- too many words and too many 'things'.

I hate to be pedantic, but Parisi never sits down. Costa motions him, and considering you put so many minor (irrelevant) details in, it just seems that 'Parisi sits' is conspicuous in its absence.

Costa leans back in his chair as he allows Parisi to take this news in.
-- is an unfilmable:
'Costa leans back in his chair.' isn't. If you want effect, then you need to put it in.

Your slugs are horrible. Almost all of them are 'later', 'continuous' etc. If your script is ever broken down to a production schedule, scenes will be lumped together, so that even though you've placed 'Warehouse' after 'Cadillac', it won't come up that way.

Once Parisi is in the warehouse with Tommy and the others, I felt that this was the meat of the script, and  this was where all the emotional impact was going on. I liked the intent, but as reaper says, it felt like you were over doing it and Parisi was actually coming over as weak.

I liked what he had to confront. I did feel like Tommy was a little inconsistent though, and wasn't too sure that this was intentional. One minute he was accepting his fate, the next he was pleading like a baby. I preferred him on bottom of p.6, when Tommy is doing the 'dead either way' bit as it contorts the challenge that Parisi has to deal with.

This is a dramatic piece, and only works via the dramatic element. It can work and could be impressive. Taking into account it was a write 'n' post job, it'd interesting to see what you could do with it on a re-write.

Simon.
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Gaviano
Posted: February 25th, 2013, 7:31am Report to Moderator
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An enjoyable read for me (Ive recently watched all seasons of The Sopranos)
it seems you remain authentic throughout except for when Parisi begins to cry at the end.

I really dont have much more to add, tho i would agree completely with Simon that you should open in the warehouse as it adds an element of mystery straight off the bat. Or maybe Parisi pulls up outside, then you can still have the phone call with his wife mentioning Tommy before he enters the warehouse. Kinda reminded me of reservoir dogs too.

-Gavin


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Read me:
HOME (9pgs)
DAY 67 (10pgs)


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If you're a filmmaker feel free to contact me via email concerning my current screenplays or to request some of my other work.
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CoopBazinga
Posted: February 25th, 2013, 9:13am Report to Moderator
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Hey Gary,

I enjoyed your last script so I decided to jump in and give this one a read. I have to admit that I didnít enjoy this one nearly as much Iím afraid.

Itís not a new or original story, but I had no real problem with genre you chose because I like a good little mafia tale. One problem would be that when I hit page 3 and saw this line:

ďThe Cadillac moves through LOWER MANHATTAN, the LINCOLN TUNNEL, and finally the NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE.Ē

All I could think about was The Sopranos and its opening credits Ė you just left out the big cigar dangling from Tonyís mouth.



It was when the story moved past some of the derivative elements and finally got to the warehouse that it took off. This is where the real story began and although I didnít think you executed it perfectly, I was liking the situation that Parisi was put in Ė a difficult decision between family and loyalty which is a common theme in this type of story. Nonetheless, I liked where this was going and thought that with a little touch up, this could be a good story.

ButÖ

Spoiler Alert!

Then the ending came and it turned out to be a prank Ė what an anticlimax! I was actually really disappointed and it felt like one of those ďit was all a dreamĒ endings although maybe thatís being a little harsh.

I know it was supposed to be some kind of test to prove his loyalty to Lombardo but stillÖ felt like a prank to me.

I can see some peeps liking this ending, itís surprising no doubt but it just didnít do it for me and ruined what was a nicely set-up scene (apart from  the crying) and completely took away all the emotion of characters decision.

Letís just put that ending down to preference and it just wasnít to mine.

The writing was a little clumsy at times and you have a nasty habit to capitalize words for no apparent reason. Watch out for redundancy in your action and the slugs were a little messy throughout with ďcontinuousĒ used wrongly, IMO.

Iíve just looked back through the previous comments and seen that Simon has laid down some good pointers from the opening exchange which I agree with. I do want to stress however that although I had these little issues, they never really hindered the read and it flowed along nicely. Is this just is your second script? Either way, you should be happy, itís impressive and most of the issues I had come with experience.

It wasnít a bad read but I just wasnít a big fan of the unoriginality or ending.

Best of luck with it.

Steve
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LC
Posted: February 25th, 2013, 6:45pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Gary,

had a look at this, and as an 'experiment' in writing, and without going into detail, you've done a good job of reproducing the overall dialogue and setting of the mobster genre with this.


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Posted: February 25th, 2013, 9:09pm Report to Moderator
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Giving this a re-read Iím going to have to say that the story has diminished a bit for me.  I mean itís a good go around for a script that was just a writing experiment to break the writerís block.  Thatís OK and totally cool.  I tried it before and wasnít so successful, but it had to be done-- just gotta write to get some idea juices flowing, know what I mean?
Anyway, what I think is detracting this for me the 2nd time around is the fact that it doesnít do a good job capturing the mobster genre.  I disagree with LC on that point.  The beginning isnít written well-- just one big irrational scene, really.  The characters didnít feel ďgangster.Ē  The ending is unlikely.  The whole scenario and characters donít seem portrayed accurately.
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hawkeye
Posted: February 25th, 2013, 10:49pm Report to Moderator
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Oof.  Well, that was a swing and a miss on my part!

I don't disagree with anything said by anyone so far.  Like I said, I was writing this during a short time frame as a way to clear my mind, and I realize after going back through everything that there were a lot of things that could easily be changed.  My entire experience with the mobster genre is the Godfather, so I'm not fully up to speed on the total mafia experience.  But it was the first thing that came to my mind, and I wrote it as I imagined what it might have happened.  Probably a good idea to write about what you know!

I do like the idea of starting it at the warehouse and certainly going in a different direction with the ending.  I did like the dialogue I had going at the warehouse, but realize it could have been a little stronger.  

One thing that was raised, and which I'm still not sure about, is when to capitalize in the action sequences.   I know there have to be some rules related to that, and I'll figure that out as I keep reviewing other scripts.

I appreciate all the reads and comments and I know this wasn't too well received, but I know the critical comments will help in crafting my future work.    


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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Toby_E
Posted: February 26th, 2013, 5:57am Report to Moderator
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Gary,

How are you doing man?

Thought I'd give this one a spin, because: A) I love the gangster genre, and; B) I've done similar one-day write, edit and post exercises before.

Now this was not bad at all considering the time it took to write! I normally spend about four times as long just planning shorts!

But for me, there were two things that let this script down, man.

Firstly, the big reveal on page 5 would have held more weight had we seen Parisi and Tommy together beforehand. We only know it's his brother, because you introduce his character as "Parisi's younger brother, TOMMY." As it is, this reveal holds very little emotional weight, because Tommy is just a random guy.

And secondly, I really did not like the twist ending. Now, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love twists, but they have got to have a huge impact, and make you see the story in a different light, if they are to work. For me, this twist made the whole story which came before it seem pointless. After the ending, I was feeling some-what like "so what?" It's too early in the morning for me to think of a different, more appropriate twist for you, but I will have a think. However, when Tommy was refusing to tell him where the money was, I was thinking that Parisi's wife might have been involved in it, for some reason.


Here are some notes I made whilst I was reading:

Page 1- Why the double restaurant slug?

Page 3- Costa's line: "Lombardo didn't say. I don't want to know. Just deal with this shit, Johnny, and you're the man", combined with Parisi's line: "Why do I get the feeling there's more to this than you're telling me" set up the whole brother-in-the-warehouse part too well. As soon as these two lines were said, I knew Parisi would have to whack someone close to him.

Page 4- Gina: "Honey, I invited your brother Tommy and Julie over for dinner." This reads awkwardly.

Page 6- Parisi: "Tommy. This is your older brother you're talking to." Really on-the-nose. I know you want to tell us that they are brothers, but put them together in a scene earlier in the script.


I look forward to reading more work by you, man.

All the best.

Toby.


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hawkeye
Posted: February 26th, 2013, 2:26pm Report to Moderator
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Toby, thanks for the read!  You make some good points and I actually went back and read it for the first time since it was posted and I wondered "what was I thinking there?"

You're right.  That second restaurant slug shouldn't be there since it was a continuous scene and it all took place in the same spot.  I think originally I had Parisi outside, and then just changed it to inside and didn't drop the slug.

I also agree that I spit the bit too soon with that dialogue between Costa and Parisi.  I should have just dropped the "Why do I get the feeling" line.  You know, now that I'm sitting here typing this, I think I just came up with a way to deal with the whole brother deal and not have it appear as a giveaway.  I'm probably going to give this a re-write soon.

Thanks again--I need to read your short Searching for Gemma that was posted recently and give you some feedback as well!

Gary


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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CoopBazinga
Posted: February 26th, 2013, 11:30pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from hawkeye
One thing that was raised, and which I'm still not sure about, is when to capitalize in the action sequences.   I know there have to be some rules related to that, and I'll figure that out as I keep reviewing other scripts.


I believe I'm the culprit who raised this. As far as I know or understand, there is no set rules on when to capitalize in the action - every writer is different but I personally only use it for maybe sound effects or when I'm trying to emphasize something that is important to the story or to help the reader remember it further down the line.

You seemed to be capping things for no apparent reason (that I could see) and that's just a nasty habit to get in to, it's like you're doing it for affect but after a while, it just became an annoyance and lost impact.

For example:

"with a hint of RAIN in the air."

"and pulls out a LONG NARROW BAG,"

"The warehouse is MOSTLY EMPTY, except for some shelves that
line the walls and a piece of MACHINERY here and there."

"a MAN with his back to PARISI sits with his arms and legs TIED to an old wooden chair. A BAG is over his head."

"SWEAT runs down his face."

"Tommy starts to BAWL like a baby."

"Parisi stands up, EXASPERATED."

"Parisi just STARES at it."

"Parisi jumps up and turns around, FLABBERGASTED."

"Tommy sits there, a BIG SMILE on his face."

Hopefully you see what I'm saying.

At the end of the day, it's up to you how much you want to capitalize the action but this was only 9 pages and there was an awful amount, IMO. Imagine how tiresome it would be over a 100 pages.

Take it easy.

Steve
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J.S.
Posted: February 27th, 2013, 2:12am Report to Moderator
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Gary,

Thought I'd review one of your scripts.

You've said it's a writing exercise, so I'll only talk about the actions, characters, and dialogue. Much of what's been said before me I agree with.

I can't hear the character's voice in the dialogue. I can't picture them being different from one another.

Trim some of the action line down.

"Costa wipes his mouth with a napkin and throws it on the table."

I think a toss rather than a throw might make him seem less angry (?)

I think you're throwing way too much information at us. Make it easy to relate to, something that would make the audience listen. Information is dull.

E.g. In your first few lines of dialogue you're introducing a character (Frankie) that's not even present! Why not have the characters introduce themselves to the audience? Maybe they haven't seen each other in a long time? It feels like I just jumped in the middle of the movie and I'm totally lost as to who these people are.

You're asking the audience to keep track of characters when you haven't allotted enough pages to properly introduce them. Formally is not necessary, but they have to be introduced.

The begging at the end reminded me very much of Miller's Crossing: "Look into your heart" scene.

That's about it.

-J.S.
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DV44
Posted: February 27th, 2013, 12:52pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Gary,

Not bad for four hours, nicely done. Not much I can say that others haven't already repeated, but I did notice a couple of things that could use some change.

The opening slug you could say" INT. ITALIAN RESTAURANT - MORNING ". That way you can elimate in the following action line that they're sitting at an Italian restaurant. On page 4 you have Gina telling Johnny that she invited his brother Tommy over for dinner. If Johnny knows Tommy is his brother no need for Gina to say that. One other thing, in the warehouse scene you have Johnny and Tommy repeating each others names in the dialogue when they talk back and forth. Sounds a bit unnatural.

All in all it has promise should you choose to rewrite it. If I was personally writing this myself I probably would have Johnny conversing with Angelo in the back of car while Angelo's bodyguards are up front driving. Angelo is telling the whole story to Johnny about Frankie while they're on their way to the warehouse. Having Angelo with Johnny would add extra pressure on him to kill his brother. One other thing regarding the blank bullet in the gun. If Johnny presses the gun against Tommy's chest even though it was blank it still could do serious damage to him.

Hope this helps and best of luck with future scripts.

Take care,

-Dirk
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hawkeye
Posted: February 27th, 2013, 2:10pm Report to Moderator
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Steve, thanks for that input on the capitalization.  Wow.  Just looking at what you posted, I can see where it's TOO MUCH.  Have to watch for that in the FUTURE.  

J.S., first of all, welcome to the boards.   Hope to see some of your work in the near future.  Some good suggestions there, and I greatly appreciate the input.  Will give some of that consideration in the rewrite.

Dirk--that's a great suggestion about having the opening begin in the car on the way to the warehouse.   Helps eliminate some exposition and maybe provides a bit more suspense having Angelo and the bodyguards along for the ride.

Great points everyone!  Will try to get to a rewrite very soon on this!

Thanks,
Gary


My web site and scripts can be found here:

Gary's web site
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