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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Series  ›  Beaver Country Regional Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: April 5th, 2013, 7:47pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Beaver Country Regional by Justin Knox and Kate McCann - Series, Comedy - Spatz meets WKRP: Beth seeks a new start in life, moving from England to work in a Canadian psychiatric facility. Between staff and patient - everyone learns to laugh and love again! 26 pages - doc, format


Visit SimplyScripts.com for what is new on the site.


-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky
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crookedowl
Posted: April 5th, 2013, 8:14pm Report to Moderator
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First thing, the formatting is all over the place, so I won't read very far. Get Celtx or Trelby to format your script-- they're both free. Makes life easier.

You don't need a synopsis on the title page.

This has some writing issues as well. For one, it's written more like a shooting script, mentioning things like "stock shot" and giving specific camera directions. Unless you're shooting this yourself, a regular "reading" draft is preferred. Just tell the story-- the camera directions are distracting.

I'm going to be brief until I know you're around. Read some scripts for a better idea of how it's done.

Will
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Justin
Posted: April 13th, 2013, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Will,
         Thanks for the constructive criticism and I will take a look at these 'Celtx' and 'Trelby' programs and see what we can do to tighten things up.
I haven't actually read the script in a while but I do know that my partner Kate actually had formatted it similar to your suggestions above.
         The reason she reformatted was the request of a producer in the UK who apparently liked this style and describing 'shots' as well as some kind of mini-synopsis (possibly referred to as a 'treatment') and describing characters etc.

Sorry you can't read very far into it but I'm sure there are lots of easier-to-read scripts here to enjoy as much if not more than ours.
thanks again,
Justin
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Ledbetter
Posted: April 13th, 2013, 7:11pm Report to Moderator
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Actually….

Will was extremely generous with his comments. If you’re a co-writer on this, don’t throw your partner under the bus suggesting you haven’t “seen” the script in a while and that all the formatting issues are due to the other gal.

There’s so much going on with just the first page that you can improve that I’m gonna take the time to show you.

FADE IN: is correct. That’s about it for page one, my friend.
Your opening slug is incorrect to start with.

EXT–LONDON CITY CENTRE–EARLY EVENING-STOCK SHOT

It should be more like-

EXT. LONDON GENERAL HOSPITAL - NIGHT

The rest of it, you don’t need. Especially since it doesn’t line up with your opening action line, which is in a different place all together.

Now you’re at the right location.

Seeing that your next line is-

Black cab pulls up outside London General Hospital.

Where else would it pull up to? You wouldn’t expect it to pull up INSIDE the hospital, would you?

It can all be-

A black cab pulls up.

To form-

EXT. LONDON GENERAL HOSPITAL – NIGHT

A black cab pulls up.

See how much cleaner that is?



Then we get to the action lines.

Let’s start with this one.

BETH JOHNSON, a woman in her mid twenties, tumbles out of the cab, drenched, and wrestles to close her broken umbrella.


It sounds like she fell out of the cab, but if she was in the cab, why is she wet? And if she is just getting out of the cab, why is she closing her umbrella, instead of opening it?

How about, instead-


EXT. CAB - CONTINIOUS
BETH JOHNSON, 25, pops her umbrella open as she exits the cab and head towards the hospital entrance.

Then there is this-

She enters the hospital and walks down the corridor. To her left in the Accident & Emergency Department a loud altercation has broken out between 2 men who are hitting each other with crutches.

You have her going from the cab, to the hospital, into the emergency room, and NEVER introducing a new slug.

It should be more like-

INT- HOSPITAL – FRONT ENTRANCE

She rushes through the rotating doors, looks around to see where the emergency room is.

INT. HALLWAY – CONTINIOUS
As she passes by the emergency room, two men confront each other. One man is swatting the other with a crutch.

You have to establish locations for your character.


And there is your dialog-

Beth (VO)
But I gave it all up for a new life overseas, in vast fields of golden wheat, big sky country where every day is sunny

Waaaay to “one the nose” my friend.

That’s a term used when the dialog seems un-natural or not quite right, if you know what I mean?

And the camera angles- Like this

Camera cuts and zooms in on Beaver County Regional Hospital,

Lose ‘em.

There is no room for camera angles in a spec script. You’re getting in the way of the story.

And as Will put it, get some FREE software.

NO ONE and I mean NO ONE will take a spec script serious unless it’s formatted correctly and using industry standards.

It’s all about playing ball. We all have to do it and so should you if you are going to want your story picked up by a company and produced.

Hope this helps my friend.

Take care

Shawn…..><







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Justin
Posted: April 13th, 2013, 9:40pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Ledbetter,
              A lot of problems with your post so let me help you sort them out.
          
      " Actually...."

As opposed to what? Unrealistically? You start with 'Actually...'. This is not a proper sentence.

"Will was extremely generous with his comments."

As opposed to what? That I thanked Will for his constructive criticism?

Okay now to your problems with reading comprehension:

"If you’re a co-writer on this, don’t throw your partner under the bus suggesting you haven’t “seen” the script in a while and that all the formatting issues are due to the other gal."

You didn't "see" anything in my post that is understood as 'throwing a partner under the bus".
In fact, just the opposite, you saw me praising a partner for having the kind of formatting Will requires in order to read more than a page,
and,
Then praising my partner for reformatting in a way that a producer friend had requested.
        I understand you're an older lady who may not be in on the newest expressions so let me help you here - 'throwing someone under the bus' is something like 'blaming someone'.
For example, praising a partner for winning would be the 'opposite' of 'throwing them under the bus'.

Having said all that I think it's also important for you to understand that simplyscripts was kind enough to post the script in last known good configuration - the customized producer-friendly formatting.

So the time for discussing 'formatting' is over and done with now. It's too late for any suggestions. It's already posted.

And finally some suggestions for wannabe producers - spend a lot less time worrying about formatting, spelling errors and grammar and a lot more time trying to receive the story being communicated.
You can do it!




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Ledbetter
Posted: April 13th, 2013, 10:14pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Justin

And finally some suggestions for wannabe producers - spend a lot less time worrying about formatting, spelling errors and grammar and a lot more time trying to receive the story being communicated.


Best of luck with that formula.

I'm sure it will work out for ya.

As for  screenwriting software...

I wouldn't take it seriously.

Your script is fine the way it is.

Shawn.....><

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Justin
Posted: April 13th, 2013, 11:04pm Report to Moderator
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No luck required - already enjoyed by one producer.

If it helps - I write goofy jokes and bits for television and radio.
Can I tell you something? I have a fairly decent average. A respectable joke-to-air percentage.
I get to read script submissions too. Almost NONE of them are formatted to the anal-level you want to find,
and,
I'd say about a quarter of them are a complete mess.
It's the idea that wins. not the formatting. But then again I'm perfectly capable of receiving the 'idea' and apparently formatting doesn't make me quit after a page.
But here's the thing:
             IF your script actually did make it through the gatekeepers it might have made a first stop at our desk. Guess what your formatting is worth now?
Zero.
Because we are only interested in the 'idea' and 'story' and the jokes and sorry but nobody is going to see your perfect formatting anyways after a room full of 'chimps with scissors' mangles that thing and resubmits our 'fixed' versions now written in orange crayon on the back of a pizza box.
           Later, a professional formatting nerd will rearrange it their way after all. Probably in some way that would win approval here.
Later to be scratched out, scribbled on and chopped and diced by a director.  

Using terrible sentence structure and in the worst bad grammar I'd still like to communicate this idea - if you are this worried about formatting?
Spending all your time negotiating things like "Where else would it arrive INSIDE the hospital?",
and,
Taking on more writers workshops?
              It's a bad sign. It really says nothing will happen. Ever.
*Interestingly, if you ever DO get something happening it will, after all, be about the ideas, which you could have just as easily submitted and succeeded with using a crayon and a piece of cardboard.
Life is short.
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danbotha
Posted: April 14th, 2013, 2:19am Report to Moderator
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Don't confuse writing with formatting. It's true that many producers don't care about the way a screenplay is written. Hell, if it gets the story across in a way that's readable, then they don't see it necessary to put a script down because of it.

Formatting on the other hand is a completely different matter. If you don't get the formatting right then you're outta there buddy. There are many reasons for this. Formatting for a start isn't just crucial to writing a poxy script correctly for the sake of being 'right'. No one's going to kick up a fuss if you get a few things wrong. The problem comes when bad formatting affects the production on the rest of the project. If a script is properly formatted, for example, a director can easily look at a screenplay and make a number of assumptions right off the bat. The length of the film can be accurately estimated following the one page to one minute rule. However, the minute your formatting is wrong, these estimations fly right out of the window. The director can't get a decent overview and he/she is likely to put the work down as a result. There's too much baggage attached to a screenplay not formatted correctly. Badly formatted scripts like this don't seal the deal.

Dan


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Ledbetter
Posted: April 14th, 2013, 11:16am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Justin
No luck required - already enjoyed by one producer.


He enjoyed it so much that you’re posting it here instead of having it made.



Quoted from Justin
If it helps - I write goofy jokes and bits for television and radio.


No. It doesn’t help. It’s your story we’re talking about.




Quoted from Justin
Can I tell you something? I have a fairly decent average. A respectable joke-to-air percentage.


I don’t know…I read your jokes and the average was pretty low from where I stood.
I’d say about a 1 to 13 ratio with a 6 point handicap…


Quoted from Justin
I get to read script submissions too. Almost NONE of them are formatted to the anal-level you want to find,


All that tells me is that your boss gives you all the $hitty scripts to read. I wouldn’t spread that around if I were you.




Quoted from Justin
It's the idea that wins. not the formatting. But then again I'm perfectly capable of receiving the 'idea' and apparently formatting doesn't make me quit after a page.


Good for you. Crappy formatting tell me either the writer is lazy, or an amateur. Neither of which compels me to want to read their work.



Quoted from Justin
IF your script actually did make it through the gatekeepers it might have made a first stop at our desk. Guess what your formatting is worth now? Zero.


First thing a proof reader looks at is whether or not the writer knows what they are doing. Poor formatting SCREAMS – DON’T READ ME!!!



Quoted from Justin
Because we are only interested in the 'idea' and 'story' and the jokes and sorry but nobody is going to see your perfect formatting anyways after a room full of 'chimps with scissors' mangles that thing and resubmits our 'fixed' versions now written in orange crayon on the back of a pizza box.


I don’t know what color the sky is on your planet, but you need to stop defending the fact that your script is a mess and simply go back and rewrite it.
          



Quoted from Justin
Later, a professional formatting nerd will rearrange it their way after all. Probably in some way that would win approval here.


Somebody help me out. Is that a real job? Professional formatting nerd? I want to be one if there is.



Quoted from Justin
Using terrible sentence structure and in the worst bad grammar I'd still like to communicate this idea - if you are this worried about formatting?


Why go through all the trouble of writing a script with terrible structure? That makes zero sense. Why not be taken seriously for your efforts and write it correctly. Or is it, that you just don’t know how to? That’s what this site is for. If you don’t want any advice at all, then why are you posting it here?

If you have it all figured out, terrible formatting and all, then why post a script here for input?


Quoted from Justin
Spending all your time negotiating things like "Where else would it arrive INSIDE the hospital?",


That’s called “formatting”



Quoted from Justin
Life is short.


You’re right. Too short to read poorly written scripts when so many people here work their A$$ off to try and bring a decent product to the table for others to read and enjoy.

I’ll stick with those scripts.

Shawn…..><

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Justin
Posted: April 14th, 2013, 1:47pm Report to Moderator
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"All that tells me is that your boss gives you all the $hitty scripts to read."

No, it doesn't tell you that. It tells you that all scripts get 'undone' and none of your formatting will survive to matter.

"No. It doesn’t help. It’s your story we’re talking about."

No, it was not my story we were talking about. We were talking about any and all stories and how little formatting will matter.

"He enjoyed it so much that you’re posting it here instead of having it made."

He requested that style of formatting and this ends your NO ONE and you meant NO ONE theory.
It's a worry you didn't see that the first time and continue with the poor reading comprehension,
Or we can say you don't seem to 'get stuff' you read.
And this probably explains a lot. It's why you have to be obsessed with critiquing formatting. I'm concerned you have a real issue 'getting ideas'.
do you know what I mean?
Do you 'get' what I'm trying to say here?

Listen, you guys might want to stop and consider something -  I glanced at a few script discussion boards and honestly its 'sick' the obsession with piling in arguments, posturing, going on and on about formatting and grammar.

I'm saying this in all sincerity - you need to check yourself and ask yourselves if you might be experiencing some mental health issues?
It's beyond petty jealousy and nearly eclipsing 'Star Trek' forum debates. The false 'authority' and petty nit-picking ugh!

And if you do want a career in this field? (and nobody should) but if you do agree life is short and you want to be taken seriously?
       Then DO NOT carry on like this. Do not spend any more time on formatting, grammar debates and taking yourself so seriously.
It's tells people you are going to be a 'problem'.
It tells people you can't write 'content' so need to overcompensate.

Even worse.. its something like saying "I'm failing and desperate".

Honestly, this is to anyone posting here with this sick obsession - its not going to help you get anywhere.
You have to check yourselves.
Its unhealthy.

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Ledbetter
Posted: April 14th, 2013, 2:01pm Report to Moderator
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I wouldn't worry about us too much Justin.

Us sick depraved word mongers, obsessed with trivial things such a proper structure will somehow live to scratch out another properly formatted script.

Hopefully without it driving us all mad in the streets while eating our young.

Caution to the wind and proper writing be dammed!

After all, if you put a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters, eventually, they will write a novel.

Or is it beavers...

Shawn.....><

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go read another book on screenwriting. You can't be too safe...

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danbotha
Posted: April 14th, 2013, 11:49pm Report to Moderator
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Look, Justin...

From one sick, demented screenwriter to another... Formatting is essential to getting read by a producer/Director. There's no controversy about it, just simple facts. If you want to get your screenplay read then it has to be written properly. It has to look, smell and taste like a screenplay.

Would you write a novel with no punctuation and indecent sentence structure. There's no rules to say you have to write properly... Only a sick, demented publisher brandishing his grammar book furiously.

There are certain things that have to be done properly to get noticed. Writing a screenplay with correct formatting is one of those things.

What makes you exempt from that rule, of all people? What makes you an exception? Why don't you have to write like the rest of us do?

Take the criticism on board and sort your formatting out. I highly doubt the legitimacy of your workplace if they're accepting screenplays that look like this one, here.


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Justin
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Quoted Text
"If you want to get your screenplay read then it has to be written properly. It has to look, smell and taste like a screenplay."


Right but I don't have this problem. I have a sitcom pilot that was properly formatted as requested and was read.
It so happens you get to see the successful formatting.


Quoted Text

I highly doubt the legitimacy of your workplace if they're accepting screenplays that look like this one, here.


If you 'highly doubt the legitimacy' of my former workplace it's because you believe all the theory you were taught in college, writers workshops and from the formatting queens on websites like this.


Quoted Text
What makes you exempt from that rule, of all people? What makes you an exception? Why don't you have to write like the rest of us do?


Depends what you are trying to achieve?
If your goal is to join a formatting competition then you best keep plssing straighter than the other guy on this board,
however,
If your goal is to communicate ideas and stories then you are no longer obligated to follow those rules.
Then you are exempt from them.

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