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  Author    Automatic Drive  (currently 3823 views)
Don
Posted: May 20th, 2013, 11:00am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Automatic Drive by Mark Renshaw - Short, Sci Fi, Fantasy - On an Corporate controlled automated highway of the future, one family is about to find out the real price of progress. 7 pages - pdf, format


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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (1 edits)
Don  -  June 10th, 2013, 3:45pm
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Dustin
Posted: May 20th, 2013, 3:25pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


Action speaks louder...

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I quite liked this. It was slow to start but once you got it going it flowed. I'd have liked for them to survive, so I felt for the characters.

One thing bugging me though is your logline is not really a logline.


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spesh2k
Posted: May 20th, 2013, 5:01pm Report to Moderator
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Not bad, though it needs much work, particularly the writing.

The story takes place in 2025 - it's only 12 years from now, and I remember 12 years ago like it was yesterday. The advancements in technology since then haven't been radically different, though it is quite advanced in terms of phone technology, internet, etc.

I like how you don't have flying cars or anything like that, but I still feel you went a bit too far with the advancements in technology as well as this futuristic language the kid is speaking. Yeah, I'm sure there will be new slang and such, but a new language? Spinglish if I recall? Not so sure.

And though I know what Rick rolling is (I used to love that song before people were getting Rick rolled), do you really think it will still be remembered 12 years from now? Perhaps is just something the MOM and DAD characters share between each other.

The tone felt awkward. It felt like the Jetsons at first (minus the flying vehicles) tone wise, and then turned kind of dark out of nowhere. In a feature, where there's more time to develop that dark tone (a happy outing goes wrong), but it's like this short is two 3-minute stories almost.

I liked the message - says a lot about humanity in a way, how selfish we are (being stuck in traffic, I'd just want it to be over all ready without caring about what's really happening).

But I felt like I missed something. The panel goes black. What happens after that? Is the car still moving when everything goes black? Because the way it comes across, I thought the car had come to a complete stop. Then we cut to MAN and WOMAN, with the scene of an accident on their screen, and then we cut back to a car accident with MOM and DAD (and son).

It appears as if they had been in an accident, but it kind of comes out of nowhere. Maybe show them moving towards a wall or telephone pole or something once they lose control of their vehicle.

Now... the writing...


Quoted Text
EXT. FUTURISTIC SUPER-HIGHWAY - DAY

A highway set in 2025. Advanced vehicles with blacked-outwindows are traveling at incredible speed, traversing from lane-to-lane gracefully.

INT. CAR - CONTINUOUS

Three passengers are sat on high-tech swivel seats surrounded by screens which depict a myriad of TV channels and games.

At the front sit a MOM and DAD(50's). They are watching TV while in the back sits their son ETHAN(1. He is engaged in a shooting game using his fingers to aim with the computer tracking his movements and updating the screen accordingly.


How do we know it's 2025? You have it in the action/description block, but you need to find a way to convey this to the audience as if they were watching a film. Maybe show a billboard for some company that reads "since 2023" or something like that. Year isn't so much as important as just covering the essence - just knowing we're in the future is enough. And there's no need to mention we're on a highway again in the description when you all ready have it in the SLUG.

And write things as they are happening. I noticed a lot of "cars are traveling" and "he is sitting" or "he is engaged". It should be "cars travel" and "he sits" and "he engages".

Here's an example of how I would rewrite those two paragraphs.

EXT. FUTURISTIC SUPER-HIGHWAY - DAY

SUPER: 2025

Advanced vehicles with blacked-out windows travel at incredible speeds. They traverse gracefully from one lane to another.

INT. CAR - CONTINUOUS

A myriad of screens play TV programs and display interactive games. A different channel on each screen.

In the front seat - MOM and DAD, in their 50's, relax into high tech swivel chairs and watch TV.

ETHAN, 18, sits in the back and plays an interactive shooting game. He uses his fingers as guns.


I'd also give all of the characters names. There's only a few characters here, and it's a short length script. And giving MOM and DAD names, in a strange way, makes the audience care about them more.

Overall, very creative, but needs work.

-- Michael



The Suicide Theory trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eaXXOKJvtg (available on Amazon Prime, Itunes, Google Play, Youtube, Vudu, DVD, etc - 78% Rotten Tomatoes Score)

And check out a teaser trailer for my latest feature film RAGE, to be release late 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ksVXItnu4Y&t=4s
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: May 21st, 2013, 2:33am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Michael. I'll set the time to 2035, good point about it being too soon. The idea for this story I've had for a while but I decided to write it after I read the story about Google experimenting with automatic cars, but yeah - in just twelve years’ time it may not have advanced so fast.

“The tone felt awkward. It felt like the Jetsons at first (minus the flying vehicles) tone wise, and then turned kind of dark out of nowhere.”

In life, things can happen and turn dark in an instant, especially with accidents. I wanted to convey this and take the audience by surprise.

Splingish is not a new language it is a new slang, I'll see about making a change in the dialogue to make that more obvious.

Rick Rolling will indeed only be remembered by this generation, which is why the mum and dad remember it but the kid hasn't an idea what they are talking about.

Maybe you missed this bit but after the power goes out in the car, we cut to an external shot:

“One car amongst the myriad of fast moving vehicles drifts
off towards the central reservation.

The other vehicles correct their course to compensate and
easily avoid any collisions.”

Thanks for pointing out the errors in my writing, I've picked up a lot of bad habits and I need to re-train myself.

I could give MOM and DAD a name but apart from the script and in the end credits, how would I get the audience to know what their names are? I’d have to come up with some way for them to include it in the dialogue.  Ethan wouldn’t say it naturally, so they’d have to say it to each other and in my experience moms and dads don’t say their names that often in front of their kids. Any ideas?


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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spesh2k
Posted: May 21st, 2013, 3:37am Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
Maybe you missed this bit but after the power goes out in the car, we cut to an external shot:

“One car amongst the myriad of fast moving vehicles drifts
off towards the central reservation.

The other vehicles correct their course to compensate and
easily avoid any collisions.”


Yeah, I suppose I caught that, but it can be made a ton clearer - it is a car crash, and we should feel the impact. I think it can be written in a way to bring the audience in. When I read a script, I picture it as if it was a film. And, reading through this paragraph, I see the words "central reservation" -- you don't show a car crashing.

This is how I would write it:

EXT. HIGHWAY - CONTINUOUS

The CAR loses control and drifts into another lane when CRASH!


Or something like that.


Quoted Text
I could give MOM and DAD a name but apart from the script and in the end credits, how would I get the audience to know what their names are? I’d have to come up with some way for them to include it in the dialogue.  Ethan wouldn’t say it naturally, so they’d have to say it to each other and in my experience moms and dads don’t say their names that often in front of their kids. Any ideas?


I used to hear my parents use each other's names all the time, especially for emphasis during arguments. What would they call each other? Mom and Dad? No. Maybe they have pet names for each other. Even something as subtle as "hun" or "babe".

Or maybe they're arguing over music selection - parents especially use each other's names during arguments, even minor ones, for emphasis.

Finally, they find the Rick rolling and they're like "remember this?" Then they jam out and look old in front of their son. Good times.

I dunno, but be creative.



The Suicide Theory trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eaXXOKJvtg (available on Amazon Prime, Itunes, Google Play, Youtube, Vudu, DVD, etc - 78% Rotten Tomatoes Score)

And check out a teaser trailer for my latest feature film RAGE, to be release late 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ksVXItnu4Y&t=4s
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trickyb
Posted: May 21st, 2013, 8:17am Report to Moderator
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I think this was a really good story

Rick rolling - love it.

I would have liked dad to survive, would then make for a good feature - man vs progress and trying to expose the truth.

Good stuff

Michael


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vancety
Posted: May 22nd, 2013, 4:34am Report to Moderator
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I liked this story. started slowly. Almost boring. But picked up pace quickly. The end is a bit disapointing. Exactly "what" is going to happen?
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AmbitionIsKey
Posted: May 22nd, 2013, 8:06am Report to Moderator
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Hey Mark, haven't really seen you around the boards.  You should get involved in the community, ead more scripts by others, therefore ensuring you'll get more back on your own if you decide to post more stuff in the future.

Anyways, gave this a quick read because I'm in school and board out of my mind, and instead of learning, I'd rather do this, lol.

Forgive me if I'm just repeating things, I didn't reallt read any other comments you've received.

"A highway set in 2025." -- you need a SUPER.  The audience watching this will obviously know this is set in the future, but they won't know the exct date, so if you're going to go for that year, you should have:

"SUPER: YEAR 2025" or just "2025" after.

The next two paragraphs read really, really awkward to me.

"Three passengers are sat on high-tech swivel seats
surrounded by screens which depict a myriad of TV channels
and games."

Would be better as --

"Three PASSENGERS sit on high-tech seats surrounded by screens.  They depict various games and TV channels."

(You must CAPITALIZE "passengers" since they're characters.)

(I would also suggest giving MOM and DAD a name, since they speak more than two lines of action each in the screenplay.)

Your second action paragraph in the car reads really weird.

I would reword it to:

"... they watch TV.  In the back ETHAN (1 is engaged in a shooting game.  He uses a controller to play and a screen tracks his movements." -- something like this, because at the moment I am CLUELESS to what's happening or how the game works.  Is the fact he's playing this game IMPORTANT to the plot?  Like, you need to reword it.

I like the Rick Roll thing, my mum loved that song, and I got the jist it was a special thing the parents shared in such a futuristic setting.

You like the word "myriad", don't you?  Lol.  No need to use the fancy words.  You can use simpler words to set up a less than simple universe.

"A family is stood..." should be, "A FAMILY is stood..." -- even so though, you need to be more specific.  Is it a mother and father and sister, or two sisters, or a brother, or something else?

The "MAN" and "WOMAN" in the car should be given names, also.

"The mother is dead..." should be, "The MOTHER is dead." -- you need to capitalize every character.  Same does for "Dad."

So Ethan, his mom and dad, have been in a crash?  Cool.  Okay.  I was loosing focus there...

COMPUTER VOICE isn't a character, so you need (V.O.) to show us that the voice is playing over the shot.

This was really confusing.  What are the panels?  You need to make it more obvious there's been a crash.  I just found this pretty hard to understand.  It was such a straight-forward short, but it got cluttered in the writing which could be so much more clear if you'd given people NAMES and described what was happening witht the crash a little bit more, IMO.

I understood the message.  Pretty powerful.  I liked the story behind this, the undertones.

You write passively a lot too.  Things should HAPPEN, and you write them as if it's passive.  An example of this is: "Advanced vehicles with blacked-out windows are traveling at incredible speed, travrsing from lane to lane gracefully.

I would write it as:

"Advanced vehicles with blacked-out windows travel incredibly fast.  They
traverse from lane-to-lane" -- not passive, less words, more simple, same effect?  See?

You know how to write a screenplay, you just lack some knowledge.  Read some more scripts on here to get the jist some more, and you should be good.  I'd like to reread this if you do re-writes, because even though the message behind this is clear, the writing as a whole let it down, IMO.

Anyways, good luck with this!  Hope to see you around.

-- Curt


"No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story..."

Short scripts

GONE
(6 pages, drama/thriller)
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MarkRenshaw
Posted: June 11th, 2013, 2:24pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. It is all appreciated. I'm learning and have quite a few bad habits/weak areas as you have all noticed. I've submitted a new draft which is online now.


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Mr.Z
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Hey man, quite an interesting piece you got here. Very different, that's for sure. You went bonkers with the budget, but it's fun to see now and then a writer let loose and just focus on telling something unique.

There were a few moments that confused me a bit. One is small and an easy fix. When you say "The car flips onto its side.", that's supposed to be Ryan's car, right? Took me a while to realize that it was. Then I got it, of course, but I'd suggest a quick polish to make it clear from the start that it's their car that flips.

The other moment is the ending. I did like it, because there's a sort of karmic justice involved; the family that didn't care for the accident now is about to be in an accident themselves (if I got it right). What I'm not sure about is if this is just another accident, or if there's something more sinister at play in which TechStorm is involved.

Still, I love sci-fi, so I enjoyed the (fucked up) world you created. Best of luck with this.  


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MarkRenshaw
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Hey Mr. Z, thanks for the read and comments. I loved Win-Lose so I'm really pleased you had a look at one of mine.

It's true, I wasn't thinking production or budget when I wrote this. Sometimes an idea comes upon me and I just have to write it regardless. With automatic cars fast becoming a reality I thought I'd write a story taking automated highway travel to it's Nth corporate degree. I don't think it will be long before we see films and TV shows which feature automatic cars going horribly wrong lol.

My intent for the story (and the ending) was to show the lengths such a corporation could go to protect their investment and their statistics. TechStorm boasts that their highway has been gridlock free for years but that is because they are clearing away any accidents quickly, using methods which are extremely dangerous to the people involved. They are also making the general public in the vicinity of each accident  implicit in the act by getting them to vote on the best course of action while feeding them false information. The irony is, if anyone simply popped their head out of the window and looked for themselves they would see the truth. Yet just like most people with their Smartphones and tablets they focus on the screens in their cars instead.

It is a strange coincidence you review this now when I've just recently given it a a polish and one of the things I addressed was making it more obvious it was Ryan's car that flipped! I haven't uploaded it here but I've entered it into a few sci-fi film festivals that accept short script submissions, so I'll see how it gets on.

Thanks again

Mark


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Colkurtz8
Posted: April 2nd, 2015, 10:39am Report to Moderator
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Mark

ETHAN
What the blue shmeck are you two
doing?

- I've never heard this word before. Got a chuckle out of it regardless.

I'm enjoying how vividly you've realized this highly automated, futuristic car. It’s where we're going really, isn't it? Not too far off present day which makes it so effective.

ETHAN
Argh you guys are the zeesh

- Ok, so I'm thinking this lingo is futuristic too.

ETHAN
Zurchnack!

- Ha, the alternative vocabulary reminds me of reading "A Clockwork Orange". A pretty obvious comparison I guess.

ETHAN
Why does it take so long?

- Yup, chronic impatience is another symptom of the future.

“96 percent have chosen Option Two.”

LUCAS
Yeah for democracy!

- Ha, great touch. We’re a nasty bunch!

“Emily lies dead on the highway, her lifeless eyes stare up
into nothingness. Ryan SOBS over her body. He is covered in
cuts and bleeding.”

- Eh, I thought the family were standing beside the car, seemingly unhurt? Are we to presume the computer is lying to make everybody choose option 2 thus keep the traffic moving? I hope so Makes this all the more interesting.

However, I do think that block of prose should be moved to the front of the scene though. It’s a more visually arresting image than the lump of twisted metal car and backed up traffic. They should be revealed after. Just a suggestion.

“Their view screen depicts the car being moved slowly by the
robot arms while the family are led to a seating area by some androids.”

- So the screen was depicting the idealized version. Brilliantly sinister. Damn, futuristic governments/corporations are always more despicable then the current ones...and that's saying something

“The sun glistens off their black windows”

- Great visual. Perfect way to depict the disconnect and faceless anonymity that comes with over reliance on technology.

“The view screen shows the family seated on benches at the
side of the road. They wave at the cars as they go by.”

- Ha ha (I’m laughing in spite myself here, its deeply unsettling stuff) Another nice touch though, the misleading veneer of “all is well” masking the horror beneath.

COMPUTER VOICE
The TechStorm Corporation

- Mmm, a suitably disconcerting name too.

I know they are surrounded by computer screens and any number of gadgets and distractions but I’m wondering can they actually see out of their window screens? I don’t think it’s specified. I ask this because you’d think that the first cars who encountered the accident would see straight away that the computer screen is lying to them.

Anyway, it’s an easy change to just clarify that the window screens are the computer screens so that is all they are seeing. Then again, you have to wonder why Rick doesn’t know this and tries to plead with them outside the car for help. He must understand that they can’t see him.

That aside, I thought this was fantastic, man, I really dug it. I loved the world i.e. the car and  motorway, you created. The little touches, both aesthetically and in the dialogue that puts us 20 years from now, I could totally buy it. I recognized that this could be where we are at some point in the future in the terms of the characters and how we travel while the more speculative dystopian element of Techstorm’s handling of the crash was wonderfully conceived. I got a perverse laugh out of it on a number of occasions.

Obviously this is not feasible for live action but it would make a cool animation.

Great job.

Col.


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MarkRenshaw
Posted: April 4th, 2015, 1:43pm Report to Moderator
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Col,

Thanks for the great review and I really appreciated all the points you made. You made one specific question I'd like to answer.


Quoted from Colkurtz8

I know they are surrounded by computer screens and any number of gadgets and distractions but I’m wondering can they actually see out of their window screens? I don’t think it’s specified. I ask this because you’d think that the first cars who encountered the accident would see straight away that the computer screen is lying to them.

Anyway, it’s an easy change to just clarify that the window screens are the computer screens so that is all they are seeing. Then again, you have to wonder why Rick doesn’t know this and tries to plead with them outside the car for help. He must understand that they can’t see him.
Col.


Yes, the interior of the cars are all like a Windows theme in that these cars can create a virtual environment to either entertain (games, TV shows etc.) like our family, or to relax in like the sunbathing couple. They could, if they wish, switch it off and view outside but they choose not to. Instead they view everything via artifical means.

It's a bit of a comment on modern social habits where we choose to view smartphones and tablets instead of looking at the real world and exagerrated to the nth degree.

They are completely soundproofed and locked so although Rick pleads and shouts they can't hear him.

I'll see if I can make that more obvious in the script. Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment on this.

-Mark


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Colkurtz8
Posted: April 4th, 2015, 10:19pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from MarkRenshaw
Yes, the interior of the cars are all like a Windows theme in that these cars can create a virtual environment to either entertain (games, TV shows etc.) like our family, or to relax in like the sunbathing couple. They could, if they wish, switch it off and view outside but they choose not to. Instead they view everything via artifical means.

It's a bit of a comment on modern social habits where we choose to view smartphones and tablets instead of looking at the real world and exagerrated to the nth degree.

They are completely soundproofed and locked so although Rick pleads and shouts they can't hear him.


- Yeah I was thinking that was the case. Its another cool idea you got in here that fits in with our growing fascination with a pixelated world over the real one but yeah it probably needs to be clarified.

You still have to wonder why Ryan tries to get their attention when he knows its futile but I get that in such a situation, desperation and panic takes over.

I wonder could you have all the screens automatically go into "generic pretty scenery view" when the crash occurs. You might even have Abigail and Lucas try to override it out of curiosity but it can't be done. (This could be conveyed by one of them playfully bashing the buttons as they would already know about this feature) Its a safeguard by Techstorm to ensure that nobody can switch to "outside view" during such an accident. Just a thought.

Col.


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Iancou
Posted: April 5th, 2015, 10:35am Report to Moderator
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Mark,

Liked it. At the risk of sounding overly philosophical, Automatic Drive showed just how dehumanizing technology can be as well as how we are becoming more detached from each other through the use of social media that frequently abbreviates normal face-to-face interactions.  This detached perspective negatively affects our empathy for others, especially in disaster situations, calling into question whether we are becoming less human as we advance technologically. You captured all of this nicely... or did I read more into this than you intended?

Ian


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