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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  The Sound of the Life of the Mind of Summer Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Sound of the Life of the Mind of Summer  (currently 955 views)
Don
Posted: June 27th, 2013, 5:06pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Sound of the Life of the Mind of Summer by Calvin Pembroke - Short, Dramedy - A young man stalks his suspected cheating father with the help of his photography loving girlfriend. 39 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  -  July 1st, 2013, 10:31am
revised draft
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This is funny that we get a nearly 40 page "short" after our thread discussing how long a short should be before it's not a short anymore.

Anyway, on to this script, that I read from first page to last. (and this post will have spoilers)

I don't think many people dig on shorts that are 40 pages.

But I recommend this one.  Hopefully Cal will make an appearance on the boards, read some scripts and comment on them, because I think he could benefit with some people checking this out.

Normally, I would see the slug line and read the description of the opening scene and the characters, and just X this thing out.  But I went on, and I have to say I think your strongest point is your dialogue and your interactions between Cay and Lauren (which kept me hooked).  I smiled, smirked, laughed out loud.  They feel like a couple that are really into each other, really comfortable around each other.  Their scene goes on a little long at 6 pages.  While it's fun, their conversation, could be cut short.  I'm sure you'll also get a few people that read these first 6 pages and answer with "talking heads."  Which would be true.... your main characters are just laying in bed.  Talking.  Blocks of dialogue at times.

The part where Lauren vomits after witnessing what happens in the hotel room felt really weird or off, but when you hit us with the revelation on page 30 -- a total jaw-dropping shocker for me -- the earlier scene of Lauren becoming nauseous is justified.  Further thoughts on that revelation.... talk about conflict.  That's some fucking conflict right there.  The only thing that stinks, is that by the time its revealed, the story is pretty much over.  Another thing.  When Cay finds out and slaps and punches Lauren in the face.... kind of a knock you on your ass moment.  You don't expect Cay to be like that to this girl that he supposedly loves.  It almost comes out of left field.  And it makes me wonder why does she hide the fact that he physically beat her.  She lies to everyone, comes back to him, acts as if everything is fine -- or is it? -- and we're left with a very ambiguous ending to regards of WTF is going on between them.... and in a way I kinda like the ending but I'm also curious, as the reader, to know what happened to them.  Because I actually started to like these two characters that you created.

Also, at some point in the script I had to click back to see what genre you had this listed as because there are some scenes that felt like these characters shouldn't be interacting/talking with each other the way that they were.  I mean, Cay is tailing his father who he believes is cheating on his mother.  Lauren is along for the trip and she knows the whole, twisted truth to start with.... and here they are making dick jokes and talking about swallowing loads.  It took away from the ominous tone of the real situation at hand.  Maybe you could chalk up all the joking around as a self-defense mechanism for these characters to avoid the hard truth of what's really going down here.  But sometimes, to me, it just feels like it doesn't belong.

In the end, I was left wanting more, and that's always good.

Not bad for a short that stretches 40 pages.  

Hopefully I'm not the only positive review that you get because this was really good!  You just need to work out a few things here and there.  
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crookedowl
Posted: June 28th, 2013, 12:55am Report to Moderator
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Hey Calvin, I figured I'd take a look at this. I will say, though, I usually stay away from shorts longer than 20 pages unless I know the writer (or someone recommends the script). Your best bet is to either keep short scripts short, or expand long shorts into features. Either way, a 40 page short is generally considered too long and probably won't get many reads.

Personally? I don't mind long shorts. I've written some pretty long shorts before, and they're fun. It's just that there really isn't any market at all for that length, so you'll want to stay within more conventional page counts for things you send out for reads.


* * * SPOILERS BELOW * * *

All right, so onto the script itself. Your opening slug is problematic (actually more than a few slugs are) and your action lines aren't too great either. Couple unfilmables, some awkward phrasings here and there. I agree with Reaper that your dialogue is pretty good, but as a whole I think the rest of the writing could use a little tightening. It's not bad, but some of your descriptions aren't the greatest. I'm not gonna get into specifics here (the writing will improve naturally the more you write), because frankly I'm not an expert on action lines, either.

I'm going to agree about the length of the first scene. It's pretty good right now, but if you cut it down a little it'll shine. Cut down the banter and get to the important elements of the scene sooner. Really, you need a lot less than you think when it comes to dialogue.

Cut down some other scenes and you'd be looking at a good length short film.

To me, Cayden's long dialogue at the bottom of page 9 was a tad wooden at times. Things like "for some unexplained reason", "He is ignoring his calls because he doesn't want to be disturbed" and "She doesn't know and Sarah can't either" aren't very realistic at all, and pretty on the nose. It helps to read your dialogue out loud while you're writing, especially if you're dealing with long paragraphs of dialogue.

I got to the end, but it dragged in some places. I think it's the lack of character goals for the majority of the script. This would be better if the characters had some actual goals. You can only write entertaining banter for so long.

And it's a good idea to add drama to scene wherever possible. I'm not talking making this a melodrama, but just making things a little more dramatic and interesting. Like the first scene with Thomas. So far, the only sign of a plot is that Cayden's gonna follow his dad, so when he actually runs into his dad, you have a good opportunity to add some subtext, even some suspense. Maybe Thomas is suspicious or something.

(Plus, considering the fact that he's a major part of the story and this is the only scene he actually speaks in, you want him to make an impact).

You know what was a great example of dramatizing a scene? When you throw in the fact that Thomas and the mysterious redhead ALSO do cocaine. I thought that was a good way to kinda takes things to a different level, and it really caught my interest.

Another god example of this is Cayden and Lauren's big falling-out near the end. When they start fighting, things really go from bad to worse, and keep getting worse until Cayden hits her (and her braces cut him, which I liked). It's gripping, and in my opinion, really good.

And I like the irony of a girl who photographs weddings having to photograph her friend's dad amidst a drug-induced affair, but I don't know if it's that realistic to make Lauren vomit. I mean... come on.

When they wake up the next morning after the stakeout, I think Lauren gives in to showing Cayden the pictures too easily. At first she's like "No, it wouldn't be right for you to see", but then he asks once and she gives in. Make 'em fight over it or something.

"El Oh-Fucking-El." Oh god. No. That kinda killed the vibe of the scene for me. I generally advise against using trendy things like text message language in dialogue, anyway, and this just didn't really seem like something Lauren would say.

Same goes for "Samesies (meaning: Same (for people who arenít familiar with the hipster terms))". I thought Lauren was better than that! Come on, man!

I don't really think the "twist" about it being Lauren's mom all along is really that realistic. I guess it makes the throwing up scene make more sense now, but it seems so far out of left field and downright random I had trouble buying it. I dunno, I mean, it's pretty unexpected, but it's the execution you really need to work on here.

Some miscellaneous, somewhat minor things:

--Typos here and there. I noticed you spelled "yeah" as "yea" a few times, and you said "cause'" instead of "'cause". The apostrophe goes at the beginning of the word, not the end because it's a contraction of "because".

--And make sure you're using punctuation correctly. Sometimes, a non-question ends with a question mark, and other times, a question doesn't have one. Things like this slow down the read and for the most part take away from the experience.

--Parentheticals in dialogue go on separate lines, not in the middle of dialogue paragraphs. Again, I'm nitpicking here, but it's still something you'll want to clear up.

--Why do you have to be so specific about the camera? Look, I like talking cameras and lenses as much as the next guy, but it seems like you're just showing off your knowledge of DSLRs here (the dialogue on page 16 about which cameras they're packing seemed a tad on the nose, to me).

--When you're transitioning from a solid color (black screen) to an image, or vice-versa, you use "FADE". When you're going from an image to an image, you use "DISSOLVE".

--"FADE IN" goes to the left, the the way. "FADE OUT"" goes to the right, "FADE IN" goes to the left.

--I don't think "CAYDEN'S CAMERA POV" is formatted correctly. I'm not an expert on this either, but I'd recommend just writing "CAYDEN'S CAMERA POV" on a separate line like a mini slug, then describing the action we see. No need to write it in bold, either.

--"Cayden grabs her bra and hands it to Lauren." That's an example of an awkwardly written line. It just read weird to me. For a second it sounded like you were calling Cayden "she". Or maybe I'm just tired and it's affecting my reading skills.

--"Cayden looks up at Lauren with euphoria." I dunno, considering the fact that she does have a black eye, I highly doubt he'd be "euphoric" over something as little as a slight possibility she wants him back. (After all, he sure isn't acting like he wants to make up, either.)

--"Cayden smiles at her lie." Again, why is he smiling? She's lying about him hitting her. Besides, this probably wouldn't make sense on screen without your action lines there to explain why he's even smiling in the first place. I dunno, I just think these two lines could be handled better.

--I think Lauren's last line on page 38 should be "and you should too" instead of "you should hace too". The changes in tense (first sentence, "I'm enjoying this cake" is active") are confusing and kinda take away from the impact of the final line.

Okay, done. I don't know how the other folks around here will feel about this one, but personally I think it's a nice effort. There's some obvious skill on display, and I think it has a good tone to it, which isn't something you see everyday. I liked the characters too. I think you did a great job making them come to life through their dialogue.

You could benefit from some more reviews, though. My advice, submit something at a more conventional length (a shorter short script is your best bet) for some more reads. But still, this is really promising.

Hope you're around the boards. (This is a 1,000 word review, after all...)

Will
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the goose
Posted: June 28th, 2013, 4:24am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Guest
This is funny that we get a nearly 40 page "short" after our thread discussing how long a short should be before it's not a short anymore.


Out of interest, where is this debate?

As far as I've ever been concerned anything under 80 minutes is a short - unless it's a documentary, tv series, tv programme or cartoon etc.


Actor trying to write...

"A good script is never rejected because of layout or lack of technical jargon. If people like it, then any experienced film or TV PA or secretary can lay it out in professional manner and add all the technical terms necessary"

-- Ronald Wolfe "Writing Comedy"

"We don't make movies for critics, since they don't pay to see them anyhow."

-- Charles Bronson.
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Butt3rs
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Hey all, thanks for your critiques and advice! I was looking for a place on the internet to discuss and post scripts for a while and I recently found this site. You'll have to forgive me for being a "n00b" on here for a bit. I'm not even sure if I should've quoted you guys in this reply or not... yea(h), I'm THAT new.

A little bit about my writing history. I've been writing film since I was 11ish. In script format since Grade 8 but not writing daily like I am now. I used to hilariously write scripts in microsoft word when I first started. I wrote this in a weekend while camping and forgot to bring a charger. It was like I had a deadline. This story was an idea I had in mind for a while that I thought would be a feature script. I might expand it, showing the couple shooting weddings, being around these happily married couples and maybe display their lives when Sarah and Lauren were bestfriends and Cayden was just a loner stoner.

Reading the replies made me realize that Thomas isn't developed enough, I think Janet is too, and the actions plus the twists and turns need to be better balanced or explained better. Dialog is my favorite thing about writing scripts, my action is really poor because of this. I look like an idiot when I'm alone and improvising these conversations with myself talking as my characters (yes, that's my method. I hope I'm not alone). Also, sorry if I go on too long in some scenes with the dialog, it's nice to know when to stop.

I'm from Eastern Canada and "yea" always seemed right to me. As far as apostrophes('s)?? go, I'm really terrible for that. I just couldn't've never wrap my head around it. See what I did there? But seriously, I'm working at it!

To clarify a few things, I do know a bit about DSLR cameras and I was trying to make Lauren and Cayden seem that they know their "shit" when it comes to cameras, since we don't see them shooting their scheduled weddings/reunions that they've been busy with the whole summer before this story. Again, if I plan to expand it for feature length then this camera-mumbo-jumbo won't be as necessary.

The "El-Oh-Fucking-El" thing is really me poking fun at girls of Lauren's age who ACTUALLY say that. I've seen it before in person 3 or 4 times (once at a party a girl fell over and her friend didn't laugh, she just spelled out LOL) and it's an ear-cringing, internal screaming sight. But if it dampens Lauren's character than I'll remove it A.S.A.P.

I'm not sure if anyone got the meaning of the ending with the whole last-slice-of-cake thing. I was blatantly going for "you can't have you cake and eat it too" type-of-metaphor but kind of reversed in a sense. Cayden SHOULD'VE eaten the cake which could've gave Lauren a chance to think and speak first, to explain her lies about her Mom and concealing her injuries. Maybe she would've gave Cay an opinion on where their relationship stands. Instead he kept on forcing apologies at Lauren. I am going to shorten parts of the story and make the flow of the "twist" and ending much smoother yet fulfilling. I never had the chance to edit much because once I found the site I was like "omgz, I need 2 post something!". There I go, being sarcastic again.

Thank-you for reading and thank-you for your critiques. They were beyond what I expected! I can't wait to read some of of your scripts and spread the honesty.

- Calvin
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Guest
Posted: June 30th, 2013, 11:23pm Report to Moderator
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Good to see you signed up!  

I'm interested in a new draft, when you're ready.

If you have anything else I could look at, send me a PM and we can talk.

I would be more than happy to read your stuff.

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crookedowl
Posted: June 30th, 2013, 11:29pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Butt3rs

Reading the replies made me realize that Thomas isn't developed enough, I think Janet is too, and the actions plus the twists and turns need to be better balanced or explained better. Dialog is my favorite thing about writing scripts, my action is really poor because of this. I look like an idiot when I'm alone and improvising these conversations with myself talking as my characters (yes, that's my method. I hope I'm not alone). Also, sorry if I go on too long in some scenes with the dialog, it's nice to know when to stop.


That's actually a really good method for writing dialogue. I see a lot of wooden dialogue in scripts, so it's cool you put time into making it sound right.

Welcome to the boards. Glad you showed up. I'm interested in the next draft as well, when you post it.

Will
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MarkRenshaw
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I read this not knowing there was some sort of user-defined page limit to shorts on here and Iím glad I did as I enjoyed thisÖto a point.

The dialogue was great and the banter between Lauren and Cayden was very enjoyable, natural. I think the sock joke may have been played out a tad too long over several scenes but thatís just my personal opinion.

Their tailing of the Dad, itís all very interesting and compelling. I had to carry on reading to find out what was going to happen. The twist about whoís actually having the affair is a good one but the sudden Armageddon of their relationship just comes so suddenly it feels unnatural.

Cayden changes character in a heartbeat. I understand the desire to shock the audience but this is so left field it doesnít work. Shouting, yes, assault no. Not after weíve seen how much they love each other. If Cayden was capable of this level of violence we should have seen markers earlier on. Something we can look back at and go ďOh yeah, thatís why he did that.í

From this point on the story seem to flounder and die as it if has no-where else to go. I was really confused at the end, did it end or what? What actually happened or not happen at the end?

But overall though that was great and just needs work!

As for the action Iíd recommend keeping it simple. Write in blocks of three to four lines at the most to make it easier to read, shorter if you want to set pacing. If you write something the camera canít see donít include it. The actors and Director will know how to do the rest.

For example:

ďLaurenís laugh kicks back up again as if sheís picturing Sarah being 90 years old and still wearing those pink socks.Ē

Unless you shoot a scene showing a 90 year old Sarah wearing socks (which is an option as long as it doesnít detract from the action too much) we have no idea what Lauren is picturing in her mind. She laughs, it is up to the actor/director to work out why sheís laughing and how she laughs.

Review your action, you will find it littered with things like this and re-write it to what the camera actually can see.

I hope the feedback helps.


For more of my scripts, stories, produced movies and the ocassional blog, check out my new website. CLICK
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Beckett
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Hey. Im still new to this so I will do my best.

To me, this is a well written script. The dialogue is good. However it could be shortened in some areas and still have the same effect.

Also on page 34  ďLook, just by standing here, Iíd violating my restraining order that Iím WILLING to take to court... So can you get your sister?Ē. Just a simple typo.

Also, I'm not a huge fan of the cheater being the mom. Correction. I do like that twist. I just donít like that Lauren knew about it. I donít feel Laurenís character is as believable because, looking back, I feel that she would have reacted different throughout parts of the script. On page 32 Lauren admits to knowing about the affair as far back as the first time Cay followed his father. I donít think Lauren could have gone up to the window and taken pictures knowing that those pictures would be of her mother. That is one example. On the other side of things, Lauren knowing the secret is potential for great foreshadowing and adding drama at the start of the script. Thatís just my opinion. Iím a noob as well.

I actually liked the ending. The way i saw the ending was that it ends with Lauren rejecting Cay. I enjoy films more when the person I donít like gets their Ďjust dessertsí. Pardon the pun.
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Butt3rs
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Wow, thanks for pointing out that missing "be" on page 34. I can't believe I missed that! I AM making Lauren more aware and slightly-defensive when it comes to Cayden wanting to see more of the Redhead, both at the Motel and the looking at the photos the next morning.

In this new draft, Lauren will still take the pictures at the Motel, but I'd give more reasoning for her choice. She too has only heard of the affair but for about it for a week or so. This is fresh news to her, so I need to give her a "hunger" to confirm in person what she's suspicious of.

Thanks for reading and commenting,

Calvin
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