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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Expiration Date Moderators: bert
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  Author    Expiration Date  (currently 1991 views)
Posted: September 18th, 2013, 6:30am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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Expiration Date by Marcello Degliuomini (Reel-truth) - Short, Drama, Comedy - In a world where the mystery of death is delivered by mail. Disclosing the exact day you will expire, a young man struggles with the realization of his last day and the truth behind it all. 18 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: September 19th, 2013, 8:39pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Upstate NY
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Hey, I'm giving this a read and taking notes as I go, so forgive me if a little disjointed here and there.  

First off, you need a FADE IN:  at the top of your first page, and a FADE OUT at the bottom right side of you last.

Second, your slugs are a problem.  They should read INT., not INT: like you have them.  A minor fix, but it is done that way throughout.  Perhaps a software problem?  Anyway...

...  ...  Oh yeah, those.  You have them all throughout your dialogue, and they really are unnecessary.  You use them in place of commas in most places, it seems, and it's wrong.  Makes for a very tedious read, IMO.

Your action lines read very prose-like with a lot of passive writing.

i.e.  you have --

Mark, 29, tall, but lacking the meat to compensate, is
stretched to the ends of his bed. Eyes fully wide, as he
stares up at his ceiling.

Nice, doesn't go past three lines, but it reads awkward and can be trimmed further, like:

Mark, 29, tall and thin.  He's stretched to the end of his bed.  Stares up
at the ceiling.  Eyes wide.

See what I'm saying?  A lot of your action reads like that.  You've done a good job keeping your action lines short, but you've sacrificed detail.  Firstly, Mark needs to be in all CAPS as we're meeting him for the first time.  Plus, all we know from your description is that he's tall and thin.  I think you need to tell us a bit more.

Tracy's description was good.  We got to SEE her, but Jared's description was lacking.  All we know about him is that's he's a co-worker and --a good friend?  You need to show us that Jared's a good friend, not tell us.  Perhaps Jared mention's it in his dialogue.  BTW, Jared's dialogue was really good.  I got a fairly good inclination as to what kind of person he was just from his dialogue!

And typos.  You need to go over this with a fine toothed comb and clean it up a bit, then it'll start to take shape.

Okay, I def like the premise of this story.  It was actually a pretty good little tale.  I like that we really never find out who sent the letters.  Not many are fans of open-ended stuff, but I like it.  And I like the ending, as well.

The door remains open as a hand pops in and closes it shut.

Excellent last scene, my friend.

Anyway, I think this could have been whittled down to, say, 12 or 13 pages.  The scene between Mark, Jared and Tracey went on for way too long.  Your biggest problem seems to be your action, as I mentioned earlier, with it's passive writing.  You could definitely chop most of them down, eliminate some, and get this story moving a lot faster, but...

A good effort, dude!  Hope to read more of your work in the near future.


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Posted: September 19th, 2013, 10:23pm Report to Moderator

Brooklyn, NY
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Hey man, thanks for the review. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

As for the Fade in and Fade out, I cant believe I forgot to throw that in there....and your right, I think I do tend to use  ........ a

Appreciate the breakdown of that opening description. You gave a good example on how to shorten that up.  Thanks.

I definitely have to make a conservative effort on sharpening my action lines. As well as descriptions.

The scene with Mark, Tracy and Jared, was actually longer. I cut the opening of that scene and jumped in, mid convo. But what I forgot was, I also cut out Jared's description. What was left was a basic non description of that character.

Glad you enjoyed Jared's dialogue. At of all the characters, his seemed effortless to write.

I tend to lean heavy on dialogue, because I feel that's where I'm at my best. That's probably why that scene ran a bit long. I picked up on that, but I felt like I just couldn't bring myself to trim it down more. I just enjoyed his dialogue too much and the banter back in forth to cut it down. But as for a short, and compared to the other scenes, I did feel like the page length was a bit long for that scene.

Typos seem to plague me for some reason. I tried to to read it over a few times, clean it up when I see it. But I guess when your reading your own work, it becomes a challenge. In your own head, you already know what comes next, and I find myself reading right over a typo. Gotta fix that.

But I'm glad you were able to see past all that and appreciate the story.

The ending was originally just going to end with the two mystery men slowly walking into the house...we see their legs or feet..and I was just gonna end it there. But for some reason, when I got to that point....I felt like the story wouldn't have been satisfying enough like that. So I added the dialogue on the fly. Which I think works better than my original conception.

I felt like I explained a little at that last scene, but not too much....left it to the reader to decide. And because I was toying with conspiracies throughout the just seemed right to leave it open ended. Felt like it worked better.

Thanks again for the read and review...


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