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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Tales of the Macabre Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: December 5th, 2013, 9:14pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Tales of the Macabre by Lee Hodkinson - Short, Horror - All gather round , turn off the lights and listen closely to tales of the macabre. 42 pages - pdf, format


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Levon
Posted: December 6th, 2013, 2:15pm Report to Moderator
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Hi, Lee.

I'm afraid this needs some work.

Your first slug has 'AN ABANDONED OFFICE BLOCK'. Just take out the 'AN', it's the same effect.

The first paragraph is 6 lines. It's always best to keep description to a maximum of 4 lines. I also noticed there's about 3 different shots in that one paragraph. When starting a different shot, just start a new line. It's just clearer for the reader.

I also noticed that there's a lot of missing punctuation like commas and question marks. These are simple mistakes and they shouldn't really be an issue with screenplays...

It also seemed like every action line started with one of the character's names. For the sake of variety, switch it up! That's not to mention the, frankly amateurish sentence structure. For example...

'JOHN CAMPBELL takes off his bloodsplattered coat and bundles it up into a makeshift pillow and lays down on the floor.'

Here, there's two 'ands'. It gives the impression a kid wrote the script.

The dialogue is just as bad. It feels so tacky and dull. Where's the character? Where's the flow? It felt like something of an automated voice message.

You need to keep reading scripts, both produced and unproduced. Hopefully, it'll show you exactly what you're doing wrong.

Hope this helped.
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RegularJohn
Posted: December 7th, 2013, 3:27pm Report to Moderator
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Every 23 months for 23 days, Johnny writes.

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How's it goin', Lee?

You've got a different title on the script.  Either way the title doesn't need to be on the following page.  Just thought I'd bring it up.

Reading through page one, the dialogue is just not there.  Don't feel that you have to spell things out for the audience.  "...I've not slept for 30 hours..."  Instead of having him flat out state it, show it.  Portray John with heavy, dark circles under his eyes and some long, drawn blinking.  Just a suggestion but imagery is an excellent way of cluing us in on what's happened already IMO.

"...I'll put some music on for you."  How did these guys make it this far?  Really hard to believe that this kid would bother putting music on.

Two weeks plus into the zombie apocalypse and youtube is still working?  Not the most computer savvy person but I'm not believing that one either.  I could be wrong but I'm not buying it.

Stopped after two pages.  The dialogue is just not doing it for me.  The thing is that they're two weeks into this zombie outbreak yet their attitudes and actions don't really reflect it.  Two weeks of sleepless, nerve-racking-nights, hunger, and running would definitely take a toll on anyone physically and psychologically.  That's just my take on it.  Others may disagree.  My advise would be to concentrate more on illustrating and leave out the small talk.  You'll get to the meat of the story much sooner.  Hope this helped.

Johnny


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dellmoeg
Posted: December 8th, 2013, 12:46am Report to Moderator
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I agree with Regular John. The first page did it in for me, the dialogue isn't even on the nose, it's just plain not believable. I'll pass on this one.
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Guest
Posted: December 8th, 2013, 3:07pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RegularJohn

Reading through page one, the dialogue is just not there.  Don't feel that you have to spell things out for the audience.  "...I've not slept for 30 hours..."  Instead of having him flat out state it, show it.  Portray John with heavy, dark circles under his eyes and some long, drawn blinking.  Just a suggestion but imagery is an excellent way of cluing us in on what's happened already IMO.




I agree, and this was an obvious issue from page 1.

It's best to use imagery over dialogue any day as I think an action is more powerful than words.

Also, it helps when you're unsure if your dialogue is "on the nose" or corny...

Just replace your characters talking with them doing something.  

Odds are the scene will play out a lot stronger and have more of an impact.


Hope this bit of advice helps out, Lee.



--Steve

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