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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  The Essay Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: December 13th, 2013, 8:09pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Essay by Matthew Khawam - Short, Drama - A uni student procratinates while trying to write his latest essay. 4 pages - pdf, format


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RegularJohn
Posted: December 14th, 2013, 8:27am Report to Moderator
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Hey Matthew.

No FADE IN to start with.  Thought I'd mention it.

Your opening paragraph is a problem.  For one, it's all one sentence.  Break it up.  "Were" should be "where" and the "we see" part is completely unnecessary.  We see and hear everything in your action lines so it becomes redundant.

The following is more of a camera shot which I recommend against.  Stick with telling the story and leave the fancy camera shots and directions to the film crew.

The "cut to" part in the passage following that should be in all caps but again I would recommend against all the camera directions.  It's also got some passive writing.  You'll want to keep it active such as "PUTS his hands on the desk and STANDS up" as opposed to the original text.

You really don't have to describe every minute action your character does.  "Edd looks around the room and stands" could be sufficient enough to get the point across.  If "putting his hands on the desk" before standing is somehow significant to the plot then keep it.  Otherwise cut it out.

The next slug is the exact same location so I'm wondering what you were going for.  If it's to indicate a passing of time then you could use the "LATER" transition.  The line following states that Edd cleans his room.  The passage after that SHOWS Edd cleaning his room.  I'd keep that second passage though cut down on the mundane detail.  Again, does him cleaning dirty dishes or cleaning away a pile of DVDs significant to the plot?  A tad bit of detail goes a long way but too much and it all goes down hill.

I'll stop there.  Grammar seems to be a weak spot with this script, namely run-on sentences and passive writing.  It's an easy fix with a revision or two.  Cutting back on the detail and getting to the meat of the story takes time and practice but you'll get it.  Good luck.  Hoped this helped a bit.

Johnny


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Bogey
Posted: December 14th, 2013, 10:53am Report to Moderator
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Typo in logline- s/b "procrastinates".

Read a page. Echo Johnny's comments. Overwritten.
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Levon
Posted: December 15th, 2013, 10:28am Report to Moderator
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I think John has pretty much nailed it here. The sentence structure is all over the shop. Passive voice is rife. Punctuation is used sparingly, and even when it's used, it's used incorrectly.

'A typical male student room, itís messy with cloths all over the place, old mugs and plates litter the desk'

This could be...

'A typical male student room. Clothes, mugs and plates litter the place.'

You seriously need to read loads and loads of other scripts to get a good idea of how they're written.
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TaherAbdelghani
Posted: December 23rd, 2013, 10:12am Report to Moderator
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Alright, honestly I haven't noticed the captivating element in the story. I thought maybe the ending could have been better. Maybe when John picks up the phone, he receives some bad news, or on the contrary, extremely good news. Either way, it can alter his normal routine life.

The second thing, you should introduce your character better, just like what Revon said.

The punctuation is an issue. The structure format needs some work.
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Guest
Posted: December 24th, 2013, 1:59am Report to Moderator
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I think everyone is being really nice here, which is cool, because we don't want to scare off fellow writers, but...

This one is a dud.  Ed just walks around his house.  There's nothing entertaining about that.





--Steve
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Forgive
Posted: December 24th, 2013, 9:55am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Guest
I think everyone is being really nice here, which is cool, because we don't want to scare off fellow writers, but... This one is a dud.  Ed just walks around his house.  There's nothing entertaining about that.--Steve


A tad inaccurate there. I think some valid help has been offered here with some pretty accurate points being made. I agree that there's no need to scare of newbies, but he's not going to correct everything right off.

On the good side, this would be pretty easy to film, and whilst it's not so exciting, a lot of people will be able to relate to it - but it needs something a little more inventive added to it.

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Guest
Posted: December 25th, 2013, 12:06am Report to Moderator
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I don't think it's a tad inaccurate.  Nothing's happening.  He just walks around his house, cleaning dishes, or making drinks.  It's not entertaining at all.  Boring.

Ok, maybe it would be easy to film as an experiment... but other than that...
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Forgive
Posted: December 26th, 2013, 5:39am Report to Moderator
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You are inaccurate in regard to you saying that everyone here is being nice - people are being accurate in their feedback, and not sugar-coating stuff to be nine.

As for 'nothing happening' - you are being inaccurate here too. The things that are happening have no dramatic or creative edge to them: this guy has an essay to finish (it should be urgent, or a final essay to complete a course) - yet he keeps on diverting his nervous energy into side-enterprises. I think Freud called in divergence(? not too sure...).

It's valid (and to be honest has been done before) but we need to feel for/with the guy who is going through all this - it's not that nothing is happening, it's just that we need the emotional colours of it highlighting so there's more of an emotional and character based journey to it.
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Guest
Posted: December 27th, 2013, 12:12pm Report to Moderator
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We will agree to disagree   
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Matt Post
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Everything that I thought of, has pretty much already been said. There are some formatting & grammar issues... but like I said, it's already been said/ pointed out. But what I will say is that it kinda didn't go anywhere. I don't know if that's what you intended, because if it is, I understand.

The guy doesn't gain any progress with his essay, so it sorta balances out. It's artistic in that sense. But, from a general audience's view, it's pretty pointless. Nothing really happens, other than the idea that.... nothing happens.

I don't mind how your write. I was thoroughly interested in the script. But it just kind of... ends. There need to be more UMPH! You know?! There's really not that much at stake. The main thing that gets someone involved in a script, is that there has to be something at stake.

Maybe the main character experiences a few flashbacks? Telling what his fate is, if he doesn't do the essay? Stuff like that gets the reader a little more invested.

Idea for an ending (You may choose to use it or not. If you do, that's cool!) : Maybe we see the main character several years in the future, looking back, & wondering if he made the right decision. Maybe he's a homeless man, or a rich tycoon, who's wife is divorcing him. Depending on the essay's subject matter, it would be ironic or not. Irony is always welcomed in a short screenplay.

Good luck! -Matt Post
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Guest
Posted: January 4th, 2014, 2:09am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Matt Post
But what I will say is that it kinda didn't go anywhere. I don't know if that's what you intended, because if it is, I understand.

from a general audience's view, it's pretty pointless. Nothing really happens, other than the idea that.... nothing happens.

There need to be more UMPH! You know?! There's really not that much at stake. The main thing that gets someone involved in a script, is that there has to be something at stake.

Maybe the main character experiences a few flashbacks? Telling what his fate is, if he doesn't do the essay? Stuff like that gets the reader a little more invested.


Hey Matt, good first post, and welcome to the boards!  

I pretty much agree with you.  There needs to be more to this.  Make it fun and interesting.

As it stands, this is just plain boring to me.  Nothing happens.

I like some of your ideas.  It gives the story more depth.  You could go that route... or a different one.

Maybe the dude is failing his class and he has his girlfriend over.  She won't put out until he finishes the essay.  Every paragraph he writes she takes an article of clothing off.  Now you have two characters with different goals.  The guy wants to get laid and the girlfriend wants him to pass his class.  Go from there.  LOL.  Just a suggestion.  Anything to liven this up a bit.


--Steve
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AtholForsyth
Posted: January 5th, 2014, 2:08pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Mate, I agree that there needs to be more happening. When I saw ' FADE OUT' I was wanting more. It looks like something taken from a bigger script, also I think you say EDD too much.

But saying that, if you lenghened it, it could get much better.

Happydays
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