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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Know Thyself Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: September 9th, 2014, 4:58pm Report to Moderator
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Know Thyself by Bill Sarre (Reef Dreamer) - Short, Drama - When a troubled cop is sent to investigate an unexplained death at the mysterious 'Know Thyself' clinic, he soon discovers the powerful effect of their treatment. - pdf, format


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Forgive
Posted: September 9th, 2014, 6:14pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Bill - been a while since I've seen anything from you - had to check this one out

First scene end... match cut? But I think peeps would winge too much.

Panning out? Uh huh. You been at the format hot table, right? Okay, panning is moving along the horizontal plane, pulling back is different, but I guess I'm annoying you right now. I'm going to stick to story hereon. Except for p.2 client's should be clients', unless they only have one client? Sorry. Story:

After your INSERT's get sorted...

p.8 the return to the police station interrupts the flow of that piece.

p.9 I wouldn't leave the file as this changes his 'state' and is better left for when he's over his situation, which he's only really coming to terms with & still battling right now.

Okay - I'll come back to this tomorrow - had some echoes of Moffat & Gatiss' Sherlock to it. I kinda like the basic idea, but I did wonder about things like Mike is relatively verbose, quite free flowing in his conversation, while his introductory piece was 'I don't see the point in talking' - which almost sets him up to be something else.

I did feel that Susan and Honey were a little on the similar side? But I buy the premise 11 in - so good on that.
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Dustin
Posted: September 10th, 2014, 3:04am Report to Moderator
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Code

Eery.



Do you mean eerie?

Code

Eery. Distorted.



This is also a tell. What is distorted? What's eerie about it?

Personally I describe what we should be seeing and that description alone makes things eerie. One shouldn't have to tell people it is eerie.

Code

Ripples of faint light flicker through the water.



The slug has informed us we are under water already.

Code

A flash of lightning briefly exposes a lifeless MALE body,
white suit, floating on the surface above.



That should be your first action block, IMO.

Then we have two scenes back to back with our protag sitting in front of a different desk. Bit hard for me to take. I think the meeting with the Chief would be handled far better at Mike's home, a personal visit.

Seems like an interesting premise, a Sherlock Holmes kinda thing. If you were around more and had perhaps read some of my stuff I'd be inclined to read further. As it is, it reads well enough with believable dialogue. Good luck with it.


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stevemiles
Posted: September 10th, 2014, 4:32am Report to Moderator
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Hey Bill,

has this changed much from the version I read?

Steve.


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: September 10th, 2014, 4:50am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Simon and  Dustin - back to you later. Just dropping in for minute.

Steve, the core is concept there, but i feel i have changed a fair amount.

cheers

folks


My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place
IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
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stevemiles
Posted: September 10th, 2014, 5:01am Report to Moderator
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No worries.

I'll take a look -- interested to see where you've taken it.


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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Colkurtz8
Posted: September 10th, 2014, 1:34pm Report to Moderator
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Bill

I know it’s a common maxim but was the title inspired in any way by the Oracle in The Matrix Reloaded who makes a direct reference to it?

“Eery”
- Should be “eerie”

“A flash of lightning briefly exposes a lifeless MALE body,
white suit, floating on the surface above.”

- Nice, instantly reminded me of Sunset Blvd. Having read the script, I wondered why the guy had a white suit on? Is this representative of his narcissism?

“...they blink. Blood shot.”

- Cool transition.

Good first page in setting up the character of Mike primarily through visual means; his body language, dishevelment and photos. I just hope we’re not headed into familiar “washed-up-cop’s-last-chance-at redemption” territory, gone off the rails because he didn’t prevent a loved one from getting killed or something …Anyway, reading on...

“Mike glances at it ... away ... back. It bothers him.”

- Another well observed moment to indicate his fastidiousness.

“Opposite is SUSAN, 60, counsellor, grey hair, wise soul, file
in hand. At the top of the page it reads;”

- I’ve just been re-watching the Lethal Weapon films so this situation reminds me of the female police psychologist whose always trying to collar Riggs to “talk” about and confront his issues. Although, there it’s done for laughs, here is more serious.

“Pronounced symptoms are normal.”

- What kind of pronounced symptoms? Is she referring to his OCD.
-     
MIKE
Hidden?! They blew his fucking head
off. He bled to death in my arms.
What's not to know?

- Uh oh, here’s the loved-one-he-should’ve-saved revelation.

SUSAN
Your first partner was also shot,
badly injured. Yet, you didn't have
any of your current symptoms.

Mike’s twitching calms down. He reflects.

MIKE
I don’t know. Be nice to know why.
I mean, why do we feel what we
feel?

- Uh, wouldn’t it be because the old partner got badly injured while the new one got his head blown off? Surely that goes some way to answering the symptoms question.

CHIEF
Look, Jimmy's death was a great
shock. I know you feel responsible,
but he wasn’t to know about the
gunmen. To me you're a hero for
going in after him. Lucky you
didn't die. Hell, enough of the
past.

- I wonder do you need “the gunman” part, it reads a little like exposition, filling in the blanks for the reader. If the Chief just trails off after “about” we’ll be able to join the dots with what’s already been told through Mike’s prior conversation with Susan.

“KNOW THYSELF CLINIC, Lake Mirror”

- I presume you made these up, which is fine. It’s just they’re not half subtle, are they? I mean, all arrows point to Mike facing himself, his inner demons, inner turmoil, etc, on this particular case.

I like the opening impression of this clinic and Honey’s Gray’s character, a benign yet sinister figure of authority among vulnerable people.

It almost has me thinking that the Chief has intentionally sent Mike up for some healing under the pretence of working on a case. I’m also entertaining the notion of all this being in Mike’s head, a figment of his post traumatic, fractured psyche a la Shutter Island.

MIKE
Why did he stay out on the lake
alone at night?

Chief grins - pleased.

CHIEF
Exactly.

- It’s hardly a Sherlock Holmes moment of incisive sleuthing is it? Surely someone else would’ve already asked this question if it were an odd thing for this guy to do.

HONEY GRAY
His desperate wife pretended to
book it for herself.

- The phrasing here reads slightly off. How about:

“His wife was desperate, pretended to book it for herself”

HONEY GRAY
It breached our rules. I offered
him a refund. He refused, wanted to
prove to his wife that he didn't
need treatment.

- How? By not taking the refund in order to go through with the Clinic’s treatment? Am I interpreting that right? Doesn’t he want the refund so he wouldn’t have to attend, thus prove his point?

MIKE
What makes you qualified to this?

- Missing “do” after “to”

By page 13 Honey has become so antsy and suspicious that I can only presume she is innocent. Everything so far suggests she is untrustworthy so it must mean, if playing to genre, that’s she’s clean, or at least a lesser evil within the bigger picture.

HONEY GRAY
You may not like me, but I'm
no killer.

- This jarred for me, would it be something she’d say? Mike hasn’t accused her of anything but these are strong, pointed, defiant words. Having said it, I thought Mike would take her up on such a wild assumption. He should take offense, question those choice of words.

“Stroke after stroke, the boat slices through the water. The
only sounds being the wind and occasional birdsong. Peaceful.”

- I appreciate that it’s hard to convey on the page but this is a good opportunity to insert some unnerving silences. The veneer of pastoral idyll with undertoneS of foreboding, isolation.

“As he knocks back some water, Mike scratches his head. Seems unsure.”

- I thought he was going to take it back for sampling, see if it’s spiked or something. I guess he didn’t figure on sweating so much.

Although it slips into the realm of the supernatural or fantastical on page 16 it does fit in with the otherwise worldly events of the script so far. I could see something like this developing given the fictional placenames, the clinic’s vibe, Mike’s unstable mind. It does feel like we have drifted into an alternate dream-like world and it works because the context, characterisation and environs compliment that.

Also, I’m thinking there is something in Gemma’s water which is causing this.

MIKE TWO
Careful. It's interesting, isn’t
it? You know, what would you say if
you met yourself? It's not exactly
normal.

- After “careful” is a good example where I would use the dreaded ellipses (…) since he jumps from commenting on Mike’s unbalance to remarking on his own ghostly presence. Ellipses are useful dividers in cases like this…Just a thought.

“Mike claws at his head trying to rid himself of the dilemma.”

- “Dilemma” feels like an ill-fitting term for what he’s experiencing. How about something that refers more directly to his unwanted “guest” or “company” or friend”. Yes, in this regard, inverted commas will be compulsory for whatever word you use.

“Mike shakes his head, trying to rid himself of the moment.”

- Again, I see you are (understandably) struggling to find the right term. I don’t think “moment” is appropriate either. How about; delusion, psychosis, hallucination.

“Mike doesn't feel the joy.”

- How about “Michael does get it” or “Michael doesn’t find it funny” or “Michael doesn’t see the humour”

MIKE
That's just talking out loud.

- Why so angry? We all talk to ourselves, nothing wrong with it. The people who don’t are the ones you should watch out for

I would try to avoid having a slugline on its own at the bottom of the page like on page 18.

MIKE TWO
Remember, if you don't know, I
don't know. But, when it comes to
what things mean, then bingo, I can
help. I lurk within, until now. I
like the fresh air.

- Another example where ellipses could be used effectively. After “until now” he makes a somewhat frivolous comment about why he is appearing here of all places. It’s a separate train of thought interjecting on his musings about his own place within Mike’s subconscious.

MIKE
For as along...

- Remove the “a” in “along”

“Mike Two looks on, compassionate. They share a moment of
silence, an understanding.”

- Get where you’re going with this and predict these enlightening scenes to be the centrepiece of the script but it does seem like rather simplistic psycho-analysing. The son-I never-had complex and projecting those teachings onto a surrogate, in this case, his young partner. I find it hard to believe this revelation is only dawning on Mike One now and how Susan, a trained shrink, wouldn’t have scratched this particular surface during their sessions.

MIKE TWO
OK, let's get this straight. They
don't call you Third Eye just
because of this case, do they?
(off Mike agreeing)
And you earnt that respect?
(off Mike agreeing)
Yeah, we deserve that name. I'm
proud of what we've done, together.

- I’m a little confused by this dialogue. What case is Mike Two referring to? He says “this case” but Mike One hasn’t done anything in the way of an investigation yet so it doesn’t make sense…or is this a Memento type scenario where Mike is destined to be stuck on the same case indefinitely, repeatedly going through the procedures? This ties into my earlier comparison to Shutter Island.

MIKE TWO
Then you risked your career to make
help his wife and child.

- Omit “make”

MIKE
I had never had
that. Now it's gone.

- Omit the first “had”

MIKE
Nobody else was
involved, that seems clear.

- How is he so sure?

“Still dripping wet, he gets out the boat, bottle in hand.”

- Missing “of” between “out” and “the”

MIKE
Does the lack of food make it work better?

- Since Gemma is the only patient we meet I thought she was anorexic or bulimic and this was the demon she was facing. On the basis of this line, are we to believe that all the patients undergo some sort of fasting for the reasons Mike mentions here? Is that part of the program?

“The penny drops, Honey slumps back in her seat.”

- I’m a little confused here. Are we to interpret Honey’s body language as her knowing what she was actually doing to her patients or was drowning man an inadvertent side effect she hadn’t anticipated? From this exchange it reads as if Honey wasn't totally aware of what she was doing, yet the “slumping” in her seat suggests “Ok, you've caught me”.

So my question is what is Honey getting out of this? Why put her patients under such risk like that? What’s in it for her? Does she actually want to help them but made a honest misjudgment in prescribing her “medicine” or is she just fu?king with them, taking a perverse pleasure in seeing damaged people literally face themselves?

CHIEF
Teaches you to live in
the present, whatever that means.

- Oh come on, Chief, think now. It’s pretty self explanatory!

While I like the narcissistic angle concerning the drowned man, borrowing from the Greek myth, looking into the water, etc and how it linked to the overall theme of looking inward, I primarily wondered about Honey Gray’s motivations as I’ve already mentioned. Why would she use such unconventional techniques? I know she’s is described as having become disillusioned with orthodox remedies, the rat race and all that but why take a risk like that? As I said, while I was reading, Honey seemed so disingenuous and duplicitous that I thought there must be something deeper going on here, another malevolent force at work, and in a way there is, in the mind but basically she does turn out to be the villain in the end which was a little disappointing. I hoped there would be a twist or two in regards her true role in what had transpired.

I was also curious to know what drug exactly she was using, seems like pretty potent stuff. Where can I get me some!

I think you spend too long with Mike Two, its near 9 pages which is nearly a third of the script. I know I have a ghostly, sub-conscious character in Broadcast but I keep her interactions minimal and elliptical, to give that ghostly, projected feel, reflecting the protagonist’s warped mind set. Here, I felt there was too much emphasis on it, too much “explaining”, what it all means and what it takes to emerge from it, you know. I didn’t quite buy the transformation in Mike One when he’s apparently shown the error in his ways, where he is going wrong, recognizing what he was expecting from his late partner, the need to put in behind him, etc.

I think it comes down to what we were discussing on the Broadcast discussion board about sticking to your vision and the desire to tell a certain story your way. It’s clear that the internalizing of Mike, fighting his demons, his inner self is at the fore front of what you wanted to explore here and that’s why he spends so much time with himself. And that’s cool, I recognize that this will resonate with some people more than others.
I was hoping we would get back to the case at hand a bit sooner and see where that took us, what surprises that had in store. Naturally as the story drew to a close I realised you were leaving yourself very few pages to create more drama from that and as a result it wrapped up quickly once Mike got back to the clinic.

Also, the final scene of the Chief deciding to quit came across as an afterthought, just to bookend the story and tie in thematically with the arc Mike’s character experiences. Especially with the mention of the Chief having this moment of clarity before the mirror. I get why you did it, to illustrate the motifs at work here but it felt heavy handed and obvious. A rather abrupt decision to make on the Chief’s part which didn’t ring true for me.

Overall, I think this has great potential, I enjoyed the nods to other films in Mike’s character, his predicament, mind frame, etc and being called out to the unnervingly calm and supposedly tranquil clinic to investigate a case, all the ingredients are there. It’s a great set up that we’ve all seen before but it suitable creepy, a fantastical situation to put your beleaguered protagonist into. However, I don’t think the pay off comes anywhere near to doing justice to this intriguing premise. Once we get there Mike spends most of his time in a boat with his alter ego before solving the case and seemingly well on the way to recovery, I was left unsatisfied. Again, it comes down to what you wanted to focus the story on and where I was wanting it to go.

I do appreciate the sentiments of the piece as a whole, it’s a positive message of personal development and self empowerment but it’s also a deep and complex one that requires the same level of exploration. For me, 30 pages simply don’t cover it, especially if you want a catharsis by the closing credits.

You’ve probably been asked this already but do you have plans to expand it?

Col.


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Forgive
Posted: September 10th, 2014, 5:05pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Bill -- back to it.

p.12 What makes you qualified to this?
-- to do this?

p.15 new slug needed when he gets out into the lake, and LAKESIDE really needs a full slug, as it's not of the previous location.

p.20 Mike two gently smiles - please with the response.
--Mike Two gently smiles - pleased with the response.

p.22 Then you risked your career to make
help his wife
-- You sound like Borat

Okay - nice one on the solution

Almost 10 pages of being-in-a-boat dialogue... well. okay, but I'm not totally convinced.

Overall-- pretty good; lots of hints and clues woven in there, so it's clearly been well thought out.

Some maybe's:

I didn't feel I got to know much about Myne, maybe a little more about him? But then I accept that you might not have an awful lot to say about the gys.

Honey-- I kinda felt she was a little one-dimension at times?

One thing that I'm non-conclusional on is that, in the end, Honey does actually help Mike to rid himself of his demons, so her 'therapy' does actually work on him, but that doesn't seem to be recognized. As your denouement runs a little flat/cliche (Mike laughing), I wondered if exploring that little complex might serve the piece better.

Pretty good all in all though seeing as I think this is your first foray into Mrs Marple territory??
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: September 11th, 2014, 2:20pm Report to Moderator
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The effects of writing again....

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Thanks gents, sorry I haven't replied, I've been tied up.

I'm away for a couple of days now and will be able to read and reply after that.

I much appreciate the effort.

Cheers


My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place
IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
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Dustin
Posted: September 11th, 2014, 2:24pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Reef Dreamer
I've been tied up.


Should we call the police?


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Reef Dreamer
Posted: September 14th, 2014, 8:10am Report to Moderator
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The effects of writing again....

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Thanks all.

Col, simon - thanks for the detailed comments.

Dustin - good idea on the chief meeting mike elsewhere.

One of the reason for posting this here is that I have struggled with this script. I sense I have a decent premises but what background story does it belong within.

When first written this was a 10 pager and focused upon the boat. That seems way too short. So, I expended it to 30. The feedback I have got from here and elsewhere splits the options into;

1) go shorter, forget the murder mystery and focus on him going through a personal treatment.  Not sure this floats by boat.

2) go longer - either one hour TV drama style or feature.

The problem I have with (2) is seeing a feature length potential which focuses he ability around a single moment on the boat.

I suppose one option for a longer version is to;

Still have him with his troubles
Still have the mysterious death and possibly other events
Still have honey Gray but explain he quest for money is behind the treatment
Get the chief to send him there for treatment, with an unexplained motive of solving it
Have him experience the treatment several times, each time growing and learning
Have him discover and explore the crime and as he responds to the treatment crack the case
There is an interesting finsih with him addicted to the treatment?

One to ponder.

Thanks all


My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place
IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
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Colkurtz8
Posted: September 15th, 2014, 9:13am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Reef Dreamer
2) go longer - either one hour TV drama style or feature.

The problem I have with (2) is seeing a feature length potential which focuses he ability around a single moment on the boat.

I suppose one option for a longer version is to;

Still have him with his troubles
Still have the mysterious death and possibly other events
Still have honey Gray but explain he quest for money is behind the treatment
Get the chief to send him there for treatment, with an unexplained motive of solving it
Have him experience the treatment several times, each time growing and learning
Have him discover and explore the crime and as he responds to the treatment crack the case
There is an interesting finsih with him addicted to the treatment?


- Its no surprise that I would go longer too. If you shorten it and just focus it on the boat that's fine as well, it could work a single scene, single location piece. However, there are some interesting options to explore should you expand it as you've already stated.

Intertwining the murder with his treatment is the obvious way to go and there is so much to mine from that. What's real and what's imaginary, its that classic unreliable narrator thing. Tension and suspense will be generated inherently by Mike's character as we experience events through his damaged mind. How closely linked the murder case is to Mike own backstory is up to you but again, there are lots of avenues there.

The only reservations I would have making sure to avoid the twists and turns that have been done already in this genre, and there are a lot them, both twists and films. I mention Memento and Shutter Island again as they were great and seen by a lot of people, at least by film lovers who will be anticipating the story to go in that vein. So its up to you to surprise us

Best of luck with it.

Col.


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stevemiles
Posted: September 25th, 2014, 6:18am Report to Moderator
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Bill,

apologies for the delay in posting.  Took another read, been able to mull this one over a bit more.  A few thoughts, as always just opinion.

There’s certain themes and ideas I like (the drug itself, Myne’s death by narcism, Mike meeting and resolving his trauma through Mike Two) though it feels like the idea strays somewhere between murder mystery and personal drama (with something of a light-hearted touch following the appearance of Mike Two) yet isn't quite committed to either one.  I do wonder if that’s as much a reflection of the page count as the execution?  

Much as I appreciate how you connect solving Myne’s death with resolving Mike’s personal trauma I didn’t feel much pressure on him to achieve either.  At the outset he seems indifferent to his situation -- does he want his job back?  Is he willing to fight for it or has self doubt gotten the better of him?

There seemed to be little standing in his way -- the Therapist wants to help work through his trauma; Chief wants to help him back into the job and Mike Two help him come to terms with his own self doubt.  Even Honey seems willing to indulge Mike and give him what he asks for.  And why not -- Myne's death was an accident.  One that she could have prevented -- yet not foreseen.  I’m not sure she’s even aware of her role in his death which leaves her a rather passive antagonist, which takes a degree of satisfaction from Mike uncovering the truth.

On a minor note I wonder if the suspension is a necessary angle to play on -- Mike could still be on the job (light duties?) yet receiving counseling.  For all intent and purpose he’s called to investigate the Myne case and when Honey later calls his status into question, it’s already a moot point.  Also would OCD be enough to prevent a detective from duty?

Looks like you’ve got a lot of options open to explore the idea.  Hope this helps.  Look forward to seeing where you take it -- I quite like the idea of Mike getting hooked on this stuff -- think you could have some fun with that.

All the best

Steve.


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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Reef Dreamer
Posted: September 25th, 2014, 6:00pm Report to Moderator
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cheers steve, much appreciate the read.


this is one of those i need to sit back and consider

i like the idea and feel there is a decent basis but where to take it, and can i pull it off

if you need a read PM me

thanks


My scripts  HERE

The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville
Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final
Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards.  Third - Honolulu
Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place
IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
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Dustin
Posted: September 26th, 2014, 6:05am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Reef Dreamer

i like the idea and feel there is a decent basis but where to take it, and can i pull it off


Mate, I've got stories that are just left gathering dust, 20, 30, even up to 70 pages, that I've just left with exactly the same feelings as you.

I have to say also that I get that feeling about every script I write at varying stages of development. It's like long distance running, every now and then you're going to get a stitch or back ache that you have to run through. If you stop, you're fucked.

Try and push out a first draft, no matter how it ends up. That's the advice I give myself, anyway.


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