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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Comedy Scripts  ›  Auld Lang Syne Moderators: bert
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  Author    Auld Lang Syne  (currently 1481 views)
Don
Posted: August 15th, 2015, 4:27pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Auld Lang Syne by Angela Ness - Comedy - A sensitive young teacher brings the love of his life to his hometown with disastrous consequences. 126 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  -  August 19th, 2015, 11:16am
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dc91
Posted: August 20th, 2015, 5:02am Report to Moderator
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Managed to get through 20 pages so far and skimmed through a few more.

Really enjoyed this opening line: "That wee fanny, greeting at the wrong sandwich filling, is me, about twenty years ago."
It's unexpected after the initial playground scene setting and funny.

There's good interchanges between the many characters that helps to give them distinctive voices and personalities. Particularly enjoyed the early interchange between Eilidh and Jamie.

I think your characters seem fun and interesting without ever resorting to making them larger than life. The dialgoue is realistic and has character and you use the Scottish-ness well.

I wasn't sure if I had got a feel what the plot or drive behind the story will be so far and that's after about 20 mins of screen time but maybe I've missed something? There is also a lot of people introduced very quickly after the time jump. It wasn't an issue for me really but it may be good to space them out more to let each person stand out before the next one is brought into the picture.

Hope to get the chance to read the rest later. Great work.
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AngelaNess
Posted: August 20th, 2015, 12:40pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you very much for that feedback. I have become aware of the piling in of characters at the beginning so that's something to keep me occupied.

I've just started using this site so not really sure how it works yet. Do you have something I could read?

Thanks again
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eldave1
Posted: August 20th, 2015, 1:07pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Angela. Your opening description is a very long (try to limit to four lines) and you use a passive voice rather than active in some instances.


Quoted Text
The children play games on the grassy playground.
Football and skipping games are in progress. Two small
girls are drawing Hopscotch squares. A middle aged teacher,
MRS DUNCAN, wanders around. Mrs Duncan is visibly bored by
the lunch-time watch. A small boy, WEE EUAN, about eight or
nine walks over to a low wall and sits. Wee Euan is wearing
glasses and his school uniform, he is a gentle-looking
child. He opens his lunchbox and looks at the contents.
Slowly and tentatively as though he is handling a dangerous
object, he peels the two slices of bread apart. His face
falls and he begins to cry. He attracts the attention of two
small girls playing nearby.


I think it is best to break up long sequences like this. Something like:

Children, all dressed in school uniforms, play games on the grass.
Football and skipping games are in progress.

Two small girls draw hopscotch squares on the sidewalk.

MRS DUNCAN (pate 40s), wanders around, visibly bored by
the lunch-time watch.

WEE EUAN (, a small boy, soft features, walks to a low wall and sits. He adjusts his
glasses then opens his lunchbox and looks at the contents. He removes a sandwich and carefully peels the two slices of bread apart.

WEE's face falls and he begins to cry, attracting the attention of two small girls playing nearby.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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dead by dawn
Posted: August 20th, 2015, 3:13pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from AngelaNess
Thank you very much for that feedback. I have become aware of the piling in of characters at the beginning so that's something to keep me occupied.

I've just started using this site so not really sure how it works yet. Do you have something I could read?

Thanks again


Angela, I don't really have time on my plate for a 126 page script at the current moment, but I just want to say that this response from you was cool as hell.  Usually new members can be a pain in the ass, get mad at comments, etc. but you seem pretty cool, and eager to read other stuff.  I like that.  There's plenty to read around here, new and old scripts alike.  When I get the time, I'll send you a PM with links to some stuff around here that I'm really into.  Some of the scripts can be considered "old" I guess, not on the portal for a while or whatever, but they're really good reads and you could benefit from checking them out.

As dc has pointed out, and you have already admitted to, you might want to re-think a thousand intros within the first couple pages.  It can work on some occasions, if you have really great character descriptions that stand out and actions that show what type of person they are -- especially if it's a very strong action that characterizes them in one shot or scene.  Think of the opening of Reservoir Dogs.  You pretty much get a clear idea in a split second of everyone and what they're about, and surprisingly, it's all through amazing dialogue.

Hopefully I can make time to check your script out a little bit more in depth instead of just giving it a glance.  And I hope you stick around, too, and read as much as you can.

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AngelaNess
Posted: August 20th, 2015, 5:27pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you for the comments and advice about the opening sequence Eldave -thats really useful.

Thanks DbD too, nice to be told I'm 'cool as hell!' And i take what you say on board too these are all great pieces of advice!

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eldave1
Posted: August 20th, 2015, 7:00pm Report to Moderator
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You're welcome - enjoy the site


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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LC
Posted: August 20th, 2015, 9:17pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from dead by dawn
... you might want to re-think a thousand intros within the first couple pages.  It can work on some occasions, if you have really great character descriptions that stand out and actions that show what type of person they are -- especially if it's a very strong action that characterizes them in one shot or scene.  Think of the opening of Reservoir Dogs.  You pretty much get a clear idea in a split second of everyone and what they're about, and surprisingly, it's all through amazing dialogue.


This is the opening of Reservoir Dogs (least my copy of the script):

INT. UNCLE BOB'S PANCAKE HOUSE - MORNING

       Eight men dressed in BLACK SUITS, sit around a table at a
       breakfast cafe.  They are MR. WHITE, MR. PINK, MR. BLUE,
       MR. BLONDE, MR. ORANGE, MR. BROWN, NICE GUY EDDIE CABOT,
       and the big boss, JOE CABOT.  Most are finished eating and
       are enjoying coffee and conversation.  Joe flips through a
       small address book.  Mr. Pink is telling a long and
       involved story about Madonna.

DBD is correct in that we get to know the characters through dialogue and action not via physical description.

If any of us had posted this up on SS the response would likely be: but what do these characters all look like?! Just proves, give us the characterizations through their voice and a picture paints a thousand words.

I notice in a lot of pro scripts these days minimal description of characters i.e, JOE, 30, square jawed, handsome - which could equally come from a Mills and Boon novel.  It's perhaps lazy but if the story is great and the dialogue sings it's all we need to keep us glued.

I've only had a moment to scan through random pages of your script Angela and the responses you've got so far re long passages of description etc. are spot on.

Still, I can see you have a lot raw talent - shown through the dialogue which rolls of the tongue nicely and just the general feel of the story and characters. Some lovely comedic moments and dialogue is very easy on the ear.

DAVEY
....Chrissie! My little Florence
Nightingale! Angel of mercy! Did
you save any lives today?

CHRISSIE
Only an ingrowing toenail and a
case of very persistent threadworm
today Davey but Iím sure tomorrow
will bring some disease and famine
for me to really get my teeth into.

This description:
Lily is in her early-mid twenties, slim and pretty but with discernible sharp edges.
Is pretty darned good. You could edit it like this to be more economical and do away with the passive words: get rid of - 'is in' and define her age more:
Lily, mid 20s, slim, pretty, but with discernible sharp edges. But the important thing is you gave us a terrific insight into her character just by including the 'sharp edges' - that's good stuff.

Trim the description, learn to edit your own words (difficult for all of us to do)   comma placement or rather omission of some commas needs a little attention - Freeze Frames I'm on the fence about -  but really, there's a lovely vibe to this and a lot of talent on display. Welcome to SS, Angela.

P.S. On your title page - your email is fine but the other specific detail I'd lose, and lose it quick. TMI.  


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dc91
Posted: August 21st, 2015, 6:41am Report to Moderator
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I have now finished it!

I think the way you introduce the characters with the short description is absolutely fine and your dialogue is effective in giving each character a unique voice.
I also like the little character traits like that Euan always cries, it becomes a good running joke. (and that his dad cries too!)


Quoted Text
EUAN (CONíT)
She told me there was nothing
wrong with a man showing his
emotions. So I cry a lot.
DAVEY
(Muttering)
Thanks for that.



The only person who maybe needs help with her introduction and development is Annie as it wasn't really clear to me that she was a main character and the actual love interest until quite late on. Maybe that was the point?

Agree with the retooling of the opening by eldave 1, as it's snappier and more efficient. Those first lines are always important for making sure the reader keeps reading so being able to set the scene and get into it as soon as possible while still getting your message across is crucial.

Big fan of the scene in the taxi and the calling out on the wisdom of taxi drivers. I think it's the book "Fault in our Stars" where they are in Holland and the taxi driver is extremely well spoken and poetic which always seemed strange to me so this reminded me of that!

For those unsure about the freeze-frames they only appear in the opening and then right at the end. I personally think they could be taken out as the freeze frame at the end isnít really necessary and it isnít a style throughout the story so could seem a little jarring. The narration also only returns at the end. This works fine though for framing the start and finish of the story.

SPOILERS

I was actually surprised that Lily was indeed cheating as I think I was expecting there to be a fake out with that and particularly with Jamie because until I read the flashback I had forgotten about that little thing that linked them. I think the fact the flashback is needed probably means it wasn't clear enough to the audience. Maybe it just needs to be mentioned again earlier on in passing somehow? Have it brought up again somehow. Then when Annie realises she can summarize that connection rather than needing the flashback which is a little clunky in that it appears out of nowhere in the middle of a scene. Same with Daveyís one, itís not really needed and takes you out of the flow of the scene.

I think the way Lily talks to Euan when she's having the affair and is avoiding him is really believable and spot on. The part though where she is having sex and she phones him by accident seems a bit over the top compared to the grounded approach to the rest of the story. Maybe there is another way for him to have the reveal. Regardless, her development from Euan's nice girlfriend to really being Lily the bitch works for me.

I would cut this scene:

Quoted Text
INT. GRANNYíS SITTING ROOM. NIGHT.
Davey and Chrissie in the sitting room. Everywhere else is
quiet. They are in a very peculiar position on the floor


And then reveal them when Granny walks in. There's still the tension of knowing they are there having sex without seeing them first because they said they were going to do it and then you get to share Granny's shock when you both see them for the first time. Is it actually seeing this that gives her the heart attack though? She seems like a person who wouldnít be so shocked by seeing something like that. In fact, I figured it was a fake out at the time and that something else had actually happened.

Although I think the final line has two good call-backs about the crying and the spiders I donít think it should be explicitly stating the future. Let this final line be ambiguous but optimistic. We donít know enough (or anything really) about the two as a couple to be invested in them or be confident in their future,as  all we see is their first kiss. Also having the babies already named and that itís after their friends and telling us that seems a bit much/cheesy  and just makes me think of Alberus Severus PotterÖ.If you are insisting on telling this as part of the story then  I think it would be better to see the wedding/births rather than just tell us so we can see Euanís happy tears.

Maybe they kiss and he begins to imagine all these milestones happening that we see unfold. So when we are back to reality and they stop kissing he has started to cry. She then asks him "Do you really still always cry?" "Do you still always fry spiders?" "You'll have to wait and see." "I guess we will." Then he can narrate and quote his granny one last time/ repeats his line from the beginning about girls liking seeing emotional guys.
"I don't know what will happen next, but I do know that girls always love a man who shows a bit of emotion." (Can't remember the actual line but you know what I mean!)
I know it's not perfect but do you see how that might work better than him just telling us what WILL happen rather than letting us wonder/see what MIGHT?

END OF SPOILERS

I'm not going to nitpick as I'm sure you know that there are lines that could be tightened and typos to fix through a second draft but the general flow is good and there are plenty of fun scenes.

Overall it may be a rom com I think it's a solid script that features a humble, sweet and funny story with bright characters and dialogue while there is no uncomfortably high amounts of cheese or clichťs.

As a side note: Have you seen the film "They Came Together?" It's a parody of rom coms and you may find it useful in avoiding falling into any of these paths. From what I've read so far the Euan, Annie, Lily situation is actually quite similar to the roles played by Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler and Cobie Smulders.

Thank you for the offer to read something of my own! I will send you a private message with something if that is okay?

Good Luck with the next draft


Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
dc91  -  August 21st, 2015, 7:14am
Typos,sorry
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AngelaNess
Posted: August 22nd, 2015, 11:35am Report to Moderator
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I can't thank you enough for all this feedback - it's just brilliant and lights have been switched on! I am now going to get on to the next draft. I'm looking forward to the opportunity of returning the favour and reading all your stuff!
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