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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Drama Scripts  ›  Halfway Crooks Moderators: bert
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  Author    Halfway Crooks  (currently 2425 views)
Don
Posted: June 28th, 2016, 7:07pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Halfway Crooks by Brandon Saunders - Drama, Crime, Black Comedy - 4 wouldbe gangsters set out on their daily routine the day before a "big job". 99 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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-------------
You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  October 6th, 2016, 9:47am
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Hey Brandon!

I like the title, although it sounds Comedy genre

Logline: I would prefer you choose another adjective than repeating the one of your title – "amateur" or "wannabe" crooks… or something. You could also use it to be more descriptive concerning other features about who the characters are.

"… find themselves in hot water" – generally I don't advocate those placeholder-terms like: facing danger, race against the clock etc. --  they usually add nothing

Without that term: Four halfway crooks is given a job with a loose-lipped, drug addict cohort by the local psychopathic Mobster.

^^Sounds like "hot water" anyway, not?

Better tell us more about the definite plot. What's interesting about those guys, what's their job exactly, in which milieu, and where does the story take place at all?

Otherwise, I read lot worse loglines; perhaps think about one or two of my points.

Short on format:  Your margins seem off to me. The left one should be bigger than the right for turning the page when it's punched - see p.6, looks wrong


First slug

INT. THE WET BLANKETSTRIP CLUB - DAWN

Damn nitpicky of me, I'd let it be DAY here.


A clock on the wall tells the time of 08:16 am. – not so creative to me (hope it's important info at least)


Not a fan of those >> (texting)
your choice but I don't read many scripts that got action lines in such parentheses.


End of p6 Mr. Pellar doesn't appear to be a guy who lets those thugs talk about shit for so long whithout intervening…

Up to this point, both long dialogues "feel" a bit flat. They are too long for adding not much than characterization by spoken words. There's few plot in there if any.

In general I think I like a lot of your execution and the atmosphere is at least interesting. I like the character descriptions too. You make me imagine the scenario pretty good.

"Why don't you try and make me sit,
Little Man?"

^^Okay, indeed  it's too long. Problem is: it also isn't that interesting. We're in a kind of waiting room and a big and small guy throw some words at each other.

Shorter (respectively quicker) or better, and more creative!!!

Here comes the action: "Little Man gasps for air. Struggle. He PUNCHES Bootstraps in the stomach. No effect…."

^^ I'd try to get to that point quicker, using better lines of dialogue before which say more with fewer words. It's not interesting enough yet.

"MR. PELLAR
That's Mr. fucking Pellar to you. And
yes, it is that fucking simple. Stand
the fuck up."

The boss is much better into his role. There you're fine…

"MR. PELLAR
Now kiss."

Yeah, that's entertainment. Here you go new and fresh…


First ten: I think you may see where I see problems. In general, I think you got something to offer as a screenwriter. I believe I should be further into the story at this point. Therefore I'd suggest to compress and cut dialogues massively. Give us the best of the show only. This gangsta talk is seen too often and has to be as interesting as your presentation of your entertaining Mr. Pellar is. @ because of the dragging talk, hook and exposition feel not completed yet.

Although, I'm interested where it's going. Although, that you already lost time (not going much forward yet) that early, makes me feel you tend to lose time in the rest of the play too.

Promising. I think I like your style very much. It's a bit staccato (do it myself) but honestly it's refreshing to read some pure screenwriting without all that over-descriptive, uber stylistic writing



In the Head of the Driver (3p - drama, sports, SF)

Those Infinite Wolves  (8p - psychological horror)

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BSaunders
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Hey Bud!

Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my script.

I'll definitely be taking your notes into account in regards to everything and not just the logline.

It's strange you say my margin looks off. I use a program called Fade In and it's just the way it's set up. I'll have a look into it. I tend to play around with it a fair bit and may have miss clicked something.

I am picking up what you're putting down with regards to flat dialogue with Mr. Pellar. I have spent so much time with other parts of the dialogue I kind of just brushed that part aside. Being the opening scene I should have probably focussed on that more than anything.

And to mix it up as well like you said with Little Man and Bootstraps. Make it different! I agree with you 100% and will be sure to take a different approach in the next draft.

It makes me pleased to know that it spiked your interest, to begin with. That's what I wanted mostly.

I appreciate that you like the atmosphere of the scenario and my style of writing. Means a lot.

Again, thank you so much for your invaluable input and I will be sure to take everything into account.

Cheers




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NW3
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Format looks fine to me, does anyone punch holes and send actual paper scripts anymore? I agree with the advice from Bud Spencer there, particularly that three pages of talking between Ollie and Bootstraps adds no plot.

Hi, Brandon,

I was intrigued to know what a Halfway Crook might be so I gave your script a fair go. I had some reservations - eye roll on page 4 - until the sound of an ANGLE GRINDER behind a nightclub backroom door. I thought, if this turns out NOT to be a sadist at work on a dismembered, living body, I'll read on. Good luck with it, not for me.

One of the minor points: how tall is Big Boy Blue if Bootstraps (standing at least 6'4") has to look up to make eye contact?
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PrussianMosby
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Hey guys,

The format looks perfect in general. I just got the impression it's all too left centered.

Fade In is popular software I believe.
What margins have you got there?

I usually use left 1.5" , right 1", top 1", bottom 1"

have it from here: http://www.oscars.org/sites/oscars/files/scriptsample.pdf

Otherwise, I don't know how important it is today to be 100% correct… although the system of format is a math thing too, I read somewhere. When you got the exact number of lines, and signs fitting into each line, it translates best to 1 minute screen-time.

Not an expert, so hands up

Cheers Alex

@ actually my original nick is PrussianMosby, just changed it for some days as a tribute to the Italian actor



Quoted Text
Format looks fine to me, does anyone punch holes and send actual paper scripts anymore?

Not normally I think. But I'm sure some readers do. They may print it out and carry it around etc. skim through it as with a book.


In the Head of the Driver (3p - drama, sports, SF)

Those Infinite Wolves  (8p - psychological horror)


Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
PrussianMosby  -  July 1st, 2016, 10:42am
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Brandon, I read on, actually I read through and have tons of notes…

Last time, I forgot to say Pellar's action, firing blanks, is very creative storytelling, as with the kiss. I liked that, and think the audience would too.


P 11

"INT. BATHROOM - DAY

SUGAR, 20, flaxen hair."

Still like your style – I only called it out in case of others who may would want to know her position in scene from the very start.  "Flosses her teeth" is her position here. But again, this is advice I only point out because of some general readers – Personally I'm 100% fine with the paragraph.

Also:

I'd change slugs here:

INT. MAIN LOCATION – SUB LOCATION – DAY

Like

INT. BARKS' HOUSE - BATHROOM – DAY
INT. BARKS' HOUSE – LIVING ROOM – DAY
INT. BARKS' HOUSE – BEDROOM – DAY

Alternative

INT. BARKS' HOUSE - BATHROOM – DAY

Followed by short slugs --- !but consequently!

LIVING ROOM
BEDROOM

Yet you got a mix there, and the slug INT. HOME is… just wrong.


-- Writing is completely up my alley –-


one note: isn't the name SUGAR too generic, 90s-like?

p12  "Well, it is our last day before we
head north!"

can you deliver this more subtle. Too on the nose imo

The other dialogues are perfect. They all have their own voice for sure. Impressive!


P14
"HORN, 20s, scrawny dude with a mustache that demands
respect."

^^a random quote from your scrip. And hell, this all is so simple, direct and qualified screenwriting.

Another one

"Ollie proves ownership by jumping in the drivers seat.
Bootstraps rides shotgun. Horn gets the slums."

Hahaha WTF.

P15 bottom – probably too much directing, get it across differently…

P16 not sure but comma missing behind passenger doors???

"Well, where I'm from we have a
different name for the all so
nutritious McDonald's food outlets.
We call 'em.. Micky Dee's."

Hahaha.


(((Hey, quickly coming back to the margin discussion: F.I. ON P16 imo the word "phones" ought to fit into the line above!!!)))


NOTE: I still don't know where the story takes place!!! And I think it's important. My advice is to stick the information into a side-description when they cruise around city street, walk around… --


17 evesdrops

18 not sure if this advice is right but… I get the whole sequence, about the three and Micky Dee and all that. What astonished me is them still sitting in the car, and not driving, when you switch back to present. Then they have another long discussion while JUST sitting in a parked car. Point is: I believe you need some movement there. Use it for characterization. Let them cruise around their hood f.i.; give us at least one other setting they would go to ánd discuss their stuff. It brings visual movement and also defines who they are, how they act, what they eat f.i. etc. --through action.

As yet, I tend to know them "mainly" of what they talk. There's an opportunity you miss.

P19 Noticed: Nightclub DAWN – Barks' House DAY then MORNING <<– not consistent. Let it be DAY and add a reference in description on light when they leave the club???

Also, there's a slash between locations.  Dash is more familiar, though, not a problem at all. But be more consistent with slugs in general.


19/20 FIRST REAL STORY PROBLEM similar to the talk in first 10. The dialogue adds nothing. We know how they talk and treat each other. Get in scene late and leave early. Stay with plot all the time!!! Suggest MASSIVE cutting here.

"Time: 11:08 am." This isn't of any importance since we have no single context experienced concerning time !!!


21/22  Stripper coke etc.  Many descriptions and talks slow the plot down. Story should accelerate more.

Pellar reminds me of the hilarious Nicholson in Departed. Great character of you.

"Carmody puts his feet up on Stripper's stomach. Lights up a
smoke."

Haha


You tend to stress too many looks, or drags from a smoke.


INT./EXT. '75 BUICK (MOVING/STOPPED)

Gruesome slugline.


I fear Pulp Fiction owns the fast food discussion. I wouldn't go into this territory.


27  HOLT

27 long scene: okay I get it you go for the job preparing scene in a car atmosphere. That isn't bad in general. But then, your dialogues are too long. Under such non-visual setting, dialogue should be more than good; better it's exceptional there. Compress it to the very gems.
Example: "Training Day" car scene. There they do things (smack pipe etc.) while dialogue is excellent.

"Bootstraps goes to drop the kids off at the pool." One too many here. It's not of importance how you write that he goes to do what…

p32 short summary: I miss the first plot point. The story itself is interesting and I like that you go for mystery. Biggest question you raise: Who is their job and why?

P 36
"Barks winks at Bootstraps. Sits down.
Bootstraps, cheeky smirk.
Horn giggles to himself. Lights up with them.
Ollie looks at Bootstraps. Bites his tongue.
Bootstraps looks around. Stands. Scouts the room."

You have to go on quicker than this. We know your characters now. We know how they interact. Check out a lot of descriptions like the above and rethink if you need all those words to get you stuff going. Don't bore.

BARKS (O.S.) - off screen isn't needed at all. It's just a shot in this case. Director will know which face is on screen etc.

Taking cocaine and heroin within short timeframe is possible? Haven't known that works.

P41
"Here's only one way to calm Micky
Dee down"

^^This problem they have, becomes too repetitive finally

P42 slugs and directing (back to) is confusing

P43
"No factory worker in their right mind
works seven days."

Most factories run 7 days 24 hours

"(re: DeNiro)
(re: DeNiro, to
Bootstraps)"

– distracts from the read

45 double period

52 page ends with a slug

57  capped "o" in Openly

58 Ollies

68 crowed

P70 Is it reasoned that Hot Rod goes through all this only to not talk about Micky? I don't get Hot Rod's motives yet.  @okay  I see, it's explained later

71 Yeah- here I got the same problem. I don't understand the motives of Micky(despite his stupidity) to take care over Sugar, his future colleague's girl. Makes not much sense.

The plot is really extremely thin here. It's entertaining but it feels like they're trying to meet each other for more than 20 pages now.
!! Ahh, I forgot that there was something about Barks' owing Mr. Pellar money and Micky does not know Barks' engaged by Ollie. !!

Don't know if it's established clearly enough of you though. Almost missed that...

The thing with showing the time still makes no sense to me…

Ending is not my taste. I understand the journey is the reward in this script but if you choose that cool laisser-faire ending it has to be masterfully hilarious!


My overall impression: Although I'm a foreigner speaking in a second language, I dare to say the writing was "partly" excellent. Dialogue too, partly fantatstic. Then there where parts where you show too much of tiny interactions, who nods to whom etc. – which is not so interesting. You need to let loose of that attitude and trust the reader to know your characters in the picture without every word written by you.

About the slugs, I have to say… sorry, completely distracting what you throw around there. I'd suggest to simplify them by 100%, go the other way of the spectrum, smooth and easy to get slugs. Equal problems with direction, editing terms etc.

Okay, this is originally a gangster indy and I can understand you list it as drama.

Plot: Well, I like the general structure. I don't know if you meant it that way but it felt like a kind of passenger movie where we follow people for following people only. The way is the destination and there are NO GOALS at all. It's a brave move.

One thing however felt uneven. You raised some expectations in the first third that lead nowhere.

The plot "actually" is about    - One group searching the guy they have to do a job together  with.
                              
                                          - And a second group, including the searched for guy, who must do a job on somebody from the first group, without knowing his subject is engaged in the "big job" too.

This all feels random and complicated same time (my plot summary above may mirror that fact)
because there's always the big job, which is to come, in the back of my head.

While all this is happening, we expect to come to the exact big job we think the script is about. But we never arrive there. We even don't get to know what that exact job is. But to guys like Barks it seems to be the jackpot since he wants to leave town after done work.

I'm not sure if it can work that way. I'm really not.

Possibility one: Rethink that completely.

Perhaps there's one other way: You need to compress everything. Make each moment so interesting and amazing that we're completely focused in scene and disregard/forget the general outcomes of our raised expectations. That means cut and cut it to all the gems. The gay club scene for example is hilarious and you got my complete attention there. But the long dialogue scenes in the car f.i. make me want to skip to more interesting events. A good example here is: Pulp Fiction. Actually I don't know what the movie is about but I damn sure remember all the exceptional scenarios brought to life.

That could be your way too. Meeting at Barks, Little Man Strip club scene, there already were many entertaining scenes. Expand that. And cut the slow, repetitive and less entertaining stuff.

I also see no problems you cut that much that you end at 85p. It's perfect indie film length. And this reads like an indie film – rather than a Universal Studio blockbuster. Which is a big pro here in general. That it's easily doable. You could pitch the script to so many filmmakers who do stuff for 6 numbers.

Last but not least. Screw a bit on that expectation thing. Don't fool us there's something to await when it's not. Find a way that you communicate 100% clearly toward us that there is a job "planned" but no way will we ever reach it. We need to know it's about the here and now and not about tomorrow. And there are subtle ways to do so. Example: It's articulated that our guys is given a job, say, kill a jockey of a horse race the other day.  Driving around, while getting more and more into troubles, the characters could drop lines like
Ollie: "I don't think we're going to survive that fucking day. "
Boots: "You mean. No, horse race."
Ollie: "Does it look so? No turf in sight."

This should be an example for an ironic way to communicate to the audience that YOU ARE GONNA BREAK WITH THE PROMISED DESTINATION WE EXPECT THE CHARACTERS TO DEAL WITH.

My example is garbage of course. But perhaps you understand what methods I mean.

And if you then present terrific scenes, we'd definitely respect your plotting.


I had some fun. In general this is very good material. Partly I was completely convinced of the quality. You have to take care about the stuff I wrote about expectations. That really hurt a lot for me. Plus: Fix the ending. It's not there yet.


By the way: May I ask you what draft this is?

In the end, this all is only my personally opinion and you'd need some more than mine. Also, I'm very nit-picky.


Wow, never given so many notes. Haha. Hope something make sense to you.

Quite promising, Brandon. Lots of hilarious and entertaining stuff in there. It's almost there. Some restructuring and polishing and you could shop it around IMO. Absolute go from my side.

Best
Alex


In the Head of the Driver (3p - drama, sports, SF)

Those Infinite Wolves  (8p - psychological horror)


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PrussianMosby  -  July 1st, 2016, 8:07pm
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Hey Alex, sorry for the late reply, I've been away all weekend.

I have read your notes and wow. Really, really helpful stuff! So many little things on what I need to do and you couldn't be more correct.

I think the crappy slugs just comes down to lazy writing on my behalf. And I agree that in parts the dialogue needs to take a walk and to add more action while talking. Even getting rid of the "head nods," and "taking a drag of the cigarette" description is all very good points you have made.

This is only my first draft and I know I still have much to do. I will be reading over your notes plenty of times and taking it all in as I work through the second draft.

I appreciate the time you took to read the script and post quality feedback, mate. If you have anything you would like a new set of eyes on, I'd be more than happy to have a geez.

Thanks again mate.



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Quoted from NW3

I was intrigued to know what a Halfway Crook might be so I gave your script a fair go. I had some reservations - eye roll on page 4 - until the sound of an ANGLE GRINDER behind a nightclub backroom door. I thought, if this turns out NOT to be a sadist at work on a dismembered, living body, I'll read on. Good luck with it, not for me.

One of the minor points: how tall is Big Boy Blue if Bootstraps (standing at least 6'4") has to look up to make eye contact?

Hey man, cheers for having a crack. It's good to know the title itself is engaging enough for you to have a look.

Now that you mentioned it, I totally agree with the eye-roll and the angle grinder scenario. It isn't very creative writing on my behalf. It has been done so many times before and I should probably give myself a clip around the ears for thinking it was a good idea, haha.

Big Boy Blue can be as tall as you want him to be, just no shorter than 6'4".

Any feedback is good feedback, and from that little bit, you have pushed me in the right direction to improve my opening scenes.

Cheers again.





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A note about my notes: unless it's a huge glaring error, I don't point out little typos or formatting issues. Generally, people pick these up when they rewrite or do another draft, and I trust you will do the same. Well that's how I prefer my feedback, at least. I thought this was really well done, technically, and deserves to be read. There's some feedback throughout this review, some of it little stuff, some of it needing more urgent attention.  

Pgs 1-20
Lots of character introductions, might make some readers struggle. I really like the description lines so far, you have a great voice. Even little things like "[character] takes the slums" referring to jumping in the backseat works so great, saves space, and is a more interesting way to say things, if that makes sense.
The first 20 pages should have a hook, and I think you've done that with the scene w/ Pellar and shooting blanks. But combined with the nearly 7 or 8 character intros (I know not all of them are major players, but readers don't know this straight away) could turn some people off. More exposition and characters = a bigger hook needed. The scene with the Maccas robberies gone wrong works well as a secondary hook (anything with action/danger/suspense in the first 10-20 pages forms a "hook") so I think it could be expanded on, or referenced earlier.

20-40 pgs
You've done well to differentiate your characters, considering how similar they all are (all male, criminals, masculine etc besides Barks' GF) - I.E they have unique relationships, use of words, etc.

40 - 60 pgs
I found it hard to stick to the script in this part. I skimmed a few bits, and it's hard to describe why. The club scene is funny -- as with a lot of the script, I think it would work heaps better as a whole if you focussed on the comedy. However, let's look at what happens in the nightclub scene - the gang goes in, looking for Mickey Dees, two of the members turn out to be regulars and it comes up that they are gay. Where do this come from, and why? It reads strange, especially in the midst of the caricatures that are Hot Rod and his group (who are very cartoonish that it almost comes across as hateful).

Another issue, for me, is that I'm on page 61 and none of these many characters are particularly likeable, and many of them are not that interesting. Every scene of dialogue is incredibly hostile - and I mean every single scene - and it's off-putting. I know what the gang is going for - Mcd's - but I don't have a whole lot of reason to care. Is it the "big, last job" and will make everyone rich (excuse the cliche, but you know what I mean)? I know Ollie talks about looking for a straight job, or he used to have a straight job, but he still is just as unlikable as the others.

60-80 pgs
Carmody's threatening Sugar w/ his heroin and AIDS. I've never heard of, known, or seen a junkie willing to give up any gear just for a threat, regardless of how high he currently is. Doesn't ring true.

80 - 91 pgs
OK, so the ending - it works, but it also wraps everything up a little too well. Sugar has a gun, is a great shot, and was listening to everything?  And so it's clear now that Barks was the hero all along, when the way the script is structured places Boots etc as the forefront. After finishing the ending this was all sort of a big series of vignettes.

Saying that, I can see the influence of Pulp Fiction (the gimp stuff) and Reservoir Dogs (names, lackthereof) and I know what you were trying to do. This is a really well-written script and like I said, I enjoyed 99% of it. A lot of this feedback is just me personally, so take it with a grain of salt. It's a pretty "Australian-ey" story (so many indie crime dramas in this country) so i think if you played up the humor, fixed a few small issues and worked with the structure, it would be really great and fit in well with the industry here.
Good work


MY SCRIPTS:

I Don't Even Think About You Anymore (Short) 5 pages

Hera (Mystery/Drama) 83 Pages

What A Good Boy Does (Short/Drama) 10 Pages
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Hey Brandon,

Giving notes as I go, here. I'm gonna have to finish giving you notes tomorrow -- it's 5 a.m. right now here in New York (didn't get home from work until a few hours ago).

I'm not so sure about this opening. And I'm not sure if you want us to dislike the Sugar character, but if that was your intention, mission accomplished. Could be just me, though. I can't stand her dialogue. It just read odd to me. Sure, that's her character I suppose, but I found it annoying. The "my hunk of a man" thing didn't sound natural to me, made me picture a very cartoonish kinda woman, here. And her long passages of dialogue were a bit boring, when she's talking about her father. It just went on and on, completely lost me... I started skimming through it. I'm guessing this opening establishes some kind of theme, but there's gotta be a better way.

And you could probably do without the dog showing up at the end and jumping into bed, kinda felt like a weird way to end a scene. Felt like it didn't fit.

After the opening:

The dialogue is great here between Ollie and Bootstraps. And with Mr. Pellar and Little Man. Really lively, colorful dialogue. But it doesn't seem to really push the story forward. I don't really know where we're going with this. Don't really see a plot or introduction to a plot. So far, it's just character establishment.

Page 12:

The auto correct bit would have been funnier if he texted "*Bit -- ducking auto correct" instead of saying "fucking auto correct."

At the bottom of page 19:


Quoted Text
BOOTSTRAPS
Pfft. I'll be damned if I was gonna continue to slave my ass off for twelve hours a day in a fuckin' hole,with some keyboard punching fuck wit walking about with a three thousand page book about how he knows more about my job than me, when I can earn a better keep, at home, just by throwing my weight around.


This is a bit long-winded. Liking the dialogue so far (outside of Sugar at the beginning), specifically the dude banter. I especially liked the scene between with Mr. Pellar telling Little Man and Bootstraps to shake hands and kiss, etc. But I tried saying this passage out loud and I started getting short on breath.

Okay, so I'm stopping at page 26 tonight, I'm super tired. But I WILL finish this tomorrow with more notes.

So far, I'm getting kind of a Slackers meets Snatch kind of vibe here. As I mentioned, I like the banter between Bootstraps, Ollie and Horn (also Mr. Pellar and Little Man). Though I don't fully understand all of the Aussie slang, here.

Not so much a fan of the dialogue between Sugar and Barks. Though I find it cool that you have this hot girl being with this slob (Barks). It's an interesting dynamic.

The main problem here is that I have no idea what this is really about. I'm at page 26 and I feel like it's been pretty much ALL banter. So far, I know there's a job. But I have no idea what kind of job this is or who or what kind of business Mr. Pellar runs, etc. There doesn't seem to be a plot. Yet. I stopped right when they get robbed by KNOB JOCKEYS, so maybe this is starting to go somewhere.

I won't comment too much on format or the writing -- it's pretty good, here. Like you said in a PM, there are typos here and there -- which I'm sure you'll find during edits. And I like enough of your characters to care somewhat about where this could be going. And I'm curious about what kind of job they're doing. There seems to be a whole bunch of hub-bub about this "job".

Sorry I couldn't finish it all tonight, dude. Promise I'll get you the rest of your notes when I wake up!

-- Michael


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BSaunders
Posted: October 6th, 2016, 6:25am Report to Moderator
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Cheers for the notes thus far.

It's a shame you don't like Sugar, haha. I actully bulked up their dialogue in the last draft. It just feels more natural for me. Anyway, I'll have a look into it next time.

Page 26, their main focus right now is to find Micky Dee. Did you get that, or should I clear that up?

I'm pleased to hear you like the dialogue. Because there is plenty more to come, haha.


Who dis nigger up on that ney?
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spesh2k
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Hey Brandon,

So, I'm going to make notes as I read this in one sitting. I usually like to read a script in one sitting to simulate a movie-going experience. I got to page 26 last night, but it's still pretty fresh in mind.

WHAT I KNOW SO FAR:

You introduce an ensemble of characters, which can be hard to follow, but you do a good job of giving them individual personalities and relationships, which made it fairly easy to follow. I appreciated the banter between Ollie and Bootstraps a little better than Barks and Sugar. It's not a matter of the dialogue sounding realistic because the dialogue is FAR from realistic. It's colorful but has a written quality to it -- in the sense that it sounds written. But, in this world you've created, it fits. Kind of like Juno or Pulp Fiction (not comparing quality here, but the gist) -- nobody in real life talks like that. But it works. And, overall, I feel like the dialogue works with your characters.

At this point, however, the dialogue doesn't really seem to do much to push forward the plot. It establishes character, but it continues long after the characters are established already. Borderline aimless. I'm curious if some of what they talked about resurfaces. In Pulp Fiction, a lot of their banter SEEMS aimless and purely conversational, but a lot of what they talk about resurfaces (the Royale with cheese bit, etc) and actually plays into what happens during future scenes.

So far, we have Barks and Sugar -- they're kind of like Clarence and Alabama in "True Romance". Dude with a girl WAY out of his league. They're in dire straits money-wise. That's established.

Then we have Ollie and Bootstraps. They're assigned to a job. I like they're dialogue but they sound a lot alike.

We have Mr. Pellar, the boss who assigns them the job -- he reminds me of the old dude from Snatch. And his 2nd in command, Little Man, who obviously has a Napoleon complex. Kind of like George in "Of Mice and Men".

Ollie and Bootstraps are given a job -- a job that we know nothing about, thus far. We assume it's crime related. There's also the third-wheel character Horn, kind of like the Casey Affleck in Good Will Hunting character. He's part of their "team".

They're assigned this job with some dude named Mickey Dee, who has a propensity of getting caught for doing something stupid. They apparently don't want to do the job, so they're now looking for him so they can kill him? Am I right? Seems kind of strange. If I'm wrong, I apologize.

And then, there's another character involved now -- Ollie's friend, Barks, who needs money.

Up to this point, I'm suspecting somebody gets set up. But we'll see where this all goes...

THE REST OF THE STORY:

Page 30 -- So far, this does not pass the Bechdel test lol. The women here are just eye candy pretty much, even Sugar. So far. Hopefully, Sugar (who I don't like lol) redeems herself here and plays more of a part than just eye candy.

Also, might wanna refer to Carmody as Mickey Dee to avoid confusion.

Okay, so Barks owes Mr. Pellar money. Didn't know he was connected to them. But how?

Carmody/Mickey Dee is the fuck-up son. I've seen this. I've seen a lot of these characters before in a lot of crime movies, specifically Guy Ritchie films. There's also a fuck-up son in "John Wick" that this character reminds me of. "Road to Perdition" also comes to mind as well "Rock n Rolla".

Page 43 -- Ah, the dog conversation ended up having some kind of payoff. Still don't understand why Bootstraps is so confrontational here. I know it's part of his character. But still seems out of nowhere. Maybe Sugar is the girl that he was texting earlier? The one he just ended a relationship with?

The Big Boy Blue being gassy as his only character attribute is kind of... low brow. Maybe he's more involved with the plot. Seems like it's there for a cheap laugh as of now.

Page 46 -- The obligatory trunk shot. I'm following this story, but I'm starting to feel like this is a bit too derivative of quirky, dialogue-heavy crime films, e.g. Guy Ritchie, Tarantino, Joe Carnahan, early Soderbergh, etc.

Page 55 --


Quoted Text
BARKS
Look, I didn't know I'd be working under Mr. Pellar. For that, I apologize for putting you in this plight. But, I would really appreciate if you could stop being such a cunt about this whole ordeal as I already feel shit enough about having to lie to the face of the love of my life about how I'm gonna sort my shit out. I don't need your guilt trip as a cherry on the cake, so if you could just shut the fuck up for once and mind your own business -


There's gotta be a better to express this. This WAY too long-winded. At least some punctuation in there so the actor doesn't run out of breath.

Page 60 -- Not sure how you depict gays here, though I had a good laugh at some of Hot Rod's dialogue. But the AIDS, bondage stuff, kind of a negative stereotype strictly for comic relief. And then the rapey-ness. Especially in these politically correct times, I don't see a producer allowing this to stay in the script. In fact, he might stop reading. I know you have Horn as the "normal" gay dude, I guess. But still. They're not painted in a very nice light, here.

Page 65 -- "I know from experience. If you know what I mean." Couldn't help but think of Chris Farley in "Billy Madison" lol.

Page 65 - 68 -- This scene seems unnecessary. Cut the fat! It does nothing for your story and does nothing to further reveal anything else about your Little Man character.

RANDOM NOTE:
Most of the dialogue here is tough-talk kind of stuff. Which I like. And it's done fairly well. But I feel like that's all it is, really. Just guys losing their tempers.

Page 69 -- Okay. Little Man's dead. Why is he even in this script in the first place? He doesn't really seem to serve a purpose outside of showing Mr. Pellar's wrath.

Also, not sure about these fart jokes with Big Blue. Very juvenile. Not very clever. And I like fart jokes just as much as the next man, but these are falling flat. To the point of rolling my eyes.

Page 71 -- So, Sugar's dead? Hm. Though I don't enjoy her dialogue, I'm kind of hoping she's not. Because her role in this thus far has been pointless, outside of giving Barks some incentive to make money. But there was already incentive with him OWING money to Mr. Pellar. Hm.

Page 72 -- Okay, she's not dead.

Page 78 -- So far, there's no plot, unfortunately. Just a series of events turning up with some coincidences. Now, the scenes do affect each other (though you could cut out A LOT and it wouldn't change the plot at all).

I suppose the plot is that Ollie and Bootstraps are looking for Mickey Dee -- I guess they don't know that Mickey Dee is Mr. Pellar's son? But what are Ollie and Bootstraps' goal once they find Mickey Dee? Not very clear.

Page 81-83 -- the chat about Horn's sexuality -- What's the point of any of this? I like the dialogue, but after a while, from page 50 - where I'm at now, it becomes a bit of a chore reading this. At this point, at least me, I'm slogging through the last pages. And I don't really care about the outcome of the whole Carmody and Sugar scene outside of me not wanting to see a girl get raped. It's just listening to Carmody go on and on about himself, why he went to get checked for AIDS, what he's going to do to Sugar, etc. There's too much dialogue here, taking away from the tension of the scenes. And Sugar's character needs more for me to care about what happens to her. She says she's going to kill him -- which will most likely happen. But who cares? This kind of feels like the scene in "True Romance" with Gandolfini and Arquette... though that was more clever. And had actual action. This is just Carmody threatening her and leering over her menacingly.

Page 83 -- Ah, the farts and gassiness finally have a payoff with Big Blue having to take a dump instead of helping Carmody. I dunno, man.

Why does this discussion about being gay continue? It does absolutely nothing. Is this story supposed to be a commentary on the LGTB community? I don't think it is, really. So why is this in here at all? In fact, it puts a complete halt to any of the tension from the Carmody/Sugar scene. It's a complete pace-killer.

Page 84 -- So Big Blue dies taking a shit? Hahahaha! Alright, that paid off pretty good.

Page 95 -- So, Barks kills Carmody. Sugar has virtually no role in this film at all. I can't imagine an actress who would want to play her. There's no meat or potatoes.

Page 96 -- Ah, the gun blanks return. That was nice.

Okay, done.

Not sure what to think. The ending felt a little bit anticlimactic, even though there is a standoff, which I kind of figured would happen. I won't lie, I kinda didn't really wanna finish reading this by about page 60 or so. What's the point of colorful, clever dialogue if there is no substance to it? There's no story, here, really. I know you were kinda going for what Reservoir Dogs did with the story about a heist with no actually heist. This is about a job with no job. The "job" is a McGuffin pretty much. But there didn't really seem to be anything unique here. Which leads me to the biggest question:

Why should we care? What's the selling point, here? This borderline feels like a homage to crime/gangster flicks in the style of Guy Ritchie, Tarantino, etc. But we've seen these characters before. A lot. And we've seen stories like this before. Just as much. And, at times, this feels a little bit TOO derivative of those films. Taking familiar tropes is one thing, but I was hoping for a different twist on the genre and I didn't get that.

The writing, overall, is pretty decent. Though I got lost through some of the action. Which is weird because you properly break up your action lines according to change of focus/action, but it was lacking that oomph at times to make a visual impact.

I liked the characters overall and the dialogue, but it just felt all for nothing, you know? The plot was too boring for me to care about the characters much. And, for Barks to play that big of a part in the end result, he should be given more -- he's absent from this story for a good chunk of the story. And Sugar seemed like a plot device -- specifically, to give Barks incentive for taking a "job". Her role was meaningless in this.

And all the gay discussions also felt out of place. It felt like it belonged in a different movie.

So, those are my thoughts, Brandon. Sorry if I sound a bit harsh, but this plot needs a new spin. The characters deserve more.

-- Michael









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BSaunders
Posted: October 7th, 2016, 12:32am Report to Moderator
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Pmed you. Cheers


Who dis nigger up on that ney?
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LC
Posted: October 7th, 2016, 12:38am Report to Moderator
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Where's the script gone, Brandon. Why'd you pull it? Was going to have a quick look at the intro. Ah, I see that updated dropbox link. Will have a look, and post some thoughts (without looking at other feedback) a bit later. Nope, no luck with the download. I'll have to take a raincheck for now.



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