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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  I Reckon Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: October 9th, 2016, 2:41pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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I Reckon by John Staats - Short, , Western, Drama - It's Judgement Night for those that cross his path. Choose wisely for your life and beyond. 7 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  -  July 10th, 2018, 12:42pm
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AlsoBen
Posted: October 9th, 2016, 3:52pm Report to Moderator
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This is well-written. Some will disagree with your use of unfilmables in the opening sequence and long paragraphs w/o dialogue. I liked it and your use of language.

This seems like a pretty standard Western trope, "the stranger". Someone famous once said that all stories can be divided into two basic plots: "a stranger comes to town" or "a person goes on a journey". Westerns much more so. Is this some kind of post-modern deconstruction of that?

The Stranger repeating "rise or fall", which I'm sure has a good reason, comes across as humourous to me. Which wasn't your intention. Especially when he randomly says it to Felicity and doesn't explain it.

OK, I just finished it. It's not clear what happened or why. More explanation of the Stranger's role would have made this a more satisfying read. It's an easy read due to your formatting and dialogue, but at the moment it's just a series of events without explanation. If that's your intention, well OK, but I don't think it was.

Hope you're around to read this.


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JEStaats
Posted: October 9th, 2016, 7:37pm Report to Moderator
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I had a lot of fun writing this one but I suppose it needs a little explanation...

SPOILER ALERT:

The stranger is death and the options given to the people he encounters are choices of 'reckoning' (ha ha) that occur at critical crossroads or end of life. Perhaps the 'rise or fall' (heaven or hell) is spoken softly to be more subliminal than outright. I don't feel like Felicity deserves any explanation.

Thanks for the feedback and I hope that helps!

~John
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AlsoBen
Posted: October 9th, 2016, 10:02pm Report to Moderator
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John, I re-read the short based on what you've told me. In retrospect, it's a pretty clear interpretation and others might have grasped it better than I.

"Rise or fall" still makes me laugh. Sorry. Futhermore, it makes the Felicity character seem shitty for the sake of being shitty; especially when her views on race would have been the norm at the time. Death would probably agree with her.

It does make the ending more clear.

This is not to say that anyting is really wrong with the script. The dialogue is great. You avoid clunky exposition. The imagery is really good (but, again, others might disagree and say it's overwritten). I think this constitutes a good job.


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Nolan
Posted: October 10th, 2016, 7:42am Report to Moderator
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Hi John,

**Spoilers**

I liked the story.  But as Ben had pointed out, the whole "Rise or fall" thing was getting a little repetitive for me.  I also struggled to see why Felicity deserved to die when, just like Ben said, those were common views in that time.  

And I have to say it may be a tad bit overwritten.  But that's just my opinion.  So far you're one and one in that department.  But full disclaimer, I've been told I overwrite as well!  So maybe it takes one to know one?

But anyway, it was good.  i liked the idea, but think some things can be tightened up.  

Good luck!

Nolan  
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JEStaats
Posted: October 10th, 2016, 9:50am Report to Moderator
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Agreed, 'rise or fall' might best be limited to his encounter with Pops. When it comes to Felicity, we need to remember that we're dealing with death and, if life's a bitch, why would death be fair? I believe death has his own prejudice as well.

Overwriting is my nemesis as I get carried away with my own mind's eye.

Thanks for the feedback!
~John
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StevenClark
Posted: October 10th, 2016, 11:55am Report to Moderator
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John,

Opening thought is you should put Boulder, Colorado 1880 in a super. If not that, then I'm thinking your description alone might set the scene well enough to make the super unecessary.

Also noticed you had mentioned overwriting. Yes, it is that and could certainly be trimmed to eliminate those extra descriptive words that make these action blocks three lines when they only need two. Also try and stay away from using repetitive descriptive words. You used the word brilliant twice, in the third and fourth paragraph on page one. Not that that's a really big deal, but you might wanna change it up a little. I think it would read a little better.

I liked this. I guess the stranger was mean to convey good or evil, a God-like person or someone capable of delivering final justice. Loved the ending line and how it tied in with the other situations the stranger encountered. However, my opinion is that you should cut all these situations down to just one. It gets repetitive, and I feel that you should have only one, big situation of some importance where the stranger utters "rise or fall" before the final one with Elizabeth. Not only will it trim the story down, but I feel it has the potential to give the final scene more impact.

Otherwise, pretty good as is, but I'd definitely look for ways to trim the overwriting and revise it to the bare essentials.

Steve


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RichardR
Posted: October 10th, 2016, 2:06pm Report to Moderator
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Some notes.

I like this one.  Death rides in on a pale horse.  Works for me.  The 'rise or fall' thing seemed OK to me.  Although this death seems more of a judge than just a harvester.  And his justice seems more 21st century than 19th.  Could be me.

If a bit overwritten, it's still OK with me.  I might prefer some different clients.  The town drunk, prisoner, landlady, and mother seem a bit too easy for this tale.  But that's me.  

Best
Richard
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JEStaats
Posted: October 11th, 2016, 3:20pm Report to Moderator
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Richard & Steve -

I had originally had a super for Leadville, Colorado with specific names and places but decided that it really didn't add anything so I went to a nondescript 'gritty mining town'. It gives a lot more flexibility.

I'm glad you liked the ending line. It does tie it all together, albeit in a corny sort of way. Sometimes corn is good

The clients were easy to fit into the tale. I wrote out the cowboy but didn't really consider any others.

Thanks for the feedback!
~John
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Warren
Posted: October 11th, 2016, 9:41pm Report to Moderator
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I didnít mind this. Itís a long 7 pages though, and I think it is very over written

I figured it was death at the end of page one. Didnít quite get the ending.

That said, it was still an enjoyable read.

A few nitpicks along the way:


Quoted Text
A lone rider
dressed in all black from hat, to boots, to gloves. He sets
atop a brilliant white horse with black leather saddle and
tack.


You already told us he is dressed in all black. It is just over writing to again tell us what is black.


Quoted Text
It's as if the night casts the Stranger.


I guess I know what you mean, but this doesnít make sense to me.

I feel this is too descriptive for a script and because of it there is a lot of over writing.

I think you should get rid of most of your wrylies and some would be better written as action. In any case, they are too long.


Quoted Text
by an unseen PATRON.


No need to introduce him in caps if he is unseen. Only cap him when he is seen.

I feel you over use CONTINUOS. If it is obvious that one scene flows to the next, as these are, continuos is not required.

Good luck with it.


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JEStaats
Posted: October 12th, 2016, 9:04am Report to Moderator
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Thanks Warren - I appreciate your comments and suggestions. This is why we post, right? I'm transitioning from an industry where detail is king so overwriting is something that I need to break.

Thanks again,
John
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Fausto
Posted: October 12th, 2016, 12:34pm Report to Moderator
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John,
I really liked your story! Maybe, you should trim the descriptions just a little but it's not a big deal. The dialogue works. The ending is great. A little expensive to produce but if it's produced the result would be phenomenal.
My best,
Fausto
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JEStaats
Posted: October 12th, 2016, 7:49pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Fausto -

Thanks for the praise and comments! After all, it's all about the story. I'll keep working on trimming the fat going forward.

All the best,
John
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