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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Drama Scripts  ›  Warehouse Crooks
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  Author    Warehouse Crooks  (currently 109 views)
Don
Posted: March 6th, 2019, 8:48pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Warehouse Crooks by Roland S. Jefferson - Short, Drama - Two LAPD cops investigating a warehouse burglary soon discover nothing is quite what it seems.  10 pages - pdf format

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

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Don  -  March 8th, 2019, 5:59pm
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: March 7th, 2019, 5:17am Report to Moderator
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Hi Roland

A little more studying/researching is needed I feel.

Your opening slug says INT. but your description of it puts us outside.
You also need to set this scene up visually, what are the warehouses like? old/new? big/small? - your logline says this is about a warehouse burglary so a description of the outside would help - For example, if the warehouse is old, falling apart with a company name above the shutters of "Sofas-R-Us" that would set a different tone than if the warehouse was brand new, full of security cameras, barbed wire fenced with a "Bio-Life Pharmaceutical" brand name above the shutters - See what I mean?

Above your super you need a new slug, even though it is the same location, time has passed. You also don't need SAME LOCATION in your super - you don't want the viewer to read that, they can see with their eyes.

Do you need the super at all? Your new slug can indicate to the potential filmmaker that time has passed "EXT. WAREHOUSE - 10 MINUTES LATER" - but the viewer can use his common sense since the police have now shown up.

John and Jonas - those names are too similar, can confuse the reader about who is saying what.

Your parentheticals are unneeded. Your description indicates they are speaking in hushed tones so we don't need the (Whispers).

An air unit? would a police force send an air unit (which is expensive) when they suspect it's just kids? - doesn't ring true.

you overuse ellipsis (...) and don't use them correctly - I would suggest reading up on them so you can use them effectively.

"rest of the backup..." who else is coming? why are they making such a big deal of this when, at the moment, it seems like an ordinary break-in? - Maybe if we had an indication of what was in this warehouse it could be more believable (weapons/drugs/cash) but we don't (See how I tied that into my first point above?  )

The dialogue doesn't seem too natural to me - not the worst I have seen by any means, but it could use work.


Quoted Text
INT WAREHOUSE - SAME - NIGHT


you need a period after INT. you don't need "SAME". if you wanted to, you can use CONTINUOUS instead of NIGHT, as we are following the characters from the previous location into this one.

That POV seems entirely pointless. It doesn't add anything to the story and so just comes across as you trying to direct what the shot looks like. As I am under the impression this is a Spec script, Just stick to telling us what we see, not how we see it (unless it is completely necessary for story purposes)

6 Dwarfs? ha! I wasn't expecting that at all - I love it when I come across something I wasn't expecting - Good job. There are 6 of them though, and they have lines, so I would give them names rather than numbers - You could give them descriptive names rather than actual names like - Fat Dwarf, Ginger Dwarf...


Quoted Text
EXT. WAREHOUSE ROOF - SAME NIGHT


You don't need same night - To be honest, you could just leave it blank "EXT. WAREHOUSE ROOF" it is blindingly obvious it is the same night.

Another unneeded POV from the helicopter. Using good descriptions of the scenes will automatically give the reader a POV of how the scene is played out, without having to use POV. E.G "A helicopter circles above the warehouse. Its powerful halogen searchlight scans the warehouse roof" - picturing it in my mind, I'm seeing the helicopter first, then I'm putting myself IN the helicopter looking down at the searchlight - does that make sense?


Quoted Text
BACK TO SCENE: INT. WAREHOUSE - SAME NIGHT


If you use BACK TO SCENE you don't need to put the slug next to it. BACK TO SCENE takes us back to the scene we were in before we were pulled out of it.

A movie set - why did it take the director so long to shout cut? obviously, the scene was not playing out properly as soon as these guys entered?


Quoted Text
WESLEY
(throwing up his hands)


You don't wanna be putting minor actor actions in parentheticals - Again I would research these on their proper use.

OK I got to the end;

I like the story, I thought it was clever - I was excited at the unexpected dwarfs, disappointed it seemed like a movie set, but the twist brought it back - Good work.

The execution of it needs a lot of work however - The twist is great, the way you deliver that twist to the audience is terrible. A news report literally spoon feeding me the twist?, come on, you can be more creative than that. Reveal the twist to us at the same time it is revealed to the characters. Show me the moment it goes from faux film set to actual robbery, don't tell me.

This short is also too long - You can cut a lot, especially the long scene of the director whinging that his set is ruined and convincing the guys to become extras for the film.

This needs a lot of work - But it will be worth it in the end as you could have something here.

Couple more things:
- Look of for "ing" ending words and change them up if necessary - for example
"A security guard JONAS checking locks" - Should be "...checks the locks"
"wearing miner�s hats are moving numerous boxes and placing them in stacks around the warehouse." - should be "wear...move...place" - change up those "Ing" words

- Suddenly - get rid of these, unneeded words.

Good luck to you

Matt



Revision History (1 edits)
Matthew Taylor  -  March 8th, 2019, 9:05am
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RolandJ
Posted: March 8th, 2019, 5:36am Report to Moderator
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Matt;
Thanks for the critique. Your advice and recommendations are most appreciated. I recognized some of the errors after I had posted it. I do indeed tend to overwrite. A bad habit that’s a carry-over from writing novels. I will have to continue tightening up the format. One suggestion you made I have a question  about is in scene description. I continue to hear and get some feedback suggesting that scene descriptions need to be lean and at most no more than two lines. I’m told “let the director” fill out the scene with his vision. Yes, I certainly could have expanded the warehouse descriptions, but I’m thinking all warehouses look alike, which I know is not true. But night, minimal light, no people around but the security guard,I was hoping for a ‘noire’ feel. In my experience, delapidated storage facilities tend to be in out of the way places. Where as newer clusters are pretty bland and look like rows of public storage facilities. So my question to you is: does this represent more of a style in writing, or should more in-depth scene description continue irregardless if it’s the Director domain?
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: March 8th, 2019, 6:17am Report to Moderator
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Hi Roland

I am an amateur myself - so my suggestions were just my opinion. You can obviously take from them what you will.

When you sell a script, the director can do with whatever the hell they want with it, regardless of whether you have written it into the script or not. It's very unlikely it will be presented on screen in the same condition as you wrote it.

So, that being said, why would you not at least try and suggest how you want it to look and feel rather than giving the director a blank slate?

You wanna try and put clear images in the head of the reader, draw them into the world you have created. If you want a 'Noir' feel, then describe one-


Quoted Text
EXT. INDUSTRIAL STREET - NIGHT

Lined with modern warehouses, dim street lights cast
eery shadows on their closed shutters.

A dark FIGURE patrols down the street, WHISTLES.
The figure walks under a streetlight, revealing JONAS (30's)
Security uniform. Midway through a mundane patrol.

Jonas stops abruptly outside a warehouse door. His whistling fades.

A lock hangs off the slightly ajar door. Within, sporadic flashes of light.
Jonas's hand slides to his belt, he removes his radio, brings it to his face.


Now, this is rough. I also do not claim to be a good writer, I also do not claim to even know what the hell Noir truly is - but this is my attempt anyway.

but, do you think this sets up the scene better? does it create clearer visuals and sets the tone?


Quoted Text
In my experience...


Yes, your experience. Not the experience of the reader/producer/director - they will have different experiences than you - if you leave things so open to interpretation, it may end up going in a direction you never intended.


Quoted Text
does this represent more of a style in writing, or should more in-depth scene description continue irregardless if it�s the Director domain?


To me, not setting up a scene, tone...whatever, and leaving it for others further down the production line to sort out, is just lazy. If you want your writing style to be lazy then great, do that.
The story is your domain, not the directors. Give them as clear of a blue print to your story as possible.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth - As I say, I am an amatuer and I am still learning everyday - So who knows if I know what I am talking about.

Matt





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Matthew Taylor  -  March 8th, 2019, 9:06am
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RolandJ
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Matt;
Your comments are right on point. Are you sure you haven't written film noir scripts before, or maybe a novel or two? I'm sorry that I didn't think to write the scene descriptions the way you did. I see clearly what a big difference it makes. Thanks for the examples. I'll have to mull over how much detail to reveal. But you're certainly right, no written script will ever appear on screen like we write it.
Again, thanks for getting back to me.
RJ
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: March 9th, 2019, 4:41am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RolandJ
Matt;
I'll have to mull over how much detail to reveal


And that's where the art of screenwriting comes into it, where the difference between good and bad writing shows - If it was easy to do we would have a lot more competition lol

Good luck in your writing

Matt


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RolandJ
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Appreciate your encouragement. Thanks.
Roland J
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