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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Sci Fi and Fantasy Scripts  ›  The Extraterrestrial Highway Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Extraterrestrial Highway  (currently 263 views)
Don
Posted: March 7th, 2019, 5:27pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Extraterrestrial Highway by Stephen Sorenson - Sci Fi, Fantasy - Friendly ETs routinely rescue abducted humans from bad ETs that eat their prey. Now, the good ETs must stop humans from nuking themselves so the earth can become another member planet in the interstellar federation. 119 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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CrackedAces
Posted: March 11th, 2019, 6:42am Report to Moderator
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REVISED LOGLINE:

Friendly ETs routinely rescue abducted humans from bad ETs that eat their prey. Now, the good ETs must save humanity from their most formidable foe –-- humans!

SYNOPSIS:

"Ms. RAMBO" and her female ET drinking buddy rescue "PASSENGERS" from starving evil ETs and then meets the original "THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL."

Thousands of docile aliens from another star system are on earth studying our culture, assimilating with us, and preparing to take over the earth. No one has ever known that they may have slept with one . . . until now!

One of these aliens is sassy CAROL ROYAL whose drinking buddy is a Paiute Indian college girl called DAKODA.

After an evening of drinking, Dakoda gets abducted from earth by some bad ETs. Carol chases them in her own private saucer and rescues Dakoda just after she kicks their asses.

Carol rushes Dakoda to a hospital on her planet, 12 light years away, to have her bloody wounds treated. After released from the hospital, Dakoda experiences shocking cultural differences to include their food that she doesn’t like at all.

On an afternoon, Carol’s planet gets attacked by the some bad ETs. Dakoda’s new acquaintances get abducted or killed during the assault, so she kicks a few of the bad ET’s asses until the rest of them fly away.

Dakoda gives her new friends some courage by teaching them how to defend themselves and kick ass by using their hands.

Upon return to earth, Carol and Dakoda must stop the possible annihilation of earthlings from their most formidable foe . . . Humans!

ADDENDUM: This story has scenes of the FIRST WOMAN on the moon planting and saluting the American flag. (pages 49~51) – (“THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL HIGHWAY” was completed and copyrighted before the “FIRST MAN” feature was announced.





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eldave1
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Quoted Text
DAKODA
You never said that you are married?


Why a question mark? It wasn't a question.

You're dialogue is a bit stilted in places, IMO.

e.g.,


Quoted Text
CAROL
I just did, Dakoda.

DAKODA
Where is he, Carol?


People don't typically use names when talking to each other - cause - well, they know who they're talking to. Just go with:

DAKODA
You never said that you are married.

CAROL
I just did.

DAKODA
Where is hel?


Quoted Text
CAROL
My husband, Bock, is on a rescue and
recovery mission. -- He's a pilot


I think you need...not -- format wise. i.e.,

My husband, Bock, is on a rescue and
recovery mission...He's a pilot.

You do this throughout.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Matthew Taylor
Posted: March 12th, 2019, 5:01am Report to Moderator
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Hi Stephen

The language in the logline and the synopsis comes across as a little immature - "Good ET, Bad ET" - are you a young writer?

Anyway, into the story.

My first impressions are that this is overwritten, a couple of examples below to show you what I mean:
- "She grabs from the ice cooler on the passenger seat a 12-ounce can of beer." - Why do we care that it is 12-ounces? she grabs a beer can, all we need
- "Carol lifts and drops her shoulders" - in other words, shrugs
- " a human-like muscular male about 22 in earth years" - Just tell us he is 22, because what other years do we have to reference? this is to show what age the actor should be

TBH remove any mention of "Earth Years" from your script - It is now cliched and likely to making the reader groan when they read it.

Dave has pointed out the dialogue is stilted. I agree. Dialogue is hard, I know that. If I was you I would do some research on it and how to improve it, there are a lot of resources and techniques out there.

Good luck to you

Matt


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CrackedAces
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Hello Dave and Matt, I’ll address both of your questions/remarks together.

Dave, it’s been a long time; great to hear from you again. Thank you for taking the time to critique. This is how we learn…

Matt, thank you for your thoughts and comments, also.

Now, onward to the battle. LOL

How the heck did that “???” get in there??? I’ve been over that page maybe a thousand times, and now that you have pointed it out, well duh, I just recovered from slapping myself silly. Thanks for your eye on that one!

About using a name in the dialogue where the character’s name on top should suffice. You are correct, Dave, but allow me to argue this point about character names: you are correct; that is if we were only writing for the reader. I like to say that we write for the viewer. How can a viewer know the names of the characters if the names are NOT said or written on a nametag? This is, after all, it’s an AUDIO/VISUAL medium and NOT a book.
Then again, I see that I could have used a more creative way of introducing character names to the viewer. What I did today: I had Carol bid DAKODA farewell in the parking lot. For CAROL, the viewer learns her name when she’s arrested a couple pages later, anyway.

About ellipsis and dashes: Here we are arguing a matter of style. Back in the script writing pioneer days, there may have been strict rules on their use, but today these are so interchangeable and the rules have become so clouded. I use the dash in place of a (beat) or (two beats). Each dash equals one heartbeat of pause.

Aside: I hate it when I see in scripts (beat), WE SEE, CUT TO: et.al. To me, these just clutter up the script. But these are just a choice of style.

I graduated from film school in ’72, shot and edited miles of 16mm film and sound for educational/documentaries and built a lot of finger muscle on my then manual word processor.  And I still misuse the ???!, but gots tons of experience to share.

BACK TO CRITIQUE:

Dave, I’m sure you meant “your” instead of “you’re” when referring to my stilted dialogue. LOL I just had to do it. LOL Seriously Dave, thanks for lending your eye – I appreciate your views.

Thanks, Matt, true, it’s overwritten. NO need to mention 12oz can of beer. Darn, I knew that it should have been 18oz. LOL Seriously, I deleted the quantity.

The “shrugs!” I purposely used “lifts and drops” of the shoulders instead because I wanted to emphasize that habit. I introduced a cultural habit used on her planet. In my mind, I want to drive that habit in. Another point I drove in was their people’s use of the word “No.” They just can’t say “NO” without sounding like a Thesaurus.

I anguish over my use of “22 in earth years” and decided to keep it that way because of ages on that planet are multiplied by 4.17261904761903 more than of earth which makes him over 91 on his planet. Another point I wanted to drive in. Geeks love stuff like that. LOL Still, I could’ve left that out if I wanted.

Again, thanks for your view, Matt.

Before closing, what I want to ask is – Does the story work? Is it entertaining? Is the ACTION written visually?

I write for a hobby in my retirement. I don’t expect to see my stuff on the big screen, but if a producer wants to make it a film –- then, I say, you better hurry the hell up! LOL

Steve




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eldave1
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Quoted Text
How the heck did that “???” get in there??? I’ve been over that page maybe a thousand times, and now that you have pointed it out, well duh, I just recovered from slapping myself silly. Thanks for your eye on that one!


Happens to me ALL the time.


Quoted Text
About using a name in the dialogue where the character’s name on top should suffice. You are correct, Dave, but allow me to argue this point about character names: you are correct; that is if we were only writing for the reader. I like to say that we write for the viewer. How can a viewer know the names of the characters if the names are NOT said or written on a nametag? This is, after all, it’s an AUDIO/VISUAL medium and NOT a book.
Then again, I see that I could have used a more creative way of introducing character names to the viewer. What I did today: I had Carol bid DAKODA farewell in the parking lot. For CAROL, the viewer learns her name when she’s arrested a couple pages later, anyway.


I thought you did intro them before they talked.


Quoted Text
Two 20 year old women, CAROL ROYAL, a blonde with cold blue
eyes, and DAKODA, a Paiute Indian, exit the noisy joint.


So I knew who was talking to who.


Quoted Text
About ellipsis and dashes: Here we are arguing a matter of style. Back in the script writing pioneer days, there may have been strict rules on their use, but today these are so interchangeable and the rules have become so clouded. I use the dash in place of a (beat) or (two beats). Each dash equals one heartbeat of pause.

Aside: I hate it when I see in scripts (beat), WE SEE, CUT TO: et.al. To me, these just clutter up the script. But these are just a choice of style.


I've always written ... as a pause and -- as an interruption or a cut off.  But that's just me.


Quoted Text
Dave, I’m sure you meant “your” instead of “you’re” when referring to my stilted dialogue. LOL I just had to do it. LOL Seriously Dave, thanks for lending your eye – I appreciate your views.


I meant "yore" - thought it had the ring of yesteryear


Quoted Text
Before closing, what I want to ask is – Does the story work? Is it entertaining? Is the ACTION written visually?


I like the premise and like that you have interwoven humor into it.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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CrackedAces
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Hello Dave, Thank you for yore nice comment on the premise.

I like to argue more about the character introduction. Maybe I wasn’t clear in my first argument on that subject. Let me try it this way.

“Two 20-year-old women, CAROL and DAKODA, exit the bar.”

The READER gets it and knows their ages and names. However, the VIEWER sees that they are young women but is clueless about their names.

I’ve seen this unique dilemma in scripts that were corrected or re-written by the Director during principle photography. Somehow, a writer must introduce the character names for the VIEWER.

I admit that I’m guilty of using a lazy way at first, instead of sliding the names in, in a creative way.

Hope this clears it up.

My belief is WRITE for the VIEWER and NOT for the READER.

Yore Truly,

Steve




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CrackedAces
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Oooooops, My fingers stumbled again on the keyboard.

In the statement, "My belief is WRITE for the VIEWER and NOT for the READER.  Should have been written, "My belief is WRITE for the VIEWER as well for the READER."




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eldave1
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Quoted from CrackedAces
Hello Dave, Thank you for yore nice comment on the premise.

I like to argue more about the character introduction. Maybe I wasn’t clear in my first argument on that subject. Let me try it this way.

“Two 20-year-old women, CAROL and DAKODA, exit the bar.”

The READER gets it and knows their ages and names. However, the VIEWER sees that they are young women but is clueless about their names.

I’ve seen this unique dilemma in scripts that were corrected or re-written by the Director during principle photography. Somehow, a writer must introduce the character names for the VIEWER.

I admit that I’m guilty of using a lazy way at first, instead of sliding the names in, in a creative way.

Hope this clears it up.

My belief is WRITE for the VIEWER and NOT for the READER.

Yore Truly,

Steve


Hmm.

Interesting take. Never thought of it that way. Not sure that I agree with the approach - but now get 100% what your're saying. Hmm - food for thought.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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CrackedAces
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_ghostwriter
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@CrackedAces...

How the hell you doing????

What follows is nothing more than my opinion.  So please take all my comments with a grain of salt.  Or the entire shaker.

Unfortunately there are no street corners in space. I wish there were sometimes, it would make writing sci fi a lot easier.  The big problem with sci fi is that along with telling the story you have to create a street corner somewhere.   For example; that street corner has to be recognizable by a reader who may not know a space warp from a hole in the ground. So your job is to describe a moving active vision of what a warp might be.  But more importantly what "your" image of a warp is.

" It looks like a report form in Nexkarian alphabet letters."

What does the above look like?

Code

 The viewer screen height reaches from where the slanted
floor meets the lower hull and upward to the perimeter of
the five-foot diameter light structure at the dome. The
viewer width covers a 150-degree arc of the forward hull.  



What you choose to describe is a cue to the audience to pay attention. Details mean "this is important." But you dedicate four lines of description to tell us about basically the ship's main viewscreen.  It seems unnecessary and misleading because I'm waiting to find out why you told me that... when you could have easily just said, on the main viewscreen, which usually ends up being pretty large anyway, if you've seen a few sci-fi movies.   Of course, with a little more detail added.  

I'm making a mountain out of molehill here obviously, I just get a sense of too much detail being delivered, but it's more of a cumulative effect than individual action paragraphs, maybe something to watch out for.  Which paras might you attack and shrink to just 1 or 2 lines?

I didn't mind the asides to the reader. Yours aren't bad, but keep in mind, if your scenes or script is running long, don't be afraid to cut the asides.

As for the story... well... I think your premise is really cool,  your opening was okay.  However -- I wonder if some larger moment on the first page, or as the first imagery, might announce this story better?   It's visual, no doubt, and it's clear you had fun writing this, I just kind of wish you'd give us something grand to start it off.   Me, I like to grab the reader by the collar and say “you’re coming with me”.  

Second; this feels more like one of those quintessential sci-fi B-movies which have been old-fashioned in the fifties, but I also feel like you know this subject, and it shows in the writing as though you do.  The biggest problem I'm having with the story is that it feels trapped in its formula; I don't particularly feel like this is doing anything new with the genre at this point.  Of course, this is realistically only based on the 14 or so pages I 've read, so that could change, or maybe I spoke too soon.   All that being said, it wouldn't be fair of me to place my bias on the story you're trying to tell.

It's good to read something new from you, Steve.

Ghostie





THE HUNT FOR D.B. COOPER

GHOSTS OF APPALOOSA

RISE OF THE AMAZONS

HEATWAVE


THE SLEEPING TIGER

STINGRAY: SPECIAL EDITION

"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."

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_ghostwriter  -  March 17th, 2019, 6:32am
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CrackedAces
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@_ghostwriter

Hello Ghostie, I’m doing _____ fine. Thanks for asking.

Thanks also for taking the time to comment. Reading between the lines of your comments, it appears to me that you have experience or knowledge of both sides of the camera.

I agree with your statement “there are no street corners in space.” A person has to be a space traveler or have a degree in astronomy to navigate from home to the corner liquor store in interstellar space.

A prominent object is used or relied on in motion pictures. The prominent object can be a chair in a room, a landmark in the city, a street sign, etc. But in interstellar space somewhere between two star systems, it’s easy to get lost on the way to the liquor store.

I solve the orientation dilemma by using the Milky Way Sagittarius Arm in a few places throughout the story. That arm of stars will look the same from earth as it would from a planet 12 light years away.

But then again, those living under city lights probably never seen the Milky Way stretched across the night sky. Where I live, a person can lie on the desert by the rattlers and count the zillion stars while listening to the coyotes howl.

About the view screen, I didn’t want a square screen like Spock & Kirk had on Star Trek. I design it so the audience can get some great views I placed in the story – especially the space battles.

I admit the intro is sluggish, but I wanted to get my two main character introduced with some of their quirks then slam the shock in during the build-up. Also in Sci-Fi, we must write some unusual, unknown, and weird stuff. I want to start from the known average stuff and take the audience into the unknown and weird world stuff. But, that’s just me.

Also admit, that there’s a bunch of detail. That’s the sin inborn in Sci-Fi.

You said you got to page 14. The interstellar travel begins there then the horror happens on 21. I recommend listening to some blood-curling gory music score when reading that part, and keep saying to yourself “It’s only a Sci-Fi story and this really doesn’t happen, . . . maybe!”

More SCREAMS later in the story. LOL

I see that you have a story, “THE HUNT FOR D.B. COOPER”. I tried to look it up on SS and didn’t find it. I’d love to read it.

BTW, D.B. Cooper was found. He’s in this story and got a new job! LOL

Thanks, Ghostie, for your input. Exchanging views is educational for us all.

Steve




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_ghostwriter
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It's the eye of the Tiger, it's the thrill of the fight...


Quoted Text
About the view screen, I didn’t want a square screen like Spock & Kirk had on Star Trek. I design it so the audience can get some great views I placed in the story – especially the space battles.


Gotcha.  I think scripts are supposed to be a little detailed but not too detailed so the director could put his/her touch on it.  Give them enough to go with on the important details and they can do what they want with the rest.


Quoted Text
I admit the intro is sluggish, but I wanted to get my two main character introduced with some of their quirks then slam the shock in during the build-up. Also in Sci-Fi, we must write some unusual, unknown, and weird stuff. I want to start from the known average stuff and take the audience into the unknown and weird world stuff. But, that’s just me.


I can see your side of things, too.  Particularly in character-driven pieces, the story needs to breathe a little before you launch right into the conflict. The audience needs to get to know the protagonist first, to see what his/her everyday world is like before you mess it up with any complications.


Quoted Text
BTW, D.B. Cooper was found. He’s in this story and got a new job! LOL


Hilarious, Steve. You're just a never ending source of weird and funny stuff.

Ghostie


THE HUNT FOR D.B. COOPER

GHOSTS OF APPALOOSA

RISE OF THE AMAZONS

HEATWAVE


THE SLEEPING TIGER

STINGRAY: SPECIAL EDITION

"When I dive... I go deep, only to surface the hub when necessary."
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CrackedAces
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@ _ghostwriter

Hello Ghostie,
Thanks for all of your views on this project of mine, ET Highway.

I looked again for your script "Hunt for DB.  Can't find.  Can you send?

Thanks in advance

Steve




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