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I see you reading and commenting so thought I would check this out. I'll try to be helpful.
Scanning page one and seeing a lot of black ink makes me think I may be in for a laboured read - This could put off the people who you really want to be reading your stuff - professional script readers/comp readers - Good news is this can be cut down a lot.
The trick is to convey what we need in as few words as possible - For my own writing, It helps if I put the script down for a few weeks/months and come back with fresh eyes - some sentences jump out as uneeded that way.
Take your opening line for example
It looks like the inside of a typical American high school
"It looks like..." - Not needed at all, just describe what it looks like "...the inside..." - you have already told us we are inside with the INT. - duplicate info "...high school" - Again, duplicate info - your slug tells us we are in a High School
Start a new block with a new shot - so the first opening shot is of the High school hall ways, next shot focuses on the poster - put that in a new block.
Oh, while I'm on it - Where in the High School are we? Hallways, classroom, common room, bathroom? High schools are big places
The whole first description block is very choppy, you can deffo structure these sentences better.
INT. HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
It looks like the inside of a typical American high school. School colors and events decorate the halls and commons. On a bulletin board is a ï¿½MISSINGï¿½ poster. It shows two normal looking senior high school girls. They are twins. They are wholesome and studious looking. Their names are Marie and Mandy Sanford.
... below is my twenty-second attempt ...
INT. HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY - DAY
Lockers line the walls, claret and blue banners proudly hang above them. A nearby bulletin board houses many pinned up notices, But taking centre stage is a large-
-MISSING POSTER for identical twins MARIE and MANDY SANFORD. Wholesome and studious, they smile bleakly.
It can be improved, but, it breaks up the writing which helps with reading - It conveys what we need to know and no more.
On a side note - Look for places where you can subtly give us some exposition. For example, in my version, I have assumed the twins are recently missing - hence I have put the poster front and centre on the board - but if you want them to have been missing for a while, put the poster towards the back, slightly covered with more recent notices.
MR. PHILIPS (40s) enters and walks to the head of the class. Balding, glasses. High school seniors settle down to start the day. Mr. Philips addresses the class.
MR. PHILIPS All right, before we begin I have an announcement to make. You all know that Marie and Mandy Sanford are still missing. If any of you has any information as to their whereabouts, you are urged to visit the principalï¿½s office. It will be handled by the authorities from there.
BIBI and CECE (1 are two other twins in the class. They sit next to each other. They have the looks that teenage boys would drool over, like the Hiltons or the Kardashians. They listen to what Mr. Philips is saying with blank looks on their faces.
The above scene serves no purpose - All it does is tell us the twins are missing - we already know that. Yeah it introduces the other twin characters but you can do that in the next scene.
I'm out of time for now but I'll revisit throughout the day (I get like 15 mins at a time to read stuff)
From a quick scan, here are some other things I have noticed you do which can be cut out to make the script a lot more streamlined (Don't fret, a lot of writers do these, especially in the beginning)
"blank looks on their faces." - Where else would you have an expression if not on the face? "Matt has scored some marijuana and wants to sell to Greg" - telling, not showing - convey that info through action and dialogue, don't just straight up tell us - how would a viewer know that if not through action and dialogue? " Matt wears..." where else would the clothes be except on his body? Just tell us what he is wearing, not the fact he is wearing them (If he is naked and holding the clothes in his hands, then that would be worthy enough to tell us - but not the fact he is just wearing them)
P.S - A personal request - Can you please put your profile pic the correct way up, it's making my OCD go nuts
Just came back because I forgot to mention this... The logline, or lack of one.
To draw attention to, and really sell your script - you need a log line. I truly despise when writers use other works/movies/celebrities to sell their story - because it makes me think "why can't you describe your story on it's own merit? why do you have to use others stories?"
The amount of times I read - It's *INSERT MOVIE A" meets *INSERT MOVIE B" - is truly depressing - Make it about YOUR story, not somebody elses. (Normally if I see this, I skip past the script without a second thought - The only reason I didn't in this case is because you have been active with no return reads as of now)
I agree with Matt about tidying up the action descriptions. Matt gave good examples and those are the easiest fixes in the world for a screenplay so that's great.
I recently read the screenplay for The Babysitter. It's a really good, clean script with a similar story to yours. It's worth reading and stealing from.
Again Matt's right about cutting out the scene with the teacher. It doesn't read well and it's not down to your writing it's just not needed.
I enjoyed the story but my issue is that I had no one to root for. I want to go through the story with someone. Maybe choose the shy guy and turn the focus more on him. You could also play around with when you give us certain information and play around with the tension.
Thanks for the clarification LC - I know nothing about pitching a script. Still find it depressing that that is what producers want to hear, I would much rather hear "I can't compare it to anything else because this is it's own story" - but maybe I'm naive
Writer - I tried to carry on reading the story but It's too much of a laboured read in it's current state. If the writing is cleaned up I'd be happy to give it another go.
The note from mother - You describe what is in the note, but not how the note is going to be presented to the audience, how will they know what is in the note? will they see it on screen? with enough time to read the thing? - if so, look up how to format that into screenplay format.
I see what you mean but I guess my issue is the WAY you introduce him serves no purpose. He just stands there and gives exposition we already know. There's no character, he's a vessel for information. At the end he's an alcoholic, depressed guy who lost his family. I think that's what you need to introduce.
I'm not a huge fan of the end. It feels a little out of place and doesn't really make any sense. Having a character drink whiskey from the bottle, look at a picture of his family and then talk out loud about how they've gone feels a little heavy handed.
I didn't really get why you made him suddenly try and rape the two girls before they go to the police station. What's that got to do with his family leaving? I think I've missed something.
Having a character drink whiskey from the bottle, look at a picture of his family and then talk out loud about how they've gone feels a little heavy handed.
I didn't really get why you made him suddenly try and rape the two girls before they go to the police station.
I needed something to show that Marie and Mandy were in fact the "evil twins" and having him do something to provoke them seemed the way to go. I didn't feel right just making him a victim without doing something to bring it on. Having them attack him without provocation didn't sit right with me. I did struggle with this scene, but in the end just decided to leave it and see what happens.
Now it's true the two male characters, Matt and Greg, get offed for just being dumb teenage guys, kinda slasher-movie fashion but their part served that purpose. The Matt character possibly more so.
Interestingly the scene in the classroom with the teacher was the original opening. I added the missing poster last minute because there was no way to physically show Marie and Mandy before they're shown in captivity. So without seeing a picture of them first it would be hard to tell who it was supposed to be.
That makes sense and I'm wary that I'm telling you how I would do it. It's not my script.
I think if you can show information in one action line rather than having a character tell us in dialogue then I would go with that. That frees you up to introduce the character in a more dynamic way. The teacher book ends the story so that's set-up and pay off. If you want the teacher to be a perve then set it up. Otherwise it doesn't seem logical.
I don't think you need him to be evil to justify the twins killing him at the end because they're evil. If they're both evil then it cancels itself out.