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>The top story is occupied by a young couple who are away for the weekend.
Do we need to know this if no action takes place upstairs? Just focus on the downstairs apartment, we don't need to know who's not home for the weekend or why.
>I hate that damn dog.
Show, don't tell.
Also we've made it through the first page without learning anything about the character. He's just going for a walk at 1am. Why do I need to see him put on shoes and a jacket? There's no motivation for any of his actions other than you need him to go for a walk at night.
>Donnie stops a crosswalk. There is no traffic, yet he waits for the light to change. It does. He crosses.
Why is this important?
>someone dressed in a ring around collar, pointed shoes and pointed hat. A CLOWN. The Clown is making balloon animals.
Seems like Donnie should react to this strange sight. But he doesn't. Who approaches a clown at 1am in front of a tire factory?
The dialogue at the bottom of 3/top of 4 doesn't sound natural.
>He looks at the gun in his hand. The realization hits him that the commotion must have woken up the whole neighborhood. Donnie runs outside.
A clown broke into his house, why does he care if it woke up his vacationing upstairs neighbor?
I read the whole thing. A guy aimlessly leaves his apartment, walks past a dog and a clown, goes to a convenience store, then walks home as he's chased by the dog and clown. Police arrive, doesn't believe him. Man shoots clown. There's nothing in the story to explain why any of this takes place, there really isn't any comedy in these seven pages, maybe it's better suited as a horror short but even then I would cut out everything up to him walking down the street because it's not really relevant to know how he puts on shoes and a jacket before leaving. Get to the story.
Noted about the first line. It will be revised for updated draft.
The reason Donnie is shown standing at the crosswalk while there is no traffic is to show how by-the-book his behavior is. He could easily just cross, yet he's in no hurry.
At the end he's not concerned about the upstairs neighbors, but the rest of the neighborhood.
He's shown at home to reveal some character. Lives alone, kind of a mundane existence. Most nights are probably like this. Except this time he finally gets some excitement, albeit in a dark and bizarre fashion.
Sorry if this isn't exactly organized but here's some things I noticed....
Page #s. Every page needs one except the first page.
Sluglines should be INT. or EXT. LOCATION - DAY/NIGHT/CONTINUOUS/LATER
is not a proper slugline. A lot of your sluglines only list Int/Ext and location.
Show, don't tell. You tell us what the character is feeling or thinking but we have no actions/dialogue to show it.
He still can’t believe the strange encounter he had outside.
He really doesn’t want to walk passed The Clown again.
DONNIE I hate that damn dog.
It might be better to show us this in action. Right now it sounds like the character is saying this because the writer wants us to have this information. Off the top of my head, instead of saying it you can have Donnie aggressively bark back at the dog..... or.... throw a rock at the dog. Both gives us the sense that he's not fond of the dog and we are getting that information by seeing it, rather than having the character simply say it.
In Spec Scripts it's not a good idea to give shot/camera movements. You can always infer camera shots in other ways via Action.
EXT. DRIVEWAY – CRANE SHOT
WIDE ANGLE – CITY AT NIGHT
Don't worry about set dressing. Leave that to the DP and set designer to figure out. Give us an overall FEEL of the location. Point out specifics if necessary for character or plot development. For example:
And turns off the TV. As he does so, a picture of a girl can be glimpsed on the sofa where he was just sitting. Possibly an ex.
Why mention the picture? It adds nothing to the story. It can very well be a picture of a six-toed cat. It doesn't make a difference. Now, if we had some context to the picture to let us know who she is or at least the relationship to Donnie and made her a part of the story, then it's okay. Example: Donnie kisses the picture and says "I love you" and later on we find out the clown is the girl in the pic. Now the pic means something. It helps us identify the clown and we know that character at one point had a relationship to the main character.
The climax scene where the clown is breaking into one room while Donnie is in the other room can be done with an INTERCUT. An intercut is when you have two scenes happening simultaneously and flip back and forth between them. Having a slugline, one line of action, slugline, one line of action, slugline, one line of action just looks bad visually and can be easily explained with Intercut.
Is this necessary? .....
Donnie gets up off the couch and goes to the INT. BEDROOM To get shoes and a jacket. He returns to the INT. LIVING ROOM And turns off the TV.
I understand your reason stated above that the apartment is to show his normal nights etc, but why do we have to change to INT. BEDROOM just to see him grab his jacket and shoes. Can't we just see him exit the living room and see him return with the items? Adding in a lot of Sluglines with one line of action works against the screenplay. It makes it messy.