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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Thriller Scripts  ›  How The Other Half Live
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  Author    How The Other Half Live  (currently 732 views)
Posted: June 29th, 2019, 10:30am Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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How The Other Half Live by Michael E Kitlas - Short, Thriller, Crime, Drama - What happens when a man, down on his luck, takes "people watching" on the train a little too far? 12 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

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Matthew Taylor
Posted: July 12th, 2019, 4:40am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Shakespeare's county
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Hi Mike

Quoted Text
A CROWD stands elbow to elbow on a Subway platform.

Two minor things here. 1) Train/Subway, personally I think consistency is king, use one or the other and stick with it. 2) Double information - you repeat the slug location in the description, which is not a big deal really, but it just unnecessarily adds extra words - we want to try and keep this as smooth a read as possible.

Quoted Text
This station is Wall Street.
Transfer is available to the 3

I have learned that numbers in the dialogue are supposed to be words - three - I guess it has to do with how long actors would take to say the dialogue (more appropriate for longer numbers)

Quoted Text
CU as the paper is unfolded

Generally, it's not a good idea to use camera directions in a spec script - I'm sure directors will ignore them anyway, but script readers might pull you up on it.
You can guide what we see without using things like CU - if you just describe him unfolding the paper, where does our mind's eye go? on the paper - without the need for CU, does that make sense?

Quoted Text
So! How did it go?

Baby is not physically in this scene but is heard on the phone so she needs (O.S.) next to her name.

Quoted Text
Javier shifts his focus. After a beat, he answers.

another minor thing, but adds to the word count "he answers" - no need for this, we know he answers because we see/hear him answering - no need to tell if you are already showing us. You can just add the beat in to show his delayed response - or do it visually, or both.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think beat needs its own line - you should check that though. it's all about keeping pacing through the script. Personally, I would go with something like...

Quoted Text
So! How did it go?

Javier shuffles in his seat.

...I mean, it was alright

Not saying you should use the above - just highlighting ways it can be done

Personally, I think Javier's talking to himself dialogue would work better if it was in his thoughts, rather than whispering to himself - but that's just me (FYI if you wanted to do that, you would put (V.O.) at the end of his name)

Quoted Text
KACLICK. The door shuts.

Javier rises to his feet and takes off sprinting. Down the
block he goes, and back to Flatbush Avenue.

He keeps running, up Nostrand Avenue.

City blocks fly by before finally he stops in front of an
apartment building.

Here you have multiple locations but no new slugs - the slug has us in the back garden still - the location needs to be clear, it also helps with pacing the script, something like...

Quoted Text
KACLICK. The door shuts.

Javier rises to his feet, sprints onto


and continues his run until he turns into


The buildings are a blur as he continues to sprint
without a backward glance.


Javier finally comes to a stop. He doubles over, pants
desperately tries to gain his breath.

Again, mines not great - for illustrative purposes only

Alright, I'm done reading.

Overall, apart from a few things that I've mentioned, the writing is good - I didn't stumble much and I got some clear visuals - nice work.

I also really like the story - although I think it needs a bit more "edge of my seat" moments. Javier follows this guy, which does take people watching a bit far - I understand why he does it, but it's still not too believable for me - I think we need some extra layer to really convince us that what Javier is doing is normal for him - more inner monologue about his struggles - make the man in suit the same age and play the "what does he do that I don't" angle - I dunno, something maybe.

When Bernard sat in the diner I had an "oh, shit" moment - which was good - but that moment didn't last too long as it became quickly apparent that he wasn't there to hurt Javier - re-working this scene to give it a bit more suspense, tension, a bigger sense of dread for Javier might work. also, would he not realise he left his bag behind sooner?

Love the final image of him closing the bag of money - I'm assuming this is the "Yep, I've already accepted his offer" moment - might have us see Javier flash a smile before the bag finally zips.

Overall - top job

I hope something I have said is of some use - at the very least I have succeeded in bumping this thread in the hope you get a read from someone more experienced lol

Good luck with your writing

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Posted: July 12th, 2019, 1:42pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Las Vegas, Nevada
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Enjoyed the story. Some descriptions and scene work were a little clumsy and some CAPS were not necessary and distracting. The scene at the diner when Bernard sits across from Javier, one could really feel J's shock and surprise and the scene worked out well between them. Also some of the waitress' dialog was catchy.

Title was interesting and script turned out different than what was implied by it, so interesting twist.
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Posted: July 12th, 2019, 2:57pm Report to Moderator

Queens, New York
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Thank you both, I appreciate it. I'll clean up the scenes and descriptions now.

I'll return the favor later this weekend and check out some of yours.

Thanks again,


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Posted: July 12th, 2019, 6:24pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients

Southern California
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Michael - I echo Matthew's comments - thought they were spot on.

A nice little story here - well told for the most part.

I didn't care for Bernard's "voice". I found it inconsistent. For example. he's talking in a fairly distinguished manner and then this:

Quoted Text
Sometimes I get wrapped up in my
own shit. I lose sight of blending

Which sounded blue collar all of a sudden.

I originally thought of Bernard is an Anthony Hopkins type - evil, but well spoken, articulate - refined. He bounced towards a Robert De Niro type - I hope this makes sense.

Nice effort.

My Scripts can all be seen here:
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Posted: July 14th, 2019, 3:12pm Report to Moderator

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Hey Mike !

Nice little story you have here.  A  curiosity killed the cat type of tale.  I think it's relatable  in the sense that humans are curious creatures.  I think we all envy something  about someone at least once in our life.  That's how I related to your story.  

Quoted Text
This station is Flatbush Avenue,
Brooklyn College.

I've only rode on a few  public transport trains.  Instead of Voice,  maybe "Digital Voice?"
Usually when arriving at a stop, it would say, " Arriving Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn College."
Never heard one say "This station is."  If you've heard them announce like that then disregard this statement.

Quoted Text

He folds his fingers to make a

Would it be easier to say " He makes a finger pistol." ?

When the cops come in and Bernard salutes.  How about one of the cops says, " Always kidding ain't ya Detective." ?  Bernard said killing was his side hustle .  I was curious about what he does when he isn't killing.  Maybe it is a way to tie that loose end up?

Quoted Text


I would get rid of the word "Love."  Just don't see Bernard writing love.

Of course all my advice is just an opinion. I'm a novice writer myself.  It seems you are ahead of the learning curve.  Good job!

All the best!
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