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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Thriller Scripts  ›  Motion Sickness
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  Author    Motion Sickness  (currently 281 views)
Don
Posted: November 1st, 2020, 10:41am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Motion Sickness by Bryce Smink - Short, Thriller - Milo, a young inexperienced driver, is terrified of driving on the Freeway. But, after sneaking out for a quick bite late at night, he finds himself in a horrifying situation. Held hostage at gunpoint by mysterious criminal, Milo is forced to become their getaway driver, along with facing his fears of the Freeway head-on. 10 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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Matthew Taylor
Posted: November 2nd, 2020, 11:39am Report to Moderator
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Hi Bryce

The following is my amateur views - feel free to ignore.

The overwhelming feeling I have reading this is that you use too many words to describe what is going on and sometimes you tell instead of show - I get a good sense of the mood/vibe... whatever you want to call it, but there is a bit of overkill.


Quoted Text
Milo is looking straight up ahead, where the Freeway opens
up. He hesitates, thinking something over for a moment.
Debates on taking the Freeway. Just stares at the entrance.


Here for example, you have him hesitating, thinking it over and debating. further down...


Quoted Text
He�d rather just take the long way. The Freeway is just that
intimidating to him.
He�s terrified of it, for some weird reason. A new driver.


again overkill, and becomes very "tell" instead of "show" for my liking.

Instead of saying he hesitates, and that he's intimidated and the rest of it - can't you show us?
He nervously taps the steering wheel, sweat forms on his brow, the light turns green but he doesn't move - a car behind honks their horn, lunges forward towards the junction but then suddenly veers onto a side road.



Quoted Text
LATER, IN THE PARKING LOT. In a dark area of the lot, Milo
has PARKED HIS SEDAN. The inside lights are on. We move in...


Again here is an example of using too many words.

Personally, I think you just need some practice in structuring your sentences, cutting down all the unnecessary stuff (rewrites should be used to be ruthless and see what can be cut down but not take away from the script) and also spotting where you can show us instead of telling us.
But whilst doing the above, you don't want to lose any of the emotion and atmosphere that you inject into the script... find the balance.

Anyway, story is king and I bloody loved this one.

It's not down as a comedy, but this reads as a dark comedy to me - the situation of the kidnapper giving his kidnapped getaway driver a driving lesson is funny. some of the dialogue and the relationship that builds between the two is funny and authentic.

Milo is mainly concerned with being a terrible kidnap victim, rather than you know, being kidnapped and the kidnapper ends up being very paternal - both creates a great dynamic and lends to some comedy gold.


Quoted Text
MILO
Nothing. Nothing -- Everything�s
fine. I�m good. It�s all good...

It�s not.


I also enjoyed that "it's not" at the end - short, to the point and effective at showing us the mood.

Great job on the story, really enjoyed it.

EDIT: forgot to end, good job on bringing it back to him preparing to go on the freeway at the end, sandwiched the story nicely - and looking back, maybe we don't need to devote a whole page about him sneaking out of the house since the story is;t really about him sneaking out as we don't return to that - you can shorten this a bit more to get to the point of the script faster



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BryceS
Posted: November 2nd, 2020, 11:47am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Matthew Taylor
Hi Bryce

The following is my amateur views - feel free to ignore.

The overwhelming feeling I have reading this is that you use too many words to describe what is going on and sometimes you tell instead of show - I get a good sense of the mood/vibe... whatever you want to call it, but there is a bit of overkill.



Here for example, you have him hesitating, thinking it over and debating. further down...



again overkill, and becomes very "tell" instead of "show" for my liking.

Instead of saying he hesitates, and that he's intimidated and the rest of it - can't you show us?
He nervously taps the steering wheel, sweat forms on his brow, the light turns green but he doesn't move - a car behind honks their horn, lunges forward towards the junction but then suddenly veers onto a side road.




Again here is an example of using too many words.

Personally, I think you just need some practice in structuring your sentences, cutting down all the unnecessary stuff (rewrites should be used to be ruthless and see what can be cut down but not take away from the script) and also spotting where you can show us instead of telling us.
But whilst doing the above, you don't want to lose any of the emotion and atmosphere that you inject into the script... find the balance.

Anyway, story is king and I bloody loved this one.

It's not down as a comedy, but this reads as a dark comedy to me - the situation of the kidnapper giving his kidnapped getaway driver a driving lesson is funny. some of the dialogue and the relationship that builds between the two is funny and authentic.

Milo is mainly concerned with being a terrible kidnap victim, rather than you know, being kidnapped and the kidnapper ends up being very paternal - both creates a great dynamic and lends to some comedy gold.



I also enjoyed that "it's not" at the end - short, to the point and effective at showing us the mood.

Great job on the story, really enjoyed it.

EDIT: forgot to end, good job on bringing it back to him preparing to go on the freeway at the end, sandwiched the story nicely - and looking back, maybe we don't need to devote a whole page about him sneaking out of the house since the story is;t really about him sneaking out as we don't return to that - you can shorten this a bit more to get to the point of the script faster



Yeah, you're right. I should probably cut down on the description a bit. Even I feel like 10 pages is a little too much for this pretty basic story. Thanks for the feedback!

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LC
Posted: November 3rd, 2020, 2:08am Report to Moderator
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Bryce, I'm rather hesitant to stifle your colour and creativity here by reiterating what most might comment on regarding overwriting, formatting, camera directions, use of specific music, etc.

You open on this -

INT. MILOS SEDAN / IN THE DRIVEWAY - NIGHT
when it's:
EXT. MILO'S HOUSE - DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

That's an EXT scene prior to Milo actually getting in the driver's seat.
So, setup is EXT which then goes to Milo actually getting behind the wheel with:
INT. MILO'S CAR - NIGHT

This is blatant 'telling' us info:

We might get a better view of our hero, and a conclusion can
be made that Milo is way too young to be driving alone. Let
alone at night. He can barely even see over the steering
wheel.


- But, I actually quite like it. Don't change anything that's going to change the personality of the script, but that technically is one big aside.

You have a tendency to repeat in description a lot of things where one line will suffice but it's also rather refreshing to read a full-bodied script.

You don't really need: And at his own pace as a preamble to the line that follows. You might look at examples where you do similar preambles. If you think it's adding to colour and character and rhythm, keep it. If it's not adding anything, ditch it - commonly known as editing yourself.

You use Beat quite a lot. I'm not a stickler or averse to occasional use for rhythm but... There's a long beat, there's a slow beat, there's a beat - (beat) - perhaps fill some of those beats with an action that causes the beat, if you know what I mean, lest you get in the habit of using them - well, just out of habit. You've got room in this script to add some physical comedy/facial contortions for example, to those beats without it running into farce.

See here: Theres a beat. Milo actually thinks about this for a moment.
Perhaps Milo gulps hard or his eyes bulge?

Perhaps earlier when we first get a glimpse of Milo deliberating over taking the Freeway he breaks into a sweat.

A couple of typos I noted:

now...I want you to take some
deep breathes, okay? Slow breathes.

Breaths not breathes

SWAYING IN ITS LANE A BIT (should be ITS)

A defensive driver   Exactly what my dad used to say.

Btw, I read your other TZ  script too (very entertaining take on the original) but noted that you wanted more feedback on this one, so... Be aware that you often preface lines with 'Slowly'. You did that a fair bit in that script too. Make sure that word actually is appropriate to the action unfolding.

Download Thesaurus.com to mix up your verb choices:

Milo is eating away at his food.
Further on down he's munching away...That verb choice is a lot more colourful, but you could condense that passage and add how Milo eats - does he chow down like he hasn't had a square meal in days, does he slurp his drink, cram as many fries into his mouth as he can...

I dunno... The repitition is funny as written. We get the full picture, so job well done. Part of me thinks leave well enough alone. Just be aware that where you can make action more present tense and less static, the better - and you might cop criticism to this effect.

I'd capitalise on the comedy gold moments. Perhaps Ski Mask guy relates how nervous he was when he first started in his line of work. Perhaps be talks about Yoga, or CBT, or Tai Chi to counteract hyperventilating. Of course you don't want to slow the pace with too much chatter but maybe a quick reference when he's helping diffuse Milo's panic attack.

In the same vein -

In...and
out. In...and out.


- I thought this should actually be in dialogue from Ski Mask guy.

I think a little bit more audible resistance from Milo is in order too before first entering the freeway perhaps?

Describe things as actively as you can. Choose verbs that elicit action and movement.

IN THE DRIVE THRU: Milos Sedan is parked at the window.
Theres an exchange of money. Soon enough Milo gets his food.


That's pretty static the way it's written.

Milo's sedan idles at the -

DRIVE THRU WINDOW
Perhaps? He counts out coins.

Btw, you're missing two scene slugs.
IN THE DRIVE THRU is technically a mini slug - smaller location as part of a larger location.

LATER, IN THE PARKING LOT

- also should technically be formatted as a Mini Slug, on a separate scene header line.

Technically they need to be formatted as scene headings even if just written as MINI SLUGS.

So, the overall MASTER scene heading is :
FAST FOOD RESTAURANT - NIGHT

The Mini slugs are :

DRIVE THRU WINDOW and,
PARKING LOT - LATER

It's also pretty static the way the action unfolds around Milo when he's oblivious and eating his Burger too:

Milo is eating away at his food. The radio is BLASTING
MUSIC. As he eats, theres some strange NOSIES that Milo
doesnt really hear. Seems to be coming from the restaurant.
Things like GLASS SHATTERING. A DOOR SWINGING OPEN. RUNNING
FOOTSTEPS. A DISTANT YELL FROM THE RESTAURANT. MORE RUNNING.
Milo is completely oblivious to this, munching away at his
hamburger, listening to his music way too loud, and then --
BAM! The BACK DOOR of the Sedan FLINGS OPEN


But, somehow, you make it work.

The bit before and after this:

Ski Mask sighs. Readjusts himself a bit and start his speech over.

- with the music blaring is really funny!

I was wondering how you were going to end this... I'd call it not so much as going out with a bang but ending on a quietly satisfying note.

He faces the same problem
I'd personally write Milo faces... there at the end, even though it is repetitious.

I won't yap on any further. I could... but it might suck the life out of a great script. There are so many great touches in this very entertaining script and I've only touched on a few.

You're clearly a very talented writer and will go far.

Thoroughly enjoyable, very funny, and a hoot to read.


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BryceS
Posted: November 3rd, 2020, 9:52am Report to Moderator
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Posts
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Quoted from LC
Bryce, I'm rather hesitant to stifle your colour and creativity here by reiterating what most might comment on regarding overwriting, formatting, camera directions, use of specific music, etc.

You open on this -

INT. MILOS SEDAN / IN THE DRIVEWAY - NIGHT
when it's:
EXT. MILO'S HOUSE - DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

That's an EXT scene prior to Milo actually getting in the driver's seat.
So, setup is EXT which then goes to Milo actually getting behind the wheel with:
INT. MILO'S CAR - NIGHT

This is blatant 'telling' us info:

We might get a better view of our hero, and a conclusion can
be made that Milo is way too young to be driving alone. Let
alone at night. He can barely even see over the steering
wheel.


- But, I actually quite like it. Don't change anything that's going to change the personality of the script, but that technically is one big aside.

You have a tendency to repeat in description a lot of things where one line will suffice but it's also rather refreshing to read a full-bodied script.

You don't really need: And at his own pace as a preamble to the line that follows. You might look at examples where you do similar preambles. If you think it's adding to colour and character and rhythm, keep it. If it's not adding anything, ditch it - commonly known as editing yourself.

You use Beat quite a lot. I'm not a stickler or averse to occasional use for rhythm but... There's a long beat, there's a slow beat, there's a beat - (beat) - perhaps fill some of those beats with an action that causes the beat, if you know what I mean, lest you get in the habit of using them - well, just out of habit. You've got room in this script to add some physical comedy/facial contortions for example, to those beats without it running into farce.

See here: Theres a beat. Milo actually thinks about this for a moment.
Perhaps Milo gulps hard or his eyes bulge?

Perhaps earlier when we first get a glimpse of Milo deliberating over taking the Freeway he breaks into a sweat.

A couple of typos I noted:

now...I want you to take some
deep breathes, okay? Slow breathes.

Breaths not breathes

SWAYING IN ITS LANE A BIT (should be ITS)

A defensive driver   Exactly what my dad used to say.

Btw, I read your other TZ  script too (very entertaining take on the original) but noted that you wanted more feedback on this one, so... Be aware that you often preface lines with 'Slowly'. You did that a fair bit in that script too. Make sure that word actually is appropriate to the action unfolding.

Download Thesaurus.com to mix up your verb choices:

Milo is eating away at his food.
Further on down he's munching away...That verb choice is a lot more colourful, but you could condense that passage and add how Milo eats - does he chow down like he hasn't had a square meal in days, does he slurp his drink, cram as many fries into his mouth as he can...

I dunno... The repitition is funny as written. We get the full picture, so job well done. Part of me thinks leave well enough alone. Just be aware that where you can make action more present tense and less static, the better - and you might cop criticism to this effect.

I'd capitalise on the comedy gold moments. Perhaps Ski Mask guy relates how nervous he was when he first started in his line of work. Perhaps be talks about Yoga, or CBT, or Tai Chi to counteract hyperventilating. Of course you don't want to slow the pace with too much chatter but maybe a quick reference when he's helping diffuse Milo's panic attack.

In the same vein -

In...and
out. In...and out.


- I thought this should actually be in dialogue from Ski Mask guy.

I think a little bit more audible resistance from Milo is in order too before first entering the freeway perhaps?

Describe things as actively as you can. Choose verbs that elicit action and movement.

IN THE DRIVE THRU: Milos Sedan is parked at the window.
Theres an exchange of money. Soon enough Milo gets his food.


That's pretty static the way it's written.

Milo's sedan idles at the -

DRIVE THRU WINDOW
Perhaps? He counts out coins.

Btw, you're missing two scene slugs.
IN THE DRIVE THRU is technically a mini slug - smaller location as part of a larger location.

LATER, IN THE PARKING LOT

- also should technically be formatted as a Mini Slug, on a separate scene header line.

Technically they need to be formatted as scene headings even if just written as MINI SLUGS.

So, the overall MASTER scene heading is :
FAST FOOD RESTAURANT - NIGHT

The Mini slugs are :

DRIVE THRU WINDOW and,
PARKING LOT - LATER

It's also pretty static the way the action unfolds around Milo when he's oblivious and eating his Burger too:

Milo is eating away at his food. The radio is BLASTING
MUSIC. As he eats, theres some strange NOSIES that Milo
doesnt really hear. Seems to be coming from the restaurant.
Things like GLASS SHATTERING. A DOOR SWINGING OPEN. RUNNING
FOOTSTEPS. A DISTANT YELL FROM THE RESTAURANT. MORE RUNNING.
Milo is completely oblivious to this, munching away at his
hamburger, listening to his music way too loud, and then --
BAM! The BACK DOOR of the Sedan FLINGS OPEN


But, somehow, you make it work.

The bit before and after this:

Ski Mask sighs. Readjusts himself a bit and start his speech over.

- with the music blaring is really funny!

I was wondering how you were going to end this... I'd call it not so much as going out with a bang but ending on a quietly satisfying note.

He faces the same problem
I'd personally write Milo faces... there at the end, even though it is repetitious.

I won't yap on any further. I could... but it might suck the life out of a great script. There are so many great touches in this very entertaining script and I've only touched on a few.

You're clearly a very talented writer and will go far.

Thoroughly enjoyable, very funny, and a hoot to read.


Thank you, LC.

I've been working on this script on and off for about two months. I posted this script mostly because I knew there was something wrong with the script, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. And the people who I showed it to are not familiar with scripts, and just gave me a shrug and a thumbs up. That's why I think SS is so great for writers.

Your feedback, along with others, is a very sobering experience for me when it comes to criticism about my work. And I love that!

I believe wholeheartedly that practice makes perfect, and I will continue to do so.

Thanks for the feedback!
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