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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  Open Casket Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: July 24th, 2005, 10:11am Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Open Casket by Spencer McDonald - Short, Drama - A nemesis from the past wrecks havoc on the mind Marty Morris. Find out how Marty confronts his nemesis and if he is successful. - Dogglebe One Week Screenwriting Exercise Submission - doc, format


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Andy Petrou
Posted: July 24th, 2005, 11:58am Report to Moderator
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Hi Spencer,



SPOILERS ->




Good job with this script, I liked the storyline a lot.

One thing that I wasn't sure about was the way that you formatted it. I noticed a lot of camera direction, which I believe isn't supposed to be used. Also, the sluglines/direction being used next to the character's name... this is something I've never seen before.

Marty was a good character and I liked the way that his bully wasn't really explained but had a hand in Marty's demise. I did't really feel sorry for Marty at any point as we are never told what happened there. The ending was unpredictable and well thought out.

Good stuff and great to see you play in the game this week! I nearly didn't see this one till the last minute.

Andy x
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spencerforhire
Posted: July 24th, 2005, 2:08pm Report to Moderator
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Write NOW! Perfect LATER!

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Andy

Thank you for the kind words. To be honest with you this my very first attempt at this stuff. After I wrote it I really liked what I did. I felt good about it. The direction stuff I am not sure about. I only formatted as best I knew how. Maybe you could give me some tips. I want to get better and write more.

Thanks,

Spencer


I got nothing.  
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Andy Petrou
Posted: July 24th, 2005, 2:20pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Spencer... or do you prefer Spence?

Don't mention it, hon. Wow, for your first attempt you did a great job. As for the use of direction, it's supposed to be the director's job, so try to avoid saying anything about where the camera will be. Only write what we can see, and if we can't see it, don't write it as if we can assume it's there.

You can check out my script for this game, in this link -

http://www.simplyscripts.com/scripts/houseoffun.RTF

No-one has yet to tell me the format isn't correct, so if this helps you out, great!!

Be sure to check out scripts by George Wilson, dogglebe and bert for more tips on how to format a script and just to see a few well written ones for now. There are a lot of great writers on these boards in addition to the ones I've just mentioned. A lot of them participated in this game and may be of interest to you to read some of their work for more tips.

Check out this thread to see who I am referring to. Their scripts are listed in no particular order -

http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?,v=display,b=film_contests,m=1121870219

We all took part to learn more about how to write to a deadline and more importantly, to have some fun!

Welcome to the board!

Andy x
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Pete B. Lane
Posted: July 24th, 2005, 10:55pm Report to Moderator
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Considering this is a first attempt at this type of thing, it's not too bad. I have to admit though, it was a struggle to get through at times. The format is off and there's too much camera direction for my taste, but that's not too hard to correct.

The main problem I find with the story is that Marty seems to be a really horrible person, much worse than you reveal Bart to be. But maybe that's what you were going for. Regardless, there are no likable characters in your story.

A good first effort, and Welcome to the board.

BTW - this is the third "dead bully" story I've read tonight and I've noticed a trend: nobody can spell corpse (not corps). lol.
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spencerforhire
Posted: July 25th, 2005, 9:20am Report to Moderator
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Pete

Thanks. I appreciate the comments. Looking forward to better writtings in the future.

Spencer


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Mr.Z
Posted: July 25th, 2005, 10:04am Report to Moderator
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Hi Spencer. Here are some comments wich I hope are useful to you.

Try to avoid descriptions in your sluglines, like:

"TRAFFIC GOING OVER THE SAN FRANCISCO BRIDGE…

Cars are stalled bumper to bumper..."

This should be:

"EXT. SAN FRANCISCO BRIDGE - DAY

Cars are stalled bumper to bumper..."

As other posters already said, avoid camera directions. There is always a way of hinting what the camera should focus, without writing "the camera does this or that". And when you introduce a character, do it in caps, and mentioning his/hers age. Also, don´t change locations in character´s extensions. Do it only in sluglines. For example:

"Marty Martin is sitting in his Silver BMW Z3 as the camera stops with a close up of Marty gripping the steering wheel and cussing the cars on the bridge.

MARTY (INT. CAR)

Come on FUCKERS! Move it…I’m goin’
be late for the dead."

This should be:

"I/E. MARTY´S CAR - DAY

MARTY MARTIN (30) sits in his Silver BMW Z3, gripping the steering wheel.

MARTY
Come on FUCKERS! Move it…I’m goin’
be late for the dead."

For basic format tips, check this site: http://www.screenwriting.info/



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spencerforhire
Posted: July 25th, 2005, 7:08pm Report to Moderator
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Write NOW! Perfect LATER!

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Mr. Z.

I truly appreciate your comments and will take them to heart. I had a great time attempting this game and look forward to getting better with each screenplay. I have reviewed the website you mentioned and will keep their tips in mind for next time. Also, my formatting will improve 1000%.

Spencer


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George Willson
Posted: July 25th, 2005, 10:20pm Report to Moderator
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It looks like I misspoke when I said I'd read them all cause this one popped up on me out of no where. After looking over the comments you've already received, I'll say that this was a good first script. You had a decent storyline and it followed through to an acceptable conclusion.

The camera directions were definitely overkill. Beyond reading about formatting, the best thing to do is read scripts that are well-formatted. Andy (aka theoriginalgoonie) has recommended some of us that are rather good with the format (including me; I'm touched, Andy). Beyond the nitty-gritty of format, if you come close to what's been done, that's usually good enough to start with..not to mention being connected with a site that links to produced scripts. You'll get used to what proper format looks like and can easily spot it.

Marty was a fairly well-developed character, and I really liked how you laid out the drunk talk. Nothing much was done with the bully todevelop any sympathy for Marty. Instead, Marty looks gruff and cynical and is just mean to a body he id's as being mean to him. When the ending comes about, we feel he gets his just desserts.

This is a good start. We look forward to good things as you progress. Well done.

As for me, you finally revealed that one word that evaded me the whole time we were doing this: undertaker. Ah, there it is. And I don't think I used the word, "corpse."



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George Willson  -  July 25th, 2005, 10:21pm
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Martin
Posted: July 29th, 2005, 11:02am Report to Moderator
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Hi Spencer, I really enjoyed this one. I won't comment on the formatting and camera direction since it's already been said.

As for the story, I think you did a great job for your first script. I really like the darkly comic tone of your writing. It's pretty sick. Some of it reminded me of when I worked with nurses, and they'd be nice as pie to the patients but then make vicious jokes behind their backs. It's just their way of dealing with their job.

At one point you had me wondering if Marty was prepping the body or doing an autopsy, what with removing organs etc. I liked his character and the way you didn't try to create sympathy for him, merely showed him as bitter and cynical.

There's a great irony at the end with him hitting the Fed-Ex truck. It rounded things off nicely. There were a few moments where I chuckled to myself, notably when the casket opened. The steering wheel was a nice touch.

Overall a decent script. Work on the formatting and it would be much better.
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bert
Posted: August 3rd, 2005, 12:46pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, nobody told me there was a dark-horse playing our little game.  I just found this, Spence.  Welcome to the boards.  Sorry I didn't see it sooner.

Pretty good for a first effort.  Format will come as you read the works of others, and you get better as you read, too -- even the "less than perfect" stuff, as you come to recognize what is wrong with it.

I've got a few comments (and spoilers) for you on this:

*  One format thing nobody has mentioned yet is your use of parentheticals.  These are the things in ( ) where you describe "how" the dialogue should be delivered.  Things like (speaking in a worried tone) or  (with cynical emphasis and a sneer).  You've got a ton of 'em, and generally, these are kept to a minimum. If the dialogue is "right", then you should not really need them.  If you find yourself using them frequently, it is a clue that maybe your dialogue isn't working like it should.
*  I love -- LOVE -- the idea of a pissed-off, drunken mortician going to town on somebody. And you handled it pretty well, too.
*  You have Marty waking up at home, and he's like, "I gotta get back!"  The flow of the story might have been a little cleaner if you had just had him waking up on the floor of the funeral home somewhere.  Or maybe sprawled out in a casket?  That could have been cool.
*  Finally, none of your characters are likable here, Spence, and that is sort of a problem.  I mean, of course it's not mandatory, but stories tend to have more resonance with a sympathetic character you come to care about.  Marty is interesting, sure, but I don't think any reader will really "like" him, or feel anything but somewhat amused when he meets his (appropriate) demise.  Just something to think about for next time.

So, anyways, nice job.  It will be interesting to see what you come up with next.


Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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