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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  The Deal Moderators: bert
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Don
Posted: March 9th, 2008, 1:14pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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The Deal by Kevin J Bergeron (themadhatter) - Thriller - A man is given the opportunity for a million dollars, but there's a catch. 15 pages - pdf, format


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-------------
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GM
Posted: March 9th, 2008, 2:33pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Mad Hatter,

Not sure if this should be here since it is a short. This thread is more for features. But I'm unsure. Anyway to the tale, interesting tale you have here: I see it as another form of SAW. But I was cracking up through it especially when Alan pratices to kill. A good mix of horrors and comedy I suppose.  

You should really lengthen it a bit more though. I didn't believe that Alan would agree so soon. And the fact you removed the scene where Alan supposed to make the decision kind of lessened the story a bit. Because then why didn't Alan ask for a second chance if he found the Man. And the fact Alan found him, how could the Man disappear again. Alot of questions. In addition, give the MAn a fake name to be identified by Alan. He is a major character and should have a name. The generic names are used for characters with minor roles.

Hope this helps,
Gabe

[bert's edit:  Gabe is correct, and thread moved]

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bert  -  March 9th, 2008, 2:53pm
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theMADhatter
Posted: March 11th, 2008, 6:29pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading, Ripley.

I'm glad you didn't knock the comedy in the montage, it was intentional. I figured he's the type of guy who would practice this, so he gets it right.

*spoilers*

I got cut the scene short for a reason. He says that he didn't want to do it, so the deal was off, but the offer still intrigued him afterwards and he changed his mind without telling the Man. Maybe I can include a scene of him waiting for the Man and not seeing him...
Anyhue, if I included the fact that Alan said no to him, the twist at the end wouldn't be there.

Alan found him because the Man knew he was looking for him, so he presented himself. He's a manifestation of the Devil. He appears. I didn't think it would be good to give him a name in the script since he never mentions his name and it's a short.


And sorry about putting it in the wrong thread, this was my first upload and forgot about "shorts".



Why is a Raven like a writing desk?
onus - Three men, three guns, no escape. (WIP)
the Deal - What would you do for a million dollars?
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Pants
Posted: April 16th, 2008, 2:04pm Report to Moderator
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I liked this quite a bit. I thought that Allen agreed to the deal. I didn't like the end where you find out he actually never agreed to it. It doesn't make much sense. At the end the Man seems like he would have explained to Allen that the deal was off, but Allen doesn't realize this until he's told. I think a little more dialogue in the earlier scenes dealing with this would clear up the problem.
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theMADhatter
Posted: April 16th, 2008, 3:25pm Report to Moderator
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Read my response above, I mention most points you bring up, giving my reasoning.

I suppose I could change the dialog at the end, so it's obvious that Allan knows he refused the deal, but thought he could change the Man's mind about his decision. Again, I could show Allan waiting for him, but he doesn't come.

The whole point is to examine the nature of Allan, and mankind. Given an extraordinary circumstance, would a normal man kill some random person for money? Most people's first reaction is "no, of course not". Once given the time to think about it, some people might have it in them to follow through. "I really hate this person... and that's a lot of money especially for no bad circumstances."

Allan is one of these people. His reaction doesn't need to make sense to his agreement because he's desperate. He realized that not only is he not getting his money, but he's very likely to get caught.

I'd like to add more dialog at the end to reflect this better.



Why is a Raven like a writing desk?
onus - Three men, three guns, no escape. (WIP)
the Deal - What would you do for a million dollars?
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Pants
Posted: April 16th, 2008, 3:44pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from theMADhatter
Read my response above, I mention most points you bring up, giving my reasoning.

I suppose I could change the dialog at the end, so it's obvious that Allan knows he refused the deal, but thought he could change the Man's mind about his decision. Again, I could show Allan waiting for him, but he doesn't come.

The whole point is to examine the nature of Allan, and mankind. Given an extraordinary circumstance, would a normal man kill some random person for money? Most people's first reaction is "no, of course not". Once given the time to think about it, some people might have it in them to follow through. "I really hate this person... and that's a lot of money especially for no bad circumstances."

Allan is one of these people. His reaction doesn't need to make sense to his agreement because he's desperate. He realized that not only is he not getting his money, but he's very likely to get caught.

I'd like to add more dialog at the end to reflect this better.


I understand what you were trying to do, it just didn't work. First of all you stated killing a "random" person. Your boss is not random. Random is walking down the street, picking out a total stranger for no ryhme or reason and killing them. That's random. Random is what Mr. Brooks does in the movie Mr. Brooks. Just had a thought, you may feel free to use it. At the end when Allen is waiting for the man, Allen is sitting and staring at the ground. A pair of men's shoes comes  view and as Allen into excitedly looks up because he thinks it's payday, he realizes that he's face to face with a police man. That way it doesn't matter if he told the man no to the deal in the beginning. If the man is a representation of the devil, this makes sense because the devil doesn't play fair. The man in the beginning could also be an internal voice convincing Allen to do something terrible. The beginnings of a serial killer maybe? Just throwing some ideas at you.
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theMADhatter
Posted: April 16th, 2008, 4:25pm Report to Moderator
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The "random person" was a suggestion the Man gave him, it's not necessarily in the rules. He says:

MAN
Most people pick a homeless person, a drifter. Someone who they know won't be missed. It doesn't matter either way. It just makes them feel better.

Also, If we simply end it abruptly with the police officer, we don't get any answers or closure. If he's the maker of a serial killer, he would've killed a random person, like Mr. Brooks.

I almost like the idea of the voices in his head being the Man, but it's almost too cliche. Like, it becomes Fight Club or Identity or Hide and Seek.

If anything, you can speculate that the devil made him say no but let him do it anyway. I mean, afterall, the devil doesn't really walk up to people and tell them to kill them, he makes them (if he exists). So he could have appeared and given the illusion of a choice but really, he didn't have one.

I'll add something to the end (or something similar):
Allan
Is this a joke?
Man
I don't like jokes. I prefer tricks.



Why is a Raven like a writing desk?
onus - Three men, three guns, no escape. (WIP)
the Deal - What would you do for a million dollars?
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Pants
Posted: April 16th, 2008, 4:49pm Report to Moderator
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It's your script, so do what you want. I think a line like that at the end is cheesey, but once again this is all just one opinion. It's obvious that you like your script the way it is. Good luck with your future endeavors.
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dkw208
Posted: April 17th, 2008, 1:18am Report to Moderator
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please read my script: http://www.simplyscripts.ne

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hi, just read it, here's my notes.  this was an entertaining read, but the end left something to be desired.  you were very good with your action, i like the scenes with no dialogue where we just see him alone in a room.  they were interesting to read and moved the story quickly.  one quick thing, someone maybe said this, not sure.  I think you need to change either Bill or Bob's name.  It gets confusing.  a general rule i've been told is try to have each character's name begin with a different letter of the alphabet.  but it's up to you.  i also think you should write the action in the present tense (ex. "Alan is walking down the street..." "Alan walks down the street").  it helps shorten things up.  anyway, back to the end, i agree with what pants said above.  i dont have a solution to offer, but the end is what makes a story, so for me right now it's a bit of a letdown  


please read:
canyon lake-21 pages - american gem quarterfinalist (contest ongoing):
http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1200534890/



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theMADhatter
Posted: April 18th, 2008, 10:14pm Report to Moderator
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Pants, sorry for sounding defensive. Unfortunately it is one of my faults and I really like this script.

dkw, thanks for the read. I mentioned above that I want to make changes to the ending, dialog-wise. Otherwise, I really like what I came up with.



Why is a Raven like a writing desk?
onus - Three men, three guns, no escape. (WIP)
the Deal - What would you do for a million dollars?
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mikep
Posted: April 19th, 2008, 8:26am Report to Moderator
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Nice twisted little short.  Having the Man not be named is fine. My feeling is in a short subject everything doesn't need the detail or grounding that a feature would need. This person is mysterious and dangerous. Giving him a name de-mystifies him to a degree. Look at Cigarette Smoking Man from the X Files. He was a viable threatening character for years and never had a name.

The reason that the ending falls flat for me is, it doesn't go far enough. It's fine if you want Alan to flub the rules and not get the money on a technicality.

But why not take it the extra step...he kills the Man next. OR - he goes home, finds he liked the feeling...and goes out in search of his next victim.  


13 feature scripts, 2 short subjects. One sale, 4 options. Nothing filmed. Damn.

Currently rewriting another writer's SciFi script for an indie producer in L.A.
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theMADhatter
Posted: April 19th, 2008, 9:00am Report to Moderator
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I like that idea of taking it a step further. Thanks for the input. Making him look for his next victim is a good idea. Not sure how to transition that ... Maybe he goes back to Bob to confess and says he can't stop. Thanks.



Why is a Raven like a writing desk?
onus - Three men, three guns, no escape. (WIP)
the Deal - What would you do for a million dollars?
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Busy Little Bee
Posted: April 19th, 2008, 5:36pm Report to Moderator
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  It was a smooth read, which is always good in a short or otherwise. Particularly, for a short, a good thing is generating a pivotal moment in someone’s life. And you’ve done that, what you’ve done is posed a question “murder for money,” and one of the arguments for Alan or anyone conceding to the act is lack there of. So, we have a goal and motive, but what are the stakes.

For it to be the biggest motive, reasonable so, it is only touched on once when the Man brings it up. But what is it that Alan or someone like him thinks he’s losing by not having the wealth they think they should have: a nicer lifestyle, Alan could admire a nice car; desirability, Alan could lust after the girl in the bar; or a better job, Alan sees no growth in his job.

The trick I think is not to feel as though you have to extend the story with repetition of the point you’re trying to make, but propose one or two definitive examples of what you’re trying to say. What is at stake?


I, too, got that hint of comedy and liked it. Keep that in there. The ending threw me off because I don’t ever remember him saying he wouldn’t do it. Did he say that? Even without the aspect of what’s at stake, I enjoyed it. I just think that aspect would complete it.



Thanks, B.




Commodus: But the Emperor Claudius knew that they were up to something. He knew they were busy little bees. And one night he sat down with one of them and he looked at her and he said, "Tell me what you have been doing, busy little bee..."
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mikep
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Quoted from theMADhatter
I like that idea of taking it a step further. Thanks for the input. Making him look for his next victim is a good idea. Not sure how to transition that ... Maybe he goes back to Bob to confess and says he can't stop. Thanks.


I wouldn't have him confess per se - but after the mystery man leaves him....Alan goes back to his life but then we see Alan sitting in parks, or at a mall, watching people...and  the Man's words echo in his head " someone random, kill someone , you'd never get caught' and Alan smiles.....zeroes in on someone and starts to follow them - and fade out to the end.



13 feature scripts, 2 short subjects. One sale, 4 options. Nothing filmed. Damn.

Currently rewriting another writer's SciFi script for an indie producer in L.A.
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Dr. McPhearson
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Hey Kevin,

Alan's line "What is this, a joke? Am I on Hidden Camera?" is something of a nice touch, his thinking he's being pranked, I find it unnatural as is. Number one, it comes a little too early, I think. He tries to catch on way too fast. Number two, I think Alan should laugh it off more, especially if he actually believes he's on Hidden Camera.... okay. Now I'm rambling. The short of it: make the dialogue sound more natural.

I also don't believe that Alan would accept the job as quickly and easily as you make it seem. Again, the naturalism just don't click for me. True, I'm not asking you to necessarily mimic real life, but try to make emotions, reactions, and their styles of speaking more organic than they are right now.

There are several moments in which characters are interrupted. For example:


ALAN
I don't know who I would.

The man interrupts him.

MAN
Most people pick a homeless person, a
drifter.


Instead of a punctuation mark after "would," try a dash ("-") or double dash ("--"). That way, it signifies interruption, and you can cut out that entire phrase. Observe:

ALAN
I don't know who I would --

MAN
Most people pick a homeless person, a
drifter.


It looks slightly tidier, and saves you a little space on the page.

I also find it unbelievable that Alan would approach his co-worker Bob about this. Now, I do give you credit for giving Bob a sense of humor about it, but still, I think Bob would turn out a bit more suspicious than you have him being.

The bottom of page 10, Bob calls Bill a "douche." Now, when I first read the script, I imagined Alan as mid-30s, early 40s. And if that's the case, I think "asshole" would be a more fitting word for an adult to use. "Douche" sounds so... college-ish.

And again, page 15... as nervous about it as Alan is, I don't find it believable that he would tell Bob about his plan to kill Bill.

And if Bill's married, why isn't his wife sleeping beside him? There is no mention of her, and even if there was, she would have woke up during Bill's struggling. Where is his kid when all of this happened?

Also, why would the Man continue to meet with Alan after Alan already refused the deal? That makes no sense.

Finally, the ending leaves much to be desired. Why would someone pay you to kill a random person? If it's an "experiment," what does The Man get out of it? A realization that men kill for money? Yeah, that's not exactly news.

This entire plot is implausible. And unless you develop this further, I just don't think it will work that well. But then again, that's just my opinion.


PLEASE review my first SimplyScripts submission....

Re-Right (short comedy)
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