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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Western Scripts  /  The Killing Man
Posted by: Don, November 15th, 2013, 5:22pm
The Killing Man by Thomas Jamieson - Western - A bounty hunter pursues an elusive serial killer through Gold Rush San Francisco, but the line between hunter and hunted starts to blur in the ultimate fight for survival. 103 pages - pdf, format 8)
Posted by: ThomasJamieson, November 23rd, 2013, 2:21pm; Reply: 1
This is my first time posting a screenplay on SimplyScripts.com. I would love to get any feedback possible. I am happy to read/provide notes to other scripts. If anyone has a script he/she would like reviewed, please let me know.
Posted by: StevenClark, November 23rd, 2013, 3:12pm; Reply: 2
Thomas,

Welcome aboard, pal. You'll find pretty much everyone to be helpful and informative here. Don't be afraid to jump right in and start reviewing others' work. It's the best way to get reads, no matter how much experience you may have.

Good luck!

Steve
Posted by: Toby_E, November 23rd, 2013, 5:36pm; Reply: 3
I second everything that Steve just said :)

You can also post up in the 'Script Review Exchange' sub-forum, as that is another great way to swap reads.

All the best and welcome!
Posted by: NickSedario (Guest), November 23rd, 2013, 6:40pm; Reply: 4




Read the first 13 pages and gotta say you've got a very unique writer's voice,  Clear & concise.  Might be a few too many  "we's", "CUT TO's", CLOSE UP's" and whatnot but personally I don't mind.  Others will.   This is definitely a script I'd like to get back to if time allows.  For now, I'll just say good job so far.   But in the same breath I'll also have to say it's overwritten in parts.

I see a rewrite in your future.
Posted by: ThomasJamieson, November 23rd, 2013, 7:39pm; Reply: 5
Thanks all for taking the time to provide the info above. It's appreciated.
Posted by: NickSedario (Guest), November 25th, 2013, 5:58pm; Reply: 6



Is this script as good as I think it is?   Anybody else read it?   To be honest I still haven't had time to read the entire story, but I keep coming back to it and I've read big chunks of the beginning, middle and end.

It's good writing, IMO.  I could see it getting produced.  

Just needs to be trimmed in places.

Posted by: oJOHNNYoNUTSo, November 25th, 2013, 6:50pm; Reply: 7
I'll try to get around to this one when I get a chance, but no Nick, you are not the only one who thinks this script is written well.  :)
Posted by: NickSedario (Guest), November 25th, 2013, 7:30pm; Reply: 8

Quoted from oJOHNNYoNUTSo
I'll try to get around to this one when I get a chance, but no Nick, you are not the only one who thinks this script is written well.  :)


Good deal.  I'll be very interested to hear your feedback on this one.
Posted by: oJOHNNYoNUTSo, November 26th, 2013, 10:16am; Reply: 9
Thomas,

I just wanted to check in with my thoughts on the first 10 of your script.  I will post my thoughts regarding the entire story within the next couple of days, but your work here HAS the goods so far.  I think more peeps need to read this even if you don't care for the genre.

I am a geek when it comes to Westerns, so underrated, and you've managed to capture a period peace like I've never read on the site before.  I do have a few minor issues that linger so far, but the pros of this outweigh the cons by far.

Your use of various angles and shots don't come across poorly at all.  In fact, I think they assist in setting the tone.  It displays alot of craftiness to do this in a manner that is confident and effective.  Excellent work so far, this script is like Christmas Day..  Excited to finish.
Posted by: NickSedario (Guest), November 26th, 2013, 10:50am; Reply: 10




^My thoughts exactly.  
Posted by: ThomasJamieson, November 26th, 2013, 12:48pm; Reply: 11
oJOHNNYoNUTSo and Silverback -- thanks very much for your input so far. All I want is for the screenplay to be as strong as possible, so all comments are appreciated and taken seriously.

- Thomas
Posted by: NickSedario (Guest), November 26th, 2013, 1:07pm; Reply: 12

Quoted from ThomasJamieson
oJOHNNYoNUTSo and Silverback -- thanks very much for your input so far. All I want is for the screenplay to be as strong as possible, so all comments are appreciated and taken seriously.

- Thomas

How much money do you got?   'Cuz it's gonna cost you.  No but seriously, this script could be contender for Scriptshadow, IMO (after you tweak it).

Might wanna look into it.  http://scriptshadow.net/

What impresses me the most about this story is the fact that the "tone/mood" is consistent and pitch-perfect for a western.  You also have a likeable hero.
Posted by: ThomasJamieson, November 26th, 2013, 1:08pm; Reply: 13
I'll check it out. Thanks!
Posted by: oJOHNNYoNUTSo, November 29th, 2013, 3:02pm; Reply: 14
Hey Thomas,

I'll start by saying you've got one hell of a script on your hands here.  Is there room for more story?  I'll say so, but most of my own issues with this fall at the conclusion's feet.  There's so much to talk about, but I'll condense my thoughts so I don't ramble.

SPOILERS

Never have I read something that felt like I was reading an Elmore Leonard short without it being written by the guy himself.  The Killing Man captures those visuals, characters, and dialogue perfectly.  Not that I'm saying this was your vision for the story, but it's the closest thing I can compare it to genre-wise, and I respect everything about your efforts here.

Similar in premise as The Alienist, it's a story about a serial killer in times where forensic science is absent, leaving the imagination of other killers in awe.  I think that's the reason why this works so well.  It's an awesome concept in an awesome time period.  Morrison is a bitter bounty hunter, a killer himself and seen it all, but none to the likes of this.  And really doesn't bother him, until this serial killer takes a swipe at him, and things become personal.

You handled the characters very well in this.  No one feels overwritten or underwritten.  Every dog has their day and plays their role well.  Plenty of conflict, even the sheriff's problems were brought into the spotlight in a clever way.  The dialogue is OUTSTANDING!  Everything about it.  Some of the best I've ever read, and having anything less than A list actors fill these roles would be a crime.

I do want to mention that Doc can get a little on the nose talking about "serial killers" and "forensics".  It' would've work better if it was still somewhat a mystery, and you give the audience an advantage over characters knowing what exactly is going here, but having the characters wrapping their heads around the gruesome events.

So what is my problem with the story?  Although the ending offers a substantial twist, it only really pays off for the plot and doesn't do much for Morrison's character.  There has got to be more thematic pay off for your protagonist.  That being said, everyone's motives are crystal clear so you have that end covered well.

As far as the writing goes, not much to say.  From a grammar standpoint, you can whittle down a lot of this but it just requires polish.  From the very first sentence, things like replacing "and" with a comma, consistency with contractions unless for dramatic tone could be applied.  The biggest issue is the camera angles and close ups here.  I know in an earlier comment I said it was well done, but as I read on, the POVs and CUs become very distracting.  You have an excellent writing style, but a lot of it isn't necessary to tone or style.  But I will stick to my guns and say the opening sequence was excellent and you should keep it the way it is.

I can comment on this all day, so if you have any further questions let me know.  If you want to make this stronger, then you gots to make it longer.  Or maybe not, but it needs a stronger thematic revelation in the end.

This is a script that deserves to be produced.  It packs a visual punch, and I enjoyed every second of it.  Best of luck with this, one of the better scripts I've read.  I highly recommend this.

Excellent work,

Johnny
Posted by: ThomasJamieson, November 29th, 2013, 3:57pm; Reply: 15
Johnny,

First, I'd like to thank you very much for your comments. I appreciate the time you took and the thought you put into your notes. I am always humbled by positive comments from other writers. I would say 'The Alienist' was definitely an inspiration for this in certain ways. Elmore Leonard, while not directly an inspiration, is near the top of my "favorite authors" list, so I'm sure his style has influenced me in ways I'm not even aware.

I agree with your points re cleaning up the grammar and the scene direction. Also, the Doc Barker dialogue re forensics etc. could leave more to the imagination. These are easy fixes and I will see to it they are made.

You actually prompted a thought regarding Morrison's own revelation at the end. I think it could be stronger and I already have some ideas on how to strengthen this. Yes, Morrison should be challenged right to the end, as it will offer a greater payoff for his character. GREAT NOTE! Also, I had pulled out a couple of scenes prior to posting the script. I agree the story could use a bit more "meat." I can add those scenes, and perhaps another one, back in. This would bulk up the script more.

Thanks again. I want "The Killing Man" to be as strong as possible, and your notes are extremely helpful. I feel they will make the read stronger and the payoff at the end that much better. I am excited to make these changes, and I will let you know if I have any other questions.

Best,
Thomas
Posted by: oJOHNNYoNUTSo, November 29th, 2013, 8:48pm; Reply: 16

Quoted from ThomasJamieson
Also, I had pulled out a couple of scenes prior to posting the script. I agree the story could use a bit more "meat." I can add those scenes, and perhaps another one, back in. This would bulk up the script more.  


I'd say that if your instinct was that some scenes had to go, it's probably for the best.  I don't know their content either, but if it helps Morrison's character fundamentally change by scripts end, then I would pull the trigger.

I hope you get more reads on this.  I'd like to hear some other perspectives on what I just read.
Posted by: Demento, November 29th, 2013, 10:59pm; Reply: 17
Based on oJOHNNYoNUTSo praise on here, I decided to give this a read.

This is just my opinion so don't take it as anything more than that. What do I know? :)

SPOILERS!!!

These are my quick thoughts, fresh of the read.

I agree with Silverback that you write "Clear and concise". The script reads easy and it reads fast. It took me 2 hours to finish it. I think you could benefit from having your slugs bolded. This is something a lot of writers use now, so it's nothing out of the ordinary. The reason I think your script can benefit from it is because you have a lot of short scenes. On some pages you change like 4 locations, so that's 4 different slugs. It's much easier to read if the slugs are in bold, because that way they act like a visual cue that we have changed location. The way they are now, someone that speed reads will most likely have to go back, because they will have skipped a slug, now and again.

The pacing is good, it moves at a fast pace and in the first 15 pages we have already established the story. Who is the hero, what's the location, situation, most of the characters and so on. You did a good job on establishing the story and you always have something happening.

Your dialogue is GREAT. I agree with Johnny that the DOC's dialogue could be trimmed down a bit with the forensic talk. I also think you should cut down on people mentioning what a bad ass Morrison is and who he has killed in the past to earn that reputation. I love the movie "Unforgiven" but it always irritates me how many times they point out that Clint Eastwood's character was a nasty gunman, a stone cold killer, back in the day, that his wife changed him etc. WE GET IT! IN MY OPINION, stuff like that should be mentioned like once and hinted at in some way.
If you watch David Mamet's movie REDBELT, there is a scene where an old friend meets Chiwetel Ejiofor's character on a movie set. He asks him what he is doing there. Ejiofor answers, that he is working on the movie as a consultant. The friend asks:
Did you tell them you were in the army?
Ejiofor answers "Yes".
Did you tell them what you did?
Ejiofor: "No."

There is very little other mentioned of the character being in the army or what he did there but that small exchange in the whole movie. It leaves you wondering. You assume that he did bad stuff over there. It adds mystery to the character in a subtle way, which I think is the way it should be done. Some people want to be told ten times how bad ass someone is, to hammer home the point. I am not one of them.

I kind of feel that there are too many scenes where Morrison goes to see Doc and then those two talk one on one, or they go some place. That kind of felt repetitive to me. It kept happening a lot from page 20 to 80.

I liked the evolution of the Sheriff character. I thought he was handled well. Although I kind of think you fall on a few western cliches. The loner comes to town, he befriends a bartender/doctor/undertaker/shop owner, a sheriff or a rich man that owns the town doesn't want him there, he is told he better leave or else, an available woman is in the picture and so on. Not that those cliches are particularly bad, but I feel a lot of people can get a "been there done that" feeling.

Today a lot of writers try to find ways to revive genres, add a new twist to them, make them feel new in some way. I guess you adding the whole "the first documented serial killer" twist is something I think a lot of people could fall for. I've noticed that casual movie goer falls for gimmicky stuff. People in general want to see clever twists, they like figuring things out. Even more so they like being surprised with things they didn't even consider as a possibility before entering the cinema.

The way the last 20 pages play out, it's obvious that we are building toward a tense finale. I liked the whole fire thing you had going on there. I think that added a different element and was a nice touch.

I wasn't a fan of the last page, but I can see how some people could like it. Again, I get the whole "seen it" thing. It seems played out to me. Very 50s.

Bottom line, you write really good and you should continue to do so. I can see something happening to this script.

Hope any of this helps and much luck.
Posted by: Dreamscale, November 29th, 2013, 11:32pm; Reply: 18
Thomas, glowing praise rocks, but now you need to return the favors and read other peep's scripts and give the same help you're getting here.

If I see that happen, I will jump in and see if I can help, but without any quid pro quo, I won't chime in.

Cool?  Glad to hear all the positive feedback...now give back, bro.

Happy Holidays.
Posted by: NickSedario (Guest), November 30th, 2013, 12:28am; Reply: 19



Not trying to start a sh*tstorm Dreamscale, but I'd be more inclined to advise him to screw giving back for now and put everything he's got into tweaking this script.  It doesn't need much, IMO.

Too many chiefs and not enough indians makes for a melee.   Ledbetter's script WDKY is a fine example.  Look at some of the not-so-good advice he was getting.   Just sayin'.  

Thomas, you need to stick to your guns, no pun intended, and get this baby ready to shop around.   Tarantino's working on another western, which means there's gonna be plenty of other production companies wanting to jump on the bandwagon and make a western.

The timing is perfect.  
Posted by: oJOHNNYoNUTSo, November 30th, 2013, 12:48am; Reply: 20
I think Jeff makes a good point.  I never expect reads from any of my own scripts, but it's always good etiquette to give one, especially after digging into features.  It's clear that Thomas here has some solid screenwriting chops, and it would be nice to see him provide feedback to others on the site as he offered up in previous comments.  We should all be here to lift up each other.

But writing is time consuming, and sometimes you need to focus on getting yours in.  Thomas is new to the boards though, and others could be hesitant to chime in knowing that most newcomers come in, get what they need, and split town.

Gotta scratch backs around here to get your itch taken care of, lol!
Posted by: NickSedario (Guest), November 30th, 2013, 1:07am; Reply: 21


Disclaimer: these are just my thoughts on the subject...

Screw quid pro quo.  

A lot of that's just ego-based bullsh*t, IMO.

I've seen plenty of regulars on this site get and not give back.

And I've been on both sides off that fence as well.  So what! - who gives a rip?   Bottom line, this is a prime example of a well written script with or without the advice of others.   If a script is good then it deserves to get read regardless of whether the writer is actively engaged in the community or not.  God knows enough bad scripts get bashed on this site and get plenty of attention.

In the same breath I'll say the feedback he's gotten thus far is solid gold.

Posted by: oJOHNNYoNUTSo, November 30th, 2013, 1:18am; Reply: 22
I totally agree with you, except for screw quid pro quo.  It's pretty much the foundation of the boards here, and it should be respected.  If others don't do it, peeps take notice quickly.  I know I do.  This is a noteworthy script.

I've paid for coverage, and I paid to confirm that SS is po' mans coverage.  If you're smart enough to sift through some bullshit feedback every now and again, your really getting the same feedback as industry professional coverage without the recommend you can run back and give your agent.

I give this script a consider, but really close to a recommend.  Does it count coming from me?  Not really, but I wouldn't stray a script this good in the wrong direction to fill my own desires.  And Demento's feedback hit a lot of notes I missed, and the guy's fairly new as well.  Just my thoughts.

Read scripts people!
Posted by: NickSedario (Guest), November 30th, 2013, 1:27am; Reply: 23

Quoted from oJOHNNYoNUTSo
Read scripts people!


I hear ya.  :P
Posted by: ThomasJamieson, November 30th, 2013, 12:47pm; Reply: 24
Thanks, guys. To Dreamscale's point: I fully intend to review other scripts and provide feedback. Right now I am rewriting chunks of this script and another, so those have my full attention. But I look forward to reading some great scripts on this site. And I'll then look forward to your notes on "The Killing Man."

To Demento: your feedback, like Johnny's, is very helpful. Yes, there are definitely sections that can be improved and tightened. Less mention of Morrison's history is a good point. Reducing the number of times Doc and Morrison go out on rides together would help, too. They do need to build their relationship through working together, but there are at least two instances that can be retooled I already know where I can improve. Also, the last page is probably not for everyone. Your comments prompted an idea that I'm working on now.

Cheers!

Thomas
Posted by: James McClung, December 1st, 2013, 7:09pm; Reply: 25
Hi Thomas,

I didn't take notes on this one. I started to but found the script to be generally free of small nitpicks; the majority of issues in the script were bigger and wider reaching.

Still, I thought I'd mention your first page includes an slug that reads EXT. WALKER COLT .45 REVOLVER. That's an object, not a location. Fix.

You also have a lot of flashbacks with no slugs at all. This was annoying but wouldn't have been as huge an issue if the script weren't so wordy. I found myself skimming a lot as a result and occasionally would have to backtrack on some of the flashbacks to figure out where all this was taking place. You don't want this. Fix.

Moving along to the big stuff...

Your writing style contains every screenwriting faux pas in the book. Camera angles, asides, excessive wrylies (this script is going to drive actors crazy), phonetic dialogue, a myriad of cheesy sound effects, and most of all, verbose, flowery writing -- it's all here. I think either you know all this and decided to go ahead with this style anyway or you've never heard of any of these being potential issues. Given that the script doesn't exactly read amateurish outside these issues, I'd put my money on the former.

Now, did this bother me personal? Yes and no... mostly yes. After the opening -- which is written in such a detailed and over the top fashion, it felt like it was all meant to happen in slow motion (both Zack Snyder and the Melancholia opening came to mind) -- the writing tightens up quick and I was able to get into the story. Still, it's incredibly overwritten at times and I found myself distracted or zoning out often reading through your descriptions. Occasionally, your asides or what have you would come off as corny and/or annoying but more often, I just felt like I had a word swamp in front of me that I had to trudge through.

The writing's not particularly bad, mind you. A lot of it was actually quite rich and vivid. But who cares? There's a million screenwriters out there who are good at putting words together in an artful manner. It's too common to be impressive, really, and usually it just ends up taking the reader out of the story and characters at hand, which is not what you want.

So yeah. I'd tighten up your writing. You could probably lose a good couple pages of descriptions alone without removing a single scene. I'd particularly cut down on your descriptions of the dark figure that's presumed to be your killer throughout the story. We get that we're not supposed to see his face and that he keeps to the shadows fairly early on yet every single scene he appears in is written as if it's the first time we're seeing him. Totally redundant and unnecessary.

I will note, however, that some of your asides make reference to historical figures, locations, and events. You might want to turn these into SUPERS if you want this information to show up in the film. Otherwise, they're completely useless. Personally, I think these are the kind of details you should keep. Your script is extremely well researched, which made the world of the story feel real, alive, and easy to sink into. Naturally, a good thing for a Western.

I'll also note it's not lost on me that some of the other readers have enjoyed your writing style. This is just my opinion on the matter. Feel free to disregard it if you feel your writing is effective. I do, however, think when one's writing takes a given reader out of the story, it's no joke and you should consider doing something about it.

Your dialogue, on the other hand, is quite good. Given how over the top your descriptions are, I was constantly on the lookout for things in the dialogue that would irk me but it never really happened. There's a refreshing lack of cheesy one liners featured throughout your script. Still, when a character does want to say something tough, clever, menacing, or whatever -- something "cool" -- it usually works. There was a sense of class to the dialogue; I never felt like Die Hard or some reminiscent Hollywood bullshit. I appreciated this.

There was a fair share of exposition that got a little heavy at times (I'll get to that eventually) but it didn't read like you were spoon-feeding the reader information. It had a more or less natural feel to it. I also appreciated this.

In short, writing good dialogue is no easy feat. I'm not sure how well I do in that department myself. So keep doing what you do where that business is concerned. It's working.

--

Okay. I still have got a lot to say in regards to your story and characters. So, I'm going to stop here, split this review in two, and pick up on that stuff a little later tonight. I think it'll be a little more digestible for you that way and a little easier for me. I've been sitting here for quite some time now cranking this out for ya.

So... more later.
Posted by: James McClung, December 2nd, 2013, 1:04am; Reply: 26
Okay, I'm back.

Now... story and characters.

I thought the story worked for the most part. There's a myriad of familiar Western tropes here that essentially spider web together in a familiar Western framework. These elements are executed quite well and I imagine they would satisfy most diehard Western fans so the script functions perfectly well as a tried-and-true genre piece.

That said, you do provide a gimmick in the form of your soldier killer, which spices the story up with some noir and thriller flavors (I wouldn't go so far as to say horror, despite some of the grim imagery). I thought these elements were also handled quite well.

Your characters are also all well developed and more or less distinctive from one another. A lot of characters move in and out of the story, which usually is a drag for me. You can easily lose track of who's who, especially when the script's written in such a flamboyant manner as yours is. I had some issues of this kind early on but got over them pretty quickly. Once I had a sense of who the good and bad guys were and who was in cahoots with who, I didn't get thrown off when more ancillary characters came into the picture. This is good and is a result of you having written the characters the way that you have. So kudos.

Now, I don't think your story or you characters are without issues. But above is what amounts to the base of your script as a whole. It's very strong and I think you can only go up from here, so long as you keep these most essential elements in tact.

Still, despite your basic storyline, I thought the plot itself was sort of redundant. There're so many scenes of the killer snuffing out victims in the exact same way with the exact same tools and so many scenes of Morrison getting attacked by the killer under the exact same circumstances.

They happen in fairly close proximity to each other as well. Usually, this kind of stuff is spaced out a little more so you can build up tension until the next big scene and perhaps develop an elusive ghostly presence for your killer character. Your killer doesn't have a ghostly presence; he seems to always been around and there was many a time where I wondered why he didn't stop fucking around and just outright kill Morrison. I mean, at times, I figured you were trying to get at the idea that the killer was toying with Morrison but in many of these scenes, he comes very close to killing the man and attacking him in such a way that could only construed as lethal intent. He also clearly has the ability to sneak around without being detected, as he shows by leaving Morrison messages and such in his room. He could've easily snuffed Morrison after the guy comes back to rest.

It doesn't help that most of these scenes are written the exact same way, as if it's the first time they're happening. Occasionally, you'll mix it up (e.g. the water tower scene) but most of the time, they feel redundant. I think you could remedy this and increase the overall tension by having some close calls. Perhaps have Morrison actually land a shot on the guy or have a scuffle break out where Morrison comes close to seeing his face but never does. Maybe the killer drops something as a result that he wouldn't have otherwise -- something that Morrison can retrieve immediately after rather than in another similarly redundant campfire scene that occurs the next day.

Bottom line, get these guys closer to each other. They don't have to be face to face; you could get them closer and closer to each other each time. It'd give you a lot to play with in order to keep things varied and interesting.

Some of the killing scenes, you might just cut outright. Many of them bring nothing new to the table and you still have scenes follow where the new bodies are discovered. Why not just reveal some new deaths that way? I mean, there's a lot of them. You could certainly afford to lose at least one.

There's also a lot of redundant exchanges between Morrison and one or both of the Walters. IMO, this is more an issue with character than with plot. That is to say that while the Walters appear menacing when they're first introduced, they actually prove to be astonishingly weak characters. I mean, they're developed and all but for all their talk, they hardly do anything to actually get Morrison to leave town except throw out some mean stares and threats that they prove unable to live up to. I mean, as the law in town, at some point, they have to act if only to show everyone that they're not all bark and no bite (which they certainly seem to be).

As it happens, they turn out to be in cahoots with both killers in the end. While I was sort of confused whether or not they knew about Deputy Smith's murderers, I do remember Humble Jim mentioning to them straight up that he's ready to make a move on Morrison. If Morrison is making these guys look back by hanging around all the time, why wouldn't the Walters want to take him out as soon as possible via Jim?

This brings me to the big twist. Honestly, I was surprised. I mean, I basically assumed it was Humble Jim that was taking out all these guys. Towards the end, I was starting to think he might be a red herring but apparently, he both is and isn't. Weird. Anyway, I thought this was sort of overblown but then there's the reveal of Doc being involved in the murders, which makes things even more crazy. At this point, I thought it sort of worked just in how extreme and left field it all is. Perhaps not the most plausible ending but it packs a punch.

Now, there is one BIG hole in all this that you need to plug ASAP. So, you have scenes involving both killers throughout the plot, which might work onscreen, given that these guys are constantly kept in the shadows. Unfortunately, you draw a lot of attention to the fact that Humble Jim is basically this behemoth of a man. This isn't going to work onscreen AT ALL because you're going to have two completely different sets of death scenes throughout the film: one in which the killer is always huge and one in which the killer is normal size. Not only will your audience literally spot the twist coming a mile away, the change in the killer's stature from one scene to the next is going to be a colossal mindfuck.

You can throw Jim out as a red herring at this point as well. It's just not going to work. Big problem here... literally. Honestly, you might just have to make Jim a normal sized guy. I mean, you could make Deputy Smith a giant as well but that'd just be ridiculous IMO.

Finally, Morrison... is this guy basically William Munny or what? I mean, on paper, they might as well be the main character. What little differences between the two you have going on here now are either too minute or simply superficial. I think you'll need to give your character at least a few more traits to differentiate him from Munny. I think he might be just a little too close at this point.

Anyway, that's what I got. A strong script overall. Definitely has potential. Like I said, you can only go up from here. Hope this helps.
Posted by: ThomasJamieson, December 2nd, 2013, 10:13pm; Reply: 27
James,

Thanks for your detailed analysis of "The Killing Man." You make some very good points, and I will look to include many in the script as I go through a rewrite. I do think you make a lot of sense, and as I step back from the script I see how these adjustments would improve the experience for the reader. Many of these changes can be made quite easily, too. I think the script could perhaps stand to lose description in places, slugs can be improved, supers added for clarity etc. I also believe some of the killings can be removed, as we do see the after-effects in certain instances. This would help with the redundant aspect you point out. Humble Jim could simply be a large man, as Deputy Smith is also a large man, so this would plug the hole you mention. Also, I like your suggestion of Morrison getting closer to the killer in certain places, and the idea of spacing out the attempts on his life to add some more suspense. Finally, my idea for Jack and Ben Walter was to make them a lot of bark without bite. However, making the conflict between Ben and Morrison a bit more active would help the overall story.

Interesting that you mention William Munny. I guess for me the big difference between Munny and Morrison is that Morrison is seeking, and eventually finds, some level of redemption -- or at least a shot at a fairly normal life with Nora. Munny went to that dark place and pretty much stayed there.

Again, thanks for all the thought you put into this. The combined input that you and the other guys provided is great, and also very helpful. Finally, I plan to give your script "Complete" a read at some point.

Regards,
Tom
Posted by: James McClung, December 3rd, 2013, 12:41am; Reply: 28

Quoted from ThomasJamieson
James,

Thanks for your detailed analysis of "The Killing Man." You make some very good points, and I will look to include many in the script as I go through a rewrite. I do think you make a lot of sense, and as I step back from the script I see how these adjustments would improve the experience for the reader. Many of these changes can be made quite easily, too. I think the script could perhaps stand to lose description in places, slugs can be improved, supers added for clarity etc. I also believe some of the killings can be removed, as we do see the after-effects in certain instances. This would help with the redundant aspect you point out. Humble Jim could simply be a large man, as Deputy Smith is also a large man, so this would plug the hole you mention. Also, I like your suggestion of Morrison getting closer to the killer in certain places, and the idea of spacing out the attempts on his life to add some more suspense. Finally, my idea for Jack and Ben Walter was to make them a lot of bark without bite. However, making the conflict between Ben and Morrison a bit more active would help the overall story.


Sounds good. Glad I could be of service.


Quoted from ThomasJamieson
Interesting that you mention William Munny. I guess for me the big difference between Munny and Morrison is that Morrison is seeking, and eventually finds, some level of redemption -- or at least a shot at a fairly normal life with Nora. Munny went to that dark place and pretty much stayed there.


I understand. I still think he could use a little more of a distinction though. I mean, when the story starts, his wife is dead, he's got a dark past, given up his violent ways, and plans to keep things that way until someone pulls him back into the game... that's basically William Munny. I mean, I'm sure a lot of folks might check this out and just think he's a classic Western archetype, which he may very well be, and that's fine. Me personally, I just can't shake the Unforgiven vibe is all.


Quoted from ThomasJamieson
Again, thanks for all the thought you put into this. The combined input that you and the other guys provided is great, and also very helpful. Finally, I plan to give your script "Complete" a read at some point.

Regards,
Tom


Honestly, I'd prefer you read Left Hand Paths if you're going to read one of my features. I've never gotten around to giving it a proper rewrite for some reason. I really, really should and could use a fresh set of eyes.

Granted Left Hand Paths is 30-some pages longer than Complete so you might just hold off until I've got something new posted if you like. In spite of the quid pro quo talk that's arisen here, my review was basically pro bono.
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