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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Short Drama Scripts  /  The Bus Ride
Posted by: Don, July 17th, 2018, 3:21pm
The Bus Ride by Mitchell Gray - Short, Drama - A man overwhelmed by the social world finds his blissful daydream brush against reality when he makes an unwitting connection with his seatmate on the bus.  8 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Posted by: Dreamscale (Guest), July 18th, 2018, 9:49am; Reply: 1
Hey Mitchell, welcome to SS.  I saw your post on Zack's thread and thought I'd give this a read...and I did, start to finish.

I guess it's "cute".  Mattson is a strange dude with a strange name, but he too is "cute", and you cna't help but root for him.

Writing-wise, this is pretty clean, but there are some issues I'll bring up that hopefully will help going forward.

First of all, don't include your title on the opening page and you should left align your FADE IN.

You have an awful lot of POV's thrown in here.  Understand that a POV is really nothing special at all, unless the actual POV is different or unique - from behind a mask, under something, up high, through non-human eyes, etc.  So, basically, there's no need for you to use POV as a writer, as it really just wastes space.  Also, only include exactly what is being seen from the POV, nothing else.

Somewhat on the same subject, you have alot of instances where you say someone sees something.  This is usually a mistake in screenwriting, or it's just a downright space waster.  Think about it...if someone is in the vicinity of anything or anyone, they will be able to see whatever it is...and they most likely will see it...it goes without saying.  But, when you actually write something like, "Hannah sees Mattson.", what are you intending to show up on screen?  It's a shot of Hannah, first of all, looking at Mattson, then, it's a shot of Mattson (what she actually sees), and in a roundabout way, it's a POV, that doesn't need to be labeled a POV, because there's nothing unique about the view to warrant using a POV.

You have an awful lot of passive verbiage going on throughout the script, both in action and description.  The more you write (and the more you read), you'll start to see why this is an issue, and how to make it read better.

On Page 3, you go to a very long 3 page scene, that you call "MATTSON'S IMAGINATION".  Understand hat no one will know what this is in a filmed version.  People may believe it's a Flashback.  Whatever it is, it's way too long and detailed, and has nothing to do with what's going on.  It's 1/3 of the entire script!  All the stuff about hiking and names of characters we do not know make it seem strange.

IMO, 8 1/2 pages is a bit long winded for what takes place here, as there's very little dialogue other than the dream scene, and last page and a half.  But, somehow it works as you intended, overall, and got me to care for the 2 characters.

Hope this helps.



Posted by: Zack, July 19th, 2018, 3:41pm; Reply: 2
Hi Mitchell, sorry for the delay.

Gave this a read last night. Drama usually isn't my thing, but I must say I enjoyed this. I even smiled at the end. Good stuff.

The writing was pretty much on point, although I agree with Jeff that you could cut most of, if not all of, the P.O.V. shots. I use them a lot in my scripts, but I use them to build tension. Here it just came off as camera angles.

Not much else to say other than great job here. I look forward to reading some more of your work.

Zack
Posted by: MGray, July 19th, 2018, 9:57pm; Reply: 3
Hi Zack,
Thanks very much for taking a look at The Bus Ride.
I'm happy to hear it resonated with you.
And thanks for the suggestion about the POV. That makes good sense.
Looking forward to chatting more in the future!
Cheers,
Mitchell
Posted by: Dreamscale (Guest), July 20th, 2018, 10:50am; Reply: 4
Hey Mitchell, I got your PM.  Decided to respond here so anyone else reading can get some insight as well.

You asked about passive verbiage.  Passive verbiage is when your main verb in the sentence is "passive" - meaning using is or a contraction involving is.

For example...

He is

She is

She's

He's

Tom is

Tom's )not possessive).

Mayne peeps will say or think that passive writing involves using verbs that end in "ing".  And that is true most of the time, but it's using "is" as the main verb that causes this, not the verb ending in "ing".

Hope that makes sense and helps.
Posted by: ReneC, July 20th, 2018, 11:59am; Reply: 5
Further to this, passive writing is when the subject is acted upon by the verb or object.

The air is blown by a fan = Passive voice.
The fan blows the air = Active voice.

A scathing email is being written by John = Passive voice.
John writes a scathing email = Active voice.

This is where the terrible advice "never use the word 'is'" comes from. "Is" is a good indicator for passive voice, but sometimes you just need to use it.
Posted by: MGray, July 20th, 2018, 4:32pm; Reply: 6
Hi Dreamscale and Rene,
Thank you for your insights! I can already tell this is a great community of writers.
I have a question re: passive verbs...
At the start of a scene is a passive verb okay? For example, at the start of a new scene I might say "Mattson is sitting on the sofa" instead of "Mattson sits on the sofa" to show that his is already sitting as the scene begins, rather than we see him go from standing to sitting.
Thanks!
Cheers,
Mitchell
Posted by: ReneC, July 20th, 2018, 4:41pm; Reply: 7

Quoted from MGray
Hi Dreamscale and Rene,
Thank you for your insights! I can already tell this is a great community of writers.
I have a question re: passive verbs...
At the start of a scene is a passive verb okay? For example, at the start of a new scene I might say "Mattson is sitting on the sofa" instead of "Mattson sits on the sofa" to show that his is already sitting as the scene begins, rather than we see him go from standing to sitting.
Thanks!
Cheers,
Mitchell


That's a prime example of passive writing and should be avoided. If you think that makes it unclear, write it differently.

"On the sofa, Mattson" does something.
"Mattson lounges on the sofa."
"Mattson looks perfectly at home on the sofa as he" does something.
Posted by: Dreamscale (Guest), July 20th, 2018, 4:47pm; Reply: 8

Quoted from MGray
Hi Dreamscale and Rene,
Thank you for your insights! I can already tell this is a great community of writers.
I have a question re: passive verbs...
At the start of a scene is a passive verb okay? For example, at the start of a new scene I might say "Mattson is sitting on the sofa" instead of "Mattson sits on the sofa" to show that his is already sitting as the scene begins, rather than we see him go from standing to sitting.
Thanks!
Cheers,
Mitchell


Common misconception (hey...I had this misconception as well, when I first started) is worrying about if someone or something "is running" when the scene starts, or if they start running.

Bottom line, don't worry about that, and if you need to, write it so that it is perfectly clear - "Mitchell takes off running."  "Mitchell starts off slowly, breaks into a full sprint."

Make sense?

And, don't listen to anyone who tells you something to the effect, "too many "ing" words being used".  It's not the "ing verbs", it's the use of "is or the like.

Posted by: MGray, July 20th, 2018, 9:58pm; Reply: 9
Hi Rene and Dreamscale,
Thank you so much for the tips and your explanations.
Always something new to learn!
Best of luck with your writing!
Cheers,
Mitchell
Posted by: eldave1, July 21st, 2018, 6:09pm; Reply: 10
I won't repeat the comments above - I do agree with them.


Quoted Text
TEEN GUY ONE and TEEN GUY TWO are behind him in line.


I don't care for the generic one and two in scripts as it's hard to keep track of who's who the deeper you go into the script. If you're not going to name them, I would give them different descriptions so they stand out. Just spitballing, but something like:

HUSKY TEEN
SCRAWNY TEEN

Whatever is in your head basically - just use a generic that is more descriptive than one and two.

Cute story. Think it could be trimmed a couple of pages. Nice effort
Posted by: MGray, July 22nd, 2018, 1:54am; Reply: 11
Hi eldave1,
Many thanks for your useful comments.
Thanks again.
Cheers,
Mitchell
Posted by: eldave1, July 22nd, 2018, 10:23am; Reply: 12
My pleasure
Posted by: JEStaats, July 22nd, 2018, 3:17pm; Reply: 13
Hi Mitchell,
I think you're finding out that there are some pretty fantastic people here that will give you top notch tips and suggestions. Everything I noted about your short (and more) has already been addressed by others and don't need repeating except that I concur.

Overall, it's a nice short that could be trimmed up by a page or so. Like Jeff mentioned, the dream sequence(?) was kind of odd in that the line "I don't think that I'm that out of shape" was uttered as he was waiting in line for the bus. Was the sequence a blending of Hannah into an actual event? A flashback of him alone that he inserted Hannah?

Welcome to Simply Scripts! Take note of the One Week Challenge announcement on Friday and participate. Warning, though...they can be brutal! But soooo worth it;)
John
Posted by: MGray, July 23rd, 2018, 2:48pm; Reply: 14
Hi John,
Thanks so much for your thoughts on my short and your welcome to simplyscripts.
I appreciate it.
Cheers,
Mitchell
Posted by: LC, July 29th, 2018, 11:10pm; Reply: 15
Very enjoyable story.

My main qualm is with the scene that is all in Mattson's imagination.

Make it a flashforward or natural continuation of them getting together. I actually just presumed they had btw.

I love dialogue driven stories and neurotic characters, and you pulled this off very well.

The setup is a little drawn out. I'd fix that preamble a bit. You could actually start it with him getting straight on the bus.

The focus needs clarifying a bit though too. What is your short about? What is its theme? What do you want your audience to feel, take away from this? It's not fully cohesive story-wise for me yet, and reads like introi'ng of characters for a larger piece.

Alternatively write a: 'how we met' / 'meet cute' piece, in which case you should make their getting together and him getting his dinosaur back a bit more fraught with difficulty, and up the stakes.

Welcome to SS, Mitch. Loved the characters. Great start.
Posted by: MGray, August 4th, 2018, 5:55pm; Reply: 16
Hi LC,
Thank you very much for your insights! I'm very happy the characters resonated with you.
And thanks for the welcome to SS. It's great so far. I'm finding myself quite wrapped up in the OWC.
It's been a few days now, but about "The Bus Ride"...I meant for the imagination scene to be showing a lonely guy with a longing for connection but an inability to work toward it. And then at the end we have a glimpse of the possible connection unfolding.
Do you think it works better as a flashforward? I'm concerned that that removes the drama of the possibilities of their meeting and wondering if something will develop.
Thanks again very much!
Cheers,
Mitchell
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