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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Family Scripts  /  O'Brien's Find
Posted by: Don, November 1st, 2018, 8:29pm
O'Brien's Find by Ronald Pergola - Family, Drama - An Irish American teen follows a seer's plan to safeguard a valuable relic from her father's killers. 99 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work

Posted by: Matthew Taylor, November 2nd, 2018, 8:29am; Reply: 1
I opened this just to scan the first page or two to see if it was well written enough to read - before I knew it I was on page 5 - Lovely condensed action blocks that convey a lot in a short space - very easy to read - Dialogue also seems natural

I am at work and unable to read it through at the moment (even though I really want to)

So I will pick this up over the weekend and have a good read
Posted by: JakeJon, November 6th, 2018, 12:37am; Reply: 2
Thanks Matt.   Hope you complete  the read.  I welcome your comments


Posted by: Matthew Taylor, November 6th, 2018, 6:02am; Reply: 3
I will do. I planned to read it over the weekend but my toddler had other ideas.

When I do get to read it, I'll put up some comments (I doubt they will be very helpful but I'll put them up anyway)


EDIT: I had a cheeky read of a few more pages whilst at work

So, I think this is really well written, you have obviously practised and researched the craft so well done on that.

I have a few notes so far, some are probably nitpicking but I'll include anyway.

Under some sluglines you immediately have a mini slug with secondary location, can't these go into the main slug above? I.E EXT. LALLY'S STABLES - GARDEN - DAY

There are a couple of instances of telling, not showing
"underlying strength of character" - telling
"She prunes and converses" - converses is telling, she starts talking after this so we know she is conversing, no need to tell us

INT./EXT. MICKEY’S PICK-UP TRUCK - DAY - Here you have told us he is in his truck, but not where the truck is

Toaster oven - might just be me, but why would he think to look there? I know he is desperate to find the necklace but seems a bit random. Maybe if there were obvious signs on it that it had been taken apart recently?

How are they moving to USA? I am no expert, but moving there is not as easy as just buying plane tickets is it? I don't know Visa rules but don't you need money and/or a job already lined up?

James tells us that the Romans made it to Britain and Scotland - Two things, Scotland is in Britain so no need to single that out, also, I am pretty sure Romans never conquered Scotland.

At the pub scene - here you have introduced 3 new named characters - I have just done a search and their names do not appear in the script again, are they necessary?
Looking at it, is the whole scene necessary? - seems it's only purpose is to set up a cliched eaves drop by Keith - is there not a better way for him to find this out? I feel there is a missed opportunity here to delve into this character (at this point i have the feeling he is the main antagonist?)

I am stopping at page 17 for now, as I should actually be doing work.


Posted by: JakeJon, November 6th, 2018, 1:11pm; Reply: 4

Great input.  Thanks.  
Yup, I hope mini slugs are an option.  If the reader gets lost, then it's a no no.  Perhaps a risk but I think it's clear where we are.  

"telling vs showing"  again you're right on with "underlying strength of character" but I think the actor and director will appreciate that description.
Yup, I will dump "converses".

Random is okay with me here.  He sits, frustrated, desperate, disappointed.  He looks up, slowly, suddenly and "voila  no way, are you kidding me, the toaster?"    Yeah, random, lucky.  Again, a risk . I thought building suspense with the search was more important than the find.  Mick can find it anywhere I guess.

Money? Plane tickets? A job?  Don't think you need to go that deep.  I hope not anyway.

There was no Scotland or Britain back then.  The Romans had it all.  Check it out. Perhaps, I'll change James dialogue to,  ". . .they did make it to what is now Britain and Scotland".  Got to give that some thought.

You're right on with the pub scene and the Keith character perhaps being unnecessary but I intentionally set this up.  Friends drinking, joking; quite passve.  Mickey stands for a final last look at the favorite watering hole.  He turns and exits. Tne camera pans, I'm thinking, to Keith with a glowering smirk.  "There's more to come from Keith," was my intention here.

Thanks again.  If you're not bored, keep it coming.  I apologize if I'm being too defensive.  You're input is greatly aporeciated.


Posted by: Matthew Taylor, November 6th, 2018, 1:33pm; Reply: 5
Nah you're not being defensive. It's your work, you know it better than anyone.

You can include what you like in scripts if you think it add's something. You tell the story how you want it, don't pay too much attention to what directors/actors want - if it gets that's far, they will do what they want with it.

Now, I don't want to get too in depth of the history of Britain - as it is not important for the script. But because I am incapable of letting things go lol, Britain before Roman occupation was a collection of Celtic tribes (Known collectively as the Britons), when Rome occupied, England and Wales was collectively known as Britannia.
The area now known as Scotland was then Caledonia, and the Romans failed to invade it (hence why they built Hadrian's wall to keep the wild northlings out)

Mini slugs are great, and you use them effectively - The only ones I am referring to are the ones that are directly beneath a scene heading - if it was me I would move those into the scene heading itself, all the others work fine

You may have misunderstood - I don't think the Keith character is unnecessary - I think the other 3 characters are (the ones who appear in this scene only) - If you wan't to keep the scene, I would suggest changing these characters so they don't have names or introductions (Friend 1, Friend 2 .. etc is fine) - When they are nameless, that tells me, as the reader, that these characters are not important, so I don't need to remember them... if that makes sense

Is Keith the main antagonist? At this point it seems that way - So I am expecting him to show up in the USA pretty soon - Guess I'll find out

Not bored yet, when the kid goes bed and I've caught up on Doctor Who, will sit down with it later
Posted by: Matthew Taylor, November 6th, 2018, 7:07pm; Reply: 6
Small point, but breaking the news of a death of a patient - It is best practice to sit, rather than stand, and professionals are advised to use words like death and died, and to use it several times (Not, as you have put it "unable to save") I know this from recently watching a medical documentary - Small things like this might seem picky, but if inaccuracies occur frequently enough, it can put readers/viewers off.

A call to Keith - where is Keith at this point? Still in Ireland? I thought he would of gone to America a lot sooner to track Mickey down, maybe he did in the 13 years that passed - But Keith (I thought) was desperate to find mickey, in this day in age It is quite easy to find people if you want it hard enough, Mickey isn't even hiding, he's still using his name. Anyway, I feel Keith didn't try hard enough to find Mickey
I also find the scene cheap and convenient (Another eavesdrop to pass info to the antagonist?) - Feel like more original ways could be used here - I am also not getting a sense of who Keith is, another missed opportunity I think

For a while now, I am finding it all a bit drab - There's not a whole lot of conflict going on, there's nothing really pushing the story forward - my interest is waning a little bit.

I am bowing out at page 34

The story takes too long to begin, the inciting incident for this story is the death of Mickey, which happens on pg 34 - way too late in the story - only now do we know who the true protagonist is


- You can clearly write and have done research/studied
- good clear concise descriptions
- natural feeling dialogue
- Story was interesting for a while, need to find a way to keep that going

- Way too much back story involving Mickey, story needs to start much sooner
- Unnecessary scenes and too many scenes with no conflict, nothing driving the story
- A lot of characters, most don't appear again - let us know who these people are by not giving them names

Hope I have been of some help to you

Best of luck in your writing

Posted by: JakeJon, November 6th, 2018, 7:24pm; Reply: 7
Great stuff, thanks again.
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