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Old 02-21-2015, 06:34 PM   #1
diamondwind
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opinions needed screenplay linked

Thanks in advance

M

Last edited by diamondwind; 02-28-2015 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 02-21-2015, 08:23 PM   #2
FantasySciFi
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If you can, I'd rewrite the beginning. I found it really boring with very little happening for the first 7 pages. I didn't find myself particularly interested in following Mickey. While the break-in is interesting, you never really develop that. The setting of the bar seems peripheral. After the truck owner incident, the rest of the story becomes a boring account. The first ten pages lost my interest, nothing happens that builds interest in the character or makes clear the concept of the movie. There are serious pacing issues. If it came to me as a reader for production, I would pass. Since you're in production, I would seriously suggest a major re-write of act one. You should pay particular attention to character development, creating a sense of what the film is about. Why was he looking at the registrations? Why the bar? You had an opportunity to create some interest but the deviated off into watching ducks, rather dull conversation with someone named Zach, then a return to his home. A crematorium? You may be setting up breadcrumbs that make sense later but I find myself reading out of obligation, not interest. Which isn't good. The dialogue that was there was rather plain. I'd really re-assess if some of those scenes are necessary. In 10 pages you have 26 scenes. As a producer, that's a lot of locations to be securing. As a general guide, there's usually about 1-1.5 scenes per page. I'd expect 10-15 or so scenes. I can't give any comments about the story as I lost interest after page 10 and the story was still not apparent. I think these are serious issues you want to look at.
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Old 02-21-2015, 08:49 PM   #3
diamondwind
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Thanks for the quick reply. While I see your points the film is no doubt an art piece. It is ment to feel isolated ala limits of control or le samourai. Read the first 20 pages of limits of control and you feel the same things. Its a mystery. Lots pf breadcrumbs no doubt but they do build to a climax. Maybe thriller was not right and it falls into drama but I do see it more as a slow burn.

The film was financed late last year based on a much more rudimentary script. Also just so you understand the protagonist mikey is dying or dead its really open to interpretation. Might make a little more sense.

Really im looking for intrest based on the knowledge this is a "art house" film.
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:04 PM   #4
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I do have a hollywood scifi thriller that seeing your name you might enjoy more
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:05 PM   #5
Sweetie
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Why did you write this script? What is your goal?

Quote:
I do see it more as a slow burn.
How are you going to maintain interest while you're slowly burning away?
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:11 PM   #6
diamondwind
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I mean it as building slowly to a climax. I am making this film because it's in my heart. Because I will die if I don't. If you are not driven by passion than I would look into that. Not trying to be rude but your questions are confusing to me.
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:12 PM   #7
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The film starts a 25 day shoot in less than two months just wanted to get some creative eyes on this last polish as opposed to suits
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
I mean it as building slowly to a climax.
I understand slow burn. The question remains, how are you going to maintain interest while this is happening. I don't need to know, but you do.

Quote:
I am making this film because it's in my heart.
When I get asked to review peoples work, I often find that people are often too close to the material to be able to make an objective, dispassionate decision. Too often I find people defending their decisions and taking suggestions as a personal attack rather than working towards a stronger script.

The reason I ask is you've been given feedback and by the sound of it, you've completely ignored and adding the "this is a "art house" film" instead of asking if he has any ideas on how this would be made more interesting/fixed.

FantasySciFi is a lot more tolerant than I am. If says there's a problem in your first act, I trust his opinion enough to know there's a problem. If he couldn't get through much more than 10 pages, Houston, we have a problem.

Just looking at his notes, with very little to go on except 26 scenes in 10 pages and boring dialogue would lead me to believe that you may need to combine scenes and since your script 88 pages (assuming it's paced correctly), you'll die in editing hell with a decision to make: Either to leave it to be boring or cut it until it's too short to be a feature film. It's just a guess.

If you're looking for a "It's great, don't touch it", you're not going to find that with me. I'm of the opinion that there is always a way to improve a script. I also believe that not all suggestions are made equal.

Good luck with your film.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:15 PM   #9
diamondwind
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By no means do I not take every criticism or suggestion seriously and value them equally. Its just that the film already has funding, some foreign presales and has gone through several drafts and many readers who have had different opinions.

Its not that either criticism isnt isn't valid just that I was sure if the reader understood my intentions.
As to the comments regarding too many scenes is more a matter of how I have structured the film. It has this flow to the editing that will make the film feel seamless, blending scenes and time to fit the metaphors within.
I just wish the reader had flipped further ahead to understand how the pieces fit together.

The film is very metaphor heavy and plays on local dogma and that of all kinds of religious and mythological properties told from the perspective of a dead/dying young man, as if the film exist only in the seconds before death. Similar to a fever dream or dmt trip.

Bottom line I welcome any and all opinions. But although hard to believe these days, I scored final cut.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Its not that either criticism isn't valid just that I was sure if the reader understood my intentions.
The point being, it doesn't matter. Essentially he switched the channel before he got that far or if in the cinema, he left and asked for his money back. Just a perspective thing. It's a possible sign. By no means will this ensure all readers/audience members act the same way. It could mean that s/he is not your target audience. It could mean that there are problems with your opening.

Quote:
I scored final cut.
Grats. Make the most of the opportunity. Use it well and it may lead to more. Waste it and it may be the last final cut you get for a long time.

Sounds like you're the director and probably also the writer. Get feedback from your other department heads and most particularly your lead actors and editor.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:44 PM   #11
diamondwind
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I am both. The script is the result of a 3 week crash course workshop with the actors last fall.

My audience will not be broad but luckily my investors understand this and see it as an opertunity to spread their creative wings.

In all sincerity thank you for your intrest I love hearing from the community.
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:15 AM   #12
Wolverine237
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I would do a rewrite before shooting. I am sure your story is amazing! (which is why you love it and are pursuing production with it.) Truthfully I didn't read it because it lacks pacing.

My first and best advice is to print off your screenplay, grab a red pen and before you begin ask yourself two simple questions;

What am I seeing, hearing, or feeling when I think about my story?

And following that question; how do I influence my reader/audience to see the same thing?

As far as pacing is concerned, which is essential to thriller films; this can be achieved by focusing on specific things within the format of your writing. Be sure to take advantage of your scene headings, all the little information can add a certain flavor to your film, which sets the tone. For example with your beginning;




EXT. WIDE ON RANDY'S BAR - 1:26AM

Bright neon lights advertise Budweiser from inside the threadbare dive. A few lonely vehicles are parked just outside.

HOODED FIRGURE

steps INTO FRAME, gliding towards Randy's with a peculiar gait.

CUT TO:

INT. TRAILBLAZER - CLOSE ON GLOVE BOX

The hooded man shuffles through the jumble of documents. To his delight, he finds the

REGISTRATION SLIP

which reads, "Craig L. Mcgehee, 1997 SLVR TRAILBLAZER BL."




Keep writing and good luck on production.

Last edited by Wolverine237; 02-22-2015 at 03:21 AM.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:47 AM   #13
FantasySciFi
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You had to have a pitch to secure the pre-sales. What was it? That is what you need to bring out in the first act. Neither the title nor the first ten pages suggest what this is about. What you've essentially done is tell us after the fact what have been stated up front.

"DOA" is an example of a thriller where the protagonist wanders into the police station to report a murder, his own. If you had even had some exchange between Mikey and the truck owner, MIKEY: "Go ahead. Pull the trigger. The worst you can do is kill me. Do it! I'm already dead inside." Man shakes his head, kicks him, then hops in the truck and squeals off.

Now you have my interest. Now do something with Mikey that makes him interesting. The car with the headlights, makes someone get out. You make a reference on p. 23 to this scene but not as you portray it here. Instead you jump right after the truck leaves to him waking up in the van. You're at the bar, he has those liquor bottles we see later, bring the bar into it. It's the only reference. Compact it with another relevant location. Maybe merge it with the gas station scene. That would be a good segue into cleaning up, buying a bottle of cough syrup and heading off. It saves location expense and makes relevant an otherwise irrelevant scene (gas station). The interior of his car when he wakes up could just as well be played out when he's parked outside Wes' house and looks over at the buick. Changing the order would simplify the shoot and make the scenes more relevant.

Really. As far as number of scenes, from a practical view, prioritize. Seriously, shoot the main bulk shots first and pick up the icing shots last. The gas station stop is an icing shot. It contributes nothing to the story. Monies are a funny thing when shooting. What you don't want to have happen is shooting icing shots and not have enough for the bread and butter scenes and post.

After reading your comments, I persisted and the story gets better. I do like where it heads and I think after page 15 things pick up. However, it's that slow pacing in the beginning which is a killer. Though I truthfully never developed an interest in Mikey. Even with the later interchange between Wes and Mikey about his father, it felt flat and unbelievable.

I appreciate this is a passion project. But at some point, this is a business venture where money is on the line. Even with an art film, you have to give the audience a reason to want to watch. I've watched films just because they were a slow motion trainwreck. That's how this one appears. A film to be watched just to see the resolution without really caring about any of the characters. It's the sort of book story I'd jump to the end to after page 20 to see how it ends to see if it's worth continuing to read. (Or go to IMDb to see if there's a summary). Skipping ahead to the end, it felt rather anti-climactic. Hey, I know it's not fair, but that's how the films are often judged. Despite the action after page 20, there was not enough interest in Mikey to keep me engaged. It's not a fatal flaw (many old noir films have flat characters) as long as the ending sells it. Your ending was anticlimactic.

On p. 23 you make a reference back to the truck owner, something that never clearly happened in the beginning. I'm trying hard to follow and then you throw in a reference that doesn't make sense. Relationships are not clearly developed. Still not sure who Wes is. Lover, roommate, brother, friend? It's for these reasons that I had to stop--lack of clarity, lack of development and no clear story.

It needs to engage the audience more and be consistent and compelling. I appreciate you're telling the story with your own voice and this is your baby. I think the story could work but the pacing and development needs to be ramped up a bit. The first reference to Haywood house--the title--is page 68. Just be careful that slow burn doesn't mean 'fizzle out'. I realize production is close at hand. Take heart that "African Queen" was being written even while in production. Not a good model to follow though.

I appreciate this is close to you. Writers often live with the back story and their characters in their heads. They are real and 3D. Not all of that has been translated into this script. Mikey goes through actions like a puppet; he doesn't feel real to me. The events seem contrived and without purpose.

If you develop the characters and relationships as well as create a sense of what the story (or presumed story) is about in the first act, it would make it more understandable and gripping. In the second act, some how link in Haywood so that come the third act there is a sense of resolution. It can be a cryptic breadcrumb but you need to make it relevant. There is an "Angel Heart" type quality to the script that needs further development. I think the story idea has potential. It may not be what you want to hear at this juncture but I think it's fixable. Every movie script often goes through revisions even while in production. The action scenes with Rocko et al. seem fine so could probably be shot without much alteration. Congratulations and best wishes as you move into production.
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Old 02-22-2015, 01:18 PM   #14
RealJasonBourne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolverine237 View Post



EXT. WIDE ON RANDY'S BAR - 1:26AM

Hey bro, I really like that scene heading, youre right it does add flavor to it. Something about 1:26AM adds some dark undertone to it.

to op: whos ur target audience? young people don't like mini-vans nor ducks and parks.

replace mini-van with 2006 black mustang GT and park+ducks with... bridge over a sunset

what do u think?
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:47 PM   #15
diamondwind
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Cranking away on the first 10 pages. Really agree with the note about combining the stop n shop with the gas station. That could move much quicker.

I will post new pages as I get them for those with interest.
On a side note, I plan to use some actors playing multiple roles in costume such as Mikey/seth. I'm fascinated by doppelgangers and Reflections. Seth is a projection of mikeys fear and jealously.
Any thoughts on how to convay this in my script such as the dual roles becasuse as far as the plot they are two seprate characters but it still looses impact.

And the ducks play into the ending... and its his dead mothers Minivan


Thanks in advance

M

Last edited by diamondwind; 02-22-2015 at 08:49 PM.
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