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Old 08-22-2018, 09:58 PM   #1
maysam
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Idea (Yet another) screenplay about Martin Luther

I wrote this screenplay about Martin Luther. I know there are already many movies made about him but I believe this one is different as it is a middlepoint between documentary and drama. Although most of dialogues are borrowed from Luther's ceremonies, book, etc. the scenes are designed to deliver an entertaining drama.

I would appreciate feedback.
Here is a copy to Kindle source: https://www.amazon.com/Reformer-scre.../dp/B07GNXRQFS
And here is a link to a free copy: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bser3q1tok...rcopy.pdf?dl=0
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:14 AM   #2
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I read through it since it's only 24 pages and it's even shorter than that. You have scene headings that are written as "shots" like EXT. WAR HORSES

To be honest, it was brutal reading through it as I couldn't get a vision of what your narrative is intended to be.

Goes from a scene that is pictures of the holocaust (don't know where) to inside a coach with Luther, a series of shots outside the coach intercut with some horses legs and warriors, etc.

Then at the end of the intercut it tells us the intercut continues then transitions, etc.

Like your scene 5:

Quote:
EXT. WAR HORSES, DAY
CLOSE UP, WARRIOR HORSE LEGS

It shows legs of the horses running in slow motion. The camera moves up and we see horses are war horses and the riders are warriors with their swords showing, and being ready to use.
I assume the action 'It' is the camera? The Camera shows legs?

There are also some long chunks of dialogue that don't really seem to be from actual conversations but read like someone is reading from text but they're not.

There are lots and lots of English language issues. Lots of gerunds.

I applaud your effort to learn screenwriting and attempt to do so in a language that if I'm not overstepping my bounds, appears to be a second language.

There's definitely a "vision" you are attempting to portray but I struggled mightily with nuts and bolts screenplay and language issues that I could never get into what that vision or story was.

Keep at it and keep rewriting it until it's at a level where it demands attention.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:22 AM   #3
maysam
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Thanks a lot for the feedback.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UneducatedFan View Post
I read through it since it's only 24 pages and it's even shorter than that.
That is intentional I like to keep my writings short as otherwise less people would even consider reading them.

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Originally Posted by UneducatedFan View Post
To be honest, it was brutal reading through it as I couldn't get a vision of what your narrative is intended to be.
I did not mean to impose a narrative. The idea was that it would be like a dramatized documentary: we hear what happened in the history but we also do not get bored on following the scenes. My hope was that the each reader would have her own take of the narrative.

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Goes from a scene that is pictures of the holocaust (don't know where)
Would it matter? What I was picturing was a smash cut from a horrifying holocaust picture to the calm face of Luther. Any holocaust picture would it. Would not it be better to leave such details to creativity of director and producer?

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to inside a coach with Luther, a series of shots outside the coach intercut with some horses legs and warriors, etc.
The idea was to start with an action scene with lots of cuts. I agree that the scene does not transfer much knowledge of what the story is about (except that it tells us a bit about the Luther's character) but a well-made starting action scene is what makes the viewer watch the rest of the movie, where the dramatic scenes as well as the sole content of Luther's speech would be the key entertaining element of the movie.

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I assume the action 'It' is the camera? The Camera shows legs?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UneducatedFan View Post
There are also some long chunks of dialogue that don't really seem to be from actual conversations but read like someone is reading from text but they're not.
Do you mean monologues? If yes, that is correct. They are verbatim copy of Luther's letters, books, ceremonies, etc. That is intentional as I believe the sole content of his words is so profound that need not and should not be changed. Moreover it would add to the historical value of the movie: when the audience ask "Did he actually say that or the writers just made it up?" and they will later google it to be found true.

If you mean dialogues, except the one in Worms, the rest are crated by me. I tried to recreate the dialogues that carry the sentiment and relationships that we know from history.

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Originally Posted by UneducatedFan View Post
There are lots and lots of English language issues. Lots of gerunds.
English being my second language, I would not be surprised if there are such issues. But my hope was that the reader could see beyond them. I would give a script to professional proof reader but if the content is not exciting enough, then a grammar-correction would not be more than a lipstick on a pig.

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I applaud your effort to learn screenwriting and attempt to do so in a language that if I'm not overstepping my bounds, appears to be a second language.
Right on the spot

Quote:
Originally Posted by UneducatedFan View Post
There's definitely a "vision" you are attempting to portray but I struggled mightily with nuts and bolts screenplay and language issues that I could never get into what that vision or story was.
This is a great feedback. Thanks. I was hoping such issues do not get in the way, but apparently they did.
The greatest stories I have heard could be told with no correct grammar and still have a profound impact. I believe if it does not, perhaps the content is not worth distributing.

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Keep at it and keep rewriting it until it's at a level where it demands attention.
Again thanks a lot for the feedback. I highly appreciate it.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:27 AM   #4
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Keep at it. I would recommend making sure you use scene headings for actual scenes and use SHOTS or camera direction as actual camera direction. The EXT/INT are scene locations, not camera SHOTS or CU's, etc.

If you are directing this yourself, so long as you understand what you mean, you're good. If you're looking for another director to or someone else to shoot it, then there is a lot of directing going on that can be off putting to a director who wants to reserve that as part of their job (to direct).

Good luck and keep at it!
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Old 09-09-2018, 07:31 PM   #5
maysam
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Thanks again for the feedback. I revised the screenplay accordingly. Hope it is in a better shape now:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/bser3q1tok...rcopy.pdf?dl=0
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Old 09-09-2018, 10:55 PM   #6
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The original and your new link are identical with zero changes.
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Old 09-09-2018, 11:09 PM   #7
maysam
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Yes, I replaced the file so the link is the same. You can verify that by seeing this added comment to the first page:

> The monologues are verbatim copy of Luther’s books, articles, as well as historical letters. Preserving the historical accuracy has been the chief goal in recreating the dialogues that are not reported in the history.

I figured the readers would read it differently if they know that the monologues are not made up and are rather actual words of Martin Luther.
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Old 09-10-2018, 08:24 AM   #8
mlesemann
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I honestly think that the question is: Why do you think that there's a market for a movie compromised of monologues by Martin Luther?
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Old 09-10-2018, 09:24 AM   #9
maysam
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> a market for a movie compromised of monologues by Martin Luther

The way I decide to watch a movie is mostly based on the trailer. There is a couple of quite controversial lines in the script that could be included in the trailer. This is how I decided to watch "Novitiate (2017)" -- although the movie did not turn out to be great. The very fact of connecting Luther to holocaust is controversial and should raise some curiosities to watch the movie.

After that the movie needs to have exciting scenes every 10m or so to keep it entertaining. This movie starts by a 5m action scene. With proper direction this 5m could be quite exciting.

From there, this is the monologues that are the key entertaining part: the way Luther's thoughts was formed and they way they changed over the years to end up to his antisemitism. 2.4 billion people on earth are Protestant. Almost every one of us know somebody of this ideology. Connecting the start of Protestantism, Luther, to Holocaust, is something that I expect to raise curiosity of many of cinema goers. The monologues being verbatim copy from history gives this reassurance to the audience that they are learning history; "Luther actually said that" should be the phrase that people would be talking about after watching the movie.
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Old 09-10-2018, 11:38 AM   #10
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The movie targets for the new emerging genre that I call "dramatized documentary". I have seen a couple of good movies in this genre, where even the voice overs are replayed from actual recorded speeches. The fact that me, the viewer, truly believes that this is an "actual" event from history makes the movie much more entertaining than if it was yet another imagination of a disturbed writer.
The popularity of reality tv shows, "based on true story" tag line's popularity on movies, and comedies like "Borat" and "Bad Grandpa" are some of recent examples that if the viewer knows (or believes) that the scenes are "real" it would have a whole different level of impact on them.
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Old 09-28-2018, 10:49 AM   #11
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I got a feedback that the ending is too dark. The script is updated with two post-credits scenes to also give some happy vibe at the end: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bser3q1tok...rcopy.pdf?dl=0

The pen writes Martin Luther. The angle and the lighting
reminds of the Pope signing the Luther's excommunication
letter. The movie credits shows The Reformer title below the
Martin Luther signature on the letter.
We see Luther's hand trying to put the pen back into the ink
jar. Luther faints and the ink jar falls over. The ink is
surprisingly red; it spreads over the paper covering the
signature.

FADE TO RED

The credits start showing. After only two pages of credits we
see the following post-credit scene.

INT. CASTLE'S ROOM, DAY
CLOSE UP: "On the Jews and Their Lies" is printed on the
fancy cover of a printed book.
Pfaffinger, smiling, is pleased with the book. He puts the
book in the book shelf as he says:
PFAFFINGER (O.S.)
What a great man!
Pfaffinger turns back to the room. We see a dinner table with
all kinds of fancy foods and fruits on it. The guests include
a couple of priests, some military men, and some from the
king's court.

PFAFFINGER (O.S.)
Gentlemen, where were we?

FADE TO BLACK
The credits resumes. After a beat we hear a 9-YEAR-OLD GIRL's
voice over on credits reading parts of Luther's Invocavit
Sermons.
GIRL (V.O.)
There must also be love, and through
love we must do to one another.
KATHARINA VON BORA (V.O.)
(interrupting)
unto one another

GIRL (V.O.)
unto one another as God has done unto
us through faith.

The credits breaks again with another post-credit scene.

INT. LUTHER'S LIVING ROOM, DAY
Some little girls are sitting around the table. Katharina von
Bora, Luther's wife, is teaching them how to read Invocavit
Sermons. Her eyes are red indicating that she has been crying
a lot. One of them, a 9-year-old girl, is reading it out loud
from worn out papers. The papers look like they are from 20-
30 years ago.

GIRL
For without love faith is nothing.
KATHARINA VON BORA
Good. Sera.

Camera stars zooming out and leaving the room.

SERA (O.S.)
Dear friends, the kingdom of God, and
we are that kingdom, consists not in
speech or in words, but in _deeds_, in
_works_ and _exercises_. God does not
want hearers and repeaters of words,

By now the camera is showing Luther's empty chair with his
folded outfit sitting on it. FREEZE ON the empty chair.

SERA (O.S.)
but doers and followers who exercise
themselves in the faith that worketh
by love. For a faith without love is
not enough.

The End.
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Old 11-27-2018, 12:21 PM   #12
maysam
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Update: the screenplay was picked by the veteran audio producer, Joseph Bevilacqua (http://www.joebevilacqua.com). The audiobook is now available in iTunes, Amazon, and Audible. Now we just need to wait for it to be picked by a veteran movie producer

PS: Here are the links to the audiobook if you want to check out the samples of Joseph's work:
Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/B07KQPDNF...0_134479_rh_us
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Reformer-Scre.../dp/B07KQN8YT5
iTunes: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/audi...44485828?mt=11
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