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Russell Moore
04-07-2008, 11:12 PM
Two men, each pursuing the other. One haunted by his past. One haunted by his future. Neither with anything left to lose.

Russell Moore
04-07-2008, 11:16 PM
Geez, coming up with the logline almost took me as long as coming up with the whole idea. HA!

This is only the second screenplay I've written and my first short. I'm just about done with it, just polishing up some details/ dialogue.
But I feel pretty good about what I've got so far.

If I get enough positive feedback on it, I'm thinking it may be a good prequel for a feature length screenplay. But I'll wait and see what everybody thinks, there are a lot of good, experienced folks here.

I'm just happy to be able to enter a fest while I'm saving up for a camera, so I can participate in the other fests.

seansshack
04-07-2008, 11:51 PM
Sounds interesting.

Know what you mean about loglines. Hate writing them.

ConspiracyPenguin
04-08-2008, 11:46 AM
Loglines can be one of the more difficult aspects in promoting an idea. When I write, sometimes the logline is extremely apparent and it just pops into my head. But I (and I think all of us) have had those moments where I can't for the life of me come up with a good one.

Sounds cood conlan, I look forward to the read. Good luck everyone!

Russell Moore
04-08-2008, 09:35 PM
Thanks guys, I finished the screenplay. I'm pretty happy with it, looks like it's going to be straight up action.
Now I guess I'll work on a poster, started sketching up some ideas.

I'm looking forward to reading everybodies screenplays.

seansshack
04-13-2008, 12:53 AM
on the subject of posters. Does everyone need/intend to do one?

Russell Moore
04-20-2008, 10:53 AM
My script inspired movie poster.

Russell Moore
04-30-2008, 09:08 PM
After reading some of these other loglines, I'm afraid mine may be a little run of the mill. But its my first fest and my short script, so I'm going to remain optimistic and I'm looking forward to some good honest critique.
I figure you can learn something from everything and everybody.

I don't really have anything new to say, I'm just chomping at the bit to start reading the scripts.

StefanHaynes
04-30-2008, 09:11 PM
For the record, I think your logline is one of the stronger ones.

Russell Moore
04-30-2008, 09:25 PM
Thanks, I appreciate it. This whole fest is turning out to be a great learning process already.

Nektonic
05-01-2008, 10:44 PM
I like that logline, and the title is awesome. Good luck man.

Captain Pierce
05-04-2008, 04:47 PM
With all the calls for "giant handguns" and the like, I can only assume that you have the Desert Eagle franchise in your area, conlanforever. :D

Seriously, though, I enjoyed the script. One minor suggestion--at the beginning, when Tyr is cutting himself, should we maybe come back from his view of the "God's Warehouse" sign and see the cuts healed already as a small teaser of his abilities?

John LaBonney
05-05-2008, 04:53 AM
Deep stuff. I agree that a teaser of his immortality would be beneficial.

I liked the pursuit, the best action part being the slide down the stairs on the coffin. Would love to see that shot, especially if he jumps off just as the coffin smashes into a zillion pieces. I found myself anxious to get through the scenes with Cynthia; I suggest that her character be diminished even further or eliminated completely.

The Marsh character is my favorite, and one of my favorite moments is when he continues to pet his dog as the Reverend dies. Reminds me of a good James Bond movie villain, or at least how I'd like them to be: completely cold-blooded. It would be cool to see a little bit more of him.

Russell Moore
05-05-2008, 06:25 AM
LOL...No, no Captain, I don't have anything to do with the Desert Eagle franchise. But I do have stock in the official Giant Handgun brand handguns, I think its branch of ACME.

I can definitely see the benefits of a teaser written in early on. Maybe to heighten the mystery a bit more about Tyr.

John, I'm not sure I could eliminate the character of Cynthia. She is the motivation for a lot of the action, unless I failed to convey it.
Was it the way the scenes(Cynthia's) were written or is it that you thought it would work better if it were just Tyr vs. the "bad guys"?

I'm glad you liked the coffin scene. When it came to me, I thought maybe its a little over the top, but figured "what the hell" its an action short and put it in.

I really want to improve myself as a writer and I've already learned a great deal just from reading other scripts and their critiques.

So, thanks for the comments guys and keep 'em coming.

Detached
05-05-2008, 10:01 PM
Okay, so you are obviously a very experienced writer and there isn't anything I can say. ;-)

This one met not only the challenge but was a great read from start to finish.

I thought the whole story and and the writing of it were executed very, very well.

Good job and good luck.

dantewaters
05-05-2008, 10:06 PM
Loglines can be one of the more difficult aspects in promoting an idea. When I write, sometimes the logline is extremely apparent and it just pops into my head. But I (and I think all of us) have had those moments where I can't for the life of me come up with a good one.

Sounds cood conlan, I look forward to the read. Good luck everyone!

Guess the logline is the summary of your entire script?

Russell Moore
05-05-2008, 10:43 PM
Thanks Detached, I really appreciate the comments. But to be completely honest this was only my 2nd script and my 1st short script.
I'm glad you enjoyed it and thank you for taking the time to read it.

Dante...I'm a little confused about your comment. I don't think my logline is the summary of my whole script.

STYLZ
05-05-2008, 11:30 PM
Excellent chase scene. Very action packed. Reminds me of True Lies or something along those lines. Minus the AV-8 Harrier and Heli's and all that.

What's a unpurposeful stride look like?

This script was good ole American style action. Written pretty well. Easy to visualize. No criticism really.

Question though. This guy is so good, why did the paramedics think they could get him to submit with just verbal commands? I'd think they would have some way to render him unconscious or make him ineffective. Taser? Gas grenades? Something. Anyways good job. Thanks for sharing.

Russell Moore
05-06-2008, 05:45 AM
Thanks for taking the time to read my script.
Good point on the purposeful stride. Maybe I could change the description a bit to describe his intent more clearly at that point.

As far as the paramedics, you raise another good question. I could say they were well trained and over-conifident or we just never get a chance to see what else they had in their arsenal and then, there is always the possibility that it hadn't occured to me....heh.

I appreciate you taking the time to critique, thanks again.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
05-06-2008, 07:23 AM
My only gripe was the the fact that everyone seemed to think he was an easy capture. I mean... sending two people after a highly trained/motivated individual who can't die seems a bit odd.

With backup not even in the same vicinity.

Aside from that it was a kick ass ride! I really enjoyed it.
At least give back-up a better way of dealing with him. That might help.

Not bashing btw, this is a great script overall.

Mike

Russell Moore
05-06-2008, 08:42 AM
I really appreciate the comments and I think the critique is valid.

In my mind I saw the pursuers as highly trained enough to handle the situation. But in the script, I agree I could either emphasize this point and/or arm them more heavily and/or have more than two at a time.

I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the ride and thanks for taking the time to critique it.

Captain Pierce
05-06-2008, 09:04 AM
All this is without looking at the script again (I'm at work), but to me... It doesn't really matter how well the pursuers are armed, if Tyr can't die. They just need to be armed well enough to take out anybody trying to help him (and they don't seem to be having any problems in that area :) ). What the pursuers need is some kind of code word, or specially-formulated tranquilizer, or something that can shut Tyr down. Could it be that, since the paramedics did think that just using verbal commands would work, that the Doctor did program something like that in, but that it got unprogrammed as part of the procedure to reverse everything he did?

Russell Moore
05-07-2008, 01:33 PM
Captain, I like where you're going with this line of thinking, it definitely gives me some food for thought.
Once again, thanks for your input.

krestofre
05-09-2008, 12:43 PM
I'm not convinced that the backup thing is a big deal. I mean this is an action movie as it's core. How many people fight Wolverine at a time? One. It's bad guy training 101. "Jimmy, I know you want to jump in and help your fiend, but the code says only one bad guy engaging the hero at any given time." As I was reading it I just felt that's how action movies are supposed to go.

And that Nun is hardcore! I wouldn't have suspected that she needed backup in the first place. :)

Sufficed to say I really enjoyed this one. Paced very well, you build up to the reveal of your mystery. A great guns-a-blazin' action piece.

Russell Moore
05-09-2008, 04:47 PM
Thank you krestofre, that means a lot to me. I'm glad you liked it.

smashedburrito
05-10-2008, 10:03 AM
Conlan,
I enjoyed this one and all my comments will just be with tweaking.

I agree with the teaser about his healing in the beginning. We should get some clue that something here is a little out of the ordinary, a little supernatural.

I think Tyr hiding in the coffin and riding the coffin down the stairs is a little over the top. He is indestructable, so why does he have to hide in a coffin? He could hide behind a door to surprise her, but IMO a coffin is too much. Also as much as I love the idea of riding a coffin down the stairs I don't know if it fits the tone and world of your story. I just don't picture your hero doing that.

I like the twist at the end where the one bad guy gets choked. Good choice there.

I think if you want to clear up the people pursing the indestructable Tyr, then you could make it more obvious that they are trying to catch him, rather than kill him. Any suggestions of something to hold him might help, that way they aren't just trying to kill something that can't die.

You didn't capitalize Gustav the first time we meet him. Quick formatting errors.

Otherwise I enjoyed this piece. Keep up the good work.

Russell Moore
05-10-2008, 04:56 PM
Smashed, thanks for reading my script and taking the time to comment on it.

The teaser of his abilities seems to be popular and I'm really taking that to heart.
As far as the two coffin scenes, the first where he is hiding, I wanted to do something different that you may not expect and while he is virtually indestructible he does suffer initially from damage, so he tries to avoid it when possible.
On the coffin down the stairs, I knew this might be polarizing for people, I figured some people might like it and others may feel it over the top. I decided to go with it and suffer the consequences. ;)

The thought about making it more clear about him being caught instead of killed is a good idea and I've had several good ideas including the back up, so I have a lot to consider there.

I don't even know how many times I read this script (but its a lot) and I didn't catch the Dr. Gustav captilization problem. Thanks.

Once again thank you for taking the time to critique the script, I appreciate it.

alex whitmer
05-11-2008, 02:57 PM
Not sure why, but this comes off as a little contradictory …

his appearance a bit ragged and worn. He is in his
physical prime.

This …

big wicked HANDGUN

Should be big, wicked HANDGUN.

If it came down to saving pages for whatever reason, it’s a good habit to weed out superfluous details. This for example …

Tyr then pushes up his left jacket sleeve, baring the top of
his arm.

You could leave out the ‘pushes up his left jacket sleeve’ as the following action would create that action by default. Like this …

Tyr then bares the top of his arm.

Kill the ING verb. You could probably lose the ‘then’ as well, getting this from 14 words and two lines, down to 7 and one line to say the same thing.

Here again …

He pulls the blade across his arm, just deep enough
to break the skin, blood seeps out from the thin slice.

You could trim it to …

He pulls the blade across his arm. Blood seeps from a thin slice.

Comb the script for more opportunities to lose the fluff and quicken the read.

This …

"GOD'S WAREHOUSE a funeral home".

Why only part capped? It feels odd the way it’s written.

Page 2

Need to cap this character (no pun)

Dr. Godwin Gustav,


He stands in front of the coffin, one
hand resting on the casket,

Maybe …

‘He stands with one hand resting on the coffin’ so you don’t need to do a coffin/casket thing. ‘Hand on the coffin’ will by default put him next to it.

This …

I know this isn’t an English class, but just for the record …

rough housing

The rule for compound verbs is … if it’s not in the dictionary as one word, then it needs to be hyphenated. Since the compound verb rough housing is in the dictionary, it should be written ‘roughhousing’.

This …

Dr. Gustav is exiting the building. He stops just outside
the door, wary, glancing up and down the sidewalk.

Stick to simple present …

Dr. Gustav exits the building. He stops just outside
the door, wary, glances up and down the sidewalk.

Keeps it all in one tense. Except on occasion when it just works better with ING. You also get to lose the is, am and are words, for the most part.

This …

Just regular pedestrian traffic, a half block down, a PRIEST and a NUN are trying to save a WINO.

Punctuation issue …

What’s half a block down? The regular ped traffic, or the priest and nun?

This …

Dr. Gustav, seeing Tyr, becomes panicked,

Reads choppy this way. Try …

Dr. Gustav panics when he sees Tyr.

One smooth action. A good rule of thumb is to write how you want the action to unflold. If it moves quick, write it so it reads quickly. If you want to slow things down, reflect that in the way the action is written.

Your action feels like it should happen seamlessly. He sees, he panics, he runs. No time for dilly-dally commas.

Like this one …

Tyr halts momentarily as a large panel truck passes and then
he breaks into a run across the street.

One seamless action, as it would happen on screen.

Page 3

BLAM! The Nun shoots the Manager in the head with a giant
handgun.

Okay, now I’m really in the story. Nuns with guns? Love it!

This …

She then moves cautiously into the lobby.

Per your slug, she’s already in the lobby.

You have this …

second floor.

And …

top floor.

Which is it? Top floor could be the 3rd, 4th, and so on. 2nd is specific.

Bottom of page 3

Down at the far end, in the only room that has an open door. She sees a body lying on the floor.

Punctuation confusion.

Maybe a comma here …

an open door, she sees

Page 4

her associate,

You mean the Priest?

This …

Standing, she continues toward the
coffin slowly. Her gun pointed at the casket.

I’m guessing you are trying to avoid using the same word twice. Try losing one altogether …

Standing, she continues slowly toward the coffin, her gun pointed.

You don’t need ‘standing’ as it’s an assumed action. You can clean it up a little, add more tension …

She moves cautiously toward the coffin. Her tense finger massages the gun’s trigger.

I added the period to slow down the action. You want this to build, the music to thump, even if it’s a red herring.

This …

She peers into the coffin. A very FAT MAN in a modest suit.
Her weapon still in hand, she reaches into a pocket and pulls
out her CELL PHONE.

This could read that the nun reaches into the fat man’s suit pocket. Did Fat Man steal her phone before he died? I’d say …

Her weapon still in hand, she takes out her cell phone.

Pretty interesting this …

The FAT MAN'S legs fly apart suddenly. Tyr sits up with
blinding speed from between the corpse's legs, FIRING his
gun once. The bullet EXPLODES into the side of the Nun's
head and she topples into the chairs.

What kind of bullet ‘explodes into the side of a head’?

cont'd ...

alex whitmer
05-11-2008, 03:05 PM
cont'd ...

It seems he must have moved pretty darn fast to get under the FAT GUY in the time it took the nun (cop?) to get up the stairs.

This …

Dr. Gustav in
the elevator jabbing frantically at buttons.

… needs it’s own slug.

This doesn’t make sense … Continuity issue

Tyr is out of the viewing room and running.

But then …

Tyr, at full speed grabs the COFFIN CART. Pushing the coffin
and the cart rapidly towards the stairs.

So, he ran back to the viewing room to get the coffin? Couldn’t he have run down the stairs in the same amount of time it took to set up the toboggan run?

This …

And he's everything that we'd wanted.

Past perfect ... it works but I think you can leave off the 'd.

Up through page 5 the dialogue sounds dreadfully stiff, like an old episode of Dragnet.

Page 5

Tyr making passionate love to Cynthia.

As these scenes seem important, maybe cap Cynthia way back on page one. She’s no longer just a girl in the picture. By this page, I had forgotten all about her.

Page 6

A skull cap on her obviously bald head.

If it’s obvious, then just say ‘her bald head’.

This …

And if he needed to be permanently
cleared.

I don’t understand. Is it an unfinished thought? Or, should it be ..

And if needed, he could be permanently
cleared.

Does the following CLEAR METHODOLGY have anything to do with the previous CLEAR?


This …

Tyr, exiting the stairwell and onto the second floor.

Slug / action redundancy.

This …

He screws the cap off. Drops it and the necklace to the floor.


If he ‘unscrews’ the cap and throws it on the floor, wouldn’t the contents spill out?

****************************

Can’t say I really understand what happened here. I feel left with way too much mystery.

How / why did Cynthia die? What does all this Latin (?) mean? What are the experiments (?) for?

Beauts dues omnipotens planto laxo
quis vos wrought....

all powerful, to relieve anyone you have wrought.

...may vestri lux lucis existo solvo
illae letalis vas


May your light free those mortal vessels.

...quis vos wrought may vestri lux
lucis existo solvo illae letalis vas

anyone you wrought may (lux?) shinning to free the mortal vessel

Why the mix of wrought (past participle of work as verb, or elaborately made a adjective) and may ??

Anyways, I felt ripped out of the story because I had no idea what they were saying. Use subtitles.

Far too much is unexplained.

Why do cops need to dress like a priest and a nun, and as paramedics (I assume they are cops).

Is Tyr about to commit suicide, then sees Dr. Gustav and changes his mind?

How did the cops know this was all going down?

There is some good material here, but for the most part I had no idea why things were happening. The best part is all the mystery keeps pulling the reader forward.

You have some tech issues to address ( I didn’t point out every one), some continuity issues, and some light to shed as to what this is all about.

Dialogue needs work.

Thank you for sharing.

a

www.alexwhitmer.wordpress.com (http://www.alexwhitmer.wordpress.com)

www.guerro.wordpress.com (http://www.guerro.wordpress.com)

Russell Moore
05-11-2008, 11:35 PM
Alex, thanks for taking the time to do such a thorough critique of my script, I appreciate the time that you put into it.
The advice you have given me on formatting and the actual writing of the screenplay is invaluable. I especially like the advice on how to use punctuation and sentence structure to convey feeling and tone.

I'll try to address all of your questions with the content and I have to admit I'm more confused then ever. You pointed out many issues that hadn't been brought to my attention.

It seems he must have moved pretty darn fast to get under the FAT GUY in the time it took the nun (cop?) to get up the stairs.

Okay, I can't really defend this too much, I knew this might be susceptible to criticism, but I hoped it would slide if I made him out to be a highly trained action hero.

So, he ran back to the viewing room to get the coffin? Couldn’t he have run down the stairs in the same amount of time it took to set up the toboggan run?

This actually is a seperate coffin that I had identified earlier in two seperate scenes. Here...


*Tyr comes to the top of the stairs and stops. The second
floor is completely open, with several closed doors on either
side, at the end, two doors, both closed. Halfway down
against the right hand wall is a casket setting atop a wheeled
metal cart.


and here...


*Vigilant, she puts her back against
the right hand wall and makes her way towards the room.
She moves around the coffin cart and slides up beside the
doorway.


How / why did Cynthia die? What does all this Latin (?) mean? What are the experiments (?) for?


Egads! The questions are piling up now. I'll try to handle these one at a time.


First Cynthia's death, I had shown very little info as to how she died and it was in one of the quick flashbacks. Here....

*Tyr in anguish, bent over Cynthia, she lies unmoving in a

hospital bed. A skull cap on her obviously bald head.

Perhaps I could have expanded on it more, I was hoping this would be enough to show that she'd died from some form of sickness, cancer perhaps.
Second question about the Latin. I struggled with this a lot and I wasn't really sure what would be the best approach. I'm guilty of a simple fact, I just think it sounds cool when people are chanting Latin in movies. I thought it would lose the effect if I just used subtitles.

Third question about the experiments, I'm not sure how to answer this one. I honestly think that there is enough information to explain the reason behind them.

Why do cops need to dress like a priest and a nun, and as paramedics (I assume they are cops).

I tried to write several actions into the script that would reveal that these characters were not police officers. Here...


*BLAM! The Nun shoots the Manager in the head with a giant
handgun. (I guess she could be the next Dirty Harriet) :Drogar-BigGrin(DBG)

Later the Paramedics blow the Doctor away and then report their actions to the Reverend and Mr. Marsh.

Is Tyr about to commit suicide, then sees Dr. Gustav and changes his mind?

I'm not exactly sure what you're referring to here, I assume it is when Tyr is cutting himself in the beginning of the story.
I was trying to show that Tyr was in mental anguish over losing his beloved and would prefer to feel physical pain. The cuts were thin. I also tried to refer to that somewhat near the end. Here...


*He rubs the top of his left arm with the butt of the handgun.

TYR (CONT'D)
I want to feel something, anything
besides this. Shoot me, stab me, it
heals.
Approaching Dr. Gustav, racked with anguish.
TYR (CONT'D)
But this hole, it won't heal.


Tyr can't commit suicide (being able to heal from physical damage and being practically ageless, which is referred to in flashback) Tyr has set up the funeral to lure Dr. Gustav in, so that the Doctor can perform the Clear/kill process. Referred to here...


*TYR (CONT'D)
Kill me....Please, I'm begging you.
I can't live like this, without her.
DR. GUSTAV
But Tyr, I can't do...
TYR
(interrupting)
You can, that's why we're here. The
funeral, I knew you would come. End
it.

You have some tech issues to address ( I didn’t point out every one), some continuity issues, and some light to shed as to what this is all about.
Dialogue needs work.

The tech issues and continuity issues are areas I certainly want to improve in.
I hope I shed some light on what was happening.
I think I'll probably always be working on making dialogue sound authentic.

It looks like we definitely did not connect with each other on this script, but I want to thank you again for taking the time to give me such a detailed critique.
I will definitely be able to use a lot of your advice in the future.

If you have any more suggestions or questions, please post them.

jasonthewho
05-12-2008, 05:37 AM
Very good screenplay. I really liked the style of writing, the detail gave me very specific images of everything. I personally had no trouble understanding that his wife was sick, esp. considering the context of the scene. DO NOT use subtitles. I love the Latin, and I love all the mystery by the many unexplained (or barely explained) aspects of the script. I love how visual it all is, and the action sequences are well-paced and surprising.

Some minor comments:
I never got that he cuts himself to avoid the pain of Cynthia's death. I wonder if there's a way to make that idea clearer.

I'm not sure about the F-bombs. I have no problem with language, but for some reason they felt unnecessary here.

I think it would be good if the final confrontation between Dr. Gustav and Tyr took place in the room with Cynthia's coffin. Tyr could walk in to find Dr. Gustav has opened the coffin and is looking down at Cynthia's body. Could add power to the scene. The dialogue in this scene was a little straightforward. "You only miss her because she's gone, you sure as fuck didn't miss her when she was alive." This seems more for the audience than like something Tyr would actually say to Dr. Gustav.

In college I made a short film about a similarly enhanced man (not nearly as good of a script as yours). However, I think both my script and yours had iffy dialogue when it came to explaining the man's abilities, why he was made that way, etc. I'm not sure I have an answer, but I think the less expositional it sounds the better.

Finally, "good Doctor" and "good Reverend" both appear in your script. I don't know, it seems like such an unusual expression would only work once.

Russell Moore
05-12-2008, 06:28 AM
Jason, thanks for reading my script and taking the time to critique it. I'm glad you liked the Latin, it was something I wasn't sure how to handle.

I like the reason that he is cutting himself and I'm going to see if I can do something to clarify that in a way that would be subtle.

As far as the F-bombs, when he uses it the first time, that whole sentence came to me when I was writing the first draft and I felt pretty good about that piece of dialogue. The second F-bomb I didn't drop in til my third draft and I was fairly unsure about it, I wanted him to sound more upset and I can see that wasn't the wisest choice. Considering I didn't even have a really good reason for it.
Dialogue is something I'm definitely working on.

I love the idea of the final confrontation taking place in the room with Cynthia's coffin. I had to smack myself on the head when I read it. I just wish I would have thought of that. I think it would make the final scene more powerful.

Quite honestly, I'm not sure how to get the exposition across in this story without it being so straight forward.

The good Doctor and good Reverend issue, I didn't notice this til after I submitted and I had gone through the script a lot beforehand. I was just hoping no one would notice. Dammit Jason!!

I really appreciate the compliments and suggestions. Thanks again.

Justin Muschong
05-12-2008, 06:56 PM
I've got to say, my favorite parts of this script were all the gonzo moments. A Nun whipping out a gun and killing a man, hiding in a coffin, riding it down the stairs - gold.

Although...


He is indestructable, so why does he have to hide in a coffin?

I also had that question.

My main recommendation would be to work on cutting down your descriptive paragraphs to the bare essentials. Make it punchier, faster. alex whitmer's rundown is invaluable.

One thing that helps me slash my descriptions is studying authors with lean prose, particularly those in the crime/noir genre: James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, Loren D. Estleman, Walter Mosley. The way they build characters, environments, actions with just a few short words is incredible, and the dialogue's usually pretty darn good too.


I think it would be good if the final confrontation between Dr. Gustav and Tyr took place in the room with Cynthia's coffin.

I think this is a great suggestion.

Russell Moore
05-12-2008, 08:58 PM
Justin, I appreciate you taking the time to critique my script.

This is the second time that the coffin hiding and indestructible issue has come up and I'm not sure how to solve it. Tyr can recover from damage but he is temporarily hurt and/or slowed down by it. I try to show this later after he gets hit by the truck, maybe if something happened beforehand that would solve it.

Perhaps, he could take a bullet when he whacks the priest and then hides before the Nun gets upstairs? Then I could show him struggling a bit from the injury he has sustained. I'm not sure if that would solve this or not.

I agree, Alex's advice on structure, format, word tense, punctuation etc. is priceless. I copied it and pasted it into a Word document.
I really have taken your recommendation about cutting down the descriptive paragraphs to heart.

I have read Elmore Leonard, but its been years. It never occured to me how it would relate to screenwriting, but I can definitely see your point. I'm going to add some of these authors to my reading list. Great idea.

I agree, I love Jason's suggestion that the final confrontation take place in the room with Cynthia's coffin. If I would have thought of it, I certainly would have written it that way.

This is all great advice. Thanks again.

Isaac_Brody
05-14-2008, 11:00 AM
Hey Russ,

Just got through this. Some valuable tips have already been addressed. Just some thoughts, in no particular order.

We know he's invincible, but let him get cutup and shot a little more. Let him actually hurt and feel it. It's fine that he heals, but if he feels those gunshots then we the reader will feel it a lot more.

When he cuts himself, you can have his vision of God's Warehouse go blurry before snapping into perfect focus. If you want to reveal his abilities then, you can show his cuts healed but blood on the floor. Also, you can also reveal that when he cuts himself, there's a subtle smile that breaks across his lips. Just subtly suggest that death is something he wants. In fact, if you write that scene so it's clear that he wants to die you may not need to reveal his ability till later.

When he kills the nun, isn't it possible that she'd think he was hiding in there and unload a round of bullets into the coffin because she's paranoid? It's one of those bad guy cliches that they unload into a wall to try and hit the hero hiding behind it.

Or maybe have the paramedics actually shoot him down, and he's lying there and then he's back in action and takes them down. Or if you feel like reducing the number of gunshots have him kill them with his bare hands. Between a gun and bare hands, I always prefer to see a death with hands. Call it my twisted personal preference. :) Just think it's much scarier if he grabs one paramedic, the medic shoots him in the chest to try and slow him down, and he strangles the guy to death. Second medic turns to run and he grabs the first medic's gun and shoots him in the back.

You write action really well. I appreciate the details you put in, they come off as authentic, but you can definitely pare back and tighten some descriptions to make things more spare.

You've already touched on the dialogue between Tyr and Gustav. I think it would help to define their relationship. Is Gustav a father figure to Tyr? How does Tyr get together with Gustav's daughter? Did Gustav disapprove? Could Gustav have saved his daughter and decided against it to punish Tyr or teach him a lesson? I want a more specific sense of history and I agree that the dialogue feels a little weak and on the nose. I'd like to see Tyr restrain himself initially with Gustav, and build to a crescendo of anger. I think it's more interesting when an emotion as explosive as anger is internalized, and builds and builds until it finally comes out. Just repeating what I said about killing the meds with his hands. Tyr has just lost his only means of escape, I don't see him letting these lackey's get off so easily for that.

The coffin riding scene reminded me of Robert Rodriguez, it's fun, and a sight gag, but it might also play against the tone of the piece. I think you're straddling two tones at the moment. There's the fun action tone which is a visual ride for the audience, and then there's the tortured hero tone which plays against the fun of the piece. I would be careful to keep the tortured hero from drifting into melodrama. It's a tough balance, which is why silent vigilante's work so well. Eastwood in "A Fistful of Dollars" is a good example. Originally his character had a lot of dialogue, but he reduced it to a very elemental set of responses. I think Tyr reduced to an elemental character works better. It's what the Good Reverend and Good Doctor set out to create, and it's what Tyr is wrestling with.

This feels like part of a larger piece, are you going to flesh it out? At the moment you bookend it well, but as a reader I think most of us want more and some sense of resolution.

Alex had some great technical and craft suggestions, I won't go into them since he covered most of it. Good piece, good read, just need to take it further and give us a little more narrative clarity.

Russell Moore
05-14-2008, 02:16 PM
Isaac, thank you for taking the time to give me a thorough critique.
You've certainly have given me a lot to think about.

I like the idea of Tyr taking more damage. I also like the idea of Tyr taking a more hands on approach with some his antagonists, I think that personal touch carries more impact.

You pose a lot of good questions and I don't think I could answer them all in 10 pages(either because there is not enough room or I'm not proficient enough with my craft yet), I had a hard time cutting it down to get what I have now.

I'm going to work on the dialogue. I like the idea of internalizing anger and letting it build and reducing Tyr to a more elemental character.
With that in mind I'm looking back at the piece and seeing ways to improve it. In some instances taking the less is more approach.

When I finished my script, I thought that I could possibly take it and turn it into a bigger piece. There are a lot of unanswered questions and other characters that could be explored. But I wanted to wait and see what kind of response I received from the readers in the fest. If it was positive, then I thought I would turn it into something bigger. So I am considering it.

I appreciate the advice, this great stuff. Thanks again.

Jeff_L
05-18-2008, 04:34 PM
Russell

First off, great work.


1. Re: the feedback you’ve already gotten

A lot of great ideas.

Didn’t really think much about the paramedics ability to neutralize Tyr. So it didn’t take me out of the story.

I liked Tyr cutting himself at the beginning. Not to be sexist, but I’ve only ever seen girls cutting themselves in movies. So I enjoyed this, it made him interesting, and it instantly told me he was in psychological pain. And I didn’t need to see him magically heal at this point. I was fine with learning later that he was immortal.


For the same reason I was fine with him in the coffin. On retrospect yeah, an argument could be made that he shouldn’t have had to do this, but when I experienced it, I didn’t know he was omnipotent.

The coffin riding thing is grimly comic, but then again, so is a nun shooting a guy in the head, so I wasn’t worried about it being over the top or too tonally different.

I do agree that you could smooth out your action paragraphs a bit, and it looks like Alex has given you a lot of good specific suggestions in that regard.

2. Okay, here’s what I wrote before reading others' feedback:

Really enjoyed this one. Very well done.

Great visual surprises. Nun and priest running down street, a shoe in the dead guys arm pit, Tyr riding the casket like a toboggan, etc… Was wondering what cool images would come next.

Enjoyed the way you parceled out information on an “as needs to know” basis. (ex. 1. Nun hearing gun shot upstairs; Tyr’s killing of priest is offscreen, we see its effects later… nice!) (ex. 2. you set up incantation in Tyr’s flashback; when Gustav starts speaking in Latin it pays off nicely.) (ex. 3. Paramedics, we know they’re coming up those stairs… will Tyr get reset in time? Great suspense, and the vial exploding, a terrific visual answer to the question.)

You imply shots (closeups, mids, wides etc…) in your action paragraphs, leading our mind’s eye nicely.

Description of characters and places is interesting yet economical… eg. introduction of God’s Warehouse and Gustav flows nicely from exterior, to room, to character, to characters action. You obviously know what you’re doing.

Also, this shoot ‘em up had an emotional core. Tyr’s heartbreak over Cynthia’s loss and his immortality took the action to another level.

Don’t have much to say re: story improvements. Was somewhat worried at first about Tyr’s expositional flashback, but you kept it short and quickly kicked back into action, so, not a big problem.

A couple of times the prose in the action paragraphs slowed me down a little. So you might look for any wordiness that hasn’t already been smoothed out.

But all in all I really enjoyed this script. Great action, great twists, great job.

- Jeff ("Charlie and Claire")

Russell Moore
05-18-2008, 08:31 PM
Thank you for taking the time to read and critique my script. I appreciate the kind words and comments.

I'd be liar if I said it doesn't feel great when somebody really connects with your work and totally gets what you're trying to do.

This whole fest has been better than a script writing class. I feel like I'll be a better writer just based on the scripts and critiques I've read.

Thanks again Jeff and good luck in the fest.

aegriffin
05-20-2008, 07:52 AM
Mr. Moore,

I got your message but it seems I'm far and away too late to offer much more in the way of critique than what has been offered here already.

I suppose my only question now for you is what do you want to achieve with it thematically outside of the contest specifications. If the goal is to simply create an action set piece you've done that admirably in the context of a pursuit. It's visual and certainly pulled me along for the ride with minimal distractions.

However, I did find the dialogue a bit melodramatic for my tastes and personally I'd prefer it trimmed down or rewritten to take it out of that stereotypical wah-wah mode and into a territory that folks may not be use to in such situations. As if moments between a suicidal immortal and his creator actually exist that is. ;) I'm specifically referring to dialogue on page 7 but overall it's pretty direct considering the set up and the motivations of the characters as they all stand right now.

In other words, everyone wears their intentions and emotions on their sleeves fairly readily in this story. Most people in "real" life don't do that and considering the seriousness of guns and leaded death flying around everywhere you may want to make a consideration of playing against the cliches rather than simply underscore them.

IF that is what YOU want to do though, OK? My tastes for a story should not necessarily affect your own. :D

Structurewise, I feel Justin is onto something here with punchier descriptives and examples of how to get to them from what other writers have done.

For instance, one way to get through the Nun checking Priest when she discovers his body at the top of page 4 is to simply say, "Nun enters the room, gun ready. Priest's in a pool of blood. Checks vitals. Nothing. She points her gun at the only hiding place left in this room: the casket."

The change up of course being - since others have made mention of his immortality and the need to even hide in the first place - is that he's not there at all and just steps up behind her and shoots her or something to that effect.

Everyone points to the Diehard script (http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Die-Hard.html) as the go to way to do descriptives in action and there is a very good reason for that.

I hope what I offered here is at least somewhat helpful. You've got a stack of great feedback here so have at it in earnest as you see fit to use.

All the best, sir!

Russell Moore
05-20-2008, 02:50 PM
Thanks for the input Mr. Griffin,

I appreciate you taking the time to read and critique my script.
I agree with the critique about the dialogue and its something I'm still working on. I would like to try and say more or at least as much with less.

I suppose my only question now for you is what do you want to achieve with it thematically outside of the contest specifications.

I guess I'm not sure, I'd like to do a re-write based on some the critique I've received here. I had considered developing it into a full length piece. I was going to wait and see what kind of feedback I received and see if it would be worth it.

I can already see ways to improve some of my action descriptions based on the advice I've received from people during this contest.

I'll definitely read the Die Hard script. I've read quite a few screenplays, not sure why I've never read this one, I loved the movie.

Thanks again for taking the time.

Noel Evans
06-02-2008, 03:40 PM
Hi mate, I think Alex and Isaac covered about everything I wanted to say - except to say in that last scene Id love to see him shot up and heavily bleeding, cuts all over him etc.

I didnt feel lost or taken out by anything so thats was great. I followed him the whole way. Im not a HUGE action fan but this had plenty of drama and things that kept me moving.

The only thing I want to say as a critique is that there is minimal dialogue so it needs to be right on the money and the payoff scene between Tyr and Gustav just isnt quite there in this respect.

But again, I really enjoyed this ride and glad you put it out there.

Russell Moore
06-03-2008, 10:15 PM
I'm glad that you enjoyed even though it was an action piece, I tried to accomplish a balance.

I agree with your critique about the dialogue, its a bit melodramatic and I'm going to rewrite a lot of the dialogue throughout the script.

Thanks for taking the time to read and critique my script, its appreciated.