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Farnsworth
04-22-2008, 05:59 PM
I've got 45 pages due for my job this week, and yet I'm still going to try to crank out another few to enter this thing. :)

TITLE: Merciful

LOGLINE: One good deed deserves another.


There's just no way to write a meaningful logline for this that doesn't give anything away. So I'm going with the tried and true method of using a vague, barely relevant yet familiar expression. :)

mentatDUKE
05-03-2008, 01:12 PM
Hi Farmsworth. This was an enjoyable read. Very good description of the action during the chase. Your description of the setting also painted a good picture and allows the reader to visualize the scene properly.

I felt this was an interesting morality play/character study. I wish we got to know more about both the robber and the owner. The feeling of understanding between the two characters resonated well, but the motivations weren't as clear. That's probably more my assumptions/world view than anything else though. I always assume that anybody willing to pull a gun is willing to pull the trigger, so that conflicted with how I viewed the robber. I was surprised at his act of mercy in light of the circumstances.

Conversely, I was a bit surprised that the store owner would be so forgiving. I wonder how the trial went. How forgiving was the store owner when asked to testify? Five years is a long time however, so maybe he had a chance to think things over.

This was a brisk, fun read that got me thinking. Good job.

alex whitmer
05-03-2008, 09:03 PM
Script review – Merciful

*A little too ambiguous on the age.

*Avoid ING form verbs when at all possible, and keep it in simple present.

‘… and cash spill out of his arms’.

This …

Moving way faster than is safe
for a man of his girth.

*Missing a pronoun.

**He moves way faster than is safe for a man of his girth.

This …

But the big guy’s pissed, and you
can see he really wants to use that bat in his hands.

*Careful you don’t confuse us as to who the ’big guy’ is. Store owner or Armed Robber.

*And here again …

The guy’s sweating now, clutching his chest. He collapses to his knees.

*Keep things clear for your reader. The Store Owner, The Big Guy, The Guy … All the same person, right? If the reader needs to read things twice to be sure (even the dumb ones like me), something’s out of whack.

This …

Glances back before pulling himself over.

Do you not like pronouns or proper names?

And this one …

Just in time to see the Store Owner, a good twenty yards
behind him, struggling to stand.

Feels weird.

Page 2

… the Robber hauls himself up the fence, gets one leg over.

*On the preceding page you had this …

‘Glances back before pulling himself over.’

*Did he climb over twice?

This …

The SIRENS are very loud now. Red and blue lights flicker
off the walls of the alley.

*Alley? I though we were in a parking lot?

**The following is non-filmable information …

'No telling how long it could be before they do.'

This …

Open up open up.

*Maybe a comma?

Page 3

ARE YOU GOOD?!

*What’s with the caps?

This …

And then a cop flattens the Robber onto the pavement,
and the SMACK of his head against the parking lot becomes
the CLANG of a prison door slamming.

Now we are back in the parking lot?

*I’d break this into two blocks, like this …

A cop flattens the Robber onto the groud, SMACKS the Robber's head against the pavement with a thud.

The CLANG of a prison door slamming. (here ING works)

Page 4

This …

lost in grim thoughts.

*We can’t see what kind of thoughts he’s having.

This …

The Robber hitchhikes on the side of a highway.

*Hitchhiking is illegal I believe, and this guy is likely on probation. I doubt this would really happen.

This …

looking out at the traffic in the road through
the little iron fence.

*Can’t be too little if it’s tall enough for him to look through, as opposed to look over.

Page 5

This …

(did I hear that right?)

*This is really unnecessary.

This …

The Store Owner indicates the cigarettes with a move of his
head.

*Too many words. Try …

The Store Owner nods toward the cigarettes.

** Love this …

'A small victory.'


This was an enjoyable read, and a good story. I love the ‘’mutual respect’’ at the end. Really plays out nice.

A few un-filmable moments that need a tweak, and maybe some clarity on who is who in some of the action blocks, but otherwise a fine, fine short!

Alex Whitmer

arroway
05-04-2008, 01:17 AM
First, the minutia: To me, the title is a little boring and on the nose.

You don’t need to mention the location in the action since you’ve already mentioned it in the slugline.

There’s a few different instances of passive voice which could easily be rewritten to jump off the page better IE: :The gate is swung open from the inside” could easily be “The gate swings open from the inside” etc.

All in all I think you have a very clean, very succinct writing style that I admire.

I liked the ending solely because of the “I’m taking this too” line. However, it seemed a bit contrived that he would walk into a DIFFERENT store that just happened to be owned by this guy from his past to buy that product that he originally stole…that’s quite a coincidence to swallow if you think about it for more than a minute.

John LaBonney
05-04-2008, 04:59 AM
I really liked this story. I was in suspense from the moment that the robber looked back and saw the store owner having an attack. Thought the characters were great.

Cutting out the passive voice would make this script read better, and I think you could have tightened up some of the descriptions a little, but the story is excellent.

Nice job.

John

alex whitmer
05-04-2008, 05:39 AM
that’s quite a coincidence to swallow if you think about it for more than a minute.

Think about it for 59 seconds, then think of something else !!!

You're right. I picked up on that, but gave is a nod and wink because the moment was so great. And the 'small victory' was a class act!

Alex

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

Farnsworth
05-04-2008, 09:43 AM
Thanks a lot, guys! This was written in a couple of delirious hours, so I'm pleased that anybody has *anything* positive to say. And I don't disagree with any of the criticism particularly, especially regarding the title, which was a total last-minute cop-out.

(BTW, I personally tend to avoid pronouns in action blocks that are about a single character, even when it creates what are technically sentence fragments. (eg. "He stands. Claps his hands." I just feel it reads sharper and avoids redundancy.)

Farnsworth
05-04-2008, 12:56 PM
Also, and I swear I say this not to be snotty or defensive, but just because the comments got me thinking and I went on a hunt...

Here's a quote from the script for "Die Hard":


Suddenly Tony spins to the side and McClane FIRES, but the
big man's momentum slams McClane into a filing cabinet and sends
his pistol into the hall.

Tony fires his machine gun, but McClane kicks him into the desk.

He locks his arms around the big man's neck in a hold that
sends Tony reeling into the hall.


Note how it doesn't refer to Tony as "Tony" every single time, but gets a little descriptive the odd time and calls him "the big man". There are loads of examples like that in this script, and many others. It makes the read more colourful and visual.

Just my style. :)

Captain Pierce
05-04-2008, 01:52 PM
I'm just wondering how much of "moving up in the world" it is to go from a convenience store to a gas station. :)

Seriously, though, with regards to the end being contrived, it almost has to be contrived somehow. Either he walks into a different store now owned by the same guy, or he forgets what happens five years ago and walks into the same store, or the store owner just happens to be the next guy in line and buys the smokes for him (although that ruins the moment with the gum).

The ending to me seems a little abrupt, I think I'd have liked to see him light a smoke in the parking lot, smile, and then fade out while he's walking away, but that's just me. At any rate, overall, I liked it.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
05-04-2008, 03:19 PM
Very well written, and touching to boot!

"I'm taking this too!" :)
I loved that line, really caught me off guard.

What can I say... I had zero problems with this one. I could easily visualize this in my head as I was reading it.
Nice work.

Mike

jasonthewho
05-05-2008, 06:05 AM
I really enjoyed this. I personally had no problems with the writing style and had no trouble following the action/story.

My only complaint would be that the whole story is fairly simple and straightforward. Nothing really takes you by surprise. But it has a good message, and I love that you tell so much of the story through images.

Detached
05-05-2008, 02:43 PM
Good job, great title.

I noticed the numbers on the left, but I have noticed that in a couple. It must be your software?

Good concept but was a little strange in the ending. The confrontation seemed a little weak since he spent 5 YEARS of his life in prison for saving that guys life.

Over all, good job and good luck.

Russell Moore
05-06-2008, 03:16 PM
This was a good read for me. I really like the whole idea of the script, the morality of it and how it came back to the two of them meeting again.

I wanted a bit more at the end, after he spends five years in the slammer. But the way that you wrote it is probably more realistic. I would have liked just a few insights into their personal lives, so I'd have more invested in them.

I liked a lot of the visuals you created, for instance...


**The Robber’s FOOTFALLS echo off the filthy alley walls as
he moves at a dead sprint

and

**He spits and doesn't look back

I liked your writing style and really enjoyed reading this script.

GGF NYC
05-06-2008, 07:53 PM
I wanted to take the time out and try to comment on some scripts i've read so far. I really like your style of writing. Everything is pretty clear to the reader, my kind of writing and they way a story should be told. I thought it was well paced and really had not too many problems with it myself. I saw where it was going before it was over though (maybe it was intentional). I also felt like something was missing from the ending. The last scene maybe should have had something big happen to end the movie off (Once again just my opinion). Other than that I enjoyed the read. hope you can take some time and tell me whats wrong and what you liked about mine as well. Thanks and good luck.

Farnsworth
05-07-2008, 11:33 AM
Hey guys, I really appreciate all the feedback. Very constructive. You guys are excellent.

And I *will* try to read some others and give feedback of my own. I just have a new baby in the house and it tends to eat up the time. :)

smashedburrito
05-10-2008, 01:40 PM
I don't have anything really new to add to this one. Make sure to keep things in the present tense and watch how much style you add to the script. I am all for quips and little lines that can't exactly be shown, but sometimes it becomes too much.

I think your ending drags on a bit too much. I think you could easily end with the owner giving him the cigarettes, the line about the gum, and then cut to black. I think for a short script such as this, that is about all the time you want to spend on the ending.

Otherwise as a criminal justice minor I wonder about the trial process and everything that entitled, but I am willing to forget it.

Consider changing the title, it is a bit too blunt and too the point. I think for your minor twist ending you need a less obvious title.

Good work.

Farnsworth
05-10-2008, 05:34 PM
I don't have anything really new to add to this one. Make sure to keep things in the present tense and watch how much style you add to the script. I am all for quips and little lines that can't exactly be shown, but sometimes it becomes too much.

Different strokes for different folks on that one. I love that stuff, especially in a venue like this where the reader is the only audience it's ever likely to be in front of. :)


I think your ending drags on a bit too much. I think you could easily end with the owner giving him the cigarettes, the line about the gum, and then cut to black. I think for a short script such as this, that is about all the time you want to spend on the ending.

Possibly. I kinda wanted the ending to echo the beginning--exiting a convenience store with cigarettes. But it's something that could very well be cut.


Otherwise as a criminal justice minor I wonder about the trial process and everything that entitled, but I am willing to forget it.

I've been thinking about that. Maybe a little extra dialogue between them in the final scene that acknowledges the fact that the Store Owner did indeed prosecute. And why shouldn't he?



Consider changing the title, it is a bit too blunt and too the point. I think for your minor twist ending you need a less obvious title.

Totally agree. That was an "I gotta get this out the door" decision. Working on some alternatives. Maybe "Free Smokes". :)

Thanks for the feedback!

Michael Anthony Horrigan
05-12-2008, 08:59 AM
I thought the length of the ending actually added tension to the scene. I also think that the audience can fill in the blanks about the guy pressing charges and so forth.

Just my 2 cents.

krestofre
05-13-2008, 08:42 AM
I'll be honest, when I started this one I felt like it was going to be a pretty tired story. Guy robs store, chased by cops. But the second he turned around to help the convinent store owner I completely changed my opinion. This is a wonderful little script that hits all the right notes and leaves at just the right time. Excellent work.

Farnsworth
05-14-2008, 04:28 AM
Much appreciated!

Farnsworth
05-14-2008, 04:29 AM
I thought the length of the ending actually added tension to the scene. I also think that the audience can fill in the blanks about the guy pressing charges and so forth.


I'm also inclined to think the ending should stay long, but I'd need to see how it plays out on screen to be sure. I worry that cutting it on "I'm taking this too" would make it feel like a punchline, and I wouldn't want that.