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mjjason
05-01-2008, 06:24 PM
Just uploaded my script. This is the first fest I have entered. In fact this is the first script of any kind I have finished.

Title: Officer Needs Assistance
Logline: When an officer needs help who does he turn to?

Look forward to hearing people's comments. Good luck everyone.


Maher

mentatDUKE
05-04-2008, 08:37 AM
Maher, this was a pretty exciting read. I like how we were slowly able to put the puzzle together as we got answers. The chase, frantic phone calls, and reveals kept things interesting. My only gripe is the tormented cop who accidentally killed a kid ploy. Maybe if that were changed to something else that hasn't been used so much before, it'd work a bit better.

This was a really enjoyable one.

mjjason
05-04-2008, 01:02 PM
***SPOILERS***


Maher, this was a pretty exciting read. I like how we were slowly able to put the puzzle together as we got answers. The chase, frantic phone calls, and reveals kept things interesting. My only gripe is the tormented cop who accidentally killed a kid ploy. Maybe if that were changed to something else that hasn't been used so much before, it'd work a bit better.

This was a really enjoyable one.
Thanks for the read and the comments. Yeah, I was not fully confident with the kid thing. I was thinking of leaving it left un-said or maybe making it the older cops son instead of his partner but I wasn't sure how it would play. Also, although I did not say it, the kid's shooting was an officer assisted suicide as well. That is why the other cop started his downward spiral. That would foreshadow the pyshcological damage the rookie may experience in the future. Maybe I should have put that in the script but I felt that would be to preachy.

Thanks for the comments.

Russell Moore
05-06-2008, 03:48 PM
This was a pretty exciting read for me.
I would echo the kid killed by cop sentiment. One other small thing, maybe Tom would have recognized Larry's car or at least suspected before he even saw the plate no., considering that they were close partners.

The description of the action was clear and to the point and you kept the pace brisk, good job.

Justin Muschong
05-06-2008, 06:30 PM
Really fast paced and exciting. Nice work.

I think you could tighten it up by removing a lot of the exposition. The phone call to Linda, for instance, feels like its main purpose is to fill the audience in, but I think what's said and done in the rest of the short fills in enough of the gaps.

It's a delicate balancing act between giving the audience too much information and not enough that all writers struggle with. I think its preferable to only give them the minimum and let them connect the dots on their own. One of my favorite instances of quick exposition is in Rear Window when a slow pan over a set of photographs tells us what Jimmy Stewart's character does and how he broke his leg.

Another thing I think you can tighten up is the dialogue, particularly the rookie. His swearing feels a little too forced. It works better to show his anger and frustration visually (like when he overshoots the Mustang and plows through the mailboxes) than through repeated cussing.

mjjason
05-07-2008, 02:14 PM
Thanks for the comments and critique. You guys are picking up on exactly the same portions of the script I felt I could improve.

smashedburrito
05-10-2008, 03:09 PM
I second what people have been saying here. Watch Officer Mark's cursing. I like that he got hit with a milkshake and is worried about his reputation. It works for enough motivation for him to keep chasing this guy to prove that he is a tough guy.

I also agree consider leaving the thing about the kid unsaid or change it to something else. It is a little cliche. Also the scene with Linda isn't necessary but I would consider keeping a shortened version of it, I think it offers a good contrast to this continual car chase.

Watch your formatting in places. Names are ONLY capitalized the first time they are used. Also exciting action words and sounds should be capitalized. Also your cut to's seem a little. Consider a I/E heading or just tightening things up.

One other thing I wanted to point out. A lot of films like to go for dramatic effect with the officer assisted suicide. As much as it works for good drama it is starting to get overdone. I don't have a good suggestion on another way to end your script but if you really want to do something special than try and find a different way to end this.

Oh and for the last line, I figure if there is a pursuit then assistance would already be on the way.

Good work.

Captain Pierce
05-10-2008, 06:40 PM
I think there's a little more going on here than has been explained.

Larry's been "cleared" of shooting the kid (and I agree that the "kid" thing has been overdone), but given that he's still this worked up about it--should he have been? I mean, if he's really innocent of it, then why would whatever this reporter had to say shake him that much? It seems to me like maybe Larry shouldn't have been cleared in the first place, and he knows it, and that's why he's so screwed up at this point.

I didn't get the milkshake thing at all. :) OK, it's kinda funny, but I don't get why Larry would do such a thing.

mjjason
05-12-2008, 09:51 AM
Larry's been "cleared" of shooting the kid (and I agree that the "kid" thing has been overdone), but given that he's still this worked up about it--should he have been? I mean, if he's really innocent of it, then why would whatever this reporter had to say shake him that much? It seems to me like maybe Larry shouldn't have been cleared in the first place, and he knows it, and that's why he's so screwed up at this point.


What I was going for with the script was the impact an officer assisted suicide has on someone. An officer is meant to protect and serve but in an assisted suicide they are used as an instrument. I always wondered how that would affect the officer mentally.

The way I saw it was that Larry was used by this kid who wanted to die. Larry reacted quickly similar to how Officer Mark is doing now. He shot the kid before thinking and only later found out that the kid wanted to die. Larry became a wreck after the shooting but was cleared because he had no way of knowing that the kid had no weapon. The reporter does not accept that finding and keeps hounding Larry as to why he didn't approach with caution. Larry has these same thoughts himself. He keeps replaying the nightmare and what he could have done differently. This leads to his eventual downfall and tragic ending.

I didn't write that into the script as I thought that would be to melodramatic. I wanted to do something more thrilling with the pursuit concept and the impact of Larry's downfall.



I didn't get the milkshake thing at all. :) OK, it's kinda funny, but I don't get why Larry would do such a thing.
No real purpose to the milkshake. I wanted some lighter tone in the beginning that would match to the heavier tone in the end. Larry saw a parked cruiser and just threw it in to entice them to chase him.


Thanks for the comments.

krestofre
05-13-2008, 10:15 AM
No real purpose to the milkshake. I wanted some lighter tone in the beginning that would match to the heavier tone in the end. Larry saw a parked cruiser and just threw it in to entice them to chase him.

This is the only problem with the script for me. It has very opposing tones. At the beginning I thought I was reading a comedy, and frankly it was quite funny. The idea of a cop running down a Mustang because of a milkshake is a pretty good gag. The laughing back at the station just makes for an enjoyable comedy tone. Then when the phone call to Linda happens, as a reader I'm suddenly not sure how I'm supposed to be feeling. I'm trying to find the humor in it, but it's not coming anymore and instead I'm supposed to feel concerned and even frightened by the events that are happening.

Sometimes pulling a fast one on your audience makes for an exciting and interesting experience, but in this case it made for a confusing one.

As I said this is the only problem. Looking at it from both angles I really enjoyed the milkshake inspired chase at the beginning, and I also really enjoyed the dramatic "thanks for killing me" ending. They just seem opposed to each other as a single piece.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
05-13-2008, 11:54 AM
As I said this is the only problem. Looking at it from both angles I really enjoyed the milkshake inspired chase at the beginning, and I also really enjoyed the dramatic "thanks for killing me" ending. They just seem opposed to each other as a single piece.I agree. And pulling your gun on a cop who threw a milkshake at you is pretty outrageous. I know a high speed pursuit just took place (mostly due to the Rookie) but he knew that it was his partners old partner. Even a rookie knows the rules concerning that sort of thing.

The fact that he knew all of this and still drew his weapon seemed quite over the top for me. He completely ignored the senior officer and that just doesn't ring true for me.

Other than that I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Mike

STYLZ
05-13-2008, 01:19 PM
Here is the thing though. Usually if someone wants to die suicide by cop, they usually have an actual weapon. Not fake having a weapon. Why write "thank you for killing me" but not have a weapon. "thank you for killing me and here is a guilt trip for you too" See what I'm saying? I understand you want the drama of Mark feeling bad for shooting Larry and it works more so because the line at the end "here's your reputation". I'd figure Tom would be a little more pissed at Mark. And 3 shots for maiking the wrong move while on the ground is excessive, just a nitpick though.

I liked the chase scene. Marks obsession with his reputation and the milkshake is highly believable and entertaining. This was a good read. Thanks for sharing.

alex whitmer
05-14-2008, 09:32 AM
Page 1

SUBURBAN BACK ROAD

… followed by ‘back alley road’

Not the same thing.

This …

It’s mid-day Monday and the garbage truck has already rumbled through the neighborhood on its weekly route.

And how do we know this?

This …

rumbles through the neighborhood at breakneck speeds narrowly
missing the trash cans.

Shouldn’t this be ‘rumbles through the alley …’

This …

DISPATH
(over the CB radio)
Car 23, can you repeat what you
said?

OFFICER TOM WILKEY, a seasoned vet on the force, close to
retirement, grips the CB and repeats what he said earlier.

I assume we are now INT. CRUISER – DAY ??

How do we know he’s a seasoned vet?

How do we know he repeats what he said earlier? Could be different.

This …

OFFICER TOM, with a smirk on his face, looks over to the
rookie behind the wheel.

Up to this point I assumed Tom was a lone and driving.

This …

vanilla milk-shake.

Does the flavor have anything to do with the story? If not, just say milkshake, which by the way is one word, not hyphenated.

This on page 2

OFFICER MARK
(low-tone anger)

The preceding action told us he was angry. No reason for the parenthetical.

This …

The Mustang hits the corner of the road doing 60 mph.

How do we know it’s going 60?

Are we now EXT. ALLEY – DAY ?? or seeing this through the cruiser windshield?

Page 3

The cruiser swerves to the left

Does it matter left or right? If not, lose that.

Page 4

CUT TO: INT. HOME - KITCHEN

Don’t put CUT TO: in your slugs.

This …

a house wife

And how do we know this?

Housewife is one word.

Page 5

LINDA
He needs help Tom. I thought he
was getting through it but that
reporter brought it all back up
again. Please Tom! Help him.

If they are this close, why wouldn’t Linda have called Tom by now?

This …

… and wonders what is going on with his friend

We can’t see his thoughts.

Split dialogue over 5/6.

This …

OFFICER TOM
SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!

No need for caps on yelling. Put it in the action.

Page 7/8

Split action.

Page 8

The Mustang driver door bursts open and LARRY steps out
quickly.

Try ...

The Mustang door bursts open and LARRY steps out.

No need to cap your characters after they have been introduced.

Not sure bang, bang, bang is the best way to show this. Maybe Officer Mark fires off three quick shots.

Also, officers are always referred to by their last names.

Page 9

Typo on be/by

His anger is suppressed only be his grief.

Great ending!!

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

I like this story. A number of techie things to clean up to fine-tune it.


Issues ...

As already mentioned, a well-trained Rookie would bide by the rules. Based on news reports however, that's not always the case, and in fact even seasoned cops will blast away first and ask questions later, so, yeah, I'll buy officer Mark's actions as believable. Sadly.

Officer Tom on the other hand ... I think a seasoned cop would have recognized the rookie’s trigger-happy exuberance and done more to stop him. Tom seems a little too passive in the moment of clear and present danger.

I’d like to see him try and grab the gun, or wrestle Officer Mark to the ground … something.

Course now Larry has just passed on a life of guilt to another officer. Not sure I like him for doing that.

In all a pretty good job.

alex

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

Captain Pierce
05-15-2008, 08:27 PM
What I was going for with the script was the impact an officer assisted suicide has on someone. An officer is meant to protect and serve but in an assisted suicide they are used as an instrument. I always wondered how that would affect the officer mentally.

The way I saw it was that Larry was used by this kid who wanted to die. Larry reacted quickly similar to how Officer Mark is doing now. He shot the kid before thinking and only later found out that the kid wanted to die. Larry became a wreck after the shooting but was cleared because he had no way of knowing that the kid had no weapon. The reporter does not accept that finding and keeps hounding Larry as to why he didn't approach with caution. Larry has these same thoughts himself. He keeps replaying the nightmare and what he could have done differently. This leads to his eventual downfall and tragic ending.

I didn't write that into the script as I thought that would be to melodramatic. I wanted to do something more thrilling with the pursuit concept and the impact of Larry's downfall.

OK, now I see what you were going for. I know you're worried about melodrama, and I agree it could easily go in that direction, but I really think you need a little something about this to clear things up a bit. I dunno, maybe one page wasn't enough to do it here for the Fest, but a quick conversation between Larry and Tom could really go a long ways toward clearing things up for the dense SOB's like me. :)

That said, I agree with Stylz that Larry needs to pull a real gun, or at least something close, on Mark and Tom to make this work. I know you've gone to great lengths to play up that Mark is pissed and right on the edge, but I still don't know if I buy him shooting a guy who's pointing a piece of paper at him. My first idea was that Larry should pull a real gun, but Tom finds out that it's not loaded; not sure if that works or not. The other idea I had was that Larry pulls an Airsoft or something else fake, but that Mark's too high-strung to notice the orange tip on the barrel. That could possibly be the same thing that the kid pulled on Larry, and Tom could even say something about that to Mark; but that could be getting dangerously near melodramatic.

At any rate, just a little more to explain the concept of "officer assisted suicide" could really help the script, I think.

seansshack
05-16-2008, 07:07 AM
Starts with too much in the way of description. For me, I would write shorter paragraphs.

Dialogue was a little on the nose. example: Tom, there’s something wrong
with Larry. He just ran out of the house this morning and sped off in his Mustang.

something like. Tom, I think they might be something wrong with Larry. He left the house this morning without a word... (or something similar).

The use of the milk shake seemed to go against the piece. Hard to saw just read awkward to me. Unless it was more of a dark comedy - in which case the ending would be too dark.

The officer assisted suicide at the end could work. But think I would have him pulling a gun, at least a toy one to insure he is shot when he reaches for it. Not sure a cop would destroy another in this fashion, no matter how grief stricken and depressed he was, he would know the effect it would have (unless he wanted revenge as well as to die).

Good luck with it.

mjjason
05-17-2008, 07:11 AM
Alex, thank you very much for the detailed review. Alot of helpful information there. Also, Captain and Sean thank you.

I can see where the milkshake thing doesn't work. In my mind I knew the piece would ultimately lead to a tragic ending but I guess I didn't handle the transistion well. That will be something I will correct in the next draft.

Isaac_Brody
05-17-2008, 10:48 AM
Alex nailed the grammatical issues I had with this piece. I agree that the milkshake felt arbitrary. The milkshake disrupted the tone you were going for. If you're interested in the reader taking this piece seriously, change the milkshake to something else. The milkshake set me up to think I was in for a comedy, and the rookie's over the top cursing also gave me that impression, but then the tonal shift in the end disrupts that. If that's your intention that's one thing, but it felt accidental and didn't come off smoothly.

I think Larry needs to do something stronger than throw a milkshake at this rookie. I'm not sure what, but he needs to push the rookie's buttons enough that the rookie would snap and shoot him later on.

Larry's wife plays way too expositional at the moment and on the nose. It might work to have her call at the end after Larry's shot, perhaps she calls Larry's phone, and Larry's partner answers and we hear her voice and maybe you have the conversation then. Could be more twisted that way and a bit of a shocker. Good work.