View Full Version : Endgame

Captain Pierce
05-02-2008, 06:11 AM
(aka "The Most Over-Used Title in the World" :D )

Logline: A police detective has his last encounter with the serial killer he's chased for the past three years.

As I mentioned in the upload thread, I'm usually not one to allow anyone else to read anything I write (except for one friend and a few fan-fiction stories I've put on a couple of websites), so I actually surprised myself by pushing the "Upload" button last night.

I actually wrote most of this back on March 17, added and tweaked for a couple of days, then set it aside for (the intention was) a week or two to "get some distance" and all that...and then would up almost completely forgetting about it until the upload details went up. :) So I dusted it off, found out I still liked it, tweaked it a little more (agonizing over a couple of lines in particular), got some feedback from that friend Wednesday nite, and shot that baby up there. :)

As for the title... I'm not sure if it's quite right, but it was the closest thing I could come up with.

Read it here (http://www.dvxfest.com/scriptfest/Endgame_by_Captain_Pierce-Captain_Pierce.pdf).

Mark Harris
05-02-2008, 08:00 AM
Nice. I am pretty excited at the turn-out. Lot's of people showing up for this fest. Good luck!

05-02-2008, 10:16 AM
Captain, I congratulate your boldness to show us your work. I'm sure it will be excellent.

Mark Harris
05-03-2008, 01:05 PM
Wow. Nice work. Tight, immediate and dramatic.

I have to admit too, I kept thinking it was going to go certain directions, and then it didn't. Kept me on my toes.

Cracked me up how you wrote so many of the descriptions as if you EXPECT it to have no budget. :)

I think you can afford to make it longer. Meaning, I think the people and situation and chances to keep us guessing are enough that you can get more out of it.

Good work.

Captain Pierce
05-03-2008, 09:05 PM
Well, if I do somehow win this thing, JDS did say that the budget was "a buck fitty." :D

Funny that you say it didn't go in the directions that you expected, because it actually came out of a TV show that didn't go in the direction I expected. :)

And it did try to go longer, there's a half-finished extended version of the confrontation after the chase around here somewhere. Didn't like it yet, and it would have put me over the limit, so I abandoned it. I might try to finish that off and maybe add another page or two to flesh it out a little bit someday, but all in all I'm pretty happy with the way it came out.

Thanks for the feedback.

Mark Harris
05-03-2008, 10:22 PM
Well the thing is, I kept thinking you were going to go "Seven" with it, and I was thinking: I like this, but if he goes Seven, I am out of here :) That's why it kept upending my expectations.

alex whitmer
05-03-2008, 10:55 PM
Your script is posted with 'Captain Pierce' as the title. Took me a while to figure out where 'Endgame' was. I'm reading it now.


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Captain Pierce
05-04-2008, 06:44 AM
Thanks for reminding me--I'll see if they can fix that. :)

Mark--I've never actually seen "Seven," so just out of curiousity, what would "going Seven" mean? :D

Mark Harris
05-04-2008, 07:19 AM
Well if you "went seven" the big secret the killer would have, the thing he wants to show them would be the cop's dead girlfriend, the one he was talking to on the phone.

You should see it, good film.

Captain Pierce
05-04-2008, 05:44 PM
Well, I can safely say that that particular scenario never crossed my mind. :) "Seven" always looked too much to me like too many people met unpleasant ends on-screen, and I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to that. (And when I say "kind of a," I mean "a big". :D )

And I'm starting to get worried that Alex hasn't dropped the hammer on me yet. ;) Alex, I'm kidding. :) I imagine some people have been annoyed by you going to the level you have and picking things apart, but I'm actually (seriously) looking forward to it. I may not agree with everything you say, but I'm definitely interested in seeing what you find in there.

That said, for the sake of my self-esteem, I'm glad Mark's positive review was posted first. :)

Russell Moore
05-06-2008, 07:56 AM
This script really kept my interest from beginning to end. I liked the three main characters and the dialogue that they shared.

One minor note, in the beginning you have HEAR captilized a few times and I think it should be the actual sound that is captilized, e.g. RING and BEEP. In those cases you wouldn't have to write "hear" at all, Just "the phone RINGS"

My only real quandry revolves around the sniper. Who is he/she? Maybe they see him/her and "Oh shit its his crazy girlfriend that married him while he was in prison!" or a brother or a mother or something. Unless it was actually Eggers, in which case I misread it. Also why would Montanaro find it hard to believe that a serial killer with nothing to lose would be shooting at them?

I like your writing style and found it very entertaining, like this...

This should be one of those barns where the hayloft (the
"top floor," for you city types)

I liked how you wrapped it all together with the envelope and Marie at the end.

I had a lot of fun reading this script and thought you kept it exciting.

Oh yeah, I did feel you needed more "giant handguns" in the script, if you're interested, I know a guy. ;)

Captain Pierce
05-06-2008, 08:51 AM
I'm sure you do. :grin:

You're probably right about the capitalization thing, I do that wrong a lot. I can also self-critique that a lot of the characters really have no description given.

And yeah, the sniper thing is a bit of a loose end that I just didn't feel I had time to wrap up properly. In the extended version that I mentioned earlier, I think I had an off-hand line about the other cops having taken out the sniper, but even then I really didn't spend a lot of time on it. He's really just a plot device to keep the cops outside busy for a little while. I suppose, if the barn has a back door that I use later, Eggers could have just gone that way, and then Harney could be the first one up and after him; but then I do lose the Harney/Montanaro interaction when they're under fire.

Speaking of which, the thing about not believing it's Eggers shooting: the idea behind that was to try and sell the backstory a little more, to play up the idea that Harney has spent three years trying to get inside Eggers' head; and, in all that time, Harney's never seen him using a gun. (Obviously I didn't sell it well enough. :) )

Thanks for the feedback.

BTW, just as a little Easter egg hunt, anybody spotted the line lifted directly from Aliens yet? :D

Justin Muschong
05-06-2008, 05:49 PM
This is a really good beginning, but I think you can make it more dramatic for Detective Harney. The whole time he knows he's going to quit the force, so he remains a static character. I think you can make him dynamic by having him make up his mind in the course of the short. For example, you could begin with him and his wife obviously unhappy and arguing, then he goes off to tangle with the Chief and Eggers, and it's those events that lead him to realize that he will be a much happier person if he quits. On the other hand, you could also start with him having made the decision, but something happens to make him reverse himself.

That's what I find interesting: what does it take to get that point where someone decides "Things have to change"? To me, making that decision is the climax.

Captain Pierce
05-06-2008, 06:55 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Justin.

The funny thing is, the arc for Harney was supposed to be exactly what you suggested in your first scenario. :) At the beginning, he's supposed to be not entirely sure that he's going to quit, even if it costs his marriage (although admittedly his conversation with Marie's voicemail suggests that he's pretty sure), but then what happens to him the rest of the day convinces him that he doesn't want to be a part of this anymore. So that part needs some more work.

05-09-2008, 12:25 PM
I liked it a lot. Excellent straight lined cop story.

Like Mark, I found it amusing that your action elements had cheaper options built into them. It was a little distracting though, and had I been reading this in any context outside of ScriptFest I would have had a problem with it.

The payoff at the end was really good too. Not where I was thinking you were heading, but actually far, far better than where I thought it was going. This one scores high with me.

Captain Pierce
05-09-2008, 05:06 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't have put anything like that in if it wasn't for the circumstances of ScriptFest; and I probably shouldn't have even then. :)

Thanks for the feedback.

05-10-2008, 08:46 AM
Yeah I second Mr. Harris. See Se7en, not even to help your script but because it is a great little film.

On to your script though. First off I would go over some basic formatting rules. While I understand the desire to make it a low budget, write for a high budget and let the production team figure that out. All of the explanations were unnecessary. Also make sure you go over what to capitalize, sounds, important objects like envelopes, even exciting actions sometimes. Also make sure you keep things in the present tense, no "is" or "are."

I liked how we left your main character, Harney, for a while in the script. I think that expands the world and really lets you broaden the scope. I even liked the introduction of the media, but I think they could come back at the end or should just be cut. They sort of disappear.

Also you never really explain the sniper. If he is being rescued by a tea, then there should be more than just the sniper. And personally I think Eggers would use a gun if he is escaping. Purposely avoiding a firearm due to "style" doesn't really fit. If you really want to sell this than we need to know more about Eggers and his past and motivation. What kind of serial killer is he?

I like the ending with him quitting and going back to his wife. The only problem I have is that it happens pretty close to this awfully tense situation. Cops are bleeding everywhere, there is a sniper, and he is calling up his wife. It works but I think you could up the plausibility.

Otherwise good job. I hope you consider some rewrites.

BTW I liked that you used the name Eggers. I really enjoy the author Dave Eggers.

Captain Pierce
05-10-2008, 09:13 AM
Technically, the media does make a (very understated) return at the end as Harney returns to his car, but I should have made it more clear. :)

It's becoming more and more clear to me that even I don't know what the hell is up with the sniper. :D It needs to be another person than Eggers, so Eggers can run while the sniper is keeping the cops pinned down; honestly, even if I had known who he was and what his story was, there wasn't really room here to do it justice, but at the very least I should have found a way to work in that he's been taken out of the picture.

As for Eggers' "style," what I was going for was that he's a torture/mutilate kind of guy, but there again, I could have done more to sell it. The reporter at the beginning could be more descriptive, as could Harney when he and Montanaro are under fire, and even Harney near the end, when he mentions that Eggers would only want to help find the bodies so that the families could see what he'd done to them (which is about the only time I did try to sell it), could definitely do more.

As for upping the plausibility at the end... if we know the sniper has been taken out, does that get it there? Or what more would you suggest? (That sounds sarcastic when I read it, but it's not meant that way, I'm really asking. :) ) What I was going for was that, with the sniper taken care of, Eggers back in custody, and Harney having quit, that he just doesn't care anymore. One thing I just thought of was that he should check on the cop that got injured and make sure he's going to be OK on his way back to the car.

Thanks for the feedback.

05-13-2008, 11:55 AM
-"Hi, this is Marie's phone. Leave
her a message and she'll call you
Why is she referring to herself in the third person?

I don't know about everyone, but I'm sure it's good to avoid the "we see" or we hear in action descriptions. For me it reminds me I am reading a story meant to be filmed/shot. Takes me out of the story.

-"While this means nothing to us, it clearly means a lot to

Describe this, what does Harney look like when he hears the news.

-"I'd think at
least one carload should be SWAT guys in tactical gear and
heavy weapons (SMG's, M4's, G36's, something like that); the
other carload could be the same or uniformed guys with

-"It would be nice if this could look like a police car inside,
with the barrier between the front and back seats, so we
could get close"

I don't get this, are you asking us the audience what the cops should be? Not a good idea. Upon further reading I see you do this alot.

I find it hard to believe when the explosion occurs that Eggers has time to dig for keys and take off his hand/ankle cuffs.

-"until they take you to the
chair next month."

Sounds too fake. Obviously exposition. Guess you wouldn't have the punchline "see you next month" without it though.

So what was the deal with the sniper? Who? Did they get him?

Decent story. Honestly it seemed too contrived, and its missing a certain element. Like the whole story was a setup for "the big news". This is my kinda story, but with the cop/serial killer being so overly done these days, stories like this need to have something a little different than what's already been done.

Captain Pierce
05-13-2008, 03:58 PM
She's referring to herself because I was going for one of those silly/stupid things that people do with their answering machine/voicemail messages. (I used to have the "Stand by to receive our transmission" sequence from Star Trek II as my message. :D ) It's kind of like those stupid AT&T Wireless commercials where the person's phone is supposed to be talking to you. (And if I'd realized that, I never would have used it. :) )

I don't know if I'm old fashioned or what, but I guess my approach to writing the screenplay is writing a script, not a novel with scene headings. :) While I agree that I have way too much of a tendency to use the passive voice, I guess I don't see the problem with "we see" or "we hear," as I've seen them in actual produced scripts that I've read. As I've already admitted, I let too many suggestions about how to lowball the budget sneak into this; as krestofre suggested to another entrant, I should have just said how I wanted it to look and worried about that if/when the script was actually being produced. I guess I was proceeding from a false idea of how the the fest was going to work, thinking that the scripts would be picked by a panel of judges, maybe even the "Mod Squad" themselves, rather than being voted on, so I was trying too hard to talk to them.

The odd thing about the "take you to the chair next month" line is that the idea of the execution has already been brought up by the reporter. So at this point I don't know that it can technically be called "exposition," but I suppose it might not be necessary. :) That line could probably just be "It's over, Jason," and then the reporter has already set us up for "see you next month."

Another odd thing is that the idea of Harney quitting was about the last element that made its way into the script, and that I went there pretty much in order to try to do something different than what's already been done. Seems like a little bit of a no-win scenario there (and now I've come full circle back to Star Trek II :D ).

Thanks for the feedback, Stylz. I know I picked it apart a little here :), but it is appreciated.

alex whitmer
05-13-2008, 09:07 PM
Well, it opens on a big hunk of action. Maybe split that up.

Need a change of slug here …

He sets the bag of food down on the passenger seat, and his
hand lingers over the cell phone laying there.

This …

… we see on the phone screen that he's calling someone
named "Marie." We HEAR the phone …

Directing on the page. Lose them all.

This …

Hi, this is Marie's phone. Leave
her a message and she'll call you

Hey, it's me.

Indicate this is a phone call. MARIE (VIA PHONE), or something like that. It’s not technically a V.O.

Also, weird way to have the message.

This is funny …

And now that he's called, he has absolutely no idea what to

Been there!

This …


I’d replace the CONT’D with PHONE.

This …

And he looks significantly at the envelope …

Can’t say I have ever heard significantly used that way. Maybe 'with concern', or 'with a sense of importance'.

This …

While this means nothing to us, it clearly means a lot to

Assuming Harney is your protag, the audience is supposed to experience the film through him, so it should mean to the audience what it means to Harney.

Page 2

... contrasting with the busy street that Harney has just entered …

Don’t you mean just left?

Don’t do this …

(Unmarked would be fine, but dashboard lights and a siren would be good to help suggest that they're police.)

This is a blueprint for a film, so tell the Director / Producer, and Set Designers what you envision.

This …

longish dirt driveway

Longish is not a word, so save it for dialogue. Also, be specific. It’s long, or it’s not. Pre-prod will be driving all over the planet looking for a ‘longish’ driveway!!

This …

…though well set back from the road.

If it’s a longish driveway, this would be automatic.

This …

but it should still look like someone could live there.

It should or it does? You are the creator, you decide.

This …

It would be nice if this could look like a police car inside,

I guess this happens all the way through. I won’t bring it up again. Need to lose all that stuff and write it as you want, not as ‘it would be nice if’. This whole bit has me so busy, I have lost track of the story. I need to read everything 3 times to extract what’s happening beyond the writer’s wish list.

Page 3

This is funny …

"guy-next-door" serial killer,

The garden variety serial killer next door?!

This is even funnier …

Standard issue blonde

Way funny. Paris H comes to mind.

Page 4

Nice exchange …

Hey--you can't say that on TV!

That's the idea.

This …

By this time, Pineda's on the job ...

Who is Pineda? Have we already met him or her?

Page 5

No need to cap this once he has been introduced …


This …

the cop secures his weapon and starts up the ladder.

But I thought they already said ‘all clear’? Did they not check the loft?

Page 6

one of his feet hits a booby trap of some sort

Some sort? Can you be more specific?

This ..

who's been expecting this along.

Should be all along.

This …

He quickly unlocks his ankle restraints, then
his handcuffs, and is out the door just as Harney is getting
back to his feet and drawing his gun.

What?!! Where is the SWAT team? Where are the police? When did Harney get knocked down?

This is so not realistic. Sorry.

This …

makes it to another building is followed by this on page 7 …

(gestures at the shed)

So, is it a non-descript building or a shed?

Page 7

... behind the same piece of abandoned farm machinery or old pickup truck …

Pick one. You’re making me work way too hard here.

This …

looks a lot like a guy in an orange jumpsuit running out a
side door, heading in a direction that will take him down
behind the barn.

First of all, this is SWAT. The building would be surrounded. Second, ‘looks a lot like a guy in an orange jumpsuit’ … so what else might it be? Jimmy Carter's killer rabbit?

Page 8

All right, people, let's get this

We see the police all bringing their guns to bear and OPENING
FIRE on the shed.

This would have already commenced.

Page 9

Showing Harney chasing Eggers through a variety of brush,
weeds, old buildings, and abandoned farm machinery and cars.

So, he’s chasing this guy through the middle of a gun fight? What is SWAT doing?

Page 9

Harney gets close enough to tackle Eggers

If he’s that close, the just say he tackles him. ‘Close enough’ is superfluous.

This …

… the cops taking up positions around Eggers


Should I assume Marie is his wife to whom he referred as ‘may have cost him his marriage’?

Well, I like that you brought that envelope scene in to wrap this up. Nice touch, like he knew this all might go down.

There is definitely a story in here, but it’s buried under so much information that just doesn’t belong in a script. There is also a lot of situations that are just not believable.

I can see this being developed into a feature pretty easily.

I think the title fits the story perfectly.


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Captain Pierce
05-14-2008, 03:57 PM
As always, good points, Alex. I'm going to quibble with just a couple of them.

This …


I’d replace the CONT’D with PHONE.

Well, the "cont'd" was an automatic thing from Movie Magic, I tend not to mess with those cause I figure the software's smarter than I am. :) But should his really technically be ID'd as "phone" since we're not hearing him over the phone?

Page 2

... contrasting with the busy street that Harney has just entered …

Don’t you mean just left?

No, Harney has just pulled out into traffic from the parking lot he was in. We as the audience have just left it. :)

This …

He quickly unlocks his ankle restraints, then
his handcuffs, and is out the door just as Harney is getting
back to his feet and drawing his gun.

What?!! Where is the SWAT team? Where are the police? When did Harney get knocked down?

This is so not realistic. Sorry.

Well, the idea is that all the cops have dived (dove?) for cover, and that those who were looking in the direction of the "flash-bang" are somewhat stunned and disoriented. Eggers, expecting it, is able to take full advantage of the diversion. I'll grant you that it's not the most realistic scenario ever intended to be committed to film or video; but really, how realistic is it that they're even doing this in the first place? Just about every recent cop show has done this sort of episode, taking the serial killer out to show them where he buried the bodies, but would this ever happen in real life? Given that we're already in a somewhat unrealistic scenario, I don't see that him escaping is that much more unrealistic. That said, this part of it did come to me all in one big flash, so maybe I'm too sold on it. I'll try to step back and reconsider.

Page 8

All right, people, let's get this

We see the police all bringing their guns to bear and OPENING
FIRE on the shed.

This would have already commenced.

I wasn't sure of how much of a "free-fire" policy the police work on, so I erred on the side of caution.

You've given me a lot to think about (as I knew you would), and I appreciate it.

05-19-2008, 12:43 PM
Captain Pierce,

Thanks for commenting on Charlie and Claire and sorry it’s taken me awhile to get to your script.

I think you have an exciting action piece here. And the characters are interesting. I thought the idea that Eggers wanted to inflict more damage on his victims’ families by revealing the bodies was an interesting one.

So for rewrites…

I know you know that you’ve over-described in the action/description paragraphs, and that submitting to anyone outside of the Scriptfest, you’d pare things down, so that’s cool.

I think you might focus your rewrites on plausibility issues…

When I see the press arrive at a crime scene I need some explanation as to how they got tipped off. I rarely believe it when the press shows up, and often I feel like their presence adds convenient conflict to a script but is not really motivated and/or needed.

I find it hard to believe that a SWAT team member would fall victim to a booby trap of this nature. I could believe that they might not be prepared for a sniper, but not a booby trap.

Even if they did fall victim to a booby trap, I think they’d regroup quickly enough to prevent Eggers from getting free. I didn’t believe he could unlock himself and run away. Maybe if the sniper was peppering them with machine gun fire at the same time, but then if he/she was, I think another SWAT member would be on him/her pretty damn quickly.

Harney’s resignation seemed unmotivated to me. I didn’t get enough information to show me that he was really at the end of his rope.

Apart from these issues, Endgame was exciting to read, and your action was dynamic. Good job.

- Jeff L.

Captain Pierce
05-19-2008, 03:39 PM
Thanks for reading, Jeff. The more i look back at it, the less happy I am with the combination of booby trap and sniper, I think I have to go all the way with one or the other.