View Full Version : bang.

05-04-2008, 09:11 AM
Here's the official link (http://www.dvxfest.com/scriptfest/BANG_scriptfest-aegriffin.pdf) to my scriptfest entry. It's a quick and engaging 5 page read if I do say so myself, and many thanks to DVXuser.com for arranging this opportunity for us all!

Also, for anyone into the sound and story theory of screenwriting, here's a terrific little tune (http://www.bradsucks.net/you/?a=makingmenervous) from Brad Sucks that seemed to fit the script's mood perfectly after it was written. Like the script, it's creative commons as well so feel free to download and listen without prejudice.

The script has already gotten a wildly provocative response from fellow filmmaker pals here in Grand Rapids, Michigan and I'm looking forward to what folks I've not met yet think/feel about it. Many thanks in advance to all those that spend time reading it for their sincere thoughts if they care to share.


05-04-2008, 09:24 AM
cool title.

Muggby is a strange enough name that you either need to explain it or change it to something less ridiculous.

“what am I supposed to say to someone like her when someone like her says something like that?” great line.

“He pulls back gently, freeing himself from a hungry tug” is a strange sentence that took me a while to understand.

I like the idea of it cutting between him telling the same story to different listeners but this story didn’t work for me as I simply didn’t understand the ending. Why did he kill her? Unless I missed some obvious glaring detail, i think this could greatly benefit from being fleshed out a little more.

05-04-2008, 09:33 AM
Thanks for the thoughts, Ian!

With regard to his name, Muggby is not meant to be taken too seriously for a reason. ;) I feel a script's genre shouldn't have to be identified to have context. It should first have enough grit in it to be enjoyed as a story and then latter it can be dissected if it moves a person to go that far into subtext in my humble opinion.

As for fleshing it out, another pal suggested this would be an interesting start to a feature although I'm not sure I'd want to take it that far yet.

Where in Michigan are you from?

John LaBonney
05-04-2008, 02:12 PM
There are a bunch of great moments in this script, and I think you get the emotions and action across just right. It struck me as very cinematic writing, something I need to work on myself. I liked the way the script moves from the counselor's office to the country road/cornfield--it was a great way to use voice-over dialog. Subtle enough that it didn't interfere with the visual images.

Great dialog, and just the right amount. The script kind of takes a turn to darkness at the porn shop and I was in suspense from then to the end.

05-04-2008, 02:50 PM
Wow! I am humbled. Thank you, Mr. LaBonney. :)

I'm really digging this site you all have here. I'm looking forward to what you all do with the magazine and how it all ties together.

Captain Pierce
05-04-2008, 03:05 PM
This is not necessarily a criticism, just an observation: I have a feeling that I got where you wanted me eventually, but that it probably took a lot longer than you expected. :) That's probably just me; I tend to need a few more dots to connect than a lot of people do. And I understand that adding any extra "dots" would take away from the "quick and engaging" thing that you were going for.

I do think this would make an intriguing short.

05-04-2008, 03:23 PM
Thanks for reading it, Captain. :)

I've learned - in order to get produced at times - that less is more when it comes to "selling" a vision. So if the script happens to inspire a complete stranger into taking the ride into getting this one onto the screen then I've done my job as a screenwriter I feel.

Much respect to all, because I've read some intriguing work here already, but it is a competition afterall and I want to do my best to win it. ;)

Justin Muschong
05-04-2008, 06:13 PM
I've read this short several times now, and I enjoy it more and more each time I read it. (Maybe that says something about me.) My interpretation of the story is that for Muggby, there is more than one Lisa. In fact, he keeps running into various Lisas and always ends up killing them. Because he's a psychopath (it's a short, we don't need any more motivation than that). I get this from the "Every time" lines and the feeling that with each person he speaks with, he's talking about a different Lisa. If I were to make any suggestions, it would be to make this clearer. Something at the end that would clue the audience in: Yes, this is a pattern. Perhaps there could be a moment where Lisa suddenly becomes a completely different person, yet they're in the same position.

On the other hand, this could completely kill the short. Also, maybe that's not what you were going for.

Keeping it vague and up-in-the-air is part of what I like about this. How much is in Muggby's head (the ol' unreliable narrator) and how much is real? "Buy this for me" is brilliant, only to be topped by "Buy this for me and I'll let you watch."

Mark Harris
05-04-2008, 07:29 PM
This is my kind of short. Dirty, low-lifes doing nasty shit.

I think it was really well written, but honestly too short. I loved, loved, loved how you tease us with basically every guy's fantasy, and then turn the tables into only a few guys' fantasy.

Suggestion: Why are we watching this event in this guy's life, esp if he's done it before? Why not a short about one that makes him doubt himself? So he has something to fight through, rather than just re-counting what he's done. It feels a little like a screenwriter going: "Gotcha!" instead of a character doing what he does. And trust me that comes out of my own experience, because I've been guilty of the same, and it could be said that my entry is guilty of the same.

You are clearly good at writing in a cinematic way and in getting good, compelling images up, but I think you could challenge it more and dig more out of it.

Just some thoughts. Good work!

Michael Anthony Horrigan
05-04-2008, 08:05 PM
Nice work. I also agree that I wanted a little more from this one, which isn't a bad thing. :)

You definitely caught my attention. Fleshing it out a bit more might really take it to the next level.

Nice work.


05-04-2008, 11:14 PM
I thought this was a really well written short. I thought it was very cinematic to spread his telling of the story among a number of characters, however, the introduction of so many characters also seemed unnecessary and extraneous. The opening image is compelling, but I expected more of a surprise ending to pay it off.

You're definitely a good writer, but there's not much of a point to your film. It doesn't say anything. It's clever, but in the end, meaningless. I'd love to see you try to work on that aspect in your next short. Good work and good luck!

05-05-2008, 06:20 AM
Thanks for reading, Jason. I am humbled by the compliments and agree that the number of characters in such a short script seems a bit extreme but it was done with purpose and intent.

I also appreciate your opinion but respectfully disagree with your assessment of the story being "meaningless" unless of course you consider western civilization's objectification of women and subserviance to image over substance as not having much value as social commentary.

That could just be me though. ;)

05-05-2008, 06:22 AM
For the record, folks, Justin's a good friend of mine and fellow screenwriter collaborator on several of our short films.

This is however the first time I've read a critique of this short from him and it strikes me now at how obviously he knows what I'm trying to do here with this script.

Justin! Don't give it all away! ;)

05-05-2008, 06:48 AM
Suggestion: Why are we watching this event in this guy's life, esp if he's done it before? Why not a short about one that makes him doubt himself? So he has something to fight through, rather than just re-counting what he's done. It feels a little like a screenwriter going: "Gotcha!" instead of a character doing what he does. And trust me that comes out of my own experience, because I've been guilty of the same, and it could be said that my entry is guilty of the same.

Mr. Harris! Thanks for reading, sir!

All I can add to your suggestion is: RATS! I'd hoped I'd done just that with this story. Maybe it's tone is a bit too prosaic after all or maybe too short to have a significant emotional impact with any realistic attachment to the Muggby character.

Or maybe too clever. Can I agree with that and not sound like a complete and utter jerk? ;)

I get what your driving at here though and so I'd love to hear from anyone any suggestions that would clarify that this "one time" is somehow different for Muggby and "Lisa" than the other times.


05-05-2008, 06:52 AM
Nice work. I also agree that I wanted a little more from this one, which isn't a bad thing. :)

You definitely caught my attention. Fleshing it out a bit more might really take it to the next level.

Nice work.


Thank you, Mr. Horrigan! Duly noted, sir.

Russell Moore
05-05-2008, 08:19 AM
I liked how Muggby (I like his name) told the story throughout with the different characters, I thought it worked. I liked the dialogue as well.

I assumed also that he has gone through this whole scenario repeatedly and whacked a lot of "Lisa's" The only part that made me question this was his conversation with Doug. They're pals and have lunch together often, is this the first time he's mentioned a Lisa? Unless its not always Lisa (in name anyway).
But if they're buddies and this is a cycle for Muggby, then I would expect Doug might be suspicious about his buddy.
But it is a short and not everything can be explained completely.

I think you nailed classic pychopathic thinking from Muggby, she's studying me, she approaches me, she embarrasses me, she's tugging on my ear, geez this girls practically asking for it. What's a guy supposed to do, but whack her and bury her in a cornfield.

I liked this story a lot and read it more than once.

05-05-2008, 11:31 AM

We can't possiblly be this close to each other (I'm in Grand Rapids) and we've not met before. Have we met?

I co+directed Thriller! Chiller! (http://www.thrillerchiller.com) year one there at the Frauenthal.

And thank you kindly for taking the time to read this. Please explain to folks about lake effect and how it messes with everyone around here, will ya? ;)

Russell Moore
05-06-2008, 05:56 AM
I don't believe we've met, I'm pretty much just getting my feet wet, so I am fairly new to the whole film making community. I just recently joined WMFVA and I think I saw your name on the site somewhere.
Lake effect....ugh lol

Lake effect = miserable

05-06-2008, 12:14 PM
Nice script. Very tightly written. My favorite part by far was the juxtaposition of Muggby's dialog "Every where I went she'd be there" vs. the images on the screen of him obviously stalking her. Very well done.

I do think Mark has a point about bringing a little more meaning to the event. Maybe is Lisa just said one thing to Muggby to make him hesitate, even for an instant, and he could tell the psychiatrist "For a minute there, I thought better of it." or something like that. It might elevate the script just a touch higher than it already is.

05-07-2008, 09:32 PM
I enjoyed this script. The descriptions were crisp and illustrative. The dialog was snappy and transitioned seamlessly from scene to scene, character to character. Like kresto, my favorite part was Muggby lying about being stalked, when in reality he is a stalker.

A couple of thoughts. As evocative and engaging as the intro is, I think it would be better to leave it out because it gives too much away, making the ending predictable about halfway through. If you leave the intro out, the scene at the gym would play almost like a light, romantic drama (in the vein of a hugh grant movie) but as the story went on, the audience would get kernels of information that hinted at something far more sinister and sordid lurking beneath the veneer of light-hearted romance. The ending would have a much bigger impact that way (I know, bigger isn't necessarily better, but here I think it would be an improvement). I just love movies that shift genres halfway and completely flip your lid.

Another comment: I'm not in love with the title. It's eye-catching and does pertain to the sexual seediness of the story. But it makes me think of a gunshot and I was a little let down to discover that there's no gun in the script (unless he kills the women with a gun, in which case I do like the title but think you should make it clearer that he shoots them). I don't have any specific alternatives to suggest, but maybe something about the pattern of psychosis and the serial nature of the crime. Or the fact that Muggby has to tell other people pseudo-confessions as part of his sexual fantasy.

I also want to echo the sentiment of another member who said she would like to have seen something different happen with Lisa. Something that would have thrown a wrench into an otherwise routine murder for Muggby (which, contrary to what others have said, is a great name for the main character).

05-08-2008, 09:50 AM
Conlanforever: With regard to WMFVA, yep, I'm on the board and thus all over the website (http://www.wmfva.org). I'm sure we'll meet soon in person at some event, right? :)

Krestofre: That's an interesting suggestion regarding hesitation. I was hoping the actor would naturally transmit that sense of hesitation and that the edit would lend weight to that moment without the necessity of anything having to actually be said, but more clarification in the dialogue to make that point may be the right choice here at this stage. I'll explore it along with...

Btangonan: Really interesting thoughts. I'd certainly consider dropping the opening sequence in favor of "throwing a wrench" in it as were in order to add an extra twist. My concern would be that it could really come off more bait and switch then if I send the audience down the path of Rom Com only to come up with Serial Killer movie as a result.

I've had more than one person (mostly actresses believe it or not) ask me if I'd ever make this movie myself. So dependent on it's status and what happens in this contest your suggestion could easily be tested out in post to see if it has the right tone struck by the end. I would try it anyhow if I were directing it. :)

And I do appreciate the advice on the title but I would be lying if I also didn't mean for people to associate it with the kneejerk reaction most average folks have to guns as forebearers of violent acts. It's a sleight of hand that I'm not playing into lightly here with this story. I am glad that you did pick up on the seediness of the subtext associated with that term. I wasn't sure that'd register at all.

But I'm also happy to consider any re-titling suggestions too. Maybe there is something more appropriate.

I'm going to keep my thoughts on Lisa quiet for the moment because not only would that spoil it in some ways for some readers but I also feel that once a story is out there in the world, it's not really the writers to control how it's been assimilated. But I will say she is about as different as any character can get in this story and still remain realistic.

Rats! Did I give her away too soon? ;)

Everyone's comments, thoughts and suggestions have been very helpful and I'm trying to get to everyone's script submission in turn before voting.

Thanks again everyone for reading and commenting!

05-08-2008, 05:24 PM
Just finished reading your screenplay. I actually really liked the opening sequence and even with alot of movies now-a-days you can tell what's going to happen in the end but it's not always a bad thing. I do agree with Harris on the "Why is this happening" but shorts are hard to fit back stories into them sometimes. Anyway all I can really say is good luck and my only complaint isn't really anything big, just every once in a while when it would take place somewhere you wouldn't put if it was inside or outside. Like I said not a real big deal.

05-08-2008, 06:30 PM
I read this one last night. I really like this script. I like the beginning. What I didnt' get was the Gym part, what did that do to move the script forward. He kind of was in different locals that thru me off, and I wasn't sure why.

But... I usually hate (or don't like a lot) VO, but this one really worked. Your story was very easy to follow and intriguing.

I liked the ending but not sure why he was so excited he had to kill her. Only I can guess that it was his state of mind, his character and that is good enough for me. You can't assume to know how to get into the heads of each an every character a writer develops, but I can say that this one worked, you developed it pretty well.

Good luck with this.

Russell Moore
05-08-2008, 08:28 PM
I honestly don't think anything needs to be changed as far as this script goes, but Btangonan and GGF NYC got me thinking about the opening.
I agree you shouldn't drop it.

But what if he had sustained some form of an injury this time around with Lisa, so he is injured and bleeding in the car. Maybe this would cause a bit more doubt about what actually happened, but still set the same tone.

Also "This time" would be a little different.

Just an idea. Like I said, I think the script is great the way it is.

As far as the WMFVA, I'll be attending the PA Bootcamp and I'm going to try and make the 4 Wall this month as well.

Captain Pierce
05-08-2008, 09:07 PM
OK, potential spoiler if I'm right, but... After multiple read-throughs, I got this feeling from Muggby's line about the numbness in his left arm in Scene 2, that maybe he had a heart attack or something from dragging her body into the cornfield and burying it, and that's why his arm is "unmoving" on the steering wheel in Scene 1 and why the car's still there, idling, in the final scene. So it's like this script is his final conversation with "the voices in his head," none of whom (I figured) are actually "real" people. (Well, except Lisa.) I have no idea if that's right or not, but I had to wonder...

05-10-2008, 09:42 AM
I like the mood you setup in this piece. The writing is really spare and effective, and works because the world is limited to Muggby's mind. I also wanted a little more, it feels a little like a teaser, and it sets up some questions that are left to be answered or unanswered by the audience.

I like that you utilize the noir tool of the distrustful narrator. By using that voiceover it creates a tension and distrust with the reader, quite effectively. I get what Jason's saying about "meaning," and I don't agree, but I just want to make sure that you know what this piece means. Are we supposed to get it and have an "aha" moment in the end? I think you give just enough pieces where people will think they get it. I didn't think any of the other characters were alive, like Captain Pierce I felt they were all in his head, either voices or victims that haunt him.

Your VO and dialogue are great. Lisa's dialogue was wonderful, and you pulled off a dreamlike Lynch quality well. I don't think I want things to neatly unfold in the end. As long as you understand it and give just enough clues for people to finally get there I'm fine with this. I just want a little more time in this universe to enjoy the flavor. I don't want that feel and flavor to dissipate, and it doesn't seem to except a little in the end as the piece comes down.

Nice work.

05-11-2008, 12:05 PM

Thank you all so much for the time and insight. So cool! Conlon, I look forward to meeting you at the next event. Please come up and say "Hi" if I don't spot you first, OK?

To answer Detached's questions. The key to the gym sequence is two fold but it hinges on Carla's reaction. In other words, why does a physical trainer not seemingly care about symptoms that could indicate a heart attack in one of her regular clients? ;)

And Captain, you're theory is sound although I'd never consider it from the perspective you offered. It floored me in the acknowledgment of how well that interpretation would work. It turns out that since your interpretation that you and an actor (http://www.graceannerowan.com) I know both have had the same idea.

And Mr. Brody, holy cow, thank you. I appreciate your gut checking, and hopefully without an iota of brashness, I add that I wouldn't pull it if I didn't know what I was doing with it. Or at least confirm that I indeed had the script's entire design in mind when I wrote it.

Similar to Muschong's Beached (http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=134231), I have an affinity to Noir style storytelling and whereas Justin prefers external conflict manifest to the plot in his stories I tend to be more internalized in the characterizations. Birds of a feather. What can I say? We work well together in our collaborations (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-Sqh3KtcLQ). :)

So with all that said, I'll leave the key for how I at least interpreted the story (which means squat really because I'm enjoying the ideas and thoughts that everyone has shared so far,) and that is this question:

Does Lisa exist?

05-13-2008, 11:15 AM
Well, not much to add at this stage, well written, film festival material if you ask me. Anything that gets the audience leaving the theater wondering wtf. Good Job.

05-15-2008, 07:56 AM
Well, not much to add at this stage, well written, film festival material if you ask me. Anything that gets the audience leaving the theater wondering wtf. Good Job.

Thanks kindly, sir! In a year that left us with most audiences saying, "WTF!?" at the end of No Country for Old Men (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0477348/), I may stand half a chance of being produced. ;)

Depending on the outcome of this fest and it's considerations, I'd have no problem if anyone else in this forum felt so moved into producing it for themselves.

All I'd humbly request is that my name be spelled correctly for once. ;)

05-16-2008, 08:34 AM
Being a fan of Shawshank, I believe that voice over works when done well. It works here. You keep it short, sweet and to the point.

Nice visual/movie style to this, with the rapid moving from scene to scene. Short and sweet story too. Not much time or scene wastage. Not sure of the ending or end line though. We get a good idea of what has happened, but left with some doubt (unless this is intended, we might need some more detail).

The end line didn't sound right to me. Maybe it's because he suddenly appears well spoken. Perhaps a "me and her"... Not sure.

Structure and formatting are good. Would take out the contact details at the end of the script. A simple fade to black will do and stick you contact stuff on page 1.

But overall, good work and best of luck with it.

On an off note. Took a look at your website and reel. Well done.

05-20-2008, 08:09 AM
Being a fan of Shawshank, I believe that voice over works when done well. It works here. You keep it short, sweet and to the point.

I use Apocalypse Now as my go to cinematic acid test personally. If I can't at least approach what Micahel Herr did, I go for end-all-be-all of Chandler instead so I can fail at it in a magnicient way. Thank you for the compliment! :)

"me and her" is an awesome suggestion as I prefer how that sounds too. So cool! And so not grammatically correct to boot. Buck the system I say!

Yeah, I mucked it up with the info tacked onto the end like that in an "unprofessional" way but since title pages were in some sort of contention at the time I just did that instead. Lazy perhaps. Paranoid probably.

And BIG time thank you for checking out my site (http://www.unsafefilmoffice.com). I honestly didn't expect it but it's great to hear feedback. I sure do appreciate it. :)