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Quincy Minor
01-06-2010, 06:43 PM
BAD INTEL

A burned out soldier must decide to fight with his allies or his fellow countrymen.

Set in Afghanistan - present day

I found out about this contest through a local writing group. I've been on a two year hiatus from writing. It feels good to be back. I have screened short films at festivals ,but this will be the first screenwriting contest I have participated in. This will be interesting.

Mailliw87
01-07-2010, 03:50 AM
Welcome aboard!

I've just started writing again as well, not as long hiatus as you but this will be my first completed script since last february :)

DarkElastic
01-07-2010, 04:18 AM
Welcome Quincy, I look forward to the read.

DarkElastic
01-11-2010, 10:42 AM
Hi Quincy, Just read your script.

I won't pretend I know that much about American military and the jargon that goes with it. So it seemed fine. As soon as I saw a Captain Mohammed, I knew he would do something bad and that isn't a good thing. Also, when he does defect, and snipers his own, there is nothing from his team... It's like they just accept it. I know 6 pages don't help, but there must be a way around to show us the mayhem.
I appreciated the ending, and that defecting isn't that simple. Good attempt though.

dougspice
01-11-2010, 08:17 PM
I'll agree with DarkElastic's comments. His betrayal seemed pretty empty, and while he got the unexpected justice that he deserved, I just didn't feel like it completed the story.

Unlike DarkElastic, I do know a good amount about the military. I've done tons of work for the Army and Marines and know quite a few of those guys. So I gotta say that most of your jargon and the overall posturing of the characters was unfortunately pretty far off the mark. For one thing, call a Marine a "soldier" one day and see how he reacts. Little details like that add up.

The reality is that if this guy was expressing those sorts of concerns before the mission, he almost certainly wouldn't be sent out at all. He'd be sent for combat stress counseling or just given latrine detail by his commander.

It's also been a good number of years since the USS Cole bombing, so no one that you could call a "kid" would have any involvement.

Basically there were just far too many things in the details and the character motivation that rang false for me to buy into this script.

The good news: details can be fixed. You actually have a core story here that could be made pretty strong. A soldier (or marine) decides he is going to defect. Maybe it's because he has seen his own side cause some atrocity, maybe it's because he's been some kind of mole all along. But he's decided to defect. He tries to do so and finds that the other side doesn't welcome him, but rather imprisons/tortures/kills him. That's a pretty interesting story. Done well, it could be powerful. I suggest focusing less on "the mission" and the military jargon and more on the characters. I also suggest veering away from the race-based allegiance that you have now (like DarkElastic said, it was instantly questionable when "Mohammed" started questioning the mission), unless that is somehow part of the point you were trying to make.

Good luck with this.

Jason Ramsey
01-11-2010, 09:31 PM
I found out about this contest through a local writing group.

That's great to hear...

Later,
Jason

Charli
01-12-2010, 10:28 AM
I'm going to agree on the jargon, it's very generic and the betrayal didn't get me emotionally invested.
I did like the military theme, though.

Michael Anthony Horrigan
01-12-2010, 11:11 AM
I don't know too much about military tactics or jargon so I went with it.
I just didn't get wrapped up in this one as much as I would have liked.

Tough story to get right in six pages though so good effort there.

MAH

Ben Sliker
01-12-2010, 11:35 AM
As a navy brat and having numerous family members/friends in all 4 branches of the military, i can echo the statement that most all details in this script were REALLY far off the mark, a little research would have made this script a lot better.

You lost me when a captain, two sergeants, a private and a colonel are all in the same meeting. A better way to go would be a captain delivering orders to his squad of marines, marine squads are 13 men led by a corporal. And each gunner would have a spotter as well. Just a little internet research would have gotten you off to a better start.

Dissent within a squad is more believable, especially if squad rags on him and calls him names for being Muslim and in the US military. A captain challenging Colonel's orders? I don't think so.

krestofre
01-12-2010, 12:53 PM
The good news: details can be fixed. You actually have a core story here that could be made pretty strong. A soldier (or marine) decides he is going to defect. Maybe it's because he has seen his own side cause some atrocity, maybe it's because he's been some kind of mole all along. But he's decided to defect. He tries to do so and finds that the other side doesn't welcome him, but rather imprisons/tortures/kills him. That's a pretty interesting story. Done well, it could be powerful. I suggest focusing less on "the mission" and the military jargon and more on the characters.

I agree with this 100%. This is actually the best critique / advice I've seen for the entire fest. I was initially very blah on your script, but by the end of it my feelings are exactly those of dougspice's. The core story is very interesting. Just hone that some more.

Russell Moore
01-12-2010, 04:43 PM
Solid formatting. Nice descriptions.

The interactions between the characters didn't seem authentic to me and I agree a bit of research would go a long way here.

I really like the idea of a soldier that betrays his side to go to the other and I love the idea that they do not accept him and he ends up getting whacked. The story is definitely there.

Good ideas are not easy to come by and you have some good ideas in this story.

Chris_Keaton
01-12-2010, 06:25 PM
Wow, a lot of people already tackled the big issues. The first thing that made me go huh, was the terrorist kid who was involved with the Cole attack. Even these lugnuts would know that there isn't anyone involved with the Cole that would look like a kid anymore.

I really didn't get emotionally involved in this. There was no attempt to make us emotionally involved. It seemed like you just wanted to make Mohamed look bad and then have other Mohamed's kill him. So it was a little shallow to me.

Now you still have a spine of a story you need to flesh it out and make us feel for the bad guy, good guy, something.

Also a sniper isn't going to question his target. They are trained to shoot at what they are told to shoot. They have handlers/assistants that help them, usually they may be CIA, special forces something. It is also believed they are there to make sure the sniper does what they are told, but that's just a rumor.

Keep writing!

Quincy Minor
01-13-2010, 09:46 PM
I appreciate all of the feedback. Its good to know I have solid formatting with good descriptions and a solid story to build around.

I knew some of the details weren't exactly right. I started late with the writing and didn't want to miss the deadline.

Getting you emotionally involved is one area I am worried about because I'm not sure which way to go about it. I'll keep reading the books.

Chris_Keaton
01-14-2010, 04:31 AM
Getting you emotionally involved is one area I am worried about because I'm not sure which way to go about it. I'll keep reading the books.

I don't know, those books are written by people who haven't sold screenplays. I would suggest finding the screenplay for a movie that got you emotionally involved and see how they did it. Sometimes that's the best teacher.

DarkElastic
01-14-2010, 04:38 AM
Agreed.

Captain Pierce
01-14-2010, 04:58 PM
Most of what I was going to say has been covered, but let me add this. I don't think there's much you can do to surprise the viewer when you introduce a character as "CAPTAIN MOHAMMED." Particularly since you reuse "Mohammed" as the terrorist's name on the same page. The Captain is going to be expected either to go over to the enemy, or possibly stop someone else from doing so as a reversal of expectations.

As has been said, you have some good ideas here; the problem is that they're ideas that are tough to work with in six pages. :)

Quincy Minor
01-14-2010, 05:59 PM
I don't know, those books are written by people who haven't sold screenplays. I would suggest finding the screenplay for a movie that got you emotionally involved and see how they did it. Sometimes that's the best teacher.

Chris_Keaton I agree with you. I'll search for related scripts.

Captain Pearce I'm getting it now. Misdirection!

Anthony Todaro
01-14-2010, 07:39 PM
Wow. I couldn't stop reading it.
Tight format. Well written and I felt the pace was perfect. Great betrayal.

I felt for Mohammed, and as whacked as it sounds, I think "he" did the right thing.
You twisted me up! No gripes. Great job!

MML
01-16-2010, 06:46 PM
First and most important, I like the idea here. I think some of it needs to be reworked though. Like Mohommed being a Captain. It takes a really long time to make Captain so to me it seemed odd he'd desert like that. Maybe if he was a private I would have believed it more and also had more sympathy for him. There seemed to be too many high ranking people in that squad too.

Other than those types of details needing some work, I thought this was a solid effort. Nice work.

Mailliw87
01-17-2010, 03:12 AM
No, you probably signed up to get a
free t-shirt. - Nice line :D

I don't know much about the military, so I didn't really react to the dialog. I thought about it though.

I agree with what the others have said about various smaller issues.

But I quite liked it. Shooting in Nichols head felt a bit sudden. But I do think you've got a good story here.

Quincy Minor
01-17-2010, 06:59 AM
Glad you enjoyed Anthony Todaro

MML, you're right, I will have to research the details

Mailliw87, I was wondering if that line was funny to anyone else, for the dialog, i think i will look for some other screenplays

kennethhurd
01-21-2010, 12:55 PM
Your script really pulled me in from the start and it never let me go. However, there were a few things that didn't work for me. Once I met Captain Mohammed and started to hear his doubts, I knew what would eventually happen. I didn't, however, think that he would be killed in the end, so that was a nice surprise.

MrKilloran
01-22-2010, 11:36 AM
Solid effort, and I like where it's going. Put a little research in when you're going to tackle things you're not quite sure about and invest more thought into your characters, I just didn't connect with anyone, they don't feel natural. Then dig back in and re-write, you've got some good ideas but you can shape them better with time.