View Full Version : Desperate Times

02-22-2010, 04:29 PM

The line between good and evil blurs when an ordinary man, caught in an extrodinary situation, is forced to do whatever it takes to protect his family.

Hey all, learned of this website via a short for Betrayal Fest I'm acting in. This will be my first script submission. Script is now finished and sent off for comments. Poster to follow shortly.

Thanks everybody for providing a great website to study film.

POSTER DONE! Really simple, but it works I think. Sorry, didn't know how to embed poster in the thread so I attached it.

Feb 23rd

- Sent script out for comments, several comments have come back, considering their suggestions now. Have a local film maker interested in shooting the script, but would like to see it place well here first.



02-23-2010, 06:19 AM
Welcome to the fray!

02-23-2010, 08:44 AM
Sounds interesting, nice logline.

02-23-2010, 11:36 AM
Thanks for the comments fellers. Say, where can a person find the info on the poster (dimensions, resolution, etc)

02-23-2010, 11:45 AM
NM...found the poster info on the Betrayal Fest rules thread! Poster should be up tonight.

Anthony Todaro
02-23-2010, 11:49 AM
Compelling line mate.

The poster was 600w X 800h at 72.
But I think there are poster specs in the FilmFest rules.
It talks about the standard size.

02-23-2010, 03:22 PM
Really good logline!!

02-23-2010, 05:13 PM
grazie! :)

02-27-2010, 01:50 PM
Alright...hypothetically speaking...what does one do if he has a good script, but, despite repeated efforts, one has proven to be incapable of making a decent poster? How does the poster factor into the contest?

02-27-2010, 03:06 PM
Oh, there's a few poster whiz kids out there that are probably willing to help out.

02-27-2010, 04:22 PM
Is the quality of the poster taken into consideration when judging the script? I mean, I could always pay to have one done, but I don't really want to do that unless it's going to have a significant impact on my entry.

03-06-2010, 10:31 PM
Justin, I just found you. I look forward to reading your script. If you email me a synopsis I could rough draft you a poster, I'm not a whiz at it but I do have photoshop.

03-07-2010, 04:40 PM
Poster added...sorta.

03-14-2010, 04:50 PM
good luck. looking forward to reading your script. :)

03-15-2010, 06:43 PM
Hi Justin, just read your script.


Good story, fast paced. We are thrown straight into the action. The ending is a nice cliff hanger.

I thought this sentence was redundant - 'after a few seconds Tom becomes convinced that's she's not going to scream' - you need to visually show us this.

You should go to a flashback of his argument with his wife to show us. It would be far more interesting to see their emotions.

A general point that is always said in these Fests, you just need to tell the story and not plan all the shots. It reads a lot better for others that way. Also, get rid of the page continued, they are annoying.

Overall, a good story. You just need to work on showing and not overly describing. You had plenty of room to turn the background dialogue into a flash. Well done.

03-15-2010, 07:50 PM
Ok, I'm going to review this as I read. Don't get mad I could've just said 'nice script'.

Pg 1
- What type of old buiding? Brownstone, Factory, Hospital, Hut?
- Do we need the parenthetical (frantic)? The dialog tells us this just fine. Good job by the way.
- You don't have to describe every action. What's he going to do after the call ends? Throw it in the river? If so I would write that, but hanging up and putting it in his pocket is taking up space. This block should be two blocks anyway, first we focus on him, next block we focus on the chick.
- Lose the camera directions. I know you may be filming this yourself, but we have to read it and maybe a producer or two. So make the story first once you have funding then make it a shooting script.
- lose the Continueds they are old school and just make your script look cluttered.
- Again, what's she going to do? Jump through the window Duke's of Hazard style? Just write 'Vaness gets into her car'.
Pg 2
- Don't tell us 'she's not going to scream' show us how Tom thinks this. Show him relax or something. Wait, she really wasn't going to scream? I was about to commend you on some properly place obstacles to your hero's goal. She should scream, doesn't need to lead to anything, just adds soem tension.
- Try to lose 'ing' words. They come off passive and less intersting than there alternatives.
- 'So serious' line just doesn't ring true to me. I guess because she really has no idea what's happening to this guy yet.
Pg 4
- Holy crap that lady just opened up. She did this to a kidnapper, she must be a horrible person to talk to when she knows you. Maybe this could be cut a little.
Pg 5
- I would mention some misteps in her get away, unless she's a pro at this.
Pg 6
- You got action in my parenthetical. The officer's actions needs to be an action block.

What? That's it. It's over? It was just getting good. How could he of done anything in that time. Was he just suppose to get somewhere or get something and return it. Why his family. I'm not buying it now. You don't kidnap a family with out a purpose. Like maybe this guys a defense contractor with access to what they want or (like what has happened a few time) he's a bank manager and is the only person who can open the vault in the morning.

Overall good job.

Bridget D.
03-15-2010, 08:25 PM
Hey Justin - just finished reading your script. Enjoyed the story. Was surprised by the ending - definitely left me wondering. No other comments from me - I'm still too new at this to know what I'm even doing.

03-15-2010, 08:59 PM
Hi Justin,

Just read your story.

I was waiting and waiting to see what he was looking for - what was it he was looking for? I haven't missed it, have I?

On p3 Tom says "said some horrible thing" that sends me wondering why. I missed the visuals there, maybe you could show them arguing.

on p5 I find it hard to buy into Vanessa slamming on gas and not stopping. She just met the guy.

Overall you build up suspense good, I think, and got me curious.

03-16-2010, 08:40 PM
Justin, I liked the writing style and the dialog was good as well, the ending didn't work for me. With the rules being the way they are its tough to tell a complete story. I liked it though and a very good entry. One of the better ones I've read so far.

03-17-2010, 04:13 PM
Guys I REALLY appreciate the comments. They're exactly what I need. I've just started to get into the script writing thing and even now some of the things you are suggesting seem so much more obvious to me than they did when I wrote the original story!

Couple points just for clarity.

1) The entire script was built off the idea of making the MacGuffin important and then have the story end so abruptly that nobody ever realizes what it was. In many ways I understand that this can be frustrating, but as a viewer I'd almost rather leave a film with a feeling of frustration than a feeling of "oh yeah, that was obvious."

2) TOTALLY agree that there needs to be some back story behind the kidnapping. Where I struggled with this is putting the main character into this situation without making him culpable for it. I felt like if I gave the kidnappers any reason to kidnap his family, then the main character would seem somewhat responsible and I was trying to avoid that. When writing, the main conflict to me was between the good person the main character was, and the actions he needed to do to protect his family. DEFINITELY needs a re-think and I appreciate the comments in this regard.

3) Flashback is an absolute must...will defniitely be included in the re-write.

4) Sorry for the descriptive language and calling the camera shots. I write that up as being (basically) complete ignorant of the process. Definitely will change all of that in the re-write. If I would have done less of this, I would have had more room to develop the story!

5) Apologize for the "continued"s. Honestly, my script writing software does that automatically, and I'm not sure if I can turn that off...but I'm certainly going to try!

Thanks again guys! Really enjoyed everything I've read. Keep 'um coming...this is the only way I'm going to get better!



03-17-2010, 06:20 PM
I really want to know what the object was! :) But why did he not have his own car? I could have used more information and action. It is a good idea for a story though. I liked it. :)

Anthony Todaro
03-17-2010, 06:45 PM
Compelling intro! You got me. Fast read and action. Check out the active voice if you want to speed it up even more. I love the mystery, build and then the ha ha you'll never know. Those are the best freaking endings. Bravo.

03-17-2010, 08:09 PM
a flashback would certainly give the story more dimension as most of it takes place through dialogue. you have a good start here. definitely had me wondering what it was he was supposed to find... out of curiosity, did you even have anything in mind, or was it always an unknown mystery even to you? good suspense. :)

03-18-2010, 05:07 AM
I never had anything specific in mind! :)

03-20-2010, 12:42 PM
Wow!! I started reading the first page and before I knew it, I was done!

Loved the script.. the ending was unexpected lol good job drawing me in

03-21-2010, 10:57 PM
Glad you liked it. It's getting a major overhaul after the contest. The comments I've gotten here have given me some good ideas! Keep em coming guys!

03-22-2010, 01:13 PM
I would lose the Continued on the end of pages, along with the Apotheosis Productions and Desperation - they just distract.

The dialog on page 3, 4 and 5 are a bit long, write it differently and reduce the running time.

I would avoid any mention of camera.

Finally, enjoyed the story. But think it needs more dept. Try and flesh it out more and see where it goes as 10-15 minute piece. Your set-up is top shelf, now just concentrate on the rest and a little tidy up and it will be even better.

Enjoyed it. Thanks.

03-22-2010, 02:56 PM
The contined's I'm not sure if I can control...my script writing software does that. I'm going to see if I can turn it off. As for depth, definitely coming on the re-write. Planning on a longer script with more detail

Thanks for the comments!

03-23-2010, 06:18 AM

(notes as i read)

scene one: dialog is a little on-the-nose, but effective in quickly setting up a conflict.

scene two: again, maybe a little too on-the-nose for me, but i guess TOM is getting right to the point with VANESSA.

TOM's huge chunk of dialog about having a bad day and arguing with his wife is awkward.. way too much info on what happened before he found the phone and the pic.

SERIES OF SHOTS kinda took me out of it for a second.

i don't really get it.. i mean i know what happened, but it just doesn't work for me. TOM dies and doesn't even save his family in the process.

03-23-2010, 10:12 AM
I don't really think everything needs to have a happy ending. Does it?

03-23-2010, 11:35 AM
I don't really think everything needs to have a happy ending. Does it?


03-30-2010, 11:12 PM
Just wanted to say thanks again to everybody that read my script and offered advice. It's already being re-written as a 20 minute movie. Script for West Fest is done....look for that thread to pop up soon!

Thanks again!


03-31-2010, 08:36 AM
a thread for the scripts or for the films? i finished my script for that as well.... i had written a western for the western script fest, but that wasn't really do-able... so i wrote a new one. i even have the film-makers, actors, and location... i have never entered film fest, so i'm excited.

03-31-2010, 11:28 AM
This was a short and fast read.
No nonsenses straight into the action. I like that.
It has a nice frantic atmosphere.
I'm really curious to know what the macguffin is, maybe too curious. It could do with some big hints for the reader's satisfaction.
The script spans little time so I didn't find it very believable that the kidnapped woman tells him those very personal things at page 4 already.
I'm ok with that bad ending, but again it could use some more time.

Overall it could do with some more room to breathe, but there is enough to like. I'm curious to that 20 minute script :)

03-31-2010, 09:20 PM
I think everyone else pretty much covered my thoughts on the script, but I'll re-cap a few.

Definitely lose the title and continueds on every page. They waste space and distract from the story.

While few scripts are error free in the writing department, you want to try and eliminate as many mistakes as possible. There are some commas and periods missing. When you don't have commas in certain places, sometimes the words run together and become very difficult to comprehend.

Try not to have a whole page or more of nothing but dialogue. In cases where you feel every line in lengthy dialogue scenes is needed, use little actions to break up the lengthy speeches. Film is visual, so you want to give the audience something to watch while people are having long coversations.

There was a solid frantic nature to the story, which is great, but it felt too rushed. I think some dialogue could be removed with more actions added and it could have gone the entire page limit to benefit from more story. We still don't really understand why people were threatening Tom's family. As someone suggested, a flashback or two could help.

Vanessa, as someone mentioned, tells too much personal info to a man she just met who has hijacked her car. That doesn't mean she can't say anything, but there needs to be a better conversation between them to bring out the details, if you feel they are necessary.

All of these things can be fixed easily. Overall, nice job!

03-31-2010, 11:09 PM
Thanks for the comments. I agree whole-heartedly with everything said. I'll admit that I think the story I had in my head was much larger than maybe should have been attempted with the short page limit. I'm hoping that I can make things seem a little more realistic in the rewrite.

The only thing that really confuses me concerns action lines. I had another script submitted at moviepoet.com and I got hammered for describing to many actions and writing overly detailed environmental descriptions. At this point I'm having some difficulty determining what to include and what is either implied or unnecessary.