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View Full Version : Trapped - Phil McCumskey (aka fossil)



fossil
02-06-2012, 10:30 AM
The harsh realities of inner city London life and sharing an apartment with an abusive alcoholic mother is Sebastianís Catch-22. Is there no escape?

Chris_Keaton
02-06-2012, 11:22 AM
Whelcome to the party.

taylormade
02-07-2012, 09:20 PM
Pretty nicely written. I think you're going to get a bit of controversy if this really met the guidelines of the fest. Your protagonist is sort of trapped, but whether it meets Chris' classically trapped definition is open to question.
Sebastian is one unhappy dude in a desperately unhappy life, but the story never goes anywhere. There is absolutely no story arc – just a slow plod through the same old same old.

I’d avoid using “is” whenever possible. Instead of:
“His mother's face is twisted in anger.”
Try this:
“His mother's face twists in anger.”
It’s more to the point and moves the action along better.

Nice job. It was a good read.

DarkElastic
02-08-2012, 01:20 AM
Hi Phil,

Thanks for the read.

Good:
Simple idea.
Definitely trapped in my book.
You feel for the guy.

Not so good:
Action clumped together. You need to separate the shots.
The ending was simple. Too simple. I never felt awarded for reading, just sorry for him.

Overall, simple and a good effort. Thanks.

ZellJr
02-08-2012, 01:42 AM
I don't think it meets the "trapped" criteria. Chris stated that they need to be physically trapped, and the protagonist is clearly not.

It was a good read, though I found myself waiting through a lot of the story. The story never really seemed to progress anywhere or be about anything other than every day life. I would have felt for him if his qualms weren't so niggling(aside from the mother). The other things that went on just seemed like your average bad day. And for all I know, he deserved to have his boss throw the papers back at him. There was nothing to tell me he was being mistreated by his boss.

I thought it was well-written and easy to read, but the story is a bit too simple for my tastes.

Still solid.

Sarah Daly
02-08-2012, 06:05 PM
Yep I don't think this one fits the brief but I like it anyway :) I can certainly relate to an extent having been an unhappy member of the rat race for a few years and you 'capture' hehe this feeling of being trapped in a depressing cycle very well. Your details are great - especially the sounds which is why I think it's a mistake to cut the sound for most of the script. Sound is a huge part of how movies work, and your initial descriptions of sound design really added to the mood so perhaps consider having stylised sound rather than none.

Basically, you write very well and I enjoyed reading this. It didn't bother me that there was no conventional arc or resolution as that's the whole point, but yeah I'm afraid I don't think this fits the brief.

Ps. I totally expected him to get stuck in the lift :P Maybe you could rewrite a version where he does, and that little adventure/diversion of being physically trapped breaks his cycle of being metaphorically trapped? Then you could use sound design to show this by having muted sounds UNTIL he's in the lift when suddenly the numbing spell is broken. Just an idea! :)

ZellJr
02-08-2012, 06:09 PM
Yep I don't think this one fits the brief but I like it anyway :) I can certainly relate to an extent having been an unhappy member of the rat race for a few years and you 'capture' hehe this feeling of being trapped in a depressing cycle very well. Your details are great - especially the sounds which is why I think it's a mistake to cut the sound for most of the script. Sound is a huge part of how movies work, and your initial descriptions of sound design really added to the mood so perhaps consider having stylised sound rather than none.

Basically, you write very well and I enjoyed reading this. It didn't bother me that there was no conventional arc or resolution as that's the whole point, but yeah I'm afraid I don't think this fits the brief.

Ps. I totally expected him to get stuck in the lift :P Maybe you could rewrite a version where he does, and that little adventure/diversion of being physically trapped breaks his cycle of being metaphorically trapped? Then you could use sound design to show this by having muted sounds UNTIL he's in the lift when suddenly the numbing spell is broken. Just an idea! :)

That's actually a very good idea. Great suggestion. I'd love to read that.

fossil
02-09-2012, 04:26 AM
Glad you enjoyed the read and thanks for your constructive comments. The original post by Chris did not specify 'classically trapped'.

Sunk99
02-09-2012, 10:59 AM
Comments provided as read.
Scores are 1-10
Ten is the best I ever read.
One the worse.
TimMc

Jam by Pete Barry

Overall: 7
Plot: 6
Characters: 8
Dialogue: 9
Theme:
Structure: 7
Originality: 8
Style/Quality of Writing: 7
Entertainment Value: 7
Cinematic Quality: 8

Synopsis: A man stuck in a traffic jam due to a truck rollover picks up cell & military radio over his analog car radio.
He listens and finally hears the military has found a bomb on the truck so he runs. For some reason the military
shoots him and the bomb, possible nuclear, kills everyone.

Comments:
Pg 1
LATE (V.O.)
***Using a name like this just confuses the reader. Give them a name.
***Love the opening visuals
Pg 2
***Whoa. I can get that spew of different conversations on paper - film?
***There needs to be breaks between - static, or overlaps. Else we think it is a garbled single conversation.
All of their calls are pouring simultaneously out of his radio.
***No need to tell - it's evident.
Pg 3
I LOVE this sniper twist.
Pg 5
***You had me intrigued, but then you shot the main character and left us hanging.
***A nuke went off, killing the sniper as well? I really enjoyed the story but the huge
plot holes at the end leave me demanding to know more. No explanation as to why they were shooting at him?
Did I miss something? Re-reading.
***How would they know his analog radio is on 610?
***Yes I did miss the Swat guy looking over a bomb on the truck. Should have been a military tanker.
Else why are they looking for a bomb on a wrecked truck? Also this was all VO. There was no visual to
lock in the bomb. I suggest giving us that visual. That would explain the bomb. Now why are they shooting
at Ray? Why did they single him out? Might twist in there that they are looking for a button pusher and
see how Ray is reacting/acting. Excellent story potential if plot holes are plugged.
***By the way - I never got how the character is trapped so I lowered the overall a point.

Chris_Keaton
02-09-2012, 04:56 PM
Notes:
- Get a screenwriting program to get the formatting right.
- So I'm getting that silence will reign through most of this. Often I feel films with no sound almost feel unfinished. It certainly can have an effect if used efficiently.

Well I can see you went with the philosophical and not the 'physically' trapped rules. I can't say if it would work or not until I saw it.

ZellJr
02-09-2012, 05:01 PM
Yeah, I'm surprised he didn't edit the original post to clarify. Very surprising.

But he clarifies in a later post.

Chris_Keaton
02-09-2012, 05:04 PM
Yeah, I'm surprised he didn't edit the original post to clarify. Very surprising.

But he clarifies in a later post.

Next time I'll post all clarifications in the original post.

fossil
02-10-2012, 12:01 AM
Thanks for your comments Chris. This is my first screenplay attempt, so I'm still unsure about the formatt.

Bill Clar
02-20-2012, 01:38 PM
I've never seen a screenplay in a font other than Courier. It's hard to read with the proportional font widths.

"Impatience shows on his face and in his movements" What kind of facial expressions and movements reveal impatience? Can you give us visual cues? Foot tapping? Repeatedly checking his watch? Frowning?

Is the lift in his apartment or is he in the building's hallway?

Sebastian is capitalized several times.

Keep your action lines to four lines or less. It makes for an easier read.

Introduce Sebastian's mother with capitals.

You make a bold choice to shun dialogue, but overall you have a "slice of life" story. This is just another day in Sebastian's life. He has no new obstacles to overcome and he does nothing to change his situation.

Rustom Irani
02-21-2012, 06:15 AM
Why doesn't Sebastian do anything about his lifestyle? You've documented a single miserable day in his life and hint at this being a cycle, but I can't connect with his apathetic situation since he's resigned to this fate.

Apathy is not what you want an audience to feel for your script. Especially, since the audience will take the effort to look up the movie, maybe pay to watch it or a producer will invest serious time and effort to make it.

You have little moments, wherin he could make an effort to connect with people in the lift, his office or even his mother and I guess there's backstory explaining why he is like this, but without dialogs and no fresh visuals to work with, this is more or less a document of his life.

Is he trapped? Well, a person ends up being trapped, metaphorically or otherwise because he pursued something that led him into the trap. What is it that led Sebastian into this rut.

Even something as simple as a picture of him and a dog, with him now just crying over a leash, would explain so much.

You have great visual skill and write vividly. Get some screen-writing software and write what you love but rmember to make use feel something about your characters too.

DarrenJSeeley
02-24-2012, 07:19 PM
Formatting was a big issue for me. No 12pt courier font, no title page (title and authors name shouldn't be on first page), blocks of text. I don't mind a non-spoken piece (heck... there's a b/w silent film up for an Oscar this Sunday) and visuals only can be effective. Story's good....but I'm not sold on the criteria.

Eric Boellner
02-27-2012, 08:20 PM
Hmm, not sure how I feel about this one. I think if I watched it as a finished film, I would probably like it. As a script, some of the weird formatting and notes threw me off, as well as the constant (but inconsistent) capitalization of the MC's name. I do like the monotonous "day in the life" tone.

-JMT