View Full Version : High Roller

Egg Born Son
08-22-2012, 07:10 PM


it's about rolling the dice

(new logline - thanks, KhamIsk)

Egg Born Son
08-22-2012, 11:51 PM
Been driving all day. The main characters' motivations and key plot elements have been coalescing in my mind as I get around doing mundane tasks. Gotta write them down before I lose them! Gone a bit cold on my working title but it will do for now.

08-23-2012, 01:24 AM
Well, when I opened the thread I initially misread the title as 'Dicking with the Devil', so how about going with that? ;)

Russell Moore
08-23-2012, 09:05 AM
That was quick...logline is intriguing.
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Egg Born Son
08-23-2012, 09:55 AM
Well, when I opened the thread I initially misread the title as 'Dicking with the Devil', so how about going with that? ;)

In a trend reversal this the dramatic parody of the porn film you mention. :evil:

Got fired up after work. Already written act I, roughed out act II and outlined the third. Key characters are shaping nicely, haven't decided whether to play the devil literally or not but the thematically this is my take on a well worn idea. Main themes of addiction, temptation and rock bottom through the lens of devil-related folklore. Need to work up a new logline. And a new title. Two locations. Three or four speaking parts and four extras. Was originally planning on a ghost stry but the games requirement put me in mind first of Fritz Lieber's 'Gonna Roll Dem Bones', which lead to Milton's 'Paradise Lost', various incarnations of 'Faust', and a number of devil themed songs such as The Devil Went Down Georgia and Crossroads. Oh, and a poster.

08-23-2012, 12:03 PM

Reef dreamer
08-27-2012, 10:26 AM
The first image i had was the Seventh Seal, but naturally that a games of chess against death, rather than the devil. Many confuse them.

I love the idea that someone has;

1 got themselves into a position where they can confront the devil
2 face up to him/her/it
3 challenge it to a game, rather run away etc

Says a lot about the character, the needs, the desires. I can see the parallel with addition.

Interesting one to consider. Sounds longer than five pages!

Bill Clar
08-28-2012, 12:23 PM
Yes! I was hoping someone would square off against the devil in a game of chance.

When I read the contest rules I immediately thought of "Devil Went Down to Georgia".

Egg Born Son
08-28-2012, 06:51 PM
Why do you think I had to get my thread up so quick :)

Actually I had the Fritz Lieber story floating around in my head already when this came up. I had been chasing a copy for one of the other short stories in it and I couldn't remember the title or the anthology. Thanks to this fest it triggered the title which lead me to find the book I read 20+ years ago. I win.

I've only got mini-act III to go and then hopefully I'll have time for at least two complete re-writes before the deadline. Hoping to get it to come in at 13 pages for fest-topic symmetry! It's looking like it will be 15 so far before I trim the fat. Could probably get it down to 10 or 11 if I tried. Need to lock in a logline, make a poster and finalise a title but the writing has been flowing and I don't want to interrupt it.

Egg Born Son
08-30-2012, 07:02 AM
Poster up. Doesn't entirely capture the feel of the piece, may even be a touch misleading but there it is. It took two hours and I like it so it stays.

First draft finished. More by accident than design it turned in at exactly 13 pages. Going to lose two days to drinking over the weekend but that still leaves enough time for at least one rewrite.

The title's okay, could be better but I'm sticking with it.
2 main characters, 2 minor characters, 5 extras.
3 indoor and 1 outdoor location in a single venue (club/bar).
Minor makeup effects, practical or just a few frames of cgi.
If buckets of blood are a requirement I'm screwed.

Russell Moore
09-02-2012, 09:30 AM
Congratz on a nice poster...really looking forward to reading the script.

Mine will not have buckets of blood either, but hopefully enough to suffice....looks like you definitely stayed within the parameters of the fest rules.

Reef dreamer
09-02-2012, 10:12 AM
Nice poster - as I am completely useless with this type of thing, ie I can't do any, I have a degree of poster envy.

Looking forward to reading. I have to say I've made mine more low key, but as Horror is not my thing it's been fun to play with.

Egg Born Son
09-03-2012, 07:59 PM
Had a boozy monday when I got home from work to find I still had beer from the weekend. Go Dockers! Which means only two days to rewrite, wowsers! Better get cracking, can't hand in a draft when I was first cab off the rank!

RE: posters, i use little ole paint. scan the internet for copyright or non-copyright images. manipulate them until they are unrecogniseable (less effort than getting permission - i'm only after the shapes, i reduce most the images to silhouettes) smash similarly treated images together. add titles, spend time finding the right font. usually takes me about four hours, using nothing but google images and ms-paint. half that time is spent looking for useable images. a couple of hours trimming, rotating, colouring and manipulating images and up to an hour on layout. You can even lift a matte out of an image in paint using a pseudo key. each poster i do is saved through multiple formats and manipulated dozens of times, my main goal is to obscure the source material and create something pre-visaged and new. i usually have 2-4 layers and end up with some 200+ intermediate files to get my finished poster (paint only has three steps of undo so you have to save every significant step). using paint in the new millenium is the equivalent of ascii art back in the 80s. it helps to have lived through the 4-/8-bit experience.

09-04-2012, 03:28 PM

Sounds good. And your poster looks like a Greatful Dead album cover!
Good luck.

09-05-2012, 01:36 AM
Ah - it's about rolling the dice - how interesting!

Egg Born Son
09-05-2012, 03:04 AM
it's about rolling the dice

Arghhh, that is so much better than my logline. Mine is pretty much just a quotation from dialogue and tries too hard as a logline. This is simple, to the point and sums up each of the different layers individually and collectively. I'm taking it! If I have time I'll update the poster.

09-11-2012, 07:48 AM
This is the second script of yours that I've had the pleasure to read and both of them have impressed me. You write well. I can tell that thought and craft and effort go into what you write.

I'll be honest that when you posted this thread I was less than excited by the prospect. Gambling as the game seemed tired. A man playing for his life? Seen it. But you crafted a unique take on a tired subject and I ended up enjoying it very much. Well done.

My only suggestion to you is admittedly personal preference. You might find value in it, or it could easily be ignored. I would restructure the script so that at the beginning you don't go from Alley to Milton's to Alley to Milton's. It seems like the script would flow better if when they're in the Alley the first time the Man brings the Bouncer out and they do the whole golf bit and then you introduce Milton's. That will add some more mystery to the Man, strengthen Joe's motivation to follow the man, and hook the audience more because we'll want to find out what's going on. Then you can introduce Milton's in its splendor and glory and keep us in that setting because it's fascinating. To take us away from that back to the Alley was a little disappointing.

I also question Joe's motivation when he steals the money from the Man's coat. Seems like a really gutsy and risky thing to do, but until the very end I don't see Joe as the gutsy and risky type.

Great work. Keep it up!

Egg Born Son
09-11-2012, 08:57 AM
Thanks Chris. I'm glad it comes through. It means a lot that I could refresh a tired plot for you. I've been putting a great deal of work into writing more 'script-like', I'd be very interested in your opinion (and others who read Transmission) whether by comparison that work is evident in this script. I feel I've gotten about halfway to where I want to be compared to my previous entry. It still feels a little too wordy, especially compared to Keaton's work but hopefully I've taken a big step. I felt pretty good about this one when I finished.

I totally agree with your point about going back into the alley. It was done for two reasons and I realise now you've raised it that I didn't pull it off. One was to provide Joe another opportunity to leave but then the option to refuse the cane is sufficient, the other to allow Harry to deal with the body (dead or alive ambiguous). The bouncer could have been brought into Milton's and there's no reason Harry couldn't have come down the stairs to play his part. Joe had already crossed the threshold, he should not pass back over it until it's over. I'm disappointed now I didn't make that choice. A man like Joe having the opportunity to physically best the Bouncer should only be possible in the special world.

As far as Joe's motivation to follow the Man, he's supposed to be on the threshold of turning around and leaving at any moment until he picks up the dice. I also wanted the sense that he was being drawn to his fate by a force beyond what was on the screen. That while he had choices his decision was inevitable. It is symbolic of the inevitable slide to ruin of gambling and ties into a key theme.

He is a blustery man, always ready to challenge a fight but not so much to back it up. Possibly a wife beater. I was experimenting with an unsympathetic protagonist that the audience can still connect with, named Joe for the initial inspiration of Joe Slattermill (think that's his name) from the Fritz Lieber story. My Joe is much more pathetic though, lacking any notable talent, a real loser. As it is for Joe the mystery and hook for the audience is supposed to be 'who is this unseen man?' And 'what kind of filmmaker doesn't show us the main character?' I raised this in a thread while I was writing and noone could get their head around the idea of not wanting to show the character's face. Admittedly they didn't have the context available to my readers.

In answer to Joe stealing the money, he does it because he is brave behind people's backs. He's all bluster but also selfish and greedy. How could he resist? And who's going to notice a few notes off a wad half an inch thick? Of course he craps himself when he thinks he's found out, revealing his true nature. But his act of stealing is in fact the final test and the act that prompts the Man to conclude the offer.

09-11-2012, 10:27 AM
I think your writing style is very good. I didn't feel that the script was wordy or overly descriptive or anything. I felt it was appropriate and never while I was reading did I think "this needs to be trimmed down." In that respect I think you're close to accomplishing what you're after than you think you are. Keaton's style works for Keaton. I mentioned this in another thread, but it's hard to balance the sparseness of a screenplay with an individual's writing style. I think you do it well.

Russell Moore
09-11-2012, 11:43 AM
I don't think I made it a secret at all when I read your last script....but, I think you're writing is really, really good.

You definitely pared your descriptive blocks down in this script compared to "Transmission" I thought they got the information across in an efficient manner. Maybe they're a tad more descriptive than some writers, but we each have our own style and nothing you wrote was so long or detailed it took me out of the story.

Chris already pointed out my main criticism and that was when they left the room below to go back up top and deal with the Bouncer. It broke the flow of the story and I was taken out of it a bit when it happened. You've already addressed this and I think you're right on about the manner in which it could be rectified.

James...I love your dialogue...it's delivers information and yet sounds very realistic. I did feel it was a bit lengthy at the end when The Man is sharing his tale with Joe, but admittedly this is a critique after a secind examination of the script, at the time of the first reading, I was just enjoying the dialogue and the picture it painted. But it might seem a tad long if it were being viewed. Though maybe not if it was accompanied by visuals.

This...Suddenly the Man jumps/is sucked into the gaming table,gone in an instant.

Does he jump or is he sucked into? It read to me like he was being sucked into the table, at least that's how I took it in the context of the story. Or was it supposed to be a combination of both? Which would imply something else.

It met the requirements. I enjoyed the story overall and liked how it enede and came back around.

Really good work!

09-11-2012, 04:58 PM
Comments as read-

***I know it is allowed for this fest, but 13 pages is still a long short.
Pg 1 ***The first action paragraph might explain why this script is so long. It is overly descriptive. Actually the paragraphs thereafter as well. How do you show "a single precise action." Wasn't "grinds it underfoot" enough? Another example is "His recent education." No further comments on novelistic descriptions. Get out those editor scissors. :)

Pg 2 Walks passed him ***grammar past.
Pg 3 Reception. ***Lost me a bit. This is the same door Joe was thrown out? Ok so some magic has occurred right?
Okay reading back I see you mentioned a second unseen door. I missed it somehow - maybe because it was unseen. :)
Boy this script is taking on a Twilight Zone feeling big time. Love it.
The location seems a period piece which is expensive for a short.
Pg 13 Reveal the Man's face, Joe's doppelganger. ***This might have needed more caution in the script so we the reader is constantly reminded his face was never seen.
In actual film the audience would know.

Overall - interesting, very Twilight zone. Way too much dialouge for my taste. Would make a better 5-6 pager. Great job.

Egg Born Son
09-11-2012, 05:43 PM
***I know it is allowed for this fest, but 13 pages is still a long short.

C'mon, horrorfest? 13 pages? How could I resist. It took a lot of work to make it 13 pages and not 11 or 14. :)

Pg 1 ***The first action paragraph might explain why this script is so long. It is overly descriptive. Actually the paragraphs thereafter as well. How do you show "a single precise action." Wasn't "grinds it underfoot" enough? Another example is "His recent education." No further comments on novelistic descriptions. Get out those editor scissors. :)

It's something I've been working on but still a-ways to go. You should have read my last one! Hopefully further progress will be evident in the next one.

Pg 2 Walks passed him ***grammar past.

passed is relational movement, past is relative time. common mistake unless the american 'simplification' of grammar rules has applied this. past does admittedly look better on the page and I had to keep going back and changing it because i subconsciously used past half the time. Strangely in the English I was taught 'walked past him on the way to the door' would be correct because the event of walking passed him is in the past in relation to reaching the door but then I wouldn't be speaking in present tense. Head hurting yet? Passed or past is one of the most convoluted questions in the game!

Pg 3 Reception. ***Lost me a bit. This is the same door Joe was thrown out? Ok so some magic has occurred right?
Okay reading back I see you mentioned a second unseen door. I missed it somehow - maybe because it was unseen. :)
Boy this script is taking on a Twilight Zone feeling big time. Love it.

:) It's always a balancing act whether to just mention and important point or beat the reader over the head with it. On the one hand subtlety is better, as long as it's noticed. On the other it's important that the reader (director/actor/crew) knows. Same goes for mentioning the hidden face over and over that you mentioned before. I decided in that instance that I've specifically mentioned it three times or so and don't describe his visage until the end so the reader can re-read if they missed it. I wasn't particularly happy with the balance but I didn't want to stop the script to make a sidebar note. I had tremendous difficulty arriving at the line where he lights up without revealing his face without resorting to camera directions. Hopefully my future ideas won't present me with this conundrum!

The location seems a period piece which is expensive for a short.

Agree, it was a worry when I wrote it. It's not a period piece (well it could be) but the location is one that time forgot. It wasn't intended to be so when I started it but the room started to become part of the character. It would work just as well in a 'Cheers' style of set. If you could find an old fashioned bar it would be one location but you certainly couldn't build this set on a budget. This could be made on a budget but unless the filmmaker was lucky the location would need to be downgraded. I think the script would still work in this circumstance. A phony, cheesy 80s style bar, all neon and vistalite was the other direction I was thinking but went classic in the end. The dreams of petty men aren't visionary but rooted in the past, the (now) classic car they couldn't afford, the baseball card they never found.

Pg 13 Reveal the Man's face, Joe's doppelganger. ***This might have needed more caution in the script so we the reader is constantly reminded his face was never seen.
In actual film the audience would know.

I wrote the voices differently, the builds would need to be the same. Is the doppelganger Joe or just wearing his face? Doo-do-doo-doo Doo-do-doo-doo (that was supposed to be twilight zone music :))

I am truly flattered by the twilight zone comparison.

09-11-2012, 06:05 PM
13 pages is easy. Six is easier. Pair of scissors, and somewhere about in the middle. To me this is the real beauty of screenwriting. A delicate balance between overly concise facts and a novel. I love for brief scene descriptions - lets me the reader imagine the rest. I won't touch your explanation regarding the past. That's all in the passed. :) On the unseen face. See - you mentioned it three times you say and I blew past/passed them. Couldn't help myself. On screen these are non-issues. Location - this is a big one to me since I produce as well as write. Our writers are always giving me shorts with mega-dollar budgets. They get angry as these aren't made. Funny, a few DVX fests back ago I estimated one short at $20m. Shorts should be realistic near zero budget to me. You may right/write (now you got me all confused!) like Rod Sterling, but that doo-do music, don't quit your day job. :)

Egg Born Son
09-11-2012, 06:28 PM
13 pages was just a spooky number I aimed for :) It didn't have to be this long but it was fun to stretch out. I fully agree with your comments on brief scene descriptions, it is my goal. But as a prose writer switching formats it's a hard habit to break. I have nothing but admiration for those who can keep their descriptions down to one or two lines. I read mine and think good story but would it inspire someone else to make it? Have I left enough room for the other creatives to contribute? I suspect that it's a better read than a functional document. To hear the same from a working producer confirms it. I need to be less of a control freak on 'vision'. It's supposed to be a blueprint. Sure, I'm the one most likely to make my own films but I still have to put my directors hat on and I'd like a script that is as malleable as making someone else's script. A writer's vision and a director's vision are different, even in the same person. My style is a work in progress, I've written 7 or 8 scripts now. I would appreciate your take on where I'm at with this on the next fest as it is the primary area of focus in my development at the moment. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my responses.

09-11-2012, 08:03 PM
Hope I didn't lead you on. I am not a "working" producer. I am simply a producer for a small non-profit film production company. We average about a hundred members and shoot a film a month. Two this month for Halloween. To me, most Prodcos are more like clubs than actual companies. We are fun from "working" - we chase festivals for fun.
"...would it inspire someone else to make it?" Man you hit the nail on the head. If you want it produced you either shoot it yourself or create it in a manner that draws interest from others.
The problem with shooting them yourself - few people actual have the equipment or the talent to really shoot a film beyond camcorder quality. It is a LOT to learn. You will benefit though.
I don't feel the writer gives up story control. You set the stage. When I judge shorts, I break them down into story, acting, and cinematography. Each makes or breaks the film equally.
"A writer's vision and a director's vision are different," After you write a screenplay, go back and try to create you own hand drawn storyboard and shot list. You often will find many errors in the script. It's a good learning experience. You'll also see why all that excess description doesn't do much good in production.
I can offer you an opinion on your scripts, but to be honest my own don't fare well with other writers, so it's just an opinion. I don't live in LA and gave up the notion of being a Hollywood screenwriter twenty years ago.
A family will do that. I branched off into photography and am now within a year of retiring. Yes! Films still haunted me, and I needed something to do in retirement so I decided to go back to writing. I'm smarter now. I wanted my stories to live so I took many classes and educated myself on production. The photography side gives me a huge leg up on lighting, composition, and such. Them I spent a gazillion dollars buying equipment. I thought photo stuff had jacked up prices. Video is so much worse. I wander. Look forward to reading more from you.

09-12-2012, 12:17 AM
Hello James,

I like it a lot - it's sort of different.
You sort of painted your short, explained every little detail. It's very atmospheric.
Is it a horror - it's very horrific for Joe's wife:) --that's for sure. But I won't go into "horror or not" - this talk is very subjective. The Man disappeared in the end - must be a horror then.

I got a question about the short though. I want to know what they see in that Man's hat when they decide to comply with what the Man says.
"Staring into the darkness beneath the hat, his eyes begin to widen."

I know I'm supposed just to buy into it but I had this question ever since I reached that sentence and the question stayed with me throughout.

Egg Born Son
09-12-2012, 01:50 AM
Thanks Khamanna, I'm glad someone noted the poor wife. The whole thing is an allegory for gambling under the skin of it and yes, it is the wife that suffers the most. That said, if anyone is the winner here, she is. Because she doesn't have to live with this nasty, pathetic man anymore! I normally make a concerted effort to give female characters much more depth, not just for equality but I think it is essential to be a complete writer. In this case the two Escorts were meant to be objectified. It made me cringe to do so but it was important. They were symbols, their presence was to give the Man power. The way others respond to him reveal his strength, he only exercises it openly the once. They are also ultimately revealed to be demons, the dice-bearers keepers. That is why they are in contact with him so much. To constantly remind him that he belongs to them. So in the end the apparent power was flipped! That's what I was going for anyway.

It was originally bog standard 'game/deal with the devil' but as the themes began to emerge it morphed in the writing. Still centred around a deal with hell but subverted. I liked the way you subverted yours by having a variation on the old 'don't look back' mythic template. If Aiden had just followed the rules he could have had his house and kept his soul if I read it right. But of course the hero always breaks the rule.

As for your question about 'staring into the darkness beneath the hat' I won't be coy. The intent as you noted was for the reaction shot to tell the story but to satisfy your curiosity he is staring into the abyss. Not so much a cop out as it sounds, like Luke Skywalker looking into the helmet and seeing his own face, what he sees exactly is dependent on his own fears.

To give more clarity (deliberately absent in the script), the Man was originally going to be the Devil. He might still be, I like to keep it open. He's primarily a symbol. Functionally he might as well be because he makes 'the offer'. Originally he was supposed to have had himself skinned alive (the original reason for the hat) in preparation for hell but it became apparent early on I had too many ideas (and can you smoke without lips?) and the location budget was already a concern. There was a whole mafia subplot that got reduced to one line in his speech. I ultimately gave him Joe's face at the end because I needed a powerful image to climax on. I thought it brought the story full turn neatly, given the many questions were left unanswered there needed to be a strong sense of closure to bring it home and release the tension. It also played back into the gambling theme: that Joe (or his desires personified) is the one that tempts Joe. That being the case he was always doomed.

I like to work out all the details, most don't make the script but I know. The dice were originally the game element but it ended up being the hoops Joe is unknowingly jumping through. Every interaction is a test. I like to be ambiguous and enlist the audience's imagination in telling my story but you must respect the audience. All but the most unsophisticated audiences (reality tv fans) can tell when they're being strung along. Hopefully it all comes through and provides a sense of faith that there is a solid logic at play, even if it's elusive. There is a reason and meaning for every word and action, sometimes two or three levels of meaning in relation to the themes. The interpretation of the audience, other characters and the actual motivation of an action can differ too. But once those structures are in place I try to forget them and just write a good story. These things are bones, not the meat. To labour that metaphor a moment longer, it occurs to me that this might be why the lean, mean writing style I seek still eludes me! As you can see I can't write a short post in a forum to save my life either... :Drogar-KnockedOut(D I only set out to tell you what was under his hat! Haha

Reef dreamer
09-12-2012, 03:06 AM
Lets have a look...

Now you mentioned elsewhere that you over write. IMO the first five paras are a bit heavy and could be slimmed down, making it more dynamic. Now id don't normally suggest alternative writing but as an example, and feel free to ignore. one para could be;

"He drops the cigarette, grinds it under foot."

A few details have gone, but anything we really needed? Anyway, enough of that, back to story

p1 you repeat hands and knees - maybe not required
MAN - when others are introduced later the title Man gets a bit confusing, so maybe called him SLICK MAN, or give him something to be remembered by Moustache Man etc
p10 not sure we need Joe dialogue, seeing the money is enough

A tale of temptation, the trials and tribulations and the subsequent downfall.

As a script i felt that it took too long. The man's finish wasn't wholly clear for me, if he is a part of Joe, same face etc, then what he has given up and why? He speaks of achieving everything over seven years, because - i think - of the dice, which Joe now has. So the script depends on the power of the dice? Maybe one to strengthen, show in action, we can then relate to the dilemma or giving up the past for a loaded future.

On reflection, one options would be to take out the revenge on the bouncer and show the dice winning and the luxuries that follow, a little more.

I liked the finishing shot.

all the best

09-12-2012, 04:06 AM
Hey, thanks for your reply - you write lengthy ones:) I've yet to read it (skimmed).
Want to point out one more thing - your writing.
I was going to mention that it's a bit heavy for me at first and then scratched that. I saw pros write like that and I think you create more of a visual, mood and atmosphere this way. So I won't try to divert you towards economy because there's a benefit to the way you do it perhaps.
And one last thing - you wrote off the character. I really liked your Man and the stuff he says here and there sounds clever (like "Are you a victim or do you rule your fate. Do you fall or do you jump?")

Forgot one thing - The Man called Joe's wife "bitch" at first (the very first time he spoke to Joe) and I don't think he would. I think he'll need a slow start here to affect Joe psychologically. --just a thought.

Egg Born Son
09-12-2012, 04:14 AM
He drops the cigarette and grinds it underfoot.

Yeah I was a little enamoured with my imagery there but a few have mentioned and I realise that is directing, even if disguised in the description. It's gone. I actually had it twice, I changed the second time to 'flourish'.

I clarify the Man in post #27 if you're interested. You are right about calling him SLICK MAN, if only for the logistical nightmare it was to remember to capitalise each and every instance and refrain from describing anyone else as man, small m, to avoid confusion. Shoulda just called him SLICK!

Thanks for comments.

09-12-2012, 07:07 PM
I think you know, after trimming and compressing the page count will drop. I know you know, but, this thick writing makes the script a weighty read.

Give people time and they'll waste it. I feel the building drama, but it's taking a long time to get to it. This is a short after all.

I really would like this man to have a name, make it cryptic, but 'man' is just not holding me.

Page 12 - When your dialog crosses a page give us a (break) and (continued). If you get a Final Draft it does this for you.

jumps/is? It's your story, tell us how we should see it.

This is an interesting piece. I get the horror of bad decisions, but it didn't pack the punch that I'd have preferred. Maybe make the choices clear and the consequences, so that we see what he'd be losing. Maybe give him some threat, not to make the decision, but the situation in general. I'm not sure what I'm saying except I'd like more tension. It may be there, but hidden in the weight of your action. You'll get it.

Egg Born Son
09-12-2012, 09:15 PM
Hey, thanks for your reply - you write lengthy ones:) I've yet to read it (skimmed).
Want to point out one more thing - your writing.
I was going to mention that it's a bit heavy for me at first and then scratched that. I saw pros write like that and I think you create more of a visual, mood and atmosphere this way. So I won't try to divert you towards economy because there's a benefit to the way you do it perhaps.
And one last thing - you wrote off the character. I really liked your Man and the stuff he says here and there sounds clever (like "Are you a victim or do you rule your fate. Do you fall or do you jump?")

Forgot one thing - The Man called Joe's wife "bitch" at first (the very first time he spoke to Joe) and I don't think he would. I think he'll need a slow start here to affect Joe psychologically. --just a thought.

Thanks for the further comment Khamanna. You honed in on several issues I put a lot of consideration into and had reservations about. It has been gratifying and useful to receive the feedback.

It IS too heavy, I'm working on it but I've got a ways to go. I write my prose cinematically, atmospherically so that has come through to my scripts. But I'm coming to think that scripts ironically shouldn't be cinematic. I'm painting the film when I should be writing a blueprint. Perhaps I'm just being too clever and directing by implication rather than slugs. While it makes for a good read does it fulfil it's function? Some are telling me yes, others no. I'm inclined to agree with those that say no based on the fact the best scripts I've read have been of the lean and mean variety.

On the other hand my film preferences lean towards atmosphere, slow build and ambiguity so maybe my writing style does suit my material. I prefer movies that a few people love over those many people like. I don't know. Meet halfway I guess. It would be nice to be able to write both ways, never hurts to have the tools; and I always focus on developing my weaknesses rather than strengths. Hopefully next fest I will be lean and mean (if the story lets me!).

As for the Man, don't worry about him. Maybe notsomuch the way the script ended up but his initial purpose in choosing to jump rather than fall was to rule in hell rather than be a victim. Probably not with the final edit but if nothing more he took control of his destiny and I like to think he is amongst the ranks of the fallen wielding the hot pokers, not the on the receiving end! I enjoyed writing him and his point of view, glad it shows.

As for 'bitch' I was hesitant to put that in because I worried it might not clear on the page. His use of the word is meant so show early on that the manners and eloquence are a facade. He is speaking to Joe in Joe's vernacular just to get his attention. That is why he doesn't use vulgar language thereafter. If you've ever seen a proper upperclass gentleman or proper butler break convention and curse in a movie, it was supposed to be like that. That said, only his clothes had established his character by that stage so perhaps missed the mark. I was working with the idea demons are attractive, they have a glamour and that his civilised manner was a veneer; and, if he was a 'Joe' seven years ago, also an affectation. The rot is under the surface. Much as in real life.

Isn't it funny how often a single word and whether it reads as intended can so often make or break a section? And layfolk think it's just stringing words together :)

Bill Clar
09-13-2012, 12:48 PM
Good description of the alley.

Great introduction for Joe. Throwing him out on his ass tells a lot about his character.

I like the shadows on the Man's face. Very mysterious.

I love the dialogue. Not a word wasted. It feels like something Jack Nicholson would say in "Batman" before he became the Joker.

Your story starts out strong but I'm on page 11 and still waiting for the game to be played. The pace is slowing down for me.

When the man removes his hat on page 12, shouldn't his face be revealed.

Your writing is colorful and full of life but your action paragraphs are long and numerous. It makes for a longer read.

I don't fully understand the ending and the roles of all the players. I assumed Joe was the devil, then the Croupier shows fangs and the Escort reveals a snake tongue. If there's symbolism it's lost on me.

Overall, I love the mystery around the Man. He's a great character.

09-14-2012, 07:35 PM
While I liked the alley description, I think i would have liked the lights coming first. Why are they last to be mentioned? Did they need to be mentioned at all? I ask that because Joe is thrown out of the club. There most likely will be some light source coming from the club.

Milton - as in Paradise Lost. Sometimes I'm not a huge, huge fan of winks like that, but it is a club, and nightspots can have funky names now and then. Speaking of poetry, some of this script seemed to have some prose. I'm not entirely against it, but despite painting a visual canvas, it does tend to get a bit long in the tooth.

The Man -- Man, do I have a problem with The Man. I would have assigned him a name other than The Man. I understand you want to be mysterious and all, but I would have better reaction if you called him 'Mister X' or some other alias.

A good read in any case. I liked it overall.

alex whitmer
09-19-2012, 10:38 PM
This ...

An alley behind a multi-storey venue in the entertainment

If ALLEY is in the slug, leave it out of the description. Also, from the alley, how do I know I'm in the entertainment district?

This ...

Wet. Brick walls. Steam rises from drains.
Rubbish piles high around bins.

That sounds like an alley, and I'd open with that, leave the above off entirely.

This ...

Two concrete steps lead up to a fire door. High above, a sodium lamp illuminates.

Sucinct and visual. Woks for me.

This ...

A slick dressed MAN leans against the wall opposite,

Slick dressed should be slick-dressed. I assume he's opposite the fire door?

This ...

Overcoat over shoulders, suit, gloves, expensive
shoes, walking cane, money.

Overcoat is over his shoes too? I'd shuffle this around ...

His suit, gloves, shoes, a walking stick, and an overcoat hung from his shoulders all say money. Or along those lines.

This ...

A brimmed hat casts his face
into shadow.

So the hat is tossing the mans face into the shadow? Hmm. Maybe you mean ...

His face in shadow under a brimmd hat.


A brimmed hat casts a shadow over his face.

These ...

The Man observes casually.
The Bouncer returns inside,

Remember, titles serve as a character name, so leave THE off. You don't say The Susan, so don't say The Man if he is introduced as MAN.

More soon ...

Dang, all of these are freakin' long.


alex whitmer
09-25-2012, 04:18 AM
Arg, I'm really fighting to find even a second with this pre-prod lliving in my head.

I did read this, and really enjoyed the hell out of it. Not sure I got it 1000%, but it is beautifully visual, and I always like your command of English, and the peppered use of some words that appear to be dying, since so many writers (and speakers) just cannot be bothered with language beyond the texting level. We are devo.


Egg Born Son
09-25-2012, 08:20 AM
Thx 4 ur .... nah can't do it. Thanks for your kind words, Alex. Glad you had the chance to read it and your appreciation means a lot. But put your production first, don't stretch yourself too thin. Whip it, whip it good. :)