Thread: Dead Men

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    #31
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    I really enjoyed this read. Solid writing along with some good character development for the "Dead Man". A good idea as well. I also felt the shower scene to be touching when Daniel and the Man are talking about how she is going to die, it hits a spot. I loved the diner scene as well, that can be a funny moment. Maybe you can add The Dead Man cursing at the waitress if u want to go with more comedic. Good job.


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    #32
    Senior Member jasonthewho's Avatar
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    Really good script. Very easy to read and some enjoyable dialogue. I only have a couple of comments that haven't already been said.

    Why does the Dead Man say "Why the hell did you run?" when he knows why he ran? Since the Dead Man ran for the same reason, you think he would put two and two together.

    Also, "Every single damn time I send one of you through." Shouldn't it be, "one of THEM through"? Or "Every single damn time I send someone through." After all, Daniel doesn't go through.

    Great work!


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    #33
    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonthewho View Post
    Why does the Dead Man say "Why the hell did you run?" when he knows why he ran? Since the Dead Man ran for the same reason, you think he would put two and two together.
    Maybe an unclear point, so thanks for pointing it out. The deciding factor between what makes a "Dead Man" is whether they know what to do at the time of death or not. For example someone who dies might know that they need to seek out a Dead Man, but they might also know that they ate babies for breakfast and their eternal reward isn't something they're looking forward to so they would try to run from it. Therefore the Dead Man's question is an appropriate one because he's not sure which category Daniel falls into. People could also run because they just don't want to accept that they're dead. One thing I try to do in every script I write is have very specific rules for the universe I'm playing in. I've probably got every "afterlife" rule that governs the universe of the Dead Men mapped out. Not all of those rules come out in the script, and, in my opinon, they don't have to.

    Also, "Every single damn time I send one of you through." Shouldn't it be, "one of THEM through"? Or "Every single damn time I send someone through." After all, Daniel doesn't go through.
    I actually did wrestle with that line, and stuck with "you" because it made the dialog more personal between the Dead Man and Daniel.

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Chris Johnson


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    #34
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    Christopher, you’ve had some great feedback already. Here’s what came into my mind after I read your script and before I read any of the feedback:


    A simple story with an emotional core, well done. It was easy to read, easy to see.

    You set up the “single file” rule nicely; and it was pretty funny to see dead people have to get into a line.

    I liked the idea that if you don’t believe in heaven or hell, it’s good to be a runner; also resonates at the end when Daniel makes a choice.

    I liked the fact that Daniel was less concerned about his own death than his girlfriend’s (and/or the opportunity to be with her eternally).

    It could also be interesting if Daniel stays a runner, and knows he’s going to, but unselfishly helps his girlfriend find the light so that she gets to where she needs to go, peacefully. That would be an unconditional act of love. Not necessarily your story, but another possible direction.

    A couple of things you might consider to make the read of your script a little more intriguing…

    There are times when I think you spell things out for the reader, when you don’t need to, we’ll get it.

    I’d change “death rattle” just to “rattle”; I don’t know what a “death rattle” is, it stops me for a moment; I’ll get the mystery of the rattle the second time I hear it.

    Similarly, I’d rename the character of the Dead Man. It telegraphs who he is; I’ll get it when he talks with Shanna.

    Also, I think your title telegraphs too much. I’d try for something evocative, but less on the nose.

    The last related note, is that there are a couple of times when I feel the Dead Man adds explanation to his dialogue lines when he doesn’t need to. Examples:

    We’d better get going. The
    next one on the list will be dying
    soon.

    I think you’re fine with just

    We’d better get going.

    Also

    Two people going through the same
    tunnel? Son of a bitch.

    I’m fine with just

    Son of a bitch.

    We’ve seen the “two people going through” thought as he hesitates opening the bathroom door. I don’t think you need to re-communicate this.

    These are niggly little points. All in all I think you’ve written an economic, powerful little story.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but one of my favorite movies is “Truly, Madly, Deeply”. It’s a really beautiful movie, and your script made me think of it.

    Best,

    - Jeff (“Charlie and Claire”)

    P.S. Now that I’ve read through the feedback, I’m taken by your assertion that this is Dead Man’s story. Yes, he has a choice to make, and we see him make it when he walks away from the bathroom door. If it’s all about this choice, I could even bear him walking away from the door before we see what color light emanates from below it. That doesn’t matter, what matters is that he let Daniel go to possibly break the rules.

    Of course I’m still intrigued by Daniel’s story and the strong choice that he makes at the end. I’m not sure that you have to sacrifice one for the other. Maybe Dead Man turns away from the door, and we’re sure that he hasn’t seen whatever color light emanates from it. We the audience still don’t know whether Daniel has gone any where in that light, but it doesn’t matter because what matters is that Dead Man let Daniel make a choice to go or not. I’m fine with you leaving Daniel’s story open ended, if you want to focus on Dead Man’s decision.


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    #35
    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback, Jeff.

    My intention all along was that it's the Dead Man's story, but you're not the first one to be swept up in Daniel's side of things, so elaborating on both sides is something I'm strongly considering for a rewrite.

    I have seen Truly, Madly, Deeply. I always appreciated Minghella's work and for my script to even cause you to think of one of his films is quite a compliment. Thank you.
    Chris Johnson


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    #36
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    Look forward to reading a rewrite or seeing the film when you get it done. It's a good one.

    And glad to hear you have an appreciation for Minghella. Not only was he talented, but I met him once, and he was super nice. A loss, but still, an inspiration.


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    #37
    Mod v2.0 Noel Evans's Avatar
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    Hi Chris. Wanted to read yours first and comment as you did for me.

    First off, I liked the story. I liked the dead man character a lot. Very clear character composition.

    Im not sure what a death rattle is, so I was thinking something like a rattle snake sound - just came to me. So if its not maybe need to clarify.

    These people have this inate thought when they die. Look for the dead man and go through. In the crowd everyone does. But before that Shannas line of dialogue didnt add anything for me, I felt a little wow how nonchalant if she really does care. As I said though just my feeling.

    And then we come to Daniel. My thought also was he can try cover up his gf is going to die? Id be devastated especially in whilst coming to terms with my own death. Daniels side story I thought was a good one, but his character seems less obvious.

    And last to be picky - I noticed nonchalant misspelled as nonchallant.

    Mate I really enjoyed it. Literally I was hungry to se what happens on the next page before I got to it. Great job!
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    #38
    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Death Rattle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_rattle Kind of spooky. It was the key that drove this script in the sense that the first scene in my head was literally the first scene of the script. That sound with the accompanying voice over. And then I had to figure out what that meant and why someone would be so in tune with it.

    Thanks for the comments. I think it's interesting that you're the first person to comment on Daniel's emtional response to the death of his girlfriend. It is somewhat of a strange reaction for him to have. My thought process is that Daniel is a guy that's very much in control of his life, and he doesn't let people in on what he's thinking until it suits him. I did not overtly make that clear in the script, but by his actions I think that I established his behavior enough that he acts plausibly throughout ... or at least throughout enough that it took four pages of replies before someone said, "Hey, wait a minute!"

    I appreciate your kind words and am glad that you enjoyed the script.
    Chris Johnson


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