Thread: The Reunion

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    #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Pierce View Post
    That said, once the mood has been set, the story seems to be a fairly standard "two people trapped in [place] with only enough [basic need] for one." The flashbacks break that up a little, but at the end, it's still just one dude willing (and maybe even eager) to sacrifice his "friend" in order to save his own skin.

    Don't get me wrong, the script is well-written, but once you see two guys in the desert, with one near death and the other doing fairly well, you kind of know where this is going...
    Point taken. What separates this story from others like it are two things: the format and the last scene. The flashback scenes are strategically placed in order to reveal tidbits of key information in a specific sequence at specific times in the story. This was intended to create suspense and to shift the audiences allegiance between Elliot and Abe. Things happen at the outset that are intended to provoke certain questions in the mind of the reader: Who is the Egyptian man? Did Abe kill him? Why are these guys out in the desert? What is Elliot's relationship to Abe? (and of course the obvious) Why is Elliot following Abe?

    The flashback scenes deliver facts that allow the reader (or viewer) to slowly piece together the story and answer these questions along the way. The answer to the big question--Why is Elliot following Abe (or more importantly, why did Abe leave Elliot)--sets the stage for the last scene. In one sense, this scene is a chase scene--Elliot is after Abe's water. At the same time it bears the dynamics of a prisoner-captor scene: the prisoner (Elliot) is pleading with the captor (Abe) for his life. Abe has the water, and thus the power to save his friend. Abe must choose between saving his friend and abandoning him again. It's one thing sneak away in the night, but it's another to watch your friend die at your feet. Also, the last shot of the film prompts one final and disturbing question: Did Abe let Elliot catch up only to retrieve Abe's camera, which he needs to find his way to the water source?

    Thanks for your feedback, CP. Both criticism and praise are necessary for improvement. I'll definitely read through Endgame and comment when I get the chance (so many scripts, so little time!).
    Last edited by btangonan; 05-13-2008 at 11:00 PM.


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    #12
    Senior Member mjjason's Avatar
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    Really enjoyed the script overall. I had some difficulty with the flashbacks early on but they worked for me in the end. The issue I had early on was that I assumed that flashbacks would follow a linear pattern as well, i.e. the second flashback would follow the first but that was not the case. This was an issue with the first two or three but I realised after the fourth that they were not in order. The flashbacks helped to add depth to the story without breaking up the flow of the pursuit between Elliot and Abe. This made the read more interesting.

    The things that can be improved on in a longer script are the backstory and the ending. I really wanted to know why they were out there in the desert. I guess its hard to do it in 10 pages but I wasn't clear on the motivation of the characters and why it was so easy for Abe to leave his friend. As for the ending, I don't have that big a problem with it other than to say that it just came suddenly and was somewhat anti-climatic.

    Overall, this script felt like Gus Van Zant's film 'Gerry'. Similar story with a similar ending. His film worked too though his weakpoints were similar to this script. All in all I liked the script and feel that in a longer feature this would work great if you explore the characters further.


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    #13
    Knight of the Holy Order krestofre's Avatar
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    Nice structure to the script. The use and placements of flashbacks build the suspense and keep the drama of the script moving.

    I also really apprecaite how you set up the ending where the outcome is unquestionable, but didn't feel the need to show it to us.
    Chris Johnson


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    #14
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    Alex - Thanks for reviewing the Reunion. I honestly don't know how you are able to give such thorough line-by-line critiques of everyone's scripts. Are you a teacher?

    I agree with most of your technical criticisms. Regarding the 11-line block of text--we tried cutting it down, but we felt everything there is essential and couldn't afford to insert page breaks. We'll definitely break it up now that we don't need to meet a strict page requirement.

    Thanks for your honest feedback on the ending. We wrote the entire story to build up to that scene, so for us it's indispensable. I think with more fleshed out characters and a better explanation of the context of the story the last scene would play better. I feel that it's a pretty closed ending as it is: Abe makes a definitive decision that he'll probably never recover from.

    Jason - Teej just forwarded me the plot synopsis from Gerry and wow--very similar story. Two lifelong best friends get lost in the desert and are forced to face unspoken grudges. Despite the striking similarities, though, the mood, tone, and genre I had in mind for The Reunion is very different from the impression I get from the Gerry trailer. It makes Gerry seem much more meditative and lyrical as opposed to ominous and brooding. I'll have to watch it to find out how it ends. According to your post, it's much like how my story ends. That really sucks. To quote Nas "No idea's original...it's not what you do but how it's done."

    I 100% agree with you that the script needs to be a little longer to accommodate more backstory and character development.

    Krestofre - Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad the structure worked for you. It's my opinion that this story is a lot more difficult to read than it would be to watch. So much information is packed into a few visible actions than can easily be fit into an action description. Also glad the ending didn't feel too anti-climactic to you, as it did for others.

    Thanks so much for the feedback, fellas.


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    #15
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    I really enjoyed the script. Nice and dark. I liked the ending, how it wasn't an active "bossfight" of sorts, but a passive killing. I didn't expect that.
    I think this would be stronger if it could be longer than 10 pages. Though I like the 10-page version, it doesn't allow for as much character depth as a longer piece. I had a small problem with Abe's motivation, if it was simply self-preservation or really about a girl as Elliot suggests. Again, a longer script would remedy this.
    Abe and Elliot were similar at times, but those 2 lines you have already addressed seemed to be my only problem with their dialogue. I think Elliot's curiosity about how the Egyptian died introduced his character well, and Abe's dismissal of pretty much everything Elliot does reflects his contempt for their predicament and for Elliot.
    Great read. I got a little confused structurally with the flashbacks, but they were clear enough that by the end of my first run through it, I understood what was going on. If you guys are planning on writing a longer version, I'd love to read it.


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    #16
    Senior Member Isaac_Brody's Avatar
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    Good points brought up. I felt as did others that I knew where this was going, and I think it would be interesting to end where these two guys began. Instead of ending with Abe's betrayal, this could be more poignant to end by showing them both at the start of this journey before things went awry. I would also try starting this piece with Abe's betrayal. If you do this it would setup the piece so that the audience slowly learns how these two friends got to this point, and you might even build up more sympathy for Abe in the process.

    The flashbacks were a little confusing at first, but I think it can work once we grow accustomed to them.

    I also wanted your action paragraphs broken up more and for this to be tightened. Short descriptive sentences would keep this visual and less short story like. I just want to see the very basic necessities. Anything more and this piece is slowed down and you lose that sense of atmosphere. Good work.
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    #17
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    Hi Isaac. Thanks for the feedback. I actually really like your ending idea. It makes for a different vibe than we were going for potentially (more sentimental/sadly nostalgic; less bleakly dark - though certainly still dark). It does have the potential of reminding the audience that Abe is a human and that these guys were friends and has the potential to make the viewer more sad/depressed rather than disturbed/empty. But yeah, your points are very well taken about potential other orderings.

    On the action paragraph front, I had a request: is there any way you could suggest a few lines that could be removed/significantly altered? Brad and I undertook what we felt was a heroic effort to remove any descriptors we didn't think were crucial to (1) most importantly, making the plotting clear, given the confusing structure and the lack of dialogue and (2) setting the mood correctly, since it's a mood piece in a way. Obviously, we would break up the action paragraphs if the page limit didn't exist, but even then your second point would stand on removing the story-like nature of the script (which is difficult overall because it is intended to have a low dialogue:action ratio). Any specific examples you could provide would be uber-helpful. I understand if you don't have time though, as this is a semi-labor-intensive request....

    Thanks again.


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    #18
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    Louise, thanks for the kind feedback. Brad and I are glad you liked it. I agree that a longer version would enable a lot more character development, which would add significantly. We'll definitely send you over said lengthier version if/when we write it.


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    #19
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    Hey Teej, I've got a couple errands to run today but I'll take another look and get you specific examples.
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    #20
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    Hey Teej,

    Here's an example of trimming I would do.

    Here's your version of your first big action paragraph:

    A strong wind is blowing, causing Abe to shield his face. He turns around and scans the landscape behind him. The desert is empty. He looks down at the ground, where his footprints are disappearing with the wind. He turns back around, kneels down, removes a work piece of paper from his vest and begins to study it. He looks up frmo the paper and stares at mountains in the distance.
    Here's my version to trim this down:

    A strong wind blows, Abe shields his face.

    He turns and scans the landscape behind him.

    Desert, empty and vast.

    He looks at his disappearing footprints on the ground.

    He removes a scrap of paper from his vest, studies it.

    He stares at mountains in the distance.

    I actually wouldn't keep all the details you created. I would just pick a few essential ones. Too many details can get the reader lost in the forest. Your writing is fine, it's descriptive, but it reads like part of a novel or short story. When I mentioned tightened I meant cut the fat out and just give us the very basic essentials for the reader to survive. Also, look for those places where you have a character beginning to do something. Beginning isn't interesting to see, but doing is. Instead of beginning to leave, Abe leaves. Beginning to look at a paper, not so interesting, Abe looks at the paper, much better.

    I would go through your script and look for those descriptive paragraphs and take a pen and just cut out the extra words. Get this down and it'll flow better.
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