Thread: The Reunion

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    The Reunion
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    Title: The Reunion.
    Logline: Old friends face shadows from their past as they struggle for survival in the desert.

    http://www.dvxfest.com/scriptfest/Th...-btangonan.pdf
    Last edited by btangonan; 05-06-2008 at 05:11 PM.


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    More Cowbell Pictures Michael Anthony Horrigan's Avatar
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    Interesting story. I liked the back and forth approach.
    Seems like it would be fairly easy to shoot as well with the right location.

    Sad though. Definitely not an uplifting movie.

    Nice work.

    Mike


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    Thanks for giving it a read, Michael. The co-writer and I debated about whether we should deploy flashbacks or just tell the story straight. We ended up going with a non-linear story in order to reveal key information about the past at crucial moments in the present. Hope it isn't too confusing.

    I live in SF, so it wouldn't be too out of the way to drive down to Death Valley to shoot this thing. That is, unless the Mod Squad wants to make it!

    It's definitely not the feel-good short film of the year. I've always been a fan of the darker, brooding movies about isolation and betrayal.

    -Brad


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    Senior Member seansshack's Avatar
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    Formatting wise, I would cut back or break the descriptions into smaller paragraphs (as it read like a book in parts - which is a hats off to the writing, but in the screenplay world, they like empty spaces on the page). Page 2 is a prime example of this: one big scene in one big paragraph.

    The conversation between Elliot and Abe read a bit on the nose and from the same person.

    Think you should (beat) on their own lines + noticed one on page eight with incorrect brackets []


    The story worked for me. I liked the use of flashbacks to slowly draw you into their story. I don't think a standard linear approach would have worked as well.

    Not 100% sold on the ending thought. I felt it would lead up to one outsmarting the other for the water supply.

    Good job and best of luck with it.


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    Thanks for the feedback, Sean. I agree that some of the descriptions should be broken up. We would have done so if we had the space.

    I also agree that the conversation between Elliot and Abe does sound a bit on the nose and even a bit expositional. With such sparse dialog, we found it difficult to communicate backstory, context, mood, relationship, etc. efficiently without being a little obvious. The ability to do all that concisely using subtext is what makes a great screenwriter, I suppose.

    We considered writing a more suspenseful ending, ultimately decided that it would be more interesting to see what Abe would do when forced to abandon his friend a second time. It may not be as viscerally exciting as, say, a car chase or a knife fight, but the psychological suspense is there.

    I've been busy with work the past couple of days, but I'll be sure to read through DDP and leave feedback on your thread, Sean.
    Last edited by btangonan; 05-06-2008 at 05:26 PM.


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    [From the co-writer of The Reunion]

    I wanted to reiterate Brad's thanks on the feedback, Sean. Very useful.

    As Brad said, we had the description broken up, but couldn't keep it under 10 pages the way it was, so sacrificed some blank page (and consequently tidyness) for the sake of keeping the content there. It's interesting to try to create a story that you are confident can be relayed in 10 (or any circumscribed # of) pages, as you don't really know exactly how long it will take you until you are well on your way and committed to imparting large swaths of the information on the reader in order to successfully relay your story to them. I guess that's something you get a sense of with repetition hopefully.

    It's interesting that you thought that Elliot and Abe sounded like they were written by the same person. It's something we focused on avoiding in the writing (we were trying to express that Abe was a bit colder and rational and Elliot a bit more emotional and to some extent childishly dependent on Abe), but we might have shied away too much from making them caricatures to the detriment of expressing their individuality. This is definitely something we should revisit in the next incarnation of this.

    On the ending: it's funny because this idea germinated from the seed of the ending - we liked experimenting with one friend betraying another under extreme conditions and the psychological/internal cat-and-mouse game, rather than a bunch of twists/games between the characters at the end. To mollify this, we put the story out of sequence to draw the reader into the story (as you noted) and give them kernels of important information throughout, right up until the end (which revealed the impetus for the betrayal and was intended to serve as a final twist to the reader and to Elliot).

    Again, numerous thanks for the thoughtful feedback. I'll be reading Deadly Dangerous Pursuit shortly and intend to repay the favor.
    Last edited by TeeJ; 05-07-2008 at 04:02 PM.


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    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    This script held my interest and I wanted to find out what was going to happen to the characters. Did a good job of building the mystery about what was going on.
    There were a couple of big blocks of descriptions that could be broken up. It seemed to slow the pace down a bit. But I liked the content.

    I thought Abe did come off like the colder rational one, but I could see where there might be a little personality confusion.
    One example...Abe says "It just feels weird to leave him out there like that."
    and Elliot replies "Would you rather sleep next to him."

    To me that sounds like those lines should be reversed to be more in line with their characters.

    I enjoyed the story, I liked how you told it through the flashbacks, that worked for me and I was fine with the ending. I thought it was pretty much in the the right tone for the script. I liked the script, good job.


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    Thanks a lot, Conlan. It's funny because after Brad and I read Sean's previous comment about the characters sounding similar, we specifically implicated this line as well. We originally discussed this ad nauseam, but decided that it was important to give the reader a sense that Abe has some softer/human/emotional side. We didn't want Abe to seem like a complete monster/robot and we wanted the reader to be able to sympathize with him as much as possible (i.e. leave it up to the reader to decide if he is an evil automaton or not).

    We have since reconvened on the matter and decided that we should definitely switch these lines.

    My take-away from this: In a longer film, you can give a character multiple dimensions. But when you only have a few lines per character for the whole thing, every line uttered should be more purposeful in delineating the most important aspects of the speaker's personality that the writer specifically wants to express. Maybe that's too strong a statement, but I think it's a good rule for me to think about the next time I write.


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    Senior Member alex whitmer's Avatar
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    Arg, I hate it when ther is a lock on the text.

    ****************

    Major overkill on the word sand. 5 times in the opening scene.

    Page 2

    A strong wind is blowing, causing Abe to shield his face ... can be simplified to 'Abe shields his face against a strong wind'.

    You save three word and lose the INGs!!

    Scout for more of those. I'd do it, but a lock on text is a major deterant.

    You have an action block with 11 lines. 3 is nice, 4 if you have to, 5 if it's an emergency. Need that white space.

    This ...

    His tracks blow away as soon as he leaves them ... can be simplified to 'his tracks vanish behind him'.

    Page 3

    He pulls bottles out of a pack, but then you say they are strewn on the sand.

    Up through page 7 really enjoying the dialogue.

    ************

    Well that sure ended ona weird note.

    Not sure what they were originally doing in the desert with a guide, but I assume it had something to do with Abe's dad, Can't be sure.

    Enjoyed this a lot, but it left me a little unsatisfied. I don't like clean endings, but this feels a tad unfinished.

    Nice dialogue, nice pursuit, and would look nice on film.

    alex


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    Senior Member Captain Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex whitmer View Post

    His tracks blow away as soon as he leaves them ... can be simplified to 'his tracks vanish behind him'.
    Alex, I don't know why I keep feeling the need to comment on your comments, but in this case, I think their original version sets a little better mood.

    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...
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