Thread: Copperhead

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    #11
    Senior Member lawriejaffa's Avatar
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    Well here is my feedback!

    I thought this was a very interesting dramatic narrative with a lot of depth and a fascinatintg subject matter. Snakes are themselves fascinating and so are the religious practices of those Christians (with a particular association to the West too Imagine.)

    The tension is palpable during the snake service and it retains a creepy atmosphere (with our snake loving expert Raef.)

    My only criticism would be that I sometimes got a little confused over the revenge of the sons and fathers, and wonder perhaps if that could be made clearer?

    In any regards a bold debut as I understand this is your very first short film script!
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    #12
    Senior Member Sarah Daly's Avatar
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    Wow - is this really your first script? That's both incredibly impressive and terriblly depressing; there's no hope for me!

    So, yes I really liked this. The writing is fantastic - you set a sinister tone with your clever naming and attention to detail. The snake is a great device, reinforces your theme and adds a palpable sense of danger.

    The story is dark and epic but handled confidently and with great style.

    One niggle, although it may just be me...but I didn't quite get the war back story? Then, I have had a very long day of mind draining work so that's probably more of a reflection on me than you. Didn't stop me enjoying this very much though!

    Great effort! If this is your first script I can't wait to see what you do next


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    #13
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    Sarah, thanks for the feed-back! Yes, this is the first time I've written a script ever and am trying to get the hang of Final Draft software . Was talked into entering by my son -'Mother', he said, 'enter!' So I did. I' m an ol' fashioned gal (60 next year) and more into writing wee cosy short stories he-he... But - now bitten by the scabby script snake - I fear I'll turn into the script writing... Mummy from HELL!!!
    ps. ...also very slow at typing... yawn... only got through about one third feedbacks yet...


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    #14
    Senior Member Sarah Daly's Avatar
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    Well good on you dear! You're a natural! Ah - short stories - that explains the lovely language! There's a tendency when people move to scriptwriting from prose to over-describe things, but you've obviously thought about the medium and adapted wonderfully!

    I'll have to persuade my mother to get on the bandwagon too so to speak She's 60 next year too oddly enough!

    Anyway yes, keep up the good scripting!!!


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    #15
    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    Hey NJ...You kept me glued to the page throughout. Its obvious that you are a very good writer. You're descriptions are done very well.

    There were some minor technical issues with the slugs. But krestofre addressed this for the most part. One more note. When writing a slug, after EXT./INT. is the location, listed from general to specific and then after that the time.

    Remember that you have to be able to show what is going on, thats part of the fun challenge of screen writing. Like this, a great piece of writing.

    Brother Garth feels a terror out-with the norm in his
    previous experience of snake-handlers. His thoughts fall
    back to the memory of that day, before the shells burst
    around them. He and Hayward had clung to each other in fear
    before the end of that day... made up surely, although
    later going their separate ways. So, why was piss running
    down his leg now in a steady stream - he couldn’t stop
    it... couldn’t even try.


    I was captivated by your writing, but for a script it doesn't really work. Because you're writing for a visual medium and there is no way to show this on film (except for the piss and that might be enough to get the point across)
    Unless it was a flashback.

    I hope this is not taken negatively, because I really did enjoy the story.
    Great first effort!
    the writer formerly known as "Conlan Forever"

    Need a short script?
    Have an idea? Want to collaborate? Contact me.

    screenwriter75@yahoo.com


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    #16
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    Conlan - thanks! And no, nothing you - or any of you people of the Forum for that matter, have to say will be taken negatively... and if I change my mind about this , I have kept a stash of chocolate in my desk drawer just in case... yum...


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    #17
    Senior Member chris f's Avatar
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    NJPage,

    The good: Enjoyed the description of the church service and could feel the tension in the room when the pastors were going to handle the snakes, I was genuinely interested in what was going to happen next.

    The constructive criticism: I'll echo the reminder of only writing what can be seen on screen. Also, I was confused at times regarding who was who, who did what, and why each person was out to kill the other. I imagine it makes perfect sense in your mind, but I think the script would benefit from either clearer descriptions or less character/time jumps. Also, I don't quite understand why the kid was so attracted to snakes.


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    #18
    Member Tormod's Avatar
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    I also was a bit confused at points, but I`ll read it again before I vote! But yeah you have to write what we see, but for a first script this understandable!
    I love the church scene. I really picture the whole scene in my head and that is through your great writing!

    A really good first try and I`ll get back to you after I`ve read it again! ;)


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    #19
    Senior Member TimCollins's Avatar
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    This was enjoyable and definitely unique!

    It started off a tad bit confusing for me at points. I was kinda wondering where it was going from the plains, to the war flashback, to the church. But it definitely came together for me in the end especially when the dialogue between Raef and Willard started on page 4.

    The story certainly had depth which was great and fun to read. I was looking forward to a story with snakes and you certainly provided that!

    Just a couple of minor details... I noticed a couple of things like this...

    WILLARD (PUZZLED)
    I don’t understand Raef... you
    were there, you saw... (PANICS)
    Why you pulling a gun...?
    I think it would flow better for the parentheses to be under the character names rather than next to them. I'm not sure if it's an either/or thing but that's what I've seen in the past.

    Other than that (and the minor slugline issues) your writing was great! Can't believe that's your first screenplay - impressive. (You should see my first screenplay - HORRENDOUS!) You must have done some other types of writing before?

    Oh and also, just a minor, minor detail... you could have benefited from a title page!

    Overall it was an enjoyable story and you did a good job!
    Last edited by TimCollins; 03-27-2009 at 08:23 AM.
    Timothy Collins - Writer/Director - Facebook | YouTube | IMDb | Twitter


    DREAMSPACE (Short Film) - 2nd Place @ 81st annual GCA Film Festival 2012
    Scriptfest IV: "GHOST TOWN"
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    #20
    Mr. Hollywood Blaine's Avatar
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    You're a writer. And for a first script, this is pretty good. I had no problem following what was happening and if was nice seeing a somewhat contemporary western.

    I'll probably be reiterating what others have said but here it is anyway.

    Looks like you're using Final Draft, so when you do your direction (i.e. PUZZLED) use the parenthetical and it will place it in parentheses below the character's name. The same would be true for parentheticals within the dialogue.

    Show, don't tell. Screenwriting is for a visual medium. Anything that can't be shown on the screen doesn't belong in the screenplay. We can't see what a character is thinking or feeling unless you show it to us through his action(s).

    I thought there was quite a bit of exposition in the dialogue between Raef and Willard. Again, this felt like you were telling us the story rather than showing it. That's one of the biggest differences between the short story and short screenplay. The screenplay is entirely dependent upon what we can see. The dialogue in the final scene got to feeling like talking heads because of the length of the chunks of dialogue and again the exposition.

    I don't know if you read the dialogue aloud after you've written it or not, but if you do you'll be able to determine what seems too long or not. Your dialogue tends to feel more novelistic. Better yet, if you can get someone you feel comfortable with to read it with you can get a better feel for the flow of the dialogue.

    I think you'll adapt quickly to the screenplay format. You certainly have writing skills, now it's just a matter of learning the differences required by the arena you're writing in.

    Good job.


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