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    #41
    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    Thank you Anthony! I appreciate it.
    the writer formerly known as "Conlan Forever"

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    #42
    Senior Member alex whitmer's Avatar
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    What a fantastic story. Really got the emotion across, and a very cool peek into the mind of a druggy, and the decisions they make – tragic of course, but who really understands this overwhelming craving for the high at all costs? Well done.

    I almost feel guilty for what I am about to do.

    Page 1

    INT. OUTSKIRTS OF DOWNTOWN GAS STATION RESTROOM – MORNING

    This is odd. Are we on the outskirts of a restroom? That is certainly how it reads. Must be one honkin’ big restroom!

    What this needs is some dashes to separate information into ‘territory used’ chunks, starting with the biggest, and down to the where the action is happening – where the camera needs to be.

    INT. OUTSKIRTS OF DOWNTOWN - GAS STATION RESTROOM – MORNING

    You could even go one further with …

    INT. OUTSKIRTS OF DOWNTOWN - GAS STATION - RESTROOM – MORNING

    Now I have a clear idea of where this scene is taking place.

    I try to follow the ‘reverse Address’ formula – which starts with the country, then the state, then the city, the street, and finally the address. Biggest to the smallest.

    This slug also has MORNING. I’m no expert, but I think script standard is DAY or NIGHT, as this is major a consideration when costing out a screenplay. I’d find another way to suggest morning in the opening action, and just use DAY in the slug.

    This …

    Two young males, dirty, disheveled, push a cart of cans down the sidewalk at a run. Gil and Buck take off after them.

    This seems at odds with being on the outskirts of downtown. My first image of ‘outskirts’ is semi-rural or semi industrial, and sidewalks may or may not exist.

    Might be a good idea to open this story with an establishing shot to show it is morning, and then exactly where this gas station is. It could be a tranquil little mom and pop biz with one foot in town, and one in some rambling field, or it could be a dump frequented by the underbelly, like in some run-down industrial location, which are usually on the ‘outskirts’.

    I’ve seen shopping carts pretty far from home, but again, this calls into question your exact meaning of ‘outskirts’.

    Also, I’d iron out the cadence a little and say ‘dirty and dishevelled’ instead of having all those commas.

    This …

    Buck comes to Gil and nuzzles up to him. Gil scratches the
    dog on the head and then scratches the crook of his left
    elbow.


    You have ‘Buck’ and ‘the dog’. Stick with Buck, otherwise I’m wondering if there is more than one mutt around. Also, here you have some pronoun confusion as you lead us from scratching the dog’s head to scratching ‘his left elbow’. Is Gil scratching Buck’s left elbow? I know that’s not what you mean, but it reads that way.

    I’d rewrite all this …

    Gil scratches the crook of his left elbow. Buck nuzzles up to him. Gil scratches Buck’s head.

    I left out ‘comes to Gil and’ since to nuzzle Gil, this is a given action, and you don’t establish where Buck comes from in the first place. You do this later when Gil takes Buck to his doom – with Buck reluctant to ‘go to Gil’ – and it really works.

    Also, we drop this from 25 words to 17 to say the same thing.

    This …

    EXT. DOWNTOWN -- NOON

    The streets, lamps and buildings are decorated for Christmas. Busy, bundled up people scurry up and down the sidewalks.


    Here is where one word can really make a difference, and save time and space. I’d use ‘festooned’ and leave it at that.

    Also note the use of NOON in the slug. Make it DAY and find another way to tell us it’s noon, if that even matters. Does it? A town clock is a good tool to use.

    As concerns cadence, note the use of UP twice, and so close together. This makes for clumsy reading. Lose one if possible. If you opt to keep bundled up, make it a compound adjective - bundled-up people.

    Busy and scurry are redundant.

    This could be rewritten like this …

    EXT. DOWNTOWN STREETS -- DAY

    Festooned for the holidays. Bundled-up shoppers scurry to and fro.


    19 words down to 10. Same information.

    This …

    Gil, pale, shakes and holds his stomach. He shuffles through the mob, Buck at his heels. Gil holds his hand out, extends it to passersby. The pedestrians ignore him.

    The first thing that jumps out is the use of three different terms to identify the ‘extras’: mob, passersby, and pedestrians.

    You have already established these people in the preceding action, so no need to do it again, until you get to the ‘ignore him’ part.

    Let’s rewrite this …

    Gil shakes and holds his stomach with his hand extended . A faithful Buck follows.

    GIL
    Change please. Anything. I'm sick.

    The busy shoppers ignore his pleas.


    I’d also condense all this …

    A sidewalk Santa RINGS his BELL, notices Gil and steps in
    front of his donation bucket as if to protect it.

    Gil grimaces. Scratches his left arm incessantly.


    … and add it to the preceding action.

    The busy shoppers ignore him. A sidewalk Santa guards the donation bucket as Gil passes. Gil wanders by, still scratching his left elbow.

    All together …


    EXT. DOWNTOWN STREETS -- DAY

    Festooned for the holidays. Bundled-up shoppers scurry to and fro.

    Gil shakes and holds his stomach with his hand extended . A faithful Buck follows.

    GIL
    Change please. Anything. I'm sick.

    The busy shoppers ignore him. A sidewalk Santa guards the donation bucket as Gil passes. Gil wanders by, still scratching his left elbow.


    86 words down to 59. That’s 27 superfluous words, and in truth there is room to cut a few more. When it comes time to put this puppy into production (and I truly hope you do), killing those 27 words will make this document a smooth and easy read, and a cinch for the crew to find their pertinent information.

    EDIT: Reading it again, maybe this needs more clarity...

    Gil shakes and holds his stomach with his hand extended

    How about ...

    Gil holds his stomach with one hand, extends the other ...

    Also, in the opening scene he 'washes himself'. That leaves weird and unpleasant images in my mind. Maybe he 'washes up'.

    Page 2 to follow ...
    Last edited by alex whitmer; 02-16-2010 at 09:24 AM.


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    #43
    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    Geez, now I feel like I shouldn't even have entered this script. Just kidding of course!

    I'm more than happy to get one of your deluxe critiques. This feedback is great!

    I'm glad that the story and emotion came across as intended. So far, I can see clearly all the points that you've made and how it clarifies and efficiently condenses the script.

    Thanks Alex. Keep it coming.
    the writer formerly known as "Conlan Forever"

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

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    #44
    Senior Member alex whitmer's Avatar
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    Page 2 / first half

    All this …

    EXT.SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – AFTERNOON

    Gil and Buck stand on a street corner. Gil looks sick, shakes, scratches, clutches his gut.

    His attention is on the Elementary school across the street. Christmas decorations adorn the school. Children exit the school in droves, meet parents, get into cars.


    Technically they are not EXT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL since they are across the street, and you follow with the redundant ‘His attention is on the Elementary school’. Also, I don’t see a need to keep bringing up Gil’s condition. Maybe a twitch or a dry retch, but I think we’ve established he’s pretty F’d up.

    We know buck is with him, and he’s mentioned shortly later, and somehow this scene feels like it needs to really be on Gil.

    Maybe trim all this to something along these lines …

    EXT. SUBURBAN STREET CORNER – DAY

    Gil watches children spill from a holiday-decorated Elementary school across the street, where anxious parents greet them.


    42 words down to 17. Maybe a little severe, but everything you need to set up the important action – Gil seeing his family - is there.

    This …

    Gil focus's on a well dressed woman (thirties), she meets two young boys on the sidewalk.

    The woman kisses the boys. Gil pulls each rubber band on his wrist back and snaps it hard. He repeats this as he watches.


    The reader soon finds out this is Mary, so why not call her Mary instead of woman? You’re not giving away any surprises since we don’t see the name on the rubber band until Gil looks at it.

    Well dressed is a compound adjective and should be well-dressed. And no ‘ in focuses.

    Also, does it really matter she meets them on a sidewalk? Since the car plays a role, I’d cut right to that. Also note the SHE after Gil’s action, which can be taken as a typo.

    Gil focuses on MARY, a 30s, well dressed woman, greeting two young boys by a car. Mary gives each a kiss as they climb in.

    Gil pulls each rubber band on his wrist and snaps it hard over and over as he watches.


    We actually added one word here, but always go for clarity over brevity. And yes, I opted for an ING verb! Since it follows Gil’s simple present ‘focuses’. Just reads better.

    Here we can make up for the extra word above, since I borrowed some of this action above.

    The woman gets the boys into the passenger side of the car and then makes her way to the driver's side. She notices Gil across the street. She squints to make him out.

    Trim to …

    Mary opens the driver's side, notices Gil across the street. She squints to make him out.

    33 words down to 16. Together, the 3 action blocks go from 73 words to 59. Is this really all that important? In a feature it is, and keeping word count down is a good habit to be in.

    This …

    Gil smiles slightly, hopefully, he raises his hand and steps forward. The woman's face registers recognition. She glares, shakes her head firmly and mouths the word "no".

    Not much here. You can lose the first ‘he’ and change woman to Mary. 'Mary recognizes him' is enough. The actress will do the ‘face registers recognition’ part!

    This …

    Gil, deflated, lowers his hand and stops. He stretches the band marked "Mary" and snaps it against his wrist.

    You can clean up the cadence by getting the adjective first.

    A deflated Gil lowers his hand and stops. He stretches the band marked "Mary" and snaps it against his wrist.

    And this …

    He feels Buck's wet muzzle in his hand. He kneels down and embraces the dog. Buck wags his tail, licks Gil on the face.

    Here again we have Buck and the dog. Stick with Buck.

    More asap!
    Last edited by alex whitmer; 02-17-2010 at 04:56 PM.


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    #45
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    Favorite Quote:

    When a dog is a man's best friend, that dog has a problem.


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    #46
    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    That is a great quote.
    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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    #47
    Senior Member alex whitmer's Avatar
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    EXT. URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD SHINE'S HOUSE – AFTERNOON

    Gil and Buck stand on the porch of an old, run down house. Gil KNOCKS on the DOOR.

    You mention ‘house’ twice, one in the slug and once in the text. I think you could do something like …


    EXT. URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD SHINE'S HOUSE – AFTERNOON

    Run down. Gil and Buck stand on the porch. Gil KNOCKS on the DOOR.

    I feel like there should be a dash between NEIGHBORHOOD and SHINE’S.

    This …

    Shine shuts the peep door.

    Before you called it a 6 x 4 peep hole. I think just ‘peep door’ is good for both. Measurements really don’t matter.

    Page 4

    Typo here in its

    GIL (CONT'D)

    Its okay Buck. Come on boy.


    This …

    If the fighting pit is full of blood stains, wouldn’t they know the dog’s already a killer? By ‘young pit’ do you mean this is a new dog?

    This …

    Bucks dog collar is wrapped around Gil's left arm, one end
    clenched between his teeth.

    He pulls the collar tight around his arm and injects the

    needle.

    This is a really powerful scene. Really racks my heart each time I read it.

    Again, fantastic story and script. I’d love to see this one produced someday.

    a
    Last edited by alex whitmer; 04-12-2010 at 06:30 AM.


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