Thread: The Western Way

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    Senior Member simonpwood's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Keaton View Post
    - Compress, your first action block is longer than it needs to be. Act as if each word costs you money. It just makes for a smoother and faster read.
    - Do you expect people to read all of the letter on the screen or should this be voiced over? or maybe Ross would read key parts?
    - It seems you are just telling us the backstory instead of playing it out. Showing is more exciting that telling.
    - Try to avoid the word 'is', it takes the life out of your writing. Always use the 'active' voice when possible.
    - Peter Murphy lead singing of Bauhaus was murdered! Again you are expecting a lot of reading to be done by your viewers. You could have this play out as radio, but probably just need to trim to show just the important bits.
    - Try not to direct through your script. Directors hate that.

    I actually think you could start this story at the prison when Ross is picked up. I would try to play down the exposition until absolutely needed. Some mystery can add to the thrill. Nothing wrong a good rewrite can't fix.
    Hi Chris, thanks for that.
    I was unsure how the letter would be handled, I kind of figured the director could make a call regarding voiceover vs displayed on screen.
    Yep I need to work on the formatting, not sure what the standards are really.
    I had tried to actually start the film at the prison at one point, but I found I had to resort to a flashback to have it make sense, otherwise it seemed like a coincidence that his son was sent to collect him
    Your point about the backstory being told, and the amount of exposition ties in with what most everyone else is saying, so I'm going to have to work on this.

    Quote Originally Posted by KhamIsk View Post

    I think you have a nice story here.
    It might be a bit silly to complain about the names but I'm Friends generation, the names Ross and Joe send me the wrong way

    You're relaying most of what happened in the past through dialog. Much expected of the actors and also, you probably can find a more visual way to do it. And to do it gradually perhaps.
    It's just - given this way it's bound to have some exposition and you don't want that.

    The action blocks - not that it was hard to plow through or anything but the writing always looks more alluring without them.

    I think you could cut on dialog. Nice story though.
    Thanks for all your points. I hadn't considered the 'Friends' names (I wasn't a big fan of the show, and I was going for Irish names) - easy fix though.
    Too much dialogue and exposition; this definitely needs to be addressed it appears. Any ideas how I could approach the backstory in a more visual way? Any tips or ideas appreciated!
    Hmm...I actually put more time into the action blocks because I felt there was so much dialogue that I wanted to try and drive the story forward without extra words - hohum!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunk99 View Post

    Pg 1 **interesting opening - got my interest
    Pg 2 out to get him, and his family were in danger. **Shouldn't this be "We were in danger"?
    wont **typo won't
    newspaper articles **headlines are too long for an audience to read. Simplify.
    Pg 3 Connemara **average person know what this is?
    Pg 4 Fade to the location pictured on the computer screen **This rips the reader from the story and puts on a directors hat. Not good.
    Could have simply stated the prison entrance looks exactly like the computer screen. Let the director decide how to shoot.
    Pg 6 Who the poo poo are you really? **The language limits the audience and isn't needed.
    Ross has a flashback of the newspaper articles. **Novelistic. Show us visually what is to be seen.
    That was my deal! **This entire dialogue from Joe is not very realistic.
    While JOE tells his story we see a blurry montage of flashbacks during the original deal at St. Patrick’s Shrine. **Again novelistic.
    Show us intercutting the dialogue.
    Pg 9 dead boys face **Hmmm...killing a kid or female on screen is usually a bad thing unless it's a horror flick.
    Don’t move DONAL **So Donal kills his son, but Joe isn't simply reacting and shooting back?
    Okay - explained later - the boy is Donal's unknown illegitimate son.
    Pg 10 **Not sure if he would react that emotionally.
    DONAL gets up and starts to walk away **You mean Joe walks away.
    **Interesting ending off to kill the ex.

    I think the story needs much simplified for an audience to follow.
    It's a good basic story. If you have Dramatica Pro I'd run it through and check for holes.
    Good concept.
    Thanks for your detailed analysis. The grammatical mistakes (and character name mistakes) you have pointed out will be corrected in the next rewrite. Surprised I missed so many!

    Connemara would not be known by the average viewer at the beginning of the film, but I would hope that they would know it by the end. It did not come out in the script (mainly due to my inexperience and the 10 page limit) but the scenery would play an integral role in setting the tone and mood of this film. The landscape is very bleak, barren, and foreboding, and the final trek up the mountains would be a solemn affair with the landscape reflecting this shift. The specific area that the story is set in would be as important an aspect to the film, as say Death valley would be to a John Ford movie. The idea for this script came about after I trekked up that trail, so the two are inseparable.

    The foul language introduced during the last 'act' is meant to represent a sudden and noticeable shift of tone in the story. The boy, Ross, in the beginning was always surrounded by his home comforts, his modern lifestyle and gadgets, and even the relative safety and security of his car. Once he gets up the mountain he suddenly seems very alone and vulnerable - his is totally out of his element, and the landscape would highlight this, as would the sudden introduction of foul language. The kinds of people that were actively involved in the IRA were not nice people, so essentially the audience needs to be reminded that he is alone in the world with a criminal murderer.

    What is Dramatica Pro?

    Quote Originally Posted by BasilSunshine View Post
    Hi Simon, Here we go, making notes as I read.
    see’s = sees.
    "Hey man. You better get going." = Maybe think of a better way to get him out of the scene. This makes it seem like his character was only there for convenience. A good friend might offer to help clean up.
    "ROSS if you’ve read any..." ROSS shouldn't be in caps except the first time he is introduced and never in dialogue (same with other characters). Also there is too much exposition in this dialogue. This would be stronger as a flashback in my opinion.
    Action blocks over 4 lines are discouraged, so you might want to tighten or break up a few of those.
    "Nobody tells me anything." Good line!
    "He has a look in the shrine." Did he look in a window or something? I wasn't sure.
    "Ross has a flashback of the newspaper articles." I just learned how to do this yesterday when I was revising my script for this contest after getting feedback:
    MEMORY FLASH: The newspaper articles.
    That's one way to do it, anyway.
    "While JOE tells his story..." Here you want to do something like this:
    FLASHBACK TO: (right justified)
    SLUGLINE (with Year)
    Describe exactly what happens and intersperse dialogue as a voice over.
    I don't understand why he says, "The car...The registration! We have to get out of here..." Because he thinks the bad guy will know he's the son?
    Why doesn't he tell his son to run or something? He doesn't even try to bargain for his life, just puts the ties on him.
    boys = boy's (p10)... UGH he killed the kid
    OH wicked twist... it was his grandkid... how horrid...
    OH Man... great ending... really ominous.
    Well this is a killer story that just needs some technical issues ironed out... Nice work!
    Thanks for your detailed analysis. I have gone through your corrections and will make the adjustments in the next rewrite.
    Yeah the character of Eamon was there just so Ross could bounce some dialogue off of him. The character was meant to play a bigger role in the 'investigation' finding out who Joe was, but he had to be cut out due to the 10 page limit.
    Exposition; yep this needs to be dealt with.
    The Shrine is a little building with a door and window built into the side of the mountain - a cursory look through the window would reveal if anyone was in there (not made clear in the script).
    "The car...the registration" Essentially I wanted Ross to have a dawning realization of what he had done. His mother had hid them from these people his entire life, but assuming "they" found his car they would be able to trace it back to his house and his mother. Something like that. It is a tangible link between these two worlds (as Joe proves at the end).

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Todaro View Post
    1 That's a big block of action
    1 IT SAYS (Are you intending for the letter to be (V.O.) or viewed by the audience? It's a lot of info to convey in one sitting. Maybe concentrate on the most important part.
    2 I'm worried I will forget details.
    3 Giant action blocks. Lots of quotes and info being conveyed.

    Dig that ending. some format issues, but that's easy to fix. Also you might consider telling the story in real time or finding a visual way to illuminate the past. Inventive stuff.
    Thanks for taking the time to read it.
    Yep those action blocks seem to be an issue I am going to have to work on. I'll also have to work on a visual way to drive this story forward as you say. Any ideas?!

    Quote Originally Posted by taylormade View Post
    I really liked the concept and story, but I have to agree with some of the other reviewers that the execution leaves something to be desired. As written it reads more like a short story than a script - a good short story. It seems like you're really trying to cram a longer tale into the ten page limit, and it shows. Still, the ending is haunting. Write it as a short story or expand it into a real script.
    Thanks - yeah you hit the nail on the head. This was an incomplete idea for a longer script that has been rattling around in my head for a while. I cut the idea down to the bone to fit it in the 10 page limit, but it didn't work. That said many of the problems here would also be present in a longer version too, so I need to work on how to gel the past and present stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonthewho View Post
    Really compelling story. The writing, in the beginning especially, is a bit clumsy, and the formatting (names, flashbacks) needs some fixing. But there's a lot of interesting action and twists. I always love a good kneecapping. Biggest problem I see story-wise is that you kill off your most likable character. But it's a short, so you can probably get away with it on the strength of the reveal that the grandfather has just killed his own grandson. That is a very powerful moment.
    Thanks. Glad you liked the kneecapping - couldn't write a story about the IRA without one. Killing off the most likeable character was kind of the point of the whole story, given that when these two diffrent worlds collide there could only be one outcome. The original idea that I had was about the character Joe, it was always his story, but I just wanted to introduce him from a real world context to better show the monster he is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mobie540 View Post
    This story was a bit too big for ten pages. It has a good twist. My only complaint is the big paragraphs of dialogue that seem to only serve for exposition...goes back to my first point of it being too big a story for ten pages. Great job overall.
    Thanks. Yep, definitely too big for 10 pages. Unwritten in my head were 3 stories at 30 minutes each that revolved around this character of Joe - but I have never really been able to put them down on paper. The first story, The Western Way, introduced him with this sleight of hand (starting the story from Ross' perspective). The second one which is fully rounded (in my head) deals with him paying his dues (a mega twist ensues). The third story deals with his final showdown with his past - its not a fully formed story and the ending is still a bit fluid. The idea was to join them together to make a kind of feature length story in three parts. Doing this scriptfest was me trying to force myself to get something down on paper; well at least its a start.

    Maybe someday I'll get it all out.
    Last edited by simonpwood; 09-15-2011 at 01:28 PM.

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