"They stayed home"
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09-05-2011 05:01 PM
****Don't read reviews until you've read the script.
- Creativity is fine with your script, but not with title. It actually doesn't matter for us, but when you get put in front of a pro reader who is looking for a reason to pass they may use your HUGE title as a reason.
- (O.S.) is off screen or off camera and placed beside the character's name. Nothing huge, just a formatting thing. You can also lose the (CONT'D) as well unless the dialog crosses the page.
- Use parantheticals sparingly. Her pointing to her name is an action and probably should just be an action line before her dialog.
- Global war on terrorism? I think you've mastered an adult dumbing down her speech for young ones.
- Huge blocks of action are bad. It means you haven't trimmed or compressed as needed or you pushed together too many action blocks. Action blocks should be what we are seeing in one shot. Some of these could be broken up to give us more white space.
Ah, what a reveal. It was kinda lessened by explaining the blank dog tag thing right before it. I'm not sure where that came from. I never heard of that when I was in the military. It got chatty at points, but after knowing the reveal it makes the short have a different meaning, which is a plus with any short. Good Job.
09-05-2011 09:49 PM
**WELCOME TO SPOILER TOWN
1 - What grade is this? How old are the kids?
6 - That action block is pretty big. Maybe break it up so it's easier to read.
There was lots of talking and telling going on here, but the big visual of the kids was a nice payoff. One suggestion is find a way to say more with visuals or maybe intertwine some imagery into your dialogue so we know what we are seeing during all the back and forth. Really liked the twist of Mrs. Drummond having tags of her own. Very sincere.
If you get a chance to read mine, the script I uploaded to DVX has a clerical error.
So if you download it, it's not the right one...
Here's the proper one.
DEATH BY COP: http://bit.ly/qq2c1G
Last edited by Anthony Todaro; 09-05-2011 at 10:52 PM.
09-05-2011 10:59 PM
I really liked the opening imagery here with the fish tank. I wish there was some more of that visual imagery throughout the screenplay, as it gets pretty talky.
I like how the confused looks of the students get paid off at the end. I was wondering if these children were particularly dense, but it all made sense in the end.
Several things seem a little maudlin and unbelievable to me, but perhaps that's from my lack of military knowledge. The moments I had a particularly hard time with were the students standing - felt Dead Poets Society, without the same impetus; and the fact that they all had the dog tags. Now, maybe all children of military parents wear dog tags, but it seems to me that not EVERYONE would. I guess my point here is, I think just one kid pulling out his dog tags would be enough.
This story would definitely be very emotional for people in the military or with family in the military, but as someone outside of that world, it feels a little hokey. I think a slightly lighter touch could help make it effective for all people, military or not. I believe this story and the way you tell it could prove to be very moving with a little rewriting and if the production is handled properly.
09-05-2011 11:24 PM
Very nice ending! I think you could cut on some of the dialog and keep it mainly to Mrs. Drummond. It would be also good if she kind of stretched her story, about her husband (who has to come back, as she thinks!) and her pregnancy. I also wish she repeated his name throughout, so when we see it we understand right away.
Ours are kind of alike - the only difference is I revealed my father was dead kind of early. I think it's a great reveal in the end - nice job.
The stuff that you have in parenthesis needs to go in action lines - too long for the parenthesis, I think. (off-camera) could be (O.S.) and written next to a character name - that would save you space
09-06-2011 09:43 AM
Wow - I never had this much input on a script before. Thanks everyone.
I will read and comment back on all of the other scripts as well.
Chris - Agree on the parantheticals. I was taught to use them very little as it is directing. As to the CONT'D, agree I don't like those either. It's a default in the Screenwriter software. Thanks for the comment so I'll remember to turn it off. As to the use of blanks tags - you're right it is not a new common practice. I made it up. But who knows, it could be. And lastly, I agree, this was the most yakking script I've ever wrote.
Anthony - 5th grade (revealed at start). I thought it a bit immature for the age and asked a 5th grade teacher match the dialouge and actions to the age group. She actually commented my draft was middle school age and dumbed it down. Go figure.
Jason - I agree it is a bit over the top. On everyone being a military brat - actually Sand Ridge is a real school in North Carolina and 95% of the students are from military homes. Most everyone in that area either works for, or is military. I couldn't figure out how to easily illustrate that in in the space allotted so I glossed over it. You got me. Yeah I get your point on the concept being a bit hokey for non-military viewers. I had a few people from both mil and non-mil families proof read it for me, and their reactions were as you stated. The thing is, the reactions from those with family in the military were far greater than I imagined. I literally got tears.
KhamIsk - Thanks for the input. Funny, in draft I used the husbands name quite a bit. I was told by my 5th grade teacher reviewer not to use it for realism sake. Agree, too much dialouge. I'm normally an adventure script writer, not drama. I LOVE the visuals like the fish tank at the start. Thought I would try something totally out of my comfort zone entering this drama contest and use few visuals. I had more visuals of the kids, class, and looking out the window, but those snips hit the editing floor for space savings.
Thanks again evryone for the constructive criticism.
09-07-2011 03:06 PM
Hi Tim, Making notes as I read.
Instead of off-camera, the convention would be to write: MRS. DRUMMOND (O.S.)... also think MRS needs a period.
Before she speaks the second time, you should introduce her in caps. Unless she is still off-screen.
CONT'D is optional... I've been told some people find it annoying.
"Jimena" should be introduced in caps (usually with age) as should each kid that speaks (before they speak). You should probably name the kid at the beginning who looks into the aquarium.
Who is "Julie"? And it's a he? That's usually a girl's name.
I think all this dialogue could be shortened up a bit... A bunch of kids and a teacher talking about deployed Dads would not hold my attention very long... unless they are talking about something really unusual.
There seems to be too much exposition... the teacher seems to be telling the whole story about her husband when in a movie you want to show the story.
Would the teacher really tell the kids things that personal about her mother and everything?
"Oh now I get it." I'm not sure I get that... she's not as sensitive?
There's a few action blocks that are over 4 lines. You might want to trim them down or break them up.
Crocodile tears = that means fake tears where I'm from...
So at the end, she's had a mental breakdown after her husband died, and doesn't remember any of the children? Am I reading that correctly?
The text at the end makes this seem like a commercial. No problem if that's what you're going for.
Overall, this is a good effort that just needs a bit of work.
09-08-2011 10:24 AM
I have to agree with most reviewers: a bit too long and talky. If this really was their teacher and they knew what had happened, I think the kids would have stopped her much sooner. These are kids who have lived with death in the family and would put a halt to the teacher's ramblings as soon as they realized what was happening. Shorter and more visual would make the ending much more powerful."If they move, kill'em!"