Thread: The Find

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  1. Collapse Details
    Senior Member Egg Born Son's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Perth, Australia
    I echo most of the criticisms already mentioned. Unless this is intended to be a sexy comedy (and perhaps even then) you dwell far too much on the lithe, statuesque, athletic figures and tight outfits. You didn't grant Mitchell any of the same descriptive attention so it can only read as immature. Of course if you can get Charlize Theron to play the part I insist those clothes come off! You could have won back enough room for the better part of a scene if you'd made this description just once at the start.

    They might treat the canisters with insufficient care but then again their technology said it was non-explosive and non-toxic so hey, why not. They don't seem that bright and in an age where you can regrow a human, why be cautious? On the other hand Parker suggests caution twice so there is a mixed message but then Parker is characterised as the nervous one (modelling this on a group of teens staying at the slasher's cabin in the woods). The other obvious route to get those canisters open is in the form of an accident or by self-opening. On screen it can be good if we get nervous before the characters. Who saw the first eggs open in alien and didn't immediately think 'get the hell out of there - no, don't check it out first'. The characters were only concerned, not even properly scared after the first face-hugger attached itself!

    Your aliens are very imaginative. I really liked them and would have liked a little more on them, in particularly the dynamic between the two species. On the other hand, nothing wrong with leaving me wanting more. And production design can be used to fill in some of it. There's an opportunity for plenty of indirect exposition in the cave paintings/carvings. Production design could likewise be used to subtley expand on the human technology. I wonder if introducing the existence of the regeneration tech earlier might have worked better than as deus ex machina.

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    I'd like to start off by thanking you for using bold slugs. I love them.

    The aliens wobbling is very creepy.

    I got through the whole thing and while I generally did feel as though I was following what happened. But I didn't understand this:

    "Caroline’s gaze falls on Mitchell. Caroline shrieks. The cry
    rattles the ship. Blood spurts out of her nose and ears.
    Fingernails. Caroline grabs her hair, pulls it.
    He’s still alive! Is there a way
    your people can help him?
    Caroline calms down. Thinks.
    Can’t you?
    We are The Find, the messengers of
    Om Lech. You are being tested. The
    Baud Dim. Where can they be found?"

    Laura is introducing herself as the find just after the aliens told the humans they were the find? I'm not understanding. And Mitch was hurt by the alien ritual and so now their goal is to save mitch?

    And Parker and Laura's goal was to intercede for the smaller aliens against the troll aliens?

    I also found the ending a bit abrupt. I'm not quite sure what was ever accomplished or not accomplished. I was also uncertain of the motivations and goals. If you could give me a rundown, I'd be most appreciative.

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    Member DarrenJSeeley's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    Michigan, USA
    I generally hate bold headers. I only used them here because I had to kill white space but I also wanted to be sure scenes-locations didn't get too lost.

    Laura said 'we are The Find' not as confirmation, but to ease the tensions and play along into the belief system. They thought the Baud Dim had the same belief system, and were going to help call a truce. They underestimated the trollish Baud Dim. That said, there is intentional ambiguity which others wondered about thus far. I'll talk about this more in the next week or so.

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    Senior Member Russell Moore's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    West Michigan
    Obviously this would be cast with only the finest looking actors...statuesque, hour glass shapes etc. Hell even her bra is tight! Ya gotta like that.

    You're writing is very descriptive, I like both the aliens that you created, very imaginative. The cherub's have a lemming vibe going for them. I also like the idea of the powders.

    Some of the human characters motivations were unclear to me and they didn't feel developed as individuals. I like where the Baud dim just cuts the dude off and crunches his head, nice.

    When Laura went to the gelatin drawer, I thought for sure all that clothes tearing was about to pay off. But instead it was used to bring Parker back, I like the idea of this technology.

    You're writing is very descriptive and creates some good visuals. Thanks.
    the writer formerly known as "Conlan Forever"

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

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    Senior Member alex whitmer's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Wherever I hang my head in despair
    Page one review, structure only. I need to read this again as I got a little lost here and there on story.

    This ...


    The amber glow of the shuttlecraft’s rocket thrusters highlight the rugged landscape. The ship hovers.

    First the grammar …

    You open with two definite articles (the) introducing amber glow and rocket thrusters. Neither of these have been introduced before, so you need to use the indefinite articles a or an. If you film your own material, this isn’t such a big deal. If you’ve ever seen a Tarantino screenplay, you would know what I mean. But, best to be in good writing habits regardless.

    Using ‘the’ in the second sentence is correct, since it has already been introduced – except this …

    You refer to this flying machine as a shuttlecraft and a ship. Pick one and stick with it.

    Are desert landscapes rugged? I would opt for barren.

    This …

    A quartered circle symbol etched on the side next to the word
    HARMONIA. Two huge metal ski-like feet emerge. The ship spits
    out steam as it lands on the surface.

    That should be a quarter-circle symbol.

    Etched? Is it etched or is it painted?

    Ski-like feet could be described as runners.

    Maybe instead of emerge, use lower. Aliens, or whatever is inside, would emerge from the doorway, runners or landing gear would lower.

    Spits. Hmm. How about something like this …

    A quarter-circle logo and the word HARMONIA identify the ship. Two runners lower as it lands with a gush of steam.

    30 words down to 21.

    You have already said we are in a desert, so including ‘surface’ really is superfluous. I left off ‘huge’ since we have not been told how big the ship is. Since it was first introduced as a shuttle I imagine it as fairly compact, but it is all relative – such as first Encounters of the Third Kind. In Independence day, however, the ships were enormous, until of course the mother ship came along and put it all into a new perspective. Try to give your reader an indicator of some kind.

    This …

    A landing platform from the Harmonia opens.

    I see a platform as something you land ON. Maybe you mean a ramp? Not reading ahead, I am assuming this is how whatever is inside will exit the ship. As a reader, I should not be assuming. Interpreting, yes. Assuming, never.

    And here is my assumption all cleared up …

    MITCHELL, PARKER (mid 30s) and CAROLINE (late 20s) step out.

    So, are there 3 of them? 2 of who are mid 30s? There are no sexes here, so I will assume Parker is male? But the description of statuesque is one I have only heard used for women. Since Parker may be a last name, it could be female. Caroline is a give away, Mitchell I’m on the fence about. Need better info here. If I were casting this, you would not be my favorite person.

    This …

    The glow from the astronauts suits discover all the details.

    I would use ‘illuminate’ here. ‘Discover’ assumes the suits have some kind of cognitive intent, even if by accident.

    So, they are astronauts? (by the way, you need the possessive apostrophe in astronauts). All we really got was emerald jumpsuits and breathing apparatus, which is not by default an astronaut.

    Maybe say Astronauts Mitchell, Parker and Caroline … along with ages and sex.

    This …

    One illustration has a depiction of a line of people going up to a peak.

    Illustration or symbol? Sounds more like an illustration. Then there is depiction. Mayb get it down to just one and say …

    A depiction of a line of people climbing to a peak. Or, A line of people are depicted climbing to a peak.

    This …

    A bald, pale skinned cherub meets them. Fish eyes, on the
    side of the head. Mouth in the center of the face. Tar
    colored lips open, babble follows.

    Grammar first …

    Pale skinned is a compound adjective and needs to be hyphenated. Not sure I like the meeting (action) followed by more attributes.

    Maybe try …

    A pale-skinned cherub, fish eyes on the side of the head, a tar-colored mouth centered on its face, greets them. It speaks babble.

    Okay, time out …

    Many if not most writers never consider cadence when constructing their sentences. Read ‘Fish eyes, on the side of the head …’ to yourself a few times, remembering the comma acts as pause. Then read ‘fish eyes on the side of his head’ a few times, without the pause.

    Be careful dropping commas in willy-nilly as they can disrupt the cadence when misused or overused. This is also true when deciding on a one-syllable word or one of its two or more syllable synonyms. Which one has the better cadence, and hence the better read? The human brain is wired for rhythms. We all know how grating it can be to hear someone sing off key or out of rhythm (or dance out of rhythm, like in the film ‘The Jerk’). The fact is, is that you can write off key or out of rhythm as well. Think musically when constructing your sentences, and even when building your scene-by-scene crescendos as well. It will resonate far better.

    Think ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump, bang. This is why chanting can be so powerful, as it more or less will imitate the human heartbeat, and act as a drug or even bring about euphoria. Ever seen a Hare Krishna frowning? Work your cadence well, and your screenplay can be a happy pill.

    If I impart nothing else, then file cadence away as essential to a successful screenplay. Contrary to what they teach, a script is NOT just about story.

    This …

    Another cherub-like alien wobbles forward with a bag. Dumps
    the contents, Three tubes. Like its brother, it speaks in a
    unknown language.

    The first Cherub babbled, but this one speaks in an unknown language? And, how do we know they are brothers just by looking at them? As the writer, you must remember you are writing for a viewing audience that will never see the screenplay, so ‘like his brother’ offers zero clues beyond the script.

    And, Aliens or cherubs? Or cherub-like aliens? Pick one and stick with it.

    And lose the comma before Three tubes (and the cap). Maybe try '... dumps out three tubes'

    This …

    Mitchell steps up. The aliens back away, hide in the dark
    corners of the cave. Mitchell examines the cylinders.

    Mitchell examines what cylinders?

    This …

    Got the x-rays on, Laura?

    Who is Laura, and how is Mitchell communicating? Just talking into the wind? Is there a radio, or some other device? And what about Parker? No sign of him or her after the intro.

    This …

    LAURA (40s) long white blonde hair, six foot and an athletic
    build, punches keypads and flips switches. Her Navy Blue
    uniform hugs her hourglass shape.

    Okay, four astronauts with super figures – statuesque and hourglass. Still no clear indication that two might be male.

    White blonde is a compound adjective. Should be white-blond hair. Also, I’d use six foot ‘with’ an athletic build, not ‘and’. Again, this comes back to cadence. Sound them both out a few times and you will see that three words beginning with A all lined up makes for a clumsy read. Trade ‘and’ for ‘with’ and it all smoothes out.

    Yes, this stuff matters.

    This …

    Holographic interfaces spit up on her mirrored visor.

    What? The hologram puked on her visor?

    Okay, that's page one. There are other issues, but this should suffice. I think your weakness is your vocabulary. You can put together a pretty visual scene, but I just don't think you have the vocabulary to really knock it out of the park.

    Like this, for example ...

    Before them is a series of caves next to a huge mountain of
    quartz and coal.

    'Next to' indicates side-by-side or close proximity, but the scale differences between a series of caves and a huge mountian make 'next to' just so off. Wouldn't these caves be 'at the foot of' a huge mountain?

    Secondly, word and punctuation choices make this screenplay choppy in a few areas, and really trips up the read. Again, this is just minutia if you're filming it yourself. But, a confusuing read means more time explaining things to the entire set and cast, and that costs time and money. Reading this purely as a working document, it needs a good polish beyond just its purpose of story.

    I'm onto to story next.

    Last edited by alex whitmer; 06-23-2012 at 07:20 AM.

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    Member DarrenJSeeley's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    Michigan, USA
    Okay. Some folks wanted to know. So here's what's different.
    There are no bold headers.
    Some four line paragraphs are broken up into three or two. Some even one. As stated before, the 12 page version has more white space. Now, for the deleted scenes (highlighted).

    p1 - An additional description of the suits : Small compact keyboards on the right wrists.

    After Caroline asks about the volcanoes, Parkers says "Readings said it was alright. Letís
    get cracking.

    After entering the cave Parker presses a keypad on his wrist. A low sonic hum echoes
    from around them. Turns into morse code.

    A bald, pale skinned cherub meets them. Fish eyes on the
    side of the head. Mouth in the center of the face. Tar
    colored lips open, babble follows
    along with three bird

    Another cherub-like alien wobbles forward with a bag. Dumps
    the contents, Three cylinder tubes. Like its brother, it
    speaks in a unknown language
    with brief high pitched chirps.

    Mitchell asks if Laura has 'x-rays' on the tubes...

    LAURA (O.S.)
    (filtered through static)
    Iím on it.

    Havenít got all day. Itís like a
    f-ing sauna in here.

    p3 (p2 in AlienFest)
    After Laura says the tubes have cleared and cannot harm them, Parker responds "So you think. Just be careful"
    More conversation after Laura opens the first tube:

    And you're sure itís safe?

    Whatís with you two?

    What if itís combination of three
    things, not just one?

    When Parker asks about nano-technology, Mitchell has an extra line : "Maybe thereís another life form in there. Like some kind of ant."

    After Caroline is taken over and levitates, additional dialog:

    Are you the same creatures from the
    cave? This is how you communicate?

    Do you not know?

    When Caroline attacks Mitchell, Parker says "What in the f--k!"

    Caroline explainds that the crew is The Find, Messengers from the Gods. I didn't mean any harm'
    The last line is changed as the dialog exchange happens:

    Horsesh*t. Gods of Om Lech. Sounds
    like Omlet. You let go of Carol, or
    Iíll go back in your cave and Iíll
    give you some goddamn communication
    you can understand!

    Stand down, Parker!

    I didnít mean any harm!

    Carolne "observes" Laura and Parker suit up.

    Mitchell squints his eyes. Alien markings on the cave ceiling
    pass by him. He turns his head, Caroline beside him.

    (raspy voice)
    Thank you.

    Caroline looks back at him.

    It will all be good soon. Peace is
    at hand, and you will be well.

    and now, p8...
    Here's how it read in AlienFest submission (p6)

    Troll grabs Parker. Swallows his head, chomps down on the
    neck. Rips Parkerís head off the shoulders. The shotgun
    clatters on the ground.

    Troll raises his arm, his mouth rolls the head and cracks it
    like a walnut. Parkerís blood gushes out everywhere. The
    Troll howls. Other Baud Dim emerge from the shadows.

    To eat Finds, become Finds! Closer
    to the gods of Om Lech!

    When we get back to them, Laura is already on the run back to ship. Here's what really went down after the 'walnut' scene: (WARNING Don't eat your lunch at this time!)

    Laura shoots her two guns at random targets. The Baud Dim
    charge her with battle axes and swords. She kills three of
    the advancing army.

    Troll snatches Parkerís headless body, throws it over his
    shoulder. One of his soldiers slices off the left arm in midair.
    Showers of blood.

    Laura blasts two more beasts. She scoops up the shotgun.
    An unarmed Baud Dim soldier grabs the corpse away from the
    crowd. Flips it upside down, breaks the legs like a wishbone.
    Laura blows the creatureís head off.
    A group of alien cherubs approach the Harmonia. All of them
    enchanted by the music that pulses from the ship.

    One of them, unimpressed, wobbles out to the fallen Baud Dim.
    Holds up an axe and hoots in victory.

    In between waiting for Parker to regenerate, Laura eats breakfast. Also, a cherub alien watches her in the shower.

    LAB - DAY
    Parker, clad only in silver boxer shorts, seated in a chrome
    plated chair. Laura places EEG wires and monitors all over
    Parkerís head, arms and chest.

    Laura slips in another quarter disc marked PARKERíS MEM into
    a device attached the wires around Parkerís head. Presses
    play. Parkerís eyes roll in the back of his head. His body
    shakes, muscles tense up.

    (deep breath)
    Hit me again.

    Laura presses play one more time.
    Parkerís body reacts like
    being given an electric shock.


    And that's pretty much what's out. FYI. SimplyScripts will have it up in a short time; I listed it on Inktip and the full version is also on Talentville.

    Last edited by DarrenJSeeley; 06-28-2012 at 10:05 PM.

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