Thread: Signal

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    #21
    Senior Member alex whitmer's Avatar
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    This …

    EXT. DEEP SPACE

    The Mars Class survey ship Agamemnon hangs in the blackness
    off the asteroid belt. The ship is a huge, blocky thing, bristling with antennae and sensing devices.


    I’m kinda on the fence here about whether to intro the ‘huge, blocky thing’ first, then identify it, or go as written.

    I think by MARS CLASS you mean it is of a certain type, like maybe long haul trips. Mercedes has the S class. Kinda like that? Or is the fact that it is bristling with antennae that makes it Mars Class. Could there be more than one survey ship? Point is, not sure what you want to infer by calling ‘Mars Class’.

    Is the name Agamemnon (Sounds like an Egyptian god/pharaoh, and maybe like we've heard it or something similar before) even visible on the ship?

    If it were the other way around …

    EXT. DEEP SPACE

    A huge blocky ship bristling with antennae hangs in the blackness just outside an asteroid belt.


    Not knowing the reason or means to convey it visually, I left off the name and the class. I changed your articles as well.

    This …

    The asteroid belt stretches off in the distance, millions of rough, iron-rich rocks of all sizes and shapes.

    I assume the ‘millions of rocks’ are part of the belt? Isn’t that kind of a given? How do I know they are iron rich?

    Maybe just …

    The asteroid belt stretches off in the distance.

    Actually, this should be up where the belt is introduced, like this …

    A huge blocky ship bristling with antennae hangs in the blackness just outside an asteroid belt that stretches off into the far distance.

    Like that. 45 words down to 23. Halved.

    Should be ‘into’ the distance.

    This …

    Two bay doors open in the belly of the Agamemnon and a small scout ship drops free. The tiny craft hovers below the mother ship and waits.

    So, is the mother ship the mars class survey ship? Stick to one name. We have two ships already (Agamemnon and the scout) so to avoid confusion, always use the same name. If more ships are coming, and each are referred to with multiple names, it can quickly lose the reader.

    I’m trying to figure out how to move from the ship intro, to the belt intro, then back to the ship. I’m thinking maybe it’s best to intro the belt first, so we keep our ship info all together under that opening slug …

    Roughly like this …


    EXT. DEEP SPACE

    An asteroid belt stretches off into the blackness. A huge blocky ship bristling with antennae sits motionless nearby. Two belly side bay doors open, a scout ship drops out, hovers.

    72 words down to 30 to intro your ship and its location.

    If the name of ship is not written anywhere, intro it via dialogue, uniform monograms, or other direct ways.

    Second slug …

    Be specific in the slugs …

    INT. SCOUT CRAFT - COCKPIT

    … then you can just ease right into a short intro of the space, then start moving things around in it …

    Instead of this …

    In the single, cramped cockpit, Lieutenant Gunther Jones
    does a quick run-through of his controls.


    Maybe slim it down to roughly this …

    Cramped. LIEUTENANT GUNTHER JONES pushes a few buttons, jots a note.

    I took out ‘does a run-through’ because his following dialogue confirms what he is doing. Axe the redundancy.

    This …

    CHET SIMMONS, sits at an elaborate communications console,
    watching images of Jones in the cockpit on a large video
    screen.


    Lose the comma after Simmons.

    Need to keep like-info together. Here you intro Chet, bounce to an image of Jones in the cockpit of the scout ship, then bring us back to the Agamemnon radio room (I think it’s more than just a radio room. So far anyways)

    So, keep it fluid, like this …

    CHET SIMMONS sits at an elaborate communications console. A large video screen shows Jones in the scout ship cockpit.

    Dumped the ING verb and got your tires aligned.

    So, the opening intros take up the first half of the page before dialogue only. In all

    EXT. DEEP SPACE

    An asteroid belt stretches off into the blackness. A huge blocky ship bristling with antennae sits motionless nearby. Two belly side bay doors open, a scout ship drops out, hovers.

    INT. SCOUT CRAFT – COCKPIT

    Cramped. LIEUTENANT GUNTHER JONES pushes a few buttons, jots a note.

    JONES
    Preliminary check shows all systems
    are go.

    INT. AGAMEMNON - RADIO ROOM

    CHET SIMMONS sits at an elaborate communications console. A large video screen shows Jones in the scout ship cockpit.

    SIMMONS
    Roger that, all systems go. The
    signal is still hot at the previous
    location.


    141 words cut to 95.


    A few things other things bothered me …

    WARNECK
    (over speaker)
    What do you see, Jones?


    I know you have cameras swing around, but I think they would have some premanent visual going on.


    EXT. ASTEROID - THE FAR SIDE SURFACE

    The scout ship comes in low, retracts its landing pads and
    gently lowers to the surface.


    Retracts?

    Story ...

    Man, I really love the payoff here. Well done.

    You dropped a nice hint with this ...

    WARNECK
    (from helmet radio)
    You've got to be almost on top of
    it.


    But I still didn't see it coming.

    I think the beauty and simplicity of the story is buried in a lot of the gobbly going on with too much text and dry dialogue. Clean that up and this is a solid script.

    alex
    Last edited by alex whitmer; 06-27-2012 at 10:03 PM.


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    #22
    Senior Member taylormade's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the excellent input. Informative as always. Thanks especially to Alex for the detailed review. One of my problems is I always end up directing the things I write, so I sometimes go a little overboard when writing something for the rest of the world to read. I still don't know where that comma, or the "retracts" came from. Probably from being a left-handed dyslexic. Agamemnon was the commander of the Greeks during the seige of Troy. Calling the ship a "Mars Class" was just my geeky Sci-finess leaking out of what should have been a tighter script.

    Lots of really good scripts this time out. Best of luck everybody.
    Last edited by taylormade; 06-28-2012 at 05:17 AM.
    "If they move, kill'em!"


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