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First page of Screenplay for New Short Film, Critiques?

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  • First page of Screenplay for New Short Film, Critiques?

    Someone Get Sam (Opening Scene).pdf

    Here's the opening scene to what will most likely be my new short film. I know a lot of you guys have probably heard me talking about it on the forum, but here's the first scene. Just looking for critiques, and if there's anything you think could be improved upon feel free to let me know! I don't get offended by critiques, I look at is as a way to get better, since after all you guys are the audience :S. I'm by no means a professional writer lol but I do love writing. Let me know what you think, thanks!

    It's gunna be a heavily influenced Spaghetti Western about a Female cowboy on the run in the woodlands of South Dakota, with a huge bounty on her head.
    Last edited by MrJay10; 04-05-2013, 08:18 AM.

  • #2
    Hi Mr. Jay!

    Here are my initial (random) thoughts after reading the opening scene for Someone Get Sam.

    1. The opening description paragraph is too long. You need to describe the scene quickly.
    2. Wouldn't a bright orange vest draw attention to someone? Now I have to admit I've never murdered anyone, but if I were to commit such an act, I like to think I'd wear something dark...or maybe camo.
    3. "Her name is Samantha or short for Sam". Besides the juxtaposition of the words it doesn't really tell the reader anything about her. How old is she? Why is she wanted? Is she a good guy or a bad guy?
    4. If the guys are digging a hole to bury her, why is she not gonna last 7 more sunrises?
    5. Who is Savan at the bottom of page 1?
    6. How does a woman, tied to a tree, pull a gun from someone's holster without them feeling it? Maybe you could show her wriggling one of her hands free while the two guys are yappin. Then have her grab the gun and blast the guy before he realizes what happened.
    7. "You hear the sound of a cocking pistol". How about, "Sam cocks the pistol in her hand." In my opinion "We see", "You see", is unnecessary.

    It's a cool story and made me want to read till the end but there are some formatting issues that need to be dealt with. Good Luck wit this project!

    Comment


    • #3
      haha thanks for the feedback.

      1. ok
      2. lol well that can always be changed
      3. I didn't want to give the whole story away in the first paragraph. :P
      4. He's just using it as an example to say, even if she wasn't going to die that day, she wouldn't last much longer anyway.
      5. lol yeah that was a typo I missed.
      6. Because she's smooth haha jk. But yeah you're right about that, I need to come up with something more clever.
      7. haha Yeah that's more for me when I'm writing stuff down quickly. I'll prob end up going back and changing that.

      But thanks man! I appreciate any type of feedback!

      Comment


      • #4
        Critiquing someone else’s script is kind of like spanking someone else’s child. The child may deserve it (to the one giving the constructive criticism), but the parent might believe their child is the coming Messiah... but since you asked so politely.

        First off, I was confused at first. I was expecting a western? Okay, modern version. Hmm... Lost a bit of the appeal for me personally; a bad ass female version of Clint Eastwood got me pumped up. Oh well.

        Your dialog, while it does mostly get the point across seems to slip between old western and modern speech. I think you should really look at the dialog carefully. Read it out loud to yourself or someone you trust to give you an honest opinion. Listen to the conversations of people around you. When people talk there's a certain rhythm.

        Look at all the dialog and ask yourself if your point might be better served with fewer words. "Less is more" as they say.

        Okay, some words just aren't necessary to convey your point.

        MAN #2
        You almost done? My ass is starting to itch.
        MAN #1
        Shutup. You ain't the one tearin up your back over this s**t.
        MAN #2
        I'm just sayin.
        MAN #1
        Just sayin a s**tload of s**t is all I hear. Quit your huffin.

        Or

        MAN #2
        You almost done?
        MAN #1
        Quit your huffin'. You ain't the one tearin up your back over this s**t.


        I'm just saying...

        MAN #2
        What about this pretty little skank over here? How do you figure we split the finances after we put her in the ground?

        ("Skank and finances" in the same sentance? Would this guy use the word "finances"? Probably not. Cash, money, loot... you decide.)

        MAN #1
        Like we agreed on. 55/45. No one else around here's got her except us "soon-to-be-rich-in-the-hills" sum' bitches haha.

        (Don't understand this. Why 55/45? No argument from the guy on the short end? Good place for some conflict. And why did Man #2 even ask if he already knew? Unnecessary dialog. Next... "No one else around here's got her except us "soon-to-be-rich-in-the-hills" sum' bitches haha" This sentence needs help. More unnecessary words. )

        Side note: How are they collecting a reward, and from who, if they are killing her and burying her in the desert? Need more info.


        SAM
        Seems to me ya'll both just talk more than anything.

        (The first words out of our gunslinger’s mouth? She needs to be way cooler. Think female Bruce Willis or Dirty Harry.)

        MAN #1
        I must be hard of hearin, cause I know this skank aint talkin to us, especially me.

        (??? Read this sentence aloud to yourself. I think this line will change once you give Sam something cool to say. Again, maybe just lop off a few words)


        No, I'm pretty sure I was talkin to you sugar-foot.

        (Sugar-foot? Does anyone say that? Would Clint or Bruce say that?)

        MAN #2
        Haha, this one's got a mouth on her.
        MAN #1
        Yeah, a big one that doesn't know when to stop runnin it. I hope you know we ain't the only ones lookin for ya, sweetheart. There's a big ass, god damn collection on your head, and we're gunna be the ones to collect it.

        (Sentence #1 - too many unnecessary words. "Yeah, and she doesn't know when to stop runnin it.", would perhaps be better? Sentence #3 -I suppose if this man uses the word "finances" he might very well say "collection", but who talks like that? "Bounty, reward...” you choose.)

        MAN #2
        You're sketch was all over the television baby girl. Everyone in Dakota wants you d.e.a.d. I hate to break it to ya, but you ain't lastin beyond seven more sunrises.

        ("you ain't lastin beyond seven more sunrises." - Again have you ever said this? And if they are going to kill her and bury her???)

        MAN #1
        And once that dirt gets cold, and you breathe that s**t in; all you're gunna see is a big mutha f***n cloud of brown. That s**t don't take kindly even to the likes of a fancy pants female.

        (Okay, what decade are we in? "Fancy pants"?)

        SAM
        Fancy pants? That's cute. Why don't you go back over there and play dress up with your friend. I'm sure he misses your company.

        (I so want her to be cool and bad ass. Please make her cool and bad ass, pretty please.)

        MAN #1
        You just don't know girl.
        MAN #2
        Haha I think she likes you.

        (Don't know what? She likes you??? I'm confused.)

        SAM
        Well, god damn gentlemen. Look at the fancy-pants female now. If you got anything to say before your train arrives you might as well say it.

        (Please make her baaaad asssss..... "The train? What train? reference to impending death? Glory train?)

        I really hope you will take this in the spirit it was given. I don't claim to be anything more than a guy like you, trying to get a break. This is a really cool premise and has lots of potential. I still believe making it a true western would better serve the screenplay, but that just me.

        Good luck. And never fall so in love with your words that you think they can never be better. Write, rewrite and have fun....after all, it's all make believe anyway.
        Ken

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with Ken's points above - lots of what one of my best readers (for feedback) calls "blubber."

          Also - skank? Really? And if you are totally attached to the word, once is plenty.
          Screenwriter and script consultant: www.maralesemann.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mara View Post
            I agree with Ken's points above - lots of what one of my best readers (for feedback) calls "blubber."

            Also - skank? Really? And if you are totally attached to the word, once is plenty.
            lol I'm not trying to PG things up, I just go with what I think the character will say. I really didn't mean it for it to feel like I have a personal vendetta there lol.

            Comment


            • #7
              And anything I would have added, Michael P and kenG already did it.

              Comment


              • #8
                thanks KenP! I know a lot of people would probably get all defensive lol, but I actually appreciate the criticism :P All I can do is take the criticism and improve on it!

                Comment


                • #9
                  KenG I went back and re-read a lot of your points, and you really are valid on most all of them now that I look back lol. The one's I agreed with the most is she needs to be more bad-ass. I think what I was going for before was a more free-spirited bad ass where she already knows shes better than everyone so shes like messing with them in a way. There's a main antagonist that I'm going to put in it, and I was more thinking of him as the quiet/mysterious one instead of her, but I get what you're saying. I think you're right about just sticking with a true western also. Thanks for the help man!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You are welcome. It's can be so much easier for another person to see the forest through the trees so to speak. I have a friend I bounce things off and he will always catch things I didn't, or point out things that don't make sense. But I think your idea is sound and you're on the right track. Keep up the good work. And here's a title for you...."Pistols and Petticoats" ; )

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just some simple feedback. I feel the action descriptions need an overall rewrite. You give too much information that we don't need and it makes for a boring read. Also you direct too much...it's supposed to be limited.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Josh Hughes View Post
                        Just some simple feedback. I feel the action descriptions need an overall rewrite. You give too much information that we don't need and it makes for a boring read. Also you direct too much...it's supposed to be limited.
                        haha ok. Yeah I'm slightly OCD so sometimes I do that to just get everything out of my head. I understand where you're coming from though.

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