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Workshop => Review My Script => Topic started by: eashort on July 08, 2010, 04:59:10 PM

Title: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: eashort on July 08, 2010, 04:59:10 PM
Hello. This is a short comedy sketch that I whipped out in a few minutes after I had a revelation that I want to be a comedy writer for a living. I have several others, but with this being the first script that I have written since my high school television production classes, I really wanted to get opinions on this one first. I just want to make sure that I even have the chops to make it in comedy. I have shown it to several other people, and so far the responses seem favorable, so I am optimistic!

"The Dear John Letter", as you can probably tell by the title, is somewhat of a dark comedy (well, more than somewhat). For the most part, I feel very comfortable with the sketch. However, for some reason, I still feel that the letter itself may be a bit too underdeveloped...It was also suggested to me by a friend, that I might consider extending the ending just a bit.

I am open to any and all criticisms. Thank you, and I look forwarding to hearing from you.

Oh, and before I forget, I had it in a proper screenplay format, and I will try very hard to keep it as close as possible. So, let me apologize now for any formating issues.  :-\



"THE DEAR JOHN LETTER"
by
Elizabeth Short


FADE IN:


INT.  HOUSE – ENTRANCEWAY/KITCHEN – NIGHT


A MAN walks into a house. He is carrying several bags and a briefcase. As we walks to the kitchen table, he puts down the bags that he is holding and his brief case, leaving only the black messenger bag around his chest.


As he walks through the house, he seems to be looking for signs that somebody is home, but doesn’t say a word right away.


When he finally speaks, it is in a questioning tone.


MAN
Anybody home?


The man turns his head in the direction of the master bedroom and holds his pose for a long beat. After a moment, he begins to head toward the master bedroom.


INT.  HOUSE – MASTER BEDROOM – NIGHT


As the man walks into the bedroom, a letter can be seen lying on the bed.


The man picks up the letter and begins to read it. As he reads the letter a WOMANS’s voice can be heard reading the letter aloud.


WOMAN (V.O.)
My dearest John, today is our fifth
   anniversary. The day we married, I
   remembered my mother telling me to
          hold on to those feelings, because
      those memories would help us
      through all of our struggles and
      hard times.
           (beat)
      But I am afraid that she may have
      been mistaken.
           (beat)
      While I have grown to care for you
      very much in the last five years, I
      feel that I have been living a lie.
      And as hard as it is to get this
      off my chest, I feel that telling
      you the truth may help to rest my
      tortured conscience.
           (beat)
      There is no easy way to say this,
      so I feel that bluntly may be best.
           (beat)
      I have been having an affair with
      your brother for the last five
      years.
           (slight beat)
      I can only imagine what you must be
      feeling right now, and the thoughts
      that must be going through your
      head.
           (slight beat)
      When did it start? How could I do
      this to you? What about the
      children?
           (slight beat)
      And I hope that I am able to answer
      some of your questions in this
      letter.
           (beat)
      First of all, I want you to know
      that you are a very sweet man, and
      never in my wildest dream could I
      have imagined myself in an extra-
      marital affair,
                          (beat)
      but as I walked down the aisle on
      our wedding day, and I saw your
      brother in his tuxedo, I knew then
      and there that he was the man for
      me.
           (beat)
      I realize that this letter must
      seem harsh and is coming as a
      surprise to you, but your brother
      and I want nothing more for you
      than to be happy,
           (slight beat)
      and that is why we are leaving the
      country to continue our romance.
           (beat)
      Without us here, we hope that you
      will be able to find the strength
      to move on.
           (beat)
      By the time you get this letter,
      your brother, Alex, and I will be
      on our way to Paris, France.
           (slight beat)
      Do not worry about the children.
           (beat)
      Your parents were kind enough to
      come along to help watch over them.
           (beat)
      Alex and I pretty much cleared out
      all of our bank accounts to pay for
      it, but we have purchased a lovely
      villa in the South of France, which
      I’m sure the kids will love.
           (long beat)
      I know that I could never apologize
      enough for what I’ve done to you,
      dear John, but I hope you may one
      day find it in your heart to
      forgive us, if only for the sake of
      our children.
                          (slight beat)
      Goodbye, John, and best of luck.
           (slight beat)
      Merry Christmas.
           (slight beat)
      Anne.


As the man finishes reading the letter, his face is stricken with a look of utter helplessness. He looks as though he is in a state of complete and total shock.


When he begins to speak, his voice is shaky, and there is a air of disbelief to it.


MAN
What?
   (long pause)
   How could somebody write a letter
   like that?
   (long pause)
   What a bitch!


The man pauses with the letter in his hand for a few more seconds, still looking very shocked.


As he finally lets the letter fall back to the bed, he reaches into his messenger bag and pulls out a large black trash bag and begins to ransack the bed room.


FADE OUT.

THE END


Here is an updated version of my sketch. I took the advice about extending the ending and making the letter more cruel. I have some ideas about how to liven up the humor of the sketch, but unfortunately I am not that skilled in writing screenplays, so I don't know how to transcribe that. I guess I will just have to direct the sketch myself!  :-\ And again, I am sorry about and issues with the format after I transferred it over from Word.





INT.  HOUSE – ENTRANCEWAY/KITCHEN – NIGHT


A MAN walks into a house. The man is dressed entirely in black winter clothing, including gloves. He is carrying a briefcase in one hand and a duffle bag in the other. Around his chest is a messenger bag.


As we walks to the kitchen table, he puts down the duffle bag and his brief case, leaving only the black messenger bag around his chest.


As he walks through the house, he seems to be looking for signs that somebody is home, but doesn’t say a word right away.


When the man finally speaks, it is in an almost questioning tone.


              MAN
      Anybody home?


The man turns his head in the direction of the master bedroom and holds his pose for a long beat. After a moment, he begins to walk purposefully toward the master bedroom.


INT.  HOUSE – MASTER BEDROOM – NIGHT


As the man walks into the bedroom, a letter can be seen lying on the bed.


The man looks questioningly at the letter for a few seconds, and then picks it up and begins to read.


As the man reads the letter silently to himself, a WOMANS’s voice can be heard reading the letter aloud.


              WOMAN (V.O.)
      My dearest John, today is our fifth
      wedding anniversary. The day we
                married, I remembered my mother
                telling me to hold on to those
                feelings, because those memories
                would help us through all of our
                struggles and hard times.
        (beat)
      But I am afraid that she may have
      been mistaken.
           (slight beat)
      While I have grown to care for you
      very much in the last five years, I
      feel that I have been living a lie.
           (beat)
      The truth of the matter is that I
      have been living this lie since we
      first met in high school.
           (slight beat)
      And as hard as it is to get this
      off my chest, I feel that telling
      you the truth now may help to rest
                my tortured conscience.
                (beat)
      Unfortunately, there is no easy way
                to say this, so I feel that bluntly
                may be best.
           (beat)
      I have been head over heels in love
      with your brother, Alex, for the
      last 7 years.
           (slight beat)
      And we have been having an affair
      for the last 5.
           (slight beat)
      I can only imagine what you must be
      feeling right now, and the thoughts
      that must be going through your
      head.
                           (slight beat)
      When did it start? How could I do
      this to you? What about the
      children?
           (slight beat)
      And I hope that I am able to answer
      some of your questions in this
      letter.
           (beat)
      First of all, I want you to know
      that you are a very sweet man, and
      never in my wildest dreams could I
      have imagined myself in an extra-
      marital affair…
           (beat)
      …but as I walked down the aisle on
      our wedding day, and I saw your
      brother in his tuxedo, I knew then
      and there that he was the man for
      me…Hands down! No questions asked!
           (beat)
      Really, I think I have known all of
      these years. Since Alex drove us to
      our Junior Prom on our first date.
           (slight beat)
      My teenage mind used to fantasize
      about Alex every time he would
      come home from college on break.
           (beat)
      And while many high school crushes
      go unrequited, I was lucky enough
      to find out right after graduating
      that Alex had always felt the same
      way about me.
           (beat)
      John, we married the day after we
      graduated from high school…And Alex
      and I began our affair one week
      later.
                      (long beat)
      I realize that this letter must
      seem harsh and is coming as a
      surprise to you, but your brother
      and I want nothing more for you
      than to be happy,
           (slight beat)
      and that is why we are leaving the
      country to continue our romance.
           (beat)
      Without us here, we hope that you
      will be able to find the strength
      to move on.
           (beat)
      By the time you get this letter,
      your brother, Alex, and I will be
      on our way to Paris, France.
           (slight beat)
      Do not worry about the children.
           (beat)
      Your parents were kind enough to
      come along to help watch over them.
           (beat)
           They feel that with their favorite
      son leaving the country, there is
      no better time to retire and spend
      more time with their grandchildren.
           They are truly remarkable people!
              (long beat)
      Alex and I pretty much cleared out
      all of our bank accounts to pay for
      it, but we have purchased a lovely
      villa in the South of France, which
      I’m sure the kids will love.
        (beat)
           While I know that you live for your
      children, and it pains me greatly
      to take them away from you, they
                really should be with their
           real father.
           (long beat)
      I know that I could never apologize
      enough for what I’ve done to you,
      dear John, but I hope you may one
      day find it in your heart to
      forgive us, if only for the sake of
      our children.
           (slight beat)
      Goodbye, John, and best of luck.
           (slight beat)
      Merry Christmas.
           (slight beat)
      Anne.


As the man finishes reading the letter, his face is stricken with a look of utter helplessness. He looks as though he is in a state of complete and total shock.


When he begins to speak, his voice is shaky, and there is an air of disbelief to it.


              MAN
      What?
           (long pause)
      How could somebody be that cruel?
           (long pause)
      What a bitch!


The man pauses with the letter in his hand for a few more seconds, still looking very shocked.


As he finally lets the letter fall back to the bed, he reaches into his messenger bag and pulls out a ski mask.


As the man begins to ransack the room and place any object of value into his messenger bag, another man comes running into the room. This new man is wielding a cell phone and appears to be out of breath.


              MAN 2
      Who are you? What are you doing in
      my house? I’m calling the cops!


Despite man 2’s threats to call the cops he doesn’t budge.


              MAN
      John?


              MAN 2
      How do you know my name?
           (beat)
      What are you doing in my house?
           (beat)
      I’m going to call the cops!


              MAN
      Buddy, you’ve got way bigger things
      to worry about.


                           FADE OUT.


THE END


I am also getting ready to post another sketch, which way different than this one, based off of the sheer abundance of absurdity in the subject matter.   ;D
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: DavidMcK on July 08, 2010, 05:20:26 PM
Hi Eashort,

There is a terrible problem of new members posting in the script section and then not replying to anybody’s comments and then they never post again.

I suggest you read and comment on other peoples scripts first. The plus side to this is that if you comment on people's scripts then they will then in turn comment on yours. It is a win-win for everybody. :)

David
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: eashort on July 08, 2010, 05:23:43 PM
DavidMcK, thank you for the suggestion.  :)
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: rikki on July 08, 2010, 09:22:07 PM
This reminds me of a David Sedaris piece I heard him read, which I hope you take as a compliment  ;)

I was wondering if you could explain what the (beat) refers to?

I don't write scrips and just happened to open this up. It made me chuckle when he began to ransack the place...nice twist...
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: eashort on July 08, 2010, 09:29:37 PM
Thanks rikki! And "beat" refers to a moment of silence in a script, or a break in the rhythm (ie: an empty beat of rhythm) 

Thanks again =)
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: rikki on July 08, 2010, 09:51:21 PM
Understood. Thanks for the explanation on that...
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on July 08, 2010, 10:57:38 PM
rikki, I don't write scripts . . . but I liked the story you showed us in this format.

There were two small things that bother me though.

1. I would have expected a man reading such a letter to have more of a reaction than what you showed. Maybe one or more of the men around here would be better giving feedback on that than I am though.

2. Why did he have several bags when he came in and why, after setting all the rest of them down, did he not put the messenger pouch down also?

( I was wrong - one more question.)

Why did he have a plastic garbage bag in the messenger pouch? 

The answer to all my questions might be because I generally write and read prose, not script.  If so, ignore what I've asked.

Smiles,
Alice
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: eashort on July 08, 2010, 11:07:57 PM
Alice, thank you for your response. To answer your questions, it is because the man is a robber. That is why he had so many bags and the trash bag in his messenger bag.

I agree with what you said about his reaction, but I am having some difficulty figuring out how to write that in without him appearing too close to the author of the letter and its intended recipient...I have a feeling I may just end up being stuck leaving that task to the actor.

Thanks again, and if you have any suggestions on what I said, I would love to hear them.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on July 08, 2010, 11:44:54 PM
Alice, thank you for your response. To answer your questions, it is because the man is a robber. That is why he had so many bags and the trash bag in his messenger bag.

I agree with what you said about his reaction, but I am having some difficulty figuring out how to write that in without him appearing too close to the author of the letter and its intended recipient...I have a feeling I may just end up being stuck leaving that task to the actor.

I had taken him as being her husband. But since he is there to rob the place, that explains the bags, including the garbage bag and his lack of a stronger reaction.

Thanks for explaining.


Thanks again, and if you have any suggestions on what I said, I would love to hear them.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: DavidMcK on July 09, 2010, 04:18:48 PM
HI Eashort,

I liked your sketch, I wasn’t aware of the ‘beat’ either. I’ve learnt something new, thanks.

I think I would change the punch line.

MAN
What?
(long pause)
Some people are just so horrible.
(long pause)
What a bitch!

I hope to read more of your stuff.

David
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: par on July 09, 2010, 06:04:02 PM
i kind of like this piece, but i think it may not go far enough.
for instance, the wife may say a few more outlandish things...the burglar may have a much bigger reaction and really trash the whole place, at the end of which another burglar could enter and ask if he's found anything of interest and THEN we find out the first burglar is not the husband.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: eashort on July 10, 2010, 08:27:17 PM
David: Thanks.  :) I like your idea, I think it works a lot better than what I have. I'm gonna try substituting it in later and rereading the whole things just to make sure! Thanks again!!!  :D ;D :)



par: Thanks for your suggestions, too. A friend of mine actually suggested that I draw it out a little further too. Except her idea was to have the burglar either bolt from the house as the police arrive, or to extend the scene where he does the actual burglarizing and to have him leave the house and hide in the bushes as the husband arrives and then to just let the scene end with the sound of the husband's reaction. What do you think?  :)
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: Ethor on July 10, 2010, 08:51:18 PM
that made me lol! but i agree the end needs a change
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: Xerika on July 10, 2010, 10:10:15 PM
There is a terrible problem of new members posting in the script section and then not replying to anybody’s comments and then they never post again.

Well said, David, and I heartily agree.

Having said that, Elizabeth, you seem to be rather more serious about your craft than the many other timewasters, so I commend you for your bravery.

Having said that, I'm gonna be a bit cruel, but please don't take it amiss as I'm only trying to help:

1)

Hello. This is a short comedy sketch that I whipped out in a few minutes after I had a revelation that I want to be a comedy writer for a living.

Well, there's quite a lot to say here even before I get to the script itself...

1a) Your revelation sounds great and I hope you stick with it.

1b) One thing you never ever do with a comedy sketch (or a poem or any other writing for that matter) is whip it out in a few minutes and then present it for public consumption. Refine, hone and polish until you are happy with it and then ask for a critique so you can make it even better.

1c) Unless you're a comedic genius (and there are a few I could mention), writing comedy that will actually make people laugh (and surely that's the point) is one of the hardest writing jobs on the planet and not something you knock out in a few minutes.

2) On to the script itself...

Sorry to say, and here's the really cruel bit, it didn't even raise a smile from me.

I didn't even get that the guy at the end was a burglar until you pointed it out in the comments, and even then it's really not that funny.

What you've got is a whole load of unfunny 'stuff' till you get to the not-very-funny punchline. Do you really think an audience will still be with you by the time they get there?

If I'm missing something here, please tell me, because I totally missed any humour in everything that went before the 'punchline'.

3) Okay, so here's a bit of advice you can ignore at will...

Watch (and often listen to on the radio) the sketches that you find hilariously funny and analyse why they make you laugh.

Do they put you through a couple of minutes of dullness before they reach the punchline? Of course not. Modern sketch writers know that you need to get a laugh in the first line or two and then build it from there. Hell, Monty Python knew years ago that you didn't even need a 'punchline'.

Just to emphasise the point, check out the Python's parrot sketch, which is universally acknowledged to be one of the greatest comedy sketches of all time, and ask yourself why that's funny from the very first line.

4) Well, here's the nicey nicey bit... (meant sincerely)

It's clear to me that you can write, so keep going and just try to get funny from Line One (or Three at least) and study how the masters do it.


Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: par on July 10, 2010, 10:40:23 PM
i think all of the suggestions could work.  everyone has creative ideas, now it's up to you to work your way around them all and come up with your own Wow factor.  you can do it. 
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: eashort on July 11, 2010, 12:32:40 AM
Ethor- Thank you, and I am working on the ending. I hope to have something figured out quite soon.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: eashort on July 11, 2010, 01:18:15 AM
Xerika- I do have to agree with you that you were a bit harsh, but as I said I am open to all critiques of my work. I really appreciate your insight, and truth be told (being bluntly honest myself) I really have to respect you...I respect people who are brutally honest. Thank you!

To touch on one of your points, while I did say that I punched out this sketch quickly. I did do several revisions on it. I just meant that the basic idea and first draft happened to come to me very quickly. Perhaps, I should have been more clear about that. Thank you, and I will try to be more specific in the future.

Also, I think it is worth mentioning that the majority of my life I have wanted to write. It was just recently that I decided on comedy as the be-all and end-all. I have also had a huge interest in television production, and creating and developing shows. So, this seemed like a natural step...but that is really a story for another day.

And just like you told me not to take your words too harshly, I hope that you can do the same for me now. I know that it can sometimes be difficult to know how words are meant when they are typed. You can't read emotion and phrasing. So, I want to apologize to you now if this comes out sounding too harsh. I am really sorry that you didn't find any humor in this script, but so far you seem to be one of very few people who haven't. I know that I cannot please everyone, and that is fine with me. I do, however, appreciate your tips about researching what makes a sketch funny (plus I am a big Michael Palin fan, so really must respect the opinions of a fellow python fan). I will definitely have to take your advice and do so. If just to broaden my comedic horizons.

Thank you for sharing with me at the end what you did like. I am still very young right now (I have only been 21 for a few months). So, I hope that my writing will improve with age, and I shall continue to practice until I can come as close to perfecting this unperfectable art as possible.

Again, I really appreciated your insight. I hope that you will continue to give me your insight on whatever else I may post...maybe one of them will make you laugh. =)
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: eashort on July 11, 2010, 01:22:45 AM
Par- thanks for the encouragement.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: Don on July 11, 2010, 10:40:41 AM
Elizabeth -

I have to agree with Xerika that there is little humor to be found in the sketch's current form. That is not to say it couldn't be converted into something very funny. You have the bones but you have to hang some meat on them.

Read your letter out loud. Is the opening funny or saccharine? Maybe she married the cuckold instead of the brother because he was the one with the money. Be specific about that and it will add to the "bitchiness" factor. Also, she took the kids because...well, they really are the brother's kids. Maybe the parents went along for the ride because Mr. Cuckold was adopted. Lots of possibilities. The more you destroy this man's world, the funnier it gets...in a dark kinda way.

The burglar should be obvious from the opening. Leaving without taking anything would be funny. As the woman's VO reads the letter, I'm sure you will find ample opportunity for the burglar to insert his own comments. I could see this working as a ten-minute play and as everyone knows, ten-minute plays are very hot right now.

Good luck with this.

Don -
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: eashort on July 11, 2010, 01:12:52 PM
Don- thank you for your feedback...i was discussing the sketch with my mother today, and taking all of the suggestions that I have gotten from other people, I think I may have a much better idea of how to work the sketch.

I really like your idea about the ten minute play, though. I didn't even think about that. It will probably work as a better format for what I have in mind now.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: Carmen Fletcher on July 12, 2010, 10:46:59 AM
In my full honest opinion.... I hope this is not it. It has a lot of potential and unforutnately these "comedic" events do occur. I'm pulling for more from the storyline and its like pulling teeth. I am not sure what his occupation is, which may add to the humor.

i.e. John was the most miserable and introverted person in the Behtel, Alaska post office. Day in and day out he took the same icy route too and from work and in the summer months trugged through mud. He took good care of his wife Anne and happily stared at their wedding picture each day. One day he arrives home to a silent house and finds a letter from his lovely wife. (Dear John....)

The usually introverted John dropped the letter, dropped his messenger bag, let out a bellowing scream and smashed everything in the bedroom. After he grabbed a trashbag and stomped back upstairs, still screaming and muttering obscentities, he looked around the room to find that everything he smashed was all his stuff that Anne left. He sat in the doorway in his muddy clothes and sobbed.

I know it is a bit much to digest, but hey I'm bored at work.  ;) Hopefully by reading this comment you can see how you can change this potential of a good comedic story/script to a good relatable one and grow from there.

Best of luck! You are doing great!

CF
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: Kiryana on July 14, 2010, 06:47:40 AM
I have to agree with most of what Xerika said. Although, I did fine this a little funnier than he/she did. I would like to emphasize again on what he said about rewriting and refining what you post and no just throwing up a first or even second time draft. Study your work, read it over to yourself aloud, and don't be afraid to ask for advice or suggestions here along the way. Other than that, it was an interesting read. I did make it through the entire post which is more than I can say for a few of the other threads on here.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: par on July 16, 2010, 07:14:48 AM
you know, there are so many ways that this sketch can go.  if you have others read it aloud, improvise on it, go off even on tangents, you may have an epiphany of sorts on how to finalize it.   if you want it to be a monologue, or a scene for 2 or three, or whatever, it'll come to you if you relax into it.   you have a talent, all you need to do is direct it.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: eashort on July 19, 2010, 10:44:44 AM
I wanted to thank everybody for their advice. I got an idea on how to possibly fix the sketch last week, and I am currently working on it (and a few other sketches). When I am done I will post the new version.  :)
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: Kowboy on July 22, 2010, 12:02:25 AM
eashort:

I didn't really get it and that means I didn't find it funny. I never picked up on the burgler thing until you told us.

Kowboy
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter"
Post by: AndyPNE on July 22, 2010, 02:24:18 PM
Hiya. loved your little sketch. I must admit at first i was thinking where is the comedy, but then i read the bit in the letter Where she said that she had also been seeing the brother ever since they got married and i liked that. I liked it even more When the letter said that the kids and grandparents had moved away with them. And then the whole burgular twist at the end cracked me up. I was playing the whole scene in my head as i read through and i thought it would work really well on stage and screen. I think your sketch could also work if you cut the whole looking round the house bit first. but yeah. loved it.

By the way. In one of your earlier replies someone said that you need to have a good joke within the first few lines and that you should look at the Monty Python Parrot scetch. I dissagree. If the acting and the sinserity with which the acting is delivered at the start of your sketch is good enough, then you'll have the audiences attention right the way through. Also your sketch is completly different to the style of Monty Python. Yours is realistic. I could see yours really happening.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: eashort on July 22, 2010, 02:58:02 PM
AndyPNE- Thank you so much!   ;D

Oddly enough I was in the middle of reading your new post when my phone binged to tell me that I had a new email, which was about your reply! lol...I really like yours so far, but I'll post more about it when I'm done with the whole thing! Thanks again!
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: ghetss261 on July 26, 2010, 12:38:50 AM
hhhee..good job
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: eashort on August 06, 2010, 12:00:24 PM
hhhee..good job

Thank you!
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: greebo82 on August 12, 2010, 11:20:36 AM
  I really enjoyed this sketch, I can visualise it (Thats a good sign) and laughed out loud at the end but I would like to make some suggestions.

I think the whole joke is that the burglar is judging someone (the wife) for being cruel while also being cruel (sorry for stating the obvious but it helps)

To add to this I think when the burglar passes comment shakes his head and says "bitch" he should be doing something extremely petty and cruel like unscrewing and stealing a light bulb or a bit more extreme urinating on the bed then when finished he could say something along the lines of "some people!"

hope this helps
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: pretty penny on August 15, 2010, 10:46:19 AM
Hi,

I read this a couple of times.. I come from a performance background and read it from an actor's point of view.. I think it leaves room in the script to improvise with it, and I agree with par that it could stand having some actors work on it with you, to work out the subtleties of it more.  I personally like the punchy ending of the first version, and the fact that it leaves room for the viewer to exercise some intelligence.  I did like however, the revision of the time frame of the relationship, especially the extension of the time to seven years as it played into that cliche of the 7 year itch, and played up the pathos (sp?) more.  I think the strength of the piece is that it seems so serious at first.. it reminds me of a D-generation skit (from the Australian ABC TV). I dislike the ending of the second one, it seems messy and contrived and over stated.. as I said, the best humour is allowed because of what your imagination can bring to it.. it depends I guess if you are appealing to a commercial audience though, which seems to love to over-extend on jokes, which takes all of the fun out of them in my eyes.  All a matter of taste, I guess. 
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: pretty penny on August 15, 2010, 09:22:14 PM
Hi Eashort,

After sleep and more reflection, I'd like to add some more.

The gloves and mask etc at the start in the second draft is unnecessary as you already lay the necessary clue in the dialogue - the fact that he says "Anybody home?" is much more of a strangers or acquaintances greeting.. in such an intimate household, ie, marriage and family, I am betting that he would more likely say his wife's name, if it were John.  Besides, this is a punch line sketch, and by showing the gloves etc you give away the punch line.

If it were staged as a play as well, it is great as a one-hander. (one actor)  The addition of another player right at the end is flimsy. If I were setting it on a stage, I would cut the first bag laying down scene, have the actor speak from off stage and enter into the bedroom.  Snap black out on the punch line, after a beat.  The punch line of course being the physical action of filling the bags.

For a film.. if you were going to keep the second player, again, to introduce him at the end is messy.  Perhaps just a simple ruse of seeing a micro scene outside the house, of a key being put in the door.  Here you could have the gloved hand to hide the immediate identity of the person entering the house, and not showing the person at all, other than that.  I like the idea of a shocked and still response from John, too, if you were going to go with that.  People do act strangely in crisis, and it is rather over done to have the high action high decibel "who are you in my house" kind of scene.  I think it adds more of an element of humour, to have him stand there like a stunned mullet.  But then I like such films as "Little Miss Sunshine" so my humour is perhaps a bit obtuse.  Again, I guess it depends on the audience you hope to target with such a thing; I would clarify that in your mind strongly, I think it would help with your scripting choices enormously.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: eashort on August 16, 2010, 03:19:41 PM
Pretty Penny,

Thanks for both of your responses. I am actually going to take the advice that you and par gave and try to work it over with some actors that I know, see what they say. It makes a lot of sense, considering they would be more used to what feels natural when performing and what doesn't than I do.
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: par on August 17, 2010, 09:24:46 AM
thanks to you too, ea....we need more playwrights.  also, see if you can get some directors in that mix with actors...some of what pretty said are really in a director's pervue but a lot is in the writer's.  the actors are necessary insofar as your seeing how something plays.  (i too have a very strong theatre background in all areas)
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: AndyPNE on August 25, 2010, 09:08:48 AM
Hiya hows you? thanks for the advice on replying to comments. I gotta say after reading the updated version of your work i still think the first version is better if its just a sketch that you are going for, because its shorter sharper and snappier. That works best for comedy sketches. The think the longer ending text would work but only if the scene is part of an actual show. If it was then i reckon you could milk it for a few more laughs. In fact something has just come into my head now. You could have the burgular trying to console John as he is crying uncontrollably onto his shoulder. The burgular very slowly edges out of the room and slyly steals a watch or even better, a picture frame of his wife from the bedside table as he leaves. Its kinda Little Britain i guess but its upto you. Just a question. Are you actually planning on staging it?
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: par on August 26, 2010, 06:42:00 AM
are you at the stage of staging it?   you're going to workshop it first, aren't you?
Title: Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
Post by: mrsbee on August 26, 2010, 10:25:15 AM
Hi
I really liked the idea, though perhaps not that original, and the punchline is very good. I have one or two queries about your latest update. 1. How does he get into the house? Presumably it has to be through the door otherwise the game is up at the start. Might I suggest he finds the door off the latch and opens it very slowly - that could still look like a man arriving home and thinking there might be a burglar in his house. 2. I think you need to mention how quietly he moves around at the start. 3. I think. given the ending, that his reaction to the letter is too strong. I don't think a burglar would be "stricken" or "in complete and total shock" or "let the letter fall on the bed". He could be stunned or even outraged perhaps. 4. When the husband comes in and says he is phoning the police, why doesn't he budge?
A lot of potential here. Good luck!  :)