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Workshop => Review My Script => Topic started by: midnight candle on February 02, 2012, 09:16:09 AM

Title: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on February 02, 2012, 09:16:09 AM
I've just started my next assignment - a 30 page screenplay.

Without telling what the characters are or have been, is it clear from the scenes? Any guesses what the back story might be? Any other comments welcome. The scenes are the hook and introduce the two main characters.

---------



FADE IN:

INT. DANIEL’S HOUSE. DAY.

DANIEL, mid-fifties, sits open legged as he polishes his leather shoes. A duster is wrapped around two fingers as he swirls it around in a slow circular motion on the toe. He stops, looks and spits onto the shoe. He adds more polish and swirls again.

TRACY places a cup of tea on the coffee table. As she walks past him, she stops and touches his shoulder --

-- He looks at her and smiles.


INT. MARIA’S HOUSE. NIGHT.

MARIA, mid-fifties, wears a black headscarf with veil thrown back over her head. She smiles but tears roll from her eyes. JOSE, her son, stands behind with his hands on her shoulders. She leans her cheek onto his hand and wipes her tears away with her hand.

MARIA’s WEDDING PHOTOGRAPH.

Her son is the spitting image of her husband, also called JOSE. They are young. She wears a traditional white dress with veil flung back. Her black hair is bunched upwards apart from two ringlets draping over her shoulders. Jose beams as he holds her hands. His hair is slicked backed with a side parting and his suit is immaculate.

Maria touches his face on the photograph –-

INT. DANIEL’S HOUSE. DAY.

Daniel side parts his greying hair in front of the mirror.
He runs the comb through his hair – that same deliberation with which he polished his shoes.

He bends down and picks up the cup of tea from the coffee table.

A Passport, gold ring and wedding photograph –-

-- the same photograph that Maria has.

He picks up all three items. The passport goes into his inside breast pocket. The wedding ring and photograph he places into a clear plastic bag. He puts the bag into his outer pocket.
He reaches for a cigarette. As he lights the cigarette –-

MATCH CUT:


INT. CHURCH. NIGHT.

Maria lights a candle in the church. She closes her eyes. She does the sign of the cross upon her chest and opens her eyes. Then places the candle amongst all the other candles. She looks up at the Madonna, curtsies and strolls down the long aisle towards the door.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: 510bhan on February 02, 2012, 10:13:32 AM
Daniel = former military man/colonial office ambassador, war wedding with Maria [Spanish heritage, maybe European, maybe Latin American] . . . somehow goes AWOL on a mission, MIA whatever and too late to get back to Maria . . . but

I like the cut from lighting the cigarette to lighting the candle. ;) ;) ;)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on February 02, 2012, 12:37:31 PM
I liked this piece, Blue Moon.
At first, I was thinking amnesia and he has gone awol. Now however, I think he could be doing a Reggie Perrin and starting a new life. Hence why he has put the items in a plastic bag.

I agree with Sio, love the fact that you cut from the lighter to the candle.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on February 02, 2012, 03:34:46 PM
As the story unfolds, it will become clear who they are, but you've both satisfied me with near enough guesses. So, I'll work on that and post the next segment when it's written.

Thanks Siobhan and alfiemama.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: ma100 on February 02, 2012, 06:37:31 PM
HI Blue

I believe I know this story so I won't comment on that, just some thoughts, feel free to ignore them. :)


FADE IN:

INT. DANIEL’S HOUSE. DAY.

DANIEL, mid-fifties, sits open legged as he polishes the toe of his leather shoes with a slow circular motion.  He stops, looks and spits onto the shoe. He adds more polish and swirls again. To me it is clear he is using shoe products to clean with.

TRACY places a cup of tea on the coffee table. As she walks past him, she stops and touches his shoulder --

-- He looks at her and smiles.


INT. MARIA’S HOUSE. NIGHT.

MARIA, mid-fifties, wears a black headscarf with veil thrown back over her head. She smiles but tears roll from her eyes. JOSE, her son, stands behind with his hands on her shoulders. She lays her cheek on his hand and wipes her tears away with her hand.It's obvious she uses her hands.

MARIA’s WEDDING PHOTOGRAPH.

Her son is the spitting image of her husband, also called JOSE. They are young. She wears a traditional white dress with veil flung back. Her black hair is bunched upwards apart from two ringlets draping over her shoulders. Jose beams as he holds her hands. His hair is slicked backed with a side parting and his suit is immaculate. The director will love you telling him to get someone the spitting image of a photo. ;D Maria gazes at her wedding photograph then strokes her husbands face in the picture. The prop itself can be put in notes I feel.

Maria touches his face on the photograph –-

Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on February 03, 2012, 12:14:31 AM
Thanks ma.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on February 03, 2012, 07:05:40 AM
Quote
The director will love you telling him to get someone the spitting image of a photo. 

Use the same actor  8)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: ma100 on February 03, 2012, 07:09:33 AM
I know that. ;D He will too, but will he like being told something quite so obvious. ;)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on February 12, 2012, 01:18:05 AM
Blue,

I have no idea how to make this quote stuff work so I am, so sorry, copying and pasting, and please forgive me for so.
"Without telling what the characters are or have been, is it clear from the scenes? Any guesses what the back story might be? Any other comments welcome. The scenes are the hook and introduce the two main characters."
My thoughts, if you please:

Daniel. Military manner and style. Possibly a career vet, possibly a spec. forces operative. Maybe a couple of years in, or again maybe a lifer.
Maria, easily is the wife of a possible vet. He is off on another assignment and she weeps for his return or demise.

Then again, what if Daniel is an undercover cop, deep into the Triad mob organization, and his handlers pulled him out, after three deep years, so that he might spend a day in the park with his love, Maria and his first-born child. 
After a memorable moment, his cellular beeps a lone message;
"Get back now".
Sorrow in his eyes, he backs away bidding his family goodbye, as a black sedan pulls to a nearby curb and the door swings open.
This is Marias last site of her husband.

Personally, I like the military aspect better as I have some great thoughts on that. ;)

Sincerely;


Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Paris Texas on March 09, 2012, 10:55:07 PM
I can't get the hang of "Quotes" either - I've read the help - maybe somebody could slip us a sly tutorial?

Embarrassed! ???
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 15, 2012, 04:56:29 PM
The old agage of get in late and leave early.  This is the first minute of my script - the hook/catalyst that takes the MC out of his status quo. Any comments welcome.

------


FADE IN:

INT. SHOP. DAY.

A white lily. The sound of sprayed water. The Lily glistens. Then we see the watery sheen on lily leaves.

Scar tissue from a bullet wound on a hand tending to the flowers. A satisfied sound of someone breathing in the scent.

The lilies form the central part of a huge wreath for a special customer.

DANIEL, mid-fifties, clean shaven and side-parted greying hair wearing a starched white shirt, tie and green apron. Surrounded by other exotic plants, flowers, shrubs and wreaths.

The clock reads five. Daniel swaps the green apron for his suit jacket. He turns the notice on the shop door and grabs a freshly prepared bouquet of red roses.

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. NIGHT.

Daniel rouses from a nap. His hands are stilkl entwined with TRACY’s, his gaunt, cancer-ridden wife. A NURSE smiles at him as she checks morphine levels. Another smile as she pauses to look at the beautiful red roses in the plain hospital vase.

Tracy opens her eyes and tries to speak. Daniel leans forward – his ear to her mouth -- but she can’t speak. She closes her eyes again ...

... then Tracy’s head lolls to one side.

Tears spill down Daniel’s cheeks. He grasps her body with both arms and holds her against his muscular body, rocking gently. He caresses her cheek and leaves a lingering kiss on her lips.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Annmarie on March 16, 2012, 04:00:47 AM
Is this a new version of the open you'd posted originally? I like the detail in this, but I was more intrigued by the original, particularly his relationship with Maria. Since I don't know what your story focuses on, maybe the newer open is more efficient. But it doesn't give me any real questions I need answered. His wife dies, and that's a huge deal, but since I don't know Daniel, it doesn't affect me too much.  :-[

Again, the new version read nicely. The original version made me think and imagine more, and I liked that.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 16, 2012, 07:57:35 AM
Is this a new version of the open you'd posted originally? I like the detail in this, but I was more intrigued by the original, particularly his relationship with Maria. Since I don't know what your story focuses on, maybe the newer open is more efficient. But it doesn't give me any real questions I need answered. His wife dies, and that's a huge deal, but since I don't know Daniel, it doesn't affect me too much.  :-[

Again, the new version read nicely. The original version made me think and imagine more, and I liked that.

Maria comes in quite soon and all the same questions will be raised as the original post offered.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: 510bhan on March 16, 2012, 10:28:33 AM
HI -- just wondered how you convey a bouquet of 'freshly prepared' roses? Has he been working on them prior?

stilkl ->>> still

 :) :) :) :)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 16, 2012, 10:31:55 AM
HI -- just wondered how you convey a bouquet of 'freshly prepared' roses? Has he been working on them prior?


I guess they won't be droopy and petals falling off :)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: 510bhan on March 16, 2012, 10:38:09 AM
With the setting being a florist's I'd have expected him to lift the bouquet from a bucket/bench top and that they would be fresh. :-[ :-\
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 16, 2012, 10:53:54 AM
With the setting being a florist's I'd have expected him to lift the bouquet from a bucket/bench top and that they would be fresh. :-[ :-\

I see what you're saying now. I'll think of a solution or chops those two words. Thanks Siobhan. :)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Maimi on March 16, 2012, 01:18:39 PM
The lilies form the central part of a huge wreath for a special customer.
If the wreath for the 'special customer' is used later, after focus being put on it in the opening, I'd recognize it and get the significance then. Here I'm missing an image for special customer, how, other than if it dwarfs wreaths surrounding it, I'd know it's special. (Edited this to try and make sense, Daryl. My apologies if what I'm trying to say is still muddy.) :)

... and green apron.

... Daniel swaps the green apron for his suit jacket.
No need repeating 'green' apron.

He turns the notice on the shop door and grabs a freshly prepared bouquet of red roses.
In a flower shop, fresh is understood. I'm not certain prepared is necessary, though. By the way, I wondered why the type of shop was omitted in the heading. INT. SHOP. DAY. didn't bring flowers to mind, since so many places of business are referred to as shops (mechanic, hairdresser, fabricator, woodworking, pottery, etc.).

Whatever order you present the images in is the order a reader sees them. That means the image of him turning the sign came before he grabs the bouquet. Since he's on his way out, it seems flipping the sign would be last.

He grasps her body with both arms and holds her against his muscular body, rocking gently.
Grasps brings to mind a firm hold or seizing something. Holds, hugs or gathers implies tenderness.

The description of his 'muscular' body was off putting, seemed out of place for this scene.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 16, 2012, 05:41:02 PM
If the wreath for the 'special customer' is used later, after focus being put on it in the opening, I'd recognize it and get the significance then. Here I'm missing an image for special customer, how, other than if it dwarfs wreaths surrounding it, I'd know it's special. (Edited this to try and make sense, Daryl. My apologies if what I'm trying to say is still muddy.) :)
No need repeating 'green' apron.
In a flower shop, fresh is understood. I'm not certain prepared is necessary, though. By the way, I wondered why the type of shop was omitted in the heading. INT. SHOP. DAY. didn't bring flowers to mind, since so many places of business are referred to as shops (mechanic, hairdresser, fabricator, woodworking, pottery, etc.).

Whatever order you present the images in is the order a reader sees them. That means the image of him turning the sign came before he grabs the bouquet. Since he's on his way out, it seems flipping the sign would be last.
Grasps brings to mind a firm hold or seizing something. Holds, hugs or gathers implies tenderness.

The description of his 'muscular' body was off putting, seemed out of place for this scene.

Thanks Maimi - have altered the text based on your comments. When I struggle to find the right words, i just go ahead and worry later.

One word nagging me at the moment is 'loll'. I'm struggling to find the right word where a head gently rolls to one side as the muscles relax. Any ideas? I thought of limp but still not sure of that either.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Maimi on March 16, 2012, 09:23:45 PM
Ah, the wonderful sport of word wrestling. :)

For lack of muscle, loll, sag or droop? Tip seems like a small movement.

Good luck. Just don't talk yourself into a circle. That's where a headache thrives.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: 510bhan on March 16, 2012, 09:30:31 PM
Flop/slump? :-\
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on March 17, 2012, 01:40:17 PM
Daryl, I liked lolled. I don't think any other word sums up the way a head flopps to the side.
I agree with Maimi about putting Florist instead of shop. Other than that, all I can is how much I enjoyed it. I could picture everything you were trying to portray.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 17, 2012, 02:37:03 PM
Daryl, I liked lolled. I don't think any other word sums up the way a head flopps to the side.
I agree with Maimi about putting Florist instead of shop. Other than that, all I can is how much I enjoyed it. I could picture everything you were trying to portray.
[/quote

I'm inclined to think LOLL is best. Cheers Alfie
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 18, 2012, 02:37:20 AM
Blue;

I am sorry I wrote this on the fly, but I hope you will read it thoroughly and I would like to finish it if you feel you would like to continue.

Please forgive me if this is all too late or possibly, I do not understand your intentions.

Therefore, what I believe I understand your intentions are, based on what I have read, you intend this to be a screenplay.

You also mentioned a very well known concept for screenwriting, as you said, "The old adage of, get in late and leave early."

This is very true. This however is not enough. Therefore, I thought we would start with your second submission, as you mentioned it is your first minute of your script the hook/catalyst.

Use your thick skin here please. I read it  but honestly it was slow. We can look at this later, if you want.

Let us start with something very important. Rules are rules. What that means is you absolutely must stick with rules of screenwriting. Now that I have said that, I will say that yes you can break the rules.

It sounds ridiculously confusing doesn't it? I know….I’ve been there. So let us explore this a bit.
The basic rules of a screenplay are this. Scene Heading. Action. Character. Dialogue. You can intersperse with camera direction and angle or particular sound or special effect, but you as the writer are born to give the director the creativity to expand on what you have written and turn it into a spectacular program. Trudging into his or her territory will get you killed, if you are lucky. That being said, you must first sell your intended client on your work of art. In order to sell your baby, so to speak, you must realize that the people you are hoping to read your masterpiece are simply graduates or soon to be, that are hoping to score a job in the business. Production studios hire these people, not for their scholastic ability, but for their reading ability so that they might slow the influx, while also still looking for that next blockbuster.

With that being the case, then we go back to what I mentioned before. |Rules. You absolutely need to start your scenes with a good….scene heading. Minimum words, place, inside or outside, maybe character but minimum time. That means time of day, series or whatever it is you are showing us. We absolutely need to know where, what and when. Short, curt and descriptive. Leave your time to the last.

Now we can get into the meat of this. Now is your ACTION. Your action scenes will take us from the Scene Description to the understanding of what we are attempting to make our reader understand.

Before we get into this, I want to make one thing very clear; you absolutely need to make the director of your screenplay, your friend. This is the man or woman who will share your creation into a visible reality. It will not be the producer nor the bank or any other, person that grabs their name on the screen. The directors, if they are any good will add his or her twist, but in the end, you are writing this to teach them how to make a good story. Remember this; directors know how to make a great picture, but it is the writers that know how to make a great movie. Never forget this. I have been there and I know. If you learn this and this only, you will succeed.

I am sorry this is long. I will wait to see if you are interested in my ideas and I will be happy to continue. I just do not want to make each post so long.

I hope that, what I have offered at this point is constructive in a way that will help you and I believe I can pinpoint some issues in what you have submitted that will take to success. ;)

Sincerely;


Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 18, 2012, 03:25:04 AM
Hi Patron,

Screenwriting is all I want to do, so anything you offer towards my success will be greatly appreciated.

Daryl
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 18, 2012, 03:32:19 AM
Wow, ok....

I was just hanging around and reading some post's. If you're willing to spend some late moments, I would also be willing. Would you like to do this, this way or through P.M.'s your choice of course. I am certainly willing to help with the issues I think are the most crucial, and that will attract a client's attention.

Sincerely;

Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 18, 2012, 04:26:05 AM
Wow, ok....

I was just hanging around and reading some post's. If you're willing to spend some late moments, I would also be willing. Would you like to do this, this way or through P.M.'s your choice of course. I am certainly willing to help with the issues I think are the most crucial, and that will attract a client's attention.

Sincerely;

Patron

Thanks Patron,

I'm easy with whatever way you want to do it. Here or PM - I don't mind.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on March 18, 2012, 07:19:19 AM
Patron I am also very interested. Daryl I hope you don't mind me jumping on the bandwagon so to speak?
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 18, 2012, 03:10:38 PM
Patron I am also very interested. Daryl I hope you don't mind me jumping on the bandwagon so to speak?

That's why it's best here :)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on March 18, 2012, 03:27:22 PM
Thanks Daryl.;)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 18, 2012, 11:56:48 PM
I am so sorry I fell asleep last night.

It would seem that the older I get, the easier sleep seems to come, yet also harder. I tend to be tired earlier in the evenings than when I was younger, yet I wake up at all kinds of crazy morning hours and either watch class D movies on T.V. that drive me insane because as I watch this drivel of writing, directing and producing, I find myself glued to the very end to see how it really ends, and only to be disappointed with a truly fatefully and poorly written ending. On the other hand I sometimes fall back asleep with a glass of milk for a few unrested hours and my writing side of the brain decides that sleep is certainly not needed and I am driven to the computer. It's a catch 22, as I find I still need that required sleep and it always catches up to me at some point.
 :D

Sincerely;


Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 19, 2012, 12:58:49 AM
 Ok, let's jump in. Blue and alfiemama, here we go.

If you either of you want to jump to P.M. it is fine but as I personally want to make the screenplay side of MWC become a stronger division, I think many future screenplay writers can gain something from this.

Blue, I know, having read many of your submissions you already know most of what we will be discussing. However, we writers are a sort of strange breed, in that you can pound the rules into our brains until we are numb, and we will continue to break them as we see fit. It works! It only works when you have become an established writer and you have earned the right to break the rules, unfortunately.

Blue this was your opening statement, on your last submission;

The old agage of get in late and leave early.  This is the first minute of my script - the hook/catalyst that takes the MC out of his status quo.

You are absolutely right on this statement and I do not know which bible rule it is, but it certainly is very important. So let’s start with your opening. This is going to catch your reader, which will turn to future clients. Keep in mind that many of these readers are just that. I am probably going to upset a few here, but these, readers are generally grads or future grads looking to break into the industry and they are what I feel, unfortunately hired to read screenplays and basically they weed out the worst and send in the best, mind you they have little to no experience in the industry to speak of, but they learned a set of rules, and this is their basic guideline.

I will continue…………


Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 19, 2012, 01:56:26 AM

Continued.....

These readers are looking for format, first and foremost.

You have done a great job with the, FADE IN the scene description and this is exactly what is necessary.

However your scene description is boring. Sorry, but it lacks everything.

Think about this. I could be in a high end sport car shop designed to sell to the most discriminating buyers of the world, or I could be in a mortuary shop which is in effect a shop, by the way. Or I could be in a washing machine repair shop or whatever. You get my point. Yes late you do describe flowers which you have designed to take us into a flower shop, garden, greenhouse or whatever.

This you said is your opening and your first minute of play. I am going by the one minute a page standard of writing and I remember you said your project would be a 30 minute screenplay. This we will address in a minute more. So your opening has left the reader first, mind you and now later you are pushing a wanna-be director to design your baby. I am sorry, but this is completely out of line. This is your baby. This is your creation and I can't stand to see a writer screwed over by the wanna bees. if you have made it thus far, meaning production level, and they take your creation and run it with their own futile ideas because the poor writer did not take the effort to design into the script a strong working format that will not give much latitude to those that seem to think they can make it better.

This is a very strong opening I wrote and I want you to identify what you wrote versus what I wrote and mine was in three minutes time. Mind you we are looking at a one minute screentime per one page of writing.


EXT. NATIVE ISLAND IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN - VILLAGE - NIGHT
Open into a moonless night, on a wide open beach. A dozen row boats filled with 15th Century heavily armed Spanish soldiers, beach themselves scrambling onto the beach.
CAMERA WIDE
Hundred of rowed boats, filled with Spanish soldiers, enter a large lagoon from ships anchored in the distance. As the boats find the beach, the soldiers disembark and form up into ranks.
EXT. ISLAND - NATIVE VILLAGE - SAME
A celebration lasting into the early hours of the morning has these villagers, passed out where they lie sleeping and unaware. We see the natives dressed in plumes and paint for an offering to the God’s. Most lie passed out, sprawled out on the ground. The huts, occupied by the women and children, are silent in the late hour.
EXT. SOLDIERS - SAME
The scene on the narrow beach becomes chaotic as commanders sort out the ranks, while more boats disembark and more soldiers arrive.
EXT. BEACH - NEARBY
Several larger oared boats beach themselves in the moonless night. Cry’s of nervous horses abound as the boats drop their bow ramps to the sand and heavily armored clad, calvary descend onto the beach, as the horses happy to feel mother earth trot in triumphant circles.
EXT. DEEP IN THE JUNGLE
An owl sits on a branch and turns its head almost a full turn, tuned in to the strange sounds emanating from the beach.
EXT. BEACH - SAME
The calvary forms up behind the hardened soldiers, facing the jungle line. On a simple arm command from a Spanish commander, the foot soldiers converge hell bent into the jungle; the village, their target. We watch as they machete their way through the dense foliage without remorse.

Continued.....
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 19, 2012, 02:40:45 AM
I will be back in a bit. I need to do a bit of cooking, as I really enjoy cooking.
 ;D

Sincerely;


Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 19, 2012, 04:23:08 AM
 ;D

Thanks Patron. Don't worry about about criticising my script - i'm ready to slaughter my baby. I trust your judgment and can take anything you say about it. I'll wait till you eat  ;D

Daryl
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 19, 2012, 05:39:18 AM
Okay, so yours gets straight into the heart of the conflict - well armed and trained cavalry and soldiers ready to slaughter the sleeping drunken natives. The scenery is descriptions are sparse but say volumes (producing a conflict for the army before they get ready to slaughter). I like it a lot. The shots gather momentum and pull in the reader, making it easy for the reader to visualise the images. Nice work.

This is a very action packed sequence, but what if your drama will be a slow starter like the movies SIDEWAYS (which is one of my favourite movies and a fantastic piece of scriptwriting)? My script will not be action packed, but I'm aiming towards kitchen sink drama which the British do best (in my humble opinion).

So having read your excerpt and the beginning to SIDEWAYS this morning, I can still see what my script is lacking. The sideways script is full of subtlety (like the wines in the film) and the subtext is rich. I want to rework my script - so shall I hang on for further comments or get on with it?
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 20, 2012, 10:41:17 PM
Hello Blue;

Sorry it took me a bit getting back. You’re right, what I sent you is designed to slam the audience quickly down into their seats. Opening pages are everything.

I also know this isn't the way you are intending your script. Their is however, a method to my madness. This was only to show you the importance of scene structure and description, first with openings then action etc. The most crucial of course is your first ten minutes. Their is nothing wrong with slow starters. They sell every day. It doesn't matter whether it's full of action or simply the way you started. Let's look at your opening.

FADE IN:

INT. SHOP. DAY.

A white lily. The sound of sprayed water. The Lily glistens. Then we see the watery sheen on lily leaves.

Follow me as I explain this like a camera and what our audience is seeing. I believe you are saying we open the shot with a white lily. We hear the sound of sprayed water. The lily we see glistens or is already wet? Then we see the watery sheen on lily leaves. Is the camera panning down to leaves or are we taking a different shot?

I am not asking you to direct the camera because that is the director’s job. I’m asking you to write it so that when we read this we can visualize the picture, which is the way you should be writing this.

I don not want you change your scenes or your style but I want to build some intensity into your scene, so that when I read it stands up and slaps me in the face, so I have no choice but to continue to read. This can be done without intense action.

Let’s start from FADE IN:
INT. SHOP. MORNING.

Open with a long shot from above of,  (maybe a greenhouse? You mentioned the wreath for a special customer) long shot maybe a pan view and we slow focus down to a lily. Now I want you to imagine a lily in a greenhouse as we here water spraying. Water spraying is sound O.S. We can visualize a lily after hearing water and slow focus into our picture, that this lily we are going to see is glistening. You don not need to tell us that. That should come to mind automatically. You are writing for the big screen. Now, I am going to upset a couple of directors; their job is not rocket science. They are there to pull this whole creation together into a budget wise visual film that will hopefully sell. Your job comes way before that and you are attempting to keep a reader of your screenplay intrigued to turn page after page until they decide to ship it up to the production people. So we do not need to read it glistens. ;)

I also changed your time of day to morning as most greenhouses and nurseries, water in the early times of day.

I will start the next part in the following post.

Sincerely;

Patron
 
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: 510bhan on March 20, 2012, 10:46:44 PM
Would the MORNING direction be suitable though if the action takes place in the afternoon and the character leaves the shop when the clock is showing five? :-[

Also -- how/why would a greenhouse fit in with the florist's shop to focus in on the lily wreath?
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 20, 2012, 11:17:11 PM
I agree 510bhan,

I just think this could be strengthened but I  should respect the story and leave it as written. Scenes and description however are very important, especially when dealing with the first ten minutes of the screenplay and more importantly with the opening. Just my thoughts. :-[

So Blue, let’s run the time and shop as you have it. I do not want to re-write your story. :)

I am going to try and do this in larger sections to make the point.


FADE IN:

INT. SHOP. DAY.

A white lily. The sound of sprayed water. The Lily glistens. Then we see the watery sheen on lily leaves.

Scar tissue from a bullet wound on a hand tending to the flowers. A satisfied sound of someone breathing in the scent.

The lilies form the central part of a huge wreath for a special customer.

DANIEL, mid-fifties, clean shaven and side-parted greying hair wearing a starched white shirt, tie and green apron. Surrounded by other exotic plants, flowers, shrubs and wreaths.

The clock reads five. Daniel swaps the green apron for his suit jacket. He turns the notice on the shop door and grabs a freshly prepared bouquet of red roses.


I guess what I am saying is that this scene reads very scattered and broken. It should flow evenly and force the mind to see the picture. The part about Daniel turning the sign etc. is fine. But before that is just is somewhat bumpy. Try to lead the picture for us. It is hard because I don’t want to rewrite, but I can see where the problem lies but I do not want to take charge either. So, try to rewrite those first three action lines so that they are smooth. I do not mean complete sentences either, because this style is quite popular these days and does work. Try to however, combine them a bit. It is three lines that could be written into two, or one for that matter, and it could give us some great visual.

Does that make any sense?

Sincerely;

Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 21, 2012, 12:06:05 AM
Hello Blue;

I liked the second scene better. Their are some structural issues I would question but I like how you have drawn us the picture. With this scene we can clearly see it on screen.

I would prefer to have learned an understanding of who Tracy is and her meaning to Daniel. Just a bit, because if you are using the three act structure, much of this can be developed in the second act. :)

Hope this helps.

Sincerely;


Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on March 21, 2012, 02:06:35 AM
Do we need to know who Daniel is when you talk about the hand?  In a novel I can see this as being intriguing. However, in a script would it be best to set it out. I'm not sure and don't know the answer as just learning. It is just a thought.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 21, 2012, 03:57:31 AM
Just a quick answer to some of the issues raised. Tracy becomes a kind of mentor during the second act - in the same way as obi wan kenobi  in star wars, dead but spurring him on through a letter she wrote for him. The scar tissue becomes clear near end of the first act.

Patron, thanks so much for taking the time to do all this - invaluable. Please don't worry about rewriting my words if you can show me better by doing so. Rewrite coming later on.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 22, 2012, 02:05:20 AM
Blue and alfiemama,

I had some things to discuss, based on the previous posts.

However, I took a moment and thought about some things. I do not want to hijack your post. Sorry for that.

I want to thank you for your sincere thoughts and interest in my help. I’m thrilled that I do have some time to help. I really want to give back, and help in every way I can, not just for the both of you but also for every member of this beautiful website.

I also want to take a moment of silence, for those we have lost. We’ve lost some friends and they will always be missed. I ask you to pray for their families in hopes they can stand strong and survive their loss.

Thank you, blue and alfi for your kind comments and I hope that I can help you and every person that has the courage to join,  to stay strong all the while learning their craft through MWC.

I want to say thank you to Nick, the Mods and every member that continues to make this website what it is……..! Thank you all….! Let us all work together and make this the best writers, den of hope, that we can make it. Thank’s to all of MWC’s support including all the forgotten IT group. Without you, none of this is possible. Thank you very much!

Sincerely;

Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 22, 2012, 03:20:24 AM
Thanks Patron,

I've thought about all the advice and tried to write the opening in a more linear and logical sequence. So here is the rewrite, including the added action/conflict which also foreshadows the main story in the script.

------


FADE IN:

INT. FLORIST SHOP. DAY.

Scar tissue from a bullet wound on a hand tending to flowers.

          RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
     Tensions over the Falkland Islands increase
     ahead of the thirtieth anniversary of Argentina's
     invasion in 1982.

A white lily which forms the central part of a huge wreath. Other exotic plants, flowers and shrubs surround it.

          RADIO VOICE (V.0.)
     Outside the British embassy in Buenos Aires...

DANIEL, mid-fifties. Regimented. He looks older than he should and his strong hands look out of place nurturing flowers.

          RADIO VOICE (V.0.)
     ... Demonstrators burned the Union Jack.

Daniel wrenches the radio plug from the socket. He picks up a bouquet of red roses and exits through the back door.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Annmarie on March 22, 2012, 05:21:32 AM
Am following all this with much interest.

I don't feel qualified to critique the newest version, daryl. Just a little iffy on the opening line. The first image we see is scar tissue? The average viewer wouldn't know it's from a bullet wound, but a scriptwriter puts it in for the producers/directors?

I'm a little confused on what you put in a script for the benefit of filmmakers, and what you put in that viewers will actually see or figure out.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 22, 2012, 05:39:11 AM
Am following all this with much interest.

I'm a little confused on what you put in a script for the benefit of filmmakers, and what you put in that viewers will actually see or figure out.

I'm following with interest too. Patron's help is great - learning a lot. I just changed that opening line by the way - still obscure but it will become obvious how it came about.

Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 23, 2012, 04:51:20 PM
Ok let's address your rewrite thenannmarie's question.

First, form FADE IN.

INT.FLORIST SHOP.DAY

This is fine.

Then, Scar tissue from a bullet wound on a hand tending to flowers.

Think about this. Think about sitting in a theatre and watching your opening. Remember, you said interior, florist shop and day.

I am going to stop here, as I need to run an errand and I will be back this afternoon. I will finish this later.

Sincerely;

Patron

Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on March 23, 2012, 05:04:45 PM
I suppose if it's in a theatre you wouldn't see that much detail. ??? However I think midnight meant this as a film/tv (I think).

I'm very intrigued now.

Wouldn't it be good to have a workshop thread in the scripts section? Hint hint.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 23, 2012, 10:45:02 PM
Ok  I am back and yes that is a great idea alfie. :)

Now we need to answer both annmarie and alfie and you too blue. I want to answer these first and then we will redirect back to your new submission.

Annmarie, your confusion. This is simple. Filmmakers as you stated, would also include readers. These readers are the basic people who are going to give you a shot in this business. Straight out, this is your shot. That being said, these persons are looking for key elements. First of all and most certainly foremost is format. If your format is less than expected it will surely find its way to file 13.
Format is crucial. Why? Format is used from the producer and/or director down to the actor, grip, stage builder, lighting and tech., costume, makeup and on and on until the actual lowliest hand on the set deserving of a copy of this screenplay. All of them have minor changes designed to work for their individual fields but it all comes from you.....and only you....the screenplay writer. You designed this, you created all of this in your imagination, and now this entire mega production comes from your basic, properly formatted screenplay. That is how important format really is.

Alfie, your question is valid. I might have missed the final intention of this as a big screen or series or whatever. I say whatever, because the rules do not change…. .
The rules are the same and are implied in the same way. Yes in a movie one needs to build through action description and dialogue an intriguing screenplay.
 This is what I write. However, if this is simply a local theatre production, think about it….. . What changes? This is what changes. You are now simply using a small set without a camera and you are driven to a seated audience that needs to see certain aspects to make it real, but basically you are still attempting the same goal.

This is the goal, folks. Whether it is local play production, or Broadway or a commercial, a mini series, a Hallmark or HBO production, or finally a big screen theatre production, one final thing stands out. What is it?

You absolutely must stick to format. Format includes rules. Many writers break the rules and there are hundreds of ideas out there that will teach you how to write the proper screenplay.

I am going to start another post because I ramble too much. :D

Sincerely;

Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 23, 2012, 11:07:43 PM
Where I was going with breaking the rules goes back to you Daryl.

You began breaking the rules right away, because you read or were told to get in late and out early of your scenes. That is so true, yet this is a bit of a rule breaker. You also tend to write fragmented statements and these also are rule breakers.

Original scripts tended to include a lot of story, similar to novel writing. As time marched on, the multitude of submissions progressed and an idea was sewn, so that these "Heads" so to speak could filter some of these submissions by establishing a set of guidelines. These guidelines were designed so that the original screenplay would survive through every aspect of a picture production.

Later as screenwriters evolved some cheat options, so to speak, became available, because productions became more advanced.
Fragmented writing works in many situations but particularly in quick action scenes. This where it really came into play. A reader would become self absorbed into the treatment so much that it read like little pictures in their head.

Daryl, you are using it, but I think it is wrong to start out this way. Remember.....the old and true format; the standard works and will never be undone. If you write the entire treatment, sticking to the old standard, I guaranty you will a better chance of this being picked up and sold than if you straight out break all the rules.

Sincerely;

Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 23, 2012, 11:36:03 PM
So let's look at what you submitted.

First of all I like the radio idea. It's credible and reliable. One thought though....You have to remember, I have no real idea of your premise. Right now I can buy it, until we get further into the story.

Next is probably my own fault. It seems you re-wrote this and lost some key points. You added, but you subtracted more.

Your scene description puts us into the environment. This is basic.

Your action and this not a true word because most screenwriting programs and treatments use this word. Action basically gives you a chance to show us, where, what, how, and probably not at this point who.

I feel you were forcing us into the scar view. Meaning the camera jumps from what? A full scene of a florist shop? Are their customers and a clerk? Do we see only the back of one knurled man whom we will learn about later?
Do we understand the environment? Do we understand why a big handed man is painfully twirling these flowers? The shop must be going on closing as you have shown....So how do you and I mean you.... show us that we need to understand the importance of this scarred hand. If we saw a man in the shop in the beginning; a hulking structure of a man. Maybe a Cro-Magnon type of man or whatever. Maybe if we saw this structure of a tough man or whatever you want in the original action sequence we can understand.

Use the radio inputs. I like them, even though I don’t know where you are going with them.

Give us a perspective up this flower shop and this man, before we focus into the scarred hand. Make it flow Daryl.

Sincerely;

Patron :)

By the way, we have more work to do. Let’s start with this. Do not throw away your ideas. Let’s keep integrating everything and writing in a manner that people will stand up and want to keep reading.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 24, 2012, 04:38:56 AM
Quote
Daryl, you are using it, but I think it is wrong to start out this way. Remember.....the old and true format; the standard works and will never be undone. If you write the entire treatment, sticking to the old standard, I guaranty you will a better chance of this being picked up and sold than if you straight out break all the rules.

I read Christopher Hampton's ATONEMENT last night and see what you're saying.

Quote
I feel you were forcing us into the scar view. Meaning the camera jumps from what? A full scene of a florist shop? Are their customers and a clerk? Do we see only the back of one knurled man whom we will learn about later?
Do we understand the environment? Do we understand why a big handed man is painfully twirling these flowers? The shop must be going on closing as you have shown....So how do you and I mean you.... show us that we need to understand the importance of this scarred hand. If we saw a man in the shop in the beginning; a hulking structure of a man. Maybe a Cro-Magnon type of man or whatever. Maybe if we saw this structure of a tough man or whatever you want in the original action sequence we can understand.

I'm working on it - Annmarie's question was a good one and made me look again.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 28, 2012, 05:40:39 AM
I am thrilled you read that.

If you want some other examples, I can help.

Remember, what I said....Do not let go of what your are writing. It does not matter what you submit.

For me, it recently has come to be that I am available. Since I have taken a particular interest in this, mind you, I still do not know where you are going....I feel I need to do something here.

I do not want to intrude on your thread. My interest here is to give something back to a person and really a couple of people to be honest, and also all of MWC.

I want to do this Daryl, as I have always enjoyed your posts and since I am currently un-employed, I have some time devote to this.

I will tell you this. I hope I get busy again soon, but, I will stick with this and, to be honest, I do not know where you are in this story; unwritten, rough draft or whatever; I intent to stick with you on this until you have a final draft that will make you some money. I promise I will stick with you until you have a submission that I believe you have a chance to make a sale.

Why am I doing this? I am giving back to some people here that mean a great deal to me.  Their help was invaluable and I am forever grateful

Sincerely;

Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 28, 2012, 07:20:52 AM
I lost sight of what I wanted in the first draft and cut too much. I'm happy where it's going now and comments here have forced me to think more clearly about the pictures in my head. Anyway, here is the latest draft


FADE IN:

INT. FLORIST SHOP. DAY

The SOUND of sprayed water, irregular like Morse code, overpowers the SOUND of 1980s pop music playing quietly on a radio. A sheen on green leaves of exotic plants and flowers. An array of bright colours surrounded by light and dark leaves against the pale yellow walls.

DANIEL, mid-fifties. Regimented. His dominant physique seems misplaced amongst fragile flowers. But his timid eyes show a tenderness towards his work.

Daniel’s right arm is scarred from the elbow down to melded fingers that resemble two talons. He places the spray bottle next to the radio and keens his head.

          RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
     Tensions over the Falkland Islands increase
     ahead of the thirtieth anniversary of Argentina's
     invasion in 1982.

Daniel fusses over a white lily that forms the central part of a huge wreath. A faraway watery sheen in his eyes.

          RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
     Outside the British embassy in Buenos Aires,
     demonstrators burned the Union Jack.

Daniel wrenches the radio plug from the socket.

He slips out of his green apron and swaps it for the charcoal jacket hanging on the coat peg.

EXT. FLORIST SHOP. DAY.

Daniel closes up the shop. Rain beats upon him. 

EXT. CEMETERY. DAY.

Daniel crouches on the sodden mud. No umbrella. His wet hair clings to his face. He clutches the lily wreath we recognise from the shop.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Maimi on March 28, 2012, 06:11:17 PM
Hi Daryl,

I like the lack of spoon feeding by going from the flower shop to the grave.

Call me crazy, but by nixing the death scene Daniel has more of my sympathy and emotional buy-in. Perhaps it's because now I'm focused on him and not how he got there, his journey to the graveside--if you know what I mean.

You got an 'Oh' reaction from me when I saw the wreath for the second time. Thanks for letting me connect the dots.

I'm left to wonder what the death will free him up to do--that it's a catalyst for what's to happen. Of course, there are the scars and violent reaction to the report on the radio. All that, as well as the matter of who died, makes me curious in such little time. Nice work.

-Maimi
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on March 29, 2012, 05:50:12 PM
I don't know why but I keep picturing mafia with this. In a weird way it through me when you mentioned the 80's.

Not sure on this part irregular like Morse code,  Do you need to go into that much detail and would water sound like this?
 
Also would His dominant physique seems  misplaced amongst fragile flowers be right to use in a script. I'm really not sure by the way, which is why I am asking. ;)

I just felt this read now more like a book rather than a script. I'm really not sure now which is correct.
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Patron on March 31, 2012, 04:15:05 AM
alfiemama;

I understand what you are saying here.

This is becoming my fault in what Daryl is producing. But on the other hand, it is exactly what needs to become into a full fledged drama.

What will make this work; he will develop scenes that will flow and work into a three act structure. This is a long way from the end, but this will eventually culminate into a full three act feature. We always have to remember one thing. This is a screenplay. We all, need to be able to read and see this production in our heads. Readability is everything. We do not want to read as a novel, but this needs to be the abridged of the abridged type of novel. This future production will be the next piece we see on the screen or big screen. That means, we writers must thrill the readers first, and then entice the directors and producers.

Sincerely;

Patron

We have a few things to work out.

Sincerely;

Patron
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on March 31, 2012, 04:40:00 AM

Hi Patron,

I see (I think) ;) ???

Forgive me though, but won't it be producer's and director's who read it first? Would they just not think this is fluff (sorry Daryl no disrespect to your work) I mean like an info dump. I think I'm rambling and may need more coffee this morning. ;D
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on March 31, 2012, 06:06:44 AM
No offence taken Alfie - i'm here to learn too.  :)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on March 31, 2012, 06:30:43 AM
Phew!!! I was struggling to find the right words. It's just some people, would tell you to cut this out of your work, so I'm struggling to understand. I would have thought they are redundant words? ???
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Annmarie on April 02, 2012, 11:24:46 AM
I like the newer version better as well, though some of the wording seems a little unclear at times. Does Daniel have only two fingers on one hand? Also, as a general screenwriting question, why describe a basically generic flower shop? Just the term "flower shop" evokes certain things in my mind. I don't know if Daryl would need more detailed description, such as:

"A sheen on the Blood Lilies and Stelitzia Regininae..."    instead of "A sheen on green leaves of exotic plants..."   But this is what I'd do in a novel. I have no idea if you need that kind of detail in a screenplay, though the ones I read that use it are wonderful.

In general, if I was watching this as a film, I'd be willing to follow a little longer until Daniel starts talking. The situation and what he says would be crucial to whether I kept watching. I don't need every film to be chatty, but I find it easier to care about people when I "eavesdrop" on them.

I'm sure by now you're pages further into the script, Daryl. I'm still reading.  :)

Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: Dawn on April 03, 2012, 04:47:01 AM
I agree Annmarie. I would think florist shop would enable the reader to use their imagination. A bit like when it was discussed on Skip's thread about description of a character.
We could do with Patron's imput me thinks. ;)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: TheRachaelFish on April 18, 2012, 06:27:10 AM
I really do prefer the second version, it is more concise, and introduces us to the story in an intriguing way.
I'm also following Patron's little tutorial with great interest... :)
Title: Re: Untitled WIP
Post by: midnight candle on April 18, 2012, 07:05:53 AM
Thanks for joining in Rachael - there will be more to the discussion soon.