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Workshop => Review My Script => Topic started by: bananna86 on March 14, 2014, 09:20:45 PM

Title: Draft into - drama screenplay
Post by: bananna86 on March 14, 2014, 09:20:45 PM
Hi everyone, This is an intro to a drama. I am working on the layout etc. Looking for general feedback on the story line. Thank you


A 23 year old woman, EMMA asleep in bed. Alarm goes off. Wakes up and opens curtain letting light pour in. Bumps a photo frame [photo of a young boy and girl around the age of six wearing homemade Easter hats] on ledge and picks it up. Staring at the photo frame EMMA begins to smile as she carries it whilst tripping over odd items down the hallway.

It was my favorite photo.


EXT. School Easter hat parade with parents taking photos

I loved my mother deeply, but sometimes I believed her homemade craft creations were never meant to leave home. More experiments, than creations...

int. ZAC and EMMA to the side of the school stage, ready to parade their hats. EMMA is crying

Why are you crying? (Pulling melted chocolate eggs out of his pant pocket) I have chocolate?

He knew the way to a woman's heart early on. [with reference to the chocolate offering]

(Nods head as she shoves lots of chocolate in her mouth) I hate my Easter hat, its ugly. (Talks in between sobbing and eating)

I like it.

I like yours better

Take it off [as he takes his hat off]

ZAC takes his homemade Easter hat off and puts it on EMMAS head. He then takes her hat off and puts it on his head

[Smiles] Thank you

[Smiles as he pulls chocolate into his mouth] My name is Zac

My name is Emma and I am six

It's our turn [grabs Emmas hand and leads her in front of all the parents taking photos]

 int. Back to present
EMMA has a shower, packs her bag and takes the photo out of the frame and throws it in her luggage as the taxi cab beeps in the driveway.


Settling into the cab, EMMA takes a deep breath.

[Whispers to herself and fidgeting with her handbag] I can do this. It's just home. I am just going home.

Stuck in the taxi cab waiting in traffic, a car backfires close by. EMMA jumps out of skin. She then gently strokes one of her ears.


EXT. [flashback] thick scrub, almost forest like

EMMA and ZAC are about 10 -12 years old and running along a path laughing and calling out.

You can’t catch me!

Yes I will, watch out here I come.

I win!! [Catching breath, leaning against the tree] beat you again. Ha ha.

Next time you are not getting a head start. [Out of breath]

Both fall down in a heap and settle down in their secrete play area behind a timber mill

One more for me [scratches a line next to her name engraved on a big tree] that's 14 to me and 0 to YOU!

Hey listen to this song, it's my new favorite [shares with EMMA one ear piece to his tape player)

Why do you like this place so much Emma?

My dad use to work there, remember? [Pointing to the sugarcane mill] I like to think of him here. Imagine he is still there working.

Oh okay... do you want to be alone?

Of course not silly.

EMMA throws a small stick at ZAC and they both begin to laugh and giggle throwing small sticks and dirt at each other.
Suddenly a small explosion goes off at the mill. ZAC pushes EMMA to the ground and lies on top of her and covers her ears as louder explosions go off.


$45.60 thanks Mam. Mam?

Oh sorry, sure here you go. Keep the change.

EMMA checks in and buys a coffee as she sits in the waiting lounge at the airport. An announcement over the airport speaker system about a flight triggers EMMAs memory once again.

INT. In a hospital waiting room.

A staff member is speaking over the hospital announcer, as EMMA sits in the waiting room with her mother and ZACS dad.

Mum, what's going on? He wasn't bleeding. We were both fine. Why can't I see zac?

It won’t be long sweety. [Strokes her hair]

Doctor walks over and pulls ZACS father aside. ZAC’S father's body language drops as he puts his head down and rubs his forehead. EMMA’S mother approaches ZAC’S father once the doctor leaves. They talk for a bit then embrace each other. EMMA walks over to both of them.

What's going on? mum? Ted? Where is zac?

Come sit down honey. You can see zac very soon, but first-- honey the explosion that you and zac were near was very loud, and well. The noise from the explosion has done some damage to zac’s ears and at the moment, zac cannot hear anything.


Final call for flights to Rosebay
EMMA drinks the rest of her coffee and walks briskly to the plane check in.

 int. inside the plane
EMMA pulls out a letter from an envelope. The letter looks worn and weather as though it has been read many times. EMMA then orders a scotch on the rocks.
ext. outside in Rosebay

Taxi cab pulling up outside a beautiful homely cottage near the ocean. EMMA'S mother ROSIE, a middle aged woman runs out to help EMMA with her bags.

Sweetheart! I didn't know you were visiting. (Struggling to lift bags out of the car boot) I could have picked you up from the airport. Why didn't you call?

Why didn't you tell me you were dying? (grabs bags off Rosie and walks inside)

Emma. Emma! (Follows her inside, speaking erratically, but happy) I have a guest over. Someone I'd like you to meet. I just baked some scones too. What do you think of my new hair cut?

Int. Neat and tidy home full of handmade quilts and ornaments

___end of snip-it_______

Title: Re: Draft into - drama screenplay
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 14, 2014, 09:51:35 PM
Hello Bananna,
Our members are great at offering critiques or suggestions to one another, but it helps if you read and follow the guidelines before posting your work.

Please take the time to visit the Welcome Board and introduce yourself.
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You will also find Guidelines posted for some individual boards, especially the prose and poetry boards. They are on the left hand menu when you open the board, generally named something like Read This First and stuck near the top with a Blue Stick Pin.

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Thank you,
Global Moderator

Title: Re: Draft into - drama screenplay
Post by: bananna86 on March 14, 2014, 10:22:05 PM
Sorry, I guess i got a little excited!
I have now read the rules and will do a few replies of my own and follow all procedures.
Title: Re: Draft into - drama screenplay
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on March 14, 2014, 10:25:35 PM
Thanks,  8)
Title: Re: Draft into - drama screenplay
Post by: ericthehalfabee on March 15, 2014, 06:58:12 AM
Hi Anna,

I know you say you are working on the layout but the level of direction you give, especially in brackets, is quite distracting. Also be careful on scene changes - you start off saying it's inside her bedroom but before you've even finished describing the opening scene, she's in the hallway. That's a new scene.

Maybe try writing the whole thing again with just the dialogue then going back and putting the direction in - but just a bare minimum - nothing in brackets. Also if you've said someone is shouting, you don't need to put it in capitals with exclamation marks.

Centre the dialogue (difficult to do on here to be honest) and put the directions on the left.

If the old woman (women? Typo?) is OLD EMMA in the story, use her name, you don't need to surprise the director by "revealing" it's one of the characters later on.

These are all the mistakes I made as well, so I’m just passing on the advice.

Just as an example:

Why are you crying?

ZAC pulls melted chocolate eggs out of his pocket and offers them to YOUNG EMMA.

I have chocolate.

He knew the way to a woman's heart early on.


I hate my Easter hat, its ugly.

We can see from the dialogue that “he knew a way to a woman’s heart” refers to him giving her chocolate, because we can see it on the screen while she’s talking. Likewise, if Zac asks her why she's crying, you don't need to tell her to cry.

There are a lot of instances where you need to think about where the scene is happening – if they are in a forest but “duck down behind a mill” that’s a new scene as well.

The layout aside, I like it. I’m not sure how long you intend it to be (movie, one hour drama, series etc) but you reveal quite a lot in these first few lines – depending on the length you may want to flesh out some of the dialogue as it feels like you’ve tried to cram all of the ideas into the opening. Especially the ending -  I think there would be more of a conversation before she asks her friend why she didn’t tell her she was dying, this didn’t sound very realistic to me.

All in all it's a great start to introducing the characters and I would be interested in watching/reading more.

P.S. Just to prove a point, I had to edit this to centre the dialogue text!!

Title: Re: Draft into - drama screenplay
Post by: hillwalker3000 on March 15, 2014, 07:16:33 AM
A few things to consider:

1) Screenplays are meant to be mostly speech with a minimum of choreography. The director is the one who decides how the actors act out the dialogue. Too much of this extract describes what Emma is doing, and how she does it.

2) The voice-overs and flashbacks became clichéd very quickly. Everything Emma does reminds her of a moment from the past - really? Why now? Why this particular morning? It comes across as a lazy, short-cut way of dumping back-story.

3) I'm not sure how an explosion could make Zac go deaf but not Emma since they're both the same distance away from the factory.

4) The build-up seems rushed - the pay-off line 'Why didn't you tell me you were dying' another rather cheap shot to create dramatic tension when there isn't any.

There may be a credible story to follow but the opening scene tries to do too much in too short a time. Just my opinion, of course. . .

Title: Re: Draft into - drama screenplay
Post by: ericthehalfabee on March 15, 2014, 09:13:19 AM
Zac puts his hands over her ears.

And I think flashbacks work if used well. Watched Saving Mr. banks last week and that's around 50% flash back.
Title: Re: Draft into - drama screenplay
Post by: 2par on March 15, 2014, 10:07:09 AM
Bananna, you've gotten some good feedback here. After you've corrected your spelling and structure, be careful to exclude all directions to actors, director or camera. This is a director's medium, not the writer's or the actors. For instance: Zac has chocolate. The Director will decide if he gives it to Emma and if she eats it. Only include action when it is absolutely needed for the story.

Title: Re: Draft into - drama screenplay
Post by: bananna86 on March 15, 2014, 10:49:10 PM
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my script and supply feedback. It is greatly appreciated!!!. I agree there is too much information given away to quickly and my layout is not so flash. I will also take out/ minimize directions and also work on my scenes.  Thank you all again - back to working on it I go !!!!!